Sunday, December 27, 2009

Temporary Home

"Old man, hospital bed 
The room is filled with people he loves 
And he whispers don't cry for me 
I'll see you all someday 
He looks up and says "I can see God's face."

"This is our temporary home 
It's not where we belong 
Windows and rooms that we're passin' through 
This is just a stop, on the way to where we're going 
I'm not afraid because I know this is our 
Temporary Home." 

~Carrie Underwood

I can close my eyes and see it as if it were yesterday....every sound, every detail, every face that surrounded that hospital room.  If I linger too long, the thought begins to haunt me.  I had seen him weeks before, and weeks before, he had been fine.  He was not fine, however, when I finally got there.  There are many things I want to forget, but there is one thing I will always remember.  When I walked into the room, tears began flooding my eyes at the very sight of his condition.  As I held his freezing cold hand and told him I loved him, he opened his eyes, gave me a slight nod, and closed them.  That was the last time he was able to acknowledge my presence.  That was the last time I saw him awake before we watched him take his last breath.

We all face many trials in this life, some we may never understand, yet we are asked to walk through them.  The world wages a tough battle, one I would be defeated by daily if didn't have faith.  I can't believe it has been 7 months since losing Papa.  It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to experience.  What scares me most, however, is knowing it will not be my last.  As I listened to the words of "Temporary Home," I began to cry....and cry...and cry.  I know that if Papa could have talked that day he would have told us just what the message of this song portrays.  I am so thankful for his example, his love, his life.

Merry Christmas Papa!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Perfect Lullaby


I love this time of year...the shopping, decorations, presents, songs, parties, stories, and most importantly, the purpose. I love reading the story of the birth of Jesus, trying to close my eyes and fathom a time when the world looked completely different than it does today. And while my eyes focus on the beautiful baby and God's perfect plan, my thoughts are drawn to the woman behind the scenes...Mary.

The heart of a mother is vast and deep and can only be truly understood by those who have walked in the same shoes. As a mother of two I have found that as mothers we flock to each other. You can have an hour long conversation with a complete stranger about your children. We find comfort, relation, support simply in sharing our own experiences. There is one mother, however, who I long to know. Mary! A simple child, chosen by God to raise, not just a child, but the King of Kings. My thoughts cling to her often. Were there times she not only doubted God, but doubted herself? Did she find fear in providing for him? Did she feel guilt in disciplining? Did she lose her temper at times? Did she worry about letting God down? Did her heart feel a sense of selfishness...not wanting to let him go fulfill his purpose? So many thoughts, and yet, I think we all struggle with the same questions. The beauty of motherhood is that it is not defined by eras, decades, or trends...it is a common, ageless bond. I love this song because I felt a mother's plea, a mother's wish...the very heart of Mary herself. A perfect lullaby!

"Lord, I ask that He for just this moment simply be my child."


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Roof Crashing Friends

I recently read a chapter in a book that changed my whole perspective on a familiar bible story. Many have heard the story of the paralyzed man who was lowered through a roof to see Jesus. We hear the story and our hearts naturally draw to the suffering of the man and the grace of Jesus. How often, however, do we think of the man's friends? Yes, the miracle itself was big finish in a moving story, but what about the heart of it....the details, the small pieces of the puzzle that make it complete?

Imagine a paralyzed man, sitting on the side of the road every day, completely dependable on people around him to clean him, clothe him, carry him. He was probably lucky to have escaped death as an infant rather than being killed for his deformity....although I am not sure he would have considered this luck. He is defined to others not by who he is, but the image he portrays....and yet, he had friends. Not just friends, good friends.
"Here is a little band of men who refuse to let any obstacle stop them. Their little group clearly did not come about by accident. In the face of formidable obstacles-social sigma, inconvenience, financial pressure, a high cost of time and energy-they become friends."
These friends loved the man so deeply that their first reaction to Jesus' arrival was not of themselves, but of their friend. They made sure they picked him up (literally) on their way to see Jesus. When the group arrived, however, there was no way in to the home or even to the door. So what did they do? They climbed to the roof of the house and started tearing it open. I can imagine the paralyzed man protested...told them they were being ridiculous....was probably more embarrassed than he had ever been in his life, which is saying a lot.....though nothing stopped them. They cared more about their friend than they did any judgement or any consequence. The big finish to the story for me was not that Jesus actually healed the man, it was the reason...a reason that I don't think you fully grasp until you dig to the heart of the story...the friendships.
"Jesus sees a little of what God intended when he made human beings. He sees people who love even in the face of a giant "as-is" tag. He thinks to himself that this is humanity at its finest. He sees their faith."
I write of this not only to shed a new perspective on a miraculous story, but also to acknowledge that these kinds friendships are both rare and ageless. Suffering has always been a part of our world. We seek to find answers or reasons when it hits close to home, however, sometimes we refuse to embrace the opportunity it brings us....relationships. Recently two dear friends of mine lost one of their closest friends to a childhood disease. Their friend's downhill progression began about the time this story made its way into my life, and I found this becoming my daily prayer. I began praying for the man's healing and suffering, but also that the Lord would see the faces of his friends, my friends, as he did that day with the paralyzed man...and see their faith, their immense love for their friend.

Although this man lost his battle a few weeks ago, I have began to think more deeply about my prayer. I think the Lord did see his friends' faith, but long before the moment of dependence and weakness. The Lord saw their faith from the beginning and allowed a friendship to form that would withstand any and all obstacles. They were deeply devoted to one another and even sat by their friend's side as he drifted into the Lord's arms. They are the very definition of a "roof-crasher" and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to know them.
"Friends are people who have made a major roof-crashing commitment to other human beings."


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Inspiration

Guilty! I love to be inspired! I enjoy finding that perfect song, line from a book, sign on the road, heartfelt conversation....that literally speaks to my heart. My newest inspiration, however, comes from a man. I don't know his name or where he lives or what makes him unique, but he is there...every morning...same place...same routine. Two years ago my route to school changed directions. That was the first time I noticed him. In all honesty, I was probably sipping on my coffee, listening to music, running lesson plans through my head, and trying not to hit the guy walking on the side of the road waving his arms in the air as an exercise technique. I can imagine that I didn't think twice about seeing this old man walking that day, or even the many days that followed. Somewhere along the way, however, he began to grab my attention. I started looking for him on my drive and found a smile come to my face each time he appeared. He was always there, rain or shine, hot or cold. I don't know a thing about this man, but his level of dedication astounded me. It reminds me daily that if he can get out there and walk, day after day, then there is no room for excuses in my life.

As with anything in life, when we get out of routine, things can easily be forgotten. My daily venture to school came to an end this year, though it was not without blessing! My full-time job took on a whole different persona.....my children. One morning I was driving my two year old to preschool when I was completely stunned. There he was....same place, same routine, "different" time??!! I was so excited to not only see him that day, but be reminded of how much joy just his presence had brought to me for the past two years. The strange thing is that I still see him now, twice a week, on my morning drive. Why is it that years of consistency in his walks change the very year that my routine changes? How is it possible that we still meet on that road? Does the Lord so intricately place this man in my life as a reminder of his dedication to me....that he is always there, never failing, rain or shine, hot or cold? One day I hope to meet him, to tell him how proud I am of him, and what an encouragement he has been to me. (**I also hope that I don't give him a heart attack when some crazy car pulls up beside him.) He is the very definition of inspiration, and I was just lucky enough to have noticed!



Friday, November 20, 2009

Learning to Dance

The Lord speaks to me in many ways, but today he spoke to me through dancing! My husband and I have talked for years about taking a dance class together. I love to dance.....any music, any time, anywhere. What I have discovered over the years is just that...."I" love to dance. It works when I dance...flows. When my husband and I get together, however, it doesn't look quite so eloquent. What is funny though, is that I have never placed the blame on myself. Dancing is an art. It takes patience, practice, dedication. It is letting go of control and learning to work with your partner. Isn't that just what a marriage is all about? I was very humbled tonight at this thought. How often do I allow my husband to lead me? How often do I follow his steps, surrender to his direction, trust in his support? This is an area that is very difficult for me. I've realized though that it isn't until we learn to "selflessly" dance together that we finally learn how to move with grace. A beginner learns, a moderate practices, and an advanced perfects. While I may only be a beginner, I cherish the wisdom God is giving me in these moments. I love that He speaks to me in a way I can relate to and understand. I am so thankful that no matter how many times I have awkwardly stepped on His toes, He still wants to dance with me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

With Age Comes Wisdom

Wisdom truly is a gift.....one I so desperately envy, yet one I don't always fight to gain. However, what truly defines a wise man? Is it how much he knows or how he upholds himself in the situations life throws at him? Over the years I've found that my first reaction to things is not always "above reproach." But today was different. Today I shocked myself! I have been reminded lately of something a dear friend told me, "Everyone in life will always let you down. Only God is always there, always consistent, and will never fail us." As I reflected on this statement and those that have hurt me in some way, I found my reaction to be understanding, almost compassionate. Instead of my usual response of talking aloud trying to make situations make sense, I began to pray. "Lord, this person may have let me down, but they are still your child. You still love them as much as you love me. It does not make them a bad person just because my feelings may have been hurt. So I will not talk negatively about one of your children, but pray for them." Talk about a wow moment! I was even taken back a little! I began to laugh, look to the sky, and say, "Wow Lord, I guess I am growing up!" Isn't it sad that it takes us so long to become wise? Unfortunately, I have a long way to go! I am very thankful that the Lord does not give up on me!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pages Turned, Bridges Burned, Lessons Learned

"And every tear that had to fall from my eyes,
Everyday I wondered how I'd get through the night,
Every change, life has thrown me,
I'm thankful, for every break in my heart,
I'm grateful, for every scar,
Some pages turned,
Some bridges burned,
But there were lessons learned."
~Carrie Underwood

I love music! While melody and songwriters do influence my taste at times, a good lyric can completely draw me in. Music speaks to me. I find it can pull the deepest thoughts and desires out of me and actually put them into the words that I don't know how to form myself. It is understanding, relational, and reminds me that others out there go through/feel the same things I do. There will probably be many blog entries that begin with a song.

Those who are close to me know that the past several months have been very difficult for me. I always knew that having two children would be a challenge, however, I was not prepared for what I discovered about myself in the process. I found that the "me" that existed was gone....stripped of everything I ever knew before beginning this journey of motherhood. My responsibilities changed, obligations were different, and priorities took on a whole new outlook. What I've learned is that we are constantly being molded, changed, made new, prepped for the next stage of our adventure in this life. Each time I am at a complete loss, the Lord instills more of his character within me, and with that, my faith reaches levels it never has before. As quoted from one of my favorite movies, "A bird may love a fish my Lord, but where would they live?" "Then I shall just have to make you wings." When my life seems completely out of sort that is just what the Lord does for me.....makes me wings....equips me with what I need to know him more and love him better. So, I am thankful...for every break in my heart, for every scar, for every lesson. And while my life may look entirely different than it once did before children.....different, is not always a bad thing to strive for!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Outlet...

I love to write. I have always loved to write. However, I have found that my desire for writing only pours over me when I am passionate for something. As I get older I find myself passionate for so many things that my heart feels at times like it wants to literally jump out of me, share my thoughts, experiences, lessons. I desperately need an outlet to allow myself this escape....no matter if it is simply me and the world. So here it is.....here begins my "write" of passage.