Thursday, November 26, 2009

the next chapter

We said goodbye to two more young mothers in our community this past week. One of them was our precious friend, Nyla. Nyla has courageously battled cancer for the past years.

A sweeter, stronger person I have never known. We would hear that Nyla was not doing well, that she was very sick, and then she come to something that was going on. For instance, she, Mike and Lane came to Drew’s birthday party, this time last year. Last spring, she came to Jon and Emily’s wedding; and though she wasn’t doing well at all, she told me that she had to do something “happy” for a change. She was at school, in September, for Lane’s report card conference. At all of these events, she had a smile on her face as she quietly participated…never complaining, or thinking of herself first. She was a beautiful example, for me, of living and dying with love and grace.

She had such a will to live her life. I think the most pain she suffered was the pain of leaving her family. She will be greatly missed by her family, and all who knew her.

Kathy called me to tell me about Nyla’s diagnosis of cancer. She was so sad. She loved Nyla dearly. She didn’t realize that she would have the opportunity to welcome Nyla into heaven. I have wondered about what they are doing right now. I’m sure Nyla is telling her all about the family. Maybe she is even giving her the details of the wedding and birthday party. I know she is telling her another “Lane” adventure, and she is certainly speaking her love for baby Mason and her precious Shayna. I am sure, too, that she is letting her know what a good job Jamie is doing, and how she is so proud of all of them. Knowing Kathy…she has already shown Nyla all the “hot spots” to see in her new home, and she has probably introduced her to more new people and experiences than they ever knew of in this lifetime.

In fact, Nyla and Kathy are living the real lives they were created to live today… lives where pain, suffering, sin, separation, and longing are gone forever.

As C.S. Lewis wrote at the end of The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“And, for this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But, for them, it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover, and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


Saturday, November 21, 2009


This has been a long, hard week. The grueling shopping we did last weekend has left me weary and aching. It also has reminded me of what my sister’s husband and children have lost…what our family has lost. Life is broken and shattered; it is no longer complete. As I have stated before, there is a hole in our world.

The new Selah CD has a song that speaks to this hurt in my heart. It is about the loss and incompleteness that all people have in this life. Because we live “in the shadow of the fall of man,” we are separated from the completeness that we were made to have with God, with others, and even with ourselves.

The good news…the news I have difficulty remembering when I am tired and overwhelmed…is that one day, God will redeem all the brokenness in the lives that are given to him. One day we will hurt no more…we will be complete…we will be as we were created to be….


The cruelest words, the coldest heart
The deepest wounds, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter nights, the wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be

I’ve been reading Philippians 3:20-21 this week. It gives me hope of redemption.

“But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. “

The words of Jesus, in John 6:39-40, fills my sad heart with joy:

"This, in a nutshell, is that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”

Thank you, Father. Help me to remember that there is absolutely nothing I give to you that will remain unredeemed.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

you deliver me

We have been in Houston this weekend, doing the MEGA shopping for the kids’ Christmas. To say it is overwhelming is an overstatement.

Crystal and I were riding down together, and she had the new Selah CD. I didn’t realize there was one. I’m so excited!

The title song is “You Deliver Me.” I heard it at a perfect time. I was tired, feeling depleted of all resources, and have several “mountains to climb” in my life. I need deliverance.

As it says in Psalm 6:3-4:

“I am sick at heart.
How long, O LORD, until you restore me?
Return, O LORD, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.”

The song says this:

“Deep as the ocean
Right as rain
This powerful emotion
Lifts me up above the plain
It’s taking me to places
I never thought I'd go
Showing me a grace
I never thought I'd know
When there's a distance
Between what I am
And who I wanna be
You deliver me

When I feel like
I can't go on
You deliver me
And when the road is winding
And way too long
You deliver me
You deliver me”

This road is winding, and it is way too long. I’m not where I want to be just yet. Please deliver me.

PS (btw)…we have had a productive weekend with the shopping. The road ahead is still long, but God has helped us once again. Thank you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

heaven in our hearts

This week, I was reading 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (as I was riding nowhere, on the the bike, at the gym).

“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.”

I’m reminded of the wise words of C.S. Lewis:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”
(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

Heaven in my heart…life in another world…I’ve always known it was there, but I let the minutia of this life crowd it out. I don’t want to do that. I want to be ready to fold my tent and go home…when I’m called.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

becoming more like him

Recently I read this passage about trouble in life. It is written by Rick Warren, whose wife is now battling cancer.

“People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness. We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings. “

As Jesus reminded us, before he left his earthly life, in John 16:33 (New International Version)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Rick Warren continued with these admonitions:
“Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.”

At times life is hard, but as God goes with me down roads I’d rather not travel…He’s helping me become more like him.