Monday, April 25, 2011

The Resurrection & Crumbs

My husband walked in Wednesday night from church with a book in his hands.

I stayed home with my sick baby, trying to get a fever of 103 down. Needless to say, I was trying not to panic knowing he had to leave for church. He tested the cold bath water and assured me it would bring her fever down. And it did as I acknowledged my blessing of having a healthy sick child that is recovering.

“By your stripes we are healed.”

His word is true, active, and alive. In my humanity I acknowledge that healing looks differently through our eyes. Sometimes healing comes complete as the eyes shut and the final breath is inhaled. Sometimes our miracle is received and celebrated, and we cradle it knowing that gift didn’t come from the medical world, it came from God.

My husband handed me the children’s book, “The Story of Easter,” and smiled. I opened it and written on the first page was this:

‘To Whitley and Elise who are the resurrection and reality of Mom and Dad’s “special” dreams.’

It couldn’t have been more beautifully stated. They are living proof that God is the healer. He restored my broken body that wasn’t supposed to bring life and gave me the miracle of feeling life growing within instead of miscarried life and dreams.

As I write this now my heart hurts because heaven just welcomed a child home my daughter’s age, Johnny Teis. My mother’s heart aches because a woman with the most beautiful faith watched her child fade as she prayed daily for God to heal and restore. Even knowing the end was near, never once did she feel a release to stop praying for earthly healing. Faith like that is stunning and beautiful.

After miscarrying for the second time I held my hands up in the air in surrender and worship to God. I had teenagers in our Youth Group at the time ask me how I could love God so much while I experienced death within. But, God is stronger than death and a grieving heart that loves God purely is stunning and perhaps even confusing for those who can’t get past the question…why?

The lady who made petitions for her daughters healing by saying, “Even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table…” was stunning; it was a faith that made Jesus stare in amazement.

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” (Matt 15:28 NKJV)

She was saying to Jesus, “I don’t need the full course meal, but let me have just a tiny crumb of what you have to offer because that tiny crumb falling from the master’s table is more than enough for me. I’ll take it God; I’ll take the crumbs from Your table.”

Her daughter was healed that very hour and yet so many others receive their healing when they enter heaven. I don’t understand why others receive their healing here on this earth while others wait, but I trust the God who resurrected my dreams and reality.

Yesterday I celebrated my risen Savior, the resurrection of God’s dream for all of us. For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son. He loves us even when we turn up our noses at the crumbs falling from His table. He loves us when we are full of faith and He loves us when we are wrestling with Him in rebellion, kicking against the form that wants to lead us safely.

Just a few hours after church and Easter lunch with treasured family we received a phone call telling us that one of the most beautiful girls that ever walked this earth, Sheree Hohn, was killed in a tragic car accident Sunday morning. She was headed to church to celebrate with her beautiful family and she never showed up. We were so blessed to have her in our youth group when we were Youth Pastor’s. If I could describe her in just one sentence it would be this…Sheree Hohn was the sweetest sunshine with a heart for God that was stunning.

I wish I could utter some words like, “One day we will all understand why heartbreak happens on this earth to the most incredible, God-loving people.” But, all I can think about is this mother and father saying goodbye to their thirty-year-old sunshine. All I can think of is her sister, Angela, who was her other half and best friend. They didn’t even have time to ask for crumbs, but they grieve with hope knowing they will see her again. But, it still hurts with waves of shock pulsation through those left behind.

To My Jesus who is the Resurrection and the life,

Kiss the faces of those who weep and whisper the songs of heaven as we wait for Your return. I don’t understand this, I’m not sure I want to. But, I ask this one thing…give us a faith that is stunning. I’m satisfied with crumbs or the full course meal; faith in You is what sustains me.


In Loving Memory of Sheree Hohn

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Rock, The Waters, & The Spirit of Mary

I have this little place that I love, sometimes I find myself driving there without even thinking about it. I love being outdoors in the sunshine and I love water. I retreat to my favorite place by the waters to think and exercise. But, today my “power walking” was aggressive and agitated. I figured today was a day for rougher terrain, rocky soil, and grass. A path trampled by my feet and so many others who walk that trail. Instead of finding my way by the smooth and quiet waters I hiked my way quickly to the waterfall and found my way onto my favorite rock. I grabbed my phone to take notes. Surely God would speak, but He just said,"Put it down." Turn off your iPod. Lay down your distractions. Just be still. Don’t write. Don’t say a word. Just listen.

Tears began to spill out covered by my oversized sunglasses as I felt the heaviness of transition and change. Oversized expectations cloud my vision; wanting so much to please everyone but I’m so weary from trying. Mascara runs down my face and I give way to the floodgates knowing that I need it. I need to cry. I need to be overwhelmed. And yet God doesn’t leave me there to wallow, the end result has to be peace. Right? I ask an honest question to the God that fashioned me, “Can I just have the heart of Mary?” Because trying to keep up with the lists and the “Martha Method” of productivity wears me out. (Luke 10:38-41)

Balance is good, list making is good, and schedules are good. I’m good with all that but something is out of balance when my world is too distracted and I cave to the Martha Method that only leads to frustration. Mary likes to cuddle, she likes to sit at the feet of Jesus and just be. And Jesus doesn’t scold her and tell her that she should learn to manage her time better or download another app to help her better organize her life. At His feet is always the better option. It cannot be taken away from us unless we opt for earthly priorities and measuring up to crazy expectations over our quiet time. Which for me quiet time equals sanity and a life without prescription medication.

He whispers ‘look’ and so I do. And I see something that is not supposed to be there, something that someone placed there to get to the other side of where they wanted to go.

I have no idea who placed the board there, but I will tell you that it’s not stable enough for someone to walk on and actually make it to the other side…it only took one step for me to realize that someone’s bright idea wasn’t that bright.

The “board” is my need to please others and my earthly agenda. It takes me nowhere and leaves me unstable. He is the lover of your soul and mine. He refreshes me like this water refreshes a thirsty earth.

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” (Song of Solomon 8: 6-7)

Why should we give away the wealth of our time when God longs to rearrange our priorities?