Sunday, December 16, 2012


I wish there were a breathless font. A font that could communicate a whisper. 

I am unable to even process what is going on in my life at this moment. 
This week has left me with an ache in my gut that won't stop. 

I ache for the horror that has happened in my old neighborhood mall...

I ache for the families and children in Newtown....

I ache for my father who is slowly dying, a prisoner in his own body....

and then last night the new ache, a new diagnosis atop the old one, an accelerator revving up the destruction of his brain... his body.... him.

Again. I wish there were a breathless font. It's where I am tonight.

I'm comforted to know Jesus was a man of sorrows.... He understands all of this. All these sucker punches. 

I'm trusting He will help me to sort it out as well. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Love in the Waiting...

Marriage, commitment, devotion, and chronic illness.

I sit this morning in a sanctuary surrounded by the beauty of the season. Glowing golden lights suspended in the air, representations of that Light, that Star that led the way. Trees perfectly placed, boughs laden with white fluff, sending their own light twinkling from deep within.

And yet I see something that shines with a light and warmth so true, so sincere, so beautiful that all else pales in comparison.

There is a man at our church whose wife suffered an aneurysm over a year ago. I did not know this couple before this event, I don't even know this man well now. But I noticed them the first time I sat in this sanctuary 10 months ago. It wasn't because of the wheelchair  or the way she seemed to be asleep throughout the service.


The teaching was on marriage that Sunday. On love. On commitment. I remember seeing this man holding his wife's hand. Not just resting his on hers, but holding onto her hand. Intermittently he would caress her fingers, reposition her arm, covering her hand with his.

It was a poignantly beautiful picture of the words that were being spoken. Devotion and commitment with skin on. Love in the real, painful, day after day waiting.

This morning as I look at the trees in our sanctuary, I visualize that kind of love in an arboreal form. I think of the trees on the rugged coast of Northern California, forced to dig down deep into the ground. To network their root systems and in so doing finding strength that they never would have had alone.

But the thing that strikes me the most this day is their beauty. The constant beating of the wind has forced them to warp and bend. To create a stance and form that never would have happened under circumstances that are mild and calm. People come from all over the world to photograph these trees. To admire their gnarly twisted majesty.

To stand in awe of the ability to adapt and become stronger, even more beautiful in the midst of the beating. And the wind doesn't stop.

I stand in a similar awe today. I see the wind blowing, and it hasn't stopped. Stronger than the wind, more majestic than those awesome trees, I see the love of Jesus in this place. Causing this family to stand. In a strong, adaptive, majestic way. A perfect picture of His devotion, His commitment.

This is Love.

Love in the waiting.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Close Proximity (Copied from my journal) written 12-1-12

This happens a lot. I open the journal and words flood like people through an airport terminal in my brain. I'm not sure what to write.... I know I NEED to, but I'm always so concerned about the message I'm sending, the possibility of hurting someone's feelings, even my handwriting.... And now, my body has decided to finally truly freak out so there is the added concern that my swollen first-finger knuckles won't let me write at all. This seems to be a strong pattern in my life; fear that I'm missing something, doing something wrong, waiting for the 'fly swatter', then ultimately throwing up my hands and giving in to defeat based on the 'knowledge' that I'll never get it right anyway.

Defeated living.

Waking up with a frown in place, muscles tight, ears ringing, stomach ache, pale bloodless hands, in a ditch where joy should be. A ditch that started out as a rut. Then comes a book, a magazine, a devotion, a song... and I hear His voice. I've heard His voice many times in this stumble, crawl, sprint-walk we've been on this last 21 years. He has often had to repeat Himself, one phrase in particular stands out... "Do you trust Me?". The answer has changed several times. Initially it was an emphatic, "Of course I do!". Then a miscarriage, "No, I don't. Why?". Then a decade of abuse and the fire-storm of consequences rained down on me and my children, "Not very well...". Next a divorce, titanic panic attacks, children hurting, acting out of their pain, knee-jerk responses, running from His voice, "I'm too scared to, I can't..... I won't." Then more pain, more consequences, broken hearts, broken dreams, selfish choices, regret, shame, guilt. The deepest part of the rut. I couldn't hear His voice at all.

