Saturday, June 11, 2016

There's a Cemetery Next Door

We moved to our new home in January and there is a cemetery at the end of the road, only one block with one house sits between. I would say about 3 times a month, the workers are out digging and putting up the tent for the funeral.

I once heard a man recount how he would frequent cemeteries in order to face his own mortality. It's not often in this hectic world that we stop to think about such things. I, too often, find myself driven from one thing to the next - articles about the latest medical finding, nuclear threat or criminal act. Pictures and memes on social media that, let's be honest, I seriously can't remember 3 minutes after looking at them. It often boils down to "there was this hilarious meme I saw...but I can't exactly remember what the picture was..." A ghostly image, veiled and fleeting.

But the digging. The tents going up. The mounds that lay after, piled high with quickly dehydrating flowers. Those images seem to stick with me. Maybe it's the confrontation with my own mortality. How many days left on this earth, Lord? How many days to make a difference in the lives of those I love? Or in the lives of those I don't even know yet? How many days to point to the stones of remembrance, how You met me, saved me, reconciled me with those seemingly unreconcilable. How many days of breath and laughter and embraces from those who make my heart wrench with even the thought of their loss? How many days?

And how many days have You sustained? How many days have you held all things in perfect motion and order in my life. Though I often see trial and heartache, uncertainty and grief, the deepest of losses and the yet the greatest of joys - You have held all things in perfect order. I can look back and see how You alone have used the darkest days to bring the most light, the most searing moments to heal. You are good.

Thank you Lord for moving me a block from a cemetery. Help me never take for granted the days, no matter what they hold or have in store.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Wanna Be Healed?

I was recently talking with someone about a new phase in their life. It is always a joy to be invited into the soul mess of people you love. Not a joy because they are struggling, but a joy because in my opinion, those moments are when life happens.

Life happens when we are real with each other, when I sit and share that I too have experienced those feelings, those anxieties. I, too, have fought until the tears are streaming and the knuckles are clenched tight. Yes, I have walked out of the house, gotten in the car and driven through tear filled eyes, screaming at God for answers, angry. It's the sin of life. I'm not proud of it. I'm not boasting in my stupidity or weak moments. They were sinful moments that I'm not proud of. But, they are the real me. The real life. The realest of real ugliness.

And in those ugly moments, in my weakness, His strength is revealed. When I drove away in the car, angry, frustrated and at wits end...He met me and spoke forgiveness, healing, and peace. When I fight with my soulmate, He speaks gentleness and grace. When I get anxious, He speaks He has already gone before.

And so, I sit across the table and share. I share the details of my heart, my feelings, my pain, my life experience. Because at some point, I pray my pain helps someone. I pray my experience can be a learning tool of what to do (or in more cases...what NOT to do). I hope by bringing my dark moments to the light, that someone may benefit.

"Confess your sin one to another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." James 5:16

Our confession of sin is not meant as a moment of shame, though that feeling may accompany the sinful choices we make, it's not the end goal. It's not a command to drag yourself through the mud just for the sake of dragging yourself through the mud. It's there so that we may be healed. So. That. You. May. Be. Healed. The healing comes in bringing those sins into the light to other believers. It comes in allowing them to pray with us over those things. It comes in knowing that you aren't alone in the struggle of sin and that others have been there. We weren't meant to walk this road alone. My prayer is that in my sharing of the struggle to walk through life honoring Christ and submitting life to Him as best I can, I can encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Road Ahead of Me....

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
— Thomas Merton