Archives For light

Screen shot 2013-05-26 at 11.04.36 PMThere are days when you feel you’ve got a pretty good handle on life… or so I’ve heard. I occasionally peek into the lives of my friends (my sisters, my coworkers, my Facebook friends) and walk away thinking they’ve got a particular area of life cornered. One of my sisters is extremely organized with her time. Oh, if you ask her she’ll say she’s not, but trust me the girl probably has summer 2016 already planned in her google calendar. She’s amazing. I’m in awe of her vision & determination to live life to its fullest.

I used to be like that… well, sorta. But I’ve fallen far from the organizational tree. Just this week I failed to send my son to two special events; a band concert in which he was supposed to play the drums and a student government celebratory party. These were both pretty big deals in a 5th grader’s life, especially if that 5th grader has Asperger’s Syndrome & desperately wants to be one of the regular kids. Planning ahead & making back up plans are essential in keeping meltdowns at bay – for both of us!

Where have I been lately? I’ll tell ya… I’ve been trying not to lose my momma marbles. The past two months rank high on the If-I-have-to-handle-one-more-meltdown-I’m-seriously-gonna-drop-my-basket scale. Any parent of a special needs child will know exactly what I mean.

But before you start to say, ‘Awww, bless her little heart’ – your sympathy is not what is needed.

This place of desperation and near-the-edge emotional stress is right where I’ve needed to be. Why? Because I loooooove craziness? Because I thrive on drama? Nope. In fact, craziness & drama tend to wipe me out. Normally, I like to sleep or eat my way through drama… or both. 

Not this time. Not these past few months. I’m right where I’ve needed to be – clinging to Jesus to get our family through each day. And it hasn’t been pretty. Waking in the morning, writing in my prayer journal throughout the day… Crying out for His grace, mercy & strength; knowing I can’t (nor do I want to) do it without Him. Without Him, we fall apart. Without Him, crisis overtakes & consumes us.

I’d rather have Jesus in the storm than a posh, comfortable life without Him. Any. Day. I’ve been experiencing that daily grace and I’d have it no other way. I’m hungry for more of Jesus – I want my needs, my desires to pale in comparison to my desperation to know Him & make Him known to those around me. If that means being in a storm that pulls me away from self-reliance, that’s where I need to be. In the eye of the storm.

I’m reminded of Psalm 91 daily that says,

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.’

He has been with us. He continues to be. He just needs to be invited. God’s a Gentleman y’all. He’s not gonna invade our lives if we don’t want Him to! I think Christians have sent the wrong message to the world; the message that says, ‘If you rely on God, He’ll keep you from harm’s way and everything will work out. You’ll be able to give a testimony that God saved you from hardship.”

Let me tell you guys: If you rely on God, He’ll be with you IN harm’s way. Everything will work out in eternity, but it’s not necessary for us to know right now why God allows us to experience hardship & pain. Its our job to simply trust. And somehow God takes that trust and turns it into a testimony of His faithfulness.

Its as simple as this, God’s light IN you can shine more brightly through darkness than it can in a well-lit, comfortable room. We choose, don’t we? We choose comfort or we choose His plan. And it is guaranteed that His plan is anything but comfortable!

Its been my daily prayer that even through the past few months (heck, years!) of difficulty that God’s light of love & faithfulness will shine brightly through our family. It makes my heart ache a little to think of the times that I’ve whined, cried & complained or let my anger get the best of me. I wish I could share more about what’s happened with my oldest son, his AS and the school system these past few months, but I won’t risk compromising others’ trust just to give you a good story.

I can say the ‘Momma Bear’ in me has awaken a few times in order to protect my son as I’ve thought necessary. And really, I’m not proud of that. There’s a part of me that wants to be the model-citizen with children who follow the rules, mind their manners and have lots of friends. I’ve thought that’s how people will recognize God’s light in me – when we look & act put-together.

Nope. Its just not true. In fact, I’ve found most people just want to know I’m for real. Sure there’s a few people that just plain don’t like me, what I stand for, that I go all the way to Africa to help kids, or the fact that my son’s special needs require accommodations that just aren’t fair to the other kids in class. {Fair? Is it fair that he has Aspergers and they don’t? Fairness is not even a factor.}

Back to most people… 

Most people identify with difficulty. Most people, when they realize your life isn’t a bed of roses either, will open up and share their own trials with you. I’ve gained some amazing friendships lately by simply being vulnerable & honest enough to say ‘this is really hard. I need help.’

