Healing Heart

What LOVED Looks Like

For years I lived for a place of love.

I longed to be loved for who I was and for what I did. I longed to be valued for being valuable.

I loved FOR God. I thought that since He did so much for me, I wanted to do things for Him as well. I was genuine in my desire to please Him and I truly had a connection with my Jesus.

As much as I loved God and had a connection with the Divine, I was quite certain there had to be more, but it seemed like such a mystery to me.

Last year, I had a dream about Jesus that set me on a search for truth. A search for who Jesus really is. Who God is. I’m still far from having all the answers, but I want to share with you one thing I am learning.

There’s a difference between living For Love and living From Love.

One of them is more performance based and the other is acceptance based.

When I lived For love, I lived for God. I took on duties and responsibilities that I thought would be a good way to bless other people For God. I tried to be constantly alert to any need that arose that would be something I could do FOR God.

I begged. I begged God to help me with loving others well when I felt impossibly unloving toward them. I begged for healing. I begged for answers. I begged for peace. I begged for things to change.

I always ended with words “according to your will” and I would envision myself as a contrite child on my knees before God, taking on whatever hardships were handed out to me….because whatever happened in life, God had to have a purpose for it. I lived from this posture of begging and trying hard to have faith.

Now I don’t want to get all technical on word play here. I’m also not a theologian. I am still learning, but I want to share my thoughts on what true Love is to me right now.

First, let’s talk about LIFE. Simply put, Life happens. Being human is hard. Horrible things occur every day and there is no good purpose for them that I can see. No good purpose for murder or rape or incest or abuse. No good purpose for babies suffering and mommies and daddies dying too soon. No good purpose for horrific things that we can’t even wrap our minds around. For trauma that rocks out world and turns it all upside down.

While I don’t see good in the actual experience, I see so much good in a Jesus who sits with us in the pain and weeps with us. I see a Jesus who doesn’t magically take us out of humanity but whose presence keeps us breathing and alive and infinitely loved.

What would it look like if we would view life through the lens of relationship versus the lens of controlling everything in life?

If we would stop begging God and instead start communicating with God. If we’d acknowledge the fact that life is not fair and that serving God will not be a guarantee that tragedy won’t strike us. That we are not immune to suffering and death and heartbreak. That just because something happens doesn’t really mean that it was meant to be.

That not everything has a purpose of good, but instead, the relationship with God is what causes the miracle to happen and goodness blooms from tragedy. That it’s more about what’s going on inside our hearts instead of the suffering. That graves do not normally disappear. But they can become gardens. (I love that song)

In every single hard thing, God is still good. Still listening. Still compassionate. Still caring. But He doesn’t always make it go away. He doesn’t always come through the way we think He should.

Here’s the promise we DO have. There is always a deeper level of love and awareness, companionship and peace He wants to bring us through the hard times.

I used to beg God for answers and change because that was all I knew to do. Beg and resign myself to whatever He chose to do. I didn’t know how to receive. How to live in the power of His resurrection.

I was so busy trying to find reasons for what was happening. Defending God in my thoughts. Focusing on what He could do instead of focusing on His presence right here. Right now.

I didn’t know how much He LOVED me. Because I was so busy trying to serve Him and make sense of what was happening.

But here’s the part that I have learned at a deeper level this last year.

I am LOVED.

Exactly where I am . The way I am. No proper words or correct thoughts needed. No perfect faith or wordy prayers. I am loved with my questions and fears and insecurities.

I’m loved exactly now. Exactly as I am.

It sounds incredibly simple but to get that message from my head into my heart took another whole level of belief, acceptance, and trust.

When the reality of Divine Love moved into the very core of my heart, it changed everything. I stopped trying to do it right for God.

I started from a different place. A place of rest. A place of acceptance. Of not trying to prove anything or argue my stance.

A place of unconditional, gentle, overwhelming, accepting, patient love.

I began loving From this Divine love. I began accepting the Words I heard Jesus speaking to me. I began accepting the truth spoken around me. I began accepting the smiles and words of blessing from others and when I began believing these things, my whole life began to shift and change.

Instead of begging, I began receiving. Instead of taking, I began asking. Asking Jesus what He thought of this . Asking the Holy Spirit’s presence into issues I was facing. And then I listened.

I am learning that Jesus actually delights in being with me. That instead of a helpless child begging at his feet, He is gently taking my fear and hesitation and asking me to dance with Him in freedom and love.

I learned something else. There is always a blessing waiting for me. I am not an unworthy beggar.

Because of LOVE-divine LOVE- when God looks at me, He sees Jesus . The angels rejoice over me because of that LOVE that I am resting in. Power is mine…because of abiding in love.

Because of this LOVE, I have access to a whole huge storehouse of blessings. It’s my choice if I accept them or not. I can chose to follow the gentle suggestions of the Holy Spirit. Even if I don’t, it doesn’t make me more or less loved. But it may keep that blessing tucked away on the shelf in the store house, waiting to be poured out over my life and the lives of those around me. It may keep me from experiencing a new view of who God is and what He has available for me in life.

It takes all the pressure off when living from a place of love. I don’t have to spend energy constantly searching my radar for things I should do and ways I must serve. I won’t blow it if I miss one opportunity or make one mistake.

I know now that Jesus will meet me wherever I’m at.That when I am in communication with Him, I can follow His gentle lead and listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit to show me how to love others best.

I can live in rest and know that my performance doesn’t change His opinion of me. With my heart turned toward him, I know that I will be told what to do and I can rest in that knowing.

I can rest my heart and mind on the knee of my Creator and ask questions, share my fears, and hear the sweet words of love and power.

There is no need to beg when I can simply rest and receive.

There is so much power. So much love. So much Hope available through this kind of living.

So many secrets and sweet thoughts and moments. So many many messages from nature. Birds flying overhead, butterflies flitting by, breezes suddenly springing up, the smile of a stranger, the wave of a child. All around me , life is filled with this rest and love when I simply open my eyes to it’s wonder.

We are not the victims in this life. We are not the ones who are powerless and fearful in the face of resistance to love and truth. We are incredibly equipped with power and peace from our Creator.

We are in touch with Heaven’s answers. With ideas and thoughts and words of life that may seem so insignificant in the moment, but can start a ripple effect of goodness and transformation.

Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus questions. Don’t be surprised when you hear an answer. It may just be different then what you imagined.

Dare to live truly divinely LOVED!!

Thoughts On Life

Holiday Like It’s Your Last

I’m afraid to write this post. Mostly I’m afraid because it could be taken in the very opposite way of what I would ever want it to be taken. But aren’t most things in life that way? Two sided?

I’m going to write it I though because I think it needs to be said. Cue the deep breathing.

What would you do if you knew this was your last holiday on earth? Who would you go see? How would you celebrate?

There’s no reason to panic here. No reason to buy exorbitant gifts or frantically try to send out cards or burn your old journals. Just a quiet reflection on what really matters most in your life right now and a refocus on being intentional with it.

Ever since Covid hit, I’ve been rumbling with deep questions and thoughts. I keep seeing two sides of extreme opinions and I honestly feel like I waffle back and forth between the two.

Obviously, the thing most people want to do is to love others well. Love. Love . Love.

Some people show love well by quarantine. Some people show love by working in hospitals. Some people show love by running the trash trucks. Some people show love by sharing their provisions. Some people show love by showing up at their sick parents houses and sitting with them and making them laugh. There So much love everywhere when we look for it!

In a world that speaks so much of hate and hurt, all everyone wants, deep in their heart is to be loved. It just looks different from a variety of glasses.

There are all kinds of opinions and mandatory restrictions over this holiday season. I’m not writing this to tell you what to do or add to the confusion but I have a message burning in me and so I write.

All through this year, while people were speaking of the pandemic and how best to show love, I would remember our daughter Kierra. She was definitely a high risk child. Winters were often spent either at home or in the hospital because the risk of her getting sick or actually being sick was frankly was quite high. Every cold could lead to pneumonia. Every pneumonia could lead to kidney failure and every kidney failure could lead to respiratory failure. Which would lead to death.

There was no cure for her condition. No tidy answer. Just managing the symptoms and trying to keep her immune system strong. Sound familiar?

Now I know that Covid is a pandemic. I am not for a moment saying it’s made up or related to my daughter’s disorder. My heart hurts for all the lives that have been forever changed through this illness. So in some ways, we aren’t even dealing with the same issues.

In other ways, we are. Kierra was high risk for any illness. We kept her home during cold and flu season. We never fully expected to go anywhere unless we actually got there. Our plans could change at a moments notice.

We didn’t ask others to accommodate our daughter’s health needs. We didn’t normally demand extra precautions. It was our responsibility to care for her and do what we could to protect her from viruses. It became our own personal normal.

We also took a trip I will never regret. A road trip from Pennsylvania to Montana with our daughter. It was one of those trips where the whole time you were packing, you thought you were totally 💯 crazy, but the feeling of doing the right thing was so strong, that it outweighed the ‘what if’s’.

