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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Steps From Yesterday.......

Where do I go from here.....?
From where I have been that seems like so long ago.... and like yesterday all at the same time?
Steps forward.... or steps back?

When I close my eyes I can see so much.
I try and block it.... but it is there.
Time has softened the blow a bit.... but it is still present.

God has woven so much into my life.
From the moments of profound hurt..... to so many days of grace that I can not count them accurately.

For so long I was so hurt with Him.
For allowing the pain.... the abuse.... the hurt so deep that I wanted to die at times.
Why would we He do it? Why would He allow so much pain into one persons life?
I don't know......
And at times this question has caused me so much confusion that I have just crawled into my bed.... curled up in a ball, and wept.

I want to offer something....

A morsel of hope and truth.
I want to be more than just a past full of tragedy.
I want to be hope.
I want to offer the love that only comes from the One who loves me so much that He has gently begun to show me what He has felt as I've walked the rocky roads of my life.
An intimate look at the heart of my Father.
This is what He has been at work on for the past few years..... in my life..... and in my heart.

I didn't have a family who didn't care.
They have always loved me very much.
I want to make that clear.
I know that others can not stake a claim to that fact..... but I can.
It doesn't mean that any of us is perfect.
And unfortunately because of the wars of the flesh.... I suffered.

After my mom and dad's divorce I retreated into a place so far into myself that at times even now I have a hard time recollecting what happened when.
I have snap shots of memory...... postmarks of events.

My dad left my mom and I immediately following the birth of my little brother.
My brother almost died.... and my mom went into such a deep depression and fell deathly ill that it threatened my only secure anchor.

I remember visiting my mom.
She looked so sick.... and so sad.
I went back and forth between my grandmas and aunts.
I don't remember a whole lot about those moments.
I just remember the tangible feeling of utter fear.
An enemy that to this day has tried and fought hard to capture me.

My dad was gone.

I was abandoned and lost.

I used to cry... a lot.
But by myself.
I knew that I couldn't let my mommy see the tears.
She was already so sad.
I used to gaze at my brother after they finally brought him home..... just stare.
I felt this pull to protect..... to save.
To be there for him.... and not let go.
It created a bond that we share to this day.
Deeper than most brother / sister relationships.
People have told me that they envy our ability to be there for each other no matter what... no matter how angry we get.... or how disappointed when we have failed the other.
I made a promise....
And I stand by it to this day.
But no one knows the pain that caused the relationship we share.
No one has ever really dug that deep.....
Because I have only allowed what I have wanted to be seen.

Until now.

My dad dated off and on after the divorce. He eventually ended up with the woman that helped rip our family apart.
I have often wondered how you can be okay with that.
With the knowing that you have destroyed some ones life and existence?
How you can face your reflection every day in the mirror...... I guess some people just do.
But deep down I have learned that not even they... who pretend to be okay with it, ever really are.
It changes and impacts you.
For the victim, it either destroys you and makes you into something you were never meant to be.... or it builds you up into the person who can overcome anything thrown your way.
For the other..... the offender.... well, I guess the possibilities are endless.
I know my father has lived with the guilt and pain of knowing what he did and what his choices caused that it kept him entangled and robbed for so much of his life.....
Until the day he let Jesus rescue him.

But I am jumping ahead.....

No matter how much time has passed and no matter how long the scars have been visible, I am amazed at the minds ability to bring forth that which happened so long ago.
Although it may not seem so right now, I am thankful for the scars.
They remind me of where I was.... where I have been.... and where I am headed.

Those days of long ago are a reminder to me now.
Yes.... not a reminder of all things good.... but intwined in the pain are moments of profound joy.
This is where my Heavenly Father was.
And although so many of those moments were the dreaming of a small child.... I know now that they were His gift to me.
I am today deeply touched and moved by that love.
It has begun to open up parts of me that I slammed closed so long ago.

I feel as though sunlight has begun to shine in on the dusty and forgotten rooms of my heart.

So much to clean up..... and so much to rediscover.
I feel so young when I step into these rooms..... just three years old.

And my heart has begun to remember.......

..... until another tomorrow.


"The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness."

Jeremiah 31:3

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beginning of Perfection....

I'm not perfect.

That may seem like such a stupid thing to say.....

But let me explain.

As far back as I can remember I have had an expectation of perfection over my life.
Whether it be by the those around me who put that expectation on me... or myself, wanting to be perfect and thinking that I have to be.

