My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


2 Comments

The Letter

vintage-floral-free-letters-cards-powerpoint_156393One day in 1986 it suddenly dawned on me, I wanted Kevin to move out of the friend zone into the “Dating Zone” Asap!.. only hoping he felt the same way. The eyes of my heart soon opened to this new realization after he payed me a visit at Mall 205 where I worked as a manager at Foxmoor clothing store.
Unbeknownst to us our first meeting in the basement of Laurel Park Bible Chapel in 1983, would one day become life changing. Our sweet encouraging friendship blossomed in the soil of our personal brokenness. Sporadically touching base during the next few years, with occasional phone calls and hand written letters, though we lived a mere three miles apart.

This gem of a soul mate was hidden in plain view during our friendship. Blinded by heartbreak of a short lived first marriage, I plummeted head long into an eating disorder, my futile attempt to gain a measure of control in my life. There In the midst of the pain and brokenness God had a plan, to bring beauty out of ashes, oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

Within a couple of weeks of Kevin’s pivotal visit we waved good bye to the Friend Zone. Now standing hand in hand at the threshold of a new beginning eagerly awaiting God’s leading.  Excitement sparked our faith and faith moved us toward what the future would hold for us. We became increasingly aware that we had an adversary that was not ready to see us walk in victory. A persistent seven year battle raged within Kevin that unless he had total freedom from it, our relationship could not proceed to a commitment of marriage.  My heart was not only longing to be married to Kevin, it was longing to see a tormented man set free. Faith rose within me to stand in the gap on his behalf and believe that God would deliver Kevin once and for all. On one particular day I felt the Lord’s strong pressing to write Kevin a letter filled with God’s truth of His deep love for him and mine as well. These truths were the keys that opened up the prison cell that kept Kevin in mental, emotional, and spiritual torment and set him forever free from his particular battle.

Twenty nine years later I still marvel at this beautiful tapestry woven with threads of God’s faithfulness, grace and redemption. Whenever God’s love is coupled with loving safe relationships it never fails to bring healing. I’m eternally  grateful for the love of God and committed friendships that loved me into wholeness. My life has forever changed for the better because of it.

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times ,and is born, as is a brother,for adversity”..

61937_1280562434380_6145253_n


2 Comments

Konnichiwa to Peace

Image

Our son  and his friend were going on trip of a lifetime, a two week vacation in Tokyo. Beholding all the sights and sounds of a rich culture, not to mention it being an electronic mecca. A virtual treasure trove  of all things “arcadic”  that would be video arcade + archaic =  arcadic  my creative liberties for the day.  If anyone knows me in the ever so slightest way they would know  this was not going to be a cake walk on my part. In all the years of  being  a mother  I have battled fears, foreboding  thoughts of  possible abuse, kidnappings, accidents or sicknesses  and all the alarming stuff in the middle.  In fact, if you can name it I  probably have feared it.  Been there done that.

Any loving  mother no doubt has  combated most of all of these same fears for her children. It is a natural desire to nurture and protect our babies no matter how old they are.  However, for me it went far beyond normal trepidations that come from a caring parent, but rather  becoming irrational and larger than life ones. Going so far as to  crippling me from releasing our sons to go anywhere with their dad or anyone else.  Words cannot begin to express  how incredibly hard this was for my husband, children and even me.

Now  looking back, and having come to greater depths of healing in this area,  I marvel and am utterly humbled that Kevin stayed married to me.  Through those layers of  painful growth came revelation to why my fears where at critical mass, some were fostered  from past personal sexual abuse I was aware and unaware of.  Buried deep, pushed down by stratum of shame, denial and  trauma, manifesting itself through unhealthy behaviors.  Perhaps some came from  being  carried in my mother’s womb only three months after burying her 9 month old son Brent, he died unexpectedly from compilations due to anesthetic from what was suppose to be a routine hernia surgery.

Personally, I cannot fathom my mom’s fears and grief as she carried me… what a bitter sweet time for her.  It’s important that I make this very clear, I’m  in no way blaming anyone  for my behavior, we all have personal  choices to make regarding what we with do with what has been given us.  For whatever reasons my fears were real, intense and even when prayers like, “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” * did not bring complete relief;  I would want to run away from the visible pain that I was causing my husband  and children.  Fighting  my fears seemed fruitless, freezing up and paralyzing so my only final option was to flee. Fortunately these were only fleeting lies, for I knew I could never ever leave my family that I love so dearly.

Today, I’m so thankful to God who has shone me His perfect love that casts out fear, for my husband and  children that endured the strain of my intense struggles for freedom with their love and forgiveness.  Plus, where would I be without the love and support of mentors / friends that have also walked with me through it all.  And though they did not  wrestle the same degree of debilitating demons as I, they chose to stand by me in my brokenness.  Loving me without judgement, offering me compassion and grace that became a breeding ground for my healing. Whenever  I mustered up strength to take a  baby step they applauded with such exuberance you thought I had run a marathon being the first to break the finishing line ribbon.

