Thursday, September 20, 2012

Writing a Song...

I wrote these lyrics a few weeks ago and I've been trying to put them to music ever since. It's based on something that I think a lot of people have felt at least once in their life: hurt caused by a close friend.

I know life is hard when your heart is broken,
Another door slammed and not a word spoken.
I know you think it's the beginning of the end,
But God won't let you break, even though you bend.

This broken world is not your home,
Rest your hope in what is yet to come
Pain is just a reminder,
The fire is only your refiner, and you must,
Love without hope of return.

But don't give yourself away and never give up the fight!
In the end, the darkness is always overcome by the light.
Have you been betrayed yet again?
Stabbed in the back by another friend?

This broken world is not your home,
Rest your hope in what is yet to come
Pain is just a reminder,
The fire is only your refiner, yet we know,
Love can never be a waste.

When your heart has been shattered
and the pieces are scattered,
remain strong in what you know,
Never let your sorrow show.

This broken world is not your home,
Rest your hope in what is yet to come
Pain is just a reminder,
The fire is only your refiner, and we know,
Love can never be for naught.

It may seem like your true love will never be returned
Over and over, you're rejected and spurned.
God won't let you face the pain alone
No one can ever be too far gone.

This broken world is not your home,
Rest your hope in what is yet to come
Pain is just a reminder,
The fire is only your refiner, and we know,
Love will find us all some day.

The Stroke: Part 3

     It was the night of the Capital Christian Homeschool Bands spring concert and recital. All the students were positioned on stage, instruments in hand. The auditorium was filled with parents, siblings and friends of students and my grandmother was in the audience for the first time. There was only one person missing.
     The audience grew quiet as one of the band parents walked to the front of the auditorium to introduce the Wind Ensemble and it's director. I could see my dad as he stepped onto the stage and was handed the microphone. He stood with his back towards me.
     “Yesterday, my wife Jennifer was on her way to the dress rehearsal when she had what we thought was an attack of vertigo. She was taken to the hospital where she stayed overnight. We brought her back this morning only to receive a phone call from the hospital telling us she should go back to the hospital as soon as she could.
     A specialist diagnosed her with having had a double stroke. Blood was cut off to two areas of her brain.”
     It was hard to hear my dad recount the story. I couldn't see his face, but I could tell from his voice that he was not far from tears. I could feel a knot welling up in my throat and tried to blink the moistness from my eyes. When my dad finished speaking and turned to direct the band, his expression was one of sadness.
     After the concert was ended, my father dropped us off at home and went back to the hospital. 
     During the concert, my mother was alone in the hospital. She seemed to be doing well at the time, but she had no idea of the long road to recovery that lay ahead of her. The cerebellar stroke would effect the days to come in ways none of us expected. She discovered only later on that it had been caused by a neck trauma from her most recent chiropractic adjustment. She and my father were to spend another two nights in the hospital. My sisters and I were to spend another two and a half days at the house by ourselves.
     Thursday, March 8th rolled around. It was my sixteenth birthday and my aunt and grandmother had come to our house to visit and help out. We were all hoping that Mom would come home and were waiting for news. It was a long day for the whole family.
     In the past few days, my world had been shaken by the sudden absence of my mother's strong support. I was unsure of what to expect of her behavior when she came home. It was late in the afternoon, almost evening, when my parents came home at last.
     My mother was on medicine for intense, debilitating migraines and headaches for two weeks. During that time, Jenae and I were in charge of homeschooling and running the house. It would have been nearly impossible but for the help of our church family and friends. They brought us three meals a day, every day. The kindness and care of our friends was the best encouragement we had. It was a reminder of the love and bond between brothers and sisters in Christ.
     Over the next several months my mother struggled with intense anxiety and deep sadness. There was always the fear in our minds that she would never recover fully. We all wondered if she would always struggle with emotional turmoil. Her graciousness and Godly spirit were amazing to me. Even through the fear, she trusted in God. She constantly relied Psalms and prayer to alleviate her fears and calm her heart. She knew her recovery would be a long process, but neither of us understood how long it would take.

     I remember being in the car with my dad as we drove home one night, a few weeks later. We were alone and we had been talking about mom.
     "Don't tell your mother this..." He began, "but I think it's going to take her a lot longer to recover than we thought. The doctor thinks it will take at least six months for her to function normally again and a year to be completely normal."

     I never doubted the existence of God, nor that He was the God of the Bible. I knew He was omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. In that sense, my belief remained unshaken, but when I saw bad things happen to others and myself, I began to wonder if He really cared about us. I labored to understand what good He was working through this.
     If you don't hold a solid understanding of the purpose of trials and suffering, it's easy to be taken down. Through everything you must remind yourself that God loves you no matter what happens and He your ultimate best in mind, through everything. If you don't believe that God allows bad things to happen for a reason than you won't learn from your trials, and every death, hurt or trial will be for nothing. Your faith in God will decrease and not increase as He intends. These were all things my mother and I have had to learn, are still learning now and we will probably continue to learn them throughout our lives. They are lessons that everyone (whether they realize it or not) must learn, though some choose not to.
     The realization that God has total control of your life can be either the most frightening or the most reassuring and comforting thing you'll ever discover. For us, His children, that means we have the powerful, knowledgeable and loving eternal God on our side.

