Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.

broken, fear, communion, God, cross, Jesus


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broken and afraid–where do we turn? :: part one

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Mark 2:17 (NLT)

 

I was 18 years old. When my world tilted sideways. When the sickness with no diagnosis struck me and prevented me from doing anything and everything. When the church where I grew up, attended all the services, and special activities, the church where I walked streets with and knocked on doors with its people sharing the gospel, the church where everyone knew my name, knew I was good —that church turned its back and shut the door because a doctor could not find a cause to my sickness.

The church that so adamantly spread the gospel, sharing how God so loved the world He sent His son, made me an outcast —speaking of me and my broken body in rumors and lies.

What is the church if not the very representation of God? Is the church not supposed to be for the broken? Isn’t this what Jesus did here on earth? Did He not sit with all the broken people?

///

Where do we turn when we need God?

When you reach that place where there is nothing left and you really need Him, but the fear that you are not good enough, and you will be too much and not enough, because this is what you have learned and it is all you know?

How do we know how God will respond, or if He will respond if we reach out to Him? If all we know about God and His character is to fear Him, how can we really know what He is like?  When everything I know in my heart is I have somehow let Him down, does He want my broken,—can He handle my broken?

And what if He were sitting right beside me, would I recognize Him? Would you recognize Him?

When all you know is that the fear of the Lord is simply this — fear, where do you turn when everything that you believe in falls apart? Where do you turn when you search your heart for scriptures but all that produces is that God loved the world and all the road that leads you to the cross?

Where do you turn when you know Jesus in your heart, and you have tried to live the “perfect life” and now you are broken, and your brokenness might very well be your undoing because you took the bread and drank the wine. And your heart is simply unclean?

Where do we turn?

Join me tomorrow as we delve deep and answer the question where do you turn?

 

 

This post is the second in a series on Chasing Grace :: a journey further up and further in, if you would like to read the whole series go here.


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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.


4 Comments

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.

1923160_70205232280_6466816_n

39352_441051267280_7199627_n

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.

170639_10150106069442281_2798637_o

249134_1719275952337_1201481_n

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.

339814_10150343069072281_349075825_o

552436_10151138278377794_1387789991_n

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.


4 Comments

Friends, Circles, Fitting In.

On Fridays, Lisa-Jo Baker invites you to write for 5 minutes without stopping, without editing. 5 minutes on a word prompt. There is a whole bunch of ladies that write and link up and even have a twitter party the night before in anticipation of the event. Yeah, it get’s that exciting! You can find them on Twitter here #FMFParty….. For more information about 5 minute fridays click here.

 

This weeks prompt is Friend

 

GO.

I read yesterday of circles. Standing outside of them and feeling the lonely awkwardness because the ones in the circles never stepped back a bit to let the circle widen. Staring at the backs of heads, stiff shoulders like impenetrable fortresses. Fortresses for the elite, and all the writer had ever seen is the way she didn’t fit. How she grasped at conversations like crumbs falling from the table. And each attempt feeling like the beggar she knew herself to be.

Her words pierced straight through my heart and I felt the hollow emptiness. I wondered how she could read my mind, because that was my story written right there in her story. Because in my life there is no room in the circles for autism, and food allergies, and chronic illness, and little ones that well you just don’t know what to do with them. There just isn’t circles for that. Because it is just too messy.

And she is living my story, and suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore. Until I was…

Because in my real life, He hasn’t shown me those circles, the ones that step back and widen. Instead He brings me two special friends, in the oddest of circumstances and the saddest. They live in different states.  They encourage me. Breath life into me. And when I have nothing left, and the tears are falling and I don’t have words, they raise their voices for me. Pray over me. Bring God right into my room. My quiet place. He shines so bright. These women see the ugly and the messy. And they do it anyway.

So I wait on the Lord for those circles, and I cherish the holes He has filled with these two women who brave through ugly and messy and we love through backlit screens and keyboards.

STOP

 

And because I had just 5 minutes to write, I didn’t have time to mention my sister who has always been my one dearest and truest friend. Though our lives are heading in different paths right now, and I don’t see her as much. She is still my heart. Always. Then my two long time girlfriends who have we have kept in touch over the last 16 years, these two are always a text away to say please pray. And these two the same they have their paths and their circles, but we are always here for each other. They are all important to me and I love them so.

 

To read more stories about Friends, check them out here.

 

This weekend (in)RL is hosting their annual webcast, the conference that you don’t have to leave home for… the one for community. This year’s theme the power of story. I am joining in on my own, because I want to know what it looks like to share your story. God is calling me to do this, here in this space. You can join in too. It’s free. And if you wish to find community to share it with host a group, or join one of the 436 groups already meeting.

 

 


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Thirty-one days Walking Through Darkness Day Twenty-five :: Moving Forward

I was clinging to the pain and sorrow. Because it was familiar. Because my thought was… if I let go of the pain, it meant letting go of my daddy and I was not going to do that. So I clung. But God could not let me stay there. He promises that over and over in His word. He was not going to leave me there.

On March 10, 2012, I saw this post by Jennifer of studiojru.com

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Photo courtesy of Studiojru.com

It wrecked me. It was if my daddy was talking straight through this photo. Reminding me of what he left behind for me. Those three songs. The words. That I needed to listen to them. Take them to heart and move forward. And that does not mean leaving him behind. Because he is always with me. Because Jesus took the nail. Because He redeemed us. Because eternity awaits. And this time here is just a blink.

This picture now sits among glass. Colored glass. Bottles. Vases. Some from my daddy, others I have found. A reminder of collecting glass when I was little. Walking the woods with my daddy. A reminder to keep moving. Pressing on toward the goal. And I am moving forward.

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 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