If I had Flowers to Lay On His Grave…

FlagNote: This began as a vision Memorial Day morning.  I was so moved by the Holy Spirit that I was prompted to act out the vision of presenting the American flag to God, our Father as a prophetic act.  I even woke up my oldest daughter and asked her to take the above picture.

I stepped into the field surrounding my home, the hem of my jeans drenched in dew.  I carried the American flag high, careful to not let it touch the ground, as I stepped through the high grass.  Cloaked in mist and early morning, I knelt in the rain soaked field.  I thought, and remembered how my father fought in the Vietnam War, a war so few talk about.  My father is still alive today and I have honored him before by giving him tulips which bloom each year.  I remembered my grandfather and how while I was in high school, he would speak in French with me because he fought there during World War II.   If I had flowers to lay upon his grave, he would probably grin and wish they were his chocolate cigars.

Then my thoughts returned to a dream I had in 1999, a dream I should have shared much sooner than this.

I was walking in a long line with a group of refugees.  Our clothes were brown, gray or colored that way from being unwashed and soiled.  Our faces were drawn and skinny and we all looked tired except for a flicker of something in our eyes.  To me, it looked like hope.  We were being led to a large ship that looked like a cargo ship or a barge that carried large equipment across the sea.  We were granted safe passage across the sea.  We were herded suspiciously gently by a group of soldiers.  As we walked, the sun was warm on my back and I passed people from my present.  They did not go with me, but faded like vapor.

Time shifted and I was now out at sea, the night and the cold pressed around us.  I was no longer a person on the ship, but a supernatural observer watching as a ghost.  Many of the refugees were standing in groups along the edges of the ship.  A whistle would blow and groups would be taken into the center of the barge down to the cargo holding floor.  The ship smelled like metal in my dream and was cold the way metal and the sea are cold when they are together.  I was on the upper level of the ship.  In this place the wives and family members of some of the soldiers traveled comfortably on small couches or chairs.  I noticed a young woman, plain in appearance, wearing a long petticoat, protectively guarding a young boy who looked the age of three.  She appeared to be trying to hide him with her petticoat.  The boy was not Polish, he was Jewish. 

Her anxiety increased as her husband, one of the officers, came to her and sternly eyed the boy.  She spoke fiercely to her husband and I understood that she was keeping him to raise for herself.  He turned on his heel, having lost the battle, but not before cautioning his wife to keep the boy hidden.  Strangely, they spoke Polish but I understood them.  Then a piercing whistle shattered the image and I was simultaneously jerked down to one of the levels overlooking the cargo floor.  Soldiers lined the second and third levels and aimed and shot their firearms, killing the refugees on the whistle blow.  The refugees were piled up like trash and heaved over the edge into ocean graves.  I watched as one woman was roughly shoved over the railing and understood her to be the mother of the child I had just witnessed.

Then I woke up.

In my awakened state, I rose from bed and went downstairs.  I knew this vision was more than a dream.  I lay prostrate before God weeping and crying out for his understanding.  He then revealed to me that the Polish woman who took the boy was one of my ancestors.  She had raised the child as her own after the Polish army fighting with the German’s had killed his mother and his people.  The boy was Jewish.  Then I heard God say,

“Three times your life was spared when you lived with your German step-father.  Your life was spared because of this woman’s choice to save the boy.”

Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.  I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:37-38

I wept, openly with remorse.  I repented for my family and relatives I never knew.  My face pressed to the carpet as I sobbed in anguish and grief for the lost life of those Jewish lives and the salvation of my own.  I thanked God.

When I got up from my prayer, I had an unusual desire to look at the calendar; unusual because it was a Sunday.  The day revealed that is was Holocaust Remembrance Day.  I sat shocked, weeping yet again at my Father’s mercy and attention to detail.

Time stopped and the hour was redeemed.  My times were redeemed (Psalm 31) because of a choice a woman made generations ago.  This is a season when God is calling forth that which was sown from generations past.  Is God that particular?  This is a place where I see the Lion of God and the Lamb, Jesus, resting side by side; redeeming one life for another, yet exercising profound judgment.  It is bold to say that God may have allowed my abuse as a youth in the German Satanic occult so that I might understand the pain and suffering endured by another tribe and nation.  I ponder this often, knowing because of the Lamb that was sacrificed for me, that I am fiercely loved by that same God.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”  Revelation 7:9-10

Sometimes redeeming the time is pulling from the past that which was planted so that it may produce life now.

I would never consider providing this perspective to someone who was young in their healing.  This is not about blaming oneself for their present circumstances; it is simply about  understanding why such a thing would occur with so many obvious connections.  It is conceptualizing the fear of the Lord on a personal level so that on a national level or tribal level one might consider what has been sown before.  Think of the winter seed.  It lies dormant for many winters, and might emerge only when the sun is warm enough and the rain, abundant.  It pushes through the earth when all of the season’s provisions proves ready to sustain such a seed.

Why does this matter today?

We have forsaken God as a nation.  We have become proud.  We have boasted our self-reliance.  We have taken the matter into our own hands (whatever that matter may be) and God has honored our request and left us to our own powers, our own strengths, our own conceptualizations, our very own and individual folly.  There may be grace from the prayers and godly actions of your ancestors to draw upon in this hour of judgement.  There may have been grace even from the prayers of our founding fathers.  I wonder… Can that grace run out?

Early this morning, Memorial Day, after contemplating such things, I saw myself standing at attention, carefully folding our American flag like the lieutenant who had once taught my Girl Scout troop, carefully paying attention to each fold and its meaning.  In my spirit, I knelt before God, and solemnly presented Him with the American flag.  My heart felt heavy as His sadness infiltrated my heart.  He longs for us to remember Him:

 

No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals.They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them. Judges 8:33-35

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11

They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalm 78:35

Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm…. Deut 11:2
Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deut 32:7
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. Psalm 78:39
“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. Zechariah 13:2

Hosea 9:8-10

New International Version (NIV)

The prophet, along with my God,
    is the watchman over Ephraim,[a]
yet snares await him on all his paths,
    and hostility in the house of his God.
They have sunk deep into corruption,
    as in the days of Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
    and punish them for their sins.

10 “When I found Israel,
    it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
    it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
    they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
    and became as vile as the thing they loved.

