Unfurling – Heaven’s Glory

On a day of fresh loss and grief for my little family, only Jesus could have had someone visit this post and have me return to re-read it only hours before that fresh loss came. It was one of numerous ways the Spirit of God revealed His nearness to me- in advance of today’s loss, preparing my heart to see and receive His compassion for our whole family.

May it bless your hearts too, and help you to see and remember God’s nearness to you through your own loss and grief also. I bless you to see details in your past you hadn’t noticed before, whereby God’s nearness to you and your loved ones becomes even more palpable to you. He truly is so very present to each one of us.

Welcome to Day 4 of Part 6‘s Chapter 1 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is bringing forward the fourth free will offering of The Veil.

When one trial comes our way after another, so often, we just need a simple glimpse, a simple, tangible reminder of God’s Promise never ever to leave or forsake us. It’s in that place I found myself, as I waited on news from my sister from her biopsy, not long after we had buried my Mum after her five month battle with an incurable brain cancer and on the heels of a breaking God had led me through. A breaking that had left my heart wounded and raw – in need of my Healer’s touch.

As I struggled to be present to my girls and husband, I found myself crying out to my Maker to meet me in this place of deep anguish, angst and tearing. The poem below is the fruit of my lament – God’s gift to me in my weakness and need, as I lifted my head to the sky to see clouds form an arch above me, wrapping me in a peace that passes all understanding.

If you are having one of those days of swirling emotions today, may our God pour out your heart like water to reveal the gift of faith He has placed deep inside of you for this very moment. May He cup your face in His hands and lift it up to see tangible reminders of His Presence with you too. May He make His glorious face shine upon you through the words of this poem, the Scriptures and the worship song in this place. May you drink deeply from His goodness and His peace, no matter what is unfolding before you.

Unfurling 


Will you with me stay
In my struggle to accept,
Heart too heavy laid?

I so long to rest
To lean on You blessed,
But laden heavy can't.

Cannot seem to find
The words beyond my tears,
Beyond all broken held.

All I see is dark
Hands so empty worn,
And no single ray.

I long to hope again
To dream, believe again
But am captive held.

Captive to my seen
Longing here for gift unseen
Faith in dark to beam.

No prayer can speak,
But You my longing breathe,
And my tear drops catch.

To sky me turn,
And arch above me fern,
Promised hope returns.

All You ask is come
With my heavy laden heart
And You'll heaven breathe,

Here my weight release
In gift of faith I'll feast,
In open mouth receive.

Faith not my own,
But Savior's faith long sown
Grown now as own.

Even when I come so frayed
And heavy weighted stayed
Your faith in me breaks open
Unfurling.

Come listen in with me today to this beautiful, beautiful praise and worship. Oh how deeply it touches my own heart today:

EPHESIANS 1:3-6 (MSG) How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 

Note: The multi-colored weighted hand-crafted blanket in the first graphic is from a dear friend of mine. She sent it to me in the Netherlands all the way from Washington state. I have never met her in person, but God wove our hearts together through our writing and sharing across the oceans as we have sent each other long letters, cards, emails and app messages since 2015, also writing blogging series together where we invited others to share their stories with us. We are kindred souls to each other.

A widow herself with four now young adult daughters, she longed to share the comfort God has been giving her in her own loss with me. Reading how weighted blankets have a soothing effect on those suffering from PTSD, she decided to give away the blanket she had been making and praying through a few years ago now. It has become such a huge gift of healing and comfort to my whole family, through so much. Isn’t the love of Jesus beautiful? His heart in Wendy is precious beyond measure.

The Gift of Babba

Today, my dear friend Bettie has given me the honor and privilege of sharing an old, now freshly updated, post of hers about her precious Ukrainian friend. A woman who knew so much trauma and heartache, but through whom God revealed His healing joy, as He made His attentive heart of love and compassion visible and palpable in Bettie’s and Patricia’s midst. Now, Bettie finds her heart deeply grieving for her dear friend’s nation and their people, as the Spirit of God is moving her to continually lift them up in prayer. May this bless you all, as you seek to cover the Ukrainian people in love and prayer also.

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Her name was Patricia, and with the sweetest Ukranian accent, she answered my simple question about her cute little dog. The day was cold with a hint of the Christmas Season upon us, so I wished her a Merry Christmas then.

It was her honest and sad answer that stopped me in my tracks as I walked my new neighborhood 15 years ago.

“Oh, no, it won’t be a Merry Christmas for me this year. My husband just died a few months ago, and there will be no celebrating for me.”

My heart went out to this sweet woman, who openly shared her heart with me, and I knew that God was calling me to listen. I had no idea how that simple act of listening would bring such deep heart blessings to me. Patricia would become a Second-Mom to me, and a “Babba” (Ukranian Grandma) to all of my kids, and I would become a listening ear that she so desperately needed. But on that cold wintery day, neither one of us knew the path that God had chosen for us.

