Our family wheeled Anne through the crowded sanctuary. We hadn’t gotten there as early as we had planned. Our usual spot was taken over by the crowds on Easter. We were forced to the front. As we filled the empty chairs, Anne squealed, “Miss Debbie! Miss Debbie!”
Other than family, Miss Debbie is one of the few constants in Anne’s life. Their relationship is the same as it was before the accident when Anne was in her 3-year-old Sunday school class. We haven’t seen Miss Debbie in months. But God let us find her today. Continue reading →
I’m just tired of being sad. This December, I sorta went into an apathetic shell. Thinking back, I think I was just protecting myself from the grief that comes around the holidays. But that shell just got sandblasted. I just need to learn that it is okay to be sad during December.
In 30 short minutes, a new year will be here, and I feel a bit sad. But I’ll say that sadness is a notch better than apathetic, because at least I’m feeling something :-)
But don’t worry. God is here. He always is.
May Anne continue to make progress in 2013! And here is my list of “gratefuls” for 2012.
Key Lime Pie
Anne’s crooked smile
Special time with Kate
Erin and Stacy at church
French Horns… (I love the melancholy tone of a french horn)
Late night movie watching with Eric
My Wednesday bible study group
Mrs. Bush (Anne’s para-pro)
my new iPhone
and finally… the story of Joseph (from the Bible).
And then I started singing in front of people and quickly concluded that my mediocrity would never cut it! But, I still love music and every now and then I pull out my guitar and get inspired to write a song.
A year ago, I sat down with my guitar and had a vision of writing a fun, upbeat song about Anne, but I didn’t want to sugar-coat our circumstances. I wanted it to be real. So, after I finished writing it, I thought, “this might actually be good.”
Last night at one of our church’s Arts events, I had the opportunity to sing Anne’s song with our church’s house band. It was so much fun! Eric took a rough video. The words are below if you want to follow along… (Note: the recording starts half-way through the 1st verse…)
Born to Last
by K. Jackson
I have a picture of her in the garden skippin’
Hair blowing blonde in the sun kissed grass.
She was a wild star blazing, and a sweet song singing.
She’s her Daddy and her Momma’s little sassafrass.
Well. One fine mornin’ we were cookin in the kitchen
and we headed out for errands in the family van.
One wrong turn, and our lives were shattered.
Now she’s fightin’ for her life just as best as she can.
All of that heartache just fades to memory
in the broken girl that God’s made her now.
And we work to love her. And we’re blessed to know her.
She’s a living, breathing picture that was born to last.
Now she struggles with the simplest task. And she asks,
“Mama, why’d God make my life so hard?”
I say, “Jesus says He has a good plan for ya.”
But it hurts to see your girl with an old man’s scars. (Chorus)
She wasn’t born to be an athlete or a beautiful lady in a magazine. No.
She was born to show the love that Jesus has for broken people like you and me.
She’s a broken vessel tired and worn.
Only seven years old, yet she’s pressin’ on.
Well, I have a feeling – when we get to heaven,
She’ll be singing, spinning dancing at the front of the line.
Singing, Spinning, Dancing at the front of the line!
Sometimes messages of hope can seem trite to a heavy heart. But this song manages to hold hope in the midst of sorrow. Steven Curtis Chapman knows grief, and it shows in this song. Hope is the rope that pulls the grief-stricken out of the dark well. It is what I have been lacking. This song helps.
1. Anne does not have an “end-point.” In the early months after the accident, it comforted me to think that Anne had a fixed recovery period. Some therapists said one year… others said two years. But it’s been more than two years now, and Anne is still changing – and improving. None of us have “end-points.” I know I don’t! (At least I hope I don’t.) I would like to think I can still improve a little. What makes Anne any different? She will continue to grow and change her whole life. I’m good with that.
2. Anne needs to live life at a different pace than the rest of us. This seems obvious, doesn’t it? But I seem to forget this a lot – and Anne has a very inconvenient way of reminding me…
Like last Thursday afternoon when we had three scheduled activities back to back… Anne decided she needed to go to the bathroom between activity #1 & #2.
Think of John the Baptist just before he was beheaded. Do you think he questioned whether his whole life’s work – preparing the way for the Messiah – was in vain? Even John the Baptist – who understood better than anyone who the Messiah would be… questioned Jesus. “And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another” Luke 7:19?
John knew the Jewish Scriptures. He knew the promises of a Messiah that would come and make all things right, and become King… but Jesus didn’t fit his preconceived mold.
Think of the other John. The gospel-writer John. He had aspirations of being the King’s right-hand man… Ruling the new Kingdom in glory! Imagine how he felt when Jesus – on the cross – commissioned him to care for Mary, His mother. Die? Surely He wouldn’t die. But He did.
And then the darkness came. The utter despair. All hope lost. Dreams were crushed. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? So hopeless that we scream with every cell clenched… “Why God? Where is the good in this?”
