Archive | August 2012

The Cry of Our Hearts

God grieves over His children:

“My people are hell-bent on leaving Me. They pray to god Baal for help. He doesn’t lift a finger to help them. But how can I give up on you, Ephraim? How can I turn you loose, Israel?

“. . . I can’t bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest. And so I’m not going to act on My anger. I’m not going to destroy Ephraim. And why? Because I am God and not a human. I’m the Holy One and I’m here ~ in your very midst.” Hosea 11:7-9, MSG

King David grieves over the loss of his son:

“The king was stunned. Heartbroken, he went up to the room over the gate and wept. As he wept he cried out, ‘O my son Absalom, my dear, dear son Absalom! Why not me rather than you, my death and not yours? O Absalom, my dear, dear son!”  2 Samuel 18:33, MSG

Jesus grieves over Jerusalem:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let Me.”  Matthew 23:37, NLT

Jesus cries to His Father:

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ ~ which means ~ My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me [deserted Me and left Me helpless and abandoned]?”  Mark 15:34, AMP

The cry of our hearts:

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?”  Psalm 22:1, NIV

Dear Heavenly Father, I get it now:

Loss didn’t begin with me on earth. It began with You in heaven. Losing Lucifer and so many of Your angels much have caused You horrible anguish. I picked out just a few scriptures in Your precious Word that speak of Your grief and ours, but there are many more. These especially touched a resounding chord in my heart as they have echoed and reechoed down through the ages in these pages; cried out by so many of Your children.

I can relate so profoundly to the pain of King David. I wept when I read his words, the ones he cried when he heard of his son’s death.They were the exact words I have said over and over since our son died. It is devastatingly painful to reveal that I also said them to my son before he took his life. So he knew that I would gladly have given my life to save his . . . only I could not do it then and I cannot do it now. Only Jesus can save a life.

He [Jesus] must have agonized over His decision to save us before His crucifixion, according to His Words written above. They read with such profound pain as if they were literally ripped from His throat. What a struggle! What a gift He gives to us! And because He died . . . and lives, we can live; though we first must die. I couldn’t save my son, but Your Son Jesus can . . . and did. What a totally selfless act! What an awesome sacrifice for Love!

Thank You, Father and Son, for Your gift of eternal life.

~from Shattered by Suicide

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Grace Enough

Dear God,

You know I am the weakest of the weak with year after year of poor health taking its toll. And the day I heard the news that our oldest child had taken his life was the day I thought I would surely die. I felt like death. Tasted death. It saturated me within and clung to my pores. Nothing can prepare someone for sudden death, absolutely nothing. There is no script, no Cliffs Notes, no owner’s manual. You face the lion’s den of death alone . . . except for Him.

God, if Your precious Son had not faced it first . . . and rose again, we’d have no reason to go on living. What would be the use? Because He lives, so can we. And it is grander than anything this life will ever have to offer. It is life eternal ~ life forever! But until then, there is life to live; it goes on in spite of tragedy. So how do we accomplish this? We do it in Your strength, don’t we God?

The apostle Paul had problems many times over. I’ll let him tell us a portion of his story in his own words:

satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.  2 Corinthians 12:7-10, MSG

Like the apostle Paul, I too asked for the aching suffering of loss to be removed, taken far away from me; but instead He has blessed me with strength for the journey. But I don’t walk alone! He walks beside me with His muscular arm around my shoulder. What a loving God we serve!

Thank You, God.

~from Shattered by Suicide

Angels, part 1

Beware that you do not despise or feel scornful toward or think little of one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always are in the presence of and look upon the face of My Father Who is in heaven.  Matthew 18:10

We’ve had a personal guardian angel since birth. Of course, the counterfeiter has an evil angel to keep an eye on us too. But I want to concentrate on the beautiful, pure angels that do their heavenly Father’s bidding.

I don’t know if our guardian angel gets a new assignment when their charge passes away, but in my mind’s eye, I think not. I think about “Gabe” standing watch over my son’s grave. He loved him before he could crawl, and heard his first word and when he took his first steps. He had always been there to protect our son from harm and no doubt saved him many times as he grew up.

