Friday, May 15, 2009

Pathway to Joy

This is the day which the LORD hath made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Oh to be able to take flight and truly soar above the beauty all around in this fine little dell of land. I thank the Lord each day for the tiny dusty specks of Eden that slipped through His fingers as He sprinkled reminders of once upon-a-time and hints of what-will-be alongside this pathway of life. If this be the stuff of a fallen world (which I know to be true . . . I read the headlines), I dance in eager anticipation of the new Heaven and Earth promised to me, to you, to all who believe.

Of late, I have dabbed far too many tears and sorted away long-ago hurts newly resurfaced as I prepared for sharing my Pathway to Joy. But, I cannot fail to mention that the memories and blessings and most-wonderful happenings of my life along that bumpy path have tumbled down like a springtime waterfall of ferocious beauty. I have laughed, gurgled, swirled, and pitched head-over-heels in the tumult of remembering. It has been a fine journey thus far . . .

Through each dark tunnel I found a surprising joy. My earliest milestone of joy rose bright and shining to cast light all around in the depths of childhood sorrows – I found a God who loved me. I grasped the ticket to Heaven while a mere 10-years-old having recently been placed in a Christian school that provided daycare ( . . . and so much more). Given a Bible and turned loose with the rules of obedience I found a pathway devoid of the evils that had plagued the adults in attendance around me. I worked myself to a frenzy (suffering an ulcer at age 15) in an attempt to please God and earn the approval of those around me. Clearly there must be more to life than this series of “exams” at every turn.

What a joy to meet a special young man who invited me to church wherein I would learn of grace and forgiveness and the abiding love of a Savior. I need not wait for death to cash in my ticket with God for a place in His Kingdom. I began to learn new dance steps and new ways to pray; unfortunately I fell into the trap of former days and set out to be SUPER in my accomplishments as a follower of Christ. New friends, new ideas, same worries, same fears.

Graduation, marriage (to that special young man), job, home, JOYS of a whole new flavor. LOTS OF PLANS! I spun dreams, ideas, hopes, and mapped them all out in due diligence without ever giving thought to anything other than success on my terms in my definition. Thus far I had reaped so much wonderful bounty from this life with a Lord. I asked, He granted . . . just as the prosperous teachers of the faith shared. Until . . .

. . . the birth of my boys. A model pregnant mom with an astounding diet of health foods and books and advice and ideas, I expected nothing untoward or surprising. My biggest dilemma involved the logistics of returning to school after the birth (working on my PhD at the time in English Lit). All my lists and goals, and pro-con lists fell to the floor in a frenzied mess when the boys arrived on the scene nearly two months early in a barely-breathing state. Having suffered a twin-to-twin transfusion in utero, wherein twin A pumped blood through the shared umbilical to twin B causing serious harm to both, their fragile bodies fought to maintain the simplest of life-giving tasks while the anxiety mounted among the medical staff.

“Hopeless . . .” they pronounced sadly. God intervened. “Fatally flawed . . .” they confessed. God proved them wrong again (much to their delight . . . and ours). “Find an institution and forget . . .” they advised. God kept us strong . . . strong enough to bundle them home after treatments and surgery and so much more. Praying . . . caring . . . hoping . . . savoring what little time remained. God sprinkled the miracles liberally. Joy blossomed in abundance . . . overflowing life and peace and joy flooded our little world with flickers of hope in happily growing bodies of babies destined to swallow up my world in wonderful wonder.

More babies . . . new house . . . new trials . . . financial woes . . . health issues . . . another move . . . financial boon . . . LOTS OF WORK . . . collapse of little remaining extended family support system . . . extended family sorrows/illness/death/mental illness . . . BUT STILL MORE JOY despite the woes in our world as our children grow and thrive and arise to call me blessed every day with their smiles and hugs and eagerness to dance the dance of joy with me in a life lovingly sculpted with Heavenly plans.

Death of Andrew.

Watershed of sorrow and pain and emptiness of depth unmatched in our life. Our freefall in sorrow landed us in God’s gracious palm once again. Cocooned in His care we began a new phase. We emerged from this chrysalis of transition to find that GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. Immovable love shone all around despite the charred fragments of “love” crumbled from the relationship with my parents that I fought so hard to salvage and failed. My son died and my parents battled for center stage to be cared for by me now that I had “free” time on my hands. No thought for my pain, only their gain. Hurt. Shock. Numbness. All goes quiet as I retreat to rest.

