Archive | December, 2014

She Loves Me More: An Open Letter to my Mom

28 Dec

I feel God is prompting me to write a book and in response to that I have begun the process of sifting through all the spiral notebooks I have written in over the years. It’s a little bit like the process of revisiting the memories and the people when you’re sorting pictures. You can’t just drop it onto the top of a pile until you’ve looked it over, fingered the edges of it, smiled at it or cried with it, and let the “all of it” wash over your heart one more time. I realize as I am reading over that description that I am very much dating myself chatting about the mounds of unsorted pictures I have tucked away in totes, so for the younger sisters that I pray are reading and will be spurred toward love and good deeds as a result of being here—replace the words that chat about physically touching, feeling, and piling photographs with words like clicking, dragging, editing, and creating folders. I have no doubt that no matter how you preserve your memories, rather an old school Polaroid or Cloud storage, the sentiment and the desire to linger over the moments is the same.

young momI recently came upon a letter I wrote to my Mom a couple years ago but never mailed. I contemplated rewriting and sending it to her and then wondered to myself about the possibilities of encouraging another daughter to tell her Mom exactly how she sees her if I were to share it. Might someone take an extra moment to really look at the woman she is and see her. . . her strength, her sweetness, her beauty, her vulnerability, her sacrifice, her scars.

God has put me in a very unique place of appreciating the days with my Mom right now, even if our only contact is a quick text during the day. He’s opened my eyes through the grief of others and the place I have gone in life with my own Sweet Girl and began to show me who my Mom is not just as my Mom but as the woman, friend, daughter, sister, wife, grandmother, and so many more things that she is. All the roles she has had in her life, all the comfort she has given friends, all the love poured out – all the things that she does day in and day out to speak love into her world—to be beauty in motion.

Mom and me ribbetSo my hope in sharing this right now, as this year draws to a close and another lays before us, is that you might be prompted to use some of those dwindling moments to really look at the women who have invested in your life, see the high cost they paid to love you so well and then let them know how precious they are to you.   And if I may be so bold as to suggest – write it down for them. Give them a piece of their love story and their legacy etched out. Let it be something they can pull out and read on days they aren’t feeling really precious to anyone, to run their fingers over on a down day, and let the “all of how you see them” wash over their hearts one more time.

We’re just on the other side of celebrating the birth of love and the gift of life so what say you and I give one more gift to the women we love. . . the ones who have influenced, guided, and shaped us? I’ll lead the way and put a big red bow on this just for my Mom. I’ve left all the errors in punctuation, the grit of emotion, and all the other imperfections of the original handwritten letter because Momma’s don’t require editing or censoring. They love the all of you and . . . they love you more. moms card ribbet

SHE LOVES ME MORE: An Open Letter to my Mom

Hi Mom,

I wish I had some fancy paper to write on but I don’t so this notebook paper will have to do. Britt found this card the other day when we were out shopping and said, “Hey Mommy, this is in the romance section but it reminds me of you and Grammy.”

I read it, thought it was cute and picked it up thinking I would drop it in the mail to you to cheer you up this winter. Obviously I didn’t get it done and I’m glad about that because this card has taken on a whole new meaning as it has sat here in my house with life going on all around it.

I hope I can explain this right Mom and find the perfect words to say it all. If I can, you’ll feel very loved and noticed and seen. And that’s what I want, for you to know that I see you and you matter.

You know that the last few months have, for whatever reason, been some of the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. I started crying when Baby Dog died and I haven’t stopped. It seems like an avalanche has fallen and I’m trying to live my life crawling through the rubble.

You’ve been through so much coping with all that has gone on in life and in your effort to protect me from your hurt you’ve been keeping pieces of your heart locked up for a long time and that’s made it seem like I’ve lost a bit of you sometimes. Then Lori was diagnosed with cancer and the roller coaster of emotions that came at the thought of losing her was almost too much. Britt graduated and left. We packed you up and you guys left too. And Brett’s had one health issue after another pummel him throughout it all.

The next August came and Britt left again, Angie died, and then the Baby Dog. Brett’s still fighting and on some days it seems we are losing. Mikey has passed away and the ruins seem to keep piling up around me. Life is just difficult right now. I’m hanging on to the words of Isaiah and knowing that God is the Restorer of the ruins and the Repairer of broken walls, but it’s still difficult.

