Acquainted with Sorrow and Grief

As Christians we have the amazing opportunity to know different facets of God. We have the great privilege to seek Him out and allow him to reveal different parts of Himself to us. One of the most impacting truths I have learned is the reality that God Himself came as a man. He came and clothed himself in our very skin. He took on our very nature. The God who’s very word was enough to create light, came as a baby who had to cry to be fed and had to learn how to speak. Of course, I knew this from simply being a Christian, but once I understood this… it changed everything.

Being a weak, broken human, the concept that God actually understood the workings of my heart because He experienced them Himself has brought a comfort and a friendship with the Lord that I never thought possible. Not just the feeling of being understood, but the depth of love God felt for His creation that He went through such lengths to win the heart of an ever-wandering bride. What other God would do this? Would step down off His throne, leave His home and the adoration of angels, to live in a world full of sin and sorrow? No other God would do this, no other God would forsake their deity to become the least of these. Yet, Our God did and Isaiah 53 displays this in a way that causes me to weep every time I shut out the world and truly read the words on this page.

53:2 “…He had no form of majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”

Let’s remember here… THIS IS GOD. In both the new and old testament it talks about what is going on in heaven. There is no question about the amount of worship that happens. In Revelation it talks about 4 living creatures, 24 elders and a host of angels devoted to night and day worship. They look upon Him and they shout HOLY, and there is no doubt to His beauty and His worth. Yet, God forsook the adoration of heaven for the rejection of men. No majesty due to him, no beauty that we would even give a second glance. The most beautiful man came as plain. Let’s be real for a second. If I was Jesus and I was coming to Earth, I would come as FABULOUS! If I am creating a human body for myself that I am going to have FOREVER.. you better believe it would be one that is outrageously beautiful. Yet, Jesus comes as a man in whom we wouldn’t even give a second glance. We wouldn’t look and think King, rightful heir to all things, and worthy of my worship. We wouldn’t think Savior, powerful, and glorious. We wouldn’t have even given him a thought. Such humility was put on display! God never demands anything from us. He doesn’t walk onto the scene and demand to be loved and seen. But He came in meekness, lowliness, demanding nothing but giving everything.

53:3 “He was despised and rejected by men, a man acquainted with grief; as one whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Again, the God of creation, full of love and kindness, full of mercy and truth. The God of power but tender and good was rejected by men. The God who had a home in heaven, and is perfectly content within Himself. The three in one- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Before the Earth ever was, before the creation of man.. they loved in perfect joyous harmony with one another. They had no lack… they HAVE no lack. But are full of love and joy within each others company. Oh the joy of heaven and the companionship that dwelt there. Yet, when Jesus leaves His home and the nearness of the Father, He entered a world in which He felt the rejection of men and lived as an outcast. Again, He was FULLY God, and FULLY man. These were people that he loved fiercely. The lost sheep of Israel. They were the reason He was there. The rejection of men was not just rejection by strangers.. which hurts anyways. But it was rejection by people he deeply loved and cared for and would eventually die for. He was acquainted with the company of grief, and sorrow was a constant friend. Do we understand what this means? That feeling, that ache you feel, the sorrow would go away, that pain in your chest, the rejection you’ve experienced that leaves you bleeding… He has felt.  He is a God who understands loss! Jesus lost John the Baptist, He had lost Lazarus for a moment… and you know what He did… He wept! Jesus didn’t just cry, but wept and sobbed, and shed real tears and real snot! He felt that feeling you feel. If this doesn’t blow your mind… then you need to read it again. The God of glory cried very real tears and felt very real sadness.

You can imagine the great love and relief I feel when I think about these things. For someone who has a sad heart and to whom tears are a frequent visitor, to comprehend that the God of Heaven, my Savior Jesus, is more than able to understand the sorrow in my heart for He’s experienced them, is a game changer in my relationship with Him. He’s felt them.. and he remembers with REAL memories from His life, what it feels like and I am undone.

“He borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteem him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted….”

Oh, what love. Oh, what kindness. Oh, what humility. What beauty! What a privileged to know God. To be loved by Him, to be understood. When I think about these verses.. it only melts my cold heart into joyous worship. It moves me to thanksgiving, despite what I feel in life, or in myself. When I think and reflect on these things, it truly turns my heart to Him.

My prayer today, is that you would love Him and you would feel His love for you. I pray that you would feel understood and that feeling would turn your heart to praise. I pray that Isaiah 53 would turn your heart to worship with a new understanding of Him and His great beauty.

 

 

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Acquainted with Sorrow and Grief

I Don’t Even Know Her Name

It’s crazy how quickly things can turn. You could be having an ordinary moment, the kind where you won’t even remember the conversation you were having, or what you were laughing at, and within seconds it becomes a moment you wish you could forget.

I had one of those moments in August.