Cradled in the arms of the Almighty. Carried to safety. Protected from further harm. Abandoned once again by the flesh that bore me yet firmly rooted in the loving grip of my True Father, the one who created me. Freedom. Joy. Peace surpassing all understanding. Newfound strength. The journey continues . . .

Wings spread. Lives grow stronger. Trees by water send forth shoots despite drought in the lands. Faith planted in seeds grows to groves filling brimming baskets with a harvest most sweet. Joy. The darkness held at bay by a single flicker of hope from a Heavenly candle. Hands join. Hearts seek. Strength from the vine builds branches laden with sweet fruit. Celebrations follow harvest time. The circle of life spins on. The cycle of the seasons weaves unexpected joys into familiar routine. It is good.

A simple path. A loving guide. A constant tether. Strength in Joy. The journey continues . . .

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Phil 4:12-13 (NIV)

. . . for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10


Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

Thank you for a beautiful way to start my chaotic day. After reading this I am looking at what I will be doing today in a whole different light.

The part about your parents after the death of Andrew...I witnessed something similar with my parents on my trip down south last week and it just about broke my heart. How can a human be so callous to a person they claim to love? It really made me think deeply in the middle of the night about how the fall in the garden so long ago still affects us in this day and age on a daily basis.

My Father consoled me and showed me that there are amazing things to come, everything will be made right in His time, just be patient and Trust Him.

Gail said...

Thank you for bearing your heart and sharing your faith, God has everything in control and He will work all things together for the good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
I finally opened an etsy account, if you get a chance stop by my blog and check it out, this is all new to me and I am open for suggestions.

Prairie Chick said...

Oh dear friend. I know not how to express myself after such a beautiful, raw revelation of inner self. How beautiful you are, how buffed and shone and purified through these refining trials. He is making a masterpiece of you and I thank Him for the chance to gaze on you and be moved. be touched. be inspired. thank you for revealing your inner self and for glorifying Him in the kaleidoscope of beauty and pain that makes up this mortal existence.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post...thanks so much for sharing it!
I have just recently found your blog and truly enjoy it so much!
I, like you, love roses and flowers and tea and books!
Wishing you a blessed weekend!

farmlady said...

You need to write for a Christian journal or magazine. Your level of belief astounds me and it is reflected in everything you write.

There are no perfect parents, only good ones and insecure, lonely ones that need help.I had to learn that I was not responsible for my parents relationship.I thought I was for a long time. I found out that we are all imperfect. No one (here now) walks on water.
This was a very good post. It was from your heart.Thank you

Becky said...

Debbie, I am so blessed to have such a lovely sister in Christ. Your faith inspires me. Your path to joy is certainly a hopeful one.

I am jealous of your visitor. I was not aware we had bullock's orioles in our area. Was he eying a bowl of fruit or jar of marmalade through your window?

Laura ~Peach~ said...


Karen Deborah said...

Sweet friend I know how much you must have wrestled to put this into a public message, bravo. You have grown so much. Learning to be content...that is indeed a message this world is desperate to hear.

This is one of the best pieces you have ever done.

One Woman's Journey said...

You write so beautifully. You are a precious witness for our Lord.
It seems when I read your post I always find the scripture that I need. (the one at the end-how true).

Violet said...

Thank you for sharing portions of your story - for God's glory!!!
How many people will be strengthened by the hope that dwells in you! Bless you.

June said...

Hi Debbie,
I know what it is to have joy, but I could never write so eloquently about it. I'm so glad that you can, and that I can say Amen to it all. Much of what you have written mirrors some of the things in my life. Oh, that I could write like you. It is a gift, thank you for sharing it.

ASouthernSunset said...

I am not certain how I came to be here because I tend to wander around blogland, much like one would do in, say Paris or know, taking this turn and that turn until you don't know which way you came. Possibly, it was from Cloudhands to One woman's journey to wisteria and roses....I felt a need to tell you that I was so moved by your post about Andrew and your parents. I was so drawn in and could not stop reading. May you be sheltered in many blessings.
Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring blog and I can't wait to bake some bread.


Kathy said...

I am moved.