When your heart is broken in a million pieces…

I write about life, usually from a variety of different angles, because that is how I view life. Life is not flat…it is dimensional in every way. Nothing is truly just superficial.

There are close family members and friends who are just like family who have gone through some of life’s most anguishing struggles.

I have grieved as I have watched drugs assault and destroy the hope and promise of a much loved young man. A young man who “seems” to have so much to live for, yet who has found his drug of choice to reduce his own mental anguish. It isn’t just this young man who is suffering from his addiction, but his parents, siblings, extended family and friends. That addiction has been a never-ending, runaway roller coaster ride for a very long time…The “answers” man offers up just don’t address what is truly an issue of the heart…

Depression and suicide have recently devastated the lives of two different families…tell me, what words would you offer to the grieving parents? Brothers and sisters? Sons and daughters? Would you know what to say to someone whose heart just burst into a million, tiny, jagged pieces?

I am full of words, but I had none to offer.

A friend, who is more like a daughter, has been struggling through her father’s cancers…not just one, but two different kinds, simultaneously. And now, she finds that her husband has a brain tumor…At some point, I think we just silently lift our longing eyes to heaven because we no longer can find the words we need to pray effectively. That is when the Spirit takes our heart’s groanings and translates them into prayers…

Then there are those things that we cannot talk about…those hurts that we have in common with others, but are not ours to share. The “confidential” ones…you know, when we put on that brave face and cover up our pain because…well just because we can’t talk about it.

We tend to be masters of disguise…burying things so deeply because we want to be “strong”. Ha. We are not strong. Our very breath is a gift of that moment…we have no promises of a future breath.

How often do we TRULY look at life within the understanding of the scope of its temporal and temporary confines? And then, do we step back and simply gaze at the unfathomable eternity and still stand amazed in spite of the anguish of these earthly lives filled with earthly struggles?

That is what I am doing today…trying to see beyond the temporal and the temporary…for that glimpse of future Glory…

Psalm 73:1-2, 21-28

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped…

When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

Tell Me How Can You Mend a Broken Heaaaarrrt…

Are you hearing the Bee Gees singing? Remember that love song about broken hearts?

I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow,
but I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?

How can you mend a this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart
and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow,
No one said a word about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

Songwriters: GIBB, ROBIN HUGH / GIBB, BARRY ALAN

My little Froglegs has discovered the sorrow of heartbreak…and I don’t mean the heartbreak of psoriasis, either.

Froglegs has been in love with Ellie since kindergarten. That’s a long time for a little boy in first grade.

They’ve had play dates, birthday parties together, sat together every day at lunch…you know, the innocence of true love…childhood style.

But yesterday, Froglegs suffered what is probably the beginning of a string of heartbreaks…Ellie decided to marry Michael Jon.

You see, Michael Jon lives on Ellie’s street. Closer than my little Froglegs. I guess these long-distance romances don’t work so well when you are in first grade and can’t cross the street by yourself.

So Froglegs spent some quiet time on his bed. Mending. Cogitating. And we THOUGHT he was drawing.

Nope. He was pouring out his heart on a scrap of cardboard…salvage from one of my stashes of scrap that maybe I hope to possibly maybe actually get to use sometime, someway…

Froglegs’ sentiments are worthy of Hallmark…

der Ellie

hav a grat tim maring micll jon

be hape be cus you hav subude theyt you can maring

frum froglegs

Translation: Dear Ellie, Have a great time marrying Michael Jon. Be happy because you have somebody that you can marry. From Froglegs.

So my little buddy is putting on a brave face and trying to be happy for his special girl. Who is no longer HIS special girl…and as for Michael Jon…well he is only HALF a friend now…for Ellie’s sake.

There will be no duel. No stalking or taking out of contracts. No…Froglegs will go back to school tomorrow and probably sit with his buddies at lunch. Probably play a few innings of kickball at recess. And then drown his sorrow in some chocolate milk. And candy.

Candy always helps mend those broken hearts…

The Promise

As I sit out on the deck today, I am being reminded of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.

It’s not as though I deny that life can be excruciatingly difficult and tragic. I have seen and lived through enough heartaches and sorrows to have a basis on which I might question God…

But, I also have lived through the heartaches and sorrows only to know that as I walked through those dark and agonizing valleys, I was never alone. Even when I was physically alone, even feeling abandoned, I really wasn’t.

When my husband and I began the process of adopting two of our children, we had to go through an abandonment procedure, whereby our two children were officially “abandoned” by their biological parents. There is no easy way to deal with the emotions of this process…the laws of the country through which we were adopting required the publication of our children’s “datos” and “fotografías” in the major newspapers over a three week period.