It started so long ago......

When I was three and a half I can remember being told that I was to take care of my brother.
He was a baby then.
I don't believe that when it was spoken to me that it was meant in a literal sense, but in the way of "look out for" your brother.
My mom and dad were in the middle of an ugly divorce and we were being carted back and forth.
From family to strangers.
I can recall so clearly the first time that I felt the feeling that I had failed to be perfect.

It was a day like most back then.
Chaotic and confusing to my childlike mind.
My mom was going out on a date.
I was unsure as how to deal with all the emotion that this brought on me.
Where was my daddy? And why were we being left with this lady that I didn't know and somehow knew could not be trusted?
My mom was hurting and I'm sure feeling the weight of all that she herself was going through at that moment.
I can't fault her for wanting to get away for awhile.
As an adult I have felt that very feeling often when faced with overwhelming circumstances.
Unfortunately for me, it had a heartbreaking outcome.

I just remember my brother crying. And my mom was gone.
He was so little and I felt very protective toward him.
I wanted to help. I wanted to comfort him..... hold him and assure him that all was okay.
Even though I knew that it wasn't.
My thoughts for one so young were not the norm. They never have been.

But our lady babysitter didn't want me to help.
She didn't want me around at all. I knew this. I had begged my mom not to go. I knew this woman didn't love me. I knew that she would hurt me if given the chance.

I was a deeply emotional and hurting child.
Tantrums were a common response for me at that time followed by holding my breath and passing out when I felt everything spinning out of control.
So.... when I carried on I was often ignored. Not because they didn't love me, but because they felt as helpless and I did.

I began to get angry. At my mom.... and at this woman who was not my mom.
He was my brother.
How dare this stranger think that she could keep him from me.
I screamed..... and I fought....... it was the natural reaction that I can still feel so
strongly even today.......
The same emotion that rises up in me when I find myself in the midst of an unjust situation.

She locked me in the closet.

I am amazed at times that I can still remember so many things from my childhood with such clarity and depth of feeling..... but I can.
Like it was yesterday.

Being pushed in while kicking and screaming.
The fear of what she was going to do to me.
It was dark.
I was afraid of the dark.
I screamed and yelled.
I beat my little fists against the door until they stung.
I fought like that until my throat hurt and my body was racked with the sobs.
I was alone.
She left me there until she heard my moms cry pull into the driveway.
She threatened that if I told that she would kill my mom.
And although so many other thoughts should have taken precedence at that moment.....
the one that rose above all the others was this;

"You failed. It was your job to protect your brother..... and you failed."

I was three.
So young.
But the enemy of my soul didn't care how old I was.
He knew I understood what that meant.
My little three year old heart understood what it meant to be let down.
I was being let down every day.
I didn't want to be like all the grown ups around me.
I wanted the world to be right.... and not so out of control.
I wanted it to be different.
I wanted it to be perfect.
I thought that if I was perfect everything else would follow.

But I wasn't.......

And the world didn't.....

But that day began a journey for me that continued all the way through my youth, adolescence, and adult life.

It wasn't just about the control.
Although that is what it grew up to be.
Trying to control everything around me and spiraling into despair when I couldn't do it.
Trying to keep everything perfect...... controlled....... and right.
I have fought against wrong almost my entire life.

And then add to that the others who picked up my perfectionist tendencies.
It became the standard.
And when I failed to produce perfection I received great disappointment.
From myself, and those around me.
I was reprimanded and told to do better.

I loved school back then. It was one of the few things I looked forward to.
I got to escape.
I often played alone.
Other kids thought I was odd.
I lived in a make believe world created by myself, far better than my own.
I was often shunned and made fun of.
I continued to be an outcast..... and unacceptable.
I tried not to care..... I tried to just sit at recess and make up my make believe stories.
I created my own friends.
Ones that loved me.... accepted me. And believed in me.
But I was still very much alone.

It is then that I began to read.
A whole world opened up to me.
It became my escape......
From life, from hurt, and from fear.
It was perfect.

