Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Come Heal with Me. Week 10

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over...

Mother Wrote: Kaddesh
God, our holiness
God, our satisfaction

Toward the end of this section, which talks about how life can hurt and cut and bruise, Mother wrote "Start" where it says:

David says, "Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup... He didn't say "our heads" or "our cups."
It is the singular, personal pronoun.
All day long the shepherd is concerned with the flock. But as they go into the fold, he takes them one by one...
...He stand at the door of the fold and checks them one by one.

Mother Wrote: God has the power of the universe and the power to take care of me.

Mother Underlined Portions of: Remember how, as little children, we would bruise a finger or stub a toe. We would come running to Mama, who would kiss the hurt away. There was a mystic healing in her loving concern.

...a heart can be broken.

I Write: ...and so it can.

It's 9:35 p.m. This day has held more tears than I can imagine any day should. I took a shower not too long ago and cried more tears than I knew I had water within me. Certainly more than the spray splashing against my body and falling, along with my sorrow, to the tile beneath my feet.

Oh, my precious Jesus.

Do you see me at the gate?

Is there healing for my wounds?

Water for my thirst?

Rest for the tired and the weary?

If only life were about one day, one hurt.

If only we went out into the brutal world one time and return to the fold but once. Instead, we go out long day after long day. The path is familiar and yet still it's rocky. It rambles. It twists and turns.

If only...

Perhaps, I think, life hurts the most when we allow anything other than God to jockey for position of "satisfier."

Father, I am at the end of the day. I am tired. Broken. Bruised.

I am standing at the gate of the fold.

Do you see me?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Come Heal with Me, Week 9

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

Notes from the Book: In the pastures of the Holy Land, where shepherds lead their flocks, poisonous plants grow. Thorny thistles, whose needles penetrate the soft nostrils of the sheep, sprout up along the landscape.

If the sheep are to eat without the risk of pain or death, the shepherd must first prepare the fields.

A table, if you will.

Mother's Notes in the Margins: Nissi
Our standard of victory

My Notes: This chapter is more about the role of parents to keep their children safe (preparing the table for them) than anything else. Right now, it speaks to me loud and clear. How like God that I should read it now when my teen is up in arms over the boundaries we've set and closely guard.

Mother wrote "school." I don't know why for sure, but I can guess. For years she worked in food services at the schools in Screven County. She not only took part in the preparation, so to speak, of making sure no child went hungry, she also helped prepare their hearts. She loved them with her words. With her hugs. They loved her back.

"Hey, Mrs. P!" I heard over and over, from the very young she'd loved on the week before to the young adult she'd loved on years before.

"There was hardly a life in Screven County Mama didn't touch," my brother said after her death.

He had that right...

"Jehovan Nissi" she wrote.

"The Lord Our Banner." (Reference Exodus 17: 8-15)

I'm not sure why she focused on this name for God. Why not Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my provider.

Unless, of course, the point is that when rearing children, we truly are at war. Mother knew. She saw what was happening to society as a whole. She didn't like it, either. She did more than just feed and hug and love. She prayed over these children, whether they knew it or not.

I hear her say, "Don't forget, honey, to raise your arms to the Lord in battle for your children. Pray and take authority over the enemy, who wants to steal the young minds. The tender hearts. But our God is stronger than any enemy who wages war against us."

My hands are lifted, Mother. Do you see them?

There is another enemy. Death. Oh, I know... death is merely the portal by which we reach heaven's gates. Oh, then death, where is your victory? Where is your sting?

But it is my enemy because it took Mother and Daddy from me and my brother and all those whose lives they touched. But not death is not their enemy. No. For them, death was the shepherd, providing the table, clearing away the thorns, the poisonous flowers that are pretty to behold but oh so dangerous to nibble upon.

I wonder... as they breathed their last, could they hear the whoosh of the linen tablecloth as it fell over the table? The clink-clink of fine china and crystal? Could they smell the polish from the silver? The sweet mingling aromas of foods being placed around the table, and between the candelabras?

A table prepared for them that day.

A table prepared for me...one day.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Come Heal with Me, Week 8

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me...

Notes from the Book: The sheep is a helpless animal. It has no weapon with which to fight. It is easy prey to any wild beast of the field. It is afraid.

But the shepherd carries a rod, which is a heavy, hard club.

Mother's Notes: Word. It is written. Sheep pass under rod 2 B counted. Royal scepter. The HS in OT. Scroll & Prophets.

Book: Also, the shepherd carried a staff...

Mother: Spirit w/n us

Book: ... with his staff the shepherd could reach down, place the crook over the small chest of the [fallen] sheep and lift it back onto the pathway.

It is a comfort to know the shepherd will be able to meet any emergency.

Many times we feel helpless; then we find comfort in realizing the power of God.

Mother: Mighty.

Book: Thy rod and Thy staff...
Mother: Thy Word & Thy Spirit...our faith is our rod and staff.

My Notes: What is more helpless than lying in a hospital bed, brain not functioning, depending on tubes and bags and machines just to exist? What is more helpless than hearing your children call out, "I love you" and in hearing being unable to respond back with no more than the shake of a shoulder. What is more helpless than standing on a ledge, hanging in the balance between earth and heaven, steps away from the mountains that will lead you homeward? What is more helpless than standing at heaven's gate--like Esther before the king's presence--waiting for the royal scepter to extend to you, waiting for permission to enter in to the King's presence?

Mother always said that one of my greatest attributes is my faith in God. Believing Him, no matter what life throws my way. Believing in Him.

No matter what...

Life has thrown some curve balls my way. A cliche, I know, but it's true. Still I believe in God. I believe God.

So, then Lord...if what Mother said is true...if what Mother noted in the margins of this book is true, Your Word protects me. I believe that.

When Mother was lying in the hospital bed, I read Scriptures to her.

Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness (Psalm 150:1,2 NIV).

I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands (Psalm 63:4 ESV).

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NLT).

May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way(2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV).

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14: 27 NKJV).

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT).

Over and over I read these verses. With each reading, Mother stirred. She recognized Abba's words of truth, even in her current state. No brain damage could take them away from her, so ingrained were they. They had been her guide for so long, they were not about to stop being so because of some silly little aneurysm. They were the stick she always crossed under. They were the rod by which she was counted.

Thy Spirit saves me when I slip and fall...

Yesterday I had a meeting to attend. As I drove to Panera (the meeting place), the events of this past year slipped into the car unnoticed, then crawled into the front seat with me. The tears I'd held back gushed from my eyes. No warning. No little trickle followed by a wave. They poured out like water onto sand.

I cannot cry now! I won't be able to drive...to meet...to continue on with this day with its many appointments...

The Hebrew word for spirit is "ruwach." It means, among other definitions, "breath."

The breath of God...

Yesterday, as the tears came and the traffic in front of me blurred, I heard a tender voice say, "Breathe in...breathe out...breathe in...breathe out..."

And so I did. And I felt God's Spirit wash over me. Calming me. Rescuing me with the Shepherd's staff.

This is not the front time I've slipped and fallen since Mother died. It won't be the last. But each time, there is a staff to draw me back to my Savior. There is a rod with which to count me among those who will live with Him forever.

A scepter extended that says, "Welcome home..."

There, I will stand with Mother...and Daddy...and all those I have loved and lost to Heaven (both now and in the future) and I will sing, "Worthy ... worthy... worthy..."

Great Shepherd. Mighty King! Everlasting Prince of Peace.