Archive | October 2014

“He’s Mine!” part 2

I will turn your mourning into gladness and give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow and pain. Jeremiah 31:13, CWB

Is life like playing tug of war? Sometimes I think so. No doubt there are sides; one Good and one evil. This story, shared by a friend, reminds me of the war game we are in only it’s not a game; it is a fight to the death. As hard as the battle rages, we know who wins. We’ve read the back of the Book, so be bathed in hope. Let God’s unfailing promises, scattered throughout His Word, be as fresh and trustworthy today as the day they were written. Let them drench your thirsty soul ~ as you read . . .

English: Author: Irish Tug of War Source: (OWN)

English: Author: Irish Tug of War Source: (OWN) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 ~ Sharing a mother’s story as if Jesus has written her a letter ~

My Dear Daughter,

Do not weep over the death of your precious son. He was a glowing ember in My heart long before he was a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. Do you trust Me? Trust in My power to restore him to you one day soon. I have many other children who are also resting until I come. Perhaps it will help you to hear a story about another young son of Mine.

Some years ago, I had a precious son who loved the great outdoors. He often hiked in the mountains or kayaked the rivers; flying down the steep waterfalls into the foam below. He was exhilarated and happy when he was celebrating My creation; his face radiating sheer joy. I had to throw back My head and laugh, sharing in his excitement. He had such gifts, but he had such sorrows too and they got the best of him with the enemy’s help.

This young man had gone camping and had parked in the cliffs overlooking a canyon high in the Sierra Mountains. He was missing for days and his mother was distraught with worry. While a Search and Rescue team was dispatched to look for him, I knew where he was and I did not leave his side.

I gave a vision to a friend of his mother’s and she awoke with a start. The vision was in vivid color and she recognized the face of the young man lying on a ledge near the canyon floor by a stream. Instantly awake, she was on her feet and sprinted to the phone. With shaky fingers she dialed the phone number of his mother who hadn’t been able to sleep, her heart heavy with the devastating news that her son was dead.

My arms were wrapped tightly around her shoulders. I had been sitting beside her for hours, holding her and wiping the tears that streamed down her cheeks. I ached to resurrect her son on the spot, but he, like your son, will have to rest until I come again.

The phone rang. It was his mother’s friend, calling to check on her. I helped her choke out the words, “They found my son. He’s dead.” Her friend responded, “I know,” she offered sadly. “I saw him in a vision. But you have to hear what else I saw. He was not alone on that outcrop on the canyon wall,” she chattered in breathless excitement, “Jesus was standing on one side of your son and satan on the other, and I could hear them talking just as clearly as if they were in my bedroom.

Jesus said calmly, but firmly, ”satan, you cannot have him any longer. You have tormented him long enough and he’s Mine.’

“To which satan spat back, pointing his bony finger at Jesus, ‘But he broke Your commandment: Thou shalt not kill.’ ”

Jesus paused, allowing satan’s ringing words to exit the canyon. Again He answered calmly but firmly “‘No, you don’t understand, satan. He’s Mine now . . . and forever!”

My arm still around her shoulders, My daughter slowly hung up the phone and we sat down together. She began to relax in My embrace and I knew she understood. She would one day soon have her precious gift I had given her, back again. She would embrace her son again.

See, My daughter, I have given special hearts to mothers to love their children unconditionally for as long as they have them, but they will continue to miss them all of their days until eternity. But for My kids, it will seem like they had just closed their eyes in sleep when I come to wake them up! Continue to share your stories and the Good News, will you?

All My Love,

Jesus, Your Forever Friend

For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children. [So] stop your crying and wipe away your tears. Everything you have done for your children will not go unrewarded. I will bring them back from death and from the land of the enemy.  Jeremiah 31:16, CWB; Isaiah 49:25, NKJV

 

 

~ shared from “Shattered By Suicide, My Conversations With God After The Tragic Death Of My Son”

by Gracie Thompson

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“He’s Mine!” part 1

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.  Jeremiah 31:13, NIV

Weekend_with_James_Prigl_018

I have posted the story I will share in Part 2 in a previous blog, but if you’re like me and you leak a little . . . we need refilling often. My heart needs reminding of the hope within God’s Word. Yours too?

Scripture may not be where you go when you hurt, but today’s message may be an encouragement to do so. These texts included are my “bread and butter”. They remind me that God will fulfill his promises even if they were originally given way back in Old Testament times. For me, they are more soothing to my spirit than any words given by a writer from this generation.

