Why does she ask if she isn’t going to listen.

( and other undeniable facts)

My greatest friend in the whole wide world is a girl I met in a church bathroom. I was sneaking up on 13 years of age and my dad had just moved us all to the end of the known universe to pastor a tiny church that kept him and my mother busier than they’d ever been, and I was a complete and utter n00b. Meaning, as far as anything outside of church and home ( which was basically church) I knew nothing. Enter my greatest friend in the whole wide world. She was in a stall one door to my left- another girl from the church was one door to my right and as the story goes, girl on the right did not have a square to spare. This bottled explosion of a girl on my left proceeds to roll, then lob toilet paper under and over the stalls in an attempt to get the supplies to her friend- while I, pulling my feet up somewhat while my jaw hit my chest- marvelled that such a girl existed. IN CHURCH! When we left the stalls she wasn’t even embarrassed – I know now that’s because she wasn’t born with that bone- she introduced herself , said she thought my brother was cute and asked if I’d like to go to her house after church that day. It was like being inside of a perfect storm – right in the eye of it- and watching it swirl all around me. After 35 years, nothing has changed. She was and is a chemical reaction. You have to experience her, you can’t just observe.

On the advice of counsel I’m going to conceal her identity and call her… “Swyla” Swyla is my ride or die. My cradle to grave (if the cradle began at 13) She is my grab a shovel and don’t ask questions, unconditional love and back up plan should the rumour turn out to be true that I am in all actuality unloveable- and I know no matter what she will stick by my side as we ride off into the sunset together until the wheels fall off . Oh It’s real. Over the years, the strength of our friendship has been the perfect balance of shock and awe. My shock and her ” awwww aren’t you cute”. 😜 The truth of it is, she is the perfect reflection of who I want to be if I could allow myself to fully be- if I let the voices of ”should” and ”can’t” be quiet for a minute. She brings out the very very best in me, and she overlooks the worst with a superhuman kind of blindness. If I counted the number of times I’ve teetered on a ledge somewhere and she’s cracked the perfect joke and lit up the absurdity of it all, I’d be counting for days. Whoever you are reading this right now- I wish you this type of love. Because it really is unconditional in the best human way you can have it. Are there things about me she doesn’t like? Understand? Relate to?? Yup, no doubt. There’s likely a list somewhere she could rhyme off without taking a breath- but you know who’ll never hear it? Anyone. And I know it. Precious few things in my life have been as sure as that or as loyal as she is. Our friendship is built on strong legs. She’s taught me that you don’t get real from a fairytale- You fight for it. That’s why I’d take to the mattresses any way, any where, anytime, against anyone for that girl.

Swyla and I play a fun little game from time to time and it goes a little something like this…

  • Swy: Should I wear this dress or that dress?
  • Me: That one! Definitely! You look great in that one.
  • Swy: Really? I was kinda thinking this one, I was going to wear those earrings with it.
  • Me: Ok, cool- wear this one.
  • Swy: Should I wear these shoes or those ones?
  • Me: THOSE ones! Those will be killer.
  • Swy: Really? You don’t think these will better? ’cuz the buckles?
  • Me: But those have the buckles and bows!!
  • Swy: Yeah, I don’t really want to be matchy matchy.
  • Me: True. Ok wear these.

I cannot recall, in any circumstance, where Swyla actually went with my suggestion. I’d wonder, silently or laughingly out loud ” why do you ask if you aren’t going to listen?!!” and she just shrugs or smiles over her shoulder- there’s just never been a time when she didn’t follow her heart in anything. ( right about now she’s dying to explain my wretched fashion sense and the fact that I wore gauchos until my teens and tie dyed my hair) While I was remembering that fun little game she and I play- I thought of God of course, and wondered if He asks the same question. ” Why does she ask if she isn’t going to listen?!” I don’t need to wonder- I’m pretty sure He’s said that on more than one occasion. I’m so good at asking, not so much with the listening.

To go deeper than what shoes or dress to wear- Why does anyone ask questions we don’t want answers for? Or rather, why do we ask questions and then only accept the answers we want to hear? ( As I watch press conferences lately from our neighbours to the South I’ve been wondering this over and over)

I ask a lot of questions about Thaniel and his care and currently his education as I remote school him- but I don’t know that I’ve been listening or accepting the answers in front of me. Man it’s been tough! (Homeschoolers you made it look easy and I resent that!! 😜 )

Our day begins with my waking and getting ready- I try to have a cup of coffee while no one is awake so my brain has a chance to warm up before chatter starts. Early morning quiet is essential to my mental happiness. Benji my second youngest understood that, on the mornings I’d have to wake him before the others so he could catch his bus to the gifted school an hour away from us ( he’s such a smarty pants) Ben would quietly pad down the hall, get his breakfast ready beside me silently as I made his lunch and we would kind of work around each other in a bubble of peace. And then Thaniel “ wakes” which is a misnomer. He becomes conscious really- in sunrise slow type stages. But once wide awake- he is LOUD and so active and needs your attention immediately. He’s an explosion of movement. Doesn’t want to be dressed. Doesn’t want to ‘ school’ , doesn’t want his face washed or teeth brushed or anything that resembles put together. The number of times I hear “ no “ from him in a morning is staggering really- and since it takes a lot to make me raise my voice or get frustrated- it goes unchecked for a while- for a while- until the clock gets closer to school time and the coffee has kicked in- and thus we dance.

I asked about how difficult or different it might be to remote school him and I think someone said something about all the things physical school could offer him that home schooling would not. I asked if there was a chance I could do it well and I think- I think- there was something about the stubborn nature of a child with DS and keeping my bench deep as far as caring for him goes, but I can’t recall the details- I wasn’t really listening . I wanted to hear that he has a weaker immune system and so might benefit from being a little more isolated at home, and so I did. I wanted someone to confirm to me that a second wave of Covid was likely going to sweep through once school started up again, and so those were the only opinions I read. Now here I am- in a conference call with teachers asking them why in the world they didn’t warn me!! 😝

I ask a lot of questions, and up until recently, I thought it was because I wanted to know things- but I’m starting to wonder now if what I really want is justification for what I already think or feel or want. Anyone else suspect that? Or am I typing to myself here?

In fairness to Thaniel, he is doing his best. When I can get him to sit, he pays attention and loves to hear his teachers and classmates talk and loves it when the teacher asks him questions and his little face shows up on the computer screen. His computer illiterate mother has hit the ground running trying to learn this google suite thing and how to use a jamboard and how in the world to add a picture to a slide… ( Thane’s seven year old classmates are mastering this far faster than I am! ) I know I should let him try- but when I leave him with the computer, he hangs up on the call and tries to log into YouTube to watch the Wiggles. I’ve just spent nearly $700 in hands on learning aids to try and keep him engaged since he is a very visual learner ( as well as a new coffee pot- the old one isn’t going to be able to keep up) and something called a ‘ wiggle seat’. Meanwhile, the cat ( who adores him) tries to sit in his lap through most of the school day, the dog doesn’t realize we aren’t all just Covid relaxing like through the summer and he can’t go out whenever he feels like it and I’m wondering why did I ask, if I wasn’t going to listen?

When I ask about Thaniel, I’m mostly looking for positive answers and the right to believe that I won’t have to contend with a lot of the issues that Down Syndrome can bring with it. I need to believe that Thaniel isn’t a typical non-neurotypical kid. Chances are good someone has answered that question for me already and I just haven’t listened. Poo. I mean, Down Syndrome actually rocks and I love the way our lives and hearts have been made so much bigger and better by Thane and his massive amazing, and I don’t want him to not be him – in any way- but… can he please say ‘yes’ to pants once in a while?

The point of my post today?

Every year I choose a theme or word to research. I’ve picked some safe ones – Faith, Home. Soft pretty ones – Joy, Family. The surprising and often difficult – Hope. But I’ve been on the fence this year about what to dig into – and this morning it came to me. The theme this year, the word I want to understand is – Authenticity.

