Archive | July 2012

A Huge Asset

As followers of God, you and I have a huge asset.  We know everything is going to turn out all right!

Christ has not budged from His throne, and Romans 8:28 has not evaporated from the Bible.  Our problems have always been His possibilities.

The kidnapping of Joseph resulted in the preservation of his family.  The persecution of Daniel led to a cabinet position.  Christ entered the world by a surprise pregnancy and redeemed it though His unjust murder.

Dare we believe what the Bible teaches?  That no disaster is ultimately fatal?

In 2nd Timothy 4:18 the apostle Paul wrote his final words from a Roman prison, chained to a guard, within earshot of his executioner’s footsteps.   Worst-case scenario?  Not from Paul’s perspective.

He wrote: “God is looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven.  All praise to Him, praise forever!”

Paul chose to trust his Father.  May we do the same.

~shared by Max Lucado

This entry was posted on July 31, 2012. 3 Comments

More than (the) love of oranges – a re-post sent to M 06/30

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness . . . ” Galatians 5:22 NIV

OrangesLove comes in all shapes and sizes. And as the story unfolds, you will understand why I say that love can even come from a humiliating event. All memories are precious, especially those of the loved ones we were forced to say goodbye to. But the children who remain give us many sweet memories to mix in with the ones that aren’t so sweet.

Some parents lose a child, making them childless for the rest of their lives. I don’t know what that is like, but I feel their pain. We can never replace the one who died. They will always have a place in our family. I am fortunate to have another child to love. He lost his brother, his best friend. He is now an only child. I have a treasured memory of him, which is a sweet one, even thought it comes from a bad situation.

I was running errands. I filled sandwich bag with orange sections, just  in case I got hungry while out and about. As I turned the car toward home I reached into the bag, and ate an orange section. It tasted good and also quenched my thirst, so I ate another section and then another.

I was about halfway home by now, but my stomach seemed to have second thoughts about accepting what I had just eaten. It rumbled a little, followed quickly by the dreaded nausea.. Oh boy. This was not going well. Could I keep my mouth closed and get passed this? Nope. My stomach had the upper hand and this orange was coming back up. I was driving, remember? I had no place to pull over, so what was I going to do? This was not going to be pretty, and as I was about to discover, it was going to be swift and violent.

I don’t remember exactly what happened. When the heaves started, I probably could have set a record for velocity. When I “came to” I found my foot on the brake pedal (thankfully not the gas pedal), and I had stopped right in the middle of a lane. There were cars backed up behind me, but no one was honking impatiently.

Shakily I accelerated slowly, with my slimy hands trying to grip the steering wheel, and slowly chugged forward. A few minutes later I pulled into my own driveway. Home. Relief. What a mess! I was still too sick to deal with the upchucked orange stuff all over the steering wheel, windows, seat, floor, and my lap. But if it was allowed to dry, it would be even worse to clean up.

I entered the house. My young son was home. This was not the usual “take out the trash” request. This was huge, ugly, slimy, nasty. Would he do it? I told him I was sick and would he please clean up the car? Without a word, he disappeared outside. I peeled off my soaked clothing, tossed them into the tub to deal with later, and climbed into bed.

Hours later and feeling somewhat better, I stepped into the kitchen. My son looked up and asked,  “Mom, any chance you were eating oranges when you got sick?”I had to smile. The bits of fiber stuck to everything was a dead giveaway. (In fact, I was finding “leftover” bits stuck here and there for days after.)

In spite of the nasty request, my son willingly cleaned up my mess. It wasn’t even his, but he did an act of kindness without complaint. It is a treasured memory, and proving once again that even in the worst situations, love rules.

“Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what” (1 Corinthians 13:7 VOICE).

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. col 3:15 niv

Dear Readers, I am sure you can top this love story. Care to share one of your own?

 

 

Crushed Petals

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

He was just beginning to show the maturity of manhood, Lord. He was at a tender, young age . . . still a tight bud of promise, his fragrance perfuming the air . . . and now he had attained special educational goals . . . but he would never see his diploma.

We are left to wonder what happened. His freshly opened rose was crushed before it barely had a chance to display its beauty. Why God, why? Why did You let let it happen? Was his heart as crushed on the inside as his rose was crushed on the outside where we could see the damage?

I don’t know what more You could ask of a mother who held those fragile, bruised petals in her hands and sobbed into their sweetness. But I take the text above to heart, trusting that You know he had a broken spirit and You were close by, just itching to hold him if he’d let You.

He was crushed and nearly snuffed out before his death, wasn’t he? We struggle so against not knowing the details even though more understanding would not return him to us.

He’s resting now. Resting until You call him by name. No matter where we are when You call, please rush our family to his side for a joyous five-way hug. I plan to hold on to him and not let go for a very, very long time.

 

Through Your Eyes

Dear Lord,

Let me see the beauty You have created through Your eyes instead of mine. My eyes are dim from maturity and often veiled from Truth . . . and because they are, I often give voice to complaints about Your other children.