So I was taking down the Christmas stuff and thinking to myself “Why did I even put this up? Nothing matters to anyone. You work hard to love people, make them feel special, and nothing matters.” And right there, in the middle of my less-than-attractive pity party, it hit me like a lightning bolt.

I started wondering how many times you were going through difficult things but still worked hard to love all of us in tangible ways and make us feel special, cared for, and loved. I wondered how many times you did things, all by yourself feeling like you were the one no one wanted to be with or even saw.  Doing it all with the weight of the world on your shoulders and feeling like nothing mattered.

I WISH I WOULD HAVE NOTICED all the things you did and appreciated it then instead of looking back and realizing it now. The truth is Mom, IT ALL MATTERED.

Even though I’ll never know all the million little details and the big sacrifices you’ve made, IT ALL MATTERED. You poured yourself into making me, me and my brother, my brother and into being by Dad’s side through everything. We are who we are because everything you are and everything you did, IT ALL MATTERED.

Another truth is, you really do love me more because I haven’t fully learned how much I love you yet. God keeps showing me all these ways that you have loved me and continue to love me that I just didn’t know. Until you experience some things for yourself you just can’t wrap your mind around it.

moms letter ribbetI do love you so much but I’m certain it isn’t as much as I will love you. I’m getting older and we have more shared experiences than before and sometimes when I’m in the middle of something and I think, “this thing’s about to kill me,” your face pops into my mind and I think to myself, I know she felt this way too and she got through.

So never think that the thing you did didn’t matter. Every single one did, the ones I’ve noticed and the ones I’ve yet to see and I appreciate them all, especially the ones I’m yet to discover. I love you Mom, but yeah, you’re right, you love me more. Thanks for always being the winner of that argument.

I love you – Bunny

The closest I can figure from the things I am chatting about in the letter I wrote this at the beginning of 2013. Why didn’t I send it? Why did I wait? I don’t know but I don’t want another day to pass without her knowing and I want to be the one who shows her beauty to the world.

Mom beautiful ribbetProverbs 27:2 says to let another praise you and not let it come from your own mouth so Sweet Sister please do not remain silent where she is concerned. Walk your Momma into 2015 with the full knowledge of the love you have for her. Send her into a fresh year knowing that all the ones behind her counted. Put a big red bow on your love for her and be certain she understands who she is to you. Let her know that your heart sees behind you and in front of you and it ALL MATTERS, that she matters. And even though our Moms and our situations, our ages and our locations may be different this is one thing we all have in common—no matter how much I love my Mom, no matter how much you love your Mom . . . .SHE LOVES YOU MORE.

creation swap she loves you more free mother daughter Travis Silva 5632

 

*Written with a grateful heart and much love for my Sisters walking through such loss right now and allowing me to learn from all you are going through. I love you so dear friends.

*If you’d like to put your letter to your Mom in the comments section here feel free to do that. If you’d like me to put it on Glimpsed Glory’s facebook page I’d be happy to post it for you just e-mail me at glimpsedglory@yahoo.com. If you’d like a public place to share it, I’ll provide it.

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

 

Christmas Day comes once each year,

The bells ring joy so loud and clear.

Rejoice and praise with godly fear,

Come celebrate, Love has appeared!

creation swap 22155_Christmas_Bells

Marvel at our Savior’s birth,

The Light has dawned upon the earth.

Join your voices, sing with mirth

Wonder at His matchless worth!

Revel in that Grace filled day,

Christ descended to obey,

Raise your hearts and kneel to pray,

Our Jesus came to make the way!

creation swap 22155_Christmas_Bells

The Author of Salvation’s plan,

Fulfilled the holy, high command,

Born a Baby, died a Man

Bow your heart and lift your hand!

Yes, trumpet praise and fan to flame,

The Spirit’s Fire and Holy Fame,

Christmas Day, give wide acclaim

Shout His glory, Laud His Name!

–Marilyn Biddinger

creation swap JOY 3763_Christmas_1_of_2_(REVISED) ribbet

 

A Balloon Ride for Two . . . Safe in the Palm of Glory!

