Just think-when our hearts hang onto hope in this Valley of the Shadow of Death, we are taking back territory from the enemy of our souls.
We are shedding light and spreading salt.
What a powerful testimony to the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Read the rest here: Defiant Faith
In the midst of this uncertain time many people are asking questions.
That’s a good thing.
Because unlike others who may insist that faith never questions, I maintain that faith begins with questions.
Who needs a God who knows everything if they never wonder about anything?
It’s no sin, to ask, “Why”.❤
The Psalms are filled with questions.
Jesus Himself asked, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” from the cross.
God invites us to ask.
Read the rest here: It is No Sin to Ask, “Why?”
A little review as we get to the last post in our series: Trying to stuff or hide my pain from myself, God and others is useless and unhelpful.
I’ve got to breathe out the sorrow, doubts, angst and disappointment to make room for the life-giving breath of Truth and the Holy Spirit.
And then I need to do one more thing. I must appropriate the strength and courage of my Savior-the Author and Finisher of my faith.
It is possible to endure. It is possible to finish well. It is possible to hold onto hope and follow the Light and Love of Jesus through this Valley. ❤
My friend and fellow bereaved mom, Margaret Franklin, Ryan’s mom, shared a beautiful Dutch word with me “Sterkte” (pronounced STAIRK-tah).
It literally translates “strength” or “power” but culturally means much more. It means bravery, strength, fortitude and endurance in the face of fear and insumountable odds through the empowering strength of God in me.
Not MY strength, but HIS.
It’s the strength Isaiah meant when he wrote:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 KJV
This is what it means to appropriate God’s strength:
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Appropriate God’s Strength
Have you ever walked away from a conversation and thought, “My goodness! I talked WAY too much!”?
I can become so wrapped up in sharing my own experience, spilling my own feelings, trying to communicate my own point of view that I don’t leave space for the other person to get a word in edgewise.
Sometimes I do the same thing when talking to God-I can’t stop chattering long enough to hear what He wants to speak into my pain.
When I choose to listen, He is faithful to remind me of truth. He is faithful to lead me the green pasture of His word where I can feast on His promises and be filled with hope. ❤
“I wake before the morning light. Every. single. morning.
I get my coffee, sit in my chair and wait for sunrise.
I never worry that today it might not happen.
I’m never concerned that after all these years of faithfulness, this day may be the one where daylight fails to make an appearance.
There is no fear in this darkness because I know it will not last forever.
Morning is coming.
Morning. Is. Coming.
And that’s the hope I cling to in this longer darkness of the Valley of the Shadow of Death-no matter how many years it may be, the Valley has an end.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Access the Truth
Some of us have grown up in faith communities where doubt is treated as disbelief.
I’m so sorry.
Doubt is, in my opinion, a precursor to deeper faith, stronger commitment, informed and more solid trust in God and in His goodness and sovereignty.
If devastating loss has brought you to your knees or face down on the floor begging God to make sense of it all, you are in good company. So many of His saints have cried out in despair.
If you are frightened you are losing faith, remember this: the simple fact you know where and to Whom to bring your pain means your heart is still turned toward your Savior. ❤
Grief forces me to walk Relentlessly Forward even when I long to go back.
I can’t stop the clock or the sun or the days rolling by.
Those of us who are more than a couple months along in this journey (or any journey that involves tragedy and loss) know that it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE to feel worse than in the first few days.
Because as the edges of the fog lift and the reality of an entire lifetime looms before you the questions form and the doubt sinks in.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Acknowledge Doubt and Ask Questions
Maybe it’s the time of year or maybe I’m just more attentive to the questions of others right now.
Whatever the reason, I’ve encountered so many hurting hearts recently struggling to square their experience of devastating loss with their faith in a loving and all-powerful God.
I write about my own struggle over and over in this space but this series of posts is an orderly exploration of doubt, pain, faith and the hope I’ve found in Christ Jesus.
I pray it helps another heart hold on. ❤ Melanie
Child loss is Unnatural-no way around it.
Out of order death is devastating.
When my perfectly healthy, strong and gifted son was killed instantly in a motorcycle accident on April 12. 2014 my world fell apart. My heart shattered into a million pieces. And after three and a half years, I’ve yet to even FIND all of those pieces much less put them back together.
So what does a heart do when that happens? Because, try as I might, I cannot stop time.
Even THAT awful day only lasted 24 hours.
When the sun rose again, the pain was still there. And behind that pain and mixed with it was something else-disappointment, disaffection, distrust.
Read the rest here: Trust After Loss: Admit the Pain
I’ve heard it from more than one bereaved parent.
I’ve thought it myself.
“Is God punishing me?”
Have I done something so terrible that it falls outside the grace and mercy of the God Who sent His Son and so I must pay for it with my own child?
Read the rest here: Is God Punishing Me?
It will soon be seven years since Dominic stepped into Heaven.
It’s really hard to write that and harder still to live it.
In those years I’ve spent a great deal of time dragging out what I thought I knew about God, about how He works in the world, about how we take Scripture and wrap it around preconceived notions to make us feel safer and more in control.
I’ve had bad days and better days. Days of doubt and days of faith.
But every day I’ve felt assured of this truth: Even when my grip on Jesus is slipping, He holds me fast. ❤
I’ve mentioned it before.
I’ve encouraged others not to resist.
But I want to be absolutely clear: Losing my son made me doubt EVERYTHING.
Read the rest here: He Will Hold Me Fast
When I first began writing in this space, “lament” had only just come into vogue.
Now, it’s everywhere.
If this year has taught hearts a single thing, I hope it has taught them there’s no use pretending life doesn’t hurt sometimes. We were not created to carry that kind of pain alone.
And thankfully, we don’t have to.
God, in Christ, invites me to speak it, to sing it, to release it as an exhale so His grace and strength can rush in to fill that empty space.
You’re invited too. ❤
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday.
I loved everything about it: the color scheme, the food (I love, love, love to cook-it was never a burden), family and friends gathered around the table, and the wonderful slowness of the day as it lingered into nightfall.
It was more flexible than Christmas for including all sorts of folks who otherwise didn’t have someplace to go. Living near colleges meant that we welcomed students from around the world-we might have two or three dozen laughing faces milling about.
It was wonderful.
And I loved going around the circle, tummies bursting, to share what people were thankful for and why.
When Dominic left us everything changed.
Oh, I was (and still am) so very thankful for so very many things…
Read the rest here: The Power of Lament to Make Room for Thanksgiving
I first shared this four years ago when I was still in the early days of mourning Dominic. Our family was facing the third set of holidays with an empty chair at the table.
Life since then has been full of additional challenges and loss.
I still rebel sometimes at the road I’m asked to walk.
But I am more convinced than ever that when I yield my life and heart to the Master Potter, He will mold me and make me into the likeness of Jesus.
And that’s really who I want to be-even if it hurts. ❤
I can’t claim to be satisfied with this life I’m living.
I do not like this path I am forced to walk, this darkness that hides the light, this pain that burrows deep in my bones.
But I can say I’m learning not to fight it.
Sometimes I still pitch a fit.
Read the rest here: Yielded and Still