 

If I had Flowers to Lay upon His Grave

 

I would sit barefoot

tuck my skirt around my legs

and try not to pull daisy petals

to prove He loves me

 

I would notice human tears

like glass drops suspended on each blade of grass

try not to look away

from heaven’s diamonds

 

I would sigh

sing a hymn

that sounded suspiciously like

a ballad

 

I would want to dance

 

when no one was looking

I would inconspicuously twirl

smell your woodsy aroma

sun drenched hands cupping my face

 

my smiling face

because I know you dance

on grassy heaven hills

where no tomb reminisces

no epitaph summons

 

living, I wait

impatiently pacing earth

with paper wrapped flowers

crinkled and  faded

living to let go

catch your hand midair

lace our fingers together

and never let go again

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Incubator

Last night, at midnight, I peaked into our chicken egg incubator and there, hidden in the corner, upside down and caught beneath the egg prongs was a tiny little black feathered chick.  I threw my toothbrush, removed the lid and began calling the family to help me.  My oldest was with me because we had stayed up late watching Veronica Mars.  Thank God we had stayed up, or this chick would not have made it.  I am smiling right now because I can hear her clear on the other side of the house calling for me, her mama.  My husband helped to pull the front row of egg turners so I could lift her up out of the incubator.  What a way to enter the world!

Our first baby chick hatched in an incubator

Our first baby chick hatched in an incubator

We purchased this amazing incubator from a garage sale a month ago for just ten bucks.  Before that, my husband and I worked together to move, paint and prepare the old chicken coop abandoned and in disrepair on our property.  A new friend gave me one dozen of her adult chickens from which to learn- and did I ever!  I learned about predators, I learned about chicken wire, and I learned that chickens have little personalities of their own!

Snow White after healing from her dog attack.

Snow White after healing from her dog attack.

My first favorite was Snow White.  In the fall, she got sick and I nursed her back to health.  The day I returned her to the flock, a Golden Retriever escaped and killed 3 of my chickens.  I fell to my knees, sobbing when I found Snow White in the field.  I held her in my lap and wept that she was gone.  That evening I realized that another chicken was missing and I found her barely alive, hiding in the pump house.  She had a huge gouge in her back where the dog had bitten her.  I prayed as I sought answers on my favorite chicken websites.  Three days later, I returned Raven to the flock where she thrived.  She became my second favorite.  Since I bathed her and hand fed her yogurt and feed, she became my pet.  She followed me around the farm, she would jump up on the bench and stand next to me like a lap dog.  She was so sweet.  I lost her just three days ago, May 30th.

There is a reason for the saying, “Like a fox in the hen house!”  In the middle of the night, I heard a loud sound outside my bedroom window.  Then I heard a squawk and silence.  I ran outside in my mud boots and looked in the hen house.  There were 3 hens and my rooster, Chanticlear.  Raven was missing.

Chanticlear.  The new chick's daddy!

Chanticlear. The new chick’s daddy!

I ran to the front yard and found the screen on the ground.  It looked like Raven had tried to come in through my window.  A fox had come in the night and taken my Raven girl.  I tried not to cry, I mean by this time I had butchered two chickens because they became sick.  Another had been taken by that same wily fox and petite little Charlie blew away in that wind storm we had mid April.  With four chickens and a rooster I had hoped we could hatch an egg in our incubator.

God is purposeful in everything He does.  He uses everything for our good, but at the time, I didn’t believe that.  I was keeping a long list of why I wasn’t any good.  I was also keeping a long list of why others weren’t any good either.  In March, I attended a prayer meeting in town.  I arrived with the full intent to pray, but instead experienced bizarre worship that included monotone  proclamations and mash-ups of old worship songs.  It felt like theater-art rather than a prayer meeting.  It also made me sad because, unless one was affiliated with this group, and had been taught or trained, it was difficult to find any kind of common ground in Christ, and the experience was lost on anyone new to Christianity.

However, since God knows what He’s doing and uses “all things for my good,” he used this moment to speak through a friend.  She eagerly sat next to me and said, “Do you feel like you’re in an incubator?  I look at you and see this beautiful golden orb.”  At that point, no one knew about our new incubator.  We had the incubator, but hadn’t placed any eggs and I understood that her words were prophetic.  I took the image home with me and thought about its meaning, talking with God all the while.  I considered how difficult my inner dialog had been lately, and how tattered my self-perception had become.  I felt like I was stuck in the muck of popular opinion

The list of people’s opinions of me was long.  Since my youth, I have felt the need to defend myself to “The List Keepers.”  Have you ever noticed how once you challenge those lists of judgements everyone starts pecking at you at once?  In the middle of my incubation time with God and the pondering of the records kept by so called experts, I sought counsel of my own, letting off some steam, in hope for some encouragement. I was told by a pastor, “Why don’t you quit!?”  Ouch!  Not at all what I needed.  But, it was as though I was handing him an autograph book filled from beginning to end with people’s opinions and judgements of myself.  Please sign here your list of disapprovals.  People seemed to come out of the woodwork all at once to tell me what a mess up I was, what a mistake I had turned out to be, “You need to work on yourself,” filled the pages.  A metaphorical skulk of foxes, and not so lightly veiled I might add!

What is this lesson God?  Then understanding dropped into my heart, invaded my soul and cleared the fog of judgement and self-hate from my mind.  I have kept a list of my wrongs.  In my mind, I was everyone’s enemy, my own worst enemy.  I might as well have posted my failures on facebook for the world to see!  Not good enough, not believable, untrustworthy, failure, resented, hated, not pretty enough, not perfect, mistake maker, and the list goes on.  Then, in the middle of my incubation period, God spoke:

Darcy, do you know the love verse?  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. 1 Cor 13: 4-8

“Yes, I know that verse.”

Do you know this verse?

 “God is love.”  1 John 4:8

“Yes, Lord, I love that verse.”

Then, if I am Love, this is true:

God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.  He does not dishonor others, and is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs….

He keeps no record of wrongs.  He keeps no record of wrongs!

The truth of those words landed squarely in the middle of my personal list of failures and inadequacies like an arrow in a bulls eye.  If God keeps no record of wrongs, then why do I?

I made two lists; one of the record of wrongs others keep of me, and the other of my own list.  Then… I tore them up!  I don’t have a girl-ripping-up-piece-paper-18395848record of wrongs.  I don’t need anyone’s record of wrongs because my page is empty.  The amazing thing is, I also had a little record of wrongs saved for later about why the eggs won’t hatch.

  • The incubator was too hot a few times and I probably cooked the chicks.  
  • There isn’t enough moisture in the air in the incubator.  
  • The eggs probably aren’t even fertilized… yata, yata, yata.

Well, remember that God works all things together for our good (Yeah it’s true!  Check out Romans 8:28)?  Even the bad things, like foxes in the hen house; God will use them for your good!  So, Guess who was the mama of that little chick that hatched?

The evidence of New Life!

The evidence of New Life!

Raven!

