Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I know there will never be a day when I do not not take the time to think upon challenges as well as blessings in life.  As I grow up, I realize much of my growth was stunted by fear and circumstances that I could not process congruently from heart to head.  There are seasons for growth  that usually accompany seasons for change and sometimes when we are adjusting to the changes we often disconnect from the significance of the growth.  It isn't until we are in a position to reflect that we can coordinate the two and reconcile the significance.

I joined my boys in Copper Mountain CO this Thanksgiving as they are all training at a camp that I "MISTAKENLY" put Daniel on a plane ALONE to come to when he was just 12 years old.  I remember being sent a link from one of the mother's on Daniel's ski team and I must have clicked on a link connected to that site and registered him for the "wrong" one…but I didn't find this out until Daniel was on his way and he called me from a layover and told me he wasn't sure where he was going, but all of his teammates were going to a different camp.  A flash of panic passed over me and then I quickly told him apparently God had another plan for him.  I had spoken to the coordinator of the family run camp who had made quite a name for themselves many years ago with a story to match.  They had come here from Czechoslovakia and in order to make a living they ski raced.  I have heard that they lived in their van when they first began pursuing their dreams.  They worked extremely hard and won races and began to build their new roots and profession in America.  The matriarch of the family cooks home cooked meals for the kids during the camps and they are strict and unified and responsible for their racers.  The patriarch of this family is one of Izik's favorite people on the planet and all of their children teach during the camps…they are all decorated ski racers and many of them world cup athletes.  It is no wonder I was drawn to this family as I am always drawn to those who had to face the odds and overcome triumphantly and for a greater purpose.

Within a few years Izik began joining Daniel and traveling across the country and now living in the west, Danny drove the boys here (including Simon who is attending his first camp and loving it) and my husband is hooked himself on the training (and participating each and every day ;), the family and the opportunity that our kids have pursuing their interests as they are developing far more than racing skills within this experience each and every time.

When I pulled in to this place many visions and thoughts I have had over the past few years crystallized for me and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for God's work behind the scenes.  Maybe it hit me because of the sacrifices we had to make to enable it, perhaps it was because I realized how God is always at work and we often cannot fully comprehend just what his provisions produce, or it is even possible that it is being in touch with the struggles of life, heart's desires, disappointments and victories and everything in between but not ONE thing in the life of one who trusts in Him is wasted or not counted within His heart and when the manifestation of that is realized, the depth of gratitude is overwhelming.  

I have a saying:  God does not waste our pain.  While our journeys often cause such confusion, contemplation and sometimes even contempt, our KNOWING of our God's character even in our UNKNOWING of the outcome, can comfort us as He loves us and sees us in our sadness, He travels with us through our darkness and He shines on us as he reestablishes us within our purpose.  

I couldn't sit here this morning, surrounded by the majestic mountains, and not be in awe of such a God.  Sometime perspective is the most difficult virtue to embrace in the midst of our adversity but the reflective heart is born just there.  When we embrace the emotion of our difficulties and bring them captive to our Lord, ask for Him to illuminate their purpose and significance, we WILL reap their reassembled creation by the Maker's hand.  

May this Thanksgiving release a beauty from your ashes that you may never have considered had you not taken the time to reflect and absorb our God's love for His children.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.   
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Squeezed By And Squeezing Life

Have you ever struggled to get quiet before God?  If your personality is anything like mine, getting quiet is quite difficult.  Add 5 kids, a demanding life and challenging dynamics to the mix and it is no wonder that solitude doesn't seem to match with my personality.

I remind myself that God doesn't make mistakes and He brings things into our life so that we can learn from them and more about Him.

I have been in a healing crisis in my life for what seems like an eternity.   Healing isn't easy, it is often occurring when life is least exciting and for me, still finding time to enjoy the things and those I value within it is always of utmost focus.

