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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Planting a heart-shaped memorial stone…Part Two

  
     “If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story.  And he puts us in with the sunsets and the rainstorms as though to say, ‘Enjoy your place in my story.  The very beauty of it means that it is not about you, and in time, that will give you comfort.”
     Quoted from Donald Miller’s book, “A million miles in a thousand years.”

     I love to hear the voices of people in stories speak. I was my favorite part of writing them.  I still weep a little at times when I think about the craft of story-telling because I miss it. I'm just being real, but know that I also know that the the made up kind of stories will never compare to the those of our Memorial stones. 
     This being said, I have a confession. 

     There is a place where story-tellers go.  A place where drama holds court, where the light and shadow of our characters get thrown across the room, ricochet off walls, hit the floor, and then find themselves on a page.  It’s where we first hear their voices.  We laugh with them, cry with them, argue about our rightful place, then we settle them into the skin of our people.  It’s where our words become sentences only to be tossed back into the air where they take on a whole different shape and sound.  It is a place I have loved and know well.
     I ended, ‘Part One’ of this blog post with the words, “I have a story to tell…”, and I do have something to share with you. Something significant and important, but as of today, I couldn’t write it.
     My confession, which I buried deep in my heart is this. I still yearn to tell you a different story.  I want to tell a grand tale of mystery and drama that would drop you deep into the walls of that story-teller room and I knew my blog posts will never be that.   
       
     But something changed this morning in my heart. When I read the quote from Donald Miller I knew I had to begin my post with it.   
     The idea that God is the first and last most awesome and greatest teller of stories wrapped itself around me with intimate warmth.  I realized that my chapter in God’s great novel may be just a tiny one, but it was written with his heart and his breath gave it life.  
     He set me apart and called me his before I ever knew my name and suddenly I was back in the story-teller room, But this time, my God written story was inside it with me.  So when the light and shadow of my very own tale began to shift around me, it was beautiful and powerful. Its drama pulled the breath from me, the joy of its laughter made me weep, and the walls pulsed with its mystery.   
     I have a scar on my back.  Just one single scar.  It is the remnant of a blister that I received during my recent heart surgery and the cause of the only real pain I felt throughout the whole ordeal.  The doctor was asked twice how I got it, and his answer was the same both times. “It’s an allergic reaction.” He told the nurse, “Either from the blue pads or the chemical glue that was on them.”  
     “But the pads were all over me.” I said when the nurse came back from asking the doctor the second time, “My chest and back and stomach were covered with them. "Why would I only have one?”
    “That’s the weird part," she said shaking her head. "He can't."
    
     Well I can.  That one blister represented what God saved me from.  I rubbed my fingers over it every day and when it popped it hurt like heck and was so tender that I wore a bandage over it for days.  
    The skin that was pink and soft is now red and rough, but it makes me smile because I know I should be covered with them.  
     I want it to stay forever. 
     However, whether the remnant scar remains or not, the blister is a memorial stone story that God crafted inside the greatest "Story-teller" room of all and I was there. I was with him as it got imprinted deep into my spirit with all it truth and promise. 
     I plant a memorial stone that is shaped like my heart but it will always be a blister on my back. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Planting a heart-shaped memorial stone...Part One

                                
     I love the Old Testament picture of God’s people planting stones or building altars of remembrance. I picture Grandfathers gathering up children year after year as they settle in and snuggle. I see their eyes grow wide in amazement as the great and magnificent tales unfold.
      We all have stories. Stories of miracles and suffering. Stories of great and remembrance. I value them, because when life gets hard, and it does, I need to remember. 
     I have walked in, or closely beside, miscarriages, infant death, rare disease, heart attacks, brain surgeries, a young girl who got lost in a snowstorm and ended up in heaven. A family ripped apart and forever changed by suicide. 
     Life can break our hearts and bring deep pain, yet God’s word shouts of the promises and redemption that comes through Jesus on the cross. He is present in it all. Human suffering, however, is still a very real deal. Life can get ugly and hard.
     The Bible tells us it will be, but it is difficult to “count it all as joy”, and understand  “glory in suffering” when we feel as if we are drowning.  
     I struggle even now sharing a recent victory because I have close friends, people I love deeply still trapped chest high in raging waters.  But I know God’s living power brings encouragement.  It brings hope. It teaches faith.  
     It is in our trials that we need to sit with Jesus and let him read us our Memorial stone stories. In that place of his great love and sacrifice, we can reflect, remember, and praise.  Our stories give the strength to endure in faith for the hope of what is to come.   
      God doesn't talk with me the way He did with Moses, and I do not wake up with the miracle of the shimmery manna from heaven at my feet, but I have stories of memorial stones.  
     God speaks through his word, through the gospel of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit helper. God answers prayer. Lays words on our hearts. He heals. He imparts joy and He infuses hope. 
     I want to Rejoice in the things that have "not yet" come. I want to give Praise for the things "not yet" seen and "not yet" known because I have allowed the enemy to rob me. I let him talk me into taking my eyes off of God in hard places. I jumped into his band wagon instead of climbing into the lap of Jesus to hear my stories. 
     And now, because I don't ever want to give the enemy room in my heart to do that again, I plant a Memorial stone and have a story to tell.