Monday, October 27, 2014

NEW {day 27} :: renew

Over the past several months I have been inundated with ‘re’ words.  
When I read, when I pray, when I take a shower, when I sit in the preschool pick-up line…
're’ words keep coming to mind and I keep jotting them down and taking them in.

Here’s what I know about ‘re'.
It is a prefix indicating
The return to a previous condition
Repetition of an activity

And if we dig a little deeper we find…
word-forming element meaning "back to the original place; again, anew, once more," also with a sense of "undoing" 

The original place.
The original plan.
The original sin.

And all I know about God points me to the truth that he is a God of ‘RE’.
I believe it is the prefix of grace.

And so when my friend Emily called last month and said that God kept giving her this word
I knew it was a thread he was weaving through her heart and mine, drawing us together for some purpose…
something that had to do with us going back to that fresh new beginning called creation and allowing God to recreate something in our lives and in the lives of others.

We all feel so tired,
so burdened,
so old and worn out.

But new has been offered before and it is being offered again
over and over
forever and ever.

Those two small letters carry the promise that new doesn't just come around once.  

The water in that well won't run dry so each morning we can 
cup our hands, 
dip them deep, 
fill them full, 
and drink it in.

A new creation, newly created

every. single. day.

We are

for the rest of the posts in this series click HERE

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW {day 23} :: Lucy's diaversary

For you observant ones who have been following these 31 days closely you may have noticed there was no day 22.  So now you know - I'm not perfect.  I hope you enjoy 23...
Today marks one year.

I am terrible at remembering dates.  Actually, anything with numbers gets me all confused.

But I will never forget October 23, 2013.

It was the day we were introduced to a new life we had never expected.  Our 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and Graves Disease - two autoimmune diseases that would change her life forever.

I spent the weeks prior to her diagnoses preparing to speak at a women's retreat that was scheduled to take place the very weekend that we wound up in the hospital.  Instead of enjoying my own hotel room with notes spread out around me, praying for God to show up and equip me for what he had set before me...
I was sharing in a tiny hospital bed with her, diabetes education manuals spread out around me, but my prayer was the same - God please show up and equip me for what you have set before me.

Guess what the topic for that women's retreat was that weekend...
In all my preparing I had no idea that I wouldn't be teaching about it in a room full of women, but learning about it in a room full of monitors and medical equipment.

A couple of months after that hospital stay I stepped into a new year and these were the thoughts I carried with me...
{originally published on January 1, 2014}
Today I watched a mother and daughter walking out of an ice cream shop with treat in hand and smile on face. They looked so happy, so carefree.
I stood there with the lump in my throat that warns of tears. 

We have been living with Lucy's diagnoses of Type 1 Diabetes and Graves' disease for over 2 months now.  

I am hopeful that I will gradually shed more and more of the anxiety and grief and bitterness associated with this season but for now I must be honest in saying this

Today I envied that mother and daughter for being able to indulge in such a simple pleasure without concern for how much insulin would be needed or whether the dairy would cause further damage to her immune system or if any of the ingredients had gluten hidden in them.

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as often lately.  
Yesit was Christmas
and we were busy
and we are still trying to manage the changes that have come our way
and we focused on family time instead of writing time 
but none of those are the real reasons I haven't offered many words to you.

The real reason is because every time I begin to write it goes in the same direction and I want to drive this thing somewhere else.  I don't want to bore you with the details of the latest test results or share my fear of introducing tofu into our diet or agonize over the dozens of different theories about the causes and treatments of auto-immune diseases...

And most of all
I don't want to come across as obsessive or radical or frantic or looney-bin-bound.  But the truth is
I am. 
I am so hesitant to trust myself with words right now.
I keep waiting on myselfwaiting to finally get my act together.  
Waiting until I have a perfect course of treatment so that I can implement it and move one.
Waiting until I can prepare the meals on our new restrictive diet with ease.
Waiting until I don't anticipate the results of every single blood sugar measure.
Waiting until I don't spend every waking moment thinking about my daughter's health.
Waiting until I have completely gotten a handle on this 'new' life.
{You see what I meant by obsessive, don't you?  And somebody out there is looking up the number for the looney bin right now!}

But today I write...even in the waiting I have to do something...I have to step forward.

Our new year came early.  Our new life.

