Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Suffering to "get" it

1 John 4: 7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love
It is my personal belief that no matter how much we love Christ or where we are in our spiritual maturity, we just can NOT "get" what life is really about until one of two things happens. Either we suffer pain and loss so great that it completely devours us, OR it is a spiritual gift from God. I refer to it as a gift because that type of faith is not easily obtained, trust me.
While it may be true that everyone suffers, (and I believe that with my whole heart) there are only a few who have been all consumed by it. By this I am speaking of those of us who have been rocked to our core and changed from the inside out because of our sufferings. If your every thought has not been consumed with pain or thoughts of how you will survive without your child or how your children may have to survive without you. You have not suffered the intense, raw pain I'm speaking of. Let me be clear in that I am not saying that we don't desperately need our friends who have not been through this kind of pain, we do! However, we need other sufferers who “get” us as well. We are an ever growing group of people who have been called to hold out our hand and sometimes our hearts to help others who suffer. We never know what goes through the mind of someone in that kind of pit. Its possible they can't SEE Jesus through the pain, but he is there and he is counting on US to be the body who steps up to hold them. Show them who we are and tell them we are still standing through our pain and suffering because Jesus holds us up. We can’t just hope they know we are there when they need us. We have to be intentional and step out on faith and just show up at their door.  
The longing for heaven like we who suffer have, comes from an almost urgent anticipation of the day our savior will wipe away every tear. On that day we will meet our savior and we will be whole and we will be WITH our children, ALL of them. We will be happy and whole again.
I have mentioned before that when I began my climb out of that horrible pit after Jackson went to heaven, I noticed immediately that my eyes were different.  The Lord had literally given me a brand new pair of eyes that took a long time (and still a work in progress) to get used to. I SEE things now. I'm literally not the same person I was before Jackson went to Heaven. Its hard to explain, but here is a prime example. I don't remember ever seeing someone in public and going out of my way to speak to them before my new eyes, in fact if memory serves me correctly (which is a questionable spot to even go) If I saw someone I would go the other way to avoid them all together. I mean who wants to get stuck talking to someone when you’re just in the grocery store to grab one thing? Well, me….now anyway. I get that I need to at least acknowledge that I see you right in front me. I can only imagine what people think of who I was before. Actually, I don't want to. It breaks my heart and brings me to my knees when I think about who I was before. I am literally heart broken as I type this thinking about what it took to make me SEE.
It should never take tragedy to obtain this kind of faith, but sadly it does. It does take that kind of suffering and up close wrestling with Jesus to make you SEE the face of your savior. SEE how our savior will come here and change your heart and heal your spirit. He does not only sit on a throne all day, He is here. and He is near to the broken hearted and he saves the crushed in spirit! I have SEEN what he can do. I don’t believe you obtain new eyes until you have seen the savior who offers them. You may have wrestled him for you new eyes or you were gifted with them.
Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.Lots of people know Jesus and are just as saved as Billy Graham and still are not gifted to "get" it. The thing is, I don't expect them to and I don't want them to ever have to "get" it. If its not a gift strait from God then you suffered to be able to finally "get" it. To get it is to finally “get” what it’s like to know without a doubt that this world is not our home, it’s NOT OUR HOME.
There are song writers who have never gone through what some of us do, yet they write the most beautiful lyrics that only one who "gets" it should sing. What a perfect thing that is, to be able to“get” it as a gift!
I know this is a long blog but for some reason my heart just weighs 1000 pounds today. I SEE so many who may think they "get" it but then they say or do something that proves opposite and let me say this THAT IS OK! Be thankful that you don't, I mean that. It’s a blessing that you don’t fully “get” it. We need those of you who have not suffered, we need you to intercede for us and stand when we cannot. God gave us all a purpose, those who “get” it and those who don’t. Though I may be jealous of those who don’t I know I need you every hour of every day. Though we may have different eyes we are all the body of Christ. It takes each of us to help pull the others up off of their faces when it’s just too hard. We need you, I need you.
To those of us who unfortunately do "get" it (and got it by suffering) we need to step up and show others that Jesus saves and He comes here to do it. This world means nothing, its only a second on an eternity time scale. We have got to put down the things that don't matter and pick up the people who do. Stop worrying, that’s not our job. Our only job on this earth is to bring glory to God.
Lord knows I need all my warriors no matter what eyes you have, if you “get” it or don’t. I know I need you, especially in the next week as Jackson's birthday approaches. Please keep those of us who suffer in your prayers. We need all the prayers we can get to remain upright, every day. Every single day we need you until the day our Lord returns we need you.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Becoming the body

