Tuesday, October 8, 2013


This is an adaptation of a story that I once heard.  I could not say whether or not the story is true, so just think of it as a parable.  (And if anyone knows the source, please do let me know). 

Once there was a wealthy young man who sold everything he had and joined a monastery.  His first day after taking vows he was sent to meet with the Abbot and to receive his work assignment. 

Because of his wealth and upbringing, this young man had very valuable services to offer.  He could read and write, he was skilled in areas of finance and management, and he was well connected, which could at times prove essential to the survival of a monastery.  

However, the Abbot had a different task in mind.  He told the eager new brother about a pile of stones that lay in a field out to the west of the monastery.  He instructed him to carry them one by one from the field to a spot just outside the walls.  The young man, who was filled with enthusiasm for his new life, cheerfully completed the task, which took him the remainder of the day. 

The next day the young man was sent again to the Abbot to receive his next assignment.  The Abbot instructed the young man to take up the same stones, one by one, and return them to the spot where they had originally lain. 

The following day the assignment was the same.  Carry the rocks back again.  It was the same the day after that.  For weeks he did no other work but to move the stones.  Back and forth. Back and forth.  While his enthusiasm turned to confusion, and his confusion to anger. 

Some days he felt like he understood its purpose.  Imitating Christ and his suffering and all that.  While others he dreaded the sight of the worn track that he soon cut between the field and the wall.  Yet no explanation for his labor was ever given. 

For three years the young man labored with those stones.  He labored until his body was worn.  Until he knew each stone by name, and greeted them like old friends.  Until he became nothing but the brother who moved the stones. 

For three years he labored, he changed, and he grew into a different person.  His persistence in that fruitless task gradually chiseled out all of his veiled arrogance, self-reliance, prejudice, selfishness, and superiority, until his former self had been wiped clean, and his life was one of submission and humility. 

After this time, his Abbot called him into his service, and ultimately the man himself was made Abbot of the monastery.  A very different Abbot than he might have otherwise been. 

This story is as close as I can come to making sense of what God is doing in my life right now.  I feel aimless and useless.  I feel like all of my skills and knowledge are going to waste, while I twiddle away in mediocrity. 

The hope I have is that God has a different vision for my life than I do.  And as painful as it is right now, his road will lead me somewhere I could never otherwise be.   

Friday, September 21, 2012

How can this be?

i cried out to God
for food for my children
no food came
they ached and cried
they shrunk smaller and smaller
one by one, they lost the battle
now they are all gone
i am disgusted
i feel such betrayal
i don't understand
i cannot worship
until a dream
my youngest child
healthy, happy, plump
mama! mama!
jesus fed me!
i stand there shocked
God did provide?
how can this be?

I cried out to God
for protection from my daddy
he still hits, criticizes, torments
i'm so confused
why won't anyone love me?
God, take me away from this hell!
i've grown up
i'm away from the hell
but it is still inside me
it still torments, criticizes, hates
i am disgusted
i feel such betrayal
i don't understand
i cannot worship
until a dream
a Father is holding me
loving and guiding
he's been there all along
he has plans for my pain
he has healing for my heart
and when the end comes
i will be blessed beyond measure
i stand there shocked
God did provide?
how can this be?

i cried out to God
for protection from the rebels
but still they came
they found me
they raped and tortured me
day after day
night after night
my body finally gives up the fight
just before my mind slips away
i am disgusted
i feel such betrayal
i don't understand
i cannot worship
but now it all feels like a dream
i am standing healed
indescribable joy floods over me
i see my Savior
it all becomes clear
God did provide!
how can this be?

i cried out to God
for the cup to pass from me
my friends are sleeping
my betrayer is coming
whips, mocking
thorns in my forehead
nails in my hands and feet
suffocation and pain take over
i feel the weight of evil
i am disgusted
i feel such betrayal
it's hard to understand
my Father has forsaken me
it is finished
like a dream i wake up
i have returned to my earthly body
the pain is gone
my friends weep with joy
i ascend to heaven
it always made sense
God did provide
salvation is complete

the hungry child
the anguished mother
the unloved child
the kidnapped woman
the Lord of heaven
all cried to God
all had faith
all endured heartache
all found salvation
this life is not the end
God will make all things new
God does provide

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Birthday Wish for Sadness

Today is my birthday. In this year marked by intensive therapy and mental health treatment, I have learned a lot about caring for and respecting myself, accepting the love, affirmation, and care that others offer to me, and how to be more carefree and relaxed about my life. I can feel the change. I am happier in small things and can laugh much more readily. I can look at my birthday and allow myself to be indulgent and even a little selfish. The boys are in school, Luke is at work, and I have the opportunity to spend my day however I'd like.

