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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

columbine_breaking_news_photography

Every generation has a defining moment.  Everybody has days that will foever be ingrained in their memory.  While there are have been a number of those moments and days in my own life, there are few that I remember with such emotional clarity as April 20, 1999.

It was on this day 10 years ago that news quickly spread across the country of the horrific events at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.  Two armed students entered the school, opening fire and tossing homemade bombs killing 12 students and a teacher and then turning their guns on themselves.

I remember coming home from school that day (I was in 8th grade, which in my district is included at the high school) and being glued to the coverage on CNN.  Fear, grief and uncertainty overcame me as I watched the continuing reports.  There are images (like the one above) that will be forever ingrained in my memory from that day.  Students running for their lives out the door of their high school, a place that up until that point had always seemed to be a “safe” place.  No high school would ever again be considered “safe.”

Even more than the media coverage, though, I was shaken to the core by the stories that began emerging regarding the supposed martyrdom of Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall.  I had heard ancient stories of people who had been killed for their faith, but the emerging stories (whether fully true or not) of these girls being questioned about their faith in God or being targeted in the shooting for their Christian faith made such martyrdom a reality.  These girls were just like me – typical American teenagers who happened to be actively involved in their churches – and in an instant they were gone.

In light of this year’s 10th anniversary of the shooting, I have been re-reading some of the books on my shelf about the stories of these two girls: Rachel’s Tears and She Said Yes.  I first read these books in high school, and re-reading them has allowed me to revisit some of the emotions and challenges that I faced as a high schooler dealing with the nation wide impact of the events at Columbine.

Now, 10 years later, I choose to remember: not the violence and tragedy of that day, but rather the hope that I have seen rising up as a result.  The events that took place on April 20, 1999 will forever be etched on our minds and hearts – may we rise to the challenges, remember the lost, and embrace the hope of healing.

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There is an older gentleman in my church who was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer a while back.  At the time it was estimated that he would probably have less than a year to live.  As I observe this man in church it is clear to me that he is a firm believer in the power of God, the power of prayer, and in the importance of fellowship with other believers.  I’m pretty sure that since beginning his treatments for the cancer he has only missed maybe one or two Sundays.

Back in November our church held a benefit dinner for he and his wife to help cover medical expenses that raised upwards of $20,000.  That money helped to cover enormous medical bills that had been piling up while he and his wife were both out of work.

Tonight as we opened our last Lenten soup supper in prayer, we were able to rejoice with the saints in heaven at a miraculous victory.  The tumor which had previously been present in his pancreas is gone.  The tumor in his liver has shrunk to half its size, and appears to be continuing in its disappearance.  The doctors are calling it nothing short of a miracle.

The doctor’s advice: keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.

His response: “All I do is go home and pray.”

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I’ve been journaling a lot through this Lenten journey.  What I have lacked in “blogging” I have certainly accounted for in pages upon pages of internal reflection during this time.  I think it’s been healthy.  Here’s a glimpse at where I’ve been so far:

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent – a time for returning to God, a time of preparation for Christ’s death on the cross, and a time for emptying ourselves of those things which hold us back from a deeper relationship with Christ… I am so excited to see how God will use the extra time and energy in my spiritual and relational walk.  I am anxious to see what he has planned. (2/24/09)

I’m not so sure this would be such a big deal if others didn’t make it so dramatic…I haven’t felt it yet, but I half expect to experience at least some phase of loneliness during this thing. (2/25/09)

I’m finding that it’s really easy to make this whole deal into some over-dramatic pity party about how I’m completely cut off from civilization, blah blah blah.  I’ve tried to blame it on other people being over-dramatic, but I must admit that I have committed much of the dramatization myself…I’m really experiencing a considerable amount of FREEDOM… I’m praying for the endurance to run this course and to finish it better than I started it. (2/26/09)

If I spent half the energy I do on wondering what everyone else might be doing right now actually seeking to understand what God is up to right now… there would be freedom… I could potentially feel much more connected to what God is already doing around me and could thus become more connected to His mission and will.  (2/28/09)

I’m sure Satan is lurking and just waiting for my guard to drop – I pray that it will not! (3/1/09)

While there are certainly challenges in a culture that is so chained to the internet, the blessings have already far outweighed any “suffering.”  It’s hard to put into words the ways in which things have changed.  There’s a sense of freedom that I love. (3/3/09)

I continue to anticipate the ways that God will continue to provide provision, pardon, and protection in this season. (3/4/09)

I know that I can’t place my self worth in what other people do or say, yet I found myself doing exactly that on several occasions today… I’m in a position where I’m forced to face these feelings… No more escape.  No more running.  Just some real honest reflection about what’s really going on here.  Where do I get my self worth?  To whom am I really connected?  How do I face feelings of loneliness?  What do I do about it?  Where do I instinctively turn?… The breaking isn’t fun… the truth is, though, that we need the brokenness to experience the healing and restoration.  That is the hope that we look for in the resurrection.  (3/5/09)

It’s raining right now.  Well, it just started raining.  It always rains, doesn’t it?  I don’t really want to be around anyone, but I feel really lonely… God is definitely humbling me in this Lenten journey.  It’s not glamorous.  It’s not supposed to be glamorous.  I don’t want it to be glamorous.  (3/6/09)

The breaking – the tearing – the destruction of the old for the sake of new life.  I feel it… I feel it in my soul and I feel it in my bones.  Little by little God is tearing me down – peeling away the layers upon layers of selfishness, of pride, of fear, of insecurity – slowly working His way into the depths of my soul.  It’s a painful process.  My failures and insecurities are being revealed.  (3/8/09)

I feel like a complete and total failure… I am terrified for the rest of this week.  I feel disconnected from people.  I am worn out from awareness of my insecurities… I’m incredibly frustrated with myself – for being selfish, for acting defensively out of anger, for getting angry with people, for not putting enough into my school work, and for failing at doing the things I am most passionate about. (3/9/09)

Thy will be done.  Use me as you will.  Be my everything. (3/11/09)

I do find it interesting that God does not simply offer rest for the weary, but he commands it. (3/12/09)

I feel like I am learning so much lately – and not just head knowledge… but heart knowledge… It has included breaking, and humility, and heartache… I know that God is up to something big in me, and I’m excited to see it as it continues to unfold.  (3/13/09)

Tonight I am completely and totally exhausted.  I need rest – the deep kind of rest that revives the soul.  This process of breaking down has been a challenge unlike any I have experienced up to this point.  I have become raw in the process as my own flaws and insecurities and fears have been brought to the forefront.  I have been reduced to tears, and anger, and humility.  And now I am longing for restoration.  I’m aching for the hope of the resurrection.  I long to rest in Christ – to know that I belong to him and that I am loved. (3/15/09)

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