Monday, November 30, 2009

Conversations with God

I went for a walk this evening. It was lovely, cold, crisp, and the path was only illuminated by that of the moon... it was a sweet evening with God. As I was walking the trail behind my apartment complex I started to think of all the conversations we have with God daily, what would others think if they could hear us? Would they understand? Could they too relate to what the Lord and I were conversing over?

I come before you tonight my dear readers with my heart on my sleeve and snip-its of my conversation with God this evening as we walked together around the "lake."

Me: [at the beginning of my walk, not thinking much of anything]
God: How long are you going to avoid this? You know you have to deal with this right?
Me: I was kinda hoping it would just go away, that if I ignored it long enough or brushed it to the side it would wash away in the past
God: Nope!

Me: So how does this work? I've tried for months now to "get over it" to "let it go" and "move on"... clearly not working, what am I missing?
God: For starters, you're not me... there is no clear cut escape, nothing clean about it... it's gonna hurt and it's gonna suck, but you have to allow yourself to feel every part of it
Me: I'm not trying to be you, I don't want to be you, that's a lot of responsibility. I just want to be healed and know that I can move forward with my life and that my past won't hurt another
God: I made you, you're a Type A Control freak, it bugs the heck out of you that you can't fix this, that you can't put a band-aid on it and move on. Your past might hurt someone moving forward, but you have to trust me in order to find out. In order to find out if it even matters and if that hurt is enough to keep people away.

Me: I don't want to cry anymore, I don't want to pray about it, I just want it to go away, how do I make it go away
God: You walk through it. Remember that song you'd sing to your pre-school students about the bear hunt? The only way you're gonna move forward and continue on is to go through "it"... whether it be good, bad, or all the stuff in between.

Me: [long quiet contemplation as I continue my walk...]
God: You are going to get through this, I know you. You will walk out all the more stronger and wiser, you just have to trust me and as scary as it sounds you have to trust yourself. Feel every part of life, feel the pain, the joy, the fear, the sadness, the anger... all of it. That is how you're going to get through it.

Me: [softly singing as I sit quietly in my designated quiet time space...] "So I fall before you; in all of my shame; ready and willing to be changed. Own me, take all that I am, and heal me with the blood of the lamb. Mold me with your gracious hand; break me till I'm only yours, own me.*"

*Own Me by Ginny Owens, 1999

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something's Changed...

So, my birthday is today... yep, normally I'm ecstatic about this day of the year, but the last couple of years have found me facing it more quietly and with a little less gusto. I think in years past I've gotten a little obnoxious with my birthday countdown and the fact that it stretched over a weeks time as I celebrated with friends and family. However, with the age of 27 and now 28 came the realization that there would from now on be a part of my birthday celebration missing, my nephew, Billy. You see he too was a November baby, like his cousin Will and myself. I was so excited as my 26th birthday grew near... the two weeks leading into it I celebrated the birth of not one, but two nephews and now it's just me and Will without B that celebrate our birthdays each year. I have the revelation that 'B' is in a much better place, but it doesn't make it hurt any less, it doesn't make me miss my birthday buddy any less with each passing year.

I guess I set myself up for failure when I put so many unspoken expectations on sharing my birthday month with Billy and Will. When those boys were born suddenly everything changed. I had gone from never having to share my birthday celebration with anyone in my family to sharing it with two amazing and remarkable boys. This is quite a selfish blog on my part, but I think it has its lessons learned and changes of perspective, which I will get to now...

Everything changed after Billy died, I changed, life changed, my vision for life, passion, and God all changed. This is nothing new, I've stated this more than a dozen times before, but it just seemed relevant to share once again today. Ever since Billy died there were certain things in life that just didn't seem important anymore. One of those things for me was my birthday, it sounds a little depressing/sad, but I don't mean it in that way. My birthday became a day to reflect on the blessings bestowed upon me versus how I've blessed the world somehow just by being alive. Spending time with family and friends took on a much deeper meaning and I hope that I've been able to show a deeper appreciation for the role of each of them in my life. When I woke up this morning I was greeted with so many wonderful birthday wishes of blessings and love, and I so appreciate each one of them. But the important thing for me not to lose sight of here is that whether those things are said every other day of the year or not, they are there... the blessings, the love, the encouragement, the support... it's all there the other 364 days, even when unspoken.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Season to Reflect

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity, under heaven..."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

As I was drifting off to dreamland last night and was sharing some thoughts, hopes, and dreams with the Lord I began to reflect on seasons of life. The last couple of years have been really interesting and not at all what was expected (pretty typical of most seasons I guess). As I thought back on what led me into the season I'm in now, I realized that there seem to be themes and that I seem to be towards the end of a trilogy (so to speak).

When I stepped into 2008 I had a completely different vision for where my life was headed. In January 2008 I was on this crazy high regarding life and little did I know it was all about to get flipped upside down. I made the leap of faith to finally begin graduate school (after 2.5 years of contemplating and having been accepted by a school). It was a really big deal and I wanted to know what I was doing was right, so I prayed and left it with God, I left with Him the promise that if any point in time this turned out not to be the path He had for me, I would graciously walk away and have faith that He would guide me in the right direction. This was a big step for someone who wants to complete everything she begins and wants to do it with excellence. In March I began my graduate school career and two weeks later I almost quit, convinced that because of the death of my nephew that it just wasn't what God wanted for me. Was I ever wrong, and so glad I was. After missing a chunk of school work I was able to catch up and found myself with an 'A' in my first grad school course. As the months and year wore on I would soon face other curve balls in the game of life and soon find myself feeling as though there was nothing left... but I kept at it, I kept my eye on the prize. Moving into 2009 I began to rebuild what I felt I lost, all the while realizing I lost a part of me in all of it. I found 2008 to be a year of loss and what seemed to be continuous pain. I choose to believe that 2009 would bring restoration of a broken heart, trust that what the enemy intends for evil the Lord truly does turn to good. I like to think of 2009 as my year of rebuilding, rediscovering, and accepting truth.

Here I sit, after finishing my eighth class for this year, adding to my grad school credits a completion of 33 hours and only 15 left to go before I graduate next November. I can't believe it, I kind of want to cry. How I got here, I couldn't tell you, I couldn't even draw you a map if forced to. All the credit goes to God, for I am tired and weak and had it been by my own strength I think I would have quit a long time ago. 2009 truly has been a rebuilding year through residual pain.

So what is left in what appears to be a trilogy of seasons is that of 2010. Do I know what to expect? No. Do I want to try? Not really, I'm finding that being surprised sometimes isn't as scary as one might believe it to be. If I had to take a guess on what "theme" would come with 2010, what lays on my heart at this time is "acceptance." A year to find my own way, to trust that I can do many things, and that even in the times where I trip and fall there is a Heavenly Father who accepts me with open arms to comfort me, to love me, and to encourage me.

I look forward to continuing to share life's adventures with you my dear readers. Tonight I leave with you a song (of course, what else were you expecting?). I'm very much already in the Christmas mood and so I've been listening to music already (don't judge me, it makes me happy and stress free)... Michael W. Smith has a remarkable song entitled "The Promise" and I leave with you a few verses to reflect on. I pray that this year has been kind to you and even in those times where it hasn't been I pray that 2010 will bring you so much more than you could hope and expect. Trust Him, trust the hand that guides you daily and know that there is nothing that is too difficult for God... He's with you.

"Fear not, oh, Israel for there is peace still to come
A word to break the silence, a promise set to bloom
The promise to redeem us, one to free us
Break this silence in the violence of our lives

Emmanuel is sure to find us soon
The mighty rule to Jesse's star of truth
And bring us unto glory, tell His story
Heal the broken and restore thee to His name

The star will guide us to the humble place
Where Christ the King reveals his earthly face
And we will see Emmanuel, God is with us
God is for us, God is in us, we will see"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes." ~ Psalm 37:7

"Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in all the earth." ~ Psalm 46:10

As I sit here in the quietness of the evening, in the stillness of the day I think of you. I think of that which you've called me to... a life sometimes unbearable to walk out. But I close my eyes, I see your face, I feel your touch and all my expectations just melt away. My hopes and dreams look different in your eyes, along your path. For me it's about getting to the next step, but for you it's about understanding the step I'm on now before moving forward. It's about fully loving, trusting, understanding and in those times where understanding is impossible it's about letting go. When my heart breaks for what was or could have been I find strength in knowing that I have yet to see how the story unfolds, I have comfort in knowing that you are not done with me yet... thank you. On those days where I feel as though I'm walking with a scarlet letter pinned to me I find I have to trust that only you know all there is to know about me, not even I can comprehend that much.

So I close my eyes, and as a tear rolls down my cheek in all that I hope to be for you, I walk in brokenness searching for that stillness, that peace that only you can bring. When I seek the comfort of another I realize that it is first and foremost you that I need. Come, come into my heart and my life, plant your roots in me that I may become a shining light out of this darkness. And help to be okay with those times that brokenness may find its way into my life, for those are the times where I gain strength and understanding in all that you are and all that I am not. Help me to be still...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Caught Between Heaven & Earth

Today would have been Billy's 2nd birthday... and I was doing well, functioning through the day until around 7pm. My bible study is working through the book by Francis Chan entitled "Crazy Love" (an amazing read by the way, I totally recommend it). Tonight's discussion was on death (of course, what better timing, right?) and if there was anyone that we knew that died unexpectedly, what achievements did they leave behind, what regrets might they have had? I lost it in a sea of silent tears. I couldn't speak up, I was torn with anger. My heart broke for the little boy who didn't get to live life with us here on earth. But I realize that is the selfish part in me, for I know that he is experiencing a much more fruitful life and joyous experience in Heaven on a daily basis with the one who created us all.

What I realized through my grief and anger today is that I'm stuck in a place I don't want to be, but at the same time I don't want to leave. I'm stuck between Heaven and living a life of eternity with God and those who have gone before me & living life here on earth with those I love and still walk life with. A couple months after Maria Chapman died (Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter), Steven Curtis Chapman wrote that he and his wife wanted to be with Jesus now and didn't want to wait, but yet they had to wait until God called them home. I think that is the hardest part in all this. As much as I have here on earth yet to finish, I often think of how much greater it will be to live in eternity with my Heavenly Father. I long for all the moments I missed with 'B'. I long to hold him again, to nap with him, to see him laugh, to see him walk, talk, all of it. In my mind I know that day will come when it's time, but my heart longs to see that sweet face again.

I sat down at Billy's grave sight today for a long time, just talking to him. I talked to him about how much we all missed him, and how I wondered what he would look like now... would he have blonde hair like his daddy and sister? Would he be a ham like Avery and Nathan? I wondered how he would say "Aunt Cristyn." All the things that run through my mind more often than not. I wondered if he, Avery, & Nathan would be like the three musketeers. I see so many similarities in all three of them and can't help but think if they had been given the chance that here on earth they may have been the greatest of friends (in between their sibling rivalry moments of course).

I long in the deepest part of my heart to see that sweet face again soon, but until that time comes I pray God gives me the strength to finish the work here on earth He has called me to. I was called to live a life that counts and not give up. I will see my 'B' again and I look forward to the day that he runs to me and takes my hand and introduces me to our Heavenly Father. I look forward to the day where I am no longer caught between Heaven and Earth.