Then came the wall.

The emotional, physical, spiritual wall. I hit it with the force of a freight train. Months turned into years of strange physical symptoms; mood swings, low blood pressure, inability to swallow, panic, depression, unmaintainable thyroid levels, insomnia, fatigue, hair loss, weight loss, no appetite, muscle spasms, arthritis, TMJ, visual disturbances, and the crowning glory: tinnitus of every variety.
Something inside of me had been sending smoke signals for many years and I had either looked the other direction or closed my eyes altogether. Well, the smoke signal fire had blossomed into a wild fire that threatened to engulf me. Dr. after Dr., specialists, blood work, live imaging. I watched myself wasting away. Unable to swallow anything but the clearest liquids. I lost 17 pounds. 17 pounds that were not extra by any means.

All the momentum of my sin, the consequences of my rash decisions, the stress of legal battles, the abuse, the loss, the heaviness all finally threw it's weight right into my throat.

I remember wondering, as I closed my half-open eyes at night, if I would awake the next morning. Feeling my heart pound out it's slow, hard, beat that rang in my ears... at times it would be at 50 beats per minute. Some of those beats so haltingly that it seemed there were no guarantee of the next one. The sensation I recall most acutely though, is the nearness and the tenderness of the Lord. At the most desperate point in that acute 2 month span I heard Him clearly... First, "You are forgiven. Completely." Then, "I love you. I'm here." And finally, "I will renew and revive you." All the while the sound of this whisper, "Trust me", came filtering in and out like the sound of the waves rolling gently, constantly on the sands of my heart.

I had the opportunity to respond, "Help me to trust you, Lord." Then, "I want to trust You, Lord." Then, "Take my fear and guilt and shame. My hands are so full of their residue that I can't hold onto Yours." Then, "I trust you Lord." Wince... "I trust you Lord." Gritted teeth. "I trust you Lord" But let me help you out with this mess, that child, this man, my life...

Renew and revive He did, only to find me sprinting ahead in short bursts... with the end result always being me snuggled up the wall I hit before. Never with that same intensity, but always ending up in close proximity to it.

Fast forward to now... several months ago strange symptoms began to creep back in, with some new ones to keep things interesting. I smelled 'smoke' but went looking for water in the wrong places. Again, unmaintainable thyroid levels persisted, white hands and face, hair loss, weight loss, foggy thinking, depression, irritability, suicidal thoughts, louder tinnitus, chest pain, muscle spasms near seizure intensity, and no appetite. Doctor visits became weekly, blood work, dosage changes, prayer for answers, dead ends with lab results, MD's stumped, no energy, kids frustrated, husband scared and tired (again), and responsibilities and obligations mounting like fresh snow fall on Mt. Baker. With joints swollen, head ringing, muscles wound tight, I seek His voice. He speaks to me, "Have your magnesium checked." And, "Go to this Naturopath." Then, "Buy this book." And in reading Lucado's GRACE, I heard Him speak loud and clear, "You can rest now." 

Those words hit me like a brick. The tears flowed instantly.

"YOU can rest NOW."

I'm realizing that rest and trust go hand in hand. Trusting the He is in control, that everything that needs to happen will, trusting that He is more than able to watch over and reach my loved ones. Trusting that He is able to carry me and that His promises ARE true. Only when I relax in that trust can I truly rest. Laying down with a head full of worries and a heart full of doubt makes for tossing and turning, there's no rest in that. So, one step at time, in step with Him, learning to breath in His rest, and breath out Faith. Just as our dog Louie the Meatball needs a gentle leader harness to remind him that he doesn't have to be on guard, that he really isn't in charge, to RELAX. My sweet Gentle Leader is doing the same for me. Each pain, swollen joint, with every tone only audible only to me, I hear trust, rest, trust, rest.

" God my Shepherd!
I don't need a thing
You have bedded me down
In lush meadows,
You find me quiet pools
To drink from.
True to Your Word,
You let me catch
My Breath
And send me in the
Right direction."

 From Psalm 23 (MSG)

Adrenal fatigue, anemia, arthritis, hypo-thyroidism.... all His messengers. All the same message, "You must rest now. You will rest now. You CAN rest now."