Sunday, January 31, 2016

Until it Was Gone

Fear just up and left. 
I am not kidding. 
I have felt it living in my bones. 
Crippling me at times. 
Needing to grasp and hold on tightly. 
The moment one of the kids gets into the car. 
When they are gone for long periods of time. 
When they want to go to a friends. 

The constant need for a call; to be in touch. 
To hear their voice. 
Secretly wanting them all in the house. 
In their rooms. 
Going no where. 

It has paralyzed me. 
And I didn't even know it. 

Looking back, 
I remember the squeeze on my heart. 
My farmer and now only son, went to church. 
To share the news of what had happened. 
I could barely breathe while they were gone; 
waiting for their return. 

Would they? 

This has plagued me. 
Fear had set up residence in the deepest 
part of my soul and I didn't even know it. 

Each time someone left. 
The undercurrent of fear. 
In me. 
Tightly squeezing the life out of me. 
The phone call that the tumor was cancer. 
It is only now that I remember, the fear digging in deeper. 
The clutch on my heart. 
I didn't know it held this power. 

Until it was gone. 

Until the farm boy poked his head in the door and said, 
"I'm home. I had such a good time. "

At that moment I realized. 
I had gone to bed when a child was out. 

I had placed my head on the pillow and sweet sleep had the last word. 
My usual stance of sitting on the couch nurturing my anxious heart,
 until they returned, was not a part of the picture. 
When I opened my eyes in the early hours of the morning;
 the burden was gone. 
The weight I carried. 

Fear had paralyzed me and I hadn't even known. 

What burdens do you carry needlessly? 

Search hard. 

You may never know until they're gone. 

Fear had gripped so tightly I was unaware. 
The tension in my soul: unable to identify. 
Until it was gone. 

The peace in my soul this morning is a gift. 

Isaiah 66:12
For this is what the LORD says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.

There is so much about this journey of living 
without your child that is hard to put into words. 
The constant ache and longing for which can never be. 

But fear. 
That is different. 

God is so clear on fear. 

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. 
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It is just like the enemy to take our situations and throw them up in our faces. 
As I have been praying lately,
 I have asked God to expose those things that keep me from him. 
That keep me from sweet intimacy with my God. 
From experiencing all He has to offer 

This is the first,
 I am sure, of the many ways He is working in me. 
To use, Elijah's home going for HIS glory. 

The relief of this burden that I did not know I was carrying is a gift. 
Another measure of grace. 
Of mercy. 

Seek the sweetness of God's mercy. 
Lay down those burdens that weigh so heavily my friends. 

We sang this song at Elijah's funeral. 
We sang with strength. 
We raised our hands to Praise our living God. 
Because even in the midst of the deepest pain; 
even when the tempest rages, 
Each time we sing it I am grateful fir the message it brings. 
Horatio Spafford lost much. 
Yet his soul was held in the hands of the One who can take all this brokeness and shape it into something beautiful

It is Well with My Soul

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two and half years of Missing, Two and a Half Years of Much Grace

Two and a half years. 

Time passing. 
Life moving forward. 
Memories; a gift. 

The Lord's sweet provision. 

A gift to be treasured. 

A legacy of photo's. 

God made sure there were pieces to hold on to. 
A heart full of memories. 

I still don't like this plan. 
My whole being longs for a different path. 
But that is not to be. 
So, with my whole heart I will praise the One who calls me by name. 
I am grateful for wonderful 17 years.
Healthy, fun, crazy, frustrating, chaotic, beautiful years. 

Two and a half years ago my life changed forever. 
The journey is difficult. 
Grace given for each day. 

A friend gave me Tim Keller's book , 
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. 
I have been plugging away at the book. 
It is only now that I am ready to hear what this wise man has to say. 

His message meant for me now. He writes,
 "If God is Infinitely powerful as you say-why doesn't he stop evil?" But a God who is infinitely more powerful than us would also be infinitely more knowledgeable than us. pg 98 
If you have a God infinite and powerful enough for you to be angry at for allowing evil. Then you must at the same time have a God infinite enough to have 
sufficient reasons for allowing that evil. pg 99

This is a powerful truth. 
God is allowing this pain. 
He has allowed all that has transpired to be. 
He also has reasons that are beyond my understanding. 

Today we remember, as we do each day. 
We walk into gratitude with purpose. 

God knows our pain and heartache. 
He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. 

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

While my heart aches; I am becoming all that God longs for me to be. 
I am choosing joy. 
I am choosing gratitude. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Perspective is Everything

I wake to a head ache. 
The dull, throbbing kind.  
It's time for milking. 
My farmer brings me an Advil. 
I fall back to sleep. 
When I wake again it is to moon beams streaming into the room. 
I glance out the window. 
The view breath taking. 
The moon; full, bright. 
I lay there for a moment. 
Those first few moments of waking are always difficult. 
I purposefully change my thoughts. 

