Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shifting Gears

Today was a day of shifts.  The weather is shifting, there is a shift of years as Simon is soon to turn 9 and even a giant shift is becoming so evident in our life.  Saying Goodbye to friends and family (even that in shifts today) is a process that reminds me of the seasons that change beneath the clouds of storms.  Every storm passes and every rainbow births a promise.

Our old office (where we have not been in over 2 years was closed this weekend as the doctor moved into a new space and my husband's greatest fan, Heather, sent texts to us through her tears as she "packed it up"  and reminded us of how much she loved working there, how my husband changed her life and that she was saved in that office.  She, too, said "I know this chapter is ending with an even greater one beginning but I just needed to pause in the middle of the chaotic moving process and tell you how much I love you and am so excited for your next chapter...."  Her words reminded me of the mourning we have already done...many times over it seems; trusting in God to not only see us through but not waste one day of it and replace that pain with something that would be eternal and exciting with an expectation of ONLY GOD attached to it.  Reminding her it was time for her to "begin her new dance" is something that I realized Danny and I had already begun long ago (perhaps as early as when Danny first got sick), although finding our feet has been the longest of journeys and walked alone it seems much of the time without the security of our footing beneath us to carry us with any step of our own for a purpose which is not.  Reflecting, I realize that is just the way God wants it.  Utter dependence upon the Master for the piece that He is creating that we cannot possibly understand except when we look from the rear view.

One of my dearest friends, Jaynee, who has come into my life by God's design and stood faithful in prayer for our family has too experienced her own shift of life getting married yesterday.  I realized as I was reading what she wrote to me that God is so faithful to the cries and pain of our heart.  Her words lifted me to an eternal perspective when she shared her heart and said something so touching to me recounting my voice mail message to her:  "I am amazed by your sweet and timely words.  As usual, they hit their mark.  I'm overwhelmed with gratitude about so much and most of those things can be traced back to you and your faithful prayers and friendship."  She thanked me for those prayers (as undeserving as I felt reading them) and then she added this: "For without them, I might have given up and never realized that what I hold now is worth every bit of the journey and pain which pressed me into something brand new."  I understand that so well...I understand the pain of closing a door that someone else slammed shut first, I understand the pain of feeling forced to move on when things feel comfortable and I also understand waiting until God says "It's time."  Perhaps that is why I am not sad...I realize that we have walked a journey that has led to a life yet to be discovered for a greater purpose than even which we have suffered.  I have repeatedly said that when the pain of holding on is greater than letting go, then letting go brings a greater sense of finality as well as a greater hope of trust in a God who loves us and is deliberately involved in our journey toward our destination.  As she shared that perspective as well, I looked at her marriage and the joy within it that is causing her soul to sing as the way the destination of hope will be culminated in a unique way for each of us as God restores the years of thievery.

I have learned that those who "hear" are more unforgiving than those who "see."  While those who see develop a perspective that cannot be diminished as they walk through their experiences, those who hear can convince themselves of anything they choose and what they choose usually is determined by their own conscience and its limited and self-righteous perspectives.  I have also learned that being able to lay pride aside and focus not on what others want you to be, but on what He wants you to be is where your soul and your heart become united.  When those two entities connect, the ability to reach beyond ourselves becomes unlimited, what we expect from life becomes unlimited and what we know God is capable of in our lives also becomes unlimited.

The next time you contemplate a battle, contemplate a purpose for it and contemplate what you will risk for it.  While you may not understand or appreciate the losses associated with making progress, just remember you actually do not have to.  Simply trust Him and follow Him as He leads you.  Within the darkness, the light of day is born.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How God Shows Himself Faithful....

I wanted to connect my feelings with my faith as I fly back home to Pennsylvania after leaving Daniel on the other side of the country in California to begin his 9th gade year of high school.  The process of our actions aligning with our will is only satisfying of of lasting value when there is reconciliation between the choices we make and our destiny.

Many years ago, while Danny and I were still going to school in Atlanta, we went to visit his aunt in San Francisco and spent some time in Lake Tahoe.  Danny told me many stories of his childhood with the fondest of memories encapsulated within his time there and within the confines of their property which was built on the lake.  Knowing Danny as I did even then, I immediately understood why his heart seemed to be rooted in the soil of this majestic place.  We haven't been back since.

This past school year while many of Daniel's friends visited more than a few boarding schools as they sought out the one that was best for them, Daniel only visited one...this one.  He came home after almost a week on the snow before his state finals for alpine skiing and was extremely excited with the training he received and the experience he shared.  I received more than I expected form their desire to have Daniel attend their school.  I knew it was an impressive academic environment as well, which was priority number one for me.  While our lives at that time were being lived out one day at a time with very little ability to plan, their encouragement for us to take the next step and apply was my first step toward trusting God for Daniel's future, regardless of our own uncertainties.

I really didn't know if it would be possible for him to be there, although I knew it was his heart's desire to be and so we both tucked it away as our only option out of any other that moved us both, but like most desires of our heart, categorized even the thought as an exercise in hope and faith.

Daniel had confidence in what this school could and would offer him and I knew his connection to one of the greatest desires of his heart was out of my hands and firmly placed into the hands of God.

When the formal acceptance letter came with what they could offer to him as a scholarship, I was excited but intimidated.  I knew we couldn't yet afford to agree to the difference, but like my son, I couldn't not ask and hope for more.  Again, knowing that God has this child's (and every child's) life ordained, I had all the courage I needed to be thankful for the offer but to also be bloody honest about our limitations.

Behind closed doors, Danny would fret knowing how hard Daniel worked at becoming the best that he could possibly be as a downhill ski racer with the opportunities that surrounded him and this was a child that deserved a chance to pursue his dream but we wouldn't be wise agreeing to it.

Daniel has always minimized everything that stands in his way with a plan of action and to everyone that knows him, he will do whatever he can to overcome every obstacle that represents restriction.  While I am wired in much the same way, I realized Daniel is in greater touch with reality than even me, as he, at his young age, has in many ways earned his badge of being honored.  He has sacrificed his parents for a greater call, a few of them actually, and has even watched us be stripped in ways that (I often acquiesce in my mind) represent failure even though nothing in our language or lifestyle of poise and purpose reflects apathy or surrender.  Since there was nothing to lose and as far as I am concerned, everything for him to gain, we were gracious and thankful but had to risk perception and potentially miss out and ask for more.  Round two proved to be worth laying my hopes and my heart down for.

Our financial limitations created concern but our faith was hopeful knowing if it was God's will, then He would make it happen.  Not every obstacle in life is necessarily easy to overcome but every objection is able to be understood as an exercise in faith and ultimately trusting in God to be our Provider enables us to experience miracles.  Fortunately, there wasn't just an inability to refuse the school's second offer, but there was a position in my head that matched my heart which were perfectly aligned with every aspect of what I know to be true about God's calling and purpose for our lives: our destination will be determined by our ability to let go.  That reality superseded all.  The added and enhanced provision came to me through nothing but my heart being connected to God' uncertain as our future can seem at times, what I knew from Day 1 of our journey with Dylan and Olivia was being secured by a loving God who saw Daniel's sacrifice and knew his pain and was now securing his feet on the mountaintop of his dreams.

Is it any surprise that my husband's heart's desires are being lived out in many ways through his son?  Does not every parent who wants the best for their children feel an element of satisfaction in their soul when their own limitations take flight?  And does not God have ways of speaking to us and reminding us of His love when we pause to assess the pain and plan He allows for a greater good?  And is it any wonder that the child who has been so emotionally connected to our pain is now planted and developing his own roots in the soil God has planted him (and the same as my husband had his own expanded within many years ago) as we wait for our own roots to begin to be replanted in ways and places for purposes with a lasting value that can only be accomplished by letting go and trusting Him?

