Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From the Valley Part II

"After He said this, He showed them His hands and side.  The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord."  John 20:20

Trying to remember why I'm doing this.  THIS is a battle.  In the beginning, it was so full, I could not hold all the words.  I wanted to write for all of life in that place, but now?  Now I am wanting to put the one talent back into the ground.  Cover it.  With dirt.  Let's throw vulnerability in there as well.  I am so way out and wild out of my comfort zone that it makes me feel a bit crazy.  Am I?  Insecurity strangles, and I have to sit down.  Do a dish, feel the weight and sit down.  Throw in laundry, claw at throat.  Sit down.  What is going on?  Tears start, and I suck them back in.  Vacuum tears.  Sit down.   

I am bare for all the world to see.  White.  Cellulite.  Small heart inked, forever, on it.  And I remember that day, that day in the tattoo parlor looking for something real.  Searching for the clean and pure in filth.  In the needle. Wanting to fit somewhere.  Even then, I wanted something permanent marked on my life.  Even if it hurt. 

Then I met Him.  Jesus opened Himself, His hands, to show the scars that my life made on them.  On Him.  Caress those holes that allow mine to heal.  Kiss the offered cup of hands that shape this life.  This one life that is marked on Him permanently.  Even though it hurt.  

So, even though I am raw.  And scarred.  And scared. Though I want the comfort of running and hiding.  I will.  I will myself to open for all to see.  That Jesus is carving His Name on ME. 

Even though it hurts.


Monday, March 28, 2011

From The Valley

Wanting to write. Needing.  Needing so to work things out with words.  Words on paper, eye pens with souls can speak.  I can't.  My tongue gets tied up and tangled, and I am the standing fool.  Working toes into ground.  Digging hole with round and round.

All day.  I woke up in a foul mood, and have been trying to shake the ground Satan walks on ever since.  Head ache.  Heart aches.  Soul hungering for something more than the peanut m&ms I try to stuff it with.  Stomach ache. 
Duh, Bernadette.

Fear is here again, and I am tired.  Sometimes there is victory.  And sometimes there are days like this when I want to be in the toe hole.  I wonder and think too much.  Too much about me.  Myself.  I.  Sink down into depression, and want to fly away.

Cry out to God.  He knows.  He understands.  But, in my emotions, God's promises to me aren't cutting it.  I am unlovely, and they cut.    What I want are His arms.  What I need are His eyes on me.  Physical.  I am made of spirit AND flesh.  Where is the joy today?  And why I am massaging the hurt?  Am I the only one who experiences great days of loneliness?  In all the craziness?

Just wondering.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Luke means Light

And he is with the eternal source of our light...Jesus.

O, the heavy, healing light of Jesus in His glory...that he would share Himself with me...

Baby Luke would have been 2 years old today had his birth been full term. 
I miss him and who he might have been. 

So, Jesus, please give him a tight squeeze from his Mama here on earth.

Here is a poem his Grandma Lou wrote for him:

For Luke
You are to us, an unsung song
A life so briefly given
You sprang up in our hearts dear one
And now you’ve gone to heaven.

You left this earth before you knew
The world and its demands.
We trust our God, with you dear Luke
And all that He has planned.

We long to know your special form
But now you’ve gone ahead.
From our own lives, eternal seed sown
Transplanted, grow with God instead

He will keep you through eternity
A treasure held, at heaven’s gate,
Tho now we grieve, one day we’ll meet
With love and hope, our hearts will wait

So, farewell for now, sweet Luke!

Grateful for the ways Jesus has healed my heart and lifted up my chin to see Him in all things.

You are beautiful, Lord.

I love you.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Testing, testing, one, two, three!

I keep thinking that I've got everyone in bed.  Sitting here.  Looking forward to writing and digging and learning.  It's funny though.  Little ones keep coming around.  Talking in my ear.  Asking questions.  Just one more.  Loitering little ones.  Sitting ON my desk.  Leaning INTO my face eclipsing computer screen. 

