Grab the Robe with Me

IMG_6929There was this song at my old church …it was a solo I sang on worship team sometimes. It was called “I See the Lord” and I loved it.

It was based on Isaiah 6:1

…I saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.”

The morning after my husband said he was thinking of leaving, I was scheduled to sing “I See the Lord” at church.  I went early for practice and cried through the whole thing. I think my sweet worship leader thought I was particularly moved by the song.  Although I always was to some degree, it was not the cause of my tears that morning.  I don’t believe I have sung it since.  

Nor really have I thought about it until this past week when I was listening to a talk about the woman with the bleeding issue who reached out and touched the robe of Christ in order to be healed.

And I was thinking about that woman and how desperate she was…how she had tried everything and nothing had worked.  She thought, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”  (Mark 5:28)

At this point, Jesus was on the way to heal Jarius’ daughter.  Jarius had said, “My little daughter is at the point of death.  Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”  (Mark 5:23)

Jesus is on the way to heal a little girl who is as old as this woman’s health problem.  Both are desperate for healing.  One just wanted to touch Him and one just needs to be touched by Him.  

Jesus.  The Great Physician.  

For the woman, her ailment has meant that she is constantly considered unclean…impure  She can’t even touch another person without making them unclean along with her.  And yet, in her desperation, she is pushing through a crowd to touch the Savior.  To just grab hold of the hem of His robe.  She doesn’t even really touch Him.  She touches His robe…probably the tassels that hang down from the hem.  And instantly… instantly… she is healed.  

The years of pain and shame are over.  

And with that brief encounter…that willingness to push through the obstacles and grab hold of Him….she is healed.  And Jesus…Jesus feels it.

“And Jesus perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?”  (Mark 5: 30)

Good gravy!  The Man was surrounded with people all probably touching him with hands, elbows, shoulders and even an occasional stomped toe.  And yet, He recognized this touch as different.  This Faith Touch.  This Needing Healing Hand.  

And He knew.  It isn’t as if He couldn’t turn around and identify her.  He could, but He asks.  Maybe so she can acknowledge that something amazing has happened… that she can say, “I’m healed!  I can touch you just like I touched Him – only this time it’s all okay!  I’m clean!”  Maybe it’s so she can know that He knows.  He felt it just like her.  

Sometimes I forget that when God helps me, shows me something, heals me, provides for me, and just simply loves me well….it blesses me and Him and others, if I acknowledge it publicly.  

I reached out to God and He healed me! I reached out to God and He provided for me.  I reached out to God and He made a way where there was no way.

That robe…it’s huge.  It fills the temple.  There is plenty of space for all of us to grab hold of it.  To grab a tassel or a handful of fabric.  Whether we are pushing through the obstacles or not, whether we are crawling on hands and knees in desperation, or running to Him in fear and anxiety, God’s robe is there.  God is there.

But maybe we are like Jarius and his daughter.  Maybe we need Jesus to show up.  Maybe there isn’t anything left  and we are weary and sick and tired and we are saying, “Lord Jesus, please come to me and help me.”

The beauty is either way, He is enough.  He is there.  

He is here.

Sometimes I forget that.  I feel so weary…so, so, so weary.  And sometimes it seems that there isn’t a soul in the whole wide world who can really truly understand it…and sometimes in the depths of decisions and difficulties, it can feel overwhelmingly lonely. It is in those moments, those lonely weary worrisome moments, when I need that touch. That divine touch.

I imagine His robe not just big enough to fill the temple, but big enough to cover us all.

When Jesus stopped to talk to the woman, I’m sure Jarius was anxiously impatient.  I’d have been like “Excuse me, Jesus?  Please remember my daughter.  She’s dying….Jesus, I asked first.”

But Jesus stops.  And Jarius’ daughter dies.  

While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead.  Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

NO!  Jesus, you were coming with me!  If you hadn’t stopped…

What must Jarius have felt, thought…how must he have looked.  The worst news possible…

But God….

“But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the rule of the synagogue (Jarius), “Do not fear, only believe.”

