Say Something

The ways in which God moves are deep and mysterious. He hovers over the water; He is a gentle whisper;  He roars; He reveals secrets;  He brings healing in His wings; He rejoices over us with songs of deliverance; He brings kings to their knees; He gathers His children in His arms; and He loves us.

He is the creator of all things.

God knows everything.  He knows when to keep silent and when to speak.

We don’t always know how to do that. As humans, ones who fail and make mistakes, we don’t always know when to keep silent and when to speak.

Everyday we are given moments. Moments when we have a choice to make in response to things that people say. There is pain and sorrow all around us. Grief, loss, physical pain, a medical diagnosis, divorce and broken relationships, stress and uncertainty are all around us. Posts on Facebook, Instagram pictures, text messages, letters in the mail, phone conversations, small talk with the cashier at a grocery store, and passing people in church on Sunday mornings are all moments that we are given; opportunities to respond from Someone greater than ourselves.

When was the last time you gave someone a safe place for their heart? When was the last time you went out of your way and stepped out, making yourself uncomfortable to provide comfort to someone?

We don’t always have all the answers, but we don’t have to. We don’t always have good timing or perfect solutions, but we don’t have to. All we have to be is there, because God takes care of the rest. All we need to do is look someone in the eye and say, “I am here for you. You have my full attention. I am here, do you want to talk?” The rest is up to them.

So take a moment. Take a deep breath, and think about it. Take a “selah” moment and reflect on how you interact people around you. Are you someone who avoids being uncomfortable?  Or are you someone who says something?

Take a moment and say something, anything; because to someone who is hurting, anything is better than nothing.

More Than a Miscarriage

I wrote this three years ago today, on a day when I was drowning in grief after our fourth child was gone too soon.

Often times after a miscarriage we are told “you’ll get pregnant again soon” or “at least you weren’t very far along”. Miscarriage is often viewed as a “lesser loss”, but to the Mom, Dad or sibling who went through one; it was the loss of an entire lifetime.

I’m not just grieving the loss of a baby.

I’m not just missing my pregnant belly.

I’m not just grieving holding my newborn.

I’m grieving.

I’m sad.

I’m missing a lot more than just a baby.

I’m missing…..

newborn pictures

my baby’s first bath

breastfeeding

changing diapers

hairclips and headbands

being called “mom”

holding her

hearing her giggle when we stay up late just to make cookies

a first day of school

road trips

late nights and high fevers

potty training

clothes shopping

craft days

seeing the excitement in her eyes when she sees something she loves

trips to the store by ourselves

building forts

reading stories together

makeovers

listening to her practice an instrument

cooking together

sports practices

mission trips

driving lessons

first date

high school graduation

comforting her when she cried

sending her to college

a wedding

grandchildren

I’m not just grieving the loss of a baby, I’m grieving the loss of an entire lifetime.

Between Here and There

This post from a friend on Instagram from C.S. Lewis grabbed my heart today.

I know what it is, to live between here and there. The constant pulling from each side, the ache that is always in my heart.

Twelve years ago I returned from Africa and the the only words I could manage for weeks were awkward. My heart was torn between such a tangible presence of God, a love that I had never before known or experienced, and the “First World” reality I was suddenly plunged back into. Mercy Me’s lyrics “if home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place” were on repeat in my spirit. It was during that return to America that I began to experience what it means to truly know that our home is not anywhere on this earth.

While I was driving today I had a flashback to one of my miscarriages. The pain of it instantly grabbed at me and my throat began to choke up. As I looked back through the years and the repeat losses, I realized that even through the pain there gold to be found, a redemption, a glory that only God could get. I know what it is to love, to love so deeply that a day can seem like a lifetime.

I am an all or nothing person. I never do anything halfway or with a partial effort. My “yes” means yes, and my “no” means no. I don’t love half heartedly nor am I interested having acquaintances. I have never met a person I did not love. Years have been spent in prayer asking Jesus to see people the way He sees them, to see their potential and their gold; never the dirt that is on all of us. My heart is terribly hurt when people are cruel and mean to each other or to me, because I could never imagine intentionally treating someone else that way.

We prayed and fasted for years for our babies, every single one of them. I didn’t experience a loss of something that “could have been”. I was robbed of a child that had been invested into for years. Every day that I spent with them inside me was a blessing, a promise fulfilled, an answer to prayer.

Since I have four little ones in heaven, I know what it is to be constantly torn between their existence in heaven and the reality of my three on earth who need me. Now more than ever, my heart is pulled towards heaven. That love that only He can give us, that fulfillment that only He brings our hearts is more and more on my mind.

Last month I got to visit heaven and hold my kids. Smothering them in kisses and hugs while God stood there, in His mercy, allowing me a moment of a full heart and full arms, before He gathered me up in His and stole me away. That moment, gave my heart peace while His love rushed in and made me want His even more.

As the days go by, my heart aches even more for that complete love. The love that is greater than anything we could ever imagine, the love so big we have no words to describe. The love that gave it all to bring heaven closer to us. The love that is greater than life itself.

That love is what I live for.

Holy Kisses and Hugs

Recently an older woman I have only spoken to twice started to give me a hug as she was greeting me at church.  She stopped midway and asked,”Are you a hugging person?” I smiled and responded, “yes!” and hugged her back. After we had gone our separate ways Matt asked, “So you two are on hugging terms now?”

When Matt said that it made me think; shouldn’t we always be on hugging terms? We keep space between us and other people. Emotional space, intellectual space, and physical space. We have a few people we let pass our barriers, but if you really stop and think about it, how many more people are on the outside of every barrier you could possibly put between you and them?

I love hugs. Yes, they are a sign of affection. And yes, I get a million cuddley ones a day from my kiddos. But I very rarely get a strong, firm hug from someone who isn’t my husband. To me, hugs are both reassuring and a sign of love. They say, “I love you, and I’ve got your back.”

Paul says repeatedly in the New Testament, “greet one another with a holy kiss.” During my time in Mozambique I got kissed constantly when greeting people. I even got kissed on the lips by a very old woman with no teeth! That was their custom, their culture, their way of showing respect and honor. Here in America I am lucky to get to shake hands with someone new I meet at church, and once we move past the hand shake there is no more physical contact at all.

Jesus said that the world would know we were His disciples by our love. But how are we showing the world our love? By smiling at each other from across the sanctuary on Sunday mornings? By liking someone’s Facebook updates but not speaking to them in person? I don’t think those are the things Jesus had in mind when He was speaking of a love that would point people to Him.

Like I said before, I love hugs. I love the way they say, both verbally, physically and emotionally, “I love you, and I’ve got your back.” I’m going to start hugging more people whom I have not hugged before. I want to be a person of love, a person who exudes a life changing love constantly. I want to be a person who says, “I am such a lover because of the One who gave everything to love me.” And when I hug you, I will be saying, “I love you, I’ve got your back, I care about you, and I am here being Jesus’ arms for you right now.”

Be on the lookout, because the next time you see me, you will be hugged. You’ve been warned….