Category Archives: Inspiration

Wash Over Me

Living Water, wash over me.

Flow through me.

Sustain me.

Fill me.

Let the sound of the flowing water drown out the loudness of the distractions that surround me.

 

Living Water, keep me afloat.

Calm me.

Refresh me.

Satisfy me.

Overflow and fill those around me.

 

Mountain Stream, Montreat, NC. Feb. 2009

I wrote this poem in 2001 while I was on a Christian women’s retreat that I used to go on for years (and years) in Montreat, North Carolina. That particular year’s retreat came at a time when I was struggling as a young mom to a young son with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was hurting and I was grieving.

During a quiet time that weekend, I made my way to a rock by a little mountain creek. I sat there breathing in the brisk February mountain air, enjoying the sounds of the water, crying out to God and listening to God and then allowing Him to wash over me with His peace, love and encouragement. This poem was born from that moment.

One of the things I learned from that weekend, was to stop and look at the things in life that may bring grief and hurt and ask “what is this telling me? what is God trying to teach me here?”

Don’t be afraid of those hurts and feelings. To sit with them.

Henri Nouwen said, “ God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need. It is important that you dare to stay with your pain and allow it to be there…The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart. The person who was able to touch that place has revealed to you your pearl of great price…the experience of being fully loved…No human being can heal that pain…Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God’s promise to you.”

God promises to love us in our pain. Fully.

We all have deep hurts and needs in our lives. We all struggle. We all experience grief, fear, emptiness, desperation, and loneliness at times. Be careful not to run away or reach out to the wrong places to get those needs met. Go to the Source. Our empty places can only be filled by God, by the love of God, by the power in His Word. Our deepest need will never be met as long as we rely on outside things to fill us up.

Jesus, the Living Water, is the thing that will fill you, restore you, heal you, direct you, allow you to be fully loved, and give you peace and will, in turn, spill out of you and into the lives of others.

Are you willing to stay with your pain and then allow God to love you in it, and walk you through it to the other side?

I ask this of myself. I confess that there are times when I am better at letting God love me and wash over me. At times I find it really hard to sit with my pain, because, well, pain hurts. My tendency is to run—fast. But I have learned over the years, that the only way out, is through and I would rather go through my pain with Jesus than by myself.

“For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” ~Lamentations 3:31-33 NIV

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

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Filed under Faith, Inspiration, Peace, Poetry

It was then that I carried you.

I am a control freak.  I freely admit it.  I like to be the one driving the car.  I like to be the one who has all the answers. I like to be able to fix things, people and situations.

Well, it is something I am keenly aware of in my life, and, let’s just say, I am working on it.

My control freakishness rears its ugly head sometimes when I least expect it. Just when I think I’ve got my control issues “under control”, I realize I don’t. Most recently and most frequently, my need to control is related to my children.  My two beautiful gifts. They are my whole world.  They are the two most amazing people on the planet, in my opinion. Like any other mom, I want the best for them. I want them to be fulfilled and happy.

They are growing up so fast; it is scary to me. Their childhood is slipping away before my very eyes. The control freak in me has a very difficult time with this, as you can imagine. I want them to make good choices and blossom into the people God has planned for them to become. I want them to grow up, but I don’t want them to grow up. It is a constant tug-of-war. Makes me feel kinda schizo sometimes.

I often cling to the words of Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I hold fast to these words for my children.  I trust that God has a plan for them. So often, I say to God, I know You are in control. I know You’ve got this…But let me just help You along a bit, okay? I often pray and say, I’m giving this to You, Lord—only to take it back from Him five minutes later.  Surely we can all identify with that struggle.

Jacob, my son and firstborn, is 16 years old now. He is a high school junior. When he was 5 years old and diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, I could not see this far down the road—I could not see past the next five minutes. I had no idea what his future would look like. And yet, here we are. Now is the future I couldn’t imagine back in 2000. He has made huge strides since then and we are so proud of him. He still has hurdles; he always will. And I still don’t know what the future will look like for him as a man.

I realize that I won’t always be right there to hold his hand and say, now remember your homework assignment or did you put on your deodorant or change your clothes or say hello to the man or, well, you get the picture. I desperately want to make sure he is okay and it is so hard to let go and allow him to go it alone and endure those situations that can be challenging for him.  I want to do things for him. To control the environment so he doesn’t get upset when there is a loud laugh-y lady in the restaurant who, I know, is making his skin crawl. To remind him to use the tools his doctor has taught him to help manage his anxiety. And don’t even talk to me about him driving a car! OY!

He is not like other boys his age who are out playing their soccer games and driving their cars and going out with their friends and girlfriends. He is a loner. He is happy to hang out by himself or with his family. He is not really interested in connecting with people. Going to parties or crowded places is not high on his list of things to do. He is not super motivated when it comes to his school work and does not really seem to have an idea of what he wants to do with his life. Naturally, I worry. He does not fit in the traditional mold of the typical kid…and that is okay. He is truly fantastic and I think he is awesome. But I have to be realistic and know that the world likes “typical”. Unfortunately, a world that likes “typical” is not always accepting of “atypical”.

It is that constant struggle of helping him become independent and doing too much for him. Helping him find his way, without telling him what that is. That whole “give them roots, but give them wings” thing. Finding the balance is a very difficult thing. Should he take the SAT or the ACT? Will he go to college? Will he be able to support himself? Will he find someone who will love him for who he is and who will want to share her life with him?  Are we doing the right things to help him? Who will make sure he is okay when his dad and I are gone?

