So I Sing


I called her a burn scraper.  Yeah. I’ve never been great with conversations.  That explains why that was my intro into telling her how through asking hard things of me, she was helping me to heal.

See, when I woke up in recovery I knew in my heart I’d never be the same. (Funny they should name it that, because I wasn’t recovering.)  The doctors and nurses played it all off, but I knew.  Gasping for air and unable to tell anyone why or what or how I was feeling.  Strip a persons voice from them and they’ll be at your mercy.  Whatever you or any other well meaning people want to say they need, are, want, feel… That becomes their new identity or prison.

My sister said that after Granny had her stroke, she felt trapped in her own body. That’s accurate.

You know what Satan says about your gifts? “You aren’t very good, and you certainly aren’t as good as_____. Just sing in the car; God hears you there and it’s for Him anyway.” Lose your gift and you know what he says? “Well you blew that. You didn’t use it and now you’ve got nothing to give God.  You aren’t useful to Him now.”

So when someone strokes your arm and tells you the doctors say she’s only got 18 months at best, and she just wants to hear you sing. What can you say?  I’d like to tell you that I didn’t care; that there were several other people in the room or that I wasn’t weighing my options, but that’d be false.  I did know I didn’t have much, but I love her and what I had was enough for her so she could have it.

So I sang.

Then there was the time we were setting in the foyer after service talking. That same bald head wrapped in what the best I could tell was a turban of glory ask me to do it again. Yeah, that isn’t awkward. Just bust into song. Right there. As if I’m worthy of hosting some concert, and these people have nothing better to do than be my groupies.

So I sang.

Then that time after Satan lost and she had a silver crown of curly hair as a trophy to prove it. She came to the seat behind me cupped a shoulder in each hand and ask me to stand and sing. In the second pew from the front, in front of everyone, I found my feet.

And I sang.

She had the guts to obey God and scrape at the raw places. Because if cancer taught her anything it was that to really recover you had to endure. And if cancer made her anything it made her strong enough and brave enough to do the painfully pious.

I stood there with my back to the crowd and laid it all out. The little 10% of the one vocal cord that works; sang.  This time I realized I wasn’t singing for Becky or because of cancer or for the ability to avoid regrets over not granting her a dying wish.  I didn’t have much but I love Him and what I had was enough for Him so He could have it.  And He did want it; like He wants the widow’s mites. It isn’t much but it’s everything I have, and it’s what he wants, and He says it’s enough.

So yeah, funny that my right cord is completely paralyzed and I have 10% on the left because that’s all God ask of us. Our 10%.

So I sing.

Printable_5

A True and Holy Love Story


Here we are in the midst of the Christmas season; which I have managed to make more about the mass of gift buying than about The Christ, but there is still time to fix and still grace to cover that-another post another day.

While we are talking gifts, I’d like to tell you about a gift I received over a decade ago but just realized a couple weeks ago. Jailyn and I were cleaning the kitchen. She was sweeping while I was wiping down countertops. Broom in hand she morphed into a singing sensation as we all do (let’s be honest here). To my surprise it wasn’t “Let it Go”. Today is was the Little Mermaids “Kiss the Girl”.

I joined in and we were belting it out way too loudly to be pretty. We got to the line where it says,

Yes you want her

Look at her, you know you do

It’s possible she wants you too

There’s just one way to ask her

It don’t take a word, not a single word

Go on and kiss the girl.

 (Flashback) 

I was 12, and my sister, cousins and I were playing basketball at a church down the street; where a bunch of kids would hang out and play. Out of the blue, without warning a boy from school came up and kissed me. There I stood in front of all my peers being kissed without warning  by someone I didn’t like. I felt so humiliated. I played it off until I got home.

I called my friends and told them about how embarrassed and grossed out I had been; only to be told I was being a prood. As if that wasn’t bad enough the next day I learned how fast 7th grade news travels.

That was just one of several times I felt invaded by a boy.

Standing there singing those words I had sang and heard MANY times before but this time was jarring. When headlines are saying the count of women coming forward is now 16 and they have nothing to gain and everything to lose?

That’s when I realized the gift I’d been given. I though of how many times we have laughed about how long it took Josh to get the nerve to just hold my hand. I remembered how respectful he had been; waiting for our first kiss, and I remembered the phone call after he had felt he’d crossed the line.

Josh gave me the gift of a true love story to share with my daughter. A bit of truth to counter the Disney lie with. We stopped sweeping and looked into each others eyes as I shared the testimony of true love. Holy and real romance.

A brave young man who lived a life against the grain and in opposition to everything the locker rooms, magazines, movies and hormones told him. A man who respected a girl who was accustomed to disrespect not because she was someone’s daughter or sister or future wife, but because he knew she was made in the image of God. She was Gods and not his.

So sure we can keep on believing those are harmless lyrics, and kids will be kids, but somewhere something’s going wrong when boys are thinking they have the right to girls and girls are thinking its a boy that will make them alright. Its all mixed up, jumbled up and backward.

I am a hopeless hopeful who believes we care and can change things.

I believe we aren’t ok with the schools or anyone else teaching our kindergarteners about homosexuality. I believe uncomfortable as it may be we would rather tell our children the truth then let them go on believing the lies. Because, we aren’t blind to the cost and we know its more than reputation on the line here—souls are at risk. They belong to God and we are our brothers keeper.

Printable_3

You’ve Just Got to Look


I heard her say she can’t even look at them because it makes her uncomfortable. I nod, because I get it. “Don’t look and it won’t hurt.” They’ve been feeding us that line since we were knee high in line for vaccinations.

All this came just a few days after I asked Josh why it all hurt so much. How can I be in ministry if I’m the one falling apart?  And how do you stop dying right along with them? How do you stop letting their cancer eat you up too? Why is it so hard to move on after a friend moves past you? I know I can’t be the only one asking these questions. Maybe you aren’t right now but you have or will.

I was reading an old post by Ann Voskamp. She said, “Turns out—those who bear the weight of suffering will bear the weight of glory.”

Who dreams their life will fall apart in Rib Crib? I don’t know what boulder was crushing her. I have no idea what the man sitting across from her saying he didn’t mean to hurt her had done, but you can bet there is ALWAYS a consequence for sin and it’s usually others that take the brunt of that blow.

I tried not to look. Honest I did. I stared down at my magazine. No matter where my eyes were, my mind and heart were on her. “Don’t look and it won’t hurt.” That wasn’t working for anyone that day.

Eve, Did all this flash through your mind as you were chewing on death? The consequences we’d bleed from?

I have no idea what was suffocating that poor woman gasping for air between quivers muffled by her tissue. I am sure of the answer though. He makes the blind to see. And yes, we were all blind. That was the cost of that produce Eve. Blindness. The answer is the only one who ever gave sight.

Seeing hurts. It’s Uncomfortable. It’s human nature to turn away from the gruesome. We cringe at the hard; the ugly. We pull the cover over our heads at the scary. You feel plumb helpless when you can’t lift the crushing boulders of cancer, death, broken hearts… Sure we’ve all tried only to land the weight of it all square on our own shoulders.

Josh speaks it from the pulpit. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 The epiphany hits. When you are one of His they will know you by the way you love and you can’t stop breaking for the whole wide world. Eyesight was just the bonus gift to the real gift of salvation. If you have Jesus you just can’t help but see. You’ve just got to look! It is the only way we can know how to meet their needs; the only way to know how to love them well. It’s the way we can stoop down beside them to help carry the weight of it to Jesus.

Yeah Ann, it finally clicked. “It turns out that the ones who can bear the weight of suffering will bear the weight of glory.”

 

printable_2