Space junk?

Our newspaper reported the problem of space vehicles threatened by the remains of rockets and satellites, orbiting or floating indefinitely in space with no atmosphere to break them down. You may wonder why I reveal my thoughts, or my work on deeper issues that would be more comfortable to ignore or conceal. Experiences that harm us, cause impeded growth, or lodge as resentment can become like space junk, orbiting somewhere in the background of our lives.
partial eclipse of moon
As long as it’s floating, we can’t control our life junk. It’s difficult to protect ourselves from a head-on collision, or worse, heal if we are blind-sided by an unexamined past. And if we have to focus on avoidance, we lose the resources needed to reach our destination, the life we were created to live.

I’ve benefited from various counselors at critical times in my life. Years ago, pain and an intolerable life situation pushed me to seek help. I attended group therapy with a psychiatrist, and grew close to several of the ladies in our post-therapy dinners together. I clearly recall a session with the doctor. One of the women, usually very quiet, talked about various family members who had passed her around in her childhood. She sat forward, hand shaking and ashes falling from her cigarette, and gasped. “No one ever wanted me. No one ever really loved me.” I wanted to run across the room and comfort her, but the doctor simply looked at his watch, stood and pronounced, “Time’s up.” He motioned for the now sobbing woman, scribbled out a prescription for a higher dose of Valium, and turned his back on us.

I wanted to scream, “That’s all? You work for months to uncover her deepest wounds, and that’s all you have to offer?”

She went downhill from there.

And it broke my heart.

That was during a time when I’d felt like heaven was shut up, that God hadn’t answered my prayers in a painful situation.

That I was on my own.

But seeing the devastation in that woman’s eyes, I knew I needed more than myself. More than my own power to heal, and more than any outside help I could engage. In the end, all they could do was try to mask the pain.

I began to pray again.

The sweet Spirit of the Lord shone into my heart, just enough light to see one step ahead. And an assurance, like a gentle hand on my shoulder, that the Lord would reveal what needed healing when I was ready, and that the Spirit would be there to provide the power.

Counseling and therapy can reveal a festering wound or a scar that needs grafting, but has no power in itself to perform the necessary procedure for a cure.

The Holy Spirit became my counselor and healer.

That’s not to say my life has been perfect ever since then! Far from it.

The Spirit of the Lord is limited by how much I will open my eyes to see, and how much control I will give up for the Power to work in me. When you come from a dysfunctional or abusive childhood, that isn’t easy to do. You learn not to see, and to control as much as you can, to stay alive.

It’s been a long, winding road. I’ve been hurt, and made mistakes, and have grown desperate. At been times I sought counseling, and tried to find someone with a faith anchor.

But I’ve never sat with shaking hands and broken heart, looking into an empty well.

When I was afraid, injured or felt abandoned, my Lord assured me I was not alone.

Ever.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”…
You have always been my helper.…
O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:8,10 NLT

The worst years are far behind me now. So much healing and blessing have brought great joy, in spite of physical challenges. I relish time with my family, friends, life itself.

I can live and worship with a whole heart, and sing and share from deep places, carved from healed wounds.


What about you? Are there times when your life feels like a video game, with creatures randomly popping up? You struggle to bonk them out of sight, but there’s always another?

Never too late for a father

tombstoneMore than forty years since we buried him, today I awoke and thought about my father, how his life and death have influenced me. The Commander, The Old Man, Daddy, or @#$%^##, as he was called by me or my siblings, was admired in the Navy, a strong officer and early-on initiator of civil rights reform. Personally, he struggled with his own demons.

And his family suffered.

An alcoholic, abusive, a “womanizer,” a man with a huge hand and the rage to match it that terrorized me throughout my childhood, he sent me to college with a profound Daddy-shaped whole in my being.

All my life, that gaping emptiness pushed me toward excessive shyness and insecurity in my younger years, and some poor life choices as I grew into adulthood.

It also ushered me into the hands of my heavenly Father.

