Deb’s Journey…

September 28, 2009

The beauty of nature is healing…

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Tom wrote on his blog and on the bridge about our watching the Disney movie “Earth” the other night.

The grandeur of the cinematography is beyond the scope of anything I’ve ever seen.  Giving such amazing views of herds of caribou running as seen from hundreds of feet above them so you can get the “God’s eye-view” to see all of them - hundreds and the landscape they run through.  They flew over angel falls and gave magnificent views from the top looking straight down - unbelievable.   They filmed areas on all 7 continents - some of which had never been filmed before.   They used state of the art cameras that can show 1000 views per second and with that they captured a cheetah in all it’s muscular strength catching his prey and also a great white shark leaping out of the water and on the way swallowing a seal whole.  The entire movie was a feast for the eyes.  It was also emotionally moving…we watched as 8 week old polar bear cubs emerge for the first time and slide down the snowy hill and watched ducklings make their first “flight” - it was actually more like “falling with style”…absolutely precious.

There is something very healing about the beauty of the earth.  The bible says the whole earth is full of His glory - this film depicts that well - though the makers sought to promote the creation…we were awed with wonder at the sheer evidence of the CREATOR and reminded that this glimpse of earth even in all it’s splendor is truly just a taste of the glory of another place…a place our dear son is enjoying already.

Somehow that thought has given such peace and brought a healing balm to my aching heart.  What a difference a week makes…going to the cemetery really hit me hard last weekend,  how good it is to lift our eyes and our hearts back where they belong. Thank God!

Sometimes my focus is off and I walk for hours, sometimes days in a dark valley.  Our pastor talked about those dark emotions and how they are truly rooted in anxiety.  Yes, I confess that is true of me, far too often.  Yet, even though I visit those dark places - it is my desire and prayer to visit them less often and to God help me -  never “live” there.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

September 24, 2009

Oh you can’t get to heaven in a Kleenex box…

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“Oh you can’t get to heaven in a Kleenex box…cause God don’t want no little snots…all my sins are washed away I’ve been redeemed!”

You know what?  Some days I’m just a little snot!  It feels almost impossible to keep proper focus and attitude - especially when I’m not actually “trying”!

I indulged today in an all out pity-party complete with the full victimization mentality, lots of melodrama & tears…the whole nine yards.  I’m not completely over it even yet…not even overly sorry for it,  only I have to prepare for my bible study -  I like to think I’m “conscientious”, but I’m really just fussy and entirely too concerned with what others will think about me if I’m unprepared…

Tom & I are co-leading a small group every other Friday night and we’re going through Chip Ingram’s study called “God as He longs for you to see Him” - it talks about the attributes of God.  Last time we talked about God’s goodness…and tomorrow night we’re supposed to talk about God’s sovereignty.

Given the events of the past 18 months…even just the events of the past week…I wrestle with what I believe is true about my God.  One of the things this study does is force me to take a look at what I really believe about God…not just in my head - not just facts & figures, but in my heart.  Frankly what I really believe is so often not true about God at all.

I feel like I should be grasping these concepts with full clarity instead of wrestling and grappling with them.  Chip says he’s been working on straightening these things out in his own heart for almost 30 years, so I guess I shouldn’t feel so bad that I don’t have it yet…

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!” - I Corinthians 13:12 (The Message)

I’m still waiting for the weather to clear and the sun to shine bright -  God forgive me for whining & grumbling in the fog & mist while I wait and help me to see You as HUGE…so that my problems look smaller.

September 21, 2009

Someday…

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We were in Iowa over the weekend…it was fraught with a myriad of emotions…

On Saturday we went to see the Church of Christ in small town Bagley where Tom & I were  married over 14 years ago (my parents were also married there over 44 years ago).  We went to take pictures in front of the stained glass windows and the beautiful old woodwork, we went to relive memories.  I wanted to be again in the room where I put on my wedding gown and walk again the steps I last walked as a maiden on my dad’s arm, to stand where we took our vows and shared our first kiss as husband and wife…one last time…the church building has closed now, the congregation dissolved and everything was being sold at auction.  The building will be bulldozed to the ground in a couple of weeks.

