Friday, April 11, 2014

No stranger to the rain

Matthew 5:45 
So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For
he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends
rain on the just and on the unjust.

Dear Lord, may all of us who suffer and SEE your face
through the lighting and thunder of this life, the wind and
rain that rage all around us hide this verse in our hearts.
May we know without doubt we do NOT suffer because we are
unjust. May we always know that you always have a purpose
even in pain. Help me always remember that Jesus paid the
price for our sin, remind me constatnly Lord that the price
is paid in full. The price was paid before my son left this
Earth and Lord remind us who greive for our children that we
don't suffer more storms "because" of anything we have done.
The sun will rise on us all and the rain will fall on us all
here according to your word. The just and unjust. Amen. 

I know I have mentioned before that everyday I wake up with a song playing in my mind. Sometimes its Christian type music, sometimes its scripture in the form of a song, sometimes it's 'vanilla ice' especially if its cold when I first wake up
 (just kidding. not really. ice ice baby). I woke up this morning with Keith Whitley on the brain, "I'm no stranger to the rain." I wasn't sure why at first, its not raining today, in fact its beautiful today.
Last night though, is a different story, emotionally anyway.

I saw a facebook friend with a flash back type of facebook app. It showed what she posted 2 years ago to the day. Neat right? So I downloaded it. It turns out that it is neat, but not when it brings back a status that you wish so much you could re-live. My status that it brought up was from 4 years
ago to the day, no I did not choose 4 years ago, it gave that to me. It was my own typing "About to watch Jackson's first game of the season, whoohooo!". That was a rush of raw emotion this momma was not ready for. Not only was that his first game that season, it was one of the last games of this
life for him. It made me think about how unfair it is, all of it. Its not fair that my son is not here and it's not
fair that everyone else gets to post this same status THIS year and it be true of their little boy's. I can never, ever, post that again and it be true. I can post that status in years to come of my other children, but they arent Jackson and it's still not fair. There will not be another "first game of the season" for my oldest son. 

I don't know why humans crave sunshine so much but we do. Ever noticed how some peoples entire mood can be altered by a rainy day? I'm that person, except sometimes the rain comes when the sun is out for everyone else. For me rain is just a damper on a moment the realization that the sun won't
always shine on me and it never has. I am, as Keith Whitley puts it "No stranger to the rain." In case you are not familiar with the song here are the lyrics:

"I'm No Stranger To The Rain"
I'm no stranger to the rain
I'm a friend of thunder
Friend, is it any wonder li
But through it all I withstood the pain
I'm no stranger to the rain

But when I get that foggy feeling
When I'm feeling down
If I don't keep my head up, I may drown
But it's hard to keep believing
I'll even come out even
While the rain beats your hope in the ground
And tonight it's really coming down

I'm no stranger to the rain
But there'll always be tomorrow
And I'll beg, steal, or borrow a little sunshine
And I'll put this cloud behind me
That's how the Man designed me
To ride the wind and dance in a hurricane
I'm no stranger to the rain

Oh, no, I'm no stranger to the rain

I'm no stranger to the rain
I'm a friend of thunder
Friend, is it any wonder lightning strikes me
But I'll put this cloud behind me
That's how the Man designed me
To ride the wind and dance in a hurricane
I'm no stranger to the rain

Oh, no, I'm no stranger to the rain 

I realize Keith is singing a familiar country song "whoa is me" type of tune but unfortunately for many of us this is more than true. There are absolutely times that I would beg, steal or borrow for a little sunshine. I'm not sure why but I identify with Keith in that I too have been designed by my maker to weather some serious storm's. Those of us who love Jesus yet get rained on way more than our share seem to be without a doubt the strong ones. I have been severely bent by the storm's of my  life to the point of breaking. We who live here without our children will never be "un broken" but we will heal like a fracture,  able to be used but never the same and always "aware" of the pain.  We are able to ride the wind and dance in a hurricane when others are running in fear of any impending bad weather, spiritually speaking. Even though we may get to close to the thunder and hit by lightening a time or two, we are  made strong IN SPITE of the constant downpour.

