Friday, November 9, 2007

Restore My Soul

Here's another song that has moved me since, well, at least the early 90's when I first heard it...mostly for the music which is impossible not to dance to...which in itself is impressive being a "Christian" song and all. But recently, as I heard the song again on my old Mix Tape, I heard the lyrics for the first time. Not that I really had never heard them before, but they were sorta poetic garbledy-gook to me before. Suddenly it was me in that picture, my fingers, my spirit, my soul in need of restoration...

Restore My Soul-- The Choir

I call to you with one lung exploded
from breathing the dust of the earth
with my tongue eroded
from licking the crust of the earth
a tear away from reconciled
a prayer away from whole
restore my soul...

I cry to you with two eardrums blistered
from laughing at pictures of night
with my vertebrae twisted
from dancing with creatures of night
a day away from sanctified
a breath away from whole
restore my soul...
I crawl to you with ten fingers smoking
from turning the pages of sin
with my spirit choking
from earning the wages of sin
a bridge away from justified
a step away from whole
restore my soul...

Imagine crawling on blistered hands and bloody, dirty knees toward Jesus. You know that he's closer than he looks--a blurry image out of reach--because you can hear his voice, although it is a Truth that merely whispers through the noisy crowds and clouds of lies and culture, history and codependancy.

Two extraordinary things happened as I drug my tattered soul toward the blurry image of Christ, leaving a trail of bloody mud as I went. The final thing is what I'll tell you first. I recognized one day my own image in the mirror, and it was more like the one I used to know, the one more innocent and clean. The blood was gone, and the wounds were...not open...and still tremendous scars, pretty ugly, gnarly scars, pink and fragile, but what's that? No pain. Even as I touched them, lightly at first--no pain! Of course, once in a while I would have to jump back in a sudden searing sting, like the scars were being meddled with by a tick or some huge, intrusive insect. But a swat away, and my mind is snapped back to that Truth that is all too real to me now, and the pain subsides. I rub gently the scars as the adrenaline melts. I sometimes whisper the name of Jesus over and over.

The first extraordinary thing is that the closer I got to Jesus, the more in focus the blurry image became, the less it looked like what I thought Jesus was supposed to look like. Instead of this iconic, longhaired stranger-man in a dress [robe] coming at me with arms open as if all I needed was a big hug, I saw a woman with blonde hair who makes me feel like I still live in California, and there were tears in her eyes as she watches my Lover dice up my heart and lay it on the table like a tempting sushi display, and I could tell her heart was breaking right alongside mine as she served us both grace in a chocolate cake. I saw another woman with sad eyes of understanding and compassion watch me through plastic glasses, her token red lips telling me that because of Christ, I will survive this. And yet another woman, running alongside me on a treadmill, coaching me to work out the body and heal the soul, and I remember how we strengthened muscles, built up endurance and how my head cleared until I finally understood that Jesus actually loves me, just the way I am, with all this blood and dirt and brokenness. I saw the couple who counseled us, smiling with the certainty that of course we'll get through this, like they knew that we'd already won, and they were calling it like it was, showing us the truth and asking us what was stopping us from doing the hard thing. As the image got clearer I saw that it was actually countless babysitters and friends and neighbors, helping me with the everyday tasks of life, and believing in the future that I myself could not bring myself to believe in. He looked like all the people who said they'd stay by me until my heart was whole, promising that happy endings are possible, that you just have to take the risk and trust God with what 'happy' is going to look like, because you have never seen anything like this before.

As Jesus came into focus I realized it wasn't one guy in a robe--it was a whole crowd of people, each of them carrying Christ's redemption in their own hearts, each of them an oak, a priest, a shepherd. As I approach this Jesus I am enveloped, and I am no longer crawling. They absorb my body and I absorb theirs, and I remember suddenly how my soul got to taking that nosedive into an empty pool. It was a long ladder up to the diving board. I didn't always realize where I was going or that I was still climbing, because there seemed to be so many people there with me, the whole world seemed to be cheering me on, my Lover just rungs above me, just out of reach, and I needed to touch him. Finally at the top I'm so close, I can almost feel-- I lunge out arms extended....into nothing...emptiness.

My lungs explode and I can't breathe, I notice finally the eroded state of my tongue and I can't speak, the pain of my blistered eardrums (I can't hear God!), the twisting of my vertebrae. My fingers burn, blistered and smoking, and my spirit....chokes. What have I done, what have I become?

Then the tears. Days and days of tears. And the prayers. Some are mine, many are not, because I just don't have the strength. Days go by, sometimes taking years just to pass hours, and I have to remember to breathe, so He breathes on me, an immaculate CPR and my consciousness resumes...Those friends, those bodies making up the image of Christ, they have been busy building a bridge for me, and wholeness is on the other side. Before I can wonder if I have faith enough, I realize I've already been walking across the bridge, and my steps have brought me to justification, sanctification..... and I am reconciled... to Jesus! Reconciled to my Father. I plead with grateful tears for him to restore my soul and he tells me it has already been done, and I am whole.

And yes, I'll take that big hug now....

"Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you...Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding..."
Jeremiah 3:14,15

Friday, August 24, 2007

An Easier Yoke

I don't mean for this to be all about pain and suffering, but it's our common denominator as people, isn't it? We are all broken, everyone you see is going through something hard, or just has, or will soon. How do we ever lose sight of compassion? I love this quote from a friend; it illustrates well a pain we all know or will know:

"Hurting is the blood that drips down to my fungus-infected feet." --J.K.E

I kinda doubt that Jesus had athlete's foot, but this is just a smidgeon of the pain that Christ felt as he hung on the cross for us. Just think about that: your pain times the population of the world... But He died so that our pain wouldn't kill us. Instead, he takes it on for us and we live--we actually find rest for our bleeding souls.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." --Matthew 11.29-30

Have some compassion today, people. Be gentle and humble in's a much easier yoke to bear. God loves you.

Friday, July 6, 2007

You Are Grace To The Brokenhearted

My life has theme songs. That's all there is to it.

Presently, I hate the inside of my house. It's old, it's been jacked up, it needs to be painted and "finished" and there is cream carpet in the dining room. I have four kids. Cream carpet plus four kids equals "what smells like pee/spoiled milk/wet dog?" (We don't have a dog.) So the house is incessantly below my standards. Not to mention the normal large-family stuff of laundry and toys and school papers and what-have-you cluttering up the world. It's like quicksand--the quicker I move to get out of this pit, the worse it seems to get!!! And the thing is, I thought my job as a wife and SAHM (stay-at-home-mom for those of you who don't subscribe to such blogrings), which I have been happy to embrace, was to keep everything in order...and a bunch of other details that I'll save for my resume...which means, in every direction I look, I'm a failure. I'm hard-pressed to find a success on my long list of expectations for myself...except that my kids are cute, happy, smart and haven't managed to kill themselves yet, although Z gives a daily go of it. "...Times are tough, the goin' rough, like there never was a Master Plan."

This crisis sits patiently next to the recent one I've gone through in my marriage, reminding me that there is hope within brokenness, a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will.

This is the song that encourages me today, in view of my struggles in my JOB and crisis in general. Thank you, Lost Dogs, for preachin' it to me again and again...God speaks to me in Rockabilly.

Blessing in Disguise-- Lost Dogs

How often do you spot the angels

Or feel the unseen hand?

Most times are tough, the goin’ rough

Like there never was a master plan

Those steadfast doors don’t open

And you pray but you don’t understand

You’ve got to...

Hold fast the hope that’s in you

Don’t always trust your eyes

Sometimes it takes a long time to see it as a

Blessing in disguise

We live upon this dark surface

And God, He moves upon the deep

What is concealed will be revealed

There is no promise He won’t keep

Some are confused by the shadows

We’re awake now but we’re half asleep

Hold fast the hope that’s in you

Don’t always trust your eyes

Sometimes it takes a long time to see it as a

Blessing in disguise

Sometimes the dark can move our hearts

To lean for the light of the Son

And our ways don’t become His ways

Until we are undone

Hold fast the hope that’s in you

Don’t always trust your eyes

Sometimes it takes a long time to see it as a

Blessing in disguise

And after you’ve been broken

You may not realize

That you are grace to the broken hearted

And a blessing—a blessing in disguise

Thank you, LORD, that you bind the brokenhearted, that you are renaming me an oak of righteousness, a planting of YOU, for the display of your splendor. This is the year of the Lord's favor.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Signs...and Wonders

*Disclaimer: there were some pretty sweet pictures of Yellowstone as part of this entry, but they were back-linked to another blog that I deleted, which then deleted the pictures here. I would just get them off the hard drive, but our hard drive crashed, and I'm still waiting for all my pictures to be extracted. Someday I'll get them back up...

