Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Humble Pie

Humble Pie! I got my 2 fisted helping today. I was in a hurry. It seems like I am always in a hurry...or waiting...or both. Today was both. I ran in to Walmart to get a few quick things. Whoever came up with the idea of a Superstore has an eternal place of gratitude in my heart. Busy moms running in and out of several stores and dragging tired or wired or hungry or cranky or have-to-go-potty kids in and out of the car with them, pledge our allegiance to the creator of the Superstore. So I had to get a few things and I ran in with Laryn, 5, and grabbed what I needed, dodged the toy aisle and got to the 20 items or less line in about 10 minutes (MIRACLE!!). In line in front of me was a young man about 20, another mom arguing with a 2 year old over a chocolate bar and right in front of me was an elderly lady with a card and a nick knack. She started talking to Laryn. She's a very outgoing child and was carrying on this conversation which kept me from having to argue with HER about a chocolate bar and I kind of zoned thinking about what else I had to do before the other 3 kids get out of school for the summer. The line moved predictably until this lady got to the counter. I tuned back in. She was still carrying on a conversation with old are aren't you a big girl...what school do you go to...typical elderly lady/5 year old conversation. I was getting impatient. She hadn't taken out her wallet, debit card or any other form of payment. She just settled her purse on the counter and started talking to the clerk. Good grief! Couldn't she see there was a line behind us? Couldn't she see I was in a hurry? She introduced Laryn to the clerk. She took out her wallet and took out cash. UGH! I am REALLY in a hurry. All the while she is still chatting with Laryn and the clerk. She starts counting $1 bills. Hands them to the clerk. The clerk glances at me and rolls her eyes and the woman begins counting change. Oh for crying out loud! Use your debit card! This line is for people in a HURRY! She gets the change (exact!) and begins putting her purse back together...without moving away from the counter. I am really, really getting impatient now. As she gets her purse back together she bends over and says to Laryn, "Laryn, do you know that Jesus loves you?", Laryn says yes. Bella (Laryn told me her name later) then says, "Laryn, I am SO glad that you know that! My son-in-law doesn't believe that Jesus loves him and he wouldn't let my daughter take my granddaughter to church or tell her that Jesus loves her and they got into a car accident in Maine 3 weeks ago and my granddaughter died. She was only 6 and no one was ever allowed to tell her that Jesus loved her. I believe that because she was so young she is back with Jesus right now, but I am so very sad that no one told her about Jesus so I want to make sure that I don't go any where without telling someone that Jesus loves them." Laryn (remember outgoing) gives this lady a hug and said, "Jesus loves you, too." The lady collected her bag, her purse and her receipt and smiled at everyone waiting in line and walked out.
Humble Pie. A clerk rolling her eyes. Me tapping my foot. Looking at the clock on my phone. Zoning out to think about what I needed. And an elderly lady making sure that a 5 year old knows that Jesus loves her.
Dear Lord, PLEASE make me more aware of the people around me. They are Your children and not just obstacles to me getting where I need to go. I don't ever want to be in such a hurry that I can't take the time to tell someone that You love them. Please be with Bella in her grief. Bless her for being the person that made me eat humble pie today and realize that being in a hurry is no excuse for being tuned out. Don't let me take for granted the love and grace that You have given me. I love You and honor You. In Jesus' name.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday's Coming

Happy Easter!!!
You know I have been thinking this past week about what every day of the week must have been like for Jesus as He headed towards Easter. He experienced so many things in that one week: triumph, sorrow, fear, loneliness, betrayal, resignation, disgust, sympathy, empathy, pain, horror, victory and love. Love. I think about what He went through on the cross for me and it shames me. Humbles me. Envelopes me. Saddens me. And yet...Sunday's coming. SUNDAY'S COMING!! Jesus had that knowledge even when He was being beaten, hanging on the cross and being defiled by our sins. It had to be the whisper from the Father that kept Him going...Sunday's coming! Then the cross. Even as the Father had to turn His back on our sin encompassing His Son He had whispered...Sunday's coming! The veil was torn and the Father shouted...Sunday's coming! The stone was rolled away and the whole earth shuddered with the thunder...SUNDAY'S HERE!!!!
Some of us are in places that make us wonder if we have been forgotten. No one in THIS world seems to care. Our friends don't seem to understand our pain. Our spouses are indifferent. Our finances are strained. Our houses are a mess. Our jobs are tedious. And there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. But...Sunday's coming! It might feel like it's just a whisper right now. Maybe it is. Maybe you are so far away from God that the whisper can't even be heard. But the thing is that God hasn't moved. If you're having trouble hearing listen. Move closer...Sunday's coming! He's waiting to show you the wonder and the security that comes when you hear Him...Sunday's coming! But you know what? People, finances, jobs, houses...none of them are responsible for our happiness. Looking at them to make you happy is just getting yourself stuck on Friday. If there is one thing that I want to say to give you hope is this: SUNDAY'S HERE!!!!
He's paid the price and covered the sin. It's over. Don't get stuck on Friday. Start living like you know that Sunday's coming. Because the promise of Sunday is what separates us as Christians. WE know that the promise is that Jesus has conquered death, hell and the grave and He's coming back for us. SUNDAY'S COMING!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Campbells and Jordi

