You know how after a really long cold winter, when you hear birds for the first time, how your whole body melts a little bit?  Maybe I am the only one.  But that sound of pure bliss does something for my weary soul.  It’s the long-awaited sound that I long for from October to March.  It reminds me that I did not despair in the middle of winter, but I survived another frigid, tense, nearly impossible 6 months.  The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole, though it beckoned.

Birds.  Their sound is almost as good as golden sunlight hitting my face.  Their gentle chips reminding me that it’s safe outside and life is in bloom.  It’s the sound of bliss to me. I would gladly bottle it and hold it a prized possession.  But I don’t want to own it, because their freedom is part of what makes their song so beautiful.

Oh Lord, sing a freedom song over me.  Hasn’t it been long enough?  Bring me more fully our of my winter and into glorious spring.  Shine Your warm love on my face.  Sing sweet melodies over me.  God, rejoice over me once again.  Let Your delight rest on me.  Let me be the apple of Your eye.  Rewrite the story of my life to read “I am not alone”.  I don’t want to be alone anymore.  I don’t want to be unloved.  What I want is to be held.  I long for the comfort and the shelter of someone’s strength buffering me from the harsh winds.  God, I don’t want to be alone anymore.  Let the seasons change once more, but this time in my favor.

Go be Awesome!

“Go be awesome!”  Undoubtedly, that is what they would say.  And, go and be awesome, I will.  But first, I’m learning to breathe again.

Sometimes life pulls the rug right out from underneath you.

One minute you are fine and full of life and the next you can barely breathe.

2 times now I have experienced that kind of unimaginable loss.  The horrendously painful kind of loss when the sacred is torn from your life and you can barely breathe.

You know those big heavy feather beds?  Not the comforter, but the mattress topper.  The first time the sacred was torn from my life I had to sleep underneath one of those.  I needed the weight of it to hold me to the earth when I couldn’t stand the pain of my world unraveling.  It somehow stopped my mind from racing and the fears that swirled to slow just enough that I could pass out.

I remember still hearing the words spoken, “it’s over”.  All of time stopped.  My body hardened like cement.  I was paralyzed in panic and grief and shock.  My heart cried out, “God, NO!  Don’t let this be happening.”  Everything I loved, everything I planned, my whole future was evaporating right in front of my eyes.

Last month, that kind of news came, and once again my earth stopped.  This time it was about a man I loved like a dad.  And not just him, 2 of my mentors.  Real world changers.  3 men that taught me to dream big God dreams.  Men that showed me how to have great courage.  Men that lived the word of God, not just theorized it.  Men that said nothing was impossible with the God we serve.  Men I loved.  Men that believed deeply in me and saw beyond my reality to what could be.

Time stood still.  The sacred was torn from my life.

Here is the thing – there are 3 widows.  There are 19 fatherless children.  This isn’t my story, but my heart is still so broken.  I don’t know how to process this pain.  My heart grieves for my friends.  Their heartache, their absolute gut wrenching pain.  I understand their wanting to celebrate the lives of the men they loved, but anguish floods you with every happy memory knowing life will be forever changed.

I know 2 things.  God never leaves us or forsakes us.  And God is faithful.  It is not easy.  It is not pretty.  It is not fun.  But it is truth.  God is faithful and He is with us.  It is not a magic wand that makes it all better, but it is a healing balm.  God’s word covers us and heals us.  Somehow it binds up what is broken and soothes the pain…the overwhelming pain.

I wish none of us had to know this truth to the depth we will have to know it.  I wish there was another way.  But I have to choose to trust my God.  So I take His hand and fix my gaze on Him.  I pray strength over the children and widows whose loss is indescribable.

And..I learn to breathe again.

In my learning to breathe again, I hear their voice.  I feel their encouragement.  I tearfully remember them a hundred times a day and I know exactly what they would say.  They would tell me their work continues on in me.

“Go be awesome”, that is what they would say.