16 Dec

Brett and I have travelled across the country this past week not for a simple vacation but to witness a milestone moment in the life of our Sweet Florida Girl. We’ve come to see our Little One walk across the stage, receive her college diploma and symbolically step into the next stage of her 21 year old life.seugraduationbackground

Sisters, where does the time go? It seems like only yesterday she stepped up to the podium at her first “graduation” – the time passes so fast and, as cliché’brittspreschool graduation cropped as it sounds, you barely blink and it’s gone. And I don’t think that sentiment, the idea that time with those who have captured our hearts slips away too soon, is limited to our children. I think it’s that way with all the important people in our lives. The time always seems to go to quickly . . . with your Grandma, with your Mom, with your aunts, your sisters, your nieces, your daughters . . . it never seems like we have the time to fully embrace them and in the blink of an eye . . . it’s a memory.

That’s how these last 21 years feel to me and as I let my mind drift back to the beginning of her college years I clearly remember the absolute physical pain of watching her pull the car out of the garage to begin her adventure on the opposite end of the United States. I felt so anxious about what the future held for her and to be honest, for the empty nest she was leaving behind as well.

What was waiting for her at Southeastern University? She believed God had paved the way straight through those campus gates for her. So much so that she called it her “Promised Land” – but would it be? Would the adjustment, the being away from home, be difficult for her or would she make the move easily – and, if I was honest with myself, which one was I really hoping for?

All these questions and a thousand others pounded at my heart as I watched her turn the key, smile at me with such expectation on her face and drive away. I flew to the spot Brett was having his morning coffee, crawled up beside him, and let the thousand questions roll down my cheeks.

And now here I am at another monumental moment . . . watching as she takes her place with a smile full of expectation – she isn’t sitting behind the wheel with all her belongings in the seats behind her, but she is poised for another adventure. It’s so strange to me to see her in this place, where the past and future are meeting in such a real and tangible way. So surreal to open the commencement program listing the graduates, trace down through the list and land on the name we had given our Sweet Child 21 years ago.

Such a mix of remembering, experiencing and anticipating all tangled into these few brief moments. Remembering her as a little girl. Thinking about the health diagnosis she has received this year and the challenges they will present throughout her life. Anticipating her upcoming marriage in 2015.   Mulling her plan to move several states away from us . . . again. And there is that physical pain again and the thousand questions that batter at my Momma’s heart.

Does she remember home as a safe harbor? A place of love? The spot where grace lives? What is she thinking about the pain in her joints and all the medicine she has to take? How is she going to cope with the new limitations she has? Is she nervous about being a wife? Will she make friends in that new place? Will she leave us behind?

So much change in her young life and in this old one too. And all those questions welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I spilled my heart out to Brett over coffee in our hotel the morning after graduation.

I’d love to write that he handled it so wonderfully but I know he will not mind me telling you that he sometimes forgets that I don’t really want the questions answered or the problem fixed. I just want someone to hear what’s on my heart. So he didn’t handle it badly, he just really wanted to make it better. To make certain I knew that Britt would be okay on the journey. To remind me that we have been praying for her for years with this specific time in mind. And to point out all the times God has been so obviously faithful to her over the years.

I looked over to explain to him that I didn’t want to hear logic or be reminded of all the things I know to be true and over his shoulder, right off the patio of our hotel room, I saw the most beautiful hot air balloon with the sun splashing across it. I said, “Honey, look at that! It’s so beautiful!” He turned to look from the place he was sitting and said, “Where?” He rolled forward in his wheelchair and said, “I can see it now. But there isn’t just one – the sky is full of them!” And he pushed out onto the patio. I got out of my chair and followed him and there they all were with the sun lighting them up. They were so beautiful. And calm. So peaceful.

The splendor of the single balloon had been obscured from Brett’s vision by a concrete post and the beauty filling the sky had been hidden from me by a curtain. We had to move, to get up close, get out from behind the post and pull back the curtain to see the bigger picture. And still, as we took in the details of the balloons, suspended in the sky, awash in the sun, poised for adventure, we didn’t know where the balloons had launched from – where they were going—or who they were carrying. For all the beauty in front of us, we only saw one brief moment, hanging in time, of the much larger journey.

hotairballoonpsalm

We were witnessing, Sweet Sisters, a glimpse of Glory . . . a small slice of the wonder of Him . . . in the sky above us and the life of our Sweet Girl.

And the message struck like a lightning bolt.  God is all about doing the beautiful thing – even when the post is obscuring our vision or we’re standing behind the curtain. What I can or can’t see has no bearing on what He is doing. I cannot contain Him and neither can you so we trust Him to always be about the business of filling our skies with love. And occasionally, when we heed the Spirit’s push to move closer and respond to His invitation to look up . . . we see the beauty of Him . . . and if we will raise our eyes toward heaven, even as the questions roll down our cheeks, Sister, what we behold will be absolutely glorious.

hotairballoon desktopfreehebrews

From “Nothing” to “Something” . . . Something Beautiful

2 Dec

I am beginning a personal study of the Book of Hebrews and as part of the adventure into these passages I want to get as much of the background story as I can. It’s not where everybody begins but I enjoy trying to piece together the surroundings the Almighty chose as the very place He would have the quill hit the parchment. I love the idea of leaning over the author’s shoulder as he receives Divine inspiration and trying to imagine how it all unfolded. What did he experience as the Spirit settled upon him? What kind of expressions crossed his face as he drank in the Word of God? How long did it take him to understand what was happening –did he know immediately or was it a process? Did he smile at the thought that the God of heaven and earth was chatting so loudly or was it more like a holy whisper that made his hands shake as he tried to get it all down? These are the kinds of things that I like to think on and wonder over when I start out on the quest of new treasure.

creation swap Elizabeth Spencer Hebrews glasses 24482 ribbetThis particular excavation of Truth –this specific seeking of treasure– has however, begun much differently than what I anticipated when I settled into my chair. To say that my expected beginning has taken a very unexpected turn would fall far short of describing my experience this morning as God confirmed for me again at least two things that He has been whispering in my ear since He and I began this journey.

First, He will – in all of His ExtraOrdinariness – speak loudly to the utterly ordinary among us. I believe this so completely that I’ve made the declaration of it a permanent part of the blog in the Message From a Fellow Sojourner:

Beloved, God has gone to great lengths to whisper to your heart and reveal His Nature to you in personal, unique ways. My own experience confirms for me that neither a righteous background nor an extraordinary intellect is a requirement for looking beyond what we can see and Glimpsing the Glory of the One we cannot. In fact, I am walking, talking assurance that the “Extraordinary of God” will be revealed to the most unrighteous and utterly ordinary among us. Never doubt that the Creator of communication is fluent in the language of your unique soul as well.

And isn’t it beautiful that He will keep repeating Himself, over and over again, until He’s certain the lesson He is teaching is etched on our souls. He’s so dedicated to engraving His image on us that He perseveres in stamping Himself on our hearts . . . all for our benefit. It doesn’t change Him in any way but Sister, it changes us.

See, what I expected when I grabbed my coffee and Bible this morning was to add some texture to the fabric of the message I was going to read after I poked around into the history of the human who was entrusted with the task of putting it all down for the generations to come. What I didn’t expect was to have God show up in all of His hugeness and stitch together such a beautiful backdrop before I even read Hebrews 1:1.  Full confession is . . . I still haven’t made it that far.

The God of More had planned to drench me in Himself before I even dipped my toes into the pages of the Scripture. The Extraordinary seemed to be reminding this ordinary woman that He would not be confined by her idea of when and where she would hear Him. No, He could and He would give voice to the message He had prepared anywhere, any time, and in any way He chose.

coffe and bible creation swap free 19147 Aaron Burden hebrews cup

I’m trying to think of a better way to describe all that God has shown me this morning but the one word that keeps entering my mind is “nothing.” I don’t have the space to detail it and the way it all unfolded because He chatted so fast and so loud but in its most scant outline it went something like this in my spirit . . .

I read a couple of resource books and thought:

Hmm . . . different scholars posit different possible authors – some of the arguments are good others—not so much. What does that mean for me as I start this study?