It helps knowing the end of the story doesn’t it? Both John’s – on either side of heaven – saw the good of the resurrection. But first, there was the darkness. To a lesser degree, it’s the same with all of our tragedies. We have the benefit of knowing there will be an end to the darkness – whether on earth or in heaven – the darkness will give way to light. The hard part is …the waiting.
It helps to ponder truth during the waiting times. Here’s some good, lyrical truth:-) Happy Easter, friends.
Life swirls… Hence, the long break between posts ;-) But lately, I’ve experienced something extremely rare… at least for me. I see it – the whirling and swirling – but I’ve been able to stay calm and still. It’s very strange actually – to stand still while life moves fast. I’m trying to savor it :-)
Last week was crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y. But I managed to breath deep and just ‘be.’ Here’s a funny example :-) Anne had an important doctor’s appointment last Wednesday morning. I try to schedule her appointments right after carpool, so that (hopefully) no time is wasted, and everyone’s on time. We arrived (early, no less) to school, and Kate declares, “Uh-oh mommy, I don’t have my shoes.” WHAT? How do you leave the house without shoes? Seriously, HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT SHOES? But I decided that a temper tantrum would help no one – so I sent Kate in without her shoes and took Anne to the doctor. They found Kate some shoes in the lost and found, and everyone was just. fine.
Life’s too short to worry over forgotten shoes. Life’s too short to stress over report cards and real estate agents (our house is on the market again). This past weekend, my best friend and I took a road trip to a country music concert. We were surrounded by kids in plaid drinking beer. I felt very out of place. But we had FUN. And just like deciding not to freak out over Kate’s shoes, I had to make a decision to just relax and have fun. We laughed, danced, sang and laughed some more (especially at the plaid, drunk kids). It was good.
There was a moment during the concert when I experienced that rare sensation of standing still and watching the swirls. There were lights flashing and drums blaring and drunk boys screaming – and I just stood – and was grateful – for a life beyond the noise. Because in the middle of all the craziness… there is abundance of life. You just have to know where to look. Stand still, block out the swirling, and find the cross – rising above it all, singing its love song – and know peace.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:10-11).
So a typical ride in our van includes lots of music on the radio – specifically from our local Christian radio station, 104.7 The Fish. We get in the van, and one of the kids will say, “turn on the radio.” And a song will come on, and everyone starts singing – including Anne. And then almost always – right when a really good part of the song is about to play, Anne will say, “Turn it off.”
Now… her reasons for wanting the music off is different than what you would expect. After I turn off the radio, Anne will ALWAYS ask me about a specific lyric that she’s heard and what it means. “What does ‘justified’ mean Mommy?” Ugh. Have you ever tried explaining “justification” to a six year old with a brain injury? But miraculously, Anne’s comprehension – especially for spiritual concepts – is amazing. When I finish answering her question about the lyrics, she will then say, “Okay, mommy. Turn it back on, so I can listen to what it means.”
So all of this is a backdrop for something funny that happened today. It was just Anne and me in the car. Third Day’s song, Love Song, starting playing. If you aren’t familiar with this song, it’s important to know that it’s sung from Jesus’ point of view – as if He were singing us a love song (hence, the title :-)
So in typical Anne fashion she asks me to turn off the radio. And when there is silence she asks, “Who is singing the song, Mommy? Is Jesus singing this song?” So, being really excited that she would ‘get’ that part of the song, I said, “Yes, Anne! Jesus is singing this song. ” To which Anne replied (with a mix of sincerity and amazement), “Wow! Jesus is a really good singer.”
I think Mac Powell (Third Day’s lead singer) would be flattered :-)
I found myself doing normal tasks this morning. And then I thought, “What is normal, anyway?” Dictionary.com has something to say about this…
Normal: conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural
“not abnormal” Gotta love that! So not helpful. Anyway… Normal depends on a standard. Again, not very helpful – since they’re tons of standards and they’re all really different!
I was listening to the radio as I was doing my “normal” tasks. Laura Story’s Blessings was sailing through the upstairs bedrooms… “We pray for blessings.” I make the bed. “We pray for peace.” I unload the dryer. “We doubt your goodness.” I start paying attention. “We doubt your love.” Yeah. I do that. “As if every promise from your word is not enough.” Ouch.
As followers of Jesus, our standard is the Bible. We define normal from God’s Word. I’m still struggling a bit with this new normal – Is it normal for families to suffer. More specifically, is it normal for children to suffer? Unfortunately, yes.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
What’s the promise? He has overcome! This is our temporary home. There will be a day…
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4
This past Sunday was my week to sing in the worship ensemble at church. It’s rare that I love all the songs we sing on a given morning. There might be one song that really resonates with me …on a good Sunday, maybe two or three – but never all of them :-) But this past Sunday was different. It’s like Greg (our worship director) handpicked my favorite songs – interspersed them with my favorite scripture – and then asked the Holy Spirit to give me a supernatural ability to hear all the harmonies so I could sing without thinking too hard. It was amazing :-)