It’s not that Yucky

keith used 11-9-15

…maybe I should say…anymore.

It’s not that yucky anymore.

In the beginning it was.  Oh, boy…it was!

Pain…searing…mind-numbing…constant.

Tears…all the time…millions, if I could stop to count.

Questions…from the kids…from friends...for God.

This journey…eight years today…has been the hardest I have ever been on.

But also the best.

I tell you, when half of your heart already lives in Heaven, it is easier to live here for it!

As a family, we have been able to fix our eyes more clearly and more steadily on our Heavenly reward…and our earthly purpose.

We had a good life with Keith here…joy, love, laughter…a happy, close-knit family.

As a new family, we had to find a way to have the same things.  After all, we are still here. Both Keith and God expect us to continue to live…wholly, fully, completely.

And we have!  By the grace of God alone, we have!

Is it always easy?  Nope.  But…it is always a joy.

One of my favorite scriptures has become Psalm 34:18:

 11-9-15 C

I have had my spirit, my soul, my being, crushed by the weight of grief…only to be rebuilt by a God who loves me…and my kids…even more than Keith did.  It is good to sit in the palm of His hand!

He is as close as a breath, the center of our family’s every thought and movement.  Not perfectly, for we are not a perfect family…but consistently.

Fanny Crosby wrote a wonderful hymn that expresses so clearly what I feel on this journey:

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

We know Him well…maybe better…for what we have been through.  My boys are growing up with first-hand knowledge of the sufficiency and provision and infinite care of our Savior.  Together, Keith and I might not have been able to teach them as well. I, too, learn to love Him better each day…walking more closely since I have no one else to follow…no distractions.

So…we will spend this anniversary day glorying in where Keith is and where we will be going…missing him here, but living for the day we can join him.

 And that, in and of itself, is enough to make it not yucky.

To God be the glory!

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Preparations

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Today is a busy day at our house.

We are spending Easter Eve, as my kids call it, preparing for guests tomorrow.  Scrubbing, polishing, vacuuming, even mowing…working to make ours a hospitable home.

I even have the little boys cleaning baseboards and widow sills…but don’t look too closely.  They are still learning about attention to detail.

Isn’t the same true with my heart?

I don’t always catch all the dirt.  I can clean all I want, try as hard as I might…but I fall short.  Oh, Lord, I fall short.

And…sometimes…I don’t try.  I admit it.  At least, not like I should.  Like my kids cleaning their rooms, I stuff things in closets, under beds, ignoring real change in favor of a clean-looking outside.

Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about this very issue:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:25-27 NASB)

That’s what the Savior came for!  That is why He shed His blood!

No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I hide from trying, I cannot achieve what His blood did.  He came to live and die so that I might live eternally!  I cannot even fathom the enormity of that gift.

An old hymn by Isaac Watts brings this home to me:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Easter will come to the Wright house.  Clean or not.  And it will be joyous!

And…eternity will come to each of us.  Clean or not.  And…if we know Jesus…it will be joyous!

Come.  Just come.

Waiting

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Lord, heal my eyes

Each morning, as I did my Bible study, I looked at the note I was using as a bookmark in my Bible.  Each morning, I prayed.

And waited.

And waited.

I had felt led to ask for the Lord to heal.  I was asking.  I was not hearing an answer.

But…I kept praying.

Lord, heal my eyes

Months passed.

I had no expectation of what the healing would be.  I was not praying to wake up in the morning with clear vision.  I was not really sure what the Lord wanted me to pray for, but I continued.

Lord, heal my eyes

It got harder to see at night.  I shared rides whenever possible.  I bought a pair of yellow-lens glasses to help with glare.  And I kept praying.

Lord, heal my eyes

I had done everything that I could.  I just needed to wait.

It was not easy.  I was not always faithful in the waiting.  I was impatient to see better, and scared that I would not.

But God was faithful.  He had a plan.  He was watching.

He used men with medical knowledge He had given them to do a procedure that took less than 20 minutes to restore something invaluable to me.

And He used my literal dark place to work on healing some inner parts besides my eyes…barriers of pride and self-reliance that I did not even know were keeping me from giving pieces of myself to Him.

In His time, and in His way, He healed me.

It would be easy to discount the miracle in my physical healing.  Many in the world would.  But the Bible says that He knows even the hairs on my head (read Matthew, Chapter 10).  I made the choice to take Him at His word a long time ago.

I could also ignore the healing He has brought about in my heart.  Again, I make the choice to take Him at His word.  He brought me here.  He has got this.  And by His grace He allowed me to be part of all that has happened by prayer.

Amen and amen!

Father, thank You for healing me!  Thank You for allowing me to wait on the journey of healing and to see You working.  May I always wait on You.  Amen.

 

Answered Prayers – I Can See Clearly, Part II

answered prayers dec 2014

We are booking into next year…it is looking like March…

I started to cry. Right there in the doctor’s office.

I had given up driving at night about a month before, the cataracts making it unsafe. I had cut back on daytime driving to necessities.

But…I still had my family to run.

As a single mom with four active boys, I have a lot to do, a lot to take them to.

I have LOTS of great support from friends, and I knew I would continue to, but…

I just could not fathom depending on them until March!

Heather, the scheduling person, was sympathetic. She patted my knee and said they sometimes had cancellations and might be able to push it up a bit. She said she would talk to the doctor and see what he thought. She left the room, leaving the door ajar.

I started to pray in earnest.

Now, I had already been praying for all of this…and very specifically, too. In my type A brain, I had already determined that the 18th of December was the best day for me to have the surgery. That way, we could get done what we needed to and I could heal and be ready to drive on Christmas Eve. I knew that God was in charge, and that He would bring things to pass in His time and for His good purpose…but that seemed to me to be what I should pray for. I enlisted the help of friends to pray as well.

I continued to pray for God to make a way for this to work. March? March?!

I heard my doctor come out of the room next to me, finishing with the patient before me, saying, “OK, so we will cancel that appointment for the 18th.”

Is that my appointment, Father?

A few minutes later, my doctor, Dr. J, came in and examined me. He said, “We have had a cancellation for the 18th…how do you feel about doing the surgery then?”

I started to cry again, saying, “That is answer to prayer!”

One eye scheduled. OK, Lord, I can do this…I think. If I have that one cataract gone, will I be able to drive at night? Will this work, even if the other eye does not end up being done until March?

He finished his exam and sent me once again to Heather for the paperwork and pre-op instructions. Heather said, “I have good news.” I answered that Dr. J had told me of the cancellation on the 18th.

Heather smiled and said, “…and he will do the second eye on the 19th. It will work out fine to do the eyes back-to-back.”

Quiet sobs…and open praise to our God. How great He is!

This was beautiful on two levels, folks. I was, of course, blessed beyond measure that God was choosing to work this out to heal my eyes. The specific nature of His answer to my prayers still leaves me teary and trembling at the level of care and attention He has for His wayward daughter.

Second, however, was the joy of being a witness to the office staff, and to Dr. J himself. I don’t know how many of them were believers. I may never know.  But, maybe, through me, they have seen something of the working of God that will make them think, challenge whatever constructs they may currently hold about the power of prayer and the involvement of God in the everyday lives of His people. I pray it is so!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

I Can See Clearly Now – A New Series

i can see clearly now

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – Ephesians 1:3

It had been happening slowly…over at least a couple years.

Deteriorating vision.  At first, I wrote it off to aging…but over time, I could tell it was more.

I had been here before, and was not eager to return.

Fifteen years ago, I had detached retinas, first in one eye, then in the other…a one-in-a-million medical problem.  It was a scary time, thinking I might not be able to continue to see my baby.  I prayed, underwent surgeries, and I was healed.  Praise be to God!

As I realized my vision was deteriorating again, I started praying that God would again heal me.

This week, He used medicine again to heal.  I had cataract surgery in both eyes.  Not only are those wretched halos and “fog” gone, but also lenses implanted are allowing me to see without corrective lenses for the first time in 44 years.

I cannot begin to express the joy at being able to see clearly!  Praise Him again!

Through this ordeal, God has used my deteriorating vision to teach me things about vision in general…and trust…and faith.  I wish I weren’t so pig-headed that I have to learn my lessons the hard way, but at least He is willing to continue to work with this weak vessel (with weak eyes).

I am going to share them here.  Maybe then you, dear reader, can learn without the stress I have had to face.  And, if you are pig-headed too, you can gain some peace seeing a fellow stubborn child of God go through things.

Clear vision is worth it, no matter the price!

