Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunshine and the Cloud

Sunshine - I feel sunshine again. I see it almost every morning as I stumble out to get the paper. I see it prodding a flower to be real and beautiful. I see it as I look out the window during the day. I feel it in my step, I hear it as I sing while working, and as I speak it to my children. I glance across the street and see our cow who's name ironically is "Sunshine." I taste it as I drink the milk she gives. It feels as if God is encouraging me to be brave and feel the sunshine of life. We teased Kira that her and the cow have the same name. Now, I look back and wonder at God. I feel sunshine as I tramp through the flowerbeds and step on green grass. I gaze in wonder at the sun and it's amazing God-given ability to give life to things that lie dormant and ugly. Amid the sunshine I feel a cloud. A cloud that seems to follow me wherever I go. It follows me to the store, on vacation, and to church. It even follows me to bed in the dark. The cloud has sadness in it. Deep sorrow, pain, and frustration. It contains a wish to live the last several months over and the new plan would magically be full of miracles. It holds the unending mystery of how life would be if Kira would be here right now. Sometimes it feels like the cloud holds the rain that comes out of my eyes and runs unashamedly down my face. The cloud frightens me. I have never lived with an overshadowing cloud. The more that time goes on, the more it seems like this cloud will stay with me for the rest of my life. Reality is that somehow I need to learn to be okay with the cloud. Right now it looks impossible, way too far out of my comfort zone. I never liked clouds; I always chased them away somehow or figured them out so I was okay with them. This cloud is so different, because God is in this cloud too. This cloud is somehow a tie to the healing process that I haven't figured out yet. Maybe it's not for me to even figure out. Maybe with God the cloud is chased to the foot of the cross? Maybe it will happen and I won't even realize it. Maybe the sunshine will make it smaller. But for now, I want the cloud. I also want it to be a redeemed cloud.....

Today I was doing some cleaning in the girls' bedroom. As I moved the nightstand that used to be Kira's something shiny caught my eye. There tucked in between the mattress and box-spring were two quarters. I snickered, remembering all the times she would run off with whatever money she could find. Her piggy bank had an unending appetite. It sometimes got so hungry it would eat all of Marlea's money or the change box pennies. I don't know where the quarters came from that I found today but something tells me they weren't hers!

Pray that we will be able to continue the healing in our lives. It gets almost harder as time goes on and yet the pain continues. I long for a picture of what healing actually is. To experience healing for such deep unending pain is somewhat mysterious to us. "This world is not my home, I am just a passing thru, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue..." are words to a song I think of during the day.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Grace of God

Grace-what is it, where does it come from. Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." To me grace feels so close. Daily, sometimes minute by minute I ask God for more. Sometimes I feel like I am begging and surely He is tired of me. Here I am again God - it's me again; I need more, please God. I even get demanding and say desperately: "Please God, hurry up, I can't do this on my own." There is always more, grace seems to be in endless supply. I am fascinated by what happens when I plead and ask for grace. In asking, I admit that I can't live life on my own, it's too big, over the edge. By admitting that I can't do it on my own, I am blessed with an abundance of peace. In feeling peace, I am freed from the cares of life. Sometimes it lasts for several days, sometimes for just a minute. People go through something hard and they look back and say: "If it wouldn't have been for the grace of God I wouldn't have survived." Right now, I feel God's grace so keenly that I feel it right now. I don't feel like I could live another minute without it. I am in awe of a God who has an endless supply of grace. I bow in thankfulness, realizing that if it wouldn't be for His grace, I wouldn't have the promise of eternal life. I want to get a hold of the verse in Ephesians 2:8 and live it out for the rest of my life in a deeper way. "For by grace ye are saved, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." I spread my arms in praise, realizing that I wouldn't have been able to live the horrors of the last months without God's promise of endless grace. I face tomorrow knowing that once again I will be helpless, bent in pain, and there will again be enough grace for me to live the day.

At bedtime Kira would ask Merlin to "sing a new one." He would try and every time it wouldn't be the right one. Finally, he would sing "Jesus Loves Me" and then she was satisfied. "Jesus Loves Me" was new to her every day! Oh, the simplicity of salvation when it is viewed through the eyes of a child and Jesus' love.

It was hard to celebrate Father's Day yesterday. I feel like I almost avoided the pain, maybe good, maybe not. The pain of not having Kira here with us, the pain of not being able to watch Merlin with the three little girls was enormous for both of us. Thoughts go back to last year...but it will never be the same, yesterday is gone. Pray that we will continue to lean on God. Grace to embrace the reality of today. Pray that Merlin will continue to heal physically. We feel indebted for the care and love we feel and we pray that God will in turn bless you all richly.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, June 15, 2009

Broken Dreams

Last night I dreamed again that Kira was in the hospital, we were so upset-but then she recovered. We were so happy to have her home again and enjoyed her so much. I awoke with a start, thinking it was true and everything was okay again. Disappointment and anger came as I blinked remembering that no, Kira is in heaven, not back in her bed. Tears rolled in my heart as I tossed in my bed trying to come to grips with reality and be okay with it. God, why? Why is she gone? Why can't I still have her? Why did our dreams for her have to be shattered? Thinking of the dream throughout the day reminded me of our dreams for her...

Kira was so sweet-we had dreams that she would become a lady that brings tenderness and caring to people. Kira was joyful-we envisioned her filling those around her with God's joy. Kira was full of energy-we thought of all she would be able to do. Kira was smart-we watched that look of understanding growing in her eyes and realized she could become very intelligent. Kira was beautiful-we dreamed of her being a beautiful woman. Kira was tall-we pictured her at six feet tall, and even maybe more when she would be finished growing. As I thought of these things and pondered them in my heart I realized the pain of not being a part of these dreams. The dreams I had in my heart of being her mother, helping her through life, watching her discover things for herself, being there for her when the world crashes in, leading her to Jesus, directing her energy in the right way. Dreams, broken dreams, shattered in a couple of days. Shattered by just a few wrong twists of events. Dreams that are no longer earthly dreams; they have turned into dreams of arriving in heaven and seeing her again. Dreams that lay broken waiting for Jesus to heal them and turn them into something beautiful.

A few weeks ago I wrote on "Fear." I have felt a very distinct release of fear since being honest about it. Thanks so much to all of you for your encouragement. I realized again how the truth sets us free. Along with that Satan tries very hard to make me believe it's just my imagination that I feel better about it. He is trying another tactic with me, trying to destroy my vision and anticipation of heaven, or that it is even real. Please pray that Merlin and I will be strong in this battle and not believe the lies. The battle wages on. We know from prior experience that God hears the prayers of his saints, and we thank you for them.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea, Anna

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who Am I?

Who am I? I am a wife and a mother of three girls. Two here and one in heaven. But, really I am not mothering my second-born anymore. When Kira was born I had a fairly big adjustment. With one child I was able to still do some cleaning and managed to keep after the office things fairly well. I could still answer the phone without guests thinking this is also daycare. With two girls, I had to make some changes and couldn't manage everything without more help. As Kira grew I hardly knew how to handle her energy. Also she was up a lot at night, so I was tired. It got to the point where I couldn't sleep anymore. I sought some advice and direction in how to deal with myself. I adapted to her and that worked much better. In doing that, I changed - mostly for the better and learned to live life as it comes instead of thinking I had to have it all figured out. That obviously wasn't working with my unpredictable child. I learned to enjoy her, laugh at her craziness-even join in. In that I became more crazy and carefree myself which was more how I used to be when I was a child. Maybe she reminded me of who I used to be? Now that she is no longer here with us I find myself wondering who I really am. How can I still be that person without her? I loved that sadness, no heartaches, totally carefree. I lived each day at at time - I had learned not to plan tomorrow for tomorrow will plan itself. Now, I laugh - but under it I feel a lump and so much sadness my heart wants to die. I feel like my heart will hurt forever. My carefree attitude seems gone like a vapor, just like Kira. I think of tomorrow and think "Oh no, I will feel the pain tomorrow just like I do today, maybe worse." What do I do with all these lessons life has taught me? They are shaping my life whether or not I like it. Do I let them, or do I rebel and run? Is there any possible way to combine and balance who I am becoming and who I was? But, I don't like this new person...I don't want to be her...I don't want anything to do with her. It's not my choice, not my life, not my day tomorrow. God doesn't mind being patient with me. He will bring beauty out of what seems to be ashes to me. And so I relax in the arms of my heavenly Father. It seems so easy... yet so very, very hard. The amount of pain and confusion that go with it are beyond words. I feel like the Israelites in the Bible who wandered around in the wilderness for forty years looking for the promised land. They had the tabernacle of God with them for direction and it had four corners, just like my Bible does. I could say more about that; just read about it too. The sermon was about the Tabernacle this Sunday at church and it made so much sense to me in ways it never had before. Most of all, I am thankful for God's Word!

Last night at supper, Merlin threatened to eat all the rest of the ice cream. All of a sudden I could hear Kira saying: "Mia(her name for Marlea), Ki-ki eat whole thing!" Marlea would scream in terror and anger and Kira would of course be delighted, with her mission accomplished. I don't remember what all she threatened to eat but I am sure it was something Marlea really liked! I can still see the look on Kira's face...

As you can tell, the pain goes on. Please pray that we will not grow weary, but be strong in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Merlin continues to improve and we are all enjoying our Daddy very much. It's been long! Please pray that his health continues to improve. He has a long way to go, but we praise God for the progress.

Marylu and Merlin, Marlea and Anna