Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Beverly Hills of Blessings and Brokenness

With hours in the airport, prayers on my knees, and 10 bumped flights later, I landed in Hollywood. It was late but I was very awake in heart and mind when my trip began this past Friday. I was longing to be with my Katherine and to minister fresh breath to Lacey, one of my BHAM Bible Study girls. The night commenced with Lacey and I talking in bed and praying for the morning to follow.

I woke up Saturday morning with an divine anticipation to see, hold, and comfort Katherine at UCLA hospital. Lacey dropped me at the front door with flowers, gifts, and scripture in hand. My heart was beating quickly and the tears began to roll swiftly, as my feet made their way into "Katherine's Korner" of the 100 West Building. I was met by sweet Kelly, a dear friend of Katherine and Jay from Bel Air Pres. We shared a hug and sat together while the personal finished bathing and prepping Katty for her day of therapy and visitors. Kelly and I were summoned, not long after we sat, to enter Katherine's room of peace and calm. I walked in and my eyes fell onto my beautiful Katherine. She was gently lying on her back with eyes and mouth wide open, in smile, as she and I locked gazes. The tears came for me, not because of what I saw nessecarily, but of Who I was in the presence of that morning. Jesus was absolutely evident and vivid in her countenance, her room, and her posture. He was holding her up, smiling through her, and communicating loud and clear, even through her silence.

I took my place at her side, where I had been envisioning myself for weeks, grabbed her hand, kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear: "Katty, He is alive in you and well. You are held tightly and called for such a time as this. His story and glory are ringing loud! You are radiant. I know you believe Him and I believe Him with you". She looked at my with her eye and I knew my Katherine was completely present in that moment. With much effort and little assistance with the therapist present in the room, she mustered up my name for the first time. "S-A-R-A-H"! Kelly and I, jumped up and down, dried tears, and looked at one another. 'She is going to recover", we said and celebrated in our hearts. I saw Katherine, or Jesus rather, in her gorgeous blue eyes, her beautiful crooked smile, her simple whispers and her endearing "thumbs up". Katherine Wolf, though in a body out of her control, was absolutely the way I knew her always to be. Her mind and personality are sharp and in tact. She has kept her fantastic sense of humor and Southern Charm even in this testing period. She is known as a lady in the hospital because of her polite bedside manners and quiet spirit. I stood in awe of my dear friend and my dear Lord in her. It was breath-taking!

Therapy began immediately and abruptly after my arrival. They let me stay and actually be apart of her therapy sessions in speech, muscle memory, and standing. She is literally proving doctors, therapists, and trainers WRONG on a daily basis. What they say she cant do or wont be able to do for a long time, she does it before they end their sentence. She is making strides in every direction to remove her Trach, re-train her right side, and relive the sensation of walking, eating, and talking. She threw a beach ball to me with BOTH hands. She spoke to me about Sweet Baby James, through hand motions, whispers, and head nods. She laughed and actually "bowed" as we reminensced to the nurses of her 'Ms. Samford' days. She rolled her eyes at her husband, Jay, when he was trying to be funny. She has kept her sense of style fashion undistrubed and her spirit of faith remaines unwavering!! With her yellow shirt, beautiful blue eyes, and a fashion ring on her hand, we experienced therapy and milestones together almost every hour! In exhaustion, after much activity and handling, she is lowered back down into her wheel chair and taken back to bed. Her frail little body was hoisted back into the comfortable flat back position as I nuzzled next to her, ready to watch the DVD I made in her honor. Phil Whickam's "Divine Romance" began to sing throughout her room as tears rolled down her face and the video started. It was so moving! Words are unworthy to describe that moment for me. As I stroked her arm and gripped her hand, she pointed to her heart, looked at me and said, " I believe Him". I cried, " I know", in return. Scripture verses and peoples voices from Samford and Birmingham flooded the TV screen and her sunlit room. It was a divine moment. God rushed over me in a loud tangible peace with, 'SHE WILL ARISE AND HEAL". " Sarah, I will restore health to her and I will heal her of all wounds!" Jeremiah 30:17 "I will sustain her on her bed of illness and in her sickness, I will restore her to health, Sarah!" Psalm 41:3

As the weekend drew to a close, I spent more hours in the hospital with her and Jay, hearing the story, laughing over memories, and looking, with hope and praise, towards the coming days. In between prayerful times with them, I poured life into Lacey, enjoyed the minstry of Mosaic Church, ate at THE IVY Restauarant, and spotted "the famous" on corners. Throughout all these memorable moments, nothing could rival the divine moment that had taken place and continued to in my heart...