It’s the best way to describe ‘Swyla’ and the pure unadulterated whole-her way she lives. Thaniel himself is uniquely and unapologetically authentic. But I want to understand what it really is , why it seems to flow so naturally from some, and why it alludes others and if there’s a trick to it? Is there a way to ask and hear ? Is there a way to live an authentic life that isn’t offensive or abrasive?… I’ve got three dozen questions and just one prayer. That I be open to really hearing the answers.

Whenever the theme for the year comes to me, I always get a little rush of excitement and an eager feeling of wanting to dig in right away- BUT – Thane is awake.

Y’eshua,

Happy New Year, and also- I’m sorry about all the times I ask you things and then don’t wait around to hear the answer, or ignore the answer altogether, or hear it and defiantly do what I want anyway. I think I do it more than I even realize and I want to do better. Thank you for forgiving that and being patient with me. I’m going to be asking you to show me what an authentic life means. How were you able to be inside a world that looked entirely different from you and you never ever conformed to it? I want to hear from you, and more, I want to listen. I also want to ask you to heal our land. There’s more than one virus killing people out there right now and we need your help. Thank you. I love you.

Ps. Happy Birthday Swyla- I love you too!! ❤️

Be quiet Earl.

The title of my message today is “ Are you going to die? Yes. But you won’t stay that way.” I say message because that’s what this feels like, this revelation and resolution- if only I didn’t share bathroom space with others, because I would totes preach this to the mirror with my hairbrush microphone!

Firstly, before I begin- we all know that one guy who is like, on point when it comes to the gospel and the word and what it says. The guy who reminds you in a ( I don’t know why ) part Southern part Boston accent ( in my head at least) what the bible actually says ALL THE TIME … Like you are standing there in church and saying to your friends “ and she wouldn’t let me put on her other shoe! Getting to church on time is IMPOSSIBLE with a toddler!” And ( let’s call him Earl) pipes up and says “ actually, the word saith’ Nothing is impossible with Gawd’ “ And then proceeds to smile like he doesn’t expect to be punched. If you have a particularly annoying Earl, he throws in a “ you just need to trust Jaysus more” And you lose your salvation for the space of two heartbeats and wonder if anyone has ever been thrown out of a church for brawling. ( likely) While I’m saying this- don’t look over at anyone! We’re all stuck together for a while, no need to make things tense- and not only that, they know who they are already. We just don’t want them to know we know they know. You know?

So I know when I say “ Are you going to die? Yes”. Earl is right there! He is all over that with a “The bible says we shall not all sleep , but we shall all be changed” Yes Earl, I KNOW! We were both greeters at the same conference together for pity sake!! I don’t need your impersonation of Elvis singing ‘ Swing down sweet chariots ‘ thank you! You know what? I think I saw your nursery number come up on the screen! Better run and see if little Enoc is ok!

What do I mean on this beautiful Resurrection day? ( which is now the day after because it takes me longer to get to a point that it does Earl) I mean, Death is going to take you. But the grave cannot keep you. It cannot.

Let me bounce around here so you see why I am so excited about this ~ I had a lot of dreams when I was a young girl. I wrote down a lot of them, and three in particular were spoken out loud all the time – three goals 1. Write a book. 2. Star in a movie. 3. Cut and album. I dreamt of going to TBN in West Virginia and becoming a brilliant Christian Broadcaster , I daydreamed about touring with a choir and seeing the world while I sang across it. Tons of dreams. Some changed. Some evolved ( be quiet Earl) and some died. Dead died. In the middle of the nightmare that was my 20’s, dream after dream just shrivelled up and died. The grave of disillusionment, doubt, fear, unbelievably stifling anger and bitterness came for and took my dreams. My hope for a happy home, loving family, faithful husband. Dead. Whispered prayers as a young girl about where my life would go, what Jesus would show me- dead. And I know as sure as I am typing and listening to the rain fall just outside my window, that you have those deaths too. A relationship, a career, a home, an opportunity, a dream. They’ve been stolen from you in their prime, cut off from you by unseen circumstance, carried off through no fault of your own and the hurt or the loss is stifling. It’s closed in. It’s a silent grave. Maybe you didn’t act fast enough? Maybe you just needed to have more faith ( be quiet Earl) Maybe you didn’t make the right choices, and you’ve got the ruin of your hopes and dreams lying all around you- tripping you up. But here was the part that got me dancing this morning… it’s a law- it’s an actual factual natural and supernatural law. It won’t stay that way!!!! It can’t. On a scale of one to can’t, it cannot. Nothing stays dead!! Nothing! Want to know how I KNOW? ( This part is fun because Earl is waiting for a huge scriptural reference here..Heeheehee) I know because I recently opened the fridge in my home that I hadn’t opened in a while due to Covid-19 and being tucked in safely with my parents miles away…NOTHING had survived. Not the milk, not the luncheon meats, not the take out container with my leftovers. But ( without painting this too close to the lines). It sure didn’t smell like life had stopped. Fantastic fur coved my mandarin oranges. Something blue was coming out of the luncheon meats and I’m sorry.. I mean, I hope you aren’t eating right now… but something WIGGLED in that take out container. Hope you enjoyed that Earl.

The grave can’t keep your dreams any more than the grave could keep Jesus. He was there- oh yes He was. Did He die? Oh yes, yes He did. But could the grave keep Him? NO! It can’t!!! Death didn’t own Him- death couldn’t command Him. The fully God/fully man body in that tomb had given death permission ~ but that didn’t give it AUTHORITY. Your dreams and hopes and wishes for the life God created in you were not given to you by death- and death cannot keep them, it has no authority to do so.

Well wait… what about your physical marriage Pammelah? Do you want that back? Do you really want all of that resurrected? No!! I personally don’t. Nuh uh. But my hope for love, for faithfulness, for family life and happiness and joy- those things have been reborn. They laid dormant so long I didn’t even feel them wiggling- I didn’t see how, couldn’t see far enough to know that what God had brought me through was preparing me for what He is bringing me into. I couldn’t see His hand .. and I asked, believe me. I’ve heard stories of the families who learned about the Down syndrome diagnosis at arrival of their precious child- of how their hopes and dreams and imaginations for their child just died when they heard. I have yet to hear a story of things staying that way. ( If those stories are out there, I don’t want to hear them, Earl)

The death of dreams, of hope, of health- those are real, they are painful, they have a cost. A steep price. If you are in mourning now, still – and. you can’t see your way clear to a day when you’ll ever smile or laugh fully again, I want you to know I understand. Does it hurt? Yes. Will it stay that way? No.

On Good Friday the year I was nine I was hurt by a man in a way that would shape me for many many many years to come. It would inform my choices, colour my perception of who I was, what I was worth, darken my world, my future and kill my childhood in a stripping kind of way- ripping away innocence and replacing it with knowing. I didn’t mourn my childhood then because I didn’t know what I’d lost- I mourned when I became a mom and became a vigilante of protection over my children’s lives. I’ve met dozens and dozens of men and women who had the same ripping away as children and they all came to a time of mourning. Alive- but only surviving . Breathing but not living. It can’t stay that way. It just can’t.

When Sunday rolled around after that very first ” good Friday” nothing was the same- not for any one. You’ve been to services this past week I’m sure, of one sort or another- so I’m not going to recap it all, except to say this. Even death had changed. What was dead before and had remained dead was walking around the streets- where things had ended, there was now a door that meant beginning – death had lost its ultimate hold. Wasn’t death the last straw? Except was it?? Could it be if Jesus could come back from it and walk and talk about it?? Disciples who had watched him die and with him their hopes and dreams for the kingdom coming on earth- friends who had wanted to believe in him but had watched them take a dead body down from that cross were mourning. The earth mourned. The ground was offended. But.