God is so tender hearted to care for us like that.

New life abounds and doors open when we hear God, flap our wings and Live!

Who Will Be My Brother?

1jesus_on_crossNote:  This is part 5 of the incredible miracle of how my daughter survived the bubonic plague and how our family became vessels for an infection of Love.  If you are just now joining us click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, A Time for Everything, or Part 4.  Don’t forget the Kleenex!

A long time ago someone told me that the saying, “Blood is thicker than water,” actually comes from this saying:

The blood of the Cross is thicker than the water of the womb.

I have never found the source of this quote so if you know it, please feel free to share it!

Feeling so alone, I seemingly crawled back to the Ronald McDonald House, exhausted and heartbroken that Sierra was in so much pain.   I needed sleep badly, so I could be there for her, but before I could do that I had to call out to my brothers and sisters.

Oh my Jesus, how I need you now.

It is a strange and mystical thing being a Christian because we really do share the same Blood.  ” But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)   If I told you how many times a brother or sister recognized Christ in me, or joined me in a divine appointment, or was supernaturally there at the right place and the right time it would fill up my blog!

My favorite moments, however, are when I hear Christ speaking through my brothers and sisters.  Once I traveled to speak to another group of believers in another town.  An elderly Jewish woman asked each one of us, “Don’t I know you?”  At first we all thought it was the ramblings of an old woman, until God opened my eyes and ears and I saw and heard Jesus asking the question.  To this day when someone asks me, Don’t I know you?  I stop in my tracks and give my full attention!  And the answer is almost always, “Yes!  I do know you!”

So, slowly and painstakingly I typed out on Facebook what had transpired in the last three days.  My fingers felt like lead as I called out into the night.  Invisible dark things and dark voices seemed to laugh at me, taunting me as I took the risk to ask for help.  It didn’t take long as people I had never known before joined the ranks as kinsman redeemer to answer my plea.  Every prayer, every word of encouragement, every Amen, hallelujah, Go! Jesus, Go! mattered!  One of the first responders was Sierra’s old kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Faber.  This woman immediately prayed and interceded on Sierra’s behalf throughout the long nights.  I continued to pour out updates and requests as the battle for a little life ensued.

He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!  Isaiah 5:26

Then God began to bring me closer into His embrace and my own heart longings were answered as my sister reached out to me and my family and became my spokes person on days when I could not do anything but hold Sierra’s hands.  My family and Sean’s family surrounded us and we all stood together, confronting an ancient and historic black death.

Our comrades in other states and countries began to reach out to us too.  Through the mist of this world’s shadow God sent us a message before we knew whether or not this was the plague, not in an ancient scroll or through an angelic being, but in a modern-day text message.  God is so cool.  Here’s the message:

“I felt it appropriate to share a vision I had the first night we heard about Sierra. Sean confirmed it when I spoke to him but I did not feel comfortable enough to share. We heard she was life flighted and we started praying. While [my wife] prayed I had the vision and started laughing. She thought it odd and stopped to ask me what I was laughing at. I saw Sierra. She was older… say 14 or 15. If you can imagine she was even more beautiful than now. She was leaning against a wall wearing a long black sleep shirt and it read ‘The Black Death has NOTHING on Me and My God!’ I then was overcome with peace and laughter.”

We hadn’t announced that this was the plague when I received that text message from a dear brother in Christ!

It is especially magical, the kind of deep magic C.S. Lewis talks about in The Chronicles of Narnia, to call seemingly strangers, brother or sister.  But it is this special unifying quality that binds together God’s people so that when the time calls for it—- we gather, we help, we provide, we pray.  Our Dad is King after all!

The trauma of Sierra’s seizure was especially hard on her daddy.  Sean couldn’t shake the visual image of Sierra unconscious in his arms that first night.  He cried out to God for a bit of joy and the second he had finished his request in walked a nurse named Joy!  

Oh Jesus, you care right now about what we are doing and what we need.  You hold us when we don’t even know it.

Boo and sulley 1

Sierra’s Sulley! Not quite as hairy though!

Sierra was a fighter but there came a point when we knew we needed back up.  My two older daughters went to my dad’s house near Denver while we stayed in the hospital and Sean’s parents were in Pagosa getting us moved into our new house.

Knowing we have three little girls and only two grandpas, God sent us a third; Steve.  If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing Sierra and Steve go shopping together, it would have reminded you instantly of Boo and Sulley from Monsters Inc.

Steve had texted me that he was thinking of flying in and I simply texted him back, “Do it.”

Steve arrived that day.  It was touching and shattered my heart when he entered the room and a groggy Sierra used what little strength she had to try to reach up and hug Steve’s neck.  They have been buddies since she was four and God decided to use this event to bring us all back together.

Steve and Sean teamed up and we alternated every-other-night in the PICU.  There were nights when the battle was intense but it wasn’t more real than the day Sierra’s breathing tube slipped back into her lungs!

A summer to remember 107

Steve made up a game called “Balloon Ball” to help Sierra during physical therapy.

More doctors than usual surrounded Sierra and we were all checking her numbers on her heart rate and I noticed that Sierra was turning blue.  I stood at the foot of her bed with Sean on one side of me and Steve on the other side while one doctor worked to get Sierra breathing.  They pulled out the breathing tube and I locked eyes with Dr. Robeless and all I could think was, You chose this woman to do this job, Lord.  That is her hand pumping air into my daughter and that is Your hand.  Time seemed to stop as we all fell silent and watched air first fill Sierra’s tummy and slowly, slowly move into her lungs until she began to take in the oxygen.  Her color returned to her cheeks and life flowed through her body and the battle changed!  If I remember right, I think that was the seventh day… and that night we rested!

Wrap Me Up in Prayer!

A summer to remember 103

The prayer quilt sent to us from Grace Church.

Within just a few days of our stay in the hospital a prayer quilt arrived.  I was so thankful because even in the middle of summer, hospitals are cold!  Sierra’s kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Faber, ordered a quilt and another sister delivered: Ellen Charnley and her team of prayer warriors from Grace Church!  Ellen became a very active ally as prayer requests went forth.

Samuel's kids

Ssengooba Samuel Mugabi with the children who prayed for Sierra. “God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing….” Psalm 68:6

Another blanket of prayer came in on the breeze of summer.  This blanket of prayer came from afar, in the land of Kampala, Uganda.  A little orphanage I had never known heard about Sierra’s illness and made it their business to fight for Sierra every day, raising the battle standard of prayer!  This was a genuine act by a group of children (Click this LINK to meet them.) and their pastor to reach the heavenly places and deliver prayers to a God who rides with a banner called Love!  I wept.  Often I wept.  Again, mystically we all gathered together beneath one banner, for one purpose, and prayed.  There is no other kingdom where such unity can occur– here is the place where the kingdom cannot be shaken– Love.

Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.  Ex 17:15

But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.  Psalm 60:4

Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.  Song of Songs 2:4

Like Sierra, these orphaned children need help too, so I am including a link to their page HERE where you can help them get the food, resources and medical attention they desperately need.  To this day I still chat with Samuel and we encourage each other across the world.   God’s kingdom has no dividing lines, even if part of it is on the other side of the world.

Quilts 004The day after we moved out of the PICU another prayer quilt arrived.

Sierra was getting stronger and had started physical therapy.  Sean returned from the Ronald McDonald House with a package carefully tucked beneath his arm.  I curled up on the bed with her and we opened the package.  No one knew about the Snow White metaphors– no one.  So when I opened up the package and unfolded the Snow White quilt I was so surprised, and I am certain there was a twinkle in my Lord’s eye~  Oh God, how you love us.

Wrapped in the quilt was this letter:

Dear Sierra Jane,

This quilt was made by the Prayer Quilt Ministry at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.  It has a picture of Snow White on it.  I hope you like it!

As you probably know, Snow White was a very beautiful young lady.  She had a very sweet and giving heart.  Animals loved her as did everyone who knew her…except the wicked stepmother.  The wicked stepmother was beautiful on the outside, but rotten on the inside.  She wanted to be the most beautiful person in the land, but she didn’t understand that to be truly beautiful you have to be beautiful on the inside too.  She thought that by killing Snow White, she could claim to be the most beautiful person in the land.  She gave Snow White a poison apple, one that, like her, was beautiful on the outside but rotten on the inside.  Snow White ate it and became very ill.  Some thought she had died.  But she had one very important weapon against evil.  That weapon was love.  In the end, love saved her.

Quilts 002You are like Snow White who has been saved from a very nasty disease by love. You have received God’s love in many, many ways. Your dad and sisters who rushed you to the hospital, your mom who has been by your side the whole time, the doctors and nurses who found the right drugs to give you to make you well, the hundreds of people who have been praying for you, the wonderful people who have sent you cards and gifts, the folks who have contributed money to help pay the doctors, the people who helped move your things into your new house, all of these acts of love are because we love you and your family so much. We all love you and want you to get well as quickly as you can!

The prayer quilt was prayed over while it was made, it was placed on the altar at church during our Sunday morning service and Fr. Doug blessed it and we all said a prayer for you.  Then it was taken to the parish hall where individuals said a prayer and tied a knot in the strings as a sign of their prayer.  I hope you find comfort in it and that it reminds you that you are very, very loved!  Get well soon, sweetheart!

In Christ, 

Sally Neel

Sierra and I both wept into each others arms.  It is a memory I will cherish for eternity.  She understood the metaphor and everything God had done to save her.  She snuggled up in the blanket insisting, as she drifted off to sleep, that we hang the letter in her room…and it is still there to this day.

who will be my brother

Snow White calls to her people, “Who will be my brother!?” Image from Snow White and the Huntsman

Later that week when we would arrive home in Pagosa, Sean and I would watch the new Snow White and the Huntsman and hear these prophetic words ring out from the film

Death favors no man. We must ride like thundering waves under the tented battle flag of my father.  ~Snow White 

Iron will melt, but it will writhe inside of itself! All these years, all I’ve known is darkness. But I have never seen a brighter light than when my eyes just opened. And I know that light burns in all of you! Those embers must turn to flame. Iron into sword! …  I’d rather die today than live another day of this death! And who will ride with me? Who will be my brother?                ~Snow White after being kissed awake.  

There is still much to share, much to say, people I have left out on the page but certainly not in my heart.  We rode far.  We rode long.  If you wish to view some of my kinsman who fought by my side please click this link to the event, Sierra Jane: God’s Super Star.  And to those of you who prayed, stood in the gap, loved us at all cost,

Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world—and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised. Don’t try to read between the lines or look for hidden meanings in this letter. We’re writing plain, unembellished truth, hoping that you’ll now see the whole picture as well as you’ve seen some of the details. We want you to be as proud of us as we are of you when we stand together before our Master Jesus.  2 Cor 1: 12-14 The Message

Until the next battle…..snow white hunt

Stumbling Upon a Fairy Tale

If you are just now joining us, please click here to start with Part 1, She has the Plague AND we’re Crossing the “Jordan River!?”

Friday morning, August 24, 2012, Sean dropped me off at the new house.  On our way to Aspen Springs a still small voice whispered, “”Your family needs you.”  I shook it off and said to myself, “Yeah, they need me to finish getting our house ready!”  I knew I was arguing with God and I wish I had listened…

I worked all day prepping the bathroom for painting the next morning.  That weekend we planned on putting in the laminate tile ourselves and the carpet was coming the following Wednesday.

I  huddled down for the night in our little camper Sean’s folks had given to us to use.  We had run out of money that month and the cell phone bill was one of the bills we skipped paying.  Sean had no way of contacting me.  I was just settling in to watch a movie when there came a knock on my camper door.  A sheriff announced his presence and informed me through the door that one of my daughters had been rushed to the ER and he was to transport me to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital, I entered the emergency room and found Sierra bright red, unconscious and covered in ice bags.  The nurse’s first words to me were, “She has a rectal temperature of 107 degrees.”  Oh God, her little brain, is all I could think as lectures from an undergraduate neuropsychology class slowly passed before my eyes.  I refocused and like a switch deep within me, I activated my faith and mixed it all up with a huge pile of denial.

It’s funny the things we tell ourselves in the middle of trauma.

I couldn’t believe this was anything but the flu until the doctor walked into the room with my husband.  Sean had witnessed the unthinkable.  He wept as he recounted the last few hours with Sierra and how he thought she was dead in his arms after having a seizure.  I had given Sierra a heating pad and wondered to myself if that wasn’t the cause of her high temperature.  Aren’t we good at blaming ourselves when one of our children becomes ill?  I hugged my two older daughters who sat in the waiting room watching TV.  I returned to an unresponsive Sierra.  More than anything, I just wanted to hear her little voice.  They had sedated her since she had a seizure.

