Saturday, October 25, 2008

my life is in your hands

I heard a CS Lewis quote this week. He said this: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” When you love dearly and without reserve, you place your heart in a place that is outside of your control…you become vulnerable. We spend our whole existence trying not to be vulnerable. We want to be in control. We want to protect ourselves from hurt (and ultimately from death). And as good as we get at manipulating and controlling…we fail…because some of life is about hurt and loss and death (this is the part that we don’t want to accept).

Well, my heart has been wrung dry and broken into a million pieces…and that brings me back to the same place I find myself going a lot lately…to the foot of the cross…where the ultimate demonstration of love and vulnerability took place. It is at this place that I am reminded that my life is in His hands…and that he will continue to help me in this place of great loss. This song, “My Life is in Your Hands,” sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, is one of my favorite songs:

You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh, I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands.”

And, as Isaiah 41:13 says:
“For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.”

Thank you, Lord, I’m staying here with you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

he hasn't left me

We have had a difficult month. It is hard to believe that it has just been three months…in some ways, it seems like three years. I just read that the third month after a traumatic occurrence is particularly hard. I believe it. This has been a hard month.

Today I was reading the last email I received from Kathy. It was sent the day before she got sick. She sounded so “normal.” How could we have even guessed that life was going to take such a turn…that it was going to be turned upside down and inside out? I remember reading one time that if we knew what the future held, we would not be able to enjoy the present. I suppose that is true, but I would have liked to have had a chance to tell my sister what she means to me…how much she has helped me…and how much I miss her…how much I love her.

I pulled a scripture out of my Bible that Brookie gave me at the beginning for the summer. She wrote it for me by hand. I planned to use it for my promise for the summer. At the time, I had no idea what that would mean....The scripture is Deuteronomy 31:6 It says:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified …for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Thank you, Lord, for this promise. You sent it to me before this horrible thing happened in my life, but now I have it to remember…you have not left.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Last week, at Java Jack’s, we discussed John 16. In verse 33, Jesus says these words: “I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." I don’t know why I have been so surprised by trouble and difficulty in life. If I listen to the words of Jesus, and look at the example of his life, I see a lot of suffering and trouble and difficulty. I know that all of human life is lived in a godless world. I also know that there is faith, love and help for this time on earth…and the hope of eternal life. The pain and difficulty of this life has been overcome by the life and death of my Savior.

What this means to me is that even in the middle of pain and grief and difficulty, Jesus is here. I have a deep peace that is with me no matter how I feel or what I experience. I know He has never left my side…I feel his presence and his help. His life and words are always in my mind. I am constantly aware of his Spirit who lives in me. As the words of a gospel song say: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”

Yes…in this world, I have problems and sadness and pain and suffering….but, the One who has conquered it all lives in me…and He is with me for now and forever.

Thank you, Jesus,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

happy birthday, mom

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. We had a wonderful dinner which mom prepared for us last night…yes, she made her own birthday meal. It was a delicious fish dinner…my mom can really cook!

My mom is gifted in lots of way. She’s a master cook, teacher, gardener, researcher, theologian, and political pundit. Most of all, she’s a servant… and she exercises that gift daily.

All this brings me to why Mama misses our Kathy so much. Kathy and Mom had a long history of serving others, together. They were the “dynamic duo.” They were always putting their heads together to plan and scheme, and get some big “happening” together. The night Kathy got sick, she and mom talked about all the food that was to be purchased and prepared for our family’s beach trip…no small undertaking…with 20 something hungry people (most of them kids and teens) to feed.

It wasn’t unusual for them to make meals for many more than are in our family, and they did it superbly with grace. They loved it!

I think that Kathy and Mom were each others’ best friends. They helped each other and supported each other in a lot of ways…their lives were lived closely…both in body and in spirit. My mom has lost a big part of her life and herself, and this is heartbreaking to me.

All that I know is that God has always promised to help us and stay close to us during these times. I know this because my mom has lived it before me.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you. Thank you for the wonderful example of selflessly serving and helping those around you. Thank you for the ways you have always served me. You have added so much sunshine to my days.

I pray for you daily and I love you,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

happy birthday, daddy

Today is my daddy’s birthday. He is celebrating a life of hard work, trusting God, and many beautiful blessings.

My dad is so special to me. He has taught me a lot about life with his words and his actions. I was reminded of his loving and serving heart this past weekend when I saw him help serve lunch at church. He also knows how to help if someone is in the hospital. He knows just what to do, and he does it in the kindest way.

My heart hurts because my daddy’s heart is hurting today. His has an exquisite sort of pain because he and Kathy had a special bond. They spent a lot of time together in hospitals with the twins. There was a lot that Daddy understood about Kathy’s life because he was there…so close.

Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you. I’m so sad because you are so sad. I’m praying a special prayer for you today. Remember our song…”Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning…”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

praise you in this storm

We gave Todd a Casting Crowns CD for his birthday one year. It was during Brett’s ordeal (which followed close on the heel of Brooke’s ordeal). He told me the song, “I Will Praise You In this Storm,” made him cry…because it was about the place where he was at that time. Todd’s life has gotten even stormier since then, and every time I hear this song I think of him. The chorus goes like this:

“And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm”

Psalm 56:8 states:
“You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

I’m lifting my hands in praise to our Father. He is with us in this storm. He is who He is…He does not change. He has not forgotten us. He knows about the sleepless nights and the tears and the aches in our bodies and spirits. He understands. He has never left us.

I praise Him in this storm!