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments 
and every pretension that sets itself up against 
the knowledge of God, 
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Each morning. 
I reach for truth.
The promises given. 
The hope available. 

The moon beckons. 

I step out of bed. 
It's freezing cold.
I quickly head to the kitchen. 
The smell of coffee permeates the air. 
I turn on the stove. 
It is just as cold out here. 
I continue to shift my perspective. 

My friends this is work. 
It is hard. 
It can be done. 
Moment by moment. 
Gracious living. 

The warmth of the fire begins to break through the chill. 
Chickens need to be fed. 
We need to get ready to leave. 
It's time for the college girl to continue her studies. 
Oh, how I have enjoyed her home. 
Her infectious laugh. 
The feisty personality. 

This part of parenting is the hardest part for me. 
I want all my chicks in the nest. 
I love them here. 
Each one part of the fabric that makes this family who they are. 
Time changes those moments, though. 

What once was,
is no more but a memory. 
The here, is now. 
And what is to be, is not yet; 
full of hope and wonder. 

It is these things that propel my walk today. 
What once was a trip to Haiti,
 is now forming and shaping the what is to be. 

These are the thoughts I cling to as we prepare to head out the door. 
There is a plan, set in motion before the dawn of time. 
We are a people not without hope. 
Each day a journey guided by the Master. 
Clinging to the Ancient Word. 

I don't have this. 
I am too broken and unstable to "have this". 
But God does. 
As the day begins to dawn I am almost ready. 
Not quite. 
But almost. 
I warm my clothes by the fire. 
I reach for more than grief. 
I cultivate a heart aligned with the One who longs to guide my steps. 
It's time to start the car. 
More than 8 hours with my farmer. 
Such a rare and beautiful gift. 
Part of that with the college girl. 
It will be a treat. 
Time together always is. 

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

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stepping into the Hope Promised, When All I Really Want to do is Throw a Tantrum

"May we cherish a grateful and cheerful disposition, not murmuring and repining if our wishes are not indulged, or because some sorrows are blended with our enjoyments,  But, sensible of our desert, and impressed with the number and greatness of thy benefits, may we bless and praise thee at all times."

My friend sends me this quote. 
I am so grateful for her. 
A book of Puritan prayers. 

The apostle Paul says it this way,

Phillipians 4:12
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Being content in all circumstances. 
I am a great offender of this concept.
Highly verbal in nature, I spew. 
Venomous at times. 
A way to work through thoughts and concepts. 
Almost like a tantrum; at my age. 

 "May we cherish a grateful and cheerful disposition, not murmuring and repining  if our wishes are not indulged. . ."

This act is work for me. 
My default to "repine if my wishes are not indulged."
The sinful heart.
Strong in nature. 

When we step out of ourselves; contrary to what the world teaches; 
 we are able to aspire to attain this trait. 

As land is cultivated to produce a crop. 
So is our heart in desperate need of cultivation. 

As the walk without my son continues. 
My journey presses on with much work to do. 

Soul work is hard. 
Living in truth; imperative. 
Each day a gift. 

My friends, yield to the Father. 
To the One who created you. 
Walk a journey of gratitude. 
Giving praise for the rough spots. 
Giving praise for the good. 
God will take that soul and mold it into something beautiful. 

One more sleep until the college girl heads back. 
My soul feels edgy and tight. 
The tension of excitement for her and missing; battling in my spirit. 
I kick my default of grumbling out. 
I rest in praise. 
The hope for this college girl. 
The way in which she will help to shape this world. 

Her future is held in the hands of the One who called her by Name. 
He is working His purpose and will in her life. 
It will be better than anything I could think or imagine,
because it is His doing. 

Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; 
do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness 
and streams in the wasteland.

I surrender the emotion and sadness. 
I step into the hope promised. 

I work at  "cherishing a grateful and cheerful disposition"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Name is Tammy and I Make my Bed Everyday

I haven't showered. 
Laundry is piled on the floor. 
Book work stacked on the table and in piles. 
It's tax time you know. 
And the beat of that clock is ticking. 
I can feel it. 
I make my bed. 
In the middle of all the chaos. 
There is one thing. 

I make my bed. 

What does that say about me? 
I am sure psycho therapists would have a field day. 
Of all the things that need to get done. 

I make my bed. 

