Thinking Through January – Defining Yourself

By Sasha Katz

Defining yourself is complicated. Drafting a few sentence bio is torture to me. I know exactly who I am, but it is near impossible for me to get it down in a handful of words. I look at other bios. I see things like mother to 4, wife to a hottie, truth seeker, Jesus follower. Some use quotes, some create mantras, some ask you to buy their books, all in a line or two. Frankly, I don’t know what makes sense.

The idea of you coming across me somewhere on the web or social media sounds like an opportunity for community. The idea of us knowing one another through words and similar cares and concerns is a good thing. I like transparency, friendship and being spoken into – – as much as I like to share what God has tucked into my heart and soul.

But then I think, what do you really want to know about me? I think about my hats, my identities. Do I name them for you to describe me? Mom, wife, writer, lawyer, friend, daughter, sister. I suppose that is literally how I could define me. But, I am finding, as I get grown up, that the hats don’t do much except define. I am way beyond the hats and I am tired of square boxes. Scratch the mom, lawyer, writer, friend chant.

I’m scratching writer because I mostly find pleasure in sharing my thoughts in a way that keeps my insides feeling free. I’m not publishing books or looking for editors. Writer doesn’t seem to fit. I don’t think I can stick with wife either. The term leaves out the whole experience of being a wife. Those four words are just so limited and leave far too many questions in the margins. What kind of wife am I? What kind of marriage do I have? What exactly do I want you to know when I say wife? Other than I am not single? Scratch it.

In as much as I am a lawyer, my crazy days are mainly due to the fact that I am a business owner and mother at the same time. Lawyer sometimes actually feels irrelevant as I navigate these two repelling magnets. On top of that, I’m not the average mold lawyer. I hate disputes (unless there is real injustice involved). I sweat through the battles I fight for my clients. And, while I really do love a lot of the lawyer work I do, I will be forever questioning the time I lose with my children every day. Lawyer is off my list.

Rather than list the things that define me, I think I am or hope to be the following: I like listening, looking into the eyes of a soul, seeing what is on the inside. Offering what I can. Helping the water wash over, leading to pure, peaceful places. The place where there is the serenity of winter, but the atmosphere makes you warm. Like the covering of a soft down comforter. Like a rest that lasts a thousand years. And, when you start to move again, the warmth and the peace and the serenity move with you.

That is no bio. But I leave it with you anyway. I pray that you travel sweet today. That the wind moves with you and that you are warm on the inside.

Birth, Death & Father’s Day

I remember years ago asking my dad what his favorite verse was. He was approaching his birthday and I wanted to do something crafty for him. The craft really doesn’t matter at all because it didn’t come out that good. I think I tried to embroider the verse on a pillow with a beads. But, I remember what his favorite verse was at that time in his life. He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

At the time of his birthday (I think it was 54 or 56), I had not even taken in the idea that my dad would only have a few birthdays left. He was already sick with cancer at that time, but idea of him getting sick enough to die and God allowing that did become part of my mind’s possibilities. I have been thinking about my dad a lot the last month. Probably because I was his father’s day gift many moons ago. My birth, his death and Father’s Day loom around in my mind in the month of June.

This month, I have been telling my kids some of my thoughts and remembrances so their memories have my dad in them. I think about what life would be like if he was still here. I text my brother who senses his loss almost daily even years later. But not for one minute, not for one second do I question God’s calling on my dad’s life or God’s choice to end his earthly time line at 59 years old. This is the faith that my dad’s walk to heaven has brought me to.

In my dad’s time of weakness where God was allowing him to feel pain. Allowing him to know the brevity of life. Allowing him to realize life was going to end differently than his expectations. Eventually allowing him to wrap up his affairs, say goodbye. Allowing him to prepare to see God face to face. All of that time, my dad said that God showed him that He will never leave me or forsake me. My dad walked home to the Lord like the warrior He was in his life time and like the humble man God taught him to be in his life time. It is in our utmost weakness that God sews in His great love, great strength and His true to the end promise that He will never leave you or forsake you.

Never Leave You

Thank you to Jennifer Dukes Lee for sharing her Ten Life-Changing Truths to Believe Today.

Where You Are Beautiful

By AbbyA

After reading JMathis’ prayer yesterday, my imagination took me walking through a very serene, alive, white pure place.  In this place, I am aware that my sins are buried somewhere deep and covered.  The awareness of my covered sins magnifies the holiness of this pure white place.  I think this is where I am who I really am.  In this light, I am beautiful.

Bindu reminded us of Just As I Am.  On planet earth, just as I am (me) is in desperate need of His grace.  I fumble and fail and then get up again.  But the just as I am on the other side is already cleansed by the blood of Christ.  This is where I walk on snowy powder that isn’t cold.  This place is beautiful.

Sometimes it rains very hard.  We end up feeling cold, drenched and alone.  In those lonely places, take heart.  He has overcome the world.  John 16:33.  For those with faith, heaven is a guarantee.  Discover who you are in His perfection while you are still walking in earth’s mud.  Such a journey just might open the door to seeing who you are in Him.  And, that, my friend, is beautiful.

Have a wonderful weekend.

. . . Until I See Him Again

By AbbyA

Loss. We lose days as time passes. We lose time as days pass. Sometimes we lose our children from our view in the park – – even if just for a minute. Sometimes we lose our minds – – even if just for a minute. We lose pocket books and wallets. We lose keys and credit cards. Socks in the dryer. We lose innocence in maturity. Idealism in reality. Sometimes we lose sight. Sometimes we lose our way. But we never lose our faith.

I lost my dad in the cold of winter last year. My sweet dad with grey-blue eyes. He walked right into eternity before my eyes. The stepping into eternity was not a surprise to me. It was the sickness and dying that was not part of my understanding. I walked the hospital halls. I pet the big white horse of dog that came to comfort those on my dad’s floor. I listened to my dad talk for a while and then go back to rest. I watched my dad acknowledge doctors and visitors and drink juice and ice. Not knowing it at the time, I watched my dad see my children for the last time. I understood that my dad was coming home from the hospital for the last time. It is by His grace that we are saved and by His grace that our spirits enter into His presence. But it was very hard for me to find His grace in the physical act of dying.

My dad did not find it hard to find His grace in his sickness and dying. He believed – for real – that his God would never leave or forsake him. He believed in things like communion with God, honoring His commandments and sharing truths with love. He didn’t change in his dying. He simply became stronger in the spirit until eternal home and ultimate healing called him. And because of faith, my dad walked out of our earthly exit door and into His grace. Most assuredly, the painful experience of dying was erased as he walked through God’s front entrance and into the foyer of His joy.

Unlike the worthwhile pain of childbirth, death leaves you without a new life to distract you. Looking into sunsets and bright stars in the night resonate unreachable loss. The beating of the heart on the inside begs for just a little more time, a rewind. A go back. Inconsolable prayers asking God for the impossible. For a time, there is no room for healing. The pouring out of pain has to reach its end.

Our loving God gives us room to grieve. He whispers in places that were not complete even before the loss. He writes in fullness where there were pieces missing. He sings in perfection where there was lack. His handling of our humanness is a grand marker of His Godliness.

As He gently points me toward His plan, I find gratitude for the loss. Not for the loss of my dad. For God’s divine wisdom to allow temporary loss. It is in loss that we grow exponentially. Somehow the earthly losses cause us to gain in the spirit. Somehow the spiritual gain covers over the earthly loss. The covering does not extinguish the pain. It opens up the door to light in darkness. The covering is a shadow of the promise of eternity.

Through loss, God deepens our spiritual perception so that we can see what is just beyond the sunsets and bright stars in the night. He makes us aware that the beating of the heart on the inside is also beating for what is to come on the other side. I see my dad experiencing heaven. It is beautiful enough for me to receive God’s plan that brought him home too early and too young. My view gives me almost enough of my dad to settle my wish that he was here with me. I ponder that God planned it that way.

If I can grasp His wisdom, I may see that He pours Himself into my heart so that I desire to see Him in His fullness. The pouring out is a sort of introduction for seeing Him face to face. The pouring out sustains me and overflows me, but it doesn’t quench the cry in my heart for eternity. Isn’t it the same with our losses? His love sustains the loss, but His eternal promises sing us home. Until I see my dad again. Until I see my Heavenly Father face to face. I can be confident that anything lost will be found.