EngerPark10Everyone who talks about the past can probably start out with the same sentiment, “Things were so different when I was growing up!” because pretty much, it’s true, for all of us. Times change, people change, cultures and societies…they all change.

That said, I wanted to let you know I’m going to be changing things in this space. It’ll get a bit more colorful, both visually and textually. As I step out in obedience to what I feel God is calling me to I have a sneaking suspicion He’s got change in mind. Opening up more, talking about more intimate things of my life now and then, sharing all kinds of things that I haven’t in the past, and in ways I haven’t shared before.

I’ve wanted this to be a quiet place, a welcoming and peaceful place, safe. Those are still my goals but that is only one side of me. I’ve actually been known to have the loudest laugh in the room, my wit isn’t too shabby either and I’d like to share those sides of me as well. I have no idea how that will look, to be honest. I don’t think it’ll get too crazy around here, but it will start to show more of who I am…

I’m starting to look at this space more like an empty canvas. In my hand awaits a full palette of all the colors, patiently ready for their turn to be chosen. I feel like an apprentice to a Master painter, eager to learn what He’ll teach me, excitement building inside me as we create works of art together.

I don’t think it’ll get too crazy around here, but it will start to show more of who I am…and that’s what makes me a bit nervous BUT…

I’m pressing on. 

It’s so much easier to do this sort of thing in real life, face to face, don’t you think? I think real relationships happen that way, you know, in real life. When we can see emotions in someone’s eyes, hear inflections in their voice, feel their personality…that’s reality, and real community. Those are the things that build real friendships; being real with real people, which, I am a lot better at, frankly. I feel like I’m all thumbs typing away at this plastic keyboard. Ever feel like that?

It’s awkward, at best, to hug a computer screen, challenging to completely understand someone’s heart in one dimension parameters. Sound bites don’t make up an entire person, nor reveal who they truly are. I would much rather sit across from you at my dining room table while we snack on pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, trying to remember our manners as we laugh, crumbs spilling everywhere because we’re giggling like school girls. Now that, that sounds pretty wonderful to me. *warm fuzzies*!

Alas, here we are, in this technology saturated world, trying to connect with whomever our path crosses, hoping to find someone who can understand and relate to us, our lives, our world. I’m not begrudging it, not really. I’ve met some amazing friends online who have blessed my socks off and I can honestly say I love them. But those relationships are hard to maintain and I’m simply noting that it’s very possible the most rewarding relationships we could have in our lives may only be 50 feet away and not 500 miles. Maybe?

It can be tricky to build a relationship through a computer screen, but I’m willing to commit to trying if you are. I’m willing to put myself out there for our friendship if it means you will feel like someone cares, someone thinks of you, someone thinks your worth the time and effort, someone sees you. I know what it’s like to feel alone and invisible. I’m learning what it’s like to live beyond that, in a world where someone notices when you’re not there and it matters to them. Really, truly matters to them.

This place really does exist.

(For the record, you really, truly matter to me. I see you. I understand you. We can find our way out of the darkness together, with the light that’s been given by the God of the universe, the only light that never fades or burns out.)

I’m willing to be honest with you, let myself be vulnerable in front of you, share the odd, funny and quirky things about me, all in the hopes that you will see the one thing that fills me full of joy and hope: my relationship with Jesus Christ. He alone completes and sustains me. I hope, over time, as our relationship grows, you will see that.

For now, I will be praying for you. I will be thinking of you and I will ask God to reveal Himself to you in ways that could only be from Him so you can see how amazing He is and how much you matter to Him. His love for you is deeper than the deepest, higher than the highest and truer than the truest.

This is my prayer for us:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask and think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”   ~Ephesians 3:14-21

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The leaves on the trees are changing…and so am I.

EngerPark3

I have a lot of amazing friends, both in real life and the ones across this beautiful globe whom I’ve met online. I cherish each and every one of them. One of the things they all have in common (in addition to being immense blessings to my heart) is that they have all encouraged me to write and to KEEP writing.

God must know how much encouragement I really need in this area because He keeps putting people in my life who keep whispering, and shouting, these things to me:

“You need to tell your story/testimony!”

“You should write about that!”

“You should write a book!”

“If you wrote a book, I’d buy it!”

“Thank you for sharing your heart on this!”

“You have a gift, a real talent. I love the way you write!”

