When I have a rainy day-whether it is literally dripping water from the sky or simply dripping tears from my eyes-I try to do something that will help my heart hold on.
Often I turn to baking.
There is hardly a more satisfying moment than when I pull a perfectly formed loaf of bread or cake or muffins from the oven.
I never get tired of the magic that occurs when you mix the right amount of flour, eggs, sugar and leavening to produce a beautiful edible gift of love.
Read the rest here: Baking Hope
Today I’m remembering the parents at Uvalde, Texas.
When I first heard the news last year I was enveloped in a fog of disbelief (like most folks) and utter horror (as only fellow bereaved parents can comprehend).
I was processing. I was mourning. I was angry.
I relived the awful reality of learning that my child will never again walk through my door, hug my neck, call my name, sit at my table or contribute to a family conversation.
So I want to share something I wrote a couple years ago because I think it’s important.
I have written before that Grief is Not a Hammer in the Hand of God.
I do not for one minute believe that the Lord I love inflicted this pain on me for the purpose of “teaching me something”.
But I absolutely, positively believe that He can use it (and HAS used it) to make me more compassionate, kinder and more grace-filled than I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Still, “becoming” is painful and requires that I submit to the hand of the Potter.
Read the rest here: Unwanted Assignment: Enrolled in the School of Suffering
I first shared this this several years ago when I was pondering the FACT that no matter how wonderful the moment, how beautiful the gift, how marvelous the fellowship of family or friends, I am simply unable to feel the same overflowing, unadulteraged joy I once experienced.
I absolutely feel JOY but it’s mixed with pain.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about the great heroes of Scripture and studying their stories in detail.
I may be wrong, but I haven’t found one whose life did not contain pain.
It appears that sorrow and suffering in this world is one of the chief tools God uses to help the hearts of His people long for the world for which we are made-the eternal city whose Builder is God:
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the summons to go out to a place which he would eventually possess, and he set out in complete ignorance of his destination. It was faith that kept him journeying like a foreigner through the land of promise, with no more home than the tents which he shared with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs with him of the promise. For Abraham’s eyes were looking forward to that city with solid foundations of which God himself is both architect and builder.
Hebrews 11: 8-10 PHILLIPS
Some point to lack of abundant joy as proof of a weak faith.
I counter that obedience, in spite of the lack of abundant joy is proof of rock-solid faith.
Walking on in spite of my empty bucket means that I am trusting God to fill it even when I can’t see how.
Here’s the original post: There’s a Hole in My Bucket
The first time I shared this I was trying to distill years of walking the broken road of child loss into a relatively few, easy to think about, “lessons”.
Since then I could add a dozen more but today I’ll only add one: Being a bereaved parent is not my IDENTITY but it impacts who I am in ways I’m still figuring out.
Just as being married or being female or being from the southern United States informs how I walk in the world and interact with others so, too, does having buried a child.
There’s a lot of pressure to pretend that’s not true.
But I won’t do that.
I’ve had awhile to think about this. Nine years is a long time to live with loss, to live without the child I carried, raised and sent off in the world.
So I’ve considered carefully what my “top ten” might be.
Here’s MY list (yours might be very different):
Read the rest here: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Child Loss
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
Once the stone was rolled in front of the tomb there was no more denying the fact that whatever the disciples thought Jesus was going to do was not at all what He did.
None of them thought the story was going to end like this and yet here they were having buried their Master and their dreams.
Most of us can relate to a time when we thought our dreams were God’s dreams and we were on the path to victory only to round the next bend and head straight to defeat-or worse.
Read the rest here: Lenten Reflections: Fasting Escapism, Being Present to Pain
Some of us enter trembling through the door of a new year.
This last year wasn’t so good and our hearts are broken.
What if the next year is worse? How will we manage? Where can we hide from bad news, bad outcomes, disastrous trauma?
Truth is, we can’t.
So here we are, bravely marching in, hanging on to hope and begging God for mercy.
Read the rest here: New Year’s Prayer for Hurting Hearts
Oh, dear one who opened your eyes to the morning light carrying wounds so deep no one can see!
I am so, so sorry.
When things have gone terribly wrong it’s hard to get up and make merry.
Read the rest here: Christmas Morning Prayer for Hurting Hearts
It’s tempting to line up our friends and acquaintances in columns under headings of “perfect family”, “good christian”, “struggling addict” or “hopeless case”.
When I label someone I justify my response-good or bad-and let myself off the hook for sharing the extravagant, unrestrained love God has shown to me.
The longer I live, the more people I meet, the more certain I am that the neat little categories we like to use are not very helpful.
If I decide they are “doing well” then they don’t need my help.
And if I decide they are “beyond hope” then why waste my time or effort?
Either way, I’m wrong.
Christmas is the story of God come down-Emmanuel-of Love reaching down into a dark and lonely world. It was hardly tidy, it was a Messy Christmas
We are surrounded by hurting hearts. When one of them turns to you and bravely holds out her pain, accept it as an offering.
Because it is.
An offering of trust, friendship and vulnerability.
We’ve all been there-we ask a routine question and someone refuses to play the social game.
We say, “How are you?” and they answer honestly instead of with the obligatory, “I’m fine. You?”
Suddenly the encounter has taken an unexpected turn.
“Oh, no! I don’t know what to say,” you think.
It can end badly-both of you walking away uncomfortable and wary.
Read the rest here: How To Respond When Someone Shares Their Pain