Friday, November 15, 2013

A Process.

Why does the writing mood strike when I’m so tired? Every.Time.

Well, it’s been three weeks today since my mom passed. It feels like years already. I barely remember her memorial, but there are bits and pieces that cling to my heart. I remember the feeling afterwards…such peace…and even joy. God was glorified and my mom was honored. Her life is such a testament to God’s goodness.  I walked away feeling like I learned so much more about her…and where I got some of my quirks from.

I crashed the following evening. I remember the moment distinctly, I was driving with my cousin and I felt the grief coming, I felt it begin to nag and drag me down. And every day has been up and down ever since. I was in an angry stage last week. Frustrated with everything. Overwhelmed with reality and hurt because other people get to keep going. And I’m not ready to. It’s amazing what goes through one’s mind. It’s easy to get caught up in the thought that grief can justify whatever. I’ve thought about drinking until I pass out. Or maybe going for a drive and not coming back. Or just hermitting away and living in my sweat pants.

In the moment, each scenario has its merits. Then I remember God. And I remember how much I want to be faithful to him. And I don’t want to get caught up in just soothing the pain, but not dealing with it and not seeking Him for healing.

Yesterday, I was reading a sermon about how Jesus has experienced everything that man has. Every pain, every struggle, everything that causes anguish except for him, it was tenfold.

Separated from His Father. Crucified by the people he loves and came to save. I was reminded how quickly I am to isolate and get sucked into my own little world. How everything becomes about me. But it’s not.

I am not saying grief is not ok. It is. You need to feel it, to go through it, to process it. It’s ok to be hurting. It’s ok to say so.

But my ultimate comfort comes from Christ, not man. My hope is in Him. And He’s already gone through it. As I said in my previous post, this is when it counts.

Grief hurts. I feel like a part of me is missing now that my mom is gone. I find it hard to breathe at times, when I think of her. But this is a time that will build character…it will push me to grow and strengthen. I want to come out of it, better and closer to God.  It’s going to be a long road…and I can’t wait until I’ve come through on the other side. I don’t want to waste it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm tired and will possibly regret posting this in the morning.

Well, it seems to be that time of year again. Time to update the blog. I won’t even make excuses anymore.
I feel I need to preface this post with a little disclaimer. Because I over-think everything, I’ve been hesitating on posting this. But I’ve wanted to write about it and share it but I‘ve held back because it is so personal. And sharing on Facebook seems almost tainted now; It’s marred by complaining and over sharing.  My intention is to do neither. I guess this is a way of processing. Grief is a funny thing.

A little over a month ago, I received a phone call that my mother wasn’t doing well. And I thought she was going to die, that seemed to be the general consensus. 
I’ve been expecting this time to happen for over eight years now. I’ve thought about it almost every day. I’ve wondered where I will be, and what I’m doing. Who will I be with? Will I be able to excuse myself before I break down or will the news crash over and consume me? Two months ago I would have told you that I was ready to let her go. That she would be better off in Heaven than here. She would be free. And I still believe this, but facing the prospect of life without my mother is hitting me full force. Even though she’s spent 1/3 of my life in a hospital or care home of some sort, she was still there. I could go to her and talk and cry and just be with her. And now, here  we are, close to the end. And every morning I wake up and wonder if today is the day. And every day is a fight to trust the Lord. And that, my friends, is the other side of things. Trusting the Lord. Because in all the perceived chaos, He has been right here, orchestrating every minute. I find myself challenged in a way that I haven’t been before. There has been a lot of hurt in my life. But looking back I could always see the good that came out of it. But right here in this moment, I see my tiny mom, and she can’t talk with me like before. And she doesn’t look at me like before. And she can’t hug me like before. And she won’t. Not on this side of heaven. 

I don’t understand God’s plan. It confuses me, to be honest. And there are moments in the midst of that confusion where I get angry and frustrated and it kinda ruins my day. But then I get to see how easily swayed I am. And how quick I am to turn on my God, my one consistent. Is it not during these times, which it counts? When I need to put my money where my mouth is?

Growing up, my mom would always quote Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In my angsty teenage years this would drive me crazy. Because I looked around at our life and thought “how is this good?” All I saw was pain, abandonment and disappointment.
My mom didn’t have the easiest go of it.  It just seemed like it was one thing after another with her. And yet, she never wavered in her faith. She never stopped praising the Lord for His mercy and grace. I found a letter she wrote to my father, forgiving him. She said that every time an angry thought entered her mind, she would pray about it and give it to God. And day-by-day it got easier until finally she could let him go and forgive.