Sometimes we don't want new but we get it handed to us anyway. 
Sometimes our lives feel just about right thank you very muchand we are happy to keep things as-is.
And yet we are forced to accept a gift that at first seems more like a curse.  

Those first two fairies at Princess Aurora's christeningthey brought gifts of life
Flora offered beauty.
Fauna offered song.
And before the final good fairy, Merryweather, could wave her wand, the evil Maleficent steps in to bestow her own offeringdeath by spinning wheel.
Fairytales always have a dark side.
But they rarely end in darkness.  
Merryweather still has her chance and in light of Maleficent's evil curse she offers up something very specific to the princess child...
instead of falling into death on her 16th birthday Aurora would instead fall into a deep sleep...a sleeping beauty.
Shortly after the debacle of the christening Aurora's mother had to say goodbye to the life she had dreamed of with her daughter.  The girl was sent away in an attempt to hide her from harm.  But one day she would return and live her happily ever after.

Sometimes new life involves loss and heartache...but there is always another offering that follows.  Our happily every after is just ahead.

Maybe you are being pushed into a new year that you hadn't planned on.  Maybe you are saying goodbye to a year that was filled with all kinds of 'new' that you didn't ask for.   Either way something is being offered to you in this new year...this new season...this new life.

As you breathe in the first fresh breaths of 2014 you may carry a little hesitation, but let's remember together that there are 365 brand new days in front of us.  
Each one of them contains an offering.  
Some will feel like a curse but each will move you closer and closer towards the kind of 'new' that is being made in you.  
Even when the darkness floods in, there is a gift of light that is coming.  And so we wait for it.  And we keep moving through the waiting even if there are bits of bitterness and grief in our pockets...we take steps forward.

Just like Princess Aurora...those things that seem to promise death can be transformed into something that actually brings life...a new life you might never have expected but that feels just right once you get it all the way on.

Every new thing in this life, 
the ones we enjoy and the ones we just endure, 
can produce good if we place them in the hands of the one who is working for that always.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NEW {day 21} :: the boo bag story

When we arrived home last night Lucy ran to the front porch to retrieve the package.  She had been waiting on it's contents for almost a week.  It wasn't a Halloween treat box from grandparents or something fun we ordered off of Amazon.  It was her new CGM - continuous glucose monitor.

A year ago we had no idea what a CGM was and we definitely wouldn't have seen Lucy bounding out of the car on flying feet to get her excited little hands on one.  A year ago we knew very little about Type 1 Diabetes.  Today we are close to being experts.

Each day we monitor Lucy's blood sugar closely because her pancreas doesn't behave the way a pancreas should.  Sometimes it's a guessing game to determine exactly how much insulin she needs to bring her glucose levels down or how much carb intake is required to bring them up.  Over this next month we are moving towards two new things that will help us to better manage her diabetes and hopefully give her a little bit of her freedom back.  The first of those things is the CGM.  I won't bore you with the details but I'm sure those who are interested can run a successful Google search to satisfy their curiosity.

Here's what I do want you to know about the CGM.
It is comprised of a small sensor that is inserted into her skin and a remote monitor that looks a bit like an iPod {and happens to be bright pink}.  Lucy thought all of that was very cool.  She also believed me when I said that it would help - that it would improve her situation.
I, too, thought it was pretty cool and believed in it's ability to better her life and ours.  But I carried another emotion about this CGM - fear.  

Last night I allowed Lucy to open the boxes and explore it's contents but as soon as I saw the inch thick instruction manual I knew that trying it out would have to wait until the next day.  I tucked the kids into bed and went to work watching tutorials, reading warnings, and increasing my anxiety to an uncomfortable level.  I didn't sleep well last night.  It was fear.

Maybe this visual will help you understand my apprehension.
This is some big plastic crazy looking contraption that you have to stick onto her body with adhesive and use to inject the sensor.  There's this thing about listening for two clicks and then making sure the tab is flush against the skin and pinching just the right place at just the right time and I suddenly felt like this new thing that was going to help us might actually give me a heart attack.

I finally went to bed and endured my sleepless night.  This morning I walked downstairs to face my fears and give this new thing a shot {literally}.  With a confident smile to hide my insecurities I followed all those little steps to get that CGM up and running. 