I struggled in my studies.
I was not the smartest kid in class.
And I realized early on that this was an area that no one really paid much attention to.
It wasn't as important as paying bills, getting jobs, and putting food on the table......
So I decided to fail.
I decided that it would be okay not to be perfect in this one area.
It felt good.
To let go and not have to be perfect at this one thing.
But I deceived myself into thinking that I was okay with it.
I began to feel inferior. Stupid. And like the dumbest kid in class.
I began to listen to the lies that I wasn't good enough, and couldn't do it.
Add to that a demeaning teacher or two, being the outcast among my pears, living in a very broken family, and you have a recipe for academic and personal disaster.......

I am going to stop there for now......
I am not done.
There is so much more to tell.
But the words can get tedious and the long-windedness mundane.
So I am going to stop for now.

For today.

For whatever reason I feel that God is calling me to share parts of my story......

I'm not sure how much he is going to ask of me.
But I know that for whatever that reason is.... He is calling me to begin it now.

So I begin.....
At the beginning of a life that has been transformed and redeemed so often that I often have feared that He will tire of rescuing me out of it.

But I know that He never will.

He has proven that over and over.
Again and again.

My hope is that His love and His mercy will shine brighter than all else in my life.

For His glory..... and hopefully resulting in healing and restoration.

Not perfect.....

But whole and complete.

.....until another tomorrow.


"Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (New Living Translation)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holding Out...

Life has been a bit busy......
Full and packed with plans, to do's, and running from here to there.
For the most part I have been content with this pace for right now.
It's keeps my mind occupied and wears me out so that I fall into bed every night ready for the sleep that I need.

When I am awake my mind is still going a million miles a minute, and I am thinking in story form more than ever.....

Imagining what my oldest child is doing right at that particular moment... imagining what she is experiencing and what exciting things God has yet in store for her.
Praying for my husband who is overworked and overwhelmed. Praising God for the gift of who he is my life.... the other half of me. And praying that I can be even half of the encourager for him that he is to me.
Thinking about ways to connect with my two younger children.... to meet them where they are at this very moment in time... and how to help them through the transitions and change that we are currently walking in.

In the midst of it all.... I have been very aware of my relationship with my heavenly Father.

And how easy it is to forget.....
Not in the way that I forget about Him or don't talk to Him or worship Him while driving in the car.... or shoot up those random prayers whenever they come to mind....
But in the way of intimacy.
Of taking the time to stop everything that I am doing and just being still.
Sitting at His feet and basking in who He is and who He continues to want to be in my life.

I have neglected this a bit while dealing with my deep emotions over my daughter, and with the fast pace of life that keeps on going even when I am ready for it all to just slow down.....
I realized the other night that I am solely responsible.
I am the only one who can make Him a priority..... shut down all the "stuff", and push away the clutter that will inevitably be there whether I acknowledge it or not.
The only one who can take the time, and allow Him to be more important than everything else that is screaming to be put first.

The simplicity of just sitting and soaking in worship and adoration......
In recalling His faithfulness, and remembering all the times that He has always been there to meet with me when I have chosen to come.

There is nothing like it......
Nothing like Him.
And although this may not seem like the deepest blog I've ever written it is what is in my heart right now... at this moment.
Just writing on my acknowledgment that He is worthy of our time..... of invading our space....
and making Him more important than all the other things that we deem more important seems more noteworthy than anything else I could say right now.

I am not the best at doing all that I should.... at making Him all that he should be.
But I do know that down deep where it matters most, I am always wanting more of Him in my life..... and so much less of what seems to try and crowd Him out.

Nothing else satisfies like God.
Nothing else can come close to His infinite and loving touch.

At my last women's retreat we were given a word.....
To not try and "fit" God into our schedules.... but to let Him submerge us into His life.

It has been what has been on my mind for the past few days...... what that means....
The ways that I need to allow Him to do that.... and how to be conscious of the ways that I am not.

There is nothing that I am going through or facing that is more important than Him.


It can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, because it is easy to allow life to overshadow Him.
It means laying aside my pride.... and what I "think" and giving Him full access to it all.
Acknowledging that He is bigger than any mountain and larger than any ocean.
Why do we so often think that we have to do everything on our own?
That that is what He expects of us to do?

It is in those moments that He wants to come in and show us how much bigger He really is.
How deep His love is for us that He would want to come into those tough situations and stand right in the middle of it all..... with you.
So often I can feel Him reach out to take hold of my hand.... and I can feel myself emotionally pulling away.
Whether it is fear, pride, or rebellion that prompts this response..... doesn't really matter.
It is my loss when I allow myself to respond to Him in this way.

