Wednesday, November 24, 2010

post 14 - currently reading

"in the beginning there was no earth,
no air,
no fire,
and no water.

there were no up quarks or down quarks.
there were no leptons or nuclei.
there were no oysters,
no fat rabbits,
no fast rabbits,
and no falcons.

no one had invented sperm.
no one had invented man or woman,
magnetism, or cows,
or milk that can be turned to cheese to eat,
or canes excreting sweetness to be mixed with cream to enjoy.

there were no green things to harvest the air with sunlight,
because there was no air, no sun, no green.
there were no aphids,
or ants to defend them.

wings had not been dreamt.
rivers had not been sung.
desert sand had not yet been spread and rippled.

there was no such thing as color - the behavior of light in response to material thing.
there was no such thing as smell - the interpretation of matter by an airborne sampling.
there was no such thing as touch - the physical sensation of contact between two material things.

there were no sight - not of our sort.
no taste.
no ears.
no time.

but there was a Being, spirit, infinite, I AM.
in that being there was One, and there was Many.
there was Love.
there was Joy.
there was true Laughter.
there was a Word, a Voice.
there was an Artist, but not yet art.

but then that Voice said Light,
and extended Himself a finite canvas to paint the only thing worth painting;
to paint the glory of the I AM.
the art has a beginning - it began when time did - but it will have no end.

the Voice will never be silent.
and so He paints."

Monday, November 15, 2010

post 13

"Are you in shadow? Are you in pain? 
Has the rock been lifted, removing the sky, tearing your life in half?

Do not cry to me.  I can only cry with you. 
Talk to the Fool, to the One who left a throne to enter an anthill. 
He will enter your shadow.  It will not taint Him.   He has done it before.

His holiness is not fragile.

Touch His skin, put your hand to His side. 
He has kept His scars when He did not have to.
Take to Him your pain
and watch it overwhelmed,
burned away by the joy He takes in loving you.

In the end, when your life is of a different sort,
your first and human flesh will be dust. 
And of your grief? 
Not one grain of ash will remain

ND Wilson - Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

post 12 - morris family

"you’ll always be love’s great martyr
i'll be the flattered fool
and I need you"
dave barnes - God gave me you
They were definitely "just friends."  Definitely.
Terry was dating someone else, and Cindy was a cautious, baby Christian.  Friends were good.
Over the course of a year, however, Terry's relationship ended.  And he thought that Cindy was a GREAT girl.
So great, in fact, he suggested her to his good friend!  "She's beautiful, loves the Lord - you should go for it, man!"
That's what friends do.  Friends help each other out.  Friends keep their eyes out for each other.  And Friend Terry was more then happy to help his Guy Friend meet a lovely lady like Friend Cindy.
One problem.  Just a little while after he suggested her for his buddy, Terry realized what a mistake he had made.  He was kicking himself.  She IS beautiful! She DOES love the Lord! She would be GREAT to pursue! Why am I not with her?
Never fear.  God is God and always has been and this wasn't the first time a guy slightly blew-it in the girl department.  In His timing, and after a bit of chasing and fighting for her heart, Terry and Cindy fell in love.
Oh, falling in love.  So exciting! So heart-racing!  So full of dreams and so promising!  So new and fun, so la-la-laaaaa! And it should be that way.  It should be absolutely incredible.  But let's be honest, sometimes life isn't always absolutely incredible.  Sometimes its, in fact, absolutely miserable.  What happens then?  How do marriages last through the miserable? Through "the worse" and "the poorer" and "the sickness" and actually make it to "as long as we both shall live"?  I can tell you what I've heard, but I know that as a 21-year-old single head, I have no experience to pull from.  But I can learn from couples like Terry and Cindy.
Quickly after they got married they started their family.  Twin boys got the ball rolling and they had eleven more children after that. Thirteen total.  That's just too much fun - it's got to be grueling and exhausting, but also rewarding and wonderful.  In 2003 they had their second set of twins - Josiah and Joel.  Oh goodness those two were fun. Josiah was a little bit more of the the follower, definitely the "second-born" and noticeably more calm then Joel.  Joel was a firecracker.  Jolly (joel-y? haha just kidding), funny, active - he kept everyone on their toes and everyone laughing.  He had an unquenchable love for life, and just delighted his parents and many brothers and few sisters.
However, in October 2006 his little body became sick.  He had neuroblastoma and by December he was in a coma.  But his heart beat on, and blood flowed through his veins.  He was alive.  Through a nasty few weeks of battling with doctors to not give up on him, signs of hope, crushing pain when conditions worsened and lifting up many many many prayers, God allowed Joel to breath his last breath on this earth and take little Joel home.
Photobucket Losing a child is never easy.  I won't even begin to pretend like I know what that's like.  I asked Cindy and Terry to tell me what that was like, especially as a couple.  Terry instantly was choked up.  Through quivering lips and watery eyes he told me about that trial.  He told me about Cindy's "motherly instinct" when she realized Joel was dying, he told me how, though his "love language" is touch, there were times Cindy she couldn't be near him - or anyone - so he had to love her by giving her space.  He told me about nights after Joel died where Terry had to literally talk to and pray for Cindy to keep her alive - the grief was so strong that she just wanted to close her eyes and die at times.  
Those moments are not romantic, fluffy, soaring highs.  But those moments are love in action.  Terry quoted part of I Corinthians 13 to me: "Love bears all things." "You know," he told me, "couples who lose children have the highest divorce rate of any other trial.  I knew we were going to make it - I knew it [as he rubs his hand on his wife's knee] - but it was hard." 