During the process Lucy began to whimper and it seemed my fear had been realized.  I had probably done it all wrong.  Oh no, is that blood I see...and now I can't get the big plastic thing off!  I kept smiling and joking and acting like it was all fine but I wanted to cry too and take the needle out and never try it again.  I was instantly taken back to the days when we first began Lucy's insulin shots and she would scream and cry and so would I.  But I kept moving, kept trying, kept consoling her with words I needed myself to hear.  

Finally I got it all working but she was still teary and kept telling me it hurt, didn't feel right, she couldn't do it, wanted it off.  At that moment Joey walked to our front door to open it and install this weird cable exercise system thing that he does.  And there, in the most unlikely of places was a Halloween bag.  

We had been boo-ed!  I heard Joey calling them.
     Hey guys - there's something out here for you!  
Little feet went running.
Enter the distraction.  
Enter the mercy.
Enter the arms wrapping around us and picking us up and patting us on our bums and telling us to 'run along now' because everything is fine.  

New, even when it is meant to bring long term benefit to us, can sometimes bring initial pain and fear and doubt.  And then God sends something to pull the 'new and improved', albeit tearful, us back up to our feet.  When we follow his instructions, we can trust his results.  

The next thing we know we are living life with this new thing.   It felt weird at first because it was different.  We weren't sure it was going to work - not sure if we could push through the discomfort and doubt to life on the other side.  Suddenly we realize that 'different' is actually better.  The benefits are revealed and the promise we believed in is realized.

My friend, Kate, had actually told me that she and her girls were going to 'boo' us last night.  {shhh...don't tell my kids it was them!}   In all the excitement over the new package, I forgot.  The doorbell never rang, so I assumed they forgot too.  And so my kids went to bed last night without any knowledge of what was sitting on the front porch waiting...for just the right moment.  

This morning Kate texted me and said that a crazy chain of events led them to almost leave the bag at the wrong house last night.  In all the confusion she didn't know if her girls even rang our doorbell before running off.
And in all of that I see God 
because where there is challenge and change, he is there.
Where there is fear and doubt, he is there.
Where there is pain with purpose, he is there,
preparing a plate of mercy to offer us this morning when we were faced with the hard part of new.

If new is taking you to painful places these days,  I hope that you will discover plates full of mercy offered up perhaps in the most unexpected ways.  The kind of new that Jesus promised will always be worth the fear, doubt, and discomfort we may face to take hold of it.  If we follow his instructions, even when they seem unfamiliar and beyond our abilities, we can trust him with the outcome.

Chances are, in matters of the soul, mercy during suffering may not come quite as quickly as it came for us this morning.
But it will come.
Keep checking your front porch.
for all the posts in this series click HERE

Monday, October 20, 2014

NEW {day 20} :: hide and seek

The first recorded incident of 'new gone wrong' took place in a garden.
A man and a woman stood amidst beauty and splendor freshly created.  Every single thing surrounding them was new, never before seen by human eyes.

The world had been purposed, crafted, and offered just for them.  The sun stretched it's warm fingers of light towards them every morning and the dancing stars kept watch over them at night.  Animals, big and small, were under their authority, roaming wild and free alongside them.  Trees heavy with fruit provided flavor and nourishment.  Flowering technicolor shows bloomed for their pleasure.

Everywhere they turned there must have been something else new to discover and yet...
it wasn't enough.

God gave good things in abundance to Adam and Eve.
He gives good things in abundance to you and me.
It is more than enough, until we convince ourselves that it is not.

God warns us that the authority he has given us does not exceed the authority he himself must possess.  There is a chain of command and we are not at the top.  When God sets boundaries for those under his authority there is no room for questioning and certainly no room for disobedience.  The one who created us knows what we need - and what we don't need {no matter how attractive and new and 'necessary' it may appear}.

There in the garden, God set a boundary.  It was small and insignificant compared to the bounty and vast beauty at their fingertips.  One simple boundary.  One simple opportunity to trust and obey.

Rather than set their eyes on the world of 'new' that had been given to them, Adam and Eve had a laser focus on the one thing that was forbidden.  There was one thing they had not yet experienced, one thing they had not yet taken hold of, and their desire for that new thing grew stronger than their love and trust for the One who had given them everything else.

It was just the beginning of the misguided search for new that has been repeated time and again throughout history.  We continue the legacy today, turning our backs on all that we could be enjoying and instead reaching for the things that we were never intended to hold.
     The things that will end up having a hold on us.  

