Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.


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God gave you the sun.

The sky has been gray and dark and the rain has fallen for days. I am not sure when we last saw the sun cast shadows. It feels like Seattle with the cold and the rain and the dark. Except it’s not. And seasonal affective disorder might just being setting in, or maybe I am just weepy. And the last thing you said last night before bed? “I wish the sun would come out for my birthday.”

And then here it is, the morning of your birth.

It is still early and you are still sleeping, but you have to know that God brought the sun. It was only for a moment, but the sun glowed through the clouds and the fog. I didn’t know if it would last and I wanted you to see. I grabbed my phone and snapped some pictures right through the window. But they just dId not do it justice. The brilliant glow and the brightness that was spilling through the cracks of the blinds and dancing across the floor. I almost woke you from your dreams so you could breathe it in. But you were so peaceful.

I sat down next to you on the bed and brushed the hair from your face. I watched as your breath came and went. A steady slow rhythm. Memories of how I used to watch you breathe as a baby, how tiny you were, how I held you in my arms, how I could not believe that you were mine, how deep a love could really run, they all raced through my head.

Today, you are thirteen. If you want to be technical you won’t be thirteen until 4:45 pm, and yeah I am going to do just that. Be technical. Hold you to these last few hours of being twelve. Because I have to. Because once you turn thirteen I think it might all just be downhill. That i just might blink and you will be eighteen. The state will consider you an adult. We are closer to that than we are to you being that little baby that I held in my arms and watched breath. And I am just not ready.

I can’t help but wonder where all these years have gone. And what if I got it all wrong and what if I missed something, and that clock is about to roll over and you will officially be a teenager. Officially thirteen. Then what if it will be too late?

But there you are.

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This amazing young lady with more wisdom and grace than thirteen years can carry. I could tell you the obvious of the beauty that you are, but you can see that in the mirror. As you grow through your teen years I pray that the mirror does not become your friend. Because that mirror is a lie. It distorts and misaligns. And it’s all a lie. The only true beauty is that of your heart. And your heart sweet girl is full of beauty.

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Your heart is pure. And it shines. And this is not my doing, but God’s. You invited Him in and let Him fill all the secret places. You etched His words on your heart. And you trusted them.

And now I see you brave.

Conquering fears that once crippled you. Trusting that perfect Love that casts out fear and jumping in.That time you stood and sang His bow is on the strings… the time you sat through a thunderstorm without ears plugged tight with fingers… the time you danced in the puddles after the storm… that time you danced across a stage… It was right there on your face. A smile. The confidence. The brave.

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I pray you remember this feeling. I pray you always jump!

The clock is ticking and there is no stopping it. It’s not mine to stop. Time is always moving forward.

And there you are thirteen.

sydney

birthdaysun

And on this morning God gave you the sun.


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Releasing the Unfinished.

31 days a writing challenge

 

I am kind of a word nerd. So when I sat down to write my post for today, I grabbed the dictionary to find the definition of quiet. I thought if  I am writing about it for 31 days, I should probably know what it really means, right? When I think of quiet the first thing that comes to mind is “without noise.” A quiet child. A quiet room. But there is much more to this 5 letter word than a hushed child.

The word quiet belongs to many parts of speech; noun, adjective, adverb, verb, each with it’s own definition, but all similar in nature. Then there is the transitive verb. What is a transitive verb you ask? We all know verbs are action words, well a transitive verb is an action word that has an object that specifically receives that action. Confused?

 Read this sentence…

I baked some cookies.

 

Now let’s break it down…

“I” :: pronoun, the subject

“baked” :: transitive verb, the action

“cookies” noun, the object receiving the action.

I performed the action of baking. Baking what? What received the action? The cookies. You can see this in sentences such as I played the piano. She smelled the roses. He hit the ball.

See how that works? Transitive verbs always have an object receiving an action.

Ok, grammar lesson done.

 

Quiet

transitive verb  :  to make secure by freeing from dispute or question (merriam-webster)

 

In all honesty our home and our lives always seem to be in a state of chaos. There are not many days that we make it through without a sensory meltdown, migraine, or some other form of misread behavior. Trips to the grocery store can take hours. and you count on the 3 year old screaming, climbing out of the cart, or throwing items from the cart. The 12 year old does everything she can to calm her. She wants everything to run smooth and everyone to be happy. But she can’t control it. And many times her senses overwhelm and she flees in frustration. Inside our house, there is always toys to be found in every nook and cranny, dishes in the sink, laundry waiting to be transformed. The vacuum cleaner stands by in the living room just waiting to be called to duty. It hasn’t seen its home in the closet for well over a year.

