When You Feel You Are Lacking

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“He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only. ~ C.S. Lewis

Father, help me to be at a place where my small drop in Your vast ocean is so satisfying that I don’t wish for more. I awoke and began to think about all that is absent from my life – and then you asked me to allow You to be more to me than I know right now.

“To grasp how wide and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:18,19

💦You and I are loved by Christ. May that settle in and become enough.

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Accept That

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“The basis of my personal worth is not in my possessions, my talents, not esteem of others, reputation…..not kudos of appreciation from parents and kids, not applause, and everyone telling you how important you are to the place….I stand anchored now in God before whom I stand naked, this God who tells me ‘You are my son, my beloved one.’” John Egan

Live In The Moment

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May you be enveloped with a true sense of security. May you know that I AM behind you, before you, above and below you, holding your right hand….guiding every detail of your life. May you be so captivated by My love for you, that you lose all fear and take that leap, knowing I AM the wind securing your flight. This is how you live in the moment – not being weighed down by the past or finding resistance projecting your mind into a future you aren’t meant to walk. Let the peace *I* give transcend your understanding and thus sustain your heart and mind. Phil. 4:7

Should I Feel More? (Mourning with Less)

“In the world you will have tribulation…” (1)

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I never questioned what love was until I sat looking out the window of our brown-shuttered house on 45th street, waiting for my dad’s white convertible to pull up in the driveway. I sat…..waiting, tracing the stitches in my blue, hard-covered suitcase as I looked out. This was not the first time. I had been there before, but this time I had doubts. I had questions.

Love, to my 10-year-old mind, was very simple up to that point because I felt I was living in it. I did not question its existence – kinda like when you are taking a walk in a beautiful valley. You don’t question what that valley is  because you are there. You are sensing it, feeling the breeze, touching the flora. My parents were divorced, yes, but my mom and grandparents always made sure I was surrounded and protected – I felt loved.

But, as I sat by the window that day, I was forced to back away from the feeling of being there by my dad.  That beautiful valley was becoming more like a distant view, colder and detached; because as I sat there by the “waiting window,”  the evening became night, and ever….. so…… slowly……..the…. time….. passed.

My dad never showed up –
again.

I expected him to. I expected him to be my daddy. Doesn’t every little girl?

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I always looked forward to spending time with my dad. He was charming in the eyes of others. He liked to bring me to the mall, hand me a $20 bill and send me off to buy something. He would take me to lunch (leave big tips) and sometimes take me to a movie.  But then there were the times in between when me and my 2 brothers would never see him, never hear from him. My brothers liked playing sports but he would rarely come to their games, instead, he had his own leagues.
We watched my mom struggle to provide shelter, food, and clothes for us. (We had all of those things but it was because she fought for us. She kept the valley breezes blowing in our home.) She did not receive her allotted child support and for a while, we were on welfare living in a 2 room shack sleeping in 2 double beds. SO after a while, I started to resent those $20 bills handed to me. I wanted my dad. I wanted him to give himself, his time. I wanted him to show interest in who I and my brothers were, and what we loved.  I wanted him to stop trying to appear like the nice guy to everyone else and to really be a nice dad. In time, that beautiful valley that I was distantly viewing with him, slowly became more like a postcard in my hands – nice to look at but far, far away and unreal.

My relationship with my dad continued to be of post-card quality as my years went on. I would hear from him every couple of months, sometimes every month – whenever it was convenient for him.  I would day-dream of him really taking interest in my life. He was present, but was more there in the bigger moments to hand out gifts. I did appreciate those things  – don’t get me wrong. I did. But I had always hoped we could talk – really talk. I wanted a daddy who really liked to be with me. I wanted to feel his strength and presence over my life. I wanted sound advice. I wanted to trust him.

When my husband and I had 2 beautiful children, I again caressed that postcard and wished for more of the “real”. I thought maybe they would be a catalyst to better our relationship – they were so wonderful after all, and here was the second chance he always told me he wished he had. He said he was sorry for his absence and would do it differently had he had the chance. Here was his chance.
So, I remember vividly when he broke the news to me (all while he expressed tremendous guilt) that he would be moving 4 states away to rural Ohio to live with his in-laws. Disappointed, I remember looking out yet another window – this time with no suitcase packed, no anticipation, no more waiting. Thoughts unraveled as I gazed out  into the wooded lot next to our family home – my stare blank, my mind full, the sound of my 2 children playing in the background. I held that post-card relationship in the hand of my mind wondering why this would be all there would ever be. I wondered about the unsettling feeling I had – the co-mingling of love and resentment in my broken heart.

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I recalled some things my mom told me about my dad’s growing up years. His parents, Mona and Daniel (a coal miner) had him when they were very old so by the time his teen years hit, his parents were in their mid 60’s. They were (described by my dad as loving each other and never fighting) described by my mom as distant, his mother very cold. Hence, my dad ended up very often on his own. For that young boy, I felt compassion – maybe he had never learned responsibility; maybe he had never learned how to love (have I?); maybe he learned how to survive for himself. I don’t know for sure – and I will never know.
But I did resolve to know this: my dad was broken, just like all of us. I resolved that we are all tangled up in some way because of this broken world – a world where the god (small g) makes messes of people lives.  He authored sin; he destroys relationships; he keeps the love of Jesus Christ veiled and re-defines it into something “other” –  something that looks similar but lacks real life. (2)
Love on this earth will always be imperfect in some way, and can never be defined or explained through another human being – in some way it will be distorted. Perfect love can only be found in its immutable Source.
For this, I say, “My soul wait only upon God for my expectation is from Him.” (3)
Not people.
Now this is the goal for which I clumsily reach…….

…..and when my eyes rest there, my expectation from others grows dim, my resentment leaves, and the true “definition” of love seeps into my pores.
I start to learn from Someone,
instead of trying to define love through someone else.

This alone has released any anger and has allowed me to forgive.
“He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds” (4)

 

But forgiveness does not make two people close. I have tried over the last 10 years of my relationship with my dad to still hope – but a certain distance was more comfortable for him
so, it became more comfortable for me.

I question that distance, especially now.
A few weeks ago my dad died and it is as though he is now at the “waiting window” of my heart watching for me to feel more.

Maybe I should feel more.
I feel like I should feel more.
I try to force myself into that postcard in order to produce some realness.

But it is just not there, so I ask for grace.

My dad asked for grace too. And I guess, that is what heaven is full of………he is there now not because of what he had to bring, nor what he could not bring, but simply and only because of the blood of Christ.

“For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves” (5)

In glory, my dad finally knows perfect love. He is with my late brother, Steve and he can now finally talk with my mom with an open heart. Fences are being mended and one day I will be there too and we will be a family again.

“….but take heart I have overcome the world.”

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Maybe in this broken world, the beautiful valley of 1 Corinthians 13 love is a piece of grace too — a gift we get to experience in fragments. Fragments that are precious to enjoy in those moments we have them.  But reality for now – is that we will not always BE there when it comes to our relationships  – and it is unfair to expect others to fill a place
only God can.
And He will.
IN the Person of Jesus.
He calls us to intimately learn of Him. (6)
He calls us to wait at the window of His meek and lowly heart with great expectation.
He calls for our souls to repose on His chest and with perfect freedom of soul unabashedly say,

Abba,
Daddy.

And in that place, we return to the freedom of a well-loved child. (7)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~How have you found healing for your own wounds? How have you dealt with a broken family? Leave a comment – I would love to hear your thoughts.

