Saturday, April 14, 2012

Plain Dealer dealing with me


Why Oh why do we not see the blessing until we are in a dark spot?

It was last Sunday.

Our first Sunday.

Easter Sunday.

And I had shaken hands, smiled and nodded and hoped that the mascara and lipgloss fooled most into thinking I was not as nervous as I really was.

And my Mom and Dad sat behind me.

And my brother and sister in law and their crew, and I was half praying for Joel and half trying to keep the youngest little's tights up every time she slid out of her seat. And yes more than once I got a glimpse of her cheekies while trying to keep her together and yes it made my morning less stressful and goodness knows more hilarious.

Almost as hilarious as my Mom asking my Dad what the "channel" was instead of the page number in the hymnal.

It was then that second youngest little leans and not so quietly asks, "Why is Grandma's face SO RED?"

Yes, these were memories ripe for the picking.

And the meal came and went and the ham was complemented on several occasions and the casserole I swore Mom would like went home with her like I knew it would and I was seeing them at the door and tired but full of happy.

And then as I tidied up the living room scattered with newspapers I saw it.

The Plain Dealer Parade.

The cover stopped me dead in my tracts.

It was close to church time again and I so wanted to drop everything and read about Stephanie Neilsen.

A young Mother who in 2008 suffered a tragic plane accident which took the life of the pilot, burned 40 percent of her husband's body and burned 80 percent of hers.

80 percent.

I came across her blog just after her accident occurred and was just stuck by the terror of the while thing. At the time I was battling with anxiety after the birth of my 5th little and the more I read her blog, the more fretful I became.

I pushed it away, but not without it indelibly making a large mark on my spirit.

I knew she was a Mormon. And I was saddened by that fact.

But I also knew that there were more things to glean from her trial then I could hold in any one lifetime.

I forgot her to my shame and found her again in the Plain Dealer.

On one of my biggest days.

When it was easy to let my priorities get all jumbled up in the new and different and huge and overwhelming.

And I carried that Parade section into church and my husband half thought I was going crazy on him. I carried it and gently laid it on my Bible and in between greetings after church I would sneak reads of it.

The wave of emotion I felt for her came flooding back to me. I found myself lost in the words and almost speed reading it until it had come to a close and I was sad that it had ended.

Her story.

And I sighed and folded it gently and brought it back home.

It sat for a day on the counter and when my husband asked me about it, her story was so real and intense to me it was almost painful to relate. Silly, I thought, seeing I have never really known her.

Or had I?

And then in another day or two I needed to clean the house and there it was. Part of me knew that I should stack it next to the fireplace for our next fire and part of me was in shock at the thought.

When Joel walked by I told him quietly, as if she would hear me, "I can't just throw her back into the fire."

Her life is changed forever. Yet God allowed it.

He knew that millions of people like me, would look at their ordinary lives differently. They would look at giving their children baths differently. They would look at putting make-up on, and dressing to the nine's differently.

They would be different.

And that is what he wants.

He wants to use so many things to change us, get our attention if we would just let Him.

I am changed by her story.

I am humbled by God's goodness.

I am wondering when He will choose to put me in the fire to refine me and make me more like Him so that others can see Him in me and be changed too.

And I run my hands through my hair, over my cheek and wish I could see things beautiful as she does.

Monday, April 9, 2012

From My Home to Yours

“So, are you excited about coming back “home?”

I have lost track of how many times I have heard this question asked of me.

And these days of hoping to walk into the garage and not see any more boxes to unpack have left me exhausted all the way around.


I sit in the van getting ready to head to Youngstown to see the In-laws which by some of our littles has now been affectionately called, “the OTHER Ohio.” J

And if I lean forward and peer out the front dash window before we catch the toll road, I can almost glimpse what used to be a second home to me there in Richfield. So much learning, growing, searching, and even pain and loss all wrapped up in one brick bottom building.


There are no more hills. There are however, many overpasses and even a glimpse of sky rises and the Goodyear Blimp of all things. There are low speed limits and the same roads that carried me to “Cleveland” school and “Columbus” home.


And wonderfully sweet times of leading a friend to the Lord around my dinner table, speeding her on her Christian walk by giving her my beloved Bible from my Grandmother long since gone to heaven, are mingled with the fear of leaving the state for a college no one approved of and getting married and assuming the title of Assistant Pastors Wife.


I remember begging God for a house. Our two bedroom house on Haywood held a lot of love and kids and mess and dirt and mold and surely God wanted to give us good things. And I chuckle as He took us to Mongolia only to bring us to a parsonage that the kids thought was a “mansion,” to here bigger yet, where the shelves in the closet hold all of our clothes leaving two dressers completely empty. He knew we would get to the place where we wanted less of things and more of Him.


And it has taken me 12 years to forget to care about the color of siding and manicured lawns and wall to wall carpet and today on my ride to the “Other Ohio” I say, “God, where is Home?” And He walks with me through my old stomping ground, brushes the tears that have finally begun to fall and prepares for me a table with room enough for He and I, and Psalm 90.

And when we have talked a good while and even sat silent as everyone rushes on, I then speak up and tell Him, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.”

And he smiles because He delights in me. He delights in me because I allow him to lead.

He is my Home.

And the welcome mat at my sweet Mother in Law’s house brings a sigh of delight in the same ole’ same ole’, and I walk in for coffee and a much needed squeeze.