Thursday, November 29, 2012

Living In The Storm: Incomplete thoughts.

The time will come when I have every intention of walking back thru the last 10 days and explaining the transforming moments along the way. For a while though, I might just only be able to write in incomplete sentences and incomplete thoughts (I know, Matt, really no changes at all :). Today, I wanted to share a few of the really special things that people said to me over the last 10 days that just settled in my heart. Obviously, I have been on the receiving end of many people's love and condolences, so this does not minimize anything you shared, rather these are the ones that I wake up thinking about. Some of these I am even unsure who said it, but it stuck.

1. My sister (quoting her pastor) "Love shows up!"
2. In my pep talk/cry fest with one of the best friends a girl could know, "You do not have to be appropriate or kind tonight!"
3. Lucy's breakfast prayer yesterday morning, "Thank you Jesus, Grammy is all better!"
4. In the midst of trying to figure out why the heck I literally couldn't get off the couch, a wise, wise, woman said, "Baby, I think you are just sad, and that's ok!" Ah, such truth!
5. "Your grief path is going to look very different than everyone else's. There is no manual for grief. Sometimes grief shows up in the strangest ways!" Paraphrased from my in house counselor ;)
6. Sweet Leon, "Y'all put the F.U.N. in funeral!"

There is a line from sleepless in Seattle that keeps going through my head when people ask, "How are you doing?" I think, "Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while."


Saturday, November 24, 2012

You Alone

The morning Mama slipped into a coma I was getting ready to post this video. Obviously, I dropped everything and went to her side... It's one of those songs I have had on repeat all week.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Living In The Storm: Mama's Storm is OVER!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!     Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing! 
 Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations. 
Psalm 100

I think it's a pretty amazing gift that on this, Thanksgiving Day, I get to share with you that yesterday was the last day that Mama had to live in the storm of this journey.  The resounding emotion that is flowing through my heart is this kind of thanksgiving I have never experienced before. Thankful, thankful, thankful, that my Mama is whole, that her Thanksgiving meal will in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, thankful that she is free, thankful that it is finished, thankful for the people who have been with us in the trenches from the beginning of this journey, and through the hell of the past 3 days. Thankful, that on this Thanksgiving Day, I will drink in memories of my Mom and let the tears spill over (as they are now). In continuation of the great tradition my mom started, when we go around the table today and we each say what we are thankful for I am unsure my voice will be strong enough to speak but even if it's a whisper, my answer will be, "Mom, Mom, Mom, I am so very, very thankful for my Mama!"

Undeniably relieved. And not just this day or during this month, but eternally, THANKFUL!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Be Near

My father in law penned these beautiful words months ago and they have been on my mind so much this week. I am often overwhelmed by the deep, rich, blessing I have in my mother-in-law and father-in-law. I am very much looking forward to being with them SOON!

Be Near 
Larry Littlejohn

I often see the shadows; I often live with fear.
But I know You are with me and care for each tear.
So come loving Father; come with great might.
Show me Your glory; show me Your light.
Illumine my darkness; banish all my fear.
Come loving Father, and always be near.

The world is filled with hurt, and evil does abound.
But heaven ’s not a dream, and help can be found.
So come living Jesus; come with great grace.
Show me Your glory; show me Your face.
Illumine my darkness; banish all my fear.
Come living Jesus, and always be near.

Life seems so busy; hurry here and there.
But I have Your filling, and I have Your prayer.
So come Holy Spirit; come with great rest.
Show me Your glory; show me Your best.
Illumine my darkness; banish all my fear.
Come Holy Spirit, and always be near.

Come Triune God, You are the One.
Come Triune God, Father, Spirit, Son.
Illumine my darkness; banish all my fear.
Come Triune God, and always be near.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Littlejohns Dance!

Littlejohns dance!

I believe in the power of dance. I love dancing. I love watching my kiddos dance. I love watching my nieces dance. I love watching my husband bust a move on a week night, in the kitchen, with dish towel thrown about his neck. I mean, attractive doesn't even begin to describe that moment. ;)

I wish more people would dance. I wish more people saw the beauty and freedom in dancing, and less of the carnal, nasty, booty bumping on MTV.

We needed some dancing in our lives this week!

" For there is a time to mourn, and a time to DANCE!"

One of my favorite parts of Sunday was when Lucy looked at herself for the first time in the mirror after her hair and makeup were done, and said, "I am smoooking hoooootttttt!"

