I love to release a balloon into the air. It is just therapeutic for me. I like to watch it be released and float away free. I enjoy staying and watching till it disappears out of sight.
I was given several balloons on my birthday by a good friend and I took them to my retreat with me. They nicely decorated the room, but I also had another plan. Some of them needed to be released.
On the first day of my retreat, I took a solitary balloon. In my mind, I attached a label: My Will.
I released it into the wild wind. It whirled around chaotically and rose into the sky. I watched it for a long time. Thinking about how I was going to attempt to practice the same surrender to God.
On my last day of my retreat, I took three balloon that were tied together and released them as well. These ones symbolized my three children. They sailed up and away differently for the three were tied together, like I hope my sons will always be in life.
It has been over a month since then and, my oh my! What a month!
I returned from my retreat ill. It took me lots of sleep and several days to recuperate. Then a financial issue occurred. After that craziness, home owner issues. Throw in one son starting driver's ed, another one in softball, and cousins visiting. Sometimes the days felt like a whirlwind and the nights were much too short. More recent, I was in the ER waiting room for my brother. Then just two days later, I brought in my own son with a broken arm. A teenager I have mentored for the past five years, will soon be moving two states away. And another one looks like she'll be moving out of town also. None of this was my will.
In all of this I can see, though, God's will being so wise and needed. I didn't enjoy being sick, but the Lord showed me somethings while I was "made to lie down". I didn't like my brother being in the ER, but it has been brought us closer. And though watching my son have his arm manipulated back in place was difficult, surgery was avoided. And his skateboard crash could have been so much worse. In all this, the Lord surrounded me with support and needed prayers from friends and family.
Some days were so hard to look up to God and say, "Ok, not my will, but Thy will." Instead I would say, "This is hard, this hurts, this is miserable, this is so against everything within me." Then once again, I had to release my will. I must fall backwards on God's love without knowing the outcome. His love has been such a constant in my life. A strong cord in the midst of a hurricane of emotions. I know He loves me and His will is always best for me and those I love.
Why BB4TheLord2: My first blog, bb4thelord.blogspot.com was began a couple years after I became a young widow. After ten years on that journey of widowhood, I took a break from blogging. Now the time has come to begin again. Writing is a gift God has given me and I must get back into using the gifts God has given me.
Monday, June 12, 2017
I had had fear pounce on me and was trying to figure out why.
As I poured my heart out in words on a page, the Lord spoke to my heart.
Here is that section of the poem:
My heart hears His voice:
Cast your care upon Me
Put them in My backpack
My shoulders are broad enough
To carry all your cares
Tie My love around you,
Like a rescue rope in a stormy sea
I will lift you up out of the ragingFear, doubt, anxiousness
Rest in Me, let Me blanket you
With My lovingkindness.
Let Me hold you and sing songs
over you to calm your soul.
Rest in My arms,
Rest in My Word,
Don't just believe on Me,
I have plans, grand ones,
Trust Me, my child,
Stand on the water beside Me,
Let Me hold your hand like you did your sons'
So many years ago.
You may wobble and tumble
But I will catch you
I may lift you straight up
Or gently set you gingerly on the ground.
Feel Me cupping your chin,
Lifting your head,
Wiping away the tears,
Making you look straight at ME.
Lock your eyes with Mine.
One step at a time,
one breath at a time,
one prayer at a time,
one moment at a time.
Choose to trust,
no matter what your heart fears,
or your mind doubts,
Trust Me, child, this is best.
More than you will ever understand.
Don't run ahead of Me.
You will fall. Just patiently walk beside Me.
Let Me lead, and guide.
Let Me protect
Allow Me to whisper secrets in your ear.
To reveal yet another sliver
Of Who I Am
To give you yet another name for Myself
We recently visited this 130ft high trail bridge after we spent some time with family. It was very cool! But more than being just pretty awesome and neat to see, it was a victory for me. I am scared of heights. Never used to be, but somehow in my thirties the ground began to spin when I look down from up high. Just walking down the steps of a balcony can make the world start twirling. I will feel like I am falling, though I am not, and fear rises up within me. Any touch from someone near me makes me feel like I am going to go over the edge.
On my time away for my birthday, the Lord spoke to me about many things. One of them was fears. We all have fears of one kind or another. No matter what kind they are, they paralyze us and cloud our rational thinking. Even more concerning is that the fears control us. The Good Lord doesn't want our fears to be controlling us. In fact He instructs us to fear Him only for what we fear has power over us.
Now some may argue that fears help us be careful and more cautious. And this is true. But like many things in life, this must be in balance. Having a healthy fear of fire, guns, sharks, storms, and heights could be better called having a respect for them and the power they have. When you follow safety rules and procedures, you have nothing to fear. The imbalance comes when fear is a irrational terror inside, even when safety rules are followed.
With this in mind, plus the determination to fight my fears in my forties, I walked across the bridge 13 stories above the river. I made myself stop at every lookout, and look down. When it got too dark to see, I shined my flashlight down into the world below. My head spun, but I kept the terror squelched. And each lookout was a little easier.
I have won a battle, but not the war yet. I may never be able to look down from up high and not have the world go spinning. But I have taken a step forward. On my time away, I bought myself a sign that says, "Let your faith be bigger than your fears." Let.....fears hinder our faith. Faith is letting go, it is trusting in what you cannot see. It is falling backwards without looking, trusting the Almighty will catch you. The Bible says, "Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?" Isaiah 43:13
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The day I got it I was feeling buried. I felt the heavy weight of life on me. I felt trapped and suffocating. This sign gave me an attitude adjustment. It reminded me that my perspective was all wrong.
A few days later as I was doing my daily devotions I read this verse:
Romans 6:5 "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
Like I told a friend, "I guess I better do a study on the word planted."
I was surprised how many times this word was used.
We can be like a tree planted.
Psalm 1:3 says "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The "he" in this verse is referring to the man in verses 1 & 2 that:
- walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly
- nor standeth in the way of sinners
- nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful
- delights in the law of the LORD
- doth meditate day and night
Jeremiah 17:7-8 is similar. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
Genesis 2:8 "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man who he had formed."
Psalm 80:8 "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."
Psalm 80:15 "And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself."
Psalm 92:13 "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God."
Psalm 94:9 "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?"
Psalm 104:16 "The trees of the LORD are full of sap: the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted."
Ecclesiastes 3:2 "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."
Jeremiah 2:21 "Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"
Jeremiah 11:17 "For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal."
Jeremiah 45:4 "Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land."
Ezekiel 17:5 "He took also of the seed of the land and planted it in a fruitful field, he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree."
Matthew 15:13 "And he (Jesus) answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."
We are called to plant.
1 Corinthians 3:6 (Paul said) "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
In Genesis 9:20 Noah planted a vineyard. Later in Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a grove and calls there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. Ecclesiastes 2:5 We learn Solomon planted trees. In Luke 13 a fig tree is planted. In the Gospels is the parable of a man that planted a vineyard.
And in Luke 17: 6 we read "And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."
Final Verses I Noted on Plant(s):
Jeremiah 32:11 "Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in the land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul."
Jeremiah 42:10 "If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, I will plant you and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you."
Psalm 144:12 "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."
Monday, May 15, 2017
I today I sent it in a letter to a couple who suffered a miscarriage.
And once again my acquaintance grief popped in to say hello.
My mama heart goes back many years to when I lost Benjie.
I read a quote today that once again brought tears to my eyes.
"Jesus, I wanted to hold my child in my arms and tell him about You. Will you please hold him in your arms and tell him about me?"
Jesus uses time as a great tool in healing. But I am thankful that He keeps my heart soft with tears. That I can go back and feel the loss of a precious little one so that I can pray with understanding for a couple going through a tough time.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
We had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. The boys decided to give me two precious gifts:
- an uninterrupted nap
- to not argue with each other all day
They accomplished both. I love my children and the young men they are becoming.
Yet I remember a distant Mother's Day being pregnant and at the same time grieving a child I never got to know. I remember a Mother's Day holding a fussy infant and at the same time dealing with ornery preschoolers, when all I wanted to do was be able to hear the sermon uninterrupted. I remember days with tears and fears as a young widow with little ones looking to me to be an anchor through the storm. But again those tears kept my heart soft to other mama's juggling little ones, alone. I think of all the times I have run to the Lord in tears because there was no husband here to turn to. Tears.