Extras:
1) John 16:33
2) 2 Corinthians 4:4
3) Psalm 62:5
4) Psalm 147:3
5) Ephesians 2:8,9
6) Matthew 11:29
7) John 8:36

 

A Little Note on a Big Hope

Watch as the clouds He rides swing low
Lift up the sound as He makes our praise His throne
Behold the Lord our God will lead us Home
~ Songwriter Joel Houston

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See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. ~ 1 John 3: 1-3

Let’s Lift That Load

 

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s heaven for?”
~ Browning

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Please do something for yourself. Pull a long piece of hair from your head and hang on to it for a minute. If your hair is really short pull out someone else’s. (hehe) Got it? Come on, I’ll wait – we will come back to it and you will need it.  But first, I would love to take your hand and walk you briefly through a very heavy period in my life. Then, I will share the comfort God gave to me, hoping that it helps lift whatever weight is bearing on your shoulders.

Ready? Let’s lift that load. (♥1)

As some of you know, I wrote in a previous blog (https://blrauzi.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/my-childs-hand/ ) about the day I came down with Bell’s Palsy – the day the left side of my face suddenly lost all movement (I have since had some recovery).

That above mentioned day actually turned into a very long year – a year in which the doctors told me I would have permanent damage to my 7th cranial facial nerve and the degree of my recovery would not really be known until after 12 months.
That was not a good thing to say to me.
All I could think about was that word permanent.
Permanent facial droop. Permanent taping of my eyelid at night. Permant feeling of sadness when I smiled. Permanent holding back laughter because of how I looked. Permanent loss of identity.

I was so depressed. I recall waking up every morning realizing I had to “face” the “ugly” trial. Every day I cried – for a whole year – literally. I even slept with my bible so that when I woke up feeling depressed, I’d have it near.

So when, with heavy mind, I read this verse,  “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our
light
affliction, which is but for a moment…………” (♥2),
I paused because the word
“light”
stood out to me –

a lot.

This trial light? Ha! Riiiight.
I wanted to quit reading.

But instead of my mind shutting completely down, these words of Jesus surfaced,
“Come unto me all you that are heavy burdened….for My yoke is …light.”(♥3)

What was heavy, my burden; what was light, His.

So I opened the Corinthians passage again, but this time I noticed all the other words I hadn’t before: “Our light momentary affliction………works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory(♥4), while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen.

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This time when I read it, it seemed that with each powerful syllable,

God was drawing my vision away {{in rhythmic jolts}}
far..more…ex…cee….ding….and e…ter…nal….weight… of…glo…ry –

from looking through what was really an electron microscope at my problems,
to looking through a mega telescope so I could see
So… Much… More.

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Now I am a very visual person, so an image came to mind as my focus changed from “micro” to “tele” scope that gave me peace. Here it is for you:
So, remember the piece of hair you should 🙂 have in your fingers? Now hold it up high in front of you and imagine eternal space. To the left of the hair is eternity past with no beginning and to the right eternity future, with no end.

There is just the weight of forever and ever.

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Now imagine that the light piece of hair is your life, and within that life is your current difficulty. That earthly existence, as important as it is, is momentarily intersecting eternal space and unending life. With that perspective, the hair is now small,
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It is a blip in the humongous expanse before us.
It is a small line passing through so much more.
It is passing through all the beautiful nebulas, stars, planets and galaxies.
I imagine the weight of that universe, the heavy distance my mind cannot even measure…

….and beyond that I imagine heaven,
the huge, wide, vast There,
where the things unseen quickly shrink the things seen, to a mere toy-like model.

And then,
HE is right before me, face to face.

Suddenly I am captivated. I am in awe and that heavy weight that
was
pushing. my. shoulders. down,

now
feels easy and light.
And I hear Him say with lowly heart, “Learn of Me…..and you shall find rest for your soul…..” Tears come to my eyes as I exhale, “Be thou my vision.”

“There is a place where fear has to face the God you know.”(♥5)

When He tells us that He is working our “light affliction” into an “eternal weight of splendor” (♥5), we can by faith wait with anticipation to what that treasure WILL be. We know we will come out better on the other side – and we will know Him better too.

