Life is full of moments that catch you by surprise and take your breath away or moments that sock you in the gut and knock the breath out of you.
Learning to live in both is such a process! But if you take just a moment- in the middle of it all- to NOTICE what is really going on, you might find, be it ever so small, a small bit of GREEN! HOPE that is just beginning to show new life, a new normal. But good none-the-less!
Here's to noticing!
I woke up earlier than usual this morning- slept better than I have for a long time. Ren kissed me good morning and all felt right for the first time in a long time.
As I had my worship time, I turned on a favorite CD by a group called Avalon. I didn't pay much attention until the song called "new day".
Some of the phrases stood out in ways like never before...
"The old has passed away the new has come."
"I put my past behind me- you have covered my mistakes and all my broken dreams."
"Memories I could not escape don't haunt me anymore."
"Because of what you've done for me-I don't have to be ashamed."
The chorus said…
The dawn is drawing near and I realize the sun did rise and it's a new day and a new time.
It's a brand new day."
Reminded me of Jerry Sittser (A GRACE DISGUISED) and his story of the recurring da dream he had in his grief that he was trying to lasso the sun and keep it from going down. He shared that with his sister and she challenged him "why don't you let go of the lasso and let the sun go down. Turn east and walk into the darkness. Wouldn't the sun come up sooner that way."
The morning I first read that chapter I threw the book across the room. I was sure that the sun would never ever rise again after Leisha died. I knew it would physically- because it did the morning after she died. But in my grief, I could never imagine that it would in me!
And yet this morning I realize again, it has! The SON has come up in me!
Avalon sang sang on. Their next song was Adonai (the song I sang w my girls as a quartet. Something we will never do again. Still one of my deepest griefs). The chorus sings
Maker of each moment
Father of hope and freedom
Adonai is why it's a new day for me today. He is why today I live, and move and have my being. He is why I KNOW HOPE and am experiencing freedom.
The sun did rise...
And it's a new day
and a new time.
God showed up!
Are you watching for Him in your journey? Sometimes you have to close your eyes and ask yourself what you are seeing. I dare you to do it- right now.
Close your eyes!
Think through the day! Where did God show up?
He's there for you too!
Rom. 15: 13
May the God of Green HOPE- fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace,
So that your believing lives, filled with the life giving energy of the Holy Spirit
Would brim over with hope.
My blogging of late has been in the personal pages of my journal! I'm sure I will share some of them at some point, but not yet. Partly because they are still so personal, partly because I have yet to sort out what I've been thinking and experiencing. You can imagine some of the emotions having just had 2 daughters get married within 9 weeks of each other; experiencing empty nest like never before; standing at a threshold of 'what's next' and really longing for clarity. But in the mix of it all, I have come to understand something pretty significant. For the last 7 or 8 years, I have lived much of my life AFRAID! I don't think I thought I was afraid, though I knew there were times when I quite easily bordered on, if not plummeted, into panic. But I kept telling myself that I should cut myself some slack- there have been hard things that have happened, it will take time to get over it. But...I'm getting ready to make a 'change'- a great change, but change none the less. (more on this to come!) Did you know that CHANGE is one of the top 5 fears that people have? The others are: Fear of failure, Fear of unworthiness, Fear of loss of identity, & Fear of Success. I had to admit within the last 7-8 years, I can point to a time when all of them have played a large roll. But I'm a person that works hard to process and analyze how things are effecting me. (I'm a LIFE COACH for pity sake!) Yet I was blown away by how so many of these messages are playing over and over in my mind & heart still. Messages that I have identified as lies and thought I had replaced with truth that I believed and could own. Recently I was challenged to consider how the FEARS, and trauma, and painful life events have effected my physical being. I know it has impacted me emotionally, spiritually, mentally. But what about physical scars. My immediate answer was that it has shown up in my weight- pretty obvious for all to see. But...how else is it showing up. The fact that I have Addison's Disease (google it for more info) is one factor of physical scarring. My adrenal glands quite doing their job because of it. I think I have much to learn yet about other ways fear has affected me. But I can attest to the fact, and think we can all agree, that we are designed so interconnected that our body, mind, heart and soul are all deeply impacted by things that happen in our life.
The greatest fear I
feel today isn't on the list. Though I suppose they all play into it.