Dr. Lewis was the ER doctor that night and as they worked to stabilize Sierra’s temperature, he worked to find us a hospital that could help.  One after another, we were refused.  Either the hospital didn’t have room, thought they didn’t have the facility or staff to support Sierra or thought our little hospital could handle it.  Sierra’s illness sounded like a simple fiberal seizure (a fever seizure) but her age along with the extraordinarily high fever became confounding variables and no one knew what to make of itone open door and closed doors

Dr. Lewis and his staff are the first moments of God’s hands moving– they are our first heroes on sight because he knew there was something very serious going on with Sierra.  It would be easy to get defensive or angry at those hospitals, but I don’t see it that way; I see a corridor of doors God shut with only one opened at the end.  God had a very specific group of people He knew Sierra needed. Saint Lukes, Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital not only said yes, but they flew their flight for life team into our little airport in Pagosa Springs.  According to the ER staff, that is rare and most patients must drive to Durango, an hour away!  Every minute counted and God knew that.

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Sierra and I arrived at the hospital under the cloak of night.  We were tucked away on the pediatric floor where a beautiful African woman named Elizabeth, greeted us.  She had the most beautiful accent and I felt a kindred spirit with this woman.  I curled up on the couch and Sierra and I slept for a few hours in the early morning light under Elizabeth’s watchful eye.

The day stretched and yawned and forced us awake as nurses and specialists began the daunting but necessary process of poking and prodding my daughter.  Dr. White entered the room, an intelligent beauty, and began with a series of tests and blood work and finished up with a spinal tap to rule out spinal meningitis.  That is one procedure I don’t mind never seeing done again!

Meanwhile, Sean, along with his parents and Sierra’s sisters were en route to Denver.  Since we were broke, my cell phone was off and we had no way to communicate, Sean had the foresight to bring our landline phone.  We turned our other cell phone into a landline and have a Verizon tower box that uses the cell phone towers.  This is so hillbilly and one of the many reasons why I love that man: he plugged that thing into the truck, brought the house phone and was able to call  every hour on his six-hour journey to Denver.  Miraculously, he had phone service the entire way.

Each time Sean or the girls called, Sierra would cry, “Where are you?  Why aren’t you here?  I need you.”   We all needed each other like never before.

After some more tests they introduced an antibiotic and Sierra crashed.  I had been helping her back and forth to the potty all day and this last time she crumpled up on the floor and her skin became bright red.  At the same moment, Sean and the girls arrived only to find Sierra in an even more critical state that before.  “What happened!?  Sean questioned, I thought she was getting better.”

Dr. White stood over Sierra, confounded at her reaction to the antibiotic.  I stood too.  That’s all I could do.  I didn’t pray, I didn’t cry, I didn’t know what else to do but stand in the knowledge that God was with us.

Stand firm, and you will win life.  Luke 21:19

The sun began to set and night began to play on the walls like Peter Pan shadows.  Then in walked the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) doctor.  The two doctors stood over Sierra, Dr. White and Dr. Snow.  Incredulously I exclaimed, “Dr. Snow, really?”  Snow- White!?”  They looked surprised, never before putting together the Snow White symbology of their names.  The Snow White metaphor would mark a significant introduction to a series of love notes sent to us by God.  RachelWeiszSnowWhite1338

After that, Dr. Snow took over Sierra’s care and the reality that her life was hanging in the balance set in.  And I stood up. From the deep places of my chamber heart arose those familiar words once again.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Sierra drifted between consciousness and unconsciousness as Sean and I held her little hands.  Doctors were introducing masks and gloves and robes into the environment as a precaution.  I silently refused to put on any gloves; I needed to feel her hand in mine.  Maybe I thought I deserved to get sick too, because I hadn’t been there.  The things we think….  I placed my lips close to her ear and sang our favorite song to her.  Her eyes faintly smiled and then she slipped into unconsciousness.

Angels dressed like nurses and ER technicians filled the room and began their work.  With nothing left for us to do, we returned to the pediatric floor.  By this time I had two hours of sleep in a 40 hour period.  My Dad, who lives near Denver, picked up Brianna and Tiarra while Sean’s parents found a room at the Ronald McDonald House.

Once everyone was gone, we held each other taking turns weeping in the room where Sierra and I had first arrived.

Our angel, Elizabeth, guarded our room as we found unsettled rest on a fold-out-couch.  At 3am Dr. Snow entered our room and explained that Sierra had severe septic shock.  She deduced that based upon Sierra’s symptoms and our account of earlier events that week that she might have contracted bubonic plague.

This time, we couldn’t get up and later that morning I initiated a call to arms and asked anyone I knew for prayer.

Without trying to sound cliché, this was our introduction to a  fairy tale with a real life threatening villain and a multitude of warriors fighting to save a princess– and who is the prince of this story you ask?Snow white and prince

Why it is He: the Famous One, the Glorious One– Jesus!

There is so much more to come… Next up, click HERE for Part 5:  Who Will Be My Brother?

Of Lice, Skunks and Squirrels

This is Part 3 of the incredible miracle of how my daughter survived the bubonic plague and how our family became vessels for an infection of Love.  Start at the beginning if you’re just now joining us. Click : Part 1 or Part 2 .

110

A Colorado Shasta Daisy from our picnic in the woods.

The summer was hot and dry like my spirit.  The Forth of July parade arrived and we decided to help the Daisy troop out on the parade float.  This was the very last thing I should have ever committed to, but I was seeing those little Daisies and the cow eyes of my own three daughters, and decided to take a day off from working on the house.  

Now, I have been very active in Girl Scouts, and I wish I could say that once you turn twenty (or even forty for that matter) that bullying between women stops– it doesn’t.  I was so exhausted from trying to do the right thing.  However, if I am honest, my exhaustion stemmed from “taking over” and always trying to fix things.  I had so many walls up around my heart that I had convinced myself those walls were catapults and that everything I launched myself into was for the good of all.

I ended up doing the float myself, with my family and one other parent and two other girls.  Now, that’s not the Girl Scout way.  Sometimes we can’t make people happy and I had to learn when to stop trying.  This realization was my introduction to a pretty tough lesson.

Earlier in the year we had committed to attend Girl Scout camp.  So, in the middle of renovations on our new home, I headed to Girl Scout camp with all three of my daughters and my Girl Scout troop.  It was awesome!  I watched in awe as my oldest daughter scampered off  and became the leader of a small band of scouts, scaling mountain sides, swinging on ropes like Tarzan’s Jane and leading the entire camp in a song or two.  My middle daughter came out of her cocoon and joined her troop in a skit and original song and Sierra was fearless.  She was the youngest scout in attendance and scaled mountain sides and embraced the zip line like an old friend.  I was proud.

Sierra, fearless on the zip-line at Girl Scout camp.

Sierra, fearless on the zip-line at Girl Scout camp.

Tiarra, my middle daughter at Girl Scout camp.

Tiarra, my middle daughter at Girl Scout camp.