Actions speak louder than words.  I told them that they are WAY more important to me than this.  This BLOG.  They test it.  Really test it.

I see my reflection in the night window above my desk.  It's smiling, and that makes me laugh.  Suddenly we are all laughing, and we don't know why.

I think, maybe I've passed the test???

Yes.  Time to snuggle.  Time to read.  Time to visit with chatty ones tonight.  Right?  Write. (later)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Holy Road, Part II

I couldn't sleep last night, thinking about the last entry that went out about my son.  Things should not be left that way.  The sun should not go down with things in such a fuss.  My heart beats out of my chest somewhere downstairs.  I get up to find it.  To find him.  To sit by his sleeping form, and watch his beautiful face in slumber.  Thick, dark lashes spread nets on sea of pale cheeks.  Catching dreams.  When he was a baby, I would go into his room at night and watch him sleep.  Chubby arms curled under chest, legs tucked under bottom sticking up.  I loved looking at his mouth.  Full baby lips with nursing blister.  Breathing that heavenly breath mixed with the smell of breast milk.  I would stand there just shaking my head in wonder.  And that was before I met his Maker!

I creep down the stairs at midnight.  What is this child doing awake at midnight?  I feel the heat, but I press on for the prize. How often is he awake in the night?  I climb into his bed, glimpsing the moles that sit like two tiny drops of molasses beneath his right ear.  I hold him.  Close.  He lets me, and we don't speak.  For sparks.  I breathe in that boy and smell faintest manhood.   I wonder if this is the last time I will ever hold him like this, and  I think my heart will break into a million pieces.    Is that REALLY what lies behind this angst?  This anguish of soul?  This growing into man and out and away from me?  From my heart?  Is this what it is to be a mother? 

I've got two sons that have already been through this,  and when they emerge out the other side, they are birthed AWAY from me.  This is God's plan.  There is goodness in it.  There is only one baby, born to a mother, that will never leave my heart in pieces.   

And so all things come back to Him.  This Jesus.

Lying there holding my precious child, I am thankful.  Simply thankful.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I allow myself this moment.  Arms full of eleven year old boy, and I am sure I have never loved him more.  I soak it all in.  Store it in the deep.  And thank God.

For the Holy Road.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Toppling Over

It is raining outside!  How long has it been since I've heard the rain? 
And He is reigning on my exhausted heart.  If you get close enough, you might just hear it.
Be surprised by the joy of it!
I've recently been faced with...
my self.
my thoughts about...
my self
How terrible I have been believing that I am!   Where did all of that come from?  I've been seeing it lately.  Oh, Jesus, my Light!  You are shedding YOUR LIGHT into my dark places.  I realize now how many chains I've been dragging around with me...they come with me everywhere.  I've foolishly used them to protect myself.  The tragedy in doing this, though, is they have erected a cold, lonely, painful fortress around my heart and disguised themselves as protective walls.  There is NO WAY to see anything truly and clearly through chains...
The Light can still penetrate.
Chains just don't make very good walls, now, do they?!

"...mine eyes have seen Thy salvation..."  Luke 2:30  KJV

The way You fulfilled Your promise to Simeon, allowing Him to see Israel's salvation before he died, You are also fulfilling Your promise to set me free!  I can see it.  You have opened the eyes of my heart to SEE Your Salvation!

As I have been looking to really SEE, you brought this quote in an email from a very dear friend.  A bit in answer to the above question of where do these terrible self-thoughts originate.  And what to do with them...
This is from a book entitled The Three Battlegrounds   by Francis Frangipane
"...the essence of who we are is made of events and how we responded to those events. Who we are today is the sum of what we have encountered in life and our subsequent reactions...With few exceptions, those events which we remember the most have shaped us the most...We are what the past has made us. Yet, we are commanded to not look back and to  ' forget...what lies behind.'  With God, this is not impossible, for although the events of our lives are irreversible, our REACTIONS to those events can still be changed. AND AS OUR REACTIONS CHANGE, WE CHANGE. In other words, although we cannot alter the past, we can put our past upon the 'altar" as an ACT OF WORSHIP. A worshiping heart  truly allows God to restore the soul....God, who is the essence of life, must reach into our experiences and REDEEM us from our negative reactions. The channel through which the Lord extends Himself, even into our past, is our love and worship of Him."

I don't know about you, but I can hear the CLUNK. THUD. CRACK. of a chain fortress toppling over!  To think Light could be so powerful...I just had to let Him in close.
New walls...a strong fortress...a truth being carefully, solidly, perfectly built in its place.  Taking captive the lies that once held me captive.  I have been set free, I am being set free, I will be set free!

I love this passage from Paul:
"I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete."  2 Corinthians 10:2-6 NIV

Toppling over in love with Him,


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Holy Road

Can't seem to hold steady.  Tossed on wave after self-sick wave of my own flesh battling this boy.  The boy who drives me to my knees.  Drives me so crazy I am always on the verge of tears:  the blinking brink.  Water courses down my red face, and I think I can actually feel my hair turning grey.  What IS it with him?  With us?  With me?  Everything an argument.  Everything better his way.  Big talk.  No action.  School battles, chore battles, music battles, relationship battles.  This household-this supposedly godly household- becomes a war torn heart break, and I wonder how we're ever going to live through it.  How are we going to survive the eleven year old?  Aren't I the adult here?

"Love covers over a multitude of sins."  That's what 1Peter 4:8 says.  Proverbs 10:12 warns, "HATRED stirs up quarrels, but LOVE makes up for ALL offenses."  And Proverbs 17:10 reads,  "LOVE prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.".

Oh, Jesus.  How do I do this?  How can I obey You?  How can I not grow weary in doing good when I wake up exhausted?  What to do on those mornings I want to stay in bed, pull covers over head and groan to be freed from this job?  When there is NO joy.  Anywhere.  When You say, "RISE!"?

I reach for Your hand.

Oh, God of the impossible, be the God of ME today.  Be the God of my heart and of my tongue.  Help me to bind that wicked vessel that lies between top and bottom teeth.  Prevent me from masticating on the flesh of own son.  The pressure is so great!  I feel as though I will never stop failing at this.  I WANT to do good.  I WANT to do right.  And then suddenly, the heart closes, the mouth opens and Hell comes spewing out violence on a little boy struggling with the possibilites of manhood.  Why on earth do you put mothers through this?  I want to scream because I know it's for ME and I don't want You to DO this to me.  I want OUT of this physical body being pressed so hard it could turn a lump of coal into a diamond.  Coal is a useful substance.  It burns.  It gives heat.  Energy.

Diamonds gather grit from the dishwater.

I know, Lord, the diamond that rests on my ring finger is a symbol that I am married.  That I belong to someone and am not meant for another.  Seems a sparkiling bauble.  This diamond.  I wonder if what You want for your children is that they be more than heat.  Is it more important to You that the world see this shiny chip on our lives to know that we are Yours?  That we are not meant for another?  Are You that jealous?

I am weak.  Sitting here crying because I know I can't do it.  I know if there were an easy way out, I would take it.  But for YOU.  The love You have built and the grace upon grace You have shown draws me to the holy road.  The hard road.  The hardest.  Though everything but Your Spirit inside me cries out, "No, Jesus, not THAT way!",  I will follow You.  I WILL follow You.  I will FOLLOW You.  I will follow YOU.

"Though You slay me, yet will I trust in You."  Job 13:15.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In The Chrysalis

YOU are there in the rushing slam of the day, and You hide me.  Enclose me.  In Your arms I am cocooned and all is quiet.  I wonder at the impossibility that I should experience such a deep peace.  A fat, full, gorged- out peace, in all this-this chaotic cacophony of children.  Of husband.  Of homeschooling. Of dog and dirty floors.  It makes me spill laughter, gasping joy. 

I belong to the God of the impossible.  I truly belong.  Oh, God, finally!  I am accepted past bone to marrow and loved in all the in between spaces.  The empty places. You are in the emptiness that has been Bernadette for so long.  You fill me.  Heal me.  Call me. You call me Your Beloved, and at the sound of Your voice, all that is Egypt in me simply drowns at the bottom of the Red Sea.  The Selfish Sea.  The Prideful Sea.  And I drown too, Lord.  In You.  In Your love.  In being in love with You.

"My Beloved is mine and I am HIS."  Song of Solomon 2:16 and elsewhere. :)


Monday, March 14, 2011

A Page for Paige

Let's get that daily dose of down deep.  Beautiful earth is thawing.  Heart is thawing. 

Years ago I went through a divorce from a friend.  Has that ever happened to you?  Have you ever fully recovered?  Healed?  Do you find yourself going to the Lord time and again asking "Why?"  "What happened?"  Pain.  Soul hurt.  No answers, just two lives teased apart.  You draw a clean breath and know that it has been awhile.  You reach for what is healthy.  Try to think it through.  Try to heal that wound on your own.  Pretend that everything is alright, but bargain with God that you will never be friends with a girl again.  Bargaining with God!  Close the wound with band-aid and keep marching.  Head down.

The problem with walking with your head down is that you are apt to run into something.  In this case, I ran into someone.  The great Someone brought this woman, this one woman who kept pursuing friendship and terrifying me.  I tried again and again to thwart her to keep that crusty mantle around the tender heart, right? Stay safe.  

Can you imagine being rejected by someone and hanging in there anyway? Imagine wanting to love someone who doesn't want to be loved?  Doesn't that look a lot like the risen CHRIST? Ever tasted a Georgia Peach?  I can see her blue eyes right now, drawing me into a real friendship with her...with Jesus.  Building.  Encouraging.  Trusting.  What is THIS?  Is THIS what friendship looks like?  Is this how we break free of western culture that teaches us to pull ourselves up by our boot straps?  Alone?  Of course, alone.  Can we actually do life together?  

I know that God used that Georgia Peach to open me.  Like a book.  So HE could write the names of others in my story.  Sandy, Sheri, Stacie, Amy, Pamie, Kris, Wendy.  That's a lot of girl names.  See how smart I was to bargain with I AM?  The love of ONE woman, used by God, CHANGED MY LIFE!  And now here I am freely enjoying the fruits of her efforts to reach me with the love of Jesus.  Placing my heart (still tender, no apologies) in the hands of my friends.  Leaning to trust again.  Might we all be that ONE woman?

In John 17:22 and 23, Jesus says, "I have given them the glory You gave me, so they may be one as We are one.  I am in them and You are in Me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent me and that You love them as much as You love Me."


Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Bitter Pill. Welcome to ME!

I suppose since we are calling this blog FREEDOM JOURNAL, we've got to look at the things that bind us.  This is an adventure for me.  Sharing that.  Usually, I get alone with Jesus and journal.  Ink and heart on paper.  Not always instant freedom, but always some relief that I have been heard.  I write to live, see?  And Jesus cherishes my words.  THAT is a mystery, and my deepest comfort.  I was hoping to share more of what HE has done.  Share joy and spread it.  The looove.

But here we are, already at the reality.  I am bound.  Right now, bound to anger, frustration and feeling the weight of users in my own household.  I am not finding joy in serving.  Rather, I am grotesque in my lack of love.  Frankly, I wish everyone in this big old house would leave me alone for five seconds.  The StrongSoft fooled me into thinking she was serving me in the tenderest of ways, but now I see she was serving herself.  Only.  The Silent Deep is being the Silent Sullen.  I wish he would smile.  At me.   The floors are covered in mud.  Again.  Again to Costco. Again the kitchen needs to be cleaned.  I can feel all the tightness of feeling unappreciated under this roof, and I am hurt.  The Lord is raising my life and nobody seems to notice.  Or care. 

