When You Unintentionally Hurt Others

I experienced a really difficult situation tonight. You know that saying “hurt people hurt people” . . . ? Yeah, I lived that tonight. And the knowledge that I hurt someone else made me hurt really, really badly. It also made me think about the people who have hurt me in the past, mostly unintentionally, and how I pushed them away and clung to my pain.

To be honest, this past week has been a terrible week. I experienced some personal pain that resulted in the worst panic attack I’ve had in a long time. Other friends also had difficult weeks, seemingly all around the same timeframes. Our nation also experienced severe tragedy. Everyone is hurting.

When I hurt, it doesn’t take much to trigger me into deep pain. I’ve tried to heal the wounds, but they are too big for me. I’ve called out to God, and honestly, it doesn’t seem like He has done much about it. That complicates faith quite a bit. It certainly makes faith a choice when you aren’t feeling it.

Earlier this week, I saw something that ripped open the wound of rejection in my heart. After that, it seemed like I was facing rejection everywhere.

Someone stole my Open House signs on my first day hosting an open house as a Realtor. That small thing shouldn’t have made me feel as rejected and violated as it did, but it did.

Then, I tried to purchase an item from a person I know on Facebook but was ignored. It really wasn’t the ignoring that got me. It was that I had tried to purchase items from this person before, and also been ignored. And it wasn’t just her, but I experienced severe rejection from multiple people at the church she attends (that I also attended for a couple of years until I finally left), after going through some of the worst things in my life (i.e. when my brother was sentenced to 10 years in prison, I was stood up by the prayer “leader” and other leaders I set up appointments to try to meet with).

This girl sort of embodied all I thought was good in that church. The rejection I perceived to get from her via Facebook poured salt into the old wounds from the people I had once admired at that church and then been extremely burned and rejected by.

Being ignored on Facebook shouldn’t have bothered me so much, but it did. I was sick of being rejected and ignored, especially by people at THAT church. I had already unfriended most of the people who triggered my pain, but I didn’t want to unfriend her because I thought she was different from them.

So I contacted her instead. I told her I was frustrated about being ignored. Ironically, our last message from several years ago was me asking her if I had offended her, and if that was that why she was ignoring my request to place an order from her.

Back then, she responded that she was busy and missed the message and how sorry she was. Still, she never followed through with the order. I didn’t pursue it.

This time, she responded in a similar way. She said she was busy and that she’s sorry I felt that way, but that she missed the message.

I was talking to someone else at the time and didn’t read her full message. I responded with a curt explanation that I understood she was busy, but that this was the third time I had tried to order from her and been ignored, and that I wouldn’t be trying to order from her again in the future.

She responded that she understood and that someone else had wanted that item before I did, but that she understood.

I responded again that I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but that I respected her and her work, and that I felt if she continued to treat customers the way she had treated me that people were going to start going away from her. I told her that I hoped her the best in her endeavors.

Then I read the rest of her email response. And my heart dropped.

She said her reason for not responding and being busy was that her mother was diagnosed with cancer last week. Last week. That terrible week. That same day I had had the horrible panic attack that sent me into depression for the weekend.

And my response to her vulnerability was that I understood things get busy, but this was the third time I had been ignored and I wasn’t going to try again.

Wow. What a coldhearted, jerky thing to say to someone who just told you their mother was diagnosed with cancer. I felt like the most terrible person in the world, and I am sure she thought I was. I didn’t mean to be, but that is what it appeared I was.

I wrote back, telling her I had just fully read her message, and that I was sorry I hurt her and added to her stress. She had already un-friended me from Facebook.

To be honest, if I were her, I would have totally blasted me. I would have definitely told me off and been very hateful about it.

But she responded with “I understand . . .” and putting up the seemingly well-deserved boundary of unfriending–just like I had with all those “hateful” people from that church she represented who hurt me so much.

