Of Hope and Heroes

My thoughts for today are on the importance of hope.

I’ve blogged frequently about my son, Gabriel, and his eczema.  I actually don’t talk about it much in life, for whatever reason.  There just doesn’t seem to be a point. I think a lot of people were unaware of how serious he was until it spread up his neck.  His eyes have read rings around them and from his jaw down, he is almost completely covered in red, angry skin with areas of swelling and infected wounds and abscesses.

It’s really bad.

There is no “but”.  It just sucks.  It’s horrible.

He usually handles it so well.  Most mornings he wakes up tired and in pain and doesn’t want to go to school.  But he does so well.  I just got his report card and he is meeting or exceeding expectations in every area, in spite of his frequent exhaustion and pain.

Today everything came to a head.  He came home emotional and angry.  He was crying and screaming and kicking his closet doors.  I had to force my way into his room and I had the sense to just let him be angry.  To just be there with him.  I sat with him until he let me hold him.  I just held him until he was ok again.

I sit here with tears streaming down my face.  This is so hard.

I’ve said before there have been times where this thing brought me to the edge of myself in every way.  Times where I refused to pray anymore.  Times when I could only look at and treat his naked body with a glass or two of wine in my system.

It’s been brutal.

But I have been praying and seeking and finding God again.  He reminded me of a story, a testimony I heard many years ago.  It was a ‘strong man’ who came to the church we were attending.  His thing was feats of strength- rolling up frying pans and breaking wooden baseball bats.  He did his feats and then shared his story.  Growing up he had been chubby, asthmatic, and completely immobilized by anxiety.  The most impressive thing about this man was how unbelievably tender his heart was and how incredibly he was advancing God’s Kingdom.

I think of his story often and it gives me hope. 

Awhile ago I was talking with Gabe and the subject of the movie “Terminator” came up.  I outlined the plot and he wanted to know why the robot wanted to kill Sarah Connor.  “Well, I said he knew she was going to raise a hero.”  As I said those words I was overcome with emotion.  I saw Gabe as a future hero, that that’s why his life has been under so much attack.  I refuse to let the enemy have him.

I am going to raise a hero.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Your Song, His Song

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a couple days.  Don’t feel bad for me because the song is pretty epic-ly awesome.  It’s 80’s, it’s melodramatic and not a bad song to have stuck in your head.

I think the only way to get it unstuck is just to go with it.  I found it on youtube and decided to play it to wake my husband from his sweet slumber this morning.  Two birds, one stone.

I sashayed into the bedroom and dramatically belted out, “Take…these broken wings!  And learn to fly again!”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1M80Z7zTjo  You’re welcome.

I think he appreciated it.

He’s used to this sort of thing because I love music and I love singing (and dancing) and my home is my stage.  I didn’t say I sing well but whatever I lack in talent I make up for in gusto.

Seriously though, music can touch us like nothing else.  I recently read the book “Finding God in the Ruins” by Matt Bays and he talks about the song, the music of our lives.  Jarrod Drawbaugh also speaks beautifully of letting out the song of our lives in this blog- http://www.infjwriters.com/dear-infj-advice-recently-deceased-philosopher-author/ and as a person of faith this got me thinking of how my song is inextricably connected with His song.

As a follower of Christ there have been many times where I’ve felt utterly defeated.  Times where; I fell hard into an old sin pattern.  I fell hard into depression.  I fell hard into feeling worthless.  As an INFJ, I see things very symbolically and the image I had of these times was that of being cast down into the dust while the enemy of my soul sneered triumphantly over me.  While he hurled insults and accusations.  Many of which had more than an element of truth to them.

But at times like that when I felt the darkness closing in, I would hear something else.  Quiet but unmistakable.  An ancient song, the kind that leaved you with goosebumps as it awakens pangs of hope and images of Heaven.

His song.

My song.

I think of the women caught in the act of adultery, recorded in the book of John, verse 8.  She had been humiliated and thrown into the dirt.  Surrounded by her accusers.  Too ashamed to lift her head.  I can imagine her accusers in breathless anticipation awaiting Jesus’ verdict, as their eyes darted from the woman to the Christ…The Bible says that Jesus stooped down and began to write in the dust.  Theologians argue about what he was writing and why.  But I wonder if maybe he was tracing out the lyrics to an ancient melody.  Maybe he hummed quietly a song that only that woman could hear.  The same fingers that set the stars in place wrote out this lowly women’s redemption. “He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support… You give me your shield of victory, and Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.” Psalm 18:17-18 & 35

There are two voices, two messages we can listen to.  The ceaseless voice of the accuser or the quiet hum of God.  We can sing along with the voice of defeat or belt out the song of triumph.

I find in my own life that God is always speaking.  It is up to me to have my internal settings tuned to his frequency.  Whether I’m bopping through life to an upbeat 80’s tune (ah yiss) or immobilized in the dirt, God is always singing over my life.  He always has and He always will.

“He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

My God is the God that stoops down in the dirt with us, to lift our tear-stained faces.  This is the God that rejoices over us with singing.  This is the God that puts a song of hope in our hearts, a song unique to each and every one of us.

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Woman Singing 2003

Winter is Over!

SpringSorry that I haven’t blogged in like forever.  I have been super busy.  I got a part time job at a local coffee shop.  Just to heap more craziness into my crazy life.  Cause that’s how I roll. 😉  I really love it though.  I get to smell coffee all day, drink free coffee, and get out of the house.  Win!  I also work with mostly teenagers, whom I get along with embarrassingly well.  I don’t know what that says about my maturity level, and I don’t really care.

We finally got our first really warm and beautiful day yesterday.  I was getting my daughter out of the van and was overcome with the warm sunshine on my skin (haven’t felt that in months!) and the birds chirping and I started to tear up at how wonderful it was.

Winter is SO long here. (I’m a Minnesotan) So when spring arrives it is glorious and wonderful.  I love Spring so much.  I love the renewal of it all.  It also makes me think of the cross and the resurrection.  The beauty and life that came out of the harsh winter that was the cross.

Winter passes and spring comes.  The ground thaws and flowers bloom.  The old makes way for the new.  Life goes on.

My hope and prayer is that we all find beauty and renewal in our lives as we experience spring and Easter time, that we would take time to marvel and get alone with our Savior.

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Puppy Love

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I haven’t blogged in a bit because I have been busy with our new puppy, Copper.  Our kids have been begging for a dog for years.  Last year we went the chintzy route and got a couple pet rats.  About the fourth time they bit one of the kids they went back to the store!  SO I finally twisted my husbands arm- er, talked him into- a real live puppy.  Not just any puppy.  A golden retriever.  Like and 90’s kid I grew up watching movies that featured talking golden retrievers and have always wanted one.

Right now he is super cute and super annoying!  He is really mouthy, which I guess is common for a hunting breed.  He is also sweet and follows me around the house.  He’s only had a few accidents and seems to be doing well so far with the training.  I can’t wait till he is grown and calm and the famously easy going, happy family dog.

So here are some purely gratuitously cute pics for your enjoyment… 🙂

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Don’t let your Song be Silenced

This past year, going through some stuff; I allowed my worship to be silenced.

I was worshipping God and was filled with joy and his Holy Spirit this week.  I realized for much of the past year I had been silenced by worry, doubt, fear, etc.  And my joy and passion for God had really waned.

If prayer and bible study are our daily bread than worship is the olive oil.  Literally- oil in the Bible signifies anointing and the Holy Spirit.

I know for me that nothing connects me to God more than heartfelt worship.  I feel him work in my heart, he reveals things to me, I find my purpose as one created to worship God.  Music_Worship

The enemy wants to silence our worship because it is so powerful.  The joy of the Lord is our strength and we never tap into that more than when we enter into worship.

When we exalt God our problems are minimized.  We get a proper perspective and are able to enter into his peace, even if our circumstances don’t change.

I want to make this year a year of purposeful worship.  I want to make my home a sanctuary.  I want my children to grow up in the presence of the Lord.  I want my heart to be ruled by his peace and his presence.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11

New Years Resolution

Through-out my faith walk, hardships have always propelled me closer to God.  But honestly, this past year, I’ve allowed current trials to come between us.  My super spiritual explanation is that God wants us to follow and trust even when we aren’t getting what we want.  Even if what we want is something noble and right.  I am praying and believing for my son to be healed from his long, tough struggle with eczema.  It hasn’t been just a minor skin irritation- but multiple staph infections, trips to the E.R., sleepless nights, etc.

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My Family

 

He still has eczema and I am still praying.  My stance is that sometimes (often) God walks with you through it.  “Everyone will be salted with fire.” Mark 9:49  Like that old saying, “For those headed to Heaven, Earth is as close as we will get to Hell.  And Earth is as close to Heaven as those headed to Hell will ever get.”  So I’ll let a bit of fire refine and ‘salt’ me now, knowing that there are great things in store.

I know though that I am incredibly, lavishly blessed and loved by God.  Walking through some stuff.  Still a bit of a spiritual hot mess.  But loved dearly as a daughter of the King.

The other morning I got up early to pray and read my bible for the first time in too long.  I felt God’s presence and favor so strong.  It was a fresh reminder that it is a privilege and joy to walk through life with Jesus Christ.  Many people spend their lives in fruitless pursuit of truth.  I know exactly where to find him and He is eager to meet with me.

So this New Year for me brings hopes of getting closer to God.  To chose trust over fear.  To allow God to work in and through me.  To see Him do great things this coming year.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

A Trip on the Short-bus

Shout out to all you who parent, love, or work with challenging kids.  Autism, O.C.D., O.D.D, A.D.D., A.S.S…(ha jk about that last one).

I have one (Michael) who is a whole lot of aspergers and a little bit of the other ones.  He is also very capable, almost a genius in fact.  He was starting to read at three and was put in a gifted program this year.

He is super smart but not the most *ahem* driven or compliant child to ever grace a classroom.

This year he has been quite a pain to his teachers- argumentative and refusing to complete work.  He was shocked to learn that he might be held back a year, and have to repeat fifth grade if he doesn’t get his act together.  “But I’m in the Quest program…”  Sometimes (all-the-times) we can’t sail through life on sheer giftings alone.  We need to be willing to work hard, to persevere, to see it through.

My son Michael also had one too many infractions on the bus and got put on the ‘short bus’.  He came home after his first day riding and was humbled.  He had to be strapped in and the other children riding had much more severe problems than him.  I think it was a bit of a wake up call.

Like Michael, we all have God-given giftings, abilities, talents, and passions.  But we also have many weaknesses, frailties, and struggles.  We have to wade through, work hard, never give up… if we want to realize our God-given potential.

Michael has the ability to be well-behaved and do great at school.  If he will or not is ultimately up to him.  Just like any of us.

So take this as an admonishment to do your best with what you have.  We all have cards stacked against us.  We might have to yell at some mountains in faith.  We might have to be stronger than we ever thought possible.  K2-Eight-thousander-List_of_countries_by_highest_point-List_of_highest_mountains

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20