I have been feeling the pull to write, but not having a lot of time alone, and being a perfectionist (defeated perfectionist if you will), I don't think I can get all my "deep thoughts" down before someone needs me again. I have a great story to tell: a story of betrayal and redemption and drama and rejoicing!! But I'll just have to rest in the fact that God knows I want to write, God knows I have a story to tell (He's the author, afterall!) and He knows what it's gonna take to get the two things together.

For now, I will be simple and sweet...

In Yellowstone, I was struck with irony when we were driving about on roads that were flanked with--yes, buffalo--but also caution-yellow, diamond-shaped signs that read "ROUGH ROADS AHEAD" followed by, "VERY ROUGH ROADS AHEAD" and then, "EXTREMELY ROUGH ROADS AHEAD".....until finally you came around the bend and saw this:

(insert awesome picture of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone here!)

We had traveled the "extremely rough roads" and we were on top, looking down into the valley! This breathtakingly beautiful expanse that is so huge it threatens to swallow you up. As you stare in awe and the peripheral caves into your focal point and the thunder of a waterfall roars next to you, drowning out all your fears and your doubts, you realize God is very big and I am very small--certainly he is in control and knowing--as even all of this was formed with but a whisper from His lips, and I can rest, not knowing, not seeing, not being capable, or able, or confident in myself.


Psalm 93

1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty
and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.

2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

3 The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.

5 Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O LORD.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A-Camping We Will Go!

We are going camping in Yellowstone this month, so I'm looking for ideas for making meals for six on a 2-burner campstove, surrounded by DIRT really, really easy. I've had a little practice, but am FAR from the professional campers my parents seemed to be (hmmm...although...maybe they were at the advantage with 1/2 the kids and twice as many vehicles, one being a truck with what we called a "Gypsy Wagon" on the back.) So any suggestions on how to camp with and feed 4 kids in Yellowstone in particular would be greatly appreciated!

Meanwhile, I found a great website that I don't know why I didn't consider right off the bat...after all, the Boy Scouts wrote the book on camping, right?! Not only are there a TON of recipes that are practical for roughin' it, but there are some really good recipes on there for every day. Easy, delicious, and great for "feeding the troops" if you will....

Like this one (I can't believe I found it)...Funnel Cakes are only my favorite dessert (from childhood...and the only good ones were at Disneyland), and now I can have it while CAMPING? What better treat after the kids are down and we sit by the fire, exhausted after a long day of trying to get our kids to nap in a tent and not wander off to be eaten by bears, and all that other fun stuff camping with toddlers comes with. Ahhhhhhhhhh..........

TitleFunnel Cake
Ingredients10 cups flour
2 packages dry egg mixture
1 package dry milk mixture (enough to make 1 quart)
5 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
Combine before trip.
EquipmentFrying pan or simple pot
InstructionsUse 1 cup mixture and >1/2 cup water, mix completely in plastic bag. Should be more than enough for one person . Drop in hot oil from corner cut from plastic bag and cook until light brown, turn once. Top with sugar or fruits if desired.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wonka Wisdom

"The most important thing we've learned
So far as children are concerned
Is never, never, never let
Them near your television set
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all. . .
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotized by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk. . .
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten?
Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
They used to read.
They'd read and read and read and read and then proceed
To read some more."
- Roald Dahl
'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Luck" has had nothing to do with it...

We renewed our vows to each other this St. Patrick's Day, after 10 years of marriage and surviving more than a couple of marital crises...

My Beloved, this is my covenent to you and our God:
I will be faithful to God by seeking His truth and guidance daily
I will be committed to honesty and integrity.
I will connect regularly with God-fearing men in our community to help strengthen my faith in the Lord.
I will be committed to maintaining sexual purity and obeying His commands.
I will be faithful to you, Beloved, by loving you as modeled in Ephesians 5, "just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy..."
I will love you as my own body and self.
I will continually lift you up in prayer, and will pray with humility, out of submission to God, so I may admit when I'm wrong.
I promise to continue taking spiritual leadership in our home as God has placed me as your head.
And, I will be proactive in planning for our future together, and the future of our children.
I love you!
My Lover, my Husband:
My promise to you is to--first and foremost--be faithful to our Lord God.
I will try to always be teachable, keeping a soft heart toward God.
I will strive to understand His Word, listen to His voice, and always be obedient.
I promise to be faithful to you emotionally, physically and spiritually, regarding you as my head, submitting to you in everything as to the Lord.
I will continue in my quest to be a wife of noble character, so that everything I do will bring glory to God and will bring good to you all the days of my life...
I love you!