Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deadliest Catch

Okay, so not such a spiritual thought today, but I am truly thankful for Deadliest Catch. I'm thankful that I get to see the wonder that is crab-fishing on the Bering Sea in winter. I have finally found a reason to force myself past the pain into regular excersize. I want to go on a crab boat. I want to work on a crab boat. Could you feel more alive?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Snow II

Icky migraine has left me with a kind of bruised feeling in my head and nausea in my stomache, and I was awakened to a half cough, gagging and yet liquid sound that wakes me up as quickly as a baby's cry. Bear got sick this morning. It may have been a seizure, although the kind of sickness he had typically only occurs with the worst kind of seizure which I usually would hear when he goes into the thrashing about/shaking stage. The moment I woke I quickly walked him outside to continue retching out there.

As I was cleaning up the "gifts" he gave me, I kept thinking to myself, this is what love does. Somehow I did not really understand that when you were kids. I felt guilty that I would do the right thing but not always feel the way I thought I should feel. One of you kids would be sick and puking and I would clean it up with a sigh, trying to hold back the contents of my own stomach. I felt so guilty that at that moment I wasn't filled with tenderness for my sick child, but instead was wishing I was doing anything other than cleaning up vomit.

I have learned that love isn't just the words we say, it is action that we do. Yes, there is a lot of duty in love. There is! I sometimes am awash in guilt over the things I didn't do or say or feel when you guys wee growing up, but I was always trying to do right by you. I often failed miserably, but I wanted you to have a different life than I had. I wanted you to know, really know that you were adored. What I didn't realize is how much I needed help to escape my own demons.

I was tortured by thoughts of my own unworthiness, the shame I felt simply for being me and defeated before I even got out of bed, dragging around the mistakes and sins of my past. I was taught about grace, but not shown it, and never taught how to live in the freedom that comes from knowing that my sins, past present and future have already been paid for by the God who loves me and who paid the debt himself so that he could have a relationship with him. I grew up with faith as a byproduct of fire insurance. I believed, but I had a strong fear of going to hell if I didn't. I was unaware of the richness of the love the Jesus has for me. We talked about it, but my experience was so at odds with that teaching that it became empty words.

How sorroful God must have been to see me stumble along being lied to by the evil one and by those around me. I heard the message which wasn't spoken, but the unspoken message was louder in my ears than the spoken one. That you must suffer sufficiently for the sin you committed, and that you must never appear weak or need help. Even as an adult, help was denied when asked for. That isn't love!!!!! That isn't what is taught in scripture.

Over the past few years I have come to know freedom and joy in a way I have never known in the past. That joy has not come in the midst of ease and luxury, but in great difficulty, tremenous trials, sorrow, loss and misery. I have been shown such grace and mercy and been allowed the great luxury of seeing a small glimpse of the love that God has for me. I cannot describe the joy. I cannot describe my wonder. I have always known that God deserved our worship and I believe I worshipped in truth, but I am beginning to worship with my mind, my spirit and now with my heart. I will be driwing along singing a song of worship and want to lift my hands in adoration of the one who made me and gave himself for me. I want to throw myself on the floor in wonder at his majesty (I don't for fear I would not be able to get back up.) My insides are dancing in a body that cannot move in the way my spirit can.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty, who was, who is, who is to come. He is gentle and terrible, merciful and just, loving and true.

The snow falling outside my window this morning reminds me of his gentleness, and cleaning up after Bear this morning reminds me that his love involves not just heart but action. He is the gentle whispers, but he is also the God who cleans up after me, who takes my wretchedness and my mistakes, my sins and my failures and wipes them away, and with the fragrance of himself, clears the room of all my stink. His love involves not just heart, but action. His is the love that does. See I don't and you don't need love that is simply warm gushy adoration of yourself, but who turns away when you need help, unable to stand up for you when someone hurts you, or who will not love you enough to make you do what you should do for your own good, or who will not allow you to suffer momentary hurt for your own betterment. We need a love that will make the sacrifices, who will clean up the messes and who will clear our own stink.

Please understand how very much I love you. If you need me, I am hear. I long for relationship with you. I long to know your heart. I love to hear you laugh. Each of you has a laugh that gets my heart. Each of you has qualities that I love. Even in the womb your uniqueness showed. Kristen was the most gentle of the babies I carried. She came right on time, but with a little drama. The first time I heard your heartbeat, my daughter, I was in love and filled with wonder. I had a fierce protectiveness toward you and great anxiety that harm might come to you. I still concern myself with harm that might come to you. Craig was the wild child before he was even born he was fighting me. He was so active it felt like I had a soccer team or a boxer in me. I was already exhausted by the time you were born, my son. Do you know you tried to stand up on the delivery table? The doctor was astonished, but I just said, I told you so. Alex was not as wildly active as Craig, but he took his own sweet time. You were born three weeks late. You weren't in any rush, and I don't think you've been in a rush at any time since. You were just such a happy baby, content wherever you were. Grandma Bents use to call you 'Smiley', cause you smiled all the time. "Look at that Ipana smile," she always said.

Grandma Bentz loved you guys so much, and it was to Grandma Bentz I would take you when you guys were little. I knew so little about babies. I didn't know about how to take care of fevers or rashes. I didn't know what I was looking at when you guys got the German Measles. I had never been around little children before I had you, and there we were in the middle of nowhere. There were no MOPS, no play dates, no coffee klatches where I could find out from other young mothers what to do with your kids.

I had never been read to sleep, but I did read with you. I wanted you to know the joy of reading. We made up stories togehter, do you remember that? Do you remember us playing "Buzz"? I often wish I had written down or recorded some of the stories we created together. Some of them were quite good, you know?

Somewhere, in a land far, far away, across oceans and mountain ranges, deserts and wide rivers, there lived a giant. Not just any giant, Chester was a giant among giants, taller, stronger, faster and braver than any of the giants in his part of the world. But Chester was bored. He had bested all the other giants in wrestling, in swordplay, in archery and in foot races, and had wrestled polar bears, great gorillas brought in from far away lands and once had even defeated a woolly mammoth. The great dinosaurs had all left for far off lands, in one great and strangely majestic migration that left them all mistified. The world had changed, and Chester wanted to change with it. Buzz. Who will take up the tale? Or who will make one of their own?

Love you guys! Hey, I hope there are no misspellings. I don't have my glasses one and can't read the screen, so I'm practicing my touch typing. Hope that has gone well. LOI

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sabbath Rest

Hey there Kristen, Craig and Alex. It was a restful day except for the terrible migraine that has had me dizzy and nauseous for hours now. I'm heading back to bed, so I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I love you, your dad loves you and Jesus loves you more than us both. I hope you find rest and comfort in that.

No matter how much I prize each of you (and have no doubt about it, I do) you are prized and treasured by God even more. The maker of the universe designed each of you specially, and with each of you I offered and committed you to God when you were young. I am trusting that the same God who has gently led me and loved me despite all my failures will lead you to himself that you may worship him in spirit and in truth. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength.

You are three gifts, unique and special to my heart. My three treasures. I love you. Good night.