Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me

I am a skeptic of people who have dreams.
I usually am only half listening as people tell me about their dreams.
So, for you out there who are the same cynical skeptic as me, may not wish to read any further.

Last night I had a dream.
Go ahead. Roll your eyes.
Actually I had a bunch of them strung together which I can possibly attribute to either the deepest of the sleep stages or to the leftovers I ate from the back of the fridge.

But in this dream, I was lying in my bed as I sleep (dreaming that I am asleep!) but I heard my daddy strumming his big Martin guitar and singing a wonderful song about Heaven. The song was utterly unfamiliar to me, but I knew the words and message was calling my mom to come to him in Heaven.
My daddy was singing for my mom to come to him.
His voice was strong and he strummed and played better than he ever had before.
Then my mom came to the foot of my bed and told me that she heard daddy calling her to Heaven.

This morning at work, I took a break and called my mom to tell her all about this dream.
She was sad that she did not hear his voice and the song.

Here's the cool part of all of this:
Mom told me that last night, before she went to bed, she went out into the yard and looked up into the night sky to talk to her husband of 60+ years.
She told me that last night, in their yard, she called out to him and asked him if he was calling out to her too.

I do believe he was.

I really called mom this morning to tell her she couldn't go yet.
I think I'll go out into the yard tonight and tell daddy the same thing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


One of the best word pictures I received about grief was from a friend who is also my banker. Louise has also buried a child and that makes her my instant friend.
It helps that in my first few days of loss, she responded compassionately to me as I deposited a cashiers check one day, and then tried to deposit the carbon copy of the same check the next day.
She also understood my desperation was more important than her customers on the day when I wouldn't release her hand as she slid some paperwork towards me.
Anyway, Louise told me one time, that her grief was like an ocean tide. There were days when the waves were out to sea and she could view her sadness from a distance. Then there were times, when she waded, ankle-deep in the gentle daily grief. Some days, she was treading neck-deep, sometimes she was drowning. She also said that sometimes, she would be walking along a dry sandy shore and a rogue wave would tumble over her, leaving her tumbling, choking, wet and wondering where the grief came from.

I am missing Jae deeply this week.
Maybe it is because of school getting out,..summer is here. Graduation ceremonies she never had. Jobs she will never hold. Vacations she will never take.

It could be that I am looking through the scholarship applications for several beautiful wonderful kids. A scholarship which exists because Jae Lynn has been killed.

Maybe I miss her because I found her cards and letters that she has given to me over the years. Seeing her handwriting and notes to me reminds me that Jae Lynn was here.

Maybe I miss her because the night sky is beautiful and the moon is casting a silvery glow on the house, barn and yard where she played and partied. Full moon nights make me feel closer to her.

Maybe because during these nights when I am outside, I hear the whippoorwills again. They haven't spent a season here since,......she and I listened to them together a couple of weeks know....

It made me miss Jae Lynn when Alicia's friend came and spent some time in our living room last night visiting Casey. He was very close to Alicia and he wondered if I "knew who he was". It touched me that he is still so profoundly impacted by Alicia's absence. He talked with reverence.
There probably are a hundred others who feel the same way about all three girls.

This morning, as we have many times before, Louise and I spoke as I conducted my banking business. We talked about this and that,...and then I asked her: "How are you".
Asking that question is really just a way to say,.."I understand."
She and I parted as we usually do,...both of us quiet, pensive and misty-eyed.

As I navigate this rogue wave of grief, I am reminded that my healing has come from focusing my mind and my heart on Heaven. Our last day/week of my Bible study encourages me to look for the glorious in the middle of our daily circumstances. The pain of life can distract us from watching and remembering that God has a plan for all of this.

The great thing about God is that He knows we are prone to sit in the pain rather than seek Him.
Thank Heavens He does not leave us there, but constantly calls us to follow Him.

I'm tryin,..I'm tryin... I'm tryin.....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A New Sister

There is a verse somewhere in the New Testament (feeling guilty about not knowing the address) about "being ready in season and out of season to give a good word" .
Tonight I was dog-tired and starved but found myself unexpectedly taking home a car load of teenagers after church tonight. This old woman had not been home in 15 hours and I was feeling it.
Abby was in the front seat with me and only one girl left in the backseat of my car. Her home was on the other side of Jacksonville.
Oh boy.
Three-Dog-Night blaring from the car speakers (I like those boys singing LOUD!)
C-130's buzzing overhead.
Then I hear this little voice pipe up from the back seat and mention
"I've been feeling like I need to come closer to God".

We pulled to car over at the closest safe area so I could look her in the eyes as I told her about Jesus and His incredible plan for us to be brought to God.
Do you know where her first prayer and her salvation occurred?
Directly under my tree with my special "wonderfully different limb" that I blogged/wrote about on Saturday, April the 5th.

The most profound eternal life and death issue that this beautiful young girl will ever face is instantly entrusted to Abby and I.

And Three-Dog-Night.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mother's Day

Never has a holiday moved me through so many deep emotions.

I remember when I was was little, the day was memorable because David, Bobby and I would all go out to our yard and clip a red rose off of one of our bushes. We got to wear red because it symbolized that our mom was still alive. I always felt for my mom, because daddy always had her a white corsage, which carried the symbolism of a mother who had died. I couldn't imagine a life without a mother.

