Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well, on Sunday I experienced the mack truck. We were walking into church and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who we came to know after our pastor introduced us on the connection, we had both suffered a miscarriage in our family. We chit-chatted for a bit, and he asked us how were doing. You know the difference between the casual "How are you doing" you say to a complete stranger...where it is just polite to say, "Fine", and move on. Well, it wasn't one of those...it was a "How are you doing" in the sense that I've felt your pain, and I know that some days are good and some days are bad. Well, Jason and I confidantly and flippantly responed, "We're doing great!"
As we were sitting in the service, I reflected on the seemingly meaningless response we gave...and I thought, "Wow! We are doing great...praise God!" I even felt a little tinge of pride, like we had successfully endured another tragedy without it even leaving a bruise.
And then, I entered the busy interstate surrounded by mack trucks and there was no sidewalk for protection. Our pastor was preaching on sharing our lives with others and how it's important to share personal testimonies of God being there for us. He remarked on the strength and presence he felt from God when his parents divorced (ok, I can see that), after losing his grandfather (sure, God comforts), when he married his wife (oh, yeah...the Lord felt so present at our wedding too), and then when he heard his son's heartbeat last week at the doctor's office (what? huh?).
Collision! Mack truck has struck a pedestrian! I immediately felt my spirit crushed. I had to contain myself from just breaking down and running out of the service. I wanted to stand up and scream, "No! God was not with us through the hardest time of our lives! He left us to fend for ourselves, and now all I have left is the thought of what could've been!" Nothing else...a due date on Saturday that is now just filled with pain and emptiness. A body that cannot seem to figure out what it's doing. And a husband who doesn't understand this pain either.
I just sat there with my pain consuming me, saying, "God, where were you? You were with him, why not me? What did I do wrong?"
When it was time for communion, I walked up slowly, just hoping that the pastor's pregnant wife would not be the one serving me. Karma...oh yeah, she was. She handed me the bread, and said, "Brandy, accept God's love." And I thought, I'm trying to.
We sung this song after communion (dialogue in my head):
You are so Good to Me
You are so good to me (Oh really?)
You heal my broken heart (Hmm...my heart, it's still broken)
You are my Father in Heaven (Do you really love me, because sometimes I don't feel it)
You ride upon the clouds
You lead me to the truth
You are the Spirit inside me (Well give me some peace, would you?)
You poured out all Your blood (Ok...here it is, yes, you do...you love me, though I may not feel it, God you love me perfectly, completely, hugely)
You died upon the cross
You are my Jesus who loves me
In the midst of my pain and my questions to the Lord during this song, the sun started shining so warm on my face through the window, and there it was...the presence of the Lord when I so desperately needed Him. I know it came from Him, and I knew He was telling me, "Brandy, I've always been there, and I always will be. Rest in me." The Lord humbled me that morning and I knew that the journey I'm walking has ups and downs, but He's right there with me.
The last chapter talked about his views on death. Since Rich died before his time, though it seems he liked to think he lived beyond his time, it conveyed an amazing attitude of what it is to truly live life and also to accept death, and accept it with joy.
A few quotes from Rich on death:
(Rich learned quite a bit frm Saint Francis): Francis reminded himself daily that he would be dead...I think that while we live, the one sure thing about being alive is that we will die. Everything else is kind of "iffy." I mean, you may be rich, you may be poor. You may have a job tomorrow, you may not. Nothing is sure in life except that you will be dead. There's something really great about living in the awareness that we will someday die. For one thing, that makes all that is hard about life more endurable because we know it will pass. So I think that it teaches us to not hold on to things, to live with some sort of detachment. Not the sort of detachment where we are unmoved, but the sort of detachment where we allow ourselves to be moved easily and quickly, but we don't try to possess those things that move us.
Once you come to understand that life is unbelievably brief and that we really can't do anything that's gonna change anything, that we don't really amount to a hill of beans--then all of a sudden you go, "so it doesn't really matter if I'm not great. And if I don't have to be great, that means I can fail. And if I can fail, that means I can try. And if I can try, that means I'm gonna have a good time. "
Thursday, October 18, 2007
As I was flying home last night, I heard this song and it touched my heart. As we near November 3 (my first due date), I'm struck by the fact that we will not be welcoming our first child. I hope that Munchkin knows that nothing will take away our love for her.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Today is Infant Loss and Miscarriage Day and everyone who has lost a child is asked to light a candle for their lost children. Since I am away from home, I just wanted to light some candles for our precious children. I know we will hold them someday and I can't wait. So Munchkin and Sweet Pea, I love you!
Friday, October 12, 2007
So the other morning we were working out at the YMCA when the song, "Who let the Dogs Out?" came on. I just had to chuckle. I remember the days in college with the ARCHE boys would sing this to me, and of course, Who let the dogs out? Yes, that would be me. I don't even know what that song means...I hope there's no underlying profane theme! Even one time we were out at a bar and the song came on while I was in the bathroom. As I'm in the stall, I actually hear them singing it to me. Oh goodness, you gotta love 'em!
So I thought about it today and realized that the good Lord brings healing in so many different ways....from cleansing tears to laughter in recollections of "Who let the Dogs Out?". Thanks God!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
If you're having a bad day, take one of these and call me in the morning!
1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
6. Getting mail.
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer
11. Chocolate milkshake (vanilla or strawberry).
12. A bubble bath.
14. A good conversation.
15 The beach
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they Love you
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke with FRIENDS
24. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
25. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
27. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
28. Playing with a new puppy
29. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Hot chocolate.
32. Road trips with friends.
33. Swinging on swings.
35. Making chocolate chip cookies.
37. Holding hands with someone you care about.
38. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
39. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a muchdesired present from you.
40. Watching the sunrise.
41. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for anotherbeautiful day.
42. Knowing that somebody misses you.
43. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
44. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
anytime that we focus on our performance, that in itself cuts us off from God-not successfully-because God's grace is greater than even our darkest sin. this is not about your righteousness. your righteousness is all in Jesus. so don't get so hung up about how important you are in the kingdom of God or how important you are to the growth of the church. it seems that God is always saying, "i'm not worried so much about how you're doing as much as i'm glad about who you are." the scripture also says don't get too hung up in your failures, your weaknesses, or your addictions--it doesn't make you separate from God because He still loves you. ~Rich Mullins
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
But in the area of reaching out to homosexuals, I believe we have shown the wrath of God, while neglecting the love of God. I must divide, though, the regular churches from the extreme churches. Sure there are those crazy ones, who I refuse to give any credence to, who spew complete hatred on everyone around them. They need more help than I care to write about. It's the normal churches who tend to chastise homosexuals as being sinners that they seemingly know nothing about. Bull-honky! We all are sinners. You go to church...because you're a sinner, not because you're perfect. We go to church because we acknowledge we need the grace of a loving savior. We go to church because we draw strength from other sinners who walk this journey with us.
This excerpt from a biography on Rich Mullins sums up my thoughts exactly:
I remember one time my friend and I were hiking on the Appalachian trail, and he met some friends of his, so I walked in town. It was about a five-mile walk from the campsite down the trail, down into town. And when I got there I went into a restaurant and I was having a steak, and this guy started talking to me and we had this great conversation. We were having a good time, and he said, "Hey look, it's dark and it's five miles up the road to your campground. Why don't I drive you up there?"
And I said, "Hey, great!"
And so we got in his car, and just as we pulled out from under the last light in town, the guy said, "You know what, I should probably tell you I'm gay."
And I said, "Oh! I should probably tell you I'm Christian."
And he said, "Well, if you want out of the car..."
I said, "Why?"
And he said, "Well, I'm gay and you're Christian."
I said, "It's still five miles and it's still dark."
Then he said, "I thought Christians hated gays."
I said, "That's funny, I thought Christians were supposed to love. I thought that was our first command."
He said, "Well, I thought God hated gays."
And I said, "That's really funny, because I thought God was love."
And then he asked me the big one. He said, "Do you think I will go to hell for being a gay?"
Well, I'm a good Hoosier, and I puckered up to say, "Yes of course you'll go to hell for being gay." I got ready to say that, but when I opened my mouth it came out, "No, of course you won't go to hell for being gay." And I thought to myself, Oh my God, I've only been in New Hampshire for one week and I've already turned into a liberal! What am I going to tell this guy now?"
Then I said to him, "No, you won't go to hell for being gay, any more than I would go to hell for being a liar. Nobody goes to hell because of what they do. We go to hell because we reject the grace that God so longs to give to us, regardless of what we do."
~Rich Mullins, His Life and Legacy by James Bryan Smith