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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Lord is My _________

I've known Psalm 23 by heart since I was a child. As I've gotten older though and have experienced more of life, it has taken on even more depth. NOW, through this current season, it has taken an even deeper meaning to me. 

In the first verse, David states who God is to him in his present set of circumstances. 

"The Lord is my ____________."

We can fill in that blank ourselves. Whatever we need, wherever we find ourselves today. That blank can be filled in with whatever is necessary, because God meets EVERY need in some perfect way. He is the answer. Period. Always.

When we need peace, He is the Peace Speaker and the Peace that passeth all understanding. When we need healing, He is the Great Physician and our healer. When we need provisions, He is our Provider and will supply ALL our needs. When we need deliverance, He is our Deliverer and can redeem us without question. Is there anything too hard for God? 

I can say, without a doubt that He has been everything I've needed in my life, yet during this season I've come to realize it more than ever before. I suppose you could say it's been much more "up-close-and-personal" than ever before. It's not been an easy road, but He's shown up in so many amazing ways along the way. I suppose He always has done so, but I've seen it in a total different light now. Indeed, those trials do come to make us stronger - if we'll allow God to have His perfect way.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are
not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be 
revealed in us.  Romans 8:18

The beautiful thing about serving the Lord is that He meets us exactly where we are, no matter where we are. We can never fall so low that He can't reach us. We can never be so broken that He can't mend us and use our brokenness to glorify Him. It's not because of anything we are, but all because of what and who He is. 

He's no respecter of persons, whatever we need Him to be today, we only need proclaim and believe it. Let's speak it out just as David did. No matter how hopeless it seems, we need remember God doesn't see it that way. No matter how down and out we may feel, He isn't shaken by our set of circumstances. He's covered it all for us, simply because He loves us, because we are His children, and because He is a good Father.

How do you need Him to come through for you today? I know how I need Him to show up for me. Whether I need my many tears bottled up, or if I need Him to hold me close, or give me an extra dose of peace, He is faithful. This I know. 

We simply need to fill in the blank today and allow Him to work it together for our good, all to glorify Him. 

The Lord is my ____________. Amen~

Monday, August 13, 2018

Cucumbers, God and Such

Another piece of writing I did along the way. Probably sometime in June 2018.

I didn't even want to plant it; I only wanted the end result. Cucumbers.

So, my hubby came home and took on the planting job as I peered through the window. He even put it on the back porch so I could get to it with minimal effort. That's what it would take this year too. I knew that; so did he.

While I normally enjoy gardening, following the loss of our firstborn son in September, I couldn't find the interest in much of anything, which is why this plant wasn't even planted until the end of May - and only because my dear friend loves cucumbers and I wanted to be able to bless her with home-grown instead of the shriveled-up supermarket ones. God knows!

From that day, God provided the rain every day for over a week, so I only had to peer out of the window to check on the progress. Easy enough, even for me. God was doing the work. Faithfully, quietly, behind the scenes but ever so evident. It made my heart smile to see the growth begin and tiny sprawling tendrils begin to reach out for something to hang onto. I felt I could relate on a personal level now. I too felt like I was just grasping, arms flailing through the air on occasion, attempting to find something stable to hold onto. Faith. Hope.

Some days were "normal" and others were spent fighting dreadful waves of grief. I knew only one thing to reach for on those particularly difficult days. God! I'm so glad I knew that already. He's the answer. Always. He would supply.

It was at this point when I began cracking the door open and walking outside for close-up inspection. The vine was growing so quickly and needed help being directed onto a support system. I tenderly arranged them so they could easily grab hold to the support frame we put up. At that moment, I thought about how God does the same type of thing for me (and you). Indeed, He was my life source, but He had sent into my life voices to guide me toward Him, to bring me back around to focus, to help strengthen me, to simply provide the gentle touch I might need on any given "low" day. He was tenderly caring for me all the way. ("...though I walk through the valley...thou are with me...")

Then, one day I spotted a tiny, bright-yellow bloom tucked away in the luscious green tendrils of vine. I was excited. (That surprised me!) Remember, I was anxiously awaiting the end product - cucumbers to share with my friend. Those blooms meant we were getting closer. But, then they began falling off seemingly indifferent to my desire for their fruit to produce. These first flowers weren't intended to be fruitful.

