Ascending Calvary: An Act of Restoration

By late afternoon, the heat of the day had really begun to do a number on my strength. Over the last hour or so, I had been forced to take small sips from my thermos to prevent dehydration. Even though my thirst was assuaged by the warm water, there were few things I wouldn't have done at that time for a drink of cold, refreshing water! Shaking my thermos in a swirling motion, I began to worry over my depleting water supply when I came to a fork in the path.

All was quiet around me as I thought through which direction to take. I desperately needed to find a creek or water source to refill my thermos, so I examined each path and considered my options. The path that forked to the left appeared to slope upwards in a smooth manner. The desert tree coverage was thicker, meaning I would not be completely hiking under the heat of the sun. Yet as I looked that direction, I felt an uneasiness in my spirit about this trail. On the other hand, the path forking to the right seemed to be a much more challenging hike. The tree coverage was sparse, and the path appeared to be rocky and steep. Yet even though I did not want to continue in the sun, I was drawn to this more difficult path. 

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Ascending Calvary: An Act of Mercy

After an hour or so of hiking, my stomach began to rage with protest. I glimpsed at my watch and realized I had hiked through lunch. Pressing on a little further, I finally stopped when I came to a slightly shaded resting place. Laying out my supplies, I unscrewed my thermos and took a long sip of water. Because it was warmed by the heat of the day, the liquid did little to soothe my aching thirst. I rummaged through my food supplies and decided to munch on some dried fruit and nuts. I wiped my forehead and examined the cloth. Dust and sweat were smeared across its surface.

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Ascending Calvary: An Act of Grace

My journey back had been long and lonesome, but that story is for another time. At last, I came to the hill they call Golgotha, “the place of the skull.” I had visited this site before, long ago when I was a child. It was then that I had chosen to follow Jesus. What drew me back to this place now, I could not exactly say. I worked my aching tongue around in my dry, cracked mouth as I reached into my pack for the thermos. I swallowed a few small sips of tepid water, trying to conserve as much as I could for the remainder of my journey. Surveying the steep hill, I knew the climb would be painful. For just a moment I considered turning around, going back the way I had come, but I had made it too far to quit now. Placing my sandaled foot on the barren hill, I looked up toward the heavens, sighed, and began my ascent. 

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When Infertility Finds a Name

It was just seven years ago that I walked my days with an almost ever-present, searing pain in my heart. With many, many months of a silent womb to my name, the feelings of failure and barrenness had become familiar friends to my lonely days. At the time, I had no promise that I would ever bear children. I had no guarantee that Trey and I would see our desires become reality of having a home filled with the pitter-patter of many little feet. And the heartache was crushing.

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It has been a hard weekend for my family. We have gone through many emotions…fear, grief, sadness, extreme worry for our daughter. There are many other feelings that have been mixed in there, but these are some of the more dominant ones. We have been broken by this tragedy, and we have ached for the family who lost their loved one. 

Part of why I shared my story the other morning was to process a horrific experience. I can assure you that those brief moments were terrifying for our family, and we are continuing to work through our memories of that experience. Another reason I shared my story was to demonstrate the many ways the Lord went before us. He was at work long before we even knew we needed His help, and for that reason, we are utterly humbled and grateful. If you have come to my blog to read the story or to see the images, I have since removed them.

Earlier today, Damian’s wife came to our home and apologized for what happened. As a wife, I cannot imagine the pain she must be feeling right now, but I am humbled by her bravery and kindness. We shared words of redemption and reconciliation, even as both of our families still struggle to find our way through this tragedy. It shows a strong character and a thoughtful heart that she would reach out to us.

Many of his friends and family members have also reached out to us, expressing to me that Dame (as he is called by his loved ones) was a kind, loving, and funny husband, father, son, cousin, and friend. It has helped us to learn this about him, to know that this man was cherished by his close-knit community. I think it is important for me to share this on my blog, as well. No matter how his life ended, I want to honor Dame for how he lived, and it is clear that his community holds him in high regard.

Out of respect for his family, I have removed the blog post. They now know some of what happened, at least in our very brief encounter with him. In my opinion, the purpose of that post has been served. To his family and friends, know that we continue to pray over you as you walk this very painful road.

There are no words to adequately express all we are thinking, feeling, processing. But one thing we know is true: the darkness of the night never lasts forever; morning always comes. 

 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."  (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

How Could God... (Part 2)

When I was in college, I took a class one semester on religious cults. The class was fairly small, and I knew almost everyone in there. Except there was a new girl. I had never seen her before, and she was very different than what I was used to seeing in my school. She wore all black, sometimes with spikes on her clothes, and she had many piercings. But what made her really different, causing her to stand out so starkly amongst my classmates, was her anger. In our class on religion, it was very clear that she was angry at God.

At first, I chose to ignore her. She was different, and it is always easier to ignore different when it makes us uncomfortable. But as the semester wore on, the Lord kept bringing her to my mind. She sat alone day in and day out, and she needed a friend. He wanted me to be that person, so finally, I befriended her. What I learned has stayed with me ever since.

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