Ecclesiastes 3 says:
"To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,
A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
As I sit here this morning reading the above passage, I am struck and comforted at God's pairing of everything with its opposite. It reminds me that not only do things change but they become their 180 degree balance.
I could spend time right now going into a deep explanation of this current season but it seems irrelevant. We all carry the amount that God knows we can handle with His strength. Details don't matter. The truth is that I am grateful for seasons. The hard ones help me focus and the easy ones help me to be grateful.
Suffice it to say this is a harder season. But as promised, God is always here.
The other night as I was falling to sleep, I had a dream. It was an interesting image to say the least and it makes me laugh sometimes, but it has been in the foremost of my mind ever since.
In my dream, I was standing in a dry field and behind me was a chicken coop. The coop was on fire. Smoke was billowing out of every crevice while flames jumped in abandon and chickens were squawking up a storm. There were people running around crazy like the sky was falling. They were crying, screaming, pulling their hair and even running into the side of the chicken coop in their crazed state. The interesting thing is all those people were "me". They all looked like me, dressed like me, sounded like me and felt like me. (Dreams are funny that way.)
Then my dream view went back to the first me that was standing in the middle of the field surrounded by all of the craziness. Time slowed down, I could even hear the sound of time slowing and it tuned out the other sounds of panic and catastrophe behind me. I saw sweat beads rolling down my face in slow motion. Then I closed my eyes, shook my head from side to side and willed myself to say, "I will not run around crazy like that. I refuse. I can smell the rain coming. It's in the air. I can smell the rain and we are going to be okay. It is all going to be okay."
That is all I remember of the dream but it talks to me as I go through my days. I keep hearing this whisper and echo, "the rain is coming.......it's coming.......the rain is coming". Sometimes, like right now, it catches in my chest and makes my steps stall because I hear it so soundly. It vibrates in my heart.
Yesterday when I opened the door to go outside, I actually smelled rain in the air.
Can you smell it? Do you know it's coming? It IS coming. That smell only happens when the heavens are swelling from the fullness of it all and the rain is about to spill over the edge. That smell.....it is such a unique smell; as if the dirt is stirring and wanting to run away from the fact that the ground is about to change.
God I breathe it in and embrace it. Thank You for Your promise of rain, Your promise of change, Your promise of steadfastness, strength, hope and destiny that cannot be stolen away.
*3/27/13 Post note; I was sharing this dream with a friend last night and having fun talking about all the different ways God speaks to us. Through her sharing with me my thoughts lit on a new twist to my thinking. I wonder if the smell of rain is the earth celebrating the expectation and anticipation of the refreshing life water.....
Thursday, August 9, 2012
From the beginning of their relationship, they both laid the ground rules that neither were looking for a hang out buddy. Neither wanted to invest their hearts into a relationship that would spiral into a 'burn out waste of time' just for the sake of not being single. For the last year they have supported and encouraged one another as they live their daily lives and talk frankly about their future. Even still; she had no idea when she suggested they spend a beautiful Saturday at the beach that he had a surprise up his sleeve.
For us, one evening in the end of May while she was still at work, The Poet came over and had 'the talk' with my husband. We have been bursting with excitement ever since as we give each other knowing glances and adjust to the idea that our precious baby girl is no longer a lil' girl.
God reminded me of something a couple of weeks ago that made me catch my breath. He put a scene in my mind of the first conversation I ever had with The Poet. I introduced myself to him at church and was enjoying getting to know him. Our conversation revolved around his passions of God, job and school. As I stood there talking and listening, in my head I said, "Papa God, this guy is amazing. There is a wealth of gold in him that You are fashioning."
God replied, "Yes I know there is. I made him that way and brought him here for her (He named my daughter)".
My instant thought was that I must have heard wrong. At that time, The Poet had an idea he might be moving to Florida for school and I had never pictured my daughter moving to Florida.....so I must have heard wrong. Besides, she was planning to be single for a long time since her dreamy check list she wrote and prayed over for a future husband had very specific criteria.
So I dismissed that mental conversation as something I heard wrong and never gave it another thought......until now.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
My breathing and saving thought right now.......
Today is a new day. And in that is hope, joy, peace, grace and a fresh spiritual atmosphere because God is always doing something even when we can't put our finger on it.
Thank You God. Oh how we need You.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Last week I had a doctor appointment that caused me to derail my thinking for a time. It was a routine appointment that didn't take long at all. The doctor and I shared pleasantries and regular medical conversation about why I was there. There were statements like, "Women in your age bracket....." and "Only needing certain tests......"
Then as my formal examination commenced she said, "Actually ummm.... I am going to change my mind. Let's do this other test."
She made a point of telling me that the test results would say negative and it was no big deal. I smiled, agreed and laughed it off until she left the room. Then against better judgement I crumbled. My brain kept thinking, "Why would she change her mind? What did she see?" The word WHY was playing on a ticker tape in my brain and spinning in circles. I could have had the presence of mind to ask her......but I never did. I mentally chided myself for being so quick to jump to a partially suggested conclusion and told that 'me' to grow up.
But as the next couple of days elapsed, I found myself distracted and lost in imagined scenarios. WHY became replaced by WHAT IF as my mind created scenes of how life would be different. My husband, my girls, my mom, different milestones that are on the horizon for us......they were all tied together. Mingled in with those picture clips were scenes of 2 years ago when I cared for Daddy through his cancer battle.
Seemingly against my own will and rational thought, my days became a fog and then arrested by the WHAT IFs. I even had a couple of times where I thought I might hyperventilate as I tried to get a hold of myself. A small voice in my head kept saying, "Reach out for help. Don't battle these thoughts alone. You are not alone."
Finally, I took opportunity to tell my husband and that is when things changed for me. I told him how my fears and assumptions had developed monsters of their own. I even confessed to the crazy truth that I had googled images and information on my laptop of key words I heard during my appointment. As we talked and prayed, those monsters became less intimidating and my shoulders felt lighter.
Yesterday the test results came in the mail. The results were "normal" just like I was told they would be. You want to know what is funny? My thoughts had changed so much after confessing, praying and partnering in accountability with my husband that I almost forgot to open the envelope. I wasn't worried at all.
Thoughts can be a tricky thing. They are constantly in motion. We hear statements all the time that speak to the power of our thoughts:
I couldn't help myself.
It makes me so angry (sad, frustrated, hurt).
It is all I think about.
I don't know. It just came out of my mouth.
Our thoughts carry strength and power but they do not have to control our lives in a negative way. We have the awesome ability to CHOOSE what we dwell on. Sure, things will always pop into our thoughts. But God gives us the privilege of being able to weigh them out and choose what we give our time and energy to.
"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This scripture clearly says that we can change our thoughts. If we can make our thoughts "obedient to Christ" as it says, then that means that the anger, fear, shame and out-of-control thoughts don't have to have power.
Now that doesn't mean we run around with our fingers in our ears and quote Bob by saying over and over, "I feel fine....I feel great.....I feel wonderful." There is a time for deep thoughts and weighing heavy things. But even deep thoughts don't have to have the privilege of consuming us.
We have opportunity to evaluate, measure and change our thoughts. We can look at each thought and say:
Is this a truth thought?
Is this worth spending my time and energy on?
What should I be thinking on?
It was an important lesson for me to learn right now.
Currently my Nana is in a rehabilitation center working on gaining strength in her back after a fall. The combination of seeing my Nana becoming more frail, watching her wrestle with a bit of confusion and memory loss, witnessing my mom handle so much as her daughter and care-giver (a feeling I remember so well).....I have to confess to flashing back to all of the feelings and situations I found myself in with caring for Daddy.
This small situation with learning not to let my emotions partner with panic from a single comment at my doctor appointment is so perfect for helping me to bring into alignment this bigger time frame as well. I get to choose to make my morning visits with Nana be just about her and me. I get to choose to enjoy instead of feeling sad. I have the joy of choosing what to dwell on.
Thank You God for Your gift of choice. Thank You that You give us the ability to not be subjected to whatever whim that passes through our brains. Thank you that you give us the strength to look and grasp what is right and true. Thank You for making each day new and fresh, full of hope, joy and purpose.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I have much in my head that I still have yet to put words to on my keyboard. But for the moment, I really want to share the opportunity we had yesterday.
My husband was blessed with a day off of work. It is not often that he is able to take time off so he and I planned to enjoy fully. We decided to spend the day together doing our favorite hobby: hiking and enjoying the amazing Columbia Gorge. A treasured place we like to hike is Eagle Creek Trail just outside of Cascade Locks. It is a slightly more advanced hiking trail as the elevation really climbs in a couple of areas. Also there are 2 spots where the path is cut into a cliff face and there are cables anchored into the wall to hold to for safety. (If you scroll through this old post, you can see a picture of such an area) It turned out to be beautiful mild weather. With food and water in out pack, we spent a handful of hours breathing in the beauty of the area.
Late in the afternoon as we were headed back down, we met a woman hiking up with her 2 large dogs. I can't be positive but as I look back on the events I want to say we met up at that very same spot I had taken a picture of so many years ago. As always, I had fun petting the 'fuzzy children' and making quick friends. Then we said our farewells and continued on. Not more than 25 paces into our decent, we heard the woman scream and yell for her husky dog. Bohdee was gone! I heard the horrid crashing of her malamute falling 150 feet to the bottom of the cliff and then there was no sound at all. The woman was panicked. We locked eyes and she begged for help. She passed me the lead of her other dog and then threw off her pack and looked around to see if there was a way she could scale down the rock face. My husband convinced her to head down towards the river to look for a path while he headed back up top to see if there was an alternate way down. I followed her to make sure she kept safe.
After rounding a few corners we came upon our first person and he was a God-send. His name was Josiah and at a quick glance I could tell he was a level headed MacGyver sort of person that God had put in that spot for a special purpose. Josiah instantly gave up his camping hike and broke off the path into the forest with Amanda while I ran a good mile and a half to find a phone number for the forestry department. Everyone I spoke with was so wonderfully understanding and within 90 minutes a volunteer search and rescue team called Crag Rats was activated and on site.
It did not take long for Bohdee to be found and he was alive! Isn't that amazing? He appeared to have several broken bones in his hips and ribs but his eyes were alert. The forest was too dense to carry him out from the river floor so the rescue team set together a belay system and brought him back up to the path while strapped to an immobilizing cage board. 6 hours after Bohdee's fall everyone was safely in the parking lot.
My husband and I were worn out but spent the drive home talking about all the things God did through the whole event. After washing with tecnu to break off any hints of poison oak, we crashed into our bed and slept solid.
God is so amazing how He plans and provides!
*We were the only ones in that particular area on the path when Bohdee fell. Had Amanda been completely alone what would have happened?
*Bohdee was not on a lead at that moment. If he had been, would his 105 pound frame have pulled Amanda over as well?
*My husband was incredible in his calm thinking and action.
*As I was headed down the path for help, I came upon friends. 30 miles from home and I run into people I know? They activated a phone prayer chain for everyone's safety.
*The Crag Rat volunteers were so amazing to come even though it was getting dark. Their compassion was so vital. I knew no matter how Amanda found Bohdee, she was not going to leave the forest without he dog.
Tired and sore but so grateful for the way everything ended up.
Post note: Here is the news feed about the event. (The guy in the yellow shirt is my hubby.) We have recently heard that Bohdee had 5 hours of surgery last night to repair a broken pelvis and punctured lung and might be able to be home this weekend.
Thank You God for Your presence always being around us.