A Call to Reflection

because, per usual, the right words are failing me.

and the media is flooding.

and death is trending.

and a life that brought so much “life” to all who watched his performances on screen is being widely “mourned”- and every one has an opinion– every one has words to say. or more likely,  t y p e d.

black and white. stark. and all fail- because none can fully comprehend what Mr. Williams was dealing with, what his thoughts were, or where he finds himself now. none of us are him. and if any could talk to him, that would mean they’d be dead too, so the point there is mute.

but i just feel the loss of life. a life that shouldn’t be lost, lost.

and here we go- because i have a problem, y’all.

a problem with internet and social media and every other way of communicating news being flooded by one death. One.

One tragic death. one to mourn and feel sad for the unnecessary loss of.

But there’s been be-headings of children. raping and killing of women. hanging of men. and the all of that has not been covered to the extent that one man’s death has been covered in the last TWO days. 

and i? Oh i’m guilty. i’m guilty of grabbing my exhaustion and burrowing deep inside my own meanderings in order to not look at what is actually going on in the rest of this whole world- because the fact is, it is absolutely grotesque. we could watch a movie about it. when it’s people pretending to die. but the actual process- we can’t look at it- perhaps because we feel helpless to do anything about it.

i tell myself i can’t stomach it. i have too many hormones coursing through this mom-of-three body of mine that pictures of children’s heads on spikes in a park would just crumble me right where i sit and i would lose all ability to function. the anger and grief would overwhelm me entirely.

so i remain slightly less involved in what is happening in another country- because i can’t handle it.

what can we possibly to do make the situation any better?

is that why we can all (myself included) so publicly mourn the loss of a great comedian and not the loss of all the other lives lost these last few weeks? Because upon waking and finding a man gone, we can grieve- knowing there wasn’t anything we could have done? or is it that we don’t feel compelled to change anything about our lives because of his death? so we can grieve freely and unburdened?

we will still flood people’s blog posts on his death with hateful comments. or we will criticize someone’s twitter feed. we don’t think we need to temper one single thought we send flying out into the inter-web. we don’t have a care if that would add further burden to another’s depression or struggle. we, humanity as a whole, has fallen into a pattern of not having much of any integrity when “publishing” our thoughts for all to read.

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sometimes we don’t even care if we hurt, offend, or dare i say speak actual truth. a lot of the time we press “enter” with no accountability or second thought.

there is death. there is unjust death. there is uncalled for death. too young death. “so much life left to live,” death. murder. suicide.

when all that seems possible for an average person to do is sign petitions.

and pray.

the screaming of our guts-all-out -prayers that rip from the deepest depths of us when we allow ourselves to fully feel the enormity of the injustice and crimes against humanity being perpetrated today.

this week.

last week.

and the longing to do MORE.

yes, i feel that too.

so what if every human being alive today were to come to the realization that every other person is also HUMAN? That we are equals in that, if nothing else… which means that we, the all of us are  I M A G E.  B E A R E R S.  of.  GOD.

and, because of that, we have a responsibility.

to advocate for justice.

“Mishpat, then, is giving people what they are due, whether punishment or protection or care.

Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor—those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.”

The mishpat, or justness, of a society, according to the Bible, is evaluated by how it treats these groups. Any neglect shown to the needs of the members of this quartet is not called merely a lack of mercy or charity but a violation of justice, of mishpat. God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice.”

Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else.

When these two words, tzadeqah and mishpat, are tied together, as they are over three dozen times, the English expression that best conveys the meaning is “social justice.”

We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable

we are called to be reflections of Christ. not sit placidly on the sidelines witnessing the media.

and to view each life as equal.

so mourn death.

and advocate for justice.

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God. – Micah 6:8

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What IF: we became a generation willing to suffer…

So- What IF?

what if every single person cared so much about every. other. person. in this world and those to come that they wanted to come along side the poor. the hungry. the homeless. the orphaned

 and gather everyone up into this same. standard. of. living: 

…mentally?