Photobucket Cindy filled in her part of the story.  She described that year of losing Joel as "a pit, the lowest valley."  She felt robotic, lifeless and doubted God.  Scripture was just black letters on white pages.  Praying was quite difficult, psh! - waking up was difficult!  "There was nothing Terry could do.  He couldn't fix it.  I needed God, but I questioned who He was.  I doubted everything.  Terry never did.  He knew God was good and had a plan, but that was so hard for me."  
Walking through a heartache as a couple isn't a like a movie where everything goes right.  It's just straight up difficult.  You get tested, crushed, challenged, pushed and molded in ways you never dreamed - and probably never wanted.  You realize that this person doesn't give you all you need.  In fact, this person might even sting right now.  But all of that points you to God - who made marriage to imitate the unconditional, sacrificial love of the Lord Jesus Christ for His people.  And He is the one who can and does see brittle marriages through.  The very trials that could destroy, He uses to bond even closer.   Terry and Cindy are proof of that.

Photobucket Cindy said "One day, everything changed.  I woke up, and the Lord gave me a verse."  She paused, searching for words for a moment. Photobucket"The only way I can think to describe this is that I just 'ate' it.  And the next day there was another, and then another!  And these words gave me life again.  It was almost like stepping stones across water.  One at a time.  Slowly but surely.  And now I can look through my Bible with dates next to so many verses on days where God carried me!  It's filled with them!  God saw me through."  Terry gave his wife a little extra squeeze.
Their marriage really is transformed.  They love life.  Goodness do they miss Joel - and tears are shed almost daily in remembrance of him.  But there is hope, there is support, there is love.  What a wonderful thing the Lord has done.
Their son Daniel laughed "Yeah, he just can't stop kissin' her!" (It was true.  At least for the few hours I was there.)  Bethany, their oldest daughter, explained to me what their marriage is like.  "There is a commitment to submit on her part, and a commitment to love on his part."  I asked her to explain that more. "My mom trusts the intent of my dad.  She trusts that his ideas for her and our family are good and loving."  Caleb added "Well, she knows that 'his ideas' aren't just 'his ideas' rather dad has sought the Lord and is doing what he feels the Lord has called him to do, and mom trusts God and therefore follows dad."  
We all talked for a while, and I wish I could write the whole conversation out.  But I walked away knowing this:  God is good.  God is faithful.  Marriage is good.  Marriage is hard.  But a faithful God can take hard lives and use them for good.  And I've always known that, but meeting people like the Morris's helps you understand it in a new, more meaningful way.  I also realized, in an also newer, deeper way, how much their love/marriage/trial/faith is a testimony to their children and will effect their children's futures.  It will be so exciting to see how God uses that whole trial for future Morris generations and beyond :D
 Morris's - thank you for your story, your life and your welcoming-hearts!  God has become more real to me through hearing about Joel and what God has done in you all through that.  Thank you!

If you'd like to "meet" the Morris' or read more of Joel's story and their family's story the last few years, check out their blog