Hello, My Name is Irma

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Hello, My Name is Irma

She approached slowly, gradually revealing herself like a seductress. Absent weather data, no one could have known Irma’s ferocity or intent.

On Sunday, we woke to light rain and blustery winds. I cleaned the oven and finished the laundry, cooking and tidying the house as if guests were expected. We alternated between storm coverage and football on television, eyeing the hurricane snacks with longing.

Always the optimist, I hoped for the best even as I had prepared for the worst. Gallon jugs of water were frozen, ready to keep our food cold in the event of a power outage. The garage was packed with every outdoor item that might potentially be a missile thrust from the strong arm of this beast of a storm.

As evening approached, gusts picked up and at times the rain was horizontal. For a week, our focus had been on her, paths projecting she would scoot up the West coast of Florida. As if she knew she had a right, she changed her mind…Irma made a turn and headed right for us.

Occasionally the power blinked, but it kept coming back. Storm coverage continued and my favorite anchors were reassuring. At 12:50 a.m. it blinked and the house went dark and silent. I grabbed my flashlight and then lit three pillar candles…my blessed trinity of light and comfort.

Something was banging against the house. My imagination was spiraling out of control as the windows shook from the force of roaring wind. Local friends posted updates of downed trees and power outages.

Irma had unleashed her full fury. There was no escaping it. I was focused on the storm and my heart could surely relate to the words of the psalmist:

My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove, then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness.
How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm….” Psalm 55:4-7 NIV

Around three in the morning, the wind subsided significantly. Frogs croaked as crickets chirped in a strange harmony. The eye was passing overhead.

Suddenly I was no more than six years old. As Hurricane Donna crossed the state, my parents weathered the storm; they woke us when the eye passed over. They explained that the storm was still raging, but in those few moments, there was calm. We ventured outside to look at the sky in the complete darkness, to peer at the stars in the clear sky. I will never forget that night.

Again, I witnessed the calm that can be present even in a raging storm.

The day before the storm, I overheard an exchange between the Publix checker, the bag boy and a customer. As they chatted about the storm, the young bagger said he planned to sleep through the storm. The checker, with great enthusiasm, disagreed. “You see me? I ain’t Jesus and I ain’t sleeping through no hurricane!”

I chuckled, but I could relate. Too often, I get caught up in the storm and can’t find rest. And what about after the storm?

We suffer in our hot and humid homes, missing and appreciating electricity like the rich uncle we never realized we had. The debris is piled high along every road; technology is slow to recover but life beckons us return to normal. Groceries shelves are empty and gas station lines are long. Restaurants are packed and people are grumpy.

Irma has made her way North and fizzled out, but she left quite a mark. Lives were lost. Work was missed and the damages are still being assessed.

There is another hurricane brewing in the Atlantic. The good news? It’s not likely to have significant impact on the United States.

Life is a lot like that. One storm follows another and sometimes they pile up and you can’t even recover from the first before the next is raging. It’s a lot to handle.

I was thinking about all of this when I learned that our local eagle nest was destroyed in the hurricane. I never pass that way without slowing to look for those majestic birds. I was devastated.

But a friend captured this picture of the pair, perched above the pine tree where their huge nest once dominated the landscape. The nest is gone, but they are no less mighty. By nature, they will rebuild; if not in the same tree, nearby. Together, the male and female will bring sticks to construct the aerie (although the female manages placement, but that’s another post!) and over time they will raise more babies.

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Photo credit – Doug Hurlebaus

 

The minute I saw the photo, I remembered this:

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV

I know you are tired, friends. This has been a harrowing and trying few days (and some of you even weathered Irma!). But our hope is in Jesus; I pray that the wind of his spirit comes up under your wings and you soar like an eagle to repair and rebuild the damage from the most recent storms in your life.

By grace we weather life’s storms,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

Irma is Coming – Are You Ready?

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Irma is Coming – Are You Ready?

I approached the parking lot and cruised a couple of rows before easing into a space at the very end. There were people nearly running toward the grocery store at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday morning. I approached the store and realized that the aisles were jammed with people. I passed a woman who was announcing to no one in particular, as she loaded her cart with bottle after bottle of wine, “I’m prepping for the hurricane”.

I grabbed a box of protein bars and rounded toward a few other essentials that I hoped to collect at this discount grocer. I came to an abrupt stop when I noticed all the checkout lanes were backed up fifteen feet. I backtracked, returning my few items to the shelves and walked next door to the office supply store.