In the middle of complaining that she wasn’t listening to me, I failed to listen to her. I was so caught up in my hurt and my being tired of being rejected and ignored over and over and over again that I put up a boundary that said NO MORE. I was so selfishly caught up in my hurt, I hurt her.

I hate hurting others. I never mean to, but when it happens I have a very real knowledge that I cannot I stop the hurt I’ve caused. I know it because I’ve been hurt and no matter how much the other person is sorry (or maybe didn’t even mean to hurt me) it doesn’t stop the pain.

I felt so guilty for what I had done, I immediately wrote the girl a letter and bought her something simple. The package is on the table and ready to be mailed.

But something else happened in the middle of all of this processing. My pain from the past became too much again and I started spewing out hatred all over my apartment. I resentfully looked at the package and thought of all the people who had hurt me and how they had never done anything to try to fix it. I started cursing the people who had hurt me from that girl’s church, expressing my feelings of hate for them.

I started crying and asking God why He left me here in this pain. I asked God if anyone even cared in the whole world.

Immediately, I heard HIM silently answer, “I will not leave you comfortless . . .” 

Right there in the middle of the worst of my brokenness, in the middle of love that had grown very cold, was a still small whisper. God wasn’t angry at my anger, my resentment, or my ocean of hurt. He was just there.

To be honest, it took me a while to calm down, but then I knew I had to write about this somewhere because writing is really the only thing that makes anything make sense to me.

This whole world is full of pain, hurt, misunderstanding, rejection, and all sorts of misjudgments and broken relationships. People are facing far worse realities than I have ever had. They will never have the answer to their question, “Why me?”

Tonight, my blunder and self-defense cost me the acquaintance of a person I admire. We were never close friends, though I wished I could have been friends with her and her friends. I was never accepted into their group, no matter how much I tried. I’m sure it’s for the best that she and I are no longer connected on social media, but it is sad it has to be that way.

Who knows what kind of hurts she and her friends and her church experienced that caused them to be so rejecting of others in the first place. Their hurts turned into my hurts, which turned into more hurt for them and me.

Is it possible that somehow this entire situation can be turned around for the good? Not just this situation, but also the situation I had last week that left me reeling from the heartbreak and pain of a previous great loss?

I honestly can’t see it at the moment. How can any separation between people be a good thing? How can any brokenness be a good thing?

I looked up the words that came to me in the midst of my hateful rage. “I will not leave you comfortless . . .”  It came from a passage in John, chapter 14, verses 18-23.

I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall.” John 14:18-23

Yes, the world is broken and so am I. But Jesus is coming back to redeem His people from all of this hurt and brokenness. As the love in the world grows cold, sometimes it feels as if we sense God’s presence less and less. It shakes us to the core. The disconnection between Believers makes it worse. We hold onto hurt, pain, and unforgiveness and we let go of people.

Somehow I don’t think it was meant to be that way. If only we would love each other enough to not cut each other off to protect ourselves. Maybe we would see that we never meant to hurt each other in the first place.

I don’t understand why the hurts I’ve experienced happened. But I do know I do not want to hold onto them. I don’t want to go through life in pain. I don’t want to reject people because they reject me. I don’t want to be filled with hurt, bitterness, or resentment.

God, have mercy on my heart. Please heal me. I can’t fix these things myself. I can’t fix myself. I am at Your mercy.

I will send the package and the card to the girl. I will not try to be her friend or purchase items from her. I won’t try to comfort her because of her mother’s situation; that is for her real friends to do. But I will remember her. I will remember that she didn’t respond to me with hatred, perhaps indifference, but not hatred. She simply put up a boundary to protect herself. And I totally understand that, because I do it too.


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

Dreams

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams . . .

Acts 2:17 ESV

The Bible mentions dreams and visions as a mode of communication between God and man multiple times throughout the Old and New Testaments.

I don’t know about you, but I can say that most of the dreams I have had in my life have not had much spiritual significance. But there have been a few I felt were from the LORD. In fact, some of the most significant times in my life that I sensed God leading me, or warning me, have come through dreams.

