Saturday, March 27, 2010

When Silence is Deafening

 Sometimes I wish I could tell you who I am and exactly what I do and exactly what is happening in my life right now.  I can't.  The option is not even a remote possibility.

But I sit here tonight, and I feel muzzled.  Unable to talk.  We've been through something.  It was rough.  Now we are getting help, and because of events surrounding the help getting - people's actions, people's reaction, time factors - I am not able to tell my story.  I feel muzzled.  Alone.

For a person who's living is done by words, this is not a place I like to be.  But there is no one to listen to my heart right now.  No one to say "Sit down and tell me what happened and how you saw it."  I have someone here who went through something similar to my story, but there are some giant differences.  And I feel so very alone right now.

I sat last night in the dark after all people had gone to bed and told God my story.  From beginning to end.  From the very first inkling to the happy ending so quickly ruined by one person's insensitivity.  I sat and poured out my heart alone in a dark room, just talking casually to the God who holds my heart.

And that was good.

But the silence was deafening.  And the empty chairs mocked me.  No one who cares enough, no one who has time enough to hear my heart right now.  And tears fell again.  Bucket load of tears that want to spill and can't yet.

I want a best friend.  Someone who wants me as much as I want them.  Someone who goes to me first with their news and to whom I can go knowing that they are there to hear mine.

Then, selfishly, despite all the realities of my life, I want one where I am.

Because I am walking alone in a desert surrounded by people, but no one yet able to listen to my heart.  Not even sure that anyone knows I have more story than has been told.  And plunged into conflict with a person who has no idea of boundaries and is constantly overstepping common decency with no remorse.  That saddens me - if there were acknowledgment of wrong, it would be a thing we could work together on, but there is none.  I think this action, this conflict with this person is causing me as much stress as the rough thing we just went through.  I'm sad.  I'm angry too.

I don't have time to deal with those emotions yet.  My heart is spilling a story that has not been told, and I want an ear.  I want the ability to cry.  I want to not have to defend how I feel.  When we did have a chance to talk for a short while, I was strongly questioned on why I said I knew something.... umm....I don't know... Sometimes, I just quietly know something.  Maybe God talks to me.  Maybe He gives me a feeling... I don't know - don't ask me to defend it and explain it.  If you do not know how God talks, then I can not tell you.  Maybe you know how He talks to you, and I know how He talks to me.  But in both incidents, it was clear that what I knew was going to happen did - so walk on and don't try to make me explain the world that is unseen.

But I am tired.  Very tired.  Sad.  Trying to recover, but so longing to talk.  I just want to talk, to tell the story from the beginning to the end.  But I was not the ones who went through the rough things, so they are to talk.  I know they need to.  But I feel like I sit invisible, and invisible tears run down my invisible cheeks and ache in my heart.

I need a friend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Thank-you for all your prayers.  They have been answered.

Please continue to pray for my children as their life has been a little out of normal routine the last days, and they need to feel "normal" again.

Monday, March 22, 2010

He does.....

He does unclog toilets, He does move mountains, and He does answer prayers!

Still remain praying - we have a few issues still that are urgent, but we are down to a 6.3 on the Richter scale instead of an 8.2!

Thank-you all.  We'll tell you the story when we are all together one day at the end!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday the Twenty-Oneth

This is what my daughter told me today when she crawled in my bed to snuggle.  She read it off my laptop screen beside me in the bed.  "Mommy, today is Sunday the Twenty-Oneth"  I smiled.  Corrected her.  But she persisted.  "Twenty-Oneth sounds better!"

Happy First Day of Spring - Sunday the Twenty Oneth!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


It is time to pray!  And I can not tell you what is going on, but we need prayers for safety right now.  Please.  And comfort.


Friday, March 19, 2010

TheThings We Pray For

My toilet is clogged today.  (Sorry for all of you who really did not want to know that!)  My kids are gone, my husband is gone, and the plunger is in the basement.  I don't want to go get it.  Besides, I hate plunging toilets!

