Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's like a bomb went off in my life and I'm still picking up the pieces 

Trying to figure out how they all go together

I have piles here and there

Not everything survived the blast

But that's ok 

Whatever isn't here obviously wasn't necessary

I imagine I will get it all together eventually

Until then I will 

continue to putter about this mess

sifting, sorting

keeping, tossing

all the while humming as I go

It is well, It is well,

with my soul

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving Hydrangeas and lessons from the Master gardener

When we moved to this house three summers ago I was thrilled at the landscape opportunities.
At first I was in love with the hydrangea bushes that graced the front of my new home. Then winter came, the bushes dropped their leaves and all of a sudden what was once a lush spectacle of burgeoning soft pink blossoms surrounded by broad green leaves was now seven colossal bundles of sticks! Not exactly the Better Homes and Gardens picture I had in mind. 

So, I set about the task of moving them to a more discreet location where a more natural landscape would be accepted. After all, shrubbery living out front have a job to do 12 months a year. Blooms look nice only for a few. For those plants who can't hack the tough business of showing at all times it's the back or side yard for them. In this case it was the side yard.

Anyone who has ever dug up a new garden bed knows it is HARD back breaking work! For readers who are not horticulturally inclined.... take my word for it. Even in regular soil it is tough digging, turning, and removing sod. My new garden happens to have three gargantuan neighbors. Those would be an oak, elm, and still not sure about the third. (I know, I know, I am aghast at myself as I write this)( I really need to identify it). Big trees have lots of roots, lots of roots that make digging anywhere in the vicinity of said trees difficult.

Well I toughed it out, manned up, dug in (ha ha pun intended), and flexed my gardening muscles and moved all my hydrangea plants. Turns out that I had more than I needed for the new side garden bed so I had to find other locations around the back of the house for them. That was last year. 

I was thrilled to discover that they all survived the move. I wasn't sure about their mortality until early spring when the new leaves and shoots began to show. The best time to move deciduous plants is once they have dropped their leaves. You plant them, water them and hope for the best because basically they look dead. They have all winter to get over the shock, build their root systems back into the ground to get ready for the hard work of throwing out their leaves in the spring and summer.

Since it was such hard work just digging the beds for them last fall I didn't really have the time, energy or quite frankly the inclination to make the beds look nice. I just needed a place for them to grow. I tossed some mulch on them and left them to themselves. Now that they all seem to be thriving, some have actually produced some blooms for me. This was quite the unexpected surprise since I had to do some serious pruning before I moved them and anyone who knows hydrangeas knows they bloom on "old wood". That means they set the blooms for the following year on old stems, so if you cut those out.... no flowers next season.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, today I started the task of making the beds pretty. Again, hard work. I ended up expanding the beds and in doing so once again wrestled with the tree roots, almost threw my back out, got a few bug bites... oh did I mention that gardens have gads of bugs? The result of all my work? A wondrous garden with room to grow more flowers, and oh so many lessons. 

I am the hydrangea bush. I was so happy where I was. I had everything I needed (or so I thought). I bloomed profusely. Ultimately it was not where my master wanted me to be so he moved me. It was hard to be moved. The move was not easy and at times I thought I would die. I even looked sickly, I lost ten pounds. At first I  wanted to die. The pruning was so painful. I hated my new location. I desperately missed where I used to be. 

In time, I made peace with the move and was thankful for my new place. I began to dig in my new roots. It was surprisingly easy to grow those roots now that the pruning had removed some things that were taking up valuable energy. 

It's still spring for me and I can see new growth. There is no old wood so I don't expect to throw out many blooms this summer. That is ok because my master is the gardener and He knows it will take time for me to bloom. There are bugs that try to attack me but once again my master is there to pluck them away before they can do any serious damage. So I don't worry too much about them.

When the flowers come and I am sure they will, I know that the display will be nothing less than spectacular for they will come from within the master's tender loving care. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rest and Hope

Last night as I was visiting  my son , God interrupted me.

I welcomed the interruption as it was an encouragement. I don't even recall exactly what we were discussing when I felt God's presence and the admonition to "enjoy this moment".

As I looked at Brett my heart overflowed with love. Love for him and love for my Heavenly Father. 

If you have read any of my posts here you would know that my relationship with my son is one that has been filled with pain and heartache. When I first began this blog I had no idea that it would become a vehicle to process my agony. As the header reads, I first had a desire to express the creative side of myself that had long been buried. 

This was written quite some time before I was to discover how truly lost Brett was. It was originally posted in October 2008 but I had been working on it for awhile before I finally posted it.

Brett and I both have a strong desire to share our story. He has an amazing testimony of forgiveness and grace that came to him in a jail cell. Hopefully soon he will be able to share that with those God would bring his way.

Part of that testimony is a dream he had where he and I were speaking to a large group of people, telling them our story. 

 Our desire is to offer hope to those like us. For I know all too well the despair that comes with the knowledge that your child is caught in the grip of drugs. I have read of families ripped apart, children abandoned to their own sin and addiction and sadly too many mothers left to bury a child. Those stories are far too common. 

I do not know what Brett's side of the story will entail. I have only seen glimpses of the destruction that drugs have wrought in his life. 

For now we are a work in progress. In the early days of his arrest and incarceration I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. Today I walk in faith and take each day as it comes. When the temptation to worry over the future comes I remember God's word "I take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ". Worry does no good and it robs me of joy. 

