Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverence must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he's a doubts in like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
"But sometimes when you look back, just at the top of the hill, before it all slips behind, a memory, that’s when you see how the trees blazed and how you were all living right under the whole, spreading sky, right there under heaven, and you never wholly knew it until right then, till you try to wave your hand goodbye." --av
i can look back and reminisce but i can never go back and relive. i now must face forward and walk. learn from my history, appreciate it and go on.
this Sunday marks 3 years.
i can hardly fathom it. in some ways it seems like forever ago. in others, but a moment. my God has filled in the spaces.
we are all sensitive with the time. irritability itches. anger flares. tears well up.
we all know what's coming.
what makes it harder is the loss we suffered just 2 weeks ago. B's mom's husband. G-pa went to be with Jesus.... really. he accepted Christ literally moments before he turned into sleep before cancer wrote the check and cashed it in. the angels lifted him to heaven.
and guess who was there to greet him.
now we mourn the loss of two dear to my children at such a tender time.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
No. It's not the same. His spirit isn't there. all the things that truly made Brian Brian -- thought processes, spiritual connections, laughter, sense of humor, stories -- gone like a wind blown through. No one will ever take his place and be him....ever.
this morning I had a dream and someone asked me in it, "how's the grieving process?" then I woke up. I was bummed. I wanted to finish the dream. I wanted to unpack that question to see what I would say.
what shall I say? life is moving on. it just does. I can't stop it. There are reminders of him everywhere, especially in those kids. The looks, the mannerisms, the quirky habits. he does live on. I grieve him everyday because I miss my best friend. his friends miss him. special occasions and fun vacations hold a void because he's not there filling the space that only he can. life is not the same without him. it's just different.
Will someone come in to my life and be a companion to me and a role model father for my kids? I hope so, God willing, in time. But Brian himself was a one and only...irreplacable.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
After the 4th, I took Ian with me to the grocery store. While there, he started talking about Daddy and birthdays and events. At that moment I looked up & saw the very words you see in the photo here -- GodShall. I. Couldn't. Stop. Staring. My eyes were completely fixated on this obscure label on a random package of bacon staring me in the face.
At my exact eye level, there was no denying that this was a message from my Daddy in heaven, Abba Father God.
And this verse came clearly, as on a loudspeaker, in my mind and heart: "and my GodShall meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus our Lord." (edit intentional)
Yes! Yes, Lord! Yes! At the very moment I needed you, when my frustration was culminating from comment and question, you provided the answer. And it was immediate. No delay.
Though my heart longs, He knows my desires and knows what I need (& want!) on a most intimate level. When the time is right, it will happen.
I am thankful for a heavenly Father who loves me enough to even speak to me via bacon (which on my swype keypad makes the shape of a heart....) God is love.
Friday, June 22, 2012
delivered the girls to the local pool for swim team training. decided to let Ian play for a few on the playground. walking by the covered picnic area sprinkled with people singularly inhabiting each table in complete disconnect, one voice stands out in the silence.
"life is about living simply. life is about living simply!"
a homeless gentleman expressing himself on his own speaker's corner of nowhere, he speaks. hmmm. from across the park i see a woman and her daughter traversing over grass and wood chips in my direction.
i think to myself, this must be what you have for me today.
ironically the message of "living simply" and these friends struck me. instead of rushing around running errands and selfishly dragging my son around from place to place, i needed to take time for my relationships. and i did.
last night i was reading a devotional by Ann Voskamp and she said, "the value of your life -- is the value of your relationships. with God and men."
if i get back to basics -- spending time with God and spending time with those who matter -- that is what God had for me today.
i am learning by doing.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
95 days until the first day of fall... [which also happens to be McK's birthday].
today i want to focus on my "car revelation." driving in the MV with the kiddoes, hair being blown by the a/c because it's way too hot out at the farm to have the windows down. the radio dj comes on over the airwaves and starts talking about his experience over the weekend. 10yo girl comes to live with he and his wife for one week out of nowhere -- completely God-ordained -- when grandma flies in from Alaska to take the girl home with her. grandma is a widow and has been praying intensely for this granddaughter of hers, realizing upon seeing this man and his wife and the peace that resides on her granddaughter's face that her prayers were answered -- cared for and loved by believing Christians until things could be worked out rather that a system, just as she prayed.
this radio dj repeats over and over -- God hears the widow's prayer. the widow prayed and God answered her prayer. God hears the widow.