Then went to the cemetery to weep helpless tears at our only child’s grave.  We followed our trip to the cemetery by a trip to the Dairy Queen to drown our sorrows…while on the way I said to Tom, “We should really take our heartache to God instead of DQ” he just smiled, squeezed my hand and said, “Well, sometimes our God provides ice cream!”  :)

On Sunday,  we had a “Royal tea party”- which was the primary reason for our trip…to celebrate Grandma Mary’s 90th birthday and my niece Grace’s 6th birthday.  I  got grandma a fragrant bouquet of roses in two shades of pink with baby’s breath and chose for  Gracie a renaissance looking royal-purple dress complete with tiara and matching earrings.  Mom made a cake - chocolate on the bottom, pink in the middle and white with confetti on the top all decorated in pink icing with purple accents - served with neapolitan ice cream.  We played “Pretty, Pretty Princess” taking turns trying to be the first to claim the crown and we drank apple cider (tea) from grandma’s gold- ware china…

Part-way through the lovely festivities I had to use the “necessary” room.  Upon  finishing, I pressed the lever…nothing happened…as I began to “fix the problem”… I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror…princess hat -complete with ribbons streaming down my back sitting slightly askew atop my head, pearl necklace & earrings I received from my dear husband several years ago for Christmas, my gold “princess” bracelet I received last year for my birthday, new pink blouse complete with gold buttons purchased for the occasion, hair in perfect place, my wedding ring sparkling, fingernails painted…and…holding a plunger…

I began to giggle and then to laugh hysterically until the tears streamed.  My “perfect” make-up began to run and suddenly I began to see more clearly …  the whole weekend was an amazing picture of life in this fallen world…a mixture of my heart’s deep longings for beauty & love vs. this world’s ugly harshness… No matter how hard I try, right now I’m still a pre-ball Cinderella - a “Princess with a plunger”…

I consoled myself with the knowledge that someday things will be different…then I straightened my hat, washed my hands, freshened my face and returned to the party…

“…in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed…When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” - I Corinthians 15:52-54

while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” - Titus 2:13

“Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,  and His bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” - Revelation 19:6-8

“Some day my prince will come Some day we’ll meet again…

And away to His castle we’ll go To be happy forever I know…

Some day when spring is here we’ll find our love anew

And the birds will sing and wedding bells will ring

Some day when my dreams come true”

- Snow White

September 16, 2009

Following rabbit trails…

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I took this excerpt from a post written by Jason Gray that I read in “The Rabbit Room”… I’m prone to following rabbit trails…

“James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other that we might be healed, and it seems unfortunate that it’s often in the church among other believers that we learn how to perfect hiding our sins from each other.  And when we hide our sin and brokenness from each other, everybody loses – we lose because the more we hide our sin the more power it has over us; and those around us lose, too, when we insist on parading the mockery of our own self-righteousness instead of displaying the work of God’s grace in our lives, allowing others to see what grace looks like in a real person’s life with real issues.

I wish that my sin could be a private project that just me and God work on, but he hasn’t designed our sanctification to work that way.  He insists that we bring others in on the conversation.

Dietrich Bonheoffer has said:
“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation… In confession the light of the Gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart…. Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of a Christian brother, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders… and he finds the forgiveness of all his sin in the fellowship of Jesus Christ and his brother… Now he stands in the fellowship of sinners who live by the grace of God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

So we have to let people in and learn to live confessionally, in community with others.”

Ah community…with all it’s advantages, why is it many times fearful for us to enter?  I want God to  just snap His fingers and heal me…I want it to happen in the still quiet of my room, just between God & me.   My heart so resonates with what Jason writes here…the desire for privacy in the depths of my heart and yet the battle must be waged with the help of others in order to truly win…isolation is the tool of the enemy who seeks to drag me off in solitude so he can destroy me.  Too often I fall into his hands without a fight and find myself held captive - again.

Christ said  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - John 10:10

Life to the full?  YES,  LORD - PLEASE!  I believe Ian has this “life to the full“…yet is it possible to have it here on this earth?

Possible… but not while I’m held captive…I must be free.  To be free…I must join the side that’s already won and then never give up.  I must learn to fight and yet oddly in the Kingdom fighting often comes in the form of surrender… the secret it seems is knowing who to surrender to and so uncovering the truth is essential.

I can only see part of the picture, therefore I must walk in community alongside others who fight with me…not fight with me…fight with me.  Funny how that is the very thing that holds me back…fear that their fight will not be with me but instead will be with me?  On one hand there’s trust of the perfect Lord and on the other hand there’s trust of His imperfect, broken, wounded people…yet as I look in the mirror I see that they look just like me…yet my heart cries for “Safe People”…the question is, how do I find one & better yet, how do I become one?

It reminds me of this song… by Watermark called “More than You’ll Ever Know”…

“Something brought you to my mind today I thought about the funny ways you make me laugh and yet I feel like it’s ok to cry with you
Something about just being with you when I leave I feel like I’ve been with God and that’s the way it ought to be
You had faith when I had none You prayed God would bring me a brand new song when I didn’t think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I’ve been hoping that I’ll do the kind of praying for you that you’ve done for me and that’s the way it outght to be
You have carried me You have taken on a burden that wasn’t your own, may that blessing return to you a hundredfold
Cause you’ve been more than a friend to me you fight off my enemies cause you have spoken the truth over my life
And you’ll never know what it means to me just to know you’ve been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life more than you’ll ever know”

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. - Matthew 10:34  Why did Jesus come bringing a sword?

Because His coming was an invasion behind enemy lines…this is a world is at war and Jesus was sent into it on assignment…

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”- Isaiah 61:1-3

Jesus did battle, He was fiercely opposed and struck down, but He powerfully completed His assignment and won the Victory.

(Ian loved Star Wars, but he came by it naturally because Tom & I both were original Star Wars junkies…)

Obi-Wan: “You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

Jesus put His sword up and allowed Himself to be struck down so that He could conquer the worst thing the enemy could throw at Him - by surrendering,  He won the victory conquering even death itself!

“I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” - John 14:6

Death is ultimately defeated - Jesus has come to the Father  -He is the way…He is the truth that sets me free…He is life to the full

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty - Zechariah 4:6

This world is still a world at war…I am in enemy territory and have found myself wounded in the crossfire and under heavy attack… I sense that I too am under “assignment” though my orders are unclear at the moment.   I need the courage to get up on my feet and stand my ground…and I need prayer warriors willing to fight with me on our knees with open hands…

If you’re praying, would you encourage me with a quick note?  I can’t tell you how much it means!

September 8, 2009

Help Me, Thank You

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As the day goes on I find myself listening to music and yes, that does indeed mean yet another mention of  Mr. Jason Gray…

My day started in the depths with the “help me” plea… God is the faithful, amazing lifter of my head… “Thank You!”

“Help Me, Thank You” - by Jason Gray & Randall Goodgame

“The two best prayers I know either one is always apropos like my oldest friends they know just what to say

Some days my cup of blessing fills other days I trip and when it spills I’m not guessing either way I know just what to pray

Help me, help me

Thank You, Thank You

Whether I’m riding high or feeling low these are the two best prayers I know “Help me” and “Thank You”

The more life I live I find the two prayers intertwine like my fingers do when I bow my head to pray.

Blessings can be so confusing winning when I think I’m losing - the wounds of yesterday, might be my saving grace today.

With eyes wide open to the wonder of it all or with broken wings while I’m spinning in free fall

“Hallelujah!” “Deliver Me!”  rising up inside of me  - rolling off my tongue before I thought to bid them come.”

