May 26, 2011

{ scared spitless }

Being caught in a fire certainly roused fear - a fear rooted in survival. Now, with talk of reisdents returning home and the possibility of school starting up again, I find a new fear rising - a fear rooted in a lack of security. You see, I'm in my safe place out on the farm. The wind blows through the trees and the smell of spring is all around. It is quiet. No sirens, no smoke. No people most of the time! Just birds, and flowers and peace.

I can't imagine leaving right now. I am soooo not ready to look that devastation in the face. Hearing others talk about returning, how they long to go home, to see friends again, it should be a happy thing. Why does it scare me to death? Possibly because I have no home. Possibly because I have wonderful friends here, friends I have had for the last 16 years. Family close by and closer to extended family. I can still walk through my home in my head, it is not so obvious here that it is gone. I can snuggle our scraggly little farm cat and the pain of losing my best little furry friend is not as acute as it would be, being 'home' and not having her there.

Where is 'home' now? I think I'm stuck in what my home used to be, because I'm terrified to go back to the 'home' that no longer exists.

I know God has a plan. So what is it? Where will Neal find a job? Where can we 're-build' not just our home but our life?

I have never been so without-a-plan before in my life. And this whole surrender thing, well it's not just an occasional basis. It is daily, hourly, sometimes by the minute, as I battle the fear of returning to the devastation I ran away from, even if it's only for a day. Part of me cries out 'God, spare me from going down that highway, make a way here'. But it is not yet at all clear what the future holds.

May 24, 2011

{ aftermath }

These are strange, strange days. I think the last time I made this many phone calls I was planning a wedding! The amount of info you have to replace when you have lost everything is quite daunting. My heart and brain flip flop. It's a strange contrast of feeling a gaping hole, sadness, anger, and just a whole lot of loss and on the flip side, a peace and a trust that God is working this whole thing out. I need to just be still. Thankfully being out on the acreage makes being still a bit easier - there are trails through woods I tromped through all the teenage years of my life, and roads with homes and farms that time has not changed. I can sit under the same tall, old trees I did as a young girl, just trying to figure life out. 16 years later, not much has changed. It's a good place to heal, even just a little.

Many people are upbeat about re-building the town and geting life back to 'normal' - perhaps as a way of coping. I feel edgy hearing their gung-ho talk. I don't want anyone to forget, and we need time. Time to grieve. Time to process the event and the aftermath. To recover from the turmoil of feeling so helpless and trapped in the midst of that fire. Time to thank God for sending a car along our street when we had no where to turn. Time to feel safe and secure in the love of family and friends.

We used to tease my mom about taking pictures of everything. Now words can't say how grateful I am to have pictures of our home as we moved in, every room and bathroom, and a whole lot of moments I would never want to forget. We had wonderful times in that home, full of love and fun.

Words also cannot say all that family means to me. We have received an outpouring of support and it means the world to us as we try to pick up, re-group, and wait for what is next. With God leading us, we will rebuild our life. Thankfully I was never really big on having 'stuff'. Material things are temporary, how clearly we have seen that. I will miss my antique books, my Bible, favorite clothes, pictures, quilts, love notes from Neal and the things that made our home ours and unique. However - Neal and I have faith in a loving God, we have each other, and wonderful family and friends. This is what builds a home. In the end, we all carry precious memories and our personal journey in our hearts. In the end that is all we have. And it is enough.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

May 18, 2011

{ beauty from ashes }

It may be a long time in coming - but this is my prayer - beauty from ashes. Ironically enough, just 24 hrs after my last post (and on May 15th, of all days) I had to flee my home as fire devoured our town and obliterated our neighborhood.

this is what's left of our home and my car...

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. He gave us our home, and he took it away, He gave us all our possessions, and He took all but what my husband had for school (he was out of town at the time thank God), He gave me my dearly beloved fur baby. And he took her away. All the stuff is just stuff, what is breaking my heart is the irreplaceable friend and sweet faithful little companion I have lost. My dearest little cat.

I feel this will be a true dividing point in my life. Before the fire - After the fire.

We are ok, staying with family and so thankful for every single provision for our needs, provided by a God who I will still testify - Never Lets Go.

So I hold onto Him, hold my loved ones so close.

This spot is all I have left of any kind of journal, and I know it will be a place where I process, vent, express and heal.

