Tag Archives: love

You’re Lovely Even With Your Scars

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Having just come off a week that rated high on the emotion scale I was angling to get back to the reality of my basic life. I’ve just returned from a trip to see family and friends that I left a few months back in pursuit of a new job opportunity with my family.

As I meandered through my lengthy list of in box messages I came to this video that a dear friend sent me shortly after I moved. It was one I hadn’t opened for some reason. It’s bold subject title was jumping off the page surrounded by a sea of previously read messages that I like to keep close at hand. I don’t file them so I have immediate access.

I suppose that might explain why I sometimes miss the pearls, like this one. Maybe the message was deliberately hidden from my view until just the appropriate time, and that time is now. Amy Grant is singing right to me. Her words poured right into my heart with a message as clear as a fresh spring.

Don’t try so hard- you’re lovely even with your scars. This was a week where I felt the source pains that had been covered over by the toughness of years of scars tissue. Going back to a place that I loved so much to people I care for so dearly brought back memories, both good and bad.

I was trying so hard- on many fronts. I couldn’t savor the beautiful time I shared with so many dear people because I was trying so hard. I would love a “do-over”. It won’t happen. I lost hours that are so precious. I was focused on too many things that took away from the blessings of being present.

So this song and its words are pressing against me in hopes that I will learn something. I tried too hard…to measure up, to do it all, to be a great daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend, listener, jokester, consoler, counselor…I grabbed for it all and I ended up empty. I tried so hard. I couldn’t be the person I’m designed to be.

Part of trying so hard was due to my emphasis on the causes of my scars. They must have been bulging. I forgot that underneath those scars is newness, protected goodness that resides within.

It takes a lot to admit that God created me, loves me, wanted me, gave me a purpose and family and friends. I am to be here. I partner with others to be a voice in the chorus. I’m lovely even with my scars to Him who matters most.

So tonight I need to spend this time with myself reorganizing my plans- not trying so hard to measure up. I am lovely even with my scars and so are you.

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Circle Warriors

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ImageThere are times when my heart just aches for the pains of those special people in my life whom I love so deeply.  It hurts to hear someone has cancer, loses a job or a loved one, has trouble dealing with an aging parent or child with special needs, broke up with their significant other, didn’t get some opportunity they were hoping for, is blasted by a health problem that will impact their life forever.   What do you say?  How do you express that you are twisted inside for them without taking the focus off their needs?  How do you say I want to ask God, too, why this happened?  I want to run and scream and kick and yell about it all.  It’s not fair.  

If I had to visualize myself and the ones dearest to me I would say we move about in circular formation.  Someone is always in the center and the rest are encircled around.  Everyone, unintentionally, gets a turn in different positions.  Sometimes it can be for happy events.  Other times we are at the other end of the spectrum.

We all, hopefully, have a handful of people who weave their arms together when it’s our turn for the middle position saying we are here to love you and protect you.  We want  to celebrate you.  We will help you stay safe. We’ve walked on similar ground -learn from my experience.

These people float in and out of position depending on the season.  Everyone gets their chance at being in the middle- needing the love and assurance.  To me it’s like that wonderful feeling of standing at the end of a platform with a dozen people on the ground telling you to trust them, and when you fall back they actually catch you.  But we don’t need a dozen people.  We need the ones God designed to walk in and out of lives at different times who will be strong enough to catch us know matter where they are or how many.

Six months or so ago I was in the center of the circle with my pains and problems and one day I reached out to three or four people and I asked them to pray for me.  I was never in the habit of asking for much help, let alone asking for prayer.  Unfortunately,  as I was getting close to the last straw and had exhausted everything else- it was time to ask for help in prayer.  Had I been wiser it would have been prayer first.

All of my pray-ers were warriors.  Then I had this vision and it dawned on my between the relatives who cared so deeply and my dear, dear friends I was encircled by powerful love that felt it could overcome anything.  Each warrior had their unique way of helping me  and it built a force around me of protection.  Of strength.  Of hope.  

It didn’t take away my pain immediately, but it made me stronger.  I learned from these very wise people.  I heard their challenges and saw their outcomes.  I was capable of moving forward.  My situation was not going to stay the same forever.  There was going to be a way out.

I don’t know if God works this way, but maybe for that day, when I felt so encircled by warmth God sent me His angels as these loved ones whom I trusted and cared for so deeply.

The circle is never ending as you know.  Sometimes you are inside the circle, being hovered over allowing people to surround you with love, caring, prayers, and their wisdom.  In this position, open your heart let their spirit in- and let His Spirit in to change you and give you the peace you can’t find on your own.

When it’s time for you to be a warrior come with non-judgmental love, wisdom, listening ears, tears of sympathy, touch.  Hold tightly to and with the others around the circle as each one of you brings a unique gift to the one in the middle.  Your arms woven together are strong.

We flow in and out of position in our circle.  Some circles are small and some are large.  Each member has a role at different times based on the gifts from God.  Importantly, when you are in the middle don’t rush to be on the edge of the circle.  Let time heal and allow yourself to be loved and prayed for.  Let your pains, hurt and anger leave your inner core like smoke escaping from a burning fire.  It doesn’t have to be fast.  You need some of that to help you work through it all.  

Circles are made of people from all walks of life.  Sometimes the members of the circle are only there for a short time.  Sometimes it’s a lifetime.  Cherish them all and let them in.  Mostly, remember that when your circle takes a rest and puts their heads down on their pillows at night there is one member who is vigilant and awake at all times.  He is God and He loves you.

Motherhood Comes In Many Forms

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I’ve been traveling overseas for two weeks and I’m in places that don’t allow use of WordPress.  Yes, there are places in the world that restrict use of any social media tools for fear of what the rest of the world might find out about them I’m guessing.   That’s an entirely different blog entry for another time.   My intention was to publish this entry on  Mother’s Day.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t happen, but the message remains the same no matter what day of the year it is.

knitting_649Psalm 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

As I’ve mentioned in other writings, it’s quite amazing to me how many times the words of God’s unfailing love are mentioned in the Psalms.  Unfailing is some seriously deep love. God surrounds His children with love from the moment He knits them together.

They are so precious that He laces them carefully into a protected cocoon safe and harbored from storms until it is time for them to venture out into the world.  The cocoon is the divine creation within a woman that nestles and tenderly holds a baby while God’s plan for development unfolds.

Through a mom, God’s creation is surrounded in warmth and tightly woven in love.  The gentle form is able to move around and try things out, but is continuously embraced with protection.  Through God’s provision mothers offer sustenance and nutrients that help His  masterpieces to grow in ways we can’t really understand.

God must have an amazing trust in mothers that He would give his children to be carried inside of them for any length of time…any length of time. God proves His unfailing love time and time again.  Sometimes women might forget to acknowledge how important our role is in fulfilling His plans.

God occasionally places His precious bundles into mothering hands outside of the womb.  Sometimes God creates motherhood through less traditional means.  Of course, when He goes this route it is equally as important to bring His plans to light and these women are trusted in similar fashion. These mothers are just as precious to Him.  They also provide warmth, nurture, safety and love.  They are the knitting around His precious children on this earth.  They have impact beyond what we can imagine.

Somehow we are all mothers.  Not always in the traditional sense, but in a way that makes sense to God so His plans are carried out. He loves all of His children and all of his mothers the same so Happy Mothers Day to ALL women because in some way God allows you the gift of caring for His precious hand-formed creations and loves you deeply for it.

Tears in a bottle

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Tonight the tears have been streaming down my face a little.  Nothing with great hysteria; just a steady run of water plunging down the slope of my facial contours that have sharpened with age.   I’m going through a mini- phase of self pity wondering why my family and I ended up moving several states away from the place we called home for 20 years or so.  Mostly I manage because my new job has kept me busy.  However, tonight the heart strings were pulled.  There isn’t a specific reason.  Maybe it’s just time to release a little of the toxins I’ve built up in my body with stress and pressure of my life changes.

I’m also preparing for an extensive trip for work which will take me out of the country for a few weeks. I suppose I’m inventorying everything I have to do and prepare for and with this kind of trip I always pray a little harder that guardian angels will be watching over my family and me.  I will be so far away that II won’t be in a position to take immediate action of any sort if any emergency arises. 

I’ve always been one to shed tears in an emotional response to just about anything.  It can be happy or sad.  It can be fear or pain.  I admit it.  I am a cryer.  If you don’t cry, you can’t appreciate how good it feels once you’ve stopped crying.  The chemicals in your body just go crazy for a little bit and when you finally relax there is this wonderful moment of peace that something awful has passed and there is now light shining in the darkness.

By coincidence, this morning the Psalm I read was 56: 8-13.  Maybe I talked myself into having some emotional stress due to the message I read earlier today.  It says God keeps track of all our sorrows.  He collects our tears in His bottle. He has recorded each one in His book.  God is on our side.  He has rescued us.  He keeps our feet from slipping.  I can walk in His life-giving light.

I don’t think a bottle is quite enough for the tears I’ve shed in my lifetime.  When I was little my dad could simply say my name and the tears would come running.  I couldn’t control it though parents always think you can.  I would have so much anxiety built up in me that by the time the last syllable of my name was released the tear bottle was half full!  It was a release– a way to let the pressure ooze out of my body.  

Crying makes many uncomfortable but to me it is a testament to honesty.  People can hide all sorts of emotions, but once they cry it’s real and pure.

There are several things that make Psalm 56 cool to me.  The Psalm is based on a time when David was in hiding and running away to keep from being killed.  It shows me a side of humankind that we all share- fear, anxiety, being on the edge, vulnerable and uncomfortable, seeking but not finding respite from life’s realities.  Yet long term David made it through this situation and there was much good in store for him.  

The idea that God recognizes our feelings and accounts for them is like having a cozy blanket wrapped around your body on a cold night.  Throughout the Bible we are told of situations where God keeps track of us- He knew us before we were formed and he won’t leave us nor forsake us.  Even the worst of the worst has the opportunity to be with Him in paradise.  

Jesus cried.  David cried.  I cried.  Het gets it.  He feels it.  He knows it.  He can relate to us.  Psalm 56 speaks in a tone that suggests God is still keeping track of us.  He is watching out for us.  

I’ll never understand why God lets bad things happen.  I have to just remind myself that I am not in this world for my own purposes.  To admit that, you will be in the minority, but it seems to me to be a very healthy approach to understanding that God’s purposes supercede whatever we have on the calendar.  

I’ve kind of wandered a bit today, but the tears have dried up..  I guess all in all the reality of God loving me, yes even tearful me, has been reinforced.  He’s keeping track of us so what we do in our lives each day makes a difference. Most importantly He is preparing for us to be with Him.  He is recording parts of our lives in His book. He is helping me to recognize and admit it’s not about me.  

Some of us need big bottles and some of us need smaller sizes.  The good news is that God’s bottle supply is never ending.  

Take Me Back

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I have loved this song for years. I don’t remember when I first heard it, but it caught me red-handed at the time. I don’t love God as a I ought to. I put myself ahead of Him…but I’m ready to learn how to faithfully love Him with my heart, my soul, my mind. Take a break from whatever you are doing and enjoy. He’s waiting for us.

COMFORT and JOY Comfort Dogs Help Heal Newtown, CT

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Reflections from Tim Hetzner – President of Lutheran Church Charities

Reflections from the heart from Friday, December 14th – Sandy Hook Tragedy

Since hearing of the shootings early on the 14th, to being invited out with our Comfort Dogs that same day, leaving at 6 am Saturday, arriving Saturday night with 10 LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and handlers – it all now seems like a blur.

It was nonstop – and in many ways still is as we prepare to return for the opening of school on January 2nd. Every emotion plays in – crying, hugging, smiling, listening, being in awe. My heart bleeds for the families of those who lost young children in this way, and the loss of respected teachers and workers. I don’t know if I could ever experience what they feel. I do know this! In darkness, light always shines through! In evil acts, God’s mercy and goodness always prevails!

A close friend asked me today if I had the emotional strength to go back; we are leaving at 3 am on January 1st. My answer was NO, but we have to – it is what we do with the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs – bringing the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering. To bring comfort and healing to those who suffer. To see how the Almighty Creator works through one of his creation – these golden retrievers – and to see how tired they are but how anxious they are to return – well – THEY KNOW, YES THEY KNOW, they know that they have to go back – and they are ready! God also knows where He wants us!

Please continue to keep the town and surrounding area of Newtown, Connecticut in your prayers. Everyone there are incredible people! I have learned so much from them and their love for each other and their courage! So this is my reflection, – the “rest of the story” – we’ll let the pictures of the Comfort Dogs with the children and people speak for themselves.

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To all who have supported in prayer and financially to make our trip possible – I say THANK YOU!

God Bless YOU! Please continue to keep ALL in your prayers,

Tim

Click here to donate

Click here for the photo gallery

Click here for other stories in the news 

Every day of our lives is recorded in Your book…

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I still can’t make sense of the tragic incident in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary, but now I’ve had a little more time to process the situation.  Actually, I know I’ll never be able to make sense out of what happened as it makes completely no sense.  

However, there is something that does make sense.  I know how deeply God loves His children.  I know the story of how Jesus wept upon learning about the death of a loved one.  I believe He wept again on Friday.  

I began to reflect on one of my favorite Psalms, one that I’ve referenced before: Psalm 139. The Lord knows everything about us.  He knows when we sit and when we rise. Every moment He knows where we are.  He knows what we are going to say before we say it. He places a hand of blessing on our heads.  If we go up to the heaven,  He is there.  Even in darkness we cannot hide from Him.

He knit us together inside of our mothers.  He watched us being formed.  He saw us before we were born.  He recorded every day of our lives in His book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.    His thoughts of us are innumerable.  The fact is, we are His.  Each one of us is on this earth for an unknown number of days.  Each of us has a purpose.  Some make it much longer than others.  We don’t know why.  God does though.

God will be able to do something with Sandy Hook that not a one of us can.  He will make something good come out of this horrific experience.  His grace will pour over His people.  It will not hurt less.  It will not be understandable.  There will be anger and pain.  That is our humanness.  God will bring together family members who have been split apart.  He will reignite relationships that have nearly burned out.  God will make someone unexpectedly do a great kindness that helps people beyond measure.  God will do something that is positive because we know in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Difficult times are ahead as well.  For those who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior they will find these times even more trying.  Some people may draw apart instead of together.  They need our love and prayers. Death is never easy under any circumstance.  We must not judge how it is handled.  It is an ending, and when we love so deeply we also feel enormous pain from the loss.  God doesn’t take away the pain, but He walks with us through it.  For those who believe we know that we ultimately rest in comfort in God’s loving arms.   I pray 26 people are there now and they are rejoicing in the presence of their Lord.  

This doesn’t address why God allows things like this to happen.  It is a question that can’t be answered.  For me I have to remind myself that life on this earth is not the end all-be all. That awaits for me in Heaven.  

I continue to pray for Sandy Hook, the families and community.  My heart continues to ache.  However, my faith in our Father is also certain and I trust Him.   Please continue to pray that people are healed and not separated but joined in faith and love.

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