Tuesday, April 9, 2013

finding the words to reckon my heart with my head...

I stumbled upon words Friday that caused the air to become thin and my lungs fought for air.  I read again in the Target parking lot twenty minutes later to make sure I hadn't dreamed it.  They were still there.  In black and white. And they still managed to take my breath away.  But this time tears flowed so freely.  My shoulders and head violently shook, as if trying to make the words disappear. 

I looked a fright as I entered my happy place.  The place with the big, red bulls-eye. 

The irony of the trademark was not lost on me.  I felt as if my friend, the one who had shared such devastating news, had a bulls-eye on her family.  One the Enemy kept targeting over and over and over again since last May. 

Words and emotions tossed about my heart and soul most of the weekend.  The waves so wreckless they threatened to tip me over.  I could not make sense of the news.  Nor could I find the words I so desperately needed to reckon my head with my heart.  I passionately wanted to reach out to my friend, but without words, I knew she didn't need a blubbering mess.  She most definitely does not need that.  So I remained silent.  Stuck in the turbulent waves of confusion and fear and anger and disbelief. 

Sure, I offered her a {awkward at best, awful at worst} little smile on Sunday morning.  But you can bet your last dollar, as I fulfilled my nursery duty, I squeezed one of her babies extra tight.  So tight his eyeballs may or may not have bulged.  When my girl gave him a big hug and shared her cereal bar with him, tears begged to spill forth.  And yet, the words still seemed muddy, unclear.

Until yesterday.

My best friend called me and we discussed the news.  She shared the verses the Holy Spirit led her to as she was reeling from the devastating news.

He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:29-31

For the first time since Friday, I felt the words start to take shape.  I felt my heart and soul reconnecting with one another and a peace washed over my spirit.  I reached in my office drawer and pulled out my stack of cards.  I found one that spoke the words I wanted to pour into my friend's heart.  And then this verse hit me, printed oh-so-tiny on the inside left corner of the card, almost like an afterthought.  An afterthought that serves as a gentle reminder.  To them.  To us.  To the village that prays for this family without ceasing.

'So do not fear, for I am with you; 
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  
I will strengthen you and help you; 
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'  
Isaiah 41:10

A legion of God's people have prayed for this child, whose middle name is Isaiah.  The cold chills overtake me as I type those words.  For him, whose middle name means the Lord is generous, we have prayed.  And the Lord answered our prayers.  He brought home to his forever family. 

On the heels of this devastating news, we stand stronger, taller and firmer in our prayers.  We believe the Lord is generous, just like this boy's middle name.  We believe that the Healer has the ability to remove obstacles.  We believe that it takes a village to raise a child.  And so we rise up and become the village...for this child and his siblings.  We will become Aaron and Hur for these parents.  When their arms threaten to shake and tremble under the weight of circumstances, we will push a chair under them and hold their arms high to Heaven, all the while proclaiming His mighty name. 

We consider our pure joy to suffer alongside this family.  Because we know these trials will bring about perseverance.  A quality this family continues to mirror to everyone who watches from the sidelines. We grip tightly to the hope we boldly profess because we know {we know!} he is faithful.  We can not be moved.  We will not swerve. 

'See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.'
Isaiah 48:10

The fire of devastation may threaten to devour everything.  The flames may lick at faith, taunting and teasing.  But we know the Refiner has His own hand on us as we walk through the fire of trials and tribulation.  We know that heat melts away impurities and that we come out shinier.  More a reflection of His image.  A lesser version of ourselves. 

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
    O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:1-2

I stand in awe.  Utterly amazed by this family and their big faith.  I don't dare imagine all the emotions they may be feeling.  But I don't dare think, for one single second, this news will consume them.  I see Him in their smiles.  Their tears.  Their hugs.  Their defeat.  Their victory.  He is ever-present in their daily lives. 

The Lord is generous.  Oh yes, He is! 

I implore you to join me at the Throne of grace in prayer for this family.   Believing that He, who can do immeasurably more than we can dare fathom, will be glorified through this family.  Knowing that He works all things together for good for those that love HimTrusting in Him to fill them with all joy and peace, so that they overflow with hope in the Holy Spirit.  Claiming His new mercies today and tomorrow and each day after for this family because His faithfulness is great.  In the redeeming and loving and powerful name of Jesus.  Amen.

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