Sunday, April 26, 2009

The One With the Reflection

A few years ago, I went through a tough time, spiritually and emotionally. After a series of losses, culminating in a tragedy that struck me quite hard, I sort of detatched myself emotionally from life, and from the people in it. I was under the opinion that as long as people couldn't get to me, they couldn't hurt me. Loss, death, pain, betrayal--none of them hold any power if you aren't invested in someone. This plan, however, is severely flawed, since life without investing in people is really And your heart might be safe, but it's also cold, and empty, and leaves you feeling sort of hollow. It's safe, but miserable. This time in my life is when I read my favorite C.S. Lewis quote of all time:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

I can say with great confidence that my heart, though it has been wrung and broken at times, has been penetrated with beauty, love, life, joy, happiness, laughter, and thousands of moments that have been nothing less than glimpses into a life of eternal communion with One who will never hurt my heart. But sometimes I wonder what I missed in those times when my heart was indeed locked in my casket of selfishness. I know the people I hurt, I know the relationships I needed to mend, and the restoration that needed to happen. But how many moments of laughter did I miss? How many beautiful days? How many people did I miss the chance to love? And how many of those chances will I never get back?

I'm thinking through this tonight as I am allowing my heart to once again be wrung. And I am preparing for it to be broken again. But I refuse to lock my heart up again. I refuse to choose the easy path of fear and control. I will be vulnerable. And I will love with reckless abandon, for however long I am given the chance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The One With Nothing to Say

Hi :)

I have not a lot of coherent or useful things to throw out into cyber world right now.

Just wanted to say I'm doing much better, and am out of the little puddle of muck and back into normal functioning mode. Hoorah!

I have amazing friends.

The End.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The One With Not So Much Handling It

Since I've blogged so much about my experience so far, and most of it has been handled really positively by both me and Geoff, I feel it only fair to post in the times when I'm not handling it so well. Not because I feel as though I owe it to my readers, since I do feel this sort of grief is very acceptably handled privately, but more because I feel like if I don't, I haven't been honest about the road that I'm walking. Facing it this way is a good way for me to able to look back and see the truth of my emotions in this and not just the easy times of it.

I'm terribly, terribly sad today. It actually started last night after the Good Friday service, and my poor husband had to watch me sob myself to sleep. In grief, there's so many different stages. I feel I've successfully passed through stage where I know my baby is gone. However, the permanence of that is still hitting me. I understand the pain of, there is no baby right now. The thought of the spring...summer...fall...and winter, when he would have been due....that keeps hitting me in little ways. I'm NOT pregnant. This baby isn't going to be here in November, he won't have a birthday, he won't go off to school. The pain of the future is becoming a little more real to me. I miss being pregnant, and I miss the little baby I won't get to meet.

That's all I have for today. God is still good. Still in control. He's convinced me of that, strongly enough that even on days like today, I still know it's true. And as I was so wonderfully reminded last night, I am NOT God. I would make a terrible, terrible God and I rest in the true God alone for my strength in the midst of the darkness. I'm tremendously thankful for the people he's placed on this road with me to love me and push me along through the bad days.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The One With All the Redemption

A few years ago, I went through a pretty difficult time. During that, there were few people I allowed close enough to give me any sort of helpful words or prayers or anything. The ones that did get through, however, were incredible. I remember reading an e-mail from my friend Bethany and at the end, she said that she was looking forward to seeing the person that emerged from this; seeing the ways that God would grow me and change me, and that she trusted that God loved me too much to waste my pain. At that point in time, I was pretty convinced that God didn't love me that much at all, and that every moment of pain was indeed wasted, so I don't recall being especially touched by those words.

Flash forward.

I was rethinking these words this week, and how powerful the love of God truly is. I was thinking about the fact that we experience pain, loss, death, many broken dreams, broken relationships. What's the point? Why? 

I don't think we'll ever understand the answers to those questions, this side of eternity. I don't think we're meant to understand the mind and ways of a God is infinitely higher than ours. I think he provides us with glimpses of his character, however, and THAT is what pulls us through. The thing that has encouraged me most in the past week and half is this simple truth: my God loves redemption.

I believe that God, at any moment, could step in and right the path of destruction we see around us. He could cure the disease, heal the sick, raise the dead. Any of it; all of it. But he doesn't. He allows us to experience heartache and the harrowing effects of our own personal sin. But I believe that goodness is coming. I don't believe that all of this will come on this side of heaven. Much of the true goodness and true redemption that is to come we must wait for. But I know that every tear will be redeemed.

And that makes it easier to experience the hard times. It's painful yes--but the true pain comes in not knowing if there will be an end. If there's really a point to it. But if God loves redemption more than our pain, we have nothing to fear. That doesn't make it easier, and it doesn't make it hurt less. But it makes it worth it. It makes us able to hold on, for just a second longer...and then another second...for however many seconds it takes for Him to redeem the pain. WE have already been redeemed. How, then, can we think our heartache would not be?

I was already thinking through many of these thoughts, and processing through what it really means to give over my heartache. Then, I went over to one of my favorite blogs ( and found this song. It is amazing. It also was posted by a woman who today is celebrating/mourning the death of her baby who was born, and died, on this day last year. The faith I see in people around me astounds me. Again, not because they are faithful. But because HE is faithful.

the cruelest word, the coldest heart
the deepest wound, the endless dark
the lonely ache, the burning tears
the bitter night, the wasted years
life breaks and falls apart
but we know these are places
where grace is soon to be so amazing
they may be unfulfilled
they may unrestored
but when anything that's shattered
is laid before the Lord
just watch and see--
it will not be unredeemed

what amazing hope. in the midst of all of the trials of life, there is grace. grace for the moments now, and a grace beyond anything we can imagine. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The One With the 4 Day Weekend

This weekend, we were supposed to be chasing after a bunch of middle and high schoolers at the annual AACS Spring Fling. I've been wanting to go back and be a counselor pretty much since I graduated, so I wish things would have turned out differently. However, both Geoff and I going meant we would have been counseling different cabins, obviously, thus not sleeping together or really being able to spend time together during the day, as our cabins would be demanding our attention. While I'm doing well, I was not prepared for a weekend of sleeping alone in a bunk, and not having my husband to hug me and make me giggle when I need it. The downside is that, obviously, we aren't there. The upside is that now we have 4 days off in a row to enjoy each other.

First, I'd like to complain just a tad. When in the world did carnivals become the most expensive activity ever?? We tried to go last night, and ended up leaving because it would have cost TEN DOLLARS for us to ride the Ferris Wheel. I'm sorry, but ten dollars? If I'm paying ten dollars, it better taste really good, or last a long time. So, no carnival. Luckily, Geoff took my to my FAVORITE dessert place, Cate's Creamy Custard...and since I'm like a 5 year old sometimes, the rainbow sprinkles made me forget all about the carnival.

Also, I'd like to confess something. I love Twilight. I watched the movie last week, and did not enjoy it. Then, Geoff bought the book, and I made fun of him. Then I "borrowed" the book, and Geoff hasn't seen it since. I've now seen the movie two more times, and have already set up borrowing book 2 (certainly NOT from my little sister. She's 17. And I'm 24. My reading preferences are far too advanced and mature to be borrowing books from her. After my 13 year old sister reads them too. that would just be ridiculous.) In any case, it is truly one of the more addicting series I've ever read. I actually can't remember the last time I cared so much about what would happen in a book (I think it was back in college when I was reading the O'Malley series. Also, I just said "back in college" like it was so long ago. ha.)

So today I believe we are going to go see the Cherry Blossoms in DC. I've never been before, and neither has Geoff, so we decided we should take advantage of the awesome weather and enjoy some outside time. We haven't really planned too many more fun activities for ourselves, as I also have been very, very tired and slightly more sad the past 2 days. I think God knew exactly how much strength and grace I'd need to get through my work week, and I got it. And now I need rest. So I'm gettin it :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

The One With All the Faith

In one of the best experiences of my life, Hubby and I went with my parents to the Steven Curtis Chapman/Michael W. Smith United Tour. We actually were supposed to go to this concert back in October, but there was a  mixup with getting the tickets, and so we missed it. I'm now so very, very thankful that we did, because this was a much more opportune time for me to be in the presence of God in such an amazing way.

You can hear all sorts of people talk about the goodness of God. You can sit in church and learn about his grace, mercy, sovereignty, and love. You can know all the verses, all the lyrics and have everything wrapped up in the neat little boxes of "Christianity." But then, you can hear it from a man who less than a year past burying his 5 year old daughter, who not only has had to wrestle with God and what his goodness really means, but who has chosen to do so in the eyes of countless other believers. I was so blessed. I knew as we walked in the doors to the sound of him leading the audience in "Blessed Be" that this concert would be like any other I had attended. As we lifted our voices to sing "You give and take away/You give and take away/My heart will choose to say/Lord, blessed be your name" I felt the tears streaming down my face as I reflected on my own loss, and my own glimpses of God's grace in the past 6 days. There were so many moments where he gave us a glimpse of his brokenness, a peak into the pain he has experienced in the past 10 months. But deeper than that was an incredible hope and faith; a certainty that won over confusion and emptiness. My favorite song of the evening was "Yours." It's an amazing song to begin with, one he recorded before Maria died. After she went to heaven, he was processing through some of his grief and realized that he hadn't completed his song. The fourth verse, now added on the re-released version goes like this: "I've walked the valley of Death's shadow/So deep and dark I could barely breathe/I've had to let go of more than I can bear/And questioned everything that I believe/but still even here/in this great darkness/a comfort and hope come breaking through/and I can say in life or death/God, we belong to you/It's all yours, God." To be able to write those words so soon after such a tragedy is astounding to me. And while I appreciate his faith and openness, I also know that ALL of the glory of his story belongs to God. There is nothing about him that makes him able to speak those words--it is ALL by the grace of God.

I can say that firmly because I know that every moment of happiness and peace and even laughter that I've experienced this week (and there have been MANY!) have been nothing to do with my strong faith, or my wonderful handling of this situation--but have been the direct result of God's grace. I am in awe that he has protected my heart so well from anger and confusion; that he has given me the strength to handle each day of this. It is 100% for the glory of God and 0% anything I've done. I'm not typically a great handler of tough times--just ask anyone who talked to me the year after my cousin died. I'm a dweller, a despair-er, a wallower. God, and God alone, has lifted me from this pit and is keeping me from the valley this time. I do not know why. But I am so incredibly thankful. I owe much to all of you as well--you have loved my husband and I tremendously well. We have had wonderful week, growing together and being blessed. 

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts :)