Tag Archives: life

Darkness & Light: Where He Abides

01 Winter Song (with Ingrid Michaelson)

Today is a day of joy and pain. It is the unexpected birthday of my baby girl’s planned birth, on the anniversary of my baby boy in heaven’s funeral – this Winter Solstice day of the Darkest Night.

Three years ago on this day I gathered with my husband, living children, family and friends to mourn the loss of my full term son Fisher.  One year later, after two long years of pregnancy, I gave birth to my baby girl, a planned induced birth that was to be on the 20th and lasted into the wee hours of this Solstice morning.  I heard the beautiful cry of life this day where bliss and loss have become good friends.  My babies will meet in heaven one day, all six of them, and there will be laughter to replace all these tears.  There is laughter here too.  Both I embrace.

Too many deaths. Too many thoughts this month, with too little time to write.  Here are a few formed to words…

Lord, I stand with you at the edge of a beautiful life overlooking the valley of the shadow of death.  I rage with you against the horror of it, small and safe beneath your wing. Knowing you are love, that you loved my beloved and that you love me.  Still though I wonder.

I look at you, in love, wondering if maybe you betrayed me somehow by allowing death to take my child.  Were you a willing participant Lord?  Did Satan come to you as with Job, and you said: let it be? Allowed the boy I’d given every ounce of my being to nurture and love for 10 long months to die before his life began? How could you have obliged?  How do I not give you ownership when I honor your hand in everything else?  What was your role in this?

I know you did not point the gun, twist the cord, that took the breath he never breathed.  But you knew. You were there. You are here now.  Your omnipresence often comforting, implicates participation.  It is so hard reconciling death with your love.

Still I stand with you.  Still I trust you.  Even though I do not understand.  Even more now, I know your love and know you conquer death.

If only it was in my lifetime so that I, and so many others, might not have to suffer so.

It is too hard to bear my Lord, so hard, nearly incomprehensible to me, even now.  Only you know the searing pain that radiated throughout my body, that was cried out from the depths of my soul, that left me grasping for my own breath that might sustain my life.  Only you know this Lord.  Only you know me.  Only this brings incomprehensible comfort.

I praise you.  Fearfully and wonderfully, I praise you.


On With Life

I had a tough time with my most recent birthday, feeling like 35 was more near mid-life if one pays attention to averages than any other age and in all honesty suddenly feeling “old” in many ways.  The physical being the most obvious and lament worthy, the wrinkles, the grays, the aches and the pains are more pronounced than ever.  I started doing tri-athlons this year (isn’t that crazy?) and each time I trained and for days after, I HURT.  I also started playing soccer again.  After 15 years away from team play and 6 plus years of pregnancies, I started up again, and it hurts.  I grew up playing soccer!  I love soccer!  In my mind I thought I’d have so much going for me with all that childhood and adolescent experience behind me.  The reality is, I have to work hard to run fast and when I do I usually pull muscles.  (Luckily it is fun and I play with really nice people that I care to spend time with.)

Beyond the physical, I am taking stock.  A year and a half ago I lost my son at the end of my pregnancy and plunged into the depths of grief that has fundamentally changed how I experience and perceive life.  That is another story for another time, but for this time it influences my “mid-life” birthday in such a way that I feel I must get on with doing the things I hope to do with my life, because it will pass, too fast and there’s too much I want to do.

1. Slow down

Funny this would be my first goal after stating “there’s too much I want to do” but that is why it must be first.  A therapist of mine once said “you like to live a full-life, I see it as a pouring out of your intellect and creativity.”  I loved that!  What a positive spin on my active life.  That was before kids though, and there is no possible way I can pursue all my passions and still be the mom and provide the life for my kids that is nurturing and honoring of them.  I must set those things aside, for a season, in pieces if I am to be the mom I hope to be.  I must slow down, slow us all down (my husband and kids like adventure and experiences too) and make space for us to play, tickle, read, nap, go for walks, have conversations that matter.  If you have practical advice in this area, I would love to hear them.

2. Listen and Respond to God’s voice

So often I wonder what God might have me do in a particular situation or season of time and wish the map was clear before us because I swear I would follow it, free will and all.  As a little girl I prayed every night “Lord, help me to be the girl you’ve created me to be” and still I hope above all that I am living out God’s purposes for my life.  The problem is, He’s not always clear, there isn’t a formula and the magnitude of love He has for us comes in giving us many options.  I am a planner, so I contemplate and I worry, I fret and I weigh all options.  I am a slow decision maker and the concepts of God’s will and our freedom of choice can feel like some mysterious equation that I must work hard to solve.  Lately, though, I have heard God speaking, loud and clear, about some things, and felt Him pointing me in certain directions in more pronounced ways than usual.  My hopes, in this new year of my life, is to create space to listen – through reading and studying my bible, praying and times of silence – and be bold enough to respond, actually doing what God is telling me to do.  That is always scary and exhilarating for a worry wart like me.