Earlier that morning my phone began to buzz with text alerts from our daughter. She suggested the office supply as a good source of bottled water and I knew she was right. I walked into the normally calm and quite store, quickly realizing that the idea was not original with us. Not a cart was to be found, but there was water on a pallet near the door. I grabbed a couple of cases, dragging them across the store to the checkout area, where a line had formed.

With each step, I dragged my burden until I noticed the gentleman in front of me with a full-size cart containing a few cases of water. I asked if I might put my water in his cart and he agreed. After paying for the purchase, I turned to him and he asked if he might deliver the water to my car. I was touched by his kindness as we walked and discussed the frantic activity we’d just witnessed.

There is a big storm headed our way. Thanks to technology, we know a lot about the size and can even reasonably predict the timing of its arrival. While many around us are fleeing the storm, we’ve assessed our risk and have decided the best and most practical approach for our family is to ride it out.

It is no surprise that I woke this morning thinking about storms. I often consider how it must have been for the early settlers in Florida when a few clouds gathered, the wind picked up and rain began to fall. They could not have known the magnitude of what was to come.

I have faced a few significant hurricanes in over sixty years of life in Central Florida. I’m a veteran and though I’m not prone to panic, I prepare. During the preparations and throughout the storm, our family, friends and community huddle up and support one another.

All of this was on my mind as God reminded me the greatest storms I have faced had nothing to do with the weather. His voice was clear:

This, dear one. This is the reason that I have placed you in a spiritual family. When the storms come, don’t try to carry the burden alone. I flashed back to the office supply store, and saw myself dragging my burden, bent over and struggling.

This week God reminded me of a verse that I’ve heard so often used in wedding ceremonies, referring to the relationship between a husband and wife. In context, the wisdom teacher points out the advantages of companionship:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person fails, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:9-10 NLT ~

Too often we drag our burdens in solitude; sometimes out of shame or guilt. Other times we believe the lie that no one cares. And yet he tells us to carry them for one another.

Carry each other’s burdens….
~ Galatians 6:2 NIV ~

What about the kind stranger in the office supply store? I don’t know if he would have noticed my burden as he talked on his phone. Perhaps he thought to offer, but feared I would misunderstand his kindness as being too forward.

I asked for help.

I know that Jesus is with us in the storm, but I believe that we are implored to walk the storms together. The wise writer went on to say this:

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,
but two can stand back to back and conquer.
Three are even better… for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
~ Ecclesiastes 5:12 NLT ~

Ideally, we would be sensitive to one another’s burdens despite distractions, but life happens. What if we looked around and noticed the person with capacity to help bear our burden and we asked for help?

Praying for grace amid every storm,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

Like a Child

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Like a Child

I’ve just spent three days at Walt Disney World. In fact, I’m writing on my phone in a restaurant at  Hollywood Studios while sitting with a napping grandchild.

My granddaughters are obsessed with princesses. I love seeing my sweet girls twirl in their sparkly gowns. You may question the wisdom of it, but I want them to be comfortable with celebrating the beauty that He longs to set free in their hearts.

The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.

~ Psalm 45:13

Reality has a way of interrupting the magic, even at the happiest place on earth. As we waited for a royal meeting the phone buzzed with a text that jerked my adult self to attention.

Now alone with my thoughts my stomach churns, my jaw tightens and I am tempted to run down a familiar path that leads to worry and despair. A glance at the sleeping toddler makes me pause.

Early this morning, way before dawn, I woke as my bedroom door opened. Her little princess feet pattered the well-known path to me, her arms filled with princess dolls and her blanket. She lifted her burden toward me and spoke one word.

Grandma.

I unloaded her arms and pulled her into my bed; I wrapped my arms around her and she settled into the curve of my embrace. Her breathing  slowed and sleep came.

Anxiety, fear and fatigue will steal my joy in a skinny minute if I’m not paying attention. Instead, what if I choose the path that leads to  him? What if I choose to speak his name rather than reciting the woes that are sure to come?

Jesus.

I come to him, my arms filled with the worries, burdens and hurt that will steal my joy. He takes my heavy load and he pulls me close and I settle into his embrace. The weight of burdens lifts and he sings over me.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

I love that sweet little girl, but I know that my love for her pales in comparison to his love for me. He never sends us away; he pulls us close and sings songs over us. Whatever you are dealing with today, come to him…hand it to him and let him take the burden and pull you close.

Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child,
you’ll never get in. ~ Luke 18:18 The Message

Resting in his grace,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

What Are We To Do?

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What Are We To Do?

The world is messy right now and I’m struggling to find my voice.

By  nature, I’m a pleaser and always struggle with the notion that I might say the wrong thing, so often I remain silent. I think the biggest struggle I’ve had is with the radical differences of opinion between people I know, people who are in loving relationships with one another. And yet, there is tension.

I am craving a safe place. I want some rest. I know, there is hard work to be done and God’s people need to be about the business of reconciliation. As with most social issues, the answer is found in loving people the way that God loves. Unconditionally.

So this  morning, as I drink my coffee from a real cup, sitting in  my favorite spot…the smell of bacon cooking in the oven and the sight of my dear husband reading across the room, I remember that God has been speaking a word over me this year.

Rest. I don’t have to solve this problem today.

I began searching the Bible for verses about rest. On a day that I have much to do, I wanted to find a reason to linger in this sweet spot.

“And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace,
for his God had given him rest on every side.” – 2 Chronicles 20:30

Lovely verse, but I wanted to know more about this peace. I backed up and read the rest of the story.

Their current reality was the threat of a vast army. In fact, they had no hope of defense. Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer, one of the most simple, beautiful prayers I’ve ever read:

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

The words settle on my heart and I read on.

God answered; the people followed his instruction. They sang a simple chorus as they went about the business he called them to:

Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.

As they walked in obedience toward the battlefield, eyes on God, they made a startling discovery. Their enemy lay slaughtered in the valley below. The battle was over.

The human heart wants what it wants. It is a place of great deceit. I don’t trust mine. I’ll go with Jehoshaphat instead.  I find rest in this:

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army.
For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Whatever battle or struggle you are facing friends, it is his to fight. Walk forward in what he has called you to do, praising him for who he is and what he has already done.

He’s got this.

Resting by his grace alone,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

When I was in school, we always knew it was coming…the first writing assignment of the new school year. Without fail, the subject matter was “What I did on my summer vacation”.

Most years I didn’t have anything exciting to share. I was sure no one wanted to know that we emptied every room in the house and cleaned them from top to bottom. I took for granted our weekends spent at Rock Springs from early morning until the park ranger locked the gate behind our Plymouth well past dusk. I had no idea how wonderful that was.

Whether your family takes lots of trips, cramming as much as possible into the summer break or you choose to stay close to home and dial activity back a notch, summer is a great time to relax, unwind and take a break from the structure and demands of the school year.

That is good. I believe God designed seasons for our benefit and enjoyment. If ever one was designed for fun, it is summer! Unless you are a snowman, of course!

School resumed this week for most everyone and if not, it will in the next few days. I wonder if teachers still give that ancient writing prompt?

I was thinking about all this one morning last week when there was a soft knock at the door. My neighbor stood with her toddler in tow, a painted canvas in her hand.

It was early…she was reporting for pre-planning at her new job where she teaches kids with special needs and after she left, I thought about how she spent her summer break. I know for sure she completed some projects around the house, took some family vacation time and enjoyed the respite from the demands of her job as a teacher.

kelley fosterWhat if I told you this mom of three, transitioning to a new school in the Fall, also managed to raise awareness and gather a huge quantity of needed items for a local fostering agency?

That she also painted Bible verses on over forty canvases, raising more than $400 to combat world hunger?

With the help of social media, she shared each cause with intention and lots of friends and family joined with her to make a difference.

In the quiet after she left, I thought about my good intentions. The truth is, I have all the same excuses that you’ve heard or you’ve spoken. I came to grips with the truth. I have a choice. I can respond to the need or look the other way.

Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

I can keep walking; I can step around or over or cross to the other side and pretend I don’t see, but he knows and I know that I’ve seen.

Are you with me? Have you already felt that reminder in your spirit? Or maybe you aren’t quite sure where to start.

  • Think about the things that make your Mama Bear (or Daddy Bear) heart rumble. For my friend, it was foster children carrying their belongings in trash bags, or being removed without even a change of underwear or pajamas; it was the image of children starving when hers are well fed.
  • Carve out some intentional time to stop and dwell in the heaviness, to hear God’s voice. He will move you to a response.
  • Look at your calendar, explore the options for service and then set a goal. The best way to start a plan is with the end in mind.
  • Protect your margin – down time ensures that your heart is tender and compassionate rather than overloaded and stressed.
  • Press the start button as soon as possible.

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

By grace alone,

lorraine

About Foundation for Foster Children

In 2008, the Foundation for Foster Children (FFC), a 501-c-3, was formed to address these staggering statistics. In collaboration with Community Based Care, a federally funded program, FFC provides an integral tier of support that goes beyond the basic needs of wellness and safety. This coordinated effort provides a comprehensive approach to addressing the outcomes from abuse and neglect.

The hallmarks of our program, educational support, personal development, and life-skills guidance target the areas essential to changing a child’s direction from poverty, crime and government assistance so that they can better become independent, contributing members of our community.

 

About Global Emergency Response Coalition

Formed in April 2017, the Global Emergency Response Coalition is a lifesaving humanitarian alliance made up of eight of the world’s largest U.S.-based international aid organizations, whose unified goal is to work collectively to deliver relief to millions of children and families in need.

Scripture quoted from Luke 10, New International Version

 

Greetings from the East Coast

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Greetings from the East Coast

Greetings from the sunny sands of one of Florida’s favorite East Coast beaches. We’ve stepped away from life for a few days to celebrate the blessing of forty-five years together. We’ve needed a rest for a bit, and we are so very grateful to dear friends who made this possible.

I’m also stepping away from the keyboard for the rest of the month. Writing is a beautiful gift; I love everything about sharing stories but I know that the creative part of me needs to spend some time listening to our creator…the great author of every one of my stories.

I’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite posts from the past over on my Facebook page each Friday morning. Click here to travel over there and see this week’s nostalgic post. 

lorraine

45 Years and Still Fighting…

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45 Years and Still Fighting…

I sat on the very last row, an early arriver for the wedding; I’d only met the couple the night before, and I was there because my husband was officiating.

I watched the groom casually stroll from the back of the room to take his place alongside my husband. They exchanged a few private words, smiling as they waited for the music to shift, signaling the start of the processional. Any moment, the doors would open and his beautiful bride would stand ready to join him, not only for the moment, but for life.

My mind wandered to the day forty-five years ago when my husband and I made the same journey, me on my father’s arm and he alongside our pastor. We met at the front of a room that is no longer a church, but that spot was and always will be sacred ground.

On this night, I bowed as my husband prayed over the ceremony and I was overwhelmed by the gravity of what would take place next. I knew that few in the room were aware of the throngs that were kept at bay by heavenly angels as these two began to make vows to one another before a holy God.

I pulled out our marriage service the other day. Surprisingly, the vows haven’t changed much. If we had known then what we know now, I’m not sure we would have had the courage to enter a covenant that flies in the face of the enemy. We stood before our pastor and about seventy-five friends and family and made promises that we couldn’t keep:

  • To have and to hold … till death do us part – (okay, the service was more King James than James Taylor, but back then there wasn’t much creativity with vows if you weren’t having a hippy wedding) We couldn’t fully comprehend just how long it would be before one of us would die. Seriously, that is not a commitment to take lightly on your eighteenth birthday.
  • For better or for worse – I had seen lots of “worse” and I was sure it would be easier alongside this man-child. What I couldn’t have understood was that sometimes, one of us would be the source of the “worse”. I didn’t know how often and how strong the enemy would come into a situation and attempt to position us at odds with each other, two very different people from very different backgrounds.
  • For richer or poorer – We were familiar with poverty. Of course, that was before we had to think about keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. We couldn’t have known that financial tragedy would strike; we would have to join hands rather than point fingers if we were to survive and ultimately thrive.
  • In sickness and in health – Two young people, strong and healthy, stood before that preacher, naïve and clueless. When chronic illness struck, it changed our lives forever.
  • To love – We were crazy in love with each other. We had experienced it as our parents and families loved us and we had witnessed it in parents who loved one another. We had no idea of how broken we each were and how much God would use marriage to reveal and heal those broken places.
  • To cherish – Webster defines cherish as keeping or cultivating with care and affection. I had no idea that my dreams would only emerge as this man coaxed me to name them; that he would need me to assure him that he was enough.

In the cool of an air-conditioned sanctuary, on a muggy Friday in July of 1972, we stepped into our story.

The humble ceremony and the small reception gave not even a nod to the epic battle we were walking into. I won’t deny that it’s hard. There have been times when I wanted to quit and I’m sure he’s been tempted as well.

We’ve recently been sharing our excitement over reaching a milestone anniversary and the prevailing comments are all summed up in a few words. “That’s a really long time.” Yes, it is.