One of the first things on my list for today was to sit and catch up on reading the blogs that I love to read, but often don't have time for. The first one I read was from a family in Haiti. I've never been to Haiti, and I'm not even sure I could accurately point it out on a map if it wasn't marked. But through this blog, Haiti has become one of the places in this world that my heart aches for. In a post that was a few days old, there was mention of Tropical Storm Isaac and the concern that it might hit Haiti. Such a storm would be devastating. Hundreds of thousands of people still live in tent camps, and among many other problems, rising waters would almost certainly spread cholera. Today is the day that the storm will hit or skirt Haiti, and in either case, the results could be catastrophic. My first thought was to check the news throughout the day and pray accordingly for Haiti. My second thought was, "Jaymi, it's your birthday. Do you really want to spend the day thinking about such heavy topics? This is supposed to be a carefree day!"

But my heartstrings have been tugged. There are families that eat one meal every-other day. People who are in dire need of often simple medical procedures that are just out of their reach. Women and children are abused, but have nowhere to escape to. Governments are spending all of their money on lavish accommodations for the politicians, while their people are dying and hurting and struggling and trying to hold onto hope, even though they have every reason to despair. A thousand precious children in our world die every hour from hunger and malnutrition. 

These facts are not new to me. Rarely does a day or week go by that I don't think about the heartache and injustice so prevalent in our world. Yet I feel so helpless. What can I do to make a difference in any of these issues? Sure, we sponsor a child and support organizations that are fighting for justice. But how much is that really doing? Sara Groves captures it well in her song, "The Long Defeat:" And all my strength and energy are raindrops in the ocean . . . It's too heavy to carry and impossible to leave. We must keep fighting. This battle is impossible to leave, even if it is overwhelming.

These thoughts are all rising in me as I sit at home on my birthday. I feel such a conflict. On the one hand, I feel like a new person, who can really accept the love and care of others. On the other hand, any indulgence feels like too much. I don't want to go to the store and get steaks for Luke to grill for us tonight. Those guitar lessons that I was going to spend my birthday money on seem so petty. And that shopping spree that Luke planned for me to get new clothes.....can I really do that? All of these things are relatively modest splurges. But how many kids could be saved by Medika Mamba if we cut back on birthday and Christmas gifts, stopped eating out, and found other ways to shave back our budget? Unfortunately, the answer is "not many." But every little bit helps, right?

Meanwhile I think of the countless people who will call, text, email or write on my Facebook wall wishing me a happy birthday. What if each of them found little ways to tighten their budget and give regularly toward meeting these needs? What if we all asked that for a year, all of our birthday and Christmas gifts be a donation to World Vision, Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, International Justice Mission, or another organization that is meeting these huge needs around the world?

But before any of that comes compassion. Sadness at the state of our world. A deep concern for these needs. A knowledge, deep in your soul, that although it is too heavy to carry, it is impossible to leave it alone. And so I state my birthday wish: that each of my friends and family, near and far, would be sad. That you would read these words, research these issues, look at the pictures, and feel compassion that lingers so deeply that you can't quite continue on without a thought for the sick, hungry, and enslaved people of our world. And that that sadness would motivate action. Maybe not today and maybe not with very much, but that in time, hearts would change and eyes would open and we would together fight to pour as many raindrops of help into this ocean of despair as we can.

Meanwhile, pray for the safety of the people of Haiti today. Find news articles that will tell you more about them than the RNC that could also be affected by this storm. One perspective is a matter of life and death, the other is merely politics as usual. Which is more important?!?!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A blog I love to read put out the following challenge: "Write your own post on your own blog, answering the question: What is saving your life right now? Write it quick, don’t overthink it, just spill it all out, it can be pictures if you want, whatever. If you’ve already written one, feel free to link that up, too."

So that's what I've done here. I must admit, I was a bit surprised at how quickly it came to me and how passionately I punched out the words on the little keys of my phone.

If you want to see what others have written, you can head on over to Emerging Mummy.


What is saving your life right now?

A man. A good, loving, imperfect man. He takes on more and more and more and more when I get overwhelmed. He loves me over and over again when I lash out. He forgives me and guides me, gently, cautiously, back to God. He willingy leads, but doesn't force me to follow. He reads books and fights monsters with our little boys. He cuddles when I need to be loved and keeps his distance when I need some space. He washes dishes, prepares meals, folds laundry, gets up in the night with the boys, works all day, pays the bills......and on and on and on......

Our life is so lopsided these days. I need so much yet have so little to give. And he just loves me. Not always perfectly or just in time, but it's always there.

What is saving my life right now? My dear, under-appreciated husband. He is patiently loving loving loving whenever I need it. I know, beyond a doubt, that he is on my side no matter what and will still be here no matter how many horrible twists and turns that this crazy mess called "treatment" goes through. I know that I can take this time to work on all of the ugly and hurt and bad inside of me, and that he will still be here through every moment.

My dearest Luca-Love, you have been a rock for me when I can't trust myself or God or anyone else. Your love for me has renewed my desire to live and calmed me down when nothing else could. I love you and appreciate you and couldn't make it through this battle without you. I'm so glad that you are forever mine and I am forever yours. I love you. Your Jaymi-Love