Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Survivor Lives Here

Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.” (2 Kings 19:30-31)


I attached the purple ribbon to my mailbox as a reminder to myself:

A survivor lives here.

It feels slightly self-indulgent, putting the focus on me. A season ago, I displayed these ribbons in honor of loved ones who journeyed the cancer road, but this year I boldly make this declaration on my behalf because I’m taking my own advice … practicing what I so bravely proclaim.

Being a survivor isn’t about defeating the disease. Being a survivor is about defeating the silence that often attaches itself to the disease.

For me, this has become a rallying cry of sorts. I emphasized it again yesterday during the morning messages at Saint Luke’s annual Relay for Life service. It’s one of the main reasons I agreed to speak. You see, there’s a silence that has been settling in on my spirit for the past several months.

Sometimes, silence is a good thing, a golden kind of thing. I remember my 9th grade English teacher writing in my yearbook, “If silence is golden, Elaine, you can forget it!” I also remember my daddy telling me, “Elaine, not every thought you’re thinking needs to be verbalized.” I knew what they meant. In hindsight, I celebrate their words, because I fully understand the intent behind them. They represent life—a living, breathing witness of a young girl who wasn’t afraid to be heard and to err on the side of verbal expression. It’s been a delicate dance these past forty-seven years, learning when to speak and when to keep silent.

But what about those times when silence isn’t golden, when words should be spoken but, instead, remain buried, hidden beneath layers of self-doubt? Prolonged silence can become a breeding ground for destructive behaviors rather than a resting place for instructive growth. I recognize these dangers, and so I made a choice to use my words on Sunday morning and on this Monday morning. Not just any words, but words that have been bathed in grace and baptized in prayers for God to use them, once more, to move the kingdom forward. To move my heart forward.

Maybe today you’re stuck in your silence. A soul-eating something has taken its toll on your witness. Your voice no longer boasts the confidence of your sacred endowment. No purple bows tied to the mailbox. No holy proclamations tied to your lips. Instead, drop-dead silence. You’re at a loss for words, and your survivorship seems in question.

I hear you. Your silence couldn’t be clearer.

Today is the day to start talking again, start putting words to your struggle, thereby putting words to your faith. Pick up the phone, pick up the pen, pick up a friend, and pick up a bow. Tie it on the mailbox, tie it on your computer, tie it on your lips, or tie it on your heart. Let the whole world know that …

A survivor lives here.

A soul-survivor. A woman, a man living each day with the Soul-Creator, Soul-Stirrer, Soul-Lover, Soul-Keeper … Jesus Christ.

Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.”

Today might be the beginning of your once more. Break the silence within and watch your roots grow deeper into the soil of God’s kingdom garden. Our Father will not waste your witness. Our Father intends to cultivate it for his glory and his renown. Your survivorship is not in question. Your survivorship remains safe and is certain in his hands.

Keep to it, soul-survivors. Our best days are in front of us. As always …

Peace for the journey,

Letting Go

Letting go.

We talked about it last night after teeth were brushed and prayers were spoken. Two girls, one barely eleven and the other four times plus her senior. Her tears might as well have been mine. I know this struggle – this letting go kind of dilemma.

She’ll be taking a trip soon, one that requires her to leave behind a few items that have been her comfort for the past decade. She knows it’s time; she just doesn’t know how she’s going to do it without some pain.

“Maybe this is how God is going to grow you. Maybe this is his way of molding you into the woman he wants you to be – someone who trusts him in the night. You can hold onto someone real, baby girl, instead of something that’s not. You can hold onto Jesus. I sure would hate for you to miss out on a potentially, life-changing experience because of your fear of letting go. Maybe this is God’s way of leading you toward a deeper faith in him.”

These words were enough to momentarily quell her inner ache; I lingered a while longer while she let this truth absorb into her soul. After leaving her room, I let it absorb into mine as well. Long into the night I meditated on these words shared from my mother’s, well-trained heart to a daughter who is following closely behind.

Maybe this is how God is going to grow you, Elaine.

Letting go. I know it’s time; I just don’t know how I’m going to do it without some pain.

Of what, you might ask?

A few things. In the grand scheme of your life, my few things probably don’t matter that much. I imagine you have your own releases that are fighting it out within your heart today. You know it’s time; God’s been poking at it for a while now. But you are scared of the night. Those creature comforts that have been temporarily comforting you no longer suffice. Their power is limited and will never lend you enough strength for the deeper faith that is required for the journey ahead.

And so you have a choice: Let go of what’s in your hand so that you might take hold of God’s hand, or hold on to what you have and never make it to your next, spiritual birthday. You can stay stuck at eleven or you can add another candle to the cake and move forward with your twelve. The choice is yours. The choice is mine.

Maybe this is how God is going to grow us all.

It begins in the night, when light is cloaked by darkness, a wrestling it out under the covers with our souls. The pain is real, the ache almost debilitating. Almost. But then truth arrives, bringing with it a fair exchange for the hurt. A God exchange. His real presence for your temporal fix. His real hand, his heart, and his love for your false idols.

Your life, changing because of your letting go.

I want that, friends. Life changing. Life amplified. Life maturing. Life living forward in the daytime because I wasn’t afraid to let go in the night. Life holding hands with the Savior instead of life holding hands with fear.

Accordingly, I make this choice today, even as my daughter will have to make hers in coming days. I know it’s time; I just don’t know how to do it without the pain. So I won’t even try. I’ll expect the pain, but I’ll also expect the hand of Jesus. His real presence makes all the difference. His real presence is all the strength I need to let go in order that I might walk on.

This is me letting go.

This is me walking on.

I’ll meet you on the road of faith. Traveling mercies, sweet friends, and may you always know God’s companioning …

Peace for the journey,

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