Friday, July 29, 2011

Still: A 5 minute writing exercise

What a mess my life. There I was sitting in clothes just pissed on by my youngest, my oldest talking my ear off and I felt like a dragon with smoke coming out of my ears. It was only 8:30 in the morning but if this is how the day would proceed than Lord help me to calm down right now. It's good to know that I can call on Him at anytime but in the end, I know He depends on me to do the right thing.

The right thing. What is that? I just had a small discussion about how important politics can or cannot be. I just read an email about a university putting on a play that portrays Our Blessed Mother as a lesbian. And I think about how similar politics and religion are. Am I being too lackadaisical about the issues? Is that what's going on here? What about just living for God? What about leaving all the radical world behind and be radical about God? Be radical about the Man who rose from the dead and how we are saved because of this radical Lord who is just so in love with us He will stop at nothing to show us.

And I always "mistakenly" type god when I mean to write good. I guess they both mean the same thing. Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gasping For Air: How God's Big Gifts Can Go Unnoticed

Dear God,

Since when did parenting become such an uphill battle?

Since when do I scream and yet nobody wants to hear me?

Since when do the people in your life become so numb to one's feelings?

Since when did I become so numb to my own children's cries?

I figure if no one alive is willing to understand me, I know you will.

So how do I turn these stressful moments into beauty?

Every night, I toss and turn, gasping for air. I can't breath right any more. I'm congested with anxiety, anger. I'm clogged, already too full of all that I have to suppress throughout the day, trying to escape me every night. It's nightmarish, the fight to just breath. Such an easy thing, we do it so often we don't even notice it, until we can't do it anymore.

My days are to demanding to even think of rest and at night, my only opportunity to breath has been taken from me.

So God, dear God, how? How do I turn these scary moments into beauty?

Because I feel tapped out.

I'm beginning to feel depleted emotionally and physically. When the day ends I can't even crawl in bed to pray. I have to medicate and cough until some air can enter my lungs. I exhaust myself to sleep, only to wake up to a crying toddler. It pains me that even in a moment of refuge, all I am doing is begging you, pleading for some kind of help. Change me God, change me if I am to blame. Ease the situation for a few seconds to catch some air, to grab a sliver of sanity, to ask Mother Mary how she did it, what do I do?

So here is my moment. This is me up on my cross. Some may pass me by and say, "Deal with it," and I am, in a very bad way.

This is my little/big moment of suffering, where all I can do is go through it in hopes that I can either ride out my sentence in love and forgiveness or fight to remove myself from a situation my very own limbs have been nailed to.

I read somewhere that while on the cross Jesus gasped for air, suffered collapsed lungs, carbon dioxide increase, oxygen decrease, only able to say very little for lack of air and the inability to inhale and exhale due to the position His body was in.

How spiritual, how holy it is to really suffer just a touch of what Our Lord suffered. How He tasted our humanity to be able to comprehend our failures, our afflictions, our fears. To come down and endure human birth to human death, to be able to gently draw us closer to Him, to rest in His arms, to cry on His shoulders.

To know what it is like.

Just to know what it is like and drink it all in for us.

And we live in small worlds where our own know but won't acknowledge, don't care, are too afraid to help, are tired of helping. To pass pain by and pretend like you never heard it, seen it. A cry to deaf ears, a heavy silence after the loud scream, and all of us at one point in our lives have covered our ears and closed our eyes and kept walking.

But Jesus hears even the most silent of cries, the most distant. He heard Zaccheaus' need for a change of heart and Jesus invited Himself in. He heard Mary and Martha's tears for Lazarus and He decided to heed their pain with glory. Even in His debilitated state He heard the pleas of a thief on the cross and gave him the promise of eternal life in heaven.

So Jesus, I ask you now to help me in my time of need. Calm me down, Help me to see what it is You want me to do. You know that I alone won't prevail, but with You in the forefront I can't lose. If You remain in front of me I can't succumb to this situation. I can suffer like You did. Take in all that is going on and find the glory You always know how to insert into every situation. If at the end of the day, I lose all I have, I lose nothing if You live in my heart.

So forgive me if I've done this all wrong. Forgive me for not being able to trust in what You are doing in my life. Forgive me for re-acting and not STOPPING. Forgive me for thinking that I alone can handle this, that I alone can suffer. Forgive me for not calling on You sooner. Forgive me my self-pity, my accusations and assumptions. Forgive me for thinking that others can help me better than You can. Forgive me for thinking that my life right now sucks because I am going through a little bit of suffering, so little compared to the cross. Forgive me for not remembering Your trials and how lovingly You withstood them; how much of an example they are for me as they are my salvation.

And the little energy You have given me to gasp for air and wake up in the middle of the night to hug my child, the next morning to converse with You, ask You for help is more than enough to keep my mouth full of praise and thanksgiving. One day I may not wake up at all.

One more day is a gift, not a guarantee.

Amen to that!

God bless!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why We Should Suffer and Do it Right

Years ago, my uncle was murdered by his stepson. He was my grandmother's youngest and although she had no favorites, she suffered his death as if he was her only child. But I remember how forgiving she was to his stepson and his family, how she let her daughter-in-law into her home to pay her respects despite what had happened. It was an act that many didn't understand, some were even angry with my grandmother, confused, but she understood very well that in this life you will suffer. You just have to know how to do it right.