quietly within my heart, a floodgate opens and my prayers -- even those not known conscously -- gush forth. i quickly close the gate. enough. i have revealed enough. maybe too much. drip. drop.
tonight, a phone message. oh, the irony. this floodwater of prayer and then this message.
now what comes forth?
laughter. the absolute joy bubbling up from within and spilling out into the room, together with an infectious smile that sparkles and causes light to dance on that which is overflowing. i cannot stop. even now, laughter sits on my lips like a child eagerly waiting to dive in.
this is how i feel at this moment.
isn't our God so good?
yes. yes, He is.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
my girls and i prayed and prayed for that little girl, journeying with our friends through prayer, believing that God would deliver this little one safely into the world and bring her into fullness of life. that was not the case. needless to say, this news saddened my kids and i very much.
when i found out the news that Shannon was in the arms of Jesus, i was ironically watching one of our ewes at the farm giving birth to a sweet little lamb. black with 2 little white spots on his nose -- we call him "starry night".... "night" for short. LIFE coming into the farmyard. then watching this little guy try to walk on spindly legs, even rolling over a couple of times because he could barely stand. [this remind me of "hold my heart" by 10th Avenue North]
this news has rocked me. i am walking around in a fog. i can't remember things or keep my thoughts together in one place -- they run all over. i am exhausted. basically, i feel like i did two and a half years ago. the only way i can explain it is that because of Brian's passing, when death occurs around me -- especially to someone so close & whom i love so much -- the feelings come rushing back and my response is intensified. obviously death happens around us all the time, but when it isn't happening within our close circle of relationships, the effect is lessened. yes, it is sad and a part of life but it's different than when it's happening so close to you.
my response is different. i am so grieved by this child's death. my head is spinning.
my children are questioning... why would there be such certainty & specifics given by God to her parents about her only to let her slip away to become a beautiful star in the heavens? why does God let babies die? these are a few of the many questions that swirl. to them, God took her away to heaven. he took their Daddy, too. baby Shannon's death is taking all of us back to those places we thought we had walked away from or grown out of. evidently not...there are things we all need to revisit and deal with in our own way.
if you have taken the time to read this, would you please pray for my friends -- the parents of baby Shannon -- as well as me & my children? we are all on a grief journey... some at the beginning & others a little further along. please pray for traveling mercies.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
as i was reading this daily gift that comes in to my inbox every morning, i was struck between the eyes and in my heart by the above sentence.
yes. there have been painful testings. how will i love? will i enable? will i keep my secret or will i share? will i hate God for what I have been through, blaming him for my inner suffering when many of the answers of comfort i was looking for were in front of me the entire time? will i blame myself for what has happened?
BLAME. this word haunts. it has been evident since the Fall in Genesis. it is a consistent thread woven through the history of humanity. there's always a reason, right? always someone or something to blame for the choices we make.
there's a reason that blame rhymes with shame.... blame brings it about.
SHAME. this word is a heavy burden. so many people carry it. Brian carried it. i carry it. i carry it for him a lot of the time. shame is what hinders the testimony from being powerful. the shame hinders the testimony from being heard. sigh.
the possibilities of powerful testimony are there but shame can get in the way. it is a triumphant march for the greater purpose of a great God who loves me and who will receive all the glory in the evidence of him in my life.
lay down the shame that piggybacks on blame. give up the pain in exchange for the power of The One who heals and makes new. hold your head high and march triumphantly in the victory that God has already claimed.
this song comes to mind...
Saturday, April 7, 2012
after the tours, we headed out for lunch and then to Brian's mom's place [Bro & family came along too]. her husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes. he uses oxygen when necessary and often finds himself having to take it easy for fear he overexert himself and become out of breath. we talked about what is going on now physically with him, intermittently chatting, laughing and reminiscing amidst the moments of serious talk.
at the end of the evening, before my kids and i left, i felt compelled to pray over these two people whom i have come to care for and love very much. i have never felt so bold or comfortably empowered as i did in those moments last night. the Holy Spirit touched hearts. i so want for these two to know and love Jesus... that they might be greeted in heaven by one that has gone before. and so that they might have Hope.