…physically? 

spiritually?

when it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven- and maybe that man is in reference to us? – that the standard of life we live here in first world countries is considered the wealthiest in the world-

and, yes, that does in fact make us the “rich” of the world. 

And then does it start? Those immediate defenses that spring like geysers – those mental images of that handful or group of others who have more or do more or spend more than you ever could or would or do– spring to mind?

and that makes you any. less. wealthy. ? 

And what if wealth had no actual meaning in regards to earthly endeavors and possessions but solely those that are for eternity and His glory? … And are we wealthy then?

Are we being the true last?

Are we serving the orphaned?

… the widowed?

… the sick?

… the lost

And when the preacher is standing at the pulpit on Sunday morning and your blood starts to surge through all of those depths, because just YES that is where you want to go- those unreached people groups– that your heart is so pulled for that that you end up ignoring the fact that you are where you are in this season for this time- that His reason for keeping you somewhere will be the same as His reason for sending you over oceans.

That calling to live the Gospel- waiting until His plan and timing reaches utmost perfection– and you may just board that plane with a solitary one-way ticket – the lost just as much there as they are here. 

And we are living in His timing now

And if God provides all the needs for His people, why do we not see ourselves as being a part of His body as a provision?

That He has provided us to do His work.

That His work may in fact be something that puts us right in the middle of suffering?- 

That despite the friend, the parent, or even the stranger who looks at the sacrifices and the sufferings of your life and declares “Enough!” – they are in fact not God? – That you are in fact NOT here to do their will, but rather you are here to do His will and obey His commands? 

And oh are we missing this!

For those who look at the orphan crisis, human trafficking, or even just the general third world conditions that exist today- and sit back, “broken hearted” and. do. nothing.- 

 

My son recently opened a fortune cookie. Delighting in ever crisp piece he placed between his lips- humming to himself that song of lovely contentment…. when he handed me the little rolled up white piece of paper.

Tiny printed black words, which I was expecting would read something along the lines of: 

“Fame and fortune will soon be yours.” 

“Something lost will soon be found.” 

“The sun always shines after the downpour.” 

“The star of riches is shining on you.” 

But instead read:

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions.”

After researching this fortune I discovered it to be a Margaret Thatcher quote, the second part of which is “He had money too.” But we do have wealth, in abundance, both in the Gospel and in this first world life-style of ours! … so what is our excuse for not #endingitALL –

All the abortions?

the deaths

the lies?

the poverty?

the starvation?

the sickness

the thirst

the abandments?

the slavery?

the brokenness?

the abusing?

the unreached

So how do we sit here, in our air conditioned 21st century lives, and be just plum okay with Satan having a freaking playdate with all the lives of all the lost? 

And what if we weren’t

What if we lived, actually lived, the Gospel?

What if we lived in submission to God’s will for our lives, instead of our loved ones’ wills for our lives?

What if we up and stopped trying to please others and rather focused solely on pleasing Him?

What if we actually loved the Gospel so much we were willing to suffer for it?

What if we did something to #enditALL that required more from us than just clickinglike?”

 

IF. & then, what?

I look in the mirror, and it’s there.

Stark. and red. And blaring.

from tens of different spots of imperfectness staring back at me declaring hotly, “not. Good. Enough.”

Ugly.

Unworthy.

the little voice inside, it taunts,

Hide your skin under layers of makeup.

Go ahead and bury your soul right there as well.

Don’t let anyone see the flaws… because then… that’s all they will see.

Wear the mask that best fits in with this world so that you can blend and merge and just right lose yourself in the all of its rush.”

 

Don’t stand out.

Don’t be different.

Don’t stand up.

Don’t speak out.

Don’t feel too deeply.

 

Because when you start to Love as Christ Loved it’s going to right Hurt real.

It’s going to Cost something.

It’s going to cost you…. every. thing.

 

I feel it when people say, “you have enough,” … “enough children,” “You’re busy enough,”

… that what they are really saying is, “you are not enough,” “you don’t have room for another child,” “There are others who can bring an orphan into their homes and be better than you could ever be,” “you don’t have the resources to support any other body outside of those living under your roof already…”

These dreams and desires of yours are too outrageous, too unconventional, too costly.