In the worst moment, Jesus is there.  He was in the moment with Jarius even while talking to the woman.  

He is never absent.  He is always with us.  

And in our worst moments, He says, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Believe I am good.  Believe I am love.  Believe I am able.

Believe I am enough.

That robe…

Ever so gently flowing over me, covering, protecting, comforting.

Peace flowing over me.

When I make my bed sometimes I hold the edges of my sheet firmly and lift it up high to let it float down gently on my bed, covering the mattress.  That is how I imagine Jesus’ robe.  

Healing floating down over me.

I might be all goofy on this one…wouldn’t be surprising…but I’m comforted by this image, blessed by the comfort of knowing that He is big enough to cover me and all my life…He is big enough to cover all of us and all our lives.

And, when I need Him (which is always) I only need to reach out for Jesus and He is there.  

He is here.  

Just reach out and touch Him.

Grab hold of Him.  Be touched.

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Are You Under the Table Too?

Thanksgiving Feast

On a recent Sunday, my pastor spoke on Matthew 15:21-28. It’s an interesting passage.

The interchange between Jesus and a Canaanite momma imploring Him to heal her daughter is quite challenging.

Jesus doesn’t respond how we would expect.  He seems a bit rude.  (I can’t believe I just wrote that Jesus appeared rude.  That seems exceedingly cheeky on my part.)

Although I have to admit not necessarily understanding Jesus’ way in dealing with this Mom, I trust that He knew what He was doing.  I trust that He had a plan to bring her and even His disciples to a deeper understanding of Him and themselves.

My pastor said, “Jesus intentionally reaches out to us in ways we don’t like or understand in order to show us what we really need.”

Jesus is always intentional in His interaction with us.  Always was always will be.  All that the Lord allows to happen in our lives is purposeful… and God will use it all for good.

What got my attention in this passage wasn’t necessarily Jesus’ response, but the momma’s response to Jesus.

She was desperate and willing to do anything to get her daughter healed.  I think I’d be the same way. Persistent and insistent.

At first Jesus doesn’t answer her pleading.  In fact, His first words are not directed to her.  He responds to the disciples when they ask him to send her away because she’s annoying them.

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v. 24)

I wonder if that wasn’t for the disciples in a way.  Maybe to challenge them to see her as a person in need rather than just a Canaanite.  I don’t know…my pastor didn’t mention that.  🙂

Her response is what gets me though.

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” (v. 25)

She is undeterred.  She isn’t bitter or angry at Jesus’ words.  She knows that He is the source of her daughter’s healing.  Maybe what Jesus wants her to grasp is that He is also the source of her healing…her spiritual healing.

And He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (v. 26)

Again, she doesn’t take offense.  I think at this point I might have.  But not her, she is single-minded.  Being desperate definitely gives clarity of what’s important and what isn’t.

She knows the source of her help.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I found this to be true for myself.  When my husband announced his plans to leave, I was desperate to save my marriage.  The word desperate doesn’t even seem to capture the way I felt.  I couldn’t imagine losing my husband and the father of my children.  It just couldn’t happen!

I had clarity.  I knew it was all a God-sized task.  And I trusted that God was going to take care of things.

And even though I kept expecting God to answer one way, He very clearly answered another way…over and over and over again.

His answers shocked me at times, BUT He didn’t leave me.  He was there all the time.  And I knew, I knew, I could trust Him.  I knew that He was the only source of hope I had…even as I watched my marriage end.

I think that Canaanite momma got it.  She got that Jesus was the answer…the only hope she had.

After Jesus speaks to her, she answers, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Wow!  She is solid.  She definitely gets it!

She gets that even a crumb from the Lord’s table is enough.

It reminds me of the woman who knew if she only grabbed hold of a tassel on Jesus’ robe she’d be healed. (Matthew 9:18-26)  And the Centurion who knew Jesus only had to speak and his servant would be healed. (Matthew 8:5-13)

Just a touch…just a word…just crumb…just Jesus!

They each knew His power to be great and trusted that even the smallest bit of it would provide what they needed.

So I’m thinking about how I relate to my Lord.  And I’m disappointed in myself.

I keep living under the table when I’ve been invited to the feast.

I don’t have to settle for a crumb – I have it all.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:3

…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God…the same power that created everything…the same power that God uses to fulfill his good and perfect will…is the same power that is at work in my life…in me!

That blows my mind.

Which begs the question why I don’t act like I have the power of God working in my life?  Why do I feel so defeated at times?

This weekend I had such a feeling of imminent failure.

It’s not unusual for me.  There are moments when it seems that everything is going to be ruined that isn’t already ruined.

How is that living for God’s glory?  How is that living with the joy of the Lord?

It’s not.

At all.

God says I can confidently approach His throne of grace knowing He can and will handle my problems.  I know that I can and I know that He wants me to, and yet I choose the struggle instead of His strength.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Unlike the Canaanite woman I don’t have to think I must settle for crumbs…I get to partake of the full feast!

The full feast of God’s love, mercy, peace, strength, and grace.

No crumbs of grace for this girl!  Even though a crumb is enough when it comes to Jesus…

He offers me so much more!

So let’s sit at the table and enjoy the bounty of God!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Anybody Got The Trust Thing Down?

sky

“You’re not my mom, Mom.”

When my 6 year old said this we all chuckled a bit that while referring to me as Mom she declared me “not mom.”

Lately my sweet daughter has discovered that she can wield a pretty hefty weapon against me. Unfortunately, I still haven’t figure out the proper defense.

My two youngest daughters were adopted through foster care. Their adoption has never been a secret. We talk about it and I try and answer any questions I can…with a heaping load of discretion.

Lately though when my youngest daughter is in trouble, she has taken to saying, “I want my other mommy!”

She has been known to call for many people in her state of discipline distress…Poppy, Grandma, Zachary, Emma, Peter, the dog and even Santa…and thankfully Jesus.

Usually I have a good answer…or I just choose to say nothing.

Her wail for the “other mommy” is just a ploy. She and I both know it.

But there is something to the “other” mommy thing that just gets me. And I think it might also get her.
I know she doesn’t mean to hurt me to the depth she does. I know she is just trying to make me crazy…which she does do really well, but ugh…

I can’t help but run ahead years in my head and think about her as a hormonal teenager armed with her “get away from mom” free card.

And to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ll be menopausal at the same time so beware! When you see the windows pulsating in my house, run!!

Anyway. I digress.

So, I need help! I don’t know how to help my little girl with this issue. AND I don’t know how to help me either.
Thankfully I haven’t been fussy with her…well not too much.…Oh dear, I have been fussy.
It is so difficult sometimes to be the mommy.

In my head and heart I’m making this a really big deal because I see what the potential issues could be.

And you know what? I’m NOT trusting God with this.

Remember when Jesus said, “Do NOT worry about tomorrow”?

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.   Matthew 6:34

Yeah well…I’ve been worried a lot. And it has not done me any good at all.

As always, Jesus is right.

And I believe I’ve missed the beauty of this command.

What does worry take from me?

Well it definitely robs me of my joy that’s for sure. The joy of being in today and knowing God’s got tomorrow.

The joy of trusting.

Trusting God.

In this situation how do I need to trust God?

I need to trust that

  • God gave me this precious girl because it was His perfect plan that I be her mommy .
  • God knew when he entrusted this beautiful little person to me that my husband and her father would leave
  • God will never leave us nor forsake us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

  • God knew I’d be a single mamma with 5 kids – that I’d be overwhelmed, exhausted, and definitely not perfect at being mamma.
  • God will be the perfect husband and father to us

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

  • God knew this little one would be oh so spicey…and that I’d need Him to raise her
  • With God I can be the Mom my kids need – even to Miss Sassy-Pants

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

  • God loves us…unconditionally.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Unconditionally.

That’s one of those words I take for granted. It’s huge in its application and beautiful in its practicality.

I looked up the definition:

Unconditional: with no conditions or limitations: complete or guaranteed, with no conditions, limitations, or provisos attached.

My Father loves me without conditions or limitations. There is no limit to His perfect love! Oh my goodness…I’m overwhelmed (in a good way!)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18

I can’t really comprehend it but oh how desperately I want to model that for my children. I don’t think it is possible…I get annoyed too easily and can be so unloving.
But God loves my children unconditionally…maybe I can’t model it perfectly but I can pray that God will love my children through me.

And as I answer hard and sometimes hurtful questions, God can give me kind, loving words. Words that soothe achy hearts and heal broken hearts.

God’s words…soothing, healing and loving.

Making that list of what I can trust God for really helped me. I think I might have to do that with some other issues in my life. It really blessed me to see them written out.

Golly, God is good!

I think heading into the fray of single parenting with a trusting heart is going to make a big difference in being able to love my children well.

God can handle them and me…God will love me and love my children in the best way possible!

Unconditionally!

Today and tomorrow.

broken heart

 Broken.

One of those words that doesn’t bring a lot of joy.  Who wants to be broken? 

Broken things.

             Broken bones.

                            Broken relationships.

                                                  Broken vows.

                                                                        Broken homes.

                                                                                                Broken hearts.

I assume we are all on the same page and don’t want that word to describe much if anything in our lives.  In fact, the only phrase with broken in it that I can think of ever wanting to use is “broken fever”.

For a while I’ve tried to figure out a different word to describe my family other than broken.  Initially I thought it was just too negative. I started trying out different descriptive words.  Wounded.  Bruised.  Hurting.  Anything but broken.

I wanted to stand up and holler, “WE ARE NOT BROKEN!!!!” 

But you know what?  I believe we are.  And I’m realizing that that’s okay.

We are broken but healing.  God, the Great Physician, is fixing up all the broken parts.

A couple of things have brought me to this conclusion. 

The first was reading this verse:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  2 Corinthians 4:7-10

After reading that verse I looked up the meaning of “jars of clay.”  One of the definitions said that the jars of clay would have brought to mind a common household jar – probably inexpensive and fairly easy to break.  It would probably have cracks and chips from being well-used. 

There is so much to get from this verse, but the idea that struck me was that the brokenness of the jar of clay allows what’s inside to be seen – to flow out. 

The brokenness of our lives allows God to shine through us.  Oh my goodness, that sounds like some really syrupy sweet quote to post on Facebook.   Unfortunately for all of us I can’t think of a better way to say it.

I just know that when everything in my world went cablooey, God was the only explanation for why I didn’t personally go cablooey.    It was abundantly clear that the strength I had to move forward came from God and God alone – “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”

One of my first fears following the shattering of my marriage was that my testimony was toast.  I kept thinking of all the people that would think we were just absolute frauds.  I felt like a fraud.  Or maybe I should say I felt like I’d been defrauded.   Everyone, including me, thought we had a great marriage.  How could I speak about my relationship with God, if everyone thought I hadn’t been honest about my relationship with my husband?

But God showed me that my testimony wasn’t about what I could or couldn’t do…my testimony is what God has done and is still doing in my life.

 And He worked mightily in those days following the shattering.  He loved me and my children through our church, our homeschool community, our neighbors, and even the city where my husband had worked.  He provided for us in amazing ways.  He gave us peace and even joy in the midst of our pain and breaking.  It was HIM, all Him.

Just as light shows through or water pours out of cracks in a broken pot, Jesus shows through our brokenness.

He showed through broken vows when He gave me the strength, peace, and perspective to fight for my marriage in the face of my husband’s betrayal.  Believe me it wasn’t me.

He showed through the broken relationships caused by my husband’s actions when He gave our friends wisdom, kindness, compassion, and grace to pursue my husband and love him despite his response.

He showed through our broken home by strengthening the bond my children and I have, strengthening our faith, and gracing us with love and joy.

He showed through my broken heart when I was able to comfort with the comfort I’d been given (2 Corinthians 1:4).

