Monday, January 25, 2016

Gifting Laughter

This morning I was suppose to go in for a (fasting) blood test.  I know this, because I was hungry last night.  Unfortunately, I woke up 3 minutes after I was actually suppose to be at the lab.  So - I jumped up, and imediately had a honkin' leg cramp in my calf.  Really?  Cheese and crackers -  that hurt.  You'll be glad to hear that I put on clothes, put on a hat because my hair looked really bad and headed out.

Had the test.  Ouch.  But successful.  Getting blood work done is always a challenge.  I have had people get angry at me because they couldn't find a vein and I guess it was my fault.  Whatever.

It reminded me of one of the trips I took to this same lab with my mom.  It was early in the "she needs a wheelchair" days and the wheel chair I found at the lab was for a VERY large person....and I couldn't figure out how to lock down the legs.  So her hamstrings got a good stretch that day.  Yikes.  I tried to fit her through the narrow lab path and seemed to be bumping and gathering whatever was close by us as we negotiated the path.  Finally, the lab tech took over - asked me to step out - got things done - and brought my mom to me in the waiting room.  She knew how to lock down the leg things so they didn't swing wide when we turned.    Awesome.

At that point my mom hadn't gone into full-on dementia land yet.  She still laughed.  She actually heard the lab tech ask me why I had the "big butt" wheelchair.  ( We NEVER said butt in our house.)  Mom was extremely hearing impaired but ... somehow ... she heard ... "big butt".   Uh-oh.  (I turned into my 8 year old self.)

The great thing was - she laughed.  She somehow still knew I was doing my very best for her...and what a gift...she laughed.  She laughed when I couldn't get the legs to stop swinging.  She laughed when I couldn't get her to the blood test station and got kicked out of the lab.  She laughed when she told me to explain to her why that lady said, "big butt".  She laughed.

It wasn't long after that that my mom stopped laughing.  She became suspicious and afraid.  Some days I was her daughter, some days I was her mother, some days I was a nice person coming to visit but she didn't know why, some days she thought I was there to steal her stuff.  I never knew, from day to day, who I'd be to her on that day.  Hard stuff.

At this point, I could write out scriptures that remind us that laughter was God's idea.  But, what I want to say is - laughter is such a gift.  Those laughing moments are what I want to remember.    The memory ache of my mom's pain and terror cause tears to stream down my face - but what I want to reinforce in my memory are the sweet moments of genuine laughter.

AND I don't want to miss any available laughing moments in my TODAY.  Last week someone accused me of getting too excited about little things.  I smiled at them and didn't apologize.  I explained that I have found life is much more fun that way.

Laughter is a gift that I treasure and I want you to treasure it as well.  I can't wait to hear what the laughter of God sounds like in heaven.

Friday, January 8, 2016

In the Silence

Hosea 2:14-15
Therefore, behold, I will allure her (Israel) and bring her into the wilderness, 
and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.  
There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (troubling) to be for her a door of hope and expectation.  And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.  

Life is weird.  I get that God doesn't think it's weird, but honestly, I do.  It will be nice when we get to heaven and see how all the pieces fit together, but for now we hold each piece and treat it as an invaluable part of the whole puzzle.  Even when it doesn't look like it fits ANYWHERE.

The thing that helps me the most with this puzzling life is to hear from God.  That settles my heart.

So....what if God is silent.  What if God seems to be sharing grand things with "everyone else", but with you it seems...silent.  What then?

My "what then" looks like this right now - - -

First, right now - He wants me to hear His heartbeat.  I know.  Weird.

If I was better at selfies, I'd take a picture of my head on Dennis' chest.  A silent hug.  An embrace of home and comfort and hope and no words.  There have been many of these during the last few weeks particularly.  Sometime there just aren't words for the pain that has been happening around us in this season.  So, first and foremost God just seems to be wanting to be so close that I hear His heartbeat.

Then - the honor of "hearing Him" through the words of other people.  People who pray, who love, who encourage, who stay, who share.  And you know what?  It doesn't always come from who/where you expect it to come from.

I'm amazed and grateful for simple, revealing, revolutionary words spoken into our lives with no fanfare, but great eternal impact.  Thank you.  Thank you for praying.  Thank you for being obedient. Thank you.

I was reading Hosea and came to chapter 2:14-15 and...I felt like God was speaking.  The Valley of Achor (troubling) will be for her a door of hope and expectation.  That's good stuff.  She shall sing there?  Awesome.  And respond as in the days of her youth.   When I was young and learning to sing in the presence of God - that was my very safest place to be.

I pray you hear Him speak tenderly to your heart.  I pray you hear His heartbeat (not rejection) in the silent times.  I pray you receive words and kindness that He sends through people.

I pray that we CHOOSE that the Valley of Achor, the Valley of Trouble, will be for us a door of hope and expectation - and a great place to sing!