Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cracks in the Cement

Within the past two weeks - two families within our circle of friends have lost their husbands. Two funerals in two weeks. Additionally, since I started writing this post, three teenagers that my children knew have died in car accidents within the space of a week.

Children are dying in car accidents - so eager to experience life they sometimes ignore the rules. Who knows when they will be fatal consequences?

Older people are dying from life's toll on them in the form of illness and disease.

Since my brother's death, I'm more attuned to death. They are circumstances that influence how I feel about the death. Most importantly if the person was a believer, claimed the Lord as their Savior - then I truly know they are in heaven and in a better place; while I grieve I know they truly are in a better place and this gives my grief perspective. If this was not the case, my heart aches. When a young person dies, it seems as if their life is cut off especially if it was in a reckless manner. As a parent, I wonder - why? Why didn't they listen, why were they speeding, why were they drinking, why weren't you home, why were you with those people, why were you many whys - they dont change anything...may even torture us.
Death is like a crack in the cement; remember when you were a child you tried to jump over those cracks. Sometimes you just couldn't and ended in the crack. That's how death is - unavoidable - so be sure you live a full life, not reckless or uncaring but one that glorifies God and be sure you know where you're going when you die.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”(Proverbs 12:18).
We just say what we want, with no consequence as to how it affects the hearer. This trait seems to be hereditary, and it is something I wish to break. I have parts of this trait in me, and am constantly working to change it. The hardest part for me is tone - I sound harsh, abrupt, angry. I don't like the way I sound but it seems so hard to re-program; believe you me I've been trying for years. In some areas I have become quite successful - but I struggle with speaking lovingly on a daily basis using terms of endearment to make things more palatable. The closer you are to me, the harder it is to speak with love...when it should be just the opposite.
Well it seems there's alot of anger in the way we communicate, and since the death of my brother it has become more complicated. If the relationships were not formed when he was alive, right now it seems impossible to forge with death hanging over our heads.
Growing up, our house was always loud - my mother was a yeller, my father was quiet and the strict disciplinarian. It wasn't just the yelling - it was what was said. Looking back, I don't think I liked it one bit which is why once I discovered books I insulated myself from what was happening around me by disappearing in to another world. I would literally sit in a corner and block out all the noise for hours on end. Its where I also learned to be sarcastic and flippant; in my mind this was the quickest way to end an argument without getting in to a screaming match.
Its amazing how our environment becomes a part of us even if we don't like it. The biggest eye opener was when I had children and the way I initially communicated with them - yelling, not listening, and denying every request. My aha moment was when I realized I did not wish to be like my mother in this regard - in other areas, yes, but not this one. I did not want to pass on this unhealthy manner of communication to the next generation.
This way of communication has affected everyone of us, included the dead sibling.
I think things need to be said - but we hurt with our words more than help, because somehow everyone feels they can say what they want, when they want, how they want, to whomever they want. There's never an apology either when someone is wrong, the barrage of words just becomes stronger, louder, harder. In a time of crisis, this makes everything worse.
I dislike the expression brutally honest - because you can be honest without being brutal. The definition of brutal is savagely violent. Think about that image the next time you wish to be brutally honest!
I know people mean well, but I cant take it when people yell at me to get their point across - it brings back my childhood and I want to bury my head in a book.
I've learned to apologize when wrong, speak softer, but most importantly to listen.
I'm always working on not being glib and sarcastic, because this has worked for me for so long.
I'm not a doormat; but some may consider me a wimp because I don't yell back.
I want my words to be kind, like apples of gold in pictures of silver, to minister and heal. It might be an impossible standard, but when I can't do this, I say nothing.
So where do we go from here?
Effective communication involves more than just speaking and hearing. Real communication only takes place when both parties move beyond speaking and hearing to understanding. Speaking and listening are means, not ends. People who feel better because they “spoke their mind” or think they fulfilled their obligation because they “heard him out” inadvertently communicate a message that they don’t really want to communicate!
I don't know who's going to make the change. I know we all want it, but old habits die hard. I hope we have the courage to change. I hope we all get tongues of the wise so that we can each bring healing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

You Are Who You Are For a Reason

I came upon this poem while reading "With God, All Things are Possible (The Victor Marx Story).
Victor suffered more than I have suffered in my life and in spite of everything - he is a joyful child of the King.

You are who you are for a reason
You're part of an intricate plan,
You're a precious and perfect unique design
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason
Our God made no mistake,
He knit you together within the womb,
You're just what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom designed with God's plan in mind
And they bear the master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy
And God wept that it hurt you so,
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason
You've been formed by the Master's rod;
You are who you are, beloved
Because there is a God.

So the next time you are down on yourself - whether you feel you have good reason or you just wish to have a pity party - remember there is someone bigger than you who is in control. I particularly like Psalms 139 - to think that someone as insignificant as I, was so significant to God - that I was "fearfully and wonderfully made" (v 14,15).

I don't know; I surely don't have all the answers; life sure does have it's twists and turns - sometimes no matter how you plan, you just can't see what's ahead of you; and for this reason I'm learning the importance of trusting someone bigger than myself. It's one less thing to worry about.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Life is full of waiting. We wait for a job; we wait for a significant other; we wait for healing; we wait for strength to face another day. Alot of life is about waiting and knowing when to move.
In our waiting we live. We have to. I won't say my brother was waiting to die - but at a certain point he knew. He had greater clarity because he was ill. When we are well we don't necessarily have this clarity.
I've recently moved across the country from the east coast to the west coast - and in moving I had a certain idea of how things would turn out. For the most part they have, but for me personally, I had a different expectation. Professionally, things have not happened as I anticipated, but what I'm learning is that since God is in control and He knows the plans He has for me - I will continue to trust Him. I won't fret or worry; I may question and have deep conversations with God so that I can further know his will; but I won't become anxious and I won't be miserable. I'll enjoy each day that God gives me with my family and those wonderful friends in my life. I'll be grateful for the big and small things - life, breath, food on my table and shoes on my feet.
I've come to appreciate the beauty of waiting - Wonderful Answers In Time. They that w.a.i.t. upon the Lord shall renew their strength...This is the perspective I choose to have as I W.A.I.T expectantly.

PS - I cannot take credit for the acronym wait - Its not mine, but I heard this for the first time at a ladies tea at my church.