That was a scary time for us, as we already had custody of our children, and we knew that there was the possibility of having someone step forward and claim them legally, even if they couldn’t prove their biological claims to our children.

For my happy-go-lucky husband, he lost that aspect during the entire adoption process. It was excruciating to have custody of these children for two years, knowing that they could still be taken away.

I remember asking anyone who would listen to please pray for us. Please pray for our adoptions to go through. Every time the government suspended international adoptions, we felt a sense of panic try to overtake our confidence in the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness to us.

Eventually, we received approved adoption decrees for our children. Children who had been placed for adoption for different reasons. Children who would never be able to know their biological roots. That is hardcore abandonment, people. And there is no easy way to explain that away, no matter how heart-wrenching their biological parents’ situations happened to be.

Adoptees handle their feelings about adoption uniquely. Some truly struggle with the idea that they were somehow unwanted. Others are filled with grief for the circumstances that made it impossible for them to remain in their biological family. There are obviously commonalities that many experience, but just like everyone else, the situations are as individual as the kids.

But one thing is consistently true for each one of us…when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you will never, ever be abandoned. He has promised to never leave or forsake His children. No matter how awful life can get, if you are His child you will not go through your sorrows alone. He promised.

 

Say Goodbye to Chippy

Chippy

It’s a sad day at Nana’s house today. Chippy the Chipmunk had a face to face encounter with Día and Joe Bear underneath the bird feeder. Joe Bear was trapped up on the deck and just about ready to lunge down about 15 feet to join his canine friend in her excitement when I stepped outside and opened the gate.

By the time Joe had barreled down the stairs, the little chipmunk was cornered under the downspout. Chippy never had a chance. Día and Joe Bear had him boxed in completely.

While Día was the ultimate in the hunting category this time, she happily delivered up her prize to the much larger and demanding Joe Bear. You would think HE caught the poor little guy, Chippy wasn’t even as big as that hulking bear-dog’s paw.

Joe pranced around the yard as if he was showing his adoring fans what he had accomplished. And then he plopped down to toy with his fatally flawed friend.

Ummm, no, I don’t think so. I started to back Joe into a submissive stance. He reluctantly dropped his prey. But I could tell he was just waiting me out. Ha! As if!

My daughter, who has a mixed hate-love relationship with animals anyway, cannot stand the animal-side of our dogs. You know, they smell like dogs. Act like dogs. Annoy like dogs.

And they protect us from varmints like…Chippy and little birds…And the coyotes, raccoons, foxes and all the other assorted critters that like to wander in for a sneak of food…They are, after all, animals and have animal natures and instincts.

My daughter brought me a container to dispose of the remains, but oh that Joe was not going to let his fun go without a struggle. Oh no. Not for a minute. I bribed him with dog jerky…not much help. Finally I had to lock him up in the house, with the door fully latched. (He knows how to open it.)

Little Chippy sailed away over the creek bank. And Joe knows it. He tried his hardest to leap the fence. But when you are huge like he is, and old, you have about as much chance of leaping over the fence as I do. After all, Joe and I are about the same age…

But, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that dog will find a way to jump the fence tonight and sniff out Chippy’s final resting place. He is one relentless and stubborn dog. He reminds me of someone…

Pondering…

I  haven’t slept well this week. Of course, that means I am unusually tired. And crabby. And lacking in creativity. But I look at writing as a form of stimulation and exercise for my brain, so to those of you who choose to wade through my blog today…I may have to apologize.

If you could READ with your eyes closed, I would walk you through some of the sounds of this week…

For example, I am currently listening to an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the other room. What does his eruption sound like? So glad you asked:

He is bellowing and billowing out “NO!!! NO!!! NO!!! WAAAAAH!!! WAAAAH! OOOOOWAAAAH!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” at the top of his angry toddler lungs. Just close your eyes and imagine you are sitting with me…listening to his angry outburst…

Ok. You can stop now. That was just excruciating, I know. I even turned on the attic fan to drown out the noise, but…we can all. still. hear. it.

Now, how about imagining that you are sitting on my deck…

It is night time and the sky is dark. Thunder claps are all around us accompanied by bright flashes of lightening. The rain is pouring down, and the wind is howling. The tall trees are swaying in circles. And the hollow oak, aka the Raccoon Condo, is swaying eerily.

Can you picture it? The oak tree is HUGE. How it still stands is a mystery, but we love that tree with its crooked branches that look like Rudolph and the critters that creep out as dusk settles. Of course, Joe Bear and Día view the critters as appetizers…

I just hope that if that tree topples, it is from a wind from the south…it could do some serious damage in a storm from the north.

