How to Answer Every “Why”

May 22, 2012 | 73 comments

It was the same morning that a worship song wrapped itself around my heart, like the lyrics knew I would need them later.

“Yahweh, holy is Your name.
Yahweh, holy is Your name.”

The music stopped cold in that one steel-crushing moment when an oncoming car slammed into my van.

I remember it all; it was the morning I thought I might die. It was the morning of a single red streak, slashing across the center line. I can hear it now: the crumpling steel, the shattering glass. I remember the stinging airbag. The spin. The ditch. The howling wind through a broken window.

And pain. I remember the pain. When I felt the pain, I knew for sure what I hadn’t yet been made certain of: I was alive.

I’d never felt so alive in all my life, and I haven’t forgotten what that feels like, three years later. I hope that memory never dulls.

I remember the ambulance ride, and how they cut off my favorite blue jeans to find the gaping wound on my left leg.

I remember someone using the word, “Lucky,” to describe the minor nature of my injuries. A woman who came to pray with me used a different word: “Blessed.”

I remember, too, how the phone rang into the X-ray room. My husband had dialed and found me there, in that small community hospital. We both cried, and it was just four days before his father would die in hospice. We knew his dad’s time was close, and he was torn between the injured wife, and the dying father. We both knew he should stay there. A friend who had come upon the accident scene — by God-incidence — would drive me home by mid-afternoon.

In the ER, the doctor stitched things back together on my leg, in the shape of a Y, the first initial for Yahweh. Just then, I remembered the song. I felt marked. For good. I didn’t want the scar to fade.

A whole person can get put back together like that — in the shape of a Y.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
— Colossians 1:17

***

Yahweh is perpetually in the business of stitching things together, putting aright the broken pieces. There is nothing in this broken world that He cannot redeem. It’s all free game. We are all free game, and believe me, He’s coming after us all. He pursues us ALL the days of our lives. Every last one of them. He offers a hand out, if we’ll just put a hand up. 

I did. I’ve put hands up. I still do. And if I hold them both straight up, they form a perfect Y.

I’ve been healed in a hundred different ways. I have the scars to prove true the wounds.

The wounded always wear scars.

Three years later, the scar on my left leg has faded. I can still trace it with my finger. I’m marked with a Y, and I see these Ys everywhere now. 

To me, the Ys point to Yahweh — and His habit of saturating the world with His glory.  It might seem a tad childish, to find Ys in places like airplane contrails and tree branches. I suppose someone might call this wishful thinking or coincidence or pure nonsense, that a 40-year-old woman goes looking for Ys. Even more ridiculous, but just as true, is this: sometimes the Ys coming looking for you.

Kayla knows. She’s the six-year-old girl who brought me a Y stick at the back of the church.

And Carol knows. She finds Ys in things like windmills and sidewalk cracks.

Monica knows. She sent me a drawing. Tiffany finds Ys in the trees.

And then, this note came last night, in my Facebook page inbox:

“… while picking up sticks, I found the most beautiful “Y” stick, perfectly broken . . . Then yesterday while digging in my garden, up came roots twisted together as if they were braided, into a beautiful Y, of course. And today when I went seeking medical information which I had prayed long about, there it was, the doctor actually said the new repair would be connected as a Y.”

Yahweh writes His name over everything, and He’s stitching it all together, even when not a stitch of it makes sense. 

The world wants to ask why. We really could answer every problem with this: Y.

“When the world says no way, we say Yahweh.”
~ Bob Lenz

 

***
Photos: A collage of Ys from friends like Carol, Teresa, Jessica and others. Drawing arrived by email, in a handmade journal from Monica…

Have you seen Ys in your world? I’d love to see them! Let me know on Facebook!

Have you come to share you own story of a God-Incidence or “God-Bump” moment? We’ve been waiting for you. Add the button, found here, to your post then come back and link below.

by | May 22, 2012 | 73 comments

73 Comments

  1. michelle derusha

    It’s not silly, not silly at all. You’ve got me looking for Ys, girl – I think of you, and Him, every time I see one now. And that’s a gift (a gift that keeps on giving!).

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you for that, Michelle. I don’t think it’s silly either, but I do wonder if people think I’m crazy when I pick up Y sticks and take photographs of cracks in sidewalks. 🙂

      If I’m gonna be a fool, I’ll be a fool for Christ!

      Reply
      • Tiffany Stuart

        I’m with you in the fool for Christ category. I take pics of the craziest things in order to share my faith online. 🙂

        Reply
    • Tiffany Stuart

      Keep looking for Y’s, Michelle. God sees YOU.

      Reply
  2. Sandra Heska King

    I love how I see Y’s everywhere now. And how Grace is always pointing them out “for your friend.”