I have learned so many things through various circumstances not only in my life but also in the lives of others, and now I am laser focused on going back to a root cause for many of the challenges I have.  I am trusting God for His headship in leading me to and through.  I attend a small trauma therapy group in which all have suffered some incredible disappointments due to unmet expectations.  They are all unique.  My battle began as an infant… and due to parenting that didn't show up in a way that nurtured me for the life I have been called to so that I could receive challenges with grace, this is something that I need help with and a mindset that matches what I know about myself in my relationship with God.  I believed I have received many of my challenges without self-pity (for the most part) and I am fairly confident of that because I was raised within a household with enough self-pity to go around that I made up my unconscious mind long ago not to travel that repulsive and most disappointing road.   There is always someone or something that can be considered to be the reason for our disappointments, but that doesn't mean we have an excuse to embrace it and act out of the wound it has created.  The most enlightening aspect of my counseling came through this group not long ago when I learned that we all have a framework built inside of each of us and when what comes at us doesn't make sense, we have no choice but to build a new grid in order to cope with those disappointments.  With enough of these disappointments and new mappings, we grow inept at many of the challenges within our life.  It happens to all of us one way or another.  Learning that removed my guilt.  It enabled me to understand that God isn't mad at me for not being all I desire to be but struggle to live up to.  HE KNOWS what has happened in our lives that prevented it from ever being possible but He also desires to put me back together…better than before.  Those adults that failed us are just like us…incapable,  due to their own brokenness.  This is one big broken world, Thank God He gave us Jesus!

When I learned that I had long since reached a point where I realized that God was up to something and it is beyond my understanding but certainly not beyond my involvement and while He has provided me with many things that I am naturally inclined toward, He has also left me depleted enough to force me to seek Him for the answers and direction as well as the perspective required to make it great!  Good is never enough for me…GREAT is where I want to be, impact, achieve and experience!

Being in this group has quickly taught me that most people living life have been traumatized but too few are able to look at it for what it is and grieve the sorrow connected with it and then MOVE ON…God has a plan, He allowed the pain, He chose the door to let us out as well as the LIFE to be lived that absolutely can be lived with such effectiveness (when we allow it to be) once we release ourselves from that bondage.

There is no path that is perfect, there is no thought process within that path that is traveled with absolute certainty or confidence, but there is a God in Heaven and His Name Is Jesus and I am here to bear witness that some things in life absolutely CANNOT be explained away…whether good or bad…with reason or none at all.

Faith is built during those times.  Life is restructured, confidence is even restored.

I chose to fast this weekend with a semi-quiet house with a few kids beginning their ski season away from home and their dad with them.  I am praying for time to write, time to think, time to reflect (better than thinking for me), and time to read.  Most importantly I am praying for time to remind God just how much I depend upon Him.  When all else fails, and it does and it will, what is there for us if it is not Him?   Sometimes He wants nothing more from us than total dependence (I actually believe He wants that from us always but He reminds us of it when we feel overwhelmed by life or simply all too aware).

Half way through my 4 day fast and I am thankful for the scene in my room right now…2 sleeping kitties and my dog on my bed :)

I am determined to pester God for healing of this wounded soul, and my disappointed child that still lives inside but simultaneously I am a proud wife and mother who has been called to a life of service, something that I am not great at as I never saw nor experienced it in practice and all that is accomplished in a day is already beyond my framework.  Nonetheless I am determined to offer more, to live from plenty and not from lack.

Whatever it is that you desire God to show up for on your behalf, remember that it will not happen unless you bring Him into it.  Pray it in, fast it in, cry it out and thank Him for ALL He gives…HE IS JEHOVAH RAPHA (The God That Heals).

Psalm 61: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I find it never coincidental when God is working and how He works.  When His work is effective (and it always is), then we have to lay it down…all of it and TRUST Him.  So when you think about the purpose and focus of Your Thanksgiving, remember that there is NO Thankfulness without hardships or less than moments.  These are what brings our posture of surrender and praise to Him.  This is what enables us to lay our burdens at the foot of the cross and simply call His name and ask for His touch…the Only One that truly heals.  I believe that when we do this, truly reliant upon Him and Him alone, miracles happen!