Posts Tagged ‘NSCO’

Coming Up for Air

The NSCO and I have been talking a lot lately about how to find Jesus in the middle of everything going on right now. I admit, it’s tough. It’s tough when you feel lost, abandoned, and betrayed. It’s tough when there are no answers and the questions pile on. It’s tough when the months pass and nothing seems to get any better.

So I say that Jesus and I have been fighting it out, but really it’s more about me weeping and yelling and wondering when the kids and me are going to be rescued. Where is our safety? Where is our solace? Will we ever have that again, or will it always hurt as much as it hurts now? I don’t know, and I don’t know that I’m going to get any answers.

NSCO and I talked about how I’ve walked with Jesus through deep darkness before, and that’s true. But then it was different. It was stuff from my childhood, and my strong anchor was the knowing that, no matter what,  I had survived. These days I have no such security. I don’t know that this isn’t going to kill me. I don’t know for sure that I’m going to make it through this bodily even, much less with my sanity intact. It is testing every bit of who I think I am and what I believe about life and God Himself. I’m failing every single day with letting my emotions take over, with my poor, precious children who deserve so much better, with trying to “live in the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Yesterday on the way to my midwife appointment (did I mention I’m 39 weeks pregnant?!), I was asking Jesus how to know I’ll live through this, or if there is even a way to know. And I heard, “It is finished.” In the heavenlies, this script is fully written and played out. I don’t have to write a word, make any plot line fit, or edit with my fat red pen. I’ve been asking where my rescue is, why I’ve waited so long for the redemption that I thought would come, but Jesus nudged, “To know that, you must first go back to Who I Am.” Indeed. I’ve hurt and wept and become mired in the pain and tragedy that is my life right now. And really, things are as bad as all that. I wish I were just being dramatic.

I spent the rest of my drive thinking about Who He is. He is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17), He is alive (2 Corinthians 6:16), He is waiting for me to come to Him, truly come to Him (Revelation 3:20). Did I think that He wasn’t still waiting for me even after I invited Him in seven years ago? Did I think He wasn’t still beckoning?

I don’t know where that leaves me at the end of the day. I do know that I need to travel back, far back, swim through the questions that I’d rather not peer too deeply into. Questions like, “How are You going to make beauty from this, here on Earth? And how will You show me that the Cross was enough, even for this?” At this point I don’t know the answers, but I’m finding the courage to ask the questions.

And that’s where we are. Soon, I’ll have another little princess to love on and imagine that I’ll have more solid direction for my life by the end of the calendar year. Until then, I just have to keep holding on.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

Ps 61:2-3

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The Breaking

I’ve maintained this blog for the better part of four years now, and I’ve taken breaks during those years. It seems to happen in seasons, seasons where I need to batten down the hatches of my soul and take time for just those who exist within my walls. Other times it’s because I’m so deeply involved in my community that I have little time to process and even less time to bang out the results of that processing through my fingertips.

These days, perhaps it’s a bit of both. There are lovely things happening. There are challenging things happening. I am busy and exhausted, and overwhelmed and grateful.

I leave for Russia in seven weeks. SEVEN weeks. There has been much preparation as I push myself to master more of the language before I go, and much preparation as the Not-So-Casual Observer and I have hashed out my role in counseling and prayer ministry on the trip. I am excited and terrified and humbled and expectant as we prepare to leave.

My focus right now (foci, if you will) are my Russian language skills, finishing my fundraising for the trip (I’m quite close to my goal), and letting the Lord prepare me for counseling. I’m also kicking around the idea of going back to school in May, so there’s that. I’m not sure what will come of any of it, but this is a season that feels like sowing. Planting in Russia. Preparing my heart for Easter. Considering school. Raising babies. Busyness.

So if you wonder why I haven’t been writing, well, that time and mental space has been largely crowded out by other adventures. And that’s ok.

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Today is one of those days when it’s a challenge to be honest. When you feel like, “If I say this out loud, people are going to think that I’m wallowing in self-pity, or I’m a danger to myself or others, or they’ll think I’m just flat crazy.” But it is what it is, and I can’t control what anyone else thinks.

I’m tired in that bone-weary way. In a way that doesn’t feel like this nightmare schedule is ever going to end. In a way that makes me wish I could go hibernate and just never have to wake up.

Now, I know that sounds scary, like I’m deeply depressed, and maybe I am depressed. Heaven knows I haven’t felt like this in a long time. I truly don’t see anything lovely waiting at the end of this road. All I think is, “I just want something in my life to change.”

Never in my life have I felt so rock-bottom exhausted. I don’t have an ounce left to give to anyone, even my family. I’ve spent the last week hiding from my kids for the better part of the day, immersed in the cleaning, the laundry, the work (sigh, I’m so tired of thinking about work).

If this is what grieving is supposed to be like (and I don’t know if it is, actually. Will mention to the NSCO next time I see her), then I can’t see that it’s worth it. I can’t imagine any joy on the other side that would be worth this.

So that’s where I’ve been for the last week or two. Trying to hang on and keep all the necessary plates of child rearing and homeschooling spinning. Trying to be with Jesus enough to make each day bearable. Trying not to get sucked into a dark vacuum.

But I’m not hopeless, not reckless, and definitely not suicidal. I’ve also got a pretty sweet support system in place. And music, I’ve got music. And lots of Jesus, so we’ll count it doable.

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I’ve been spending some time in this desert place, and Jesus has showed me some neat things, calmed some fears, and encouraged me to press on. In fact, the Not-So-Casual Observer and I talked at length about what this feels like, some dangers along the way, and what to do when I feel like it’s never going to end. As amazing and eye-opening as our sessions are, Jesus has been showing me some stuff that’s even better.

