I Will Not Let Death Win!

I’m not brave by nature.

If I have a choice, I will run every time.  But there are just some things worth fighting for.

My family is one of them.

I will not let the enemy have them.

I will not allow despair to overtake us, fear to bind us, hopelessness to sap our strength.

I will not let death win.

Read the rest here: I Will Not Be Moved

If Not, He’s Still God

It’s a hard, hard lesson to learn.

It’s even harder to carry it like a precious burden in the bosom of your heart.  

Because while it is oh, so true, it does not take away the pain when circumstances just don’t change no matter how hard you pray, how long you endure or how much you wish they would.  

God’s ways are not my ways.  His thoughts are not my thoughts.  He is not required to fit into whatever box I wish to place Him. 

Read the rest here: And If Not, He’s Still God.

He Is The God Who Stays

I’ll be sharing more soon but let’s just say I’ve had more than a few moments in the past couple of weeks when I could have felt abandoned and forgotten.

And if I’m honest, some of the people I thought would be most likely to come alongside have been nowhere to be found.

But God’s Presence has been very real to me even then.

I talk a lot about Jesus as my Shepherd King because it’s one of the most precious images I have of the One who loves me, who saved me and who carries me every day of my life.

The thing about a shepherd is that he never walks away.

He never says, “Oh, well! I’ll just leave that wayward or injured sheep to her fate. I’m tired of looking for her, going after her and tending to her needs.”

Never. Ever.

He is absolutely, positively the God Who Stays.

❤ Melanie

God is the Faithful Father watching and waiting with open arms for the Prodigal to return.

He will weave even the darkest and most tangled threads of my life into a beautiful, redeemed tapestry if I let Him.

He’s the God who stays.

Read the rest here: The God Who Stays

Until Then-Stories of Loss and Hope

I was asked awhile back to be part of a project shepherded by fellow parents-in-loss, Laura and Gary House (https://ourheartsarehome.org/).

They wanted to gather and publish stories from other child loss survivors in hopes of encouraging hearts and strengthening the faith of parents facing the unimaginable.

I don’t mind saying that in spite of all I’ve written in this space for the past seven (!) years, it was challenging to distill my thoughts about that night, the days that followed and my own faith journey since into a single chapter.

But I, and a dozen other parents, did just that.

In our own words we tell our stories. We share our struggles and our triumphs. We write honestly about how our faith was challenged and how it carried us through.

Every chapter was written by a parent who has a child (or children) in Heaven. Several chapters were written by dearly loved and greatly admired friends.

One chapter is mine in which I share Dominic’s story.

It was a long process but I’m happy to report that the book is now available on Amazon!

Eleven different chapters full of heartache, hope and help written BY bereaved parents FOR bereaved parents (and those who love them).

Until Then: Stories of Loss and Hope would be a blessing to any bereaved parent, to friends and family of bereaved parents (to help them understand the journey) and also to ministry leaders who will, at one time or another, be in a position to shepherd and counsel bereaved parents.

This is a labor of love.

All proceeds above production costs go to ministry to bereaved parents, not the authors.

Consider purchasing a copy or two for yourself or as a gift. ❤

Thankful Jesus Is The Peace Speaker

In the midst of a difficult week, we got some disturbing news that had the potential to make it even worse.

My fleshly response was to go down rabbit trails of “what if” and “why us”. But I know from experience that is a fruitless exercise.

So I literally took a deep breath, reminded my heart that in every storm we’d faced, our Shepherd King had been there. He had never abandoned nor forsaken us.

This storm would be no different.

It might be rough (probably will be). It might be frightening (most certainly). It might even end with hopes dashed or worse.

But no matter what, He is here. He speaks peace when all seems lost.

We are safe in His hands.

❤ Melanie

Life is full of storms.

Some are outside myself and others start in the secret corners of my own heart.

All of them make me wish for quiet and calm, peaceful waters where I can sail the ship of life and not worry about sinking beneath the waves.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the  world gives... - SermonQuotes

When I’m afraid I remind myself that Jesus is the Peace Speaker.

Read the rest here: Sea Of Love And Goodness

There Is Hope In Every Scar

I realize I’m venturing into fuzzy theological territory here but I truly believe that somehow, some way the hard things, the traumatic trials, the heartbreaking tragedies of our lives will be represented in Heaven.

But just like Jesus’ glorified but still scarred hands, they will no longer be ugly, misshapen reminders of pain and defeat; they will be beautiful, glorious testimonies to God’s amazing grace and enduring love.

They will shout “Victory!” over every single thing the enemy thought would defeat us and destroy our faith.

❤ Melanie

Sometimes people ask, “How can you cling to Jesus when He could have saved your son, but didn’t?”

I give the same answer Peter gave, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Read the rest here: There’s Hope in Every Scar

Journaling My Doubts and Finding My Way Back Home

When I was asked a few years ago to speak to a group of hospice care workers, I titled the presentation “Lifting the Veil on Grief”.

One of the topics I covered was how experiencing the death of a loved one-especially out-of-order or untimely death- can cause even the staunchest believer to doubt.

And the first thing I said was, “Doubt in the face of overwhelming sorrow and hard circumstances is absolutely normal.  But doubt is NOT disbelief.”

So often friends, family, clergy, social workers and others want to steer hearts away from doubt because they are afraid that entertaining questions or expressing disappointment in God will always lead to someone losing faith.

That is untrue.

Read the rest here: Doubt Is Not Denial: Journaling My Way Home

Looking to the God of the Promises

God’s promises.

He said it, I believe it.

Simple, right?

Not so simple when a plain reading of plain words seems to guarantee one outcome and life delivers another.

Read the rest here: Where The Problem Lies

Holy Week 2022: Living Between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

It is tempting to forget that there were three long days and nights between the crucifixion and the resurrection beause the way we observe this season rushes us past the pain to embrace the promise.

But it’s not hard for me to imagine how the disciples felt when they saw Jesus was dead.  It was neither what they expected nor what they prayed for.

There were many points in the story when things could have gone a different way:

  • When taken by the religious leaders-surely, they thought, He will explain Himself, they will let Him go.
  • When taken before Pilate-Rome will refuse to get involved with our spiritual squabbles, Pilate won’t authorize His death.
  • When presented to the crowd-no Jew would rather have a wicked murderer released instead of a humble, healing Rabbi.

At every turn, every expectation they had for a “happy ending” was dashed to the ground.

Read the rest here:  Living Between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Lenten Reflections: Fasting “Adding” To The Sufficiency of Christ’s Sacrifice

I remember vividly the first time I read through the passage in Exodus 12 describing God’s instructions to the Israelites for the initial Passover.

The Lord impressed on my spirit that while the blood was necessary (sacrifice had to be made) it was obedience of each person to place themselves under that blood that saved them from the death angel.

They were spared because they believed and acted according to that belief, trusting God to do what He said He would do.

It’s the same with the blood of Christ-He is the sufficient Sacrifice and the full payment for sin.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Peter 1:18-19

It can be hard to believe that over the long years life may include. It can be difficult to refrain from adding something else to the abundant gift of peace and victory over death Jesus offers.

His easy yoke and light burden are often weighed down by earthly desires and worries I’m not made to carry.

This whole season has been about laying things aside-attitudes, habits, incorrect theology.

Today’s fast is about taming desire and choosing simplicity (in some form or fashion). Try not to buy anything today (or even shop for something).

Jesus is enough. His shed blood was sufficient for our salvation. Adding to Him only distracts us….Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30). Our additions are not.

Alicia Britt Chole

Try not to add anything to the perfect grace and mercy of our Lord.

Receive the fullness of a life lived like the sparrows-just today, only today.

The precious flow began before, not on, the cross. Jesus’ blood was shed at every point of rejection. Through fists and staffs and whips, Jesus’ blood fell in Caiaphas’s house and Pilate’s palace and every point in between.

Alicia Britt Chole

**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**

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