 

Thankfulness: Beating the Odds

thankfulness djinj

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”  -Luke 17:11-19

It’s a familiar story…and a common one in the day.  People ask; Jesus heals.  Praise Him for being so gracious to us!

But, on this eve of Thanksgiving, I am thinking about the lepers themselves.

One of ten was thankful.  That is a dismal return.  We look for better batting averages if we are to keep a player on the team.

Why don’t we get thankfulness?  Why don’t we look around and see what we have and not what we don’t?

In our sin and sloth, we seek an easy return for our labor.  But that pathway was burned to us in the garden.  Perhaps we spend the rest of our lives seeking to regain what we as humanity have lost (perfection).  That, however is unattainable.

At least here on earth.

The pathway is clear, the invitation has been made.  Not for Thanksgiving dinner, or some holiday party, but for eternal life!

We messed up, and continue to do so, but in His graciousness, He continues to offer healing…forever healing…in the person of Jesus Christ.

In that we can ALL glory.

So, this Thanksgiving, I glory first and foremost that He lives and that He loves me…even me.  I have many, many other reasons to be thankful, but without the framework of life in Christ, without the healing that He has brought, and continues to bring, to my soul, I can be no better than the nine who walked away.

I pray that as I look at my life and all its bounty, I can beat the odds and show thankfulness for all the gifts God has blessed me with:  home, health, family, love, safety, security, joy, peace…and salvation!

I pray you can, too.

We’re Hopping Here!

blog hop #1

Wow!  I have been asked to participate in a blog hop!  Until a couple weeks ago, I did not even know what that was.

However, when my sweet friend and sister-in-ministry, Katie Oldham from Happily Whole, asked me to participate, I decided to give it a shot.  I have know Katie for nearly a year now, as we both write for aNew Season Ministries.  She is a beautiful lady, inside and out, who love the Lord with all her heart and uses her gifts to nourish women, inside and out.  Thanks, Katie, for the invite!

So…here goes my post…

What am I working on?  Well, clearly, not enough, as evidenced by the lack of posts lately.  Ha!  On my blog to-do is our summer – the missions trip to SC (some posts written, but I have not told all that God did in us and through is there).  I also have some season-of-life issues to write about as I reflect on the changes in me and my world over the past few months.

How does my work differ from others of the genre?  God keeps showing me again and again that in His economy, all we go through is praiseworthy.  This blog helps me keep that in perspective.  I journaled for years prior to putting it out here in the public realm, and it was always helpful to me.  I would use pieces for devotions at church and with my work in widows’ ministry, and always got a good response…so I decided this might be a way to meet more people and share with them what God has done.  Lord willing, it helps them see their lives as a series of blessings from God., regardiness of the circumstances.

Why do I write about what I do?  I guess I answered that in part above…but here are some more details.  I get teased for being a glass-is-always-half-full gal, the perpetual polly-anna.  I don’t look at those qualities as being bad.  I like being positive!  When I start to feel a little down, I look to what God has done that week, that day, in my life.  He is always there working, no matter the circumstance, and sometimes I just need a perspective adjustment.  I need eyes to see the truth of His love swirling around me, to see the joy even on the darkest of days, to see who I am in Christ, regardless of what I have done or not done.  Maybe by sharing my journey, I can awake someone else to the joy in theirs.

How does my writing process work?  Many years ago I had a friend who was a song-writer.  He said that you could never throw away the little pieces of paper in his house before carefully looking them over because there were often song ideas scribbled on them.  I write kinda like that.  When the inspiration comes, I jot down a phrase, a word, sometimes a whole post.  I have them in a file (when I can find them and keep them from the dogs and kids) for further development later.  Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and write.  Often I come back from my daily walk with a burning idea I need to write down.  The boys know that if I make a bee-line for the computer without much conversation to let me get my thoughts down before they escape.  I usually write with pen-and-paper first and then transfer to the computer…old school, I know.

Whew!  A lot of info!

I have the joy of introducing you to one of my dear friends and sister writers for aNew Season Ministries, Linda Lint.

closeup-lindaBlog:  Sparrow Scrolls.  My sweet sister Linda writes of her journey into widowhood from a place of total reliance on the Lord.  Her love for her Savior permeates each word she writes.  I love that she is honest in her posts – honest about the hard stuff and honest about the hope she has in Christ.  Read her blog; you will be blessed!