Saturday, February 27, 2010

20 -21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God's love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

22 -23 Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

24 -25 And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.
Jude 20-25

This is how, friends. This is how!!! When we ask, "How will we get through this? How will we survive? How will we come through to see the other side?"--- this is HOW. Oh, friends, He has shown us how: build yourselves up in the faith, pray in the Spirit, LOOK for Him everywhere.

Oh grieving one, why so downcast? Look UP-- where does your help come from? You can't make it happen. It is a gift-- and one we must open our hearts to. It's a decision, yes, but in this season? HE is why I am not sad every day. HIM and all of the beauty He has scattered along the way.

He can keep us on our feet! And bring joy through pedicures and massages and 45 minutes on the treadmill at 4.5 incline when you weren't paying attention because you were talking to a good friend :)

Bless God with me and lift your voice to Him!

Penance-The Mission

The journey through grief is sloppy. Messy. When you're dealing with emotions, it's nearly impossible to follow the directions and do it "right." Sometimes it just feels like an endless trek through the mud with a heartless boulder tied to your waist....

I've seen this clip before-- especially in DTSes (Discipleship Training School) in YWAM-- having to do with grace and sin and letting go of the condemnation we so often foist upon ourselves but which has nothing to do with the love of the Lord.

But when I was thinking about what this grief has done to me physically and spiritually in the last few months, this was suddenly the image that came to mind. Trying very hard to climb out of the ravine, I find myself making headway but slipping in the mud of it all, pulled down by this rock of sadness-- sometimes.

Sometimes it's okay. But sometimes, this is how it feels.

But it's okay. I know someone who can carry it with me. Who knows that this sadness is real but who never leaves me alone in it. And I'm so grateful when someone can put the weight of what it can be like into words, you know? Even though the grief I'm talking about isn't exactly what the director was intending to illustrate, it's so good.

More later--

Friday, February 26, 2010

Overheard: Word of the Day

Sometimes a jewel of a moment just sort of happens to you. For instance, take the conversation I am overhearing. I'm sitting in another teacher's class. Kids are working in groups. One group in the back of the room is completely off task. Here is what they are discussing, minus the obvious "sic" behind most of the words they are mispronouncing... :)

Boy1: Dude, that is peposterous.

Girl 1: Peposterous ain't no word.

Boy2: It's perposterous, you idiot.

Girl 1: Wait, that's not fair-- you got a dictionary and he ain't.

Girl 2: What's the word of the day?

Girl 1: Um... uncombobulated.

Boy1: Uncombobulated? That sounds nasty.

Girl 2: It ain't uncombobulated. It's discombobulated. Like when you're driving with one hand holding a Krystal's [hamburger] and your phone ring and you can't decide what to do. Where you gon' put the Krystal? Should you put it down? Where you gon' put it? Let cell rang? What if it your boo? You completely discombobulated.

Boy1: That's perposterous!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Checking in...

I'm just sitting here thinking... about lots of things, but needed to say this: it's all going to be fine. This new year, this new shot at another life (trying soon-- a couple of things on my to-do list before actually trying again), this new way of seeing everything... all of this newness has got me thinking.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

Many seeds.

Before my son died, I didn't know grief. I knew sadness. I knew disappointment. I knew anger and pity and fear and joy and triumph and hardship and trial, but I didn't know grief.

And I've been thinking about grief. How it sometimes feels like whatever rot it is that gets to the root of a tree and makes it fall over all of a sudden. A tree that has stood there for over a hundred years-- rotten all the way into the ground, and suddenly a couple of days of rain and a little push of wind and blammo, that thing is laid across two yards and a garage. Grief, rot, soaked all the way through, weakening the strongest part. The top of the tree looked fine... but beneath it....

That's why I have to cry out to the Lord to keep pouring the oil of His Spirit into this wound, cleaning it and letting it deepen me, but not allowing it to fester. Letting the process go on and on, but not staying stuck in it.

Thing is, it's so hard to navigate your way through sometimes, you know? I mean, it's only been 9 months. Not even a whole year. Precious friends tell me that: "Honey, it hasn't even been a year." I have permission to still have messy days (I had about 14 of them in a row a few weeks ago!). Tuesdays are no longer the day from hell. Sometimes I forget whether he died on the 27th or the 28th. I can say his name and not wince. I can see pregnant students and not cry out, "WHY?" as much as I used to....

It's important that grief not turn into a rotten stump in our hearts. It's important that we not let a root of bitterness spring up, poisoning everyone we touch.

The root wants to creep like kudzu.

I wrote my tithe check this week with a decision for more faith than I have in a very long time. I was determined to be obedient. Every dime is His. And I love Him. But I'm in the midst of a battle and I was struggling. I knew that I needed to think about the tithe after worship-- after my heart had been poured out before Him and was tender, and my faith had been stoked. I wrote that check, saying, "In faith, Lord. I'm writing this check in faith."

My faith took a hit when my son died. There. I've said it.

And my Father has been more faithful than ever, carrying me through this. Showing me His goodness. Leading me gently.

... He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. ... Isaiah 40:11

That verse was so brand new to me, even though I had grown up with it my whole life, when I was pregnant and always worried. "[He] shall gently lead those that are with young." He knew my worries. He knew my heart. He knew to lead me gently.

And now, it still applies. Only now, maybe, it would read, "who were with young." He has been so gentle with me. So patient. Never harsh or angry.

I have felt nursed by Him this season.

Friends, here is my testimony:

My God is faithful and kind
Open-eyed and watchful
He sees my wounds and
Weeps with me.
His tears have been my balm
And He keeps my tears.
I know it.
My God is holy and just
And that never changes.
My God wept with me
When I held my beautiful baby son,
And His anger burned at the fallen nature of His creation--
we weren't made to know this kind of sorrow.
It was never His plan that my heart should ache with this loss.
But He is good.
And He doesn't require me to understand.
And He doesn't get angry with my short-sightedness.
And He sings over me.
And cries with me.
My God is good in all His ways
And He is the gardener who will weed my heart
and keep it free of rot and disease.
He is the vinedresser who will sear the damaged boughs.
He is the winemaker who will press and press and press
until the best is squeezed out of me
and I will worship Him with it.

And He will still weep with me when my heart grieves over the loss of this little boy of mine, but He makes it more bearable every day. He just does. He is good. Only Him.