 

That there’s no way this vision seeded deep within is God-given.

 

And maybe that’s not what they mean?

 

That we have these places and dreams and ideals… and while I am going into the end of my twenty-fifth year of life does it seem ridiculously ludicrous to some?

That a child who is probably yet to be born is growing in my heart so ferociously loved?

That I know her name, and cry over her?

That I yearn for her?

 

And the truth is: the exhaustion of today is. real. 

The tired, and sensitivity, and what is wrong with all these hormones all coursing rampant within me?

And the sickness? The one they draw blood for and can’t give answers to?

And so am I just supposed to up and give in and be done with the desiring and striving?

 

Victor Frankl said, “The root of anxiety is unfulfilled responsibility,”

And is this new surge of anxiety-strained nights the result of just that?

 

If God has seeded us with a vision- we can do it, in Christ. There is nothing we cannot do. Nowhere we cannot go. You just have to play your one note, and I will play mine. And together we will play a song that sounds like FREEDOM to the captives.”

Jen Hatmaker, IF:Gathering

 

And everyone says that I have enough… so then why do I feel this immense tugging on my heart for more?

To do more. To love more. To serve more. To empty myself utterly and completely? To just up and right SACRIFICE?

 

To redefine “comfort zone” to being in the presence of the Comforter.

To Love as Passionately as Christ, for the people of this world– and, as Ann Voskamp pointed out this weekend, the original meaning of “Passion” is “To suffer. (i.e.)- being willing to suffer for who you love.”

 

So what then should I give, do, relinquish, become a part of? … if it means even one person is saved? One person is no longer hungry? One person is no longer in sex trafficking? One person is no longer orphaned?

 

And you may think that’s hormones, but I’ve cried out the very depths of my dried up self over the orphaned and the gendercide and the evil of the selling of flesh as a commodity.

 

So if,

Calling is nothing more than when your talents and burdens collide.”

and if,

burden is informed by the life you’ve lived- by what has broken your heart,”

(Rebekah Lyons, IF:Gathering)

why then, when a person has clarity in this, do we not Champion them on?

Why do we not encourage, and run with, and lift up hands on their behalf?

Why not revive each other?

Why not empower one another?

To intercede for, and dream with, and just get completely ecstatically amazed over the work that God is building up for them to do…

In order for His Name to be made known… And His love to be shown

Across. The. Nations.

 

I have this pressing sense of urgent desire

An overwhelming, anxiety inducing, urgency deep within the marrow of me

To. Do. More.

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… what IF we became a generation of women who live like our God really is really REAL?

entry twenty four

it’s the black and the white of the world and the do’s and don’t’s and should’s and shouldn’t’s all begin to stop making perfect sense all of a sudden. and how and why the stress of something fleeting can fill up the mind and burst from the mouth?

why the tired of the day yields to the exhaustion of the constant and comes out all anger and ugly? why women need more sleep than men? or we’ll get mean. when the hunger sneaks up through the midst of perfect child chaotic mess of a day,

and the ugly

it.  just.  retches.  itself.  all.  out.

before it can be swallowed back?

when there’s so much love and yet none at all– and the thought of no longer hearing the tantrums and the tired sits okay enough within that the thought of leaving it all behind doesn’t seem horrid but pulls pleasant?

and you, you thought you were made for motherhood but all that fills you is resounding failure. that at the end of the day, what was it that was accomplished that won’t need repetition the very next day?

