Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stepping Through The Plan I Do Not Understand

I will go to the funeral of a dear friend today. 

It is also the 19th month Anniversary of our sons home going. 

With many of the same people, we will celebrate the life of one lived so very well. 
Through song and prayer we will lift our voices to the heavens. 
We will remember. 

Why does the pain of this life become overwhelming? 
I feel some days that grief is all I know. 
As my dad succumbs to the memory thief and we need to make decisions about 
his care my heart feels so weighted. 
This life feels heavy. 
I can't seem to find my way around heartache. 
Do you ever feel this way? 

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

It's been 19 months since my red head called me mom. 

Since he slept in his bed. 
It's been 19 months of feeling so out of sorts. 
Each day learning to walk a new path. 

Each day surrendering. 
 Finding refuge in truth and hope.
I want to reach through the veil. 
I want to see him. 
Yet, the pull of the work needed to be done here draws me in. 
The daily necessities; the purpose and plan. 
A reminder of a divine purpose. 
A plan which I do not understand. 
But in which I trust. 
The rhythm and cycle of life continues. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

We will gather with friends from far and near today to celebrate a beautiful life. 
She breathed strength and life into me. 
We all miss her. 
Heaven's choir gained a glorious soul. 

It was an honor and gift to know her. 

It was an honor and gift to parent our son for the years we were given. 

My farmer keeps reminding me that 19 months is nothing compared to all of eternity. 
And so I will set my heart on eternity. 

Ecclesiates 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie. 

Sometimes it's what we need. 
A little baking. 
A plan. 
Some sunshine. 
Sometimes, life is not what we expected  
We can not give in to the despair and sadness. 
It fights to pull us under. 
Threatens to undermine our joy. 
So, make a pie. 
Spread some sunshine. 

Do one thing you know you should. 

And above all else. 

 Psalm 107:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; 
his love endures forever.

Our hope is not in the temporal things of this earth. 
They are all fleeting. 
Our hope lies in One who has sacrificed all so we might live. 
To that hope, we cling. 

Fighting today to remain in the everlasting arms. 
Grateful for hope. 
 Because when the missing grabs hold and the ache so heavy. 

The only thing left to do is open the hands and rest in the power of the Holy One. 

David Crowder
I Am

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Waking From A Dream

I woke from the dream. 
Wracking sobs as I fell to my knees in the kitchen. 
Sobs that came during the first days as we learned of Elijah's homegoing. 
The same gut wrenching realization. 
My pysche must only be able to handle this in my dreams. 
For when I woke. 

Truth confronted me. 

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; 
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

The power of knowing that we are His child. 
That through this, He is Lord. 
The ground is solid. 
We walk with hope and purpose. 

While my heart stilled and the fog cleared I rested in who God says He is. 
I stepped into the routine of the day. 

May your day be firmly set on truth. 
May your soul Magnify the One who gave all. 

Psalm 121:1
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, 
from whence cometh my help.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Do You Have Plans For The Next 40 Days? ( a re-post from the archives)

Today is the beginning of Lent. 
A practice many in the Christian church do not observe. 

A practice centuries old; representing Jesus' time in the quiet; in the wilderness. 
It was during this time he was tempted by Satan;
Matthew 4:3-4 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
It was during this time that he fasted for 40 days.
A time when he was tired, hungry and weak. 
He withdrew from all the chaos and hustle in town. 
He needed time. 
He needed quiet. 
He was about to endure the cross. 
His heart needed sweet communion with His Father. 
As I have grown older and find myself so easily distracted;
 times like Advent and Lent have become intentional times of focus on the quietness of my heart. 
I have grown to love these times and see the beauty in
why they were included in the church calendar. 
We tend to be so busy. Running here and there.
For good things; good purposes
We pray, we worship.
 We tend to forget to be quiet before the Lord. 
Just be still; in his presence. 
Time to shut out the schedule, the demands of the day; to be silent. 
Matthew 4:1-2 tells us that God led Jesus into the wilderness, where he fasted for 40 days. 
I only know of one person who fasted for 40 days.
 He was in the guards and was called to go to Iraq. 
He would tell us of his walk each week. 
It was a powerful journey. 
Why are we so afraid of quiet
(Me included. I talk way too  much, just ask the farmer)
Why does quiet prayer and silence leave us undone
Last year during Lent,
I attempted to add a trait to my walk instead of depriving myself of something. 
A practice to encourage your walk with the Lord. 
Maybe you're going to attempt to read the bible every day, 
There are great tools out there to help that process. 
The youversion bible allows you to down load the program to your computer or phone
and it will read to you and keep track of where you are.
So, your morning commute can be part of your bible time. 
Or when the kids are napping.
This is just one way and one program. 
I have been using a bookmark tracking system, that works for me. 