I recently heard someone say that dreams are the way our mind tries to figure out our lives. As well, there is quite a bit of research on the rapid eye movement that occurs during sleep and how it is beneficial in therapy such as EMDR to ease PTSD. There is certainly something special about dreams, especially when they stick with us long after we have woken up.

Throughout my life, I have had a few different series of dreams that became a progression of sorts. The dreams come out of nowhere and carry similar themes. This week, I had another progressive dream, and I’m thankful to say it shows that I have progressed in my life. Before I share it with you, let me share the previous dreams I had that belong to this same series of dreams.

I had the first dream two or three times. In the dream, I was a college graduate, but I was stuck in high school! I would talk to the administration, trying to convince them I didn’t belong in high school and that I had already graduated. I would suggest that I take the GED and test out, but each time they would tell me I had to stay in high school for two more years, and that I had to sit through the classes.

Those dreams were very frustrating to say the least, and mirrored what I felt in my life–stuck. The accomplishments I had made in my education and experience didn’t seem to matter to anyone at work. I couldn’t seem to “graduate” to the next phase of my life no matter how much I knew I was beyond where I was stuck.

This week I had a new dream in the progression of this series of school-dreams. In my dream, I was in college! Yea, no more high school! At least I moved on from there. In the dream, I forgot I had registered for a history class. I made it through the semester when I realized I hadn’t gone to history class for weeks!

I was determined I would get to the class, but it started in 10 minutes, and I was waiting on my parents to give me a ride to class. I kept telling them I needed to go, or I would be late. Finally, I climbed in the backseat of their vehicle and we were on our way.

It was a silly dream, and one that doesn’t make sense at all on the surface. I graduated college years ago, and have no desire to formally further my education. And riding with my parents? I haven’t depended on them for a ride since I’ve had my driver’s license.

Despite the silliness of the dream, it stuck with me. I couldn’t shake it when I woke up. What was it about this dream that I needed to remember? In a moment, a flash of meaning entered my mind. In the dream, if I didn’t get my life straightened out, I was going to have to repeat history–something I desperately did not want to do!

I’ve been facing some pretty large life lessons over the past two years. They haven’t been easy, and I desperately want to move forward beyond them. With this simple dream, I felt the Lord was getting my attention. I can’t blame anyone else for my problems–not teachers or my parents or just being forgetful. I have to take responsibility and learn the lesson, or history will repeat itself.

Have you had any significant dreams lately? Is God trying to speak a word into your life through the dreams you have? Please share. I would love to know how God is speaking into your life.


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

A Lovely Day

valentines-day-wallpaper
YOU ARE LOVED

It’s that time of year again. The stores are sprinkled with red helium balloons, chocolate candy, and the smell of fresh flowers. I almost bought myself some flowers today, until I noticed they had quadrupled the price for Valentine’s Day . . .

When I realized my blog for the week was due on Valentine’s Day, I thought about writing about God’s love for us. But that kind of felt like avoiding the reality of what many people in my age and stage of life (the mid-20s through 30s and single) are experiencing right now.

To be honest, I’ve felt a little sad over the past week. I think it has more to do with the weather than Valentine’s Day, but maybe the idea of what life is “supposed to be like” has affected my non-conscious self.

I remember several years ago, I was purposeful to make sure I spent Valentine’s Day doing nice things for other people. I didn’t want to be the kind of girl that just moped around all week, wishing for some kind of fanciful romance. I wanted to be an active part of making the day special for someone else. I honestly forgot about that initiative until now as I am writing. I somehow let my purposefulness slip away over the past few years, but it’s not too late for me to pick it back up this week.

The truth is, I’m not the only one who feels a little sad this week. Many people all around me are going to be hurting on Valentine’s Day. People will feel lonely, sad, rejected, unsettled, anxious, fearful, etc. I’ll be interacting with people who have been through break-ups, divorce, death, and all other sorts of transitions and losses that can make the day more difficult to face alone. Some may even be in the middle of a relationship full of turmoil, strife, and confusion, wishing they didn’t have to deal with that kind of hurtful, living and present grief.

If I could send a message out to anyone who is hurting on Valentine’s Day, it would be that you are not alone. There are many people in your same situation. I challenge you to look around and listen to other’s stories. Realize how much we have in common. Connect to someone.

The world is an unsure place. Life gives us more than we can handle at times. We need each other now more than ever before. Reach out to help someone else. Don’t wait for someone to reach out to you. Give compassion and care to someone else, and you will find your heart overflowing with love.

You are loved. God loves you, and there are people in your life who love you. Acknowledge and accept that love.

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the solitary in families . . .”

I am so thankful God has placed me in a great group of friends like I’ve never had before. I have somewhere to go on Friday nights to hang out with friends, people to eat with on Sunday afternoon, and all sorts of meaningful and fun events to participate in throughout the week.

If you are in the San Antonio area, in your 20s or 30s, and looking for a group to join, check out the CBC Young Professionals. We meet on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. in Room C-136 at Community Bible Church located at 2477 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, TX 78232. We would love to meet you and make you a part of our community.

“Celebrating life change in Jesus’ Name.” -CBC


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part. It is also featured on her personal blog, http://www.RachaelKathleenHartman.com

OK in the middle of brOKen

IM-OKI’m currently attending a class at church called Hiding From Love. Tonight we talked about the splits in our lives–the areas where we are broken–and how that brokenness keeps us from loving God and others.

 

We started to share the ways we try to hide our brokenness–putting up facades, rejecting others, turning to addictions or pornography, isolating . . . and the list went on. People started talking about how they wanted healthy relationships, and some talked about past relationships that failed and why they failed, and why they are better off now without the person they used to be with.

I stayed quiet for the most part throughout the first part of the class. I didn’t have anything to say for a while. There was only one thought in my mind, and it was about the relationships I have and have had–the broken relationships, with broken people, and a broken me. Finally, I shared my thoughts.

14-14-1-15-19-56-48m.jpgI can’t cut off my family just because they aren’t perfect. I can’t stop all relationships because they aren’t healthy. So what if I love someone who isn’t the best for me? If I love them, I love them; there’s no turning it off.

The goal isn’t for me to get better so I can be in a perfectly healthy relationship. The goal is to love, to stay, to be present, and to be active in the midst of the brokenness. There’s going to be brokenness in every person and relationship; we can’t let that stop us from living and loving now.

I have friends who are committed to their marriage even though one person has an addiction. I have friends who stay even though their loved one is fighting cancer and it is painful to watch. I have a friend who keeps living life to the fullest, even though he was in a terrible accident that cost him the use of his legs. I personally have anxiety, bouts of crying and panic attacks, but I’m still taking risks and living my life.

love-quotes-22I have come to the place where I know I’m going to have times where I cry and am angry and feel hurt, and that is okay. I’m going to face difficult times, and I’m going to be able to live through it and love through it, even though it hurts.

We don’t have to hide from love because we are broken, or because the person we love is broken. We don’t have to wait to live until there’s a better moment or a more ideal situation. Today is the day to live and to love.

If we continue to seek something “better,” we will constantly pass up love while we wait for “the best” for our lives. Why not be content now? Why not have fun now? Why do we have to keep grasping for a better job, a better person, a better life? We have the life we have now, and it’s ours to live, with all of its brokenness.

We can seek perfection, or we can seek contentment. Perfection will cost us our relationships, and being present in the moment. But with contentment, we can live and love today, in the midst of brokenness.

We have a choice, we can harden our hearts to protect ourselves from the hurt life brings, or we can allow God to give us a heart that is full of passion, the ability to feel, and, yes, vulnerability to pain.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 36:26

Lord, help us to see beyond our brokenness. So many of us seek “better” things . . .  accomplishments, jobs, a person to be in a relationship with, more money, beauty, or even a quest for emotional health . . . But all that really matters is that we love right here and right now. Thank-You for loving us in our brokenness, and for giving us the capacity to love others in the midst of theirs.’ 


Rachael

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.

My Journey to Emotional Sobriety

8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:8-11

4-ways-to-turn-weaknesses-into-strengthsA wise man once explained to me that the word sober in 1 Peter 5:8 not only refers to refraining from drunkenness, but also to staying sober from anger, greed, and other emotional, and spiritual issues. There are so many things we can be drunk on. “Love” for another person being one of those things. There are so many experiences and emotions that can inhibit our ability to be “sober-minded” and avoid the lion who seeks to destroy our souls.

By God’s grace, I personally have never been drunk with alcohol. I’ve never had a desire to drink at all. But I have had problems with anger and selfishness and lost my emotional sobriety. My anger and unforgiveness turned to bitterness and brokenness. It was so bad there seemed to be no way for me to stop the rage that began to boil inside my heart and mind.

The person who was hurt the most was me. I have implosive anger… Instead of tearing a room apart, I would keep all the anger inside and it began to destroy my self-worth and peace of mind.

The only thing that began to help was, ironically, The 12 Steps. I started to attend Life’s Healing Choices and other Celebrate Recovery types of programs like Changes that Heal, Boundaries, Hiding From Love, etc. I started to apply the 12 Steps to help me seek emotional sobriety from anger, bitterness, fear, rejection, panic, anxiety, depression, and emotional highs and lows.

I’ve heard people say that deliverance can come in two different ways: instantaneously, or through a process. For me, remaining emotionally sober has been a process of deliverance, one I have to remain committed to, just as my brothers and sisters who are recovering alcoholics and addicts.

I have to always remember that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. I find that when I think things are becoming “right” in my life, and I start to slack in knowing my need for Jesus, that’s when my emotions begin to flare up again. I find myself emotionally overpowered by depression, anxiety, fear and anger . . . and then back to the realization that I am not God, not in control, but that God loves me and cares for me. I’m learning my life is and will be a constant surrendering dependence on God.

As I release my emotions to God, He fills me with forgiveness, peace, and joy. I share this testimony of the power of Christ with you to give you hope. Whatever it is you are fighting, turn to God, turn to Christian support, and seek sobriety.


Rachael.jpg

Rachael Hartman is a 30-something with two dogs, and a passion for writing. She owns Our Written Lives, LLC an independent Christian publishing company.

She wrote this piece to share with the San Antonio CBC Young Professionals class, of which she is a part.

Victory

Nine days into 2018.

For the past three days, the word Victory has unwittingly come into my life. I didn’t realize it until today, as I drove to work listening to a CD I recently purchased. There it was in the first song, VICTORY. As the music played, my mind drifted to the book I began reading last night, Chosen for Victory, by James Holland Sr. I brought the book back to Texas with me from my parents’ house after Thanksgiving and hadn’t touched it until last night.

As I read the first chapter of the book last night, I recalled the story of Alexander the Great was featured in the Sunday school class I had attended the day before. To add to these three instances, the word Victory was the theme of a sermon I happened upon on Facebook earlier today. My pastor often says, “We don’t fight for Victory, but from a place of Victory . . .” That was the concept presented

It seems everywhere I turn, Victory is calling my name, whispering in my mind, beckoning my heart to believe.

What has me completely in awe is the fact that the word Victory has been the last thing on my mind over the past year. I felt more defeat last year than I have my entire life. I have not been seeking out Victory, nor have I even thought of the word. I haven’t prayed particularly for Victory, or even felt as if it were possible.

What I have been seeking is God. I have been pushing aside my selfish desires and asking God to enter my life in a more full way. I’ve asked Him to lead and guide me. I haven’t done much talking. I haven’t asked for anything specifically. I haven’t been obsessed with anyone or anything.