And tens of thousands of times after

and it all wears thin.

and naming the grace gifts have been far from me. held off at arms length.

the race pulls at me and all i look for is the ending and the gentle soothe of knowing it is all over and i am all done. and the wanting that it won’t come fast enough.

and i am at loss.

for the desire may be good, the looking for the eternal, but it’s in such a desperation that it leaves all loathe for the place i find myself in … the here. and the now.

and how is that glorifying? and do i even care?

i want to whisper the thought – has my heart become so tired that it too has turned to all ugly? 

can i not wake long enough to name the grace that surrounds and abounds.

infant child “nu nu” sounds

young son’s desires to be as big brother

big brother desires to be baby once more

and the thought process there… oh son… you too will grow… and growth is an awfully big adventure. and sometimes it may feel all awful, that’s true. but the grace, it’s here, son. and the joy that comes from fully giving of a thanks that fully fills… to experience that, son. I pray you will live the majority of your life experiencing such a joy.

but that means you have to continue to grow. and the growth will be good. it will be hard. and it will end good.

our flesh is incredibly weak, child. and the pull of this world is wickedly sweet. but bypass the happiness to find the joy, you will find no regret there.

and here, when the desire for sleep leads to the demanding for rest and when respite is refused… to name grace. and when this feels like the hardest thing, to give thanks for the exhaustion. to give thanks for the crying. to give thanks for the never ceasing constant serving cycle of the day.

and maybe it’s time to rewrite the black and the white according to the serving of Christ that does not make the perfect of sense to the outside looking in.

-and to be okay when it’s met with the backhanded whispers and the shaking of Miss Manner’s head.

-when entertaining people may be bringing them into the realness of what is instead of a facade of something that’s all together perfect tidy.

-to fully relinquish that which causes stress and to realign priorities.

for the   eternal.   to.   matter.   more.  than the clutter that will burn and fade to nothing. 

 

entry twenty three

And the eyes ache. And the human patience has its limitations. And when eyes are pushed, and patience trembles, and all inside wants to shout out and curl into tiny quiet places- because does a woman ever have just one emotion?

and it’s all right about to be ruined.

It feels like dropping a ball over and over and over and over again… and the ferocity of it all makes me want to pick up each of these orbs and instead of catching them one. more. time. … just throw them like hot potatoes as far and fast away from my nervous system as is humanly possible.

because it hurts.

there is ache and exhaustion and a constant state of servanthood is not an easy supplication.

and the cry of my heart is to be as Christ like as possible… and with the opportunity to give all of myself on a daily basis, here I am wanting to run for the hills.

To be Maria on the mountain top once more- and to think she never would have come down if she had only known she would end up being a mother to seven.

And children are blessings? And everything for good?

And the baby screams instead of accepting sleep, and screams for days. and weeks follow slow. and this is blessed?

I sit mother over child. I stand and sway the unable-to-be-soothed-babe against my chest, and hold tight when it hits hard. For my mother heart knows the eyes need rest, and the body is weak and it is weary, but the boy-full-of-sobs doesn’t understand and he builds up defiance deep within his lung fibers, releasing bellows of indignation right to my face.

And how often do I scream at God? I am pleading for something I am not receiving, and does He not hear? And how as Father does He not just silence it all right then and there? For we are but children, and are unaware of what it is He is preparing us for, of how He is trying to give us exactly what we need in this present time… And in that black pit of the depth of my heart, am I sitting here thinking i know better?

“Shhhh” is the sound I give to my child. Eyes red and swollen, circles formed deep underneath. And more often than not I believe are faces bear similar markings of just right exhaustion. Or maybe we are fighting against the thing we need most. When we cocoon within our own commiserating and refuse to let in the light which might just warm us through to the very tips of our being…

the holding of grudges, the withholding of grace. forgiveness. thanks. we deny joy, and cling to the rot of our own misery. And we stand against the Father and declare we know better. And it all, all of defiance, may in fact sound like a tired defiant infant child.

And then thankfulness may fill up the heart and overflow out the mouth for the realization that the perfect Father is the one standing over this time- this life- and He. is. Patience.

Just as we want to give our children every good and beautiful thing- He gives us all good- all of Him– for all of us, and of that good there will always be enough.

And the baby quiets, the sleep-suckling takes over, and there is grace. and He is here. And we can rest in Him.

entry twenty two

Just watched this video.

And it brings the topic to my heart that catches in my throat and threatens to drain me of all physical and emotional strength. To watch that and not feel emotion… I don’t think it’s possible. Then to realize that this child’s life was birthed into this world when he was in his second trimester of life- still within his mother’s womb… and how children’s lives are ending so violently… at this same age and earlier.

by choice.

