Deb’s Journey…

February 23, 2010

Jason Gray honoring Ian…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 11:08 am

Jason Gray wrote a very “Ian honoring” post on his blog this morning and I wanted to share it with you…

This past weekend I found myself face to navel with one of my favorite musicians -Jason Gray. (Truth be told, I was an absolute klutz and literally stepped on his toes trying to hug him when he first arrived at our house.) He’s a giant of a man physically (6’6”), but also in his spirit. He’s so talented as a singer/songwriter, authentic & transparent, gentle, kind and wonderfully gracious. The Lord Jesus has taken up residence in his heart and being with Jason is a little taste of what heaven is gonna be like. Jesus is obviously his refuge & fortress, so he doesn’t seem to find a need to build his own walls …he draws us in and makes us feel accepted and safe…even when we step on his toes.   :)   He makes me want to be a better person, shows me what is possible if I can let go of my masks & fears…he’s genuine…the world needs more genuine people like him …I pray to emulate that.  We were introduced to Jason’s music last summer and God has used it to minister to our grieving, broken hearts, to speak truth in a gentle way that is bringing hope & healing.

We connected with Jason last fall to do a house concert for us. Our hope was that we could commemorate Ian’s baptism anniversary last November, but that didn’t work for Jason’s busy schedule so he asked if February would work for us…we were stunned and not sure we could emotionally handle doing a February event, but we prayed and asked if the 19th would fit with his schedule…when it did, we knew that the Lord Himself had given us a way to survive the last of our “stinkin’ firsts” in a year of grief. We were so blessed and honored to have Jason come to our home! We put the word out and were amazed that 74 responded “yes” to our invitation…the night was magical and I still haven’t absorbed it…it still feels “huge” and surreal to me in an overwhelming, beautiful way…thanks to everyone who had a hand in it and for all those friends who were servants that night!  And a VERY SPECIAL THANKS to God’s vessel- Jason Gray who I’m delighted I’ll spend eternity with.  :)

If you haven’t yet had the joy of experiencing Jason’s music, I encourage you to check out his website
Here are just a few of my personal favorite lyrics from his songs…though I encourage you to buy all his music and enjoy it for yourself!

“Blessed be… the ones who know that they are weak they shall see the Kingdom come to the broken ones…blessed be. Thirsty…like you’re drinking from a salt sea but one day you’ll be satisfied. Hungry…for the taste of mercy aching just to have your fill one day you will…” – “Blessed Be” from All the Lovely Losers & Acoustic Storytime

“I was afraid to be weak, afraid to be me I was afraid because I didn’t want them to see what’s broken in me. But I guess I was wrong I should have known all along…when I’m weak You are strong in me. You make up what I lack, You shine through the cracks where I was shattered because You pour out Your grace through my broken places. So I won’t be afraid to cry, confess or question why, I won’t hide the pain I feel now I know these wounds are how You heal…” –
“Weak” from All the Lovely Losers & Acoustic Storytime

“Oooh, all I see are the ruins as the smoke starts to clear…I hope You know what You’re doin’ ‘cause You brought me here…And if it’s hard to raise the white flag it’s even harder to believe that surrendering is worth the sacrifice as the very thing I always feared would be the death of me was a way to come alive. Now it hurts to be this broken but it’s bearable somehow as the chance to prove I’m worthy disappears. I’ve always heard You loved me, but I think I know it now…is that the reason why You brought me here?…”-
“The reasons why You brought me here” from Acoustic Storytime

“Careful not to go too fast you may spin out of control…even when you’ve done it right there’s still no guarantee that you won’t fall…if I could, I’d break your every fall but if you never fell you’d never learn to get back up again, my child- you must learn to get back up again, and again, and again” –
“Learning to ride a bike” from Hoping