His grip is stronger than any other.
His hold will not let me go when I can not stand.
His arms are able to hold not only me but all that I am holding onto.......

He is that good...
And that is why He is so deserving of what we should be giving Him.
Our time.... our lives..... and most importantly, our hearts.

It is all He really wants..... and we make it the hardest thing to give.

..... until another tomorrow.


"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

"But Moses said, "Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, 'I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!'22 Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?"

23 The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you." Numbers 11:21-23

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Settling in.......

It has been a few days now......
Five to be exact since we put our oldest child on a plain bound for parts unknown..... and a life that has the greatest potential for God to do the most amazing things.
The first few days were the hardest.
The missing and gut wrenching hurting that came and hit me unexpectedly.

And then there was the unexpected things that seemed to hit all of us..... like a wave.
My daughters living arrangements.... not being what we thought they were going to be, and not being what my husband or I were expecting for her.
The particulars and the practical. Things you don't give much thought to when you are used to providing them on a regular basis....... from home and not from across the globe.

And then there is the enemy.... always creeping. Always trying to find the smallest crack and opportunity to bring discouragement and discord.
But we are on to him..... and we have been prayerful.

My own emotions have seemed to have settled a bit.

I still miss my sweet daughters face as she enters my kitchen every morning accompanied by a hug and a, "Good morning mommy.", in her sweet voice reserved for me.
I still miss our late night talks with her laying across my bed, usually ending with my eyes slowly drifting closed.
I miss walking into her room and seeing her there reading her favorite book, or laying peacefully napping during one of her favorite past times.... sleep. And envying her for it.
I miss hearing her and her sister giggle from another room. Sharing in their secret making and heart sharing........
I miss so many things so much.
But I am learning to be happy..... in a very different way.

I am happy when I get to talk to her every day.
I love that she wants to see us as much as we want to see her.
My heart fills up with joy when she begins to share the particulars of her new life and the adventures that she is already partaking of.
I love more than anything the people that have already adopted her into their hearts. Showering her with love and feeling protective over her in a way that only speaks of God's hand in the whole thing altogether......
I love all of this.
And although I still have my moments..... and there has been wave after wave of the missing her so much......
I am reveling in the wake of it all.
The calming foamy water that washes up after the waves crash down.
The feeling of peace that God has graciously covered me in, overflowing and bubbling out.
Calming with it's rhythmic motion.

I am aware more than ever that I am an observer for now.
I get the privilege to watch her grow..... expand her wings.... and test her heights.
I get to participate in the joys.... and even the hurts even though we are far away.
The connection that we have.... the deep seeded heart connection, makes us feel just as close as if she were sitting right in front of me.

I am so thankful.
For the advancement of technology that makes our tenuous communication possible.
It has made this separation and letting go process a little easier.......
Day by day. And hour by hour.

Oh, I still miss her........
But we are both settling in.

Getting comfortable with this new life and season that God has brought us all to.
And like the changing of seasons I am trying my best to enjoy them........ every moment.
And not just my daughter's but the precious ones still right in front of me.....
Like the colors of fall.... vivid in their varying hews, and brilliant in the miracles that they represent.
The reds.... oranges.... browns.... and fading greens.
I feel as though I am standing under the most magnificent tree.
Sheltered and covered in it's beauty.
Silent and anticipating the whispering of the wind through it's branches.

All I can do is gaze...... take a deep breath in.... and out.
Feeling the surrounding of so much love.... and so many prayers.
Closing my eyes and turning my face upward.... capturing the sensation that comes with breathing deeply.

He is my covering. Mine and my families.

And I am beginning to allow myself to trust Him with that.....
Settling into it.... slowly......
But with the assurances I need so much every step of the way.
He is a good God.
A faithful God.
A good Father.
And right now...... I feel so loved.......

And covered.

His branches all encompassing....... no matter where we are.

..... until another tomorrow.


"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever." Psalm 52:8

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taking a Breath..... and Letting Go.

I have circled my computer for days.
Blank stare and trying to get up the courage to write what doesn't seem possible to put into words.
I have bottled up the emotions and pushed them down
as far as they will go.
But yesterday..... I was forced...... to let them run free.

It is to date the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.

