Monday, June 17, 2013

But in THAT Moment...

                             Daryl fell from a cliff and plummeted to his death
                                                                                                     ... IN MY MIND!

It began as we went on a hiking excursion with some good friends. We visited a spot along the Boulder River called the Natural Bridge. This time of year, the water was forcefully churning at the base of the cliffs.  As we shimmied through a crevasse in the rock, the ground gave way from under Phil's feet.  Oh, the terror in his eyes!  He had his small son, Sam, in a backpack as he started sliding and I knew Daryl was right below him, out of view.  A couple of kids screamed, but what haunts me the most was the curdle in Phil's voice. I can still hear it...

Because I'm a "move-to-action-person" when scared, I booked it back up the rocks to find the next closest venue to get down to the bottom of the cliff.  Certain there was a chance I'd find Daryl crushed under that landslide of rocks I'd just heard cascade down the hillside or see him drowning in the thunderous waters below, I ran.  I prayed.  I cried.  I trusted...with every ounce my soul could muster. 

All this happened within a few short minutes, yet to me it felt like life was moving  in          s  l  o  w     m  o  t  i  o  n.

How is this part of my story about grace and peace?  Well, in that moment, they both showed up.  Grace.  Peace.  As I approached the area below, I quoted every bible verse I could remember about trusting God to be my shelter, my comfort, my Rock. Saying these things aloud had nothing to do with showing off my bible memorization skills or trying to impress those around me with a stellar response in the face of adversity.  Raw fear pumped through my veins and God's truths were all I had!  Not knowing what I'd find at the bottom, I knew I needed to rely on God's strength to handle it because I could feel the panic, the terror, beating on my chest and yelling in my ears.  "This is it!  Your worst fear!  Watching someone you love die right in front of you!"

I remembered something else in that moment. I needed to speak truth right out loud so I coul hear it.  Drown out lies and fear with the very name of Jesus!  Just the sound of His name had never been sweeter than in that moment. "Jesus!" I called.  He answered.  It started as He wrapped peace around my shoulders like a shawl so that I could breath, for I felt as though I would faint before I ever got to the bottom.  He strengthened my legs, assuring me that I could bear whatever condition I found Daryl in because I understood He would walk through it with me...I wasn't alone.  He poured out his grace in divine doses because there is no way I could have trusted Him in my own power... and yet I was trusting Him with all my heart, with every step I took.   When God promised that he'd deliver peace beyond understanding, he meant it!  No matter what things looked like at the bottom of this cliff, God would be there with me!  "Even if the worst has happened, Jesus, I still trust you.  You are good, all the time."  I needed to say this out loud.  That moment of surrender was one of the toughest in my life.

"Thank you, Jesus!  Oh, thank you!" was all I could think when I saw Daryl and Phil walking around.  Both the guys were scraped up and a bit bloody, dusty, but they looked TERRIFIC!  The baby backpack showed the scars of what happened, and little Sam didn't have a scratch on him...just dirt.

To me, the beauty of this moment wasn't only that everyone was alright, but that God had used this moment in time to show me His presence in the midst of it all.  I don't think it can get much more frightening than thinking your husband just fell off a cliff!

I'm not sharing this story to say God is good because he saved.  He's just...good.  Regardless of the outcome that day, He was good. His grace and peace didn't arrive AFTER I saw all was well.  His grace appeared when I thought Daryl could be lying at the bottom, dead.  His peace showed up when fear wanted to consume me.  I was so weak, but in that moment, I realized how strong my God really was!

Hardship. Death. Pain.  These things will all appear sometime in our lives.  If we believe God is only good when things go our way, then our faith is in our circumstances, not in Him.

When we got back to our campsite that afternoon, I needed some time alone to think, to feel.  I cried for a long time... Relief washed over me.  Thankfulness.  Joy.  A new found Peace and Trust.  Though my God has the power to move mountains, the power he has to deliver my heart from fear in the midst of tragedy is even more amazing!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.
 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;

    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
Steve and Karren
There is more to the story than just what I wrote, but this was what God was doing in my heart in that moment.  We are going camping this weekend with these friends.  I'm hoping it'll be VERY uneventful!

Workin' our way down



Thursday, June 13, 2013

You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

"When you wake up, do you feel ready to attack the day?" 
I do.
"Do you like your energy level?"
"You like your life, don't you?"
Yes, I do!
"Your eyes are lively. You appear very healthy."
I feel really good.

I went to the doctor this week.  Maybe this doesn't sound "blog worthy" but I came away with two very profound realizations. 

Number ONE:

I WAS SITTING WITH A BUNCH OF OLD PEOPLE in the waiting room!!!  Evidently, I must be old.  When did I go from sitting in a doctor's office with young pregnant ladies to a waiting room full of silver-haired people trying to prolong life with blood pressure medication?  I realized this week I have joined the ranks of people trying to extend their lives rather than birthing life. I turned 40 last month (Yeah!  Something I am actually very pleased about.  Strange, but true!)  And my doctor wanted answers to more than just my family medical history.  He asked about my cholesterol numbers, joint aches, night sweats and bowel movements.  He even seemed surprised I took no regular medications for anything.  Ha!  What a new experience to answer questions connected with aging. I learned I'm officially getting OLD-er.  But I love what I realized next...

Number TWO:

I LOVE MY LIFE!  I love the stage of life I'm in!  I wouldn't exchange all the fun and excitement in my 20's and 30's, for the peace and contentment God has grown in me at this stage. I'm more comfortable in my skin than ever (and that's amazing considering it's trying very hard to travel toward the ground.) A few things come with age, I think.  I've decided being in style is optional.  I don't' feel like I need to say "yes" to everything anymore and I don't battle with guilt as often when the word "no" comes from my lips. I worry much less about being the perfect mom to my kids because I've seen God work in their lives despite me. I don't secretly argue with Daryl in my head when he tells me I'm beautiful.  Instead, I drink it up! 

When did this happen in me?

I think all of these contented views of life could find their root in one fact.  I believe God more now than ever before.  I believe these things: My value doesn't come from my external appearance - I am His workmanship.  My worth doesn't come from how much I'm doing - but in Whose I am.  My joy isn't dependent on the approval of mankind - I seek to follow Jesus, alone.  So, when the doctor paused and said, "You like your life, don't you,"  there wasn't even a moments hesitation to boldly answer "Yes, I do!"  The Lord and I have traveled a lot of life together.  It feels great to look back and see... progress.  Growth.  Peace.  

As I departed the doctor's office with my newfound revelation, I wanted to strut through the waiting room and shout the old slogan, "You've come a long way, Baby!"  But, then I remembered, everyone there was old enough to remember that the slogan was actually for Virginia Slims cigarettes and somehow, that just didn't seem appropriate for a doctor's office.  So, I just smiled at the white-haired lady sitting near the exit and kept my mouth shut.  Hmm... Another sign that maybe I am growing wiser in my "old age".