Sunday, March 23, 2008


This morning I awoke to memories of our first daughter's death, almost 12 years ago. They aren't predictable, but they're consistent.... it's always on a morning when sunlight streams in at just a certain angle, just as it did one morning following her death.
I remember the moment vividly. Days were dull and numb. It seemed a bit stupid to do the normal things people do, but you didn't know what else to do, because it equally felt bad not to do anything. So you went through whatever routine the day required, as if to appear normal to others, and just didn't assign meaning, or emotion, or enthusiasm to the actions you took. By night time, you were ready for bed, because it meant an end to the day, but falling asleep was not easy, because it seemed the one time when your mind didn't have to be subject to routine, so as if against my own will, it would journey through the emotions I had successfully avoided during the day.

Eventually exhaustion gave way to sleep, and it was usually a heavy sleep when it came. So heavy, that when the morning sun shone in, for just a brief second or two, it felt like a fresh start. For just that brief moment, I didn't remember. My mind associated previous happy memories with the sun streaming in, and for that precious moment, my spirit was free from the burden that surrounded us. Of course, it was just a second or two, before I did remember. And upon remembering, the darkness associated with loss seemed to bring a dark fog quickly over me that blurred even that bright sunlight. I remember telling Jason, as he lay beside me, about the brief second of freedom, and wondered out loud if we would ever have mornings that were good again, that we didn't remember, ... that felt fresh....

When I remembered this morning, I thought it timely that to realize it was Easter.

Jessica's funeral had presented some challenges. Her funeral fell on Labor day. Maybe it was a problem, her funeral being on a holiday and all, I don't know. But the funeral home was late that morning. We had a long line of guests being held outside closed chapel doors, past when the funeral was to begin. Calls to the funeral home. Waiting. The crowd grows. More calls. Finally the director shows up. He rushed hurriedly in the back door with a briefcase in one hand and Jessica's little casket tucked under his other arm, like he was late for a business meeting. That was another time where I'm sure what actually took seconds seemed like extended moments, but I know the shock of his actions hit everyone in the room instantly as my dad, and I believe Jason's dad, walked briskly back and met him halfway down the aisle to take her body from him. They carried it gently, respectfully, and quietly to the stand in the front. We had requested that the casket be left open, so we could put some personal items in with her body, but we found they had sealed the casket already that morning. So we tucked our letters and items away, and opened the doors. The service was beautiful, friends and family ministered greatly to us.
There is something still stomach turning about that morning to me. Not the funeral, but the fact that the care of her body had been given over to people who really didn't care. Because this is such a custom we're used to here, I never made the connection until this morning.
As I read the account of Jesus' death, and burial, and resurrection, I understood what Mary felt when she couldn't find his body to prepare it. (John 20:15) When she asked the 'gardener', "Sir, if you have carried him away, just tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
There is something about knowing a body may not hold the spirit anymore, but because of what the spirit of the person meant to you, you want to honor that shell, even in death. Maybe it doesn't look appropriate for a woman to carry a dead body back from some place it was mistakingly put, but you don't care. It was yours. It housed the soul of one you loved. Cold, discolored, empty, or not, it is the vessel, or bridge, between the here and now and the eternal.


How I love that voice. It is the voice of the One who proved in that moment He can and will One Day unseal the casket of my daughter. It is the voice of the One who makes light chase away darkness, and not the other way around. The Voice of One who brings fresh mornings, of not remembering. Who promises to bring an end to preparing the bodies of the dead.

It is because of the truth of His resurrection that I give my life to serving the God who has the power to do such a thing. All else that would demand my time, or my attention, or my affection, pales in comparison to such a One.
There is no blind faith here, in fact, for a time Jessica's loss had me convinced that a God who would allow such things to happen wasn't worthy of my time, if he even existed. Thankfully, God doesn't give up when He has been misjudged. In fact, it was while we were yet enemies, that Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)

Eli asked me this morning : "If God is God, and He could do anything, why didn't He just forgive us. Why did He have to let this happen to Jesus? "
I told him that God had to be just, and truthful about the evil things we, as His creation, have done. He couldn't just pretend we hadn't done it. Righteousness doesn't lie, and pretending doesn't make a thing go away or not real. Even Eli understood that. The only thing that has the power to outweigh the things we have done was the absolute perfection and unadulterated innocence of His obedient Son. To sacrifice, on our behalf, such an undeserving One does surely cover even the multitude of tens of millions of sins we've committed. And to raise Him, and give us the promise of His righteousness, proves His grace on top of His justice and righteousness.

Easter morning brings much reason to celebrate among those who have heard, and believed, and decided to follow Jesus Christ.

Now, when the sun shines in on mornings like these, I remember that there are good mornings. And this, was one of the best in History.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank you, friend.

One thing I value most in close friendships is someone who loves God and His truth way more than they love me. Someone who will talk about tough things - and who isn't easily swayed by their emotion, (or mine), but who will speak His truth to me, with love that I'm confident in. Sometimes that's tough to find (and tough to be.)
But I love the challenge of someone loving Him and coming away with things to share because they spend time with Him.

Let me tell you about my friend Lindsay.

She's 17 years younger than me.

That might not be significant in the grand scheme of things, but when I'm looking for the things I mentioned above, just honestly, I don't go looking for it in people that are much younger than me.
But, through her, God has certainly shown me the foolishness of my ways.

I might be revealing my shallowness here, (and maybe the confession is where God is leading, ) but I tend to refer to kids her age as "the teens," or " a student" or "one of the girls/guys" -but in this case, God has left me feeling uncomfortably comfortable only calling her my friend. I'm supposed to be a mentor. Sometimes I'll enter into a conversation praying about what to bring to the table for her benefit, only to leave having heard from God instead for myself through her. It just messes with my paradigm of "how things are supposed to go." (Probably a great faulty paradigm FOR God to mess with in me.)

Recently, Jason & I have been praying about homeschooling, but feel the struggle with getting finances in order as well. We desire to honor God with both, and know that one doesn't have to sacrifice the other, but it's not an easy decision. And in general, I just like to know what to do, and move on it, one way or the other. At the same time, Lindsay's family has taken in a second foster child, whose time with them is limited, but they don't yet know how limited it will be. They don't take in a child without giving their hearts to the task, and child, completely. Lindsay is no exception. It would obviously be easier if they had even a clue for how to prepare their hearts for her time among them, but that's not a luxury they have at the moment.

So we shared thoughts, struggles, and emails back and forth this weekend. From that, Lindsay challenged us both with this poem, and it brings such glory to our God, that I wanted to share it.

Don’t Ask Me to Wait

Her family was facing
An important decision
The Lord God had given them
More than one vision
But which one to follow
They could not choose
They wanted to chase one
But neither to lose
Knowing He knew
They pleaded with Him
Praying He would reveal
His perfect plan for them
His seeming silence
Nearly tore her apart
In desperation she lifted
A prayer from her heart:

Tell me yes
Tell me no
I trust in Your plan, Lord
Just tell me how it will go
Tell me “Do it tomorrow”
Tell me “Do it next year”
Only speak to me, Lord
I need Your voice in my ear
I’m ready and willing
I’ll do what You say
I’m longing to follow
Just show me the way
I’m trusting in You
To make my paths straight
I have just one plea, Lord:
Don’t ask me to wait

She cared for this child
But for how long
She had no way to know
Still she tried to be strong
She loved her more
As day followed day
And prayed that for now
The child would stay
She knew it was coming
Though she knew not when
She begged Him to tell her
So she’d be ready then
His seeming silence
Nearly tore her apart
In desperation she lifted
A prayer from her heart:

Tell me yes
Tell me no
I trust in Your plan, Lord
Just tell me how it will go
Tell me “She’s going tomorrow”
Tell me “She’s going next year”
Only speak to me, Lord
I need Your voice in my ear
I’m ready and willing
I’ll accept what You say
I’m longing to follow
Just show me the way
I’m trusting in You
To make my paths straight
I have just one plea, Lord:
Don’t ask me to wait

The Lord smiled down
Knowing what they must learn
That answers don’t always
Come at every turn
In His great love
He reached down His hand
And gave their hearts peace
Though they did not understand
He was teaching them patience
Trust when they’re blind
In His perfect time
Is when they would find
He promised not to leave them
Alone in the dark
And whispered gently His answer
Into their hearts:

I won’t tell you “Yes”
I won’t tell you “No”
Just trust in my plan, Child
I know how it will go
Whether tomorrow
Or whether next year
I will speak to you, Child
When I want you to hear
I know you are willing
To do what I say
I know you will follow
When I show you the way
Keep trusting in me
I will make your paths straight
Here is my answer, Child:
I ask you to wait

Just in case anyone else out there struggles with waiting like us.......:-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's okay if there's only 20 lbs below your neck.

It looked so easy. There I am, helping Julia learn the simple childhood basics of a head stand.
"Okay, flip up your legs,.." "Yep, yep, now point your toes to the ceiling,...Good!! It's okay... I've got you! GOOD JOB! That's it girl! Good job!"

The only problem was coming down. She kept pulling her hair and hurting her head. I tried to explain how to bend her knees to come down slowly, but in the end, I just thought it would be easier to show her.

So now I sit at this keyboard, unable to turn my head to the left or the right, and cringing if I so much as sneeze.
The saddest part? Julia kept saying "It's okay mommy! I'll catch your legs!" -But I never even got my legs up in the air, let alone, down again.

It seemed easy in my head.