Today I grieve

Today I grieve.

As I make breakfast for my little ones and myself, I grieve.

As I watch my boys play with their cousins, laughing and teasing and chasing, I grieve.

As I clean my house so I can welcome many friends after a long break, I grieve.

I grieve for two wives. One whose best friend and love is gone too soon, just as life was starting for them. One whose best friend is gone after years of love and friendship. One lost to a disease, one lost to a decision. Neither easy to take. Both tragic and heartbreaking.

I grieve for four children. One little boy who doesn’t understand why he can’t go to heaven with his daddy now. One daughter about to wed without her beloved father to walk her down the aisle. One daughter about to bring her first joy of life into the world, wondering if the child’s grandfather will be a part. One son coming to grips with his mother slipping away as his first daughter will be born soon. Two lost to a disease. Two lost to a decision.

I grieve for friendships. Friendships built on love, respect and faith, torn down and carelessly thrown away. Admiration tarnished. Faithfulness abandoned. Lost to a decision.

I grieve for sin. Sin that is the cause of all grief because it separates us from our Maker and Father. Sin, a result of a decision.

But I know that joy will come. It will come because of Who has defeated sin. Because of Who loves us, enough to die for us. His joy will overcome disease, defiance, decisions. But today I grieve for all that is lost.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.


This baby…

needs to get here! I have been waiting and waiting! I usually don’t have too much of an issue waiting, but the doctors practically promised me he would be here by now and I have tried all the tried and true old wives’ tales and nothing has worked!! What makes it really hard is that I have done all the “lasts”; last trip to the grocery (3 times now), last big house cleaning (that also needs some touching up), last community group at our house, last load of laundry (6 loads ago), last day of work. I have put off planting new flowers, which I desperately want to do. I put off doing the neighborhood garage sale. I have put off committing to major plans. I got my toes done and I am READY!!! Xavier, evidently is not. So what am I doing w/ my time? Chasing Elijah, spending time w/ friends and family and taking it easy. All things that I covet and crave. So really I have NO reason to complain 🙂 I just want to meet my little guy. I want to hold him and smell his head and kiss his sweet cheeks. I think about how much we will be at home for awhile, just trying to adjust to life and it makes me think about being home w/ Elijah when he was first born. I remember sweet mornings feeding him and watching Sunrise Earth on TV. I remember watching him for hours it seemed like. I remember reading him The Hobbit out loud b/c it was what I was reading at the time and he seemed interested. 😉 I know I won’t have the same moments w/ Baby Xa b/c his brother will need to eat and play and want Mama to read books (more age appropriate than The Hobbit), but I’m ready to have those moments I will get with him. And so I wait.

Remember and Hope…

When I taught school and this day came around, it was always difficult for me to teach. I did not experience first hand any of the atrocities of segregation, though my parents and grandparents did. I lived in rural Mississippi as a child, but did not understand color difference. The song I sang every day, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, said that Jesus loves us all, red and yellow, black and white, so I did too. It didn’t occur to me that others didn’t, hadn’t or wouldn’t. I never thought to ask my parents or grandparents. Getting older, I realized that there were differences. 99% of my church was white, but that wasn’t true at school or in my neighborhood. It still didn’t really dawn on me, that these issues were still around until I went to college where racial tensions came to head on Oct. 1, 1962 with the admission of James Meredith to Ole Miss, and still simmer under the magnolias there from time to time. So when it came to teaching my students about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did and what he stood for, I always felt inadequate. I would tell them the facts and read them the speech, and every time I would cry. I could not explain why I couldn’t make it through this historical text without being overcome and I always worried it would confuse my students, my emotions. After all, I had never been hurt by this horrible life of racism and segregation. I had never felt any hint of pain or loss or humiliation.
And then today I got it. I am sad and grieving because it happened at all. This dark mark on our history made by people created in God’s image against fellow image bearers. The wrongness is heartbreaking and moves me to tears every time. The damages we have done to our Creator’s work through our sin continue to put dark marks on us all. My pastor spoke of Godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow on Sunday. Worldly sorrow is regret b/c of negative consequences. Godly sorrow is regret that we have hurt God and others.
I think Dr. King’s speech moves me to tears because also some things have not yet come to pass. Things are definitely better than in his day and he and the people who stood with him, went about it in the right way- peacefully. But some things he spoke of have not happened yet and will not happen until Jesus, our Savior, returns to completely heal this broken world. But I look forward to that day and pray I can help, in some small way. Hope is what we have.

My friend, Heidi's beautiful family. What our world SHOULD look like, and with hope, one day will.

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Suus sepulchrum est cassus…

Slow of Heart
This tomb is empty
This tomb is empty
So why are you looking for me here?

This grave is empty
This grave is empty
So why are you seeking me here?

Oh, you slow of heart
You slow of heart
To understand

This house is empty
This house is empty
So why are you knocking on that door?

Oh, you slow of heart
You slow of heart
To understand
Ryan Smith

And we no longer have anything to fear! amen

The day that true love died…

Jesus, they say You walked on water once
When You lived as all men do
Please teach me how to walk the way You did
Because I want to want to walk with You

Jesus, they say You taught a lame man how to dance
When he had never stood without a crutch
Here I am Lord – holding out my withered hands
I’m just waiting be touched

Jesus – write me into Your story
Whisper it to me
And let me know I’m yours

Jesus, they say You spoke and calmed an angry wave
That was tossed across a stormy sea
Please teach me how to listen, how to obey
Cause there’s a storm inside of me

Jesus, they drove the cold nails through Your tired hands
And rolled a stone to seal Your grave
Feels like the devil’s rolled a stone onto my heart
Can You roll that stone away?