Over the summer me and three friends from Ohio were invited to a missions conference in Colorado. We decided that instead of paying for flights, we would instead drive the 20 hours to Colorful Colorado. The ride there went very smoothly. The five day conference was full of fun, and impacting sermons. We left Colorado with happy hearts and the intention of driving only 8 hours to Kansas City, MO to stay with some friends. We would finish our drive the following day.

Like any long car ride, where you are stuck in the car for hours on end, we weaved in and out of conversation, now and again we would put on some music, it was nothing noteworthy.

I have no idea what we were talking about, there are no details I can even report to you. All I remember was I was laughing about something, then everything went still. Life went from real time to slow motion. Mid laugh, I noticed some sort of chaos in my peripheral, not even having time to turn and look what it could be. A van shoots out across the median of a 4 lane highway, right in front of the semi positioned less than a foot in front of us. Our car frantically swerving to dodge the pieces of the van being thrown across the highway.

Everything from there was both blurry, yet in full detail.

I remember yelling for him to stop the car, and for someone to call 911. In my hands I held a coffee and a cell phone but I forgot, I forgot how to move or function. Panic drove me, before I could even process my actions. I hand my coffee to the wide eyed, equally shocked girl in the backseat with me, and run out of the car barefoot, calling 911 in my strides  to the remnants of the van.

“911 whats your emergency?” said the lady on the opposite end of my call.

“There’s been an accident, it’s bad”

The lady in a calm voice began to ask me a series of questions… ones I couldn’t answer. My mind raced. Where were we? Did we cross the Kansas border? Have I seen any signs recently? Whens the last time I paid attention, when did we stop last? I had no answers.

Then I reached the van…

Thrown in the back seat of a van was a lady. Maybe in her late 30’s. Her brown hair matted in blood, her pale skin drained of every color but the blood that gushed from her, a chunk of her brown hair attached to the seat belt that hung out of the crushed window.

“Is any one hurt?” the woman on the phone asked.

I reach into the crushed car, through the window, stepping on glass and into blood. I look for a pulse. I can’t feel one in her wrist. I reached for her neck, her blood covering my hand.

“I can’t find a pulse. I can’t tell if she’s breathing”

I run to the other side, and climb in the side where a door use to be. Is she breathing? Could she be alive? Where was her pulse? What do I do?

At this time the woman on the phone told me other people had called in with more details,  and an ambulance was on it’s way.

“Hang tight” she said, ending the call.

I look around at the car that I am now in.

Blood.

Hair.

Glass.

In that moment it’s like every thing I learned training to be a nurse assistant 6 years before disappeared from my mind. The only thing I could think to do is to pray. So I do, I pray that she would come back from the dead. I pray she would make it through this and live a long healthy life. I pray she would know the Lord, if she didn’t already. I pray that she wold live and not die, and when I can’t find words and I search for her pulse…I pray in the Spirit.

At this time other people began to show on the scene. An older woman with grey hair, and an authoritative tone.

“Did you do CPR?”

CPR.. crap. I didn’t even think of it. Why didn’t I think of it?

“No”

“We must move her out of the car. We have to start CPR NOW”

More people. These guys help pull her out. The older woman starts CPR.

That’s when we see it… the baby seat.

The brown haired lady was flung to the back seat upon impact with the semi…. it wasn’t until she was pulled out that we saw that underneath her was a baby’scar seat. All at the same time recognition hit us all, it was like the scene around us went from blurry to crystal clear. Flown around the highway mixed with chunks of metal, a van door, and glass was baby items.

A baby blanket.

Stuffed animal.

A bottle.

Baby toys.

Have I heard crying? Was there a child? How old was the child? If there was… could he/she have survived? The baby would have been thrown farther than the mother…

Realization hit the face of group of strangers all at the same time. So we began to look. We went through tall grass, up and down a concrete highway. The ambulance arrived. The search continued.

I don’t know how long we looked, panic driving us to try to pay attention to any sign of a child. For what felt like an eternity we looked, wading through grass and glass, coming up empty.

Eventually the police showed, and contacted the lady’s boyfriend who informed us that the child was with him, and not with her in the accident. Relieved the highway started to clear. Leaving glass, and a handful of wide-eyed shaken people in it’s aftermath. We were asked to fill out a report for the police, and I asked the question that feared me most.

“Did she make it?” “Will she be okay?” “Is she alive?”

“No.”

“I should have done CPR.”

“She died upon impact.There’s nothing you could have done.”

That moment the panic turned to sorrow and helplessness. There was nothing I could have done. CPR would not have saved her.

After a while of giving account for what happened 4 shocked filled, 20 something year olds got back into their car and continued their once easy joy filled trip, with a new horror and grief.

Once in the car adrenaline was replaced with tears.

Blood on my feet. Blood on my hands. Not my blood.

