Walk With Me

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I just don’t have the strength anymore.

The strength to be what you need. The strength to be what you expect. The strength to be what you want. I am not God, stop expecting me to be. So I guess I should ask myself, why do I keep pretending that I am? Pretending that I have it all together. Pretending that this day will be different. Pretending that life will really get better.

This is life, and it’s mine. Full of messy days, discouraging moments, depressing times when I can’t even think straight. Trying to form thoughts and move ahead – I stumble over the broken nature of our life. Don’t believe me? Well, I am telling you now, because it’s true.  Life is hard right now, so hard.

Am I the only one?

We all have our own stories and moments of strength, of weakness and of sorrow. I am having difficulty just finding my bearings for the day. I grasp for hope in the ways I know how. Reaching out with disciplines which calm my soul. Yet it seems a whole day can move onward and try as I do to move along with it – I fail. Oh, how I fail.

Stuck in moments of broken dreams, of cradled hopes that disappeared and grief that won’t pry it’s way out of my heart. I am reminded daily of what was and what will never be found again. I mourn. As I do, I can’t find my feet under me to plant them firmly on the ground. I can’t focus my thoughts to wade through the mess. I can’t make a move, to take even one step.

I am so, stuck.

It’s time to stop pretending. It’s time the expectations end. It’s time my friends, for love. Not love like you might know it or have experienced it. Oh no, this love is defined and found in one place and one place alone – with a relationship with God. For the love that comes from God is not like anything you have ever experienced. It’s not full of expectations. It’s not laden with pleasing others. Nor requiring demands. Simply put, love.

God is love. Scripture affirms this. (1 John 4:8) Scattering and gathering these seeds of love within hearts is a high calling. They take root in hurting hearts, in fear filled lives and in places which need affirmation. Love is more than words which express your thoughts. Love is a way of life that permeates decisions and circumstances. Love is, is. It’s active, it’s alive, it’s flowing through people. We become loves ambassador as we walk with others, and as you dear friend, walk with me.

God loves you and desires for you to know Him. Resting in the assurance that His love is enough we can walk through our days, or stay stuck in them, with complete confidence that His love is more than enough to cover our cares. If you mourn like I do, then mourn – trusting that during those dark times, His Presence is never far from you. Trust yourself to be in the places that He has drawn you to, those places that have uncovered themselves in your life. Walking quietly in His way. God loves you. Period.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.” Acts 17:27-28 NLT

God’s purpose was for us to come into relationship with Him. Even if we have to grope around for Him as we search Him out, He is found by us. He promises not to be far from any one of us. What a grand thought!  How often does God feel far away and distant?  How often do you find yourself wondering where God is? Be honest with yourself. He promises that He is not far off. For in Him we live and more and have our very being!

You are loved, do you feel it? Some of you might say no – that’s okay, I get it. I know this place, the walls are wells worn with thoughts that remind me that I am not good enough. But today, in these moments as we sit together, I encourage you – and me – don’t allow your circumstances to define your worth. Even if you are so stuck you can’t move, that doesn’t mean you are beyond the reach of God Himself. Believe.

You are loved, do you see it? Do you find comfort in relationships that God has provided to you? Do you sense His presence in the comings and goings of your days? Witnessing His love stamped upon your moments together. Sometimes we deny His presence in the beauty of each day. As we strive for the new, the bold and perhaps the immediate (in our instant culture of today), we miss out on the richness that consistent care and presence  brings to our daily lives.

You are loved. Again and again God reminds us that He is love. Scripture affirms it. Relationships renew it. Our hearts convict us. You are loved – so loved! Today, I encourage you, as I encourage myself. No matter how stuck you may be, how hard it might be or how unclear the days ahead seem. God is love and His love for you reaches into every place of your heart. Listen for the quietness. Hear Him speak. Trust in His Presence that promises to remain with you. God is love and he loves you.

He is enough, even when you don’t think you are.

