Monday, December 17, 2012

Blessed Be

So many storms happening in my life right now that I have no words, so this is the best I've got at the moment ... 
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Time to Mourn

There is an appointed time for everything. 
And there is a time for every event under heaven –
A time to give birth and a time to die …
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Our nation sits in shock tonight, after witnessing the horrific murder of 20 sweet little souls in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, this morning.

Twenty children, ages five through nine, went off to grade school this morning with all the excitement and enthusiasm that grade school children have in anticipation of Christmas vacation. Among them was a little boy named Tain: the son of my friend, Sophfronia Scott. Also headed off to that same school this morning was a 20-year old young man with three guns and murder on his mind.

Tain was one of the lucky ones. His life was spared. However, 20 other children were not so lucky, including, quite possibly, the child of one of Sophfronia’s friends. Earlier today that parent had not yet heard their child’s fate.

So tonight the family and friends of those 20 sweet little souls sit in stunned silence, mourning as they try to comprehend that their children (grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews) will not be here to open Christmas presents in 10 days; will never be coming home again.

Instead, the bodies of those children, along with the six other adults who were killed, as well as the perpetrator of those murders, still lay on the floor of the school where they died this morning. Waiting for the crime scene to be processed. Waiting for the coroner to collect them. Waiting for their loved ones to identify them and claim them as their own.

“How can this be God’s plan for me?”
~ Soul Surfer

As I process this quote from the movie Soul Surfer, I will say that I never really thought about my life from that perspective: How could all of the trauma of my past be God’s plan for my life? And how could the murder of 20 innocent children be God’s plan for their lives? For the lives of their siblings? Parents? Grandparents? I wish I knew the answer to that question, but I am afraid that it is a question without answer.

Proverbs 3:5 instructs us to …

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

So much easier said than done in a situation like this. Beyond easier said than done. For some, impossible.

As I listen to the Christmas carols that are playing on my CD player right now, I am absolutely void of feeling. Not because they are not beautiful. Not because they are not an expression of love for God or an expression of joy for the birth of Christ. Rather, I am numb because my heart breaks for all of the families whose lives were forever changed today by the evil act of one individual. An act that we will never understand …

At least not in this lifetime.

O Father in Heaven, Giver and Sustainer of all life, please be near those who hurt and mourn tonight. Comfort them. Strengthen them. Love them. Make Yourself known to them in a way they can comprehend, both now and forevermore.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
~ Job 1:21

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rescue Me

Thinking about tomorrow's pool workout and feeling sick to my stomach even now ...

O God, do not be far from me;
O my God, hasten to my help!
~ Psalm 71:10

Amen and amen,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walking on Water

You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
~ Psalm 71:20

When I first started this blog, Pandora’s box had just exploded open in my life and I was struggling to get a foothold as everything I knew about my life and my faith in God was being turned upside down and inside out.  

Every day was a struggle just to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. To say I was in survival mode was an understatement. 

I could not eat. 

I could not sleep. 

Most days I could barely even breathe. 

So it is with a heavy heart that I find myself in distress once again, as I now deal with the physical realities (i.e. the physical aftermath) of my past.  

Three years ago, during a visit to my chiropractor here in Montana, I was told that my hips were completely locked up, so I began regular chiropractic treatments with the understanding that this doctor could unlock my hips and bring me back to physical health. Chiropractic care had always worked for me when I lived in Los Angeles, so I had no reason to think that it would not work this time, as well.  

Unfortunately, that has not been the case and my condition is now far worse than it was three years ago. Yet when the doctor and I met the other day, he explained to me that there was no medical evidence to support these hip and pelvic problems. Yesterday, however, I discovered that I based upon how locked up my pelvis and hips actually are, the fact that I can even walk right now is only due to God’s amazing grace!  

So as I was getting ready to workout in the pool yesterday morning, I had two revelations: (1) Three years later, the pool still terrifies me, and (2) I am slowly coming to the realization that perhaps working out in the pool is the one thing – if not the only thing – that is going to help me get some movement back into the lower half of my body. Yet, even with those revelations, getting ready to go swimming was both a mental and physical battle. In fact, even now (while writing this from the safety of my own living room), I get sick to my stomach every time I begin to think about any kind of pool workout. 

I hate the swimming pool. Not because I am afraid of the water, but rather because swimming brings to the surface memories of abuse and the baggage that goes along with those memories. Ironically, at the same time I actually love the pool because it is when I am alone in the water that I also feel the most free!  

Oh, Lord, I know that everything which takes place in our lives is for our good and Your glory, and is part of Your sovereign plan. Therefore …

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation … The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people.
~ Psalm 68:19,35

Father, even now, I pray that You will give me the strength and the power to simply get through this moment.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Object!

But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.
~ Psalm 115:3

I have a confession to make: I am not too happy with the current trial that God has allowed to re-enter my life right now! For one thing, I have already been down this road. Three years ago. It was what started my entire struggle with my faith and took me down some of the most painful roads of my life: literally and figuratively. I thought we were done with all of that. Now it appears that “I thought wrong!”

The other day I received a poster in the mail from my mom with this saying on it:

If God brings you to it,
He will see you through it.
Happy moments praise God.
Difficult moments seek God.
Quiet moments worship God.
Painful moments trust God.
Every moment thank God.
~ Anonymous

Regardless of all of those wonderful “words of wisdom,” I do not want to do this again. Truthfully, I do not even know how to do this again. Last time I went through this I had someone with whom to counsel. This time I feel like I am very much on my own … and I am scared.

Not scared to deal with it again, as I am already very clear on what took place! Rather I am scared that the exercises I am being given to help my body heal will not work, because nothing else has thus far. On top of that, the phantom shooting pains have returned. Some mild. Some not so mild. Some strong enough to make me writhe in pain. In any case, they are back: a not so subtle daily reminder of the past.

Of course, the truth of the matter is this: God does not need my permission to bring this trial back into my life. As Psalm 115 states above, He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. That is His prerogative. I do not have to like it. I do not even have to agree with it. But unless -- or until -- He chooses to take this trial away, I do have to deal with it and that is where my personal choice comes into play.

I can choose to go through it gracefully, praying that He is glorified through it all. Or, I can choose to go through it kicking and screaming every step of the way, focusing on myself. Either way, the choice is still mine to make.

So can I be honest with you? Right now, I really want to choose the kicking and screaming option!