My greatest fear (and I ask that you hold what I share with you prayerfully) is that I will once again experience a loss
like losing Leisha-
not being able to let go of a dream of being "pastor's wife"
A young mom that I have admired for so long had brain surgery this week- I grieved- felt gut sick. I thought it was for
her and her boys & her dear husband. My friend Pat helped me
realize I couldn't speak of this young mom's mom. As soon as Pat mentioned her, I broke out into tears. My grief for the mom was actually the deeper
Then this week a young
woman was killed in a single car accident.
When I heard, I felt
the floor rising up- I felt my body feeling like collapsing,
Though I stood- I
was gut sick again.
Needing to cry
This young lady was 2 days older than Leisha.
She had a painful journey in her teens, mainly through choices she had made, but she had recently made some very right choices and was honoring the Lord in her life.
I could think only of
this girl's mother.
Then of her 3 year old child.
My heart screamed "Lord, could I
experience loss again and live? Loss that explodes my heart with violence so great that I can't even find all the pieces let alone put it back together again?
So… I began to pray (granted - some of my earlier prayers regarding this were not so neat, but this is where I have come out today)
though I fear that this could happen to me again- the pain of losing Leisha
still love and embrace my journey and what it has taught me.
though I fear that this could happen to me again-
recognize that You, Lord were with me through it all- you never left me
walked with me through the darkest, muddiest, deepest places.
It wasn't till I looked back that I could acknowledge you at times, but you were there.
though I fear that this could happen to me again
remember the grace You gave in that moment
that you are giving even now to these mothers and their families
that you will give to me as I need it.
though I fear that this could happen to me again
choose to believe You, to trust You to walk with me through anything.
can love and embrace the journey ahead of me.
can face the future with confidence and trust, joy and enthusiasm
I know I am not alone
I know that You have planted in me a dream
I know You have given me skills, abilities and a platform
I know that even now You are using my story to impact others
I know that my story will allow me to connect with these mothers and others
I have seen HOPE- and it is contagious!
Ah Lord God! Thank you!
I CAN FACE THE
FUTURE with GREAT HOPE!
I am not fearless- yet!
But with Your help, Lord, I can do it afraid!
2 Corinthians 4: 6-12
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
It has been so
amazing where all I have been that has impacted my ALL IN considerations
Yesterday it was
Rennie's message from Psalm 1 at Crossroads.
Stand- Walk- Sit
with the Righteous
directions that lead to destinations
Where do I want to
Where are my
decisions leading me?
didn't like that picture in some things.)
What/ Who are
influencing those decisions?
now that's not fair. He knows I had a
hard weekend- I did some right things, but some of my choices were not so
right- and some of the 'influences' not so healthy)
I told Ren I was
only going to listen to his sermon once- it was making my toes bleed from
getting stepped on so much. But I heard most of
it 3 times.
Today it was in my
reading - "The Call" by Oz Guinness
I have been impacted
by this book tremendously in the past, but I picked it up again this
I know what I am
reading in not just for what God wants to teach me
But for what He
wants me to share with others as well.
I wish I could share
it all with you here- but I guess you can buy the book yourselves.
But here are some
things that struck me in my journey…
'finding and fulfilling the purpose of our lives
comes up in a myriad of ways
and in all
seasons of our lives…
in all the
varying transitions of life…
Negotiating the changes feels longer and worse than
the changes themselves because transition challenges our sense of personal
Well, if ever Ren
& I have been in a season of transition it is now- as both daughter's get
married and our lives feel as if they are at a place of beginning again. We do want to know that we won't waste what
is left. We want to know that our lives-
no matter what we are doing- is making a difference for the kingdom. We long to leave a legacy- not just to our
daughters, and now their young men or future grandchildren. We want to know that we are fulfilling the
purpose for which we are here on earth.
At one point, we
thought we knew what that was- but the past 7-8 years, it has been very clear
that God is/has reshaped that vision.
And now we are IN TRANSITION again- even as we are being challenged to
be ALL IN.
Kierkegaard wrote in
his JOURNAL: "The thing is to understand
myself, to see what God really wants ME to do; the thing is to find the truth
which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die."