Please let me see others as You see them . . . through Your perfect vision. It’s because of grace, isn’t it . . . that we have eyes to see at all?

Oh, what perfect grace and beauty we have in Jesus . . . how blessed we are to belong, really belong. And because we belong to Him, we have an urgent mission.

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man [woman] with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Colossians 1:28

Only You can complete me, Lord. Thank You.

This entry was posted on July 29, 2012. 2 Comments

I Must Come

Dear Reader,

Have you seen hope in the blogs so far? No? Not even the tiniest ray? God has been showing them to me and I am sharing them with you. It is not all “sweetness and lite” is it? It’s when we look back that we can see where God has led ~ along with the hope. And I pray that God will open your eyes so that you can see the hope He is sharing with you. The poem below is in my book. It is one of my favs. I pray that you can visualize yourself right there with me. It is real. God is real. He is with us.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Dear God,

Undeserving, sinful, worn and beaten up by life, but still I must come. I bow before You on the fringes of Your wondrous Light and wait . . .      will You extend Your circle of Light and draw me in? Will You beckon me to Your throne? You are so high and lifted up, My Father, so holy, so magnificent, so divine. How can I find words to express my great love once I get there?

All I will want to do is look into Your lovely face and weep. Weep for all the trash that I lingered over and savored far too long. It was all for naught. Trifles are nothing ~ they don’t even register on the radar screen in the face of tragedy or adversity. Those of us who have been struck down by such horrors are in agreement about one thing: we no longer care about fluff, the petty stuff in the daily grind. Instead, we desire, we long to be at Your throne or better yet, in Your lap and wrapped in Your loving arms of grace.

So I must come and linger; but first, I must kneel at the Cross of Calvary one more time . . . to remind me of Jesus’ awesome gift of forgiveness. And then on to His tomb where He broke free so that we also can choose to break free.

I am so grateful for it all ~ the work of all three of You: Father, Son and without the Holy Spirit’s continuous comfort and quiet words in my spirit every moment, where would I be? Thank You, God.

So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. Hebrews 4:16

 

from Shattered by Suicide

This entry was posted on July 28, 2012. 3 Comments

More on . . . How it felt to lose my child

I am barely scratching the surface of suicide loss, but I am sure you can still relate. We each have our own stories to share and we will never touch bottom no matter how many times we describe the feelings and emotions of our horrific losses. A lifetime of conversations and there would still be more. In my estimation it is this way because death is evil. Suicide is the work of an evil, hideous monster. Keep this in the back of your mind as you read my stories and express your own thoughts here or elsewhere.

I prayed for hours until the suspicion was confirmed. Did heaven not hear me? God, did you fail me? He did not answer my prayer, at least not in the way I wanted Him to. How can I describe the pain that exploded in my heart? I might as well have held a stick of dynamite between my teeth, lit it on fire and blown myself to smithereens, sending bits of flesh for miles in all directions. I had no solid ground, no bearings and I hurt more than I had ever hurt in my entire life!

I screamed until there was no more sound. I was numb from head to toe. I was in so much physical agony I felt as if my heart had burst. Shock was fast on the heels of numbness. My mind rebelled. I reeled back and forth in absolute disbelief. How could this happen? No! No! No! Not my son! I pressed my face to the carpet and begged God for His mercy.                            

Remember King David?  He cried out for his dead son, Absalom:  “O my son, Absalom – my son, my son!  If only I had died in your place!”              2 Samuel 18:33

I understood his words now.  Face down before my God, I begged Him to take me.  How could I live?  I wanted to die!  And like King David, I wailed in agony, “Why, oh why couldn’t it have been me instead of him?”

Our story is not the first and won’t be the last.  Other families, who cope with suicide loss or other tragedies, may find that a sibling or close friend “copycats” the death.  The ripple effect of devastation can be unending.  And the enemy of our souls gleefully punches another notch in his belt.  With every death on this earth, satan gloats. Why? Because every time someone dies, he hurts the heart of God. When the enemy hurts one of God’s children, it’s as if he plunged a knife into His heart. And I am not trying to be excessively dramatic, but God loves our children even more than we do. He feels our loss of them with every fiber of His being too.                   

I thought time would never pass, but finally it started to move slowly. Distant acquaintances, who caught up to us months later and realized that we had lost a child, naturally wanted to express their sympathy. But when they learned the cause of death, disbelief and then shame registered on their faces which made us ask ourselves, will it ever end?

 Sometimes suicide breaks up marriages and families. And friends keep a safe distance. Suicide is no more contagious than death from murder or cancer, but the very word causes people to draw back and keep to the fringes of our lives. Which makes me want to ask a question: has this happened to you? Please share your experience if you like.                                                    

Our lives will never be the same. One does not forget the crushing load of grief. The loss of someone dear leaves an aching hole in our hearts. Grief may be pushed into silence slowing down the healing. But healing does come. Agonizing suffering gradually slips into something more comfortable. We come to accept an understanding sorrow which may last a lifetime. Though pain will come and go in its intensity, the memories remain. They may be both bitter and sweet. And only eternity will erase the bitter memories forever.

 

This entry was posted on July 28, 2012. 2 Comments

Sunny Faces

Dear God,

Thank You for the field of sunflowers this morning. A sea of beautiful, golden-yellow faces with a dark spot in the middle as if they each had dunked their noses in creamy chocolate and hadn’t bothered to lick it off. But then, who would?

Each sunflower face was turned toward the sun . . . the huge fireball that their Creator told them would help them grow. So they face it to get their daily growth and glow.

When the vast, colorful field faded from view, You whispered in my ear, “There is a lesson here, My Child. Don’t miss it.”

No, I don’t want to miss the lesson. Could it be that we need our faces turned upward too, facing the Son of Righteousness for our daily growth and glow?

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with every-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

DRAFT – More stitches-referb

I had been feeling all alone. Where was God when I needed him? Then I spotted Him. He was sitting in His easy chair. He had His head down, concentrating on something.

I slipped up behind Him and peeked over His shoulder. He was working on my tapestry! I watched as He worked stitch after stitch. He would spread it out over His lap to check His work. I was sure I would see large gaping holes, proving to myself that He often left me alone.

And there were places where there were no stitches, but they weren’t empty. To my great surprise each held a precious gem! I was in awe of their rare beauty and sparkle.

God turned His head and met my gaze. He read my mind and answered, “You are wondering why the gems? At the times of your greatest sorrow, when you are in the valley, I am holding you, carrying you. May the gems always remind you that you are never alone.”

My Father’s Approval

I will be your Father, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18

 

 

She was a fragile child with flaxen hair, large blue eyes, and a smile that could melt your heart from fifty paces. There is no doubt she stole his heart the first time her tiny fingers grasped his big one. But in his strong, quiet way, he wasn’t given to praise.

She is a lady now with lofty goals, which include meeting the man of her dreams, and she does. She meets a strong, silent type . . . they soon marry and have children. Life is a non-stop merry-go-round. Still, in the mist of life’s hectic journey, she looks to him for approval; always hoping for a sweet word or two, or just a smile to let her know that he approves of the way she keeps their castle and family together. But rarely does validation come.

If she were a concert pianist, praise from an appreciative audience would mean little unless her teacher or mentor first gave his approval. Slowly, God is helping her to understand that it is His approval she so deeply desires . . . and He assures her that she has it. In fact, she has always had it. After all, she is His daughter, His prize, His princess!

Long before this little one was ever born, God already couldn’t contain His joy. Oh how He anticipated her birth! He always had a special smile ~ a wink perhaps ~ just for her. He adored this fair-haired child.

He loved the young graduate with all her plans. He presided at her wedding and was present at the birth of each sweet child. He has loved her passionately all along. And He still does.

Even if she were to play Chopsticks on the Grand Steinway at Carnegie Hall, He couldn’t be more pleased. She’d steal a glance in His direction and He’d wink back . . . and give her the “thumbs up” sign.

Ah, the sweet comfort and pleasure of approval from the Man who matters most.

My Dear Child,

Never forget, I am forever in love with you! You are My precious daughter and I respect, admire, love and adore you! I can’t wait to embrace you and all the rest of My many beautiful daughters and handsome sons when I welcome each of you home at last.

Love,

~God

Does reading this entry warm your heart as it does mine? You are, indeed, His special daughter!

~from Shattered by Suicide

Friendship

“What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” Do you recognize these words? Humming along? Each stanza in this song, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, holds precious promises of our Savior’s love. He bears our grief and sins and we have the privilege of coming to Him with all our needs.

Does He seem far away at times? Me too. I have often been lonely for Christian friendship “with skin on” ~ the kind of person who can keep the deepest secret and we can pray together with God about anything and everything.

I have friends, good friends all. They will come to my need in a moment’s notice. But my heart has always longed for more. Should I feel guilty about that? How does this resonate with you, my friend? Do you have many friends? Close friends? Or only acquaintances?

It took many years of praying and growing up and finally, God “hooked me up” with a really good friend and we have become close. She is kind, loyal and listens patiently and responds with wisdom. She trusts in her Creator fully and completely. Talking with her makes me want to be a better person. Like Ruth in the Bible story, I want her God to be my God too. Other friendships have come and gone with the passage of time, but this one, I think, is for keeps.

Perhaps some friendships begun here will continue up there throughout eternity. How fun would that be? We might find ourselves reminiscing about the old times we’ve had or we might hardly remember them at all ~ so taken will we be by the “all things new” of heaven. But until we can see it for ourselves first hand, how great is our God to care about friendship.

I’d like to listen while you talk. Have you had a special friend to reach out to when times are tough? Care to share your thoughts?

This entry was posted on July 25, 2012. 2 Comments