Lord, Heal Our Land

From the look of our nation, we the people, don’t do well with loss. I can’t put my finger on why that is. I have a few theories. I am truly concerned about the state of our country after next week’s election. Loss does not bode the losing party well. What is it that makes us so unable to let go?

My generation has raised a generation of humans who believe everyone is equal. Unfortunately, in our quest to soften our children’s hearts we have created unrealistic expectations for the realities of life. One of my grown daughters’ favorite memories as children is of their Daddy yanking them out of Upward Basketball. I had signed them up for “good responsible Christian basketball fellowship” on Saturday mornings. He took one of them to the first practice. He came home appalled. He walked in the back door shouting, “Mama! You do realize they don’t keep score?” I was like, “Yes, it’s so everyone gets to play”. “Mama, that’s not how life works. You have to know how to lose. Our girls will learn how to win and lose. Uh, No, Sir. We are done with that mess”. And that was the end of no score basketball. They played Parks & Rec basketball until 8th grade with no one who looked like them less a few other like-minded parents from school who also enrolled their girls. Real-life. No bailouts. We learn to work hard. We win some games and we lose some games. We understand that if we lose? There’s the next time. Everyone has the same shot. “Nothing in life is free” was their Dad’s favorite saying. In other words, work hard.

A high school classmate of mine lost his battle with ALS this past week. I didn’t get to say goodbye as I promised. It brought up all sorts of ALS “junk”. My brother, sister in law and nephew are moving to Hawaii in December. I am immensely grieved by this. I will be the only living member left on my Dad’s side of the family in the continental US: I feel like an orphan. This is grieving a loss of what once was. It usually brings up all kinds of other emotions if you haven’t dealt with other losses. I think we are seeing a lot of that in this country right now due to COVID. People are grieving what once was and it’s stirring up all kinds of “stuff” that they’d never previously dealt with. This is grief. It is a process of loss. You walk thru it, not around it. The key? You don’t stay parked in it. You feel all the things, you learn, you weep, you sow, you grow, and you go forward.

We have a generation of entitled & angry (grieved) people that believe it’s okay not to take responsibility for their actions. We have a generation of young people who believe that they are owed reciprocity for everything that’s happened in their lives. This is absurd. When you start taking it all apart anger is nothing more than people who are broken or hurt. They want to be heard but don’t know how to do that. They, quite simply, are grieved. We have a generation of grieved people. Why is that? In my generation’s effort to create equality so that no preschoolers’ feelings would be hurt, I think we removed safety nets and life became a free fall. Boundaries. Kids need them. We’ve removed all of them.

I don’t know what the answer is other than pray and if you’ve been praying continue to pray. Maybe our prayers need to be focused on healing. Maybe we don’t even need to hear words anymore—maybe everyone’s just talked out, screamed out, yelled out. Maybe we just need to pray “Lord heal our Nation and all Your people”. Amen.

Lover Of My Soul

Four years ago this week a family friend brought a slip of paper to my husband with Psalm 23 handwritten. He asked Robin to pray the Psalm daily. Every morning Robin would faithfully take the piece of paper out and recite it. Even at the end of his ALS battle, when he could barely utter a word, he would have me read Psalm 23 to him. It changed his life. One scripture. It has taken four years, time alone to reflect and the unraveling of a nation for me to grasp the magnitude of the power behind this prayer.

We are all familiar with the battle cry “even though I walk in the shadow of death I will fear no evil“. This Psalm; however, is not about the end of life as I originally assumed. No, it is about the One who gives life! I believe this Psalm could save us all. Right now, yep, in this very moment in history.

When I’ve been asked to professionally speak about the year we battled ALS I’ve done a mediocre job, at best, describing that moment in time. I have yet to come up with any other word than “supernatural“. Those that witnessed it? They concur. We watched in awe as the Holy Spirit transformed my husband in front of our eyes. He transformed our lives. It was the most beautifully heart breaking eleven months of my life. It was beautiful because we had a front row seat to witness glory. Heartbreaking because we finally got life so perfectly right with so little time left to live.

When we examine how we respond to extraneous relationships and circumstances it is in direct correlation to how we feel inside. Most of us look for someone our entire lives to fulfill that need to be seen, heard, known and loved. Our response to the world is largely based on how that void inside is or isn’t filled. Psalm 23:3 tells us “He refreshes and restores my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” God desires to fill and meet all of our needs. God is promising us a renewed life in Him. He is the lover of our soul! He knows us intimately. He knows every hair on our head. He is the only One who can fulfill us.

My husband died at peace. He had confessed his sins to God. He had forgiven everyone he needed to forgive and he spent the last eleven months of his life praising God, offering thanks, laughing hysterically and loving everyone who crossed his path–even the difficult to love. This started me thinking, what if we all confessed our sins, forgave freely and meditated on Psalm 23:3? What if for the next month the whole country just forgave? What if we didn’t doubt or ask questions? What if we just read the words of Psalm 23 and waited for the Holy Spirit? What a wonderful world it could be.