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Friday, July 17, 2015

Broken Hallelujah

  Such truth in these lyrics...
... after the storms of this past month we are raising our Broken Halleljah...

God is good.
Even when we don't understand His plan...
God is good.

"I can barely stand right now.
Everything is crashing down,
And I wonder where You are.

I try to find the words to pray.
I don't always know what to say,
But You're the one that can hear my heart.

Even though I don't know what your plan is,
I know You're making beauty from these ashes.

I've seen joy and I've seen pain.
On my knees, I call Your name.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

With nothing left to hold onto,
I raise these empty hands to You.
Here's my broken hallelujah.

 When all is taken away, don't let my heart be changed.
Let me always sing Hallelujah
When I feel afraid, don't let my hope be erased
Let me always sing Hallelujah.
Let me always sing Hallelujah.

I will always sing
I will always sing
Here's my broken hallelujah."

                                        ~ The Afters

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pneumonia, Car Accidents and a Bankruptcy...

It has not been a good month.

Definitely not good.

Pneumonia settled into Dad's lungs with a vengenance mid-June.  Complications with his COPD did not help.  It has been weeks of doctoring, medicating and nurturing.

And it has taken an army :-)  Family and friends who have brought soup, driven him to appointments,

met us at the hospital, encouraged, hugged and prayed this pneumonia into submission!  Doctors, nurses and specialists who plied their trade with mercy and healing.

Dad is on the mend.  But it's been a hard recovery...

The struggle has been not only physical, but emotionally for all of us as well.  Our worry meters were off the charts as Dad's doctors changed his antibiotics 3 times before finally seeing results.

And I know that this fear that reared its evil head was from the nightmare of mom's last week... Her pneumonia was a stronghold we simply couldn't breech.  And dad's ragged, labored breathing brought back memories sore to the heart.. an ominous refrain that filled us with dread.

So grateful for God's tender mercies in this, the first of our hurdles this past month.  For just as Dad was beginning to feel better, he was involved in a serious car accident... a short little drive to get some groceries ended in disaster as he rear-ended a pick-up truck, totaling his car in the process.

My heart skipped a beat (ok, it stopped) when he called... this is the kind of phone call we worried about getting when our teens were learning to drive!  My abrupt coronary was averted when Dad assured me he was alright.  Mercies abound, indeed, as Dad was not seriously injured nor was the driver of the pick-up.  But the car tells its own story...

Mangled fenders, smashed windshields, deflated airbags... it is beyond repair according to the insurance company.

In the light of this news, we are so incredibly grateful that dad walked away from the accident relatively ok.

But the bruises remain...  Bruised body.  Bruised ego.  Bruised dreams.

It's hard to hear the tremble in his voice... see the slump in his shoulders... the defeat in his eyes... the unspoken questions...

And as we wrestled with this latest crisis, we learned that a financial investment we had made years ago was headed for bankruptcy.  Retirement money that we had thought was safely tucked away for our sunset years was suddenly hanging by a thread.

More nightmares ensued as we scrambled with thousands of others to figure out what was happening... The courts appointed a Trustee to oversee the company, and as the facts have slowly come to light, it is becoming apparent that we are dealing with deliberate fraud and deceptive marketing, eerily reminiscent of the Enron scandal from a decade ago... only now it is very personal.  This scandal involves our money.  And our trust.  And the nightmare is long from over.

This month has been a beating... and with each blow we find ourselves more bruised than before.  It's hard to breath when the weight of the worry smothers out the joy...

And we know that we are not alone.  Life can be a fight.  It can leave us smothered and panicked.  Hurting and Hopeless.

More tears have fallen recently than I care to admit.  But it's true. It has not been a good month.

And there is no magic bullet for this kind of heaviness.  The scripture is clear, "In this world you will have trouble and suffering..."  John 16:33

In the middle of the nightmare there is no secret formula for reigniting our faith...

It is a walk of hard grace.  The practice of putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward totally dependent on God's Sovereign mercy.  For we know how the story ends...

"I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me.
In this world you will have troubles,
but take courage, I have overcome the world."
                                          ~ John 16:33

He has promised to be there, always. {Matthew 28:20}  And He will always keep his promises...

So in the midst of this not-so-good month, we found ourselves on a plane to Wisconsin.  For a college graduation celebration of a dear niece...a celebration dad was determined not to miss.

And somewhere in the celebration we felt laughter bubble up, a smile to be with family, a simple joy to sample today's ripe strawberries topped with fresh cream with the ones we love...

and we put one foot in front of the other and walk hard into grace...