I thought about my grief journey. How I longed for the "end product", whatever that looked like. Here and there God blessed me with bright, sun-filled, joyous days and I'd think to myself, "I'm getting there! FINALLY!!!" Only to watch those fresh-blossom-days fall away and I'd be left with moments of blinding tears and sorrow once again.  Funny how when you're in the middle of those days, it doesn't seem nearly as joyous to be growing. But you are!

Today, when I went out to snap a picture, I was amazed at how much this plant had grown in only one week. It was sprawling all over the support frame, more and more tiny buds were peeking out today. Amazing. One day soon, there will be baby-sized cucumbers growing out of them. But for today, I'm just thinking how wonderful it is that God knows the rhyme and reason for every season we go through. For both the plant - and for my life too. (For you reading this too!)

It's been a thunderously, stormy week in my life: tears have fallen life pounding rain, dark clouds have hidden the sunshine. Still, God has been my source and has faithfully provided the strength and support system I've needed to keep growing through still more painful moments. Times like these make me so thankful God is always on the job.

I don't know how He does it and  sometimes I wonder if I'll make it through the day, but I know He is faithful regardless of what each day may bring  and always helps me through. Yesterday was my "Grand-Bam's" fourth birthday. The little boy so full of life, yet without a daddy's hand to hold, without his voice to guide and instruct. I laughed and cried simultaneously as I watched sweet videos my family sent for me to enjoy.

Life is filled with so many twists and turns, but I know God always has the final say. Today, the tears just involuntarily fall at any given moment, without any warning whatsoever. I bravely try to ride the waves and remain upright. Yes, when the rain comes down heavy, sometimes the leaves of the plant get dirty and weighted down with spattered pieces of earth. It's normal and inevitable...just like these grieving moments. One thing is for sure though, tomorrow will bring about another day, full of yet more uncertainty, but God will be there regardless. On that truth and promise I can depend!

Tomorrow marks 9 months since that life-changing day in September. At some moments I'm ready to face it, at others I'd honestly rather do anything but face it. I suppose that's normal too. I don't know what the days will bring about, but I know I won't be alone. I'll be safe and growing through whatever it brings because God is hovering close-by and knows what's best for me. I may drop another flower, just like the cucumber plant on my porch, but that's not the end.

In His time, He makes all things beautiful. His ways are not our ways. He sees the end product and has an expected end already planned with my name on it. I can only see the here-and-now and hope for the future.  Maybe that's why He gives the desire for the final product, so we'll look forward to "one day" when all will be well. When we will forevermore be in His presence. What a day that will be!

Today, I'm just thankful for this growing plant out back and the way God is speaking to me through it. Thankful to be able to record some of it in words. Thankful for a friend who loves cucumbers by the five-gallon buckets.! And for a loving husband that new my desire to grow it, but understood my hesitation to get started. Thankful that God continually teaches me to trust in Him as I watch His creation's example. I'm hanging in there, through the stormy and sun-shiny days, in His capable hands...yes, through it all.

As I type this out today for my blog,
I realize just how far along God
has brought me through. I'm not out of
this season yet, but God is bringing me through
and providing all I need in the process.
Thank you Lord, for your consistent presence.
My Hope & Strength.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Hole & the Hope I Have

I wrote this a couple months ago. Thought I'd share it this week.

The Hole & the Hope I Have

She was blessed to give him life, 
hold him in her arms as an infant, 
and watch him grow - becoming a
husband and Father...
yet he'll always be her baby!
Seems a cruel trick to lose a child to death...
yet God is the sovereign.
She realizes he was only on loan
from God and even dedicated as a baby.
Yes, he was God's for the taking all along.

This new hole in her heart cannot be filled.
God gave a special kind of heart to mothers.
A heart which can be ripped, scarred bruised
and rejected, yet still have the capacity to 
love completely anyhow.
A heart that will nurture, teach, guide
and even give its very life.
No, the hold in her grieving heart cannot
be filled, for after all, it is never
actually empty.

True, it is a hollowed place...but not a lifeless one.
From it, continuously and forevermore
seeps undying love for this child.
The love of a mother. 
The tragedy is that it just no longer has a 
place to be poured into.
So, some days it just seeps quietly down her face
in salty tears, or fills her aching heart until
it seems hopelessly flooded.
Thankfully, God feels her pain and does not waste
a single tear.

As the pain and longing become liquefied into tears,
He too feels the pain as He woefully collects every bit
of sorrow and places each tear in a bottle.
He remembers. He weeps too.

So, what's the antidote to a mother's greiving heart?
She has this hope - that...
"God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; 
and there shall be no more death, 
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there
be any more pain" day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Soar & Sore

Yesterday, as odd as it sounds, I felt "human." I'm not sure what I feel on the other days, this is just how I have come to label where I'm at. Maybe feeling alive is a better way to put it. Again, I don't have the words. Regardless, I've learned to appreciate the types of days when I feel like I can take a breath without laboring too much or reminding myself to do so. It feels like hope.

While reading this morning, I stumbled into Isaiah 40 and I thought I'd share, verses 28-31 :

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 
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.

I'm so thankful to know that God never faints nor grows weary and that He knows and sees so much more and further down the road than we ever could. I cannot even begin to comprehend! He always sees the completed picture though. That's why we can trust Him when we don't understand.

On days when I can't seem to drag one foot in front of the other, when I'm discouraged and sad, He provides the power that helps me continue on. When it feels impossible to roll out of bed some mornings, when it hurts too much to move much less stand to face the day ahead, He increases my strength. I'd pretty much say, "Had it not been for the Lord on my side..." there's no telling where I'd be. Can I get a witness?

During this season, I've tried to push myself beyond what I'm capable of, to get better quicker, to "get over it and move on", etc. Let me just pause here to say, sometimes it's necessary to try harder, but it doesn't work that way in some seasons of life. (At least that's my experience.)

We never really like to hear the word "wait", do we? We want it to happen NOW! We're like that from the moment we leave the womb. Sometimes waiting is exactly what we must do though. It doesn't work when we get ahead of God. Sometimes we have to sit still and let God work in us and thru our situations. "Here I am God! Operate." Of course God can perform the miraculous, but healing and recovery takes time. We might just have to wait. To go thru! Is that such a bad thing?

After all, we are all a work in progress. We're all still on the Potter's wheel. Is that such a bad place to be? It's where we are fashioned into the vessel God needs us to be in order to fulfill His purpose and bring Him glory. When we wait, we gain strength (His strength); until we're finally able to walk and run. It's not because of anything we have done, except maybe being submissive, obedient and enduring, but all because He is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us.

We may not be on the exact same road today, but I'm sure no matter what you're facing today, you can apply this too. We can't do it without Him - and without Him there is no hope. With Him, we can become exactly who He wants us to be if we'll wait expectantly upon Him to bring us through, whatever that requires, looks, or feels like. Sometimes there's a sore spot to endure! Suffering. Pain. Hurt. This season won't last always, there will be other seasons too, but God is faithful, powerful and willing. Let's wait well! 

We're made to soar, but sometimes we must 
first endure the "sore" spots of life 
and trust Him in the wait.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Hello again...

Hello again! It's.....ME.

Although I'm not exactly sure who that person (me) is at this point in life, nothing seems "simply put" anymore, and everything still seems a bit extreme, unsure and most certainly unpredictable; someone suggested that I blog again. So, here I am.

With all the feelings, emotions, dips and slips I've dealt with since I last wrote, I couldn't imagine that just anyone would want to read the things I had to say. Yes, I've written a few pieces and have written in journal-style compositions for myself. I've even privately shared a couple things with a few close friends and confidants. For the most part, I came to the conclusion that what I had to say probably made people feel more uncomfortable and not sure how to respond. I understand!

I haven't been brave enough to go back and read what I wrote in those beginning days right after we lost Steffan. I guess I'm not quite ready yet. One day. Sure is a long, hard road to travel and much harder to learn to process and grow into whatever "normal" looks like now. I suppose I have fought it on a lot of occasions. Those stages they say one goes through after a loss, they seem more like a dot-to-dot of mass confusion to me. There is definitely no rhyme or reason, I'd say. An endless roller-coaster - and I don't do "amusement" rides well if I must say so myself. Oh well. These days, I've stepped back and tried to just take the waves as they come - and try to be patient with myself, and learn to relax through the confusion and pain waves. They say that's what must happen. How healing must begin.

Everything has changed. And. I. Do. Mean. Every. Thing. Well, two things haven't. First, time continues to march on with or without me. I've learned I must go along. Secondly, God has remained the same "yesterday, today and forever" I'm just learning and leaning upon Him on an entirely different level. I'm sure you can think of other things have haven't changed too, but in my world, this is all I can see from this point. Yes, I'd ask for a "do over" or to change my seat if it were possible, for time to rewind and do things a bit differently; but, I don't think I'd give anything for the newness I'm finding in how God is faithful in collecting my many salty tears, how He loves me right where I'm at and is always there even when I'm smothered with loneliness.

Yes, after losing our son, I'd say the lens in which I view everything is quite different. I don't know if that will ever change. I'm not sure I'll ever be the same either. I've learned that life is unfair and that we must make the most of every day, even when we don't feel like it, for we never know when the last one will be, for us or others. I'm still a work in progress and I don't have all the right responses nor have I conquered grief if there is such a thing, but I'm taking one day at a time and doing the best I can. And, on those days when life gets overwhelming...I can still say it is well with my soul, even as I ride the waves of the storm, for I know God keeps His promises.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment (please no judgmental ones! We get enough of those!) or to choose not to read if it makes you uncomfortable. I'll share more later, but for now, this is all. Be blessed everyone, thank you for your continued prayers and support for our family. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

God Covers It All

"But my God shall supply all your need..." Philippians 4:19

I'm learning these days, more than ever, to take God at His Word. That's a good thing. Yes! It is most definitely good. 

I think we often go through life without ever knowing the full extent and taking advantage of everything God says He IS and WILL BE to us. I'll not pretend to fully grasp it all, I don't think we will ever fully "get it", yet it has become more real to me these days than ever before. 

I am hanging on with every fiber of my being...this, my HOPE.

He promised to be my Salvation, Comforter, Counselor, Peace Speaker, Provider, Healer and Heart Mender. (That's just to name a few!)

He promised He'd fight for me, extend grace and mercy on my behalf, cover me, hide me, give me rest, hold me up, see me through every valley, care for me and love me. (Again, that is only to name a few!)

Since the death of my son, I find there are so many different levels of loss and grieving that find their way into my brokenness. For instance, one day I found myself in a meltdown because somehow the falling leaves reminded me of him. I found myself, drowning in hot tears as I begged God to "make the leaves stop falling." (I know, it's alright to laugh. I was able to smile later too...much later.) 

I've found myself with questions that only a grieving mother could ask. I choose not openly share those. Just take my word for it. Making decisions on how to spend what would have been my son's 25th birthday (coming on November 20th) is also something I'm having to figure out and deal with. Next, there's Thanksgiving. Then, Christmas. Then, a new year. Some days it hurts this way. Other days it hurts in that way and a million other ways on other days. See? I'm finding that I need EVERY attribute and promise of God. 

I'm finding that no matter how I'm feeling, and which area of loss I'm dealing with at any given moment, there's one thing that never changes: GOD! No matter what I need at the time, He provides it or IS it. He gives me peace when I feel like I'm about to lose it. When I cry out to Him and plead for Him to hold me together tightly, He does. He puts people in my life to squeeze me tight and do the "hands and feet of Jesus" stuff. When I feel all alone, He reminds me He is near. His Word reminds me of His unfailing promises too. Talk about a one-size-fits-all...He covers it ALL. 

Does it ease the pain? Yes, at times. Does it take it away? Never. Does it help me get through the difficult moments? EVERY TIME! How? Because, above all...I have Hope. That, my friend, was the One Word I chose at the beginning of the year. I never dreamed I'd need it like I have, but God knew. Just another wonderful thing about Him. He ALWAYS knows what we need before we do.

He knew during this season of life, I'd need Him more than ever before...and He's shown up BIG! In every way. True, He's been there all along, but often times He brings us to things to show Himself to us in new ways. Since this is the season of thankfulness, this is what I'm most thankful for this year - that HE covers it all. Every angle. Every phase. Every detail. 

I am thankful. I am blessed. My heart may be broken, I may by grieving right now, but deep-down, it is well with my soul. I have hope. God covers it all...all to Him I owe. 

I must say one more thing. To you. If you're needing God, He'll be there for you too. Just exactly how you need Him to be too. There's no situation too big or off-limits to Him. He's good like that!

Oh, one more thing too. I write through tears often nowadays. I don't have it all together, and won't pretend to...but then I don't have to. As I write, and a fresh, hot, tear falls to my keyboard, I do so to encourage myself - and you. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Dear Steffan,

This morning I woke up with you on my heart. Before I even opened my eyes, I was thinking of you and longing to pick up the phone and ring you. Then, I remembered there's no phone where you are, so I closed my eyes again to ask God to tell you for me. I don't know how all that works, I only know my heart is broken anew today. As fresh as the day we lost you.

I still find it hard to believe some days. I just want to hear your belly laugh and watch you double-over as you used to do when you got so tickled. I long to hold you tight once more. To hear you say, "Mom, no tears." But...alas, I can't make them go away today. It's amazing how much a heart can stand. I feel mine will explode sometimes, especially today.

I know God is taking care of you and you'd never want to come back. I understand. I'm happy for you, sad for me. I'm sure you would understand. I see you in my dreams and have even heard your voice call to me. Some things take me by surprise and the tears flow freely. Like this morning, I just wanted to tell you I love you and how proud I am of you.

Death has a way of changing every aspect and dynamic of life. I tell your brother and sister I love them more than ever. I've turned into that obnoxious, over-protective mom in an instant. Loss like losing you has awaken us all up to the reality that life is short and only eternity counts.

So, today I'll try to wrap these tears up and go about my day as best I can. I will think of you and smile when I see your picture because I know you don't want me to cry.  I'll do my best to live the best life I can. There are many "firsts" right around the corner. Only 17 days until we should be celebrating your birthday. I don't know how I'll get through that day except with God's help.

One thing is certain, a mother's love doesn't stop when one of her babies are gone. The bond is still there. I still love you. Always and forever!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Perfect Place for Every Cuppa

If you have read any of my posts since September 27th, then you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm in a very dark season of life. Tears. Loss Pain. Sorrow. These are the contents in my cup right now. And I'm learning to be alright and even thankful in this season; not because I'm drinking from this cup but because of Who is drinking it with me and where I'm drinking it at.

You see, the One who shares this cuppa with me has already tasted and asked for His own cup to be taken away. The Bible tells us He was a man of sorrow, familiar with suffering. (Isaiah 53:3) Gracious to His children, He doesn't ask us to drink from a cup He hasn't already tasted, which is why He is so touched by the feeling of our infirmities, and He gently comforts those who mourn. He's been there, done that, and has the proverbial T-shirt to prove it.

I've attempted to read all the verses and recite to myself all the applicable verses that I've felt go with this season of life. You know, like He shall dry every tear from my eye; it's kind of like a Pumpkin Spice Latte in autumn. It's what you expect to taste when you tip the cup to your lips; but sometimes not quite what you expected at all. Ever so often, the barista might get your order wrong and you'll find yourself with a bitter cup you didn't quite expect. I'm not saying the Lord ever gets it wrong, I'm just saying life happens and it rains on the just and unjust.

I've learned it's not about enjoying the cup you've been handed, for there is a time for every thing; it's about being real in the moment and sharing that cup completely- even with millions of salty tears and an extra pump (or ten) of desperate hope. During this season, I may "know" all the right verses to apply but He doesn't expect me to do anything else but keep them in the back of my mind and just be present in this season. (And, a word of warning, in advance, those people quoting verses as such mean well. Try to extend grace.) I can't skip this season, just like I can't will winter to give its place to spring. "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted", we can't trade the ugly parts for something more tasty. Grief is a process and I must go through this entire season, even though I'd rather blink my eyes and be into the next season.

I was delightfully surprised with this beautiful cup from a dear friend the other day, but I've yet to drink from it. Hello!!! What's wrong with me?! (Beside the obvious!) You see, it's ultimately my choice. I can just look at it and simply enjoy it that way; or I can tip it up and drink of its warm, delicious contents. When I do the latter, each time I will be sharing that cuppa with my friend. I will never be able to drink from that cup alone!

