Friday, August 28, 2009


I'm reflecting on betrayal today.

It happens to everybody...quite frequently. The Bible said it is inevitable that offenses come. It also speaks of "wounds of a friend." (It says they are "faithful"...but the word "wound" still implies pain to me).

We are able and encouraged to grieve death. It is a painful loss and a wound to the human spirit.

But grieving betrayal isn't quite as accepted. There is an unspoken message that we are to "just get over it." Oh it's okay to talk about it to somebody once or twice...but after that, shut up and move on. So we do.

And then, just when we think we've conquered it, something jumps back over the wall and here we go again.

I am wondering if the pain of Judas' betrayal was just as deep to Jesus as the pain of His crucifixion? He's definitely been there...He knows...He's felt the heavy stone of the loss of friendship and love and camaraderie deep in His spirit, too...

I don't really know who said it first, but I love it..."Bitterness is the poison pill I take hoping you die."

You aren't the only person in life to have been betrayed unfairly. Neither am I. Every person who has ever lived on this planet has experienced it. Even Jesus.

And the truth is, it will happen again--to you and to me--until life is no more.

So I purpose today to deal with it as it comes. Grieve the loss, ponder the motivation, search for my part of the process, and forgive. If I have to do it all again tomorrow, I will.

But what I will NOT do is allow it to tie me to a stake of insecurity, or distrust, or isolation, or lack of love, or bitterness.

Betrayal is an often understated, powerful tool of the Enemy.

Knowing that, I will face it head on and love a little deeper...forgive a little quicker...and continue to give of what I have to those who are in need. And know that there will be some who will take what I give and use it to become stronger...and then turn around and bite the hand that fed them.

They did it to Jesus. He knows. And He still died for them anyway.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Am Sad

My dear, dear friend...Barbara Ann Willoughby...entered the gates of Heaven yesterday.

I'm supposed to be happy. She is no longer suffering. Her battle with cancer is over and she won! She is dancing around the Throne of the eternal God at this moment.

But it's hard for me to be happy.

My heart hurts. I ache. There is a tightness in my chest and a big round ball in my throat.

I will remember her with joy. When I say her name, I smile. But my smile quickly fades because I am still human. I am still here. I am still on this side of the river. And she is not. We are separated by an expanse called Death.

I am not tormented by questions...God is sovereign and He does all things well. He said "no" and He knows why. I learned years ago that He can be trusted no matter what.

Faith, to me, is defined as trusting Him serenely even when I don't understand or agree.

But I am sad. I am sad for her children. For Meghan and Barak and Mikayla. For the fact that she will not see them married nor hold grandchildren still to come. I am sad for Steve, who will continue his fight against his own cancer alone. I am sad for Tabernacle of Joy in Singapore who loved her without restraint. And I am sad for all of the ones who will never meet her...never experience her infectious joy or watch her graceful dance or hear her incredible laugh. I am sad for me and for my husband...for the fact that we four will never again ride the back country roads with no destination in mind just to talk and laugh and share vision and feel God and friendship and love.

My heart hurts.

Monday, August 3, 2009

To those who have lost loved ones

The following piece was written by Kendra on her Facebook page yesterday.  It struck a chord with so many...I am honored that she is my daughter and proud to be able to post this here...

To those who have lost loved ones:

I sat at the piano for a while tonight playing a new song. Heavy hearted I began to play an incredible tune by Hillsong and silently pray for the McCool family. “No we-eping, no hurt or pain, no suf-fering, you hold him now, you hold him now…” I couldn’t hold the tears anymore as I stopped playing. Names flooded my mind: Cory McCool….Katie Moore…Sharon Ivie Smith…Denny Doyle…Jason Tackett…Wanda Washington…Cai Larsen…why…why…WHY…

I don't understand. Even after I finish this, I won't understand. I will have godly perspective as I should, but I will not understand.

Death. It strips you of everything and leaves you with a taunt, “Now what are you gonna do?” I hate death. I hate funerals. I HATE cancer. If cancer were a person I would go to jail for murder. Sounds elementary, but you don’t know what people feel unless you’ve been told you have cancer or it develops in a loved one. Cancer is cruel…and even though it’s taken down many that I love, it can still be conquered.

We ask God for healing on behalf of our loved ones- but we scream at Him when they die. I wonder if He ever whispers when we walk away, “But I did. I did what you asked. I DID heal them…..just not in your will…in mine.”

I shoved the piano stool back as I swiftly stood up and walked upstairs. I collapsed on my bed. With tears streaming down my face staring at the ceiling fan I realized why they were taken…they lived their lives to where God finally said, “Well done.” They set their affections on things above. They weren’t concerned with church politics or position.

I have a long way to go before God says, “Well done.”

I am convinced that if we had a TRUE revelation of Heaven, we wouldn’t mourn as much. We would mourn, that’s unavoidable and human nature, but we wouldn’t mourn as much.

From now on, I won’t envision the “death” of the ones I loved, but I will envision Bro. and Sis. Lumpkin doing the Jitterbug on some clouds by their mansion. Katie is probably grinning from ear to ear…and I know she isn’t in any pain. Cai is probably chasing kids and designing a backdrop for the marriage supper of the Lamb. Sharon Smith is cracking EVERYONE up. And singing. Denny Doyle probably is polishing up his “Sam and Will” shrine. As for Kenneth Brady- he’s probably just taking a walk…possibly with Jack Shock…enjoying the scenery and asking God what’s what. And Cory…Cory McCool I would imagine is awestruck of the King without a fear of the future in his mind. He’s probably been singing the same endless song since he got there- and telling everyone about how they will LOVE his wife and kids when they arrive.

I’m setting my affections on things above- this world is not my home- I’m ready to get out of here.

“Where the streets are made of gold, in Your presence healed and whole, let these songs of heaven rise to You alone. No weeping, no hurt or pain; no suffering, You hold me now, You hold me now. No darkness, no sick or lame; no hiding, You hold me now, You hold me now.” -Hillsong