“No, I mean really!” – January 11, 2014

Do you feel the same way that I do when greeting people and their response sounds so mechanical? Like pressing the red button on the Teddy Bear and a recording says, “I love you!” People say,  “How are you?” “Fine” or “Coudn’t be better” or “Blessed”,  well I can accept the “Blessed” because that describes all humanity who is still breathing. It is only my God’s grace that we are not consumed everyday!

But the facade that we beings don ourselves with everyday is so plastic!  Life is REAL!

The words from the heart are more than trite responses!  It takes a bit longer to explain  “really”.

Really now…what’s going on?  When people are losing faith in humanity (and I’m not surprised), this tells me there is a mask in the picture!

When a 10 minute conference call can change a five year budget plan – let’s get ‘REAL’. Spending important God-given moments every day settling disputes and frivolous clamoring issues when our world seems to be crashing in! “REALLY”…does anyone really want to respond with “TRUTH”.

I have no desire to sound like a despondent person, yet “REALITY” staires me in the face.

My “real” friends know that I savor the writing style of Ann Voskamp! Her gift book, ‘One Thousand Gifts” has been a traditional gift that I share with readers!  Check her out! Today’s calendar sheet was beautiful.  She writes so uniquely. “Jesus, the God-man with his own termination date. Jesus, the God-man who came to save me from prisons of fear and guilt and depression and sadness.  With an expiration of less than 12 hours, what does Jesus count as all most important?”

Luke 22:19 NIV..”He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to them.”

What’s so “real” about that? Well, sometimes if we could just respond to “How are you?” with, “Come, let’s sit down and break bread together, give thanks, and share”REALITY”…maybe our hearts wouldn’t be so heavy and our future look so bleak! Maybe!

Share the “Bread – the Word of God”.

Make a “Thankful List”

Share the Brokenness with friends and not so … maybe we are giving them something that will bring REALITY into their life!

I’ve started my Thankful List even though I’ve been shocked with Reality of one major loss and the potential for yet another major set back all within 10 days of a new year.

You say to me, “Fine”…why can’t you just say “Okay” sometimes?  Because I’m not! and Truth is what I am about! I want to break bread and give out REALITY!”

 

 

A Good Thing-Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recently a friend who just completed his doctorate told me that I must read, “Lament for a Son” by Nicholas Woltersorff. This book was required reading for grief counseling.  I went to purchase the small simple covered book.  Now, you may think, when will she ever get over loosing her child? The answer, Never! Every time I tell my story God moves in the hearts of my hearers. Just like Dr. Wolterstorff’s writings…”each death is unique as is each life”.  This is a timely blog. I wept as I listened to a young mother telling the world through Fox News last evening that her daughter was still alive even though medical professionals were telling her otherwise. I recalled the early evening when the Neurosurgeon stopped me in a hallway of a hospital in Louisiana and said, you need to consider when you would like for us to remove the life support from Jonathan.  No! God will decide when he leaves. I realize that family can interfere…it is our flesh and blood afterall.  It is our child!  But it was a good thing that God came through for me the next morning, Jonathan’s heart stopped. 

Inscape!  I am sort of stuck on this word.  “the unique essence or inner nature of a person, place, thing, or event, especially depicted in poetry or a work of art”.  Isn’t life a work of art? Isn’t death an event? Isn’t each child part of a culture.  Do we still value LIFE!  Or the CREATOR OF LIFE?

My thoughts and prayers are with this family. The simple operation turns rancidNow this mother is being forced to decide a future.  We need God! We need the God Creator!

Does it help to let her know, I’ve been there?  It is a good thing to remember!  Lamentations 3, Holy Bible, The Message, 3:19-21 “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes…I remember it all-oh, how well I remember…the feeling of hitting bottom.  But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope.”
3:22-24 “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great, your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. 3:25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.  It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quitetly hope for help from God.” 3:28-30 “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.” 3:31 “Why? Because the Maker won’t ever walk out and fail to return.”

It is a good thing to remember. To Hope. To Trust. To Know. God will show up!

 

Who Are We?

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

A dear friend sent me this quote. She told me that she read it over and over when at times all she really wanted to do was cry in defeat!  She told me how hard it was for her to walk in to change with exuberance – let alone joy!  It has to be a learned skill.  To know that every experience she goes through (that God asks her to walk through) is going to change her and change the ‘old dimensions’ of how she was living her life forever.  “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

And then she sent me one of Amy Grant’s quotes. “There’s a beauty to wisdom and experience that cannot be faked.”

Now, thanks be to Judi Schultz, my friend who encourages me like no one else!  She knows the way that I walk through difficulties and joys.  She knows how “real” I am! Too real sometimes! I’ve never understood how “trained” people put on plastic smiles and gracious words and they are always “well”.  Sometimes I feel they are fake. Life can’t be all that perfect even for the person who walks in faith.  Hebrews 11 has a list of people who walked with God – they were REAL!

God had a “better plan”.  A better way!  Could it be, Judi, that God has a better way for you and me?  Even though we can’t see it?

Psalm 16:6 – 2014 January 1 –

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord who counsels me even at night my heart instructs me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, my tongue rejoices, my body also will rest secure, because You, O Lord, will not abandon me.
Those are the words I have read recently from the Bible – different versions – to try to get those words from Holy Scripture through my head and into my heart!

I always seem to have the opportunity to live out or to test the scriptures that I have been studying. Even today, the first day of 2014. Early morning, my husband informs me that he is no longer employed with company he has been with for 14 years. Does my tongue rejoice? Does my body rest? Am I shaken? Do I have a delightful inheritance?  Is God at my right hand?

Questions! Fears! Uncertainty! Blank! Empty! All are the emotions I feel!

Not many months ago, a Minister friend/relative told me that ‘he was tired of hearing of my losses.’  WOW! Slap!

I suppose that would be the feeling of someone who hasn’t experience the loss of their only child, their sister, their parents, furnishings that rolled down a Georgia freeway during a move across country to answer a call to a new church. How could they know the pain? How could they possibly understand what loss is all about?  How could they know that God has given me a message through these wounds…the making of Perfume?

But today.  In this economy.  At this time in my life. Another loss?  Yes, it is hard to see my husband weep.  It is hard to understand when he is a man of integrity, gracious, kind, giving, sacrficial giving!  Nothing was done wrong!  Could it just be his age? Wisdom of the older generation isn’t needed anymore?

How am I handling this?  I can’t tell you now.  I’ve got to process!  I have to decide to open this vessel (this perfume flask) and let in the bitter to set for awhile until it becomes sweet…a sweet smelling aroma!  Will I?  Can I?