Many times I felt as if I walked high above a rushing river, one foot on one beam and the other on another, shaky one, always threatening to send me tumbling into to raging water, and sure death.

By the time I received the call from my mother that Daddy was dying I was married with two adorable daughters and a marriage that was daily torture. I flew across the country, praying I would make it to my father’s bedside – the first prayer in quite a while.

The pain of my daily life had driven me into the desert, and I’d given up on what had seemed a God who didn’t hear, or wouldn’t. I hadn’t followed his will for my life, and figured I’d missed my chance with God.

To the surprise of his doctors, my father lived two more weeks after I arrived at the hospital. I stayed at his bedside caring for him while he was awake, then simply sitting and reading after he slipped into a coma.

The last night, about 3 AM, I looked up to see his blue eyes open, trained on me.

Full of love.

Due to a tracheotomy, he couldn’t speak, but I’d been his voice while there, and understood he wanted me to come closer. As I leaned over his bed, my long hair fell across his chest. He reached a shaky hand and stroked my hair – my first really pure, loving touch from my father.

I soaked it in.

As I blinked away tears, his eyes said he loved me – the kind of love I’d needed, yearned for, not the empty words I’d heard from a drunken abuser.

I whispered, “I love you, too, Daddy.”

He smiled, dropped his hand, closed his eyes and fell back into the coma.

In the morning, my mother arrived, finally rested from the long vigil she’d kept with him for months at Bethesda Navy hospital. I was totally exhausted. I patted Daddy’s unresponsive hand and left the isolation room to give my mother my chair by his side.

As I pulled off the mask and gown I’d worn while in his ICU isolation room, Mom tapped on the glass and motioned toward the bed. My father was awake, his eyes watching me. I was too tired to robe up again, so I waved, and went on to our room to collapse into a deep sleep.

Sometime later, Mom woke me. “Daddy’s gone.”

All six months they’d been there, she’d been gathering the courage to talk with him about Jesus. Seeing him awake, she told him how God loved the world, and him, so much that he’d given his son. She told him Jesus died for him, to clean him of all his sin. When she asked if he wanted to accept that gift of life from Jesus he nodded yes. She asked if he wanted her to pray for him, and he again nodded yes.

After the prayer, he closed his eyes and died.

As I listened, at first it was anti-climactic. Not there for that moment, after all the hours at his side, I felt shorted.

But a few days later, while I read the passage from I Corinthians 15 for his funeral, I realized that if God could love and transform a man like my father, even in the last minutes of his life, then God could still love me and work in my life.

It was my father’s death that gave my life a new beginning.

It has taken years of work, counseling and prayer, and love from others to heal the ill effects of his impact on me.

Now, I am whole enough to be able to identify the strengths I have gained from him, both genetically and learned by example.

And I am grateful for my father.

I share this today because some of you have also had a father who has harmed, abandoned, or simply ignored you. I want to encourage you into the arms of a heavenly father who will never hurt you or abandon you.

It is never too late for healing, for the pathway that once hurt you to be the one that gives you strength.

And for the man who is reading this who is that kind of father, and you hear the enemy telling you it is too late, you have gone too far, done too much or missed too much, I want to say, “As long as you are alive, it is never too late.”

Not too late to say you’re sorry.

Not too late to receive the same washing every one of us needs from the power in the death and resurrection of Jesus for us.

Not too late to express love to your child.

That makes for a truly happy father’s day, when the hearts of the fathers are turned to their children.

And to those good fathers, the ones who care for, love and protect their children, who interact with joy and sacrifice for your family, thank you. You make our world a better place.

Corrina and her dadAlex and his Dad

Cindys familyJack d Arielle Eylsse at beach 5 2014

Sisterhood of World Bloggers Nomination

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers AwardWe interrupt our usual programming with this special word:

I want to thank Zoe M McCarthy, author of Calculated Risk, for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

As part of the process, Zoe posed questions that you might be curious to know as well.

1. Why did you start blogging?

Initially I started because editors and agents insisted that writers build their own readership. I tossed around a lot of topics, until my youngest daughter asked me a series of questions and helped me see that I am all about healing and peace. Once I had that focus, I began to write, and haven’t looked back. I love it! Actually, I have spent more mental time on my blog than my fiction. I count it a privilege to share my little glimpses of peace.

 

2. What was the topic of the blog you wrote that had the greatest impact on your readers and why?

That is hard to gauge, since all I have to go by are comments and stats. According to them, my posts surrounding my mother’s death have touched many readers. We all face death and loss, and dealing with that reality is not something you find in typical chitchat, or T.V. sitcom. In Glimpse of Peace I share what I see and feel. That is often scary. (No. It’s always scary to be so transparent.) My point is more than the pain. We all have that. I try to share hope. Real hope.

 

3. What is your process from getting a blog idea to announcing your just submitted post?

As soon as I hit “Publish,” my mind begins seeking the next one. All week long, everything I read, see, hear and undergo runs through that filter. Sometimes a phrase will hit the mark, other times an experience, and sometimes it’s a picture, saying or Bible verse that speaks volumes to me. I have to refrain from thinking about “what they need,” but focus on what is most real to me. That is what resonates with others as well. Once I sit and start typing, the words usually flow. Then I’m on to finding the right photos, sometimes embedding my poetry or verses into a photo, and formatting the whole lot. I go through many revisions until I cry uncle and hit “Publish.”

 

4. What is something you’d like to learn how to do to improve your blog this year?

Mechanics is probably what I spend the most time on, and get frustrated with. I’m learning some html. That and the photos. My husband has thousands of great ones, so I spend way too much time going through pictures, formatting, etc. They have become integral to my blog. So I want to learn how to do it all without spending hours after I’ve finished the writing.

 

5. What kinds of blogs do you enjoy reading?

I love contemplative blogs with writing that drills through to my heart, like Ann Voskamp and Dani Di Lucca. I also spend lots of time on how-to’s, everything from Zoe McCarthy’s writer helpls, to how I can get more toner from my cartridge. I’m a funny mix of artistic and practical, so I run the gamut. My biggest problem is limiting myself. There isn’t enough time for all I’d like to read!

 

6. What are three words that best describe who you are?

Insightful, caring, contemplative

 

7. What book did you most enjoy reading last year and why?

That’s hard. I love books! This year I haven’t allowed myself a lot of fiction reading, other than those I judged for the Carol Awards or critiqued. I think The Healing Path: How the Hurts in Your Past Can Lead You to a More Abundant Life, by Dan B Allender has impacted me the most. It has a companion study guide which my daughters and I are doing together, by phone. It has been revealing and healing.

 

8. What is a non-blogging goal you’d like to accomplish this year?

I started to say that was easy, then realized it isn’t. My first goal is consistent physical wellness, so that I can accomplish the other, which is to finish editing my novels and get them in print, and finish writing my contemporary one, which has been awaiting my attention for too long.

 

9. When you’re not blogging, what do you enjoy doing?

• Taking Lily, my Golden Retriever, to the beach
• Singing and worshiping with my husband
• Time with my kids and grand kids and other family members
• Reading
• Writing
• Bible study
• Gardening
(not necessarily in that order)

 

10. What was a spiritual lesson you learned in the past year?

God is enough.

 

My nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award are:

Dani Di Lucca at http://www.bloomingspiders.com
Keri Wyatt Kent at http://www.keriwyattkent.com/will-you-follow-the-voice-of-love/#comment-15764
Sandi Rog at http://sandirog.blogspot.com/
For pure fun:
Kelly Klepfer at http://kellyklepfer.blogspot.com/

 

Questions for my nominees:
1. What motivates you the most?
2. What are your goals for your blog?
3. Do you write anything outside of blogging?
4. What is your biggest challenge
5. Who do you admire the most?
6. Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?
7. What book has influenced you the most?
8. What is your greatest fear?
9. If you could accomplish one thing this year, what would you choose?
10. What is your greatest blessing?

Now it’s your turn, dear reader. Will you share your answers to any of those questions?