Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Shoulders Weren't Built for This

Where do I go for answers?  Other people?  Self help books?

Who do I turn to when I'm hurting... sad... betrayed... struggling to forgive... tired of life....overwhelmed?

Am I the same person in public and in private?  Do I care more about what people see or what God sees? Do I understand that He doesn't miss a. single. thing?  Motives and all... ??  The very depths of my heart...?  Do I hate the things that He hates?  Even the 'acceptable sins' ?  Do you?

Why do I try to carry burdens on my own weak shoulders - or continue to hope that other weak people will somehow share the weight - when, without fail, God has shown me that His shoulders are strong enough to carry it for me and that He will never let me down - and that people always do...?

Why do I try to be so strong?  Trust is a major issue for me - time and time again people have proven to me that trusting others is a dangerous and unwise thing to do. And I suppose in my early years of being a Christian, I expected more from believers then I got in party houses all those years - but sometimes the only difference is lack of intoxication and the ability to recite the 'right words' with a nice smile.  And so hurt after hurt and betrayal after betrayal, I've struggled to not allow that to bring back a truth I've lived with my entire life - that I have to rely on myself alone or I will be disappointed and hurt - and even that disappoints me regularly.  

But why - or how - or when - does that turn into me struggling to trust my God who has NEVER once given me a reason to feel He is untrustworthy or that His Word isn't true.  The ONLY One who has never lied to me... betrayed me... shared my secret pains with others... hurt me... left me alone... turned His back on me or said one thing and did another... The only One I don't have to question if His motives are right and true... Truly the best friend I have ever or will ever have. 

Maybe that's why every time this song comes on the radio, I can't seem to get the volume loud enough and it never seems to play long enough for the amount of tears that want to fall...  My shoulders weren't built for this. And I'm tired of carrying it...  all of it.  I'm tired of letting people in and being hurt and allowing satan to use that to make me question the goodness of God.  If anything the facades I am so tired of within the church should only prove all the more how sinful people on earth are - whether they recognize it or not - and how much MORE I need God to make it through this life.

Because the last 5 years - from the valleys to the mountain tops... all the pain and the amazing blessings mixed in... have been the most beautifully difficult days I've ever walked through.  I have been blessed in more ways than I deserve and have been given beauty in the midst of ashes that many people will never experience and I would never trade.  I have 7 amazing and beautiful children; a piece of me in heaven... and I've known pain like no other.  And it seems to never let up, even as God continues to bestow blessing after blessing upon me.  The struggle is real.  The reality of my life is that it's more difficult because of the very gifts I've been given.  And I am so, so thankful and so aware of how unbelievably blessed I am - and yet so, so tired and so weary in these hard days.

And I can't do it alone - so take it from me Lord.... take it all, not just a little bit.   

Oh, these hands are tired
Oh, this heart is tired
Oh, this soul is tired 
I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on

Faith is something I am not accustomed to
And trusting other people is something I don't really love to do
I've never been a fan of it
I act tough, but really my shoulders they ain't built for this
And I don't have nothing
It's like I'm standing in the rain and You offer me a rain coat
But I would rather stand there wringing wet than take the hand out

What's wrong with me?
You said You've always got Your hands out
And I cannot continue on my own
So take my hands now
I give You everything
God, not just a little bit
Take it from me
I am nothing but a hypocrite
I hate sin, but I built a house and I still live in it
Afraid to open up the door to You
Let You into it
My soul is lost and
What it needs is Your direction
I know I've told You I do not need Your protection
But I lied to You
This thing is tiring
And man was not created for it
God, please retire me now

Oh, these hands are tired
Oh, this heart is tired
Oh, this soul is tired 
But I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on
I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on

Trust is something I am not accustomed to
And I know the Bible says that I should always trust in You
But I don't ever read that book enough
And when I have a question
I don't take the time to look it up or pick it up
It collects dust on my nightstand
I'm just being honest
Please take this out of my hands
I have no control
I am just a person
But thank the Lord that I serve a God that's perfect
I do not deserve the opportunity You've given me
I never knew what freedom was until I learned what prison means
I am not ashamed
I don't care if they remember me
My life will always have a hole if You are not the centerpiece
Take me out of bondage
Take all of my pride
If I don't have a Savior, I don't have nothing inside
Take all of my lust
Take all of my lies
There's no better feeling than when I look in the sky in Your eyes
It's amazing

Oh, these hands are tired
Oh, this heart is tired
Oh, this soul is tired
But I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on
I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on

I'll keep on, I'll keep on, I'll keep on

Sunday, September 20, 2015

God Speaks: In the Flowers of the Field

For Mother's Day, I put flowers at Rachel's grave and matching ones here in her garden.  I learned last year that this kind of plant has pretty blooms from spring to fall.... just my kind of plant....

I wasn't getting to her grave often and it was really hot and dry this summer so I threw out a request on facebook for help with watering her flowers.

I went a few times unsure of what I would find and thinking that because so many weeks pass between my visits now that I was bound to eventually find a dead plant.  But visit after visit, I was blessed to find her plant well cared for and blooming like crazy.  (Thank you Ellen, Sarah and anyone else who watered for me!!)

The plant I have in her garden here on the other hand was not doing so hot.  It had maybe a couple of blooms, but I forgot to water it all the time (even though it's my focal point out my kitchen slider) and I don't think it gets the amount of sun it likes in the spot I have it above her bench.

When I originally started this 'series' of God speaking, this post was supposed to be along the lines of how much better God can tend to flowers than me.... and I suppose it still is in a different way.

But the last few weeks here have been difficult.  I don't have a lot to say about it all except that if you're reading my silence as things aren't good, that is both true and false at the same time.  If there is one thing I have learned through the last 5 years of my life it's that God is close to the brokenhearted and carries me in the valley.  So that is the 'good' part of what has taken place in my life.  Thank you to the people who have reached out and checked in via text and email.  I appreciate your thoughts and prayers and am thankful to be loved.  I just don't have the energy at the moment to interact with anyone so don't take it personal if I don't respond.  I am finding that this fragile heart of mine much prefers a slower paced life and that cutting out the noise of social media and useless conversations has been a necessary thing for me and my family right now as we wade through another trial and a ton of change.  

I was waiting to do this post until I could take a picture of the plant I have here so I could show you how different they looked.... but somehow even that has been hard to get to.  I'm blessed to have an overwhelmingly busy life, but I am so, so tired and really struggling to keep up with all I need to.

One morning, I opened my kitchen blinds to find a bright beam of sunlight shining just on Rachel's plant.... I want to put words to what this would symbolize, but I can't.  I do know though that it made me stop in awe of God.  I guess it feels like a reminder that He is here too, and He shines light in dark places, even if my flowers aren't blooming to prove it....  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

God Speaks: In the Birds of the Air

In my last post, I mentioned that God has been using some old things to show me His continued love and attention to my heart.  I would have put it all in one post, but it would have been much too long.  These things are by no means the *only* ways he has shown me His love, but I am so thankful that He continues to speak to me in ways He knows my eyes will see and my heart will hear.

In September 2012, I wrote a post called Love Lives Here about my latest grave decor for my girl.  It included a birdhouse and feeder that I attached Bible verses to that reminded me of His care for me and for Rachel.  I put them up hoping some birds would set up their home for the winter there so when we went to visit each week, we 'would see life there'.  I put the verses for Rachel and how He healed her on the feeder - and the verse for me and how He will protect me and be a refuge for me on the house.

Not long after that, there are a couple more posts where I talk of how discouraged I was about this set up... the deer, the squirrels... who knows what... something knocked it over and ate all the food week after week.  It turned into a big mess that birds would not go near and only made me sad.  And so I took it down.

I put it here in my shed and each spring since then, I have hung the birdhouse in my lilac tree in our backyard.  Rachel has a lilac tree behind her too so it's my way of keeping part of her space here in mine.  I like to take things that have spent time there and put it up here.  

In my research before I bought it, it said if you want birds to live in it, you have to put a food source nearby.  So I never expected, nor was I watching for, birds to ever use it.  Especially since I have put it up and taken it down two other years and really just thought of it as decor.

One day a few weeks ago, Sam told me he saw baby birds outside.  I did the usual mom thing of "aww.. that's so cute Sam..." and moved on, too busy to slow down and look with him.  The next morning, I was in my bathroom and I heard birds chirping.  I mentioned it to Sam and he casually said they were living in the tree outside.

I'm slow, people... I still didn't put it together....

Days later, I was in the yard, watering my flowers when I saw something out of the corner of my eye... a bird flew out of Rachel's birdhouse!

I know it's not all that unreal that birds would use a birdhouse... but the timing, the wait, the message it sent... just what my heart needed - especially with all that happened in August and it being the 5 year anniversary of Rachel's diagnosis.

I remember picking that verse for the birdhouse three years ago.  I remember typing it, laminating it, figuring out how to get it to stay on (and I apparently did a good job!) - and just how much my heart and mind needed to know that He keeps watch over me, covers me with protection, and gives me a great refuge under his wings.

I needed to hear that from him this past month too.  I just didn't know how much until He showed me.

He covers me with his feathers and under his wings, I find refuge.