Saturday, February 12, 2011

perfect power in weakness

I've been really blessed them semester to have a chance to meet weekly with a dear friend and woman of God who has committed to mentor me over the course of the semester. In our time last week, I was expressing some of my feelings of inadequacy in some of the opportunities that the Lord has presented me with recently. I was just sharing how I know God has given me some great opportunities to minister to others and to grow myself, but I just feel like I may not be ready, or have the right words to say, or be able to handle the responsibility. God, am I really the best person for this?

I caught the tail end of a radio interview this afternoon, and the DJ was interviewing David Crowder. He asked how he felt about the huge opportunity he had been given in his career to stand before so many people. His response- that he felt inadequate. He went on to say that he truly believes that it is only when we are aware of our limitations that God can use us to our fullest potential. The whole upside down kingdom notion, when I am weak, he is strong. My mind jumped to 2 Corinthians 12:9- My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. This has been a real favorite verse over the past year or so, and hearing that interview and being reminded of that verse brought a real sense of peace to my heart. It is so true that it is really only in our weakness that we are fully aware of the power of God. It's also true that the Lord's grace is sufficient. I don't think I ever really grasped what genuine faith and true dependence on God looked like until there was a time in my life when I was too weak to make it on my own, and I had to rely on my faith and trust in the Lord. Because I am weak, I have gotten to see the Lord's power in my life. I have gotten to see how faithful He is, how He provides for us, how His love is never ending. And now, the Lord is choosing to use me, in spite of my weakness, to make his power known. I hope that I am always able to see my own weakness, so that I may truly know his power.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

long time, no blog

So I have been really, really, inconsistent in blogging or even journaling latley. But I've also had a lot on my mind latley...

Last Thursday marked two years since we got mom's cancer diagnosis. Two years. That's a long time. It's wierd how the passage of time works. In some ways, that day seems like it was an eternity ago, but in others, it seems like it was only yesterday. It seems like forever ago because so much has changed in two years. Seems like only yesterday because I can replay that conversation with my mama over and over again in my head, I can relive all those emotions, I can remember exactly where I was, what she said, that long walk across campus crying because my life had just been turned upside down. It's strange to me the array of emotions that accompany anniversaries. It seems like there are so many little dates that always manage to stir up emotion like nothing else can. The 2 year anniversary of her diagnosis was one of those emotion stirring days, or really, weeks. I probably sang the Steven Curtis Chapman song Our God is in Control 100 times in my head last week. My favorite verse and mantra for the week-"This is not where we planned to be when we started this journey, but this is where we are and our God is in control. Though this first taste is bitter, there will be sweetness forever when we finally taste and see that our God is in control." I don't think I ever imagined when mama called to tell me that she had cancer that we would lose her 8 short months later. I was faced with her mortality, but I still somehow felt like there was no way God would actually let my mama die. My prayer journal is filled with repeated prayers- please, just don't let my mama die. I knew on Feb 3 2009 that God had started us on a journey, but I sure didn't know what the outcome would be. Where we are today is certainly not where we planned to be. However, our God is in control. He is, He is, He is. No matter how hard it is to believe, or understand, or accept, its the truth, its our hope, its what will turn the bitterness into sweetness.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

one year

today marks the one year anniversary of mom's death. it seems so very strange that she's been gone for a whole year. there a lot of things i could say about the past year, but really i can just sum it up by saying that its been full of lots of ups and downs, but through them all god has been faithful. i'd be lying if i told you that i'd always trusted god, that i'd always been okay with his plan, or that i've always felt like he was in control or that he wants the best for me. i've not been a perfect christian by any means, there has been a lot of anger, a lot of questioning, some biterness...but he has been so faithful to love me regardless.
i've had this song in my mind all day. it's by steven curtis chapman, on a cd called beauty will rise. he wrote the songs for this cd after his young daughter was killed in an accident. all of the songs have such a powerful message and speak so much truth, but this has been my song for today-
It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything came crashing down
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains and sift through the ashes that are left behind
But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams we have this hope:

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning... in the morning, beauty will rise

So take another breath for now,
and let the tears come washing down,
and if you can't believe I will believe for you.
Cuz I have seen the signs of spring! Just watch and see:

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning... in the morning...

I can hear it in the distance and it's not too far away.
It's the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast.
I can almost feel the hand of God reaching for my face to wipe the tears away,
and say, "It's time to make everything new."

i could comment on every single line of this song, i love it. i love how wonderfully it puts into words things that i can't describe. i'm really thankful for the hope that i have in christ, as my pastor said this week "our hope is real, an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast." there were a lot of times in the beginning that i didn't feel so hopeful. but i can say, that today, one year later, even in the midst of a really hard day and a lot of pain, i'm secure in my hope. in my hope that i'll see my mama again, my hope that god will use this for his glory, my hope of salvation, my hope in god's faithfulness....i could go on and on.
i am really looking foward to the day when i can feel the hand of god wiping all the tears away, when he says "it's time to make all things new."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

