My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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The Journey of a Thousand Little Goodbyes

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Saying good bye to those we love is never easy, it will undoubtedly tug strongly on our heart strings and if it’s final  well, that will reach far beyond a yank. Pulling our heart to their breaking point due to the forcible impact of our loss. As time marches on and my years head towards the golden, I’m painfully aware saying goodbye will be woven more frequently and tightly, as the lives around me lose theirs or relationships sadly dissolve.
This summer I had the pleasure of seeing Amy Grant in concert thanks to my friends generosity which extended to buying me her new CD.  Though my spirit was moved  tremendously by her song, “Don’t Try so Hard” honest words I can completely relate to. Her thought provoking song  “Is it Better Not to Know” seemed to rank  just as high on my favorite tunes list.  The chorus goes as follows:

“Oh… nothing stays the same
Life flickers like a flame
As the seasons come and go
Goodbye more than hello
It’s better not to know
Is it better not to know?  Amy Grant

I’ve asked myself that question when life has dealt me blows that have blindsided me and sent me reeling, my mind spinning  into a autopilot of “Whys?”  Oh, I know I’m not suppose to ask  the “why” question but I do.  I compare pictures I had of my future and the one I have been given. Strangely they rarely look the same; as I search for God in the sea of chaos  like a  “Where’s Waldo” in this newly  replaced image.  Straining to see Him in my overcrowded crestfallen circumstances. Instead of looking for Waldo’s  striped shirt and  beanie I look for God, nail scarred hands and feet, wounds He bore for you and me.
Isaiah 53:5 says…

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole”.

And then my eyes see Him, He was there, all along, never failing or forsaking me. Hidden in plain view surrounded by life’s  beautiful messes, joy and sadness, triumph mingling with tragic.  And even when my mind floods with questions and doubt, God prevails.  We don’t have to live long to know… death can come sudden with no warning, no chance for farewells or a proper send off or it comes in what I call “The Journey of a Thousand  Little  Goodbyes.”  Existing in the slow day to day departures to what was once normal, watching loved ones slip away one painful closure at a time.  Greeting the dawning of a new day not knowing what part of their personality and capabilities will be gone forever.  And while you hold onto every essence of who they are in that moment, in a blink of a eye it shifts yet again, finding yourself saying goodbye once more.

So long to what was normal, familiar, into a sinking sand of grief,  weighty sorrow and  sadness… pulling you down into a tomorrow that seems bleaker than today, enveloped in irretrievable grains of  “use to be’s” .

Confronted with excruciating truth that….

One day  your loved one can call you or give you a hug.

One day they can brush their teeth, comb their hair, dress and feed themselves.

One day they can walk, tell you they love you and fill the air with laughter.

And then one day it is gone… forever.

So far when it has come to losing my family members it has been one  a  “Journey of Thousand Little Goodbyes”. Losing my dad at the age of 27 to cancer after 6 months from  his diagnosis.  Fast forward twenty five years later my thousand farewells  began again with  my mama as her dementia and congestive heart failure  chipped away at her  strong body and vibrant personality.  Going home to be with the Lord  only five short months ago. While at the same time my only sibling was fighting his personal battle with Lewy Body dementia  dove tailing with moms illness. Waves of loss washed over me as my mother and brother needed help to get them into the car, buckle their seat belts, form words or be their memory. Silently mourning a family I would never see whole again until we all reunited in Heaven. My journey of thousand  little goodbyes continues as my brother battles his disease with grace, humor and a dignity that is humbling.  And though I do not know what the future holds I choose to place my one hand in God’s  while I wave  temporary  goodbyes large and small with the other.

I don’t know what goodbyes you’ve had to face, if they were sudden or drawn out. I do know God wants to bring you comfort in every grief stricken situation past, present or future .

God, thank you that you hold tightly on to our hands saying to us, fear not I will help you. Your love and faithfulness is a shield round about us.  When we walk through the fire we will not be burned  and through the floods we will not drown. Your grace covers us “when it’s better not to know.”

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” Bil Keane


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Making Molehills Out Of Mountains

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Time was well overdue to remove the molehills that  popped up in our front yard nestling up against the curb. The desire to spruce up our flower beds before spring was now joined with increased  pressure to rescue my early blooming  crocuses now completely smothered in mole mania.  This pesky mole burrowing upward caused the crocuses delicate foliage to croak under the mountain of fresh tillage.

Rather hating to admit it, I was ever so slightly admiring this particular mole’s astute sense of focus.  Managing to erupt orderly mounts in unerring rows  while  tunneling through our sod. Somehow he was able to keenly and systematically dot neighboring property with the same impeccable streamline mastery.   Though I marveled that he was a gentleman of order, the mounding piles of dirt were still  a blight on our lawn.  It had been suggested  by a  friend that this was the work of more then one mole; if this was indeed  the case, their impressive team work scores a virtuoso 10. Whatever the scenario, it was nothing short of a  stellar performance. Earlier, I  momentarily reveled in their beauty when the heaps of soil were graced with a light dusting of snow.  These works of art resembled a miniature Rocky Mountain Range along our curb.  Finding this to be a rare occasion to acceptably make a snow covered mountain out of a molehill.

Shortly after removing the mounts of dirt it seemed to my joy and relief they had blazed a trail off into the sunset.  As you can tell by what you have read already, I’m nowhere near being mole savvy. By far, I lack the full knowledge of what these little critters are capable of doing. Let’s just say I greatly underestimated my opponent, this startling truth became painfully evident as I gazed upon my recent edged and weeded walkway. Gasping at what my eyes were beholding… a  fresh knoll of dirt burying my crocuses yet again!

Highly disappointed  that my one little patch of orderliness was no longer in order, wrestling an all to familiar lie that tidiness should magically stay tidy,well for at least 24 hours, right ?.  And when you cross it off your to do list it should stay done.  By now you would think  that my twenty one years of  being a stay at home,  raising and homeschooling our two boys, would have debunked this elephant size fib. Surely, I should have gotten that all too important memo. Truth is, in my heart of hearts. I know the  411. Life is messy and your 100% guaranteed “do overs”  are things like dishes, laundry and other assortment of daily chores.

A confessing slow learner by nature,  regretfully being revealed yet again  by my increased anxiety over this disheveled patch of a nearly perfect garden utopia.  When such emotional intensity flies into my radar it warrants further examination as to why I’m experiencing the growing tension.

Recently, I decided to discuss this dilemma with my dear friend Kelli over lunch.  She patiently listened as I dined away on my firecracker chicken. Hoping to grasp the truth of my underlying issue far better than my novice maneuvering of chopsticks.  My spirit was hopeful because when we seek God we find Him and the truth is revealed, as Kelli and I continued our conversation we were grateful for His faithfulness.  Without a doubt I’m sure He was perfectly content and thoroughly delighted to mingle in our laughter, tickled as we pondered Him, and was not distressed  one bit at my  raw  emotions. So grateful for  God given gift of authentic, deep spirited friendships. At that moment I caught  a glorious revelation exposed;  it was necessary to pull back further from my “tunnel vision” fitting for a mole.  Once again, God spoke His truth over a well worn path of  misconceptions.

Like the moles reappearance so had the flair up  my of irksome Achilles heels… one heel throbbing need  for perfection the other aching with the distortion of  destination rather than journey mentality. So rapid to appear, stirring up my spirit to become disquieted, my thoughts distorted and routed for dissatisfaction instead of  paths of peace that surpass all understanding.  All because  I chose to make mountains out of meager molehills.

I love what Zechariah 4:7 says

“For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain [a mere [a]molehill]! And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shouting of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!

God  makes a molehill out of our mountains. Oh, how  I long to trust Him with mine.

Verse 6 chpt. 4 Zechariah says how we can achieve  this:

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of Whom the oil is a symbol], says the Lord of hosts.”
So, until I get the problematic mole(s) eradicated for good, I will choose to let those mounts of earth remind me that God’s turning my mountains of troubles  into mere molehills while saying His grace is sufficient.  This comforts my heart that I’m loved without performing or arriving, but  simply being  His daughter… the same holds true for everyone.

Do you  have a looming mountain of human obstacles in your way? May we move forward in God’s power and might  declaring His promise together saying … So big mountain,who do you think you are ? you’re nothing but a molehill!.
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Dancing Queen

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Strolling through the household items while at the Salvation Army store my eyes became completely drawn to a beautiful picture frame. Black glossy details on crisp white ceramic with a swirl of chartreuse, its’ top bedecked with a stunning jeweled crown.  Upon examining the framework more closely it revealed the beautiful scrolled  words  “Dancing Queen” written on the base. Thus far this little gem was scoring winning marks on all counts… then suddenly plummeting from it’s current number one position.

How could I, a bona fide two time ballet school drop out, who preferred  clinging  to the ballet bar rather than  venture out onto the dance floor possibly relate to the declaration “Dancing Queen”?  Not an affirming  message I hoped to add to my newly decorated craft room.  For when decorating I find it important  that it matches the color palate or theme.  Advantageous  if it holds a special meaning or memory, that stirs my heart in such a way making me confident it will make our house more like home.

Even though its’ title threw me off momentarily  this item was compelling enough to keep a hold of it tightly in hand pondering it as an option. Continuing leisurely, I made my way through other favorite sections of the store, while music softly played. Suddenly, I heard something that made my ears perk up to the next song serenading us overhead;  to my utter astonishment  it was the song from  Abba, the “Dancing Queen”.  Temporarily frozen in my tracks, clutching a frame bearing the very same title, I somehow  gathered my senses.  My legs began to propel onward looking for my family, excitement mounting while eager to show them this silly coincidence.

No other sign now needed, this 2.99 purchases had a special meaning for me!  What glory would it unfold as it graced my new space?, which  formally had been our oldest sons room. Perhaps its’ presence reminding me to see myself in a new  light, that had through time grown dim. During my childhood years I dreamed of being a ballerina yet  early on it was clear I lacked the confidence and determination to be one.  Plagued with self depreciation in the mirror of my mind it revealed a distorted image. Over and over rehearsing the lies and half truths  till they spun out of control.

This frame already began igniting  truths to see  myself not with  limited abilities but rather unlimited possibility.  Dancing if not fully in body  (though I still give it a try in  private) certainly could allow my spirit to confidently move within my soul.  An open invitation  graciously extended to all His sons and daughters.

Our King of Kings and Lord of Lords who rejoices over us with singing, lovingly calling us to dance with Him; moving us with glided steps, twirling freedom and  leaps of faith  producing joy before our feet even touch the floor.  Eyes fixed on the lover of our soul never longing to stray nor wander from His plans and purposes… in step with His lead.  While He remains completely enthralled with us regardless of our two left feet, capturing His acceptance  with reckless abandonment.

What a comfort to know that this dance school drop out is free from the shame of past mistakes and labels imprinted with lies as ink. The safety of the ballet bar no longer needed beyond its’ true intent and purpose.

Clinging to Christ alone and letting go of our crutches, may “We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his doors to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand–out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise”.* Today may you accept His invitation to dance, walking away from past hindrance or good intentions, stepping out into your life filled with a plethora of dreams, a gleaming new start pulsating with vibrant hope.  When you do you don’t be surprised to experience what Abba sings so poignantly that not only can  you  dance you’ll be…  “having the time of your life”.

*Rom. 5:2-4 The Message Bible.