Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The acceptance of grace, the fullness of love, the power of hope.

The acceptance of grace, the fullness of love, the power of hope.

This is what we hold onto. When understanding is beyond us and questions send our heads reeling, we trust in God's goodness to get us through each day. I don't have answers, I am lacking in wisdom but I know that true forgiveness knows no bounds and open arms are always necessary. I know that in times of heartache and confusion we fix our gaze on our creator and wrap our arms around one another and we hold grace, love, and hope in our hearts. That through this stormy night we will see a sunrise, and we will see it together.

Bitterness and anger have lost their place, death has lost its sting as those who we farewell spend an eternity in a place far greater than here. All there is for us to do is embrace one another and stand firm in the hope that tomorrow will be better. For all involved, there is grace, love and hope. For the heavy hearts, the broken bodies, the burdened shoulders, there is a tomorrow worth seeing.

I have spent my days in almost silence considering words to say and have found few. I am so overwhelmed with love for the people that have dealt with the darkest days I have ever experienced, and I honour those involved with my whole heart, for their bravery and love for one another. 

I am not sure of an awful lot, but I am sure of this much: We have to accept grace, live in the fullness of love, and hold steadfast to the power of hope. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lesson 182. Life is lived, life is loved, life is lost.

Life is lived, life is loved, life is lost.

And then come the details. The intricate inner workings of hearts and heads and souls that weave together a canvas of a someone. A someone who meant a something to so many, a someone who leaves a space when their time comes to return home. And we don't cry because we worry, because we're scared of where they've gone, no no, we simply cry because there is a space. There are gaps in every area that that someone existed within, there are conversations stilled by silence where joy would've once filled the air, there is an emptiness within your arms from where that person often rested, there is an empty seat in a special place beside you.

How? How do we keep moving? Does anybody really know? I don't think so. I don't think anybody can tell you how to stop the space from seeping into your skin and reaching right to your core to shake you once again. But I can tell you that I intend to wake up, get dressed, breathe, and then rinse and repeat. We allow ourselves to feel what we need to feel and we cling to one another in the times of heartache, but we ultimately trust our God enough to be able to go forwards, not to move on, but to simply move towards acceptance and hope.

I'm not worried about my friends in heaven, I know they'll be swinging off gold plated streetlights and feeling the warmth of abounding love on their face as they stand before Jesus. I'm admittedly afraid for me and my friends to face a life without them, but there is no doubt or fear in my mind about where they are or the state of their hearts. I'm more equipped than ever to face the world ahead of me because of the lessons left behind, because of the songs that ring true through this season, because God is faithful and good, because he loves.

How do we say goodbye? Well, with God's grace in abundance, we simply say "See you soon." and believe that in what will seem like a blink of the eye in the scheme of eternity, we will. We bring hearts full or sorrow and gladness all at the same time and share them through hand squeezes and handkerchiefs. We'll celebrate the lives that were lived with everything we have and we grieve as a unit. We know that regardless of how it feels, we are never, ever alone. And then we just do our best to wake up each day and ask God to bring us through.

Life is lived, life is loved, life is lost.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lesson 181. The clouds may be dark, but the water is still.

Tonight some close friends and I went to the beach. We watched the sunset and we talked, we climbed the mount and looked over the City, we held onto one another.

I was down by the water, looking out to sea. And it was still. Completely flat aside from the occasional ripple of the tide. I looked up to the sky and I saw dark clouds looming up ahead. There was no sign of light through, just dark clouds. And then I saw both in one picture, one frame. I saw the clouds that were up ahead, but I felt the water still beneath my toes. It was a perfect picture of the state of my heart.

I'm heartbroken, shattered, absolutely devastated. There doesn't seem to be any break for breath through this, grief is dark, it is painful, it is murky. But my heart, is still. It is at peace, it is resting in Jesus for the strength to simply trust what lies beyond the clouds. It's an odd conflict of emotions but it's one I'm coming to know on a deeper level with every day that passes. A sense of joy overwhelms me so regularly, because I loved the ones that I lost, but most of all because God is good. God is the water, still and at ease, knowing each wave that will follow and giving me grace to fare through.

Take heart, the clouds may be dark but the water is still. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For Caitlin.

Caitlin Dickson was one of life's silver linings. She was the beauty on the bad day, she was the sunshine beyond the clouds. Caitlin Dickson was the most beautiful girl the world ever knew.

I write with a heart so full of love and brokenness it might cave right in and flood right out. I'll never forget the day a little blonde blue eyed sweetheart waltzed up to me in kindergarten and announced "I like your rainbow t-shirt." I'll never forget that day because it changed my life. 

She had a laugh that caught like fire. She had a heart that loved without the shackles of judgment. And she fought with all the strength of every warrior that has ever been. Caitlin's heart pursued Jesus' relentlessly and her feet moved for him with such courage and gumption. I shared every heartbreak and every great joy I ever knew with my dear friend, and life ahead without her seems somewhat colourless. But I know that she'll be holding a heavenly paintbrush way up there to keep her loved ones their toes. Caitlin was incredibly creatively gifted, with an an artsy flair that was so trademark it stuck out like an extremely well manicured, breathtakingly beautiful sore thumb. I can't say enough about her heart for others, I can't feel enough about her loss, I can't pray enough for her precious family and the days we will face ahead. But I can't rejoice enough for her life, be grateful enough for her friendship, or feel blessed enough to have shared 15 years of life's roller-coaster with this precious daughter of Jesus. Every inch of me grieves and aches but every inch radiates with gratitude, because I knew her, because I loved her, because I was loved by her.