You fight – we wait

waiting_for_dog_by_cathleentarawhiti-d64g7uz Every single day, you fight. You fight to hold onto what was, clawing your way to what could be, regretting what should have been. You ache for days that fill themselves with family, with loved ones, with hope. You wait, oh how you wait – for relief, for a cure, for some hope.

But it doesn’t come.

Grasping at every opportunity looking to find peace, you search with all your heart. For the next medical treatment, the newest doctor, some glimmer of hope. Oh how you fight, climbing up out of the pit of pain and suffering, you search becomes desperate. Hope flew away with the wind as you heard the word, hospice.

You want positive motion, energy, life. But hospice? No, no, not hospice. That would mean giving up. That would mean no longer fighting. That would mean defeat. Right? Well, no.  The battle has been fought and fought so hard.  With each breath you have struggled to take –  you find yourself moving closer to the unknown. Staring it down, it reaches into your core forcing you to face something so unfamiliar. You fight with all your might to keep yourself together, to not let go and to maintain control.

Yes, control.

The days run along, one after another – like the ones before. Filled with appointments, expectations and responsibilities that weigh you down. You move about your life and embrace times of hope filled healing. hard work and satisfaction that comes from the toil of your hands, your mind, your strength.Yes, your strength.

Relying upon yourself you face your fear and when doing so, you often fail. It’s not the power of your words or your actions that speak. It’s not the power of your mind or body that revel you. Oh no, it’s the power of your spirit. Of the strength of who you are as a person that radiates throughout your hospital room. This strength rises high above any expectation. Your goals and your hopes are high, your desire, strong. Your will, unshakeable.

You will beat this.

Yet the words ring in your ears. Hospice, hospice, hospice. Death looms on the horizon and you hesitate to make any decision – for in doing so it may stop your light from leaving this world – peering down at your impending death. You ache to remain here in this world,  while we begin to prepare our minds and hearts for the world without you. Meditating on life with the gaping hole you will leave behind.

Oh how we want you here. Oh yes! But even moreso, we want you in peace. We need you in peace. You hold on and we ache to hold onto you. Experiencing these moments of true joy and authenticity drizzle sweet mercy upon our wounded hearts. We embrace times of grace, love and forgiveness. For maybe the first time, we live, you live.

Live!

In these moments I know it’s true, you will  live on. Hospice or no hospice. Cancer of no cancer. Life or death. You will live. You will remain. You will stretch beyond this world that you know and challenge us, challenge me. We will grow, because of you. We will love, because of you. We can find hope, because of you. We can fight, because of how you taught us to. You will always be with us and in our hearts. Loving us from afar, nudging us to take another step and reminding us that love comes in many forms. Perhaps not with the words we want to hear, but the life we want to live. Each moment with deep passion, and with you – God. Yes, God.

The time for control is over. You are preparing to leave us behind. We are embracing the total measure of your life. It’s not found in money, nor career or material things. Hardly! The peace we find, is resting in the arms of Jesus Christ and letting Him care for you. Embrace you. Love you. Yes, you.

From this life into the next.

Make Your Music

iStock_000004832160Large Here I am.

In the quiet of the day, the notes rise and fall with the beating of my heart. I hear your voice in the strings as they stretch, in the keys as they explore and in the notes that flow from the brass horns. Orchestrating a symphony in my heart is the One who created music Himself. Your love, oh God, expands with each breathe, Your love, oh God, rewrites beauty from the fallen notes of our daily lives. Your love, oh God, whispers to our souls, composing beauty from the brokenness, inviting us into your holy throne room, “come.”

Come!

Come to my presence. Sit at my feet. Do not fear. Do not  fear, for I AM here with you. I AM. Fear will stop you. Fear will blind you. Fear may enrage you. Dear One, the melody I am composing for you – is not for you to hear. I only ask you to waltz through your life with me, following the notes that I compose upon your heart, leading you, guiding you, safely – to me.