Happy Dancing Feet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul
1. Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

2. But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail,
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail,
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee?
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust 

3. Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

4. Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still,
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will,
And wait beneath Thy feet
©1998, Kevin Twit Music.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Living in the Storm: Can Anyone Hear Me?

fifteen minutes before we were due to leave for an event today i announced, (as i always do), "alright kiddos, we are leaving in fifteen minutes, please get ready to leave!"

i returned to washing dishes and unloading the dishwasher, because as soon as we returned home we were going to have company, and i knew if i didn't get it done before we left it wouldn't get done.

ten minutes later, "alright kiddos, five minutes... please start turning off lights and go ahead and make a movement to the car." when you have 4 kids things have to be done in phases. there is no, "just go hop in the car" any more. it's a process... sometimes a painful process.

five minutes passed, i grabbed my sunglasses, car keys, and headed for the van and i said, " i am leaving now, meet me in the car!"

once outside in the cold november air i realized that two of my children were without shoes and two were without jackets. for real? we are passed the babying stage in our family, everyone here knows how to get dressed and prepared for an outing. we've done it hundreds of times. everyone knows, now that it's november, shoes AND socks are required. and a jacket... no matter the temperature.

but here they were with an ample AND kind warning, and they stared at me like lost puppies. they stared at me as if the previous 15 minutes i was speaking in a foreign language. i turned in my seat and frustratingly asked them, "for real? why aren't you ready to go?" to which one of them replied, "we didn't hear you!"

deep, cleansing, breath. and then hot tears down my cheeks...

"does any one hear me?" i whispered.

i love being a mom. i love being a stay at home mom. i love that i am investing in THEM during this season of life. but on days like today, discouragement creeps inside my already fragile heart and screams, "no one hears you!"

i have no intention of being a polarizing political figure, but yesterday's election didn't go the way i wanted my vote to be heard. yes, yes, i am totally confident that Jesus is still King, i do know that He is sovereign, and i understand better than ever that there are way more pressing "life and death" issues in our world today (and i didn't even have to go to facebook to get all that) but it stung, i wanted to be heard!

 i wanted to be heard yesterday when i nestled my nose against my mama's cold cheek and i whispered in her ear, " i love you!" but the blank stare and the unaffected facial expressions told me that maybe in that moment i wasn't heard.

sometimes because of the way my personality tilts i feel everything super strongly. just like katy perry would say, "'Cause you're hot then you're cold. You're yes then you're no." my mother would stop me at this point and insert one of her famous, famous phrases, "and sometimes our strengths become our weaknesses...." grrrrrrr..... why is she SO right? while being passionate and high on the feeling richter scale has its bonuses, sometimes the prick of the thorn hurts. (does is seem odd to anyone else that i just mentioned katy perry and my mother in the same sentence? *giggle, giggle*)

tonight, doing something that has become one of my favorite "people" moments of our routine, we went and hung out with our worship team and rehearsed songs for sunday. while some rehearsing does get done, (in between stories and random rabbit trails) mostly fellow-shipping and just loving on each other gets done, and i deeply appreciate and need that.

when you are singing and playing to an empty sanctuary and the holy spirit feels like your only congregant, you can close your eyes and worship in different and soul satisfying way. when the sound of your husband's voice fills your monitor and the strum of the acoustic guitar floats through the air, your knees go a bit weak and these words pour forth,

"For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

There is no one like our god
There is no one like our God "

and in that moment, any doubt is flushed away and i know that i am heard. in the darkness of the night, when not a single soul stirs, i know He hears me. even when there are no words to convey the message of my heart, He hears. when my children are numb to my own voice, i know He heard my 15 minute warning and appreciated my kind tone. when i feel like i am living in a nation where fewer and fewer people get me or "hear me", i know that He longs to hear my thoughts, that He and He alone has placed desires and convictions in my heart, and He ultimately steers the compass of my life. and even when the words i speak to my very own mother feel as if they are falling on deaf ears,  i am assured that the one day, when i behold Him, He will have always heard me and He will hear me then say, "Savior, like a Shepherd LEAD ME!"

here is to hearing and being heard,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Living In the Storm: Trick or Treat, Grammy?

My mom treated each holiday as if it were it's own.  Thanksgiving was never blended with Christmas. We celebrated Thanksgiving until 11:59pm on that fourth Thursday of November. Then we started Christmas decorating. Mom decorated the whole house for EACH holiday. I loved it. I still LOVE IT!

I am unsure if Grammy was ready for her trick or treaters last night. It might have felt more like a trick when Daddy inflated a huge pumpkin on her bed and six loud children came parading through the hallways, but nonetheless we celebrated with candy corn, chocolate, smiles, laughter and pictures.

Yesterday, in some of my reading I came across this quote from Arthur Christopher Bacon and it ministered to my heart on a day when I was really needing some encouragement.

"I can still believe that a day comes for all of us, however far off it may be, when we shall understand; when these tragedies that now blacken and darken the very air of heaven for us will sink into their places in a scheme so august, so magnificent, so joyful, that we shall laugh for wonder and delight"

I believe that statement with all of my being. I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that my Redeemer will make ALL things new, that He is orchestrating the events of my life so that HE might be high and lifted up. Joy will seep through the bleeding wounds this earth leaves on my heart and I will see like I have never seen before the beauty that He was making from ashes.

I know there are hurting hearts in my readers today. I know so many of you are carrying burdens, pains, wounds, fears, and concerns that are paralyzing you and making the face of your Jesus blurry. I beg that you resist the tricks that are being thrown your way to detour your eyes from the Prize. I pray that you will know Truth and Grace, and that you will rest easy in His arms.

He is good, OH SO GOOD!!
He has not forgotten you.
He will keep His promises and continue to pursue you and refine you until you reflect only Him.
He does not play tricks, but pours down His undeserved blessings on us day after day!

On this, holiday hangover day, may your hearts be encouraged!