I can imagine Gabe and the Father in many discussions about our son’s needs and the pain he was having to bear. I can only imagine his pain. As his mother, I love him with all of my heart, but I don’t know what was inside his heart. Gabe may have known and certainly God knew. And God’s decision to let him take a nap in the earth until Jesus returns makes all of us sad, including his heavenly family. So I picture Gabe watching over his resting place. He knows when we come and go. I’d love to see him and talk to him, but I will have to wait until heaven when our eyes will be opened at last to see what they have been veiled from here on earth.

Perhaps you have imagined such things as well. Angels are God’s messengers and the 2/3 that sided with God are still His witnesses. If you have never read books about angels looking like men and helping people, there are probably many. The stories are always so amazing.

Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Psalms 103:20

The Big Day

. . . [For we are in God’s hands.] For He is above and greater than our consciences (our hearts), and He knows(perceives and understands) everything [nothing is hidden from Him].   1 John 3:20, AMP

Since God knows everything from the beginning of time, then He has been planning the wedding of our children for the past 6000 years. He planned for them to “just happen” to be born at the right time in states far away from each other. He planned for them to “just happen” to attend the same college though they never met (can you hear the drum roll of heaven kicking in about now?). He planned for them to “just happen” to move to the same place and take the same post-graduate class. He planned for them to “just happen” to be introduced. He planned for them to “just happen” to get engaged a year later. He planned for them to “just happen” to get all their wedding plans to fall into place. The excitement is building as all heavenly and earthly beings are poised for the big day.

God has planned all of these exact moments; all orchestrated by divine plan, to come together for a beautiful wedding next week. So there will be a pause on this blog as the wedding party, family and friends of the bride and groom journey from all parts of the country to meet for a lovely outdoor wedding, lavishly decked out with smiles from ear to ear. I am going to guess that God will place the same smile He’s wearing, on the faces of the happy bride and groom. 🙂

Soon our son will marry his best friend. Soon they will be at last husband and wife and can begin a life together that God foresaw thousands of years ago. How wonderful is our God! We are blessed to be His friends. We are blessed that He is our Best Friend ~ First and Always. The best advice I can give this adorable couple is to make God the center of their lives. Seek His counsel in all matters. Make 3-way decisions about both major and minor things. He cares about the day-to-day stuff. How more real could He be when we let Him in our lives?

Dear God,

Keep safe all who travel. Please travel with us, guide us, and marry these two “kids”. They were Your kids first. Thank You for sharing them with us. As their parents, our love for them is life long. And so is Your Love. And Yours matters most. May You grace their lives as they prepare for Your coming and a life in heaven with family and friends. As wonderful as their wedding will be, it is even more wonderful that we are all the Bride of Christ!

All our love,

Your kids (the proud parents)

To the Brink . . . and Back

Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the test. The devil was ready to give it . . .

For the second test the devil took Him to the Holy City. He sat Him on top of the Temple and said, “Since You are God’s Son, jump.”

The devil goaded Him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed You in the care of angels. They will catch You so that You won’t so much as stub Your toe on a stone.”

Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”  Matthew 4:1, 5-7, MSG

It was hard those first few months after our son’s death to even think of a reason to leave the house. I didn’t want to go anywhere, but I didn’t want to stay either. I felt myself falling, falling into nothingness . . . with no way to get my bearings . . . and I didn’t care.

But after some time passed we finally took the opportunity to get away. The exercise and fresh air did us both good. As my eyes gazed upward into the deep blue sky and rugged ridges of the hills around us, I felt God’s Presence in a way I had not felt it in a long time. I could begin to relax and trust Him; ready and willing to listen in case He spoke to my barren soul.

One early morning, I was walking alone. I had ventured higher than I had before, leaning in and digging my toes in the loose gravel to keep my footing on the steep climb. I paused to catch my breath, sucking in deep droughts of crisp, clean air. The woods were thick and hard for my eyes to penetrate, but in them were sure to be eyes looking back at me . . . wild ones. This was God’s country where wild animals roamed freely in their habitat. I was very much aware that I was stepping into their domain, so being alone, I thought I should turn back and head down the trail.