My boys are grown adults now and yes I still worry too much  I know.  It’s hard to know what is normal when your pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction.  I do know I’m walking in more freedom than ever before and I’m trusting God that it will only increase.

Currently, our son Derek is thoroughly enjoying Tokyo, a dream of his fulfilled.  Counting down the days to see him and hear of his grand adventure.  Mindful of my tradition to keep a memento, a dated trophy if you will, of how God helped me walk in peace as my children soar to new heights. Just like I did many years ago by saving his glass Yahoo milk bottle from his first purchase, a walk to the neighborhood market with his friends… a huge triumph back in the day !.

Recently, I started rereading “Mountains of Spices” the sequel to “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by  Hannah Hurnard’s.  Even though it has been over  twenty years of reading these two books, I still can relate to her preface to this allegory.  She writes about herself as follows,  “I can speak with the most authority.I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave to the Fearing Clan ! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a “Craven Coward” for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant “Fearless Witness” to his love and power.”

For this writer I’m so not there yet, I will no less continue to “seek peace and pursue it “, falling down and getting back up again and again, spurred on by the ground I have already won with God’s help… turning my weaknesses into His strength.

Whether your taking quantum leaps of faith or faltering  baby steps, God applause’s them both .  He delights in each step or leap you take towards Him. Cheering you on not matter where your starting line begins and rejoices with you at your victorious finish.

Father, we praise you, in awe of your delight for us and the comfort you bring in our storm tossed seas . Providing  perfect peace as our mind stays on you, trusting you over the mounding waves of fear. Learning to say  Sayonara  (Goodbye) to fear and  Konnichiwa  ( Hello ) to peace..

Image
Having the  Japanese symbol of peace painted on my big toe …. A beautiful reminder to stay in a place of peace.

Image

My  friend Kelli ordered this mug for me and it arrived the day I was starting to worry about the Typhoon that had hit Japan.

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You  .Isaiah 26:3 AMP bible

*  II Timothy  1:7


Leave a comment

Sisterhood of the Travailing Plants

Image

While strolling with my friend through her enchanting cottage garden  I tried to stay focused on instructions  of how  to properly water her garden of Eden; while she was on vacation with her husband. Unfortunately, my visual senses were taking their own personal holiday. How could they not? Their property holds  breathtaking views of Oregon and Washington,  kicking my cell phone into digital roam, stunning pops of color displayed beautifully with annuals and garden ornaments. Whimsy and charm worthy of gracing the pages of Garden Gate magazine, made reining in my concentration difficult, rivaling  the enthusiasm of a  kid in a candy store.

We concluded our stroll poised underneath the house eaves gazing at a cleverly designed  rebar plant holder for three hanging baskets. The first basket a Fuschia plant was flourishing full of life and vibrant bloom, the second  basket’s plant was showing signs of distress; withered brown curled up leaves. The third plant was down for the count, the hanging basket removed from  the spotlight now placed on the ground, because the plants swirled up and died.

We discussed the dying plant as gardeners do, my friend saying she needed to take the second one down too, it was right then and there I shared with her one of my true confessions. Telling her there have been times when my beautiful hanging flower baskets have bitten the dust before their natural time to do so. Causing guilty feelings to arise within me, that I should’ve paid closer attention to their need.  This was poignantly displayed even greater when my mom’s illness escalated, her extra need care;  made my daily tasks more difficult to accomplish.

Wrapping up with this deeper confession… it was those times that whenever I happened to drive by a house and saw someone elses dying  flower basket, it brought a sigh of relief and an emotional connection.  Experiencing first hand the old saying, “misery loves company”.  After divulging my heart we gave each other the knuckle bump connection, the “New School” version of the original “High Five”.  In closing, this gracious and very compassionate friend choose to leave the second faltering basket up… to encourage other weary sisters that they are not alone. What a heart of gold !

C.S Lewis writes:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

In the movie the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” four best girlfriends pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that flatter their figures despite their very different measurements. Planning to stay connected during their separate journeys through summer, equally sharing  the opportunity to  wear “the traveling pants”.

No matter what our differences we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Once our feet hit the floor of life we stand on common ground when it comes to facing our own  struggles, suffering and sorrows that come in all shapes and sizes.

What a comfort to know we are not alone!  We can have the privilege of a close friendship with Jesus our precious Savior. Plus the added blessing of  God bringing friends  and family along our path to share our highest highs and  lowest of lows.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 is both revealing and  comforting… receive God’s encouragement with His following words of love for you.

“All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.”    The Message Bible
Thank you Lord that we are called your friend’s. May we walk this life with the full assurance of your outrageous love and friendship for us. Often times manifested  creatively through the love of friends, family and even strangers.  A perfect fit as we travel life in the well worn comfort of your grace.

Light is sown for the  righteous and strewn along their pathway, and joy for the upright in heart [the irrepressible joy which comes from consciousness of His favor and protection].

Psalm 97:11-12          Amplified Bible (AMP)

A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a difficult time. Proverbs 17:17


2 Comments

Bedazzled Friends

Image

True confessions .. I’m a bling girl, yes that’s right, admiring shinny, glittery, sparkling things just like a pack rat. Drawn to them like a moth attracted to a flame. Oohing and aahing their sparkle and gleam. No need for the real McCoy, let the imitations shine on!  What joy would be mine if I were to be the proud owner of a  BeDazzler, the official rhinestone setter of all things glitzy. I could “Be Dazzle” almost anything… my  dear friend owned one of these marvels,  however,lamentably was  cut short by her unamused husband hiding this man made wonder machine. Woefully being charged guilty of excessive bedazzlement. How could you not?  The ad lures you with the promise… “it’s easy, It’s fun and it’s fabulous” !  A Win, Win, and can we all say a rousing Win!

Recently, the Bedazzler has been on my mind, triggered by my friend Jen’s roller skating event at Oaks Park amusement center. My husband and I had the joy of watching her perform, all of us hoping that she would earn a spot to compete at Nationals. Oaks Park holds a special place in my heart , brimming with family history.  In 1948 the Vanport flood which caused the roller rink to be  submerged under water for 30 days.  Afterwards, it prompted the owners to rebuild the rink on pontoons.  They design was created to have a detachable floating wooden skate rink floor in case of flooding, of which  my grandfather helped build.

While in the 1950’s my mom and her sister Donna performed elaborate skating shows. Their photos still line the wall above the skate rental shop.

Gazing at these nostalgic pictures rekindled sweet memories of my mother and years gone by. While waiting for Jeni to skate we seized a few Kodak moments. Jen’s next routine would be to the music “Stomp” an upbeat lively number using drumsticks as her prop. Wearing an adorable outfit she  designed in true Bedazzlement fashion; the outfit dotted liberally with rhinestones. What a perfect addition to make her shine on the rink’s wooden floor… as if her performance and smile were not enough.

I’m brought to deep thoughts on the magical bedazzler, just as it  can add sparkle and life to an otherwise ordinary piece fabric, so to, deep spirited friends add  the sparkle we need to the fabric of our lives.

The dictionary’s description of bedazzled is to “impress forcefully, especially so to make oblivious to faults or shortcomings”. Heartfelt friends applaud your positive attributes  while  graciously loving you regardless of your faults and  shortcomings. Thus, giving you a desire to rise higher, empowering you to assess some personal areas that  need attention and growth. Your spirit embellished with love and jewels of grace, visibly glowing treasures from your divine friendship.

Biblically, stones have been known to represent truth, used as boundaries marked off by stones.  Also used as witnesses to God’s loving faithfulness when Jacob set up a pillar in  Gen. 28:22; 35:14.  Aaron’s priestly ephod and breastplate were bedazzled with precious stones, holy truths glistening God’s love, set in stone for his people.

HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR LIFE FROM DULL TO DAZZLING?  Get to know the heart of God for  you.. reading His life giving words of love and through the lives of true, deep spirited friends. Captivating you with their ability to add sparkle and shine to your world.  If you don’t have friends like that yet, I pray that God will send you one as quickly as you can say… BeDazzle.

Lord, help me be a friend to others as I would like for myself. Thank you that friends are a gift from you and your word says: “when you give a gift you add no sorrow to it”.  We rejoice today in your love and the love of our friends whether from the past, present, or future.

“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give”.

George MacDonald

Image


Leave a comment

Treasures of the Snow

Image

Earlier this year my husband  and I were blessed by our dear friends the Saint’s proving their namesake by taking us to  play in the snow at Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge. Though this majestic mountain is only hour away from home, it only took us 26 years to get there to enjoy it!  It was a delightful day from start to finish and a stunning reminder that God pulled out all the stops on showcasing His creation of Mt. Hood….the wow factor was simply off the charts.
 
My heart was taken back to a time I had pondered Job’s question regarding snow… here are a few of my thoughts about it.
 “Have you entered into the treasures of the Snow?”    Job 38:22
Image 
God’s word speaks of it,  His glorious handiwork declaring  its’ beauty and wonder.
Snowflakes form around a speck of dust  that get carried up into the atmosphere by the wind.  A water crystal develops  becoming  His  unique  one-of-a kind  creation, as so with His  children–no two exactly alike.  
Image
This peaceful, tranquil,  fresh-fallen snow  that  quietly covers the dirt and soiled earth.  Dazzling it in a brilliant blanket of purity and innocent gleam.  Making God’s secret place of the snow  a storehouse of His truths and a flurry of His promises. 

Psalms 51:7  says, “Cleanse me with the hyssop and I will be clean, wash me and I shall  (in reality) be whiter then snow.”

Isaiah 55:10-11  states  “For as rain and snow come down from heaven …. so God’s word does not come back void but accomplishes that which it was sent to do.”

So, before the winter is past and  and spring has sprung, let us wrap up our winter  lingering in His treasures. 17 days of winter wonder still to go,  I say  Lord … Let it Snow,  Let it Snow,  Let it Snow!