Christian, here is some unsolicited advice:

Hurting people don’t give a rip about how prosperous & put-together you look! You know what hurting people need? A preacher? A judge? NO! They need a friend! A friend who sees their pain, listens to their cries and walks through it with them.

And I know this because I am a hurting person. Aren’t you? I’ve been wounded, I’ve been rejected, I’ve been ostracized. It sucks.

This is exactly the reason Jesus came to earth. God saw the human race was aching for fellowship, brokenhearted, alone and tormented by their own pain… and He came as a friend, in the flesh, to bind up our wounds to heal our broken hearts, to be with us!

And the last thing He said before He returned to heaven, after taking the world’s sin upon His shoulders? He told His disciples to go into the world and preach the same Good News that He did! The Good News is many things, but above all else it is a message of love and acceptance in spite of our flair for screwing things up.

That, my friends, is the same Good News we are to be showing to the people in our lives. Knowing we’re loved in spite of our own ‘crap’ should having us running with open arms to other weary, broken, lonely people that religion has turned their noses up at. 

So if this place of desperation & difficulty I’ve been in will let me walk more closely with God and let me comfort & mourn with someone else going through the same stuff… well, I’ll walk it out every day knowing I’m not alone and never will be.

Now, how about you?

Maybe in your case you’ve felt the sting of rejection one too many times? Ever had a real friend be there for you in your ugliness & mess, and STILL love ya?

Shine On! 

Danielle

ps. Notice anything different about us? Yep, we’ve changed our name. The men who read this blog were starting to feel hurt that change seemed like it was only for moms. So welcome to Live4Change! In the coming weeks & months you’ll start to see regular posts from several co-contributors. Some of my trusted friends will be sharing their stories, their journeys, and dreams. Lets be inspired together to live in such as a way as to shine His light & love to a hurting world!

Light The Way

January 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

He’s talented in many areas. At the forefront of his talents is the way he loves his family. But the dude’s got such a way with words… be inspired, be encouraged, and be moved. Oh yeah and after you read this, be sure to visit his blog for more insightful posts. Mike Brower’s Blog

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Do you ever wonder where you are, how you got here, or where to go from here? I do. Some days…All. The. Time! I seem to have this internal curiosity that goes unfulfilled with the answers I come up with. While helping my sons to get ready for school this morning, I happened upon a bit of insight that I believe will help.

In the midst of lunch making, snow boots finding, and a bit of yelling, I shared a Bible verse with my boys. In sharing with them, I received a new revelation on this simple text. The verse:

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet,

and a light to my path.”

This verse has been a long time companion for me. I fondly recall knowing that this was my mom’s “favorite verse” from the Bible. When I was a young boy, my dad created a wall plaque of this verse from a simple board and routed letters – he and I “made” it together! I remember this verse hanging by the front door of our home, most visible when going out into the world.

...and a light unto my path

I’ve often thought of the verse and prayed that it’s truth would be real in my life. I’ve thought of the verse’s meaning and interpreted it to mean that God’s word will show me where I am, and show me where I’m going.

This morning as I was reading to the boys and talking a bit about these concepts, a new light shone on this passage. It was a welcome insight to start the day.

Not only does God’s word show us where we are in this life, his word reveals the path to travel on. There’s a subtle difference here. The focus is no longer on where I am going. The focus is on where I am supposed to go!

An image came to my mind’s eye. Picture midnight in a Narnian woods, or perhaps the spooky woods from the Wizard of Oz. I was alone in that dark wood, my lantern in hand, I could see a few feet out. I knew where I was at. The air was black, heavy, and a bit spooky. As I looked about for direction there was none to be found. I could not see anything beyond the light of my lamp and all signs of direction were gone.

As I pondered the verse, something began to appear in the woods of my mind. A path way extending from the edge of my lamp’s light woven out into the darkened grove. Slowly the glow grew out before me and I became aware, not only of where I was, but where I was to go.

God’s word is available to us to reveal our current condition, and to show us where to go.

I was encouraged by this simple adjustment. So often we wonder if we are focused where we’re supposed to be. Are we headed in the right direction? Are we following Jesus in the way that he’s called us to? We ask, “How do I know God’s will and plan for my life?”

Today this little verse near the center of the Bible reminded me that we’ve been given a letter that answers our question. The path has already been illuminated. We need to intentionally see it.

Blessings to you in your quest!