Going down was easier, but still I had to proceed cautiously in the sift dirt mixed with gravel under my feet. Rounding the bend, I could look down off a ridge and my tummy did a flip-flop as I realized how far up I had climbed. And just at that moment, a voice spoke clearly in my head, “Go ahead, jump. You can end your misery right now and join him. No one will know . . . and they won’t find your body for days.”

“Do it!”

Stunned, I sucked in my breath and couldn’t let it out for a few seconds as my mind whirled, trying to comprehend what I had just heard. Certainly God wouldn’t say such a thing . . . so it had to be . . . satan! Yes! It must have been satan goading me to end my life and stop the pain!

When I felt strength return to my legs, I hurried back down to my husband and safety. That was a strong directive, and I realized then and there that the enemy would never leave us alone. He had taken one of our precious children, but he wouldn’t stop there. He would take anyone else too and will continue to try . . . not only in our family, but in yours, too!

Jesus refusal was curt: “Beat it, satan!”

He backed His rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: Worship the Lord Your God, and only Him. Serve Him with absolute single-heartedness. The Test was over. The devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.  Matthew 4:10-11, MSG

~from Shattered by Suicide

DRAFT – Stitches-repost poem

 God was humming a little tune as He worked His delicate stitches.

“For God so loved the world,

He gave His only Son to die on Calvary

from sin to set them free…”

Jesus paused by His Father’s chair to look at the tapestry

and God spoke.

“You know Son,

I am so glad you agreed to give Your life’s blood

to save every person from sin.

Just think, if You hadn’t agreed to give Your life,

I wouldn’t be sitting here working on

a beautiful tapestry for one of My beautiful children.” 

And they shared an understanding smile.

God spoke words to my heart, hoping I would hear:

“My daughter, I know you are parched, crushed and empty,

but that is My specialty.

I am a Master Craftsman and I specialize in broken pottery!

There is no limit to My creative power.

  You shall soon behold with your own eyes, My child,

so please keep holding on to Me.”

                                      ~ God

I have not deserted you

My Dear Child.

I knew about you before you were born

As I have known about all of your days.

Suffering does its work, Precious,

and I suffer along with you.

When you have been tested, you will come forth as gold.

satan would have you;

And he will for a time,

But when you return to Me,

You will be able to strengthen

many of My sons and daughters with My Truth.

 Job 23:10; Luke 22:32

Fingerprints of the Enemy

“He replied to them, ‘An enemy has done this  . . . ‘ ” Matthew 13:28

Thistles found their way into a bin of wheat in this story which sounds like something an enemy would do. Enemies do all kinds of hurtful things, and satan, our most formidable enemy, has no limits to the evil he can think up.

If we could have dusted our son’s home for satan’s fingerprints, I am certain we would have found them, for suicide is definitely the work of the enemy. satan killed someone we hold dear ~ our son and brother. He has no feelings and absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life. As far as he is concerned, a good human is a dead human. Once he has used him up, he is disposable.

According to research, many suicide victims have been depressed, either diagnosed or suspected. satan keeps an evil eye out for weak, easily depressed children and preys on them throughout their lives. After years and years of such abuse, the fragile, terrorized victims just want the world to go away. They are not punishing anyone and they can’t begin to comprehend the pain their death will cause others. All they can think about is their own pain which has become a tightening noose of hopelessness.

No longer can they see a bright, productive future. They have lost all hope; all reason to live . . . and satan is right there to nudge them over the edge to the jagged cliffs below.

Any death is so difficult to understand, Lord. And it is super difficult to comprehend when someone you love takes matters into his own hands, completing suicide. Help us to understand so that we can reach out to love and support Your other children who are suffering survivors just like we are. Death, though part of the enemy’s scheme . . . is a nap. You call it “the sleep of death” (Job 14:12). Though we miss our son so much, he is no longer in pain. You turned the torment of the enemy into a much-needed rest.

Lord, You have promised to never leave or forsake us, so please hold on to us until You come, no matter how long it takes ~ but please let it be soon. We can’t wait to hug You as tightly as You have hugged each of us, and to be reunited with those we love so much.