Driving up to Donner Pass Summit with the incredible presence of the powerful landscape was an experience that fortified my faith and served as a gnawing reminder of what this day meant, this season of life has meant and how it has helped me stay the course through so many difficulties and challenges.  God suddenly and overwhelmingly connected my heart with my emotions and I will NEVER forget what that felt like or what it meant to me.  My special and soul-tossed son was about to embark on his own journey that will lead him beyond his dreams and to his purpose and my husband and I are the privileged ones chosen by God to guide him there.

I have been here before during others calls upon my life and while the outcome has been a journey to be walked out in faith and has had countless twists and turns with what has often felt like relentless insecurity and overwhelming uncertainty, the endless impartations of God's amazing grace and mercy has refreshed my soul in ways I wouldn't trade for anything.  I honestly believe and therefore move in ways of anticipation and reassurance from God's word that what adversity has taken, faith will restore...and because of desiring to trust God to lead, I expect I will experience every interesection with this trepidation that connects with my faith to restore what I initially have lost many, many ways and times over.

Applying a standard for my children to follow their heart is something that I am purposed to do, in the same way that I am purposed to be Danny's wife and support his calling that was birthed out of his adversity.  Daniel is the next anointed one then another and another and another and so on until each has arrived at the own destination.  Why would that be easy?  What is at stake has eternal consequence and impact as well as a legacy attached to it that leads the generations to follow.

When criticism comes, and it has and it does and it will, remember who you are serving.  If it is God, then His viewpoint and provisions are the ones to be considered, no one else's.  When He makes your heart align with your head, especially when what is at stake tears at your soul, you do not have to question whether or not you are making the right choice, you will know that you are.  That is the side trip and the main path of spiritual growth.  There are many of them in a life well lived.  Sadly, many fear the pain of growth so much and they risk nothing out of their fear.  While I understand why, I would encourage you to trust in God more than in yourself.  In so doing, you will grow in your service, you will find satisfaction and peace in your challenges and you will lean in and on your God, who wants nothing more than to be your rock and your fortress. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

I walked away from Daniel today processing my expectations of him and all I asked of him was this (and I wrote it to him in a text): to make prayer a priority.  I told him he can do it anywhere and that is doesn't have to be planned or restrictive.  I told him that God loves him and favors him.  The truth is that God loves all of us and favors us all, but too few of us are willing to lay down what matters most to us and trust Him with our precious possessions so that we can experience His power that is made manifest in our weakness.  The bible says that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2Corinthians 12:9.  I used to think I couldn't live without certain securities and what I have learned through many difficulties is that I can't live without the One who loves us through those difficulties so that we increase our capacity to experience more and become more so that He is all the more interested in the lives of those He calls us to lead.  My son is just one of those.  If I embrace His will for Daniel, how much more can I embrace His will for me...and for you and for the others He leads me to?

May none of us that understand purpose ever miss out on our very reason for living.  May we always be able to respond to our hearts, understanding that their desires are wired within much like a primal need.  Where we end up is directly proportional to what and how much of ourselves and what we hold dear, what we risk, and realizing that as we do the greatest accomplishment is not measured by what we can purchase but in what we invest.

"The mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best." ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Thursday, October 4, 2012

When Words Work

Words are insignificant when the revelations are from the heart...those perspectives are ONLY possible with Faith!

I have met many "professionals" leading me in destructive ways.  I have met those who touched my heart and led me through.  I have never wavered or doubted my way...even when my words were few and through.
Today I was given this "gift" from my attorney.  He knows my heart and the truth.  Sometimes the comfort comes through the words that encourage me as they did today, but every day they come through my faith that leads the way :)

This is as much for me as it is for my boys (and Olivia too ;)  To overcome opposition is what makes a success!  And EVERY ONE of my children are already successful!

Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!