Every day. 
With out fail. 
I wash my sheets too. 
Almost every week. 
I have curtains that are falling apart. 
Clutter everywhere. 
But sheets that are crispy clean. 
I don't know why I do these things. 
I do know they bring me great comfort. 
A routine. 
Get up. 
Plug in coffee. 
Use the bathroom. 
Make bed. 
Get dressed. 
I don't even have to think about it. 
Nothing else seems to be routine. 
It all seems jumbled and chaotic. 
A spinning, whirling mess. 
I come up for air at times. 
Only to plunge again into the rhythm of living. 
There are days that I don't feel. 

The day structured so I can move 
through methodically. 
Folding laundry. 
Correcting math. 
Driving to dance. 
Cooking dinner. 
All without a thread of feeling. 

It is those days I wonder. 

How can I do this until eternity beckons?

Because the long term hurts. 

Short term is easier. 
I can do anything for a short time. 
I can make it. 
Small goals. 
But long term? 
Seems too far out there. 
Too many unknowns. 
Too many risks. 
That is how I feel. 
I don't even know how to risk anymore. 

Or do I? 
Can I run this race? 

Hebrews 12:1
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

So, am I still a risk taker?
Can can I go the distance? 
When I think on my day. 
The risks far out weigh the safety of anything else. 
Each day I watch and navigate as I lead children
 in the way they should grow. 
Often on little sleep and a super tight budget. 
We mamas rise up. 
We balance meals and check books.
We negotiate and implement multiple strategic
 plans throughout each day. 
 Building an Army for the Lord. 
Raising children to serve Him. 
To be empathetic;
in a world hostile to the gospel.
 The clock is ticking. 
Ticking closer to eternity. 

There are precious moments left. 
What will you do with those moments? 
How will you spend the time until Eternity beckons?

I will still make my bed. 
I will enter the struggle of the pain and joy. 
Yielding to the Father. 
Rising up in His strength. 
And yes. 
I will still make my bed. 

Because hidden deep in that task is the decades
 old practice of bowing low.

Getting out of bed. 
Seeking first the kingdom of God. 
Pulling up the sheets.  
Praying for the day. 
Straightening the comforter
Pleading for a marriage bed to be pure. 
Arranging pillows. 
Seeking guidance. 
Admitting my inability to do this journey alone. 

That is how I will do the long term. 
By living in the short term. 
For Him. 
By His grace. 

Isaiah 40-29-31
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jesus Came to Change Our Lives. Not Our Circumstances.

Last year. 
My farmer and College girl where in Haiti on this day
Now they've been again. 
Here is a re-post of thoughts on Water. 
One of our most important resources. 

Do You Have A Decent Source of Water? 

John 4:14
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
 Indeed, the water I give them 
will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."


An integral part of our life. 
Without it; we can not survive. 

Yet there are nations that struggle. 
Clean drinking water - scarce. 
Their survival in the balance. 
Poverty a way of life. 

Jesus repeatedly used analogies involving  water. 
It is something we all need. 
Can not live without. 
Yet, He comes, this Jesus, as the Living Water. 
In a parched and dry land. 
Through life in Him, our thirst quenched.
Never will we thirst again. 

And here in this poverty stricken land of Haiti. 
Where by most standards they have nothing. 
Their joy is apparent. 
They lack much. 
Yet lack nothing. 

Jesus came to change our lives. 
Not our circumstances. 

This life giving water is free. 
With it;
We will never thirst again. 

John 7:37
"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

Marsha Stevens
Come To The Water

And Jesus said, "Come to the water, stand by my side. 
I know you are thirsty. You won't be denied. 
I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried 
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Journey Home

They return. 
They've been gone a week. 

Half my family. 

In the Name of Jesus. 
To a people in need. 

I have missed them.
Their journey home, begun.
While they will long to be home; 

a piece of them will always remain in Haiti. 

I have not shared their experience. 
I am praying for understanding and wisdom. 
To hear their words. 
To see into their souls. 
I am looking forward to the homecoming. 
Hearing the stories and seeing the glow from time spent giving. 

Jesus came to serve. 

Matthew 20:28
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, 
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

He came to give .
For us. 
 A people in desperate need. 
The walk to the cross; all he had. 
For us. 

We may serve overseas. 
Or here in the states. 
Where ever. 
We are called. 
To give. 
To love. 
In the name of Jesus. 
Even when it's hard. 

Each day is a gift. 
Unwrapped as the day unfolds. 
May this day be the day for you. 
The day to embrace. 
To turn. 
To live for more. 
To lay down the hurt. 
Seek the forgiveness so freely given. 

May we all give today. 
As Christ taught us. 

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

May there be joy in the journey. 

Phillipians 1:3
I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy