Sunday, November 30, 2008

As Deep Calls to Deep...

Ah, the Texas Panhandle. To the untrained eye, it can appear barren. To those initiated in its splendor, the land is full of life and promise. Once I drove through Abilene, the sky opened it does once the trees and hills fully disappear. Sky and land for as far as you can see. Truly, I feel I can breathe easier. The land speaks to something in my soul...something that lies dormant until I reach the plains.

Oddly enough, driving back to San Antonio opened a new sensation for me. As the hills and trees came into view, I felt warmly enveloped rather than suffocated. Is is possible to have TWO homes?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

God's Work...

I just spent an evening with my Needy Widows' group, a name affectionately bestowed upon us by one of the older kids. We are a contingency of young widows, having met under the gentle care of Paul Loring. When our meetings came to an end, we wanted MORE. So we meet monthly for dinner. As I sat around the dinner table, I felt like I had come home. These women, though they barely know me, know my battle. We've all fought it...are fighting it...and we're moving ahead...shield of faith protecting our hearts. There's a great deal of "knowing" in that...fighting the same battle. It's the kind of knowing that connects you at your very core.

Arriving late, I was awed by the sight before me: a table around which sat women who had endured the most agonizing loss of their lives. There they sat, laughing, joy radiating from their faces. I never could have envisioned this scene...but God could and did. I was overwhelmed with love and pride. Sometimes it takes courage to FEEL joy in the face of great pain. (Yes, this revelation makes me admire Chuck even more.)

God is healing us. Oh, there's still plenty of work to do...but He has been faithful. Can't wait for next month's gathering!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And just like that...

I'm ready to move forward. Who knows what made today different...the day to open the curtains and let the light cleanse me. I CLEANED MY DESK AT WORK.

It has been in a state of disrepair for quite some time...and for just as long, I could not muster the energy...the desire...the heart to do anything about it. "My cubicle" never really became mine. It was new to me about the time Chuck went into the hospital. I don't remember if I moved my stuff to my new place or if my work-mate, Amy did. Who knows? In any case, since that time (about two years) I have dutifully shown up to work...I've shown up there...but only out of sheer will. I've piled stuff...tried to keep it somewhat trash thrown about. But let's face it...I could have cared less about the state of my cubicle. I barely cared about the state of my life. I lacked any form of motivation. Today, it found me. I cleaned my desk. I organized it. I threw away over a year's worth of the form hastily jotted notes (since my memory has been shot)...notes to pay my phone bill, notes to call my grandma...notes to organize my finances. Many of you have noted my SHARPIE system. My memory got so bad that a sharpie was my only hope of remembering really important things. Sharpie to the back of the every time. But I digress...Today was the day!

Next...who knows? But it looks promising.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Life Anyway

What does one do when a birthday approaches at a MOST inopportune a time when relationships are stretching, changing, a time when life is so unsteady? What does one do? Play opossum? Hide? Proceed with caution? I tried to coast--hoping to go relatively unnoticed. After all, it's just a day. Right? I mean really; it's just a day. Right??

As is appropriate, life happened all about me...despite my desire for time to stand still. Life, in all its robust messiness, swept me up whether I wanted it to or not. I was LAVISHED with love: phone calls, cards, face book notes, FLOWERS, birthday songs, hugs, kisses, and a gluten-free cake. I was also enveloped in heartache. Ahhh life.

This was another "first". Chuck has always proceeded me in birthdays. He'd turn 30; I'd turn 30. He did not turn 38. I did. What ya gonna do?

I thank God for my BEAUTIFUL, messy, abundant life. I thank God for my 38 years of LIFE. I thank God for Chuck's 37 years of LIFE. I thank God for His call on my life...for this path of grief. I thank God for what He has done; what He is doing; and what He will do. I thank God.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Praise from a Broken Heart

I stayed for worship at church Sunday morning...after trying to walk out three times. One time I was half-way to my car. I can't even tell you what pulled me back into the building. As Chuck would gleefully remind me during times like these, "Jan, no one is fighting with you. This is kinda between you and you."

It's been over a month since I've had a heart open to God and his healing. I'm bitter right now...looking at what I do not have...what I've lost...what I will never have again. It's a place that makes Satan dance and spin...he's so thrilled. Some of the most healing words I've heard during this time are, "God does not blame you for feeling like this." The same sweet soul who uttered this also reminded me that praise out of a place like this is MOST sweet. So on Sunday, with a heart that felt far...that felt that God had failed me and left me all alone, I worshipped Him. I sang my heart out, in utter defiance of what my heart was screaming. I raised my hands and worshipped...I sang for God because deep down...I know. I know the truth.

This song undid me..."Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom cause, as I go from nothing to eternity."

A note, Hosanna is an exclamation, originally an appeal to God for deliverance, used in praise of Christ. I did not know this as I sang my heart my soul was soothed by the I unkowingly cried out for deliverance.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Four Laugh out Loud Movie Moments





Tied for 5th were scenes from Moonstruck and Raising Arizona...some go rent the moveis and see for yourself!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Fellow American

Yes, even at the ages of 34 and 37, my sister and I CANNOT believe we get to do grown-up stuff like vote. She called me all giddy after she had done her civic duty..."I voted...tee hee." I'm so glad she called me first...cause I had the SAME call someone and giggle...but thought that would be ridiculous. So, for the rest of the day we have referred to each other as "my fellow American."

What is it about voting? I get a bit teary...and my chest just swells with the privilege of it all. I thank GOD I am an American...and old enough to vote...and there's someone else out there who gets how very, very cool it is to participate in something so HUGE.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It is Finished

Can a Christian do anything to become more acceptable to God? If you were to look into my heart, you'd have to answer...YES...striving and yearning and practicing spiritual disciplines WILL make a Christian (or at least this Christian) more acceptable. Alas, that is a lie that, by the grace of God, I am starting to really see...starting. It is a truth that is contrary to my very being...I am a pleaser. My significance has been built upon gaining the approval of others. I have always been a good girl, a good daughter, a good wife...good, good, is a part of who I am. Who am I if I'm not "good"?

I have heard time and time again that I can do nothing to make God love me more...heard it...tried to accept it...but I never believed it. Who knows how God works...but this was the morning. This was the morning I would read the words and know they are true. I am borrowing this from Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee: Christ said "It is finished." He did not say "It is almost finished, and if you live a perfect life, you and I together might make you acceptable."

First time in my life, I relaxed and breathed in acceptance...acceptance unearned by my goodness. I made a list of all the good things I do. In one column I put "things I do to please God" and in the other I put "things I do for love". The only thing that distinguishes the two list is my heart. From the outside, both lists of activities look "good." It all boils down to my heart...the heart God has shaped and molded from my birth. Does it not make sense that he would have us serve and love a hurting world in ways that are ways that pour out of us...that he pours out of us?

So now what? Not sure. I'm giving my "heartless" list a rest...just stopping those activities and working from a place of love.