I have a confession. I know it’s silly, but it has taken me a long time to really believe that people weren’t just saying these things, that they really meant them. I’ve gone down the whole spectrum, from total disbelief and denial to where I am now, which would be here:

I think all these people, over all this time, in all these different ways, telling me the same things…and the looks in their eyes…may not be empty platitudes after all. I think I’m to a place where I’m willing to trust them, to actually risk believing they are really being sincere. To step out and *GULP* start writing.

I mean, really writing.

About the secret stuff that’s in my heart that I’d like to share but have been too afraid to tell you about. That kind of writing. Writing about myself, my life, my thoughts, my passions. The things that make me, “me”.

Honestly? I still struggle with wrapping my brain around the concept of anyone wanting to hear about me, what I think about things, what I like and such. So I’ve been trying to think of it in a different way, taking the “self focus” part out of it, putting it all back on God.

What I mean by “putting it all back on God” in part, is making it all about Him. Know what I mean? Going completely back to the fact that He created me, in His image, and it pleased Him. Every single thing about me, He fashioned. And He fashioned it well. All the things I’ve been through He ordained and allowed and is (and has been) in the process of redeeming, restoring, making it the way He originally planned. So really? It’s HIS story. His story about me. When I think of it that way, I think it sounds kinda cool. And pretty amazing. Don’t you?

Another part I think of is how it relates to my being a Christian. As a Christian I have chosen (and continually strive to choose) to surrender my life to Jesus, for His purposes and plans. The Bible says this:

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If I have truly given up my claims and “rights” to myself, it’s no longer about me but about Christ (in me) and He alone is worthy to receive all the glory, accolades and credit for what He has done in and with my life. So maybe it’s ok to talk about me?

Confession #2: I worry that I’ll do something that takes glory away from God. (Apparently I suffer from selective amnesia, frequently forgetting God is in complete control of ALL those kinds of details.)

The more you get to know me, the more you will find out just how much the Lord has done in my life to become the person you see me as today. Which, I guess is what brings this back full circle…

I think I can finally take the advice of my friends and say it’s ok to talk about me, in light of all that Christ has done. As long as I keep that perspective and continue in obedience, He will work out the details.

So now, I turn back to you, my friends, hold your hands in mine, look you square in the eyes and ask you from the bottom of my heart:

“Let’s do this? Together? For God’s people and for God’s glory? Be who we are? Share who He’s made us to be? All of us? Yes?”

whiterose

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bleedingheartsForty years is a long time. It’s the length of time for a whole generation to pass, a new one to begin.

It’s the culmination of the millions of moments I have been alive.

(There’s really a lot of back story to this, I hesitate to even think of opening this “can of worms”, uncertain of how long it will take to get to the bottom. Maybe I’ll just do it for myself, a good, cathartic exercise. It’s a way to process everything, right?)

blurrypathb&wThe road my life was on, before I fell into the extravagant grace and abundant mercy of Jesus Christ, was a dizzying spiral into an unending abyss of darkness. Really. The path I followed was leading me ever faster to a world I made up in my head and wanted so badly to exist I was completely blinded to anything else but reaching the end…of my life.

I saw no other way to stop all the pain.

To stop the ever-maddening, life-consuming, thought-engulfing, will-sucking, constantly-screaming-at-me-can’t-you-make-it-shut-up-already??!!, pain.

I tried everything else. And by “everything”, I mean EVERYTHING.

Any relief was momentary, some moments lasted longer, but all momentary none-the-less. I kept coming back to the same door, over and over and over and over again. The door marked “NO MORE”.

It’s an interesting irony, what delirium-inducing nectar self-inflicted pain releases. It’s a costly high and should make us shudder to think that one could be so hurt as to crave it, tirelessly seek it, live a life needing its fix, lest insanity ensue…pursue.

The thing about suicide is that while it is perceived as an act of cowardice, it is also an act of bravery for those who take their own lives. If you’ve never wanted to die, truly be dead and gone and away from everything and everyone, you could never possibly fathom how brave you have to be to overcome the fear that grips and chokes in the moments before you act. The finality itself is quite sobering, though for some, it’s still not enough to deter. While to others, it seems as though it is a simple act; one flick, one pull, one leap, one _______. It is actually a storm that started long ago and has built up to such a crescendo not even a tidal wave could drown it out.

TwoHarborsLight11It’s a place where the presence of all clamor becomes white. The absence of all else, black. The only way for there to be silence is to quiet the source. Forever.