I AM.

Beloved child, find beauty in your sadness. Rejoice with me. For I AM your Mighty God and I know what I have planned for you. Trust me. Know that I AM yours, as you my child are mine.  Let us live in the movement of music, reverberating through the pages of time. Let us make melody in our hearts with the Holy One. Daughter, Son – chosen one.

You were made for moments like this.

When all you have tried, all you have done, all you sought – was to be my child. Lay yourself at my feet. You struggle, you question, you pause and wonder how I could love your wonderful soul. When, oh child, will you finally believe?

I AM

What will it take to clean out all the crevices of your heart and find my name written on your walls? My name my child. My name defines you. My name upholds you. My name heals you. My name. I AM.

Whom is on the throne of your heart? How can you love all of me my child, when you refrain from offering up every part of you? Can you hear my voice echoing, bouncing off the shadowed walls – the dark, hard places where worry tracks familiar worn paths deep within your heart? I want to write my name Dear One, oh it will hurt my child, but my name heals. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” My friend, Jesus, is the way.  

I AM

What must I do to gain your complete attention? “No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa.” Matthew 6:24.  I want your full attention, your devotion, your heart. How can I love you so passionately Dear One, when you won’t let me in by fully opening your heart? I AM.

I AM.

God’s love for you is real, is present, is true, is holy, is now. Now. NOW. He’s been composing and orchestrating deep works of art in your life, creating and recreating you since the moment He spoke you to life. Life! Your love, oh God, is more than we will ever know.

How beautiful are the works of your Almighty Hands, oh Master Composer, the great I AM. Because You are oh LORD, I can.

I AM.

A Wandering Sheep

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A sheep, that’s all I am.

My needs? To be fed, to be tended to, cleaned up once in a while.  Just like any other animal, that’s all there is. Basic necessities of life. If I am hurt, care for me. If I am wandering, find me. If I am broken, let me heal.

A sheep, that’s me.

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me.” John 10:14

Jesus Christ calls Himself the Good Shepard. Not just the shepard, but the good shepard. The One who tends to the sheep, the One who looks after the flock and the One who searches for scattered sheep.

Jesus promises to provide these basic necessities of life. If you are hurting, the shepard cares for you. If you are wandering, the shepard will come find you. If you are broken, he helps heal you and waits patiently as you do.

Sometimes, I scatter.

I run. I turn my back on the shepard, on the flock I am foraging with and the insistent nudges of the staff guiding my way. I just go. I get scared. I feel overwhelmed. I don’t understand the road I am traveling on. It doesn’t make any sense to this sheep. So, I run.

What does a shepard do with a sheep that has once again left the fold? How does Jesus, my Shepard respond? He searches for them. He leaves the flock and looks high and low, to reclaim that sheep. Not giving up until it’s found. I love that part. Jesus searches, looks, and doesn’t stop, until I am found.

Ah, comforting, isn’t it?

How does a shepard get the sheep back to the flock? He lifts them up from right where they are, no matter what condition they are in, He wraps His arms around them and carries them. Yes, Jesus accepts you just as you are, and lifts you up and carries you! It’s here, in this moment, I abandon myself to His arms and let Him carry me. I allow Jesus access to my heart to take my hurts, my brokenness and care for me. Heal me.

Do you want to be healed?

It’s a curious thing about how the shepard brings that sheep home, lifted high upon his shoulders with a firm grip on their feet. See that? Jesus Christ, our good shepard,  carries us and then He makes sure we stay right there on His capable shoulders. I suspect the shepard needs to keep that sheep in it’s place, secure and safe. Otherwise it might try to scurry off. I know I would.

You see, the closer I get to the destination that the Shepard is bringing me towards, the more I fight Him and want to run. I seek His comfort, yes. But I may not like where we are walking. Do you know what I mean? Walking down the road, not liking the sights you see, but knowing you have to take another step, move through one more thing, to get where He’s bringing you.