I was talking with a young girl yesterday and we spoke of tears. She tries so hard to bury her hurt inside and not vocalize it to others. And I reminded her God gave her a voice to vocalize in a right way her feelings, her pain. But He also gave us tears. Tears are our pressure-release valve. I know that when I squelch them and stuff them into a back closet, my heart gets hard. They usually come rushing out in a flood of anger later, hurting those around me. Holding them in can be destructive.
"Tears are like rain. They loosen up the soil of our heart." I read that years ago. And it is a great truth.
So as the tears came to my eyes and the familiar lump swelled in my throat today, I choose to thank God for tears. I know He has collected them in a bottle and has used them to keep my heart soft. To keep me tenderhearted. Towards Him and towards others.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Sounds crazy, don't it?
But let's do a quick review:
- My 28th birthday I was a happily married women with two great kids and a wonderful husband.
- My 29th birthday I was a barely functioning widow, really an emotional amputee with three sons (5, 2, and a newborn). My birthday was simply a day focused on breathing as my wounded heart bled out my eyes.
- I simply have no memory of my 30th birthday. I entered my 30's with about as much enthusiasm as a corpse.
- Most birthdays since then have been a blur. Usually full of vast emotions and learning to breathing again. Putting another school year behind us and forcing myself to walk forward.
- Certain ones stand out. I remember the cold splash of reality of being a widow longer than I had been a wife. Yet still having his missing "happy birthday" put a hole in all the well wishes of others.
- There were a couple birthdays that family did surprise parties after church. It was sweet of them, I felt showered with love, but inside was a storm.
- Then there is the birthday when my dad broke his hip. That was a memorable and crazy day for sure!
"I survived my 30's (and maybe even thrived a little) as a widow homeschool mom of three boys." The fact that the Lord did an amazing healing in my heart this last year just is icing on the cake. Turning 40 feels like a graduation.
With God's unshakeable grip on me, I have kept the faith.Through His wisdom, He has used my pain to help others. Through God's grace and provision, I have continued to homeschool the boys. I have survived, and lived over 4,000 days longer than I ever thought I would. I stumbled and fell many times, got scrapes and bruises along the way. But with the help of God, I struggled to my feet and tried again. Miraculously, I have lived to tell a tale that I thought was going to kill me. He stood against my deepest fears and healed my shattered heart. Like I said in December, "I feel as if I have finally graduated from physical therapy with prosthetic limbs and I am able to walk again. I feel that the LORD and I can hike together now toward something special up ahead. I don't know what it is, but I know the LORD is good and He knows best."
And so, for my 40th birthday, I am looking forward to a retreat.
Some time completely alone with just my Healer and me. Time to relax and just be.
Not be a mom, or a teacher, or a house manager, or a daughter, sister or friend.
Just be me. Spending time with my Creator. A two-day long God date.
Time to reflect. Time to write. Time reading my Lord's love letter. Time listening to Him. Time to look forward and dream. Time to step into my 40's with a smile and a sweet peace knowing God's got some pretty exciting adventures ahead.
And in all my anticipation of my 40th birthday, I think of my Jim. I can just see him with a big grin on his face, like he knew this is where I would get to all along. And there'd be a knowing twinkle in his eyes, showing secrets he won't share, but that say "It's going to be great!"
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Every time I am in church, I look up to the ceiling above the pulpit. Upon the ceiling is the shadow of a gift. It has the shape of a present with a fancy bow on top of it. I know this is just a shadow of the mounted projector from the lights below, but each time I look to it, I am reminded of several things:
- "Today is a gift; that's why it is called the Present!" Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.
- My preacher is a gift to my family. He bears our burdens in prayer, instructs us in God's truth, and guides us to step out in faith and follow the Lord daily.
- The sermon is a gift. A message from the LORD personally to me. An audio letter from God. Pastor is just the speaker. It maybe be full of encouragement, or it may be like sandpaper to rub away a sharp corner of sin in my life. Either way it is a gift from the Lord who loves me and wants the best for me.
- My church family is a gift giving support, encouragement, fellowship, and accountability.
- It is estimated that 100 million Christians are persecuted around the globe. Openly meeting to worship the Living God in a place free from persecution is a gift.
- The list can go on and on.....our building is a gift, the music is a gift, the Bible is a gift, the children in my Sunday School class are a gift, my own children are a gift, my health is a gift. My vehicle that brought me there is a gift. Events in my life that brought me to this church body of believers, these too were gifts.
- God the Father giving His Son to die for me on a cross that was to have my name on it....a gift.