Sunday, March 31, 2013

He Is Risen

If today is not the day we celebrate in the most extravagant way, as Christians--then we are missing the point. Today is the day the Lord our God conquered death for us ALL.

As the light is increasing on this rainy Easter morning in Central California, I am so grateful for the amazing and unexpected ways this living God has entered into my life.

Below is a poem I wrote in 2011 as the sun came up on Easter morning. Today as I heard the birds begin to sing, I was reminded of that day. It seems that  lifetime has past between then and now, but the miracle of what Easter means has only increased. The Jesus I knew two years ago is the same, but so many of the scales that were covering my eyes have fallen, and I know Him better and see Him more clearly than ever.

God still performs miracles. Happy Easter!

Resurrection Wonder

I wonder how it felt to see Jesus on that dusty road to Emmaus?
To say you knew Him when He walked among us?
To see Him whole and perfect standing on that road
I wonder about, and envy, those who got to see
To hear His voice and see His face--the man from Galilee.
I wonder how it felt to see Jesus, to share some fish and wine with God?
To touch His hands and see His side and hear Him say those words.

They say, that even then, some did not believe.
Do you think He touched them gently and His love they did receive?
Did Mary weep and hug her friend knowing it was true?
That God did so love the world and chose to enter in,
To put on flesh and be betrayed because of our own sin.
I wonder if birds sang more beautiful than before?
If the sun shone brighter on that desert lakeside shore?
If hands did grasp and hearts did gasp as He called them all his friends.
Do you think they even thought about this New Kingdom lens? 

I wonder how you respond to such amazing love?
To understand that God did leave his throne above, 
To walk down that broken road and carry His own cross,
To die for you and pay the price so you would not be lost.
Does it make you want to love your neighbor and with those you don’t agree?
I pray our eyes are open to the ones we do not see.
I pray that from our eyes all those scales would soon fall
Our hearts would change, our minds renewed---and give our love to all.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ode To Lucas: I Fell In Love With a Dog

I never loved an animal before I met you, in fact I was decidedly not a pet person before you. Before I saw your adorable face in the online classifieds, before you walked into our house and fell asleep at our feet and in our laps. Before you licked our faces and bounced around our world like a bucking bronco of lanky limbs and often unmanageable energy.

When you entered our lives less than 3 years ago, my hope was for a running partner, a safety net on the roads and trails, a pet for our boys to fall in love with and add to our craziness.

Like most of life, I could have never imagined how you would change me. How I would have to confront my anger issues, how you would push my buttons with your often uncontrollable instincts, how I would break my toe twice on your leg, how you would bark uncontrollably when anyone entered our yard. How I would return from every walk, in the first months we owned you, in tears because I could not control your rapidly growing body and single-minded desire to "be friends" with every living thing you would see.

I never imaged how God would confront me in Psalms about how you treat a dog is how you view God and how every day since I read that passage I have struggled to love you in spite of your often infuriating behavior.

I never imagined that, as you and I struggled to find a place of homeostasis in our relationship, how deeply lovable you would become. How you would change our family and my boys and added depth and purpose to our daily lives.  How our boys slept better and felt safer with you around. How I worried about you when I wasn't there and how happy you were when we came home. How the boys count you in our number of people in the family, despite being a dog.

Yes, I fell in love with you. A dog. A dog who required, often times, more care that a dog should. A dog who's beauty and personality are second to none.

I fell in love with a dog.

Recently though things have gotten crazier with you. For months we've struggled to maintain your happiness and healthiness. You started eating your tail and are on anti-psychotic medication to stop you from mutilating your body.  Knowing you needed a friend we got you Jed, hoping to rewire your brain and refocus your energy.  For weeks my life has revolved around you, I have become shackled to you. I have prayed for the Psalmist's wisdom for you and that all these efforts would save you.

I cannot save you.  None of these things are saving you. My love won't save you.

Today I have to say goodbye to you.  To make the gut wrenching decision that you are sick and will not get better.

I don't know if all dogs go to heaven, or if any dogs go to heaven, but with all of my heart and soul I pray that you are running off leash with a pack of beautiful dogs and horses in unending fields of grass and birds.

You will be missed.

I fell in love with a dog.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Not A Christmas Card

 I really was going to send out a Christmas/ Holiday card. I even had our family picture taken far enough in advance to write a newsletter, insert cute photos and mail it off to be enjoyed by all. Or mostly all, let's just say many--many people would have enjoyed said card.  By now it would be in the garbage, a stack heading to the garbage soon or on the side of your refrigerator (hopefully for a few weeks).  I would hope for the latter, but the former is probably more likely.

I wanted to mail out a card with our update and fun paragraphs dedicated to each member of my adorable family. I wanted to gush and tell you all the amazing things that are happening in our lives. How we are happy and blessed and how grounded we feel.  How at times Joe and I can't believe our life and how good it is.

That all would be great and true and good.

But it would not be all.

Our 2012 newsletter would leave out the fact that the last family photo we had was taken 3 years before our youngest child was born. It would gloss over or completely leave out the fact that the Cole's haven't sent out a card for years. Hauntingly amiss would be the silence and retreat that we took from most people for 3 years. It would leave out our broken and shattered dreams and the climb out of utter darkness that seemed unending.

It would be a small sliver of where we have been, who we are and the miraculous way God has shown up to change every fiber of our being.

Every time I sat down to write, I felt constricted, suffocated by such a small page.

I muddled.

I prayed.

I ignored.

I did however feel compelled to say something, even if it is too little, too late or too hard.  It is, you see, a new year, a new beginning--the time when everyone sends out a little hello and cheer. I wanted that too. The gory details seemed too gruesome and the highlights seemed too good to be true.  In the middle is: school, laundry, yard work, grocery shopping, soccer practice, trips to the doctor, exercise, drum lessons, homework, food, laughter, tears, basketball, wine, chocolate, apple juice, picky eaters, growing children, walking the dog, and a little sleep.

God has taught us more about suffering, love, sacrifice, hope, joy, sorrow and truth than we could have ever imagined.  Our kids are average, doing great and we love every moment we have as a family, knowing they are growing and in a blink will be gone to their futures and we will be left smelling the fumes of children and longing to hear their feet. Joe makes me laugh harder than anyone ever. I can't conceive of a life without him. He completes me.

In August we moved to Woodlake, California when Joe accepted the call to be the pastor at Woodlake Presbyterian Church.  This little town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley is our new home.  We love it! Solomon (13), Maddox (10), Judah (7.75), Owen (5) are all boys... still. That comes with all the craziness you can imagine.

love to you all!

the cole-train