Meltdown…

I had a meltdown at 2 am this morning. There’s no other way to put it. It was messy. Ugly.  I was tired from a busy weekend and my grandson didn’t want to sleep and it all came crashing down. I cried. For an hour. The feelings were so powerful. The nerve endings of my emotions lit fire and consumed me. In that moment I was undone, I was lost. My very skin hurt. It was so tangible that it felt like this would never end. But It will. Nothing lasts forever.

What on earth is helpful or hopeful about what I’m saying? Well first, I’m totally human. And that’s okay. It’s not wrong to be human.  This is the path that God has given me to walk but some days I feel like I’m in a prison.  A prison of pain.  That no matter what I do, I cannot escape.  But that’s not it at all.  It is not a prison of pain.  It is the narrow path.  There is movement forward if I choose it.  But only I can choose it.  He’s not putting walls around me and locking the door.  He’s asking me to set my eyes on Him and walk blindly forward even when it’s dark and I cannot see.  And I cannot see.  At all. I am completely blind.  None of my senses are telling me what to do.  There is no sight. There is no sound.  There is no touch.  It is so scary that sometimes I am afraid. So afraid that I melt down.  So afraid that I run away from Him.  What He is asking of me is hard.  He is not fixing my circumstances.  At least where I can see.  And I don’t know what the eventual “fix” is that will bring all of this to a resolution.  The only definite thing that He has shown me is that I need to trust Him.  His answer and His resolution will be perfect.  Even if His “perfect” and my “perfect” are not the same.  His way is always better than mine and fear is a liar.  Fear is a LIAR.  So I run back to him.  Because away from Him is way too scary and the fear becomes real and the fire burns.  Next to Him I will not be burned.

Fear is a Liar 2“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters,  I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”  Isaiah 43: 1b-3a

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My heart hurts….

I had a realization this morning.  My heart hurting is not necessarily a bad thing.  It means I love, deeply, the one that I am missing or am burdened over.  It means that I am not closed off to my emotions, that I feel the realness of raw moments, good and bad.  When it becomes bad is when I dwell with the bad feeling, when I make my bed with it,when I become best friends with it, when I wallow in it.  When I do not turn that emotion into prayer, I am sinning.  It is sin for me because God has shown me what I need to do with it…that I need to bring them to Him first.  When I don’t do this, I am choosing to discount the emotion that God placed in my heart., to turn away from what He has shown me, what He divinely placed inside of me.  I am choosing MY way of dealing with things, not HIS.

For many years I viewed my emotions as a curse.  Maybe I have said this before but I thought I was a freak because my emotions were so all-consuming.  The process of learning that it was something that God gifted me with has been many years in the making.  He placed this thing in me to accomplish His purpose in my life.  He created me for intercession and is constantly teaching me and showing me how to pray.  I wish I could convey to you the depth of His passion about this, but I only have a tiny glimpse of what that is.  What I am realizing is that the only time that my emotions overtake me is when I am not taking them to the Lord, asking Him how to pray.  I had a revelation about a month ago that was the beginning to what I am realizing today.  It is okay to be overwhelmed because real life can be like that…things happen…but be overwhelmed, don’t be overtaken.

For the sake of transparency, however, I have been somewhat overtaken recently.  I have allowed my circumstances to become bigger than what God intended to do through them.  I have forgotten to step back, to breathe, to pray.  In His grace, though, He keeps giving me pieces to this puzzle of mine.  He keeps peeling back the layers and exposing me to myself.  I may not like looking in the mirror, but I will take that any day over the chaos of living outside of Him.  I am facing some things this summer that I know are going to be difficult for me, but He is already showing me how He intends to surround me when circumstances try to overtake me.  He is reminding me to pray.  He is reminding me that He loves me.  Deeply.  Without reservation.  I am not deserving of such mercy, but He gives it to me anyway.

Today

I have this friend.
She is beautiful.
She is kind.
She is strong.
But today she hurts.
Today her world seems harsh.
Today she is overwhelmed.
Today she feels alone.
But she is not.
She is not because I will pray.
She is not because God gives grace to the humble.
She is not because feelings lie.
She is not because He loves her.
There is nothing she can do that will move her from His heart.
There is nothing that she feels that He has not felt.
There is no betrayal that is unknown to Him.
There is no pain that is foreign to His heart.
He is the God of all comfort.
He is close to the broken hearted.
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Emotions are fleeting.
God is forever.


A Momma’s Broken Heart…

Sometimes I think I share too much…isn’t the unknown sometimes safer?  It’s like Tyler going off to boot camp.  As scary as it is, you don’t know exactly what to be afraid of so you find that maybe it’s not quite as bad as you’ve imagined.  I have thought several times that if I had done what he is doing, I could not have gone forward if I had known what was ahead of me.  Sometimes the unknown is not so bad.

But here I sit, wondering if I have given too much of a glimpse into what lies ahead for some people.  Have I only talked about the hard parts of it or shown only the pain of it?  I have to admit, at the beginning, despite the pride in the choice that he made, there weren’t a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings.  It was hard.  Really, really hard.  But I made it through that part.  It went fast.  It didn’t last forever.

But what if you are about to say goodbye to what feels like your whole family?  What must that be like?  I said goodbye to one son.  I moved one son into the rest of his life.  What if it was all my children?  All at the same time?  God didn’t ask me to do that.  I have someone so dear to me who is facing that.  God has asked her to let go of all of her children all at once.  They leave home on the same day.  They start the journey my son is on all at the same time.  Together, with each other.  She must say goodbye to them both and send them into the rest of their lives.

I know some of you may say I am being dramatic, but when she came to see me today, I saw it in her eyes.  It is there.  The fight within her heart to do what is right and let her boys go, to let them grow up, to do what God is asking her to do…to give them back to Him.  But her momma’s heart is breaking.  It will never be the same and I think she knows it.  I know she will do what is best, but this is the part where I wonder if I have said to much, given her a glimpse at the hard part of it, made her see what is so hard to see with clarity that she doesn’t want or need right now, made it harder for her to let go.  I talked about the end of boot camp, the end of boot camp, the end of boot camp….then it was over and then something else came…the realization of this new life – that it wouldn’t be over after boot camp – there was still so much more to go through.  And now she must walk this road times two…and all at the same time.

Maybe I have shared too much.  Maybe I was so focused on what I was going through that I didn’t think of the consequences for someone else, but I know that God gave her to me for a reason.  So even if I did share too much, I can now be there for her the way she was for me.  I can love her, I can cry with her, and most of all I can pray with her for her boys and for her.  I will lift her arms up when she cannot.  I will stand when she cannot rise up.  Because you see, we have  Christ in the middle of us, so whatever the mistakes or wrong steps, He can make it all work for good.  This I believe.  I love you Patrice.

Every time I turn around

Every time I turn around God shows Himself.  I have a story I want to share with you.  It is not my story but it is part of me because I live in this world and I have invited God to show me how to pray for things in this world.  Her name is Shawna Yates and she is a Marine Mom.  I asked her if I could share her story and she said yes.

Shawna’s son’s name is Ryan and he has accomplished more than a lot of us ever dreamed of at a very young age.  Tyler and Ryan were in the same company at boot camp so I met her via our Marine Mom Facebook page.  I was on that Marine Mom page when I came across this post from her.

“I am in desperate need of prayers.  I received a call from my son’s 1st Sgt.  He was picked up by Echo Company yesterday and has fallen into a funk and now wants to quit.  This is not like my son.  He is a very determined young man.  He graduated high school a year early (he was 16), had enough college credit hours to be promoted to Private First Class after boot camp (at the age of 17) and has never given up anything he has set his mind to.  He excelled in boot camp and loved it.  When I talked to him on the phone this weekend he sounded great, however something in his voice sounded different when I talked to him Monday night.  He is now refusing to train and is willing to accept whatever punishment the USMC has in store for him.  His 1st Sgt. is telling me that the paperwork to have him detained is being prepared.  He is just a boy!!! I feel so helpless!!”

I was immediately struck by her first statement…she was desperate.  Her heart was breaking.  I felt the pain she was feeling…it was tangible.  I knew how I would feel if that was Tyler.  Had something happened to Ryan?  Had he been hazed?  Hurt somehow?  Assaulted?  What would cause a boy who was to determined to just want to give up?  I didn’t have any answers for her or myself.  So I did the only thing I knew how to do….I prayed.  I told my son John and he prayed.  I told my friend Patrice and she prayed.  I went back to that post several times and over the course of the day there were almost 80 posts of prayer and encouragement for her and Ryan. What struck me was that these posts weren’t all just “hey we are praying for you” posts….many were actual prayers.  The Lord impressed upon hearts the need of this boy and this mom…most of who have never met either of them personally.  He so pressed into my heart the desperation of where Ryan was at and the helplessness that his mom was feeling.  That emotion thing that I talked about a few days ago was so relevant to this situation.  God can use anything He gives you for HIS glory.  I woke up several times in the night with Ryan on my heart and prayer on my lips.  I just knew that if I/we did not stand in the gap for this young man, his life would be forever altered.  Shawna was told that he would be given the opportunity to take his PFT (Physical Fitness Test) the following morning….one last opportunity to follow a direct order and get back on track.  If he did not, the consequences would be great.  Being detained can possibly mean arrest, the brig and even dishonorable discharge.  That goes with you for the rest of your life.  It’s like you have committed a felony or worse.  Having that on a job application is not good.  I just knew in my heart that this was not God’s plan for him but it depended on our willingness to rise up on his behalf.  So we did….lots of us.