But after the storm dies down, if you close your eyes, it sounds like rushing waters over a large waterfall…almost thundering. As the water level subsides, you can hear the creek in its normal trickle, almost like it is chuckling as it trips over the minuscule “waterfall”…a “waterfall” that I think is a man-made hiccup to keep the creek from getting too high during heavy rains.

But oh how I love the sound of the creek…soothing, tranquil, peaceful. Almost heaven on earth…

And that brings me to this morning. I slept poorly last night, and awoke earlier than I would have liked, but I was pondering this morning. Literally. The lyrics of an old hymn were playing in my mind…

Ponder anew, what the Almighty can do,
if with His love He befriend thee

Those words just kept playing through my thoughts as I pondered all the wonderful and awesome things God has done…in the past, in the present and even those things that are promised for the future.

Salvation, paid for at Calvary…sins not just covered, but cleansed away…miracles happening in lives of people who were without hope just days ago…a future at home with our Savior, our Almighty heavenly Father…

My head was kind of like that creek…gushing and trickling, making such a joyful noise at the many awesome works that have been done by our Creator.

And so, as I awoke, I pondered anew…and was filled with awe. When you close your eyes, and consider the many things that God has done, continues to do, and promises to do in the future…do you run out of things to ponder?

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

 

Hula Hoop Hugs

I never got the hang of the hula hoop. I just couldn’t get my body to figure out when to go left and when to go right. It was actually more of a hazard for me than a jump rope…and if you think about all the ways jumping rope can go wrong…

But the other day I was speaking with my mom. Our little buddy, Froglegs, was having a little sadness in his heart and we couldn’t fix it. He is one of the thousands of children whose “father” can’t be bothered to care for him. And somehow, it is especially hard at the beginning of the school year.

Imagine wanting to be in Cub Scouts without a dad? Or signing up for soccer and no dad to help you practice and cheer for you? What about when you play baseball and you have to play with your “papa” who can’t run as fast anymore?

All those father-son activities are hard enough, but then…where is that “father” when you have serious questions like “Why aren’t you a good dad?” or “Don’t you love me?” or “Why don’t you ever call me?” or “Why did you move so far away from me?”

You see, my little Froglegs has a very tender heart. His little heart has been bloodied far too many times by this man who doesn’t deserve the title of “father.” And my little buddy asks the tough questions and demands honest answers. He can smell a lie or a shifty answer before we can.

So, as my mother and I were talking about the little broken-hearted boy, my mother said, “You give him a special hula hoop hug from his great Nana!”

“A hula hoop hug?” I asked.

“Yes. My arms would wrap around him just like a hula hoop circle.”

I thought about that. A hula hoop hug. That was the best description I could think of to remind that little boy how much we all love him. That no matter who was failing him, he could count on our love wrapping all the way around him.

But then I realized that, in a way, our promise of forever being there is really not true. We are older. We have health problems. Our lives, in reality, are frail and subject to disease and death.

While I cannot promise that we will always be here to offer hula hoop hugs, I CAN promise a greater love, a more steadfast love that will never, ever fail my little Froglegs. There is only one who can offer that eternal love, our Savior.

He promises that He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He is the Father to the fatherless and the husband to the widow. He is the Friend who is closer than a brother. That Gentle Shepherd and paschal Lamb. And His love is even better than a hula hoop hug.

1 John 3:1-3

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

3 Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called “children of God”—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. Our heredity on the Godward side is no mere figure of speech—which explains why the world will no more recognise us than it recognised Christ.

Oh, dear children of mine (forgive the affection of an old man!), have you realised it? Here and now we are God’s children. We don’t know what we shall become in the future. We only know that, if reality were to break through, we should reflect his likeness, for we should see him as he really is!

Everyone who has at heart a hope like that keeps himself pure, for he knows how pure Christ is.

Jesus, Draw Me

Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer

I came across a beautifully poignant song while searching for something to comfort my soul. There are those moments in life that defy the comfort of simple thoughts and words, but when coupled with the right melody and instrumentation can speak a far clearer message than mere words unaccompanied.

If you are experiencing grief, or sorrow, or heartache, I pray that these words and their accompaniment will be especially touching to your soul.

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer

May this journey bring a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart’s testing
With Your likeness let me wake

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labor thro’ the storm
You have called me to this passage
And I’ll follow tho’ I’m worn

Jesus guide me thro’ the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure
When the midnight meets the morning
Let me love You even more

May this journey be a blessing
May I rise on wings of faith
And at the end of my heart’s testing
With Your likeness let me wake

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at Your throne

Jesus draw me ever nearer
Jesus draw me ever nearer
Jesus draw me ever nearer to You
To You

2002 Modern M. Music (Admin. by Music Services)
Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Writer(s): Keith Getty , Margaret Becker

Scripture Reference(s): Psalm 23

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVGChMsPsg