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

Glory In the Hurt

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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

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brings out the golden glory.

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And beautifies the dying.

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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.’

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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 🙂

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.

Grief

When I don’t Understand God

“Where does understanding dwell? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing.” Book of Job

That’s how I’ve been feeling the last while. Like God is silent. Life is cruel. Present is suffocating. And Future uncertain. I wanted to beat something up. Take a wrecking ball to a building. As if that would make me feel better. After the clatter and crash and settling dust, what would be left? Everything would still be exactly the same. Except for a pile of ruin.

But ruin feels good sometimes. Sitting among the ashes of your dreams and longings has a drawing power. It’s just so familiar. It’s all your mind wants to turn to. It feels like home even though it wreaks of utter desolation. Sometimes, the effort it takes to get up just isn’t worth it.

Acceptance seems like betrayal. Forgiveness seems like denial. Smiles seem frivolous. And joy seems like a giant lie.
So I sit a bit longer among the ruins, sifting them through my fingers.

God’s been working on this girl’s heart. I am hopeless and helpless without Him. The moments of my life that surround this sadness in my heart will always stay with me. The pain and total NOT understanding. The NOT FAIR and the WHAT IF. It has all been woven into the essence of who I am. God knew that when He created me.

Listen to what else Job has to say about understanding, this ancient man who lost everything except His life and his wife.

“God understands the way to it
And He alone knows where it dwells.
for He views the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

(So He’s looking at the big picture. At the details.)

When He established the force of the wind
(Maybe our trials and pain?)
And measured out the waters
When He made a decree for rain,
And a path for the thunderstorm…

He looked at wisdom
And appraised it
He confirmed it.
And tested it.

(Guess what? Unlike my mind likes to think, God isn’t up there whipping up a storm, unleashing pain and horror over His children, without a thought of where the pieces will fall. He is appraising. Confirming. Testing. He knows what He’s doing. He created us. And He honestly has the BEST for us turning in His ‘Great Brain’. He delights in us. He will never leave us broken alone. Ruined for good. Because He is stronger then our circumstances. Look at what the last verse says.)

The fear (reverence, respect) of The Lord is
WISDOM
And to shun evil is
UNDERSTANDING.”

Just like Alex Marini shared on Sunday…
To have fullness of joy is actually not complicated.
“Obey God
Abide. In. Him.”

Our God is so big. Look at another quote from Job…

“And these are but the outer fringe
Of His works.
How faint the whisper we hear of Him!
Who then can understand
the thunder of His power?”

Today, I’m choosing to trust God. He knows what He’s doing. I’m just convinced. I feel like I’m along for the ride…. I think that’s just OK:)

Right now…the ride consists of reading Kobe’s favorite book…I can handle that!

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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.