This is our normal. This is our everyday chaos. This is where we long for quiet.

But today, I realized there is something greater that binds us in shackles while it robs us of our quiet. We let the words of others seep into our lives. We listen to their silent judgment. They make us question our decisions. But these are our children. They have special needs. Those needs can create chaos, but they also crate beauty. How can they not know the beauty that is found in our chaos? Because to put it mildly, our chaos upsets their quiet.

Whether it is someone who is a part of our lives or the strangers we see in public places, each one of them has an opinion of what really is going on in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it is whispered words of what they would do different, stares of disapproval and shaking heads at the checkout counter, it is all the same. Their opinions. To them it seems our children are spoiled and misbehaving, and we have no control of them. But they are not. Neither intend to be defiant, be disruptive, or meltdown. Don’t get me wrong they both have the natural instinct, as does every child, to push their boundaries, but in most instances their bodies are frustrated. They cannot communicate what they are feeling because they don’t understand what is causing the frustration and the result is not pretty.

We allow these words and actions to seep into our minds, they strike us deep and cause pain and anxiety. We dwell on them much too long. We begin to question our decisions, our doctors and our therapies, our instincts. We feel the grip of the shackles as they tighten and we fight to be free. So why do we do it? Why do we let these people cause us much turmoil? Because we want them to see us. We want to know that they support us. We want them to understand us.

But this is where that transitive form of quiet comes in – to make secure by freeing from dispute or questions. Does this not infer that we could be free from the anxiety and the chaos it creates? If we stood firm in our convictions and choices; and remember that every decision and action was not without much thought, research and prayer, could we not live out the transitive verb of quiet?

To make secure (calm the anxiety) by freeing (breaking the shackles) from dispute or question (the comments, looks and stares)? It is a choice. I imagine what that looks like…

We quieted the chaos by believing in ourselves. Believing God. And there was freedom.

 

This post feels far from being finished. But learned this week about releasing and that is exactly what I am going to do.

 

This is day three of 31 one days of finding quiet in the chaos. To read all of the posts in this series click here.

 

 


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Thirty-one Days Walking Through Darkness Day Nineteen :: The Needle Pierced

20121019-222622.jpgThe procedure was done and all went well. He was scheduled to go home the next day. But in the middle of the night everything would change. The pain came, and the needle would pierce. And my daddy would slip away. Doctors unsure of what happened. They suspected the pain medication. They would tell us we needed to wait. Wait for it to clear his system. Just wait…

I am not good in the wait. Never have been. My thoughts run thoughts are Reckless. I forget Who is in control. But on that day I did not forget. I knew the One who is in control was about to call my daddy home. And I was terrified.

God are you there?
I’m here.
I am right here.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Isaiah 43:2


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Thirty-One Days Walking Through Darkness Day Eighteen :: He meets Me in My Mourning

20121018-121440.jpgI had just witnessed a miracle. I watched the love of God at work, as my little girl faced her fear. There are no words to describe what it’s like to stand in His presence. To see Him. Watch Him move through a room. To see His power breathed through the lips of a child. There are no words. It’s just glory. All glory.

The worship leader opens with Yahweh, Yahweh! We love to shout your name oh, Lord! And I want to shout. I just witnessed a miracle. And the joy spills out. It’s all glory. The words slide into you alone can rescue, you alone can save, you alone can lift us from the grave… These words stop my heart. They are etched there. Intertwined with bittersweet memories.

At this time last year, this song played over and over every time the car was started. My little girl preparing for the Christmas program. The one where she becomes a conqueror. No words more relevant for that week. They played in the car that morning. The long drive to the hospital. And again that night on the was drive back home. Daddy in heaven. Me numb. The sky midnight black and crystal clear. Stars bright and shimmery. It all seemed surreal. Her voice breaks through the silence… you alone can rescue, you alone can save, you alone can lift us from the grave, You came down to find us, led us out of death to You alone belongs the highest praise…

Then they come. These words… There is strength within the sorrow, there is beauty in our tears, you meet us in our mourning with a love that casts out fear… You are with us in the fire and the flood… You are sovereign over us. And it is all I can do to stop the flood. And I just want to run.

This song. These words. They bring to mind the verses He gave days before my daddy would slip beyond. And the same verses my sister would see upon leaving the hospital the night before his last day. The knowing that this was the end. And I don’t want to remember. And I think why today? Why this week? I want to run.

