Two is Less than Three

I write in my head all day long.  Things I wish I'd said, things I wish I'd done.  Amazing, wonderful sentences that describe beautifully what I am feeling.  They never make it to my computer.  I am in this crazy, frantic, manic mode and there is no time for writing.

I told Gary this week I feel like I am in a maze and every time I think I am almost to an end I turn a corner and there I am again.  That's right, everywhere I go...there I am.

I wish I could describe the feeling; the anxiety, the fear, the loss,  that coexist within my heart.  The space that is empty and hollow.  This gaping hole that I try desperately to fill with everything else, because two is less than three.

I imagine Jesus there in the stable of my heart holding Justin.  I just can't seem to find the comforter in my mind.  He lives no doubt in my heart, in my soul....but there is still two instead of three.

I remember one of my kids saying after they asked Jesus into their heart, they were worried about eating too much and crowding him out.  So literal this asking him into our hearts.  But really He is everywhere and He is in my very being, my soul.  If I could just get Him to fill my mind instead of all these random crazy thoughts, instead of fear and anxiety, instead of the ginormous monster of grief.

Because the maze in my mind always leads back to one place.  The frantic cries of a Mother for her child screaming through my brain.

We all know that feeling when you have lost your child in the store.  The panic, the frantic searching, the stories that quickly rise to the surface in our minds of children abducted and all the unspoken things done to them.  That moment.  That is what I feel sometimes.  That frantic, pulse racing moment of loss is repeated over and over.  Up and down and round and round

I know this feeling.  I have lived with this feeling for ten years.  Ten years off and on of my boy struggling with addiction.  Ten years of driving around looking for him when he didn't come home. Scared to death that he has been in an accident and is stranded in a ditch somewhere.  Picking him up from the Emergency Room or a strangers house to intoxicated to drive.  Waking up in the middle of the night and looking for his car, hoping he was home.  Ten years off and on of praying for the turn around, a roller coaster of rejoicing and devastation.

He loved God and when he was up, this boy was up.  So fun, so loving, sharing his faith with everyone.  Serving and loving others and loving me well.  He, the most affectionate of my boys.  He, the boy turned man that even at twenty something would still call me Mommy.  But addiction is horrifying, grabbing someone you love and pulling them back down the rabbit hole while you watch from the sidelines unable to do anything but pray.

And so Christmas is hard.  It is tragic and hopeful.  It is glaringly empty and yet full of promise. Because a baby king was born I will see my Justin again.  I will hear him laugh and call me Mommy, but in the meantime Christmas reminds me that two is less than three and the roller coaster keeps rolling on.

I go to buy chap stick for stockings and it comes in packs of three.  I don't have three anymore.  I go to buy pajama pants and pull three pair....The loss overwhelms me.  I thought I would be better.  I am disappointed in myself.  I want to be stronger and instead I am weaker.  I cry out to the healer but the doses only seem to come in small increments and then the disease of grief rises up all over again. Like a fever it takes me over, my whole body feels the effects.  My body hurts almost as much as my heart.  Until it doesn't. Until just like that I am able.  I am stronger, even if just for a moment.

Wonderful people.  I love you people.  You hug me, you love me, you listen patiently.  You hug tighter than normal and when I choke up and pull away you say it's okay.  Yes, you probably are one of these people.  You write encouraging notes, send sweet texts, light candles, you speak love with words and actions and you make it bearable.  I try to be alone but I can't bear it and so you fill my life with your presence.  You shop with me, sit with me and when I am crazy, frantic get it.  You know my routine, my addiction.  You listen, you are not judgy, you are my people, my tribe.

You make me laugh, you remind me I am not tripping I am trudging.  You are the sign that says "this way" and you move me towards the light.  You send me songs and teachings and you think I don't notice....but I do.  Sometimes I just can't talk about it, how much it helped.  There is a file on my computer for your love letters.  I love you people! 

Lost in the maze I hear your voices shouting directions as I limp along.  I hear the Holy Spirit whispering, I know this sadness.  I too was separated from someone I love.  So, I limp along. Roaming the barren land of this world looking for the entrance to the promise land.  I suppose I will end up back in this place from time to time for the rest of my life.  Someone will look like Justin and take my breath away.  I will see two instead of three, the hole will swallow me for a moment.  I will forget he is gone and feel that sudden panic of loss....that Mother's fear and then I will realize I don't need to search for him, he is already found.

Two is less than three its true, but this world always holds less....Heaven is full of all the rest...there is so much more to come.  So today I choose to celebrate the two and all the other special, wonderful people in my life.  My tribe, my close and my far, my near and dears, and my sisters from another misters, my fellow strugglers and my supporters and most of all the lover of my soul who somehow will piece all this brokeness back together one day.

P.S.   Sorry if I didn't get you a gift, shopping was just to hard.

Love Came Down

Humility is not humanities strongest suit.  I can't speak for everyone but ummmm....I struggle. It is a sneaky thing...pride.  It can wrap itself up in false humility or it can look like righteous indignation, almost always it involves some kind of offence.  Just like Eve, I can think I know better.   Just the other day I caught myself correcting my husbands grammar....ratz.  Humility covers others mistakes, it doesn't put them on blast.   I don't think I am the only one out there that struggles with this.    

Isn't that what Jesus did when He came down.  He covered us and all our "jacked up, messed up ways".  He didn't put us on blast, He actually covered our failures with His perfection.  Yay for that!  

