Healing Heart

When ‘Dead’ is Alive

Dead.

Perhaps it describes the feeling of our hearts better then then the breath that escaped the human body.

Because as a kind man once told me….we are still in ‘the dream’. And if we are still in the dream, then our loved ones who have gone to Heaven…..they ARE LIVING the dream!

 

I let this truth sink DEEP into me….God is still the GOD of Abraham because He is the God of the LIVING. And if Abraham is actually LIVING in Heaven after all these years, then I know my Kierra is also. (Scripture coming up)

Perhaps it is rather strange to you that this would be such a vital life line to me. While I have known for two years that Kierra is with Jesus, I was still a bit fearful that she would not be truly ‘Alive’. I guess that’s what happens when you cannot touch your child’s soft cheek, or stroke their silky hair, or watch the rise and fall of their chest, or hear them laugh. It is really really hard to believe that they are truly ALIVE. Your heart may believe but your brain has a really hard time following.

Matthew 22. Just listen…. Have you not read what was spoken to you by God? I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the DEAD but of the LIVING.

(Capitalization mine)

I read this verse over and over thinking that since Abraham died, then who IS God saying He is the God of? It struck me deep….this was about resurrection. I can be assured that our little girl is truly ALIVE.

The very thought of it thrills me all over again. I embrace it close to my heart and hang onto that joyful hope that I will see her and hold her and hear her voice again! Because she is TRULY MORE ALIVE. Then Me.

If your loved one has left for Heaven a bit earlier then you…just know that they are ALIVE! And you have nothing to fear when you are serving our Father God! He is their God as well as yours and that makes Heaven seem not quite so far away.

Healing Heart

Rest

Its my word right now. Likely all through the year. A goal I want to keep in front of me in this crazy fast paced world where my mind is left looping endlessly after futile.
Rest. Secure in the presence of God.Recently I was in a very stressful situation. And feeling super anxious. I     whispered little prayers to God and knew in my mind He really wasn’t going to let me alone for one moment. But I still wasn’t totally at ease.
Suddenly, a picture flashed across the screen of my mind. A muted tone image of strong hands cradling a heart. It gave me courage to face my fear. To know that if my Father can hold the whole world in His hands, my heart won’t be any problem at all for Him to cradle.

I am a genius at stirring up ideas and life altering plans in my brain. Sometimes I’m so weary from thinking along so many Intertwining trails. I get lost in the adventure And before I realize what is happening I’m laying wake at night with the OFF switch to my brain shorted out.

Its good to have goals and ideas and dream big….but when my dreams are all about me and what I can do in 50 eleven different areas in life it all becomes a bit overwhelming.

Because if  I’d do what I dream of..

I would take in homeless neglected children.
I would volunteer at the rescue mission
I would be an advocate at the preganacy crisis center.
I would  care for medically fragile children.
I would workout everyday and enjoy it.
I would paint a masterpiece or even a scene that resembles life and someone other me would see beauty in it.
I would learn a new language.
I would become a pediatric nurse.
I would write a book.
I would enjoy every minute of every day with my husband and 4 year old.

In all the good and noble and worthy that is rolling around in my brain ….there stands the reality that if I do not first rest in God and gain His true genuine Love….then all these things are worthless…(1 Cor. 13 )

So I will take a step Into the arms of my Father. I will rest And wait on Him and His leading. I will do the most important Thing on my list….I  will love love love my husband and my son. Every day. They are a gift to me straight from the heart of God!
I will also dream of opening my arms and watching our Kierra run Into them…someday.

The rest of life will fall in place.

I want to rest. At peace. And let God fill me so full….that His rest spills over to other weary souls.
 

Healing Heart

Gifted

Gifted with life.
Gifted with a heartbeat.
Gifted with grace to embrace life.

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We attended a banquet recently that was a fundraiser for Echoz, our local pregnancy center. They are a Christian center that offers free ultrasounds and help women work through pregnancies…..especially ones that come at a difficult time in life.  The message of the night was “Be still and know that I am God.”

The nursing staff and patient advocates offer support , encouragement, and ultimately Gods love to hundreds of women a year. They also realize no matter  how much they long to guide people in pro life choices, it is ultimately not in their power to force anyone into a discussion.

That’s part of being still. Part of letting God work. Part of being there for every individual to meet them where they are and offer support after what  choice they eventually decide to make.

A sweet vibrant lady from Texas spoke from her heart about the abortion she had. Her journey through helping to run an abortion clinic and eventually the freedom and forgiveness she found in Christ. It took her 15 years before she could even begin grieving her Heidi that she had lost. I don’t know much of her life story but if there were Christian’s praying specifically for her through those difficult years, I’m sure they felt like their ‘being still’ wasn’t really working all that well.

The ‘Knowing that God is God’ may have dulled around the edges. Became a sceptical mass of impatience.

But God.
He has done an amazing work through this same lady that chose abortions, and 1,000s of babies have been saved. 1,000s of mother’s spared that inexpressible grief. 1,000s of father’s turned toward a different path then so many grieving,self destructing  daddies find themselves in.

When God calls you to pray and be still when He asks you to simply KNOW that He is God. When we want to do and do and do. When we think we are useless unless we are DOING. When there is no stillness left.

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And all we can hear is our own striving and trying and analizing and reasoning.
Then God is still there…still asking us to
Be Still and KNOW.
Trust His timing. The One who created each individual, whether they draw a breath or not, knows them so much better then they know themselves.

And although action is so dynamic….

Being STILL is just as strong!

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Healing Heart

When God Sends His Love

I’ve been sad the last few weeks. Just a rather lonely sad.
Not to worry….there is no one to fault for this:)
There is just a sad ache that wants to hover over my heart. Sometimes this old world has too many aches and pains for our dusty humaness. Its those
days that I try to apply Gods grace in fresh ways and remember that His strength is made perfect in my own weakness of spirit and heart.
The other morning after working night shift, I stopped at Albertonson’s to quickly check for one little item. As usual, I didn’t grab a cart or a basket since I planned to be in and out in a flash. But there were good sales staring me in the face on my first steps inside the door not to mention coupons for milk! So I grabbed a basket and hurried through the store. I was super weary and so very ready to get home to my comfy house. I was juggling a basket, a gallon of milk and a treasured pack of chicken breast when a kind faced gentleman stepped over to me.
He was dressed in clean well worn navy work clothes with the name Frank (i think;) sewn in deep gold script over his left pocket space. He had clean cut salt and pepper hair with a beard . Wire rimmed glasses fit nicely to his inconspicuous face.
“I’m going your way.” He stated kindly. “What may I carry for you?” His open  gesture showed two fingers missing from his right hand and my mind briefly wandered.
I did a double take of him as he stood a respectful distance away waiting patiently. And I suddenly realized how very tired my arms were and how my legs felt so heavy. Trains of thoughts ran through my brain in split second synchrony.
Was he a stalker?
Did he actually mean what he said?
Couldn’t i handle it alone?
But if he OFFERED…why not let him?
I decided to take his offer.
“You may take this.” I  smiled, handing him the milk.
He carried my chicken breast too. And I set off to find my last item.
“I want to thank you for letting me help you.” He stated simply. ” I ask lots of people if I may help them. Usually no one let’s me. They’re all fine on their own.”
I realized if I had not been so weary, I would likely have brushed him off as well with the trite “I’m fine.”
We walked to the front of the store making a bit of small talk. When we reached the checkouts, he kindly placed my items on the belt .
“Thank you so much! God bless you!” I told him.
He just smiled and turned his back to walk away.
I wish I had the presence of mind to see if he vanished. I wish I knew who he was and why he chose to carry a strangers groceries.
But I do know i felt so very very blessed.
It felt like a confirmation from God that He really cared about me and my day. That in my physical weakness He would always give me enough strength . 
I was reminded to believe that His grace is enough. Always enough.

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Whether I am slogging through the grocery store, chasing my three year old or missing our daughter… God is there…only a whispered prayer away…and when that seems hard to believe , He might just send me an angel gentleman named Frank.

Healing Heart

To Dream Again

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Three years ago, my friend dedicated this photo to me with the words…

“God loves lining up the details in our lives…”

Three years ago. This was us.

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Living in the hospital. Kierra fighting RSV.

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Spending every moment we could together as a family. Finding joy in small things like smiles and beautiful silky hair.

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Our lives didn’t feel very lined up at the time. It was more like an unending bad dream. We clung to God and hope and getting through the day and not worrying about much else. Straight lines of what God had in mind for us flooded us instead like a typhoon rain with no guarantee that it would end any time soon. Questions swirled around our very existence and we wondered what God was thinking. Or if he was even paying any attention at all to our daughter.

Three years later I look back and still don’t understand everything God had in mind for us. But I know one thing for certain.

In Christ alone, my HOPE is found!

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He never turned His back or walked away through my questions and tears and fears and grief. He sent rainbows of every description over the past year since Kierra ran to Jesus.

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there”s a tiny piece in this one away out in the distance.

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Bits and pieces of rainbows shone through the showers this year more then I’ve ever seen before. Even double rainbows spread amazing arches. It was like God was holding out His hand. Convincing  me He really DID have a plan. Assuring me that I could trust Him.

Today I sat in the Pediatric unit of the very hospital I was in 3 years ago to the very day. But this time I was tapping away on a computer, doing more learning in becoming an CNA.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that God really IS lining up details in our lives.

As I drove over the wide open spaces toward my first interview with the director of nursing the other week, I wiped tears from my eyes. My heart was so peaceful. So bursting with peace. I could nearly feel God’s hand on my shoulder helping me the last two moths. I could feel Steve’s support and love encouraging me to keep learning and going and trusting God when studying got difficult.

But at the same time, I wept for what might have been. For what was five years ago. A mommy heart waiting to meet her daughter. Ready with so many dreams and hopes and exciting things to do and teach and experience in life.

One of my biggest struggles in having a child with severe health issues and in having to say Goodbye too soon was coming to grips with my broken dreams. I felt like because my dreams were shattered, that they didn’t mean anything. That God had a bit of iron in His hand to break my heart. The very heart He had created  that had dreamed of having sweet children for as long as I can remember. Why couldn’t I be the one who didn’t especially dream of kids? Who wasn’t crazy over babies and toddlers and sippy cups and blankys?

Why would God give me a dream only to break it?

Was it safe to ever hope for anything again? Maybe I should just expect my husband to die, our house to burn down, and my son get  bit by a rabid raccoon. I may as well have terminal cancer too. Expect nothing and you will be happily surprised.

But God actually doesn’t work that way. I’m His child. He loves me enough to pull me up out of my funk and get me looking at the cup half full. He gives me family and friends and encouraging rainbows and a husband who loves Him too.

I still don’t have answers to my questions. But I do know one thing. It almost hurts to admit it. But it was so real to me that day, that I have to share it.

I was living a dream.

To you who are huddling with broken dream fragments clasped in your bleeding hands….there is HOPE. You don’t have to feel it right now. But turn your heart toward the sunshine and eventually the warmth and healing of our Son will do an amazing work that even you can’t comprehend right now.

Because driving to an interview that day, my stomach tied up in knots, i realized something

I truly was dreaming again. And I didn’t even know it. I was LIVING a dream. I was experiencing a dream come true! And I hadn’t even planned on it. I was being given a chance to work at a hospital., To help hurting people. To touch finger prints of God all over the hard of this earth.

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I was having a dream coming true that had been buried so deep in me that I scarcely knew it existed.

Somehow, the torrential rains of the last years were slowing. There was hope.life.dreams coming from them.

The details were lining up and though they still didn’t look all neat and tidy to me yet (i’m a woman with emotions that jump all over…so will they EVER look lined up exactly straight? i doubt it!) I know that from God’s point of view He is lining them up to create a pattern of beauty.

 It hurt to realize I truly was living a dream…

because I lost a dream…

But maybe that’s the mystery The Dream Giver will reveal someday when He wipes away the tears from our human eyes and we SEE His glory!

And HIS DREAM.

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Healing Heart

Embracing Life

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So here we are. The third day Of another adventure or crazy crossroads or whatever you call it. Back to driving around the streets and roads of a strange town. Navigating through strange grocery stores and watching out for old folks crossing streets. Snapping pictures of houses for sale on my iPad out the car window. logging info and numbers and options.

Hanging out at hotspots for WIFI. Scouring craigslist and papers and online sights for a job that catches our eye, or that we would actually qualify for. Wondering if we are totally loco and if we are using the brains God gave us properly.

We can’t forget that we felt like God really, really wanted us to check Florida out. That we felt it was time to move out of Lancaster. That He has all the power and holds all the pieces to the puzzle in His hand. That He will delegate them out in His time and His way.

Montana still holds a big piece of our hearts and minds. It’s where our hearts can return to and immediately feel a connection, and that Home feeling. Whether it’s wise to move back is still a question in our minds. Whether God wants us to is also a question.

The fear of making a wrong choice can easily cloud my enthusiasm. Why am I so afraid we will get it wrong? After all, we serve a loving Father who has promised to guide us with His eye! Why do I fear the unknown when He has never let us down in the past?

No matter where we live, what we do, or who we come in contact with, our God is never going to let go. I need to firmly remind myself of that!

So I am writing to remind myself of my commitment to my Father
To BELIEVE!
Believe God will work out our future.
Our today.
Our tomorrow.
That He knows our yesterday.

That He knows that we are only humans, doing our best to follow our all-knowing Father.
That we can only do the best that we can do.
That when we do make a decision, we can rest in knowing He will work it out for our good.
That He will bring us to a place of knowing and peace.

