0

Hearts At Home

I lay this morning in that quietness between sleep and fully awake and I held as still as possible and willed myself to stay there. 

I had been dreaming of my daughter, and I was holding her again. 


We were in the hospital, and she was very sick. So sick that she lay in the hospital bed, with lots of tubing and she was restless. I scooped her up, and held her, her back against my chest, her sweat little head under my chin, and she calmed down and relaxed and rested so sweetly and I wanted to sit there forever.

There was a deep deep peace in my dream and it should not have been there. When do you feel deep peace in a hospital room with a critically ill child? 

The peace I felt in my dream….I can explain it in only word. HOME.

My heart was at home. Everything else seemed to fade. And it was Kierra and I….our hearts together, and not time or death or medical intervention or white sterile rooms could destroy that peaceful feeling of HOME. 

My words are so tiny and course to describe that epiphany. 

(Epiphany : a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience ) 

It reminds me of this verse: Romans 8:38,39 (caps mine)

And I am CONVINCED that NOTHING can ever separate us from Gods love. Neither DEATH nor LIFE, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today, or our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from Gods love.

No power in the sky above, or in the earth below- indeed nothing in ALL creation will EVER BE ABLE to separate us from the LOVE of GOD that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

My heart was so at rest, that I could have stayed there forever and been perfectly content. That’s the feeling I got. There was stress and hard things all around me. My husband and Kobe were very alive in my heart, but they were not Kierra and holding her at that moment in my dream made my heart feel  HOME , because that is what I had been missing so much in my life and at that precise moment, that was all that mattered. My whole body relaxed and my heart rested. It was where it was meant to be. 

I didn’t know what I had been longing for….there was a hole in my heart that I didn’t realize was affecting me in so very many different ways. It literally touched every area of my life. Like a fragrance you could not see but was all around you, every moment  of every day. An ache I knew was there, but was oblivious to the completeness it brought me when it was filled. And I never wanted to leave. 

Isn’t that the longing of our hearts for God- our Father. And that aroma an example of His grace and Love  that fills every single moment of our life. At the same time,  I can’t wait to get to Heaven and have that COMPLETENESS He has promised that we don’t even really understand that we are missing. 

I think God gave me that dream out of His loving Father heart. A picture of how it will feel when we get to Heaven and are enfolded in His loving arms. I know He is a High and Holy God and we will bow at His feet in awe and worship and adoration. But I think we will also feel like we have finally come HOME. He has not promised to be our Father for nothing….I will be their Father and they will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD ALMIGHTY.

He longs for the day when He can take our hurt, broken, earth sick hearts into His arms and make them whole. We will never want to leave His arms. He delights over us. He longs to hold us even more then we long to be held. ( how is that possible?) He knows our weakness. The pain that we cannot express to anyone. Just as my Kierra had no words to tell us of her pain…we have no words adequate to speak of our own brokenness and deepest hurts and longings. But that doesn’t matter to God. His love engulfs us. His arms surround us. His heart is for us. And someday, I want to reach out, and be embraced by the One who created me. The One who alone can make each of us whole again. Who can give us what we have no idea that we are missing. The one who shows us what Home really means….for all Eternity. 

Please understand, that Kierra is not my whole life. My Stephen, and my Kobe, and my Wee One in Heaven, my family and friends here, they all matter incredibly much. They each have a place in my heart that would leave a huge hole if they were gone. But today, I can hold my Kobe, I can hug my Stephen. I can physically reach  out and feel their love. That soothes the longing within me. I think someday, though, in that HOME, we will actually see clearly…face to face and my love for them (and all my friends and family) will take on new dimensions that I have no idea even exist today. 

And the best part…..we will be HOME as in perfect peace, never leave, stay forever, heart at rest, satisfied and loved and held. Honoring, praising , worshiping and glorifying our Father and King. 

We will NEVER want to leave. 

And there will be no waking to having it all a dream. 

We will be LIVING -ACTUALLY LIVING the DREAM!!

Advertisements
2

Glory In the Hurt

234

The leaf is dressed in glory.

As it dies.

I wonder if It likes the different ‘Me.’

If leaves could think.

I do believe they would agree,

the dying to their former color

041

brings out the golden glory.

248

And beautifies the dying.

200

It is nearly 9 months since our daughter took her first steps in heaven. Since I have begun getting to know what life is like without her. Since I have been introduced to a different ‘Me.’

073#2

The following song has spoken to me so very often. Sometimes its a bit hard to put words to my deep feelings but following the lyrics below is a bit of my own struggle to accept and embrace this new life that is ‘Me.’

“The Hurt & The Healer”

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from being explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes it’s rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

[x2:]
Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Wake my heart and take my tears
And find Your glory even here

Thanks to Jessie for adding these lyrics.
Thanks to Mike Benkert, Jim Mahan for correcting these lyrics.

I don’t know this new me yet.