How we the church don’t seem to be doing enough to stand against this?

We are beginning to hear the call of the orphan and that of the poor. The widow. Those fatherless many. The street kids. Maybe it’s an easier call to answer because there is always someone to give money to who will then go forth and love on these who so desperately need it.

Maybe we don’t know where to step in.

So we may occasionally line an abortion center.

And shout out in masses for a few days.

 

Or stand in a prayer line.

But does anything really change in our day to day knowing that human. lives. are. ending. in the thousands. on a daily basis?

It’s where my heart strings knot. Blood pulses fast. Runs right ice cold. And muscles tremble.

As I feel as though I am not enough. The cries to God and the clawing desperate of the throat for this to just right this world upended and end this all. That I so desperately long for a switch to flip to just stop this mass genocide going on in our cities. in our country. on our continent. in our world.

Is the church failing? Why do pregnant women choose this?

Is it because we are “promised” a life that we can have and be whatever we want? The shows and books and magazines and articles that blind the soul as they proclaim a person can succeed– and we live our lives by the world’s definition of success? To have laid out before you everything you have been promised- but a life comes in and messes up the “perfect”, so it becomes a choice?

What if we revolutionized the definition of success? And we took the excess out of its entirety?

What if we let our children realize just how true it actually is that giving is so infinitely better than getting? To hold onto the blessedness that comes with dying of ourselves…

And why does it seem so contrary to cultural beliefs to realize that, when faced at a crossroads of a life you desire to live verses another life desiring to continue to live– how    b  l  e  s  s  e  d    that experience will be?

and how exceedingly full of pure refreshing joy to-serve-of-us truly is – if we could just show that to others – to teach that to our children and the generations being raised up…

If we could emphasize – because we actually believed – that the conception of a child is a wondrously glorious blessing- absolutely regardless of circumstance– That yes, there is more pain and more suffering if a person chooses to have such intimate relationship (to enter into sin) with one they are not in a covenant relationship with – and how a child’s life is never a sin.

If we taught our children to protect their purity of hearts and their love for others- if when a relationship involving premarital intimacy is discovered we would be saddened and upset by. the. action. of. intercourse. infinitely more than we are concerned if they are being “safe” – because what message is that sending to their child-minds? And what is the true take away there?

-I actually have yet to hear of a girl who gets pregnant in a Christian home where the parents don’t emphasize the fact that obviously the daughter wasn’t being “safe” enough because look what happened- which. is. not. the. sin. the baby is not the sin. But is that what is being taught in the church?

Why does the one innocent in this time receive all of the disdain?

If no woman ever felt shame for carrying a life within herself…

If the church – the city – the country – the continent – the world – could rise up as one and stand for our humanity.

Something so precious.

So sacred.

I have so many thoughts on this – and every paragraph can be formed into at least a chapter of a book – and maybe those pages need to be filled.

But can we start to teach our children differently? Can we see sin as sin – and a child’s life (no matter the circumstance of conception) as the exact opposite of that? Is it possible to separate the two when we talk to our children?

It’s time to stop living each day with a refusal to fully acknowledge what is going on in the here and now. You’ve read about genocides in your history books. This is so much bigger. And it’s right down the street. It’s within miles of the Church.

 

And it needs to be over.

It is time for every child to be given the gift of life. And for every mother to feel the blessing of her newborn’s skin nestled safe against her chest. As the child falls asleep to the sound of mommy’s beating heart.

A life is a life no matter how small- and if you believe God is the Creator of all- Who made us to be the salt of the earth- can we not be warriors for each child’s birth? 