Last night, we watched the sun set at the beach. It was so glorious and it made my heart ache in all kinds of places. I wondered where we would be if our life had been written with a different story. If Kierra’s ending would have been different. If her beginning in Heaven had not come yet.

On Friday, we were at a wonderful meeting at the Clinic in Stasburg. It was a special day for families of children with Yoder Dystonia. I came away, feeling overwhelmed and encouraged and totally amazed. The science of the cells dividing. the amazing surgical injections being done with the tiny babies inside pregnant rats. The beautiful cerebellum of the brain that has a distinct leafy appearance. The fact that is even more beautiful in these kids, because it is extra tiny and totally unique. The questions that surround from the time of conception until the time of their Heavenly beginning.

They have come so far. But still have so many really important questions that need answering. The term Yoder Dystonia for these children has been changed to NCS. Which stands for Nepher Cerebellum Syndrome. There. I hope I got it right.:)

There were six Dr that shared about their findings and treatment options. It was so very educational! From the Clinic Doctors to the older gentleman with the wonderful London accent!

So far, there is still no cure for NCS. Their quest for understanding exactly what is happening should give them more specific answers as to how to treat it best. It seems like when one of the specific cells divide there is extra trauma then usual. This may cause a host of complications. WD73 is the gene that is affected in this process. Even having the cell divide a fraction of a centimeter different then ‘usual’ can cause amazing differences. And this is only 1 cell in the enormous world of your DNA. Think of paying off a loan with 3% interest over 30 years versus 3.05% interest over 30 years. Now imagine the difference it makes in a human if the cell divides even a teeny tiny fraction of a difference then usual. Over the course of time, it will make a BIG difference!

So questions that come up are things like, does the mother need an extra protein or amino acid during pregnancy? Is the baby fine until late in the pregnancy when it lacks something that would effect the way the brain develops? Are they born with this or do they develop symptoms after birth?

Research is still in progress. NCS is taking longer then nearly any other disorder they have experienced to unwrap. I see God’s awesome creation all over this amazing search to understand NCS. We are WONDERFULLY created!

And all these sweet children….well, they are the handiwork of God too! Because they cannot breathe without His touch on their lives! All the parents that were there…whether they had lost their children or not, were living examples of love. Love that reaches beyond the normal, and embraces the gift of life!

So once again, in a totally different way, I choose to reach beyond the normal of an expected life and embrace whatever God has planned for us. In Florida. Or somewhere else….You show us, God…we’ll do our best to catch on and follow!

Will you join me? Whatever you are facing…embrace it, with the arms of our Father bracing yours!

Healing Heart

When Part Of Heaven Lives In Us

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We spent a day in Maryland recently. It’s always so good to be with family. Nothing on earth can replace family ties. It was the first we were back since the funeral. The last time we visited was over Christmas, and Kierra was not feeling well at all. I’m still so glad we went that one last time in December! She got cuddled and held and rocked alot that day!

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We almost went to the ER on the way home with her, but she seemed to rally again. After we got home, she spent alot of time in her delightful bed. She LOVED that bed, and her new bed set.Even if it was a bit big 🙂

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I wasn’t planning on all these pictures, but I miss her so much, I just had to post them again 🙂 Please bear with me…

On this trip to Maryland, we had no  Kierra to take with us, and while we missed her so much, there were sweet times, and little reminders of her all around us. She was in our hearts, so she couldn’t be too far away!

Meghan (my newest niece) had grown delightfully since I saw her last. She is a darling, squishable, blondie and looked like a peach in one of Kierra’s baby dresses!

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I took some extra oxygen tubing and feeding tube extensions along for my nieces. They LOVE to play ‘Kierra’ with their dolls. They had their bed turned into a hospital in no time. They propped pillows their babies, dressed in Kierra’s outgrown clothes. Taped the extensions to their bellies, and had the time of their lives.

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They had to even give them breathing treatments 🙂 with lots of little on lookers.

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And give them bolus feeds 🙂

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I even had fun. Opening the tubing, inserting the syringe, and feeding the babies 🙂 Something about flipping that clamp open felt so good again.

I remember sharing a hospital room with a patient who was in overnight, recovering from a minor surgery. The mom told the nurse that her daughter’s oxygen was still on. Being bored and maybe a bit nosy :), I peeked over on their side since our curtains weren’t shut. The child had no oxygen tubing on whatsoever. She only had the little pulse ox. monitor with that little red light attached yet. Yep, it was my amusement for the day! But seriously, I may have been in the same shoes years ago. If you never step foot into the medical world, you have no idea what simple oxygen tubing is.

Kierra gave my nieces more then happy cousin memories. She gave them a bit of medical knowledge as well. Maybe they can use it to bless another little child some day.

When part of Heaven lives in our hearts, it changes everything.

this earth gets very lonely.

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sometimes nature is your best companion.

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but when being with people is too much to bear, their love still burns in your heart.

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Eventually, the sun bursts through, and God opens a window to heaven.

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All we can do is worship our Loving Creator.Savior. Father.

He listens to our hearts. And hears our silent prayers when words aren’t enough.

I captured Kobe in a prayer outside.

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He had just fallen and bumped his knee when I heard him whisper,all bent over, “Pray God. Make Kobe’s knee, ouchie……”(mumble incomprehensible words for this mommy) “Amen!”

and he jumped up and took off playing again.

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I’m sure God understood him. Just as He understands my mixed up words at times.

Approach His throne BOLDLY, my friends! He is No Small God! And our stresses and heartaches do not overwhelm Him.

 

Healing Heart

Sunshine and Shadow

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It all began with this old tree outside my living room window. Amazing how God can use a twisted ugly old tree and humble pigeons to radiate His morning sunlight and reach a hurting heart.

It’s times like this that I wish I were a really good photographer and understand the concept of catching light and shadow, because that is what this is all about.

I was  cold as I watched the sun’s softness spread over the frozen countryside. I sat, huddled on our tiny loveseat, gazing at the little bit of open space surrounding the back of our house. It was the one space where I wasn’t distracted with buildings and houses and silos and stone quarry elevators. The old tree with Kobe’s borrowed baby swing and Kierra’s stretched hammock hanging in it. The remains of a bird feast were scattered black over the ground at it’s knobby trunk.

I felt so very empty inside. Like someone had carved a huge chunk out of my heart and closed the door and left the light off. I didn’t know how or what to feel. I didn’t know if that feeling of ‘nothing’ was even normal.

Then  I noticed the pigeons. Since pigeons are in the Dove family, I think it would be much more gracious to call them Doves. Regardless of the proper term, I will do just that 🙂

A plain, grey Dove was perched high in the ancient budding arms of that old tree.

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Her breast gleamed pink in the soft warming rays of the morning light.

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Her feathers were unruffled. Her bright eyes alert. She was basking in the glow of love, soaking up the warmth.

She was beautiful.

Quite different from her neighbor below her.

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Hidden in the chilly shadows of a slighter tree, shivering and buffeted by the bite of frost, sat another Dove.

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Her feathers were ruffled. Her legs shook with the strength it took to hold on. She sat among the buds of springtime also, but she sat in the shadows. No gentle bathing sunshine for this one!

I could nearly hear her thoughts running though her frozen brain.

I am cold.

But it doesn’t matter.

I have to be tough. I can take it.

I’ll let the higher branches for the other birds.

They deserve the warmth.

I wouldn’t want to spoil their morning view with poor little grey, shivering, ugly me.

I don’t belong up there. 

I don’t want to stick out

because i am afraid

and I am not good enough to sit up high

and enjoy the beautiful view

and warmth.

Yes, it’s best if i just sit down here and tough it out.

That poor Dove! She was so blinded by her own greyness.

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She had no concept of how BIG the tree was. How VAST the warm sun reached. How many empty branches were just WAITING to support her.

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As I sat and watched her shiver, I realized how much I was like her. So many people in life have faced so many harder things then we have. There is heartache and tears and sorrows that run deep grooves into places I have never been.

But this life is not about depths of pain. It’s about trusting God and choosing LIGHT in whatever type or level of pain you are experiencing right now. Give God your pain. Because it will kill your spirit with the weight of it. You were not made to bear it alone.

He found them in a desert land,and in the howling waste of a wilderness. He encircled him, He cared for him,and guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Deut. 32:10

The whole tree top is waiting for us, my friend. We have every right and privilege to go up there and bask in our Savior’s love. We do not deserve it, but oh, how

we NEED a Son of Light and warmth,

we NEED a Protector

we NEED a Savior

we NEED a Gentle Healer!

He is our Creator. Our Father. Our Jesus. Our God.

Our Friend.

The best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone around us is to achingly creak up there on freezing wings and perch on the warmest branch we can find, and let Him love us. Because when He loves us, it’s only then that we can really truly face life. Our hearts can begin to unthaw. Our numbness begin to tingle. Our blood begin to flow again.

Perhaps some cold huddled mass below us will have the courage to come perch with us, wrecks that we are, and bask in His light too.

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The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.