I could probably think of a million more ways that God has shown through the brokenness of my life.  I’ve seen it in others too.  My friends who have or who are battling illness…the grace they have while suffering greatly.   The way my suffering friends reach out to others in their grief and pain.  The compassion I see in my children because they understand what it means to be loved by others while going through difficulties.  The love I see in those who have had their hearts broken, but are still willing to open up to love again.

So I’m thinking that maybe being broken isn’t such a bad thing. 

Especially if God is allowing the breaking…which I believe He does.  If God allows it He is going to use it.  If God allows it He is going to bring good out of it.  If God allows it He is going to bring us through it.  If God allows it He is going to be glorified! All those things are good…very good.

I really am okay being referred to as broken.  I’m not a broken woman…I’m a woman broken by the Lord so that I can be healed.  And I believe that I’m much better as a healed woman than I ever was before the breaking.  

I have a long way to go and there is a lot of brokenness that needs to be healed. 

I’m realizing this is a big topic.  One that I’m going to have to ponder more.  Because it’s one thing for me to be broken and to watch God work with me towards healing.  It is another thing all together to watch how the breaking of so much in our lives has affected my children.  That has been very very difficult for me.  I’m definitely going to have to pray about that before I share my thoughts.

I believe it’s going to be me again recognizing that I have to entrust my children to God.  I have to believe that He is working good for them in all of this too. 

A lot to pray and ponder to be sure.

Thank you so much for being willing to walk this path with me.  For being interested in my thoughts.

I pray that they have encouraged you that no matter what way we describe our families…whole, broken, wounded, healing, etc…God has us and it is good. 

hospice, hope and healing

Daisies on white

“Momma, I don’t want grandpa to die, but I know he will feel so much better in heaven.”

My sweet 12 year old son uttered those words as we sat in an Urgent Care waiting to see the doctor for the two of us, and while my father lay in a hospital bed waiting for word from his doctor.

Today we found out that those words were not the ones we hoped to hear.  Those words included “hospice.”  Earlier in the week I had said that word, but it was in a hopeful sentence, “At least they haven’t mentioned hospice.” 

Now they have and I don’t know what to do with that word.  It strikes a pain in my chest I can hardly bear.  It brings me to tears just thinking of my dear father facing death so imminently. 

My daddy accepted the Lord about 10 years ago, but has not truly grasped what it means to him.  Oh that he could grasp grace and not let go of it.  It breaks my heart in more pieces than I can say that he hasn’t.  I can see the fear and anxiety etched on his beloved gaunt face.  I can hear it in his frustrated, angry words. 

We have all talked with my dad.  Friends have too.  We’ve tried to encourage him in his faith, but it’s hard when death is staring back so relentlessly.  I long for my Dad to see life instead of death…Life!!! 

I’ve dealt with a lot of pain and sorrow since my family fell apart 4 years ago.  There is a large part of my heart that is already in heaven.  I want to be there so badly I can taste it sometimes.  I understand Paul’s statement, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”  (Philippians 1:21)  But I am not faced with my death coming soon…at least that I know of.  I pray that my hope would not waver in the end. 

My Daddy’s hope is wavering…it’s wobbling all over the place.  I wish I knew exactly the right words so he could really grasp that peace which passes all understanding to guard his heart and his mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7), but once again, God is reminding me that I’m not the one in charge.

God loves my dad so very much.  He doesn’t want this man to die hopelessly, but rather with hope of eternal glory…of all the wonder that is heaven blissfully beckoning. 

We all selfishly want healing or even partial healing so that my dad will be around longer.  But like my little boy said, why would I want to have my dad suffer another day when he could know true and complete healing in heaven?  I know the answer but I can’t bring myself to write it because I want my dad around.  I want my children to know their grandpa even better…I want him to tell stories we haven’t heard or even ones we have. I want more time with him.

Tomorrow I will head back down to see my dad…to spend the day with him while things beep and swish around us and nurses come in and out and in and out and in out, and he tries to rest amid it all.  I will pray for the opportunity to encourage and bless my dad…and I will pray for peace for him and for all of us…and I will hope in the Lord for my dad’s eternal inheritance and mine as well.