Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Tribute to a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Son, Friend Taken Far Too Soon

Tragedy was faced today. It has a magnificent power to break hearts in two, yet bring people together in love and community. Sitting in church this morning  listening to the sweet strains of "Nearer My God to Thee" on a violin made tears spring to my eyes. Voices raised to sing the familiar hymn and I closed my eyes to let the words wash over me. As I listened, a picture started to develop.

I was walking into the throne room. I look around as I slowly walked toward the throne. He sat there, quietly watching me. I looked up, tears welling in my eyes for my beautiful friend and sister and her siblings. I had so many questions. "Why would you take a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend?" "Why would you take away the arms that held a family?" "Why would you not allow my friend to be able to walk down the aisle with her daddy, her dressed in white?" "Why would you break an already weather-worn family even further?" The questions poured out, as He sat and listened to me.

He cried with me, and gave me another picture. I saw him in the hospital with the family, then later at the memory-filled farmhouse. He had been sitting there, loving gently, comforting with grace and indescribable peace. His arms surrounded the farmhouse, creating a safe haven of rest. He then gently told me that my questions were valid, yet at this time the answers were still His to have. In control He is, and sometimes I fight this, but grace, grace...incredible grace.

Tears stream now writing this all. I remember this gentle man, full of wit. Mention was made of his humor and quirky little quotes this morning, and my heart smiled as I remembered. Leroy was his nickname for me, so Leroy I will always treasure. He always seemed to love with his full heart, his smile lighting up a room. I remember small jokes, and much teasing, but always full of love for people. I can't even begin to share everything on my mind, but I give this as tribute in honor of a man who by our perspective was taken far too soon. So mourn we shall, yet I have hope that joy will in the morning, and that the sun will rise, because:

"Then like a hero who takes the stage when we're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late, well let me introduce you to amazing grace."
-Mercy Me

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Meadow

He says, “Write again.” I ask Him why. Nothing good comes from me, but in You. My hope has been dry lately, not flowing like a river in the wilderness. I look and I remember the meadow. That oh so beautiful place of hope that I long to one day see.
It is a wonderful place, so filled with rest. My heart aches to be there. I saw Him there once. I think it was before I started to dance in the middle of the meadow. He sat on a bench near the edge, trees shading the seat on which He sat. I saw myself there, His hands holding mine. In that picture, I was young. So very young. I remember the questions, so many “whys”. Gently, He said, “when you’re ready.” I didn’t know what that meant. When would I ever not be ready to understand? Why couldn’t I know now? Why could freedom not simply come immediately? I asked Him to show me my heart.
Next I saw myself in the throne room, watching Him interact with the children. I saw one girl walk slowly toward Him, her head down. It seemed as though the world had given her all its worries, for her shoulders were slumped, her weariness dragging like an iron cloak. Her clothes were torn and dirty, mere rags compared to those laughing and dancing around her. I sensed more than saw her desire for His love. I could feel her longing to dance, laugh, and sing in His presence. I had yet to see this young girl’s face, and as she lifted her head slightly to peer up at Him, I gasped, for I saw that it was me. Tears welled in my eyes; I knew why she was there. Her head downcast again, she shivered slightly as she felt His hand touch her shoulder. She looked up into His face; He reached down for her hand. As He lifted her to her feet, I gazed in wonder. Her rags were no longer; in their place she wore white, such splendid white. Knowing her heart, He had playfully woven pale pink into her gown of righteousness. She radiated femininity and purity, yet she also had a grace-filled strength that came straight from the One who held her. On her feet, I saw the shoes she had been longing for, for so long. Dancing shoes. I saw her smile, her heart filled with Him.
And suddenly there I was watching her dance in the meadow. Sunlight streamed through lacy trees swaying in a breeze so graceful. As she twirled, I saw how lush the meadow was. Bouquets of flowers woven with care through the bright green grasses, displayed a splendor far above man-made masterpieces. There was such a rest in the meadow, and I turned to see what caused such peace. I looked over to the bench; my heart jumped. He was there, watching her dance. His joy and delight in her was evidenced on His face. I wondered if that was truly how He saw me. And then, a rush of rushes swept over me; He glanced my way. He said, “Yes. Yes, my Love, this is how I see you. Hear how the birds sing, and the crickets chirp? See the beauty in the sunlight dancing with you? Feel that clear air that you delight in taking breath? This is my song over you. The things you delight in? They are from Me just for you. Your disobedience brought to a place of rags, but your longing for Me brought you to a place of repentance. That repentance is bringing you to a place of joy. See how you dance? I have plans for you, good ones; plans for your future, plans for you to dance. Wait a while my Love; sit in my presence. When you’re ready the meadow will be yours.”