I pray, Father God, for HOPE & healing to reign down in a mighty way upon this family! heal their hearts and speak to them in the quiet moments when all must seem so overwhelming. may they trust you and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. reveal yourself, O God, in this Easter season! may they know it's true meaning and purpose as the old has gone and the NEW has come triumphantly, Lord. In you, we have hope. In you, we find peace. Make it real to them, Holy Spirit. Make it real to all people... Amen.
we missed out on our monthly evening gathering with some friends from church, but this was better... a "Good" Friday, indeed.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
monday morning she gave us a challenge: go out in to nature and take notes on what you see. well, the minute i stepped outside, i felt a metaphor coming on. the following is what happened:
a challenge. go out into nature and observe your surroundings. i step out in to the cold and it shocks me like a kiss from a stranger. sweet but from a stranger, yes. i look around me. i have not yet explored these places. i have only viewed the outside from indoors. as i have sat in these workshops, the out of doors has beckoned to me but the quest for knowledge and direction has not led me out there, but rather to be a part of the learning conglomerate inside rooms.
there is a view from my sleeping quarters. beautiful trees standing tall. in the wind the young ones sway, but the older trees with generations of rings and thick bark stand tall, unmoved. water flows, still at points and white water at others. and the sound -- the white noise of water rushing serves as the constant background to the music of the wind sweeping through the redwood tops creating sweet melody and the occasional welcome interruption of a bird calling to its partner.
below and to the side, i notice a worn wooden cross. the center of something. i see seats. when will i go there? i want to see that place. i want to BE in that place.
so the challenge comes.
i know where i am going.
to the foot of that cross.
so i step out to greet the stranger. i walk pathways of familiarity -- downhill is slight. flat and more even pathways through the center of camp. then the downhill slope. my toes are pressed to the end of my shoes. it's uncomfortable. i feel the need to steady myself not wanting to run for fear i fall down the hill.
then a resting place. even ground, only to go up and then down again, my toes once again being cramped. this is all too familiar.
i get to the arena and i am unsettled. i notice someone else is there too. this place is supposed to be just for me.
not wanting to disturb, i sneak in at the back, top row. will i be brave enough to get up, walk down and sit at the foot of the cross as i had hoped? time is escaping me. i need to take action -- i am afraid.
one foot in front of the other.
eyes on Jesus. [these words are familiar....]
just. let. go.
i see movement out of the corner of my eye and footsteps echo over the sound of the rushing water and birdsong.
i must surrender.
Jesus, i am here. at the foot of the cross. i am laying it down. everything.
the ground is level at the foot of your cross. i am not better .... but not worse. no one is more worthy than another. and there is room for everyone.
as i go out from this place, i will take another path. it is uphill. it will exhaust and fatigue me. there will be a crossroads and even voices that discourage me along the way. but i will emerge from the shadows into the sun with victory.
and when i return to my starting point, i will have support, love and encouragement to take the steps the Lord ha planned. with courage. with love.
and Jesus' ever-present hand holding mine and carrying me when i need it.
and like Peter, i need not know where i am going. if i take my eyes of of Jesus, i will sink in the sea of my overwhelmed mind. i need only to acknowledge that i love my Lord and that I will take up the cross and follow. He is telling me to GO.
Not to us, but to you, o Lord.
i am ready.
i will GO.
my metaphorical mind led me on an amazing journey, God speaking every step of the way.
i am ready.
i will go.
**Note: the arena where the cross was placed is called Victory Circle. hmmm.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
a friend and mentor of Brian's wrote a post back in 2010 and retweeted it today.
my comment was this:
reading this again, neil, brings tears to my eyes. i miss Brian so much... still.
though the lives of these men may have been far from perfect, Jesus' love is what perfects. i am learning this more and more, wrestling with it and coming to understand it. and like a ripple in a pond that is the aftereffect of a stone thrown into it, so are the far reaching effects of these men who were perfectly placed in time & then removed according to God's plan. i see it every day.
and their choice & ours to follow Christ assures us of the hope we have to see them again... Amen!
yes, Brian's life was imperfect. we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23-24]... that's why we need Jesus! and just because we chose to follow him doesn't mean that we are suddenly perfect and "safe" from sin; from doing that which we do not want to do [Romans 7:14-20].
i am so thankful that Christ's perfection with his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave has given us hope and life eternal...
and see those stars around his head?
perfectly imperfect... but still shining.
and i am too.
we all are.
we just need to be who we are where we are for this moment in time & embrace it. Brian did.
we will never know when or how God is using us for His glory or when that time will cease. Brian didn't.
we need only be faithful & obedient moment by moment.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Brian was always such a great cook. i actually considered him more of a chef. an artisan in the kitchen. he had a way of taking whatever was in the kitchen and making something truly gourmet.
that was one of the greatest losses for me... someone who would make every meal with ease. not much thought, just sheer creativity. he was amazing.
even when he was alive, i would hate it when he was working a shoot at night because he wasn't there to make dinner. crap. then i had to think about it. my usual default was mac n cheese. if i was thinking ahead [by, like, 2 hours], i would make chicken enchiladas in the crockpot. that was always a hit with the kids. still is.
well, now i am making spaghettini bolognese and my timer is going off for the noodles. even though it is a simpleton meal, i wish he were here to share it with us.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
continued stories at church, from people around me - even my own 4yo son - about the Israelites traveling in the desert, wandering for 40 years because of their disobedience & complaining. the "promised land" -- whatever that is for me -- is so close, if i would only obey.
even last night in my Bible reading before bed, God brought to mind Psalm 51. this was one of Brian's favorite psalms. i read it, and reread it, paying attention to every word. it speaks of having a contrite spirit and restoration of spirit and promise; reconciliation must be made & obedience must take place.
i have prayed for time to myself this week & God has graciously been able to give it me through various means. but what have i done? frittered away the time because of FEAR.
last night, i dreamt that i went to Indo to visit dear friends. while i was there, i looked across the room and saw the largest, most vile & scary cobra-like snake slither into the room i was in. it disappeared into the darkness & hid. i have never been so afraid... i was paralyzed.
and this is me now. the task before me is this scary snake & all i can do is be frozen and paralyzed by the fear it evokes within me.
that's it... REVELATION... Christ needs to slay the dragon of FEAR [and i need to let him by calling on HIM] so that i can proceed & find that "promised land"...
chances are, if i let Christ into the dark places -- turn the light on in the room where the snake is -- the great FEAR will merely resemble a timid lizard.
now i must do it!
Friday, March 2, 2012
i sense i am on the verge of taking a huge leap, toes hanging off the edge of a cliff that bottoms out thousands of feet below.
as a measure of safety and self-preservation, i have subconsciously turned off the feelings.
i am afraid.
afraid of feeling the intensity of the storm that is inside me.
this is the calm before.
i am ready to step out of the boat on to the calm sea toward the Father...
if I keep my eyes on Him, I will not sink. the cavern below has a safety bridge read to take me across safely if i will only trust.
i step in faith....
Monday, February 27, 2012
monday night, the kids and i had dinner with some dear friends. [to find out more about them, go here.] my former colleague and her husband hosted us with good food and great conversation. then, she asked me if i had read "one thousand gifts" by ann voskamp.
she was right. i tearfully read through the first 5 pages totally relating to the words she was writing. i think this book will be a recommendation to all. and i pray that the good Lord will help me to write with such beauty and fluidity.
you can also visit ann voskamp's blog here.
Friday, February 10, 2012
we celebrated him today by visiting a fun pizza joint that wasn't the one with the little rat -- the last place the kids and i had fun with him and saw him smile. that place is too painful. it's time for something new... different.
i wanted to keep my kids close today. hug them a little more and help fill their love banks full. going to this place helped to do that because it was not dissimilar to that other joint. remember... don't completely replay. we went there with good friends, ones who had great spiritual influence on him in those literal last days. Avery was able to be with a friend who would listen. what a gift.
McKenna played a few games where one can win some tickets. she won... boy, did she win! she hit the fisherman's jackpot with 1,000 tickets!
while there, i got a phone call from his dad. while watching a fishing show on tv, he noticed a rock jetty with a US flag... the breakwater at MdR -- the final resting place of the one we remembered today
Ian talked matter-of-factly about his daddy being in heaven... his grampy, too; his bright blue eyes flashing the whole time he spoke along with that precious smile.
we also ran into Dennis and his daughters celebrating February birthdays as well. he officiated Brian's memorial service. this man & his family have blessed us beyond measure. this, too, was a gift.
what an intense day of memory. what an incredible way to celebrate.
my love, we miss you. we remember you. we love you.
i can hear you laugh...
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
All of us have been sick now for over a week & it's miserable. But it's becoming obvious to me that God wanted us to slow down, regroup, focus on Him & each other while living more intentionally in this life for the sake of the Kingdom. Without being able to go go go, I am having to slow slow slow.
I read Isaiah 40 & Psalm 16 today in my time with Jesus. I am encouraged!