    Fools unite!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Fools unite! A-to-men. I love that Grace of yours. I’ll bet she’s “cross-eyed,” too. 😉

      Reply
  3. Michele-Lyn

    Oh my… I just don’t even have words… can you believe THAT? Oh my… my heart is so full right now with so much, if feel as if I will spill out all over.

    I will just praise Him with you… my God… faithful God… we Praise You for Your goodness to us! Thank you for preserving the life of Your precious daughter — the one who fills me with so much life with her grace-filled, love-pouring, God-loving words… You perfectly hold us together.

    I will never see “Y” the same again.. I hope to find a few for you along the way…

    Blessings to you dear one…

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Michele-Lyn,

      I am so grateful, too. The world is filled with Ys. And even more, the world is filled with God’s grandeur and glory, in all shapes and sizes.

      Love you.

      Reply
  4. bluecottonmemory

    I think tomorrow I will look everywhere for Y’s! I don’t think it’s silly – but that’s coming from the girl who every time sees a cardinal, it’s like God saying, “You are right where you are supposed to be” or believes God talks to me in dreams. I find messages from God everywhere throughout my day – you’ve broken another code for me to read more of God’s love letters to me!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh! How wonderful, re: the cardinal. I see so few cardinals here on our yard, but we always saw them over at Great-Grandma’s house, just a few miles from here. I mostly see robins out my window, but if I suddenly see cardinals today, I’ll be all God-bumpy for sure. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Nancy Kehr

    My scars of abuse have healed in Jesus Name.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Praise God. Thanking Him now, for His healing in you, Nancy.

      Reply
  6. Robert Moon

    I wonder if the scars that Jesus bore for us are still fresh or if they have faded. Just a thought!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Robert, I think you’ll appreciate this quote, from Spurgeon:

      I can conceive, first, that the wounds of Christ in heaven will be a theme of eternal wonder to the angels. … and I can readily imagine that this would cause them to lift their songs higher, would prolong their shouts of triumph, and would cause them to adore him with a rapture of wonderment, such as they had never felt before. And I doubt not that every time they look upon his hands, and behold the crucified man exalted by his Father’s side, they are afresh wrapt in wonder, and again they strike their harps with more joyous lingers at the thought of what be must have suffered who thus bears the sears of his hard-fought battles.”

      Reply
  7. Tracy

    Hi Jennifer – I love this post. I too believe in God-incidences. Nothing happens without God knowing and being in and through it all! I feel about lollipop trees the way you feel about Y’s Great post
    God bless
    Tracy

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Tell me more about the lollipop trees, Tracy.

      Reply
  8. Joe Pote

    Beautiful, Jennifer!

    How about the Y formed by scars in the two hands, the side, and the feet of Jesus, as He hung on the cross?

    Speaking of which, the Hebrew spelling of Jesus is Yeshua, so your Y scar bears the initial of both the father and the son.

    Yes, healed wounds leave scars…I’ve come to see them as marks of covenant…reminders of who I am in Christ and of how I came to be His.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Joe,

      I treasure the gift of your wisdom and insights here in the comment box. Why this had not occurred to me before — the father/son reference — I do not know. But I’m grateful for this now. You’ve enriched my Y-sighting life!

      Reply
  9. Christina

    I think of you when I drive down my street: the road splits off into a “y” and my house is on one side of it. I love that He pursues us. And I love that you collect them, a testimony of His faithfulness.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      This makes me smile, Christina. Thank ((you.))

      Reply
  10. Amy Sullivan

    When you write about your accident, it always give me chills, and the “y’s”, I will be searching for them in my own world.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      The world is filled with Ys, isn’t it? And I swear, it really does seem like (at times) the Ys come looking for us! They.are.everywhere. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Dea

    Not only are you seeing the “Y”s you have found the answer to the “Why?” The wonder of The Name of the One answer to every question.

    I don’t say this lightly—I am so thankful for that scare, that crash, the terror of it, that gave you more than it took away. So thankful for these words here–three years later.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Dea,

      You are so very right. It gave me more than it took away, and I am changed. Everything is redeemable.

      Reply
  12. Lyli@3dLessons4Life

    Thanks for sharing this today. It really resonated with me — ministered to me quite a bit. 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Lyli. I’m glad for that.

      Reply
  13. Megan Willome

    Because I didn’t know you then (met you through your post on the accident), I didn’t realize the timing, with your father-in-law. Wow.

    You have written and rewritten this story so well. Someone challenged me yesterday to write mine. I have “Y”s, but they’re not the kind you talk about in polite company. Still sitting with this …

    Reply
    • Monica Sharman

      Megan, if you like, I can be your impolite company. 🙂

      Reply
    • Ann Kroeker

      Megan, I hope one day you can find a way to weave this together for the world to see and understand…in a way that is comprehensible without being…well, whatever it is that’s not “polite”. 🙂

      Love to you here in Jennifer’s thread.

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’m with Megan and Ann. I’d listen, if you needed ears for that story. I’d even keep my mouth shut, if that helped. 🙂

      Reply
  14. amy@to love

    wow. this story is incredible jennifer. and how strange that we are sharing the same today. the same message. i am humbled to be in such beautiful, wonderful company.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I know! Crazy! My jaw dropped when I saw we were both talking about scars. Another God-incidence.

      Reply
  15. Monica Sharman

    Jennifer, thank you again, thank so much for sharing this story. I remember the photo you posted of you and one of your girls, hugging and crying. I remember when they said to keep the wound out of the sun because sunlight would make the scar more prominent, you chose to sunbathe. In all this remembering, I sure am praising, and praising, and thanking God. I’m thanking God for what He shows me through your words, and I’m praying for every person who reads this post.

    YYYYYahoooooooo!!! 😉

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Monica … The package in the mail was a beautiful Y-surprise — and just in time for this Y-post! God’s timing (even over the little things) makes me smile. My mother-in-law was ooo-ing and ahhhh-ing over it this afternoon as well. It was a gift … and ((YOU)) are a gift.

      Reply
  16. kd sullivan

    I love that you find a memorial for what God has done for you in the midst of Y’s everywhere. When we ask why, we remember Yahweh!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      It’s sort of like the stones that Joshua and the Israelites set up. The stones were to be a memorial for them. A key difference, of course, is that I’m not setting up the stones; God is. But to me, they really are continual reminders of God’s faithfulness. And I see them many times a day.

      Reply
  17. kelli

    As usual, your story challenges me. Looking for God in the real and the raw. Even in what I would consider the broken.

    You bring Him glory, Jennifer, with your heart of seeking and finding and being filled.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Kelli. Thankful for friends like you here, who help me see.

      Reply
  18. Tiffany Stuart

    Jennifer,

    I’m dancing over this post. So thankful you have friends who are seeing beyond this world to discover their Y. Yahweh lives. And I’m especially thankful you are still here after the accident. I hope to meet you face to face.

    Cheering you on as you write HIS heart.

    Love,

    Tiffany

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      REALLY appreciate your Y stick, Tiffany. So beautiful. You’re a fantastic photographer!

      Reply
  19. Summer Gross

    I am speechless.

    The shocking musicality of the last line and the way to tie up such a honest powerful post full of God’s (painful?) pursuing with such beauty: A whole person can get put back together like that — in the shape of a Y.

    It says in scripture that your name is written on His hand…but in this, you were tattood (sp?) by God himself.

    Thank you for this.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ah yes, Summer… Bringing it back around to the way that God has our names inscribed on HIS hand. Thank you for that. Have a blessed day, my friend.

      Reply
  20. r.ellott

    I love…love this…just yesterday I was sitting with my daughter who is struggling with some whys in life…oh my just perfect…thanks for the wisdom here. we even talked about the names of God…I will add this one to our list. blessings to you~

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      What is your favorite name for God? I love looking at those long lists. Which name speaks to you, in your current season?

      Reply
  21. Alecia

    Your words are such an encouragement to me! When the world says Why we say Yahweh, love that!! I’m so glad you are able to look back at your accident and see God’s hand on you the entire time.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yes, that Bob Lenz quote is so good. I heard him speak at a Christian music festival a year or so ago. I had to buy the T-shirt with that quote, of course! 🙂

      Reply
  22. Dolly

    Thank you, Jennifer, for pointing us toward, Yahweh, again…I will be looking for “Y” and for Him in all of His greatness today…love and blessings to you, friend 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for being here, Dolly! If you see any Ys, send them my way! 🙂

      Reply
  23. Shelly Miller

    Oh, I love knowing why you started collecting them. When I sent you my picture of the broken tree branch, I realized that your mentioning the collection of Y’s helped me to see them and think of Him in ways I would have otherwise missed. Now knowing your story, it makes it even sweeter.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh Shelly … I should have remembered to include yours in the collage. I need a better inventory system for my Ys. 🙂

      Reply
  24. JoAnne Potter

    Love those ‘Y’s! This is a really good one. Thank you for a fresh look at how God reminds us that He’s always there.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, JoAnne! 🙂

      Reply
  25. elizabeth

    Oh the power of story telling and the power of telling one honestly. This is beautiful and so needed to be told, and you did it beautifully. So amazed by Him and by you too, the way you see with eyes that long to discover beauty. Glad to be here today. I have several physical scars in my world, and when I look on them I remember the incident that caused the hurt. But I try to dwell on the place in my heart that says the scar means you healed! You came through! You can now tell from the other side. Blessings to you on this side of healing.

