Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Dew is Still on the Roses...

"I make all things new..."
Revelation 21:5

Mornings. The whole earth is yawning and stretching and wiping the sleep from its eyes! The sun is piercing the sky, golden and breathtaking in all of its radiant beauty. 

Shhhh...  There's a quiet to the morning that is broken gently by the rustling of the trees stretching and yawning to shake the sleep out of their branches. The sun is peeking over the clouds, tiptoeing into another day. The birds are chattering over their babies, nudging them into a new day. I sit at the window and bask in the rays of light that stream into my little abode. Most of the world is still in its pajamas. I am alone with my thoughts and with my God. I treasure these moments that begin another day. No one is speaking. The coffee is perking on the stove. The babies are still asleep in their beds. It is a new day.

Only a few minutes and then its over. But for those few minutes, heaven kisses the earth with promise. Like precious jewels, I savor these moments, alone with my God. Lord, remind me today that You are in it all. No matter what happens today, there is a morning coming that will be forever. Help me to savor the moments. Until that great “waking up morning” in heaven. Lord, remind me, You are in it all...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Eye Has Not Seen...

"Nor ear heard,
Nor has it entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared
For those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

I had a dear friend once who had twin sons that were, of course, more precious than life itself to my friend. Inexplicably, one of his sons developed an extremely deadly form of cancer at the tender age of 11. From that point on, life was never the same. My friend rode an emotional roller coaster for well over two years. Just when the family was broken and unable to take another step, a miraculous drug would turn the tables of fortune and, what seemed a hopeless situation turned on its head and the child rallied to what seemed like a cure. Then, after months of “normal” health and childhood vitality, the disease came roaring back with a ferocity that threatened to crush my friend under its reign of terror.

Once again, my friend was caught in the merciless grasp of an enemy that kept appearing in new clothes with a new, more threatening voice, as if to say, “You will never escape, you will never escape... I have you. You will never escape...” Eventually, on the threshold of his graduation from grade school, my friend's son lost his battle and the Lord took him home. My friend was devastated.

I watched this unfolding tragedy with horror. There was nothing I could say to comfort my friend. He was inconsolable. He blamed himself for not being able to protect his son. As if he had willfully chosen to abandon his son when he was most needed. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. No. This father stayed at the side of his son through every excruciating minute of his illness. He never lost hope. He never gave up. He was faithful.

What does God have to say to us about these kind of moments in our lives, that define our lives by the immensity of their impact?  I have stood by the bedside of my own parents as they wrestled and fought against illnesses that took their lives. I have wept at the loss of my own child, much wanted and dearly loved, gone before I ever got to hold him in my arms. I have experienced losses in my life that I never talk about to anyone. They are carried in the silence of my heart, where only God knows the depth of pain their loss has meant to me.

When something happens in my life that tears the blister off the old wound, and I am brought back to the pain as if it were yesterday, I run to the Lord and tell Him the story that has broken my heart all over again. He never stops receiving me into His arms. He never turns His back to me, wondering when I will ever “get over it”. He never says, He's heard it all before and doesn't want to hear it again. No. He understands completely. He weeps with me. He gathers me in His arms and carries me. He looks upon me with the compassion of a Father who never stops loving His child. He waits for me to catch my breath. He loves me “until I can be me again...”

At moments like these, there are no words to speak that make any sense.  I am speechless in the face of life's unanswerable questions.  All I want to do is draw closer and closer to the One who holds the answers.  I want to hear Him speak.  I want to know that He is with me, no matter how alone I feel.  I want to know He understands what I have no words to express.  In the depths of suffering that silences my voice, I want to hear Him speak...


Friday, October 19, 2012

All My Yesterdays...

"I, even I, am He who comforts you..."
Isaiah 51:12

I have often stood outside yesterday's picture window, peering in like a stranger wishing I could enter in.

Isn't there a cozy fire flickering in the fire place? Doesn't it light up the faces of the family gathered together lovingly by its side? Don't I hear loving, kind, encouraging words spoken here? Aren't everyone's needs met in this idyllic little cottage? Isn't this a safe harbor from the cold, frigid storm that lies just outside it's doors? Don't I remember how much I loved growing up in this story book family where everyone's needs were met and no-one was ever hurt or left out? Why can't I keep this picture in focus? Whose house is this really? Whose family? I'm having trouble seeing them clearly...

