Body Parts

“I don’t know how I feel about all of this,” she said, “but I know I want the cancer out of my body.”

“It doesn’t belong in there, you know? And it’s growing, a little every day, wanting to overpower all of the good cells in there, seeking to swallow me whole. It’s got to go.”

And right now, that means removing a body part. Cutting out a part of herself. Actually discarding a chunk of her. Will that make her less herself, she wonders. Will she forget that the body part is gone, and reach out for it out of habit? How does one move gracefully when  one is lop-sided?

It’s not easy to give a hug over the phone. Sometimes, you just need your friends right there next to you, a reminder that they plan to shoulder your burden with you every step of the way.

So we get together, and we don’t talk about the C word. We fill our sentences with memories that make us giggle and remind us that life is worth living, we fill our tummies with pizza–greasy carbs that make us feel good for the moment, and we breathe deep together, remembering that God is good all the time and He never ever leaves us, even when the present and the future are a bit scary. Or absolutely terrifying. And we don’t really have answers to all the questions of our hearts.

th (1)

And God, He calls us to trust Him.

We get some more information the next week, and it makes us shake a bit. What are you saying Lord? Will we need to walk upon the waters where feet may fail? We know we are anything but alone, but it kind of feels a little lonely right now. Or absolutely devastating.

And God, He calls us to trust Him.

So we pour over the Word, and we thank the Lord for David, so real, so transparent, so honest with his God–this David who walked through the depth of despair knowing that joy comes in the morning; this David who told his soul to remember all of God’s goodness and chose to joy himself with truth. This David whose heart pleased the Lord to no end.

And God, He calls us to trust Him.

We are going to walk the road ahead of us with our heads held high and our hearts kept tucked into His presence under the shadow of His wings, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time when needed. And we are going to keep our eyes fixed on Him to protect our minds from the cruel lies of this world.

We’ll walk through the Red Sea together, and we will see Him wall up the waters for us.

Because He calls us to trust Him.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Shield and Sword

I am pretty sure that I would not be around anymore if it wasn’t for my Jesus being a shield to me. Time and time again He has protected me from an enemy too big for me, fought my battles for me, sheltered me from a tornado that would have swallowed me whole, kept me from the deep scars that fires bring. Yes, I have faced the enemy, and the tornadoes and the fires, but He has always been there, like an umbrella over my life. Yes, I felt like a worm in front of an alligator, a mere human tossed in a storm, a child in the fiercest of fires, but He was there with me, shielding me with Himself. He is my shield indeed.

42729472

I am pretty sure that I would not be around anymore if it wasn’t for my Jesus being a sword to me. Time and time again He has fought my battles with His Word as His Sword, taken the offensive with it and destroyed a jungle that sought to choke me, deathly wounded the evil darts meant to destroy my mind, held an enemy at bay with the threat of His power. Yes, I have gone through some serious stuff, but His sword has always been there, like a watchman over my life. With Him as my sword, I have cut through the thickest of brush to make it to another place; I have walked through many lions’ dens, and I am here to tell about them. He is my sword indeed.

lion

Jesus, He is amazing that way. He is my Protector and the One who defends me. He shields me and He fights for me. Jesus, He is the Great Shepherd Who always has my back.

My Shield and my Sword indeed. He alone knows how to be both.

swordandshieldfinal2

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings,Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

These are the Days

It’s dark out there.

In the last six weeks, we have lost two young men to suicide and another one to a motorcycle accident, one young lady in my life is fighting with every ounce of strength to stay alive in the face of an ugly disease, and two of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer. And that’s just what you can see on the outside. Besides that, I have a friend who have been cut to the core by evil men, another one with a broken heart, and a third one with a hopelessness that takes my breath away. And that is just what I personally know…

And in the midst of it all, we meet to pray every Thursday. We call ourselves the SWAT Team–Shouting Warriors Attacking Daily. But today, I kind of just want to lick my wounds, you know?

Until God comes in the room.

Because when He does, everything changes.

And all of a sudden, the fog lifts and I see my place. These are the days for standing strong, these are the days for declaring truth and going forth in His Name.  These are the days for lifting our heads in the face of all the sadness that we see, and simply declare His victory. These are the days for moving forward as we hear Him speak, and step into the Red Sea that He means to split. These are the days to be who we are.

For such a time we were created. For such a time I was created.

And the wounds, they will heal themselves in His Presence. For when He comes into the room, everything changes. What I see and what I seek changes. And I become bold like a lion. And I do it afraid. And then, the fear drops away.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

Gracie meets mirror

It happened the other day for the first time–Gracie saw herself in the mirror.

IMG_3190

She got so excited about meeting that lovely little girl in front of her that she reached out  and her hands and face hit the mirror  Her joy was priceless, her smile as bright as the sun.

My grand-daughter met herself and it delighted her heart.

Those giggles bubbling out of her at the sight of herself, they traveled inside of me like blood in my veins, giving life to every cell of me, from my toes to the top of my head.

Gracie delights in Gracie. And I delight in her delight.

Gracie, she does not compare herself to anyone.  She is not finding fault in any part of her.  And all my buts and ifs, they fade in the face of her joy.

And right in that moment, I realize that God delights in my delight. And all my ifs and buts, they fade in the face of His joy. Because God, He does not compare me to anyone. He is not finding fault in any part of His creation.

Gracie giggles. And I join her.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Let the River

The war rages on the inside, and weariness sets in. And it feels like it will take only one more little push for me to just give up forever.  Too tired to swim, too tired to fight the current, too tired to anything.

I don’t want to fight the river anymore. I’ll just give in, give up and be done.

But the River, it giggles at me. And to tell you the truth, I am a bit offended… Here I am, ready to give up on life, and life laughs at me?

“Let me tell you a story,” the River begins.  I am pouting, but I listen. What else can I do?

“There once was this little boy,” the River said, ” and it stood on my bank for a very long time, trying to figure out how to get to the other side. I was pretty wild that day, and it wasn’t going to be easy for him. He tried just about anything ; he tried to swim across, but my current made him drift where he did not want to go. He tried to yell at me, but I would not respond. He tried to walk across me on a large piece of wood, but that did not work either. Eventually, he actually fell into me. After fighting me off for a few minutes, he let go and let me carry him. And guess what? I gently carried him to the other side. Not quite where he thought he wanted to land, but he got there.”

th

The River stopped talking for a while.  I held my breath.

“If you let go of control,” the River continued, “pressure disappears.”

I exhale, my mind filled with Yeahbuts. Easier said than done.

“Rivers are supposed to carry people,” the River said with a smile. “Our job is to give life wherever we go, to water, nourish, strengthen. And we know how to do it. Why are you fighting me?”

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

The Kitchen Table

The table in my house is like no other place.  No, I am not a very good cook, I admit–my husband does a much better job than I do! But even though it looks like it’s about the food, it is so not about the food. The food is just an excuse, just what we do while our hearts are getting restored, rejuvenated around the table. As we eat physical food, our souls are being fed, filled with satisfaction and joy.

We keep adding new members to our family, and the table in my kitchen is getting a bit small. Sometimes, we have to move the meal to the dining room table now. It used to be pristine, without any knicks. But we have a lot of littles now, so the table is looking lived in. And lots of sticky little hands these days, so we no longer use fancy napkins and tablecloths. But it has never been about the table any way.

Margot

Seasons come and seasons go, and we keep gathering around a table in our home. It’s where we sense that we belong together, we are a family. We  share our table with those whom we have welcomed them into our circle. Because when you sit at our table, you are a part of us. We share all kinds of sustenance there.

My God, He has a table waiting for me when I have run my race down here and He calls me home in heaven. But I love that I can sit at His table today already. It’s right there, with my hands cupping a warm coffee, that He reminds me that I have been welcomed into His house. That I am not a guest any more.  That it’s not about the food, but it’s not not about the food because He knows that I need it. That He loves to sit and hang with me. That I am family.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and receive from Me

Community

We’ve done life together for the last 34 years.

Thirty-four years worth of laughter, and pressure, and everyday stuff.

Together, we saw the end of our church as we knew it, almost died in the process but found ourselves strengthened as a new living organism took shape. We cheered each other’s children through T-ball, baseball, football and basketball games. We stood proud at graduations, laughed, ate and danced at weddings, delighted in the birth of grand-children. We had Memorial Day picnics every year.

We grew up from young adults figuring out what being grown-ups meant to mature human beings, steadied by the faithfulness of God through the years of our life, through the valleys and mountain tops, through the pains and victories.

And today, we bury Andrew.

Andy

Andrew who grew up in our midst, so full of life. Andrew who always had a guitar in his hands, Andy so full of kindness, whose smile just made you melt.

I gently touch Jim’s cheek.

“You look tired, my friend.”

“Oh, the Lord is granting me good sleep. It’s just that when I wake up, I see his face, you know…”

I know.

I hug Snow, Andy’s mom, and her raw grief cuts through me. She holds on for dear life. I hold on even tighter.

After the dirt covers Andy’s casket, we go to our church basement and sit around a table filled with good comfort food, because food is what we know to give. But we all know that it’s not about the food.

Jim tells stories about Andy, and he smiles; Snow, she even giggles a bit at the memory, but her eyes are the saddest, and her hands are empty. I fill her hands with mine and join in the giggle.

We don’t really need words right now. We know.

Thirty-four years together, that counts for a lot. We’ve become family. And we’ve stood together through the good, the bad and the ugly. Today, it’s the ugly.

But we are family.

Jim and Snow, we stand with you so that you can breathe.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

Pouting Heart

“You can stand here and pout until the end of the class if you wish to do so,” I tell the little boy, “but that’s not going to get you anywhere.” He stomps his foot, crosses his arms in front of his chest and puffs up his cheeks, ready to … I am not sure what.

“The only way you are going to enjoy yourself is by changing your mind and agreeing to share the red truck with Tyler.” I turn away and busy myself with the other children, keeping one secret eye on the little boy, my favorite little boy in the whole room if truth be told. I so want to melt and discard my own rules, and I so understand his frustration today, with Tyler being somewhat unreasonable and not playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. But I can’t bend on this one–his heart is involved.

And pouting only hardens the heart. It makes it justified in its complaint, and it makes it sick to the core.

And my life experience knows that regardless of our age, we all have to learn which tools are useful in life, and which ones are not.

Pouting doesn’t belong in anyone’s tool belt. It won’t get anyone anywhere. Actually, it gets us far from where we want to be.

Pouting is a mirror that tells the story about what goes on in your head. It is a declaration of sorts. It says, “It’s my way or I just won’t play.” It says, “My way is the only one that matters.” It actually says, “I am so much more important than you.”

Yikes.

S0, no, little boy, I am not going to let you pout. Because I know that as your feet move in a different direction, your heart is eventually going to follow. That’s just how we are made.

 

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW

 

 

Context

It’s raw out there, and grey and dreary today.  Not nice at all. But I am loving it.

Sitting in a little cottage by Keuka Lake in New York, I am just soaking it in with a big smile on my face.  It’s the middle of June, and we even had to turn the fireplace on. But the view to the lake is beautiful from inside, and to top it all of, I am on vacation for four days, so what more would a person want?13327462_10154936731285760_460433342922227727_n

If the truth be told, I would probably have disliked this weather very much any other day. I might even have complained. I am a sunshine kind of girl–sun makes me tick, wakes me up, makes me feel alive. On dark days, all I want to do is climb into my bed and hibernate.

Today, it’s different though. Probably because I am on vacation and I am choosing to enjoy the moment.

It’s all about choices and perspective, isn’t it?

“SHUT UP!”

Did you get offended? Probably. (Sorry about that). It’s all about perspective. “Shut up!” nowadays means “Get out of here!” which means, “No way!” which means “This is amazing.” But depending on the context, these phrases could be very offensive.

Basically, context is the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, or situation. And it matters. Big time.

Listening to people in context is vital. Making decisions in context is vital. We need context to understand people. Choosing to consider context takes being in touch with people. It takes caring. But it certainly changes our perspective. And makes us love people better. And drop the judgment.

I’m all about it.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

What Loving Jesus looks like

Such an easy question, really–what does loving Jesus look like? Or is it?

My first answer was “Mother Teresa.” She is the picture of a selfless woman who simply gave herself to the unwanted people in forgotten places in the name of Jesus. What more is there, really?

But then, my mind flooded with a thousand different pictures right here at home: my friends bringing me meals after surgery, the time where I could not wait to go scrub my pregnant friend’s kitchen floor, my pastor laboring to bring about reconciliation, my daughter teaching third graders in the projects of Charlottesville, a brother handing me a $50 bill when I could not feed my family years ago, and the images keep rolling like a movie in front of my eyes.

And every image held a human face, or a hand or feet moving towards other faces, hands and feet. And it was all about the gift of oneself to another. It was about the reaching out and serving.

human-dignity

Loving Jesus looks like loving people–serving them, no matter how costly. Staying up all night with a heart-broken teenager, cooking up a storm for the homeless’ Thanksgiving, making an abused woman feel like a diamond, getting raw knees from praying for the brethren, and texting, and investing into the discarded ones, and looking for ways to soothe the hearts, and touching the lepers, and just being there.

Loving Jesus, it’s restoring human dignity where it’s been lost.

Loving Jesus, it’s being Jesus with skin on to the people who do life alongside us.

Loving Jesus, it’s hanging out with Him so that we smell like Him, and then letting Him fill out hands and hearts and feet with the compassion that He is.

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home,SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home,Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays,Extraordinay,Lessons from Ivy,Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday,Finding Joy,WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word, Reclaiming a Redeemed Life, Still Saturday. Wildcrafting Wednesdays, WFMW, Tell His Story

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,032 other followers