“What would I give for my children’s strength on the day that they stand alone? I mean what would I give for their strength to stand firm? I’d give everything that I own. I’ve wasted my life in accomplishing things, ignoring the Giver of wings. So Lord teach them to fly to the foot of Your throne I’ll give everything that I own…” –
“Everything I own” from All the Lovely Losers & Acoustic Storytime

“You don’t have to give me an answer, an answer’s the last thing I need. There’s no magical cure for this cancer I just need you to listen to me…this dark room is perfect for hiding but I don’t want to hide anymore…you can’t force the light here inside it, but you can help me open the door…you’re the one holding the key…the key to the truth of what’s really going on, your listening ear is the grace of God, love will take the shackles off…” –
“Holding the Key” from Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

“When we step aside from the center of our lives and learn to love mercy more than being right. Pursuing peace and honesty starting down the road of selflessness and seeing where it leads…All I know is there’s a better way to live…it’s not the love you have but the love you have to give…” – “
Better way to Live” from Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

“When you’re tired of holding on to hope, but scared to death of letting go when there’s no burden like the truth and faith hurts like an open wound…take it to the healing hands, take it to the One who builds the mountains take it to the One who stirs the ocean tides, take it to my Father’s heart that’s broken by the burden that I carry…He will take me by the hand and lead me to the other side…” - “
When the stars fall from the sky” from Everything Sad is Coming Untrue “special edition”

“Another nail in another coffin, arms that held you return to dust. Yet in our grief we know that death must be a liar for no goodbye is ever good enough. How could it be that everything sad is coming untrue? The winter can make us wonder if spring was ever true, but every winter breaks upon the Easter lily’s bloom…oh I believe that everything sad is coming untrue in the hands of the One who makes all things new…” – “
Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2)” from Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

February 18, 2010

Mission (im)POSSIBLE

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:30 am

I’ve been thinking of Ian. A year ago today was our last day with him on this earth…

I remember that morning, my soul had wrestled through the night with God and hadn’t really rested, I got up early - Tom & mom said go back to bed for while …God was asking the “impossible” of me and had been asking it for months! “Your assignment, should you choose to accept it…” I knew my assignment “Walk Ian Home” but the time was drawing near and I knew it…I wasn’t sure I could stand it…I had begged the Lord for Ian “no pain - no fear for him please Lord!” God graciously agreed and was faithful to my pleading. For Ian there was no fear and no pain…but for me, for Tom, for my mom who was with us…well, that was another story…there is agonizing pain, trembling exertion and great sacrifice in completing an assignment…Jesus knows this all too well. He assured me again that I could trust Him with my most precious treasure…I again surrendered my son to my Lord and fell asleep for a couple of hours…

I awoke and came downstairs to find mom & Tom in a panic…Ian had choked on his breakfast and particles of food had caught in his windpipe. One of our great fears was a lung infection, so we knew this wasn’t a good sign. We called the hospice nurse.  She showed us how to help better clear his airway… She tried to assure us that even though there was a slight rattle to his breathing, he was doing well…we weren’t convinced…

We were in our most desperate hours and our Great Physician was our only hope. The night before Ian had cried out to Jesus and from that time on, his spirit was peaceful…he talked with us some…he was restful that day which helped us remain calmer also. We sat with him talked with him and kept him comfortable. When night fell we prayed with him, hugged and kissed him goodnight and told him we loved him…we could understand his words of “I love you too”… Ian went to sleep peacefully.

After Ian was asleep, Pastor Scott came and prayed with us. Together we all sat in the family room and committed Ian to the Lord, we surrendered him to the One who loves him best and who could make him whole and well. When our bedtime came around, Tom took the night shift…he had checked on Ian just before midnight and noticed some labored breathing, so he helped him get more comfortable and returned to his own bed. A few minutes later he checked again and Ian was very peaceful but no longer drawing breath in this world…

Pastor Scott returned to spend the darkest parts of the night with us…we were so grateful for his gentle presence…I remember he said “this is hard” and I said “this is impossible”…

This was mission impossible…refusing it was not an option…the only choice was to accept it as the will of God for all of us.  To trust that if there had been a better way to accomplish His ultimate purposes He would have chosen that and what He called us to, He would go with us,  give all we needed to get through it…somehow making it possible, not because we could somehow whiteknuckle our way through it- there was no human way we could, so we had to surrender and let Him do it…

I’ve never been more desperate in my life, more helpless, more inadequate, more needy, more afraid, more anguished…yet I’ve honestly never felt His Presence more …never felt more strength, more provision, more protection, more peace…yes, more joy.  Never more fully glimpsed eternity…

When the dawn arrived, mom and I stood looking out the back windows into the woods behind our home. We marveled as a bald eagle flew over the house…I had never seen one fly over before and I’ve never seen one since…It reminded us of one of the brave little mouse movies Ian spent so much time watching “The Rescuers Down Under”…it reminded us of this clip…

“You have seen for yourselves … you saw how I carried you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Myself.”- Exodus 19: 4

God is so amazingly gracious to allow faith to be made sight…how good and loving He is…He knows all too well the anguish of a parent being apart from a beloved child…He knows very intimately our suffering because He experienced it first…His sacrifice makes ours not only bearable, but possible.

February 2, 2010

Getting back on the “Hope Train”…

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:06 am

Grief has washed fresh over me so often over the past couple of weeks…walking through these dates again this year brings back last year’s “dark, cold winter” and a flood of memories…perspective & focus shifters have been essential…

Pastor Scott has been talking through a series on the promises of God.  On Sunday he preached on God’s Deliverance.

“No temptation/trial  has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted/tried beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted/tried,  He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13

I have definitely experienced the biggest trial of my life (or at least I hope there will never be a bigger one) and more and more we hear stories of other families who have or are walking this path-it is unfortunately all too common…with this trial has come temptation to despair, to give up, to whine, to worship at the alters of other gods - like food… and I confess there are many times when I give into that…but even in my faithlessness, God has faithfully provided “ways of escape” to help me stand up under this…I try to keep watch for those “exit ramps” and do my best to take them when I see them… this morning He brought me this word…a fresh dose of hope…”oxygen” to the soul!…

Get on the Hope Train - by James MacDonald

The Weekly Walk

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” - Romans 5:2-5

As followers of Jesus, we need to keep thinking and talking about hope. But hope in itself doesn’t mean much without an object. Hope must have a target. It’s not typical to hope in Jesus Christ. It is typical to hope in my finances, my family, my career, or my marriage. I can hope in a leader or cause. We put our hope in many things other than in Christ. But we learn that none of those things are worthy of our ultimate hope. None of them! The only reliable place to rest our hearts is in Jesus Christ. But that hope is not intuitive - or normal. Hoping may be a habit, but we have to learn to hope in Christ.

The word hope means “a confident expectation of something better.” Hope in Christ realizes, “Hey! My best days are ahead of me. Life isn’t all in the rearview mirror for me now. In Christ I’ve got some things I’m looking forward to - not just in this life, but in the life to come.” That kind of self-talk stirs up hope within us.

It’s important to recognize the battle that we’re facing and practice the hope that we find in our King. Learning implies a training process. It’s trial and error. You’re like, “Yeah, I kind of got off the Hope Train this week.” Get back on! That’s why we come to church. Hope training is why we hang out with other Christians. I don’t know what you are feeling today, but if you kind of got off the Hope Train, climb back on!

Now that means we intentionally exchange doubt for hope. Instead of discouragement and despair, we choose hope. I think we need to look to other people who are good models of hope. I am aware of a woman in our church who I have watched over the last couple of years. I have prayed earnestly from a distance as she has gone through an awful circumstance in her family - with no end in sight. Yet she has strengthened many people with her stalwart faith and unyielding joy in the Lord. The examples of other believers’ lives are all around us. These people may not be perfect, but they challenge us to do better. And you can’t know how much staying on the Hope Train will encourage others.

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