The story began this way. In order to explain it fully I need to go back many years to the tragic death of my firstborn. Part 1 sets the stage. Part 2, like Paul Harvey says, will give you the rest of the story.

After my son’s death I was beyond broken. I cried until I was dry. All I could do was moan. I wanted answers. Actually I wanted my son back that very instant, but in time reality was inclusive. I would not see him again in this life.

In my core beliefs I turned to God, begging for his mercy. I also had sources I could contact to get some comfort. So I wrote emails and made phone calls which eventually led someone to share this story with me. It was about a mom, like many of us, who had lost her son to suicide a few years before. I cherished the story. It grabbed my heart in a grip of hope. I scribbled it down as the person relayed it to me over the phone. I reread the story often and even shared it with others who were blind sided by death.

Eventually God got my attention. He encouraged me to journal my pain to him. I resisted. How in the world could that help? But God continued to “bug” me until I finally gave in. In a grumpy mood I sat down at the computer and stared at a blank screen and said out loud, “And now what?” First it was a trickle then a stream and then words came to mind faster than I could type them. Many nights I was awakened by thoughts that demanded that I write them that instant.

The process of writing to God soothed me. Healing had begun within without me even realizing it. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somehow I knew that what I considered my private thoughts were to be shared with others for the greater good. God seemed to whisper, “I want you to share your heart to help others in pain. I have so many who need a friend.”

The thought of my private journal becoming a manuscript for publishing meant venturing into unknown territory and I shuddered at the thought. I had no writing skills or experience under my belt. But if God wanted it done, he would have to do it. I would be his scribe, but all the thoughts and stories would be from him. Letting go and letting God have his way was daunting to say the least. Now the memory of that dear story surfaced. I knew it had to be included, but didn’t I need permission? Eventually I was given a phone number and I dialed a perfect stranger. Once she knew I had her story and wanted to include it in my book she was so eager for it to be shared. Across the miles we each had suffered a similar loss which took us from perfect strangers to friends.

Eventually the book, “Shattered By Suicide, My Conversations With God After The Tragic Death Of My Son” became a reality. My hands trembled as I held the book for the first time. It was an awesome moment.

Part 2 next week.

 

 

Ms Good Samaritan

 But the teacher of the Law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus answered, “There was once a man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, stripped him, and beat him up, leaving him half dead.  Luke 10:29-30, GNT

First Aid Station 2

Perhaps many of you are familiar with the Bible story about the Good Samaritan, but if not, here is a quick synopsis. As the Scripture above begins, there was a man who was walking the road from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was robbed, beaten and left for dead. Jesus always had a point to make with his stories; something important he wanted his listeners to understand. Both a priest and a Levite walking the same way came upon the man lying beside the road, but neither bothered to help him. Only a lowly Samaritan passing by took pity on the man. He bandaged his wounds, put him on his donkey, took him to the nearest inn, and took care of him. When he left, he gave the innkeeper money to cover any additional expense for the wounded man’s  care.

There are still Good Samaritans in this world. Perhaps you can name a few in your life who have aided you without demanding reimbursement. I can think of a few as well. Recently I had the privilege of assisting someone who is selfless in her giving and I would like to share this story with you. No, it’s not a grief story as much as it is a story to empower us to look about for someone who needs our help. For I have discovered in my own journey that when I am helping someone else, I am less focused on my own pain. When helping someone else, we are both blessed.

My “selfless” friend and I were planning to attend a Christian Women’s Retreat in the next town. It would be just the two of us. We looked forward to this time away which would give us the opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives since we don’t often get to do that. But then another lady asked to join us for the event. It was a special request, asking for much more than she could give in return. You see, this lady has a disease which has rendered her total care. So what she was asking for was more than a ride; she was asking my friend and me to provide the care normally given by her loving husband. Were we willing? Were we up to the task? She encouraged my friend to come to her house to see the care involved, but she never went. Instead my friend asked me if I was willing and if the two of us could provide the care needed? Together we decided to lean on the Lord for strength and commit to taking this lady with us.

I will readily admit that this was no piece of cake. From the get go, helping and observing the technique required to get this lady from wheelchair to car seat made us both aware of the challenges that lay before us. Too late to back out now so forward in faith we would go. The ride gave us time to get re-acquainted, sharing together about our lives. In the back of my mind I was wondering how on earth are we going to manage to transfer our friend as many times as will be required plus get her ready for the day’s events all by ourselves? The only answer had to be God will provide.

