Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crystal Path

The morning was piercing as the unusual cold quickened my steps as I rushed out the door. I began down the familiar road as the sun slept in. My headlights were the only lamps in sight on the darkened country road. My car progressed slowly in protest of the frigid air, and my eyes drifted across the pavement in front of me in search of ice as I carefully made my way around the prairie that is thick with green grass in the spring, but now lies brown and baron. As my headlights continued to lead the way around the enormous meadow, something caught my eye. Crystals...everywhere. The residual damp had frozen solid and each blade of dead grass was holding up crystals as high as they could reach. I smiled and thanked The Lord for the crystal path He has put before me. That cold, frozen morning had left everything else in shivers, but He had given that path to me, and I was glad to be taking it...

That was a few weeks ago and the cold hasn't let up much here in the deep South. A bitter cold night didn't stop local churches from gathering under one steeple last night, to Praise Him. A local fundraiser to help raise money for uncovered charges of medical equipment for my own child, a new set of cochlear implant processors to dress her ears with the gift of sound, led us there...but like I said at the church, we were just the name on the flier. Those who came for us, those who came for the singers, might have left without but those who came for HIM, left with special Blessings He's saved just for them.

As I stood in front of the over 200 people, I had no speech prepared. Just a heart that wanted to say thank you. I knew The Lord would take care of the rest. I spoke of a little girl who was hearing with her (now old and run down) cochlear implants for the first time. She was exhausted after a full day of exploring the world's sounds she'd never heard before. I tucked her in a little bed and the light from the other room lit her tiny two year old face. I held my hand out and she knew it was time to take her new "ears" off. The corners of her mouth dove downward and she tried to pick her sad lips back up but she didn't have the strength. Tears swelled in her eyes and they began to spill as she took off her sound, and entered silence once again. She looked at them and held them up to her lips, and kissed them goodnight. As she placed them in my hand, I reached down and kissed her and spoke the words, "Bless you child. They will be here in the morning." She never heard those words as I held her only way of hearing anything...in my hands.

I listened to her cry for a few minutes before the exhaustion took its toll and she fell asleep. There was no sadness in me at that moment. I was so happy for her because I knew how grateful she would be when she was able to put them on again and I knew this was just something she needed to go through right now, but oh what joy awaited the child. As we began her journey to the hearing world, we had hoped she would be able to hear the birds, the wind blow, the sound of our voices. The Lord gave her more, He gave me more...

As we watched our special needs children grow up in both silence and sound, we had the wonderful opportunity to live it in slow motion. It was hard work and there were days I was certain that I wasn't cut out for this, they needed someone stronger, someone better, but prayer would renew my strength and carry me another day. The Lord didn't just give them the song of a bird, the sound of a gentle breeze's path, or Mama's voice. He gave the flutter of the wings as they lifted the birds in flight, He gave the creaking of old pines their great grandparents also heard as the wind moved through them in the back yard. He gave the soft whisper of love, the broken voice of heartache, and the strong sound of confidence behind a determined parent. He chose to give more. He didn't have to, but He did.

I could travel any old path, muddle through my day full of distraction, survive an ordinary life until my time is over. But since I have HIM, He gave me a crystal path and He surrounded me with people who travel gem roads. As I sat under that steeple with those who see crystals too, there were hands lifted in Praise, because He deserves it. Preachers who Testified and shouted because He feels that good. A beautiful singer Testified and her words were so elegant and whole, chills filled my arms by the time she started to sing. When I had stood to speak little men with the brightest eyes sat on the edge of their seats and shouted despite the mess I may have made with tangled words but He made them feel so good they had trouble staying in their seats. We may have a lot of things in this world, we don't need a lot of things of this world but one thing is for sure...I'm glad I got my Jesus. Because no path is ordinary when you have Him paving it with crystals.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Sound of Rain

The silence of the snow was peculiar. I don't know why, snow doesn't have a sound. It's quiet, soft, and gently lays upon the earth as if placed there by HIS very own hands, each and every single flake. I thought about the sound of rain...

I went back a few years when my children were small. The summer's heat had been bearing down for days. The children and I were searching for flip flops to place on our feet when I heard a sound. I knew what it was but I tried not to show any awareness of it to see if my deaf children could hear it through their hearing devices. It didn't take long before my daughter stopped in her tracks with confusion written across her face. She paused, turned her head left and right, and then paused again. About that time, large droplets of rain fell past the window and she caught a glimpse. The excitement of hearing the sound sent her straight over to that window where she gazed for a moment in amazement. It didn't take long for the disappointment to creep upon her little face but I rushed right over, took her by the hand, and we all walked outside...

I thought about the sound of rain. It wasn't long ago she couldn't hear it. Sometimes, she still can't. The loud water fell hard and fast but I knew it would pass soon. I wanted to go back inside but I watched the children jump from mud puddle to mud puddle with giggles spilling from their tiny selves. I couldn't deprive them of all this noise. The Lord had blessed them just a couple of years prior with the ability to hear, or even not to hear. Cochlear implants brought in all this noise, all this glorious noise...

I thought about how powerful the sound of rain is. It can sound violent and heavy or peaceful and soft, depending on what it falls upon. That single thought led me to realize how silent rain really is. It don't make a sound until it lands on something, or passes through it. The rain was silent. I looked up towards the sky and closed my eyes as cool water fell upon my sunburned face. I could hear the popping of the old tin roof as the droplets played music on hot metal. I could hear the water splashing as the kids stomped through every shallow puddle that formed in the imperfections of the sidewalk. I looked around and flowers were hoarding raindrops between their tiny petals to savor the unexpected treat. The summer shower seemed to be slowing. I saw the water ripple as one of the last few drops fell from the sky and landed in an undisturbed pool that had formed under the roof's eave. It had fallen in slow motion and with the smallest blip, it rippled the entire pond. But it had not made a sound, until it first hit the roof where it rolled quietly to the edge, and dove, pushing metal behind it, and meeting back up with the others of his kind, sent by HIM. 

I teared up as I became so thankful for the sound of rain. That was years ago and my children would still have enjoyed the rain that day even if they had not heard it, but I'm not certain I would have. As I watched the snow falling, I continued to thank HIM for the rain HE sent to my home that day. HE knew how important each and every drop would be to me and my children...and I am so undeserving. The Lord showed me that lots of times, we have to step out into the rain, to truly appreciate it. If we don't go through trials, if we don't hit hard times every now and then, we might hear silence...just like the rain. It has to fall on something, it has to move through something, or we might not hear it at all. Sometimes we have to look for the moving of the waters, feel the passing of the shower, listen for the music of the day, even if that means standing in the rain. It's so very tempting to run for cover but rain every now and then, is good for us all. Don't let the disappointment overtake the Blessing. Rain is not always a storm, and for that I am thankful.