Wallowing in self pity, I come to Jesus now.  Let Him bring the Water.  Let Him bring the Word.  As always, when I say these words to HIM, "Jesus, What about ME?", He gives me the picture of Himself COMPLETELY extended on the cross.  He answers my question with a question:  "Yes.  What about ME?" Oh.  I'm sure there can NOT be words for what that question does in my heart.

How many times have I lived to serve myself?  Only.  How many times have I used the Strong Soft to get what I want?  How long have I been sullen with the Silent Deep?  My own eyes have not met his all day, and certainly not with a smile in them.  My kids have seen me choose MYSELF and MINE over and over and over.    Lord, please don't let it be too late for them to see.  That You are changing me.  I know that You are slow to anger and rich in love.  I know that You love and accept me.  Even the grotesque me.  You have forgiven again and again...even the unconfessed.  Even the unknown dumb.  ME.

Breathe YOU in.  Deeply.  Hold on.  Serving is worship.  Sometimes worshiping God is a choice.  Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Three men making the choice to trust the Lord and not bow to a statue of gold?  Fire.  Jesus met them there and they emerged from the flame...that MELTS gold without even smelling of smoke.  NO WAAAY!

I choose not to kneel down and worship at the bitter statue of Bernadette.  Rather, I will trust in God, and see?  Already I can feel the grace covering over the entire household of us.  I am sorry, Lord.  I will trust in You.  You are more than enough for me.

Thank You for words, and the cleansing power of Your Word.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Looking for one thing...finding another

I was in the office closet the other day looking for one particular sheet of paper from long ago and happened upon a note from a then, newfound friend, and it was dated February 25, 2002.  This is what it said, "The difference between you now and the difference in you then is everything.  Now you know Jesus.  His hand always goes deeper than our pain.
Pray.   Listen.   And go forth in His confidence!"

And on the bottom I wrote, "Amen and Amen".

Do you remember when you wrote these words to me?  Or what we were even talking about?

I am continually amazed at how the encouragement is always ready on your lips and I am so grateful for it. 

So, I guess, right back atcha, baby!  Go forth!

Interestingly, I never did find the paper I was "looking" for. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Staring at the screen.  Wondering if I can even write like this.  Typing out into space where my words go where?  Can I do this with out my friends paper and pen?  Is it something I can learn?  It takes me a long time to write those few sentences on put them down in a way that is safe for others to read.  Safe for me.  I hear this Jesus whispering now to my heart.  Releasing the gift.  Daring me to step into it, and sending encourgement that I never expected to have, ever in my life.  Coming all at once.  "You should..." "You really, really should..." "Have you ever considered..."  "I love the way you..."   God breathes on the gift, and I am left feeling breathless.  Heart pounding.  Pores open to sweat.  Does the Lord want to use the secret sacred?  The place where I am simply ME with Him?  The way I think?  The way I dream and breathe life?  The way my heart works down into the deep?  Alone with Him?  And now, He asks me to dig up this one little talent.  My only talent.  The one I gave to Him several years ago with tears.  Lots and lots of those!  Here is the great I AM handing it back to me.  Smiling.  Delighted.  Oh, God, it makes me cry.  His goodness is so full that I can not comprehend it.  Why He would desire to use my broken life seems irresponsible and even dangerous.  I know who I am.  I know the roads I have walked.  I am every lost person.  I am the lonely and brokenhearted.  I am the hurting one who has learned to find comfort and healing in the risen Christ. But am I safe?  Can I throw a line to the drowning with out dying myself?  No. No. To live I must die, and I finally get it.  Dying is worship, and worship is life.  I have a chance here to live, and I've decided to take it. Indeed, why wouldn't I?  How could I not?  Did He not die for us so that we might live?
That I might?