But then it comes, the pastor teaches from psalm 146 and 147. I was glued to every word, but I don’t remember much. Except for this… Praise the Lord. He speaks of those who have passed on. How to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. How Jesus will come and those that have fallen asleep will rise first, and then those who are alive will be caught up together in the clouds and so we shall forever be with the Lord. Praise the Lord.

And its just that. The why… He loves me too much. He meets me in my mourning. He is sanctifying me. And beyond my understanding He is teaching me to trust.

And God whispers, I’m here.
I am right here.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Isaiah 43:2


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Thirty-one Days Walking Through Darkness Day Seventeen :: One Can Learn Much From a Child

20121018-005954.jpgHer heart hurts today. Fear got the best of her and she is broken. She stood before a giant and she trembled. Her heart wanting to sing, but her mouth could not find the words. The giant was large and it stole her courage. And she is broken.

She has a second chance today. Hers for the taking, but the feeling is raw and it is settling in, her thoughts shifting to failure. She decides to go and listen. Maybe next time. Maybe. And we sit and listen.

Then the whisper… “I think I am going to do this.”

Her name is called and she takes her place on that stage. I sit on steps waiting to catch her if she breaks, if she falls again. Her eyes meet mine and the words cross lips and she doesn’t hesitate. Her voice fills the air. She stands boldly there, small and courageous, slaying her giant. And it’s magical. And it’s God. And she soars.

She soars because she knows… He is the One that carries her. Always carrying her. She knows that His perfect love casts out fear. And that love never fails. She knows these things deep and she lives them.

She stands in His presence. And it is right there in the lilt of her voice She sings for Him. Because it is all Him. It’s always Him. Walking her through her darkness.

One can learn much from a child.


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Thirty-One Days Walking Through Darkness Day Twelve :: The Neon Sign Flickers

20121013-004702.jpgWe sat on the edge of that bed… him telling me of the day, the latest ventures, the companies they have met. His words were all blurry to me, but I could see it with clarity. It was right there in his words shining like a neon sign… I am angry with God.

I am angry with God. I am angry with God. I. Am. Angry. With. God. The words repeat. Slowing in my head as they seep in with a sting like salt on an open wound. I feel the stitches of closed wounds breaking open. Years of wounds that were soothed and were healing. They are breaking open.

The anger unleashes. It’s hot and wild. And I cannot contain it. I cry out to Him… How did I get here? How did we get here? Weren’t we great together? Weren’t we? I mean, this past year spent in bed, You were there in my bedroom window. Remember the one? Where treetops touch sky? And You paint with broad strokes? Compose symphonies just for me? We were tight, weren’t we? Finger crossed tight?

What happened to us?

The neon sign flickers, and the mind tells lies and my heart is believing. He broke my trust. He took my dad without telling me. He took him without me being there. He took my heart right out of my chest as my insides spilled. And we are done. Its time for me to go now. Because that is what I do. I run. I always run.

His words still blurry, how long have we been sitting here? His eyes meet mine and he knows I am not there. And I say it out loud. I am angry with God. The words echo. And I’m scared. What if I am never able forgive? Because this was a deal breaker. He new it was a deal breaker. He knows all. Isn’t this what the bible says?

And it rains. Tears falling hard. And I am running.

And God whispers…
I’m here.
I am right here.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

Isaiah 43:2


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Thirty-one Days Walking Through Darkness Day Ten :: Getting it Right

20121011-131808.jpgThis writing is hard. Walking through darkness. It brings emotions that I thought were long since passed. Memories surface that I want to forget. This is the healing. Words passing through finger tips.

I write a lot. Words scribbled in notebooks, typed on phones. Words. I want to save them… words of long studies of scriptures, letters to my dad, my girls, silly thoughts that pass through my head… words carry weight. And I pray the words that I actually share in this space. And I am amazed that people find them. That they can relate to them. That’s all God.

I feel responsibility in my sharing. What if I get it wrong? What if my story doesn’t come out right? These questions fill my head, get in the way of the words lifted up. And the fingers are paralyzed.

The answer is there is no getting it wrong. Because it is my story and only I can write it. And if I write truth and transparency, then there is no wrong. I am not writing doctrine or theology, just my journey.

That is all I can do, that is all He asks me to do. And how and where the words fall? That’s all God.

So I write my story a day at a time. And I work through emotions and I heal. And it is good.

God, are you there?
I’m here.
I am right here.