There are 4 book marks placed in the bible. 
You have 5 days of grace in each month. ( so thankful) 
Ann Voskamp also has developed a Lenten Devotional that we have used as well. 
These are just tools to enhance a practice to bring us closer to God. 
Choose to make Lent a game changer.
 It takes 30 days to develop a new habit.
This is 40. 
Take action to improve your walk with God.
To get closer to him. 
Maybe your marriage needs 40 days of intentional focus. 
Do something quiet for your spouse each day. 
There is "The Love Dare"

Use these next 40 days to make changes. 

It is a beautiful practice. 
It is not a command or a mandate. 
But a practice that has merit and beauty.

The woman in our church are using the tool:

Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen (Active Prayer Series)

My cry this Lent will be to continue to seek the "what" God has next for our family. 
What do we do in the aftermath of living a life without our Elijah?
What does it look like when  it seems cancer is at bay?
When a part of your farmer and farm girls heart remains in Haiti.
When there are children needing love.  
I will seek Who God is in all of  this. 
In the quiet.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Glory Moment

I have it all wrong. 
See, when the list is so long. 
And the hours in the day not making it. 
I stress. I lash out.
I want to hurry up so I can sit down. 
I quickly click off the task to be able to get to something else. 
While all the while the task at hand many be the very glory moment I need to be in. 
On my knees scrubbing the toilet bowl. 
(Yes, this is true)
Or running out the door to bring a text book to the daughter who forgot. 
Or crying as I can't get to the grave of my son because they don't plow. 

What if those moments matter?

What if each one of those actions were just as significant as the moment I gave birth? 
And what If I am missing some of the most glorious moments because 
I am trying to get to the, thing that I think is important?
I spend each day trying to get to the night. 
Only to fall asleep and start all over again. 
But by living in the moment of; spilling water all over me while trying to cook for 22, hanging laundry, homeschooling, fitting in cello and piano practicing  before I head out the door for a ct scan for my farmer. 

That might be the very glory moment I need to be in. 

No matter how tough it is. 
Or how chaotic. 
God is in the very moment. 
The glory moment. 
And everything we do has purpose and meaning. 

I love Steven Curtis Chapmans song

Do Everything

As you do everything you do the the glory of the One who made you, 
Cause he made you, 
To do 
Everything little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His Face
Tell the story of grace
With every you move that you make 
And every little thing you do

I look around this farmhouse kitchen. 

What matters is that God is in this place. 

What matters is that all who enter here feel His love and know His presence. 
The ceiling may be a mess. 
The walls littered with stains from erasing calendars while homeschooling. 
Dirt all over the floors from visitors throughout the day. 
Clutter from a houseful who forget to pick up. 
But that is not what matters. 
What really matters is that the heart is cultivated into something beautiful. 
That we have come to a place when everything around us is falling apart;
and our hearts are not. 
That we can live in the glory moment. 

Psalm 46:10
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Breathe deep my friends.
We can live in the glory moment. 
The angry moments when the boy pushes against the authority. 
When the girl lashes out. 
When the to do list will not get done; again. 
 We can do this. 
Because it all matters. 
It all has significance. 
Each and every little thing. 
Glory moments.
Choose to see them. 
Work to seek grace for just the moments. 
The pain has purpose. 
The joy has meaning. 
All working together to help mold us in to the child God wants us to be. 

So, today I will be practicing this skill of glory moments
Resting in the rough. 
Not fighting the path;
or the snow that falls in that path! 
Or the wind that blows a frigid chill right through this farm house. 
Because there is a shovel. 
And there is a warm fire. 
The choice on which to dwell is mine. 

I choose the glory moment. 

What about you? 
What will you choose? 

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Don't We All Just Want To Be Loved? (re-posting thoughts)

My farmer walks stronger these days. Healing so apparent. Mischievous, blue eyes have their twinkle. Good news this week about clear scans and the port removal. And I am reminded again of the deep love of Christ. The love He intended within the confines of marriage; the joy of sex over the years in a healthy marriage. With the release of the movie, "Fifty Shades of Grey" my stomach turns at the perversity. Here are my thoughts on love from last year. May God always be your first love. And may you find someone that helps to cultivate that relationship. 

My Youth Pastor spoke at our wedding. He performed the ceremony  in our field, over looking the beautiful, fall landscape and Mount Mansfield. He spoke on Love. (Big surprise! Right?) He quoted lyrics from secular songs. " I want to know what Love is", "Love; it never hurt so good". An entire society trying to figure out how to do love.

Well, I am adding my 2 cents today to the litany of love experts.

Love. It's not what you think. The romance and the chocolate. The flowers and the sex. It all has little to do with love. I know. Love has more to do with the sacrificing than the receiving. I saw real love in action. As cancer ravaged my mother's body and the memory thief knocked on my dad's door.  I saw. In sickness. . .He wouldn't leave her side. A man who never shed a tear in my presence but once. A man prone to forget the Anniversary but not the Football game. A man now desperately trying to find out why such a wonderful woman has to suffer. I saw him meet every need she had. I saw a tenderness I had never seen. I saw love.

Love. It's not what you think. It has little to do with money. (though really someday I wouldn't mind not having to scrimp every penny. But then I wouldn't know what I know) It has nothing to do with looks or the things thrown in our faces by media. I know. Because I have seen love. When my middle was swollen  beyond human imagination. In joy. . .When I am angry and bothered and want a vacation from myself. I have seen love. And when the unimaginable happens and the precious is torn from your life and you stand at your sons grave. In Sorrow. . .You see love. You feel love and you know love. And when the doctor returns your call and the diagnosis is cancer and you stare deep into each others eyes and everything you need to know is right there. That's love. And when the effects of chemo and radiation leave you barely able to stay awake or eat and you still go to the Diner because you know that's what she wants and you never complain. That's love.

I Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love. It's not what you think. I've received it. I've done nothing to earn it. He gave; the overwhelming grace sent by the Father. A love that transcends all. A life ransomed for mine. The assurance of eternal life. His life for mine. Love. What a thing. A love that will never let me go. . .ever.

Love has been demonstrated daily since our son was called home. Meals, financial support, hugs, flowers, letters, gifts, cards, acts of service, phone calls; the list goes on. The desire to help us stand when we can't find our way. The fruit of pure love.

Twila Paris~How beautiful, when humble hearts give, 
the fruit of pure love, so that others may live. How beautiful. . .Is the Body of Christ.

So if you're looking for love. I am sure "you're looking in all the wrong places". You'll find it when you lay to rest your son. You'll find it when toxic cocktails weave their way through your spouses veins. You'll find it when you give all you have to give and then some more. You'll find it when you take the "I need" out of your vocabulary. You'll find it best when the divine meets the sovereign and you hand over all that you are, all that you need, to the only One that will love you completely.

 I will take my hearts in the snow. Hearts on my clothesline and when the weather is too bad, strings of hearts in my living room. I will take the knowing looks. The graveyard visits and dates to the infusion center. I will remove the " I need, or I deserve" and seek to serve with all I have.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lessons Learned While Baking Bread

What do you do when the temperatures plummet?
When there are no eggs or cereal for breakfast. 
When the Oatmeal won't feed 6?
When the dollar you need to stretch can't go any further? 
When the great niece is there at 6 a.m?
You pull those farm memories to life.
You close your eyes and think of warm bread baking. 

You remember the strong arms of your mother in law. 
The sweet grace baked into each bite. 
And the healing art of kneading bread. 

Moment by moment working the yeast through. 
Lessons learned while baking bread. 
So I stand next to the wee one. 
And share God's love. 
Together we work. 
Side by side. 
In the quiet. 
And my soul is filled. 
Soon my farmer and children will feast. 
There is warmth in the kitchen. 

Nourishment in the oven. 

A peace that passes all understanding. 
When grief and cancer and CT scans and life swirl; 
lean into the lessons learned while baking bread. 

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I Say In A Whisper, I'll See You Soon, Because It's Not Really Good Bye

See you soon I say as I walk out the room. 
Tears stream down my face. 
I stifle the sobs that want to come. 
The ache so heavy. 
Another I love, so dearly, departing this life. 
Powerless to stop. 
Cancer rearing it's ugly head. 
This beautiful family. 
Servants of our Lord and Savior. 
So much living still to come. 
All, she will never see.
Grand babies growing. 
The youngest son unmarried. 
I receive the text that heaven opened it's doors to this beautiful soul. 
Her residence now eternal. 
I think on all the times together. 
Bibles studies. 
Antiquing and lunches. 
Music and books. 
Always laughter. 
Her laugh was like the twinkling of a million fairies. 
Her blue eyes sparkling. 
So encouraging. 
Always positive. 
A silver lining somewhere. 
Poise and grace. 
Coffee and tea. 
A vacation cut short to return to play the organ at the funeral 
for my father in laws sudden departure from this world. 
Such talent. 
The ivory keys brought forth sounds and style only she could coax. 
To watch her conduct, was art in itself. 
Beautiful music.
Walks and talks with another friend solving life's problems. 
Room makeovers. 
Discussions in the glow of the firelight as life marched on. 
And now her race is finished. 
The battle won. 

