Thursday, April 11, 2013

From Death to Life

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land." Song of Solomon 2:11-12

We all have dreams for our lives--thoughts, aspirations, hopes. These things are very real to us, and we start thinking of them as soon as our minds can comprehend this developmentally. Thoughts like, “I want to be a singer when I grow up, I want to marry a man like this...I want a house like this...lots of kids...etc.”  We all have this, and we can see some of these things come to pass and some as we all know, do not. Life is made up of a series of choices and circumstances. Things we get to choose, and things we have absolutely no control over. We cannot write in every part of the Story that we want. What we can choose every single time is our response to the Story. By now, you all are aware of my story. Mine started off very well...of course, there have been lots of ups and downs, I have faced loss before early on in life with the death of my oldest sister, I have lost grandparents, I have faced other numerous hard circumstances on a personal level just like everyone else. Overall, I would count myself as being very blessed. A marriage of 12 years, to a faithful, extremely loving & generous man, an amazing father with 3 children. To live a life of love on that level is one of the greatest treasures in life. For me, it is the primary goal, and others are secondary. So, nothing could have prepared me for the circumstances that would shake us up and remove that which is central and foundational to that dream. I could have never prepared myself for losing a husband and the father to my children, and at such a young age. However, I know now, you cannot measure the grace of God, the love of God that can get you through the most unimaginable circumstances if you will allow Him too. 
My choice was this---I choose to believe in the goodness of God. I choose to lean not on my own understanding, and in ALL my ways acknowledge Him. This takes surrender like you wouldn’t believe. This takes trust...blind faith...going all in. In my mind there was no other choice. I can either give into pain, anger, darkness, depression...or I can choose to live. He has given me the courage to face these circumstances and say that He is good. If Chris was here right now I know he would say to me, “live!...don’t waste time, keep dreaming, keep loving, keep going into what it is that God has put in your heart.” That would be his heart I know, and my Father’s heart is the same...”I know the plans that I have for you...plans to prosper give you a hope and a future.” 
Words like that for me right now are dangerous words. They are not light and airy, fairy tale words. They are an invitation to believe in an extravagant God who knows my every thought, my desires, and what He created me to do and be before the foundation of the world. The same for my children.
I have already seen how He takes the bitter and makes it sweet. My newborn son Benjamin Promise has been a constant reminder of Life. He has been our little bundle of joy, our physical manifestation of the promises of God. He has promised to give us a hope and a future. When Benjamin was born I felt a major transition in my heart and life. His birth brought us out of death, and into life. The winter was over, and spring had come! For someone in my circumstances the promise of a hope and a future takes on an extreme meaning and I maintain that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. He has shown us His faithfulness and I know that He will continue to lead us into a bright future of extravagant living. 
If you pray for us or think of us, pray with us into our futures. Believe with us for a fresh start-- a new beginning and a life of proclaiming His blessing and seeing the goodness of God in the land of the living. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Love is Invincible

“Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. 
Love is invincible facing danger and death. 
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. 
The fire of love stops at nothing-- it sweeps everything before it. 
Flood waters cannot drown love, torrents of rain
can’t put it out. Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold-- 
it’s not to be found in the marketplace.”
Song of Solomon 8:6-8 The Message

I absolutely love the poignancy of these words. I had read them before, but not in this particular translation. That is, until the Lord began whispering these words to me Christmas Eve, just shy of two weeks after Chris’ death. These words began my ascent toward heaven, towards Christ. When someone so extremely close to you dies, there is so much loss of hope, pain, anger, a myriad of emotions, and you somehow have to figure out how to hold your head above water, so you don’t drown in the stormy waters that have overtaken you, and those waters that you can do absolutely nothing about. You need to rely on a force greater than yourself to show you the way. How to survive again, how to live again, sometimes how to simply face the day. 
Words from heaven are an important part in this process...they are vital, life-giving, resuscitating, rescuing forces that bring you up out of your present misery. Those words are the very DNA of our existence, after all...we were created from the Living Word. Now, as He is, so are we. And we live not “by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from his mouth.” (Matt. 4:4)  These words from the Song of all Songs filled me with hope and the realization that I am not facing anything that is too much for God, His life empowers me to face every challenge. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

I was thinking about this all again this morning, mostly about the simple phrase,
“Love is invincible.” In this process I have had my share of moments of intense grief (as you can imagine) the kind that you feel completely overshadowed by the pain that your life will never be the same, and what you held most dear was violently taken from you...
Yet, I press on. His grace, His love compels me forward. The knowledge that I am so extravagantly loved by a King who has already faced danger and death for me fills me with peace as I face the death of my precious husband. When you realize that your life died with Christ, you start to see very clearly that your life is not your own. It is beautifully, wonderfully His, it is worth surrender. It is worth the cost that He paid. You can count on a love that will never leave you no matter the sorrow that you face, the grief, the pain, the danger. He is closer than the air that we breathe. 

Love truly is invincible.