3. Pursue Passions

In order to be the mom I want to be, I need to do a few things, outside of mothering, that feed the other areas of life that interest me.  So often inspiration will hit me, and then I look around at the dishes, the laundry, the stack of papers that perpetually piles up in my kitchen, and then a child comes into focus and there is ALWAYS a need to be met and I set that idea aside, swallow it down, hoping for a window of time, later, to pursue it.  When days go by and the time doesn’t come I get discouraged and wonder why I allow myself to hope to pursue these bits of inspiration anyway.  I can’t give up hope.

God laid it on my heart a few years ago to write.   There is so much going on in my head and my heart that I want to get out in a meaningful way.  Looking around, I realized I write all the time; I keep journals for each of my kids highlighting special moments in their lives or simply writing letters to them as they grow up,  I write in a hand full of personal journals, one in response to sermons, one for my life in general, one in my purse in case an idea or thought hits me on the fly and then there is the myriad of post it’s, receipts, random word documents that I jot down and idea or trail of thought before I lose it.  So really, it is something I already do, I want to put purpose and priority to that.  This blog is part of that.

3. Love Like Crazy

Yes, it is a sappy country song I heard the morning of my 35th birthday, but my aha moment was in the lyrics.  In losing my son I felt a huge numbness come over me that was part normal response to grief and part coping with feelings that could sear me if the numbness didn’t take over.  In grief therapy we talk about layers of our loss, and the loss of the easily excited, exuberantly hopeful parts of myself was a sad layer of my loss.  In grief therapy, I would ask our counselor when I was going to feel like “me” again and she would say that I would feel something similar, but I am forever changed by the death of my son.  This new self can is full of goodness too, but definitely different.  A piece of me had become a bit guarded, fearful I guess, of loving anyone so much that it would devastate me to lose them. This year, when I come up against the fear and numbness that stifles feeling of big huge love and joy, I will remember to love like crazy.  I invite you on this journey with me


Introduction

It seems I should begin with an introduction…

I am a mom, wife, woman, friend, minister, therapist, intellectual, creative follower of God in no particular order other than what is placed before me for a particular moment or day. My life is currently driven by the needs around me; my 3 young children, my business-owner-pastor-student-involved-dad husband, the various volunteer roles I have taken on, bits of work and my desire to live a meaningful life that honors God and who he created me to be.

Jesus sustains me.  When I was a very little girl I was aware of God’s presence in my life and never missed a night of “now I lay me down to sleep.”  It wasn’t until college when I was being trained to do ministry in Young Life that the relational and personal aspects of my faith came to fruition, and I came to life.  After years of ministry, a partial divinity degree and ongoing practice of spiritual disciplines and study, my faith is solid, and yet, I have so many questions.   The deeper I go and the longer I journey, the more I wonder, partly because of facing significant loss, I have more questions than answers, not quite doubts (though sometimes I doubt).  I am continually pondering who God is, His role in our lives and what it means to follow Him.  Most every time I worship I cry.  To sing out words that ring true to depths of my soul is so sacred and so searing. There is never a doubt of His existence. The magnitude of love that surrounds me, is promised me, and so undeserved, absolutely overwhelms me.

I desire to soak up every last sweet taste of this season of life with young kids.  The pace is too fast and I am constantly fighting against our desires to do things that are fun and life giving, and also pair down to what is most essential so that there is space for us to just be.  The love I have for these precious lives I have been given to nurture so fully, for a season is beyond measure. I am ever aware of their new developmental stages and sentimental about each passing phase, wanting to hang on just a little longer. The days go by too fast.

These days are hard sometimes too.  Bad things happen, sad things, hard things, horrible things and my heart aches and rages against those things.  I will share about those things and how I have sought to cope with them.  In addition, as enamored as I am with my little ones, sometimes they frustrate me.  Sometimes they are not the charmers that so often melt my heart, and worse, sometimes I am not the patient mom I wish I was.  Sometimes I long for their bedtime to come quickly, or mine to last longer.  In fact, I always want mine to last longer!

I have way too many interests than time allows!  I adore being a mom to little ones, but I like to do other things too – career and creative.  I am continually wrestling to find the magic formula that will bring fulfillment without craziness.

Relationships, complicated and fascinating, are life-giving and the most profound revelation of God’s existence in my life.  I like to learn about them, encourage healing in them, but above all value and nurture the amazing ones I have been given. There’s a bit of introverted homebody in me too. If ever I were given a shot of time to myself, I could be quite well engrossed in a solitary activity and find it refreshing.  I am on that Introvert/Extrovert line in the good old’ Myers Briggs Personality Assessment and owning that reclusive side of me more and more as I get older.

How to describe oneself fully in a nutshell? I guess that is the point of a blog; to begin to unravel some parts of myself, to wrestle with what is put before me and consider what God might be doing, teaching me or allowing me to experience, where He might feel absent and where He is most unmistakably at work.   If I could put a theme to this, it would be the wisdom I witness and draw from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes; that life can be difficult, horrible, feel meaningless, amazing, heartbreakingly beautiful, and meaningful beyond measure.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for a long time, God told me to begin writing, I believe, and this is a place to begin. In all honesty it scares me to lay parts of my life bare, but then, it scares me more to never get out of my head what is on my heart.  So here goes, I am diving in…it would be a privilege for you to join me.