Thursday, August 25, 2011
I came back to the woods today. Everything is different than last week.
Last week I felt frantic- this week I'm calm, joyful. Last week I walked purposefully. I was only focused on getting to the HOPE cabin spot. I had to get there- to be where I feel HOPE growing.
It's a good time to be in the woods. The cool morning makes it a great day for my jeans and long-sleeved denim shirt. It rained last night, so the ground is damp and I'm sure farther up the trail I'll have to dodge the patches of mud. But the path to the JOURNEY cabin was paved with wood chips. The smell was earthy. The air refreshing as I entered the woods from the clearing.
I have a full day planned- you see this is my PRAYER DAY! I'm hear to get with God about my life/ business. I have a lot planned. But here I sit. Listening! As I do my heart settles down, my soul finds center and I realize that this is exactly what today is about. Not planning, not me telling God, but me listening to God!
And as I did I was reminded of many of you- I was reminded to pray.
I prayed for your dreams and your plans, for your hurts and your losses,
I prayed for your relationships with family and friends, for your influence in your world.
I prayed that God would give you courage to face your fears and that you would toss aside the mask you hide behind when you feel insecure.
I prayed that you would find time to rest in your private sanctuary with your heavenly father.
I prayed that there you would see that He sees into you and you see into Him- you know what that's called
In to Me See- intimacy!
While you are there- face to face, eye to eye with your Creator, your Redeemer, I prayed that you would worship from a grateful heart!
I've only been here a couple of hours- and it's already been a great day!
All the way here the tears were spilling over, insisting on being released. I could do nothing to stop them. But they were unusual tears. They weren't just tears of grief- though I am grieving the absence of our third daughter for 5 years now. The one who insisted life take notice and listen to her. Even today I feel an urgency to remember her. She's walked with me on my HOPE walk through the woods. It felt like she poked me with a leaf that fell on my hands while I was taking a picture of the future site of the HOPE CABIN. I feel such hope thinking that one day soon this cabin will be built and I and others will be able to go there for rest & quiet from their hectic, sometimes pain-filled lives. Today I spent in the JOURNEY cabin and it has been a sweet place today to remember that I am not in the 'dark place' I crawled into 5 years ago.
Our family spent Sunday together- just sharing a meal together, sitting together sharing stories and laughter and sometimes tears. We even had a 'car problem' to deal with - seems like there always is one. A random homeless angry man chose to punch the windshield out of a random car on Brie's campus that just happened to be my car- since she was driving mine while hers had been in the shop for repairs. So we brought hers down and took mine back. Once again reminded that it's just a thing. Brie was not in it- she was not hurt- and somewhere in a Columbus jail sits a man that I pray for today. Maybe you can pray for him too! I wonder what kind of dark place he finds himself in.
This morning after my walk, the Lord led me to Psalm 57. It's amazing what the Psalmist teaches us in that Psalm about what to do when you are in a dark place. David was in a dark place just then- a cave at En Gedi where he was hiding from King Saul, in fear for his life. But even here, David shares how he dealt with his dark place. Let me share with you what I learned.
He started out by crying out to God.
"Have mercy on me, O God. Have mercy in me. For in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wing until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.."
Then he remembers "God sends his love and his faithfulness." It just struck me how it was included as if Leisha were writing me a letter and closing by saying- by the way, Mom, God sends his love…! I needed to remember God is intimately acquainted with my day, my tears, my emotions.
Then in verse 4 he begins to speak of his fears.
I said earlier my tears were unusual - they weren't just tears of grief- they are also tears of gratitude. You see over the last 5 years, I've begun to face some of my greatest fears. I found them to be areas where I was frantically seeking to gain control, yet feeling empty in my seemingly futile attempt. As the Lord made me aware of yet another, I would bring it to Him and ask for His truth to speak into it. Each time He spoke, I sensed another area of my life free up- another place in my heart give in to his grace. And I found peace! Sweet, rest filled, green-hope inspired, peace.
I am grateful! Five years ago, I couldn't imagine ever feeling life- or hope- again. Yet I feel both as I spend this day in the woods.
PS 1. I've been writing a lot lately, but haven't taken the time to post here. So I will date each one with the day they were written.