She lived through unimaginable horrors that I could never begin to comprehend. Her Mother had died when she was only 3 years old, and little Patricia almost died herself over the trauma that was inflicted at losing her Mother to an awful cancer. But God intervened, and Patricia got up and walked after a year in bed when a traveling “Priest” prayed over her.

The Russians invaded their homeland a few years later and brought the horrors of Communism to a village of farmers. Because her father could speak several languages, the family found favor, and her father became a trusted liaison between the village and the Russians.

A few years later, the Nazis invaded and marched the entire village from Ukraine into Germany. When Patricia’s father refused to remove a picture of Jesus from their home, he almost lost his life. But once again, God intervened and gave their family safety in a land of so many horrors.

When Patricia married, she didn’t realize that her husband had fought in the underground resistance and would suffer from outbursts of violent PTSD for the rest of his life, long before Counselors were able to offer the help that is so readily available today. Life was always hard for my dear friend. And yet, she loved to laugh and keep everyone happy with her pranks. She shared a love of nature’s beauty with me and with anyone who would pause to see.

It was only as God asked me to wait with her, and to listen to her stories, that she began to unburden her heart about the deep trials in her life. And in that waiting, God began to open my heart to the beauty of listening.

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We are a people who would rather rush to the meetings, read all the books, and find our self-help issues fixed by 10am tomorrow, please. But God made us for fellowship. For relationship. For healing.

Ever since we left that first Garden, we have been a people in need of healing.

Some days as I walk this Chronic Illness path, I complain about the need for healing that began 5 years ago with my first diagnosis.

But my need for healing began at birth.

And my God is the One who waits and listens in that healing process.

It was 10 years ago that my own Mother died, and Patricia began to call me her 2nd Momma, a phrase that I gladly accepted. As her diabetes intensified, I drove her to places when she had to stop driving. I didn’t realize that God was healing my own fear of driving, as I listened to Patricia’s heartaches and watched God heal her broken heart.

In the waiting, in the listening to hard stories of brokenness, God brought my dear Sweet 2nd Momma into the place of seeing that it had been Jesus who had carried her all along.

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Her journey of brokenness ended on Sunday, as her Dear Jesus carried her into Heaven. My heart was broken with the grief that I felt at telling her good-bye. But as I wept, a vision flowed into my heart. The halls of Heaven were ringing with laughter. The God who had carried Patricia all through her life was laughing with the Angels over the sheer joy of a heart that He had created to laugh in the midst of heartache.

Only God could bring such beauty in the waiting.

As my own path is filled with what looks like endless waiting: all of the medications have been resisted by my body. The new Rheumatologist has said that I cannot take any of the standard treatments now while my body continues to manifest multiple side effects. The daily dose of Prednisone is not healthy for me either, and so I must begin the long process of decreasing that, all while hoping that my body will not fall into endless flares. The call to rest and to wait has been spoken into my life once again.

But that call has taken on a different hue now. How can I go back to the old way of complaining about waiting?

It has become a Gift.

The Gift to wait with someone I love.

Jesus is that someone. How can I refuse?

Lord, I wait for you;
    you will answer, Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 NIV

Thank you to Ruth Campos, over at Planted by Living Waters, for writing to me and pointing me in the direction of the beautiful teaching of Dallas Holm called God’s Rests and God’s Tests. You can find the DVD by clicking here. Dallas sang this precious song at the end of the teaching.

I would love to pray with you, my dear friends. Even though I have never met so many of you, I feel such a beautiful connection as we sit together and listen to Jesus, even over these digital airwaves.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the gift of waiting and listening that You showered upon my dear 2nd Momma, Patricia, as she sat with You during these latter years of her life. Thank You that You allowed me to be an eye-witness of Your healing love pouring over those broken places in her life. Thank You for the beautiful love that she showered upon me and my family.  Jesus, will You carry us now, those of us who are looking upon our own seasons of waiting with confusion and brokenness. We are baffled with the pain that makes no sense to our limited vision. We want to learn to press into You and wait for Your beauty to shine forth. Help us to hold onto You, to let You press us deeper into Your healing love. You are the Lord we praise.

In Your sweet name, we pray,

Amen.

I am linking with:

#TellHisStory

Bettie Gilbert tells us of her blogging journey at bettiegsraseasons.com:

as I have obeyed His urging in my heart to begin this blog, I have seen His hand upholding me in ways I could not have imagined.  These days through Chronic Illness: first with Rheumatoid Arthritis, then Fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Occipital Neuralgia, and Osteoporosis, have been a struggle, to say the least.  But the kindness of fellow bloggers, and the community of believers that I’ve found here has been such an encouragement to my heart. 

Do you know what I’ve discovered about the words that God has given me here? Well, they’ve been for my own understanding and help just as much as for the sharing. But isn’t that just like Jesus? He uses the comfort that He brings our way to overflow and comfort those around us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV