Finding Yourself

Hostage Heart

Sometimes our heart’s held hostage.

Our own brain telling us

We are alone.

Unworthy of the ransom

Of human acceptance

Compassion and love.

Like no one can understand

The depth of our wrestling.

Fear keeps us tethered with

The thought of labels slapped on us.

Less then.

Inefficient.

Unworthy.

A failure.

Too sensitive.

Faithless.

A fraud.

So we cry into the night

Scrub tears furiously in the car

Plaster a smile on our face

And plow on with life.

We slowly die inside.

Morph into an island.

Our inner dialogue

Isolating us from what we need the most.

It’s when we take the plunge.

Reach for the lifeline.

Open our hearts

Let truth filter in.

No matter how fractured the light.

Allow the hug of grace.

The words, “I believe in you.”

The nodding of,”Me too.”

That’s when we realize

that all along

we were our own captors.

Locked in bars of our own making.

We held the key from the beginning.

We just needed to find the courage

And risk the chance of being seen.

To turn the lock.

The freedom waiting for us.

It was there all along.

We were not made to live our story alone.

Grief

When Miracles Don’t Happen

I’ve been Rumbling around

With thoughts on God

And miracles and healing.

It feels that too often in life

I’ve operate under the expectation

That when we have our priorities straight

When we have our life full

Of church and giving and prayer

Then God will hear us.

FOR SURE.

I’ve been more and more uncomfortable

With this mindset and I’ve been digging

Deeper in search of clarity.

I always knew that we can’t save ourselves in our own power. However, for years I felt a desperation deep in my core that went beyond that knowledge. It told me that I was never good enough and never powerful enough to be considered a good Christian. I was always aware of my brokenness and my humanness and imperfections.

So I begged

I pleaded.

I made promises in hopes of becoming more powerful and feeling more committed.

I forced a lot.

I was desperate for God to help me.

I was treating God like a vending machine.

Here’s the deal though. Ten quarters won’t buy you more favor then one. They might buy you more soda but they don’t buy you more favor with God.

He’s not a vending machine.

He will not be manipulated.

He will not be patronized.

He will not be prioritized.

It feels like in a crazy way sometimes,

I have tried to manipulate

The Creator into blessing me.

Then when things go down hill

I check my life for sin.

Like I can control the outcome in

circumstances by DOING.

Now before I get all technical

and you think I’m throwing out prayer

and the power of the Holy Spirit and our own

human nature and repentance,

let me tell you what started me on my

Quest for truth and meaning.

When a loved one escapes death,

We say things like

” We are so blessed!”

“It is a miracle!”

“We are So grateful!”

That’s all good and true and fine!

But here’s the part that hasn’t sat well with me.

What happens if death comes?

Or something worse then death?

Are we still just as blessed?

Are we still SO grateful?

And did we still receive a miracle?

It leaves a wide open feeling of betrayal and is downright uncomfortable when one person is ‘blessed’ because the diagnosis was negative but someone else’s was positive.

When death takes one child and the other child is healed.

When one child disappears forever and the other one is found.

It feels like cruel, ill humored fate. We face grief or we face survivor’s guilt.

And we wonder where God is.

He said He gives to those who ask.

He answers to those who knock.

He says you’ll find if you search.

So how come it feels like He’s not keeping His end of the deal?

Here’s the kicker.

There is no ‘deal’ with God.

Not the kind of deal that we envision anyway.

He already Created us plus the whole entire world so He is already light years ahead of us!

He is my Saviour so having him as a priority feels a bit … dusty and lame. I mean ….really!

Our kids don’t become more or less our children by prioritizing our relationship. They simply ARE ours. In a similar way, I am God’s child and that is a fact that I cannot change by trying to love Him more in hopes that I will become more His. I AM ALREADY! (Thanks to Rhonda Schrock for setting my mind along these thoughts)

He will automatically be a priority when I am in a good relationship with Him. That’s what it all comes down to with Him.

Relationship.

Bad things are going to happen in life.

Heartbreak will come. Unfair, horrible, cruel life wreaks havoc every single day and loving God does not always shield us from it.

We will hurt. We will bleed. We will likely rather die then face life at times.

But our relationship with God can still be sacred and steady and powerful. Deeply calming.

Begging, pleading, trying to change minds, or manipulating never works well in any relationship.

Why do we try it with the Divine?

We don’t have to try to figure God out.