But

Wow- I’m getting excited all over again….

Earl, give them a little Hebrews 2:9


”But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone-”

He tasted it. He allowed it. He walked in to where it had been in the lives and hearts of all of mankind as the greatest thing we could fear- and He conquered it. He changed everything!! And we celebrate once a year- but the whole of the truth of the cross is an every single moment by moment promise by promise no end to the beginning He won for us thing!!! Come on get happy! It means that wherever there is death in your life- the whole story is different now! It won’t stay that way! It can’t – it doesn’t have the authority or the power to keep your dreams, to keep your promise, to take and keep taking. Did it? Yes -but unless you refuse to see life walking out of that tomb, unless you refuse to face the facts that death lost and lost for good- IT WILL NOT STAY THAT WAY! New life and new hope and new promise is even now folding the shroud that covered the truth and it’s walking out toward you. Look up. Look out! I’m jumping around excited. Come on Earl! Even you can’t find a problem with this~ This is what was won for you on that cross on that weekend and it’s not a one day deal. ETERNAL LIFE. That’s not just quantity – it’s quality!! It’s abundant. Don’t wait til you’re dead to experience this, please don’t wait til you have watched everything die and you’re old and grey saying how sad it was that you lost so much but ’ at least’ you have heaven to look forward to- please pick up on this truth here and now.

After the resurrection, even the closest people to Jesus didn’t recognize Him right away sometimes – they were looking at the death of it all- they could talk to the risen Lord standing in front of them and not see Him- because everything had changed! It didn’t look like it did before-when death was still a thing. It had all changed and they were still trying to see it the same. Come close please and listen to this from the book of Mark. …” The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise. But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.” He told them everything was going to change. Jesus told them that death was going to have to step aside for life. But they were afraid to ask Him about it. They couldn’t see and were afraid to ask- so that when He came back with all authority over life and death, they didn’t realize that meant He would forever be conquering death. Everyday, in all the ways death tries to wiggle in and carry you off….Jesus is there with your beginning just waiting for you to ask Him about it.

Will it look the same? Probably not. My take out sure didn’t look the same ( shhh Earl I’m not saying all change is gross) Will your dreams change? Probably. Will it be hard some times to recognize God working and restoring and living in you? Possibly. Will you die sometimes? Yes. But I promise you. I promise you!!! You will not stay that way. If you ask Him about the eternal, perpetual, overflowing life He bought you… You will walk out of your grave into His glorious life.

Jesus, I’m not afraid to ask you anymore about what you mean. About what you’re doing, about what will happen. In fact- I’m not afraid about what will happen at all. Not at all. I live and move and have my whole being in the life that you gave me- in you! You tasted death. But you didn’t make a buffet out of it- the next meal you shared was on a beach with the men that loved you and you said ” come and eat” – of your plans, of your provision, of your life. I’m sorry for the times I’ve forgotten about the life that’s with you. I’m sorry for the times I made my dreams bigger than your plans for me. Thank you for the hope you keep stirring in me, in the beginnings you keep giving and for the trust you are growing in me as I walk with you and ask. Jesus, the world is hurting right now, it’s almost as if the very ground is offended. People are really dying and the people that love them are really hurting. Don’t let them stay that way please. In your love and mercy please begin to touch the hearts of all who mourn. Bring us back to life. I love you Jesus.

Dance, and when you can’t dance…Dance.

I heard a story once about a boy who never heard music. Not that he couldn’t- he just never had. Wherever he had lived was so remote and so cut off and I can only assume somber- music as we know it, was foreign to him. The story veers off into the occasion he has to go to America and EVERYTHING is music to him. The cars the people the trains the bustle the hustle and of course, the actual factual music. It turns out he has to return home after some time and there he is met with silence. The story bends down into his despair and bereft-ness of colour and light and joy and he cries out “ I wish to God I had never heard music only to have it ripped from my ears”

Apparently there’s a wise old dude everywhere, even in remote cut off somber places ( that’s likely where they manufacture them ) because a wise old dude points out that now that he’s learned what music is- can’t he hear it everywhere ? And of course he does! It wouldn’t be a story if the kid had said “ Go home old dude, you’re drunk” . Our hero gets quiet and listens- really listens and lo and behold , there’s music EVERYWHERE.

I’ve thought about that story off and on all throughout my life. Various times for various reasons. Once I even ripped it off when called on to quickly think of something to tell a group of sleepover kids so they’d go to sleep. I’ve thought about it philosophically and spiritually and dramatically- and I’ve thought about it personally. The whole “ I wish to God I had never heard/known/felt/seen/been/experienced insert great thing here ______________, only to have it taken away” Who hasn’t? ( those of you who haven’t , this isn’t the page you were looking for- beautiful lives .com is over a bit further) Who hasn’t had that moment of if I knew then what I know now- hindsight, that little monster, and it’s wacky ability to make you instantly wiser than you were whenever you didn’t have it.

What has the tone-deaf kid and hindsight got to do with my blogging tonight? Well I’m glad you asked internet- ‘cuz I’m finna tell ya. My story starts from the end of the story and continues on backwards til now- and don’t worry guys, old wise dude is still there. You all know the glory and majesty of my early childhood life- the love between my parents, the bliss of home and occasional home baked cookies, the mundane artistry of good parenting and poor remembering of my wrongs my parents deftly manoeuvred – it was a symphonic childhood of epically happy proportions. Enter silence. You’ve all read about some of that stuff too- the silent years. The really silent years and the wise old dude ( if I call my dad wise old dude one more time I’m likely going to hear about it) wise old dude trying to get me to hear the music all around and sing along. I’ve written about learning to hear the music again, in Yeshua, in grace, in friendship, in companionship and in life in general. It’s all around, the music is EVERYWHERE again. That’s the story of my tone-deaf life as told by me… but I tripped over something today while thinking of the melodies I hear lately ( I’m going to be a Mimi again in November and I’m just silly happy ) … the story wasn’t awe inspiring as I considered it this time- I just saw something I hadn’t before and it’s this one thing- one important thing the story lacked – and that was action.

Not car chases, not Hallmark movie crisis between the two poor too ignorant to love space cadets scenes. I’m thinking about how there’s really little to action in this. No action!!! There’s a passive waiting around for the truth to smack you in the face and the mysteries of life to meet you and the voice of God to cut through the clouds and make it so. But no one has to lift a finger to make it happen. And that bugs. It bugs in a “ people think making a baby is passive and you just sit and wait for a human to form and pop out” way. It isn’t passive. It isn’t still. It’s dynamic and active and just because you don’t see me fighting to hear the music doesn’t mean I’m not.

I wish I hadn’t known silence. I wish to God I didn’t know the feeling of having music stripped from you- because I feel it everywhere now. Every step back, step away, momentary pause is a slapped hand to someone like me who knows – like KNOWS silence. I wish I could be that kid in the story and been born in the silence- rather than born in the music. Man oh man. Let me tell you, silence is deafening when you’ve been surrounded by sound your whole life. I knew silence the years I was married. I’m so sensitive to silence now. Silence is good no? Like it’s supposed to be this mystical in the moment thing. It’s supposed to help you hear and help you be present and be in the whole deal- bull pucky. For those of us who have been aquatinted with real silence- the deadening of feeling and life and joy and colour and music!!!- that silence is scary. It’s alone. It’s empty and cut off. Give me noise any day. Give me kids active and a text conversation going and a movie in the background and a phone call in between. Give me action!!

That’s my side of the whole – didn’t hear music, now I hear music, then I didn’t hear music again story. That’s my story, that’s my song. It can be really difficult for someone trying to know me to grasp that I perceive silence that way. But I do. I read into it. Displeasure. Disappointment. Disapproval. I read rejection. I hear the Dear John letter in a quiet “ well.. I mean, I care about you…” I hear it and my heart closes. My heart turns around. My heart adjusts for the silence. It’s so hard to turn around from that, and all of a sudden I wish to God I had never heard music before.

So let’s bring this home.. to my house. To my son and what I’m feeling tonight. I wish to God I didn’t know what typical six year old behaviour was. I wish I didn’t know developmentally where six is. I wish I didn’t realize where Thaniel should be, could be. Because I DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE HIM. I don’t want him to be anything but the most incredible amazing little boy he is- but then I come up against the questions and the rejection and I am thrown- forcibly into the wall of silence. I don’t want him to be anything but in his moment with his love and heart and mind and all that is him- but also- I know. I know the music of a five or six year old finding language- I know the symphony of music that is reading, writing, articulation. I have heard it. I can’t I hear it. And I wish I could. I wish tonight that I could- because tonight I’m living and reliving both- my own slapped hand away from love- and his slapped hand away from understanding. What a miserable pair we make tonight as I covid 19 home teach my baby boy and he angrily glares at me.

We are cut off.

I understand cut off. I relate to him tonight in a more than real way. And look – it’s no ones fault . IT IS NO ONES FAULT. I get it!!! I do. You can’t feel what you don’t. You can’t be where you aren’t. You can’t teach and expect everyone will get it. Because they don’t.

There is an action that’s needed when you want to go from don’t get it to get it. You have to act. You can’t be passive. You can’t wait for the love, the understanding, the time, the explanation to just come. You cannot old wise dude your way through life and expect fairytale results. You can’t. I know you want to- so do I. Don’t think I don’t want my quads to come back simply because I remembered the feeling of front deadlifts. But they won’t- they can’t. I have to do the work. Thaniel has to do the work. Love has to do the work.

Love in the bible is no different. If you think this Passover/ Easter weekend that Jesus went passively to the cross. That he meekly bowed and went weakly to the cross- then you haven’t met Jesus. He gave permission. He had to be strong to hold back the hands of all of heaven and present himself willingly , purposefully to the cross. Love is an action so strong it transcends the grave! It’s jealousy, it acts, it hopes it believes it lays down it doesn’t give up it crawls out of death and snatched back from hell that which was sentenced there. If your Easter has a meek and mild Jesus just wussing out- or your Passover is an angel hiding soundlessly through the streets of egypt because something didn’t GIVE ITS WHOLE LIFE for the cause- you’ve got it wrong.

Powerful love. Life giving life saving love. Incidentally, that’s the love I have for Thaniel. That’s why we are going to go over tomorrow what we went over today until he sees it and gets it and lives and breathes it. Because love does not lay down unless it wants to. You didn’t ” fall” you aren’t without control or power- you are not. Whatever the enemy is telling you- listen… Love is a choice.

Music is a choice too. It’s everywhere. It’s in all the stuff. Today- because the whole thing was paid for. Dance. Dance even if you can’t dance. That’s all I gotta say about that.

Yeshua, I can’t even pray today- I’m so held down by the truth of the actions you took. So stopped by your strength – so shut up by your choice. You chose me. Every time. Even when others put me aside, away, apart. You don’t. Heal my unbelief Lord. Heal my fractured heart one more time. Heal the cracks where doubt gets in – but more than anything Y’eshua- build in me the strength of heart and conviction and fortitude and purpose that you carried all the way to the cross for me and mine and give me the chutzpah to walk it out! Make me the warrior you intended me to be. Help me war for Thaniel and all of my babies – and also.. For those who cannot see to make a choice, give them strength too. Tomorrow is your day- welcome us to it.

Isolated but not alone.

Hi.
Remember me?
I once wrote a blog all about how God shows me His ability to awesome sauce through my son who just happens to have a little something extra. 😉 He did so I did.

And then I stopped writing altogether.

Why?  ( as if you asked )

Well let me tell you-  it wasn’t for lack of nonsense to fill you in on.  Rather- it was the kind of stuff for which you have no words, and no earthly idea what is the actual what now!
“ Oh come on!” Type stuff- until I literally couldn’t even.

So here we are , you and I – practicality strangers again. Feels like I’m on a first date and I need to start with the basics.  My favourite colour is yellow if anyone wants to know and I like long walks on the beach- but who doesn’t?

Discovery

I discovered the meaning of chemical depression this past year- what a ride that is!  Without trying to sound glib, there is NOT enough Information out there to make those who’ve never experienced depression before understand.  It’s not simply feeling down for a while or being in a slump.  It is a knock down drag out 12th round battle-  and that’s just to get out of bed!
So I learned the ins and outs of that ( as an aside …I wonder if ‘ ins and outs’ there means the same as it does in a hospital? Eww)  I’ve been in a war of the Roses situation with hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, Pulmonary Hypertension with a side order of Heart failure just on the right please- hold the onions- all fighting to see which one will kill me first ( My money is still on a clown off’ing me in a parking lot with a stale baguette but I digress)   I am in the home stretch now for really reals with surgery to remove the offending organ looming and the crossed fingers hope that when that happens my ticker will stop holding oxygen for ransom. The meds I am on now have my skin crawling, my joints screaming and my head pounding-  so go easy on my grammar and spelling today! 🤪

So how do you raise a child who just happens to have a diverse set of needs when you don’t have the energy or will to bathe let alone chase and redirect and above all love a little guy like mine?   Well I can tell you emphatically what you don’t do- and that’s sit in a comfortable recliner.  You aren’t coming back from that if you do.

So basically the last year and a bit has been spent getting healthier- getting my head turned back around right and getting our family set up for the best outcomes.  That included downsizing to a little apartment that removed a huge portion of stress from me.  It included making space for bad days and not getting worked up over them, and it included shutting out some of the world.  Doesn’t that sound idyllic?  ( I hope those of you playing along at home will sense my sarcasm)   You know what’s even better than a little isolation?  If more is better- than a little away time isn’t as good as 


           !!COMPLETE ISOLATION!!

I won’t go long into what has affected the whole wide world and all the countries including the ones you didn’t even know existed- won’t rehash what is being said in the news hourly.  What I will say about this COVID-19 crisis is this… You haven’t lived until you’ve been locked inside a house for three weeks with Thaniel!

What began as a nice little extended vacation has turned into a pandemic of epic proportions and the subsequent cabin fever of several countries, cities and my children. We are self isolating and sheltering in and staying away from everyone while we wash our hands and debate the effectiveness of masks. The whole of the world focused on one united goal ( since the dawn of creation I think ) and that is to get rid of this virus. Meanwhile at home my goal is to keep the boys learning while I keep Thaniel from glueing the dog to the floor.

I have to be honest- I’m a little underwhelmed by Covid. Which is horrible to say, because the world is suffering.  The world is in crisis, and I’m over here with a feeling of  ‘ahhh together at last’  –  I’ve got a Psychiatrist friend who reads these who is likely analyzing as we speak.  Here is how I come by that feeling- and maybe when I’m done- you’ll feel as if we are together in this too.  Isolated but not alone.

Ecclesiastes 4:12  says —“ A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. “

Coming from someone who has had it handed to her in the health crisis department on more than enough fronts- I totally get this.  But I’m not going to use myself as an example- I’m going to use my awesome filled little boy and the team that saved his life first.

I’ve written before about how close we came to losing him- his little body full of infection, exhausted, and for some still unknown reason he’d stop breathing after struggling for a time. Almost as if he was too tired to take another breath.  We had been on several floors of the same hospital each visit , one time staying on the surgical floor and dealing with that issue- only to be back and admitted short weeks later with something else on the everyone here has a bad infection floor-  all these pieces of the puzzle but in different charts on different floors in the hands of different doctors.  Until we were sent to the Down Syndrome Clinic where it’s a round table type situation- Doctors consulting with one another and keeping each other up to date.  In short-  those doctors stood back to back and took on the enemy together. And conquered. Thaniel hasn’t spent a night in hospital since.