Who was she? I didn’t even know her name, yet I watched her die. I looked desperately for signs of life and found none. Flashes of the scene behind me played like a horror film behind my sobbing eyes.

We stopped at the next exit so I could wash my hands, my feet, my flip flops and we could process and pull ourselves together.

We were less than a foot from this accident… If we were going a little faster, if we didn’t swerve in time, if the semi had slowed down.. we could have been the point of collision.

During our gas station processing, I heard from my friends the way they responded to the nightmare that became our reality. I was informed on how they ran towards the semi truck, and checked with the driver and got to pray with him and his wife.

We reached KC a lot later than anticipated. We went straight to bed, exhausted from the events of the day. Sleep weighed down on me, but wouldn’t overtake me. Every time I closed my eyes, flashes of the earlier scene, the blood, the hair on the seat belt, the face of a women who’s name I didn’t know, kept me awake.

It’s been 7 months since that accident… and I still think of her. Not as frequently as the months that followed the accident, but she is engraved into my weekly thinking. I still see that scene, I feel the  grief of the life I watched end. I think of her when I drive and feel the fear of an accident. I feel the weight of sadness for the kid that will grow up without a mother, and the life the lady never got to finish. Dreams that she may have had, but never got to accomplish. Goodbyes she never got to say, wrongs she never got to right, so much life she never got to live.

My life has been changed by the horror of an ordinary moment turned sour. It has been greatly effected by a lady who died, on a highway that one day in August…and I don’t even know her name.

 

 

I Don’t Even Know Her Name

It’s the Longing That Kills Us

In life I’ve learned that it’s not really the attainment of our desires that has an affect on us, but instead the desiring, itself.  It’s the yearning in our souls, the racing of our minds, and the wishing of our hearts that shape us, and it’s the longing that kills us.

Longing is a silent killer. You can find it in the sigh your heart makes and the places your mind goes, when all the world is quiet. It’s found in the late nights, when everything has gone dark and your eyes are drawn to a sky full of stars. It’s found in the early mornings, as you watch the sun rise, and the sky dance with color, while the world awakens around you. It’s in the first note of that one song, that no matter how many times it has hit your ears, it still causes your lungs to forget how to breathe. It’s in those ordinary, everyday moments, when we find ourselves most at peace, that we are the most vulnerable to the influence of our beings. It is in those moments of stillness that all the things we have tried to dull, stuff down, and ignore come back to hit us and we are awakened to the realization that our hearts are reaching for something… or for someone.

You know that feeling you get when you know you’re forgetting something but can’t quite figure out what it is. That is what longing feels like. It is the constant feeling of misplacement. Like a songwriter composing his arrangements, putting vocals to a song and having it almost perfect, then realizing he can’t find the harmony he hears his head. It’s like completing a puzzle, only to discover you’re missing a piece. It’s that annoying nagging in the back of your mind that things aren’t as they could be…or as the should be. Longing is the heart’s discontent melody begging for the harmony to be found in the heart of another or the fulfillment of a dream.

Longing is an ache that demands to be felt. It slips in without permission, and is so quiet that by time you realize it’s been awakened, it’s already raging inside of you. Longing has a cure, but we have no control as to when it’s cure may come or no surety it ever will. We only have longing and it’s subtle hope that one day something or someone will come and put it to ease.

Today, I can feel the aftermath of longing’s storm and hear it’s whisper like a siren in my being. I can feel it like a panic chord being struck, warning all the other parts of me, of it’s undoing. It’s only a whisper, yet it rings in me like a thousand warning bells. It’s only a whisper, yet it threatens my composure. It’s only a whisper, but in the quiet, most ordinary moments I can hear it’s screams.

It’s the Longing That Kills Us

The Power of Love

Love is something that is hard to define, and comes in many forms. The love of a parent, the love of a friend, the love of a child, and the love from a significant other. None of which can be seen, all in which can be felt. The affect that love has on the soul of mankind is pure magic.

When someone is in love, it’s like they are awakened from a slumber they didn’t even know they were in. Their senses become alive, while past anxiety seems to quiet. They breathe a little easier and sing a little louder; they transform right before our eyes. Look into the eyes of someone who’s heart has been broken, and you’ll see the affect that love has had on them. Like something has been ripped from their very soul, leaving them more awake and aware than they want to be of the lack they are feeling. Love, is a powerful thing.

There is healing in the love of others, in the safety of friendship. When a friend reaches out in your time of need, in a time of deep brokenness and lack, it is their love that nurses our wounds and brings us back to wholeness. Their commitment to us gives us the security we long for, it gives us the feeling of safety, in which then gives us the freedom to do mrore than just survive, but to thrive. That is the power of love.

A love of a mother that is tender and kind, unrelenting and pure. It’s that love that says you’re more than your mistakes, your failures, and lack. It’s the love of a mother that allows us to grow and learn; to become. Then, when we fall and fail, it allows us to cry, putting our hearts at ease and giving us the courage to try again.

