Sunday, April 1, 2018

life & death

Over the last few weeks, the topic of life & death has been in high volume. As a nurse- I see lots of death & have become what some might say as ‘quite numb or callused’ to it.
To my own defense- I disagree.
My view of death & life has been greatly changed over the last few years as my experiences all over the world have opened my eyes. For so long, as many parts of my life & within my mind, death & life were compartmentalized. The nice neat boxes I kept them in on the high shelf of the filing cabinet of my mind, were all at once picked up, unwrapped, & opened wide. The walls of the boxes were torn down exposing the hidden secrets inside. The secrets God wanted me to know, to experience.
Death in my own family & death from strangers I took care of became the practice ground of the knowledge He was feeding me.
Death is a part of life, just as much as birth-- the only permanent thing of this world besides tattoos- only because they still stick with you after death- they just look different as skin ages & melts away in yet another box 6 feet under.
Death was not something I feared, but something I saw others fear.
I saw death in a different light in Nigeria. It seemed to be fully embraced by all. A family member got sick- went to the hospital- poor prognosis, they gathered the family around, spent time together, words together, last memories shared & they died. It was seen as a part of life.
How different it is in America. Fear is coupled with the word death.
But why?
What about death are we afraid of… all that will be missed, all that wasn’t done, all that wasn’t said, or is it what lies after. Do we just stop existing or is there more—hell, heaven, eternity in one of the two.
Do you know where you will go?
Are 100% sure?

This is what makes life so wonderful- security of knowing eternity is yet to come. For me- eternity with Jesus far outweighs that of this life on Earth. But for most- 100% assurance is not coupled with death or eternity.

As I looked into his face, as he shook uncontrollably with Parkinson’s & dementia,  between gulps of thickened water he gasps for air, I saw life.
I also saw death coming & as ease of someone who had no clue it was wuickly approaching. As he talked about doing his grandma’s dishes, letting the youngster at the door crawl into bed with him so he could sleep, & pulling the blanket up to his mouth to chew on… this man was none the wiser.
Ninety-six years of life lay in bed before me with nothing but smiles & stories. Hating hearing the sound of his audible junky lungs filling up with fluid, I wanted his stories to continue, but fought with the notion that peace is coming with his last breaths around the bend.
I thought for a moment- “how did I get this privilege to do this? to see people of all ages & walks of life exit this world & begin eternity? to be present with someone, caring for them in their last moments.”

I thought of the conversation my girlfriends & I have been having the last few days about this very thing…
Death being certain, time being uncertain, & what do we do?
His eyes stare back at me as he offers some of his thickened water to me, & my eyes fill with tears. I wished I knew what he did, where he lived, how many children, what he had seen & heard & done. Did he love Jesus?
He didn’t even realize it was Easter until I told him, & he smiled. Maybe a flash of what Easter meant flew through his mind & heart. I wonder how he celebrated Easter all these years.
As the rambling of stories & nonsense phrases came out- I rubbed his arm & held his hand. This precious trembling hand—he sunk back in his bed & relaxed.
I thought of Jesus praying in the garden hours before his arrest. All he asked His disciples to do was stay up & pray with Him.
Wait up with Him as He anguished over His last moments before death.
It hit hard as I swallowed the lump in my throat.
Wait up with him…

Thursday, March 1, 2018

head in the clouds

I opened the window shade to find a sea of white- a beautiful landscape of open sky & sunshine. The clouds lay as a massive down comforter with a few large pillows in the distance. It was peaceful up here. Almost as a far away land we rarely visit.
I felt like a child seeing the clouds for the first time. When time was spent lying in the grass looking up at what cloud creatures God was drawing together for me- a dinosaur, a bird, a ship, a dragon. The list seemed to never end in our child like minds.
As we started our decent, it looked as if we were skirting the clouds like birds just above the water in search of fish. It made time stand still. All I could think was ‘this is a mere glimpse of the beauty of heaven & what God sees everyday.’ Eternity in child-like minds, child-like faith, child-like imaginations… forever in awe of Him, with nothing to distract or take away from it; forever without the pain & brokenness of life.
We dipped into the clouds like watching cotton candy circling around before it sticks to its holder & is passed off to be consumed.
This land of white puffy clouds- unable to see ahead of me, around me, behind me… isn’t this where He wants me to be always with Him- trusting His eyes, His leading, His way?
The clouds thinned & the sun disappeared only to prove that rain & grey winter was very present. The land of mortality, reality awaits me.
Why not keep this child-like image going, why not include it in your day to day.
How is more of the question I ask.
How do I live each day with Your mind, Your thoughts, Yours actions, Your life as my life? How can I remain with you while on this earth?
I immediately go back to the study I am in throws with—The Broken Way. I am discovering that it is the only way to live. As hard as it is, it is also very simple.
I re-read the words, “Why do you people always say it’s about having a strong belief in God? Who sits with the knowing that God’s belief in you is even stronger than yours in Him? You may believe in God, but never forget—it’s God who believes in you. Every morning that the sun rises & you get to rise, that’s God saying He believes in you, that He believes in the story He’s writing through you. He believes in you as a gift the world needs.”
The land of endless clouds- of quiet- of light- of this reminder that He believes in me more than I in Him—it reminds me that ‘His mercies are new every morning- not as an obligation to me, but as an affirmation of me.’
“A bruised reed he will not break, & a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”(Isaiah 42:3) 
“For he remembered that we are merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns.” (Psalm 78:39)

His mercies are seen very clearly & quietly while in the clouds—now just to believe it & live it daily below the clouds where it really matters.
Do I live my life like I fully believe that?
How do I believe in Jesus in a way that Jesus believes in me?

