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 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."