So I prayed.  Maybe it is just a prayer of sheer laziness.  But see, I fully know that God is capable of unclogging toilets.  I know He also loves me with delight.  So I pray that God will just declog it if I flush it two or three times.  And I expect Him to answer.  Confident that my Father knows I don't want to go down to the dark basement to find the plunger and do the job, I rest in His toilet unclogging ability.

I'm facing a much bigger crisis today.  A 8.2 on the Richter scale of crises.  The day has seen me alternatively pacing, sitting, staring off into space, crying, waiting.  I cry out to God to catch me, to help me trust, to hold me through this.  I'm scared to pray.  I pray furiously.  But I am afraid to ask, to demand what I want - the balance between wanting what I want and being willing to follow where God leads... not sure where that balance is today, but not perturbed by not finding it.  I know God is not up there judging my reaction to today's events ready to give me a score sheet of faith.  He's here, holding me through it all - even when I can't sense Him.

And then I pray confidently over my toilet!

I shook my head while I watched the water swirl and eventually go down - no plunger needed.  Shook it laughing at my faith which today is strong enough, not to move mountains, but to unclog toilets.  Smiled at that answer, and turned my face up to God in this crisis - please answer here, too!

So I wait.  And trust.  And even when I can't trust right now, that's ok - it doesn't change God.  He still unclogs toilets and does the impossible.

And He is with me wherever He asks me to walk.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

If You Lay Down With The Dogs....

My not so small daughter is sleeping in my bed now that her daddy is gone.  She loves to snuggle, but I rarely let her stay the night - she's a bit like sleeping with a tornado!

Tonight, I gave in, though.  She's too cute to resist.  So she lay here wiggling and wiggling her way to sleep.  Then she came up with this...

Everything itches.  My face itches.  My nose itches....  I must have fleas!

no, not fleas.  Allergies.

Re-evaluating My Thinking

I started off thinking I had to watch and change the way I talked about people.  Being careful to guard my words.

I think, as I let these thoughts simmer, that what I really need to be doing is changing the way I think about people.  Not letting my thoughts run free, but guarding them.

A few people have impressed me in my life by how they talked.  One of those was my nursing preceptor, Vicki.  I was glued to her side for three months working 12 hour shifts.  In that whole time, I never saw her speak a bad word about anyone.  This was not in a Christian environment where we are supposed to be nice to each other.  No.  And it was among nurses in a hospital.  Nurses, well, we are nice people, really!, but we can be a little crude at times.  Let's just say that because of what we do, we have to talk about some things you would rarely dream of discussing, so our speech can easily get too far off.  Vicki didn't.  Yet she wasn't judgmental of others.  There was nothing in her attitude which said, "I am so good and don't act like that, you shouldn't either."  She was just herself.

I used to think what good control she had over her tongue.  But as I think about it more, I think it is more what good control she had over her thoughts.  Isn't that what Jesus said, "Out of the heart, the mouth speaks." 

I think that if we only guard our words, our thoughts will betray themselves.  They will in how we speak, our attitude, in that subtle almost imperceptible way we communicate.  We will still communicate our value of others, even when we guard our words.  Even when we don't want to communicate our thoughts.  They sneak out.  At least mine do.

I want to be like Vicki.  I want to have that gentleness, that infectious sense of humor, that quiet compassion, and that clean heart underneath it all.

Sixteen years later, and Vicki's three months with me still have an impact.  They leave me still wanting to be like her.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I went there, I talked to many people, I saw many things.  I felt strangely at home, missed being "over there".

But I had decided that I would purpose to move between groups.  Different groups of people doing different things, and I wanted to make sure I moved from group to group so I got a better idea of what is going on.  You'd think it would be a simple plan.

It wasn't.  I forgot about something.  We aren't perfect.

I think this very fact is what made my heart ache the most while I was over there.  Of course, there is a horrible need, there are awful stories, suffering is so stark there.  But what made my heart ache was relationships.  Strained relationships.

I saw them in families.  I saw them among team members.  I saw them between people in different teams.  Struggled to even manage to get from one person to another at  one time because the tension between these two people was almost palpable.  It hurt to see.

Now I have been around long enough to know the causes of some of the different tensions between people.  They come from differences.  Different views on how we should do things.  Different priorities.  Different cultures.  Different ideas.  Different takes on past events.  There are stresses left from years ago that just simmered.  There are stresses that appear suddenly in the tired heat of the moment.

But primarily differences.

I understand some of them because I have my own.  My own differences that are different than others.  There is one thing that marks me as different from most of the people out there... leaves me alone at times, fitting neither completely into any group.  Even in my own team, I am different.

I picked up a book in the last house I visited on my way home.  It was talking about the verse in John 13:35 "By this will all men know you are my disciples if you have love for one another."  My heart was already sore after two weeks, two great weeks, with great people who I respect.  People who I look up to.  But my heart hurt watching the relationships that were just strained.  I sat thinking about it, thinking about my own relationships - how quick I am to take offense, how long I hold on to slights against me and grudges, how quick I am to judge another's intent and heart, how endlessly picky I am about small things in people.

I had been in homes where there was deep hurt over things that could be fixed if only we would talk openly.  If we would listen openly.  Without defending.  If we would realize that how God calls me to be is not the way He calls all to be.  That He has different paths for different children of His.  And the results of those different paths, the influences of those different paths are His responsibility to take care of.  The different ways we each are and how we handle emotions and struggles are all different, and we need to treat each other with grace.  Not to expect others will deal with situations like we would.

We need grace.  I need grace.  And I wondered, if we learned more of the grace of God, the unconditional delight that He has in each one of us, if we would show that in how we loved each other.  And if we loved each other with the unrestrained grace and delight of God right in the face of our failings and difference,  if then the world would know we are His.  If we valued each other like He values us.

Broken relationships.  Strained relationships.  They hurt.  They bring tears in the night.  I hurt when I think of how we hurt God with this.  I'm looking at my relationships in a new light - in how I talk of people, how I treat people, even my unspoken attitude towards others.  How are we hurting God in looking critically at ones He deeply loves?  I'm letting that question sit in my thoughts for awhile.

And I just wanted to say that I met no one "over there" who was so bad with their relationships that it shocked me.  It was stuff I myself have done and thought.  It was only the privilege to see it from outside that I was given.  Also, I met people who totally impressed me, with whom I felt at home with, free to open up.  Maybe it was these that gave me the courage to question my norm. 

Also, after my huge struggle with God about a certain person in my team, I'm sitting here watching God slowly change my heart.  I did not WANT to love here, not at all.  Wasn't even too thrilled about having to "get along with" this person.  But God is slowly changing my heart.  One of those ways was by showing me the pain that relationships not lived in grace cause...  not wanting to cause more pain.  I want to love others with the poured out grace God has loved me with.  But now to how that looks like in every day life? 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

They Just Don't Get It

I went back to my other job that I work a few days at.  They just don't get what I really do.  There were the comments I got after being gone to "over there" for three weeks:

"So, how was your vacation?" 

Vacation?!  What vacation?

How come you don't have a tan?  Isn't it hot "over there"?

No, it ain't hot right now, and even if it was, I ain't likely to catch a tan THERE!

Slowly recovering from jet lag, from a migraine, and from a fever.  Starting to feel like myself again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Where Have All the Men Gone?

Ok, not looking for one myself, no!  Sticking to the one I have.

But I just got back from a trip, and I enjoyed it.  Still, as I traveled and met different people, I was struck again by the strange fact that the mission field seems to be populated primarily by married couples and single women.  Ok, I did meet one or two men working there, but that is about all.  I'm counting married men out because by default in a marriage, there is one man and one woman, so that balances each other out.  But other than that, there are primarily women out on the mission field.

Is that true where you are?  Why?  Where are all the men? 

Someone told me that there are more women than men in the world and that is why.  I don't buy that.  Sorry.  That would account for a slightly higher ratio, but not this skewed.

What are we doing to our men that makes them not listen to the call to go? 

It saddens me.  It also puzzles me.  It also challenges me.  I am a mother of three boys.  How will I raise them?  How can I raise them so that they follow what God wants in their lives?  What are we doing with our boys that is different that our girls?  Women are out there; where are the men?

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wanting to Write

You can't know how much I want to write right now.  My eyes feel like crying because I am full - full of emotions, questions, thoughts, observations, silence.  I think over the last few years, partly because of this blog and partly because of a friend who lived far away, I've learned to process things by writing my heart out.  I so want to write... so many things...  BUT I've got two days before my husband leaves for a three weeks.  Not again!  I just got home.  We knew it would be like this, and we were ok with it, and in a way, we still are ok with it, but it is so hard.  We snuggle up at night enjoying being there, and know that one more night, and he is gone again.  Not wanting to relax too much... a goodbye comes tomorrow again.  And even that, I want to write about.  Can't.  Got to unpack the suitcase, repack, do taxes, sew a gift, buy a few things... and another trip to the airport.

I'm running on empty, tired, wanting to just sleep.  And I'm running on overload - so much to think about, so much to say, and I can't.  So I keep carrying these thoughts, and they pop up in my dreams mixing themselves in unique ways...  not letting me rest.

I'll be back writing again in a few days.  Until then, pray that I keep my heart still and quiet.  Didn't help that our basement flooded again - possibly ruining our new floor... spring again!  But today, I could use prayers.

Pray also for a small baby named Ben.  It is a long story which I might tell one day, but Ben is brand new and due to problems that didn't need to happen at his birth, he is likely to be severely brain damaged.  But, despite his diagnosis, he is showing amazing signs of life - being awake and nursing well.  My sister-in-law who does not believe in any God or anything spiritual is heartbroken and hopeless over Ben's diagnosis.  Ben is her best friend's baby.  But as I held my sister-in-law in my arms late one night while she alternatively cried and raged, I told her that God can do miracles, and I will pray for Ben and ask others to pray.  She searched my face for hope, looked into my eyes with deep hopelessness, but hung on anyway.  Twice in the time I had with her, she said she was at the end of herself and was tempted to call out to God.  So I am praying for Ben, and praying that through this little baby, God would show Himself to my sister-in-law who is finding out that life with no hope beyond oneself is a rough and lonely life.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Back Home

I'm home.  Glad to be here.  That's all for now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An Adverb

I was reading this morning in Nehemiah about the building of the wall.  A very interesting chapter that is also a little boring.  This guy built from here to there.  That guy built from here to there.  Doesn't take long to get the point that all of them built a section so it was all done.  But then I also delight in the detailed awareness of God of each person.  By name.

Anyway, I read sleepily through them as I curled up under the covers - a practice I don't do at home because it tends to lead to a time with God consisting of many naps and some sleepy conversation.  But I am not at home, and I make exceptions at times.

I read this one verse then, "After him Baruch the son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section".  Only one word distinguishes him from the rest of wall builders, but there was something different about him.  Something that made God record it.  Zealously repaired.

I'd love to go back in time, stand quietly and watch Baruch zealously repair his wall.  Love to study him, get to know him.  What made him so special to get that adverb?

I want an adverb.  A good one.  Actually, "zealously" looks pretty good to me.  "She zealously ........".  What would that read for you? 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blind Spots

So I am back, alive, well, not back, but not there either... yeah, complicated. :)

I went, I saw, I watched, I thought.

Anyway, today, I was thinking about blind spots... talking this over with my husband.  I sat during my trip and watched perfectly great people, ones I respect and admire unable to see some areas in their lives. 

Blind spots.

They cause pain.  They are unable to stop that pain beause they don't see.  My heart cries looking at these situations.  Seeing pain, and unable to do anything.  Knowing that in neither of these situations would they want to cause pain, but it is a place they do not see well.

I saw it in another person, too.  Perhaps a bigger blindsspot, more obvious to more people and causing damage.

How defensive we are about our blind spots!  We rationalize them when told of them, state our view point, clarify what we do see.

I'm sure I have mine.  In fact, these two I saw in others, I recognize so well because to some degree I have the same ones.  Likely more, too.

I'd like to be a person who reacts to being shown my blind spots with humility and grace.  With thankfulness for the gift of another's eyes where I don't see.  I'm not that person, but I'd like to be.