Brianna, my oldest.

Brianna, my oldest.

The last day of camp arrived, and my close friend and fellow camp leader transformed into a metaphorical Joshua before my very eyes.

Now Joshua… was filled with the spirit of wisdom….  Deuteronomy 34:9

She took a risk and told me the truth.  She explained that I never let anyone fall or fail.  I was always stepping in rescuing everyone so that they couldn’t be held accountable.  I understood that I was trying to become everyone’s savior.  That’s not easy to admit; I was the one in the way.  My ego and I went for a walk in the woods and we cried and cried together because she was right.

Thankfully, I had a friend who was willing to tell me the truth.

friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

Thank you K.

Seeing the walls for the first time was sobering and I somehow managed to gather up the pieces of my ego and stuff them into my backpack.  The girls and I loaded up happy, smelly and tired, and a little bit wiser and stronger than before.  Little did we know we were also bringing a few new friends home with us!

Have you ever washed everything you own in one day?  I didn’t realize we had head lice until two days after we got home.  That means everything had to be washed.  It cost me $80.00 at the laundromat to wash everything.  For us, that was a fortune!  Before the laundromat we stood in the kitchen all in a line, combing, combing, combing… and crying.  I hate head lice!  My husband and I were losing patience and tension was increasing as the time was ticking away.

After the Great Washing, I decided to keep everything in trash bags.  So sleeping bags, stuffed animals and clothes we didn’t need remained in big black trash bags.  Hey!  That’s a step toward packing right?

The month ebbed away the days on the calendar and I was shocked when August arrived.  More painting and repairing.  Then one day, while at our old house, the girls came running into the house going on about a skunk.  We cautiously followed them outside to our culvert and there lay a live skunk.  Either the skunk had rabies or had been hit by a car.  My husband became very sad because it looked like a skunk that had been coming by to say hi in the evenings as he played his guitar on the back porch.  I think as we get older our hearts get softer about certain things.

The skunk was taken care of and our safari of animal exposures continued.

At the new house a week or so later, the girls decided to clean out the chicken coup.  They were making the place clean so they could hatch an egg a neighbor gave the girls.  They placed the eggs in drawers and covered them with a surrogate mother; a stuffed owl! In our frazzled state, I didn’t even think about the possibility of mouse droppings being present or junta virus.

Finally, after working a week straight, we decided to take a Sunday off.  We loaded up the girls and decided to go to our favorite campground for a picnic.  On our way to Williams Creek Reservoir, my husband pulled over just off of a forest service road.  We all piled out of the truck wondering what he was up to.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.  Leviticus 25:38

Cimarrona camp ground at William's Creek Reservoir.

Cimarrona camp ground at William’s Creek Reservoir.

“Everyone needs to find a stone to carry up the trail.  I will tell you why once we get there,” he said.

We all found our stone while our middle daughter chose a tiny pebble.  My husband challenged her by commenting, “Maybe the weight of your stone will matter when we get there.  It is easier to carry a small pebble,yes,  but what if it’s worth it to invest your energy and strength toward something greater?”  I watched her think about what he said and exchange her pebble for a stone a little larger than her hand.  We followed him up the trail in the August heat.  When we got to the top, a beautiful little valley greeted us.  We set our stones down at our feet and listened as my husband explained why we were there.

“Seven years ago this summer, God brought me to this very spot,” he said pointing.

“He told me, ‘I will give you the land.’  And He has!  God has given us our little farm with a chicken coup and goat pin and even a well,” he smiled with a twinkle in his eye.

“God promised another man land once,” he explained.  “His name was Joshua.  Joshua had to take a large group of people with him and cross the Jordan River.  Once they crossed the river, Joshua had twelve men from each tribe in the group find a stone a lot like the one you have now.  He had them place the stones into a pile as an alter of remembrance.  This alter is to honor God for His promises and to make sure we never forget what He has done for us.”

 …’Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan.  Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.’

So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them… Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.  The prophet Joshua 4: 4-9

My husband prayed and we thanked God as we each set our stones in a pile, our very own little altar of remembrance, and they are there to this day.

Me, at Cimarrona camp ground at William's Creek Reservoir.

Me, at Cimarrona camp ground at William’s Creek Reservoir.

That was the same day that Sierra was bitten by the fleas that carried the bubonic plague.

Walk with me, and lets look at God’s loving kindnesses together.  He never left me or my daughter… He has never left you either….

Part 4 is on the way if I can find the keyboard through these tears!

Click HERE to read the next segment, A Time for Everything

My Buddy, Joshua

This is part 2 of the incredible miracle of how my daughter survived the bubonic plague and how our family became vessels for an infection of Love.  Please click this link to read part 1.

When friends would ask, What are you doing this summer?”  I would laughingly answer them with, “We’re crossing over to the other side and moving to Aspen Springs!”  Aspen Springs has a reputation for housing the rebels and rowdies of our community. I had no idea what I was saying until God started leading me slowly and intentionally through the book of Joshua.

Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses….  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  The Prophet Joshua 1: 2-6

Image

A reassigned desolate inheritance! Our new home with old Christmas lights and a rainbow to boot!

Why is that profound?  Because seven years ago we returned from a different kind of promised land.  We had moved to New England selling as much as we could live without following God to the east coast.  Our last toll booth was even called the “Canaan Toll.”  However, as it turns out, that was not our promised land and that is also an incredible story I will tell another time.  Now, however, at this moment God is all about restoring the land to His people; literal and spiritual.

Alone one night in the house, I called out to God and asked him to show me what He was doing.

 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Okay God, I remember thinking.  I am weak and tired and exhausted and poor and lonely, but I will be strong and courageous.  I would often stay overnight in our camper so I could get up early and work in the cool of the morning while Sean stayed with the girls at the other house.  Meanwhile, God continued to lead me through Joshua and every night that I soaked in the bible He would guide me back to these words

Be strong and very courageous!

I remember thinking to myself, Okay Lord, but this is just physical exhaustion!  I can do this!  We stripped walls, repaired holes, pulled out nails, loaded up a 28 footer trailer three different times with trash and heavy furniture that had been left by previous occupants.  I painted every single ceiling, primed one of the bathrooms (the master bathroom is still in its pre-livable state but the shower works!), repaired half eaten trim (pretty sure those were doggie bite marks), pulled out all of the toilets and the bathroom sink, the oven, the washer and dryer that were left behind and the list goes on. I was so tired.  In the midst of it all God gave me a scripture that I held onto for energy and courage.  I printed off those lively words and slapped them onto the fridge (the only movable appliance that remained in the house) where it still hangs today.

