Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Birthday card ...for Leisha?

...or for me?

We celebrated Leisha's birthday (April 28) and my Dad's birthday (April 29) with my parents and my brother Brad, Tanya, Chelsi and her boyfriend Zach!  I don't know if we've ever celebrated Dad & Leisha's birthday's together all these years.  But Ren & I got to be in Texas this time and enjoyed our visit with them.

Mom slipped a card over to me after we finished eating.  On the front was written 'Leisha's Hope' and inside was a gift for the electricity DEEP WOODS project.  I was elated.  There was also a page that had been torn out of a daily bread devotional.  She had marked some portions of it that she especially wanted me to see.  I slipped in back in the envelope and promised I would read it later.  

I didn't get a chance to read it till we were traveling home a couple of days later.  But I was amazed how it tied in with the dreams and words of the hymn on Leisha's birthday. (See April 28th's blog)

I include it here in it's entirety so I won't forget what it said...

from OUR DAILY BREAD, February 8, 2013

Mysterious Truth
Sometimes when the infinite God conveys His thoughts to finite man, mystery is the result. For example, there’s a profound verse in the book of Psalms that seems to present more questions than answers: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants” (116:15 niv).
I shake my head and wonder how that can be. I see things with earthbound eyes, and I have a tough time seeing what is “precious” about the fact that our daughter was taken in a car accident at the age of 17—or that any of us have lost cherished loved ones.
We begin to unwrap the mystery, though, when we consider that what is precious to the Lord is not confined to earthly blessings. This verse examines a heaven-based perspective. For instance, I know from Psalm 139:16 that Melissa’s arrival in God’s heaven was expected. God was looking for her arrival, and it was precious in His eyes. And think about this: Imagine the Father’s joy when He welcomes His children home and sees their absolute ecstasy in being face to face with His Son (see John 17:24).
When death comes for the follower of Christ, God opens His arms to welcome that person into His presence. Even through our tears, we can see how precious that is in God’s eyes.
Lord, when sorrow grips our hearts as we think about
the death of one close to us, remind us of the joy You are
experiencing as our loved one enjoys the pleasures of
heaven. Please allow that to give us hope and comfort.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. —Psalm 116:15

A sunset in one land is a sunrise in another.

Thanks Mom!
Happy Birthday Leisha!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

She would have been...

22!  Today she would have been 22,
and possibly graduating from college with her friends this May
And maybe 'getting married'
like her other two sisters are this year. 

But I don't know what she is 'right now'!
I sense she is very much alive
Thoroughly using the gifts and abilities
God has designed her to use
Experiencing deeply the joy of being authentically  Leisha

But this morning I sense there is more… much more!

I woke up from some vivid dreams- It is dark
and I'm aware I am not in my own bed, but the guest bed at my parents home. Ren lays beside me sleeping soundly, though he had been so restless the night before.
Much like I felt now.

The dreams were a collage of dreams really- all having a different setting  and different characters too
But the plot was similar
Somewhere- somehow- something tragic happened and someone died.
Someone was ripped out of the life of another who loved them.
Someone was left with a gapping hole and a horrific ache.
I would stir from one dream only to appear in the middle of another story with the same heart wrenching scene.
I lay there sobbing silently- reliving what was  my own tragic  scene
Rehashing my own violent emotions
Longing- deeply longing to hold my girl once again.
To celebrate her birthday with her present-
this day that reminded me she had lived
She had messed up my world from the day she was born
And I knew I would never be the same because of it.
I was eternally grateful.

But this night my heart senses more...much more!
My Leisha may not celebrate her 'earth birthday' as much as we do!
I consider the fact that the day she trusted Christ as her Savior might be the day she celebrates.
Or the day she 'ran into heaven' - August 16th-
maybe that day is of more significance to her now than the day they placed her in my arms
And we named her Leisha Danae!

Maybe- because time in heaven is so different than on earth-
Maybe it only feels like 7 seconds since she's been there
And not the 7 long years I have labored through to find healing.

But there's more! 
She is face to face with Jesus, Son of God
Singing, serving, loving, working, welcoming, talking- you know she is talking
maybe even praying- for me, for her dad and her sisters, for her friends.
I don't know how that works.

But the thing that astonished me was that she was 'face to face' with Jesus.
I recall the words of the song "I can only imagine… what it will be like...when your before me!"
As I lay there in the darkness- peace came!
The same peace I felt the afternoon I sat with her in the ambulance before they took her away
Overwhelming peace that everything that was Leisha except this beautiful shell
Had already run on to heaven.
The vibrant life I had seen moments before  was completely gone.
I knew she was with Him now.
I never was more sure of anything in my life.
I felt peace!  Now- as then!

She is with Him!
Whole! Not broken!
Kneeling at His feet!

I slept!

I woke later in the morning to my mom playing the piano as I fondly remember her doing all of my life.
My heart was comforted at the sound of it.
Then I realized what she was playing… and I smiled and sang along with the words I could remember....

...face to face, I shall behold Him, far beyond the starry sky;
            face to face in all His glory, I shall see Him by and by!

Vs1.Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face
—what will it be?
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me.

