Wednesday, May 22, 2013

i'm human and i love Jesus.

"I'm human and I love Jesus."

Her voice cracked and whispered the words, "That's what I want them to know."


It all rushes back.

I would tell you I don't know why I haven't written on Peculiar Treasures for awhile, but that simply wouldn't be true. I had writers block. I'm grieving. Among other key reasons, there you have it.

Maybe I feel guilty for bringing him up my Grandpa's passing when grief is simply something that usually happens quietly. I wish that these last few months would have had more blogged word, but I have still been writing.

We all try to act like we have it together.

We walk around like we know what we're talking about. Like words and unwanted silence doesn't matter and that we are broken heart resistant. The lies that we hear, the lies that we tell ourselves, the lies that we, to our core, believe... aren't there.

 “Community arises where the sharing of pain takes place, not as a stifling form of self-complaint, but as a recognition of God's saving promises.” --Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer.

 I glimpse back into that time alot. Maybe just for a moment without it going through my head again for the remainder of the day, but just for a few moments...

I hear his laugh again.

I rub his back one more time.

His head lifts and his eyebrows tell their own story when we walk in his back bedroom, the clock ticking.

That one Sunday afternoon when he heard Momma V & I laugh so he kept the t.v. on Disney channel so that we would stay with him just a little but longer.

He's in the hospital and I hand him my iPod as the room chuckles. He sees the picture of my dog & I --a simply silly picture-- and I hear him laugh for the last time there in his hospital recliner.

I lay on his bed, him beside me in the recliner, he dozes off... I watch our favorite show on the History channel and I listen to him breath. I sit and what brings me to tears is that I realized that soon enough, I would never hear that sound again. I was walking on some sort of sacred ground.

I gently take his hand in mine. It's the last time I ever would. I sat with my cousin Shayla gaining what composure I would have. With bags under my eyes from the tears and exhaustion, I just close them and stop time. Savoring. My voice worn and choked I bow my head, squeeze that hand, and whisper His name. "Abba, Father..."

Grandpa sees me for the last time on this earth... with my head bowed.


I slip my Africa necklace around my neck, my favorite purse around my shoulders, the headband purchased in a city called Kampala on my messy bun.... slip out the door and we jam to Adele on the way to the African Childrens Choir. My mind wanders. I prepare myself as best I could for what was ahead. These kids are all from Uganda. They are my kids. They sing of His hope & their country.

I'm sitting with my sister Miranda and my {Grandma} Jjajja Lydia all over again. Sitting on that couch talking about the unity of the body of Christ.

All night long it was everything I could do but crawl into a hole and cry my eyes out. They are the voices of something beyond my or their comprehension. They speak of the Good News of Jesus Christ and I just want them to never stop talking. I want to hear their voices and I want the world to hear their voices.

The Pastor of this church just an hour down the road asks us to pray. My eyes linger for awhile and I watch all of the children's heads bow. The quiet and joyful faith of a child; nothing better. I join them.


Last Monday morning we got a phone call from my Grandma. Grandpa had been in the ER overnight. It wasn't looking good--and they were still trying to figure out exactly what is wrong. By noon, we were on the road.

I do my best to not cry. When I cry, it is a constant act of surrender. Whenever I do, I surely need it, but... I believe the lie that I heard about 'girls crying too much' & 'being too emotional'. I try to stray from what I have come to know as a form of weakness, but I broke.
The tears fall and I wipe them away as fast as I can. My Mom kindly just says, "I would tell you it's all going to be okay but I don't know if it is." I sigh and breath deep. This year has been something else. I remember that God can handle my honesty. I cry out to God in that passenger seat. With the math book in my lap and the hours fleeing like they all do, I poured out my heart like water for just a breakthrough minute.

"God, you have taken one Grandpa away from me this year. Please. Not again."

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

It wasn't probably what anyone would ever pray, let alone share that they prayed, but it was my heart.
I was doing my best to consider it all joy. It is a constant battle that takes an overabundance of focus.

I'm weary from family members in the hospital. Seriously. In the last year, there hasn't been a month go by without some sort of ER visit. I'm most of all weary of being familiar with leaving a room knowing that that could be the last time to ever say I love you and wrap your arms around their necks.

Grandpa said, "Hey Meme!" and told me he loved me before he went into surgery.

The fear comes back. Cancer has taught me to fear... and there is no thief like fear.

"The hurt that broke your heart  
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope's a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow" --Jason Gray, Nothing Is Wasted.

My Grandpa dodged a bullet. Prayers were answered.

I sat down in Grandma's chair and sank into the world of social media before I curled up on the couch. I started to write about being thankful for answered prayers and how faithful God was. While all of those were applicable & incredibly true, they were true with Grandpa Kerwin, too.
I delete the former words after staring at them for awhile and write a new short tweet about being exhausted and thankful.

Both outcomes were entirely different.

Redemption won.

While I was getting ready in that seemingly long ago month of January I would listen to Tenth Avenue North's album "The Struggle" and the words of "Worn" became my anthem. "Let me see redemption win... that you can mend a heart that's frail and torn..."

My prayers were answered... just not the way I wanted them to. God could have healed my Grandpa from cancer. When I am out of my mind, I shake my head at Him for not doing so. "What a story that would have been!" I dare to think. But so did Judas. He wanted Jesus to fit into his box. Maybe He even wanted to hurry along victory. When Jesus didn't save Himself, the story wasn't what we had in mind. So, the Lord takes me by the hand and speaks, "Daughter, what a story it already is!" ...and what a story it will continue to be if I handle suffering biblically, if I learn to show weakness to portray His strength.

I still would rather change it, but that's not my job. My job is to draw near & there is no other place I would rather be.

I bow my head.


"That every broken piece is

Gathered in the heart of Jesus

And what's lost will be found again"


We meet her half way & we can tell that she is weary. It is written on her slow, curving footsteps.
She gives us both a hug although Momma V & I were both sweaty messes.

Authenticity can go a long way.

Within seconds, she was crying & I wanted to.

Her children need so much from her & she wants to give them the very best.

She looks to the north and puts it into this nutshell.

"I'm human and I love Jesus."

Her voice cracked and whispered the words, "That's what I want them to know."

We seem so lost. So broken... ya know what breaks my heart above all?

Is that all of these people are breaking within our gazes and we don't have the time of day.
Do you know what we need more of? Friends that give us a hug after we tell them we're fine & say, "It's okay to tell me you're not."

There are so many ways to drive this home, but this is what we want the world to know.


I am tempted. I sin. I am a physical and emotional wreck, but...

Jesus is my Best Friend. He is everything; our Lover & our girlfriend, because He understands.

I leave you with these challenges:

Be slow to speak. If someone is sharing something precious to them with you, they are putting themselves out there at the risk of being wrongly judged. Don't rush with advice. Be their friend and listen for His wisdom in your broken words. Then, and only then, will your empty words breath life. Don't forget to let them know it's okay to cry. It's okay to feel hurt... you just have to handle all these feelings in the way that He sees fit.

Believe you are who He says you are. The mirror says the same old thing and so does the world.
When we see what He sees, though, the world has no choice but to watch in awe at His work in us.

Acknowledge in every situation that you are only human, but you love Jesus.

Then, bow your head.

In Abba,

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