Lately I've been feeling very ill. I'm not sure what is wrong, but I am in constant pain and it hasn't been easy. In the midst of this pain, an image keeps appearing in my mind. An image that my pastor shared with me a few weeks ago and I just can't get it out of my head. Not in these exact words, but he tells me to picture a sea of crosses, people crucified and suffering on their crosses. Watch how each one suffers. Keep looking until you find Christ and witness His suffering. This is how we want to suffer; in love.

So that image has stuck, and each time I feel pain, the mental image of a mountaintop full of crucifixions appears and I roam, searching for Jesus's way to suffer.

It's never easy to look at our lives, to see what the now has presented to us and be okay with it all. It's hard to look into the eyes of the person or people that broke you and say "I forgive you." It's very hard not to judge, not to assume. It's even harder to think that this person, these people are God's children, made in the image and likeness of Him, that perhaps they too are broken and just don't know how to cope, how to suffer in love. The pastor also reminded me that even Jesus on that very cross showed pain and hurt.

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
“My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”
—Mark 15:34 (GNT)

But He never succumbed to those feelings. Instead, He remained on that cross. He remained in His suffering.

Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus taught us that when we suffer, not to do so with a sad face, but groom ourselves and walk tall. It doesn't mean to hide what we are going through, but to find the purpose of that suffering and wear it like a badge.

Like a cross around one's neck.

I've slowly learned to look at that cross and feel my heart fill up with so many emotions. Not because He suffered and died, but because He suffered and died for me! And at first it was hard to watch, it was difficult to keep looking into His eyes, but the end result isn't the end, but the very priceless beginning of a salvation that no one can give you but Jesus. Looking up at Him on that cross began as a painful task, but is now such a moment full of sentiment, full of love.

You did that for me Jesus?


No one has ever done that for me before.

No one.

But why are we allowed to suffer? Why does God let tragedies occur? How can He be so...mean?

Madonna said it best. "Pain is a warning that something's wrong."

Something is wrong. Something is not right with God. In this suffering, what is God trying to tell us? What is He trying to show us? Think about it.

When I am suffering through a hard day with my children, perhaps God wants me to know that my dealing with them is not working. When a child is suffering a deadly disease, perhaps God wants to bring that family closer to Him. When some one is killed, maybe God wants to show those left behind what it is to forgive.

I don't know what God reasons are for all the suffering in the world, but I do know that He has a plan to set it right and I trust in His plan.

Even if it means I may have to suffer through it.

And I may never know the purpose if I don't remain still in my suffering. If I react, if I move wildly, try to escape, I may just end up suffering again, suffering more, until He gets His point across, until He fixes what needs to be fixed, heals what needs to be healed. I have to give Him the opportunity to transform my suffering into His glory.

Because Jesus promised us that if we endured to the end we would be saved.

From the smallest pain, to the biggest affliction, from the saddest past to the hurtful, repressed memories, from the frustrating days, to the news of terrible tragedy, if I am to suffer, I should suffer like Him, full of love and forgiveness despite the whirlwind of hurt and pain. I am His and I suffer for Him, just as He suffered for me.

Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3 (GNT)

God bless!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

All That He Knows, and Still

Dear Friends,

It's been a while.

I stopped writing for a good reason. I needed to focus on a conversation long time coming. And in the month of talking I've learned so many things about me that only He can tell me.

Who knew that someone does know everything about me; even the parts of me I forgot, or couldn't even see with my own eyes, or know with my own heart. I am personally known by Jesus.

That's a huge comfort.

Because sometimes, I don't even know myself. Sometimes I question my decisions, my motives. Why do I always do this, or what made me say that? But my little window of knowledge is small, limited, as His eyes cover the world. His love sees our hearts, listens to our fears, soothes our pain and the best part of it all is where we lack in answers, He does not.

He knows it all.

He knows me well, the good parts as well as the bad.

There's no use in hiding in the tree for He calls on us and invites us to heal. There's no use in thinking you are unworthy, too small, too inadequate, too frustrated, too angry, too hurt, too sinful to be with Jesus. He knows all this already and yet He still loves us.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed a few days ago. I had an agenda, things I needed to get done and although having my girls will make my errand running a little bit harder, I was determined to make it happen.

So when the girls woke up, they too were crabby. My home, for the first few hours of that morning, were tense. At one point, between the dishes and the sweeping, I called out to Him, in full need of some peace. I needed His loving touch to enter into my heart, extinguish the angry fire in me and gently direct me to water.

So I took the girls to McDonald's.
You know, the one with the play-yards?


God led me there for some peace, but most importantly, He brought me there to listen to a grandfather enjoying lunch with his grandson. His face, his words, his gestures were all loving, calm and peaceful, even in that moment where he needed to reprimand. In that hour or so, I listened to this old man, seasoned with life and wisdom, impart his love to a little boy with the same energy and ambition that my girls have. He knew how to be present for his grandson, and the kid knew when to stop and listen.


I thanked the old man before I walked out. I'm sure I left him a bit confused, but in essence, I was thanking my Lord.

He led me to a lesson I needed to learn. He gave me a wonderful example to follow.

Jesus knew exactly what I needed at that moment. And He gave it to me...because I asked for it.
He knew how to gift me that moment because He knows me, better than I know myself.

And He loves me...

better than anyone can.

Don't ever say that God doesn't love you. You don't know how much He does and how willing He is to show you. His heart, like His wounds, are open, exposed, to show us how much He loves you. And like Mary, in that scene from the movie, The Passion, we need to let go of the earth, let go of what doesn't matter, what isn't true, look up, and see what is being done for you, all out of love...

despite knowing who you are, what you've done, and what you will do.