CH. Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Vs2. Only faintly now, I see Him,
With the darkling veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

Vs3.What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Vs4.Face to face! O blissful moment!
Face to face
—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Plethora of Emotion.....

This is an amazing time of my life!

Fortunately I have had some time to just 'reflect' lately. To process -to just sit in some of these emotions has helped to bring clarity to some of the stuff whirling around in my head and heart these past days.

I'm very aware that 'sitting in' these emotions is not an easy thing to do. It feels like it would be so much easier to just move forward from here instead of taking all the energy to identify what emotions I am feeling. Let alone figuring out what impact they are having on me and on my decisions for the future.  But moving forward is actually nigh to impossible if the circumstances or emotions keep digging in deep to the now- or even deeper to the past.  So... I sit!

Have you ever looked up the word 'plethora'?
It means overabundance, or excess.
One definition was overfullness!

That one seems to most describe this time-- overfullness!

First and foremost,
Our daughter, Brielle, got engaged last October and is getting married this October.  So we have already had a lot of wedding plans being made.
Then our daughter, Caitlin, got engaged in this past March and is getting married this July!
Yes, before her sister!
Yes, it's a deal!

But we are thrilled for both of the girls and so grateful for both of the young men that God has brought into their lives to do this marriage journey.  We look forward to getting to know them all better as young adults now.  They have been such a gift to us in so many ways.

The girls have been living on their own most of the year after having graduated from their respective programs.  But there is some finality of them getting married. To have them both getting married in the same year, well, we feel emotions we hadn't anticipated.  We are thrilled for both of them- but it means that a season of life is done.  Empty nest is official and we are feeling it more than we dreamed.

I suppose it is coupled with hearing them speak of their dreams and plans for their futures.  It has reminded us of ours - so long ago!  We are not where we thought we would be at this juncture in our lives.  Oh, in some ways we are- but we didn't get there like we envisioned and we're not sure we are content to stay here.  But what does that mean?  Not sure yet!

In addition to planning weddings, last October I stepped back into a role on the support staff of our church.  I had worked there for 3 years shortly after Leisha died.  Then stepped out for 2 years to finish my schooling and establish my coaching a bit.  But the Lord continued to develop in me a longing to be back on the team.  Quite unexpectedly, our pastor asked if I would have any interest in taking my old job back.  I was ready to say yes almost immediately.

However, just recently, Barbara, one of the staff members that I have loved getting to know, handed in her 'retirement papers".  She has been on staff 16 years and will be missed so very much in that role.  She's not leaving the church- just stepping out of the position.  I cherish her friendship more than that of working with her- but I have learned so very much from her. Probably most significantly, to SEE- outside my box, bigger than ever, more simply than usual.  She has pointed me to God over and over again.
So her transition has stirred up lots of things:
a feeling of loss, though it is more just change,
 memories of a time when we did the leaving.
It's not the same- but it prompted a reliving of so many of the same emotions.

Combine wedding planner & home renovations, with the part time job & letting go of co-worker and I become one 'overbusy' lady.  I have had to take a step back with my Green Hope Coaching-- temporarily.I am still an instructor at the school I received my certification. I am still coaching with private individuals or groups, but I am not planning groups or events for the time being.

That describes this time!
It's not bad-
just FULL!

Full of transition & change
Full of emotions- joy, sadness, fear, anger, dreams, purpose, generosity, selfishness, faith, hope, love.
Full of pondering- and no time to ponder- though my heart tells me I need to ponder more
Full of opening my hands to what God is doing
Full of realizing that I closed them again around something that seemed so important
only to realize that they are closed around the wrong thing - and learning to open them again.
Full of setting goals- but never really intending to finish them
Full of seeing goals come to fulfillment
Full of uncertainty, yet curiosity about the future.
Full of great joy- but there is heartache too!
Full of kairos- those 'God breaking into my world' moments
Full of the awareness that God is here- revealing Jesus- and transforming me!

Oh Lord!  May I always be!
Over FULL!

God is Here, Darlene Zschech

Sunday, April 14, 2013


...the engagement of our daughter, Caitlin, to Jack Andrews!

Congrats Cait and Jack, we are excited for you as you look ahead to your future together.  We know there is much to learn - about each other, about your direction, about your love for one another.  But we also sense the commitment you have made to each other is strong.  We are proud of you both!    

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Long hear from...!

     Responsibility to someone or for some activity.

Over the last few weeks, I guess it is months now, I haven't posted anything here!

At first, I wondered if anyone would notice.  To my surprise, some did!
The comments started coming.
     Where are you?  Why aren't you writing?
     Are you doing ok?
     I've missed your blogs!  Hope you will write again soon!

As I replied, I realized that I have missed the writing, or more importantly, the processing of my many thoughts.  They have just been rumbling around in my brain, tumbling over each other in an effort to find some place to land.  Writing here on this blog has been a 'place' for so many musings over the past several years.

I also began to ponder that, if there are people who have missed what I am writing, then the words that God gives me to write here are not just for me- but for a kingdom work He is doing in others also.

It took others who were willing to hold me accountable to the process to remind me.
Thanks for noticing!
Thanks of the challenge to process out loud.

Thanks for stopping in at the Brickhouse to see how GREEN HOPE is showing up!
I have lot's to tell you!
Talk to you soon!