Monday, February 20, 2012

40 Days. Part II

Update: During 40 Days Part I (which actually ends on February 24) we have given over 650 items that we already had. Already. Owned. Folks.  Add to that the 100 burgers handed out to the homeless downtown and we hit about 750.

Imagine what freedom we would have if our things stopped meaning so much to us?

Imagine where our time/money/resources could be spent if we weren't concerned with how much we had?

It's powerful stuff, friends.

Like, completely interrupt your life powerful....

I am so excited to see what happens in Part II

Respite: res·pite/ˈrespət/:  An interruption in the intensity or amount of something; 
A pause for relaxation.

To Pause.

It's the cause of one of the greatest clashes between culture and faith.

Our ability to stop.  And listen.

To be still.

To give ourselves over to the pause.

The Sacred Pause.

As I allowed my eyes to be opened and I stared at my own reflection, I was appalled at how rarely I pause.

Are we really so important and busy that God must work around our schedules?

Are we truly a culture that says to God, "We'll pencil you in"?

I don't want to be that person.

But I am.

I don't want to see that in my own reflection.

But I do.

As I spend this season asking God to reveal to me His heart, I have been broken by the fact that He's been waiting  for me to stop.  and listen.

It crushes me to think I have done that to the One who is most dear to me. Ignored my King?...

So for 40 days [February 29- April 8], I will practice The Seven Sacred Pauses.

"Honoring "the hours" through conscious pausing for prayer at specific times of the day. When I speak of the hours I am referring to those times of the day that the earth's turning offers us: midnight, dawn, midmorning, noon, midafternoon, evening and night. Although every hour is sacred, these special times have been hallowed by centuries of devotion and prayer...It is possible to develop a kindred spirit with these rich historical hours that does not require praying specific texts or going to a specific place for prayer. Each hour has its own unique mood and special grace. You can learn to enter into the spirit of the hour wherever you are. No matter what you are doing, you can pause to touch the grace of the hour."  - Macrina Weiderkehr

In addition to taking pause throughout the day, I have decided to also fast those things that have kept me too "busy" for time with my Father (Facebook, Blogging, Pinterest).

Because more than anything I want to live in communion with God.  And I know that in order to do that, I have to stop.

And actually listen to the heart of my Father.

40 Days.

No Social Networking.

No Blogging.

No Pinterest-ing. (?)

Replaced with:




On Purpose, this 40 Day fast ends on Easter.  

I chose to place this season of asking to see God's love in a new way in the same season in which we acknowledge that it was that very thing that held him on the cross.

For me.

Father, may my time be spend more wisely as I devour Your will and purge myself of the "needs" this world has convinced me I have.  Open my eyes that I might see the areas You want access to. As I practice the seven sacred pauses, I cry out for Your spirit to be ever present with me. As I stop and listen, I pray that I hear You more clearly than ever before.

Renew me, my beloved.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Pretty Doggone Selfish Post (You've all been fairly warned)

Today This week....has been tough.

I have been filled with the return of the emotions I felt right after we lost our referral.





I can't tell you how many times people try to tell you that "it will all be worth it" and that "God has a great plan" when you are going through the valley.

Those words are true. Most certainly.

But? They don't help.

They don't ease the pain of watching families swoop through the process in much less time than you.

They don't reconcile the fear in your heart that something will happen before you ever get to bring your sweet love home.

They don't make the pain and sorrow easier.

They don't reopen doors that slam shut in your face.

And I know the heart behind those words. People are doing the only thing they know to try to bring you some sense of hope.

Those words don't make me angry (well, not today anyways).

But they don't make my journey any smoother either.

They don't magically make the system get "paperwork" done so that I can see my child's beautiful eyes and beg others for small glimpses into his/her personality and stare for hours on end at pictures, memorizing every line...every feature...every thing I can.

They don't fill the empty places.

Sorry. They just don't.

And, while I haven't been here in a while...I can't help but feel angry at the whole situation.  Not only in my own selfishness, but for others too.... 

I have friends staring into doors that have slammed shut in their faces.

Friends that have been fighting in the wilderness of IA to bring their children home. For a long. long. time.

Friends who will be the most amazing parents.

And truthfully? nothing about this is fair.

I shouldn't be waiting for a referral right now.

Friends shouldn't have to be praying for direction.

And it really doesn't matter how many "God has a plan" statements people make...It still isn't fair.

Just like it wasn't fair when Job lost everything.

And, it wasn't fair when Tamar was sent away from Judah's family.

And, it wasn't fair when David had to hide in the caves.

And, it wasn't fair when John got beheaded.

And it really Really wasn't fair when Jesus was dangling on that cross.

But in all those stories? In all those lives?

God was still the God of Redemption.

And I am looking forward to that day in our stories too.....

I look forward to the day we look back and think, "What's a little black paint in the big scheme of things? Look at how beautiful this mural turned out!"

I look forward to the day when this is all a distant memory drowned out by the laughter filling our homes.

I look forward to the joy of what will come.

But that doesn't make today any easier.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

In my house, we celebrate holidays the day after....usually by raiding the 50% off candy at Wal-Mart (If only we could do that with Christmas gifts, and we'd be set). Nevertheless, for the hopeful romantics out there, here is the valentine I made for the girls at work (Thanks again, never let me down)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

What Ifs and My Village.

When you face a situation of overwhelming sadness and loss with the whole world (okay, maybe not the Whole world) watching and asking questions and unknowingly (I believe anyways) minimizing your grief.. you can't help but wonder if you asked for it by being open and transparent in your journey.... And the questions begin to fill your brain like  marshmallows in a microwave...

What if you had done this..
Or that...
What should you do in the future...
Or say...
Or not say.
And after accepting the fact that we are not invincible. No really, apparently we are human, afterall ... I couldn't help but try to provide myself with as many protective walls and guards as possible.
I mean, don't I deserve them?
But, one day,  after explaining my plan to disclose nothing  very little as we proceed again in the 'wonderful world of waiting' to a friend, she left me with two different scenarios.
One SIL, after miscarrying a child, had decided not to share her pregnancy until she was well into the second trimester. I totally get it....What if it happens again? Why put yourself out there for all the questions? Comments? Sorrowful glances?
But a different SIL? said she saw no choice but to share her good news after having lost a child...The prayers of those that stood by her during that difficult season were the very thing that got her through to this joyful one.. And she was depending on them to pray with her during this new season as well....
I, too, was blessed to have many many people standing with us in prayer.
In the stress of waiting.
In the bliss of getting a referral.
And in loss.
I had to ask myself, "Could I have made it without those prayers?"
I don't know that we could have... but I don't know that we couldn't have either...What I DO know? Is that we were covered in supernatural peace in the days after losing our referral.  And that peace allowed us to move into healing much faster than I ever thought I'd be able to....

So, I guess the real question isn't whether or not I could have made it without those prayers but rather...would I want to?

And I know the answer to that one.

But transparency? makes you vulnerable.... oh so vulnerable.

And while I have always tried to be Real with ya'll...

I can't begin to tell you the fear that creeps up inside of me when I think about the 'what ifs'.

What if we lose another referral after several months of joy and excitement?

What if we have to tell the world about it while the wound is still fresh?

What if people don't realize how hurtful their questions and comments might be to someone who is in the middle of grief (and let's be honest--a little anger) and just needs to heal first?

and in the midst of all those what ifs, God gives me a few more to consider...

What if you see the power of prayer because you let people in?

What if your community is able to be My tangible presence in your life in the the celebrating..and in the sorrow?

What if you don't have anyone there to hold you up when you need it most because you were too afraid?

Me:  Okay, God....Those are decent points, I suppose. But what about all the added pain and anger because of thoughtless questions and comments about our loss?

God: What about the added peace? The healing? The letters and calls from people telling you they were praying? That their hearts were broken with yours? That they loved you? 

God (again): What about Community?

I have friends who have shared on more than one occasion how blessed they are to be able to be part of our journey.

But the Real truth is? It's US who have been so blessed.

And as selfish as it might be to build up walls and share very little with those who have prayed for and championed us on this journey?

It would be even more selfish to assume we didn't need them in the first place....

It won't always be easy this time... Joy mixed with apprehension never is.....

But I know better than anyone how important it is to have a village you belong to...

And we belong to a heckuva good one, too..

And regardless of what this next season brings us, I know that I don't want to walk it out without my village by my side...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday