Monthly Archives: October 2010

Soul Bruises

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*sigh*  Suffering is hard. 

If you’re human, you’ve suffered. Some suffer in the moment (a broken arm); some of us suffer for years (chronic pain or illness) and some, well, for a lifetime (a broken heart). Our suffering is not just about pain (physical or otherwise), it’s about losing or being denied something–playing outside with friends, breasts from cancer…the presence of a child or spouse.

Right now, my friend is suffering with that last loss.  Her husband has been ripped out of her life.  No warning. No explainations. She was  hit so hard, so unexpectedly, by this tragedy that the rest of us in her life got bruised by it, too.

And while we do what we can–stand by, trying to offer words of comfort (when there really aren’t any); send the memories we hold of her beloved (that are bittersweet to recieve, I’m sure); offer to pray for her and her boys… Our words, thoughts, prayers seem so shallow in comparison to the depth of her loss.

We say, “You are not alone.” When she is living in a place where pain is fused with anger and sits hand in hand with grief; where love and loss compete for her every thought, and the foundation of faith can break under all the weight. Our words are almost offensive.

Because the thing about deep suffering is that it happens in the solitary places of the soul. On the outside, my friend is still living her life –going to work, loving her kids, making dinner and doing laundry. So, the soul,  the keeper of the inner life, holds all the suffering, like a deep well waiting to be drawn from…

As I have been praying for my friend, I have wrestled with hard questions:  I want to  know where was God? Why did He, our loving, good  God, allow this to happen? Did He hear us in the days before? Begging, pleading, asking for a miracle? Did He even try to intervene?  

And while I have no answers, He has been good to remind me of several things and reveal one very special thing to me. I am reminded that He is close to the broken hearted, He puts the lonely in families, He is good, He is relentless in how He pursues His people, He never gives up on us. And yes, He sits in our solitary places with us.

The revelation? Suffering is part of the human condition–but not because it is inately human, it’s actually inately Divine. When we suffer, God draws near. When we suffer–experience loss and are denied what we love–we see a glimpse of the Father’s own suffering and the life that Jesus lived. We experience God in us.

Our God is a suffering god. Jesus knew loneliness, abandonment, cruelty. He knows what it’s like to love and not be loved back; to be loved poorly and to be hurt by the ones He loves.

And because of this, He is uniquely qualified to bind our wounds. He knows that healing takes time–and He’s willing to give it. He knows that healing hurts and He knows that healing leaves scars.

My friend will survive her suffering because  she will lean on the Great Physician who also had the condition. She will have a scar from this but she knows Jesus has scars too. And I know one day she will be the salve to someone else’s bruise.

I am walking away with a new perspective–while I don’t want to suffer, it will come. Life happens, kitten. And when it does I will look for God in it and He will be found. He is good. He is close. And He loves us through it all.

Missing: Bennett Huffman

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Dearest friends,

Bennett Huffman, the husband of my dear friend, Jennifer Huffman, has been missing since October 8th. Bennett left on Friday to go camping, however it appears he never arrived at his camping destination. If you see Bennett or his very unique car, please email me immediately.

Also, please pray for my Jen, Bennett and their sons, Keenan and Carter.

Thanks,

Steph

Sin is like a butt-licking cat

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I recently got a job working from home. I love it which is a bit of a surprise because if you know me, you know I am not a homebody.  I’m loving the work but I also really like being home with my daughter and even having the animals around. Everyone should take their dog to work.

However, the cat….

I am not a cat person. And our little boy cat vacillates from calm to crazy in 3.2 seconds and constantly baits the 60 lb. pit bull into roughhousing. He is…a challenge.

I’ve had to get used to him constantly in my office (my bedroom). Sometimes he’s hiding under my bed or laying in front of the bathroom or standing on my desk trying to steal my pens.

But I have gotten used to him being around. Sometimes he startles me–he attacks my feet unprovoked or runs in front of me with a meow causing me to  trip–but usually he just hangs around, acting like he owns the joint. It’s ok–he’s a cat. What do you expect?

However, the other day I turned around to him laying on my unmade bed, by my pillow, one leg in the air, licking his butt.

BY MY PILLOW.

With his little pink tongue hanging out, he gave me a look that said, “What’s your problem?”

And I am stunned silent.

It’s in these moments that God usually speaks to me because He has my undivided attention.

Sin’s like that... I hear in my head.

But… but my pillow…

And He’s right, sin is like my darling, butt-licking cat. Always around. Always there to make me trip. Always a little sweet–until he bites me.  And I’m stuck with him.  I’m stuck with that crazy boy cat and I’m stuck dealing with sin in this life.

It’s a pisser but it’s the truth. And here’s another truth:

A 7 lb. cat shouldn’t be able to trip me and neither should sin.  It’s not like  either is original: they hide, lay and attack in the same places. Always. And my reaction to both is the same. I yell, “Cat!” when I trip and usually a swear word when I sin. What’s it gonna take for me to be serious about it?

Apparently a butt-licking cat.

When old temptations attack your feet, trying to make you trip–stop and see that raised leg and little pink tongue. I do now. I’m taking that visual lesson seriously. I think, “Protect your heart, guard your mind, pursue another way…and make your bed.”

God is good–see Him today!