We are absolutely seeing that in our world today. Nations are sharing what they are learning about this virus with each other- Countries loaning medical supplies, and expertise and it’s unprecedented- it’s never happened quite like this before.  Sure this is an insidious enemy, but we are back to back fighting.

And if I drag the focus back to our smaller communities- that braided cord is happening there too!  In the little town where I did most of my growing up, one woman started a landslide of CARE MONGERING!  I mean wow!  One woman saw the need and she answered by calling others together to help-  and she’s changing the landscape of the town – Where once all the posts I’d see from my town were filled with fear and uncertainty- soon there was a flood of offers of help and volunteering and pulling together. Of standing back to back in order to be stronger. That doesn’t happen everyday, and I’m thinking it’s showing a lot of people that they don’t have to be Marvel heroes or Presidents   Or Ministers to make a difference, they just have to care.  I don’t know that woman personally, and don’t know a lot of the people she has inspired to action- and I don’t know what if any faith they have-  but they are examples of scripture, proof of scripture everyday

Hebrews 10:24-25  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together ( but not in person right now 😜) as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another … “. Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

We can’t possibly feel isolated when togetherness is all around.

My final word on this comes from my own heart this morning-  I don’t feel alone so much right now.  I’ve been a snow leopard ( Neutropenia ribbon ) for a lot of years now- more than half of my life, and it can be lonely.  When I’m admitted to the hospital, I’m put right into isolation.  When My numbers are down, I have to stay away from everyone. I’ve lived a long time feeling apart.  For the first time since I can remember- the whole world looks like me- gloves on, masks on, wiping down door handles and 20 feet from the next nearest person.  I’m not happy about it-  but I do feel less alone. Less different.

That makes me think of Thane, of how he stands out in his classroom, of how one day he may notice he’s a snow leopard among the lions. It makes me want to make the whole world look like him for a small moment so he can feel what I’ve been feeling lately…  So here’s my thought.

Could you, wherever you are in your sheltered in spot- or your isolated place, your alone-ness-  reach out to someone else today?  *-Not physically because we don’t want to hurt anyone-* Someone different than you.  Someone who typically stands alone.  Someone you don’t know.  Someone who is feeling isolated too- and can you say or do something that draws them into the collective ‘we’ today?   Just for today, put down your fear and your unknown and your concerns for what this will be tomorrow or in the next weeks- and count another more significant than yourself today.  Pass that package of toilet paper to the next guy!

In this way, may we stand back to back together- in this way may we fight the feelings of isolation and be ONE like never before.

 

Dear Y’eshua,

You stood out too. You felt alone in who you were and what you had come to do and we despised you for it.  We left you to pray alone in the garden, we fell asleep when we should have stayed in the fight with you- we considered you stricken by God and we didn’t recognize your unique glory, and the love you must have had for us to become LIKE us,  but you did become like us in order to show us how to love.  Remind us of your type of life giving love right now.   People are hurting today Y’eshua , they are sick and afraid and alone. Their loved ones are in nursing homes alone, their daughters and sons are on the front lines facing an unseen enemy and they are afraid, we are all in our separate places and we need you. Please come today by the work of your Holy Spirit and stand at the backs of our doctors and nurses and paramedics- stand at the backs of those afraid, of those alone, of those who are mourning, of those who are making decisions for nations and at the backs of those who are making a difference.  When you are with us, in the midst of us- we are never ever alone.  Please bless your people. Multiply your provisions and bring us back to you. I love you Jesus.  You are my everything.
amen.

 

 

Testing, one two three.. hello?

Is this thing on?   ( this post began in July of 2019 as I contemplated these issues- and tonight April 3rd I completed it)

As I type it is just after two am, I am sitting up counting the number of times my heart has thrown an extra hard, early or double beat in a minute. I know it isn’t Atrial fibrillation again, because my heart has slowed down to a respectable 98 beats per minute with only 6-8 of those beats being wonky per minute. I lost you at 2am didn’t I ?

The thing is, my heart , while only just this past year diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension- has a long history of pulling pranks and the rug out from under me. I say pranks because I don’t think my health is completely to blame. I’m going to give you three instances of my theory and let you make up your own mind.

The first time it happened I was just 28. Married for 9 years 1 of them happily… ok that’s exaggerating. Make it an even 8 months and that’s closer to the truth 😜.

I knew without a shadow of a doubt by the third or fourth year that my husband really really didn’t love me. He was really good at proving that point so it wasn’t  rocket appliances to figure it out. By year nine I was only coping. One foot in front of the other for the sake of the children, one of whom was only six months old. I’d had some weirdo heart stuff happen during his pregnancy, but nothing major showed up so I went on with life as usual. One night before dinner I was reaching my hand up toward the fridge when this unbelievable pain and pressure moved from under my jaw to my chest and back again. My back felt like an elephant had sat down on it and I sucked in air through clenched teeth and cried out. At the hospital I was given blood thinners and beta blockers and put on some fancy drugs to slow the whole world down and lots of good doctoring. After the days in the hospital I was really excited to come home, be near the children and sleep in my own bed again- except when I went to go to bed that night I paused. I had this irrational thought that what had happened before could happen again, and this time my husband would call 911. The 911 guys would come into the house and I had left laundry baskets in the hallway!  I went to get those and move them out of sight. I’d left a pot to soak after dinner- I washed and put that away. I lay down and then considered what I was wearing.. what if a paramedic saw me in this tattered night dress? I put on my flannels with the matching socks. Lay in bed and thought about what someone would do if they had to come in and raise the kids without me. Would they know where the kids bed sheets were? I should organize those tomorrow… and in my head for the next hours I mentally went through their needs and what I needed to prepare.

I was home little more than two months when the second elephant sat down on my chest. That meant more tests and a longer hospital stay and more long nights planning the plans and sorting my children’s lives out. We had a young woman from the church come and live with us and she helped with the kids and I grew more convinced that my husband was just waiting for the happy luck that might be my eventual end.

Spending a stormy night at a friends place two years later , my friend commented  ” do you ever sleep?   I could hear you roaming through the house half the night”

In the interim I did everything I could to regain and remain healthy. The gym, my happy place was my guarantee that no more elephants would come home to roost and I started to sleep a little easier.

Flash forward to my precious little Thaniels arrival and the new fear that not only would I be leaving children behind to a man that wasn’t as chipper as I was about having children- but I’d be leaving that little boy behind alone. Premature Ventricular Contractions began six months after he was here and continued off and on for a year. Not all day- no. Just at bed time, when I’d be putting on my flannels with the matching socks. Roaming at night is a past time few really appreciate 😐.

Now here we are…2:38 am heart rate ticking along at 100 clicks- every 9th or 10th beat an off one. And I’m despairing that the pajamas I brought along are missing their matching socks. I was speaking with someone earlier in the day who mentioned my penchant for late nights and they posed this question ” are you afraid to sleep?”

I’d never asked the question, never ever considered the question, didn’t think there was an answer until I blurted out ” not afraid to sleep no,  I’m afraid I won’t wake up”

Now look- believe me when I tell you that I am not afraid to die. I’m not. I am not. I know whom I have believed in and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day. I know where I am headed- and it’s home. I’m not afraid to die. I’m afraid I won’t wake up. After a couple hours sorting that out- I see the difference. Dying means seeing heaven and living for really real. Not waking up means not being in control of what happens to my children and their futures and their precious priceless lives. Not waking up LEAVES them alone. Leaves Thaniel utterly alone.

But is that really true though? Would I be leaving that little boy alone? True he doesn’t have a dad- but he’s completely loved by our whole family. Did having everything planned out mean that I could control my life and leaving too? Nope- no matter how many matching socks I put on before bed, I won’t add a minute to my life by worrying about it. I’ve been sitting here thinking about the positive steps I’ve taken to gain peace. Back in February I had a will drawn up and made provisions for one of my daughters to become Thaniels legal guardian in the case of my leaving. I thought long and hard about that and I know he will be so loved. I’m also remembering the truths I am learning each day. That God really is in control even when the rest of the world is out of control. That my brother will care for his family like he always has, going out of his way to do whatever he can for them, and his family includes my kids. My parents may be retired and not young kids anymore but they have given more love than most people I know and will know and there’s no reason to believe that will change when I am gone.   I have been loved in this life- so much and so well, I just now that that will continue on for my children. I understand nothing is in my control except my desire to do better each day, my ability to use the next day to give my best to the people I care about if I am given another day. That’s what I know. Those are my truths at 3 am on a Friday morning.

Heart rate at 98b. Throwing the occasion wonky beat and it’s all good .

I’m going to go ahead and publish this before I sleep and put the whole thing out there. Forgive my grammar and spelling mistakes please. Good night everyone.

Father,

I am not God. You are.  I am not in control. You are. I am not supposed to have the answers, You are.  I am not alone.  Those truths are real for me tonight, please Father, wake them up in each heart reading. Let everyone who’s eyes are skimming these words know that You are at the centre of every storm, at the wheel in every circumstance and at the heart of every important matter. You are not surprised. Gracious Father- please speak to the heart that doesn’t know the absolute peace of assurance, that sure and certain knowledge that when they leave this world, they will be with You.  By your Holy Spirit draw them to Your side.  I can’t wait to see You face to face the Lover of my Soul.
amen.

Home again home again jiggidy jig.

So Thaniel has finally hit the terrible two’s.  I was soooo smug when he sailed through his 2’s and even 3’s (he was never a threenager) with his silly sweet self intact, no huge tantrums no need for parenting book tactics.  Perfectly adorable Thane stayed his perfectly adorable self..  Until Junish of this year.

It’s now October , and somedays I am ready to pull every last one of my hairs out… All of them, even the ones on my arms, eyelashes, brows.. and that weird spot above my lip… Like ALL.

We moved last year, in August, into a beautiful little home the Lord had kept just for us. Behind a school, so the walk for the kids was a joke, and it was bliss.. For a while.  😜  But then, as Thaniel entered this marvel comic villain stage.. He became DESTRUCTO-BOY!  Able to tear apart a room in moments, faster at ripping something up than a paper shredder.. Look at that jam on the couch! .. It’s a bird! it’s a plane! It’s DESTRUCTO-BOY! !

All joking aside, there have been times over the last year, when I’ve sat down and cried, when I survey the work in front of me and the seemingly endless road of more ahead. It’s only the memory of another mama of a little one with Down Syndrome telling me much the same story, that keeps my head above water. She did it.. She made it through and so will I.

But home is supposed to be a shelter. A haven. A cozy nook where you curl up and relax in.. Not a toothpaste smeared, ketchup on the drapes, someone TP’D the bathroom frat house disaster.  There was little peace at home.  I’m still playing catch up.

Then today, a beautiful text came through that mentioned home, and it reminded me of the thoughts I had on the idea of home over a year ago… And now here I am, writing again as the hunger for home floods my heart and the hope for home floats through my spirit.

 “Through wisdom a house is built” …

How much wisdom is used when we build our homes?  I’m not talking about the physical building you sleep in, I mean the home we create for ourselves.  How much wisdom do we employ? Did you make your house with the bricks and mortar of good friends, deep love and strong conviction?  Have you built a home on flimsy emotion, fleeting feelings, hollow promises?  Did you seek out a partner as if the very foundation of your life depended on finding just the right builder to help you? Or did chance and circumstance drop a flashy contractor on your lap and you ” just went with it”

I have been so guilty of flashy, flimsy, and seat of my pants.  I have been emotional and filled with romantic notion and at times stubbornly naive.  A few heart breaks later, I became stodgy with emotion, miserly with faith, cutting corners on romance and stubbornly ignorant of trust.

Neither approach involves wisdom (which is the proper application of knowledge) sigh.  Can you build anything worthwhile on emotion or reaction?

Speaking of emotion and reaction.. That lump on my son’s neck? It turned out to be cancer.  An extremely rare form of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, that had me emoting and reacting all to bits.  Doctors had a difficult time pin pointing what type of cancer it was and so the saga was long and drawn out, and if not for the care and support of the people I love I may have done more than hide away from it all, I may have crumbled under the weight of waiting.

{ We are dealing with all that comes with his diagnosis now.}

Thaniel had surgery and we were sent home to ” wait & see”.  In other words, no one was entirely sure the surgery had worked.  Waiting is now top 3 on my most disliked list. (1&2 are patience and hanging on)

My ” house” has been on tornado watch for several months, with the impending storm just on the horizon, staring us down, one breeze away from destruction.

And yet.. According to doctors my son’s cancer has excellent outcomes, Thaniels surgery DID work and we have been held in very safe hands.  Why does that always surprise me?

“… by understanding it is established…”

A house is built on wisdom and understanding. That’s powerful stuff.  My lack of wisdom and understanding nearly blows this house in every time the wolf knocks.  I need a new view.

I want to build my house, my spiritual house, my physical house, my family house with wisdom and understanding.  I know, for example, that God has never failed me. It would be wise to trust that. I know that when in the flood or fire, God is with us. It would be good if I really understood that.  If I’m not careful I will be my own “destructo boy” tearing down what has been carefully built, ripping apart what has been lovingly knit and scribbling over truth with my own fear and doubt, missing out on some really wonderful gifts right in front of me. One tiny hurricane to a house is enough I think.

Through wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
 By knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov 24:3-6)

Dear God,

Wow what a summer huh? All the yuk stuff just thrown right at us all at once.  That would be huge, if I didn’t know who you really are.  Faithful and true. Just. Abounding in love. Steadfast. Miracle worker.  I could write for  thousand years and never finish writing all of your attributes.  First, I want to say thank you for walking with us, and for the faith you’ve placed in Judahs heart, help me to grow up like him. Thank you for the people in my life who just care. Tangibly, wonderfully, fully. I’m grateful. Thank you for knowing the end from the beginning  and I don’t. Please remind me of that and to relax and let you handle things always.  Jesus I love you. I love you so much. I trust you, help my unbelief please.

 

Ps. Father please be with those children and their families in the Sears Cancer Center, please guide their doctors and bless their doctors for their diligence and compassion.  I ask that you stay close to the ones who are waiting, in torn apart homes with ripped apart lives, because you turn ashes into beauty God.. You are a master artist. If they can’t trust, if they don’t know YOU, I humbly ask that you stay close to them any way.  Thank you for near misses and healing and peace in the mess.  Build us by your grace Jesus, amen.

 

 

H. E. Double hockey sticks.

Almost a year. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve had any desire to write.

That’s not true. I’ve had a desire, but what I wanted to write was foul. Broken. Angry. Empty.

I’m grateful for Thaniel and the way he makes my life colourful and fun. I’m grateful for the health care that we have in this country. Grateful for the support and love my real friends have for me.

All that gratitude and I’m still so mad inside I could combust. Just explode from the anger and guilt and frustration I feel.

A lot of that anger is directed toward the people in charge. I mean com’on!!! I am sick and tired of trying to convince the powers that be to move! To act! To help ! Use those years of experience and knowledge and do something!!! I run around and I make the calls and I get the scans done and I get those blood tests done.. and then I get the run around, the put off.. an appointment a couple of months from now and no action jackson!

I’m tired of feeling like I’m overreacting when I feel in my gut I’m not. Frustrated that I’m told to follow my heart and meet a wall when I do. Com’on!!!!

My fifth son has a lump on his neck. A. BIG .LUMP.

All the parents, give that a moment to sink in.

After a month of it being there I made an appointment. His doc was concerned but ordered some tests and we waited. The 1st radiologist said get it biopsied asap, the 2nd radiologist said they were backed up and they would redo the test in 2 months, my son’s doc suggested measuring it every 2 weeks and keeping an eye out, he told me it was ok to wait because lymphoma isn’t like lung cancer.. it isn’t important to catch it quickly. I said ” so I shouldn’t worry?” And he said ” I didn’t say that”… and then my own oncologist said ” um.. unless it infiltrates an organ or the bones… You really should catch all cancer quickly…” and I was slowly loosing my stuffing. I mean com’on!

It’s been nearly 3 months for the crazy lump now, it has grown and not diminished, has become bumpy and irregular, and he has surgery to remove and test it tomorrow.

Meanwhile Thaniel is about to go in for his own surgery. A long drawn out do, while they figure out what causes him to aspirate liquids and see if it can be helped. It’s been three years since they discovered that anything thinner than puree or thick honey slips down into his lungs, and essentially he was drowning for two years. Everyone was hoping he would grow out of it, but he hasn’t.. so into surgery we go. Com’on!!

There is thryoid nonsense, and for a few days ,terror that Thaniels actual factual father would show up on the scene and threaten our quiet safe life. Like one of those 80’s talk shows.

I know my son’s are covered in prayer. I know that God is watching over them.. which is good because God and I are not on speaking terms. Ok ok.. I mean.. I’m sure He is still speaking to me.. probably telling me that I should grow up and trust Him and maybe even calling me a dumb head. And I still pray, I keep God updated on my minute to minute and tell Him I love Him. BUT I’m mad. I’m so fed up with it all. Is it me? Is it just that I can’t cope with it all? Is it something I’ve done? Not done? Is my faith not strong enough? Am I strong enough?

Cuz I’ll tell you, I have lost control. I’ve stopped even trying. I walk like a person sleep walking from one day to the other. If it’s not my own health it’s the kids, or bills, or repairs, or the constant nonsense with the van, or work, or the kids school stuff, or the people that depend on me, not being able to depend on me. It’s an avalanche of stronger person proportions and I can’t even with it.

So I’ve been cheating. Acting awake and aware when I’m really not..listening but not hearing, showing up but completely checked out. If you were to try and sum me up in a word picture, I’m surfing, but my board is upsidedown and I’m smiling under the waves.

So I’ve been keeping that bit from God. I’ve been hiding it. Fairly well I think. About as well as King David.

Psalm 139.

You have looked deep

into my heart, LORD,

and you know all about me.

You know when I am resting

or when I am working,

and from heaven

you discover my thoughts.

You notice everything I do

and everywhere I go.

Before I even speak a word,

you know what I will say,..

Where could I go to escape

from your Spirit

or from your sight?

If I were to climb up

to the highest heavens,

you would be there.

If I were to dig down

to the world of the dead

you would also be there.

Suppose I had wings

like the dawning day

and flew across the ocean

Or suppose I said, “I’ll hide

in the dark until night comes

to cover me over.”

But you see in the dark

because daylight and dark

are all the same to you.

You are the one

who put me together

inside my mother’s body,

and I praise you because of

the wonderful way

you created me...

Nothing about me

is hidden from you!

I was secretly woven together

out of human sight,

but with your own eyes you saw

my body being formed.

Even before I was born,

you had written in your book

everything about me.

Your thoughts are far beyond

my understanding,

much more than I

could ever imagine.

I try to count your thoughts,

but they outnumber the grains

of sand on the beach.

AND WHEN I AWAKE I WILL

FIND YOU NEARBY.

That last bit is the part that means the most to me. Me sleep walking thru all of this. The last few months have been a blur of fear and guilt and more fear and hidden tears and doubt. Leaning on the ones I love..( if you call sleeping on their shoulders leaning) and generally just existing. Asleep. ( Quite literally sometimes )

But David doesn’t say that because God is everywhere the two of them are bossom buddies, He says when he wakes up he knows that God will be there. Maybe David felt like he was a walking talking dead person too , maybe David felt like I do, that dispite the fact that God knows it all, See’s it all, and has a wonderful plan… For the moment they weren’t even on speaking terms. David talks about TRYING to hide.. at one point in this verse he wants to kill his enemy’s! Not very man-after-God’s-own-heart there Davey.

But me too David! Me too! Man how I wish I could kill cancer, just kick it’s teeth in and stomp on it’s neck until it’s cold and blue. I wish I could destroy my own fear and desire to run away and avoid it all. (If one more person tells me how strong I am I’m gunna let them see the real deal! 😋 ) I wish I could hide. Wish there was a rock I could crawl under. You don’t even know.

But when I wake up.

God,

I know you see it all. You are here in the middle even when I am trying to push you away. I know you’re forgiving me even as I fall down over and over. I know you are holding Jude and Thaniel in your perfectly strong hands. I know nothing wins but you. The end is always you. So we are ok all the time. I know. Thank you for that. I also know you know I’m not ready to come out and face this. I’m sleep walking through my life right now and I have no desire to open my peepers. I know it’s costing me. It’s likely paining you too. But more than anything I know that when I wake up, when I rise.. I will find you nearby. Watching over me, waiting for me, loving me. I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you for new beginnings and for opportunities showing up before I knew I’d need them and for walking with us through all this fire. I love you.

Ps. God, if you could stay beside the others that are also struggling to stay awake, that are so tired of fighting, they are ready to give up. The ones who maybe don’t know you are as near as you are.. stay close Lord please, and help them to see you even in the middle of their hell.

Say what you need to say. 

What does home mean to you?  Today… ( well, yesterday really, because this idea has kept me up and thinking into the wee hours of this morning) someone was telling me about his home.  Far far away in Poland, many years ago his parents waited patiently for an apartment of their own. Waiting years for the system to work in their favour amid bribes and under the table deals… waiting with their baby boy, for a home of their own.  After seven years of waiting they got it!! 450-500 square feet of call-it–all-their-own space.  Home.  

He described the layout and the division of space for his parents, his sister and himself, within that 450-500 square feet with fantastic recall… and so he should. He was just there two weeks ago visiting his parents, in that same apartment, 40 years later. Same neighbors, same friends, same storage closet against the same wall.  

For some of us Westerners, we can’t wrap our heads around it.  Despite the current trend for minimalism and New York-ish compact living.. we are a hording society.  So we need SPACE for all our stuff.  And 40 years!!!  We don’t have tribes anymore, but we are most definitely a nomadic people. Moving and moving and moving… bigger, better, jobier.  Until I was 16 I’d moved more times than I was old!   Houses, schools, cities, provinces.  We don’t stay.  We shift like sand. And as my friend mentioned today, we don’t have homes we have houses. 

Mostly.

That same friend told me today that I feel like home to him.   And of course that set the wheels in my head spinning. 

We as a family here are preparing to move. Carpets have been ripped up, painting is being done, hardwood laid… it’s all exciting and exhausting and such… but it has stirred up a lot of emotions for me. For better or worse, good times and bad, this house has been a home for myself and my kids for 29 years.  I brought them home from the hospital here, starting with Joshua ( who turned 24 two days ago… yikes!)  and ending with Thaniel. As my world has fallen apart time and again, this is where I have crawled to lick my wounds and gather strength.  I lay things down here. I shed my protective layers here. I rest and find joy here. This is more than a house. It’s a home.  

Or is it the spirit inside that makes it feel that way?  Is it the love shared here that fosters that feeling?  Could I find home in any building? Or without a building? Or in another person? 

Of course. ( sure sure … that’s Polish for “yes” )

I may be awake enough to expound on this later. On why I think it’s more important than ever to reclaim “home” . For now, it’ll have to be enough that  someone found a home in me.  I’m just going to bask a bit in that and try to get to sleep.  

Just who do you think YOU are?

It’s all been so serious lately hasn’t it?  For my fellow Canadians, we are adjusting to Justin and his new politics, for my American friends, Trump has either your admiration or your exasperation  and all around the world ; crisis looms.  Israel, Syria, Manchester , India…

For me at home it’s been less global, but still grim faced. I’m not the mother of just one child, as special as that one child may be. I have eight and they have each faced issues in the last months that made us all feel as if we have been fighting a long and drawn out battle. No rest in between skirmishes, no time to shore up the holes and prepare for the next onslaught.  My oldest daughter sent me a text last week that just said “I’m so done mom”  and I didn’t doubt she meant it.  Personally I’m being pushed beyond myself.  I’m dancing around with the medical aspects of my life and my disease and trying to find a balance between faith and function.

What do you do when it all seems huge and endless and exhausting?  Because lets be honest, it does, or will, or has and there really is no getting around it. And what we do – how we handle it ,will often shape the landscape of our lives and determine how we weather the next storm, and the next and the next.  Are you an avoider? Do you tuck your head into your pillow and practice the ancient Egyptian art of DeNile?   Are you a fighter?  An aggressively proactive and micro managing sargent, so that you maintain a controlled iron grip on possibility? And as such you burn out faster and harder than those around you who seem to be effortlessly floating thru circumstance?

Fight or flight? Medical books tell us that those are the two main responses the body takes in times of physical or emotional crisis.

 Fight. Or flight.

My oldest daughter is a fighter.  Stress shows up and she takes it to the mattresses.  No quarter given, she is shoot first ask questions later.  I’m breaking a kind of confidence when I tell you , that while that may sound tough and victorious… she struggles with the times she shouldn’t have come out, guns blazing and blown away the people she cares about. She has come and confessed not knowing how to repair the damage done by her “take the beach” approach. Fight has its benefits, and its draw backs.  She’s perceived as tough, infallible, unbreakable.  When the truth is quite the opposite. She is tender and scared. Her world has been torn apart and blown up time and time again and her drive to right every wrong comes from fear.  Fear of being out of control and hurt.  If you picture a wounded cornered animal, you’ll see my baby girl there.  Fight is fierce… but it comes at a price.

For me, I’m a flighter. I run. First sign of trouble I’ve got shoes on and I’m gone. I don’t even take time to tie those shoes.  I give up so easy, it’s as if I was never in the fight to begin with!

Avoid , Avoid, Avoid. It’s a mantra my heart and head have on repeat.  And it’s the reason my health suffers, my house suffers, my relationships suffer, my spirit suffers.  Not looking at the issue doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Whats the answer??!!  If these are the two responses most people choose how are we to get it right?

This week in church we are studying the 20th chapter of 1st Samuel.  David is in trouble BIG. His King and friend and mentor, Saul, is after him with plans to kill him. Makes sense if you’re crazy Saul and realize that David is coming for your throne, but all David knows is… he was doing the thing he was told to do.. watching the sheep and then some dude poured oil on him and now his world is upside down.  David runs, he lies, he steals and he humiliates himself. He does it all in his own strength and wisdom… which gets him nowhere. But when we read the account through his eyes in  psalms 34 & 56  we see his heart.  David gives God credit for his deliverance. He acknowledges that his deliverance is undeserved. He is filled with thanksgiving for God’s grace. He learns that God uses even human means to bring about deliverance and that God can do the seemingly impossible.  David is humbled but fixes his eyes on the eternal deliverance and not the temporal.  As human and as flawed as David is, He has this beautiful heart that longs for God’s way, and it serves him well.  Jesus mentions it later in Matthew when those jerks the pharisees are on him because his disciples pick and eat some grain.  He talks about the heart that David had and says ” I desire compassion and not a sacrifice

And that’s where I think the answer lies. 

Look.  Maybe you’re a fighter.  Maybe you’re a runner.  Maybe you avoid or maybe you freak out. Maybe you’ve been humbled, maybe you’ve lost everything and you’re ready to lie cheat and steal to get it back… Maybe you’re at the end of your road.

Have compassion.

God wants compassion.  He has compassion for you… why can’t you?  Why do we think sacrificing ourselves on the altar of personal beratement is in anyway helpful/ appropriate/ holy?  You can dance around any tree you want and offer up all the spiritual prayers you like and try to sound like the pope if that’s what you think will  impress the people around you, but it doesn’t move the heart of God.

Compassion does.

So today I’m taking a deep breath in and extending myself some compassion. I’m looking at the people around me with some grace. I’m imagining that Jesus might just love Justin too, and that He saw Trump coming before you or I did, and He’s in control and loving us all.  And in doing so, the serious starts to lift a little. I can hear music in the background and the sun is a little brighter.

Give it a shot. Why so downcast oh my soul? put your HOPE in God.

Jesus.

I bet you think I’m ridiculous. You made eternity and everything in it and I have a hard time making a bed. You see the end from the beginning and I can’t see to the end of the day, and yet I act like what happens in my day is so crazy important and worth getting riled about. Bring me up short when I need it Jesus, please. Remind me to relax and take it easy on others and myself.  Help me see the beauty in everything,  and to rest in you.  L

Oh and… thanks for music.  I’m dancing around today…

The Lord Himself will fight for you…(if you let Him)

This wee blog will be short, but I hope impactful to someone who may need a nudge.

” The Lord Himself will fight for you, just be calm “

That  was the scripture written inside of a card, left on my desk at work with penned sentiments of love and support.  Taken out of Exodus 14… the scripture declares that if we just calm down and shut up God will fight on our behalf.  I’m not good at that.  Are you?   I just cannot seem to let Jesus take the wheel. I’ll let Him sit in the passenger side and give me tips on short cuts (as if He would!)  but I have the hardest time just shutting up and letting God take over.

I am also monumentally bad at telling my fellow brothers and sisters that I need help.

A lot of people suffer from this condition. If we didn’t Jesus wouldn’t have made a big deal about us getting together and confessing our weaknesses and praying for one another. ( which was interestingly enough, the topic of the sermon at church yesterday.. but I began writing this three weeks ago. )

I Think we suffer for differing reasons.  Most are fear based. ” What if my life doesn’t appear perfect anymore?”  “what if I’m judged by my weakness?”  Some suffering is born of past hurt.  ” What if I share and my trust is betrayed?”  Maybe some shy away from help out of stubborn pride.

Pride, I think , is at the root of my knee jerk reaction to grin and lie about how I’m doing. I’m so sick of being ‘needy’.  Can anyone else understand that?  I long to be the  beacon of hope someone looks to, not the fountain of tears someone needs to mop up after!  But week after week I’m standing in the need of prayer and wishing I could hum a different tune…  like Victory in Jesus! ( old hymn reference… I’m aging myself)

But then I come to work, and love… the real stuff ; The kind that doesn’t waste its time on pointless pity, or expend energy on judgement or opinion, was waiting for me.

Since I have been sick, prayer has continually been offered up for me. Little notes of encouragement are left on my desk, gifts that show the givers hearts toward me, and dinners lovingly prepared for my family are left in the staff fridge. I’m so crazy loved that it makes it hard for me to remember why I wrestle with transparency so much.

I am actively working on this. Even as I type.  Asking for actual help and speaking up when I’m not at 100%

My first boxing coach and I came to a shakey understanding early on when I began to box. I promised to start to tell him when I’d had enough, and he promised not to stop coaching me or treat me with kid gloves.  Maybe I need to make the same deal with my heart.

God continually shows me that He has placed wonderful hands all around me ready to catch me should I fall, now all I need to do is face my Goliath ( thanks for that message too Pastor Paul! [ #NewHopeAllianceChurch ] it was tailor made!)  put away my fear, shuck off my false armour and let the rocks fly where they will.

Father God,

You are the author of everything good in and around my life, and I full of thanksgiving for it all. Please bless my friends at work who just keep loving me and loving me…I feel it.  That’s so huge!  Bless them, and teach me.  Amen.    P.S… if there’s anyone else struggling with asking for help, or leaning on others, please give them the courage they need to let go.  I love you Jesus!