As the plane landed & parked, people frantically grabbing their items & bags, ready to rush off the plane & on to the next thing- I swallowed hard, trying not to forget this moment- this present reality of God with me, stirring me. And I laugh as I fold the book I am studying in my bag… for such a time when reality is hard & healing is needed, You will not let me forget what I so desperately need, & what You so desperately want me to believe.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I realized today that my prayer life was suffering because I did not see my request answered as I thought it should be. Not that I doubted God as all powerful or able to give miracles- that I had seen before my eyes many times.
I did not lack confidence in who God is or what He could do. Rather, that He would give me what I asked for. After all, I was asking for a reconciliation of a man to Himself & to his marriage.
I saw my request as righteous & holy. Asking for a man who once loved God with all his heart to return to his Master & for a godly covenant between 2 people to be restored. It was not unreasonable. Nor was it impossible.
But today- I realized I was holding this against God. As if any other prayer might not be answered just like the last was not.
With the verbalizing of my heart- I felt somewhat free.
It doesn’t change the fact that my prayer was unanswered or the fact that I wasn’t praying much these days now. But oddly, when verbalizing this to my sister in Christ- it freed me. It opened the door to be addressed, to converse about. Not by my sister, but by God.
He began to speak very softly to the inner most part of my heart…
I heard the words very clearly in my online Sunday service tonight- “let go of your past- let go of what God did not give you- because if He didn’t give it to you, you didn’t need it.”
Tears streamed down my face as my eyes saw for the first time what I was holding on to. What I was allowing to hinder me. What I was allowing to disappoint me. How could I be disappointed in the One who knew exactly what I needed & did not need before I was even born? How could I be disappointed in He who gave me all He had to save a wretch like me? He who put all things into motion before time began.
If God did not give me what I asked for, then I do not need it.
I will continue to pray for the reconciliation of a man to God, and to receive the grace of Your provision in this season!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Soul Cry

 How do you find the words to pray, to speak to the Holy of Holies?
I cant…
So I am grateful that He knows what each tear and wail mean.

I am learning tonight that a soul cry captivates the ears of God- the attention of all of Heaven actually.
I can remember this same feeling almost 3 years ago- knowing all of heaven drew their attention to earth at that moment. That the Holy Spirit was circling me. That Jesus was in the throne room pleading my case.
The King of Kings coming off His throne- laying His crown down- tears streaming down His face, pleading my case before God.
It overwhelms me
That He has such a vested interest in me, who even now fights her flesh and mind and heart back to stay focused on Him.

Praying tears and not words for someone else’s soul creates an atmosphere that moves the heart of God.
As I ask Him to help me in the present, He tends to me… I feel Him holding me as He breaths His life in me with Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG) ““forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. Watch. I am about to do something brand-new.”

The enemy seeks to keep a man wounded. He is only out to kill, steal, & destroy- but even more so when he knows how great the potential of this person for the Kingdom of God. So when we fight in the spirit for someone who is kept wounded- the battle is always intense. But when you serve the Warrior King, you have no fear.
In 2013, I asked for the greatest warrior angels in heaven to surround a man shielding any new arrows from the enemy and dealing with the ones presently wounding him. That same vision was brought back today.
I stand grateful that God has taught my heart what is greater than the things here on earth or the things done to me- and teaches me still how to contend for someone’s heart & soul.

Be alert- be present- watch…

life & death

Today- I was reminded of the feeling when someone you love is ripped away from you.
The knot in the pit of your stomach tightens… leaving a nauseous unsettled feeling brewing inside you… when every breath hurts & every thought ends with a question mark
All things inside of you want to scream… yell… cry… panic… grasp for control…

Pondering life in general as a slew of emotions invade your mind…
We never know when our last moments with a person might be- whether taken by force, death, illness, or choice… the result is still the same
No matter how much preparation you have… the result is still the same
No matter how much time you have with them… the result is still the same
We live each day- up and down, ebs and flow, ins and outs… mostly by routine because we are creatures of habit
We take for granted those that we have around us, those we love, those we care about, those we encounter & interact with- intentionally or unintentionally

I believe God, our Creator, made us to be intential people, not meant to be alone or without fellowship of others, or without love. But we forfeited our right to have continual fellowship & love forever with people when we Fell. But His plan superseded all things… all imagination… all knowledge… all understanding

We get to ponder these things & more but never get the answer till our allotted time which only One knows. We attempt to spend every waking moment with those we love but all coming to the same end.
We avoid… we shut it out… we “think about it tomorrow”… but what if it’s too late?

As a health care provider I see death almost every day- if its not immediate then it is coming soon. We have no borrowed time.  We can become callused to death- lacking compassion some might say.
What they don’t know is that we just cant take another death. Like a miner chipping away at the earth- each death chips a little more off the heart.
And when these moments that I spoke of in the beginning come, we are stopped dead in our tracks- trying to hold it together, trying to calm the questions, the unanswered questions as we face families- faces- children- mothers- fathers- husbands- wives…

We fight death so often for life.  But the reality is- the only certainty of life is death, and the only certainty of death is answered with a question…

That feeling in the pit of my stomach increases as a reminder to be intential with those people we come into contact with everyday. What if this is their last moments of life? What if death is just a moment away for them? What does that change for you- how does the thought change your approach, your speech, your questions…
How do we love people, who may not be the kindest, but whose moments might be their last… because after all… the only certainty of life is death, and the only certainty of death is answered with a question…

Do you really know Him?