I believe that is why God called me to "enjoy this moment". Life has been hard, there has been heartache but it has been replaced with forgiveness, healing and ..............


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chapters Eleven and Twelve Wrapping Up an untroubled heart

The authors words are in red

As I wrap up this book study, I think " is my heart untroubled?"

For the most part....Yes.

Not that I don't have times of doubt and fear, of course we all do. We live in a spiritual world.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places

Pretty heady stuff there! Whether we want to admit it or not there are evil forces at work in our lives. Fear is a powerful weapon that is often used by the enemy to debilitate us. Fear paralyzes us. It is impossible to step out for God when we are overshadowed and bogged down with fear. It becomes our focus and when that is the case, battling it is a full time job.

I know this from very recent personal experience. This book came to me when I was under tremendous spiritual attack. I had recently learned that my oldest child is a heroin addict. Very shortly after that revelation he came home seeking help with his addiction. For those out there who scoff at the above scripture and do not believe in spiritual warfare I would encourage them to spend some time around a drug addict and his/her family. 

This child, the oldest of four. Was at one time worshipped by his two younger brothers, he was the epitome of cool to them. He was universally loved by teachers "he is a joy", "I wish I had a classroom full of him" were comments I regularly received during his school years. Even at an early age he had an easy smile and never met a stranger. He was my joy.

I'll be honest, it had been awhile since I had seen those qualities in him. He is lost, I would say. We didn't see him much.  I had no idea of the true battle taking place in his life. 

I recall praying for God to reveal the truth to me. I had been in denial for some time. Several things had happened that pointed to the truth. I could no longer ignore what was happening. 

Be careful what you pray for. God did indeed reveal the truth. It was a truth I did not want to see. 

As the truth came into our household several ugly companions came along with it. Anger, bitterness, and fear.

It was almost tangible.... I could feel it, picturing it as a hulking demon. Lurking about in the room breathing over our every thought, every move. I remember wanting to scream as I looked from my son to my husband. There were no words to say as we each dealt with the thoughts that bombarded us. My husband in protection mode. He had just changed all the locks on the house days earlier when Brett's whereabouts were unknown. He was angry too, the things Brett had been driven to do to feed his addiction had wounded us all. 

My husband and I did the best we could for five days while Brett detoxed. We prayed, we kept a constant watch, taking shifts for sleep. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I shared bible verses with him, told him I loved him. All to no avail. He eventually walked out of our home back to a life with drugs.

I was left with a constant companion...... Fear!

Will I ever see him again? Will he overdose? Will he be shot and killed in a drug deal? Will he just disappear? He had spoke of going to New York city to live among the homeless.  Every heartbreaking story of the destruction of life by drugs I had ever heard came rushing back to me. Heroin is straight from the pits of hell and it had a death grip on my boy. Every vile, evil twisted act associated with drug life dominated my thoughts.


God rescued me. The book study preceding this one was Self Talk, Soul Talk. That book focused on our thought lives. 

Timely indeed

As I walked this road God used that book along with the encouragement and insights of the other women in the study to teach me how to navigate this new territory. This new battlefield.

The next book was this one "an untroubled heart" by Micca Campbell. Twelve chapters on learning to reach out and harness the power of God in our lives so that we need not wrestle with fear but live victoriously in the shadow of our Heavenly Father. 

The last two chapters "Practicing His Presence" and "Living with Courage" focus on learning to abide in God's presence. For when we do this fear cannot touch us. 1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear....

What does it mean to abide? It means to remain or to stay. Paul tells us exactly where we are to stay: "For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" Col. 3:3

Stay with God?  Why didn't I think of that before? One of those "easier said than done" things. Micca points us to Jesus example. Jesus's time with God wasn't something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It was His highest priority, the time when He discovered god's priorities for His life.

I have been blessed with something precious, time! I don't work outside the home. My kids are old enough that I don't have to attend to physical needs like I used to. While my housework can pile up it is something that can wait. I know that God worked my circumstances for such a time as this, as He alone knows my needs. I have been able to spend time with Him every day without distraction. I have learned to abide, to live in His strength. Fear is no longer my constant companion as it was just a few months ago. 

In the last chapter Living with Courage, Micca references The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's three friends were on a journey seeking love, wisdom, and courage. They didn't realize that they possessed these qualities all along. The wizard merely opened their eyes to what they each already had. 

"Like the characters in The Wizard of Oz as we travel along we will also encounter scary witches and flying monkeys in various forms that will take real knowledge, heart, and courage to face."

For me the witches and flying monkeys are embodied in a heroin addiction. I need courage to face the future of helping my son overcome the obstacles that his addiction has put in his way. Incarceration, felony record, debt. I need wisdom to make decisions about treatment, boundaries, and family counseling. Most of all I need love to combat the attacks from the enemy. Resentment, anger, bitterness at all that has been lost.

No yellow brick roads necessary. God is ever present, ever faithful to supply all our needs.

"I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears" 
Psalm 34:4

This is the first verse I ever committed to memory. It is my life verse. As I read this verse referenced in the last chapter I couldn't help but smile, Yes He is faithful. He delivered me from all my fears. He enables me day to day to walk in faith, to love my son and my family and most of all to serve Him fully with an untroubled heart.