I typed the answer to the question I posed to myself and noted the Scripture that brought me to my response:

My response to the challenge of human authorship: All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and brought into existence to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11) – while the debate to determine the human hand that held the quill may be of scholarly interest –the power of the Word lies with the Almighty Author (Hebrews 4:12).

I pondered on it:

That’s really true of the entire Bible. It doesn’t really matter who put the pen to paper in any of the 66 books. It adds depth and gives application, and God chose them to convey His message, but the story is God’s – the message always belongs to Him. I wonder what those verses that came to mind read like lined up –from the New to the Old and then back again. Guess I’ll check that out.

I copied and pasted into a word document from the Amplified Bible (AMP) and then I read:

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Isaiah 55:10-11 Hebrews 4:12 AMP

Read back through it again! It is absolutely seamless—the Message of God from both sides of the Covenant Line. The utter constancy of God clearly stating that it is His Word and His Authority and His Voice that brings power and life to the black words on those white pages. And isn’t it sweet that He brought the whole thing to a point with the very book I am preparing to splash down in? I love Him so for putting me in the exact place I need to be as I begin this study. He took the distractions away and gave me “nothing” so I could receive the message straight from Him – not in awe of the dedication of the mortal author – not marveling over the tenacity of the human writer – but with my eyes and my heart marveling at HIM, the Immortal One.

Beloved, those three Scriptures only scratch the surface of the Holy Script He let me visit this morning. It was one thunderbolt after another (read fast because that’s the way He brought it all to mind in rapid-fire fashion) –

Isn’t He wild?  What kind of King shows Himself to the servant that way?  It’s astounding that He would welcome us into His Presence with such generosity.  I am beside myself with glee at what lies ahead on this treasure hunt. Absolutely giddy at the possibilities He may lay out in front of me. And Girlfriend, Fellow God Seeker, this is just a small glimpse of Him, a little piece of His splendor. What will it be when we fully know as we are fully known?!?

Do you remember where all this began? It all began with finding nothing – no undebatable human author. He has brought us all this beauty, all this excitement, all the wonder from the discovery of “nothing” —but it strikes me as I type those words that I shouldn’t be surprised because isn’t that how He does? In Genesis 1:1 God speaks and “nothing” is transformed into the spectacular “something.” Just the sound of His Voice, giving form to the command of His Heart and “nothing” takes on a wild beauty that we can’t even comprehend.

“Nothing” is touched by the Breath and Heart of God and it becomes “something.”

Doesn’t that thought startle you just a little bit? The same Voice that spoke the world into existence . . . the same Heart that commanded beauty to be born . . . the Heavenly breath that turns “nothings” into “somethings” . . . Sweet Sister, He’s the One who speaks to you.

And that brings me to the second thing that I am certain He has confirmed for me again today and I hope He has spoken to your heart as well –our God, the One who loves you and the One who loves me, is always the God of More. creation swap coffee cup painting lori macmath 9079 surpasses dreamsHe’s always more thrilling, more exhilarating, and more exciting than we could possibly dream up. When He shows us glimpses of the Who of Him and empties us of our own small expectations, when we come to Him with our “nothing,” . . . well Sister, transforming it to something is His specialty and it will always be more beautiful than our finite minds can conjure. I’m going to be so bold as to say that His reality will always surpass our dreams. It will always go beyond our wildest expectations and exceed our aspirations.

That Girlfriend, is the “something from nothing” life – originating in His Heart, beginning with His Voice, taking form at His command – He created you to live. So you press in close, hold out your cup full of nothing, empty yourself of your small expectations, trust Him to be Who He is and then you watch your beautiful something overflow.

creation swap coffee cup Kelly Sikkema 22940 beautiful cup

(P.S.  And so I finished all the detail work on this post but wanted to check a reference one last time.  I went to Biblegateway and the verse staring back at me from their homepage . . .Hebrews 1:1-2!

[The Supremacy of God’s Son ] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2

I couldn’t make this stuff up — He is always the God of More!  And I’m taking that gift from Him as the green light to actually jump into the Book of Hebrews!  Isn’t He too good for words! Oh, Believe Him to be More today!! Blessings to you!)

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