Jesus Christ has the name above every other name! Jesus, not Paris Hilton ( whom I had lunch next to) is the only Name worth knowing and shouting from every corner. Jesus Christ is the Famous One! Jesus Christ is the Healer of the broken, which leaves no one left out. Katherine, me, the Who's Who of Beverly Hills are all broken people in our own way, that need a Savior, a Healer, and a very Present Help in times of need! He hears our hearts and hems our holes. Katherine Wolf is one with Christ and ALIVE in Him! She is ringing louder than those on TV in LA, with whom she once did life with, because of WHOM she believes! We know WHOM we have believed and are persuaded that He is able! II Tim 1:12 She is more alive now than ever before. There is a difference in merely living life and being ALIVE! Those who are in Christ can no longer simply "live" and exist but are invited to be ALIVE. He is our Life! Katherine exemplifies this and believes this. I experience this and believe it with her, as well. If only Beverly Hills knew the Blessings we know, see, and believe in Jesus! Katherine is unfolding before our very eyes. He is real. He is alive. So is she...

I boarded the midnight plane EARLY Monday morning with a visual image that I will never "get over"... Katherine's precious lips mouthing as best she could, " Thank you. I believe Him. "

Do you?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fear of From

My heart awakened to a truth last night as I thumbed the pages of journals past and scriptures present. My journals from seasons of old can sometimes invite me to fear what was then and to wonder about what is now. However, The scripture invites and enables and demands that we "take all thoughts captive unto the obedience of Christ". (II Cor) What do "captivated thoughts" resemble? The thoughts of our past, holding fast to the fact that Christ works all things to the good of those who love. (Rom 8) The thoughts of our currency, that Christ is with us now and will never abandon His abiding presence in us. (Jh 15) The thoughts of our future, clinging to our unchanging God who states with His charcater and supplies in our circumstances, a "future and a hope without harm". (Jer 29)
However, the battle of the mind that can rage, keeps us from this very state of peace, if it goes undefeated. The enemy's weapon is that of fear. Fear is the disabler of such a blissful state of thought. The fear of where we come from can be paralyzing if allowed to captivate our thoughts! Fear is the grand stealer of the moments' beauty and the futures' joys. It is the signature of the enemy that longs to erase the fingerprints of the Father.
Sometimes, it is beyond simple to fear the previous chapters of my story and therefore fear the coming ones. In doing so, I allow fear of ifs to rob me the truths of Him! Fear is underestimated as only an action, but it can be a powerful state of mind that stands in complete opposition against our Lord. The "innocent" first entertainment of fear on where I have come from, can before long, spiral into a way of relating to God and others. How can anyone recieve my broken story? How could God's goodness allow such a wrecked image? It removes the knowledge and proven experience of His character and it mars the view of love and community. Fear makes it possible and probable to stand with closed arms and questioning eyes at the stories and "baggage" of those we rub hearts with throughout life's journey. How can I accept their brokenness (yet expect then to carry mine)? How can I open up and recieve their apparent abrasions (but long for them to heal my hidden holes)? Fear is the grand stealer of God's artwork in our life story and community with other life stories.
We are all broken and have all " come from" something or someone, but we are all going towards Someone as well. That is the common denominator known as Hope. It is this hope found in Phil 3:12-14 that has raptured my heart recently. The hope that invites me to "forget", not fear, what lies behind, and move forward to all that lies ahead! The only way this Hope is possible and present to me, is if I reckon that my only Hope is Christ IN ME ALONE! (Col 1)He was in my past. He is in my moment. He will be my future. Wow! This state of mind leaves no room for fear or regret, because everything works for the good of those who truly love Him with all their heart, their mind, their strength or lack therefore, and their soul! Let us not fear the from where we come but anticipate toward the ahead where we are going; or should I say where He is taking us! To God be all the glory for the past, the present and the future! Amen...