Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sudden burst of joy.

Today, 515 days after Lynn's death, I feel a little bit lighter… I'm smiling more easily... I ran around dancing and wrestling with Alea for most of the morning just for fun… without it feeling forced, or the weighted down by sorrow...

Today, I feel a sudden burst of joy.

Is it possible that I am beginning to see the fruit after a long hard season of sowing without reaping? Is it possible that my feet are standing in the Jordan River, the waters are beginning to part, and stretched out before me is the Land that God had promised? The Land of freedom and joy, fruit everlasting, and eternal life?

Do streams of living water really come? Does joy in the morning really actually come???

I think we are about to find out...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Travelling to me from MI, came a large cardboard box. In this box, a beautiful painting, a gift sent from a dear sister in Christ, crafted with her own hands, formed out of her own spirit…

RESTORE Suddenly, it says.

The image is beautifully artistic in depicting the sense of being broken and lost, whatever was before the promise became a reality, and then Suddenly. Suddenly, warm winds blow in from the East and flowers begin to bloom, the ground becomes rich and plentiful, the ice and snow on a once cold and wintery heart begins to melt away into new life… Life restored.

This painting of a prophetic word spoke into my friend's own life, until God asked her to share it with me. What an honor! To receive such a gift all the way from MI, sent from the Father and from a dear sweet sister, carried to me by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

God's word to me that day was, I am the giver of good gifts. It is my job to bless, and yours to receive what I give you with thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving… Key to restoration.

Father, I receive your gift and your promise of restoration. I know it is already being realized, day by day, moment by moment, as my love for Jesus becomes more than my loss of all things.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

I do not fear losing Lynn. I am content with his high position in the heavenlies, his freedom and joy in that place.  I miss him terribly, but am content, as one can be content inside a fiery furnace because the Lord Jesus Himself is in it with you… I fear now the loss of life, how close I came to the loss of all joy, how close I came to no longer caring, not wanting to fight, not wanting to live…


Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a [Redeemer] today, and may his name become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life… (Ruth 4:14-15a)

For the Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob Like the splendor of Israel, Even though devastators have devastated them And destroyed their vine branches. (Nahum 2:2)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I hear my friend Laura's words echoing in the recesses of my thoughts, with a resounding Yes! ...Resolve. I think the Lord is developing a resolve in the followers of Christ.

Are you in this season as well, dear brother or sister in the Lord? Is God holding you fast in an uncomfortable position, with Sovereign hands that are well equipped at the Potter's wheel…? Is it circumstance that oppresses you? Or the enemy? Or is it the very hands of God, keeping you steadfast? Developing patience, endurance, perseverance…?

In this season of my life, God seems to hedge me in. He seems to hold me fast, longer than seems possible to bear. But resolve is a good word :) He is building within His Bride a resolve unto faithfulness. A resolve to praise. A resolve unto victory and overcoming faith...

I am resolved to live for You, to stand fast in the deserts until I bear witness to the water pouring forth from the rocks. I am resolved to endure the cross, the darkness, the season of death and scorn, to join Him in His resurrected Life. Life Everlasting.

Where else can we go when HE alone has the words of eternal life?

Is He building your resolve, dear one?

To be a living sacrifice… this is my spiritual act of worship.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shoots of green, the beginnings of Spring.

Today, it is as though I am shaking icicles off of my person. Icicles that accumulated through the months of winter grief, as I hunkered down in my sorrow and sought shelter while the hazardous winds and snowy blizzards blew about me…  Winter grief, which can happen any time of the year, is bitter cold indeed.

This season, however, is changing. Tiny shoots of green are sprouting. Slight glimpses of sunshine and warmth. A bud off in the distance, only half opened, but there nonetheless… Spring has such fragile beginnings.* 

I am writing today, in need of your intercession. I am going on a trip to Bangladesh, traveling with an uncle, staying with my cousins, Holly and John Barrett, (who took a two year contract as brilliant engineers and beautiful witnesses of Christ to build a hospital there.) I am in the early stages of stepping out into the world... I believe God has planned and ordained this trip to Bangladesh and has specific words of direction for me there. I know I have been largely silent, but please don't forget about me... Please continue to support me in prayer.

God is stirring up great mysteries and great revelations in my spirit. He continues his good work that He began in Me so long ago. He has not given up on me yet! He is the author and finisher of my faith. He will do everything that He says He will do. His word goes forth and does not return unto Him void, but it accomplishes His great purpose...

My winter grief has been a season of wrestling with the Most High God, as Jacob did that long dark night, before he crossed the river to face Esau and begin a new life in his old home… Jacob clung to the Man with whom He wrestled, and would not let go. The Man said,  Let Me go, for the Day breaks. And Jacob said, I will not let you go unless you bless me. (Genesis 32:26) God blessed and released Jacob, but touched his hip to put it out of joint. I believe there is something so powerful about leadership in the Kingdom of heaven, and that that very limp is a necessary part of it. (Forsaking the temptation to write a sermon about it…) It is a beautiful image of the partnership we find as leaders in God's kingdom. We walk forth in total authority and with the blessing of the King of kings, with an ever reminder that we cannot go forth without him. A limp. A slight kneel of the knee. A type of bow. Worship... I intend to come forth into the breaking of a new dawn with the blessing of God, but also with a limp. In a position of worship.