    Reply
  26. Daniel Farrow

    The “Y” could also stand for ‘Yeshua’ the Hebrew name of Jesus. 😀

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you for that, Daniel! I appreciate your insight.

      Reply
  27. Ann Kroeker

    I think I met You right after this accident.

    You are precious in His sight, two arms raised, pointing us to Yahweh.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Nice bolded Ys. 🙂

      I think so, too, Ann. Marcus or Gordon had put something on The High Calling Blogs page about my accident, along with a picture of my crushed van.

      Reply
  28. tanya @ truthinweakness

    i absolutely love this, jennifer. and you “had me” right out of the gate with your remembering it all. because i remember it all from one september evening just a year and a half ago. and Yahweh has lovingly reminded me that my own Y-shaped scars are indeed to saturate my soul, & the world, with His glory. (why was the man in john 9 born blind? so that the works of God might be displayed in him!)

    you say that it might seem a bit childish to look for the Ys, but i say that seeing God’s fingerprints all around us is sacred worship!

    thanks so much for this worship-filled piece,
    tanya

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Tanya,

      Thank you for sharing here.

      I don’t think it’s childish, but I do wonder if some folks might think so. Even more, I know that some would accuse me of being pantheistic. Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience, http://www.aholyexperience.com/
      linked this week to some great words over at Enjoying God Ministries — words that point out that it’s Christians, not pantheists, who seek God in the beauty of our world.

      http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/the-personal-narrative-of-jonathan-edwards-part-iii/

      I needed to read that this week.

      Reply
      • tanya @ truthinweakness

        thank you so much for sharing that post, jennifer. love, love, love that piper quote at the end — that just nails it!

        thx again for encouraging me to draw my eyes to our Father through His creation. afterall, that’s the whole point of His creation, isn’t it? to glorify & magnify Him.

        i’m looking fwd to continuing to journey with you.

        blessings,
        tanya

        Reply
  29. Bina

    I started crying I as I wrote my blog post today – so coming here to read yours just nursed along my tender heart today.

    I love that He works ALL things to show us His glory when we look – I love you, my beautiful friend.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I love when you right straight out of your emotion, Bina. I’ll be over to read soon. xo

      Reply
  30. Kara

    Wonderful. I love how you look for the “Y” s. I love how you did not forget what it was like to feel more alive than you had ever felt.
    Such redemption here. Love it.

    Kara

    Reply
  31. Carol Childress

    Not silly at all that you and I share an attraction to “Ys”. I find letters everywhere I go, I find photo ops everywhere I go, why not find the best reason there is to connect with HIM, the creator and maker of all. YOu amaze me with your stories and photos and I am just so thankful to God that we met along the blogging way and that you are my friend. Love you!

    Reply
  32. Robert Moon

    It is so wonderful when the Holy Angels watch over us, even in an accident that could have been so much worse !!

    Reply
  33. Laura

    Sometime ago, when tragedy happened I realized I had stopped asking why. Flippant though it sounds I now think, Why not? He is in control and all my situations will eventually move to his Glory. I love the Y stories and pictures.

    Reply
  34. Alicia

    I remember reading Heaven is For Real and being surprised that little Colton described Jesus with his “markers” (scars) on hands and feet. And my little girl said to me as we read, “I guess Jesus things those scars are beautiful or else He wouldn’t wear them in Heaven, right Mom?”

    Celebrating the beauty that has grown from your scars. And His mercy in saving you that day- your work isn’t done yet! And I’m glad you’re still here doing it. Blessing us. Glorifying HIm.

    Reply
  35. David Rupert

    The line between “lucky” and “Blessed” is one that only we can understand. It gives us meaning, purpose and the ability to lace up our sneakers and go for a run again

    Reply
  36. laura

    I always think of you when I see my “Y”s. Love how you’ve given that sweet gift to us, Jennifer. 🙂

    Reply
  37. Courtney

    Oh how I love this – I’ll be looking for Ys now!

    Reply
  38. Mothering From Scratch

    This is my first visit to your inspiring blog and I’m so glad I found you. 🙂 Loved this post. I see God’s fingerprints in so many ways when I’m looking for them. That’s the key — so many times I’m too distracted by my worries, life’s distractions that I don’t notice God’s whisperings and signs throughout the day. But when I make a conscious effort to focus on Him, I see Him everywhere.

    Reply
  39. Christine

    Such truth here. I love this and I will hunt for Y’s with my children now. Thank you for your inspiring work!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. …returning… | ~*~ Bina's Pad ~*~ - [...] Linking up over at Jennifer’s place today [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest