March 5th, 2012

Ten o’clock in the morning and 37 degrees in Kansas City Missouri. The 4 Bohlender Girls have been up since 6.30am. Actually, they’ve been up since 6, I thought I could get them back to sleep until 7 but by 6.30 I gave up & all 4 tumbled out of bed & sleepily down the stairs where I dropped on the couch & they piled on top of me to watch the sun rise. It was a sweet morning, but soon gave way to the crazy that is a 5 year old, twin 3 year olds & a 2 year old.

By 10, and at 37 degrees Grandma & I bundled them up and sent them outside to run off “the grumpies”. I sit in my coat, curled up with a blanket & mug of tea watching my precious little sisters run and play, and breathe gratitude. February was 29 days of battling grief. By the afternoon of Monday the 27th I whispered a desperate prayer for adventure to pull me out. I’m so glad the Lord always takes me seriously. Within hours a message came from the Bohlenders that the adoption of their twin girls –  twin siblings may actually go through, asking if I could come to Kansas City and help with their little ones while they stayed in Florida to receive the new babies. Insert Chaos, bizarre situations, stress & 6.30 Friday morning, after an incredibly eventful drive to the airport…….and I was going home. Filled with smiles though sleepless, and filled with Joy. Knowing that my sister would was waiting with tears and welcoming arms. Knowing that 5 days of sleepless nights & long days awaited me. Knowing that a city of people who love me awaited me. Knowing that an all too brief visit from my beloved parents awaited me.

Filled, with Joy.

And that’s all I’ve been able to think about since I’ve arrived. That is the very way we are to live every situation, every season. As the Redeemed, those who’ve been brought from death into a living hope, that our portion is to Live. Live Filled. Filled with Joy. And One Thousand Gifts

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As those who have no Hope

2.47 pm February 16h, the phone call came in.

Brothers & Sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, as those who have no hope. *1 Thessalonians 4.13

And it’s true, we only have to grieve on this side. My grandfather has been dying my whole life & right now, right this very minute, he can breathe. He is whole, no more fighting & no more fear of death. Death & the Grave have no hold of him, and Jesus, his friend is King.

Grandpa, you have the most beautiful smile in all of heaven. I just can’t wait to see it again. I’m so thankful for the Resurrection.

Please continue to pray for my family, for my Daddy & for my sister – both of whom lean on me for strength that I can’t give from a distance. Pray that the Holy Spirit would bring comfort to them & lend to them His strength.

Uelesse & Rachel Faagatu music

I’m like a worm in a cocoon, I’ve got wings but I can’t fly yet. One day I’m gonna try that but right now I wait on change.

I’m like a baby in the womb, I’ve got lungs but I can’t breathe yet. One day I’m gonna try that but right now I wait on change.

New life comes to me like the Sun comes to the morning. New  birth comes to me like a mother in her glory.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t come yet, one day I’m gonna live that but right now I wait on change.

I’ll spread my wings and fly, I’m gonna breathe in for the first time and that day I will be ready cause I don’t wait in vain.

New life comes to me like the Sun comes to the morning. New birth comes to me like a mother in her glory.

Like a flower seeing the sun for the first time I’m gonna let my beauty shine in the sunshine. Though you may not notice me, I’m gonna notice them cause life is too short to let you pass by again. Life can get rough, no need to get tough; choose His love! Choose to love! Then you’ll see you’ll rise above in love.

You give me beauty for ashes, joy for my sorrow, a garment of praise, a brand new day!

Even in the middle of the Night you can sing.

 

See a recent Devotional set here. If you want to hear the above song go to the 1:43:45 time at the end of the set.

Nearer… nearer…

January 8th. 7 1/2 hours until my plane leaves Kansas City. It’s a day that I knew would come but never could see. And still I can’t see it. My heart feels breathless, trembling with thousands of emotions as one standing on the edge of a cliff, the view blocked by clouds, wishing for a hand to hold and unsure of what lies beneath yet unable to keep my feet from creeping nearer…nearer.

In my ears is an album inspired by Aslan’s singing the world into being, & heavenly voices sing “Be still my soul the Lord is on your side…”  my mind whispers an agreement to my ever pounding heart “be still, be still, be still”.

Tonight I watched my sister glowing with love & joy at her engagement party, surrounded by so many rejoicing at the season before her & wondered how in the world it has happened that I could walk away & not be apart of it. But I know the Lord has thoughts I can’t imagine, plans I couldn’t dream of. Five, maybe six times today I burst into tears in different parts of the Compound while getting ready for the party, wondering how daily life can happen without the Bohlenders. They have been to me a family, a home, Shepherds, counselors, friends, & I have found more healing in two years of late nights around their kitchen table than I ever thought possible for my broken weary heart.

Tonight I visited the Nightwatch & couldn’t help but crack up laughing as I walked through the door, remembering. Remembering weeping through my internship in that nearly empty room, remembering the year & a half following of pouring out my heart in those chairs, singing out my soul on that stage, in those side rooms, in the night. Ten minutes later I’d hugged my faithful friends who remain steady; cried on Kyle’s shoulder, ever thankful for his wisdom & the kindred heart that beats inside his chest, cried on Jacob’s jacket as a lifetime of late night talks raced through my brain & cried again when Audra came off the stage to kiss my cheek. Oh how I love the family I’ve been blessed with in this city.

Tonight I placed my books in a box. Took the last pictures from the walls, but left the stars across the ceiling. Every room I’ve ever lived in has been left glowing with stars. Looking around it is no longer my own.

In every change, God faithful will remain

Over the last few weeks many have looked excitedly into my eyes & declared “you’re really going & the Lord is giving you the desires of your heart!”. And yes I’m excited, yes I am going, but can’t help but chuckle inside at the smallness in that idea. Fredericksburg & DC are not the desires of my heart.  From behind my eyes  it is as though the Lord has opened a door before me, a gentle invitation to take Him by the hand & though my heart may tremble, to step through & see what He might do. There comes a point when love-strings bid us follow & though fearful we find ourselves unable to deny their gentle call.

He never forces us to come. And at the same time love is a violent force, ever driving.  When the revelation came that my puppy would not be coming on this move I picked up my guitar & wept, knowing that my Friend knew the pain of my heart in leaving her behind, that He wouldn’t chastise me for the tears, & that He was worthy of them.

He’s worth of every price we’re asked to pay; the tiny and the most painful . The leaving of home, the comfort of familiarity, the years spent mining the hearts of my friends unto striking communion… only to leave. The leaving of family, my dear, beloved sister & best friend. The teens I’ve given my heart to, the ones who’ve becoming sisters & brothers.  No one is surprised by my abundance of tears, I’ll make no apologies for them, but I am surprised at the joy budding in my heart as I shed them.  He’s worthy of the costly offerings, & what costs me might not cost you, but if it’s of value in my heart then He treasures it. And so it becomes worship as I gladly offer them to Him. So I gladly offer them Jesus.

The desire of my heart; that Jesus would find faith… find friends on the earth. That broken hearts would be found bound, imprisoned hearts be found free, lame hearts be found leaping, dead hearts be found beating, all for the love of Christ. The desire of my heart is that the youth of the Nations would see Him, & that they would love Him.

There are no words to describe the thankfulness in my heart for the last five years at IHOP, the treasures He has given in the dear friends who have come and gone, the last 4 years of living daily life with my sister.

In a few short hours my favorite, my brother Nathan will hug me until I can’t breathe, make fun of my cane & cry when I walk away. I will kiss my Daddy’s cheek, squeeze his neck longer than he’d like,  cry on my mothers shoulder and hold my sister’s hand until we walk up to the gate where most likely I’ll weep in her arms. She’ll miss me more than all my friends combined. And when I step off Jeremy will be there to give my heart the strength to walk into whatever is waiting on the East Coast.

DC? A door that I must step through, simply leading to another door. When that door will open and where it will lead I haven’t the slightest clue, but my heart is set to follow the Lamb wherever, whenever He goes. 4.50 am. Breathless my feet draw nearer… nearer… “but the view from the top of the cliff is not as exhilarating as the free fall.”

Be still my soul, the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord. When disappointment, grief & fear are gone, sorrows forgot, loves purest joys restored. Be still my soul, when change & tears are past, all safe & blessed we shall meet at last.

Between the Cracks – John Mark

Hope grows between cracks in the asphault
In the downtown ghetto streets that contour
The government housing intentions of my heart
No one notices the daisies don’t care
About gang related violence
As long as they get enough air and water and sun
They’re all just fine
Who would’ve thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There’s a man down here somewhere between
The Saturday cartooons and the dirty magazines
He’s raising the dead in the graveyards
Where we’ve laid down our dreams
His name is Hope
Hope stands high on the 15th floor
On a Christmas tree perched about the ledge of a fortress
A steel that’s trying to hard to be somebody’s home
As it sees my attention from I-85 though the throws of the day
Were still writhing inside
I lifted my head as I drove home that night and knew
Everything was gonna be fine
Who would’ve thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There’s a man down here not worried or afraid
That some politician forgot all the promises he made
And he’s raising the dead in the graveyards
Where we’ve laid down our dreams
His name is Hope
Can you hear him outside he’s been singing all night
He’s saying when you gonna come out from behind
These paper thin walls, your cardboard box realities
Who would’ve thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There’s a man down here not worried or afraid
That some politician forgot all the promises he made
And he’s raising the dreams in the graveyards
Where we’ve laid down our dead
His name is Hope

Not Alone

At arms length you held your spouse and children
Your lack of grace so nearly killed them
Forgivness still breathes but he may not wake for years
He’s promised me still this won’t end in tears.

‘Cause we’re not alone, no we’re not alone now honey
Save our own ’cause we’re not alone

Bakc home to find the garden as you left it
Roses in full bloom, so glad you invested
So you found this room couldn’t hold you donw
Stepped through these walls and taste life to the fullest

Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
We’ll make it home ’cause we’re not alone
Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
Save your own cause we’re not alone

Hold us close, it meant so much
Maybe more than you knew
Laugh awhile, burn like fire
Love us again just like you used to
Sing so loud, make us proud
Please say just what you heard
Listen closer, hold your tongue
Your tired eyes speak louder than words

Not alone no we’re not alone now honey
We’ll make it home cau’se we’re not alone.

Anniversary

Today was the anniversary of my foot surgery. For those of you that don’t know, I have a Haglund’s Deformity on the back of both heels. Click the link to see a picture, let’s just say that mine is much worse than what you’ll see there, in fact my doctor claims it is “the most perfect Haglund’s Deformity” he’s ever seen and is apparently using my x-rays for training purposes. After about two years of severe pain we decided that something had to be done. A year ago I had surgery on the right heel; the doctor went in on the side, not having to cut through or detach any muscles or tendons, cut off the extra bone, shaved it smooth and stitched me up. It was a fairly simple surgery with no surprises and believe it or not I went home that day.

Two days later I was calling for a change in pain medication (hives aren’t fun) and while on hold turned on the light so that I could write down whatever the good doctor would have to say. As soon as the lights turned on I watched my mother’s eyes grow as big as saucers and I looked down at my foot to see that the entire back of the bandage was completely soaked in blood. Insert a long journey of complications and turmoil.

It’s been a long year. For months I wept in secret, battling through the complications and the persistent and raging pain, wondering if I’d made the wrong choice in having surgery and if my feet were ever going to stop hurting. And more than that, I felt I was fighting for my calling to the Nations. Through many tear, snot soak tissues I would whisper Isaiah 52.7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!

and would sob, “Oh God, give me beautiful feet!”

I hiked around Shiloh today with no pain in my feet. Had I been wearing tennis shoes the right heel would have been tender and the left heel would have throbbed by the time I left, but I wore flipflops, and had no pain.

Katrina and I are reading through The Singer in the evenings, and the chapter we ended with tonight is when He heals the crippled brown-eyed little girl.

The singer knelt beside her in the dust and touched her limpid hand and cried. He drew the cloth away that hid her legs. He reached his calloused hand and touched the small, misshapen foot. “I too was born with scarred feet. See mine!” He said, drawing back the hem of his own robe.

That when I remembered what today was. But my tears didn’t flow until He healed her;

And others came! Untouchables with bandages heard the healing song and came to health. The crippled and the blind, sick of soul, sick of heart, sick of hate, sick of mind. Everywhere the music went, full health came. And all the way, men everywhere were whispering that the long-awaited Troubadour had come.

Years ago on a walk in the middle of the night, while talking of the practicalities of revival a friend made a comment like “The power comes and healing’s will be so common place, we’ll get bored with it by the 5,000 one.” The most insatiable pain rose up in my chest and I found myself declaring, ” No one who is healed from a chronic pain issue will ever, EVER stop marveling at the power of God that stop’s it.” I’m pretty sure I had a migraine that night which increased my zeal…. regardless….

I still believe that power is for my life, that wholeness is my portion. And on this side of eternity,I will NEVER stop marveling at the power of God that set’s our bodies free. Thank You Jesus for this day without pain.