Patchwork Quilt of Comfort: Wrapping up in the Holy Spirit

John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

In the wee hours of grief I read notes of remembrance from friends, family and acquaintances, written on Jonathan’s Facebook page. Your patchwork squares of memories, scripture, and comfort from the cross, got me through those first nightmarish days. Many of your notes are now recorded on the quilts sewn together by quilters in my church. I can literally snuggle into prayers, scripture and memories.

THANK YOU!

Squares from notes left at the funeral.
Squares from notes left at the funeral.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”

The water bill almost undid me last night. I have had a really good week since Mother’s Day and have been swimming confidently out to uncharted waters with Christ.

Brian excitedly stated, “I don’t know how, but our water bill dropped this year.”

It took me a moment to realize why . . . “We don’t have a teenager using the water.” I quietly responded. Suddenly I was deeply weary. The busy week had not drained me, the amazing time with teenagers at the ranch had not brought me to my spiritual knees, and several days of not sleeping had not disabled me. No, it was a water bill. I wanted to disappear in that moment, not feel the grief that poured into my soul. I’d give anything to do Jonathan’s laundry or hear him singing from the shower as he got ready for school.

I realized that the best thing for me to do was to head on to bed. Nothing good was going to come from me sitting there dwelling on my heartache. I heard a woman wisely say, she set a consistent pattern of going to bed when her kids do, because she realized that anything past that time that her flesh was weakened.

Again I did not sleep well, but this morning I sought the Lord’s face and reread Matthew 5:4. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He gives me comfort through scripture, laughter with a friend, my husband and kids, as well as the discipline of writing this blog. Just to name a few. Tapping these resources today I clearly see that in less than a year there is a transition happening. The days of deep anguish are becoming . . . well . . . moments. Why? Developing discipline (just about a curse word for some of us), is shutting the door on death, and opening the roof for unfathomable faith, hope, and love. The more I experience these gifts, the more I long for them to finish their work.

Oh, my sweet son, you are experiencing these three things with Jesus! May I be a witness of that indestructible abundant life, promised on this side of heaven. May I grasp ahold and be strengthened by the truth that nothing is impossible for God. Amen.

You Knit Motherhood into my Soul

On this day you knit motherhood into my soul

Sweeping away cobwebs of brokenness and rebellion

Filling my world with the vivid colors I grew up missing

You deepened my breath, made me reach deeper inside

for strength that I had never explored, laughter never expressed, and hope unquenchable

by death.

On this day you made me a mother, and not even the grave can swallow my

joy.

A Little Closer to Death

Short visit among the gray stones of remembering

Words emptied when you sunk into the earth

Silence

our new conversation.

In the quiet bosom of your death the throbbing heartbeat of creation

draws my attention away from you

and I watch life flit like spirits dancing amongst

gray stones, a little closer to death than they want to be.

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Today is my daughter’s heart check up. She has had them since birth, and in fact, before birth. We knew that she potentially could have had a heart defect and the ultra sounds looked for any problems with her developing heart. If they had found any, they could have done surgery while she was still forming in my body!

Depression, suicidal thoughts, can lay deep within our hearts and, because man looks at outer appearance, we often miss the pain and anguish within. But God, he knows our anxious thoughts. He searches within our minds, our souls, the core of who we are and is able to help us in ways that no one else can.

We all need regular heart checks, from the God who shaped our hearts and knows the things that we try to hide, or may not even be aware of. I was not aware of the rage I had stored up as a child. God brought it to the surface, exposed the monster within so that it could be removed and I could heal. Now, I open my heart before him, wanting nothing to hinder his will in my life. I know no better surgeon.

We have to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading to become more deeply aware of who might be at risk for suicide. Think about this. Jesus knew that the disciples were going to betray him, and he knew that Judas would turn him over.  David in the Psalms asks, “Where can I hide from you?” Psalm 139  God knows our children, what is happening inside their hearts, their rooms, their wallets, their school, the church, with friends and at home. Wouldn’t it be great if he reveals the spiritual battle going on? But clearly, from scripture, we see that he does! Again and again to the prophets. Again and again to Jesus and the disciples. I promise you that he does it still today! He loves us, and he wants the best for us. Lets pour out our hearts to him, and prepare our hearts to minister to all who need hope.

Country Sailor

Pulling up anchor from the crowded

harbor of humanity, I navigate

the steady sea of rolling waves of fertile green;

planting peaceful rhythm within my weary sail.

Opening my lungs to the purer, sweet saltiness

of grass, animal and clay.

Birds sail the seas of heaven, diving in delight of

prey.

Fellow sailors, nod and salute from their faithful rusty ships

as rudders plod consistent course to their harvested catch.

And when I return to shore, the sea is carried within my soul.

Perfect Loves Sweeps Out Fear

Perfectly loved, unafraid because

You make yourself

comfortable in my heart.

Wallpapering my soul

with scripture,

flinging open windows and locked doors

to the sunshine of your joy.

Removing stumbling

blocks

Removing doubt that clutters.

Lifting my face

to gaze into your

unblemished love.

Choosing

me.

Adopting me.

You are my mirror

Reflecting truth

I refused to see,

Showing me my heart

the way you see it, strengthening

my love to laugh again.

Love: The Hand Scarred For Me

You woke me from the terror of my nightmares,

said I was worth your time, your pain, your cross.

You didn’t shy away from my stains

From the sorrow I could not repay.

You awoke my desire

A fire for something

beyond self

beyond limit

beyond fear

you lit

my

path

until I

became You.

Holding out my scarred hands

Lightening another soul’s nightmare.

Giving Impossible Circumstances to the God of Possibilites

Edgar Allen Poe dug up Annabel Lee . . . or so the ghost tour guide in Charleston, South Carolina wanted us to believe. Often times we take bits of truth such as, Poe wrote a lot about dying women and he is shrouded in mystery and blow them up into legends. Behind Poe’s poetry on death was a real person, who himself may have been stuck in grieving and trying to figure out, is death the final blow. His father abandoned him, and his mother died when he was only 3. His siblings were split up and his foster family was tumultuous at best. He did not have guidance into a firm and secure adulthood and, I believe, became stuck in an impulsive and impetuous childhood as an adult. He tended to alienate others because he had a sharp tongue and used it often. Drinking and gambling became two of his fallbacks when life was not going his way. He could neither manage success or enjoy it. Poe’s life seemed set up to fail. His final words were reported to be, “Lord, help my poor soul.” (biography.com)

We have a real enemy who loves to attack our children. Jesus warns that the punishment is severe for those who harm our children (Matthew 18). Some of us have been born into abusive families, some of us have  hardship after hardship, and some of us have chosen our own destructive path. I am working on reading the Bible cover to cover this year and one thing is clear: GOD IS NOT LIMITED BY OUR CIRCUMSTANCES! From Adam to the end God turns the darkest of circumstances around. Rahab the prostitute is in the lineage of Jesus, Joseph the slave, saves his family who sold him into slavery, Roman occupation into the stage for a cross, a death and a resurrection.

Poe, like many of us could not see the possibilities beyond his circumstances. I tell you the truth, not even death can stop us! Jesus’ enemies thought they had cut off the head and that the disciples would fall apart. They were almost right, the disciples could not see past their fears or the grave. But, when Jesus arose and continued ministering and preparing the disciples, this band of rag-a-muffins became a powerhouse of restoration to the sick, poor, lost, hungry and all those whose circumstances seemed impossible! So, don’t think for a second that what you are experiencing is beyond hope.

http://tonynolan.org/3min-testimony-interview/