Surrender

“Follow Me,”  Jesus said to the twelve.

“Follow Me,” Jesus said to me when I was just a child.

“Yes,” I replied-not knowing or counting the cost. 

If it was a single commitment without opportunity for turning back then it would be easy.

But it’s not.  

Every day I have to face the question, “Did God REALLY say?” Boy that serpent knew just where to aim the spear of doubt so it would cause the greatest damage.

Can I believe that God is in control?  Can I believe that He is good?  Can I believe that He loves me?

Can I believe all those things when my circumstances scream, “NO!”

But I HAVE to believe.  

Because if I can’t trust God, then I am without hope.  If I can’t rely on His Word then there’s no foundation and no future.  If He is not Who He says He is, then I should just quit now.

So I find myself at the foot of the cross, again.  Facing my fears and having to choose: Who shall I serve?

choose this day lion

Surrender is hard.  Daily surrender is harder.

I cannot remake my heart.  I cannot breathe life into my own breathless soul. 

I can only place myself on the altar and allow God’s Spirit to do it for me.

So here I am.

Again.

Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him in the right way.

Romans 12: 1 NIRV

 

 

Encouraging My Heart

It’s easy to be discouraged.  

Look around.

If I listen to the news, the world is falling apart. When I look in the mirror-I’m falling apart.  

And not a minute goes by that I don’t miss my son in heaven.

But the world-not the WORLD- nor my personal world rests on MY shoulders.

And it doesn’t rest on the shoulders of some ancient made-up god either.

It, and I, were created by and for Jesus Christ.  He holds it and me together.

Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20 PHILLIPS

So when I lose courage, I will look to the Author and Perfector of my faith.  I will cling to the One Who has died, was buried, resurrected and rose to sit at the right hand of my Father in Heaven.

I will take my eyes off the storm and fix them on Jesus, Who calms the storm.  

Because He Who began a good work in me, will be faithful fo complete it.

began a good work

Can’t Hide the Ugly

Yesterday I was impatient and ugly with someone I love.

When you are hurting, physically or emotionally or physically AND emotionally, you just don’t have the energy to hide the ugly.

But the pain didn’t create the ugly-it just revealed it.

And I am sorry to say that even burying a child did not cleanse me of some ugliness I wish I didn’t have in my heart.

I keep asking God to fill me with His love, mercy and grace.  And I am more full of those things than before.

But there is still plenty of (if not hate then) less-than-love, judgement and impatience. Trials don’t automatically lead to refinement or stronger faith.

Tribulation can drive someone away from God as easily as it can drive them to their knees.

If I’m not careful-if I’m not very careful-I can use my pain as an excuse for all kinds of bad behavior.

So I’m here to confess:  I am so, so sorry.

I’m sorry that when my glass gets tipped, anger and bitterness spills out. I’m sorry that I’m not more faithful to extend grace when I hope grace will be extended to me.  I’m sorry that speaking truth so that I prove my point and wound a heart is sometimes more satisfying than speaking truth in love.

I wish every  deed I did  and every word I spoke was full of life and never full of death.

I hate death.  I. HATE. death.

It has taken enough from me. And I want no part of it.

Father, I want to be a beacon of light and life.  Lord, make me so.  Fill me to overflowing with YOUR love, YOUR life, YOUR grace, YOUR mercy.  Left to myself I have no hope.  But by Your Spirit, it can be so.

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.

James 1:2-5 PHILLIPS

 

It Changes Everything

Part of the reason I share my story is to provide insight for people who haven’t lost a child into the hearts and lives of those who have.

But mainly it is to be a voice for and to encourage other parents walking this valley by letting them know they aren’t alone, their feelings and experiences are perfectly normal and that just as welcoming a child into your family is a life-altering event, saying good-bye to a child is a life-altering event. 

We do not expect a mom to “get over” the changes having a baby brings to her everyday experience, and we should not expect a  bereaved mom to “get over” the changes burying one brings either.

Want to help?  Read:  Loving the Grieving Heart

Please-Just. Listen.

It’s hard-it’s hard to stay the words that come unbidden to mind and threaten to fly out of your mouth.

It takes restraint.  And patience.  And wisdom.

But when I finally open my locked box of hurt and pain and memories and heartache-please, please-just listen.

I know better than you that nothing anyone says, or does or hopes to do can change the facts.

Dominic’s not here-he’s there.

And I also know that makes you feel helpless.  I feel helpless too.

I’m not looking for pity.  I don’t want attention.  I have no desire to make you sad.

I have to let it out or I’ll burst.  If others saw the fullness of emotions brimming in my heart they would stand amazed that I could push them down and keep them inside so much of the time.

But speaking my sorrow is empowering.  

It provides a witness.  It means that he matters, that I matter and that this awful reality is recognized by someone other than just me.

When you shut me down or shut me out I. am. crushed.

Again.

In the end, you can walk away.  You have another life to go back to.  My pain is tangential to the reality of your every day.

It is central to mine.

So, please-encourage my heart with compassionate presence and just listen.

presence best gift

 

 

 

More Grieving Hearts-What Grieving Parents Want You to Know

Two weeks.

Two families added to the roll call of those who have lost a child-suddenly, without warning.  

Two more sets of parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins plunged beneath the sea of sorrow.

And those are only the ones I know about-the ones whose lives touch my own.

Every day we are shoulder-to-shoulder with people carrying a load that threatens to undo them.  If you haven’t experienced child loss you probably think you can imagine how it feels.

I know I did.

But I was wrong.

THIS is what it feels like:  What Grieving Parents Want Others to Know

hands and coffee

My Heart Hurts

Every time the headlines scream death and destruction, I feel like I’ve been punched.

My heart hurts.

It hurts for the community of people who feel targeted by police.

It hurts for police officers and their families who feel targeted for simply doing their jobs.

It hurts for the mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and others who will bury someone this week.

It hurts because the possibility for constructive conversation around what has been done, what should be done and what might be done is drowned out by wailing and yelling and strident protests and incendiary social media posts that leave no room for real change.

We are all on one side or the other.

And that is beyond sad. It is diabolical.

Jesus said that the thief comes only to “steal, kill and destroy”.  (John 10:10)

I refuse to be part of the enemy’s plot to destroy us by dividing us into opposing camps.

No matter where I fall on the political spectrum, if I add my voice to the screaming and drown out reasonable and meaningful discussion, I join with those advocating anarchy instead of progress toward positive change.

We are making choices right now that will affect ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

I choose to listen.

I choose to learn.

I choose to try to understand different perspectives and to work toward our common goal of protecting all lives.  

Everywhere.  

Every. time.