Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sisters and Brothers

As God's children, we are all considered sisters and brothers of His son Jesus Christ. How cool is that? I mean, I guess I never really thought of it in serious terms, but rather abstractly. In the back of my mind I knew that I could decipher our relation to Him that way...but in my daily dealings with life, I hadn't really thought "wow, I'm actually related to Jesus Christ!" And, when I think about the sacrifice He made for me, you, all of his sisters and brothers, I think how amazing that is for my brother to give up His life for little ol' me.

I think about the two brothers I have and I remember from growing up that one of them always tried to beat me up and the other one always tried to steal my stuff, much like Swiper the Fox. Only unlike Dora, I didn't say "James no swiping! Jaames NO swiping! James NO swipiiiinnng!" and assume it would work. Forget that; I went straight for the big guns and busted his lip with a sand bucket to the face! Ah, memories! Back then I never would have dreamed that they'd be the friends they are to me now. Would they give their life for me? I have no idea but I at least have a good relationship with them. With one, I share a special bond along with his wife as we have children who are all around the same age, and we have somehow traded our fist fights and sleeper holds for hugs and prayers especially when encouragement is needed. The other one I like to tease and poke fun with, share my writing with and ask computer advice from. With both of them I share a unique sense of camaraderie when it comes to our faith, as we are all consistently aware that our brother Jesus has given His life for us.

Right now, one of my brothers is having a really tough time and I have to surrender myself and my feelings to keep from getting angry at God about it and ask why he's struggling so much when I know he loves the Lord and wants to serve Him. Stopping myself usually consists of praying because I don't know what else to do. Satan really has a hold on him and I guess if I'm being honest, I am mad at Satan and I want to beat the crap out of him and tell him to pick on someone else for awhile. (This is MY brother, only I am allowed to beat him up!) My brother's spirit is weak and he cries out for answers that don't seem to come and I just want to wrap him in my arms, but instead of squeezing him to harm him, I want to squeeze him to love him, to help him feel God's perfect love flowing through me straight into his heart to rejuvenate him and refuel his hope.

What I've realized is that because of the privilege of being God's children and in turn Jesus' siblings, we have a long road to travel to reach the kingdom we are meant to inherit, the kingdom Jesus gave His life for us to have. Just like in any really good story, our travels will include battles with demons, stumbling blocks and wasted time. But it will also include making friends and weeding out enemies using our morals and logic as our guide, uncovering hidden treasures we can use on our journey like love and hope and strength, discovering parts of ourselves we didn't know existed, and most importantly, finding opportunities to help others along the way. As we are all sisters and brothers who are all on the same journey, it is imperative that we fight- and in a sense die to ourselves- for each other so that we can help each other reach the common destination. In a sense, we need to be like our brother Jesus and give our lives for our sisters and brothers so that they too can experience the love of God and the richness of His mercy.

It's a hard lesson to learn that we are sometimes called to suffer and to surrender in order to find peace in the arms of our Father. We fight through life and we steal so much garbage from ourselves and each other in order to get the bigger picture- a future of love and mercy and peace.


My twin brothers, Billy and James at a young age: they are 3 years older than me.



The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. ~Romans 8:16-17

Monday, October 4, 2010

Heartbroken


My heart is breaking. Again. I don't know how much more I can take. I watch my husband flinch at the slightest mention of his family. I see the words form on his lips, hear them drop into the air with such weight and motion, falling and bouncing back to slap him in the face. I see his heart- the wounds still open and raw, still being formed, still bleeding with intensity. And he smiles at me, tries to cover it up, tries to take back the words he just said. Doesn't want to admit he hurts more than I do.

I recently did a post about family and how important unconditional love is, even if there is only one side offering it. I have been thinking about the matter that makes up such a statement; the importance it carries, what living it really entails. As I stated, I know that sometimes the only way to love someone is by praying for them.... and how often I failed at that. And I still do. When disappointment after disappointment and hurt after hurt flowed through our lives and shattered our spirit, praying was often the last thing on our minds. Especially for my husband.

It's hard to do the right thing. It's hard not to let the hurt build walls, harden your heart, make you want to turn away. Especially when someone you love is hurting and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. I ache at the thought that things will never be any different. That we will be on this terrible ride for the rest of our lives, making stops to show our smiles glazed on our faces like porcelain dolls, nods and stiff hugs just as a formality. Never knowing how anyone really feels. Then jolting back into our seats, flying through the winding roads, waiting for the next stop that does not bring rest but only more pain.

Time does not always heal. And to be honest, I'm not sure I am okay with that. God gives us families for a reason. I fail to see much more than a glimmer of what I think is the reason my husband was given the one he was. I know free will plays a huge role in their failure. And I am trying to hold on to that glimmer, the one that says he was given this family and I became a part of it so that we could love them. We have to love them because they don't know what love is. We have to pray for them because they don't know the fullness of God. They don't even have an inkling of their calling as His children. They are broken, just like the rest of us. But just like the rest of us, they have a purpose and a worth.

So I dig. Very deep. I dig deep and I try to pull out the one speck of strength I have to muscle through this with my husband, offering my love and support and encouragement. I have tried many times to convince him to try to make amends; that maybe this time around things will be different. But I have to admit that sometimes, self-preservation is the only thing left to mix in the pot with loving them from afar and praying for them.

He hides in armadillo's armor, building his walls, burying his pain. I pray for the perfect breath of Christ to consume him; heal him. I pray that one day this ride will end and either there will be real smiles and hearty hugs, or even through the formality, a warm peace that can only come with handing over pain and disappointment to the only One who can relinquish it.

I love you, Joe. I always will.