The truth is, looking back, I know we were hardly the perfect, “Father Knows Best” family that was idealized on T.V. in the '50s. No, we didn't even have a fire place. We sometimes didn't even have heat on cold winter nights. My father wasn't sitting in the big stuffed chair, smoking his pipe and reading the newspaper. He was working the midnight shift in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Chicago. My mother often couldn't hide her fear that she didn't have enough money to put dinner on the table for her children. Pregnant with her eighth child, a good practicing Catholic, where was the church when it came to feeding the babies they told her she must have? I could tell, even as a young child, she often felt alone in dealing with these things. Yes, where was the Church...?

A better question really is, where was God? Was He on vacation? Was He sitting on the beach with His feet up getting a nice sun tan? Had he taken a job on the other side of the world and was now too busy to keep up with our needs? Was He taking a nap? Or, worst of all, did He just not care?

It took me a long time to settle some of those questions. My memories kept demanding answers. I don't have them all, even today. I probably won't have them either, until I sit across from  My Savior on the porch in heaven and have the chance to look into His eyes and ask Him directly, did you care? 

But, I can already see Him staring back at me, with love filling up the space between us. I can see Him. He has scars on His forehead where thorns once pierced His flesh. He has holes in the palms of His hands and the soles of His feet where nails were hammered in. He has a gaping gash in His side where a spear entered where it never should have gone.  No.  I guess it's undeniable that He didn't take the easy road Himself when He decided to redeem you and me.

What is there left to say? Yes. He cares. I know He cares. He cares for me and He cares for you. You can rest all of your yesterdays and all of your tomorrows in the certain knowledge that He cares. And He will “wipe away every tear from your eyes...” (Rev. 21:4)   I'm counting on it...

May God give you and me the strength and grace to face whatever it is that is overwhelming us today. May He be with you and with me in all of our tomorrows...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Riding the Tiger...

"Let the weak say,
I am strong..."
Joel 3:10

Holding on for dear life
To the throat of the tiger
He keeps trying to eat me
If I let him go, he has me
If I hold on tight, he has me
He keeps trying to eat me
I'm scared
I'm terrified
I'm giddy
I'm ready to give up
He's getting ready to eat me
I wish I could get off his back
I don't know how
What am I afraid of?
What if I lose?
What if I die?
It will all be over
Before I'm ready to get off.

I must remember...

I love the thrill of riding the tiger
I love the adventure
I love the journey
I love the challenge
I love the opportunity
I love unpredictable life
I love the joy of the ride
I love twirling in the wind
I love the screeching and the squeals
I love the shear beauty of the tiger beneath me.

I love the life You give me today
I love writing on a blank page
I love drawing a picture only I can see
I love dancing to the music I hear
I love dreaming dreams that are forbidden
I love creating something from nothing
I love all the possibilities
I love waking up in the morning full of promise
I love the evening sunset
I love the day drawing to a close
I love crawling into bed at the end of a hard day
I love that I found You.
Beautiful, beautiful YOU!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Remember...


I remember you 
before you can remember yourself!

I remember 
praying for you 
when you were no bigger than a dot inside your mother.

I remember 
sitting in the waiting room with your uncle, 
waiting for your birth.
Wasn't that just yesterday?

I remember 
watching your daddy, 
overcome by the miracle of you.

I remember 
watching your mother 
fall in love with you instantly.

I remember 
the very first time I saw you,
 five minutes after your birth.

I remember 
you, age three, 
posing for the camera everywhere we went. 
 You were a ham even then!

I remember 
you, curling up beside me on Christmas Eve, 
telling me about your dreams for college.

I remember 
not wanting you to leave, 
and then, all at once, 
catching your excitement to be going, 
running joyfully into life.

I remember 
looking at you, 
full of beauty and poise, 
a gift to everyone you meet.

I remember 
you returning from Europe 
in your third year of college, 
undeniably a woman who has traveled more than I ever will.

I remember 
you sharing with me 
that it was the experience of 
visiting the little house 
that was the hiding place of Ann Frank, 
that touched you more deeply 
than anything else you saw in Europe.

I remember 
that God has gifted you to be a blessing 
to many beyond my little door. 
 I see the colors and shapes of those blessings 
beginning to erupt all over you.

I remember 
that you are part of a generation 
that is coming into its own, 
and I am part of a generation 
that is going home.

I remember 
that no matter how far away from me 
you pitch your tent, 
you are a part of me.

I remember 
that there are just so few things in life 
that will ever measure up 
to the blessing of you in my life.

I remember 
that the same God who blessed me with you, 
holds onto you still.

I remember 
that I will never stop 
loving you, 
praying for you, 
thanking God for you.

I remember 
the treasure of you...