That's what the Lord desires that we  do with the cup of sorrow and grief which He allows to be placed in our lives. He doesn't expect us to just look at them or know they're there. He wants to share every drop with us. There is a time to mourn, there is a time to weep, blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted, the Lord is close to the broken-hearted...we don't have to be Christians of Steel during our season of grief. He longs to hold us tightly, like the little, weak children we are, and for us to know the full scope of being there, and to be OK with being nestled safely in His loving arms, finding hope in the midst of our worst pain or nightmare.

Seasons like these make ever so real to me the compassion and gentleness of my Father. I'm so much harder on myself than He is! He doesn't stand there telling me to pull myself together or the "shake it off"; He doesn't expect me to be all that and a bag of chips. He doesn't expect me to be perfect either. He knows exactly where I am. He weeps with me. He feels the pain of loss with me. He knows that I'll come through this season because He loves me and I love Him...and He's content and willing to sit with me as I drink this tiny sip at a time. He knows I'm not able to gulp it down quickly, He is patient. No, He never pushes me to move on, looking down on my broken heart with disgust or my tears with shame because I'm not a stronger representation of Him; He's a perfect Father who feels my sorrow and sits at this table hiding me safely and securely under the shadow of His wing.

Remember this when you find yourself in a dreadful season of life, when you feel like "looking on" or sticking your head in the sand rather than partaking from the cup in front of you. It might not be the cup your expecting but, like my pastor says so often these days, "You can choose to do it with Him, or without Him" - I'd never want to do this won't either.  Being strong in the Lord doesn't mean doing the hard parts of life without getting wounds and scars, it simply means resting in Him while He carries and mends the broken places for you.

There's a Perfect Place to drink every cuppa -

"Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trustees in thee: yea, in the shadow of the wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. Psalms 57:1

Saturday, October 21, 2017

As the Leaf Falls

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

I watch the leaves slowly drifting to the ground. I love this time of year. What a beautiful display our Creator puts on for us during autumn. Vibrant reds, mellowed yellows, and joyous oranges too...such brilliant hues brighten up our days. Everyone cheers when fall rolls around. Pumpkin spice is all the rage, hay rides, fire pits, S'mores and candy apples. Delightful to the senses and a much needed break from the weariness of summer time. I too get excited.

This year will be quite different for a lot of us. We'll enter this season with hesitation. You see, I saw one of those beautiful golden-yellow leaves falling to the ground the other day. I was instantly awed and excited. Like I said, I love this time of year. My favorite! Then reality slapped me in the face and I remembered...the leaf is falling because things are dying. I know this season is all too real for me right now.

I admit I wasn't quite prepared for that thought at that particular moment and a tear came to my eye. This happens at the strangest times and places nowadays. (I'm learning to work through that better, with God's help.) I thought of the fresh loss in our lives. We are entering a new season along with everyone else, yet ours will be a bit different and we'll probably not be quite as cheerful around the fire pit or eating pumpkin pie this year. Death and tragedy has touched our lives deeply. Maybe your life has been affected by something similar too. We'll have to wade through many "firsts" this season.

I won't list them all today; I'm trying not to go there before I have to. The truth is though, there are a lot of hurting people in our world today. People who have felt the pangs of loss, tragedy, set back, disappointment, shattered dreams and heartache. We're none exempt. We all can probably find some kind of "leaf" in our lives...drifting downward.

I find it amazing how God can make this time of year beautiful in spite of things dying or coming to an end.  I've determined to believe the same is true in my life - no matter what it may look or feel like presently. I hope you will try it too! The truth may be ugly, and even seem unbearable a times; but, out of death springs life. If we can pause long enough to recognize it and look through His lenses we'll see it. It's easy to get side-tracked and lose sight of God's sovereignty. (I know this all to well too.) Of course, it's a trap but it's easy to fall into at times.

Thank goodness for those precious people that speak into my life, reminding me that through every dark storm, God has a plan. (I hope I can speak this into your life right now as you're reading this post.) I might have a hard time catching that glimpse right this second. I might have to be reminded again and again; however, that doesn't change the fact that my God makes all things beautiful. I know this to be true. It is etched upon my heart! He has never failed me and won't start now - He's got the same track record for you too. Sure, the leaves fall and fade away...but springtime will come yet again - and with it, LIFE.

I want to go find that leaf and preserve it between the pages of a book, so I can come back to it at another season and testify to it. "I made it!" Sure, it might not be an easy season and I might not come through without a few scars, but I WILL come through. You can make it too! It might not look like the dream we had anticipated, but God is still in charge. We might all be living a "new normal"; but whatever we go through today can be a phase of growth if we'll allow God to do that within us without us giving up or becoming bitter. That in itself is life.

For me, there is life because my son is in a better place, because my precious grand-hearts can grow up hearing how much their Daddy and "Steps" loved them, that one day we'll see Steffan again, and last but definitely not least, souls have been touched for the good in spite of the tragedy. LIFE.

"Life" takes on a little different look sometimes. Yes, sometimes life can look like a beautiful, yellow leaf falling to the ground after all. Even through ugliness and deep pain, it's there. What does life look like in your situation? Can you see it yet? If not, keep searching and I pray you find it soon. 

Just as the leaves begin to fall in this season, while we're yet experiencing the pangs of loss and shattered dreams, behold He is "doing a new thing." It is indeed well with my soul and I pray you find that peace too. Even during this season there is sweet peace and deep, undeniable beauty. I can be reminded of this promise of hope I cling to...even as the leaf falls.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Me Too's & I'm With You's

So many questions still bombard me. Many emotions are felt each day. Tears continue to flow down my face unexpectedly. I'm still missing my firstborn son. Natural feelings and occurrences during this season of my life, I suppose. Just when I think the worst has come and gone...yet another wave comes crashing in on me again. I'm in a valley, but I'm not alone. God is with me...and...

I find myself face to face with people who can share a "me too" message and those who share "I'm with you" message. I find that they are both necessary during this season of life. They both bring such comfort, yet on completely different levels. That's the beauty of community I suppose. We each have something we can contribute because God has made us in His image and has given us varying experiences, the ability to feel, love, care and we, in turn, can bring comfort to one another.

The "Me Too's" somewhat know how I'm feeling, they too have experienced the sadness and feelings of loss I am living out now; because they've walked down similar roads in their own lives. Yes, it's nice to hear from someone who has "been there, done that" and are willing to share their story. Although it's not ever going to be identical to mine and it doesn't take the pain away, does it give me hope because I see they made I know I can too.

Still, the "I'm With You's", who might not have traveled down this road, offer something I need and appreciate in a totally different way. Sometimes I just need an ear to listen. A hug. A smile. A prayer. A word of encouragement. It's nice to receive things that those who haven't been there can contribute. They care enough to listen, love and try to understand through my pain.

Two gifts - each beautiful in their own unique ways. Each priceless to me! I have found that neither is more important than the other at this time in my life. They're both desperately needed! And appreciated. 

Some speak, some remain quite lest they say the wrong things. Some take my hand or give a pat on the back; while some squeeze me tightly in a hug. One sweet lady blessed me by washing my hair - as sorrowful, hot, tears streamed down my face. Some will call and some will text or send cards. Some say, "I'm sorry." and some have nothing to say at all. I've received plants and wind chimes, comfort foods and intangible gifts of love. Every unique act of love, kind word and service has been beautiful to me. 

If you ever doubt if your way is needed, appreciated or even necessary; rest assured it is. Never feel like you have "less" to give than others. God gives each of us unique ways of showing our love to one another. We're not cloned so it won't always looks the same, but it's always necessary that we love and give in the ways God has created us. He simply commands us to love. He touches lives through his people.

I read a quote today that stood out to me:

"In life, you can't heal yourself; it takes relationships to heal you."

How true! At the end of the day I see how I need the relationships of "Me Too's" at some moments and at other times I need the "I'm With You's." It's a beautiful combination of the love of God, executed through the body of Christ, for the purpose of supporting and healing the broken-hearted. Whatever group you find yourself in, know that you are needed and, no matter what, you are part of the hands and feet of Jesus. That's what matters most! That is what is needed.

I say a simple, but heartfelt, "Thank you, for the gifts you give!" to each of you who have touched not only my heart, but the hearts of my family during this time of loss. Your unselfish acts of love, no matter what they looked like, have touched our lives in a special way...and we're better because you are there, in your own unique way, loving according to what God has given to you. 

Blessings upon each of you~