You ask yourself, do I really want to go?

Jesus is the Good Shepard, He knows me. He is leading me along the way, He is nudging me forward, He is picking me up helping me walk and going after me when I run. How blessed am I to have such a shepard?

You may not like the road you are walking down, or the ways in which you get there. But fear not, you have a Good Shepard leading you, guiding you, protecting you, carrying you and healing you. All you have to do, is walk.

Trust the Good Shepard of your soul. Abandon yourself to Him today. Release yourself from figuring out the journey. Let Him fight for you.

Just take one more step.

5 Minute Friday ~ Together

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Together.

We found a way to hide our fears, to reign in our desires and just be – together. A moment of trust, a time to let go and allow our God to begin to rebuild that once was lost. Our togetherness.

Either we are together, or we are alone. There really is no in between, is there? That’s the nature of humanity. We yearn for oneness, to belong, we desire to collectively cheer one another one – yet, really, it’s Him we need?

Jesus.

Walking alongside us, quiet and strong. Speaking words of truth. Nudging us to yield. Encouraging us to leap. Togetherness grows from a place of hope, an small seed of truth that embeds in our heart that must be watered by His Living Water and washed clean by the truth of the Word. We are His. Breathe.

YWHW.

We are not alone. In fact, we never were! It’s a lie that we  have believed for far too long. This doubt which carried it’s deception into places in our hearts and in our lives. Distrust grew and we could no longer be….. together.

We clung to our loneliness.  Yet He calls us now, to come.

Be together with Him. Do not fear. Be together with Him. Find shelter. Be together with Him. Regain hope.

Together.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”

5 Minute Friday ~ True

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True.

Really? That’s my immediate thought. How can I write about what’s true when I look around my life asking myself the same question. Just what is true?

All is quiet, my mind comes up empty. For I don’t see truth, only deception.

Hidden faces, hearts shielded in. We walk, we talk, we pretend through this very life we live. Saying the right things, doing the things and even trying… to be true.

All I can cling to, all I know to be true, is what is being revealed to me by my Creator God. He is true.

He is love. Holy. Kind. Peace. Joy. Mercy. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Hope.

He is true.

The very things I try to “be,” He is. The very ways I yearn to serve. He is. The very ways I desire to praise. He is.

All else won’t stand, doesn’t hold up, won’t last, crumbles as He whispers.

He is true.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”

Words…

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Words.

Our words. Those small, little things which are so powerful. In a matter of moments we can build up or tear down. We can encourage the precious lives around us and build them up with words of hope. Or, like darts we throw at the hearts of those we love, we sharpen our tongues to spew out the darkest parts within us. With just one utterance, words effect our relationships and therefore our very lives.

Words.

We try to chose the right ones. Pull the dictionary off the shelf. We scramble to find the exact way to express what’s in our hearts. To form words and wrap them around thoughts and feelings rambling around within. How delicate the power of our words.

Deep down, we know that, don’t we?

Yet we find ourselves. Full of questions, of doubt and of pain. For we know things aren’t supposed to be this way, are they? The waves come crashing into your world, turning all you know into something unrecognizable. Here we are – facing another mountain to climb, another trial, another health crisis,  another broken relationship, another moment where we have the opportunity to choose.

Choose. Our words.

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 (The Voice)

Our words can communicate grace.  Spoken offerings which flow into the recipients heart. Fresh words that build them up. The very words we speak and the way we speak them, usher grace into the recesses and dark crevices of the hearts of those we love.

How powerful are our words! Do we sometimes let rotten words seep out? Definitely. Choose to use your words for truth, for rebuilding, for filling – for grace. Those mountains will come, of that we have no doubt. When the feelings surge within you, brimming to the surface –

Choose your words.

The Wait

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The internal clock keeps ticking away.

