Saturday, October 31, 2009

Great Love for a Grieving Heart

"To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.
He reveals the deep things of darkness
and brings deep shadows into the light."
~ Job 12:13, 22

In a previous blog posting entitled "No Greater Love..." I spoke of how grateful I was to have the family I have and the joy of having become an aunt twice more within a two week span. Now nearly two years later much has changed but the one thing that continues to reiterate within me and the constant whisper of God that tugs on my heart is that of a great love. I have never realized the strength and power of love until that joy I had two years ago came crashing down only 5 months later. Here I am on the eve of what would have been my precious nephew, Billy's second birthday and all I can say is "how did I get here?". And this is not a phrase of despair, but rather a phrase of shock, disbelief, gratefulness, peace, and healing all wrapped into one. God has shown nothing but GREAT love for my family and even in the moments where I still cry and I still grieve over losing such a precious gift, I find that what was left behind, the legacy Billy left within me, is an ability to love deeper, to understand greater, and to laugh harder. For although it has been 582 days since our family gave Billy back to Jesus to live with Him for eternity, it just means that there are 582 less days on earth we have to live without him and therefore we are that much closer to seeing him in the Kingdom of God.

This last week I've spent time looking back at the last two years of my life and where I have been, the valleys I have walked through, where God has lead me and where He continues to guide me as I walk into the fullness that He has set before me. I am in awe of His greatness, for it is nothing that I did. In fact if it was up to me or by my own strength I definitely would be curled up in a corner somewhere enduring a complete and total emotional breakdown. Love is what is getting my family through this time and love is what will continue to get us through as the years go by. I'm so blessed, I love how God has taken a family that has always been so close and just drawn us closer to one another. I love that what the enemy meant for evil, God took and made good. Out of the grief of losing their son, my sister and her husband created a non-profit (SIDS America) to help other families walk through their grief. They are able to share with others how God spoke over them, how He walked with them (and continues to do so) through their grief, and how God is healing their hearts. Billy has left behind a greater legacy than I'm sure even he could ever imagine... I have no doubt that he couldn't be more proud of his mommy and daddy here on earth, I know I am. A legacy and organization I too hope to help out with in the near future.

Tonight as I get ready to close my eyes and wake up to another birthday without Billy, I leave you with a song that brings comfort to a grieving heart...

"Broken hearted from all you have lost
How can you sing through your tears?
What is this music that can bear such a cost?
What is this fire that grows stronger against the wind?
What kind of flame can this be?

This is the love that God showed the world
When He gave us His Son
So we could know His love forever
Beyond the gates of splendor."

~ No Greater Love, Steven Curtis Chapman

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This IS my Story...

Have you ever sat and listened to a song, I mean really listen to it, specifically the words? Often times that's all I hear, I don't hear the music at all. Today's song is the wonderful worship song, "Blessed Assurance." Such powerful words and re-done quite a few times by some amazingly talented worship leaders. Ross Parsley, the worship leader of New Life Church in Colorado Springs had his worship team record it on their Counting on God album, which was released around the time that my nephew passed away and right after their church endured two different tragedies only 13 months apart. In case it's been a while since you've heard it here are the words that have replayed over and over in my head today:

"This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long."

On the Counting on God album Ross Parsley leads his whole church from the worship song, "Overcome" into those two lines from Blessed Assurance, and they sing it over and over again... that's all they sing, and for me that's all they needed to. I'm laughing at myself right now because through the tears and rapid typing I feel as though if I don't get this blog written soon someone might miss it... breathe with me now won't you?

Whew... okay, I'm back and focused again : )

I've been taking some trips down memory lane lately and I got to thinking about my story, the one God has neatly written and knit together. Sometimes it's almost unbelievable where I've been and where God is leading me... and I'm only 28 (ok, so I'm rounding up, but I only have about 27 more days before I hit that mark). I was looking at the picture of me and Avery the day she was born the other night... I was 24 at the time...

(look how tiny she is... look how young I am)

That little girl is now 3 1/2 years old and has the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met in my life. She is a part of the last nearly 28 years that make up my story thus far. Along with the joys of becoming an aunt (8 times in the last 3.5 years) there have been plenty of tears and heart break and gut wrenching decisions that got me onto the path that I'm on now, the path that is leading me into what will be the pursuit of a 5 year long dream. I don't know if any of this makes sense, I think my ramblings are even confusing me, but you gotta hear this... I do have a point.

We all have a story, it's different from any other and that is what makes it great. One of these days I'll have the courage (and the words) to share all that God has done in me. Some of you already know, others of you don't and when the time is right it will find it's way to Heart of the Matter.

Lastly I want to share with you the story of another. I mentioned New Life Worship & Ross Parsley at the beginning of this blog, the following video on YouTube explains the story of their song "Overcome."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is God Enough?

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." ~ Psalm 51:10-12

I just got off the phone with one of the most amazing women I know, she has only recently come into my life and I couldn't be more blessed by the wisdom God pours into her to share with me. Tonight I was sharing with her some aspects of my life where I'm really discouraged right now and other areas that have totally thrown me off focus. The question that kept coming up was, "can you trust God in this season of life, can He be enough for you when you are desiring other things that are not yet fulfilled?" Ouch, it hit right to my core, straight to the soul. She also asked me if there was one area of my life where I had no doubt in my mind that I was walking out God's purpose for my life. I told her of one, but in all honesty I can think of two. The first and most recent is that of pursuing my graduate studies in counseling. There is such an amazing testimony in how God has really placed His hand on my life as I travel this path. I don't intend to keep it a secret forever, but it is definitely being saved up for a graduation speech ; ) Assuming there is a speech of course. The other is the path it took me to recover from my eating disorder so many years (9 years in January to be exact) ago. When it finally hit me that I was not living the life God had purposed for me I had no questions about my recovery and the steps required to get there (and stay there).

To answer my friend's question, "yes, I can trust Him.... at least in the areas I have no question about His intended purpose." The real question I have to ask myself now is "can I trust Him with the areas where I have yet to see His purpose fulfilled or the desires of my heart answered? Can God be enough while I wait?" Before I was able to share with my sweet friend I shared with someone else via text that I felt confirmation that I had yet to find peace in a certain area of my life. My conversation tonight confirmed that clearly I'm not finding God to be enough, I'm not allowing Him to be enough. I still struggle to find control when things don't go exactly as I would hope or plan, now it is time to lay it down (past time actually) and let God be enough in every area of my life. I trust that He'll be enough to provide the finances I need when I start an internship that pays nothing, I trust that He'll open doors that are more than I could ever imagine when pursuing different options for my internship, and I trust that despite my unbelief sometimes He is going to use me to speak to the world, to share that which He has done and continues to do in me.

My question to you dear friends on this Tuesday night is this... "Is God enough?" is He enough for you when your husband/wife does not meet your expectations, when your children do not obey or are not following the Lord, is God enough when you have no idea how the bills are going to get paid in the state of our economy? Is He enough when it seems the whole world has let you down? What will it take for you to say, "Lord, you are more than enough..."

"PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." ~ unknown

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Once Upon A Time... Where I Stood

"There were sounds in my head
Little voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening"

Some say "time heals all wounds" others say "time is your best friend," personally I just combine the two. I've given my heart time to heal and feel like I'm being really good with patience in some areas of my life, but then there are these little things that keep popping up that make me go "whatcha talkin' 'bout Willis?" Of course I'm really talking to God so it's more like "Dude, what the heck? Seriously?!? I thought my past was supposed to just go away after some time." I guess when you don't really deal with it and just wish it all away it finds it's creepy crawly way back into your present day life. So now I've decided that no matter how long it takes, I'm not going to brush it under the rug, but rather process through it. I realize I'm kind of vague in my details here, but please recognize it is to protect the innocent. I've chosen to be angry for a long time about a certain situation (actually a couple situations) and I am the only one that can carry that burden, at least until I actively choose to hand it over to God and move on.

I wrote before of how I find life through song lyrics and this blog is no different. I found a song this weekend that speaks true to the battle within my heart over the last several months. I've finally come to a point in my life where I realize for me to walk in the fullness that God has for me I have to be willing to let go of the past... past hurts, past heart breaks, past lies, past sins, overall my past lifestyle. It's hard to find a way to let go of what you once held so dear and even loved once upon a time, but now, well now I stand in a completely different place and there is someone else (or will someday be) standing where I once thought I'd be forever. I in turn look forward to my someday and I thank the person who is or most recently was standing in the place that I will one day be. I'm in a season where I'm finding who I am and learning to trust myself. I do have someone to thank for that (actually a couple someone's) and it is my heart's desire that one day I'll be able to let go of the hurt and fully open my heart in absolute gratefulness. It's a choice everyday to be grateful, to be happy, and to walk in the path laid out before me. I hope that with this writing I will begin a change that one day I will look back on as a significant point in my life...

"'Cos I dont know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do"

~ Where I Stood, Missy Higgins