The words, 
well done my good and faithful servant,
resounding through out the heavens. 

She is released from the constraints of this world. 
Her glorious talent added to the Heavenly choir. 
And I am sure my boy greeted her with open arms. 
What a sweet reunion there must have been with all her loved ones. 

And aren't we all waiting for the reunion? 

Romans 8:18-22
 Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

The whole of creation waits in anticipation for Jesus' return. 
It is not the dead that grieve. 
They rejoice. 
It it those left behind that the grieving is for. 
So my sweet friend. 
I do not grieve for you. 
You are free of pain. 
You are home. 
We will all grieve, for us. 
For our aching hearts. 
For your dear husband and beautiful, beautiful family. 
For the immense loss here on this earth. 
For all the missing. 

So, I say again, in a whisper,  I will see you soon dear one. 

2 Peter 3:8
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: 
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Do You Ever Fail To See What Is Right In Front Of You?

I was plagued by a debilitating headache yesterday. 

One that wouldn't let go. 
It's grip tight. 

I had time too. 
My kids were all out of the house. 

Such a rare occurrence. 

But I was so unproductive. 
It took me all day to balance the check book. 
One item in a long list of tasks needed to be completed. 
I felt frustrated and annoyed.
The last time I experienced a headache that debilitating was 2 days before Elijah met Jesus. 
It rendered me useless. 
Driving me to bed - which rarely happens. 
I remember it so clearly because, once again, my kids were all out of the house. 
2 were at camp. 
2 were playing with their cousin. 
I had a long list of tasks that needed to be completed. 
I stood in my room and looked out the window and prayed. 
I was missing my mom and was headed in 2 days to see my dad. 
His situation deteriorating quickly. 

So this headache yesterday, felt similar. 
I took a moment to sit on the couch. 
But it felt wrong. 
I had all this time. 
Sitting on the couch was not going to get the list accomplished. 

What I failed to see, both days, was the opportunity to pray. 
To sit quietly before the Lord. 

Why is it so hard for me to grasp the need for solitude? 

Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, 
Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

To quiet ones soul before the heavenly throne? 

I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” 
― Elisabeth ElliotPassion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control

My headache is gone. 
I turn on the fire to take the chill off the room. 

A steaming cup of coffee in my hands brings me great joy. 

I will take time for quiet. 
Then I will attack my to do list with gusto. 
Thankful for a clear mind. 
While situations around me rage with uncertainty. 
I will rest and be content in what I know. 

I will look for the opportunities to be still. 
This old farmhouse is not often quiet. 
It's seams bursting with friends and activity. 
My journey will be to find the holy in the chaos. 
The quiet in the chatter. 
The peace in the turmoil. 
The joy in the grief. 

God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lifting My Eyes Heavenward

He creeps in and tries to tell me lies. 
Lies that I am sad. 
That I will always be sad. 
Lies that bring me down. 
That enemy that would love to see us in despair.
My heart sinks deeper and deeper. 
My energy sapped. 
It is in the middle of shredding carrots into the salad that I am struck. 
Struck by the awareness of the heaviness of grief. 
Another that I love dearly, is finishing her race here on this earth. 
The one that shares a birthday with my mom. 
A middle name spelled the same. 
A love of music and books. 
And she lays quiet in her hospital bed in hospice. 
And I touch her. 
She soon will be in the presence of the Almighty. 
And she will also see my son.
She will cross that veil. 
And my heart breaks. 
I want to scream because these losses are close together. 
I watch her family. 
I know the grief. 
The pain. 
The pain of losing a mom. 
And while I make that salad. 
I turn my thoughts to the giver of life.
I open my heart to the King of Kings. 
I will not believe the lies. 
God has numbered our days. 
This is not our home. 
While what we do here is important, it is not all there is. 
There is deep grief and sorrow. 
There is also deep joy and rich hope.
Lifting my eyes heavenward. 

Psalm 91:1
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord
He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life to Him belongs
Who will raise the dead again.