Archives for June 2009

Bleeding heart

A heart is a very inconvenient thing.   Especially when it bleeds for stuff that it cannot change.  In my case it is kids, mostly.

Kids around the world who for reasons beyond my understanding will never have the love of a family.   Who will be orphans forever.  How can that be right?

Kids who make their way to a family but still bear scars from the time when they were bereft, when that which was sacred to them was torn away. Why were those scars allowed?

Kids who have made it all the way to adulthood but who still bleed every day from the wounds inflicted upon them as children. Why can’t their scars heal?

Last week I posted a link to a new favorite song of mine, “Always Been Faithful” by Sara Groves. (lyrics below) When I’m struggling with tough times, things beyond my understanding, it is hugely comforting to me to remember the things God has led me through in the past, and the ways He has redeemed difficulty to grow me and enrich my life.

Yet I am always conscious that my life has been so danged easy.

Yes, I had the usual miserable boyfriend breakups in high school.  Yes, my dad died suddenly and tragically when I was barely an adult.  Yes, children of mine have brought me great challenge, and at times great sadness.  My life has had a share of tears.

And yet I have always had my needs met by the loved ones around me.  Had people who loved and cared and supported.  I’ve never been alone, either in the human sense or the spiritual sense.  I’ve spent my entire conscious life knowing that God loves me.

And so even as I listen to the words of the song that bring me so much comfort, I wonder if those words would mean as much, would feel as valid, if I’d had times in life where I was entirely bereft.   Is there any way that I in my privilege can minister to someone who has lived through true misery?  Can my feeble words resonate truly and lovingly in the core of a person who has been deeply scarred?

I feel this lack acutely when I am ministering to some of my own, most wounded children.  I feel this lack when I am reaching out to friends who are hurting. I am so, so sad that my offerings to their wounded hearts are so paltry, so trite, so lacking.

Deep inside me, there is an idiotically, stupidly grandiose person that wants to take away the hurt of everyone around me.  And when my best attempts fail, I want to scream.  Cry.   Rail against God for allowing the hurt to happen to my loved ones, to my acquaintances, even to the little kid crying on the other side of the world whose face I only see in my dreams.

That’s when I have to get back to the truth. Jesus is the Healer, not me.  My only place of power is resting in Him.  My bleeding heart and I need to stay right there. Secure that He who began a good work — in all of us –will remain faithful.


Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me

This is my anthem, this is my song

The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I’m in need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me

(Youtube video)


A Franciscan Blessing

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator,
Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our Saviour,
and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide,
be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.


Garden lunch

We’ve been eating chard out of the greenhouse for awhile, but today I picked our first 2 zucchini, along with a handful of snow peas, which we enjoyed in a yummy stirfry for lunch.  Yeah!!  Summertime, here we come!

This link deserves a post of its own

How to Nurture Geniuses

Conversation with dad

Our 7 year daughter was getting goodnight kisses from Daddy. “Daddy, do you have to go to work tomorrow?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Ohhhhh, why?!” she wailed.

“Because people around here keep eating.  And they like to sleep in a nice house.  And sometimes-” he fixed a mock stern gaze on me — “they even turn the air conditioning on.”

“Oh, ” said the 7 year old, looking sober for a moment at his undeniable logic. Then her face brightened.  “Can I come to work with you?”

“No.  I work at a hospital.  You wouldn’t like it there.  People are just dying to get in.”  His eyes twinkled, waiting.

“Daddy!” she wailed in dismay.  “I know exactly what you mean by that and I don’t LIKE it!”

“Why not?” His eyes twinkled more.

“Because that’s just a gross joke.  You should joke about something else!”

He burst into laughter.  And agreed.  And hugged her goodnight again.

And left.

And his little girl lay there, smiling into her pillow.

Camp highlights

Discovery: A month that contains a week in Korea, a week of church camp planning, five days of church camp, and two days of wedding can leave a gal a mite tuckered out. So here are some of my best pictures from camp, standing alone to tell of the fun we had.

What can you find out in the wilderness?

Newlyweds driving to church camp in the mountains. Car trouble 20 miles from camp. Dimming lights. Stops. Starts. Worries. Checking coolant. Changing fuses. Losing power. Cell phone out of range. Limping miles. Stopping. Starting– barely. Getting a jump start from a random stranger.
Wondering if they’ll make it.

Finally they pull into camp, heaving sighs of relief. Soon the car is surrounded by older relatives, questioning them about their troubles. Menfolk, dad and grandpa, pop the hood and tighten the radiator cap and clean battery contacts and somehow produce a battery charger. Solutions are tossed about.

The young folks’ brows unknit. Their shoulders relax. Their faces look brighter. They heave a sigh and go off to find a late dinner, as the older men continue to strategize over the car.

The afternoon’s problems have worn out the young people. Their part isn’t done– tomorrow they’ll be borrowing an aunt’s car and driving miles, then forking over bucks for car parts. An alternator, it turns out to be.

But this evening the car has enough heads under the hood. The worries fade back. Their problems have solutions. They toss a frisbee and sit with cocoa. They are not alone.

We, the older generation, find our minds drifting back to problems that felt too big for us alone, for rescues made by loved ones on our behalf. And are glad to pass on the favor. And also to snap a picture. Some day, when the hassle is not so fresh, they may be glad even for this memory.

Always faithful

I will be sharing pictures of camp soon, but today a story is just bursting out of me. A love story.  The story of a sister of mine who waited a very long time for love.

She played the cello at my wedding at the age of 13, maybe even then dreaming of the day she would walk down the aisle.

She grew up and began life. She attended friend’s weddings and more sisters’ weddings, doubtless always with a question in the back of her mind. A wondering when her turn would come to fall in love. To find a partner.  Her own soul mate.

Her 20’s went by and she kept waiting. Wondering. Striving for patience.

All the while she led a busy and mostly happy life. Productive and active and adventurous and faith-filled. Except for those moments late at night when she wondered if she would even get to fall in love. Ever get to walk down the aisle into loving arms. Ever have the chance to establish a family with a man who adored her.

She was resolutely, determinedly cheerfully. Determined to find joy in exactly what God had for her future, whether it be single or married. But there were times when that good cheer was hard. Because she wanted a family of her own, plain and simple.

Why is such a simple dream so hard sometimes?

And then last winter a blessed, wonderful miracle happened. My dear sister met the right man. Her man. The one she’d been waiting for all along but didn’t know it.

Turns out he’d been waiting too.

They fell in love.  He proposed.  She said yes.

And today. Well, today is their wedding day. At the age of 35 my precious, beautiful sister is a bride. Today I get to go and cry my eyes out for her. Rejoice with her. Praise God on her behalf.

Because God is good. All the time.

Great is His faithfulness.

Back from camp

Five days at camp left us tired but full of fun memories.  More tomorrow, but I thought I’d leave you with a picture of the dough hook I used to make pizza dough for 80 people on Thursday.  15 lbs flour.  15 cups of water.  Yeah.  Never made that much pizza dough at once in my life.  Fun, fun!


Rejocing today in this truth.