These are the things I lose sleep over.

And then, I am quietly reassured—Fear not. I am reminded, God loves him more that I ever could. God knows the answers to all those questions that constantly swirl around in my worried brain. He truly is in control—whether we give Him that control or not.

I see, in my mind’s eye, me carrying my two children in my arms.  Just wandering around carrying them. Then, I see myself carrying them, one by one, and laying them at the feet of Jesus. Then, Jesus bends down and picks all three of us up in His arms, like we are light as a feather, and, walking away, carries us all.

It is remarkable the peace I feel when I let Him carry it all.

When He is carrying everything, He carries my worry. I don’t have to worry about the future, because He is carrying that too. And He is carrying us there to that future—wherever “there” is. And I don’t have to worry about that either.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will hold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

So, today, I ball my worries up and throw them as far away as I can. Far up into the heavens so that I can no longer see them.  Some days, that ball is more like a boomerang, coming back to me and smacking me in the head once I’ve turned to walk away. But, today, it is okay. Today, I refuse to pick the worries back up.  I’m going to let Jesus carry them all day. He does a way better job than I do.

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Filed under Inspiration, Jacob

Back To Life

I have wanted to get back to writing for a while now. I go through spells when I feel like I have lots to say…spells when I feel overwhelmed so that I feel like I have no time to say anything…spells when I feel like nothing I would have to say would be worth reading…spells when I desperately want to sit down and write, but simply feel too exhausted to do so. Suffice it to say, I have missed the blog and would think of it  often and fondly, as “something I will get back to…eventually.” The last 5 months of my life have fallen into all those categories at one time or another and one description does not do it total justice. I think I’m back…for now.

It has been 5 months since Emma’s injury.  May 5, 2011. The snap heard round the world, as I like to say. It has been 4 months since her surgery to repair her broken tibia and fibula. It has been 3 weeks since she started physical therapy to help her regain the strength and range of motion in her leg. It has been 4 days now that she has been “crutch-free”.  May I add here a hearty PRAISE THE LORD!! And a WOOT WOOT!!

The hilarious Emma having fun at physical therapy.You might hear me refer to Emma as my screwed up child, now that she carries with her 2 plates and 17 screws in her left leg. <har har> You might hear me call it her bionic leg. <snort snort>Emma prefers that I do not refer to it at all as she tries to come to terms with the permanent reminder of her ordeal that comes in the form of 2 still-healing scars on her leg;  not exactly a 13 year old’s idea of “I feel pretty…oh, so pretty” as Maria sang in Westside Story.

We have seen summer blend into fall as Emma has pressed on through her healing process. We have pressed on through with the highs and lows of humor and pity parties. But we have pressed on by the Grace of God. To say I am proud of her would be a gross understatement.  To say she has shown me perseverance in its truest sense would be closer to the truth. She is a remarkable young woman…and I have seen her mature in ways that have impressed me a great deal. Now, don’t be thinking she is some perfect angel, though she is pretty awesome…she has had her not-so-great moments, but heck!, haven’t we all? <points to self> But the way she has managed these last months has been nothing short of remarkable.

A few things I have learned and experienced over the last few months and would like to share:

  1. I got a new understanding of the often thrown around, yet always true, statement “God is in control.” It is no cliché, my friends! The old Steven Curtis Chapman song which says, “God is God and I am not” comes to mind here. There is an excellent reason why God is God and I am not; basically, I do not know what in the heck I am doing here on this earth, so I am glad He does.
  2. If your doctor and the DMV approve you for a handicapped parking placard, by all means, USE that sucker! Do not feel guilty about it!
  3. Watching medical people wheel your baby away from you, knowing that they are taking her to cut her open is an indescribably scary thing.  (See number 1 for how I managed to get through that one.)
  4. Having the operating room staff call you 3 times while they are cutting on your baby to say she is doing fine, is a soothing balm.
  5. My people (all those my family and I love, and who love us) are SO awesome and supportive and I love you all.
  6. Those who live every day in a wheelchair, on crutches or other assistive devices, in chronic pain or in any other sort of permanently disabled condition, have our utmost compassion and respect. We will never look at them the same way…which leads me to number 7…
  7. Every doorway in every home or hotel,  every parking space, every aisle in every store, every  hallway everywhere, should be extra-wide.  I am just sayin’. <stepping gingerly off soapbox so as not to break my own leg>
  8. God IS good.  Even in the midst of the dark, stressful, painful and seemingly never ending times of life.

First day back to school with no crutches! 10/10/11When I dropped Emma off at school on Monday of this week, and I watched her walking under her own steam, on her own two legs, carrying her own backpack, I could not hold back the tears as I drove away…the tears of joy I felt to finally see her as she should be…the relief I felt, knowing that we are finally…finally… nearing the end of this journey.

We are on the way now, back to life as we once knew it.  Although, I don’t think it can ever truly be the same as it ever was.  Not that I would want it to be. Though this experience has been incredibly difficult and stressful at times, I would not trade the time I have been able to share with Emma. Caring for her. Talking with her. The precious time that is so quickly fleeting. Emma would probably trade it in a heartbeat for a chance to finish her softball season, to fully enjoy that trip to Disneyworld last spring, to go to the beach or pool last summer or hang out with her friends. But maybe not.

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Filed under Emma, Inspiration, Lessons, Parenting