Category Archives: LoriJo’s Story

Touchstone 12

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and all his angels.

Be prepared! You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this on-going warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.”

Paul, another Hope Scribe, in his letter to his friends at Ephesus

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Behind the Veil, 18

The season complete, the Champion emerges.

Stronger.

More resolute.

More focused.

Vision intensified.

Identify and eliminate enemies quickly.

Assess potential battles swiftly; know which to step into and which to shake off.

Threads holding the heart together strain against pressure; all hold firmly while the heart is in His hands.

Destroyer’s marksmen tighten their circle; an addition is seen.

For each marksman there is a replacement.

The replacement steps into the circle and takes aim before the first marksman steps out, keeping a rifle always aimed at the heart of the Champion.

Don’t blink, don’t quit, don’t step outside the protection of the Link Angels also constantly on guard.

And don’t pet wolves. Ever.

The wolf operates with a deadly CREED:

Compromise.

Rationalize.

Entertain.

Excuse.

Die.

See it, deal with it. Determine quickly if it is to be acknowledged and destroyed, or ignored and walked away from.

The Guardians affirm the emergence of the Champion.

“Well done, Sir.”

Done?  We have only begun.

The things you have seen to this point have been preparation.

There are greater victories ahead, won through more intense battles.

 

This generation is at stake, spinning out of control by its self-chosen delusions.

A voice for Truth is necessary.

 

Abandoned and broken hearts everywhere need to be led to wholeness.

 

Soldiers enlisting in our army must learn warfare.

 

This one will teach, lead, fight, pray, weep….and win in Our strength.

The battle continues until He calls all of His by name, calls all of them Home.


The Darkest Valley, 4

Deep grief and deep peace truly do walk hand in hand.

Peace is shallow if there is no conflict to overpower.

Unspeakable grief met unexplainable peace in the hospital room where we waited for Jesus to call her name.

Her last discernible sentence to my sister: “I am proud”.

One of her last controlled movements: reaching out to give me a hug.

Her favorite music on ‘repeat’; compelling to watch medical personnel marvel at the peace in the room in the midst of ugly tragedy.

Expression from one of their grief counselors: Looks like you’ve got this.

We don’t, but He does.

He’s got this, He’s got mom, and He’s got us.

Denominations meant nothing, musical style preference was irrelevant. Sing, pray, fellowship, comfort, encourage. All that mattered was the Name we all knew, the One we all understood would soon call her name.

The deepest peace was in knowing she was listening, waiting, ready.

People have come and gone, now it’s my sister, myself, and mom.

“Soon and Very Soon” is playing in the darkness.

I touch her neck one last time…..feel the heartbeat stop.

Someone called her name…..she ran to Him.

The darkness of the valley was shattered by the powerful light of her King, her Redeemer, the Lover of her soul as He swept her into His arms forever.

My hero has gone Home


Snapshot of an Abandoned Heart, 7

Healing an abandoned heart is tedious work that few are willing to undertake.

Caregiver to youth, adult to adult, us within ourselves.

Whatever the relationship, the process requires significant investment.

Requires placing infinite value on the heart to dispel the labels, lies, deception received.

Necessitates a method that transcends time, ignores fad, refuses to be fickle.

‘Self Help’ is short lived, and fragile.

Psychology is fluctuating with current ‘trends’ and ‘studies’. By its own admission, has no answers to most of the wounds suffered by abandonment, rather offers ‘coping mechanisms’ instead of healing.

There is only one way to truly heal and strengthen an abandoned heart.

You are free to choose not to allow for this method; in doing so, you voluntarily choose something – anything – that openly admits it cannot assure success.

Only the One who created the heart can truly heal it.

Only the One who carried our sicknesses, bore on His own body our diseases, was wounded for our transgressions……is capable of holding, healing, empowering our brokenness.

Picture the colander again.
Full of holes, destroyed by life, circumstance, abuse, personal failure.
Pour water into it….cannot hold it.
Place it in conflict….unable to withstand the pressure and shatters.

Picture a solid bowl, slightly larger than the colander.

Place the colander inside.

Pour water in. It is retained.

Apply pressure. The solid bowl assists to withstand.

It is only by placing our shattered, battered, torn lives and hearts fully into the completeness of Christ can we be fully healed.

There is no other way.

One more thing to note: this colander, placed within the larger bowl, is now stronger than a single bowl would be, even without the abuses suffered.

In the same way, any heart placed fully into the Hands of its Creator is stronger than any other force that chooses independence from Him.