So, I find myself here, trying to make sense of it. And I can’t. And I probably won’t. Not for a while at least.
So, where am I going with this?
I think it’s incredibly easy to get mad and get sucked into a sneaky hate spiral. Consistently turning to God for peace and strength is hard, because it’s not something that you have to do just once. Not for me. It’s a daily thing and sometimes I can’t even do it. And that’s why I’m thankful for a God who knows my heart. But better yet, he knows His plan. And these aren’t just cliché Christian sayings I’m throwing at you. It’s truth. I’ve realized that every day is a choice. Do I listen to myself or God?

I don’t have a neat way of tying this up…so I will just ask for prayer. This is one of the most difficult things I have and will face. This is my mom. Pray for her, that she will have peace and feel the presence of the Lord every minute of every day until she goes home. And please, pray that I will choose God and His peace, and go on His strength, not mine.

Friday, August 31, 2012

You Know That Moment When You Realize Your Life is About to Change?

Ok so clearly this whole blogging thing hasn’t exactly been working out…it’s been nearly a year since my last update. So you must be thinking “why now?” or “oh jeeze here we go again” Or “why do you keep tormenting me so?!” I apologize if this is a torment…this is going to be a long post so if you’re the easily tormentable type then you should probably stop now.

So, man, this is when I wish that I’d been writing all along. I feel like there’s so much to explain, there’s so many details that go into this whole thing. So first, let me begin by saying that God is so so good! Seriously, it just blows my mind to think about all He has done and how intricate His plans are and to see them unfold over the last month has just been amazing and so humbling.

It hasn’t been much of a secret that I have struggled with depression in my life. It’s been about a year since being, I don’t know, “actively depressed”…that’s a weird way of phrasing it but there ya go. But even while not being totally in it, I can get pretty down…fairly often. I get discouraged and a lot of that can stem from unbelief that God has a purpose for me. I get caught up in the routine, I see amazing things happening in other people’s lives and I get so excited for them but then I start comparing myself and wondering when God will start using me. And that is not good. Because He’s been doing amazing things in my life for so long and for me to not be continually acknowledging  that the way I should isn’t right. Anyway, a lot of the time I just have this feeling of not totally belonging….like something is just…off and I just haven't been able to put my finger on it.

A couple of weeks ago a man came to church and was talking about these missionaries that he works with. And just the whole process they went through to getting where God was telling them to go. During the whole time he was talking I just had this overwhelming feeling of God saying “this is for you, pay attention”. I began thinking about the possibility of doing missions and what that would look like. Doubts would enter my mind but every time one did, I’m telling you, within 30 seconds it was addressed by what the speaker was saying. God was shooting down all of my excuses. I just sat there afterwards…and then I started crying. I didn't even know why I was crying but there was no stopping. Then I realized that my tears were of relief. I felt like this prayer I didn’t even necessarily know I was praying had been answered. I went home and prayed and just opened up to God and just let go. My life is his and where He wants me is up to Him. So at that point, I knew that I would be going somewhere. I didn’t know where. I didn’t know when. Or what it would look like…I just left it up to God. So a couple weeks went by and it was still very much on my mind. Specifically though, the Philippines kept coming up. Last week my sister in law sent me a link to an organization called Love 146 ( You should look this up, it is incredible what they are doing!) (Seriously). This organization works with young girls who have been rescued from the sex trade industry. They have both prevention and recovery programs. One of which…is in the Philippines.  As I combed through the site, watched videos of the lives that had been touched through this organization, I just felt something inside of me break…I think of these poor girls and how their lives have been destroyed by another human. The depravity of man infuriates me. But realizing that…as horrifying as their lives are, and as much as we can do to help their physical bodies recover…unless they have Jesus Christ…it means nothing. In the context of eternity, it means nothing. I fell to my knees and cried out to God. I have such a strong desire to go. To help. To do something. And I know that that comes from Him.

A couple of days later I was chatting with a fellow and I was just filling him in on what God’s been doing and showing me and through our conversation I really realized that I’m ready to go now. I’m good to let go of what’s been keeping me here, giving that to God and obeying His call. Right now.
I went to visit my mom a couple of days ago and talk to her about everything…and by God’s amazing grace, she was so present during our whole conversation. I haven’t been able to talk with her like this for years. She told me “if the Lord is calling you out there then you have to go”.   I am just so thankful beyond words that God would give us a couple of hours and that I could have her blessing to leave. So amazing!