I hear with my ears, my thoughts come from my mind, I feel with my emotions. The common thread is it’s all about ‘me’. I am the source of all the dark sounds that won’t turn off. The suffering ones are the only ones who can flip the switch. And some try. And some do.

This is so heavy. I know. But can’t we better understand and desire the light if we first fully comprehend how dark the darkness is? (And also come to know that it isn’t really the  end?)

I know for myself, it’s exactly because my darkness was so horridly dark that the Light of Christ is so blindingly bright and magnificent. Sorrow-shattering. Night-nullifying. Darkness-diluting. Hope-bursting. Joy-delivering. New-day-birthing.

sunflowersMy birthday.

(Traci 2.0, hee hee. ;) )

This last Friday was the anniversary of my birthday. That morning, as I woke up, laying under a crowded sleeping bag, huddled next to my husband, surrounded by warm dog bodies, a simple refrain quietly broke through the chilly, summer morning.

In my head and in my heart these words kept repeating themselves, like a skipping record, only I didn’t want to fix it. I searched my mind for the file that was associated with these words and all I could remember was I was certain of it being from a David Crowder song. As my day went on, in every new situation I found myself, all I could hear were the words “I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive! I am alive!” It humbled me, gave way to an overwhelming understanding of what God has done in my life.  Reminding me of where I had been and how vastly different that was to where I am now.

Grateful, joy-filled tears wet my cheeks.

It wasn’t until we were back home I had the chance to look it up. And then I remembered. I remembered why it had sunk into my soul. Words, so simple, so profound, so true, so me.

Well, who I am now.

I AM ALIVE!!

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…” ~Ephesians 5:8

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. ~1 Peter 2:9-10

This isn’t exactly how I would tell you what I was thinking and feeling, if we were able to exchange real words with sounds. One of the things that keeps me from writing more is that I have so much to say and how I say things takes time and you’re only supposed to have so many words in a blog post and blah, blah, blah, all the rules. I can never quite tell if you’re willing to listen that long, if I’m overstepping your generosity of giving my your time and listening ear. Or if I’m sharing in a way that makes you want to linger.

I know *I* like YOUR company. :)

Well, if we ever get a chance to really chat, no matter what I said, I would need to make sure that you perfectly understood how grateful I am to God for saving my life and without His mercy I would not be alive to sing and shout the words:

“I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE! I AM ALIVE!!”

whiteheartflowersingle

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oronosunset

I have occupied this space in the vast interwebs since 2006. That was a long time ago.

Over time, as most things do, it has morphed. From being a homeschool/mommy blog to including my knitting and cooking to what is has been more recently, in industry terms, a “Christian lifestyle blog”.

And now, I look to the future.

I’ve been working out what this space should be and will become for a very long time. Wrestling with myself, seeking the Lord and His higher plan. To be honest, it’s mostly been me wrestling with myself.

Most days, when my thoughts wander to this space, I have a hard time containing all the ideas swarming around my ever-busy brain. However, it’s not long before my emotions kick in and I shove it all aside and cringe at the thought of being “chained to my computer” and being “a slave to social media”. Well, it’s actually more that I still can’t wrap my brain around the idea that someone else, anyone else, would want to know that much about me, my life, what I was doing, what my thoughts or opinions are. It really doesn’t make sense in my brain. I’ve never thought I’m that important.

Maybe that’s my problem.

If “I” don’t feel like my life or anything I would have to say is “that important” to share with anyone else, and that no one else would even want to hear or know anyway…why should I bother wasting time coming up with things to say or share? There are a million other things I could be doing, and would want to be doing, that would bear much more fruit. Right?

So, after all these years, I’m starting to see it still all comes down to this: I still struggle with attaching value to myself and everything about me.

“Who am I? That you would think of me?”

You know, it’s hard to find the correct balance of humility. To love oneself, but not too much. To know you are valued, but not “all that”. To believe you were created in the image of God, but you are not Him. That gray line gets fuzzy for me and I err on the side of holding back rather than fully embracing what I’m worth in hopes that when the Lord looks upon me He will see a woman desperately wanting to please Him and Him alone, yet seeing something else.

And then I wonder…

Wouldn’t it please Him the most if I fully embraced the value of myself that is found in Him and THEN repent when I falter? Would it be easier for me, for Him, to have a relationship where reigning in was more pleasurable a task than pushing and coercing out of the nest?

At what point is it ok to fully let go…and jump…and risk…in order to fly into all the Lord has and is for me?