The first beautiful part of the desert has been what I’ve noticed about myself. I realized that when I slow down, stop working, and just sit awhile, I hurt. I hurt in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. I hurt down deep, such that I feel tears prick behind my eyes for no discernible reason. I hurt enough to press both hands to my chest, hoping to quell the bursting in my heart. I can safely say that this is pain, and I’m in it.

Why is that beautiful? Well, because I don’t have to actually DO anything. Could it be that my healing here has nothing to do with my activity, but everything to do with my rest and surrender? Is the mystery really that I don’t have to perform any action, rather simply make a place for pain in my life and let it find its own place to pour out? I think I love this. And if you know what a performance-oriented person I have been known to be, that alone should evidence the massive change in my last few months.

This morning I felt like I should read the account of the Israelites’ time in the desert, and wow do I have some amazing things to look forward to. While they simply moved from place to place at God’s behest, He did amazing things even for this grumbling and unfaithful people. If my desert experience looks anything like theirs, it’ll be an awesome adventure.

Sandals that never wear out to keep my feet from burning
Fresh food each morning delivered to wherever I am in the journey
The impossible–the sea parts as I pass through, washing away all that seeks to harm me once I’m safely on the other shore


A visible covenant
My face shining after time with Him
The glory of the Lord
An established rule and reign

A cloud for direction
Rebuke and pardon

Healing through obedience

Cities of refuge
Songs and blessings

This is going to be amazing.

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Last night at girls’ group, we had a super brief discussion on Luke 9:62,”But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I fancy myself a bit of a theologue and, as such, have spent time studying over the years what exactly I believe and why. Why this verse in this place? Wanting to consider the positions I heard last night, I decided to turn to a couple of commentaries I trust. This is the one that struck me:

Those who begin with the work of God, must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of it. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back is to perdition. He only that endures to the end shall be saved.  –Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

I love how God honors my desire to know Him more and confirms His rhema word with His logos. Just this morning we were talking about the desert valley of pain, this place both the Not-So-Casual Observer and I feel Jesus is calling me. This morning, I asked Jesus what He would have me do to walk this out, and He said,

“I want you to step onto the scorched earth. I want you to notice the grit of sand as it fills every empty space between your toes and rubs your flesh smooth. I want you to feel your lips go dry and your throat parch, how one step into this and you’re already thirsty. I want you to gaze down into this valley and see how far it is and wonder where the midpoint is, when you’ll begin your ascent, where the top is. What do I want you to do? Walk.  Look back at the lovely meadow you’ve spent the last few months in, then look at the colorless expanse before you, and choose this anyway.”

If I walk away from this, the work He’s doing in me is for naught. And since I believe that He will bring His good work to completion, and that His word will not return void, then this is what I must do. Choose this anyway.  Let it hurt anyway. Feel the pain anyway. Walk through the desert anyway. One step at a time.

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My high school band director used to call me SOC, meaning stream of consciousness. These days I prefer something I saw on Pinterest: “I’m not random, you just don’t think as fast as me.” 🙂 Here’s a series of random thoughts over the last few days.

Last session, the Not-So-Casual Observer and I talked about my fear of/issues with laziness. After a crazy week with far too little rest, the Music Man insisted that I take a nap this afternoon. I was prematurely awakened by a crying child but kept willing myself to get up and not waste the day. Then I dozed. I thought I heard MM coming up the stairs, and I realized that I was trying to appear awake even though I had indeed been sleeping, not wanting to be unprepared.

Sooo…apparently I need to work on that issue. My Facebook status update said something like, “Hate it when something your therapist has been trying to tell you just smacks you in the face in the middle of your Sunday afternoon.”


In other news, we take communion almost every Sunday at my church. At our old church we only took once a month, and I’m surprised that how much it’s come to mean to me to be able to do it weekly. Yesterday, my communion cracker stuck in my throat. And I thought about this thing, how the Gospel is just so darn hard to swallow sometimes. I mean, is it just me?


I think the Music Man’s job is getting to me. I realized this morning that he’s home to see the children a maximum of 12 hours per week. That’s madness in my book. That means in the four months marching band season lasts, he’ll see the children for a total of about eight days. So in a third of the year, he’ll spend less than 7% of it with the brood. I am not dealing with this well. At all.

Aaannnd, there’s your random update. I’m getting dressed to go to the gym in an effort to mange some of the stress. Well, and to be “off duty” for two hours because it’s the last time I’ll have until Wednesday night. Details.

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In counseling this week, the Not-So-Casual Observer said, “When I move toward you in compassion, you don’t want to receive it. You try, but you don’t want it.” Ouch.

We sat in silence for a few minutes while I thought about what she’d said. Then I looked her in the eye and said, “That really hurt.”

Which is, you know, huge for me.

She said, “I’m sorry.” Doesn’t make it hurt less, but then, that wasn’t really her plan.We moved on to my ideas of masculinity, and when I told her what I believe to be the definition of maleness (your average firefighter, for example), she said, “I think you like that in men because they don’t expose your hurt. They just let you be Hardass Heather.” (Ouch again! Can we feel me getting it on all sides?! Good thing I love this chick and think we work super well together!)

So I’ve been mulling over the meanings of those three words, and my reactions to each of them. I haven’t been able to come up with a working definition of each of them for myself. I’ve heard the old, “Mercy is not getting what you do deserve, grace is getting what you do not deserve,” but that just won’t serve for my purposes.

So mercy, grace, and compassion, I’m coming for you. However that looks!

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