Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Little Lamenting

We were driving along last night and I saw a guy outside mowing his lawn. Smoking a cigarette and mowing his lawn like there wasn't a care in the world. It made me wonder what it would be like to only care if the lawn needed to be mowed or not. Or what it would be like to be quietly mowing the lawn without the agony of grief. Or even what it would be like to be frustrated because the lawn needed to be mowed again rather than wondering how you will make it through the day only to have to go to bed again to hope to actually sleep and knowing that I have to get out of bed again the next morning.

I've been a bit depressed lately. Exhausted and depressed. Exhausted, depressed, and defeated. I hate exhausted, depressed and defeated. I hate admitting that I am exhausted, depressed and defeated.

I would like to think that there is a battle going on over my ability to rejoice in and trust God right now. I would like to think that it really does matter whether I suffer well or not. I would like to think that for some reason it matters if I continue to shine as a three-watt night light holding out truth, and trust, and the gospel.

But today I am just functioning. It takes all the energy I have to keep looking up and keep holding on. Sometimes that's the way it is. The battle belongs to the Lord and today I am letting Him fight it rather than me. It's not my battle, anyway, in the grande scheme of things. It's not even my strength that fights the battle. So I rest in Jesus and try to remember His promises. I let myself be tired. I let myself be depressed and defeated and look for God even here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And Then I Make the Coffee

I have been finding it hard lately to wake up and praise God for my son being in heaven. I know, I know, the fact that I even get out of bed in the morning since my son has died amazes me too most days. But the praise is getting harder. It's not that there is nothing to praise God for, it's that my brain has been in such of a fog again lately that I can't seem to process anything.

My favorite past-time the last few days has been staring. Staring at the weeds in the garden, staring at the chickens, staring at the words in my Bible, staring at the legs on the kitchen stools. I am attributing some of it to the rainy weather we have had and the rest of it to grief up to my eyeballs. I think I may have to go overdose on some Vitamin D and estrogen. What I really need is to overdose on Scripture and time in prayer. If only I had that little cabin out back in the woods ....... I might have to go hide out in the blue tarp tee-pee that is still standing from the Oregon Trail reenactment last spring and see how long I last before the mosquitoes carry me away or the kids or the dog find me.

Life is going on. We are going through the motions. Finding joy as much as we can in the little things. Seeing God move, appreciating all the more His sovereignty, counting our blessings twice, thanking Him for carrying us. I am humbled for those that He has called to lift us up in prayer and to hurt for us. I feel like we are in a little bubble most days. I am a doer and would rather be the one loving, hurting, praying and caring for all of you faithful ones. Know that God hears every prayer and is honoring them to sustain us. I can't imagine going through this without those prayers or without knowing God's sovereignty.

I find myself splitting hairs again and looking for where my real joy is found. I look for it here and now so much, and forget to constantly go to the source of living water, to the well of Jesus that never runs dry. I know so much Christianese that I can convince you all and myself that it is in Jesus alone that I find that joy, but my own fluency in Christianese scares me. I know all the Sunday school answers, but until I come to Him, on my knees, in my brokenness, being real, then I am only playing the game. In Jesus alone will I find strength, and joy, and peace. Not in theology and legalistic stands, but in Jesus alone.

I find in my morning time of longing to truly praise God for Trent being in heaven that I don't even like my mediocrity lately about it, so how do I think that I am fooling God? I long for the praise to truly be from my heart, not just from my lips, not just so that I can check it off my list for the day and go make the coffee. Oh, you don't wake up everyday with these thoughts?

God reminds me again that His love stands firm, that His faithfulness will never fail, that His hand will sustain His children (Psalm 89). All of these trials only point out again the difference between a Holy God and sinful me. The contrast is so evident and again causes me to run to Him alone. They again cause me to only put my trust in Jesus who saves. They make me clearly see how amazing it is that God saves any of us. How amazing it is that Trent is before Him right now. How amazing God is for all of the details that He ordained for Trent to be there, and was so gracious to have shown us.

I can praise God for revealing Trent's salvation so clearly. I can praise God for saving Trent in the first place. I can praise God for every little detail of the accident and how gracious He was to make it happen the way that it did. I can praise God for the hope of seeing Trent again one day. When I forget these things I can simply praise God for being God. The great I AM. The deliverer, the sovereign one, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Then I can get out of bed and make the coffee and face the day prepared to do the good works that God has prepared for me to do today.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do You Know?