When any heart abandons itself into the Father’s hands, becomes adopted by Him, there develops a force, a peace, a strength that cannot be conquered.


The Darkest Valley, 3

It is truly the only place to find the deepest river of peace that passes all understanding.

Firmly gripped in the current of grief as it swirls, front row seats in a drama that reveals moment by moment how little control we really have in life.

Listening in to the voices of hopelessness and despair, blessed beyond measure when those same voices are silenced by holy moments that draw everyone’s heart to acknowledge the greatness of God.

Needing to contact a step brother who lives on a boat, thousands of miles away. Chances of finding him are slim; chance he’ll be able to come even slimmer.

Discover he ‘just happened’ to be stateside on leave, and ‘just happens’ to have a few days left of his break. Mom had already stopped speaking by the time he called to say he’s on his way; watched her eyes open wide and vital signs spike when she heard his voice on the phone. We all knew she was holding on to see him one more time…

Years had passed since he and I first met; immediately step into supportive roles.

Sleep in shifts, always someone staying close to mom.  Talk about life, death, and what comes next. He chose karma, thinking God was mad at him anyway. Not exactly a choir boy, you know.

What part of karma do you like?

The part about reaping what you sow.

Sounds like the book of Galatians to me.

You mean what I believe might actually be Bible?

Only God puts together conversations like that.

So many lives touched by the one now so frail.

Neighbors.

Church members.

The lady who delivered her mail.

And the other “feisty one”.

Together they had some kind of informal ‘naughty girls club’.  Great name for a group of Bible-based ladies from the south who loved Jesus a lot, and loved mischief almost as much.

Heard about everything from pranks to prayers to battles over Florida vs. Florida State.

I’m told Gators eat Seminoles….

In the depths of shared grief, a story of loyalty and friendship was told without really saying a word. Watched and listened as time, comfort, personal preference was sacrificed to be by the side of her friend on her final journey.

Pray to be that kind of friend.

Pray to have that kind of friend nearby should my journey be similar.

In this Valley, the Shadow of Death is dark, and getting darker.

Yet somehow, here, the light of eternal hope shines far brighter.

And that brings immeasurable peace.


The Darkest Valley, 2

Wasn’t a shout, no trumpet call, no angelic visitation.

Yet it was unmistakably God’s Voice sending me back to the hospital early.

Three hours early; exactly on time.

Heard mom’s voice down the hallway.

“You will NOT put me on that thing!”

Thought they must be running more tests.

Quickly discovered things had changed.

Dramatically.

And not for the better.

Both mom, and the medical personnel, were glad I arrived.

“Tell them to stop trying to put me on that thing!”  Mom was not happy.

“Please tell your mother she needs to be on this. Her system is crashing and we need to do this to keep her alive.”

Please wait, let me talk to her…

Most of her physical strength gone, yet her spirit remained resolute.

Firm gaze into my eyes “You will let me go Home!”

She wasn’t talking about her house.

Phone to sister; need you here now.

What’s her wish?

No extreme measures. She wants to go Home.

Someone needs to sign….

Medical personnel returned.

Either we put her on machines now, or you sign this…

Will never forget that yellow sheet of paper.

Looked into the eyes of my hero, the one who gave me life.

The one who made difficult choices for me, so many times.

The one who let me go, releasing me into God’s hands decades ago.

Now she needed me to make a difficult choice for her.

Release her into God’s hands.

“Let me go.”

Signed the form.

“Tell everyone I said ‘good-bye’…”


The Darkest Valley

A phone call can change your world.

Rearrange priorities.

Bring clarity to the important, eliminate the useless.

Certain words still echo, not erasable.

Stage three lung cancer…

No additional treatment possible…

Six months…

“Enjoy Christmas, come see me in the spring. I’m sure we’ve got time.”

Knew we didn’t have time.

On the road a week later for the familiar 20-hour drive from my home to hers.

Familiar, yet deeply different.

Sometimes the heart just knows…

She was taken into the hospital over the weekend; complications from the weakness in her lungs once again required medical care.

Arrived the day before Thanksgiving, ‘surprised her’ in her hospital room.

So frail, yet still full of fire.

Laughter. Bad jokes.

Catching up on life.

Dancing around the reality of the illness’ grip.

Grateful we all knew that whenever He called her name, she  –  and we  –  would be ready.

Vital signs improving, strength returning, medical staff pleased.

She’ll be able to be released soon.

Plan on her going home Friday.

Sister and I left that night, making plans for a return visit late on Thursday.

Get some sleep, visit other family, sigh of relief she’s doing well.

It was the last full night’s sleep either of us would have for a while…