Pruning…

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Thoughts whirl and since I cannot seem to “process” them without either talking or writing and though I’ve talked my poor husband’s ear off all weekend (4 grand days ) he’s now back to work  and I can’t settle some of this…so I’ve decided to write…

It is my natural tendency to “analyze things to death”.   I’m processing all of this in light of the past 18 months or so and trying to make sense of things that in ordinary ways frankly don’t make much sense…Yes for good measure the Lord has also been talking with me about “lean not on your own understanding”…yet I can’t seem to yield fully to that and I keep begging Him to “help me understand”…so puzzle pieces that are given must be examined closely to see glimpses of the bigger picture that I truly do know I must just trust Him for…and yet...“the intensity that is Debra Henderson” seems unable to rest until I have a clearer picture…

18 months ago …April 2008…

I had a happy & healthy kindergartner for all I knew.  I was working two “school” days a week for one church and two “school” days a week for their daughter church both of which had their offices in the building where Ian attended school.  We attended Sundays at a third church.  I was  leading a woman’s small group, involved in a couple’s small group, serving on a ministry team and leading another ministry team.  Life was VERY busy…but productive.

I was praying about being too busy as I looked ahead to summer at home with Ian…God had asked me to lay down pieces…so I began to lay stuff down…on Ian’s last day of school my plate was clean and I was ready to step into the summer with him…but the very next day he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

How great though that God had put me in 3 different church settings at a time when we needed the greatest amount of prayer cover of our lives.  He goes ahead of us doesn’t He?  Well, if you’ve read the caring bridge during these months, you already know the journey it doesn’t need to be fully rehashed … (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ianhenderson)

Today would have been Ian’s first day of second grade…I’m deeply wrestling…

Pieces come from different sources and yet speak a theme…

A couple of weeks ago Tom & I went to hear a speaker…Rob Bell.  He spoke about many aspects of suffering and brokenness.  One illustration he gave was he had recently hosted a dinner party and invited people skilled in sculpting.  After dinner he handed them each a bar of soap and watched as they carved wonderful creations.  He pointed out that the skill was having eyes to see the shape of the creation within and  knowing what pieces to remove in order to allow the desired shape of the creation to be presented.

Jesus says in John 15…”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful…”

I encountered a dear lady the other evening in a coffee shop who shared with me that she’d recently been to California and visited the vineyards.  She said when they prune the branches, they cut them to “within an inch of their lives”.

On my favorite of Jason Gray’s albums he tells a story also about the vineyards and points out that the pruning happens just following the bearing of the “first fruit” - he echos my own thoughts when he says…”I thought the fruit was safe”…he also wrote this song about this process in our lives with the Gardener…

The Cut~by Jason Gray
“My heart is laid under Your blade as You carve out Your image in me. You cut to the core but still You want more as You carefully, tenderly ravage me.

Mingling here Your blood and my tears as You whittle my kingdom away but I see that You suffer too in making me new for the blade of love cuts both ways.

Hidden inside the grain, beneath the pride and the pain is the shape of the man You meant me to be who with every cut now You try to set free…come now set me free…with every day You strip more away…

As You peel back the bark and tear me apart to get to the heart of what matters the most I’m cold and I’m scared as Your love lays me bare but in the shaping of my soul…the blade must take it’s toll, so God give me strength to know that the cut makes me whole.”

My “first fruit” …  my tender, sweet son has been removed and I’ve been laid bare and cut to within an inch of my life…

Will I ever reach a place where I can say with full honesty that the cut has made me whole?  God give me strength…



September 2, 2009

More ramblings…

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LOVED the Jason Gray concert last night by the way…date night for Tom & I…really nice! Gentle acoustic music, great stage ambiance – lots of candles – very old “Over the Rhine” feeling…sweet! Got to meet Jason…had the chance to thank him for his ministry to our grieving hearts – he’s very gracious to go along with his amazing talent what a great combination! Check out his new website…the eyes are movable…Jason Gray’s Website

They are offering a free listen (with his full permission) to his entire new cd at this link… Listen to Jason’s New CD by clicking here

So, today again in the solitude & silence I’m processing …still frankly aching, restless, pouting, discontent and still seeking to know the “next step” in my journey…feeling fairly “empty nester meets new retiree”…

Very much like Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility…

Colonel Brandon: “What can I do?”
Elinor Dashwood: “Colonel Brandon, you have done so much already…”
Colonel Brandon: “Give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad!”

Sometimes when I don’t know where else to start I feel the need to start at the beginning…”In the beginning God” …it all starts with Him and He is the ultimate destination of the journey so it stands to reason that in my seeking I must go to Him.

To my way of thinking things that bring me closer to God (pathways to God) will also bring healing to my soul therefore I must learn to walk in them.

So what are the Pathways to God?

According to John Ortberg & Ruth Haley Barton in “An Ordinary Day with Jesus” they are as follows…

Relationships – connecting with God while connecting with others
Intellectual – connecting with God while learning/ reading/ writing
Worship – connecting with God while worshiping Him or listening to worship music
Activism – connecting with God while taking action to promote justice and compassion
Contemplative – connecting with God in silence and solitude
Serving – connecting with God while completing routine Kingdom tasks
Creation – connecting with God while enjoying nature

I have walked in all of these paths and found each of them helpful and healing in their own way…each has a beauty all its own.

Lately most of my time has been spent in silence and solitude…because of that I yearn for the path of relationships.  Though I’ve trusted the deep places of my  heart with the Lord,  I have also longed for the solace of true loving human friendship, but have retreated from it.

So what holds me back?

It is arguable that I have in many ways isolated myself out of fear…fear that rather than the understanding, comfort, security, protection & healing I find with my Lord,  if I actually engage with humans  it might feel more like judgment, rejection, shame, or  harshness.

So in my heart “longing” and “fear” do a war dance each struggling to lead.

I would however also contend that it is not I alone who struggles with fear…

A dear friend bravely shared with me recently that others find me a “very scary person” right now…I’ve wrestled through this truth…what an interesting thought. I don’t reach out to others because of fear…they don’t reach out to me because of fear…

So I brought this mess to the Lord today and walked away with this…

Fear is not from God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”– 1 John 4: 7

Ian’s life values were Courage & Kindness…he bravely faced his pathway and he walked gently caring about his fellow travelers…

Tom told Ian when he gave him those values that “Courage is not the absence of fear…it is the absence of self.”

So my question becomes…do I honor Ian and live out his values or do I live instead out of fear and selfishness?

The war dance continues…the battle ground is as always the heart…

September 1, 2009

Going deeper into the darkness and light…

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“To be mad is to feel with excruciating intensity the sadness and joy of a time which has not arrived or has already been. And to protect their delicate vision of that other time, madmen will justify their condition with touching loyalty, and surround it with a thousand distractive schemes. These schemes, in turn, drive them deeper and deeper into the darkness and light (which is their mortification and their reward) and confront them with a choice. They may either slacken and fall back, accepting the relief of a rational view and the approval of others, or they may push on, and, by falling, arise. When and if by their unforgivable stubbornness they finally burst through to worlds upon worlds of motionless light, they are no longer called afflicted or insane. They are called saints.”~ Mark Helprin A Winter’s Tale

Found this quote this morning on Jason Gray’s new website…http://www.jasongraymusic.com/home

It spoke to me - as many things he offers speak and challenge me.

This guy has so touched my heart in the midst of my grief…I’m really thankful for his humor, his compassion and his obvious joy in the Lord.

Tom & I will be taking in his free concert tonight in Excelsior… come on out and join us!

______________________________

Free Jason Gray Concert, Tuesday, September 1, 7:00-8:30pm,

Westwood Community Church
3121 Westwood Drive
Excelsior, MN 55331
952.224.7300


Westwood is located  just north of the intersection of Highways 5 and 41 in Chanhassen. From Highway 41 go west on either Tanadoona Drive or West 78th Street to enter the Westwood campus.

More info on location here…http://www.westwoodcc.org/default.aspx

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