Many days, I feel discouraged. In this natural world, I seem to me to be nothing more than a frazzled mother, a wounded widow... a woman with a bleeding heart. And yet, I secure around my waist the belt of truth, that reveals my true nature as a new creation in Christ Jesus my Lord. I am a favoured one. Daughter of the most High God. I am His servant. An ambassador for Christ. Sent to minister to His body, to edify the Church, to beautify the Bride with the power and authority of His Holy Spirit and His Living Word. These things are true. And this I believe.

My God. My Savior. I am yours. I again submit my life to you. Today. As a living sacrifice. I commit to lay down my will, and be fused together in oneness with yours. I commit to surrender my pride and relinquish all wickedness for the sake of your glory. I submit my name to be slandered and run through the mud of a broken world, that your Name might be exalted in all the earth.

Patience. Endurance. Faithfulness. Steadfastness… These are the champions of my journey of faith. These are qualities lacking in the body of Christ. And for these things I pray. Bless me with the fortitude to run the race with perseverance. The desire to throw off anything that entangles. And to set my heart on one thing and one thing only. The prize for which we run. Jesus Christ. In whom we find the hope of glory and everlasting life.

Pray for me, my dear ones. I need your help if I am to make the last leg of this climb. If I am to accomplish what God has set before me. If I am to endure the pain and the scorn and the wretchedness of my grief for the joy that is set before me...

*Winter Grief, Summer Grace, Returning to Life After a Loved One Dies, by James E. Miller

Friday, January 3, 2014

He leads me softly.

Christmas balls, candles, stockings, and holiday dishes… Each one goes back in their box, to be packed away for yet another year. Each one carries with it such memory, such precious moments, when we were not three, but four… When the lights were put, (not already realized on a pre-lit "fake" Christmas tree), but carefully woven around a real tree by a loving husband. When ornaments were hung, not by myself alone, with a little "help" from my two girls, but by me and my partner, together crafting something beautiful, our skills and preferences joined together, complimenting each other, always, to make something better as a whole, than the one.

Our Daddy ornaments, our Daddy stocking, our Daddy candle… Our pictures and snow globes… packed away in their boxes.

Father, I cannot do this. I have climbed and climbed and climbed. I am too tired. I am too drained. 

My God leads me with gentleness.

In Genesis 33, 13-14, Jacob says to Esau, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.” 

Another translation says (KJV), I will lead on softly. 

I feel a bit ashamed when the world looks on me as weak, as wounded, as though a slow pace is something to be condescended, something less than. But my God honours me. He honours me with gentleness. He knows what we have been through and knows what we can handle. He calls us to tread on perilous roads and travel across vast deserts. But he leads us softly. He leads us with gentleness, not force or pressure. 

Oh how thankful I am for the gentleness of God! How weary I am on my travels through grief, as a single mom, weary of big life decisions... How peaceful it is to rest in His kindness toward me. His tender care. His gentleness.

He leads me softly.  

And in due time, I too will arrive at my destination.

Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. (Genesis 33:18)

Later… How much later???

He leads me softly. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Facing a new year and an old hope.

A new year. Another new beginning…

I must write an honest reflection, much as it pains me. I must reveal the secret concerns of my broken heart. 

Are you healthy? This is the question posed to me by a friend in ministry. Healthy? I thought, That seems relative considering the circumstances... Am I healthy? I don't quite know.  

The more time that passes, the more milestones I cross over in my journey of grief, life seem to tell me that I am moving on. Time moves forward and so must I. Many times, in an effort to assuage the concern and fear of others, or their discomfort and sense of awkwardness, I try and project a sense of strength and health. Sometimes, I feel it. But usually those moments are fleeting. Sometimes I feel blessed and thankful. But usually, I feel emptiness. Usually, I feel a dark and devastating aloneness. I wonder, Is this it? Is all hope lost? Will I truly be laid to rest here in this place of winter grief? The end of my life being the same as that of my husband's? Did I truly die with him, with no more life left to live? And what of God? What of His plan? What of faith?

Many people say, You are so strong. You are courageous. This year will bring many new blessings and renewed joy. My spirit says, Yes, this is true. But my heart says, I am eternally broken. Never to be whole again. 

A new beginning that piggy-backs the long and hard month of December, seems brutally unfair. It is quite possible that nothing has ever brought me lower than this last particular month. My birthday, a new decade without Lynn, our would-be 10th anniversary, Christmas and all its to-do's, and now New Year's… It may seem that Lynn died so long ago, why would it matter? But it is still as raw and fresh as the day it happened, leaving my heart slashed and torn to threads. Especially in times of special memories, I am thrust backwards into the past, aware of Lynn's absence in every moment and every facet of my life, swallowed up and engulfed by loneliness and emptiness, lost in grief and sorrow upon sorrow…  Even Alea, when we arrived home after the hustle and bustle of holidays, cried out for Daddy's arms like she hasn't in many long months. We could all feel the void. 

This time is supposed to be one of joy and celebration, hope and promises. But I find that I am brought low. I am reminded that my journey is not by might, nor by power, but by His Holy Spirit. It is a good thing that nothing is impossible with God, because some things are impossible for me. Bringing newness of life is one of them...