Isaiah 26:4
4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

John 10:27-3027My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30I and my Father are one.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Previous posts: The Stroke: Part 1The Stroke: Part 2,
Related Posts: Fear"Well, Actually, I'm Taller Than I Look": Spiritual Growth

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Well, Actually, I'm Taller Than I Look..."


A Piece on Spiritual Growth

     When I was a little girl I was always the tallest in my Sunday school class. I had a good inch or too on both boys and girls alike and was very proud of it, almost as if it were a natural talent. I could literally 'look down on' all those who I did not like. I enjoyed this small advantage for some time, but at the age of eleven or twelve, things began to change.
     I remained the same height, while all my other friends continued to grow. I had stopped growing. True, 5' 3" might seem tall for an eleven-year-old, but it's short for a full-grown girl.
     To my youthful mind, this sudden change was a devastating tragedy. I had always thought I would be tall (I should have looked at both of my short parents and known that genetics were not in my favor!) I wasted much time lamenting my small physical stature before it hit me: I can't do anything to make myself grow physically, but I can do something about my spiritual growth. If I quit worrying about my physical height and started focusing on growing taller in terms of spiritual wisdom and good character, I could still be tall.
     I've just been through a period of time during which I lost my true focus. My spiritual growth had become sadly stunted. I might have even been shrinking! I had experienced some hurt and instead of turning to God to establish my value I turned to other people and their opinions of me. I was focused on how I could control my life and future and I forgot I really don't have to. I can't control anything anyways!
     The truth is, I am utterly helpless and powerless to control are you. Does that frighten you? It scares me too, but I know it shouldn't. Actually, it should be a comfort. We don't have to worry, because everything belongs to God. If you're a Christian, you should take comfort in the fact that you have an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God on your side. On top of that, He loves you more than anyone on this earth could ever love you! He loves you with a perfect unconditional love. If you focus on Him and on your spiritual growth, everything else will be taken care of. Focus on following and glorifying God and He will grow you to new heights.

Matthew 6:27-34
  27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?   28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:   29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?   31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.   33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.   34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Stroke: Part 2

     I sat rigid up on stage, clutching the cold instrument in my hand while the music droned on and on. I didn't want to be in that rehearsal. I kept thinking, mom should be here.... But she wasn't. The entire practice was a constant reminder that something wasn't right. I began to remember...

     The policeman who had called the ambulance asked me if anyone was coming for me and I told him I had called my dad. He spoke to the stranger who wanted to help us earlier and said it was fine for him to leave because 'the father' was on his way and everything was taken care of. Even in a state of shock I remember noting how strange it was that he referred to my dad as 'the father'.
     Waiting for my dad at the intersection, I had glimpsed what seemed to be a familiar white van, crossing the intersection ahead. When the van turned our way and slowed to a stop alongside us, I saw it was our friends, the Fieldses. Mrs. Fields rolled the window down and leaned out. "Are y'all okay?" She looked at the suburban. "Where's your mom?"
     Speechless, I pointed to the EMS truck.
     The policeman came up, interrupting her questions and asked Mrs. Fields to move out of the road. She left to go park in a lot over a nearby hill, saying she would back soon.
     Not long after, my dad came walking over the same hill. He said almost nothing to me, but spoke to the officer and paramedics. He soon climbed into the back of the ambulance to see my mom.
     Everything in me wanted to go to the hospital with my parents, but I knew that wouldn't help. My father knew that too, and so I was sent on, along with my four sisters. We rode with the Fieldses to the Baptist church in which we normally held our concerts.
     I suffered through every moment, fighting tears and wishing I was at the hospital. When rehearsal ended, I was very ready to leave. The Fieldses dropped us off at our house and Mrs. Fields made sure we had everything we needed for dinner and even a few things for breakfast before leaving us.
     Up until then, we had little contact with my father. Maybe a phone call or two, but little information was known. Everyone was continuing to operate under the assumption that she was suffering only from severe vertigo.
      My sister, Jenae (who was then twelve years old), helped me feed the three little ones and put them to bed. We both waited up for a long time, but neither my father nor mother could come home. Finally, at two o'clock in the morning my dad called. Mom was about to have a C.T. scan and they were going to stay at the hospital. We would be alone in the house for the rest of the night.
     Exhausted and burdened by a heavy heart, I collapsed on the couch and fell asleep.

     It was around seven or so the next morning when I heard the sound of my dad's car pulling into the driveway. I rushed to the door in time to greet my parents. My dad was visibly tired, but my mom looked like she could pass out at any moment. The only thing that the doctors said was that it had to be vertigo.
My parents tried to settle down to rest and my mom was about to go to bed. That's when the phone call came.
     A specialist had looked at mom's scans. They had found something serious and wanted her to come back to the hospital as soon as possible.

Post to be continued...

Previous Posts: The Stroke: Part 1
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