~from Shattered by Suicide

Need we fear death?

 

There is much more in the Bible than I include here, but we can answer the question, “Do we need to fear death?”

No matter what one believes about death, we are all curious about it. The birth of life creates emotions of wonder, excitement, instant love, etc. But the end of life stirs up entirely different emotions. Those who are gravely ill may resolve their fear of dying and be at peace, but it is still a subject that we don’t bring up in polite company. If you were brave enough to do so, the temperature in the room would instantly change ~ there would be a chill in the air and silence would follow until someone would be brave enough to “break the ice”.

I welcome your feedback, friends. Like I said, this is a weighty subject so the best way I know to approach it is to turn to God’s Word. I will share some scriptures that are special to me. You may have others to add.

Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness. Isaiah 51:10-12

Your sun shall no more go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Isaiah 60:19-21

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.      Romans 8:38-39

He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. Isaiah 25:8

It is true that we share the same Father with Jesus. And it is true that we share the same kind of flesh and blood because Jesus became a man like us. He died as we must die. Through His death He destroyed the power of the devil who has the power of death. Jesus did this to make us free from the fear of death. We no longer need to be chained to this fear.  Hebrews 2:14-15 

 

Amen!

 

 

 

Surviving the Stigma

I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors ~ even my friends are afraid to come near me. When they see me on the street, they run the other way.  Psalm 31:11

I know David is writing about his personal enemies . . . and I never thought I had enemies and perhaps I don’t, but there are days when I feel just like David. It seems that every person I meet runs the other direction.

Society may show more understanding and acceptance than it did in previous generations, but we still feel sort of contagious. There lingers a stigma about suicidal death. Perhaps there also lingers the “stench” of death causing doors to shut, blinds pulled and strict adherence to social codes and comfort zones. Am I meddling a little?

Not only have we lost our son to a tragic death, but we have also lost family, friends, and acquaintances. Family members disagreed with our choices and chose to step outside the family circle ~ maybe due to their sorrow and confusion, but what about our sorrow? We lost our son! Our youngest lost his only brother! Why blame the parents? Why blame anyone at such an awful time?

I lost my precious son. The grave swallowed him up. All that remains is grief, pain, suffering, sorrow, and now we are forced to face guilt and shame? Yes! Shame for the way he died. It’s as if the enemy, through familiar voices, shouts at us:

Shame on you for allowing this to happen! Why weren’t you more watchful? Couldn’t you see that he was about to snap? Why didn’t you call in the professionals? Don’t you know the grave does not release those who kill themselves? How could you embarrass us this way? You are no longer welcome in our family. Stay away!

Waves of pain roll over me as I write these words. Remembering puts a bitter taste in my mouth and brings tears to my eyes. How could family members ever treat grief-stricken parents and siblings this way? It’s unthinkable, but it happened and it happens to others too.

It’s as if satan squeezed the life out of our child and then went on the war path to bring anger and bitterness into everyone who should have been there to comfort us in our time of sorrow.

Lord, thank You for allowing me to vent these wretched feelings to You. Only You can take them away forever. I have forgiven those who hurt us and I choose to continue to forgive them . . . the pain and disbelief of it all runs deep. I am not responsible for anyone else’s well-being. However, I must respect their disapproval and keep a safe distance out of respect for their wishes. But I am curious.

Are we all going to live in the same neighborhood in heaven? Will we attempt to take our hard feelings with us so we can continue to debate who was right and who was wrong? What matters to our tight, little family is that our son will soon rise to meet His Creator, no matter what others may say! And when we see him in the air, we will join him! We will be ecstatic with joy! Our sons are together again!

Our earthly family will be recreated in the twinkling of an eye! We will be hugging each other and our God and King who made it all possible, and that will be enough for us. Just being together again in a perfect heaven.

God, You are an awesome Friend and Teacher. It is amazing how You listen without condemnation and You love unconditionally. May we be willing to follow Your example. And please come soon. I love and trust You so much. Thank You for being my Everything.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  Isaiah 35:10

~from Shattered by Suicide