TrAAcking Time. God’s grace in Ocular Myasthenia Gravis

I’m TrAAcking Time today. TRACKING MIKES FLIGHT TO SHAIGHAI

Using flightaware.com, watching as my husband’s 787 moves across the western side of America toward Shanghai. It’s been five years since he piloted a plane. Five. Years.

I’ve always known he was a badass. It’s what attracted me to him in the very beginning. JMK had the ‘it’ factor-brains, authority, tenacity and a work ethic that exhausts the rest of mankind. It was all packaged up in that Irish soul, a deceptive kind of strength. Like Bond, James Bond. Who doesn’t look like a badass until he’s in a bad ass kind of moment. Then watch out, he engages. And it’s do-or-die time and that’s when you want a badass in your corner. In front of you with confidence, taking care of business and telling you exactly what to do. And not do. (I forget this sometimes. That the very thing that made me fall in love can also make me… um, get extremely frustrated.  Badasses are notorious bullies.)

But for five years my badass got grounded from his occupation. Ocular Myasthenia Gravis– grave muscle weakness- it attacked his eyes and gave him double vision. In the beginning he looked the part- badass pirate mike. He could do anything with an eye-patch-Harley, ski, hunt, fish as he friend-ed, fathered and husbanded and brother-ed us all on. But he lost his flight medical and took a seat at a desk job beside me. We thought God was crazy. Anyone will tell you don’t go into business with your wife. But we beat the odds and our marriage even prospered along with the business. And our spiritual growth, well it was on more steroids than mike’s daily dose of prednisone.

There isn’t enough paper and ink to chronicle what we learned in 1825 days-what we gave up and what we gained. But God. But. God. My two favorite words put together. But God, how we changed. Financially, to live with less and appreciate more. Spiritually, to live out that we trusted God to be in control. Physically, that God can heal anything and if He chooses not to or calls you to wait, that His grace is sufficient. Emotionally, that our worth and purpose is found in Christ-we are loved by Him and becoming like him is our chief ambition-not being a pilot, business owner, badass, or writer. Relation-ally, that what is eternal is found only in relationships. There God supplied everything we needed.

Jesus is a badass too.

The original badass but that’s a rabbit trail you can read about another day.

I thank you, and you know who you are- You and you and you. Family. Friends. We thank God for your prayers, encouragement and love.
Today, as I track time I am intensely sentimental and overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. Pride that we finished the race we were called to run. The last 42 days were all uphill in this marathon. Flight Training.
I can only explain it this way. Five years ago you drove a ’78 Ford standard shift truck held together with duct tape-78 ford dashboard

and now they drop you into an Indy racer ie-787 Dreamliner high-tech simulator.

dreamliner 787

And you’re 54 now. Your eyes are great-thanks to bi-focals but the brain is foggy. And the paper manual I picked up at Kinkos-1000+ pages printed both sides- you have to memorize. Of course they want you to study it off an Ipad. Now. That’s where your flight manual is housed. It used to be 20lbs of kit bag. Now it’s all on the Ipad, if you can find it with a swipe.  I joke, he can, now… but for 42 days it was badasserie at its finest. A juggling act of bi-focals (for 3 focal points), Ipad, Dreamliner and temper that sat beside Daral-a God send AA check-airman captain.

The final exam always comes at the end of the course- I’m talking about the five year grounding – and he passed. American was so glad to have him back they started sending him free stuff- Ipad, Cole Hahn briefcase, beautiful new uniforms! Ok… yes the FedEx guy told me he was delivering them all over DFW this week. But I like to think everyone was celebrating with us. And as the new uniform was hung on the door hook of the closet and his new CCK;) bag tags were put on his carry on luggage and he did what badasses do—preflight the next day. I felt so proud of him and for him.  My badass is back in the cockpit.

Ocular Myasthenia Gravis enabled us to behold His glory.

“We [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception). (And I testify of this)  For out of His fullness [the superabundance of His grace and truth] we have all received grace upon grace [spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, favor upon favor, and gift heaped upon gift].
John 1:14 & 16

May you see God and His furious love in whatever your circumstances are today. Grace upon Grace, and Peace.

When you walk the road to Emmaus

walk to emmaus

WHEN YOU WALK THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

Luke 24:13-35

Did you hear this alarming news?

46,471: Drug Overdoses Killed More Americans Than Car Crashes or Guns (CNSNews.com)

drugs kill
“Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms (deaths),” the Drug Enforcement Agency announced on Wednesday. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, 46,471 people in the United States died from drug overdoses, and more than half of those deaths were caused by prescription painkillers and heroin.

It’s alarming.  A serious wake-up call.  Snoozing is no longer an option when you get this kind of news. That someone you knew, loved, shared life with has overdosed and died. That tragedy became personal this past week as our collegiate son lost a friend to an overdose.

Questions immediately arose.  Disturbed, that heroin was that close to my son’s inner circle of life, we confronted him with frank questions. Distressed , we worried if we’d been naïve or distracted-majoring on the minors when the unimaginable of heroin was a real threat to his life and never discussed. Distraught, we grieved for his friend’s family. My troubled heart found a place of comfort from Luke’s account of Resurrection Sunday where two disturbed, distressed and distraught disciples found answers.

The road to Emmaus is a picture of the aftermath of a traumatic experience. 

Times when you think it’s all just a bad dream and you’re going to wake up but instead you find yourself in the reality of an emotional roller coaster ride you never wanted on and can’t get off.  This is the universal journey when death has come—to a person or a job or a marriage, or your good health, or a dream.  Something has died. And it changes the orientation of life.  What do you do now?

The two disciples in Luke’s account began to walk home, trying to make sense of it all. Their hopes of the kingdom of God and in the Messiah they had given up everything to follow were ended in a brutal crucifixion. Jesus was dead and buried.

They wandered home, suspended between yesterday and tomorrow. 

Powerless to prevent the events or change their current situation. Wrung out—emotionally, spiritually and physically—by the troubling “what ifs”. These disciples were in what Richard Rohr calls “liminal space”—a particular spiritual position where human beings hate to be, but where the biblical God is always leading them. The Latin root limen literally means “threshold,” referring to that needed transition when we are moving from one place or one state of being to another. Liminal space usually induces some sort of inner crisis: you have left the tried and true (or it has left you), and you have not yet been able to replace it with anything else.

Biblically this is:
Abraham called to a land he did not yet know.
It is Joseph in the pit or later prison.
It is Jonah in the belly of the whale.
It is David the shepherd anointed to be king.
It is pregnant Mary.
It is blinded Paul.
And it is two disciples on the Emmaus Road.

This journey is a time for overwhelming emotions and dangerous questions. Thank God we have each other!

Like the disciples, when two like-minded friends chose to walk together and talk things out; comfort-that inner strengthening-occurs. They didn’t stride in silence or talk about the weather or anything else but that.  While the experience was still raw and fresh and powerful, unresolved and unhandled they chose to talk with each other about ‘all these things that had happened‘. This open-hearted conversation created a place for Jesus to join in. That is the soul of Christian community that can happen in a home, a coffee café, a corner of campus or the bleachers of a stadium.  It’s an unfixed place where two or more are gathered in His name with open hearts and authentic discussion seeking to discover Jesus and His transforming power. Here power is released for today and hope is given for tomorrow and comfort is received for the past through the Holy Spirit.

Traversing the road between the now and the not-yet it is vital to have a spiritual companion with whom we can freely talk about ‘all these things that have happened’. Whether comforted or challenged, confessing doubt or debating action steps, always we gain a spiritual perspective that causes our hearts to burn within us as we realize Jesus has joined in the midst of these conversations, bring his wisdom and love as we walk the road together.

After the alarming news of my son’s friend who died of an overdose, we gathered together as a family. We talked and assured one another. We prayed and our son joined with his friends and talked and they grieved together and they remembered their friend. And friends went together to the memorial and they talked and they comforted one another and this grieving family and they agreed in the promises of God and believed what was written, “He has risen.” And had hope.

 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
HEBREWS 10:24-25

May the Lord Jesus Christ bring you grace and peace in the midst of your Emmaus road.

Cartography- a word that gets you where you need to be like Steve Thomason

Cartography- a word that gets you where you need to be- like Steve Thomason

cartographer

I didn’t know what a cartographer was until I looked up the word ‘mapmaker’.  Cartography (from Greek χάρτης khartēs, “map”; and γράφειν graphein, “write”) is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.

I’ve always thought of life as a journey. God has moved me around a lot, I’ve been scattered and gathered. He’s called me out then shown me the way to go. His word is our map and His Spirit our compass. But often it’s God’s people who help explain the directions.

This year God connected me to “cartographer” Steve Thomason.  His visual art-theology website was like mousing into Disneyworld. Where do you go first? It’s wonderful. It’s deep yet simple. It’s thought provoking teaching from a authentic and vulnerably courageous voice. I’ve learned so much from Steve.  He is a map-writer that communicates spiritual direction effectively. And he’s not afraid if you see things differently – he loves Jesus and he loves God’s people.

Like a map, Steve Thomason points to the direction of exciting things.  Look, over here at what the Bible Project is doing at this video on HOLY.   Or like a Scout he lets you into his personal journal to read his journey notes on the current scenery of how his PhD dissertation-Missional Spirituality in the Suburbs– is going – I can’t wait to refer to him as Dr. Thomason-so cool.  He even lets you into the ‘situation room’ that place we see in the White house on the TV dramas where the top secret stuff is happening. He’s brave enough to let us know he’s ‘living with disagreement and mapping out that conversation’.  Someone pointed him to Brene’ Brown’s TED talk and he put “the power of vulnerability” on the map for me.  Thank you Steve.

We all want maps. I hate wasting time and getting lost, don’t you? We want to know where to go, which way to turn, what’s a seriously dangerous dead end or an exquisitely glorious lookout.  And YOU’VE been somewhere I want to go. We all need to Map-Write more. We all need to be spiritual Cartographers who model ways that communicate the truth of Jesus Christ and the journey of spiritual transformation in Him and tell about the practical places to find it in God’s word or through God’s teachers.

Don’t keep the good news to yourself, be brave and share it.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:14-15

PLEASE, post a comment if you have something to point us to.

 

FURY Book Two ECHO by JL Kelly
FURY book two ECHO by JL Kelly http://amzn.to/1KMrLlv

Now available.