To Read on the Journey

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rattling Around

"I’m really hating that I don’t have time to write much anymore. I write half a blog post
 in my head while I’m making coffee or driving the girls around, 
but I just can’t seem to make it back to the computer and take the time
 to actually write the whole thing out. I don’t know what’s worse—not writing, 
or having all those words rattle around in my head all the time. 
There’s enough stuff loose up there already."

My longtime friend, Melanie, shared this on her blog yesterday.  This is so me, except I usually write half a blog post while I'm drying my hair or washing the dishes. Sometimes the other half of the post wakes me at 3:30 a.m. and I lie in bed writing when what I need to be doing is catching some z's.

Melanie, I agree " I don't know what's worse- not writing, or having all those words rattle around in my head all the time."  And you know me well enough to know that, like you, "there's enough stuff loose up there already." 

So today, I'm writing. I'm removing the words from the noggin and putting them on this page. Maybe you'll see them, maybe you won't (because much of what I do write is never published).  But maybe by doing so when 3:30 a.m. rolls around I'll sleep through it like a baby, but not like Melanie's baby.   Because apparently, her little one is currently "training for an Olympic event for not sleeping."

Here are some of the things that have been rattling around in my head. Oh, and to entertain you I'm including photos from a backpacking trip Michael, Noah, and Em went on weeks ago, which also happen to be on my mind begging to be blogged. 

I've been thinking about a Facebook post I saw weeks ago. A friend was tagged in it, so it showed up in my news feed.  The post was about an elderly woman, Margaret, who'd passed away (stay with me, this isn't a sad story).  Some words written about Marge have stuck with me, "She lived her life devoted to Jesus, she loved and lived Scripture." 

Wow.  "She loved and lived Scripture." 

What a legacy And could there be a higher compliment? 

Margaret, you inspire me.

I want people to see that and say that of me. I want them to say "Denise loves the Word and lives the Word." 


One scene from a couple weeks ago keeps rattling around in my mind.  It was a weekday morning, and I'd just finished reading a chapter from the Bible to the kids. I was in a world of pain at the time, and didn't have it in me to pray, so I asked Emilie to pray for the day.  Emilie always says the sweetest things to God.  I hurt too much to say anything to Him.  After she prayed Michael, Noah, and Emilie kissed me goodbye then gathered their things to head out the door. As they gathered their belongings I made my way down the hall to my room. I was hurting so much that I couldn't hold back the tears. I moved slowly down the hall crying.  And then I heard the LORD whisper in my ear, "Jesus?"  

Jesus. We speak His name to each other every single day.  We've spoken, whispered, sung, hollered, cried, claimed, clung to His Name since before Josie was born. For 13 years.  But would I today?  

Maybe today I wouldn't.  Maybe today I'd cry and hurt and cling to the little bit of strength I could muster up myself.  Maybe today I'd hurt too much to say anything to God. 

Or maybe through the pain and the tears, as my family made their way out the door, I'd give them the Name that is all that I am and all that I have...


And one by one they hollered back, "Jesus!" 


I talked to my dad on the phone a few weeks ago.  He told me he's happy at the new facility he's in. He asked me, as he usually does, if I smoke crack? I don't even know what crack is.  I had to Google it.  He asked me what drugs I'm on?  I told him none. I tell him I've never done drugs, not even when he offered them to me when I was a little girl.   He tells me he liked using drugs, and that he will if he gets out because he likes feeling "up."  I didn't tell him that while he was "up" everyone else was down.  He still couldn't believe that I'm not using and asked what I'm on.  I answered, "Jesus."  He laughed.  Then he said he didn't want to talk about Jesus.
He went on to say that until 8 years ago he was an atheist, then he began believing there's a God. He thinks God created the Big Bang, that there is no such thing as the devil or hell, and that all people go to heaven when they die. 

I told him that sounds like just the kind of thing man would make up. Isn't that how we'd want it to be if we were God?   

"That is one reason I believe Christianity.  It is a religion you could not have guessed. 
If it offered just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up.  But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up." 

My dad also thinks Jesus is a myth. 

It's too bad. He'd like Jesus if he knew Him. 
Jesus is the only reason I talk to or visit my dad. My dad has been awful to me. But Jesus puts His own love and compassion for my dad in me. It is not from me.  Nope, if I had it my way I'd hate my dad.  And no one would blame me for it.  It's a miracle that I love him.  Proof that Jesus is not a myth. 

Anyway, like my dad said, "until 8 years ago I was an atheist, then I began believing there's a God."  So maybe it's not entirely impossible that he'll come around and believe in Jesus too.


I was talking to Emilie, who's in Cross Country, about running.  Now, I don't know a thing about actual running. To prove my point, Emilie came home yesterday thrilled that she had run a mile in 6 min. 48 sec. I shared that when I was in jr. high we had to run the mile-and-a-half for P.E., and that I would set out at the beginning of my first period P.E. class (we ran off campus) and not return until sometime after my second period class had started. I think my time was 58 min. 34 sec. So...

However, there is another type of running I've had quiet a bit of training in- 

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame"
Hebrews 12:1-3 
I told Emilie to run like this. And to keep running.  Keep running no matter what. I told her rough seasons will come. I told her I've found myself in some dark allies; off course. I told her stay the course. Walk. Limp. But whatever you do fix your eyes, fix your eyes, fix your eyes on Jesus, and stay the course. 

I told her I know people who use to run. I admired how focused they were.  Like Margaret, they inspired me.  And then they got mad.  Mad at the church.  Mad at God because He doesn't do things their way. They started fixing their eyes on that instead of on their First Love. And then their eyes wandered to all sorts of things. They live for themselves now.  They're off course.  And I miss them.  I loved running with them. 

A guy on Emilie's Cross Country team told me that when Emilie's running with the team, and "everyone is exhausted and wants to drop dead," she enthusiastically shouts, "come on guys!"  I told him, "Emilie's tired too. She wants to quit too. But she listens to that other voice telling her to keep going."  Emilie, keep listening to that other Voice. And Emilie, keep encouraging those around you to run and stay the course, too. 

I think another way we encourage people to stay on course is by being like Margaret- by "living a life devoted to Jesus, loving and living Scripture."  I also think it's really something that Margaret was elderly and  that this was said about her.  So many many many things are nipping at our heels, and I think it's really something that Margaret stayed the course; fixed her eyes on Jesus until He took her home. 

 I really want to be like Margaret.
I want be like Emilie, too. 


Last night I got in bed before everyone else and shouted to them, "if you want a kiss goodnight you have to come to me to get it!!"  Within a few moments Noah and Emilie had jumped onto my bed and were snuggled up on each side of me.  Josie arrived a few minutes later, but Noah and Emilie staked their claim on me, and were barricading their little sister from her mama. However, in classic Josie fashion when she arrived she shimmied her way between them.  Josie likes being at the center of attention and affection in our family. She thrives there.

We could each learn to be more like Josie, especially when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.  We should shimmy, squirm, and squeeze our way through anything that tries to barricade or keep us from Him.  We thrive when we're planted in the center of His attention and affection.   
 After goodnight kisses were shared the kids skipped off to their rooms. And as the lights went out and the bedroom doors closed I could hear the sweetest name being sung down the halls -the Name that is all that we are and all that we have "Jeeeesuuuus!"

Live in Peace!


Kathleen said...

Chills going through my body. This post hit me hard and of course, when I needed it most. Thanks for hitting publish on this one.

I had a cruddy day today at work. As I walked in the door to my apartment i whispered "Jesus." I felt like an idiot. The whole day I complained and was angry when I should have paused and reflected on the only constant love and faithful thing in life-Jesus.

Praying for you and sending you a snuggle. May Jesus hold you close and may you cling to Him.

MD Portraits said...

Denise, Big hugs to you! I am happy to read this, see this, & feel this all. I appreciate you blog more then you know.
With sincere thanks, Michelle

Lynn said...

I've got tears and I don't know exactly why! Such truth. Love.

The Every Day Extraordinary said...

Staying the course, Running. Jesus. So much to ponder today. This was a gift. Thank you.

Linda Z said...

I just love you, and I'm so glad you wrote. I love all of these glimpses into your lives.

Jesus. You and your kiddos spoke his name to us as we drove away from the lake, and I will never forget that. No better way to part at "sad o'clock" than under the covering of HIs name. :)

I've been in so much pain that I could only utter, Jesus, too. It has to be enough. Are you feeling better? I'm so sad to hear you've been in so much pain, friend. :( Are you doing better?

"So maybe it's not entirely impossible that he'll come around and believe in Jesus too." Not impossible at all for your dad. "26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:26-27

Love you and miss you!

Stacy said...

So grateful that you choose to share your heart with us! This post blessed me so! Love to you!