If you are looking for a how to list or step by step guide to wedded bliss, you are going to be disappointed.

We are quietly passionate. There has never been a great deal of arguing or bickering in this marriage, but oh, there have been fights. We fight hard for our home because we believe our lives depend on it.

We’ve gone to our knees again and again for our family. When the enemy wanted him to give up over human failure I’ve literally laid across his body and declared the truth about who God says he is. He has served me in big ways and everyday small ways with complete joy.

We have realized that our love story is not ours alone; it is set amid a war with a purpose far greater than our happiness. God longs to use our marriage to point people to Jesus. We have seen a glimpse into the value of what God is doing in our marriage, a glorious story of his faithfulness.

We know that love is costly; in fact, it costs everything. Our greatest example is God’s love demonstrated on the cross. We also enthusiastically agree it is worth it. As much as I loved that handsome groom on our wedding day, my love for him forty-five years later is so much richer and deeper. We choose again and again to honor, bless and serve one another per God’s best advice for life. “Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” (Romans 12:10, The Message)

We believe that God is for our marriage. He has set the stage for romance, with beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, music, and deep desire for one another. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)

I expect there will be many more battles; we will worry too much over our daughters and grandchildren. Despite our good intentions, he will leave his clothes by the hamper and I will make us late and overreact when he stops short behind the wheel.

I am looking forward to every new day with him, to every sunset he drives me to, to every doctor’s appointment I make when he wants to “wait and see”. We are finding more joy every day and I like to think the hardest days are behind us, but I know that is not likely.

Whatever the next decades bring, we are stronger because we have discovered that we have an enemy and he is not us.

Joying in this journey,

lorraine

A word to my husband, my most faithful reader, the one who believes in my dreams far more than I ever dared:

Thanks for always treating me like the beauty in the love story, honey. I’m so glad that God gave me a man who will fight for me, who has patiently loved me as the veil has lifted to reveal the beauty of who God created me to be. I love you and always will. Happy Anniversary!

 

Photo Booth 46

 

Wedding Dance 2017

 

 

Freedom in the Heart of Surrender: Surrendering My Need for Approval

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Freedom in the Heart of Surrender:  Surrendering My Need for Approval

We sat on opposite sides of a black metal table. It was warm but comfortable in the breezeway between two restaurants; we were enveloped in the clamor of passing conversations and street sounds, but it was just white noise.

I was focused on the her. We’d waited weeks for this opportunity to chat face to face and I was fully present. I asked a direct question, the sort that you have to earn the right to ask. In the moments that followed, a sort of holiness fell over that place. She opened her heart and honest, hard things spilled out on a table turned altar. I was on sacred ground.

In due time she asked about my writing; I chose to reveal a little chagrin over the failure of certain important people in my life to be fully supportive. I lamented that they didn’t share my posts; heck, I admitted that I was pretty sure they weren’t even reading them.

“Why do you need their approval?”

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

And stay tuned for a special post  next week in honor of my wedding anniversary…and my birthday! Have a happy and safe 4th of July, dear friends!

lorraine

The Best Summer Ever

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Here we are in late June and it’s finally starting to feel like summer. I truly miss summer with kids. I know, those of you with children at home are smack dab in the middle of separating squabbling kids and telling them they just ate, even as you read these words. Humor me.

I haven’t totally forgotten the challenges, mamas; I know the struggle is real.

But I loved the days of relaxed bedtimes and lazy mornings. Even though I worked most of those years, I remember there was less urgency of schedule; there was so much joy in letting loose. When I came in from work we headed to a pool instead of checking homework assignments and laying out clothes for the next day.

In our current stage of life, summer can seem just like any other season, but this week has been so much fun.

After a quiet and restful Father’s day for my hubby we joined friends for dinner on Monday night. The kitchen was lively as we all took on various bits of cooking and serving. It was especially fun as the children selected dishes and flatware for the table and even some of the meal prep.

We sat around the table long after having our fill of delicious food, sipping wine and talking. The children took leave but returned later with an impromptu skit. They were thrilled to entertain and there was so much laughter.

The next evening, we met our daughter and grandson at a favorite restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day. Once again, we sat around a table, sharing a meal and catching up with the ones we love.

Sometimes you think you’ve had the best days of your week already, you know? Have you ever thought that things just couldn’t get any better, planning to just hang out in the afterglow for a stretch? That’s pretty awesome for a Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week, but that’s pretty much how I felt.

And then Wednesday came along and knocked one out of the park.

It was the first night of book club. It had been a gorgeous afternoon and I jumped on the golf cart and headed to town, ready to meet with friends. The sky looked a bit threatening to the south, but it’s Florida, people. In June. Carry on.

I swung by the church to pick up the mamas as they dropped their babies for childcare and we squeezed everyone and their umbrellas in…the clouds were a bit more threatening.

The hour passed quickly as we discussed the book and caught up on life. We stepped into the muggy parking lot just as it began to pour. Six women jumped on the golf cart, umbrellas extending around the exposed perimeter. Shrieks of laughter filled the air, followed by screams as cold rain soaked our clothing. In the midst of it all, someone recorded the craziness with her cell phone as we splashed through puddles the short distance back to the church.

Gold Cart Rain

After a warm bath and a snack, I snuggled in next to my hubby and thought about the joy of relationships. While I’ve shared some highlights here, there were many more moments of connection with precious people in my life this week; some as simple as a text message and others heart to heart conversations.

I’m determined to care for relationships this summer. It seems like the perfect time to nurture them by making memories. Just imagine how many years we will laugh about that golf cart ride!

Are you intentional in your relationships? Do you have dinner parties, or coffee dates? I’d love to learn more about how you take care of the people in your life. Talk to me by adding a comment – I promise to respond.

Now go out there and have a great summer, friends!

“Walk with the wise and become wise…” ~ Proverbs 13:20

lorraine

An Open Letter To My Friend Who Has Cancer

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An Open Letter To My Friend Who Has Cancer

This post is based on an actual conversation with one dear friend, but I know many of you can relate. I hope it encourages you to keep praying, keep calling, keep holding up their arms.

If you are a survivor or are presently in the fight, I know full well that I just visit cancer and you have lived with it. I am speaking  only as a spectator on this journey.

My dear friend,

You are so very brave. I am in awe of your strength and determination. You keep showing up. I don’t know if I could.

You were feeling good today; you and chemo are “on a break”. On this break you’ve remembered how great “good” feels and you are relishing every minute. The break has been glorious, a chance to catch your breath and regain strength.

But you are counting the days until your furlough ends. In your words, you “can’t wish chemo away” even though you would like to.

I told you I would gladly take one round on your behalf, if only that were possible.

Easy words for me to speak, knowing it won’t happen. My words were sincere, but you can’t take them to the bank. They are as counterfeit as a three-dollar bill; worthless. It’s you who has a port surgically implanted in your chest wall. And yet you are gracious because you know I “mean well’. In hindsight, I’m embarrassed that I said them.

You said the chemo is a necessary evil. I’ve watched it ravage your body, turning your cells on each other. It took your hair and turned your skin to ash and yet your smile is radiant, because you hold fast to HOPE – it is your lifeline.

You are about to return to war. We will send cards and care packages, but you are the one on the front line.

I pray, frustrated over my impotence to help and God brought an Old Testament story to mind.

Moses was leading God’s people, a grumbling band of nomads, into the promised land. It was one gripe after another with them. I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. It was like a road trip with me.

The Amalekites were a nasty bunch who had a reputation for not fighting fair. About the time Moses had had it with the Israelites, they arrived in Rephidim, where the Amalekites attacked.

Moses was old and most likely tired from all of the grumbling, so he sent Joshua into battle.

He promised Joshua that he would stand on the top of the hill, with the staff of God in his hands as a show of support.

Joshua headed to battle and Moses went up the hill, accompanied by Aaron and Hur.

What happened next is the part of the story that the sweet Holy Spirit reminded me of as I prayed over you today.

Joshua fared well as long as Moses held up his hands. However, when he tired, his arms fell and the Amalekites gained.

Enter Aaron and Hur. They stood on either side of Moses, holding his arms up. They gave him a place to sit; they held his arms up until the enemy was defeated.

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him
and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side,
one on the other–so that his hands remained steady until sunset.
So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Exodus 17:12-13 NIV

You are a fighter like Joshua; and like Moses, you know that salvation and hope are in God alone.

The visual is so big and beautiful, my friend. All of us who love you are trusting and believing God for your healing have come alongside you.

In the days to come, I pray that you will remember the multitude around you, lifting your arms and your battle to Jesus. I love you!

Because he bends down to listen I will pray as long as I have breath,

lorraine

This is such a hard topic; I write with great care but I don’t know your story. Please use the comment section to share the ways that others have come alongside you in your battle, whether cancer or some other struggle.