As we stood in line to be checked in for the retreat, another friend showed up who had moved away years before. What a grand reunion! And instantly we enlisted her to help us to get our friend settled in our room. Already God was providing! Over the next day, she was often there to provide a 3rd pair of hands in the lifting from wheelchair to potty to chair to bed etc. We were instantly bonded for life while trying to preserve our friend’s dignity without giving her a wedgie in all the clothing ups and downs in the tasks involved. No, we never dropped her on the floor. Yes, we came close, but in those priceless moments I will treasure forever, we laughed uproariously at the funny picture we made in the attempts to do the impossible. Obviously God was there doing the power work because you are looking at one very short, tiny woman, one weak woman with a bad back and a third who was poised in the the “snap” position to adjust clothing for the on and off bathroom detail. (You probably recognize the football term “snap” referring to the football transfer from the center to the quarterback.)

Not to be too vivid in description, but picture four women behind closed doors in the handicap stall trying to accomplish the necessary duty with dignity and grace only to end up howling with laughter. If someone happened to wander in to use the facilities while we occupied the handicap stall, they probably assumed there was a party going on and reverse directions.

These scenes have replayed over and over in my mind. They are priceless memories for me and hopefully for the other Samaritans as well. Our dear friend may never get to attend another Retreat like this one. She may have had to get her fill from the topics, “Love and Forgiveness” to last her the rest of her life. How very brave of her to ask others to provide such personal care. How very brave of her to trust those who have little experience of their own. How so like Jesus to offer hands, feet and heart to bless us all.

After we returned our friend safely back to her home, we collectively breathed a sign of relief. We did not drop her on our watch! Both of us assumed it likely that God supplied the muscle as we shared the willingness to try.

So I have introduced you to Ms. Good Samaritan. She’s the one who said “yes” when it would have been easier to just say “no”. She’s the one who admits that if she had gone to our friend’s home to check out how to lift and transfer, she would have said “I can’t”. But for some unknown reason she didn’t make that house call. Was the “unknown reason” God’s doing?

All God asks is for us to be willing and he empowers us to do the seemingly impossible. Perhaps you will be given the opportunity to reach out and help another when you assume that you cannot. Go ahead. Cross to the other side of the road where someone lies in need. Say a little prayer for help and God will provide. Somehow, like the women in this story, there is a blessing just waiting to be enjoyed . . . and savored in heart-warming detail.

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”  Matthew 25:40, NIV

 

This entry was posted on October 17, 2014. 6 Comments

Murder 101 – sent to Adventist World, Oct. 28, 2014

Cain turned on his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8, GNT

Water garden MGD©

within lush beauty lurked evil

It must have been awesome to be the first lady of our planet, intimately created from her husband’s rib. It must have been awesome to be married to God’s creation formed from the dust of the ground. It must have been awesome to live in perfection, be perfection, marry perfection, and to top it off, walk and talk with God.

Eve should have left big shoes to fill ~ they would have been big shoes if she hadn’t chosen to listen to a sneaky snake bent on her destruction. Because of her decision and those that followed, we are where we are today. As for us, we know too much about death, but for them it was as if they were assigned a class, Death 101 for beginners. This couple would experience heartache without instruction; they would only have each other to weather the storm of emotions that followed their horrific loss.

After God forced humans out of the garden, he placed angels and a sword of fire that flashed around in every direction on its eastern border. This kept people from getting to the tree of life.  Genesis 3:24, NCV

Security was tight. These angel guys were the best of the best. There was no getting back into the Garden of Eden, their beautiful home. It must have sounded impossible to their ears. Kicked out? You mean we really don’t get to meet with you every evening like before? Just because we ate a piece of forbidden fruit? Was the infraction all that serious? Apparently so.

Perhaps when death did not strike immediately they hoped God had changed his mind. Their first peek at death was knowing an animal was killed to give them clothing. They were to experience death as beginners who had never lived with it as we do today. We are no longer beginners but fully aware of the pain and suffering that follows death, particularly the death of a precious child.

From now on they would live with beauty, but there would also be thorns and thistles where before had been perfection. They would eat, but it would take back-breaking toil to put food on the table. There would be children, but not without painful labor. And there would be death. Perhaps Adam and Eve got over the shock and began to work to make their new home the best it could be. We know that they welcomed children. First there was Cain and then Abel was born. We aren’t told if there were more in the early years, perhaps there were, but the story centers on the lives of these two boys.

As it also happens today, these youngins’ grew up as different as night and day. Abel was compliant and obedient to his parent’s instruction. Cain was unruly and determined to have his own way no matter what his parent’s said. It is in this framework that grief entered. The dispute was over an offering to God. Cain brought vegetables and Abel brought a lamb, the required offering, and God accepted Abel’s gift, but not Cain’s. Cain sulked and became angry. Let’s  pick up the story in Genesis chapter 4.

So Cain became very angry and felt rejected.  The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy?If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.” verses 5-7, NCV

Apparently Cain ignored God’s warning because the next verse says that he attacked his brother out in the field and killed him. Then he buried him. God asked Cain where his brother was and Cain retorted, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” As it is with all sin, God already knew, but Cain was unwilling to admit the murder and he would be cursed the rest of his days.

Can you imagine what the death of Abel must have been like for Adam and Eve? No doubt they dug up their son and wailed over the loss of him. We know the shock of looking upon death. Death to plants and flowers and sheep for sacrifice was one thing, but they had never seen a dead person before and this was their precious child! Our first parents would have had no idea what this was like. They were beginners. Now they were to experience the horrific, tragic pain and suffering from the loss of their beloved child and not only that, to know that their firstborn was the murderer!

Do you think Adam and Eve looked around for someone to blame? Do you think they blamed God or Cain? Did they blame themselves, remembering that it was their sin that got them kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Or do you think they put the blame squarely on Satan who hid his identity inside the snake?

When my boy died by his choice I was convinced that I was the only mother suffering such a loss.  Of course there were many survivors around the globe, but in my little corner of the world I didn’t know any. Knowing someone else has a similar experience makes one feel less alone, doesn’t it? There are places and groups and friends on social media where we can turn for support. I am blessed to be able to contribute by writing which hopefully provides encouragement for someone at just the right moment when they need it most. God is good about that; His timing is perfect.

Tucked inside God’s somber pronouncements to our first parents were promises of hope. We continue to wait for the end of suffering and the beginning of eternity where the blight of sin will never, ever mar its beauty. God has promised and he always keeps his promises.

He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.  Nahum 1:9, NKJV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calm waters of His grace

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.

There is something soothing about calm water, isn’t there? Unlike the roar and crash of waves upon the shore, this water is serene, cool, calming. Doesn’t the picture invite us to dive into the beautiful blue this minute? Ahhh. How lovely. I can see myself relaxing in the hammock with the sun on my face, a cooling breeze, and of course, “maid” service to quench my thirst.

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God and you in calm waters

But there is another thirst that perhaps we don’t think about very often. It is a heart thirst; a longing to have our deep well filled and satisfied. I don’t speculate why your deep well is empty, but if you are surviving the death of someone you loved and planned to grow old with or you are surviving a precious child you didn’t expect to outlive, you know this empty well deep within your soul.

Each heart on this earth has been created with a longing for something greater than itself. Does that make sense? Perhaps this text will shed more light:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s [and women’s] hearts and minds (a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy).  Ecclesiastes 3:11, AMP

This text is rich with meaning. It says that our Creator designed us specifically to long for heaven; to not be satisfied with things of earth. We hunger and thirst for something better. We have a need to worship and adore. Certainly we can make wrong choices and find ourselves still empty. God and God alone can fill up our deep well within our souls. Only He can satisfy the longing heart.

Recently I had the opportunity to relax in a warm water pool with just me and the physical therapy assistant. It was my job to concentrate on relaxing in the quiet and warmth so I did. I closed my eyes and imagined I was in the picture above while he worked gently on strained muscles, coaxing them to let go of years of stress. I couldn’t crawl back into my mother’s womb, but I could imagine being enveloped in warmth, snuggled and content.

In this hi-stress environment called “life” we’d all welcome a break, wouldn’t we? Those of us on a grief journey often feel that we are highly sensitized to the sights and sounds that instead of calming us, they sound more like screeches of over-stimulation. We reach for something to take the edge off in an attempt to satisfy the soul’s craving for inner peace.

 I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.  Psalm 139:13-14, VOICE

This entry was posted on October 4, 2014. 4 Comments