Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
I’m sitting on the couch right now. The rain in coming down outside the window next to me. Fall is finally here, and it’s chilly.
Over the course of the day, I have found myself thinking numerous times, ‘God’s going to answer some prayers in an incredible way soon, I just know it,’ but it certainly doesn’t look that way from my vantage point. I feel like nothing’s going right.
But, an hour ago, I turned around from cooking over the stove and right into Shaun’s hug, and for a moment all of the warmth and comfort I could have imagined filled the kitchen. I had this strange, unfamiliar understanding that everything really is going to be alright. And, I remembered that God has given me an extremely precious gift in giving me my husband. I’ve been so lost in my pain and anxiety at times over the past four months, that I have often forgot how much I still have! And I’m finally getting to a place in this grieving process where I can look back and see more clearly, not just our tragedy, but our resiliency! Praise God!
Friday, September 25, 2009
We’re seeking out what God wants for us right now in terms of jobs. Shaun has a couple of offers on the table, but no great options. Ugh. It's so frustrating.
All of this, to be honest (and I’m whispering now), makes me question whether or not God really has our best interest in mind. I said this to Shaun the other day, and he said, “Please don’t let yourself go there. It’s just destructive.” And there is some truth to that…if I stay there.
But is it possible to ‘go there’ without abandoning your faith? I believe so. I’ve heard and read over and over during the past 4 months that you have to go to the depths of your pain before true healing can take place. And, I think that questioning is a part of going down into that dark pit of pain so that you can climb back up onto solid ground with a unwavering faith and a new perspective on life.
I read Psalm 73 earlier this evening. In it, a man named Asaph grapples with the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
He recounts the pain through which he’s walked and says in verse 2, “My feet had almost slipped; I had almost lost my foothold.” In my words (and experience), “I started to go crazy, and almost threw in the towel on God.” I’ve so been there at times, questioning whether or not it’s even worth it to trust in Him.
Asaph looks around at all of these people who defiantly turn away from God and live however they wish, and they’ve got everything he’s missing…everything he has so achingly lost. He says, “They have no struggles,” in verse 4, and he’s so angry and bitter! Been there, too. “Of all the people in the world, why us, God?”
This is precisely the tone of the first 20 verses of Psalm 73.
But this is how Asaph ends the chapter (verses 21-28):
“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”
Ah, Asaph makes it to the other side of the pit. Back on solid ground with a renewed, steadfast faith.
I wonder how much time there was between verse 20 and 21, though. And what did it take for Asaph to get past his bitterness, envy and anger?
I think I know the secret…actually, I’m confident that I know the secret…(I’m whispering again)…worship. Worship. Not in exuberant song, necessarily. Usually just in sitting humbly before God and giving Him the time and space to do His healing, revolutionary work. And choosing to honestly worship…through tough questions…through unstoppable tears…through down-right, angry thoughts and emotions. Just to bring it all before Him and wait patiently for God to walk with me up the muddy hill to the other side of the pit.
I’m thinking about maybe asking God if we could pick up the pace, though.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
#4. Family – I know I’ve said it so many times, but we love our families and we’re so thankful for them.
#5. Friends – talk about a support network! We are blessed, and we praise God for the encouragement of our friends.
#6. Zachary – our firstborn son.
My Baby Boy,
How can it be that four months have gone by without you? Four months since I smelled your newborn baby smell? Four months since I cradled you in my arms…examined your hands and feet…kissed your nose…sang to you? I’d love to say that time has healed my heart significantly, and maybe it has, but I miss you so, so much. At times I am utterly overwhelmed by the fact that I have to live the rest of my life on earth without you.
Lately I have been mourning the fact that I won’t get to know who you are…what you like and dislike and everything that makes you you. But I know that all of that stuff is really just about me. You’re perfectly content, safe in the arms of God. You will never know pain or hunger or sadness. You went from perfect safety inside me to heaven! How my heart longs so intensely to be with you, though.
You have given me such a gift, Zachary – I now have no fear in death. I know God has more for me to do here, but I can’t wait to be with you in heaven! Your life has eliminated any apprehension about dying and what’s to come after life on earth is over. You have made me truly realize that this is not as good as it gets, and that heaven really is home.
I love you, my sweet, sweet baby.
Until We Meet Again, Your Mom
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I wrote this like 6 weeks ago, but I couldn't post it until today. Such an exciting adventure coming our way!
I was in such a slump this week. I just wanted to be home by myself, and I hate feeling like that. I wasn’t a hermit, though. I picked up extra hours at work, got some major cleaning done at home, worked out, watched my sisters play volleyball, and had friends over to hang out this weekend. I’ve just never had to be so intentional about staying motivated and being emotionally open.
I found my feelings to be especially odd this week because God answered a major prayer…I was finally okayed for a position as a part-time worship leader at our church, and I’m truly humbled to have such an awesome opportunity to obey God doing something that I love. We’re launching a campus extension of our church in just a few weeks, and it’s thrilling to be part of an undertaking that’s so big, that I know it will totally flop if God’s not driving our efforts. Pretty awesome.
I have always felt very strongly that, if God blesses us with an ability, we have a responsibility to invest it fully in a way that pleases Him…not for our own recognition, but solely for the purpose of honoring God and pointing others in His direction. Investing…it reminds me of the parable that Jesus told about the talents. Talents were the currency that was used at that time. Here’s the passage:
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately, the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the grounds and hid his master’s money.” (Matthew 25:15-18)
I can just picture the third guy with a shovel in his hands, digging that dumb hole…afraid he might lose the money…afraid that investing that money might require a little too much of his time, effort, etc. The rest of the parable goes on to say that, when the master came back to see what each slave had done with what they had been given, the first two were commended for investing. The third slave came to the master, shoulders slumped, staring at the ground, and said (this is all my paraphrase), “I got scared, so I buried my talent in the ground, but at least you can have back the little that you gave me.” The master doesn’t like that answer, calls the man lazy, and takes his talent away from him. Verse 29 says, “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Investing. What a huge responsibility it is…and what a privilege. I’m so, so thankful for this ‘talent’ that God’s given to me in this new adventure at church. I feel very unworthy to participate in God’s work in this way.
But are the ‘talents’ that Jesus refers to in His parable only the good things that we’re given by God? Just skills, abilities, gifts?
What if the ‘talents’ God gives us are not so great…a disability, a shameful past, the loss of a baby… If those are also ‘talents’ that God asks that we invest, then I’d be lying if I said that the shovel didn’t sound appealing at times. I’d rather bury my hurt…keep it to myself…lock it up and try to forget.
But I know, that when I stand before God after this life is over, and He looks me straight in the eye and asks me what I did with what He has given me, I want Him to be proud. Proud of my honesty, proud of the conversations that have come out of our loss, proud of my dependence on Him when I don’t know what to do with my brokenness. Pleased with the way that I’ve tried with all my might to praise Him through this pain. This ‘talent’ is much more challenging to invest than the good ‘talents’. But I’ll keep thanking God for each opportunity He gives me. After all, life is short…the good stuff will be over before we know it, and the bad stuff is so, very temporary.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I’m sitting on the porch swing right now, keeping an eye on the chicken on the grill, and waiting for Shaun to get home from painting.
But we’re both waiting for the phone to ring. It’s agonizing. Shaun is waiting for a phone call about a job possibility…a possibility that would end the burden of the financial pressure we feel. I’m also waiting to hear about a job…one that would allow me to fulfill my passion.I know God’s got it all under control, but I just desperately want something to go right tonight. Please pray for us…for peace, for direction, for the desire to wake up again tomorrow morning with purpose no matter what the answers are.