Tick, tick, tick…

Their hands moving faster and faster. Or at least that is how it seems with each new day. This ever moving, constant rush for saving, preserving, honoring the most precious commodity we all have, time. Yet I sit and, I wait. No matter how much time I hope to collect so I might grab the moment, enjoy it’s walled in perception of peace and protection, I find I need to pause and wait.

Wait for peace. Wait for hope. Wait for healing.

I wait.

There are times I yearn to move forward and spring forth from the places where I am still. Sometimes the darkness closes in, as I wait. For one more doctor appointment, one more lab to be drawn, one more medication, one more appointment to attend to, one more relationship to heal, one more conversation to be had, one more bill to pay, one more family member to visit. One more…..something.

I find that the more my plate overflows, the taller the piles gather around the home and never mind the endless house work neglected!

Still, I wait.

Why?

For healing. Healing in a physical sense, definitely. Yet healing in an emotional and spiritual sense, even more so.

There is something humbling, while also agonizing, about waiting. Like holding back a bull ready to charge. Just as you think it’s ready to move and tackle it’s prey, you pull on the reigns that much harder to make it stop. It’s like this game you play with yourself. You want more, you desire to be free, yet there is something which calls you back, heeds your heart, slows your pace.

You yearn for something, you want more, you crave it. Yet, you are called to wait.

Wait.

This has been the mantra of my life. Just when I think I am read to leap and take this jump of faith, I plummet to the ground. Alas, to wait.

I’ve fully recovered from my surgery and perhaps my internal bleeding will be gone for good. I’ve already had a moment when symptoms started again and the battle in my mind began again. Not wanting to ignore things and circumstances, yet not wanting to over-react. Will there ever be a balance? I find, I must wait. Again. Stop and start. Push and pull. Constant tension, unanswered questions.

The wait.

I know in my waiting, I am not alone. My faith in my God assures me so. Where would I be without Him?

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

This makes it worth the wait.

5 Minute Friday ~ Broken

As I was writing my Five Minute Friday post tonight I realized I had one I never published from weeks ago.

Why not?

So, it’s not technically this particular Friday anymore.

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Broken, it’s who I am, and who I am have become. Broken in that one word I know, it’s why I need.

Him.

I can’t think of a time when anything felt right. Things were okay and fixed. That these everyday moments felt alive and whole. Underlying there’s this ongoing sense of brokenness.

And then I remember.

It’s really NOT who I am. That’s just the lie I have believed all these years. I am not broken. You are not broken. We are in need.

In need of a Saviour, in need of some hope. In need of forgiveness and in need of grace untold.

Shattered pieces of my life are scattered about like pieces of a puzzle. Looking for ways to regain control and put them back together.

Just Another Step

Today marks another day in recovery for me. I had minor surgery a few days ago. Really, it’s minor.

Yet, somehow it doesn’t feel minor.

My health has been the main reason for this blog. To consider what has been going on with me and try to explore the realties of my  new life. These pulmonary embolisms have totally changed my life. I can’t even express how they have effected me and my entire family. But here’s the hard truth, the stark reality, I am so thankful I am still alive! More often then not you don’t survive a PE.

Since my third PE last fall, I’ve had  a medication change. I am now on Lovenox for life. Coumadin just wasn’t effective for me. I just couldn’t get therapautic. Lovenox is a low dose heparin that I inject into myself twice daily. It works differently within the body than Coumadin does. Each anticoagulant comes with their own risks and concerns. Nothing is ever fail proof. One of the risks of Lovenox is a higher chance of internal bleeding, as well as not being able to stop the bleeding once it starts.

It was the reason for my recent surgery.

It’s been about 10 months of internal bleeding now and I am ready for it to stop! So although the surgery was minor, it’s not minor to me at all, it’s major to me. For it can set me on a new road for recovery. If my internal bleeding finally gets under control, then perhaps the anemia will stop and the fatigue will subside.

I just have to be patient and take it one step at a time. And this?

It’s just another step.