 

*disclaimer note- in case it is not clear- I do believe that premarital sex is a sin. Having experienced it first hand I am a huge advocate of choosing to wait until being one with your spouse. But that being said, all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. And if this is an area where you have sinned, are sinning, there is forgiveness at the cross. Just as there is for every sin committed by any person. My argument here is that when a person becomes pregnant as a result of premarital intercourse- the two acts are looked at as sinful, and there doesn’t seem to be a true and honest separation between the act of premarital sex – the sin- from the conception of life – not sin. 

entry nineteen

A small step towards healing a huge hurt… and it starts with this. And being able to listen to events take place at a school – and hearing a story that bears similar wounds as my own.

And being able to respond with these words.

And my heart.

And to those who have been here, or are here, or heaven forbid will find themselves here…

This, for the parent. This, to help you.

This, for you.

 

Your world has been turned on its axis. The ground has slipped away into a black hole beneath your feet and you aren’t sure if solid ground is ever really coming back. Every cog in your brain is turning at full speed to try to make sense out of something, to try to put reason into this situation, and to most likely attempt to justify by denial that this is actually happening.

And yeah, I’ve been there. And those worse case scenarios that your parent mind plays out, one of those may have come about in your own household, and every single fiber of your love-strong-sacrifice-ridden-bleeding heart is being torn into one. thousand. million. pieces.

And I try to imagine what that must be like. And you are trying to wrap your understanding around this, and trying to see how a man who earned your trust (and dare I say your love) so easily- effortlessly even- could be capable of doing harm to one of your own…. It is inconceivable.

Oh, dear friend, my heart aches- because, true as that may be, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

And so as you sit and read this, or listen to this, you may be trying to take the next step in this horrendous ordeal, and you may very well be asking yourself, “What do I say to my child? How do I talk to them? How do they talk to me?” And I get it. It’s uncomfortable. It may make your stomach knot, your hands shake, and your mind turn to blank slate status.

(And that’s why I’m sitting at my table amidst chaos of child crazy to write this to you.)

Because at this point you most likely know the statistics, and you are probably going through all the “would’ve,” “should’ve,” and “could haves” that go Speed Racer through your thoughts. As it becomes more real you’ll look for blame and you’ll feel white hot anger that seers your blood and scares your soul.

And what about your child?

And, like I’ve said, I’ve been there.

Not where you are.

But where they are…

And maybe you need this tonight…

 

Dear mom, dear dad, dear guardian,

I’m confused.

A surge of emotions is coursing through this hormonal crazed body of mine – and adding to all of the thoughts and doubts and uncertainties that this world is already hurtling at me faster than I can sort through and swallow.

Shame flushes my cheeks and quiets my voice, and trust is something so broken within me I can’t speak a word even if I could somehow make sense of it all.

So here I am looking to you.

And you may go meet with a counselor and urge me to do the same- because suddenly so much has started to make some sort of sense to you- and I’m glad you are taking this seriously.

and it means so much to this battered and bruised heart of mine that you care enough to pursue all out the best way to handle my brokenness.

but going to see a stranger scares me right to hollow depths, because I can’t trust a single new face right now.

But I trust you.

The embarrassment brings shame, and there are things this child-growing-into-adult body of mine should still be ignorant of. And now I wish it was. But I can’t tell you that– I see the fear written plain across your face, and I know you feel hurt by a man you welcomed into your heart (and possibly our home.)

I wish you knew, despite whatever words are in my mouth, that I don’t blame you.

I need you to know that I am scared right to my core that you blame me. – And that this weighs elephant-heavy on my chest and crushes me right through.

Can you tell me honestly that the fault here is not mine? Not in any part?

Can you just hold me close when words fail you?

Don’t act like nothing has happened and that this is something to sweep under the rug- because I need to know that when I’m ready, whenever that may be, that I can talk to you.

That you aren’t afraid to hear me.

That you want to talk to me.- yeah, that. I need to know that.

Will you listen to me when I don’t speak a sound?

Invest in time with me and give me the opportunity to come to you?

Will you let me know that however much you may have cared for him, you care for me infinitely and un-matchedly more?

I’m sorry I can’t say everything right now. There’s too much I can’t put into words, and the flush in my cheeks and the fire in my veins (those flames of hate), makes it so I can’t say everything I need to.

Not now.

But sometime…. Sometime I want to talk to you about all of this.

But I see you are hurting. And I know your confusion. And I am child born from your flesh and the whole of my being aches right raw to think of causing you pain by telling you all there is to tell.

I am the child you bounced on your knee.

You curled my hair. And read me stories. We sang songs and laughed and we have caused each other hurts.

But this?  This is hard to tell. For this will be deep sorrow that will stain profound.

This will cause you pain, and I can’t say sorry at the end of it. There’s nothing for me to apologize for. I’m not used to sharing a pain with you and for there to be no fix.

But maybe we could walk through this together?

And don’t allow me to be complacent and victimize myself, but help me to move past this time. And make sure you continue to move through this time as well.

But don’t forget that this is now a part of my story, and this will shape who I become. And don’t worry, it will be good.

And yes, I will need counseling. A lot of it. And you can help. My certificate of birth you were given by the nurse the day you labored hard and bore me into this world licenses you to do just that. You can help counsel my heart and mind and bring me to a place where I can trust.

But here’s the most important thing, and it will be so hard for you to do.

Abandon yourself at the Cross. And open yourself entirely to Him. He has a plan in all of this. Point me to Him, while kneeling right alongside of me…

And let us find Peace,

Receive Grace,

And Seek Joy

Together and for each other.

sixteen

cancer.

the word reverberates throughout my entire being. shakes me to the core. like a toxic waste turned skipping stone. like an ocean with an oil leak that stretches vast, and stretches thin those that go to clean the waters.

one word, and it’s a battle.

one diagnosis. and it’s time to fight.

he is the epitome of health. he never gets sick. not really.

doesn’t smoke. doesn’t drink copiously. he even stopped drinking sodas when he was a teenager. (seriously, who does that?) my dad.

he pays attention to what he eats. and, yes, sometimes that means a slice of cheesecake and an egg for breakfast. (but really, what’s wrong with that?)

he exercises. he drinks water. (and he’ll tell you to drink until you have to pee… and then drink some more.) he considers it the best medicine for most anything. – if it doesn’t work, try Windex.

he has taken dance lessons with my mom. and pilot lessons (for flying planes) with me.

he taught me to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Houston. and kept at it as i continued to fall over the uprooted and horridly cracked surface of the concrete.

and i learned. eventually.

he never used shame as punishment. because a look of hurt would hit harder than any form of reprimand- and its affects would last the longest.

he rides horses and bikes (but we all know which is better).

climbs fourteen thousand foot peaks.

sails oceans.

and loves toyota land cruisers.

a part of him is at home on the oceans and another part lives in the mountain ranges.

he sings. jimmy buffet and gary p. nunn. but he loves to abandon himself in worship before the footstool of the King. and who wouldn’t love that in a man?

he knows humility, and understands the folly of pride.

he’ll wake early to steep his soul deep in the Scriptures.

spends intentional time in prayer.

he doesn’t raise his voice in anger. not in all the twenty-four short years I have known him.

and, i could go on.

give me hours, and i could put down attribute after attribute describing the man God has blessed me with as my earthly father.

but how does child take care of parent? and what words of comfort or guidance can be offered from the offspring? and what is my place in all of this?

i am daughter. and sister. but also wife. and mother.

and what is my place in each of these roles?

and how do i trust?

and what do i pray?

cancer. 

so it’s time to fight. to arm the sentries.

let’s,

“hop to it johnny hewitt.”

this chapter is just beginning.

fifteen

It’s happened two times; two times since I became an adult, since I reached this age of independence and self-sufficiency… it has happened twice. When the phone rings and knocks the breath clean out of my lungs. And to breathe feels like drowning. And to communicate the shock is near impossible for the words are thick and weighted deep in the heart and the blood rushes faster than ever, but thought becomes sluggish and is never birthed forth into spoken word.

And it’s a feeling of helplessness.

Of out of my hands and out of my control.

And I cannot even be there to bear witness.

Or to comfort my own selfish heart.