We don't know what the future looks like, but through the shock and disbelief, God has provided peace. We will continue to trust Him for all that lies ahead. I know from experience that He is faithful.

May 14, 2011

{ this is my story }

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
~1 Cor. 13:12~

I will always remember the nervous anticipation, on April 28th '07, as I laid a pregnancy test - window side down on the bathroom counter - and ran downstairs to take laundry out of the dryer. Anything to distract me from jumping out of my skin as I waited for that little stick to either confirm or deny a quiet, secret hope I had for the past few days. I had taken many tests before, familiar with the 'maybe next month' feeling that came after the blank window proved a quiet hope deferred. I waited a couple extra days this month and had a 'feeling' that things would be different this time. Maybe this time. I ran upstairs, dropped the laundry in the kitchen and shakily, excitedly turned a corner into the bathroom to turn over the stick. Two dark pink lines. I remember covering my gaping mouth, and immediately falling on shaky knees to the floor in praise and thankfulness. It was a bright spring day, sunlight poured through the bathroom window and filled my soul. A baby. After all this time. Thank you God.

In those early days I poured over my (then) husband's paramedic textbooks, follwing each stage of development, praying specifically for each and every part of this little life just beginning to grow inside of me. I will always remember the day I prayed for it's little heart, and the special connection I felt, like I was given a glimpse of that heart. And oh, what a beautiful heart. What a beautiful soul. I sat on the carpet of our study and looked up from a textbook into the blue, blue sky and was awed at the privilege of carrying another soul inside of me. A miracle.

I will also always remember that Mother's Day weekend, and feeling that something was not quite right. The hospital on Tuesday, May 15th, frantically wheeled down the hallway, fuzzy from loss of blood, and then - nothing. Waking up tipped upside down on a hospital bed with a nurse tapping my arm to try get an IV. Waking up and realizing - it's gone. In shock, not fully understanding yet the depth of what had happened. Trying to sleep in the dark hospital room that night, reaching out to hold my husband's hand as he tried to sleep in a chair across from me. Listening to a worshp song, and finally, in exhaustion and peace that passes all understanding, drifting off to sleep.

A couple weeks later, with Bible in hand, shedding tears under our apple tree as pink blossoms scattered in the wind, I remembered the gift and buried a piece of that life. And with it a piece of my heart. In a quiet way, God had confirmed that this little life was a boy, and we named him Judah, meaning 'praise'. It was a long time before my heart could fully praise God again. It was a cold, gray day that fall, when decisions were brought to light and I lost, not only a baby that year, but also my first marriage. In faithfulness, and with a love that never let me go, God continued to hold on to me, and pursue me, and love me as my world fell apart. And I will never forget, He will never let me go.

It is the early, happy days I am brought back to this year, the joy of realizing I was pregnant, those special days of prayer, the conection. I know every mother has a conneciton to her child, but this... perhaps it was so strong because He knew that it wouldn't be much longer and that soul would go back to meet the One who created it. I like to think of it as a gift, a way to remember. I know that when I go home, I will recognize that soul, there is no doubt. This year, on Mother's Day, God gave me a glimpse of that soul again. A beautiful, stong, man-soul, rejoicing with all of heaven. This year I can again say Thank you God. This year, that nagging question 'why? ' is no longer there. I am simply thankful. It is my story, woven into the fabric of my being, part of what makes me who I am. Beauty from ashes, and a testimony of a God whose love is stronger than death.

O Love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.


O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain,

That morn shall tearless be.

~George Matheson - O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go~

May 13, 2011

{ no more tears in heaven }

“And I go back to Eden, in my mind, to imagine what it is going to be like for you and me in heaven. I suppose it will be a new and marvelous paradise, where love will exist in its purest form... where you and I will feel free in our sincere love for others, ourselves, and God. And I suppose it will be in heaven that you and I actually understand each other, all the drama of the lifeboat a distant memory... and the glory of God before us in all His majesty, shining like sunlight through our souls.” — D. M.

These weeks are about a shifting perspective , choosing to see my miscarriage from another time, as a privilege and a treasured gift instead of seeing it through the eyes of tragedy. I feel the experience will work itself out in a post of it's own, a few days from now, as God has been growing and changing both myself and my perspective about it all. It's deep and it's a risk to put in into words, then again, sometimes words heal.