She surprises me

confuses me

amazes me

angers me

hurts me.

She IS me.

And I don’t know what to do with her.

I can’t get away from her.

Just as I think she has morphed into a tidy bit of womanly,

she throws out a new curve and leaves me

dazed

lonely

confused

scared.

I can’t out think her

out sleep her

out smart her

or out last her.

So I must embrace her.

And learn to know her.

I must be gentle

and real

(not live in a dream of who I think she should be)

and honest.

Forgive her

(that’s myself I’m talking about)

Accept her.

Even if I do not understand her.

( my poor husband ūüôā

Because God has brought her on a journey.

He has plans for her that I can only trace the very fringes of.

So I will lay out the pieces of yesterday

on my own familiar kitchen table

and give them to her Creator.

(He is a Master Chef at creating beauty and completion from messes)

The new and the old and the not understood all laid out before God.

Her loving heavenly Father who knows more about her then she can imagine.Who understands the deepest part of her that is beyond her reach to know.

Someday, she will see clearly.

“I shall know and understand fully and clearly even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].”

1 Corinthians 13:12 Amplified Bible

Did you get that? It doesn’t say we will BE UNDERSTOOD then. It says we ARE UNDERSTOOD now. I think that means In our present moment. With our present mess of ourselves.

Rest assured today, Dear Soul!

God understands you. You may lay it all out to Him. He won’t be surprised or confused or shocked at you. He knows you already.

He understands.

He is longing to help you.

To simply love you.

To give you rest and peace in Him.

The joy of His presence.

And the hope of truly knowing and finding His fullness filling our being in heaven some glorious day!

just give it to Him.

0

This is an article I wrote for a magazine recently. I thought I would share it on my blog as well.

jan-july 2014 1816
I am writing from the valley today. It’s a place each of us will walk though in life, sooner¬†or later. The¬†degrees of darkness in the valley will be different for each of us, but¬†we will all face a valley. I am hoping to send a message out from humans groping through this valley to other humans who are traveling through sunshine.

As you read, my friend, remember that everyone’s valley is different. Whether it is a valley of death, financial set¬†backs, loss of home, best friend moving away, or any traumatic, stressful, life altering experience, it is a valley.¬†These words are not written¬†to place people in boxes. They are not written¬†to excuse those who are in the valley. They are written so you can get a glimpse of how it looks and feels from the darkness and loneliness of the valley.
One of the first things I would like to shout from those in the valley is that we are very fragile. Physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Physically, this makes us very tired. The smallest things like grocery shopping can leave us exhausted. Being in even a small crowd  of people seems to amplify into grandstands of humanity. We do not always sleep deeply or well. The tired, exhausted feeling still clings to us when we open our eyes in the morning. We are weak. We need to sit down and rest more often then usual.
jan-july 2014 1539
What you can do:
Go¬†slowly. If we need to have some quiet time by ourselves , do not think we don’t like you! We only need to organize and rest¬†our overtired mind and body. It would be very helpful if you would clean up our house or mow our lawn or even take care of the children while we rest.
Mentally, are brains move extra slow. We say things we don’t mean and mean things we don’t say. We get facts confused. We may forget to tell you an important tidbit of information. We may make statements that mean one thing to us, and something totally different to you. We may forget to return your phone call or text message or tell you thank you for a kindness. We may even keep your best set of dishes for weeks and simply forget to return them. You see, our brains are super full right now. It’s like this gigantic life issue is taking up all the predominant thoughts and space. Some items and people and events get lost in the current swirling around the great vortex of our life. They may resurface later, weeks down the road, or they may get lost in the tide. It is not even a matter of which ones have more value then others. It is just that the stuff that makes up thinking and remembering gets cumbersome at times.
jan-july 2014 1639

What you can do:

First of all, please do not be offended or take things personally when we forget to clarify ourselves. We do not mean to hurt you. Your acts of kindness, no matter how small are like a salve to our thirsty hearts. The kindness rubs in quickly, because our hearts are parched for kindness and gentleness. It is gone from view in no time, but it has made a tremendous difference on out lives! Every layer of salve you put on, no matter if we remember to thank you or not, is a layer of healing for our wounds. The end results at beautiful.
jan-july 2014 1582
Be patient with us and do not judge us harshly if we do not always have the best judgment. Give us time to think through¬†new¬†ideas.¬†We are usually not good at snap decisions. Keep it simple. Whether¬†it’s bringing a meal in or planning a small gathering or setting up a schedule to help us out, please keep it simple. If we are bombarded with too many options, we get totally overwhelmed. Often we may not even care about the details of how or when or where.

Emotions are our trickiest companions. This is where things¬†can change really fast. We may tell one friend that we are having a good day. Four hours later, everything has changed. We are struggling with questions and bombarded with fears and ready to melt into a puddle of despair. This does not mean we were not honest with our first friend. It just means that our emotions are swinging all over.¬†We do not mean to be lying. It’s like being on a ¬†teeter totter. You may catch us,¬†up, down or fairly level all in one day.
jan-july 2014 1633
What you can do…
Once¬†again, do not take it personally. If your friend can’t talk about an issue right now, that’s ok. Give them the freedom to have some space. Perhaps you considered yourself a¬†close friend,¬†and suddenly feel very distant. More then anything else, this may be because you are at two very different places in life right now. Let the ones in the darkness¬†know it’s OK to be where they are. Once again, it is likely not you. It is the enormity and overwhelming situation that makes both of¬†you not know how to deal with the other person. Give each other grace and time. Always,¬†always give grace and unconditionally love.
jan-july 2014 1608
I read an article recently by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman on how to help those who are hurting. I give them all the credit for this idea I am about to present . I feel it is very accurate and helpful.
Imagine a circle with a bull’s eye, surrounded by a circle around it, and a circle around that circle and a circle around that one and on and on as many as it takes. The bulls eye is the person most affected by trauma in life right now. Maybe it’s cancer,¬†or death of a loved one,¬†or a broken heart. That person in the center is hurting badly right now. The circle surrounding this person is labeled spouse, or children. The next circle is labeled close family. The next circle is close friends. The next one just friends.¬†The last circle is associates.

You may change the order of the circle around to fit your specific situation. Perhaps your friends are closer then family or you have no spouse or children. The most important thing is to put the ‘trauma’ in the center and go out from there with people affected the most from the situation.

Now think of giving positive thoughts and kindness to the people inside¬†the circle from you. In other words, if a family member¬†dumps all life’s problems on the spouse, it will most likely not help the spouse a bit. Instead, the family¬†should use encouragement, sympathy, prayers, and strength to encourage the spouse. The friends should do the same for the family.¬†Instead of expecting the family to hold up the friends and be strong and always positive, the friends¬†should strengthen the family and not dump all their troubles and worries and concerns on them.

So simply put, if someone is closer related or better friends with the ‘trauma person’ then you, then by all means, do not add to their burdens with burdens of your own.

This is a beautiful picture of us bearing each other’s burdens. We look out for our brother. Our other brother looks out for us. It’s a strong chain of strength that can flow with positive thoughts and prayers and encouragement right into the heart of the trauma.
jan-july 2014 1620
The other extreme is being so careful with every word you say that you are not even real. It does folks good to know they are not alone in the darkness. That others have been there and survived. That life is not perfect or totally uncomplicated for folks¬†around them. It’s when folks dump too much darkness into folks already walking in the valley that the valley can become even darker.

Everyone likes a good story. Some people like to tell good stories. If they hear about a¬†traumatic event, they nearly always have a bigger one to share. This frankly, does not help. I know I¬†have been guilty of this in the past. If you are on the outside, looking in, do not share other sad or similar stories unless they have an encouraging moral to them. It is overwhelming sometimes, to hear of other peoples trials while you are in the valley yourself. Having someone tell you a worse story then your own seems to make you feel like they are minimizing your pain. It feels like what you are going through shouldn’t be hurting so badly because someone else had it so much worse. It makes you shut down and crawl into your shell when you actually need the healing that comes from grieving your own loss or hardship.

jan-july 2014 1650
Perhaps you are looking in from the¬†outside, longing for ways to show you care. You think of a kindness and offer it to¬†the person in the valley. ¬†The person in the darkness turns you down. That hurts. You wonder if they don’t like you. If you offended them. If you are not good enough for them.

All these things are most likely not true. That’s how Satan rolls. Using fragile situations to amplify misunderstandings and plant seeds of lies. Most likely, the person in the valley was too overwhelmed that day to say¬†yes. Perhaps¬†¬†they were too tired to even¬†think about it.Perhaps they were embarrassed of¬†how needy they are right now. Perhaps they felt like a project that everyone was trying to fix. Perhaps they simply didn’t think or were distracted by something else at the moment.

Don’t give up if this happens. You can think of other creative ways to help. When people in the valley feel like those in the sunshine are ‘fitting them into their already full schedule’ it can be very intimidating. Random acts of kindness can show that you truly love them in a more gentle way sometimes.
jan-july 2014 1601
Having been in the darkness has changed me. The knowledge that God will bring us into the light again has held me through the valley. Prayers and kindness and wonderful friends and family that surround me have given me the courage to write these words from the dark side in life. We were treated so respectfully and with so much love in our valley.  I apologize to anyone I hurt unintentionally in my own valley.  You were all so very kind to me!
jan-july 2014 1584
Now that I see glimpses of sunlight and rainbows, I wanted to share a bit with others who are basking in the full light of day. Be gentle. Give grace freely. Do not judge. It may be your turn to walk through the valley soon. Then others can extend the same grace to you that you extended to them!
jan-july 2014 1481