just as i am

i had a little meeting with one of my campus ministers this morning. it consisted of a lot of crying, a long and warm embrace, her sharing some truth with me, and a converstaion with the father on my behalf. a lot of our time together in the past year has been spent this way.
yesterday, i had a melt down. out of the blue, nothing to trigger it, just started crying with no end in sight. let myself cry for a little bit, then sent the infamous chocolate text to britt. in less than 2 min, she was in the bed with me, with a whole bag of chocolate. because like any goodgirlfriend, britt knows that chocolate makes EVERYTHING better.
got to have dinner with a precious friend last night. she picked me up, i got in the car and said "its been one of those weeks." she smiled, knowing exactly what i meant, and what i needed.
spent some sweet time tonight sharing my burdened heart with my bible study group, 6 sorority sisters who know my story as well as anyone, but listened as if it were the first time they'd heard it.
i'm so thankful for the people in my life who accept me just as i am. it's not always pretty. quite often, its downright ugly. but i'm blessed to have a network of family, friends, and mentors who have been there for the long haul, who have not only accepted me, but loved me and been there to support me through it all, no matter what state i'm in.
what a beautiful reflection of the love that our father has for us. just as i am- my god loves me, cares for me, and provides for me. i'm not always faithful, or loving toward him, but he is. he lavishes me with his provision and goodness, even when i am too angry or broken to see it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


i've never experienced anything quite as difficult or unpredictable as grief. there were days in the beginning where i literally hurt so badly that i could not get out of bed. there were moments when i would sob uncontrollably. there were moments, and eventually days and then weeks when i could function as if nothing had ever happened. my grief was so intense those first few months after the shock and numbeness wore off. but eventually, like everyone promised, time began to heal. and then there were whole days where i could go without crying. and then weeks, and then recently, a few whole months were i felt really normal and in control of my emotions. like my life had a new sense of normalcy, that was different, but not so bad.

and then, one morning, i woke up and it was october.
i woke up one day, and was fine. and then, i woke up the next, and there was grief, like a heavy cloak hanging over my body, stealing my energy, my ability to focus. the queasy sick feeling, constantly. the heart that felt like it may beat out of my chest at any moment. the whole in my heart that i thought was on the mend, ripped back open. it's crazy how the month on the calendar can be so linked to my emotional well being. but it is.

i can't believe that it is already october, that it will soon have been a year since my mom made that journey from earth to eternity. this time last year, the lord was at work eerily preparing my heart for what was to come. i had conversations with three separate people, in which they all asked "so have you been told your mom's cancer is terminal?" i hadn't been told this, but the lord knew, and he was at work preparing me for what was to come.
this time last year i was having my last phone conversations with mom, which were short and less frequent than i would have prefered, because the cancer was overtaking her body and stealing her life. this time last year i was trying to decide what to do for family weekend, not knowing that it would all be decided for me. i was struggling with whether i needed to be at home or at school, i was quite frankly pretty miserable.

i can't believe its been a year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


there are lots and lots of things that i really miss about my mama. some obviously really big things, like the love that only a mother can have for her children, but it seems like the things that i miss the most are the little things. like being able to pick up the phone and call to tell her a funny story. or her laughter.
anyone who knew my mama knew she LOVED to laugh. and she had a quite distinctive laugh. you could easily pick her out in a room of 100 people by her loud, uncontrollable, contagious laughter. i really miss that. i miss how she could so easily get so cracked up- and laugh until she cried. i miss her sense of humor, because the older i get the more i realize just how similar my sense of humor is/was (never sure of the correct tense to use when i talk about mama, the past tense just seems so...strange) to hers. one of my favorite memories of mama that so accurately reflects her love to laugh and have fun happened during her first chemo treatment. i was at school and her and dad were off for the marathon day of blood work, counts, accessing the port, fluids, benadryl, chemo drugs, anti nausea meds, ect... i assumed she'd be scared, probably a little depressed, and sick. i was at school, and about an hour into treatment, i get a picture text from mama. it is of the man that is sitting across from her in the chemo room... not a little man, but a rather large man, completely passed out, sleeping like a baby...with his big, white, hairy belly hanging out. mama's message "see what you are missing out on? wish you could hear him snore."
she refused to be discouraged by her treatment, and instead was looking for ways to laugh and have fun, even at poor sleeping chemo mans expense. :) it became a common theme of chemo days, always waiting for either a picture or a phone call of the interesting people at the oncologists office.

what i'd give for one more text from my mama, or just to hear the sound of her laughter again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is the way long?" she asked. "Yes, and the way is hard, and you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning." But the young mother was happy, and she would not belive that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams, and the sun shown on them, and life was good. And the mother cried, "Nothing will ever be better than this." Then night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold. The mother drew them close to her, and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother you are near, and we are not afraid." And the mother said, "This is better than the light of day, for I have taught my children courage."
The morning came and there was a hill ahead and the children climbed and grew weary, but at all times she said to her children, "A little patience and we are there." And when they reached the top they said, "Mother we could not have done it without you ." When she lay down that night the mother looked at the stars and said, "This day is better than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday, I gave them courage , and today I gave them strength."
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth. Clouds of war, hate, and evil. The children groped and stumbled. The mother said, "Look up, lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked up and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory. It guided them and brought them beyond the darkness. That night the mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."
And the days went on, the weeks and the months and the years. The mother grew old and she was bent, but her children were tall and stong and walked with courage. When the way was hard, they helped their mother and when the way was rough, they lifted her. At last they came to a hill and beyond they could see a shining road and the golden gates flung wide. The mother said, " I have reached the end of my journey and now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them." Her children said, "You will always walk with us Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone and the gates closed after her. They said, " We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory, she will always be a living presence.

mama, thank you for teaching me how to walk with courage, for giving me strength, and most of all, for showing me god. i don't always feel like i'm capable of wakling alone, but i'm reminded that you are always with me, and that your life serves as a guide when it seems like i cannot take another step.