The fortress will be abandoned,

Sierra and I transplanting flowers and shrubs.

Sierra and I transplanting flowers and shrubs.

the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.
 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert,
his righteousness live in the fertile field.
 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
 Though hail flattens the forest
and the city is leveled completely,
 how blessed you will be,
sowing your seed by every stream,
and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.

The Prophet Isaiah 32:14-20

I felt like Joshua and I were palls hanging out with each other from different dimensions in time.

This may be hard to believe, but the day after reading about the prostitute Rahab, (see Joshua 2, Rahab and the Spies)a woman,  labeled by neighbors as having similar talents as Rahab, rode her mustang onto the property.  She looked rough as she offered me her name and a drink from her whisky flask.  I declined as she introduced me to her mustang who she had rescued from a neglectful and abusive owner.

“I hope you will be my friend,” she said.   Those words awakened my conscience and deep inside of my spirit I understood that they weren’t really meant for me; they were meant for Christ.

Judgement.  I had plenty of it for that woman and with no room to judge if you knew my past!  When I sensed His heart for her I felt terrible about my judgement.  God reminded me that even the prostitute Rahab was given grace and the incredible honor of being part of the lineage of Christ.  I repented again.  Sadly, I haven’t seen her since.

Two months is all we had to get the house ready,

Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra saying hello to our neighbor's horses.

Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra saying hello to our neighbor’s horses.

and our time was about up!

My attention was definitely on my surroundings though, as God continued His object lessons for my benefit from the book of Joshua.  The next thing I knew, I was reading about the walls of Jericho and wondering what the heck God was trying to tell me.  I would find out, but not there; not in Pagosa.

Hang on!  It’s just gettin‘ good!  Click HERE to read Part 3, Of Lice, Skunks and Squirrels.

She has the Plague AND We’re Crossing the “Jordan River?”

This will end up being a series of blogs because so much has happened since I last blogged.  So, I’m just going to start as though we are in a conversation…

Yes, I am the mother of the little girl, Sierra Jane, who had the plague in 2012.  Sean laughingly calls me “the plague mom.”  Please DON”T call me that though!  We were on T.V. and the Dr. Oz Show (click on the link to see the actual show) and she received world coverage.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

We talked about everything from my two older daughters’ 911 call to the pink sweatshirt fallen on the ground that became the carriage for the little creatures who carried the deadly disease, the bubonic plague.

What you never heard; however, were the millions of miracles God orchestrated for our benefit… and yours!  I just want you to know how much He loves you.

He wants you to know that He has not forgotten you.  He has heard every prayer.  Every one.  Even the little ones that seem like a simple little thought.  Even the ones you haven’t uttered because you think you don’t deserve it or it won’t happen.  He has Hope for you right here, right now.  And since we survived the plague I feel that I am qualified to tell you why and how I know that!

There is much to tell and this story doesn’t begin with the plague; that’s where it ends.  Allow me to take you back to the summer of 20oo…

In the spring of 2012, the Holy Spirit had me return to an old abandoned township called Pagosa Junction.  The land is on the tip of the Ute reservation and as I understand it, there has been some fighting over the territory between the Utes and the town of Pagosa Springs.  The first time I ever went out there, however, was 12 years earlier in the summer of 2000.

The Catholic church over looking Pagosa Junction

The Catholic church overlooking Pagosa Junction

Back then, my husband and I had time to explore new territories.  We drove back into the wilderness and discovered an old train station, tracks, and old homes.  On that first trip I remember thinking that it looked like everyone had just up and left!  We found old clothing, jars, antique furniture and so many cool things.  Since we love collecting pictures of old doors, I started taking pictures of the doors.  One I will never forget was of a lone “locked” door standing like a rebel surrounded by its fallen house.  I can’t help but think of this scripture when I remember that door.

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.  Rev 3:7-9

The more  we explored, though, the more uneasy we became.  We felt an unspoken warning to touch nothing!  I could hear what sounded like voices on the breeze threatening and screaming at us to leave.  Sensing the evil presence, we decided  to leave.  A few weeks later when I got the pictures back, I was so uncomfortable that I had to throw every single one away.

If you need more evidence that that place was cursed, a friend of mine went out there five years later and brought back an old mason jar for a souvenir.  A few weeks later she and her kids started having terrible nightmares and even seeing manifestations of spirits in their home.  We prayed.  She repented, threw away the jar and as soon as the jar was in the trash the nightmares stopped.

So, when God asked me to return there in the spring of 2012, I was a little leery… and excited.  Along the way I discovered a little happy flock of sheep. Mixture 011One of them came over to the fence and actually looked like he wanted to encourage me.

When I got to Pagosa Junction this time, I didn’t sense anything like before. In fact, I wandered around the old church on the hill and hiked around the valley near the train tracks and experienced peace.  Then I began to pray.

Have you ever noticed that when it’s God praying through you it’s difficult to remember what you prayed?  All I know is, as I prayed, a theme of God returning the land prevailed.  I recall saying out loud, “Be returned to the land.”  There was a sense of restoring as I prayed and prophesied to the land.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.  The Prophet Jeremiah 33:11

You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.  Psalm 85:1

I returned home feeling peaceful and with much anticipation.

Then we lost our house.

I know!  It wasn’t the miracle I had been hoping for either!  I fought so hard to keep that little home of ours.  Like a lot of Americans, we bought our home at the peak of the market and shouldn’t have.  We ended up receiving a Deed in Leu which morphed into a Deed in Leese.  That means we were renting the house we once owned.  We were slipping farther and farther into debt, depression and discouragement.

As summer approached I continued to pray.  We looked at rentals and even considered moving out-of-town and closer to a city.   Then one day our friend, Steve, suggested we take a look at his old property. The property was on the other side of town on 1.5 acres.  For the last three years it had been used as a homeless shelter.  Since there was only one man left of the group (he moved into a single cabin), Steve thought a family might be able to restore the house.

No one knew the years I had wept, or the days I had fasted and prayed for God to answer us.  No one knew how creative I really was with so little; how I understood the woman with her jar of oil and bit of flour, how I longed for something new for my daughters and joy for my husband.  God knew…

“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’  The Prophet Isaiah 49:8-9

We inherited Steve’s house and began our summer with renovations.  Little did we know that we were about to embark on an adventure together that we would never forget.

To read part 2, My Buddy, Joshua, click HERE.

Love Letters from Somewhere in Time

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  2 Corinthians 2:2

Sometimes a Love Letter transforms itself into a song. My husband took this picture of me while I was writing an Irish ballad, White Linen. Click the photo and you can listen to White Linen on MySpace.

I still have the first love letter my husband ever wrote me.  He pressed a Colorado Wild Rose between the pages of the story of how he almost fell off the mountain reaching for the “first bloom of summer.”  His old Ford Pickup almost lost its door as it held Sean while he reached for that wild rose on the side of Red Mountain.  The hinges gave way and I imagine him and the truck hobbling down that mountain like two old friends grinning ear to ear.  Almost two decades later, we walk the same mountains together, collecting rose hips in fall and pressing flowers with our three daughters.  The fragrance of that letter still lingers after all these years….

I didn’t notice my passion for love letters until I went searching for that first love letter from my husband.  I know it’s around here somewhere, but it didn’t make the cut for this post.  Instead,  I found old letters from elementary school friends, a favorite high school cross-country coach cheering me on, relatives and friends.  I keep letters from my daughters as well.  A recent favorite reads,

Mom, bak (thank) you for not saing have funn wis (with) Daddy.’  I did have funn.

          The back story:  Every time I say “Have fun with Daddy,” the girls think I jinx their time and it ends with them getting into trouble.  Not sure I believe that but it’s no skin off my nose to accommodate them!  So instead we all laugh as I leave on a trip and shout “Whatever you do, DON’T have fun with Daddy!”

I have other letters from dear friends who have gone on to other places.  Those letters are fun to read when I need a good cry or when I need to remember.  I have written letters too.  I love writing a letter out of season unattached to a holiday and wholly attached to the person.  A letter that belongs to that person because they matter; I write to God like that too, because He matters.  I didn’t know He could reach through time and the heavens and leave me a letter too though.

Last month I was in our local super market rushing to complete my errands.  I was stressed to the max.  I had three different jobs to finish, three people mad at me and I didn’t know if we were going to have to move by the end of the month or not.  Then, in the middle of the grocery store I heard God say, “Go to the books, I have something for you there.”  I became excited and walked over to the fun encouraging books.  I looked and found a few things for my daughters and a book for my mother, but nothing for me… until I looked behind one of the books.  There tucked at the very back of the shelf was a small handwritten card that read

 Now the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times in every situation.                                       2 Thessalonians 3:16

It was as though God had reached through time, grabbed my heart and passionately kissed me.  I held that card throughout the day as I addressed each incident that had once seemed so stressful.  I felt like Jane Seymour in Somewhere in Time, found impossibly by my One True Love.

Jane Seymour, “Somewhere in Time”

Oh my God, how I am ruined by your love.

I held that card for three weeks, keeping it near as a reminder.  Today I looked for it so I could scan it and insert it into this blog. It was as though it had vanished and returned to its place somewhere in time, back to the hand of its Author.

This isn’t the first time He has left a love letter.  Once when my husband and I needed to travel across the big state of Colorado, up and over the mountains, we found this taped to our door:

The envelope read, “Sean and Darcy the Lord would like you to have this with his blessing.”

I never knew whose hand my Lord used to place that envelope.  Inside was the exact amount of money we needed to make our important trip– to the penny!  There is always someone who wants to take credit or brag about knowing who really wrote the card or that envelope and I don’t want to know.  I want to remain blissfully ignorant of this present world, because I am in love with someone who surpasses time…

May no one rob you of your quest to know how far, how deep, and how wide the Lord’s love is for one such as you.

Her Ireland

A song awakens the voice
An ancient voice
And somehow her air reaches me
Cool, mist and breathing
Living without land
Ireland

Voices haunt me
I long to know you
how you loved him

In my spirit
I am certain evil slain you
Because you were so close to Love
Prayers whispered the night you died still linger in my soul
Though I never knew you
My blood does

You are great and grand to me
A mother to my soul

Songs come to me in night
Though I am woman
Scripture escapes my lips
As I preach through song
In the night
By the light of the drink
I weep for your sons

Never before have I yearned to know this past
Until tonight
Seven sons and a Methodist minister
With a strong Irish name
What kind of curse has visited your post
And did my own love of One
Break it?

©2009 Darcy Downing.  All Rights Reserved.

Charlie’s in the Lost and Found

I was working at Wilson’s Leather and Suede, finishing a wall display when they walked into the store. A rough-looking couple began drilling my manager on the quality of cow hide as they checked out the new biker jackets we had just put out for Christmas.  I noticed a little blond head bobbing in between the racks of coats.  A dirty little 4-year-old face peeked around a black lamb skin bomber.  His eyes soaked in everything, brown and warm, he reminded me of an abandoned puppy dog.  I smiled and playfully gave up his hiding spot, “I see yooouuu.”  He smiled back at me and it froze and abruptly disappeared as if caught in the act of some crime.

While this child is not Charlie, he represents many of the abused children we see today.

         With his parents distracted, he followed me like a puppy throughout the store, searching for the location of his parents at every turn.  His tight little fists were white from holding on to whatever trinket lay within.  “What’s your name?” I asked as I straightened another rack.  “Charlie,” he said, scared at the sound of his own voice. I told him my name and we talked about Christmas together and reindeer and Santa.  He lifted up his hands, in an act of trust, to tell me his age but stopped himself as he remembered the trinkets in his hands.

“What ya got there?” I asked.  He nervously looked over at his parents who were occupied with the trying on of coats.  Satisfied he slowly un-curled the fingers of one hand.  Cigarette burns lined the palm of his hand and forearm.  “Where did you get these?” I asked coolly, thankful for my acting skills because everything in me wanted to scoop him up, take him home and keep him.  He looked over at his parents and back into my eyes, pleading without words for me to help him.

          I quickly regained my composure, and then suddenly they were leaving.  With my heart pounding I coolly tried to convince them to hold the coats they were looking at “because it would be such a disappointment to return and find them gone,” I said with my best retailing skills.  I handed them the hold slip hoping to get a name.  They weren’t buying.  They roughly grabbed Charlie by the coat and half -dragged him out of the store.  The last thing I saw were those warm chocolate eyes pleading with me to save him.

          I’ll follow them, I thought.  I didn’t have time to tell my manager anything, so I told her I needed a Coke, and I quickly walked out into the Christmas mall mob. My mind worked fast as I frantically searched for the little blond bobbing head, I’ll get their license plate number and report them.  But somewhere in the Christmas shopping crowd Charlie and his little hands and pleading eyes disappeared.  I never saw him or his parents again.  That was the Christmas season of 1995.  A year doesn’t go by that doesn’t include prayers for Charlie; he would be about 21 years old today.  May he be found by God.

Merry Christmas Charlie.

God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me […and Charlie]!  Psalm 66: 19-20

http://dreamcatchersforabusedchildren.com

http://www.refresheverything.com