“Hold on Kids! We’re Goin’ for a Ride!”

roller coaster 2

(Gives ‘Kumba-ya’ a whole new perspective, huh? Prayers on the rise?)

Life.

Full of the exhilarating, yet, teamed at times with the white knuckled, breath-stealing chills of a runaway roller-coaster.  Sometimes, the clank of the cogs build anticipation as the tick-tick warns you of something building, be it good or bad. Then, sometimes there is an astonishing twist, a turn, a corkscrew that materializes from nowhere to make the strongest heart quake.

For the almost exactly three years to the date, this blog has been eerily quiet. Life at that time was full of thrills and chills, but ones that tended to give the friendly delight of little butterflies fluttering about the stomach.  That grand baby boy to marvel at and with, a meant-to-be marriage proposal, to witness the relief from a long fought illness by a faithful believer graduating to glory in the most splendid departure, and a long-awaited writing passion finally beginning to taking shape.

And the list goes on.

But suddenly, the roller coaster seemed to take on a mind of its own. Lightning couldn’t compete with its speed, and on occasion, the crushing pressure on our lungs needed a whisper to be reminded to simply “breathe.”

That Whisperer urged us to not fight the ride, but relax and lean into those curves for the track was laid out by the Master Planner, who prepared this journey long before the foundations of the earth. Gently, an unexplainable confidence settled over us.

Our fingers one by one were pried off the bar, we tossed our heads back and threw our hands to the heavens.

And oh, what a ride it has been!!!

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 King 19:11-12

(Just love that ‘gentle whisper’ part, don’t you? To bring the regular subscribers up to speed-if you are still there-with the exception of a blog post at Christmas a couple of years ago Having a ‘Mary’ Christmas, God put up a ‘Closed’ sign for the season. I couldn’t explain how that worked if I tried. Just as mind-boggling, now it seems to be cracking open a bit. Only God knows how much of the past will surface, and what new adventures will pop up today. I guess we’ll see where the coaster takes us, huh?  So buckle that seat belt tight and enjoy the ride!)

Photo credit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HDMexqDn5U

 

 

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When the Prayed for Answer Breaks Your Heart

Our family’s prayer was simply for ‘definite direction’ in regards to family member’s issue.  ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ would have sufficed. When the answer came it was swift, harsh, and with a creative twist no soap opera collaborative team could cook-up.  One of our own’s heart was brutally yanked from the body and lay weakly pulsing in a mess on the floor.  

This was not the way I had in mind on how God should answer my prayer—nor the rest of my family’s.  Or the hideous timing.  Company was staying at our house,  and we were moments from appearing at a very public event in honor of other family members.  All six of us huddled in the bathroom, breathless and injured with our wounded warrior before facing the world.   By the grace of God, we survived—even the devastated one , who will be nominated for an Oscar with a stunning performance in Everything is Just Swell in My Life

At one point our entire family, including our normally warring cat and grand-dog, camped on Cliff and my bed as we tried to comfort and work through the confusion. 

In our passion to try to right a wrong that is not our responsibility to fix, we have done some things right and some things we have done wrong.  The gambit of  dramatic feelings, advice, and actions have clattered noisily on a continuous roller coaster track.

 Helping with Vacation Bible School this week has helped jerk me up to back off of how I think God should move in this.  I had been delving deep, searching Scripture for the perfect scenario and revelation to back up my Holy Spirit Jr. attitude.  Instead, Flash Skyrunner, the bumbling wannabe pilot, shared a profoundly simple message:

No matter what happens, TRUST GOD. 

No matter what people do, TRUST GOD.

No matter how you feel, TRUST GOD.

Of course, I knew this.  Who doesn’t?  I toss this truth around as casually as a sprinkling of salt at supper.  But it’s another thing to put it in action when all you see  are the shreds of your loved one bleeding in front of you.   

Trusting God means letting him pick up that pulverized heart and heal it.  Trusting God means stepping back and allowing him to do a new thing in that life, even if starts with the swing of a demolition ball.  Trusting God means I’m required to lay the responsibility that he gave me for a season that started with the first introductory wave of morning sickness twenty something years ago on his altar.

In the trusting, he has equipped me an invaluable gift.  As long as I have breath, an unseverable umbilical cord of prayer is there, connecting the three of us.  Although, this incident is sticky with new questions to the end result, through the bonds of prayer, our faith dependent isn’t on the outcome, but only the goodness of God.  Our baby was his baby first, and he has promised good to his children–especially the brokenhearted.

I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait and for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13-14.

 

“That’s So Fake!”

Image(Before I start this post, I have to let the subscribers know where I have been for the last 5 months.  No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth, but have been engulfed in a writing adventure that has thrilled my heart at every corner.  It’s been been far from easy, but so powerful and transforming in so many ways. I’ve had my head-spinning as a student of all sorts of writing books.  I’m only a few weeks from having my rough draft of a Christian novel as polished as I know how to get it and proceeding to find an agent. Other adventures have crossed our paths, but those are things blogs are made of.  After several comments at a recent reunion of people missing the blogs, it confirmed the niggling I had been having to pick it up again. So here I am with a goal of at least one a week.  Please keep me accountable and please pray for God to be glorified in all I do.)

That’s So Fake!”

Remember when the movie Twister came out?  Starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt it was filmed northern Oklahoma–just down the road and across the state line from us.  Rarely, does anything that exciting happen around here unless it’s an occasional Martina McBride siting or when Ted Turner bought an area ranch and rumors flew about who saw him in the truck stop with what star of the moment on his arm.

A natural intrigue fired with promises of huge strides in technology to create life-like thrills on the screen through this classic tornadic movie. How could one miss this?  After much discussion the concern of whether our younger kids should see this was stuffed in the storm shelter. The night it hit the local drive-in we loaded up the old blue conversion van with young’uns and headed to be wow-ed. Storm clouds brewed and thunder rumbled while someone shared somewhere a tornado actually ripped through a movie screen during the showing of this movie.

Cliff said, “This has to be the most ridiculous thing we have ever done.”

“Oh no, it’s great special effects!” I countered.

So the movie started and was we were blown away, thrill-wise, except for Misty.  Her little third grade body was shoved between Cliff and I.  On the screen high speed chases insued as the storm chasers tried to set the silver drum of radio sensor balls in the cyclonic beast’s path.  Nary a breath was breathed in the van.

A cow suddenly was plucked up and tumbled through the air.

“That’s so fake!”  Misty sat up straight and shook her white blond bob.  “I can’t believe how fake this is! Can’t anyone else see it?”  She’d point out each incident with great passion. No matter what semi flew through the air, almost wiping out our weather heroes or if they hung on to pipes while the barn was snatched up around them, she seemed to be in constant disgust.  Her anger that they would even attempt to slip this past here was vicious, therefore ruining it all for the rest of us.

Yesterday this memory hit me.  Why has it taken this long to see what was really happening in the van?  In order to not get sucked up by the drama, this was our child’s defense.  The constant tearing apart of something that was too close to comfort was the way to protect herself.

Do you supposed that’s why some people are so angry when the name of Jesus gets brought up?  They are protecting themselves, scared He will be too much for them?  And in the process try to dissuade everyone else around them?.

Do you find yourself doing that?  This morning I sat on my unusually cool porch, the remnant of a very powerful storm that roared through last night.  For a long time I have been scared to pray a prayer God has been laying on my heart.  Since I have experienced God’s faithfulness when I have asked, but also have the experience of having no control of how He’s going to work, that frightens the Doplar Radar right out of me.  Most times my world has been amazed by how He’s shown Himself, but what if I lose something I love or I’m disappointed or ……..

So, I’m praying “Lord, help me to get where I can pray………” until I’m actually brave enough to do it.  And, when I do, I will be so relieved and wonder why I was so hesitant.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all his ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Photo credit: My buddy, Darryl Musgrove with The Mother Ship.

Lessons From a Mermaid.

She enjoys the smallest of treats with great excitement.  An Andes mint, a Coca-Cola, or a Sonic Limeade.  Wrappers fly off and wonderful slurping sounds fill the room as she rolls her eyes in delight.  Yes, the simple things in life are enjoyed with great gusto.

The Mermaid is my mom.  She got the handle given to her when the grandkids were learning to talk.  ‘Mermaid’ made much more sense to them than ‘Myrlee’. Even friends of the kids call her “Grandma Mermaid”, delighting her to no end.

Due to her being a Pearl Harbor of medical issues that affected her brain in a myriad of ways, she has lived in different world than the rest of us for about a year now.  Still her face lights up when we appear.  She still knows us and likes to visit, although not as much.  We have the privilege of dancing her dance with her.  Somedays we are successful in gliding through the visit with her and sometimes—-well, toes get stepped on as we are learning about her world.  Here are things we are gleaning from her.

1. We are learning to bloom where we are planted-even we aren’t really sure where the location is.  Most generally she enjoys being in ‘this resort’, although it has nursing home stamped all over it. Even though she is taken care of quite well, the fact that this lady, who was so concerned if her car looked like a ‘grandma car”, has wound up here would put her in severe depression.  Instead she has friends, gets manicures, and even plays a little basketball from her wheel chair.  The aides love her as she has them in stitches ‘being her adorable self.”

2. She has no worries. Her 5 years of lamenting about how the next scan for cancer would turn out has vaporized.  Doctors appointments aren’t her only social life anymore, although she convinces the staff at the rest home that she has appointments on occasion.  That has caused chaos for us all.  Even during through the season of the parade of doctors, she was pretty content to roll with whatever punches they required to try to help her.   Now, she trusts whoever is guiding her wheelchair to get her where she is going when she  needs to be wherever.  Oh, to trust like that!

3. She gets the joy of hanging out with my grandparents. What if they’ve been gone 20 years or more? She talks about them quite often, and even shared that Grandma Moore and she went to Hutchinson one day. I was still new enough to the game not to ask any questions, but I am so curious to know who drove!  Since they are a constant desire of hers, she has rebirthed in me anticipation of the day we all be reunited.  How I itch to see them!

4. To enjoy every moment.  At Christmas, we turned her tv to her favorite movie A Christmas Story. It brought back many childhood memories. She’d seen it a zillion times, but today was different. It seemed absolutely new to her and we heard belly laughs for the first time in ages.  It reminded me to throughly enjoy doing something the first time.  There is freshness that is precious we should embrace.

5. Words aren’t everything. (Can you believe that is coming from me?) In this generational lineage of talkers, writers, and storytellers, one has to fight viciously for airtime. Mom and I would chatter until the wee hours over nothing.  Ma Bell’s stock plummeted when she moved to where I saw her everyday.  Today it is different.  We just sit and enjoy the time with either the innocence of Babar the Elephant or the action of the Terminator playing on her tv.  She might make a comment about Arnie’s girlfriend’s hair looking worse than hers, but just being together saying nothing is good.  Real good.

Mom has taught me so much through my life-like not to kick a sleeping skunk and that you can travel the world over with a toothbrush and a clean pair of panties.  Today God uses her to teach those around her things no one could fathom.  I get torn between this wild wonderful woman of God going through drastic changes I would not choose for my worst enemy and thanking him for the lessons he continues to teach through her.  Following her example, I must trust him. Teach me your way, O’Lord and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  I will praise you, O’Lord, my God with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:11-12.   May we continue keep our hearts open, always learning from the purpose God has for the adorable loved ones in our lives.

When Your Parents Are Named Cleon and Myrlee

Some parents are very creative with names.  Mine intentionally were not.  Both had names you do not hear everyday or maybe just a couple times in a lifetime.   While great names, they are constantly misspelled or mispronounced.  (Although my mom thanks her lucky stars she got what she got.  Her mother was going to name her “Suswanna Suzaune”.   Really.  I could never make that up!)  So Clay and I ended up with pretty hip names for the time, which were easy to pronounce and spell.

It wasn’t until much later in life that I found out what “Kelly” means.  I was shocked.  I really expected the 1001 Baby Name book to say “chicken-hearted”, because that is me.  If the ‘fight or flight’ thing comes up I flee in a heart beat.  Just let me go to bed and cover my head!  Unless someone is going after one of my loved ones I will then transform into the meanest grizzly bear ever recorded on Animal Planet.  Normally, I hate conflict of any kind.  I just want everyone to be God’s happy children and get along.   It stresses me out and breaks my heart.  I weasel out.

So this came as quite a shock that “Kelly” means ‘brave warrior.”   Wow, what a mistake!  I know me too well. I was rolling on the floor at that one!

What do baby name books know anyway?  Who writes them?  Does a name really carry much weight?

I think it does to God.  Here is why I say that.  Remember Abram and Sarai of the Old Testament?  All God did was add an ‘h’ to them and they went from just “Father” and “Princess” to “Father of the Multitudes’ and “Princess of the Multitudes.”   And Miss Sarah thought it was hilarious!

But, it came to pass.  Constantly God gave names with plans in mind.

My favorite is one of Jesus’s closest disciples.  He started out as plain old Simon, but as time went on Jesus told him he would be called “Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matt 16:18)  When this guy would mess up, Jesus would refer to him as ‘Simon’, but would turn around and encourage him by using the name “Peter”.  Jesus let him know that he had high hopes and a lot of faith in him. How cool to be known as “The Rock?”  Before long the name ‘Simon’ got left in the dust and Peter is who we remember as being one of Jesus’s key instruments of carrying on the faith.

So Miss Chicken Heart has had an epiphany.   Even if I see myself as a weenie, God sees me entirely different and has faith in me that I can’t see.  I have been given hope in the ‘brave warrior’ tag.   Cliff’s name pretty much means a ‘rock outcropping’ and our daughter, Robin, is a ‘spring bird”.  No great revelations seem to be there, but  I think we must not be able to understand them.  Instead, there is great  mystery at what God has in store for the road they will walk with him.  Maybe Suswanna would not be such a bad name afterall.

This is what I know.  “He determines the number of stars and calls them EACH by name”. Ps 147:4.  If he will do that for stars, how much more stock does he put on his beloved children?  You have a name and you have a destiny-even if God only knows what it is today.  Trust and hope in that.