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”. Matthew 18: 19-20 (NKJV)
I have realized that while my prayers are probably just as weak as I am,  they are also as honest as I am. My prayers are not eloquent or proper but they are special because they are raw and real and they are the words from my soul to my Father. The words we pray are special to God because they are requests from us that only He can fulfill.
I was honored to have heard some of the most beautiful prayers last night as many Christians came together to pray outside the home of some dear friends in our community. I heard beauty and I heard broken. As I stood there holding hands with two strangers (to me anyway ;-) ) I wondered which prayer is more delightful to The Lord. Is it the beautiful ones that flow almost like song lyrics and make perfect sense that prompt us to say "amen" as the person prays. Or the ones like mine, broken and confusing with long pauses to keep from crying. I have been known to move quickly from one request, to a praise, to a completely different request during my prayers (Yes I suppose my ADHD shows even in my prayer life). While I heard two very different types of prayers both types were so powerful that I felt the need at times to get down on my face and just praise. I pictured the holy spirit moving swiftly through our circle of prayer to the family and through the family. I felt power, and I felt Jesus. I heard all different kinds of requests on behalf of the family being spoken simultaneously, and I know He heard them all. I felt it in my bones and I felt it in my very being. I can only begin to imagine how the ones being prayed for felt in that moment of pure power! If you doubt God then step into the middle of a line of believers linked and praying together for one purpose, believing that God is who He says He is. You will leave that circle changed and that's a promise. Sometimes God just shows up and He shows out big time. Other times we feel his quiet presence and we know we have just witnessed something amazing. I pray every person reading this gets to experience love like that at least once in this life.
You may have noticed that I refer to songs and lyrics often. That's because I love music and I relate to music. At times when I don't know how or what to pray a song will come to me and I simply sing it to The Lord. When I thought about all the different people praying in all different ways yet all for one family, I was reminded of an Amy Grant song. 'Better than a hallelujah' here are a few of the lyrics:

"We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out..."

Its obvious to me and everyone who was there that God showed Himself last night. I like to think that the mixture of prayers all going up were like the perfect song to Him. I like to picture His angels all around our circle smiling as they watched us lay us our pride down and pray aloud for that precious man and his family. Maybe all of our prayers, the beautifully spoken ones and the broken confusing ones came together in Heaven and formed a perfect Love song on behalf of a family who is loved more than they will ever know.

Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth

Psalm 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

Isaiah 65:24 Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.

Steve and Kim Dillard
Now that's some people getting ready to PRAY!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Loving by example

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.

My heart is heavy with thoughts of all the people I pray for daily. I have been thinking so much about them and the circumstances surrounding a few of them in particular. Two couples come to my mind immediately. One is a woman who is fighting for her life, another a man. Both fighting cancer and both fighting to live. Both of these people have the most precious God given spouses anyone could ask for.
As I pray for the sick ones, I find myself thinking about the position the spouse is in. They want so badly to make it all go away so they don't have to consider not growing old with the one they love so much. They can't "do" anything, what a horrible, helpless feeling. I cannot imagine having to sit on my hands and wait for someone else to tell me if they can heal my husband so we can continue our lives together. Having no choice but to leave the future of their lives together in the hands of God almighty and the doctors has got to be just to much. As most people say they would do anything for their children, we should feel the same about our spouses. I would do anything for my husband and he has done close to the same for me. No, I can't say it has always been that way. Marriage is hard, its just HARD. Its a full time job, and lots of people treat it like a job and when they grow tired of it they quit.
I pray not to step on toes here, but this is something I feel I need to say. There are many people that I know who take their spouse and their beautiful lives together for granted. why on earth does it take a personal tragedy to bring some people close? I have no idea, but that is what happened for my marriage. Losing Jackson shook us to our core. As the foundation we built as a family crumbled and the dust cleared we were left standing together and stronger than ever. I credit that fully to God, there is no marriage that can survive what we have and continue to grow and thrive without Christ. I cannot imagine my life without my Josh, and that makes my prayers for my friends so much more real. No marriage is perfect because no human is perfect.
I want us all to thrive in our marriages, grow in true love and respect while we can. It should not take such tragedy as it did for me to SEE and appreciate what I truly have.
My husband and I both come from divorced families. So I speak with an honest heart when I say I fully understand that some divorce cannot be helped. For some families divorce can be turned into a blessing as was the case for my family. I would not have a father and my children would not have a grandpa if not for my parents divorce and her marriage to the man who raised me. I only wish that before some couples made the choice to chase what they believe to be happiness that they could see through my friends eyes. SEE through eyes and hearts that suffer for the ones they love before choosing another route. My friends want nothing more than to see their spouse live, to live the life they had planned on their wedding day. Maybe if your reading this you will try and SEE what you have. See your spouse for who they are and make the choice to love them. Love is not always (or ever, ;-) ) butterflies and Hallmark channel romance. Its work and its hard and it's beautifully messed up. Sometimes we cry and sometimes we wonder why we married this person in the first place (because obviously we are perfect and they are blind ), sometimes we just get tired of trying. In my opinion, most of all, marriage is worth every second of hard work you put into it. After all, the Lord himself thinks enough of marriage that we will all one day be the bride of Christ!
Please keep my friends and all the other people out there watching the ones they love suffer in your prayers. Pray that God will heal and restore them and that the people watching will SEE what love and being a servant really is by watching these precious families. May all our awful struggles bring glory to our savior. And may God restore all of our marriages and make us SEE what really  matters.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lone soldier

Hebrews 5:8-9Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.

I wrote a complete blog and then, I erased it (several times). I am feeling very anxious lately yet I have the strong pull to write this blog. I am praying that whatever comes out, it won't be as all over the place as I'm feeling as I write it.
I struggle, like most Christians to be obedient to God. Its not because I don't want to obey, its because....its very hard. Its hard to be led to put your life on the internet. It's hard to back down from my own ways and let God use me. Sometimes I just fight it and don't realize that I'm ignoring Him. Other times I turn my head and hope the persistence goes away. God being a God of His word He is not changing his mind. He is eternal, as is His plan. When He calls us to do something, its for a reason. Fight as I may, He will always win and even though it's hard I know its for a purpose so much bigger than me. So here goes.....
I get very irritated when I read or hear the phrase "God saves his hardest battles for his strongest soldiers". I have no idea why but today I read that by a well meaning person and I just got so........I don't know, irritated. The thought that I (along with many others) may have been chosen by God to battle the worst tragedy I can imagine, for what, because I'm a strong soldier? That makes no sense to me, whoever coined that phrase should be the poster child for pep talks. I mean, I'm picturing my God on His throne saying "no wait, save that battle for Ronnie and Josh Orman, they are stronger soldiers." That's just not how it happens, it can't be.
When I get this anxious and overwhelmed I know I need to find biblical support. I have to find something in THE word that says that God would put un thinkable things on me because I'm a "strong soldier." I can not find that in scripture. What I did find (and not by chance) is this:

2 Chronicles 20:17 you do not have to fight this battle. position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.

I am not a fan of taking one bible verse and basing things on one verse instead of backing up a bit to see what the whole story is (this is great story please read it!). However, I fell in love with this particular verse. Its like God is speaking it to me personally today as I cringe over someone attempting a pep talk or a kind word. So you see why I refuse to believe He saved the most horrendous battle for me and my family? He wouldn't do that, He wants to fight for us so that we don't have to get beat down in any battle be it spiritual or physical. If we are following His will and listening for his commands, we shouldn't have to fight so hard and feel so alone doing it. He is always fighting for us, we just have to get out of the way.
My battle today is that it is 20 days until Jackson should be having his 9th birthday party. I think a lot of my anxiety goes back to my previous blog "The search". We, as parents never stop searching for our child, we also never stop thinking about things that should be happening in their lives. My mom brain knows that I'm supposed to be doing something very important, like mailing out invitation's for Jacksons party. The party we wont be having here on Earth. Even when I'm not thinking about it, I am thinking about it. Its a struggle a spiritual battle. I suppose we are all soldiers in a sense, but I don't believe that the stronger ones are picked on to fight the most horrendous battles. When I back up and let God lead the battle the way it's intended then I become part an army more than one lone soldier. I would rather consider myself a soldier in Gods army than "the strongest soldier taking on the hardest battles."