We used to tell people we were twins in primary school. When I complained about not having a car to drive my barbie family around in, she gave me her pale blue barbie family wagon. In year 8 when a boy was being mean to me, I cowered behind her as she told him to get lost, and through every stupid crush and heartache we shared shoulders and tears. We fought like sisters, although I always lost because she had a feisty streak and she never gave up. 

She had a heart so set on service and she left the world in the midst of doing what she loved. She held the broken in her heart and set aside judgment for Jesus to deal with. She was happy, she was in a good place, and now she's happier, and in a better place. My best friend met Jesus this morning, my best friend went home.

Thank you for a lifetime full of love and laughter Caitlin Susannah Rose Dickson. Thank you for liking my rainbow shirt, I love you. I'm going to miss you madly 'til I meet you once more. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lesson 180. Do something you don't do.

We all know I'm fairly terrible at spontaneity. I despise (truly, madly, deeply despise) anyone who sits in my seat at the dinner table, I schedule out my day the minute I wake up by 10-15-60 minute time slots, and if what I planned to be in the pantry is not in the pantry, I'm in a bad mood for at least the next 12 hours. I don't do spontaneous well. 

However, the other night a friend of mine popped me a text asking me if I wanted to go to a creek he'd told me about with him and a few other friends. After a few minutes of sweaty palms and discussion with myself (with the occasional comment from my sister about how strange I am) I decided to bite the bullet. I told myself, 2013 is the year for this Lydia, this is definitely about to happen. And it did. And it was wonderful. And now here comes the part where I reveal to you a pithy pearl of wisdom. 

Do something you don't do. Say yes to a spontaneous invitation, wake up early to watch the sunrise, be refreshed. This was also the night where I met the afore mentioned newfound wonderful friends, it was probably the best night of the year. It was so refreshing and so worthwhile. Challenge for tomorrow, do something you don't do.

Lesson 179. Complete a resolution early.

I'm back again. 'Oh how thrilling, Lydia is so excellent' (I was just pre-reading your internal dialogue upon the discovery that I'm doing several posts in one night. If that didn't just happen in your head then shut the door on your way out please. No I'm kidding, don't actually, I'd like you to stay and hopefully prove to you that I can do more than write extremely long brackets.) I suppose it's kind of like Christmas except that Christmas was 9 days ago, there are no cringey relatives commenting on your hair cut and you don't actually get any gifts, all you get are words from a nearly nineteen year old of slightly questionable sanity. Oh dear, that paragraph was complete nonsense, I may have digressed slightly, Happy Christmas?

Anyway, here's something worth talking about, I completed a New Years resolution by the end of the first of January. I felt quite empowered actually, I'd decided that this year I would make new friends. Not because I disliked my old friends, they're also of a very high standard, but because expansion of my horizons is definitely necessary. I met two genuinely beautiful girls and spent an evening and then the better part of a day with them. I very much warmed to them and at the same time, completed a resolution early, what a day for young Lydia! I'm exhausted from all the excitement so I really must keep this short, but what I'm trying to say is that it pays to get onto it early. Try and complete one of your resolutions now! It's full of benefits, now I get to spend the rest of the year basking in the sweet sweet company of sweet sweet friends and the knowledge that God knows what we hope for and his provision is perfect with perfect timing. Complete a resolution early.

Lesson 178. To the Year of New Beginnings.

Hello lover, a hearty Happy New Year and Good Evening to you.

Isn't it funny how the simple tick of a clock hand from one second to the next can change everything? 
How the flip of a calendar or the congratulatory "We made it through another one" hug can mark a moment where life just moves so much further forward?

I'm talking about the 31st of December meeting the 1st of January. I'm talking about the moment where all too many strangers engage in lip-lock, usually after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and I promptly trip over something (literally falling into a New Year) because I'm unsure of where to look when people kiss infront of me (Always supremely awkward, especially if mid conversation, does one continue or simply stop and allow the kiss to take place? Does one comment on the kiss or pretend it isn't happening? Too many questions for about social appropriateness for one set of brackets I think.)

Then somewhere between when fireworks are shot into the canvas of stars and drunken slurs of Happy New Years echo throughout cities, you experience a wonderful sense of hope. A hope that this year, things will be different. As I crawled into bed on the first morning of the year, my heart and my head had moved with the times, something different awoke as I fell asleep. So many realisations hit me about the year and it's happenings. One of them was that in allowing myself to hurt, in tears and frustration laid at the foot of the cross for days and sleepless nights on end, I had actually dealt with grief. I had struggled with them instead of pushed away from them, and without my knowing it, healing had begun to take place. I've come to a conclusion that relationships that don't work out generally go happy, heartbreak, and finally hope. I'm at hope. I didn't expect to be here, and it's not to say that heartbreak won't pop in for a visit on a lonely day, but more often than not, my heart is looking forward with joy instead of back with sadness and that's a pivotal point for me. In fact, not only am I looking forward, but I'm looking heavenwards and to my side to see blessing in such great abundance. What a group of people and what a Father above. 

Hope shines through the dawn of a New Year. I believe that this year will be better. I believe that it will have a new set of challenges and of course, being life, some form of heartbreak to over come. But I also believe that is brings with it a new season of joy for me. I'm thanking God for the year that's been and believing in him for what is to come. To the year of New Beginnings- 2013, Hello and Welcome, I've been waiting for you a while.