He doesn’t need to be defended or explained.

Taking responsibility for other people’s actions, or the ‘fate’ in life, is not our duty or our right. There’s a lot of truth to that with God as well.

While I firmly believe God WANTS to hear our hearts and wishes and dreams and deep longings that ‘cannot be uttered’, I also believe that we need to step off the pedestal of trying to get it all right, have enough faith, read our Bible enough, pray enough, or be a ‘better Christian’.

God is way more interested in having a relationship with us then having us perform our hearts out in hidden fear and desperation.

He has been waiting for a deep, trusting relationship with us since the day He breathed life into our bodies. He is deeply invested in our lives, whether we feel it or not, and He has incredible comfort, insights, blessings and adventures to share with us.

We are living, moving miracles every single day. We may not get the miracle we were praying or hoping for, but we are actually LIVING a miracle Right Now. That’s worth celebrating!

This whole SAFE relationship with God -even when life is anything but SAFE may feel like the beginning of a relationship to us, or the ending of life as we know it but in all reality, He has known us since forever.

He loves us incredibly beyond our imagination.

Trust Him.

He is still the God of miracles! There is still beauty in January.

Healing Heart

Alive

It’s the twelfth day of 2020.

It’s taken me 12 days to put words to the thoughts in my head.

And even now, they come out stumbly and awkward.

It’s Sunday evening and it’s black dark outside and the temperature is plummeting below zero.

It’s January and 6 years ago, on this very day I was bringing our three year old daughter home from another hospital stay with no idea that in a few short weeks, she would physically leave us for the rest of our earthly lives.

I wept as I drove home in the gathering dusk earlier tonight, after picking up Vitamin C and Echinacea and Throat Coat tea for my son.

I wept because I wanted to spend another day or month or year or forever with our daughter ALIVE.

I wept because I miss the feminine, sweet, little girlishness she brought into our lives.

Sometimes death feels so dead.

I know there is always Life somewhere.

I just need to choose to see it.

This year, I chose the word ALIVE as my focus.

Not because I wanted to hide the pain of death. Not because I want to live every day in a flurry of activity or growth.

I chose it because I want to remind myself of LIFE.

I want to remind myself that no matter how my heart and emotions feel, I am vitally ALIVE.

I have been making a running record in my journal of proof that I am ALIVE.

Some may think it a gratitude list if they saw it.

It’s more then that to me. While I’m grateful for everyone of those things I list, it’s also proof to me that LIFE is still happening. Right this minute.

Dirt under fingernails.

Homes for crickets.

Green in Winter.

I stand with myself and weep in the death of our daughter. It’s a healthy thing to grieve. But death can be so much more then physical death.

Death can be lived in the heart and the mind and this is where I stand my ground and come ALIVE.

I refuse to be soul stuck in the clutches of shame and fear and selfish thinking. I refuse to ruminate on things I cannot change. I refuse to believe my self worth is based on my emotions and thoughts and others opinion of me. I refuse to manipulate myself and others by doing and saying things in a passive aggressive manner. I refuse to allow other people’s issues to control my own personal mental and physical health.

I will fall down flat often this year. I know I will. But I also known that I am not the sum total of my mistakes.

Falling does not mean I am dead. It means I am human and it means I have an opportunity to grow.

I am reminding myself of my own humanity and my own power …through the wonderful grace of my Creator.

I am reminding myself by writing lists about being ALIVE.

Steamed cream in my coffee. So frothy and smooth on my tongue.

The ache in my shoulders after a day of work.

Fractured morning light on the living room wall.

The smell of icy winter.

The way my son lies, breathing in and out.

Sleep music wafting through the room.

Footsteps of my husband downstairs.

Writing down the present makes me more aware. It reminds me of the important things happening all around me and keeps me from getting stuck on things I cannot change. Things in the past. Things in the future. Things in the present that are out of my control.

I want to be ALIVE this year.

To listen without judgment.

To give true empathy without patronizing or trying to fix things.

I want to feel my heart healing.

I want to watch the woman inside of me blossoming.

I want to own my story and live my present.

I want to feel the joy and the hard and the mundane.

I want to remind myself that ALIVE is what my soul is. That no death will take that from me.

Death is conquered already. My Divine Creator is the essence of ALIVE and He has invited me into His presence.

ALIVE .

EMBRACE IT. THIS ONE WONDERFUL MIRACULOUS LIFE.

Nature Awakens You

When You Feel Frozen

Hold space.

Let the deep stillness

Of December frozen over.

Move you to realms where

streams of clear

Still find their way

Beneath the stark reflection

Of reality.

The ice that spreads it’s face

Mirrors what is above it.

But light reflects from greater heights.

Shadows are mere mirages of

What surrounds you.

There is no shame in that.

For life flows true

Beneath the surface.

Do not forget that who you are

Is waiting for the spring time.

The stirring and the breakup

With the cold.

And always, truth emerges from your core

Grief

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!!

Grief

Lovely Ladies and A Fairy Garden

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I was surrounded by these lovely ladies on Kierra’s birthday. We had a sweet time together. Brenda brought a huge bouquet of flowers over in the morning for us since she couldn’t be there for the tea party.

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She is in our ‘small group’ at church and has a wonderful green thumb. Aren’t these yellow wild flowers just beautifully vibrant! She started them from Kierra’s seeds at the funeral.

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They look very much like that first lone wild flower I saw at the hospital the day Kierra entered our world, 4 years ago. Steve and I planted our flower she gifted us with at Kierra’s grave.

We ladies sat around Sadie’s wonderful dining room table and ate yummy sweet watermelon, fresh cucumbers with cream cheese and pepper jelly, and tiny cakes. We drank iced lattes and cried and talked and laughed.

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The little ones had a  party in the living room , while Alisha and Katrina watched that they didn’t spill and ran outside with them when they were finished.

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I had been dreading this first birthday without Kierra so much. It helped to have kind friends that cared about my heart and my loneliness and loved me through it. All through the joy of celebrating her happiness and freedom in heaven was the sad heaviness of the trauma she had to go through here on earth. That hurt more than anything. There is that hopeless feeling that a parent lives with when they watch their children suffer. Life is just so cruel at times. Even if God is always good, life itself is just SO. NOT. FAIR. to those we love.

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the greatest birthday gift we could have given Kierra this year, was Heaven. Once again, life doesn’t make sense. How can something that makes her so supremely, perfectly happy make us so incredible lonely and sad?

Highs and lows.

Mountains and valleys.

We cannot experience either of them fully without being willing to plunge into the other at sometime.

Christene and her sisters gave me the sweetest little pair of white dancing shoes for Kierra. They wanted to remind me that she is truly happy and dancing in heaven! Tears! I missed getting a photo of the shoes, but they truly ARE just darling!!! It blessed me so much.

I had come across these wonderful little fairy gardens on Pintrest one day awhile ago. Since our life has consisted of lots of moving, I thought it would be the PERFECT little bit of a Kierra memory. A garden so tiny, we could carry it with us over the years, and so lovely it would be like a dream come true to imagine strolling through it.The other ladies had other obligations, but Sadie and I went on a shopping spree to a nearby green house.

We had so much fun picking out adorable little chairs, and darling plants. Sadie had a big wooden bowl that we spray painted and filled with moist top soil.

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Isn’t this itty bitty plant just exquisite!!!!

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Kobe picked out a frog to add to it.

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He had the time of his life arranging and rearranging.

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We built a little patio with small rocks for the table and chairs.

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Of course there had to be a pool. Kierra would have LOVED that! Water always relaxed her.

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We’ve added a bit more since this photo. It looks even better now 🙂 but this at least gives you a picture of what it looks like. Just so sweet. Talk about more healing to my heart!

Sadie so kindly cooked supper for us that night and Steve came over after work to eat. It was wonderful food and we had a great time!

Afterward, Steve, Kobe, and I stooped at Kierra’s grave on the way home. We got this little girl to leave there as a reminder of  how supremely happy she is.

Kobe totally fell in love with her. He called her ‘Kierra’ and couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her.

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He wanted to hold her hand and sing songs to her.

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We sang happy Birthday to Kierra. I think it helped Kobe feel better…and maybe me too 🙂

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We couldn’t leave the little girl there since she wasn’t heavy enough to stand safely if a stray dog or big gust of wind came along, so we brought her home until we figure out a solution.

A few days later, a pink poppy bloomed from the wildflower seeds. Isn’t that just so sweet! I didn’t know there were pink poppies…maybe God  had a special selection of pink poppies planned for that seed package we got for Kierra’s little sachets.

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He truly WILL make ALL things beautiful…in His time!

I am hanging onto hope.

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