Deb’s Journey…

March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:35 am

I used to think it was awful that they called this “Good” Friday- remembering the horrible suffering of Jesus.   Nothing about it seemed good to me, it was graphic and bloody and painful - all the worst of humanity…all the worst of hell itself, evil, awful…everything opposite of good.   The pain Jesus suffered is unfathomable to me.  My mind cannot comprehend the betrayal, the physical agony, the loneliness…

His mother somehow managed to watch as her precious son was treated with such hatred and brutality. They thrust a spear into his side and it pierced her heart. Even in His agony His eyes fell on his mother.  Even in His need, He met her need…tucking her safely under the arm of His best friend John whose name means “God is Gracious”…such tenderness, such amazing LOVE.   His Father shut the lights out so others couldn’t gawk at His Beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.  Such utter darkness.

Dark Fridays give way to long, uncertain Saturdays.  Saturday is often overlooked, eclipsed by the days surrounding it.  Yet  I believe Saturday shook the disciples to the core and tested their faith even more than Friday did…even in such a state, Jesus was still with them on Friday.  His presence gave them hope.  Saturday they were alone with their grief.  Saturday was the Sabbath and even in their aloneness they were commanded to rest, to make the time holy, set apart to God.  Rest isn’t easy when your hope is gone.  Shock, grief, confusion, anger, fear… How did the disciples feel about God that day?  What did they pray?

“Sometimes we are waiting in the sorrow we have tasted…but joy will replace it”

Just as spring follows winter, Bright Sundays follow Dark Fridays and Uncertain Saturdays…life will bloom again in the hands of our Redeemer…

Our Saturday has lasted over 4 years yet we are sensing that spring is coming again for us.  A season of new beginnings, of growth and hopefully new life.

In the Kingdom, true Life and beauty follow death.  Without death, there cannot be life.  So as dark and full of death as some Fridays are, ultimately they bring life and beauty because of what happened on that GOOD Friday long ago.

Our friend and mentor Jason Gray along with another friend Doug McKelvey have written this beautiful song.  It is the very message of Easter…and it sings in our hearts truth and grace that “in the hands of our Redeemer, Nothing is Wasted”

To view the new video click here:

“From the ruins, from the ashes, beauty will rise.  From the wreckage, from the darkness, glory will shine”

March 25, 2013

Ready or not, here I come…

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:36 am

Being an external processor, I actually need to write or talk in order to process through things.  Writing is in many ways the tool I use to honestly face what’s going on deep inside me.  Without that outlet, my spirit remains unsettled and anxious.  Writing forces me to tell myself the truth and helps me search out solutions or next steps.

I’ve been reading lately about self-compassion, safe people and being authentic.

Being honest with anyone, including God and even myself asks me to believe that I will be met with kindness and compassion rather than judgment or criticism.

A wise mentor has encouraged me to “Feel what you feel without judging it”.

Scripture says it’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks…I guess that’s also true for what the hand writes.

I mostly stopped writing about eighteen months after Ian died.  At about the 18 month mark, I hit a wall.  The anesthesia of numbness had worn off and the hurt was so deep and powerful.  I was in a very, very painful and dark season and walked through a deep depression.

Some people near me had been as patient as they could manage and began telling me all the things I should be doing.  All of their well-meaning yet unsolicited advice felt like a steady stream of criticism and judgment.  It was clear I wasn’t living up to their expectations and that made me wrong in their eyes.  All that really meant was they were unsafe people for me.  They either weren’t able or weren’t willing to hear the truth of what was really going on and walk with me in love.  Their impatient need to “fix it” was not only unrealistic & unhelpful; it was in fact damaging and made my healing even more challenging.  They made me afraid of others and I withdrew and isolated myself from nearly everyone.

During that time I met a handful of truly gracious people.   They were familiar with pain and sorrow.  They were patient, generous, humble, courteous and consistent.  They showed restraint and weren’t wise in their own eyes, but instead were kind and encouraging.   They assured me that I wasn’t alone but rather that pain and brokenness were all too common.  They encouraged me that it is the commonality of pain which makes us human.  They renewed my faith and hope which made me want to go on living.

When I think of these people I weep.  I weep in gratitude and I beg God to bless them.  They barely knew me and yet they accepted me and treated me with kindness.  I can never re-pay them or thank them enough.  Some things you can’t “pay back”…some things you just need to humbly, gratefully receive and then attempt to pay forward.

I’ve hidden away for far too long.  I’ve been afraid of what others thought, of what they might say or do, of how that might hurt, of what my response would be.  I’m so tired of hiding.  I so long for spring…I want to bloom again.

March 20, 2013

Light for next steps…

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:39 am

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning.  I keep on swallowing.

At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting.

Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me . . .

An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m afraid of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet. At work, at the club, in the street, I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ’say something about it’ or not. I hate it if they do, and if they don’t . . .

And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness . . .” ~  C. S. Lewis, from A Grief Observed

Replace “smoke” with “eat” and this has been me for the past four years.

I’ve been reactive instead of responsive to nearly everyone as I haven’t had the energy to absorb things and respond as I would like.  I’ve had time…all the time in the world it seems…but desire, clarity and energy haven’t been mine.  Survival mode does that to a person.  I long not just to survive, but to truly live…I’ve been breathing out and breathing in but the question remains have I ever truly lived?

It’s been a season of waiting, resting and healing.  A season of standing still.  Having just enough light for the step that I’m on hasn’t overly encouraged me.  Most of the time it has just frustrated me.  I kept hoping for light for the next step.

I confess that in a desire to stop just standing still I’ve spent some time walking, falling, and crawling in the darkness.  Darkness plays terrible tricks on a person.  It fills the mind with lies and fills the heart with despair - it’s exhausting to the point of collapse.

“After awhile in the dark, your eyes will adjust.  In the shadows you’ll find a Hand you can trust and a still small voice that calls like the rising sun, “Come. Bring your heart to everyday and run the risk of fearlessly loving without running away.  You must run the risk of fearlessly loving without running away” ~ Jason Gray, from Without Running Away

“God in His wisdom will bring about the best possible ends by the best possible means for the most possible people for the longest possible time.” - Charles Ryrie

One thing about spending time in the dark is you begin to recognize others who live there.  I want to help them, but am afraid of a tug of war and that instead of guiding them into the light they will pull me back into the darkness. Still, I want to try…

On Sunday I completed a twenty week training course for Stephen Ministry which is defined as “Christ caring for people through people.”  Soon I may be assigned a care receiver, someone who is walking through a valley and has asked for a faithful companion to walk with them.  Lord help!

Tom and I have also signed on to go to Honduras in October for a short term mission trip to help put a well in a village.  A child dies every 20 seconds from water related illnesses.  A well in a community can cut the child death rate in half.  Lord help!

There is light for next steps…God, please give me the strength and courage to step out…

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