Sunday, August 31, 2014


The high desert of California has a particular smell. It is most obvious on hot summer nights. The tang of juniper, the strange smell of hot dirt, the sweet smell of flowers. On those nights, you can sit outside and feel the heat of the day come off the ground. In the cool of the night it is comforting. I spent many of my childhood nights like this. Sitting on my grandparent's back patio, drinking tea and singing songs, or listening to the adults chatter until sleep overwhelmed me. I would sit on my Grandma's lap and she would rub my back. There the world felt somewhat perfect and safe. Nothing could harm us, no bad could befall us, we were safe and wrapped in love.

I have never really gotten over the loss of my grandparents. They were so monumental in our lives that their absence can often sting. So much of who I am, what is important to me and how I view the world was shaped by them. When blessings come my way, or I think about how lucky I was to escape harm, my first thought is that it is a result of their constant prayers. I miss them both, but the summer I have longed for my Grandmother.

She would know what to say or not to say. She would hold me, love me, feed me, and comfort me. I wouldn't have to be a grown up. She wouldn't expect me to be. I long to be back on that patio safe and secure. I couldn't stop thinking about this as I headed back to work. After a cocoon of safety all summer. I stood in a place were I last was pregnant.  I have struggled to find me again. Who I am as a teacher and colleague and how I take what I have learned this summer into my job, or to gracefully accept condolences. I don't feel like me at school. I haven't quite come back. I don't really know who I am there.

I should be planning my maternity leave. I should be huge and miserable in the heat. I should be discussing insurance and disability. I should be normal, but I am not. Or at least my normal isn't the same as it was. My anxiety is a bit higher, my anemia more present, my day more planned, my ambition lessened, my longing to work with kids larger, my future less planned. Someday it will make sense. Someday it will hurt less. I have faith in that.

However, I could use a long chat with my Grandma. I could sit on that patio and drink tea and listen to her laugh. I need her. I know that she is in heaven rooting for me. Praying for me. Cheering me on, and holding my son. If she were here, then feeling safe would be easy.

I know that this is adulthood. I rest in the knowledge that the God who gave my Grandmother such faith walks with me. I believe that as long as I am willing to follow God's path it will work out, but sometimes you get scared. Sometimes you are tired of being an adult. Sometimes you just want to go back to your safe place and rest. This will be a good year, and healing will continue. I will continue to pray for strength to have faith, because my faith is the legacy my grandparents left behind and the greatest gift they gave me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You Aren't Stuck

If two months ago you had told me that I would be able to laugh and live again, I wouldn't have believed you. I was sure that I would be stuck in my grief. I felt myself drowning in the lightening sand of sorrow. I was being pulled down and I wanted to stay there. I saw no way out.  Today I finish the final devotion of a miscarriage series I started that terrible night two months ago. It ends with a call to rejoice, but also to pour out what God has shown me. To let others know what I have found to be true.

The truth is, you aren't stuck. No matter how hard the circumstance, no matter how uncertain the future, no matter how terrifying the now is. You won't be here for ever. The prophet Jeremiah was placed in a well to die. Jeremiah 38 describes how he "sunk deeper into the mud". We have no idea how long he was actually in there. Some biblical scholars believe he wrote the book of Lamentations while in that well. What we do know, is he eventually lifted out. He didn't pull himself out. He was lifted. He had to wait for that to happen.

Can you imagine what that well was like? No food or water, sinking in mud, darkness, hopelessness, fear and rodents. Imagine being stuck there for any extended period of time. Jeremiah was God's prophet. He had the hard job of telling the Israelite that Jerusalem's days were numbered. Following God's command put him in that well, and I am sure that he did not know why God allowed that to happen to him.

Two months ago I was lowered into a well of grief, anger, sorrow, and hopelessness. I could feel myself sinking into the mud. In a well, you can only look up. You can only look to God to lift you out. I am not completely out. The ropes are still lifting me, and I don't know how long it will take to get to the top. However, I know that I will see the sun again. I know that God will bring me out of this well in his time, and that all of this will be somehow be for His glory.

What is your well? What makes you feel stuck? Instead of focusing on the walls around you, focus on the One who can lift you out. You will not be in the well forever. Look up and pray to be lifted out. Believe in Jeremiah 29:11-14 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

This blog is named for verse 11, but verses 12-14 have been my bedrock for the past two months. I love the phrase "I will listen to you" and "I will be found by you". They reassure me that I am not alone, and am truly being lifted out and up. 
I pray that you can embrace that you aren't stuck. I pray that whatever it is work, family, physical or mental ailments, you are able to overcome them. Reach out and ask for help. Not just from God, but those who love you. I would be nowhere without the love of those who uplift me. 

Even from the dank, dark bottom of a well, we have the hope of Christ to lift us and free us. How lucky are we?