What if she would get sick in Montana and we wouldn’t have our pediatric hospital? What if she got sick on the way and we were stranded in a strange hospital? What if she contacted a virus on the trip and came home sick? What if the altitude made her breathing worse? What if we were irresponsible to go so far with a special needs child? What if she died?

Kierra’s grandparents had been missionaries in Central America since she was a baby and they had never had a good chance to connect with her. I felt a certain urgency to take the trip and enjoy some time with them and also get to visit our old home state.

We went on that trip. It wasn’t all easy. I mean just hauling the stuff into the motel room was like a marathon chore. Oh the memories!

And this was just one load.
My spot was right there beside her among all those blankets and stuff for about 30 hours. One way.

But we enjoyed our time so much. Kierra seemed to love Montana and although she needed more oxygen then normal, she thrived. She ‘talked’ and waved her little hands and smiled and giggled. She relaxed more then I thought she would.

It was such a gift to all our hearts. It was healing and special and connecting.

A month later, when Christmas came, we once again decided to make a trip to my family for the day. They lived only 4 hours away instead of 30 but it was still a big deal to pack everything up. Kierra didn’t feel well on Christmas Day.

But the love poured on her and the support given to us was so special and priceless.

Those two holidays were the last times Kierra was at her Grandparent’s house.

She passed away in January. Two months after being in Montana and one month after being in Maryland.

I will never regret taking the risk. Love beat death. Spending that time with family can never be replaced. I will always be grateful we had that opportunity. Her disorder prevented us from doing many things, but they did not define her.

We chose to live like there was no tomorrow. Because really, there was no promise of even one more day.

I know. It’s not going to look the same for you as it did for us. It could very well be that loving well this year means staying at home. You may not be able to take the risk of sickness. You may not have sufficient finances. You may have no family to visit. You may be in mandatory lockdown.

I’m sorry. I know this is hard. I know this is lonely and often there are no ideal options.

Hear my heart though? Please don’t allow the fact of dying or suffering to scare you into isolation. Please don’t allow the fear of others to shame you into not taking that meal or inviting that lonely person. Or hugging those grandparents.

Please love yourself well. Do what you know you need to do. There is no reason for shaming over this season. And that starts with you. Give yourself grace. Pass it out freely to others. Your decision is honorable.

My daughter died from respiratory failure but she died well loved.

At her funeral, her Grandpa said he had asked God for One Chance to connect with her while he was a missionary so far away.

When we went to Montana, his prayer was answered. She looked into his eyes (which was rare). They connected.

I had no idea he prayed that prayer. I did know that we needed to go on that trip. I did know, that after that trip, Kierra seemed satisfied. Like she had accomplished a mission that was hers to do.

Two months later, it was her time to go on. To enter the Knowing – the Fullness. The Complete Wholeness that is Hers. The arms of Jesus caught her up.

Pure Joy

Whatever your holiday plans are this year, love deeply. Freely. Fully. You never know when it is your last.

Peace my friend. Peace and love.

Finding Yourself

When 2020 Overwhelms

So many voices

Clamoring.

So many people standing firmly

In their truth.

So many ears that totally miss the heart

That’s risking to be heard.

We are so quick to throw people into boxes.

Chain link fences of phrases and photos

Dividing people onto sides.

My heart weeps with the immensity of it all.

It feels like a shouting match and no one is listening.

Like the air is so full of static that

The true sound waves can never break through.

And meanwhile, the truth is hovering in

The stillness of timeless space.

Waiting to be embraced.

I invite you to

Ride above the commotion and ammunition.

Above the bombs of emotion.

Find that quiet retreat of your own beating Heart.

Know that you are more then this.

Grace and love have already won.

Our hearts can rest on the timeless truth of who God is.

“Divine Love in all its forms.

Joy that overflows.

Peace that subdues.

Patience that endures.

Kindness in action.

A life full of virtue- goodness.

Faith that prevails.

Gentleness of heart.

Strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities.

They are meant to be limitless.

Never be arrogant or look down on another

For Each of Us is an Original.”

From the Book of Galatians

It is not simple and naive to draw closer to the Creator of our hearts.

Bury your head in the truth of who Jesus is. Stay there.

Allow it to fill you so completely that you can remain deeply at peace through all the confusion and emotionally charged barrages.

It is not naive to believe that Our Divine is constantly working and always speaking. Listen and look for the peace that is continually flowing from the heart of our Creator for you. You will find it.

Relax in the One who enfolds you in grace.

The One who sets us free to become servants of each other, expressing love in everything we do.

Own the truth of you but even more importantly own the truth of who you have been created to be in the realms of the Divine.

Peace.

Thoughts On Life · Uncategorized

BELIEVE and a Giveaway!

It’s cold. It’s winter.

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

And in just a few days, it will be another thing.

our seventh wedding anniversary.

I think this is the perfect time for a little give away to my lovely friends on this blog! So here it is…

hutch and believe 084

A Christmas Light Canvas.

Read a bit farther to understand why I chose the word BELIEVE and to see how to enter the drawing to win.

I hope that this winter finds a glow in your heart. The privilege to BELIEVE. even when it’s hard.

A bit over 8 years ago, my Big Guy and I met for the very first time.

I from the East.

He from the West.

Just in case you didn’t know, I LOVE a happy, fuzzy romantic love story. One of our first ‘run ins’ was at the bottom of a Rocky Mountain foothill under a gorgeously lovely moon that was edging the frigid clear night with it’s impossibly soft warmth…..

a perfect set up for some heart sparks to fly.

Instead, I was bleeding red all over the front of Steve’s grey jacket and was convinced that every breath would be my last. That’s what happens when the most lovely innocent toboggan ride with girlfriends ends abruptly.That’s what happens when barbed wire meets face.

Cruel cold steel wired across flesh. And scars were created. It was ugly. And scary. And not at all what I planned.

I don’t believe in omens but do I believe in God’s omnipotent plan for our lives. Sometimes, in my wandering moments, I wonder if God was trying to tell us something way back then. That He makes beauty out of bloodshed. He keeps us breathing when we have no strength left to keep going.That life doesn’t always make rational sense.

Exactly a year after that accident, my heart had come a long way. I was learning trust and love and commitment and laying down silly notions and ideas. (yeah. i’m still working on that stuff:)

One thing was bigger then ever…those lovely heart sparks were flaming higher and hotter then ever! We were getting married!

December 7, 2006

The day I thought I would die.

December 7, 2007

The day I promised my life to the best Big Guy in the world.

happy happy wedding day!!!

(i laugh to think of all the near disasters that surrounded even that day)

The ironic thing was, the year before, I had gone west to teach a tiny school and carve out time with my Heavenly Father and try to figure out some hard questions of life. I wasn’t interested in guys.

But girls will be girls.

And when that true Love steals into your heart no matter how much you try to deny it….well, lets just say I was honored and thrilled!

It’s been seven years. There’s been bloodshed in our hearts. But there’s also been warm hugs that take in all the pain. So much love that pain morphs into beauty.

So many wonderful moments and happiness.

But we still live in a fallen world. As long as we are here, we face it.

Sometimes its hard to BELIEVE.

When I want my way and I don’t want to play fair and I am sure we are heading for disaster. When I let ridiculously small unimportant everyday things turn into a monstrous block wall. When I bang my head against it and wonder why it doesn’t budge. When I misunderstand.

It’s hard to believe.

When life hands me things I never asked for and warps my confidence that God is good. All the time.

It’s hard to believe.

When I don’t know what will happen next in life and it feels like your stuck in the waiting room. And you don’t want to be there.

It’s HARD to believe.

When others hurt and you can’t take away their pain.

It’s hard to BELIEVE!

I never would have believed my life if you had laid it out orderly for me while I was packing my bags for Montana 8 years ago.

It has been so wonderfully GOOD and GRAND!

But it’s also been brutally hard.

(Don’t we all have our own hard battle to face!?)

It is my life. And I embrace it.

Because I believe!

And that’s all because of God, my loving Father, who has PROMISED

(FOREVER AND ALWAYS NO MATTER WHAT)

to keep me and never leave me.

My husband. My amazing wonderful Big Guy that has taught me to trust and love and given me a safe place for my heart to come home.

My angel cchildren in heaven

the Wee One we never met,

Kierra Raine.

who’s name is music to my ear

longing in my heart,

hope in my future.

Kobe Xander

who amazes me

challenges me

calls me Mom.

and I love like crazy.

I believe

because God has put so much love and peace and hope in the midst of the blood and tears.

I BELIEVE!

So here’s my wish for you this Christmas.

The chance to experience God.

And believe.

It’s something we must each do for ourselves.

Let me assure you. He will meet you and love you and forgive you.

He delights in you.

Just believe.

hutch and believe 082

So here’s the deal.

This is a white canvas done in Silver script and snowflakes with 50 lights. It measures 16×20 in. and has easy access to the Christmas light’s plug.

Leave your name in the comments below to enter this giveaway. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 8. 

I will contact the winner for their shipping address and you should receive it in no time at all 🙂