I’ve just been quiet. I’ve been working. I’ve been waiting.

I’ve been speaking to God, but I haven’t been really crying out to Him so much, though I have a bit these past few days. I have just talked to Him. And I haven’t really heard much of anything. Until now.

Victory. It’s been a quiet word. I’m not sure how or when it will manifest. All I know is that is that when I silence all the word around me, that word is all I hear.

 

Anger and Anxiety

I’ve been aware I struggle with Anxiety since the first time I learned what the word meant. Anger kicked in when I was in my mid-20s. I never considered a link between my anger and anxiety before tonight.

I don’t know why the thought came to me. It just sort of clicked. I mean, I’ve known about “fight or flight” forever. And I’ve known I have a problem not being able to let go of cycling thoughts of self-defending anger. I just never linked the two before now.

My anger was implosive for several years. I slowly self-destructed as I blamed myself for everything in my life that was wrong. As I started working on my self-esteem, my anger began expressing in different ways – usually in confronting authority figures who abuse their power.

I don’t know much else to write at the moment because I don’t want to go into telling the story of my current battles, as it will spiral me into anger and anxiety again. I just felt like I wanted to share about this topic and give an opportunity for others to share their thoughts.

He Loves a Cheerful Giver

It’s my birthday! I was on Facebook a few nights ago and I noticed I could dedicate my birthday to a cause and raise funds for a related non-profit. I chose to dedicate my birthday to a group that provides humanitarian aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, the Iraqi Christain Relief Council.

God has placed a great love and compassion in my heart for persecuted people around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Iraq. I’m a monthly financial supporter of the Hatune Foundation, which provides humanitarian to help Christian and Yazdi women fleeing ISIS.

When I saw I could raise a little bit of money through Facebook, I jumped at the chance. I set a goal of $340 for my 34th Birthday. It only took a few days, and so many contributed, we surpassed the goal! So far $420 has been donated! It’s pretty awesome! I have a feeling we are going to make at least $100 more than the goal.

fundraiser-goal.pngI want to thank everyone for their support. Among those who gave include my Dad, Mom, Sister, close friends, and even a single mother with a son who was recently diagnosed with cancer. When I look at the sacrifices each person made, my heart is stirred with compassion. I know the heart of God is stirred as well, and that He will multiply our gift to bring aid to people in need.

I thank God for another year to live, and another year to give. I want this year to be the year I give more than I have ever given to help people in need, both in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you all for making my birthday so special, and thank you for supporting me by supporting this cause that I care so deeply about.

Tomorrow, I am starting a drive at work to collect items for the Houston flood victims. Please pray that we collect a nice amount of useful items, which will be transported to Houston on Friday. Much love 

P.S. I want to share that for the past week, I’ve been praying for the Lord to help me regain a sense of happiness and joy. As I give to others, I realize I’m gaining much joy in return. God truly does love a cheerful giver. I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser,

I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser, one of my now ex-Facebook friends was very demeaning to me for donating to an organization that in his words “only helps other people in their cult.” I have to come against his statements

I have to come against his statements because of the following. #1, Christianity is not a cult. #2, Every humanitarian and human service organization has a target population to serve. #3, Christians in the Middle East are not the only persecuted people there, but they are a minority among the victims and sometimes victimized by other people who are also victims of the “really bad guys” like ISIS. #4, If you don’t want to donate, don’t. But you don’t have to be rude and discouraging to someone who is just trying to do something nice for someone else.

Be thankful I am helping others, regardless of who those people are. I chose this population because I relate to them. They are my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and that means they are family. In short, I lost a Facebook friend, but I gained a lot of support from people who love me and who love to help people around the world. Much love 

His Eye is on the Sparrow

It has been quite some time since I have had anything to write. Months. I suppose you could say my soul was ravaged and I’ve been struggling to pick up the pieces and move on, most of the time drowning my sorrows in work.

But today I have something to write.