Jesus  knows humble.  He came down in the most humble of ways.  A baby, completely helpless. To relate to us, helpless humanity.  To do for us what we could never do for ourselves. 

Mary humbled herself to His will.  Such a beautiful example of humility....she didn't argue with the angel.  Didn't try to change the plan.  She submitted.  She was humble.  Unlike Mary, I sometimes argue with God about His plan.  Plain and simple, I just argue and even if I submit I catch myself complaining.  

Just when I think I have made progress, I slip up.  I snap at someone for not doing it my way, I complain about something I shouldn't, I get fixated on what I think should happen. Pride stinks.  It is at the root of every argument, every judgement, every sin.....Jesus hates it and Satan loves it.  Pride says I deserve to be heard, I am right and others must know it, my way is the only way, I see their sin and I want to point it out, pride refuses to forgive, etc.  You can just fill in the blank here on what it looks like in your own life.  

Humility looks like love, it comes down.  It kneels with the broken, lifts up the hurting, lays itself down for others.  It looks eye to eye and doesn't say a thing, except love. Humility covers sin, it doesn't expose it.  Humility wants the best for others, not itself.  Jesus was thinking of us, when He came down.  He was thinking of our pain and suffering and was willing to endure His own pain and suffering for us.  That is humility.  That is humble.  

He was born in a stable.  A stable of all places.  No grand hotel, no fancy linens, the King came in a stable.  I could take a lesson from this.  I gotta admit, I like the nice places.  However, Jesus always shows up in the low places.  That's not to say He is never at the Hyatt, but let's just be honest any of us that have gone on a missions trip know that we really see Him there.  He loves the unexpected places, the damp and musty places, the dry and barren places.  He is not about the comfort of earth, but the need of humanity.  

The first Kingly announcement came to the shepherds.  The blue collar workers of Bible times.  The least of these, the dirty, the campers, the hard workers....He choose Shepherds to teach us something....humility.    

Do you know this stable door was low, a low cave burrowed out among the stone…..the only way to go in is to stoop low….to witness the Savior, you have to get down on your knees….
Ordinary shepherds who were willing to bow down…kneel and become those extraordinary enough to see the baby King in a manger. They became the first evangelist, to tell the good news. 

So while the smarty pants religious were sleeping, and the elite were dreaming, and the successful were tucked away in their warm beds, the shepherds….the meek and lowly ones were kneeling at a manger, staring into the face of the King.

That is the gift of Christmas, His presence, His love came down….
Emmanuel God with us….Humility exampled, lived out for all to see.

Stepping from the throne, He removed His robe and wrapped himself in skin…entered a young peasant  girls womb, birthed into a cold night and slept on cold hay….
I imagine Mary didn’t know whether to give him milk or give him praise….she gave him both.

Jesus came down to a stable and in so doing he said,
I love you this much….I will speak your language, sleep on your earth, feel your pain, walk your streets, experience your friendship and your betrayal….then I will once again say, I love you this much and spread my arms out on a cross and die for you.

We wonder how long He will love us?  Look to the cross, that’s our death He died…look to the empty tomb that’s our resurrection He’s  living.  He will love us for all eternity.

That’s how much He loves us. 
We are precious to Him.  So precious that he became like us, that we would come to him. 

In the Message Isaiah 9:6,  says it this way….
A child has been born---for us!
The gift of a son—For us!
His names will be:  Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness

Love came down to be our counselor, our strength, our family and our wholeness….He loved us soooo much that He had to come.  He got low, in order to take us high.  Love came down so that Heaven could open it's gates wide.  Love came down, humbled Himself in order to save us. Humility personified for all of humanity.  

Dear Jesus,
May we actively crush pride under our feet this Christmas Season, just as you did when you came to this earth as a baby.   May love reign supreme over everything else.  May we be like Mary and humbly submit to your plans.  May we like the shepherds be those who are kneeling in front of the King.  May we stoop low to enter into your presence.  May we remember that no matter our accomplishments nothing compares to you, the King.  May we learn from you and the Shepherds, that blessed are the meek. 
In Jesus Name we pray, make it so Lord.

Hello old friend, it's time for you to go....

Sometimes sadness creeps up on me like an old friend,
wraps me up in a blanket and holds my hand.
Hello old friend, it seems to say.
Hello again, I whisper back.

You can't stay long I have things to do, I tell my friend.
I know, it whispers back.
We sit and hold hands and tears creep down my face.
I'm trying to think of happy things now, you know?
I know, it whispers back.
We sit a while longer like that...entwined together.
Sadness and I, my old friend, my companion through the darkest of times.

You must go, I whisper.
I know, it whispers back.
I have new friends now, places to go, people to love.
I know, it whispers back.
I'm sorry, I am really sorry but you can't stay.
I know, it whispers back.

I feel bad sometimes to not feel sad.
To tell you to leave.
It doesn't mean my love is any less.
It just means that here, on this earth there is still more love to give.
People for me to wrap in a blanket and hold hands with.
I know, it whispers back.

Goodbye, I choke out.
The blanket of sorrow lifts.
I can almost visibly see the clouds parting.
I'm sure we will meet again, I say.
Yes, it says.

Hello there, I say to my new friend.
A smile creeps unto my face,
the heaviness lifts, as I hold hands with my new friend.
Hello there, says my new friend.
I lay my head on His shoulder,
and he laughs gently.
I laugh too.
Hello joy, it's good to see you again.

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