Shaken… And Stirred

My life is shaken,  stirred,  heated, and pressed down.  BUT WE STILL STAND.  In the last three months; the following has occurred: 

1. My knee was clinically found to be too atrophied for a total knee replacement; resulting in an endless cycle of physical therapy to strengthen my leg but pain after the attempt,  leaving me to pained to strengthen it.  

2. An undeserved, shocking and supernatural healing… Without surgery.  I had been a spoiled rotten brat that week,  whining and complaining; and simply over it.  That Sunday at church,  they asked if anyone needed prayer for their hip or back.  I hadn’t even told my husband that my hips were off by 2 inches. I received prayer,  and my hips had no pain,  neither did my back.  A couple friends of ours asked to pray for my knee.  I shrugged and said OK,  even though I was skeptical and butter in my heart.  I thought,  “It’s not going to do any good,  but go ahead.” I was instantly convicted of my lack of faith.  I asked God to forgive me,  and I said,  “Jesus,  I want to believe; help now my unbelief!” I felt pain as they prayed,  I felt my knee cap return to its proper place,  and I felt warmth in my quad muscle.     I walked out of church without crutches.  When I walked into Physical Therapy on Monday,  my leg strength was 3 times stronger than it had been on Friday.  I can’t explain it,  other than Jesus was merciful.  

  I don’t know why I was healed,  and why others have not been healed.  I do know that it’s a question I will wrestle with throughout the rest of my life.  

I know that my knee being healed doesn’t guarantee a life filled with perfectly beautiful scenarios.  This leads me to the next numbers.  

3. We received 20 hours notice to evict from our rental house.  

4. After more than a month,  we are still waiting for the rental that our hearts are set on to be available for us… Just a few more moving pieces. 

5. One of our sons hit a tree while sledding and blacked out,  fully unconscious. His concussion was severe.  A combination of prayer,  chiropractic care and rest had resulted in yet another recovery.  

6. We were given a second car at a very good price. 

7. Said car broke down and awaits repairs.  

Do you see the pattern? Good,  bad,  good…. 

That is how I once viewed it.  

I am no longer emotionally controlled by the situations in life! 

Jesus promised us that “In this life you will have trouble,  but take heart,  I have overcome the world!” Jn. 16:33 biblegateway.com

We will have trouble. 

Any time that healing occurs,  

Or Beauty is discovered;

That is PROOF 

That God is Here. 

Be still 

and Know 

That 

He Is God.

 

Advertisements

Love More. Fear less.

This Spring, James and I went to Chicago, Nevada, and California.  We went to encourage friends and family who were out in California. We also went so that I could intentionally forgive and heal from so many painful memories and humiliations that I had suffered in those places through my first marriage.

We were invited to attend Fearless LA, a gathering of people who admit that their only hope is found in Jesus Christ.  It also happens to meet in Exchange LA, the “it” nightclub in LA.

They have other sites, as well, but this location was exactly where we needed to be on this particular day.

Their mantra is, “Love more, Fear less”.

It’s based on I John 4:18:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love.

(Berean Study Bible translation)

For me, I went on the trip with all the gritty determination to rid myself of the demons from my past. Before we left, an elder from our church challenged us to “Lay aside all of your expectations and simply expect that Jesus Christ would be glorified.”  We did.

Gone were my expectations of doing this incredible service and brave act for God, as I deliberately and intentionally visited so many hurtful places.

I never imagined that I would so tenderly be healed from so many memories and humiliations. I knew that Jesus Christ is good, and kind. I knew that Yahweh is attentive to all our humiliations, I just never expected to be so specifically and intentionally encouraged.

So many ways that would only be a specific gift to me…

I have been amazed as I marvel that the God of the Universe and the Creator of the Cosmos pays all that attention to “Li’l old me.”

I challenge you, beloved ones.

I dare you!

Lay down all expectation, and simply ask that Jesus Christ be glorified in your life. Then hang on as He tenderly and intentionally shows you specifically that HE SEES YOU!

Love more. Fear less.

LOVEMORE

Love More. #FearlessLA 

 

 

Marsh Flowers

image

marsh flowers (c)Gracie K Harold 2015

I want to be a marsh flower. I want the muck and mire of what I have survived to provide nutrients for my growth and empathy for others on the same journey through grief.  I DON’T want my past to hold me down seemingly with my head under water as if I can’t get quite see daylight.
   God created us to admit the pain without wallowing in it.  It is okay to move on past the pain of the past. He is the God who redeems and liberates. We are created for freedom and beauty as our past and pains are transformed from controlling identifiers into moments that were part of our growth.
  May you gain wisdom from your pain and may your eyes be opened to see that He tenderly cares for you as you heal.  May your pain ever spur you onto growth and never hold you back.
   heb.2.10-12msg It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory.
   Beloved, be loved. Be led. Be healed. Grieve well and be strengthened. 

Groggy

blue haze (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

blue haze (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

We went for a series of three short walks yesterday.  By “short” I mean that we alternated covering the distance between our front door and the corner; swapping out three of our kiddos in succession.  I did the equivalent of  3/4 of a block in walking.  This was followed by a pain pill not long after.  I vaguely remember falling asleep on James after he started a “007” movie.

I love “James Bond”, and am rather frustrated that I fell asleep for the first time ever to one of these brilliant creations!

I am told that the movie started around 7 pm.  I woke up with James’ alarm, started coffee, hugged him, and fell asleep again until 10 am.

I had every intention of showering, starting supper and organizing my bedroom for the upcoming surgery.  Instead, I have a sweatshirt over my pjs, and despite the two cups of coffee and vitamins, I am still groggy.

I am learning that resting is part of healing.

Once upon a time I knew this.

Recently, though I think that I have donned the “superwife, supermom, superfriend, superbusy, superwriter” cape, and I have failed to simply be.

So, to fix it; I am snuggling into my favorite blanket…and taking a nap.

May you rest well, and be fully refreshed as you endeavor to be fully present…wherever you are.

Love, Gracie.

Pray, please pray.

Update: 8/26/2014:  They are starting a 5 day run of steroids in hopes that swelling will diminish.  This is in addition to the IVIG. My friend’s son is on 2 IV’s, a PICC, a breathing machine, a feeding tube, and other medical equipment.  They think he may have a combination of two different things going on, and causing his symptoms…but they still have no conclusive answers.

Please continue to pray. Hard.

08/25/2014: Here is the latest update on my friend Gregg’s dear son.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1458679587743697&id=100008050091185

Please keep praying.
Thank you,
Gracie IMG_3341.JPG

Filters & Distortion

2014-05-15 17.50.32-1

I’ve been feeling the impulse to cry, a lot.  I miss my baby boy.  His birthday would have been close to this season of life.  It amazes me to see how far we’ve come in this journey of grief, and yet there are moments when I feel like I am still that bereft woman who wants to scream for her baby.

I keep thinking about the way he would look when he sleeps, and about how sweet he would smell after a bath.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds; instead I think that we simply learn how to numb our wounds, or how to adapt to our wounds.

After 16 years of grieving for my daughter that I miscarried, I had settled into acceptance.  I miss her at times, but my loss of her no longer consumed every waking moment of my day.  I am still her mother, even if I don’t shed a tear for her every day.

The depth of my grief this time still takes me by surprise.  I don’t grieve Samuel’s death more; but it’s a newer grief. I am still mourning the death of the dreams and expectations that we would have had for him and beside him.

I confess that there are moments when my arms physically ache to hold a baby. I remember the same phenomenon after my first miscarriage; and I was told by my grief recovery group that it’s common.

2014-05-15 17.50.32-3

(c)Gracie K Harold 2014

There’s a fine line between being honest and sincere with my grief and being consumed by it.

If I filter life through the lens of my grief; if I am consumed with my loss, then I will become obsessed with control and I will unknowingly begin to push my dearest ones away from me.

If I filter life through the lens of all that I have lost, I will become bitter and isolated.

If I filter life through the lens of denial and put on a false face of bravado; I will become deceitful and over-busy.

If, instead, I unflinchingly admit that I am grieving; if I openly confess that I miss my baby boy as I look to God and ask him to walk beside me through the pain, then I filter life through the lens of His love for me.  I cling to the reality that He carries me through my grief.

The following song captures our journey:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvZFynN–NA

A bit ago, I took this picture.  To me, it was a vivid reminder that my Grandpapa and Aunt Ann are in Heaven alongside my sweet babies.

2014-04-28 13.09.55

(c)Gracie K Harold 2014

 

Today, may we see life through the filter of His love for us…and heal.