God sets boundaries for us, not because he is a controlling dictator but because he is a loving father.  He wants the best for his children and, as all good parents know, that is just as much about what they should stay away from as what they should be allowed.

The first time new was chosen apart from God the result was not fulfillment or satisfaction.  The result was nakedness, vulnerability, and a deep sense of regret that led Adam and Eve into hiding.

Because for generations it has remained true - every time we disobey God and choose new things in this world over Him we see ourselves less as belonging to God and more as belonging to this world and ultimately there is no security here.  As lovely as it may appear, there is no love relationship between us and the world.  That is always an illusion.

And yet somehow we keep giving ourselves over to the lies, the empty promises, of this world instead of the truth of God.

They hid.  We do too.
Behind new clothes
new jobs
new friends
new houses
new spouses
new habits...

And we could stay there cowering in the bushes disgusted with ourselves and confused about our futures...maybe even lying to ourselves that the next 'new' thing we acquire will be the thing that restores us.  But, God comes after us.  He doesn't offer the punishment we deserve for turning our back on our Creator.  Instead he turns us back towards him and offers us perfect redemptive love and grace.  He looks for us.  He pursues us.  If we allow him, he restores us, because only he holds the new that is powerful enough to really transform.

In Eden, a perfect world was shattered and it has never been reestablished.  That's the bad news.  This world is still broken and shattered with pain and heartache seeping in through the cracks.  We have been looking for new in the wrong place.

The good news is, although everything out there can not be restored, everything in us can.   Because when you love someone you make a rescue plan to bring them back to you.  To make them new.

God's rescue plan was Jesus.

for all the posts in this series click HERE

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NEW {days 17 &18} :: the movie scene that started it all

Ten years ago in a movie theater in Scottsdale, my hardened heart broke wide open as I wept tears born of gratitude.
And so this 'new' journey began.

I have hesitated to share this with you.  
It's just a movie. 
But the story is true 
and the man is real 
and what he did is a historical fact.

This scene burned itself in my memory in an instant.
When Jesus spoke these words to his mother I could almost feel him holding my weary, shame-filled face in his hands and speaking straight to my soul. If some part of your life seems beyond repair I hope this promise will convince you otherwise. 
I know it to be true...
all things new.
{warning: this scene contains graphic content}
for all posts in this series click HERE

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NEW {day 16} :: better than better

Our God isn’t in the business of better.  He doesn’t do improved.  He specializes in one thing – new.  
We try so hard to get 'better' when God is standing there waiting to make us 'new'.
Isn't 'new' so much better than...well...better?

Has your car ever been totaled?  
Thankfully, mine has not.  
But a couple of years ago a friend of mine was in an accident.  Her car was taken to an auto repair shop where she learned that she could either pay a bunch of money to have the car fixed up and returned to her in 'better' condition or she could file with her insurance and receive almost enough money to completely cover the purchase of a new car.

She was so excited.  
She chose new.
New is better than better.

In this case my friend received new through replacement.  Something old was replaced with something new.  That's really great but God does something different.  God doesn't replace something in order to give us 'new', he transforms it.  He transforms us.
Fairy godmother style.

You may have a pumpkin sitting around your house right now.  It may be fat and orange and lovely at the moment but if you let it sit out for a few months...
it will rot.  
It is probably beginning the process of rotting even now.

Remember Cinderella?
Remember her pumpkin?  
It was a soon-to-be rotten pumpkin too but the Fairy Godmother did something.  She transformed it.

She took a vegetable and turned it into a vehicle.  
What seemed impossible she made possible with the wave of a wand and the words of a song.  Just a little 'bippity boppity boo' and she defied all logic and took something ordinary and made it extraordinary.  

God doesn’t use a magic wand or a catchy song, the sound of his voice is enough to transform our hearts from a vegetative state into a vehicle, a royal carriage that will transport us into his kingdom and into his heart.  We become royalty.  We become new.

Every day that we 
read God's word, 
treasure God's presence, 
share God's love, 
live out God's truth
He brings change.
He brings new.

Unlike that busted up car that was taken to the junkyard and replaced with another model, we don't get thrown out like trash.  By his divine power, God wraps us in his grace and love and transforms our tattered and torn into shiny and new.  
It's still us.  
We haven't been replaced.
And we haven't just gotten better.  
We've been made new.

for the other posts in this series click HERE