Guinness points out
The SEARCH for purpose of
life is one of the deepest issues of our experiences as human beings
The EXPECTATION that we can
all live purposeful lives has been given a gigantic boost by modern
society's offer of the maximum opportunity for choice and change in all we
The FULFILLMENT of the search
for purpose is thwarted by a stunning fact: Out of more than a score of
great civilizations in human history, modern Western civilization is the
very first to have NO agreed on answer to the question of the purpose of
Hence ...more of us
are seeking what few of us are finding!
Yet he goes on to
Answering the CALL of our Creator is "the
ultimate why" for living, the highest source of purpose in human
I completely get
this. I say this often. I KNOW this to be true.
But how do we know
what the CALL of God is for us?
How do we know if we
have found it, let alone living it out?
And if one person
thinks they know it, how does that help me? Usually it only makes me more
discontent in my own journey. 'I don't
have it. I can't find it. Whatever IT is!"
But listen to this, Guinness defines CALLING as
that God call us to himself so decisively that
Everything we are,
Everything we do,
Everything we have
Is invested with a special devotion and dynamism
lived out as a response to his summons and service.
You know what I call
that---- ALL IN!
Whoa! Popped me in the face this morning!
Everything I am
out AS A RESPONSE to God!
If I am going to
RESPOND in an ALL IN fashion- then I have to be listening to what God is
I must give
intentionality to space in my life for that purpose.
That takes time-
doesn't have to be a lot of time
That takes effort-
to say no to something, even one thing,
that might distract me today
willingness to be still- which can be hard. That means I might hear some of the
things my head is saying that need to be quieted. Sometimes that is the hard work.
But today, this day,
Everything I am
lived out in response to what you are CALLIng me to be.
It was hard to wake
up this morning! Just as it was hard to
sleep last night!
My thoughts have
been rambling- wanting so much to celebrate
But feeling the
weight of grief so strongly.
But today, I had a
reason to not dally- my friend was coming to visit
We hadn't had a
chance to catch up since she went back to her home far away last fall.
So much to hear
She's come from a
very dark place - to a place of hope, of healing
In her own mind,
In her marriage
In her parenting
In her relationship
with her parents
In her ability to
have friendships, dear friendships
In her relationship
In her relationship
to her church
Wow! Such a transformation!
Her words to me
were, "Thanks for not freaking out that I wanted to leave my husband and
run away from my kids. I just couldn't
see anyway out then. I didn't know how
dark it had gotten."
I didn't freak out,
because I remembered a time just like that in my own journey. A time I wanted to run away, or more
specifically end it- the rat race, the relationship- maybe even life itself. It happens to all of us eventually. Life is just hard sometimes- and then you
combine it with emotional ups and downs, and unfulfilled expectations and
unrealistic expectations and add hormones to that...it can be really hard and
I didn't freak out
because I know what it is like to have just given birth to a third beautiful
daughter, but feeling undone by it all.
So much joy- so much
What if I mess up?
What if I can't love
What if I don't
teach them the right stuff or discipline them when I should?
What if I get angry
and discipline them wrong?
I didn't freak out
because I knew if you hung in there,
If you just did the
next right thing- no matter how small that step might be
No matter how many
times you need to ask for help
No matter how many
people you need to lean on
Ever so slowly you
begin to find the next 'light' place to be.
The shade may ever
so slight- but that little bit of light gives hope…
For the next step
For the next
For the next healing
I didn't freak out
because I had been there- done that!
I could have grace
with her pain because I could connect hers with my own.
stories relate somehow with the stories of others.
Oh it might be a
Or a different
season of life
Or not the same at
But we've all known
We don't have to
know it the same way, to know it hurts.
Our pain may not be
as bad- or it may be worse.
It doesn't matter.
We can know how
someone else might be feeling just by connecting with our own story- and
remembering what it felt like
To be betrayed
Or let down
Or to fail at
something really important to us.
Who is in your life
that needs grace right now?
What part of your
story do you need to recall to give it to them?
I wouldn't have
missed this morning with my friend.
How sweet to hear
her story of the amazing ways that she has found hope.
How powerful to hear
of significant ways God is using her story to speak hope to others now too.
Ever have a day that you can remember almost every detail of?
Today is one of those days for me!
I remember waking up with an agenda
I remember the car ride, tired eyes and silence,
I remember conversations, and laughter over shakes at Steak and Shake.
I remember a sour cream carton being pitched across the aisle only to come crashing to the floor- and more laughter and some clean up.
I remember wondering how I was going to make it without getting upset.
I remember wanting to laugh but feeling like I had to be responsible.
I remember dreams and plans being made.
I remember saying no when I should have said yes-
and saying yes when I could have said no.
I remember sparkling eyes, flush face, and fresh hair color and more dreams being shared.
I remember last words.
I remember caring arms, and tears shed and disbelief.
I remember a father falling to the ground in tears.
I remember hearing the scream.
I remember meeting a new face- one I will pray for forever.
I remember numbness, yet feeling fully alive!
Completely aware of so many thoughts and emotions and sensations.
Only beginning to realize that God must be bigger than I had ever known Him to be
for this to be able to be good
or for me to survive.
I remember humming her song on the way home- only to burst into tears when I recalled the words.
I remember not being able to imagine I could sleep- only to wake to a morning sky- the sun still long from shining bright, but already making her presence known.
Days like that happen only a few times in our lives.
Some things I will forever hold precious
Others bring sharp pain and often a gasp
Still others deep, deep gratitude and soft, gentle tears.
No, Days like that are one of a kind!
I never want to forget this day!
I don't know...but in my search of scripture I found Psalm 103 again. As I turned it into a prayer, I was struck by it's power in my journey.
Maybe it will encourage you in your ALL IN journey also.
Let all that I am praise YOU; with my whole heart, I will praise Your holy name. 2 Let all that I am praise You, Lord; may I never forget the good things You do for me. 3 You forgive all my sins and heal all my diseases. 4 You redeem me from death and crown me with love and tender mercies. 5 You fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 Lord, You give righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 You revealed Your character to Moses and Your deeds to the people of Israel. 8 You are compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 You will not constantly accuse me, nor remain angry forever. 10 You do not punish me for all me sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For Your unfailing love toward those who fear him- that's me- is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 You have removed my sins as far from me as the east is from the west. 13 You, Lord, are like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him- to me. 14 You knows how weak I am; You remembers I am only dust. 15 My days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, I bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and I am gone— as though I had never been here. 17 But Your love, Lord, remains forever with those who fear him- with me. Your salvation extends to my children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
19 Lord, You have made the heavens your throne; from there you rule over everything.
20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! 22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom.
last week, I've been recovering from my daughter's wedding - the first of two
this summer, and a pulled tooth that I didn't take care of sooner. And I
have been pondering. Mostly because to do anything else was just too
stressful this week. But you know how you have recurring thoughts and
messages that continue to bombard you from one angle or another? Well...
here's mine over the last couple of weeks?
are you ALL IN?
I've been pretty tired this week. The thought of mustering up enough
energy to be IN to anything has me going back to bed and pulling the covers up
over my head.
does ALL IN mean?
it fully committed?
all energy, time, money, & effort toward a cause- or a relationship?
it mean you've got it all together?
it in my marriage? my relationship with my girls? most significantly with the
it commitment to my job?
others in my world?
I'm tired again!
I were to ask you ... Are you
would you reply?
you feel like you are ALL IN anywhere?
want to be, ...I think.
want to feel committed to something important
want to feel drawn by the urgency of a dream
want to feel deeply involved in lives- especially Ren and the girls and their
important young men
want to impact lives of friends, and family, and clients
want to be so IN in my relationship with my God that I KNOW what His best is
want to be so ALL IN in my care of myself that my health; body, mind, and soul
want to be so ALL IN that my finances reflect health also
have been times when I thought I was ALL IN- truly was!
commitment- total energy- total vision
to discover that the cost of being ALL IN was very high!
ALL IN didn't lead to health; in me, in my family, in those I worked with.
don't want to be ALL IN like that again.
I - even in the 'unhealth' of being ALL IN- experience incredible healing &
there a way to be ALL IN and still be balanced?
is balance a mirage- an ideal
that is truly not possible?
live only partially in... is that even worth doing?
past weekend, we went to Wheaton Bible Church with Cait & Jack. In the sermon, the pastor kept saying,
"It's not how you started, but how you finish."
want to finish well. I want to finish ALL IN.
But as you can see, I have more
questions at the moment than I do answers.
I will just say it out right ... I am not looking for pat answers to these
want to hear from people who know what it is to wrestle with these same
who know what it is to live in these questions ....the key word being LIVE!