PS 2. If you want to know more about the DEEP WOODS/ Leisha's Hope Project- go to August 12 to read more.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The journey of letting go and moving forward is lifelong, and in many ways, lonely. Each of us has our own road to walk as we process loss. Yet, if we allow ourselves to address the depth of emotion and ache, it becomes deeply spiritual. As we look back, we realize that at those moments of greatest darkness, we see that even there we were not completely alone. Our God- holy, pure, majestic God was there with us in the muck and mire of our grief. In those moments, we see HOPE!
One of Leisha’s favorite words was HOPE! Her favorite color was green. One morning she came bounding into the kitchen announcing “My favorite color means my favorite word. Green means HOPE!” We have been very aware of Green HOPE moments in our journey since she ran into His arms that August day.
But noticing Green is not always easy. It takes a great deal of time and energy to see HOPE. It takes soul searching and sometimes even God yelling to come to a place of healing. We have to find a safe place before we can have those times of honesty before God.
Sometimes that place is in the car pounding on the steering wheel.
Sometimes that place is at work, weeping against the frame of a car.
Sometimes that place is at school, with head buried in a pillow to muffle the cry, or tears staining the pages of a text book.
Sometimes it is in the woods, walking among the tall, wooded hallways of nature’s cathedral; kneeling at the fallen log in prayer; sinking into the leaf strewn path in sobs; arriving broken, angry, frightened, alone, only to rise again, restored, at peace, free, different. The circumstances have not changed- but somehow, we have.
We know of such a place. We’ve been there! Emotionally, spiritually- but also physically! There is a physical place that has been a safe place for us and for many others. A place of HOPE! That is why we are writing today.
One of our safe places is called DEEP WOODS. It is a sacred space set apart for all who are seeking time alone with God. DEEP WOODS is located in the 25 acres of woods behind Crossroads Church, where Leisha’s Celebration of Life was held. It is open to all who are looking for a place of beauty and solace.
There are foot paths and prayer stations, along with a clearing and a fire pit. There are places to sit and watch the wildlife, or kneeling stations to pray and reflect. One small cabin has already been built for individual or couple retreats. That cabin is called the JOURNEY cabin. Three more cabins (FAITH, HOPE and LOVE) and a Chapel are planned as part of the DEEP WOODS space.
Why do we tell you of this place?
Because it is our hearts desire to offer that safe place of HOPE to many others who find themselves in desperate places! You have been part of loving Leisha and loving us in our journey toward healing. We wanted to give you an opportunity to join us as we seek to provide another avenue of HOPE for others.
That is why we long to be part of funding, constructing and furnishing the HOPE Cabin in DEEP WOODS as part of Leisha’s HOPE.
The cost of constructing the HOPE Cabin, which is 12’ x 16’, will run about $8,000. Projected costs for furnishing that space with a small desk & chair, a rocker and lamp table, as well as, a small bed is $700.
As funds are available, a chapel with restroom facilities and electricity will be added to the DEEP WOODS space, but currently we use lanterns and a very well cared for outhouse when the church facilities are closed. More information of DEEP WOODS is available. Feel free to email or call if you have questions or for a brochure.
Donations can be made directly to Crossroads Church, 775 S Thayer Road, Lima, Ohio 45806 earmarked as DEEP WOODS/ Leisha’s HOPE.
We realize that, even though you love us and Leisha, this may not be the thing God asks you to be part of right now. We understand. We have to make lots of choices every day too. But we also know that you might want to be part of Leisha’s HOPE. So we make this known to you! No matter what you can give, we do covet your prayers as we see this to completion.
We have and continue to find HOPE in our own journey. We long to be part of helping you and others find HOPE in your own. Join us won’t you!
Seeing Green HOPE in a brown world!
Rennie, Kathy, Caitlin, Brielle
Monday, August 1, 2011
- Well, I'm going to 'do the next thing" in front of me right now- another stack of dishes.
- My 'always thinking of how to do things better' daughter is going to pick up a dish drainer at Walmart today- so instead of just rinsing, each of us can just quickly wash and let drain. Then just put away.
- And I'm going to check into a water softener, or alternative method to get this source of my issue dealt with as soon as possible.
- I might have to start putting away a bit of money so that I can pay for it without having to put it on a credit card.... which would lead me to a whole other issue.
So what's your issue today? What are the steps you are going to take to make things different next week? It won't be different unless we take the step today!
Go for it! I am! Happy washing!
Psalm 90:12 "O teach us to live well. Teach us to live wisely and well." (the MSG)