Monday, November 6, 2017

Lately, I've been asked how I'm doing in the aftermath of Harvey. My honest response: I'm hanging by a thread, but I'm still hanging. After yesterday's senseless attack on a small town church, it's frayed even more. 
I'm having a hard time holding on like so many I know. Maybe that's the problem; I'm doing all of the hanging. I stumbled across Deuteronomy 33:12 this weary morning...
Of Benjamin he said, "The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long and [he] dwells between his shoulders."

Maybe I'm expending so much energy clinging to my own frazzled fear of unknowns, that I'm not allowing God's promise to his children to carry me instead.

Let go! Like the climber who nestles herself into a harness and trusts the belay set, I need to trust the High God, the Anchor, who surrounds and carries me like a protective Father.

His anchor line is Triune; it runs through the entire Story with crimson security. He will not let my foot slip.
His harness offers rest for the weary.

So it's time to let go, be carried, and offer a new response:
I'm dwelling between His strong shoulders!

Jesus! I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
  Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For, by Thy transforming power,
  Thou hast made me whole. Jean S. Pigott

Friday, November 3, 2017

Springer goes YARD!
We all love home runs.  If you are even an inkling of a Houston Astros fan, you have celebrated every one of those balls hit out of the park during post season play. 
Life, though, rarely offers us the opportunity to sail the bases toward home plate without fear of being tagged or stranded. More likely, we find ourselves chipping away, one dusty bag at a time. 
I often get so caught up in the final outcome that I lose sight of taking life in small manageable steps of faith. That's when frustration and fatigue tries to get the best of me and I lose hope of overcoming life's giants. David didn't hurl his whole bag of stones at Goliath; he simply took out one smooth stone. Can you imagine Noah's overwhelming state when charged with building an ark of such magnitude? I'm not sure the animals would have ever been led in for their extended stay had Noah not tackled God's project one cubit at a time.
Many of us can still see light peeking through the brick of our flood ravaged homes. Others see a long uphill battle back to health and wholeness; it's a long battle to the ninth inning. Life just isn't an easy jaunt home. 
But, base by base, chipping away at the score, victory is coming our way! God is carrying us to his finish line, step by step, trial by trial.

Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold. Job 23:10 HCSB

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My favorite photo was damaged in the flood.
It's my only copy. 
I loved everything about this picture; it represented our college years and it has been on my bulletin board for as long as I can remember.
Unfortunately, it fell into contaminated waters like so many things, but 
I managed to at least snap a picture in the chaos.
Now this photo captures my life so well.
So many sweet things are now blurred and scarred, but if I look hard enough I am able to see beauty. Rob is still visible, although not as clear as once before. 
Life is messy, I can't see all the details, but I know what once felt whole will be again.
By Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I will not waste this year!  Neither flood nor displacement will seize this year. This conviction continues to grow within me, one of the rich lessons of trauma.
Although I've lost a good portion of my stuff, intimacy will not be recorded on my inventory.  Intimacy...the desire of my heart! I'm reminded today that we were made for just that. Intimacy is not a waste of our time.
Last night, in the bustle of Wednesday night church activities, I locked hearts with another woman who too had walked chest deep through the waters. Her eyes brimming with collected tears, she poured her evacuation story in detail and I listened as if my very life depended on it. It did! Listening to the stories has become my passion; no waste in that. Whether we realize it or not, we need storytellers and ready listeners.  This is how we all will pass through the waters. 
And this is how we deepen our relationships.
The courageous both spill and absorb life's narratives.  Are you doing both?
But even more importantly, I draw near to the God who hears, the creator of intimate relationship. Jesus stops, Jesus really listens, and Jesus weeps. 
As a novice writer, I'm clearly eager to disentangle my thoughts, but my true desire is to become a good listener like Jesus. Listening will not be a waste of time.
He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life. . . . Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies. 
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sunday night draws to a close. Even though I know I should call it a night, I fight sleep. Waking up means a new week of paperwork, endless calls and more work in a place I don't recognize as home anymore.
Another Sunday night,  finding myself in a battle to see the good in all of this...again, the joy!
I return to the counting of gifts.
I'm profoundly grateful for tenacious love! I'm girded by a small army that doesn't give up on me. They listen once again to my story, my sorting out of this ongoing chaos. They feed me with meal after meal, but even better, with helpings of hope and acceptance of my ever-changing moods. They anticipate my every need. They show up again and again. Tenacious love! They understand that love runs a marathon ; it's no easy sprint. Their talk is gentle, brimming with kindness and they push off my feeble attempts to pay them back; they want nothing from me.  Tenacious,  like our Father's unfailing love.
I'm learning to live open-handed, receiving grace instead of grasping for it. I tend to get grabby when my faith falters. How can I forget His faithfulness so easily, especially with this army of mine?
" Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Do you leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ' Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' " Luke 15

Tenacious love...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How are you holding up? I desperately needed to feel compassion from those closest to me. I sent out updates, hoping they would grasp the reality of the flood. I made excuses...their lives are too busy to take on my pain.  I needed them to hug me from afar.  But very few family members showed up. I never expected their physical presence, but I made the assumption that they would offer emotional support. 
I placed that expectation on them. But this week, I was able to own it as mine and release it.  It has been tearing me up, keeping me from moving forward. So I begin to grieve another loss, the expectation that my family will walk alongside me and rescue me when I think I can't take another step.
There is so much collateral loss in this flood. It often seems as layered as our piles of debris. We must name and grieve each one just like the physical loss.
But as we inventory, we must look hard for the unearthed treasures.
Just like the unexpected photos, children's artwork, slips of paper scrawled with truth found in the rubble, we have to hunt for the joy, the gifts, the purpose in our uninvited catastrophe. 
It's truly been like Thanksgiving for me each day. So much goodness to celebrate, my list too lengthy to share. Each turn is decorated with generosity, wisdom and kindness. A month ago, there was not a first floor storage unit to be found in West Houston, but one came open and a Sunday School class has funded it for several months. My spiritual family continues to show up to pack and demo. Sometimes, I have no idea what I need, but they just seem to know. Cookies, chocolate, mold spray, masks, even a needed hammer...the blessings flow. 
I wonder how many times I've failed to show when a loved one really needed me. I hope that has changed because of Harvey.  Yesterday, a motherless child on my street begged for a hug. His brother ran for his as well. Sometimes we just have to let go of our to do list and just show up in the middle of the rubble.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The trucks with the big claws turned on our street this afternoon. Our turn for the city to haul off the growing pile trash had finally come without warning. I'd left my biggest, most intimate possession for the last: the bed. That beautiful sanctuary in which we had laughed for hours, playing our own version of Name that Tune into the wee hours of the morning, the safe place to shed our tears and prayers over our children, the soft surface where I gingerly massaged Rob's swollen feet in those last days. 
Of course, we would not have kept it much longer than the "replace every eight" recommendation, and even in this situation, we would have simply run to the store to purchase a new one...together.
But this was our bed that I was placing on the rubble. Our bed is forever gone.