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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Glory Moments

We sit behind french doors overlooking the dancing ripples of the Tennessee River.  Orange and red are striking against the deep blue sky.  The leaves sway to the rhythm of glistening water.  Inside the melody drifts from the piano as my sister-n-law’s mother dances her fingers deftly across the ivory keys.  Powerful words pour from her lips and  move like a strong current through the hearts of the listening.  “His arms are fortress for the weak.  Let faith arise… I lift my hands to believe again… You are faithful God forever… Open my eyes…”  Lyrics from a song by Chris Tomlin.  I hold my daddy’s hand as tears stream down his weathered cheeks.  This year has aged us all.  I see it in my own face.  My tears join his.  We have sipped our coffee and listened to my Daddy’s deep voice read to us from Watchman Nee.  Words about eternity.  About finishing strong.  Written by one who died after many years in a Chinese prison.  The cost of his faith.  I bite my lip and squint my eyes in a vain effort to keep my composure.

It is a hard thing.  This living and believing.  This trusting what we cannot see.  This navigating painful waters.  But we are given grace.  And glory moments.

This.  A glory moment.   A taste of eternity.  Mixed with the bitterness of salty tears.  I sense that this is a fight across generations.  Not between us, but together we are bonded by these moments when we see God in nature and hear him in the music and feel him in the grip of each others’ hands.  And yet inside we have been stretched thin by the hard things.    We have fought alone.  And we have fought together. 

My Daddy says he prays that his eyes will be open to see a vision of heaven.  Words are caught in my throat, but I nod and squeeze his hand.  I know the longing well.   I feel it like a tangible thing in this room full of reaching hearts stretched thin.   And drawn tautly together.  Strangely closer.  Maybe to Him as well.
Perhaps you, too, have felt the pull of glory moments…

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Heaven, Pie, and... Math!

My little ones are napping and the warm chocolate morsels in my delicate pie melt slowly in my mouth.  I am trying to wrap my mind around  a thought that my mom's friend shared with her and she passed on to me.  The bible says that with the Lord a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.  Now certain scriptures do indicate that there is some sort of passage of time in heaven, but we don't have any reason to believe that it is necessarily at the same rate there as here.  Clearly, based  scripture what feels long to us here can seem but a day to the Lord and vice versa.  Time is a dimension by which God is not defined.  Rather, he defines it.  One of his names in the bible is the Alpha and Omega, aka The Beginning and The End.

Keeping all that in mind.  We don't know if time here correlates with time in heaven or not.  So my mom's friend suggested doing some math.  If one thousand years here is as a day there and if I live to be 90 before I go to heaven...calculating... then it would only seem like an hour and a half to Makiah when I arrive!!  I have no idea if that is the case, but it is a very comforting thought for this mommy!

Though our time here seems long some days, in fact sometimes even the seconds drag painfully by, I am reminded that this is not what we live for.  Thank God!  Seriously, I enjoy a slice of pie as much as the next person, but no amount of earthly pleasure can completely cover the pain of living in this broken place.  A sweet friend brought me a book Sunday about a man's experience of heaven.  Thinking about how it could be, meditating on the perfection of what is to come, has buoyed me up to the surface during this turbulent week.

Minutes before I received the book Sunday, a new friend got the call.  The horrible dreaded call.  I saw it on her face as she ripped back through the church doors to grab her family and fly to the hospital.  Her 14 year old had been hit by a car.  He stepped into heaven instantly.  People think I know what to say. Comforting words escape me because there are none.  All that comes to mind is, "Welcome to hell."  (No, mom, I did not say that out loud!)  Truly, losing a child has to be close to the pain of hell... at least as close as my imagination will carry me.  But ironically, through many, many prayers and God's mercy, this earthly hell has caused me to long so much more for my heavenly home.

Please pray for my friend this week.  There is no quick way to walk through this valley that has crashed in on her.  When I saw her the next day, I sat on the floor and cried with her.  I held her hand and didn't say anything at all.  Sometimes, tears speak better than words.  I know for sweet Makiah, and her little boy as well, that however time goes by in heaven, it is full of joy and wonder and love.  There are no tears or dread or fear.  They have left that to us.  Oh, for a thousand years to be as a day!  Come quickly Lord!

Heaven, Pie, and... Math!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Sign

Traffic  slows almost to a halt.  I round the curve on my way to work and see two cars stopped in the road… an accident.  It doesn’t look like anyone is hurt.  But there is a mom on the side of the road clutching her little girl, maybe about 3 years old, and crying on the cell phone.  The girl looks okay.  Then a mile or so past the accident the state trooper screeches by me.  Then the ambulances.   Sirens wailing.  And I join them.   Wailing.

It is just too much.  I saw the broken glass in the road.  The mommy.  The sounds.  The cell phone.  The little girl who is okay.  But now I am in that day, and the little girl is not okay.  And the mommy didn’t get to hold her… ever again.  And the ambulances didn’t come just to screen us.  They came to carry her away.   Forever.  I cannot hold it in any longer.  I am losing it.  Control.  It broke down on the road back there with the crunched up hood and dented bumper.  My breath comes hard and fast like I have run a marathon.  The hot tears stain my cheeks.  She is dead.  

I have been awake since 3 this morning.  It started with a baby, but then I just couldn’t  escape the pounding reality that she is dead.  The feelings of disbelief.  The sights and sounds when we told our parents in the ER.  The truth I do not want to be true.  Will this darkness pounce on me when my consciousness awakens every morning until I die?  All the long years?  Will I be 70 and still wake up horrified?  Did someone say the second year is easier?  Oh God!  Has it been more than a year!?  God please help me to see something real!  I know Jesus said a wicked generation seeks a sign.  Then maybe I am wicked.  But oh how I long for a sign!

I cuddled my baby in the dark morning hours.  Felt her breath.  Smelled her hair.  Rubbed her cheeks.  For hours while she slept.  By daybreak there were two of them close.  Snuggling warm on mommy.  I listen.  With my heart.  Soft babies breathing gently.  Breathing in the contentment of nearness.  Breathing out the comfort of God.  Maybe… maybe I have been given a sign... or two.