Then after 7 years of marriage, Ralph and I had become desperate for a child of our own. (Well,..I was that way,....Ralph may not have classified himself as desperate.) The last verses of Psalm 127 seemed to mock me.
For some reason,...God was not "blessing our quiver". There were babies getting aborted, murdered and abused everywhere, yet, our arms were full of emptiness.
Following God was obviously not a guarantee of His blessing. I was confused.
Mother's day became a day of pain and all the celebrations rubbed salt in my broken heart.

Then,... the first Mother's day after adopting Jae Lynn.
There was not another Mother alive who praised God more for the joy and blessing of my daughter. I was overwhelmed with the love she inspired in me and I felt as if life would forever be good because Jae Lynn was in it.
Then Casey and Abby are born, adopted and blessed into my life and wonder of all wonders!...
How can this be?
Love is never divided, it is multiplied?
Only God could create such a deep capacity for something unseen.
I never took any Mother's day for granted. I still wore a red rose and now I had three children who called me mom.
My quiver was full.

Then Jae is killed at 16 years old, and Mother's day occurs two months later.
I celebrate with dinner at my mom's, receive gifts from Casey and Abby and then go to a cemetery to spend time near my oldest blessing.
Graves are sad places during the holidays, but the grave of a child is an area of desolation.
I am sure my cries could be heard over all the city.

Today, while at work, someone wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" and then asked me how many children I had. As usual, I answered that I have three daughters.
I was then asked various questions about them, and I was able to have a long conversation about the girls without having to disclose that one of them now lived in Heaven. This person, a stranger, thought Jae Lynn was still alive.
It was comforting to me.

I told a friend recently about a short conversation Abby had with the author John Piper who wrote "90 Minutes in Heaven". Abby asked to go and listen to this man preach and share his testimony, and then she wanted to stay and meet him personally after the service.
We waited until the sanctuary was almost completely empty. Abby walked up to him and with tears in her big brown eyes, leaned up towards him and whispered:
"my sister was killed in a car wreck".

Mr. Piper leaned towards her and whispered back :"Your sister's not dead".

I am still the mother of three.
Two are alive and will be in my kitchen this Mother's Day.
One is alive and in the presence of her Creator and The King of Kings.
My head tells me that Jae is more alive that Casey or Abby.
My heart tells a different story.

Never has a holiday moved me through so may emotions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bible Study and Banana Nut Bread

Mrs. Harris, this is the best banana nut bread
that I have ever placed in my mouth!
Someday, dear readers, I will take pictures that are clear.
I got the "blurry picture gene" from my mother.
(sorry mom)
Susan (my best friend from childhood) and her daughter Courtney.
Susan and I will never seperate,..we know way too much about each other!
I wish she had her new glasses on, 'cause her husband
said they make her look "hot".
Donna and Wanda
Molly and Lee
The Gaither's provided the music for us.
(Thank you Bill.)
Two spiritual giants sitting side by side.
(Neither of them would agree with that statement!)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Four "P's" and Psalm 51

According to our Bible study, Jennifer says that there IS indeed an answer to knowing why some run to God and others don't. Her words are simply stated but I know that they are almost an impossible hurdle to overcome.
They are, according to her, choices.
These choices often become the stumbling blocks of our Faith:

1. Pride.
Personally, this sin caught me by surprise a few years ago. I was all worried about appearances and letting mine and my family's heart issues go unaddressed. It was freeing to finally quit trying to please everyone else and just try to please God. The thing about the sin of pride is that it is, by far, one of the most serious offences to God, yet we don't often think it's a big deal.

2. Priorities
Write them down. That was the advice I was given.
Name the top three priorities.
Now write down what is keeping you from attending to the three priorities?
When I did that, it instigated a career change for me. I was almost ready to go check groceries somewhere if that is what it took.
The key to this one is,... write them down.
Just thinking of them won't work.
Once the priorities are named, make the necessary changes so that they can be given your time and attention.
Make the changes.

3. Preoccupation
It's no wonder I get spiritually parched and dry when there is zero time spent in the Word and in prayer. This kinda goes back to pride.
("I'm just too busy!")
(my eyes are now rolling at myself)

4. Pressure
When there is no time, rest, money, etc, gets way out of balance. For me, this was tied to #2. Stress was keeping me upset all the time because I was unable to attend to the important things in my life.

Good thoughts. All of them.
But here's the deal:
Stumbling blocks will forever be in our path because Satan wishes to destroy us. His favorite weapons are pain, despair and destruction and we are incredibly naive in thinking we can survive him.
While some of us are growing spiritually, let's not turn a blind or arrogant eye to those of us who are getting ripped apart by the enemy in the doorways of our church and the living rooms of our homes.
We are surrounded by brothers and sisters in desperate need of love, mercy and grace. I am, right this minute, recommitting my time to encouraging those around me who are not remotely interested in being filled with God.

In fact, let me start right now:
Psalm 51 is a prayer that reminds me that my heart is able to have healing if,..... I am willing.
Good thing that God doesn't require much else, 'cause there were plenty of times when I needed Him but had no energy to seek Him. I love this chapter because these are God's actions,..not ours:
Blot out...
Wash me...
Cleanse me...
Purge me...
Make me...
Hide me...
Create in me...
Renew in me...
Restore to me...
Uphold me...
Deliver me...

Two different ideas in this post,...but lucky for you, I did not add the other 1800 ideas that are in my head! You see,..the time posted on these entries is actually the time I START writing! ZZzzzzzzz