So, I’ve been chatting with the amazing family I live with and they have some connections in the Philippines to work with girls getting out of the sex trade. And I really truly believe that this is the area that I’m being called to. I don’t have the fine details worked out yet, I still don’t know when I’m going or what exactly everything is going to look like. I am hoping to be going within the next year…and I’ll be there for however long the Lord sees fit. So it could be six months…a year…ten years. I don’t know. But what I do know is this: I can expect the Lord to provide for me. I can expect him to guide me. I can expect him to work out every tiny detail, and that may look nothing like what I think it should be but it will fit His perfect plan.  
I am so so excited...but I am also nervous. I don’t expect this to be an easy thing. It’s going to be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. But, my God is in control and at the end of the day he will work it out. Not I, but Christ in me.

So to conclude, what I ask of you is this: please pray for me. Pray for my mind to be clear so that I may continue to listen to God. Pray that I would not be bogged down by doubt because it comes so easily. Pray that I would always seek the Lords will for my life and never take my eyes off of Him.  Pray for these next few months as the details are worked out. I will do my best to actually update and keep people posted and to be able to continue asking for prayer.
Thank you, my friends.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Mother's Faith.

I’ve been reading a book by Max Lucado called “A Love Worth Giving”. A few days ago I was reading it and he was telling of Einstein and how he had a sister who went into a coma. He would visit her everyday and read to her for 2 hours each day. She never woke up but he was convinced she could hear him, despite what everyone else was saying. Lucado was saying that if you love someone then be with them.

I instantly thought of my mom. I haven’t been a great daughter. I put myself before her most of the time. It hurts to see her so weak. It hurts to not have her recognize me or hear her talk of my dad as if he’s still alive. I don’t visit as much as I should. I was very convicted. Yes it hurts, but at least I get to see her. At least she’s still alive. God sees fit for her to still be here, so who am I to turn my back on that?

I went to see her yesterday. She didn’t open her eyes fully at all while I was there. Every now and then there would be a flutter of eyelashes. I read to her and prayed for her. I opened my Bible to 1 Peter . I began reading:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I feel like this sums up her faith so beautifully, she has suffered much, almost everything stripped away....and yet, she still praises the Lord. She is not bitter, she doesn’t ask “why?”. She is faithfully waiting to go home, where she will be rewarded for her faith, which is worth more than gold.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Point.

To be completely honest…I’ve been struggling a bit in my line of work.
Sometimes it gets to be so overwhelming seeing so much brokenness and
being witness to so many lives that have been left in shambles because of mental illness, drug abuse and violence.
A year ago I was working at a coffee shop. Customers frequently came in with a sense of entitlement about them.They would easily drop five bucks on a coffee and think nothing of it.
I became so frustrated working there. I couldn’t believe the arrogance of some people.They wouldn’t look you in the eye when ordering, or would bespeaking on their phone and would apologize to whomever they were talking to, as if having to speak to me to order was somehow an inconvenience.I’m not writing this to complain about how I was treated, because don’t get me wrong, there were some amazing people that I met there. Police officers, teachers, stay at home moms-all people that devoted their lives to other human beings.

I wanted out. I wanted to be doing something else. I was so discontent, I
spent many months frustrated because I couldn’t put words to why I was
feeling that way. But slowly it dawned on me that I felt such
dissatisfaction because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to.
I want to help people. I want to meet the person that has been addicted to
meth since they were 12, and I want to tell them that there is freedom. I
want to know the woman who has been beaten to a bloody pulp by every man
she has known, and I want her to know that she is loved. That she is worth
something. This world is so broken, and sometimes, honestly, all I can do
is sit down and cry. My very core aches over the pain that sin has caused.
When I go to work, and I see people who have experienced things that
should leave them dead, I want to plead with them, I want them to know
Jesus. To know that life can suck. It can hurt and it certainly isn’t
fair. But…if you have Jesus then in the end…it will be okay. There will
never be complete peace in this lifetime…there will never be a point where
all the pain goes away. Memories can fade but that scar is still there.
But in Eternity with Christ… every cut and every bruise will
I was looking at some photos yesterday…pictures of past and present
clients. Every single person in those photos had a certain look in their
eyes…one of weariness. These people have all had massive barriers to
overcome. Most of them probably don’t have many friends or family. They
have had to fight for their lives, to rise above the disdain that society
places on them. But…every person was also smiling. Just a moment of
happiness, when they are with us…they are cared for. They are loved and
accepted. And they know it. They don’t have to fight to be heard.
Looking at these pictures I was reminded why I am here. I am here to show
the love of Jesus.
So what I ask of you is this: please pray. Pray for me that I can continue
to have the strength to go to work and to share Jesus. To not be
overwhelmed by the current state of things. And I ask you to pray for
those that I meet, that they would hear what I have to say about Christ,
and that they would know that with Him, one day there will be peace.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Just.Sit. Still.

I feel like my attention span has gotten a lot shorter. I’ve started writing another post probably about 11 times but halfway though I will give up on it. My reasoning will either be that I figure what i’ve written is way too personal....or I just lose steam. Something else grabs my attention for a millisecond and that’s it. No more writing. But it’s not just with writing that I find I can’t sit still it’s with reading as well. My excuse for that is that I just haven’t found a book that grabs me. But that’s poor reasoning. I’ve started several books that are very interesting, I just can’t seem to get past the first 20 pages..okay it’s more like 10. Sad, I know. So why is this? When I ask myself this question my immediate response is, “I blame Facebook”. Yep. That’s exactly what trails through my mind. The devil made me do it. Except the devil in this theory is the oh, so addicting book of faces.

You don’t know it but I just took a three minute break from writing this to talk to my roommate....then I picked up my coffee cup and almost started drawing on it...and then I realized what I was doing and thought it might be better if I actually finish writing the blog about not being able to finish things. Phew. How was that for a run-on sentence? Ok...where was I? Oh, Facebook. Yes, it’s not just Fbook that has to do with this whole attention span of a gnat thing, it’s technology in general. Well...maybe society in general. Ok I know i’m about to sound like a grandparent who can’t figure out their email thereby condemning all technology to hell, but bear with me. We live in a world where everything is done in an instant. Access to the world is just the tap of a keyboard away...or a finger swoosh if you have an iphone.

Just this morning it took a near 15 seconds for my google page to load. 15 WHOLE SECONDS! And I got impatient. I kept hitting refresh because it was taking so freaking long. Guess what I was looking up...the weather. Yup. I could have gotten up, walked the 20 steps to a window and looked outside. But nope, I googled it.

At that moment I looked deep inside myself (ok, not that deep...just’s not like this is some life altering epiphany) but I just realized the absurdity of the situation. I rely on my computer for everything. Have a question? Google. What movie do I recognize that actor from? IMDB. What the heck is a Bot Fly? Youtube.(Which by the way, kind of makes me not want to travel.)

Anyway, I just feel like those movies that were made 25 years ago about the future and how robots will take over...I kind of feel like that’s coming true. We rely on getting information so quickly that we are losing the ability to sit down, focus and do things the “hard” way. Like doing research by cracking open a book. It’s like we can only focus in 15 minute increments.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the spelling of today....sorry, I just had a small rage blackout.

Anyway...let me end with a quote from the novel “1984”

Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.”


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This verse was waiting for me when I opened up Facebook. Right now I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. And by how true He is to his Word. The last couple days have not been easy. Yesterday I went to see my mom and it was one of my hardest visits yet. Together, we sat in her room but she didn’t say anything. I would ask a question but silence was her reply. When I knelt down in front of her, her eyes were glazed over and there was no sparkle of recognition in them. The only way I knew that she knew I was there was that she grasped my hand in hers and didn’t let go.

As we sat there I broke down in tears. I haven’t cried like that in a long time. It was a kind of soul wrenching sob. It was a combination of sorrow over not having my mother to wrap me in her arms and the realization that she would truly be better off with Jesus.

I have never known anyone as strong and graceful as my mother. I have never heard her speak ill of anyone. She was always so quick to forgive and so full of the love of Christ.

I leaned in close to her and began to pray, I thanked God for His blessing on our family. I thanked him for every hardship that has come our way. And I thanked Him for giving me a mother who realized that her life’s purpose was to follow Christ. I also thanked Him for the chance to say goodbye. I know that not everyone gets that change. Sometimes the people we love are gone in an instant and there are words left unsaid. But that won’t be the case here. I told my mom that I love her. I asked for forgiveness for the things i’ve done to her. And I told her that my heart belongs to Christ. There is nothing else to say.

I read the Bible to her for the last little while. If she is to hear anything it should be God’s truth.

I don’t know how much longer she has. It could be a day. It could be another 10 years. But, really, all of our lives are like that. But the Lord has given me a chance to have closure. A kind that I didn’t have with my father. What I will carry around will not be grief, but peace. I will praise God for his unending faithfulness and for blessing me with the time that we had together. At the end of this I will be able to say “It is well with my soul.”