To hold his hands or to see him hold is second grandson for the first time… because that hasn’t happened yet. My son is one month old, and has never been held by his grandfather. And that makes the tears pile behind closed lids. The water gathers and I swallow it back. Because crying won’t help anything. It’ll just wake the reflux filled infant sleeping in a basket at my feet. And tears don’t cure cancer.

I wish they did though. Because I can do that. I can cry.

I can pray. But I think I can cry better. And I can be desperate and sleep deprived and unable to put thought into words.

But oh, I could cry. And if tears could heal we’d all be well.

Now I crave to know every medical term in the books, and even the ones that haven’t made it to text yet. To fully understand and comprehend just how bad everything is. Because the internet makes everything appear death, and the doctors make everything appear controllable, and I won’t know the difference. I wish I could understand. but I don’t. I just don’t. My mind is fuzzy and my words empty. (And only partly because I am a mother of three children three years of age and under.)

The other part, the main part, is that in the midst of crisis I process slow.

Looking back to the first time I had gotten a phone call that shook me to the core- to when my little brother had been diagnosed with two brain aneurysms- one as large as a golfball– and I was in this same city, hours away from my family. I wish I had been there more but honestly I feel like my time in that hospital was a blur of pointless – I let things  happen around me and didn’t even try to understand. It’s what helpless looks like. But at least I could be there.

Seated. hands open. desperate to grab hold of anything and everything, unable to touch a single thing. and the rush of the ones in the coats with the knowledge who God has placed in the situation are so busy acting that they cannot fully explain to my confused and chaotic brain.

And here I sit again. Helpless. As my father walks into the unknown with the rest of my family beside him- I sit in this other city. Aware of what is happening by what I receive over a telephone.

And here it is. It’s come. The hard eucharisteo. And do I thank Him? And can I name it? And how does anyone find the joy in the times such as these?

My elocution is lacking. My words are far from beautiful.

So here it is. Written down in black and white. And I am in the midst of walking through it. And God is in the midst of it all.

Eucharisteo.

entry one

I sit. The soothing music from Ann’s blog, “A Holy Experience,” washes over me and soothes. I love reading her posts, her words have a warming feel- like the reading of a letter from one’s dearest friend.

Pain shoots through my ever-growing abdomen, and the life inside me adds to the discomfort by kicking out against the walls of flesh and blood that confine and protect and nourish him. My three year old son sniffles and coughs from the adjacent room as his tininess fights a viral infection- and I feel complete and utter helplessness wash over my worn body. The knowledge that his life is not in my hands- his comfort- I cannot provide his every need. This truth wears at me.

My nerves grind and blood pulses fast. The crying won’t stop. The pains. The exhaustion. The stress of debt constantly calling. Finances get lost in the mommy, pregnancy, sleep-deprived head on these shoulders. Conversations never happen that should. Expectations and disappointments. Surgeries and uncertainties.

A car to fit our constant growing family. Paint to freshen bedroom walls.

Loud Footsteps.

And I want to scream. To release something pent up inside. I envy the balloon that is able to shoot through the room as it releases the air that makes it bulge to just before breaking. I raise my voice at the kids or make angry on my face, and then feel as though I have failed. Everything I am doing wrong- the culmination. But I’m tired and they’re sick. I’m sick and they’re tired.

I take pictures to capture, to freeze in space for all time, those moments in which I find traces of perfection. And I realize I expect a picture perfect life. Looking through others’ life catalogues, their frozen perfects, I feel as though they are accomplishing this life. And I have failed.

To put up framed glimpses of

Calm. Happy. Peace. Joy. Love. Simplicity. Beauty.

All together in a never ending flipbook. And I am so ridiculous as to think that’s what everyone has but me.

And when I just want to cry or escape I feel shallow- that what grates at me and forces my jaws to grind bone against bone, is, in all actuality, a fleeting moment in this life. And it’s not worth the stress.

But how to handle responsibility without stress? To hold to Truth, and live each day to its fullest? To live out an example for my children to follow, and not get caught up in the things of this life and their fleetingness.

To trust. And follow.

To yield.

To break. And to be mended.