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All Things (and a little guy named Troy)

 

IMG_20140822_0001I remember this day well. Our son, Troy, had an extreme form of Marfan’s syndrome. One way that it manifested was in hypotonia, in other words, extreme weakness in all soft tissue including muscles. But this day, he was able to lift his head up while lying on my husband’s chest. We were so happy and excited to finally be seeing some progress. Sadly, that excitement would give way to sorrow a few short weeks later as his little heart was not strong enough to keep him going. It’s been 20 years since that summer when we lost our little Troy-boy. I’ll always hold his memory in my heart and long to be reunited with him.

bbf8b7e73279f6eb29072f6012a28070“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Romans 8:28

Let’s be honest, don’t you just hate this verse? Doesn’t it make you clench your teeth when someone throws this one out in an effort to comfort you (and someone always will).  I’ve had to listen to this verse so many times over the years. I smile and say “Thanks” because at the core, I know the person is truly sincere in wanting to help me. I can’t possible expect them to understand what that verse means to me.

But at some point through the long years, things happen. The pain starts to shift around in your brain and a softness creeps in. Edges aren’t quite so sharp after a while and memories become more like favorite dog-eared photographs that you can pull out and linger over. And now the darkness inside is more grays than deep blacks and light peeks through the cracks that He has gently set in place.

I have learned a thing or two over the past 20 years. I have learned the meaning of this verse. God puts all things into our lives. The good, the bad and the ugly things. He places events in our lives for His purposes and then He holds our hands, carries our limp grieving bodies, and pushes us to the next level. When we look back, we can see not only His footprints (as that great old poem goes), but we can see our drag marks gradually return to solid footprints again. We can see how we have changed – hardened in some ways and stripped bare in others ways. And always, always God has been there for me.

Have you ever read that romantic classic, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte? Yes, I am a hopeless romantic and that book will always be my favorite. But my favorite quote from that book is not the one you might think. It was something that struck me when I first read it as a teen and so many years later I still resonate to its truth.

wuthering heights

Yes, the things that we go through, the dreams we live through “alter the color of our mind” and we will never be the same again. I have thought of that line at each time of crises in my life. But what I can say, from the bottom of my heart, is that each crises did two things to me. It made me stronger and helped me to believe in myself. But, most importantly, each crises played an important role in forging my relationship with God. I’ve been repeatedly forced to redefine my feelings towards God which have ranged from turning my back on Him in anger, full rejection of Him and finally, to full acceptance of His sovereignty and grace.

In the words of Jerry Garcia, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”. Though I haven’t been too thrilled with a lot of the things that have happened to me, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Now, that is not an easy statement to make. Let me assure you that my fingers hovered over the keyboard for a while before typing that. Maybe, I can clarify it. There are things that I wish hadn’t happened, decisions that I wish I hadn’t made, babies I wish I hadn’t fallen in love with. I swear, sometimes I think that it is nothing more than bandaids that images (2)hold my broken heart together. But then I realize that there aren’t enough bandaids in the world for that. And that is the start of acknowledging that there is something much stronger in this world and His name is Wonderful, Everlasting, Holy One. He is my Savior and He saves me from myself.

He has worked all things together for good. I don’t always see it at the time but I have hit that age where I can appreciate what a blessing hindsight is. And I can see what some of those “good” things are.

He has made words like “trust” and “follow Me” come alive.

He has allowed me to experience joy that is so much sweeter because of sorrow.

He has taught me love in all things.

justice

Walk in love, as Christ loved us…

Ephesians 5:2

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Soar the Heavens

Even though You give us wings to soar the Heavens,

there is still a part of us bound to the rock of earth

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just as a butterfly sips at nectar

and a bird cracks open the seedP1010354

like a hawk searching for his prey

we, too, feed on the beauty around usP1020515

until we have sufficiently grown on any measure to appreciate the beauty of Heaven.

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Even though our souls have wings to soar the Heavens

our bodies belong to the solidity of Earth.

Let my soul sing with the joy of Heaven while my heart struggles with the pain of earth.

Teach me, Lord, to soar the Heavens while walking the earth.P1020470

My soul clings to you

Your right hands upholds me.

Psalm 63:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Rainbow Promises

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Summer – hot humid days that break up in the hours before dusk and dissolve into wild thunder storms. Then in that last hours of sunset a rainbow will stretch itself across the sky, arms flung wide to the horizon. A promise from God that He would never again destroy the earth. But it’s not the only promise. Scattered throughout Scripture are many other promises that God has given to us.

I asked my husband which of God’s promises meant the most to him. He laughed and said, “That’s easy – the big one! The one about spending all eternity with Him.”

“Sure”, I thought, “the easy answer”. I pressed him to think of the here and now things that God also promised. “Which of those promises helps you today?”

He thought for a moment and answered, “I guess the one about how He will continue a good work in me and carry it on to completion (Philippian 1:6). I need a lot of work”, he half-joked. I like that one too. God promises to continue to shape us. He will not give up on us. Not when we are too stubborn to know better. Not even when we are rebellious. I know this one first hand.

Fair is fair and now it was my turn. I really didn’t even think about it – the one where HeMatthew verse promised to never leave me (Matthew 28:20). I need that promise. Even though I like to be alone, I don’t like to be lonely. I want to know that I can count on Him. I need to know that in the midst of depression or anger or selfishness, He will still be there. In Sunday School classes we teach little kids that Jesus is our “forever friend” and that’s what I want.

I need to know that even when the darkness of my own thoughts threatens to overwhelm me, God still offers me the shelter of His wing. Even when I have convinced myself that no one could possibly understand my pain, God holds me close and whispers in my ear. Even when I refuse to listen to His voice, He waits for me to realize that alone need not be lonely and forever friends are for real.

That’s a promise.