Now that I look, I see it in my daughter as well. She’s always been a “late bloomer”. It has always taken more time for her to come to a place where she is willing to dive into things. And by “dive” I mean “inch forward in trepidation”.  Just like her mother.

We’ve been through a lot. A LOT.

We have very good reasons as to why we are the way we are. Time has passed, but it takes more time than most for us to get back to a place of breathing “normal” again. And apparently, with a lot of things, it has taken even longer than that. For as many chains have been broken from me, I still feel the lingering weight of them, so familiar, that heaviness, even when there’s nothing visible holding me down.

When you’ve hunched over as long as I have, you don’t automatically stand upright all the time. It takes practice, patience, perseverance to learn how to walk with your head up. Softened muscles, atrophied limbs, they don’t heal over night. 

If I were to be honest, I would have to admit that I am still under the invisible weight of invisible chains that I have known all my life. I have come very far from where I once was, so very far, and I know I don’t want to turn back–oh heaven’s no! However, I am feeling as though I can’t keep pushing on, I’m tired. This road is hard. This road has been long. I just want to rest, but it’s not always easy to know for how long.

If you rest too long, you will lose gained ground. I haven’t fought this hard for nothing.

But I have fought hard. And it’s tiring.

Some people find it easy to process things online, in front of others. Besides the fact that it petrifies me, I’ve never really been that kind of person. I’ve always struggled alone (ask my husband), though I’m learning to let others in. I’m not quite at a place where letting everyone see all the bad things in me is comfortable. I’ve only done that when I’ve felt the Lord ask me to, out of obedience, not out of desire.

(I’m afraid people mistake my fears for humility. I’m not completely lacking in humility, but neither is fear wanting in my life.)

And yet, I have come so far!!! I’m trying to not let discouragement get the better of me as I look to see how far I have yet to go.

I’ve been clinging (and by “clinging” I mean “had a death grip on”) to scripture and worship these past couple of years, more so than I have in a long time. It has been my light, my bread, my water, my shelter. Everything I have needed to sustain me. I have reached a point in my life where I know I could never survive without Jesus. Such a far cry from the days of shaking my loathing fist at Him. Those days of being convinced I couldn’t live without everything else, other than Him. I shudder to think I was that person.

My everything BUT Jesus has turned into NOTHING but Jesus.

I know I haven’t put anything new in this space for a long time and I honestly don’t know when I will put anything in this space again. I think of you often though. I wonder how you are, what you’re doing…and I pray for you. I truly do.

Right now, things are busy. I’ve been in the process of processing a lot of things in need of processing. It’s just been that kind of season in my life.

Also, I’ll be 40 soon.

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy that makes me(!!) and how I have trouble understanding those that are dreading it. For me, it is another moment, another year, another decade, that the Lord has gifted me. I should be dead, BUT GOD intervened! Maybe that’s what’s been difficult to process as well. The life road I’m traveling right now is completely uncharted, I don’t know where I’m going! I never made plans for my future when I was younger because I was certain I wouldn’t be alive that long. I am now alive and am having a hard time knowing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life! How utterly amazing!

So, know this: Though I am struggling through this time of processing, I’m pressing on. Even if I take some time to sit a while to quietly rest, I know I’ll be ok.

I’ve never had so much hope in my entire life that I will be ok and I will make it through. And it’s all because of the love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has for me and has shown me and continues to show me as I walk with Him. I pray you will know this deep, abiding, life-transforming love and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

“…“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.””  ~Romans 10:8-13

And if you do know Him, I pray you make Him not only your Savior but your Lord. I challenge you to relentlessly pursue Him, making the Bible your primary and only source for everything in your life. It will always lead you to the truth that will set you free.

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sunsetoronodam4I pace through the house, on the phone with my sister, making sure we have all the details covered for her family to watch our 3 dogs while we go to the Raising Generations Today conference. The conference that I will be sharing parts of my personal story. It’s the first time where there will be more than a handful of people listening.

It’s the story of how I was abused, abandoned, left to my addicted self to scrape my way through this cold and heartless world. The story I don’t tell to just anyone, if at all. The story that I’ve been trying to escape my entire life. The story that I feel God has been preparing me to share for over 20 years and even more so these last few months.

The story of my life.

My pace quickens as I try to keep the conversation light, even though I’m feeling anxiety climb up my limbs, ready to engulf my heart. We laugh, she sweetly encourages me, I close my eyes in gratitude. I’m finally starting to feel like I have a real relationship with someone in my family, my big sister. It feels as natural as it feels foreign.

We exchange sincere “I love you”‘s as I finish up one last pass through the kitchen. I brush of my emotions, well, stuff them down. I’m such a crier. 

I sit down at my desk for a couple of minutes printing flight and hotel information and somehow, I realize a couple of HOURS later, I got sucked into it being really important to update my Linkedin page??

I’m procrastinating again.

You see, if I ignore it, it’s not there. The fear. The nervousness. The excitement. The reality of this really happening.

My life. It was never supposed to be like this. I had no future, no destiny, no hope for anything beyond scraping by.

Yet here I am.

I’m alive. I’m a wife and mother. A sister, an aunt, a friend. I live in a house where the bills are paid and there’s always food in the fridge. I’ve accomplished a few things in this short amount of time on earth. Even if none of it makes the 10 o’clock news and no one else ever knows but the Lord, I still have done something with my life beyond white-knuckle surviving.

And I still struggle with feeling like God must have the wrong girl.

Even though I know He doesn’t make mistakes and I know HE knows exactly what He’s doing and I’ve been begging and pleading that my life would be used by Him for His glory and that I would one day move beyond always being the broken one, always being the needy one, always being the “special project” one.

All those years of darkness. All those years of crawling and gasping my way through to the Light…have I finally reached the top of the hole?

If I have, please don’t tell me.

If I have, I want to realize it slowly. Slowly, so that nothing will make me prideful. Slowly, that I may not lose hold of humility as I reach for wholeness.

I don’t want to be whole if the price is losing my humility. I’d rather have a forever thorn than have any more of me believe it can live without God. I don’t ever want to give up being desperate for Jesus. Not for anything.

I close my eyes, lay my head in my hands and I begin to weep.

I weep because I feel inadequate. I weep because I can’t believe God feels I’m “ready” enough to be used by Him. I weep because I’m not sure if I can convey all that I want to. I weep because I want to see God heal broken hearts. I weep because I know how special these women are to the Lord and that makes them special to me. I weep because I love my Savior. I weep because I’m not sure I can do this. I weep because I want to honor my family and not cause pain. I weep because Jesus has already gone before me and has prepared the way and is on my side. I weep because I can’t find my favorite nail polish. I weep because I can’t decide which shoes to bring. I weep because we don’t have as much money as I was hoping to have. I weep because I was hoping to have lost more weight by now. I weep….

My husband walks over to me, gently placing his strong hands on my shoulders, whispers comfort to me. My shoulders heave. I still can’t believe I have a husband. And a very good one for me at that. And in this strange place of gratitude and awe, I find calm again.

I turn the volume up on Pandora and Christy Nockels’ voice invades me: “Your face is beautiful, and Your eyes are like the stars…Your gentle hands have healing, there, inside the scars…Your loving arms they draw me near and Your smile, it brings me peace…Draw me closer, Oh my Lord, draw me closer, Lord, to Thee…”

…and I worship.

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I’m rummaging around in my bedroom closet for something, as I write this, I can’t remember what it was.

I can’t find it so I try the small storage space under the basement stairs.

As I tear the place apart move stuff around, I still don’t find it, but as I look up I see something else. My strong box. The one I’ve had since I was a really little kid. The one my sweet great grandma gave to me, to store all my most prized possessions.

I grab for the scuffed, brass handle and tug the box into my chest, the metal contracting, making that sound only metal can, like artificial thunder.

I get a kind of grin on my face, my heart lightens and I promptly forget what I was doing (Oh, shiny!) and hurry upstairs to take a trip down memory lane. As I climb the stairs, I search my brain, trying to make a mental inventory of what I remember being in there. I can name a few things, but the rest isn’t coming back to me as quickly. It’s been a long while since I’ve visited my past and I usually only do it intentionally, when I feel I can face whatever I may find.

strongboxI set it on the kitchen table, the sunlight is beaming through the light green sheers, almost illuminating it. I slide the lever to the right, the lid sticks for a second, but I yank the handle a bit harder and it flies open.

So many memories.

They come at me like unrelenting waves, rolling over me as if I were the seashore on a windy day. One after another, after another, after another…

I go through a cycle of emotions faster than the spokes can spin on a tire (with a card attached by a clothespin ticket-y ticking as fast as it can).

I giggle, sigh, I strain my memory for images, sights and sounds, people who were once connected to me and wonder “where are they now?”.

I remember.

michaeljacksonfolder2As I get closer to the bottom of my box of memories I come across my Michael Jackson folder, complete with graffiti and scratch-n-sniff stickers exclaiming, “Plum Good!” and “Ba-nanza!” (Yes, I DID scratch them. Yes, they DO still smell! Can you believe it?!) I open it, and right next to the “Vital Statistics” paper my 5th grade teacher had us fill out (where I note my personal hero as being “Indiana Jones”) I see it. And I remember.

michaeljacksonfolderopen I silently gasp and hold my breath as I read these words:

“Weekly Reader, Special Commemorative Supplement, February 21, 1986″

I stare at the faces. One by one. More words, “‘We Mourn Seven Heroes'” and “‘The future belongs to the brave.'”, taken from President Ronald Reagan’s speech, stare back at me. I gently turn the pages as if I’ve uncovered an ancient manuscript, lost to the ages, just like Indiana Jones.

challengerarticle1challengerarticle2challengerarticle3I feel for a chair and slowly lower myself as I feel my heart ache and my eyes go blurry from the tears welling up. It was long ago, 28 years actually, and I start to realize how much it had impacted me. My nose starts running and I grab a kleenex, clearing my throat, attempting to shrug off the ridiculous feelings this finding has invoked. I brush away escaped tears, moving the article aside and there it is. I sit there, stunned. A yellowing piece of paper with my handwriting, the rough draft of an essay for a class assignment on one side, the finished paper on the other. The cleverly obvious working title, “My Space shuttle feelings”.

challengeressay1challengeressay2Under my breath, I read my own 28 year old words:

“It was January 28, 1986, the beginning of the new year. It was around 11:24 and I was in my Math class. Mary had just announced that at Cape Canaveral, where Kennedy space center is located, the space shuttle Challenger had blown up, one minute and fif-teen seconds af-ter its launch, killing all seven on board. The astronauts were: Sharon Christa Mc Auliffe, a Social Studies teacher in Concord, New Hampshire, Gregory Jar-vis, Ronald Mc Nair, Francis Scobee, Judith Resnik, Mike Smith, and Ellison Onizuka. When I heard that I held my breath and tried to believe that it happened but I couldn’t. It was so shocking that whenever I hear about it I start to shiver and remember the videotape I saw that night on the news. When it was over I started feeling sorry for the family’s they had left behind. It must have been scary seeing your reletive die like that. I hope it never happens again because it hurt so many peoples lives.”

Bits of images flash in my mind, Mr. Clayton standing in front of the class, our timed Math speed test being interrupted (I can still hear the “bing” of the intercom, Mary’s choked up voice), tv’s on carts wheeled into hallways, teachers whispering and some brushing tears away, walking to the media center where Mrs. Trapp had the news on, kids feeling scared, uncertain, looking to the adults for direction as to what to think, to feel, how to process it all. All the whispers in the hallways. I knew something serious has happened, something that would change all of our lives.

challengeressay3I was 11.

I just sat there. Remembering that say. Then, I took a deep breath, let out a big sigh, gently folded everything back up and carefully put it all back in its place. My mind was racing a mile a minute and took a while to slow down. I wondered if I hadn’t been taught how to or allowed the proper time to process everything all those years ago.I don’t know.

I remember a teacher, a civilian like me, a mom, like mine, and how she died, her children and family, a whole nation watching as she and her colleagues flew to their death. How a facet of the definition of being brave was etched into my mind. I wondered how I should process this as a Christian, in light of scripture, and as an adult. I’m still not quite sure, but, I do know the Lord knows what He’s doing and we can trust His plans for all of us.

Today, as I write this, I am remembering again. I look back and see how much life DID change after that. How many years it took for NASA to try again, how things are really quiet on that front now, unless you like space stuff, which, I do. I’m glad that hasn’t changed. I still look up at the night sky, trying to comprehend the universe, our place in it. Meteor showers, solar eclipses, lunar phases, sun dogs, planets, eclipsing binary stars, telescopes, constellations, satellites streaking across a blanket of stars…still make me giddy. (For the record, Pluto IS a planet, AHEM.)

Life has gone on, though it looks and sometimes feels a little different.

President Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Memorial Speech:

Soli Deo Gloria

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Everything Starts With A Step

20 January 2014

I’ve been writing in this space for almost 8 years. Part of me feels like I’ve shared so much of myself while the other part of me, knows I haven’t really shared much of anything. I’m good at that. Too good. My life is marked by the ability to only let others see what I […]

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