Because eternity is not just in the expansive future,
eternity includes where He is now (♥6) – IN this light moment with me and with you.

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“Lift up your eyes on high and see:

who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power,
not one is missing. Why do you say,
[put your name here],

and speak,
O [your name],

“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”(♥7)

I hope you feel much lighter.

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EXTRAS:
♥1)”That we may be able to comfort the who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves were comforted of God.”

♥2) 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Affliction = from the Greek word, thlipsis, “carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape”.

♥3) Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

♥4) Glory = from the Greek word, doxa, – “honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor. convey God’s infinite, intrinsic worth (substance, essence).”

♥5) From, Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns:

♥6) Eternal = from the Greek word aiṓnios – “life operates simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time – i.e. what gives time its everlasting meaning for the believer through faith, yet is also time-independent. [Eternal] does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age.  Thus believers live in ‘eternal (aiṓnios) life’ right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession.”

♥7) Isaiah 40:26-31

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

My Child’s Hand

 

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“Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by my name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you…”♥

I know you can relate. We all have had those unexpected pauses in life where time stands still and circumstances hit our minds like an unbearable weight.
A death, a loss, a health crisis, a financial strain – any of these and more – can make the boat of our lives feel like it is about to sink……and then, like a dense fog……

Fear sets in and it is even hard to pray.
We cower and become restless and yet, through all the confusion,

He calls.

“He knows our frame that we are but dust.”♥ He understands our weakness; and hence, our great

I AM,

reminds us that He is always with us IN our vessel IN our darkest moments.

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A heavy moment like this hit my life in what started out to be a normal summer morning in 2001. (That morning was actually the mere beginning of a long difficult road.)  I just had put my baby girl down for a nap and had started to read my morning e-mails, when I noticed that my left eye was feeling unusually heavy or “tired”.
The strange feeling only became more intense so I got up and looked in the mirror. I noticed my eye lid was barely closing when I blinked – and not only that, but the corner of my mouth was also starting to droop and not obey my commands.

Within a span of 30 minutes I had lost all the function on the left side of my face. A fear like nothing I had experienced before gripped my life. This fear was intense because I have always been a very design-oriented person. I am artistic and love to find beauty in things. Now, the balance of my own face was gone, my beauty felt like it was leaving me, and more deeply, who I actually was changed before my eyes.
My inner core was earth-shaken.
I called out to my husband who was just putting my toddler into his high chair for breakfast. Tearfully, I showed him my condition and we started to pray.
I was terrified.…

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We stood in front of my little boy in his high chair and bowed our heads; but my mind was too full,  I could not concentrate.
I closed my eyes anyway and to steady my body I rested my hand on the high chair. Almost immediately I felt a marked contrast to my razor-sharp thoughts: a very soft, soothing,  hand gently swept underneath mine.

My little blonde chubby boy was scooping up my hand.
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I will never forget that moment.
That tender sensation on my skin was just the opposite of the harshness that was racing in my head, and the contrast caused me to pause……….…

as though my rocking boat was instantly steadied, and Jesus was saying directly in my ear:

 

” Fear thou not for I AM with thee.”♥

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I often feel a lot like the disciples in the wave tossed boat when Jesus was WITH them in the vessel, asleep.♥ Can you relate? The water rises and the winds pick up and my gaze quickly becomes consumed in the details when really, only “one thing is needful”♥  – for me to repose beside Him……

at rest
because
HE is with me.

I am still learning this. I am learning that He is enough. I am learning that no circumstance frightens Him, and that He commands those winds and waves.

I am learning to be There more – tossed but at peace, captivated with Him.

I would love to hear how you are learning this too.

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“Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw us closer oh my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee”
~ From the song “Captivate Us”

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♥References: Is. 43:1,2;  Psalm 103:14;  Is. 41:10;  Matt. 8:23-27; Luke 10: 40-42