I have lots and lots of questions.
And I don’t think ignoring them or shoving them in a chest and sitting on the lid is helpful.
But I’m far enough along in this journey to admit that if I let my heart and mind focus on the questions I’ll drown in sorrow and despair.
Read the rest here: A Reason Can’t Wipe Away Tears: A Modern Lament
Grief is isolating.
There are moments, days-even weeks-when I feel trapped inside an impermeable bubble of sorrow and pain. No human touch or words can pierce the armor around my heart.
I can’t pray, I can’t read my Bible, I can barely lift my head.
It’s then that Jesus comes to me gently, sweetly, with grace, compassion and love because He knows every single heartache I endure. He walked the earth and was betrayed, wounded, forsaken. He is not far off and unaware.
Read the rest here: Advent: God With Us
In the church we like to line up the “Overcomers” to give testimony of how faith in Christ has turned their life around.
And He absolutely does that.
Some are delivered from addiction, sin and abuse. Some receive healing-none the less miraculous if it comes through the hands of skilled physicians. Some enjoy restored relationships.
But not everyone gets what they long for. Not every loss can be undone.
Read the rest here: What if My Testimony is Endurance?
I keep thinking I’ll write something new and profound for Resurrection Sunday. But I never do. Because there’s really nothing I can add to what I’ve written before: the Gospel IS the Good News.
It’s what makes the waiting possible and hope something more than wishful thinking.
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.
“The worst conceivable thing has happened, and it has been mended…All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” ~Julian of Norwich
I’m not sure when I first read this quote, but it came to my mind that awful morning. And I played it over and over in my head, reassuring my broken heart that indeed, the worst had already happened, and been mended.
Death had died.
Christ was risen-the firstfruits of many brethren.
Read the rest here: Resurrection: Reality and Reassurance
Some people insist on reading the end of a book first.
They want to know if the characters they may grow to love end up well and happy.
Me? I start at the front and work my way through letting things unfold as the author intended.
I will admit though there are times when I’d kinda sorta like to have a heads up in real life.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: The End From The Beginning
So here we are a year later and the headlines still proclaim, “Just wait! It’s going to get better!”
In some ways things ARE better-there are vaccines, treatments and protocols that can chip away at the virus. Toilet paper is back on the shelves. Working from home is working out for a number of folks who love the flexibility.
In many ways we are still in a holding pattern. Waiting for life as we once knew it to once more be available.
Young people have lost important opportunities and are anxious to not lose more. Old people have lost precious time with children and grandchildren and are oh, so aware that every passing day is one less to spend with them and build memories.
So we’re still practicing this whole waiting thing. And it’s hard. ❤
It’s hard to wait.
It’s harder to rest patiently for something you desperately want .
That’s why children shake the presents under the Christmas tree and grown-ups dip into their savings.
It’s also why we so often doubt that God has things under control.
When circumstances require sacrifice I want the Lord to step in and fix them. I want my omnipotent God to use a little of that power to make my life more bearable. And when He doesn’t, I’m more likely to call His character into question than to doubt my own motives.
Psalm 27 helps turn my heart back to truth.
Read the rest here: Battling Anxiety/Seeking Peace: A Stout Heart
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
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