My life has been a bit tough lately.
Not lately, meaning this week. I’m talking lately, like the last five years.
And, in case you are new here (Welcome! So happy you’ve joined us!) and wonder what in the heck I am talking about, feel free to detour a bit and read the facts or the drama. It well help you “get it.”
As for the rest of you faithful followers, you know about my medical roller coaster. You know about my high times and my low times and lower times. You laughed at my Nut to the Head and laughed harder at my Happy Wetpants … and God bless you, you even cried at my Déjà vu and “Seriously!?” moments.
So, this news will be big to you. Maybe even as big to you as it is to me…
We. Went Camping.
Like, me, my man, and my kiddos piled in the Gracevan, just us Team Holzberger, and we got away from it all. It was absolutely the most amazing two days!
If you would have told me eight months ago, that if I’d just hold on for a little bit longer, if I’d just keep believing, keep trying, keep getting stronger, that I’d get to go camping with my kids, I’d have probably shook my head, burst into tears and ugly-cried snot all over your new Gap sweater.
But, we did.
I speak the beloved truth when I tell you that my man and I packed up our three sweet little babies and drove an hour north to a local state park and did this thing up right.
We had a tent. (borrowed)
We had bikes to ride the trails. (mine was borrowed)
We had sleeping bags, a lantern, a Dutch oven for cooking, and two blow-up mattresses. (Borrowed, borrowed, borrowed, borrowed. Man, our friends aren’t bright have blind faith, don’t they?!)
With hardly anything that actually belonged to us, we still felt fairly prepared for the life outdoors.
And, this life was beyond what we could have imagined.
I will not paint you a picture of camping utopia and mislead you greatly. Not enough foooood! Where’s the first aid kit!? I can’t feel my legs! But, I will say that this was one of my favorite weekends, ever. Like, in. my. entire. stinkin’. life.
Modern mathematics cannot count the number of breaths of thanksgiving I gave to God on this trip.
Thank you, God for their wonder of your creation.
Thank you, God, for this family hike.
My God, thank you for this sleeping bag laughter…music to my ears.
Oh Lord, what a breathtaking sunset you painted for us.
God, this moment, right now, is perfection on earth.
Thank you, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you a thousand times over.
As I sit here tonight, in my jamis, listening to my Pandora radio, I am unable to restrain the tears, as I try to find the vocabulary to encompass these moments of pure, unadulterated joy.
Then, I realize there are none.
Me — the one who never ever, ever, ever shuts up — cannot think of a way to describe to you how special this trip was.
I guess I could try to tell you a story of someone who was bedridden, alone, in pain, feeling destitute and outcast from normal society. Someone, who day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, suffered from pain, stress, fear, seclusion, unanswered questions – all the while watching as the world spun around just fine without her a part of it. I could tell you that this same girl, alone every day, was poured out completely in every single way — empty, broken, alone, desperate. This same girl no longer allowed herself to picture a healthy life. Because…what if? What if God would be glorified more by her living her life just this way? What if?
But, then it happened. In God’s perfect timing and not a moment earlier there was a phone call to a friend, an acorn to the head and that was that. This same girl, who’d had her faith stretched further than she ever thought it could go…finally had physical hope. She had, by the grace of God alone, maintained her spiritual hope, her emotional hope…but now…this was act-tu-ally happening. She. Was. Getting. Better.
Four years. Four years – the better part of it spent alone, staring at ceilings, in and out of hospitals, unable to live a normal life, with no answers in sight. This girl was actually now getting stronger. Mentally stronger. Spiritually stronger. And finally, physically stronger. She delicately and slowly began to believe that maybe God could be glorified through her healthy body again. So, stronger she got.
That was my life. Always flat on the couch, always with an ice pack strapped to my head.
But now, by God’s grace, this is my life.
Because that same girl, who watched her babies grow up in front of her eyes, yet beyond her reach from the couch, was now packing a bag. Setting up a tent. Leading a hike.
There really are no words.
At one point, as we were walking along the shore of the lake, the kids giggling and throwing rocks into the water, it hit me. — when God worked His mighty way in the Bible, the overly grateful people almost always built an altar.
Moses. Jacob. Isaac. Abraham. Daniel. The list goes on.
As I remembered these stories of great faith, I looked along the shore, at my feet, and noticed the rocks I walked upon.
I whispered to myself…Well, wouldja look at that. All of these rocks are holey.
In my head, I’d simply noticed the rocks all had holes worn into them from the waves crashing over them time and time again. But, as the words came from my mouth, I didn’t hear the word holey meaning, “filled with holes”…all I heard was holy…as in holy.
This is holy ground.
At that moment, God so clearly spoke in my spirit that this.was.holy.ground.
I just kept grinning like an idiot, whispering it over and over as tears filled my eyes,
Holy. Holy. Holy.
Then, God spoke this blog into my heart in such a complete way. Not just Holy, Holy, Holy is this ground. But, look, my beloved…
Wholey, holey, holy.
These rocks, were a perfect representation of me and my couch time with God.
They were completely (wholey) filled with holes (holey) because of the Sovereign, divine (holy) waves who were permitted to crash upon them time, and time, and time again.
They were wholey, holey, holy.
Did she just call herself holy? No, I’m not calling myself holy. Although the Bible says I am set apart for His purposes, (Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15) a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2), but it still sounds pretty cocky to call yourself holy. Especially if the you, is me, and I know how unholy this holy can get.
I do not believe God caused all I’ve been through, yet I most certainly am confident He allowed it. And while I am beyond thrilled to be off my couch, I wouldn’t give up that time with Jesus for anything. He met me on that couch. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. When I felt alone and afraid, confused and angered, disappointed and depressed…Jesus joined me in that moment. He joined me in my trial. He joined me on my couch.
How could I not build an altar of praise?
So, I bent down, as I walked, and began to collect these wholey, holey, holy rocks. One by one, I scooped them up into my shirt, smiling from ear to ear.
Forever, will I look at them and be reminded of this camping trip. Not the coyotes. Not the injuries. Not the lack of food. But, of my rocks. Of my altar.
Of my Sovereign, trustworthy, holy God.
Who captured my heart wholey.
And allowed a holey four years to strip my life of so much.
To make me a little bit more like His holy Son.
I stand before Him now wholey, holey thankful for His holy couch and this beloved weekend.
Amen and amen.
Ps. After sharing the less serious and more funny camping stories with my family at Thanksgiving, my brother chimed in. In the spirit of sarcasm and silliness, i.e. my two shining qualities I feel I must share my big brother’s views (via a comedian) of camping. It’ll make you laugh, I promise.