Sunshine is gift from our father, we all crave its warmth. When spring finally comes and the sunshine warms our skin it more common to look up and thank God for granting the sun after so much cold and rain from winter. For some of us though, it's always raining to a certain extent.  We stay damp from the persistent little pop up showers or drenched and drowning from thunder rolling storms. We are always reminded by our pain to look up. We don't always need the sun to remind us to be thankful. We pray while we dance in the wind and ride that awful hurricane. We are "No stranger to the rain".
For some of us spring is another sign that the seasons and time is moving and our hearts still ache to be with our children again. I rest knowing with everything I am That His love can not be overcome. It just cannot be, I am no stranger to the rain, but I am not alone in the storm of life. 

“Storms come, and are so personal, they seem to know your address and have the key to your house.” ~ Reverend Jesse Jackson
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Finding hope in a cemetery

Luke 12:27-28
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”

This past Sunday was so beautiful. The weather was nice and JC and I decided that we had been locked in the house long enough with her broken arm. We were ready to go play outside, but what could we do with her arm being in a huge cast? Obviously riding her pony was off the agenda for a while. We decided to go to the cemetery and put out some bright colored metal spring flowers we got for Jackson. 

When we pulled up the first thing we both noticed was the amount of yellow daffodils all over the cemetery. As we drove toward Jackson’s spot I noticed the flowers were not nearly as abundant as in the older section of the cemetery. What was up with that? JC and I decided to walk to the older section and investigate. It was amazing! Most of the stones that dated back 100 years or more were the ones with all the daffodils. Some of the flowers were meticulously planted around the perimeter of the site in a beautiful spray of yellow daffodil promises. They were planted so perfectly in love that I could not help but picture the loved one on their knees mourning their loss and planting flowers that would grow even when the life of that person may have been forgotten over the years.

I have never been one to find comfort in the cemetery, not until Sunday. It was quiet and so full of peace, the perfect place to spend time talking and walking with my 7 year old. While it’s not fair that our daughter has to understand the permanent concept of death from saying goodbye to her big brother, it was beautiful how God led us there to see show me how sweet and tender her heart is. She wanted to know how old each person was and what their name is. She was upset when she asked me if it’s possible that some of them did not know Jesus. 

As we walked farther through the rows of the very old stones, the daffodils were literally jumping out at us.  I let her pick some of the wild daffodils along the wood line because she wanted to put them on the graves with no flowers. I could not help but smile at the thought of young “Mr.Bertie” giving her a big hug one day in Heaven for being so sweet as to give him some bright yellow flowers of his own. 

When we got home I could not shake the picture in my mind of all of those meticulously planted daffodils. Why were they so abundant in the older part of the cemetery? I started researching online and I found this written by a woman who traveled many cemeteries documenting the age of the stones and carvings: “Cemetery daffodils symbolize grace, beauty, deep regard, mortality, the death of a youth, new beginnings, innocence and unrequited love, making them very popular as part of the silent language depicted on stones.”
I can’t explain why all of a sudden God wanted me to SEE the flowers, but He did. I have been feeling lost lately. As I have shared before the change of season always hits me hard, it’s a reminder that time is moving without my son here with me. I think God wanted to remind me that He is in control. He can give us the idea to plant flowers that last much longer than the memory of our Earthly lives. He calls them to bloom every spring, possible 80-100 years after they were planted! He has not forgotten us though at times it sure feels that way.  Just like he remembers to call those daffodils to bloom every spring He remembers us. Those daffodils planted by loved ones serve as reminders of the love the planter has for the one gone before them. The wild flowers just may serve as reminders that He remembers us.  

   Spring is Coming
“Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground: there's something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through” ~Steven Curtis Chapman