Prayer is powerful stuff.  God is powerful stuff.  Just a couple of days before her son hit his own personal brick wall, his mom posted a scripture.  I saw it when she posted it but it came jumping off the page at me yesterday.  It is Joshua 1:9.

 “I will be strong and courageous.  I will not be terrified, or discouraged; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.”

He was letting her know ahead of time that He was and would be with her…through EVERYTHING.  He was giving her hope before she even knew she needed it.

And so yesterday morning Shawna wrote this…

“Thank you all so much!!!!! Your prayers worked!  He found the strength and motivation to complete the Pft this morning.  He is now in Echo Company full force.  Ooo-rah!!!

And…

“Well, ladies, I just received my call from 1st Sgt.  Ryan found the strength to pick himself up and become more motivated.  He took the PFT this morning and PASSED!!!!!  He has found his way back to the USMC.  1st. Sgt said he will receive a written counseling and will be assigned a mentor for a few weeks (which I know he is desperate need of).  He will not lose any of his money and will be able to call me on Saturday, so long as nothing else happens.  I want to thank each one of you for all your prayers, support and encouragement.  I laid in the dark all night and all morning going over each of your posts and I don’t think I could have done this without you all.  I will never forget this.  Thank you!!!!  Also, I would like to voice my appreciation of 1st Sgt Daniel.  He didn’t have to take the time that he did with my Marine or listen to this crying momma over and over, but he did.”


What more is there for me to say.  This story, to me, is just yet another way of God showing me that my relationship with Him is important, not only for myself, but for others as well.  If I was not drawing close to Him, I don’t know that I would have heard the need for such focused prayer for Ryan…I don’t know that I would have prayed like I did, even if I had heard it.  This is yet another story that I will take forward in my pursuit of God.  He is who He says He is and He moves at the sound of our voice…Every Time I Turn Around!!

                                                                             




Fear

I’m afraid.  There I said it.  I don’t know that I even fully realized it until talking with a friend yesterday.  I want so much to be strong but the closer we get to Tyler’s graduation, the more real it becomes.  He is now, first and foremost, a Marine.  For 5 years (at the very least) he belongs to the United States Marine Corps.  His life is dictated by that.  Yet we are a country at war.  The closer we get the more I am being made aware of my roll as a Marine Corps mom and how important it is to be careful.  I was reading some information on OpSEC (Operational Security) and it just stopped me in my tracks.  It was about things I had not even thought of that can have an effect on my son and his unit wherever he is.  (Here is the link for any of you who are curious about what I am talking about…http://www.marineparents.com/deployment/opsec.asp.)  It’s not like I didn’t ever think about any of this before he actually went in, but there are some things that just become more real the closer you are.

My fear clouds things…it isolates me.  When I am afraid, I somehow buy the lie that “I am the only one.”  The confession is this:  I want people to see that I miss my son and that I am proud of him.  This is “normal.”  I don’t want them to see how really afraid I am.  That somehow conveys weakness…that I don’t have it all together.  Well, here is the truth.  I will NEVER have it all together.  Do you see how our minds can just twist things up?  The truth is, this is all new territory for me and I have to work things through to learn how to do them.  As an adult, I think I put an expectation on myself that I should just automatically know how to do something new.  I have no grace for myself in the learning curve.  It’s okay to not know how to do something.  It is NOT okay to cry ignorance forever.  I am responsible to learn and grow and change as God leads.  And boy is He leading right now.  My prayer is “Lord help me to be transparent.  Help me to be honest about where I am yet move forward to what You have for me.  I don’t want to remain in ignorance.  Help me to continue to pursue Your heart and keep “growing up”.  I want to be better, more loving, more peaceful.  Show me how to have grace in the changes that are upon me.”

And so this is going to be a long road and my desire is not to walk in fear, but I don’t know how to do this.  I have never walked here before.  I want my heart  to be so connected with the Father that fear is a foreign emotion to me.  But right now, I let it go for a second and the next thing I know, it is back on the brain.  I guess what I am trying to do by talking about all this is to process it and bring freedom to myself and other people who do the same things in their minds…the fears, the thoughts, the words that never get said out loud…I want to say them.  What is in the dark only gets darker, what is brought into the light is changed.  Light brings freedom and I’m just trying to walk that out.  I want freedom and I want God!