Sunday, November 30, 2008

welcome to our world

Deb is showing the Utube video for one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Welcome to Our World,” today. I always think and write about it at Christmas-time. It goes like this:

“Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome, holy Child.
Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited holy stranger
Make yourself at home…

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking heavens silence…

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born…

So wrap our injured flesh around you
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect son of God…

Welcome to our world.”

The words, “wrap our injured flesh around you,” takes on a new meaning this Christmas. I continue to see Kathy’s broken body laying on that hospital bed…we didn’t realize she was already gone, and it seemed she was struggling to grasp at life…

What a price God paid for us…to come to this earth and take on the “flesh” of our lives. ..the flesh that is so torn and broken down by sin…the flesh, that in me, is in the process of dying. The flesh, that in any newborn baby, is already well into the process of dying.
What a wonderful Friend we have in Jesus, He who chose to take on the lives and deaths of all humans, whom He loves more than any of us can understand.

Welcome to our world (such as it is),

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I sound like a broken record…but, this has been another hard week. The beginning of the week was full of tears and sadness.
Several things contributed to this, I think. Last weekend, the Texas sisters and Loyd did most of the Hiebert Christmas shopping in Houston. So tiring, but we got most of it done. We all felt God’s help in it. It really seems to have been an impossible task…but most of it is done. I even have friends at school and school who volunteered to get the gifts for the tree wrapped. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, friends.
We celebrated Todd’s birthday on Wednesday. I think he had a good day. His school was very gracious to him. Todd is hanging in there. He does a great job caring for his children. We had a family meal Wednesday evening. It is always good to have the family together…especially in celebration.
Kathy’s grave marker got here, too. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it is beautiful. Who would have thought that would be the big purchase made in Kathy’s behalf this season? Life has a way of delivering some surprising twists and turns to us.
In this sadness and grief, I am continually reminded of David’s words in Psalm 54:4:

“Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.”

God’s help is the only way we’ll ever make it through these hard times we find ourselves in.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

it's all yours

I’ve been hearing the Curtis Chapman song, “Yours,” on the radio at the gym every morning. The song I’ve been hearing is perfect for the road I’m traveling right now. The problem was, though, I couldn’t find the exact lyrics. I’ve just realized that an extra verse has been added. I suppose it has been added since Mr. Chapman lost his five year old daughter in a tragic accident last May. The words tell me that our particular pain is very similar. It goes like this:

“I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours
…it’s all Yours
We are Yours
The glory and honor is Yours, everything is Yours”

In my everyday life, it is hard to remember that God is in control. In the middle of the gut-wrenching pain and the bone-searing tiredness, I forget. But when I look at the color streaked sky at sun-down, or the bright falling leaves of autumn, or witness the uncensored joy of a child…I see the hand of God again, and I know in the depth of my pain and exhaustion it is all His…and He is in control of it all.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

live in each season

I have always loved fall. The colors, the temperature change, the smells…I love them all!

This year is difficult. I am dreading the holidays…and fall has always heralded the holidays for me. I’m not ready for them… but ready or not…here they come! Time continues…life continues…and even though ours seems to have turned inside out and upside down…the seasons are coming and going…the holidays are on their way.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“Live in each season, as it passes;
Breathe the air,
Drink the drink,
Taste the fruit.
Resign yourself to the influence of each.”

And this reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

My prayer today, comes from Psalm 90:12-17,(The Message):
Oh! Teach me to live well!
Teach me to live wisely and well! …
Surprise me with love at daybreak;
then I’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
I've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

crooked places

This has been a hard week for me. I’ve been sad, and I’ve cried a lot. I’m overwhelmed.

Todd started basketball this week so we need someone to help with the three little ones. Also, we are starting to think about the holidays (just the logistics of preparing Christmas for five kids overwhelms me…how did Kathy do it all?!) Like I said, it’s been a difficult week.

I tend to looking ahead and worry, and it has always given me stress. In my heart, I know that God is taking care of me; but in the ins and outs of daily life, I get caught up in trying to fix and control…and when I take things out of God’s hands into my own, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

God has sent several sweet reminders of his love my way this week. Several friends have volunteered to buy and wrap gifts. People are praying (and I have felt those prayers). I’ve got telephone calls and emails from those who care about me.

A friend sent something that her cousin emailed to her. It gave me so much comfort in this hard week.

“Fortunately, we serve a God who is not restricted by time or space, and Whose love holds us securely right where we are. We are not immune to the difficulties of this life, but we can move confidently from day to day knowing that we are not alone. We still have to walk through our days and feel the feelings, but we are not alone. God is either everything, or He is nothing. He is interested in everything, big or small, that is happening in His children's lives. And the great thing is...He's already been where I'm going and already knows the outcome!”

1 Peter 5:7 further reminds me: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

This is a special prayer, written by Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook. I’m praying it today, and I need to remember it next Monday and Tuesday.

“I have crooked places that need to be made
straight and rough places that need to be smoothed.
I’m facing mountains I can’t climb and valleys
I can’t cross, I need help, I release into your hands
All the worries and anxieties and struggles of life.”