As I held my oldest child in my arms and swallowed down the tears threatening to overwhelm me, I whispered words of encouragement and love in her ear.
She held on tighter and I tried not to cling too much.
And then it came..... the moment to step away.... and watch her ascend the stairs and take her first steps to independence. From me.... from her dad.... from all that is familiar, and from all that she knows and loves.
I stayed composed as she shot us a beaming smile and sent us an excited wave.
I waved back. And gave her my best "I am so proud of you" smile. I was so proud of myself and my complete composure.
I tried not to think about the months that will separate us. And I tried not to dwell on how long it will be until I get to hug her again.
I couldn't. I wouldn't...... not right then anyway.

As my husband, and my youngest children and I climbed back into the car I started to thaw.
The feelings and emotions that I had forcefully held at bay for the last few days began to win the battle over my will.
I began to feel them creeping up. Clogging my throat. I could feel them begin to gain momentum.
As I sat in the car on the drive home I let my eyes drift shut.
Flashes of her in the different stages of her life began to play across my memory.
As a baby. Placed in my arms for the very first time.
Her first smile. The same smile that lights up any room she's in and reminds you of what really matters.
Her pre-school teacher telling her dad and I that she was born to lead. She led her entire pre-school class in imaginary play every day.
Her independence from her peers. In almost every stage of her life.
Never caring what others think if it goes against what she knows to be right and true, having to line it up with the word of God. And although she knows that it will hurt, she has chosen to stand alone..... more than once.
Her love and mercy for the hurting, the outcast, and the broken in spirit.
These things have been evident in her since she was barely even able to form her words in complete sentences.
Every phase...... and favorite memories. One after the other in rapid succession. Every moment leading up to this very day.

And as I walked down the hall toward her room, I could feel my carefully rehearsed self control begin to slip..... and come crashing down.

I can't remember when the tears began.
I just know that all of sudden they were there. And they were coming in earnest.
The hurt and the ache started out slow and quickly escalated into a mind numbing and searing pain.
The sobs that seemed to come from someone else shook my entire body with their force.

I didn't know it would feel this way.
No one prepared me for this! This intense pain and feeling of separation.
I knew I would miss her......
I knew that her going away would create a chasm in our lives that has always been tightly woven and knit together.
But I didn't know that the pain would be so deep and the hole so large.
Un-fillable by anything I try to fill it up with trying to forget why I am feeling this way.

I have tried not to let on. To allow her to have her joy and focus on what is sure to be the one of the greatest adventures of her life.
But I let it slip today.......
My carefully placed mask of control that I had been feebly holding up.
All it took was telling her I love her......
I had to cover my mouth to cover the sob that was choking me.
I saw her face crumble on my screen and called myself every kind of fool.

And then I got it.....
The truth.

The truth is..... I do miss her. And she needed to know that.
I am happy for her.... but so sad for me.
I have lived my whole life in deference to others. Often denying myself the privilege of letting myself feel and being okay with it without beating myself up.
She knows this about me. She often has to remind me that my way of dealing with myself is not okay.
And I am hoping that in allowing her to know that she is this loved and this missed will hopefully motivate and move her forward.
To attempt the challenges that are set before her knowing that she is deeply cared for and fully supported by those who know her best and love her even more.
To believe in herself and the ability that God has given and equipped her with because we believe in her and see all that God has placed in her to share.

I know that this will be a process. For me. For her. For us both.

She continues to challenge me with her wisdom and strength.

Pushing me to push forward.
To attempt this challenge of one of the ultimate tests of my faith.
To believe in myself and the ability God has given me to live out His purposes for my own life as she is doing in hers.
Not allowing the missing and hurting to hinder that and get in the way. For either of us.

I am still smarting from the tear and rip of my heart.
I am still trying to force myself to deal with the the absence that following her calling has created.
And I have realized that letting go of anything we hold close is a day to day process.
But I am also learning that this letting go does not mean giving up.

It is more of a releasing..... and surrendering.
Believing that what God has done so far will pale in comparison with what He has in store for us all.

I have been holding on to this with all my might.
And while I stand here trying to make sense of it all I can feel myself once again......
Take a deep breath...... and let go.

Falling into the same hands that hold my daughter tight.
Taking comfort in the fact that we are both being held close to His heart with the most tenderest of care.

And Lord willing.... when we finally get to travel to where she is.... I already plan to be the first off the plain..... running headlong to wrap my mom arms around her and hold her face with those same hands that are holding her up every night before our God.

.... until another tomorrow.


"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go." Joshua 1:7

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9