A few weeks ago, on August 9th to be exact, I posted a short video of some baby birds squawking in their nest as their momma flew back and forth with dinner. It’s not unusual for me to share little photos and videos of the sweet things I happen upon. I’ve always been in awe of the beauty of nature around me. I particularly love animals.

After work on August 17th, I met a sad sight. One of the baby birds was dead on the ground outside the post office where their nest was under the awning. I was late to my next appointment, so I texted my coworker asking him to move it to the flower bed outside the building next door. No response. I honestly forgot about the poor baby bird until today when I saw it still lying there outside the post office door near the nest.

At the time I saw the bird I was feeling sorry for myself, alone, and forgotten. My heart has been missing my mother lately. She lives across the country. My heart has been grieving the children I have not born, and the love I have lost. My heart has ached for my friends, the mother who recently lost her baby at full term, another mother whose son was diagnosed with cancer, and others.

I couldn’t leave that baby bird there again. I kept thinking of the mother bird and the other babies, and if they had continued fly to the nest, passing over this lost one every day. Its life was too valuable; I would not forsake it.

I had received a letter in my post office box from a woman in prison that I stashed in my purse. She hadn’t sealed the envelope; a simple slice of tape kept it shut. I removed the letter, marked out our information, and added a new destination.

new-destination.jpg

I used a nearby leaf to cradle the baby bird into the envelope.

baby-bird-rests.jpg

As I stood, I peeled off the sticky and sealed the envelope. A song entered my heart. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me . . . There it was, the whisper from Heaven I had longed for all day. I began to weep as I acknowledged God’s presence. None of us are forgotten.

I walked over to the raised flower bed next door at the veterinarian’s office. There was a beautiful bush with blue flowers that caught my eye. I climbed into the flower area and began to thank God for the gift the baby bird had been to me. I remembered how much joy I had as I watched the mother bird feed the babies.

the-garden.jpg

I placed the envelope under the bush and climbed off the edge of the platform. I looked back; it wasn’t good enough. I could still see the envelope. I climbed back up and pushed the burial shroud further under the brush. It’s just the kind of mother I am, I thought. The baby must have a resting space.

As I walked away I noticed some baby birds hopping on the roof of the vet-clinic and flying through the garden area. I imagined they were the same bird family the little one belonged to. They sang their song as if all was right with the world now that their brother was where he belonged, safe, and at rest.

As I climbed into my vehicle, I felt a solemn peace wash through me. Though there was a pain in my heart, I felt solid strength holding up my soul. I sensed the presence of the Lord whispering that no matter how much we feel life is over, there is still something there–the love, the joy, the gratefulness. There is still something to be thankful for.

This evening I took my two creatures out for a walk. I brought my camera along and took pictures of flowers and trees, bunnies, other dogs, a mama deer and her babies, a bunny, and even some vultures camped out on their cell phone tower (or whatever it is). I just needed to be outside, to feel, to appreciate life.

I came home and read the beautiful letter I received from the woman in prison. I thought of my brother, in prison on the other side of the country. I thought of the thousands of incarcerated Americans who feel forgotten. I prayed for them all, and I prayed for me too.

And I remembered . . . His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches over us all . . . and . . .

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

Cross out chance.

Sharing some great thoughts from my friend!

From Nonsense To Sense

Recently I have been noticing that people almost always have something hanging from the rear view mirror in their car. Usually it’s either some form of a cross, or hanging dice. It got me thinking: People are either choosing Christ and the cross, or they are leaving their lives to chance… What a revelation!

When I speak of life – I am not just referring to this life. I mean the eternal life of your soul. Can we take a moment to comprehend the severity of this situation? Not through the filter of fear, but through a perspective that sobers us into an awakening. It scares me to think that some people are okay with rolling the dice, and gambling their salvation away for a few years of supposed fun.

On my birthday a few years ago, I went gambling for the first (and only) time. I hated it…

View original post 138 more words