Tuesday, July 05, 2011

How do we lose our way?

Last night I rode home with Dean so I could bring my car back to the hospital. Typically I never even leave Olivia's room but over the last year I have come to realize that I have to get away and let my mind breath, refresh, reboot so to speak. I have to keep my head clear if I want to survive this and help her survive it well.

It is a hot, humid, summer night here in Atlanta but it is just me and the car. I love that solitude of the car.  No interruptions, no interacting.....just driving.  Those are the moments I find that small quiet time, well maybe not so quiet, to talk with God.  Sometimes I yell, sometimes I cry, sometimes I sit and just enjoy the beauty of feeling close to Him.  But it is our own special time to really communicate. 

As I leave I realize  I have about 45 minutes to ride to the hospital. Just enough time to get all the yelling and the screaming and the crying in before  I get there!  I crank up the stereo and the songs are the only thing that can be heard. I have cranked it up loud, on purpose.  I want the music to fill the car and my head. I want to hear God speak to my heart!  And loudly.

Because the thing I need most right now are not words on a page but that deep river of wisdom that only comes from God.  I need to feel the deep heart of God that reaches down and gives me that peace that passes understanding.  My mind has been going in twenty directions and this last episode with Olivia caught us all off guard.

You see the problem don't you?  I didn't  until that ride to the hospital. Because for the past few months I have been trying to put the pieces of my puzzle back together.  I have been trying to get our life back on track to where it was before all this happened.  But, you know what happened, the harder I tried the worse it seemed to get. 

My picture looked like this "  Transplant and Olivia is better and getting her friends back, life back and  happy....the drastic bills are paid off so we can start fresh....Olivia and I have time to get school back in line and we all walk off into the sunset praising God for His wonderful miracle!"

Now, I am not complaining.  God forbid I be like the Israelites coming out of Egypt but it seems I did lose my way.  I had my picture all ready to be put together. I kept trying to put those pieces into one another and it was just not working! 

The life picture is ...Olivia keeps fighting to get well.  She has had more bad days than good..I lost my job when I needed it the most....Olivia has not felt well enough to get a lot of school work done and no time to really spend with friends and just as we were thinking she could...she started getting sick again. Oh did I mention that perfect marriage seemed to be all about arguing lately!

I just kept pressing in.  Tenacity seems to be the one trait in my character that is tried and true.  I just don't have it within me to give up.  I would sit on my back porch swing and just shake my head...God, I just don't get it. Really, don't we deserve a break.  Can't you just let us have some sweet precious time of not worrying, not struggling, not preparing for the worst?"  then, the tears would just flow like rivers.  Trying to wash away the struggles ,the sorrow and the quilt.  I have friends in much more dire circumstances than we have right now.  But still I kept fighting.  I wanted my puzzle pieces to work.

On the way to the hospital, in those sweet precious moments God reached down and whispered to me that " Trusting, believing and loving have to do with my picture, not yours."  You see, I have been writing my book and talking about those particular things, repeating those things, but listening to what God is leading me to write is very different. You see, God knows me and He knows my heart. It may sound trite to you but to me my whole life needs to reflect God. He has been the true constant in my life.  The truth of real love in my life.  So, I really needed an attitude adjustment.  I needed to see the picture through His eyes  unless I do start sounding like those dang Israelites and have to wander in the desert.

So, the real picture looks much like this "  Olivia's life is spared and she is getting better but will always have challenges. The challenges helps her character be more and more like Jesus. She is able to see those in pain and sympathize and empathize with her peers at a level of maturity that is beyond her years.  She realizes that God is the provider of everything we have and so she knows we can lean on Him and trust Him.  Then, God brought a community of people together to be the hands and feet of His gospel to surround us with so many prayers, love and support that we were able to survive all of this craziness.  Hopefully that same community was able to see God's hand at work. Our family is stronger than it has every been and we are able to communitcate more than ever before. When the glass is half full, the picture looks so different.   I had a friend tell me one time "Count your many blessings name them one by one"  great hymn and great reminder.

To me, when I remember to look back the miracles are enourmous! Life is not always about rest. Sometimes, well most of the time it is about the journey and how we walk through it.  Life does not stop or slow down.  Many lives are being changed everyday forever.  We all feel that we wish we could get off the merry-go-round for just a moment....but, lest we forget that joy of being on the merry-go-round.  It is all in our perspective.

So through this hot July night I am singing at the top of my lungs.  Worship is where I start.  Worship allows me to see God and see myself in his laver.  That mirror of honesty that brings all the sin and the joy to the top. I can get rid of all the things that have hindered me from hearing His voice and allows me to hear His heart. I hear Margaret Becker in the chorus " Look me in the eye, tell me if you see traces of yourself growing here in me.?"  and that is my heart cry. That is what I am called to do and so it puts the last few days back into the right perspective of my life!

I lost my way but now I am on firmer ground again.

In His Grip

Driving down the road I can see all these moments over the past months reflecting back at me. In the process I realize I have lost my way, not from the trauma but from the routine.  Wow, imagine that. The easy stuff  is what gets us caught up in the wrong things.  Trauma pushes us closer to what is important.  I have been so concentrated on getting life back in order that I lost the reason that life exists.  I bow my head, in my mind, and repent.  I sit and hear Margeret Becker sing "Find Me" and

It has been almost a year since Olivia's transplant.  It amazes me how much we all have changed since that time.  We have not been able to fully recover yet, we have hit several bumps in the road, but she is getting stronger and stronger.  We are currently back in the hospital and having some pretty ugly issues but she is stronger and working hard getting through it all.

When you look back at life it is so easy to see the mistakes, the heartaches, and the pain.  You naturally see the hard stuff.  It quickly comes to the surface of your mind.  So, it does take a moment to remember the victories, the moutain top experiences and the joy that God has allowed us to enjoy over the year.
But here are the thongs that I am most thankful for that I have learned over the last year.

I am very thankful for God. He has been the one rock that I could count on no matter what.  He has provided so many miracles for me and my family that I am  in awe of His power and might.  In fact, recently there has been some discussion around my house about some spiritual aspects about God lately and really at the end of the day, all that matters is that God is God.  No more and no less.  He gives, loves and extends his heart beyond the recesses of what our minds can fathom.  I have been humbled and amazed at friendships that have not only endured miles, but years and mistakes.  I have been blessed beyond measure with the outpouring of love and concern for me and my family. I am so very thankful for each and everyday that God allows me to bewith Dean and Olivia.  They are the picture in my life of who God is.  How He loves, how He blesses and how He is so wise.

When I look back at the full year, in context, this is where I end.  But there are many middle parts that have changed my heart and outlook.  There have been many days that I had to face reality and realize that my will and God's will may be different.  And if there were different, how would I handle that.  I am sure you can read between the lines here.  Also, I have wept with several mothers that did not have another day with their child. The disease had taken its toll on their poor child's body and walking through that has brought an ache and scar that I pray will never heal.  It gives me that hesitation that life is more important than cleaning the house.  It gives me that understanding that friendships are so much more than just a FB quote.  It reminds me that the hunger and passion I have for God will always be strong and fervent.  I stand in His presence broken and spilled out.
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