Dear Ladies,
Right now I am heartsick. That's the only word that I can find that even comes close to describing how I feel right now. Two wonderful, amazing, loving people were taken from us this past Wednesday. My Campbell. That was Laryn's name for Don. I'll never forget the day that they met. Laryn was 18 months old and we were at Craig park at that multi-denominational concert thing that they had. Laryn used to be the kid that didn't go to anyone. Me, Robbie, my mom and my dad were about the extent of her circle. Then Jill and Jacob in the nursery after a LONG several months of screaming the roof off the church whenever I'd leave her in there. Anyway, he sat on the grass next to us and started talking to Laryn. She hid behind me. He played peek a boo with her. She started laughing at him. He got her to give him five around my back. By the end of the concert they were best friends and he was carrying her all over. He became MY Campbell to Laryn. She would see him from across the courtyard or down the hall at church and run screaming up to him with her arms in the air, "My Campbell!!!!"
The circumstances of their deaths are unclear but it is being reported as a murder/suicide. How? I don't care about the specifics. I don't want to know the mechanics. I want to know HOW? How could people who loved God, who loved people, who WE loved end like this? And how could God let this happen?
OK...I KNOW He didn't let this happen. I KNOW it. But how could He? He's bigger than that. He COULD have stopped it. I'm mad. REALLY mad. And very, very sad. I've felt this way before. And God is so good that He understands my being mad. Even if it's misplaced anger.
I was all set to do this devotional on Sunday night. I'm not sure exactly why I didn't but I didn't. I already knew what it was about because I had several of you that have asked me to recount Jordann's testimony and I was all set to do that. See that was the time that I was ANGRY with God. I mean REALLY ANGRY!!!! And that's why God had me wait.
Jordi was born 8 weeks premature. My mom and I were out Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving when we got into a car accident. There were several things that led up to that but suffice it to say that we were not supposed to be where we were when the accident happened. Our plans had gotten changed. So there was an accident. It wasn't a bad accident. The airbags didn't go off. The car was only minimally damaged. But the seatbelt hit me where my C-section scar was and I went into labor. Ruptured uterus. Emergency C-section. Jordann in NICU. Then it got really bad. She had air in her chest. Her lung ruptured. She was sent to All Children's. Had to have part of her lung removed. 21 days in NICU. Came home on an apnea monitor. Stopped breathing several times. I was MAD!!! I honestly didn't lose my faith...actually it was the opposite. I KNEW He was big enough to have fixed this. We had prayed for a safe pregnancy. He could have done that. He COULD have...but He didn't. I was MAD!!! How could He have let this happen to me? To Jordann? Why did we have to go through this horrible thing? OK, OK, OK...I know "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord". I've heard it since I can remember. But this wasn't working for anyone's good. My daughter was hurt! She had surgery! She almost died in my arms twice! How could this be good?
When Jordi was 3 months old we had a Dr's appointment. We had spent most of her 3 months in some sort of Dr's office. But this was the lung surgeon. A great lady. Wonderful Christian woman. Best friend to Robbie's cousin (don't tell me God didn't have a hand in THAT!). When she walked into the exam room she said, "There's my miracle baby!" Yeah, right. I had an attitude. A major one. A really major one. I'm sure that she saw that. She laid her hand on my knee and said something that I will remember verbatim for the rest of my life. "No, you don't understand. I didn't tell you all of this at the hospital because I could see how overwhelmed you were, but Jordann's lung issue was congenital. It had nothing to do with the accident and 99.9% of babies with this are stillborn because when they hit 36 weeks and they start breathing amniotic fluid the cyst blows out and the chest fills with amniotic fluid and it crushes the heart and lungs and they die." WHAT??!!
So, about 5 seconds my whole world was turned upside down. He DID allow this to happen to us. He allowed it because satan had planned for me to blame God for this. Since satan doesn't know the future and doesn't know what God has planned he tried to take something that I had said (the tongue is more powerful than a two-edged sword) to Nicole Kerr months before and use it to turn me against God. Nicole and I had been on the phone talking about Evelyn Kikta and how she had just had a baby and was in NICU at All Children's. I said, "I can't even imagine. That would be a nightmare for me. Both boys roomed in and I can't imagine how horrible it would be to have a baby in the NICU". (Secondary what ammunition you give the devil. He's always looking for something to use against you). Anyway, the most horrible thing that had ever happened to me saved me from having a stillborn baby. So how do you process that? How do you look at anything that happens after that and not say, "God has my back"? If the worst thing that has happened to me was an answer to prayer then what else can satan do?
I have a different outlook on life now. I can't look at anything that happens, good or bad, without realizing that even if I had never gotten the an answer for why I had to go through this with was STILL an answer to prayer. Just because we don't know why things happen or because we can only see the hurt and the suffering and the grief doesn't mean that God isn't using that as an answer to prayer.
Please understand that I am not saying that Don and Joanna's deaths are because someone prayed. What I am saying is that what God promises He does. And He promises that, "All things work together for good for those that love the Lord". They loved the Lord. We love the Lord. I believe in His promises. It's the faith that we stand on. When everything is falling down around me I know He has my back. And I know that He'll understand if I'm mad, that He'll hear me when I cry, that He'll heal the wounds.

Dear Lord,
I'm mad. I'm hurt. I'm grieving. I don't understand. But I trust You. I believe that Joanna is dancing at Your feet right now and that she is free of pain. I believe that Don is standing in wonder at Your throne. Lord, I ask that You will help heal our wounds. That You will give us the words to explain to our children something that we can't understand ourselves. That You will help us to not pass judgment and to be a able to be soft-hearted to those that will try to pass judgment. Please touch us. Put Your healing, comforting hand on us. We believe in Your Word and we believe in Your promises. Thank you for the lives that they led and the things that they gave us. Thank you for My Campbell.