RIch Mullins, Mitch McVicker, Dana Waddel

His followers, in shock and grief, wondered what to do next.
They were alone and afraid.
What happened to everything they had come to believe?
Why did He leave them? Where do they go from here?
They didn’t know that Sunday was coming. They didn’t have the hope that we do.
They only saw the Death, with no idea of the coming Resurrection.
In the rain and thunder and quaking, they huddled in abandonment.
The day that true love died.

These are a few of my favorite things…

~ Elijah’s smile
~ Elijah’s laugh
~ Elijah’s pouty face
~ Chad’s blue eyes
~ when Chad sings, I mean REALLY sings
~ going out to breakfast
~ coffee!!
~ dark chocolate
~ going to the movies
~ LOST!!!!
~ pints of Guiness w/ Sheila
~ Books!!! I love, love, love books!!
~ music that tells a good story
~ having people stay w/ us, like a grown-up slumber party!
~ dogs 🙂
~ one-on-one conversations w/ a good friend
~ my girlfriends!
~ cheeseburgers
~ red wine
~ getting lost in an art museum
~ Van Gogh’s paintings
~ my bed
~ seeing my nieces play
~ when I read something in the Bible that I know was written long ago, but was meant just for me at just this time
~ knowing that even as distracted as I get, I know where my help comes from

Did they mean to….

change the story, yet add a new point to think on? While I am on the subject of Prince Caspian, I was amazed at the liberties they took w/the script and story-line. My brother-in-law, a Narnia purist and screenwriter himself, will not be pleased with how far they got from the original story, but they did provide some more thought provoking moments whether it was intentional or not. What surprised me was that, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’ stepson, was an advisor on the the film and yet it still was dramatically different than the book.  I have always felt that Prince Caspian is the chronicle most like a bedtime story b/c it has the least amount of action, so I wondered how they were going to make an exciting full-length film from it. My wondering was answered by a barrage of new action scenes, an interesting flirtation and a macho-tension plot b/t Peter and Caspian.

“I’m supposed to be king.” -C
“Oh yeah, well I’m the High King.” – P

The latter two additions I could have done without. 
But what they did do that was interesting to me, was reverse Peter and Susan’s roles from the actual story. In the book, Susan was actually being the “doubting Thomas” and Peter, while unable to see Aslan, wasn’t feeling abandoned and in need of proof so he could lead.  In the movie,  Peter’s confliction about his inability to see Aslan and his admission that he wished he could just have some proof struck a chord with me. Whether the writers meant to or not, they painted an accurate and interesting picture of how many of us react to God’s presence in our lives when things are tough.  We wish He would “show up” and prove to us He is there and cares. If we are really truthful, what we really want is for God to come in and fix-it, to save the day.  Like I said in the post before, I want that. I want Him to come save the day and fix whatever is hurting me or the ones I love. 
But what is faith, if it is not in the things unseen?(Rom. 8:24)  And endurance through difficult situations increases our faith and produces character which in turn produces hope (Rom. 5:3-5). It felt like the writers used Romans 5:1-5 and Romans 8:24-25 as a model for Peter’s struggle in the movie. Who knows? But it did put some situations in perspective for me.

Gifts today:
~ a special  lunch with one of my dearest friends
~ an intense Yoga session
~ getting Baby J’s bed
~ dinner w/my mom and dad
~ special time w/  the Lord
~ my sweet husband

The Great Lion…

The Lion of Judah has always been one of my favorite names of Jesus.  It denotes strength and honor and power and majesty. I have long had a tender spot in my heart for Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis’ contemporary and friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, chided Lewis that his stories were too blatantly allegorical, and Lewis in turn chided that Tolkien’s were not. The character of Aslan is not one of Lewis’ creating though. He is THE Lion and there is no mistaking that. Lewis did not want there to be any mistake though. I am paraphrasing a story that Douglas Gresham, Lewis’ stepson, told:

A little boy who was reading The Chronicles of Narnia was crying one night in his room. His mother came and asked what was wrong and he told her sorrowfully that he loved Aslan more than he loved Jesus. Either the mother or the child wrote this in a letter to Lewis, who responded by saying to love Aslan is to love Jesus.

Aslan himself tells the Pevensie children on their last trips to Narnia, that it is their time to get to know him in their own world. Sometimes I feel like I seek Christ in this lion form. I watched and wept jealously as Lucy sought Aslan and found him in Prince Caspian on Friday. She was faithful, she was sure He would be there for her and yet when He came roaring in,  you saw the fear that it might not be him. Yet, even though she feared that, she went to Him anyway and was rewarded for her faith by getting to throw herself into Him and be held by her Lion. 

It felt a little silly, but I cannot help but long for my chance to fall into my Lion’s arms and tell him how much I love Him. I want Him to come save the day, but like He told Lucy, “Things never happen the same way twice, dear one.” The way my Lion rescued me, when He brought me out of darkness and made me His own, is not the way He will “rescue” me from life’s troubles. In a sermon I heard Andy Stanley preach about what God does promise us, he said that God does not promise that we will rich or safe or successful. In fact, He assures us that “we will have troubles in this world” but that He has overcome them.  What He Has promised us is grace and mercy when we approach His throne, approach Him. I saw a not-so-subtle vision of that when the Lion rolled around and cuddled a little girl who had been seeking Him desperately.  I desperately needed to see that.

More about Aslan later, right now my gifts are:
~grace and mercy
~ my sweet, sleeping husband who loves me so well
~my beautiful son doing flips in my tummy
~a beautiful day, doing nothing with dear, dear friends