The love of a father makes us believe that we have value. That there is worth in our lives, in our being. A love that comes in a form of protection, that scares away the monsters that hide under our bed, that makes us believe that under their watchful eye… no harm can come to us. It’s the love of a father that bears our pain with us, cries with us, rejoices in our success, and whose pride makes us believe in our own value and capability.

Love. is. a. Powerful. Thing.

And without it… we experience the lack in every area of our lives and we feel it in every crevas of our being. It leaves us with a gaping hole, we frantically try to fill with mocks and fakes of the real thing. I’ve lived in the lack in more ways than one, but I’ve experienced love from friends, teammates, and a family that isn’t blood. And I’ve watched myself go from broken to strong, wounded to healed, and from feeling unworthy to seeing value in myself and believing again, that I am worth the fight. I’ve experienced the extremes of love and the extremes of lack, and I’ve only come to realized love is the only necessity of life.

I believe that we were made from love, for love. There is an ache and a lack that we may always feel, because things aren’t as they should be, and until He comes and makes things right again, we live with a gap. Yes, there is a measure of God’s love that we can experience now, but oh, the fullness to come at a trumpets sound. I also believe that we mirror aspects of God’s personality and traits of love. His proud eyes, His tender touch, His safety, and His deep love that awakes our senses and causes us to transform. Lovers, mothers, friends, and fathers, we mirror that love to those around us. 

So lets love one another into wholeness. Let’s love more, and allow ourselves to be loved. In our brokenness and lack, let’s love, for it changes everything.

The Power of Love

The Saddness Within Us 

There’s this quote by Ray Bradbury from his book ‘Dandelion Wine’ that has literally changed my life over the past year. I think about it often and how it has brought so much clarity to my searching soul, yearning to understand. It’s given me the freedom to turn from trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and accept it as part of myself. 

He writes “Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.” 

As a child I cried nonstop, longing to be held, and as I’ve grown, I’ve found it hasn’t changed. Throughout life it seems my heart has only become more sensitive to touch, and tears come too often and too quick. Hot tears in anger, quiet sobs of sorrow, tears of yearning, compassion, and prayer. Tears from fear, rejection, anxiety. If I could add up the hours I’ve cried, it’d probably be half my life. 

For the longest time I resented this, I thought that a sad heart was something that needed to be fixed. If I became better, or had more friends, if I could fall in love, if I pursued the Lord more or beat my soul into submission, than surely something would change… surely joy would come. But through time, I began to understand that maybe some of us, were born with the saddness within us. 

I believe that some people just bruise more easily than others. They carry the world on their shoulders and it’s burden in their hearts. I’m not trying to romanticize these things. I’m only trying to explain the ease I felt once I understood that saddness is more than an emotion, but it can be a part of someone’s very frame and nature… and that’s okay. 

Having said all of that, my hope for you and for myself, is that even through the lens of tearful eyes, or a sad heart, that you would experience immeasurable joy. That for every heart wrenching sob, you would be able to feel the healing power of laughter. That you notice the little things in life, and find happiness in them. In the way a child laughs, or how the sun shines over the mountain. In the way the air smells on a rainy day, and the first strums of your favorite song. Most of all I hope you find joy in the warmth of family and friends, who give quiet to the torrents inside. That though we may get sad young, that we learn to see the flickers of happiness when it quietly chooses to come. 

The Saddness Within Us 

The Memoirs Meaning

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For my first blog post, I figured I should explain to you where it’s name came from, and what it means to me. Oddly enough the name actually came from an ex of mine. I dated this guy for a few years in high school, and like most high school relationships, ours ended. It didn’t end in the best ways, I pretty much hated the guy for a few years, but per usual, time passed, hearts healed, and now we’re friends. He came up with this as a “play on my name, about how I travel, and my go with the flow personality. Describing my ability to make the best of whatever happens to me.” That’s how he came up with the name, but here is why it inspired me.

I don’t know quite why it is, but It seems I can never stay in one place. It’s like I was born a sojourner, marked with a pilgrims lot, and branded a missionary’s heart. Stuck in constant state of restlessness. My mom always tells me, I came out of the womb running with a suitcase in hand.  This has always been my life, following the wind, throwing myself into whatever place I land. I look at how the dandelion seed plants wherever the wind drops it, grows roots, sprouts sunshine, then dries itself out to become a dozen wishes. It’s very nature is to adapt. Whether in a meadow with a thousand of it’s friends, or in an inner city sidewalk crack… it grows, it plants, it adapts.

I don’t know, there just something so poetic about dandelions, and I can’t help but personify them. I am a dandelion seed.. a weed… a flower…a wish…who knows. Like they say… it’s in the eye of the beholder. But nonetheless, these are the memoirs of a dandelion seed.

 

 

The Memoirs Meaning