Do you know that sometimes it scares me to think that soon Trent's pictures are all going to start getting outdated? The other kids will all outgrow him and he will still be twelve years old. Do you know that it scares me that we have already gone through so many firsts~ and one day there won't be any more firsts without him? Do you know that it scares me that if I stop working and writing that one day I just might not be able to go on? That it would mean that I have to come out of my little bubble and face reality.

And then this morning, as I was reading in John 5 (specifically verses 30 and 44) I had to ask myself this question: "Who am I doing this for {grieving, living, obeying}?" Jesus said : "By myself I can do nothing;.... for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" Am I living to please God, others, myself?

And then these quotes hit home:

"Before we can be clean and ready for Him to control, self-seeking, self-glory, self-interest, self-pity, self-righteousness, self-importance, self promotion, self-satisfaction, ~ and whatsoever else there be of self~ must die." Leonard Ravenhill

"By nature the throne-place, our heart, is quite fully occupied with self. And self does not want God to rule as king, but only to serve as slave-servant." Rex Andrews


Cole read me the story of Naamen the other day while I was weeding in the garden (see~ science, reading, working all in one!). It stopped me in my tracks in the middle of the beans and made me realize how, like Naamen, I grumble at God's ways. I realized how I had been questioning God and asking (really, down deep in my heart, telling Him that he must have made a mistake, that He could have done it better, that He didn't know what He was doing, just in a very polite self satisfying way) "Couldn't this have been done differently, God? Couldn't salvation have been shown to so many others without taking Trent? Why did it have to be this way?"

But then I realized that it is this way. This was God's way. It is four months later. My whining won't change that, just like Naamen's whining wouldn't change the fact that he had to dunk seven times in that mucky water to be cleansed. That was how God chose to do it. This is how God chose to do this. And like Naamen, I can chose to trust God or not trust God. Who am I to tell the potter how to make His vessels whole?


I wrote a book. Not a few goofy thoughts with a few off-chance cute pictures, but a real book. It feels weird to hold it in my hands and to realize that I wrote a book, but I actually wrote a book.

I was only being obedient, and I only wrote what God gave me to write. It is my sanity that is in those hundred-and-twenty some pages. Maybe that's the part that is surprising and amazing to me.

After Trent died God slowly impressed upon me to write a book about what He was doing in our lives. At first I thought it was just me. But God wouldn't let up and He continued making it clearer and clearer through several people (thanks faithful ones:) to the point that I could not deny it. So I quit fighting it and I wrote.

I look at the manuscript and I am amazed. I look at all the details coming together to have it edited and published and I am even more amazed, and a bit scared to tell the truth. God is really doing this. I fight my pride and pray for God to shine through it, not me.

Rob read it~ he laughed, he cried, he rejoiced in His Savior. Here we go........ Hold on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm Gonna Cry, Cry, Cry

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Today marked another first. The first youth group trip that our church has taken since Trent's accident. Our kids decided not to go, but we were asked to drop off a friend who was going. No big deal. Until I pulled into the driveway, saw all the excited teenagers getting ready for a fun filled weekend, and realized that Trent was on the last trip and never came back home. I fought the tears as I drove away. I thought of Rob driving out of that same driveway four months ago with the foreboding feeling that Trent might not be coming back. Everything hit all over again. I cried. I put on my big super-model sunglasses so the kids wouldn't see the tears. I will not go numb. I will not not think of those kids on that trip this weekend. I will not not pray for them as they, too, remember the last youth group trip they were on. I will go forth trusting God. I will keep living.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just Rambling

Suffering well is hard to do. It is especially hard when you are a people pleaser by nature. And, I am finding, it is even harder sometimes when you are around other's who have never really suffered, even other Christians. I am finding that it is a lot like raising children~ everybody has their opinion on how you should be doing it. If I am not careful I find myself sinking to the expectations of those comments rather than holding on to the words of scripture.

I have found that some people really don't want you to suffer well. Not on the surface, or said out loud, but maybe suffering well takes them out of their comfort zone. Maybe, somewhere deep down inside, they think that if they consider the possibility of having to suffer in their own lives they don't want to know how to do it and then God can't or won't make them suffer. Aren't we a bizarre creation?

I have been reading 1st Peter the last couple of days and have been so refreshed in what God is doing in my life. Paul starts out by saying that we were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ. Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example. He says that if we do suffer, we are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. We are to suffer with the same attitude of Jesus because as a result we quit living for ourselves and this world and rather live for the will of God. Boy, is that true!

One day we will give an account before God, even for how we trusted Him in suffering. We should not be surprised at the painful trials we suffer, but rather should rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. God's mighty hand will lift us up in due time. And the God of all grace, who called me to his eternal glory in Christ, after I have suffered a little while, will Himself restore me and make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Aaahhhh. Things are put back into perspective. I can praise God for his sovereign work in my life. I can praise Him for Trent being in Heaven.

Along with the praise I have asked God that I won't forget Trent. How odd that sounds. But after only four months you do start to forget. There are already little things that Rob remembers and I don't. The phrases he used, the memories of him answering the phone and asking to go fishing every night, not getting out 7 plates anymore. It is all getting too normal.

And more rambling thoughts that have been going through my brain as I have considered the life of Job. I wonder how we must have looked to God, or even to Satan, before the accident. Stepping aside from God's sovereignty (not denying it, just looking outside of it to what we know here and now)~ were we living "Job's" that made us a target for suffering? Were we that risky to the kingdom of the enemy that we were pointed out? Was it asked permission to test us by taking what we loved so much in this world to see if God really was the highest value in our lives? Are you a living Job that you stand out as a target? Will we suffer well as Job did and not deny our God, but rather praise Him in all that He does?

I pray that we will be, even amongst the friends and family and multitude of watcher's as we strive to walk this walk trusting our Savior. I long to stand before Jesus one day and have nothing to be ashamed of, but rather to have trusted and believed Him every single step of the way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Night

I went to call Trent to come and eat pizza last night.

It has been nearly four months and my mind still thinks he's here. I haven't intentionally looked for him since he died. Even on the way to the hospital the night of the accident I mentally forced myself to only count four heads instead of five. But now.....

My mind goes back and forth between wondering if he ever was here and a part of my life, like an imaginary child or something. My mind can't grasp the reality some days. It is rationalizing his absence.But my soul knows. This mother's soul knows. The ache is because he is my son and he is not here. The joy is because he is with his savior. The two collide. The ache and the joy cannot intermix yet. One constantly demands to rise to the top.

I have determined to not get out of bed until I can praise God that Trent is in heaven. Some mornings I stay in bed longer, waiting for the real praise to come from my heart. Sorting this world and that world. Recalling scripture. Remembering how good God is. Remembering that He is sovereign. Remembering how much I long to be in heaven, too.

I look for the good works that God had prepared for me to do as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep at the end of the day. I wonder how the little things I can see could make eternal differences. I fight to live for my children still here. I fight to do good works for them. I pray for their salvation. I fight hiding in work to avoid feeling and grieving and loving and hurting.

I cry with my husband. Do you know how hard that is to do? To cry for your son together? He whispers God's promises to me and makes me cry again. I see God moving in Him and can see some of those good works first hand before my eyes.

I long for the day it will all be made right.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Some Promises to Ponder

Shout for joy, O heaven; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.

Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.

In the shadow of his hand he hid me.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

I, even I, am he who comforts you.

But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.


From Isaiah 48-50 NIV this morning.
God's word never fails to encourage. His promises are enough.

Not of This World

But the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.
~ Psalm 32:10b ~

It's been a tough morning. Actually, a tough night preceded it. An emotional weekend filled with emotionally exhausting events. And to top it off I find when I am bogged down by emotional junk I work harder physically. The tears started late last night and again when I woke up. Lamenting brought on my missing Trent, but going deeper it revealed sins that needed to be repented of and hurts that needed to be drawn out and confessed to my Heavenly Father. Hurts of this world and the pain that is inflicted in it.

I needed to detox of my expectations of being fulfilled and satisfied here and lay my soul bare before my Creator. Rip the scab covering of coping and stuffing off and feel the raw oozing pain of hurt. And it hurts. Until Jesus comes back it will hurt. Until I am sanctified through and through it will hurt.

I worry more when I am content in this world than when I am struggling. Contentment means I am at a standstill. Contentment means I have gotten lazy. Contentment means I am not searching out the greater things of Christ and that there is no growth. God does give us breaks, but He grows His children. He pry's our hands off of this world and it hurts because we hold on so tightly and refuse to let go. We long for what we know instead of what He has for us~ greater things than this world could ever offer.

This enemy land with a prince masquerading in light lulls us into being comfortable. When Kingdom work gets a little too intense the enemy attacks harder. Wonder what I'm talking about? Try sharing the gospel with somebody today and see if you aren't attacked. Try being a light in a dark environment and see if Satan doesn't want to put it out. I am always blindsided afterward by the attacks. I should come to expect them by now. After my high I think again that I am infallible. I forget the impact that could be made if a young dad would be saved, leading his girlfriend and children along with him and changing his family and his world around him.

May I fight all the harder. May I endure the battle. God let me willingly lay down my life again and again for your Kingdom and your Glory. Don't let me hide on my little goat farm and not care. Don't let me become apathetic again about You. People are perishing in front of my eyes, and I wonder what's for supper. Make my trust in you be so great that I am willing to endure painful things that you may shine brighter in me. Lord, let your Kingdom come. Shake the gates of Hell, Christian sister and brother. Get off your recliners and fight. Dear Lord, let me get off my recliner and fight.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some Days

Some days..........
I don't want to be the mother who's son died.
Some days........
I am afraid the reality will sink in and I will go absolutely crazy and will never recover.
Some days...... for a few moments......
I forget the promises and feel myself sinking fast.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Took A Walk

I took a walk the second morning of camp. I walked up to the climbing tower where three months ago I released my son's ashes. I went alone. I just needed to be with God and cry and face it. I thought of when Trent was little and climbed that tower fearlessly for the first time. I thought of my own climb up that rock wall years ago. I thought about the joy of reaching the top and the fear and the thrill of jumping off. I thought about climbing the inside stairs three months ago. I thought about the peace and the joy. I thought about his ashes flying wherever God spread them. I thought about the rest of my life without him. Then I thought about the God who said I only have to live one day at a time. Then I cried some more. I didn't fight the tears. I didn't stuff anything. I felt the pain. I let the tears flow. Just me and God facing that tower. Then I walked back the long way to chapel where a God sent pastor was preaching a sermon about Joseph who learned to understand, just like I am learning, that God ordains all things for our good and His glory. Even the pits and the prisons and the deaths of those we love. And a friend cried with me, and laughed with me, and we had our own sermon in the midst of his. And God was there. And I did it. I faced it and I reached the top victoriously. And Trent is still in heaven.

I Tremble at His Word

I feel like the voice of doom every time I sit down to write these days. I hop around other blogs and enjoy reading about other farm wives and their happenings, or catch the titles of the latest breaking Yahoo news of who's wearing what or how many calories are in the newest chocolate dessert, and then here I am pondering eternity and salvation and death and grief again. The words that I read in scripture this morning cry out "You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! ..... In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come. Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! ..... yes, mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry." Isaiah 32.

I look back and wonder what I would have thought reading that passage a year ago. I recall reading the words before, but I am pretty sure that I skimmed over them. Four months ago I would have probably skimmed over them even if somebody had warned me. Three months later, I am trembling. I am counting what really matters. I am listening closer to God. I shudder. I only feel secure knowing that I am in the palm of my Heavenly Father's hand, knowing that He is in charge. I take every word of Scripture to mean so much more. I spend more time reading my Bible and praying than ever before~ looking for the promises, counting the days until He fulfills them, waiting impatiently for my Savior.

I used to feel secure. I now feel the weight of this sinful world. I mourn for those who find their joy and merriment here. I try to balance the joy and the desires of this world with the contrast of seeking the heavenly kingdom. So much of my time and energy and money have been invested here. What will any of this matter? What will I take with me? How much of it will last for eternity? What will be considered jewels and what will be considered hay and stubble in eternity? If I drink milk from my very own goats and eat farm fresh eggs and organic vegetables will God really care? If I ignore Him and chase the world will He care? If I refuse to obey Him or to train up my children in Him won't there be lasting consequences?

With all that is in me I cling to God. When His statutes are blasphemed or ridiculed I hurt. I hurt for Him, but also for the ones who would dare to treat Him with contempt, the ones who are blind and will one day see that He wasn't kidding. I shudder at my own sinfulness. How long, oh Lord, how long will you continue to put up with us?