Archive | July 2017

Showers of Blessings

I’ll send down plenty of rain in season—showers of blessing! Ezekiel 34:26

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Grief is a heavy topic and rarely do I segue from it into humor. It took a long time after I lost my son to suicide before I found anything to be funny. Slowly the humor returned, and sometimes situations present themselves that just “itch” to be shared. You know what I mean? However, if you feel that humor would be an unwelcome intrusion at this time, please tuck this post away for later reading. You won’t offend me in the least. I get it.

My weeks consist mostly of the repetitive drip, drip, drip of daily grind. But sometimes showers come out of nowhere. Have you ever been caught by a sudden rain shower, and you didn’t have your umbrella? I imagine most of us can recall a time or two when we were surprised by a downpour from the heavens, and we got soaking wet. Recently I had a shower experience of a different kind.

If you have found that your humor has returned, please grab a towel and laugh at my expense. Why the towel? You’ll see.

We have both a stationary shower head and a hand-held one in our bathroom shower. I wanted to spare getting my hair wet one particular morning, so I turned the dial to the rarely used position, which would send water to the hand-held shower head. No problem. The shower head did what it was supposed to do, but the following morning . . . not so much.

As you have likely figured out, I forgot to change the setting back to the stationary shower head after I finished yesterday’s shower, and had long since forgotten that I had changed the knob’s position. I turned on the water, heard the whoosh, anticipated the spray, but instead of getting me wet, a jet stream of water shot over the shower door and hit the wall across the room! The water splashed the mirror, ran down the wall, and drenched everything below. Stunned, but with quick recovery, I turned off the water and surveyed the damage. Fortunately clean-up was easy since bathrooms are designed to get wet . . . just not hosed down!

Mind you, all of this took place in a matter of seconds. First shock, then it registered in my brain, “Turn the water off!” It took longer to clean up the mess than to make it. (And isn’t that usually the way it is?) I can live the rest of my life quite satisfied to never again soak my bathroom with a shower head, but I will always welcome other kinds of showers.

I consider foibles to be at the top of my list of accomplishments . . . said with tongue in cheek. I’m probably not alone in this gift, but rather quite safely centered in a larger population, if they are willing to admit to it. “Why admit it?” you may ask. Because we are all broken. If we didn’t think so before, we surely do after burying a child. Burying a child breaks us. It leaves us in a deep heap of shattered shards of our broken parts, does it not?

This is where showers come in. Not the wet kind, although those are good, but heavenly showers; showers of cleansing as well as showers of blessing. Sometimes blessings are hard to be cognizant of after tragic loss, but God still sends them. I rather like the analogy. Getting refreshed by showers on the outside or inside of me are blessings on which I have come to depend.

Thus far in my life it seems that God will take an unexpected event (like my indoor shower), refurbish it, and weave it into a spiritual application for my understanding and character building. With your permission I will share a possible spiritual application from my mishap.

May I ask a question? Have you been aware of the showers of blessing in your life? Perhaps you feel God deserted you with the death of your loved one, and therefore, you turned away from Him? You may be thinking, He ignored my pleas to save my child, therefore I know He doesn’t care about me or my family. Ravaged by grief, like millions on this planet are, it is not easy to see the good. Our eyes are dim with tears and our hearts broken from loss. With the sudden death of our precious child, we may feel we are no longer blessed, totally forgotten. Perhaps you ask, “Where’s my blessing? How can the God of blessings also be the God who allows His children to die?” Hard questions which remain suspended in midair. They may go unanswered for now.

I shall remind us both that God never leaves us forsaken in our loss (Hebrews 13:5). He’s right here, holding us. Day by day He whispers sweet promises in our ears. When we are quiet and listening, we will hear them. He wills us to ask for a daily dose of His strength for the days, months, and years ahead. Could it be that His strength and comfort are among the showers of blessing? Could it be that the touch from others is among the showers of blessings? Or could it be that we aren’t used to receiving blessings from above, so we don’t anticipate an abundant shower of them? Why not?

“He doesn’t say: I will cut you off from My blessings. He says, ‘Come to Me and drink.'”

Quote from Today Is Your Best Day by Roy Lessin, pg. 126

Scripture shared from The Message (MSG)

 

 

 

 

 

Not by chance . . .

A real friend loves you no matter what happens. Proverbs 17:17

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“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein

Her name I cannot share, but perhaps you have met someone like her in your life. If not, I will share our story, our connection, with the hope that it will bless every reader today.

We met a long time ago during a craft class. We were young mothers; she had one small child, and I had two. We had been mothers long enough to hunger for the fellowship of other women; a time to rekindle our place as women in the world. It was not by chance that we met in a macrame class, working our fingers while chatting about our lives.

Not by chance . . . we liked each other enough to stay in touch after the class was over: getting together so our children could play, or do outings, or share canning fruit and veggie know-how.

Not by chance . . . we kept in contact over the growing pains of raising rambunctious kids and her declining, crumbling marriage.

Not by chance . . . we found that we shared a love for God, and our conversations took on deeper topics of spiritual significance.

Not by chance . . . we kept in touch through trials of divorce and chronic illnesses. We prayed together, mostly over the phone, joining our voices to call out to the God of heaven for help and relief.

Not by chance . . . we have remained close friends through the battle of disease and a heart shattered by suicide. Thirty-eight years and counting, God has led each of us. Easy? Absolutely not. Faithful to Him and to each other? Absolutely.

Not by chance . . . God orchestrated our friendship so many years ago when life was fresh, and we were full of joy and excited about the future. We still are. Battered and bruised by the trials and tragedies of life, we press on together, knowing that we trust in God’s amazing grace.

Not by chance . . . my friend has pulled through the most trying year of her life. Facing so many physical challenges, enough to cause others to give up, yet God has sustained her. One of the ways He chose to do so was to connect us yet again, as a writing team. How? I’m glad you asked! Read on for the amazing twist in our shared story.

One day my friend called me. We had chatted a bit when she blurted out with a sigh, “Okay. I’ll do it.”

“Do what?” I asked.

With just a hint of frustration in her voice (as if I should know the answer already) she responded, “I will help you edit your blogs!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “Did I nod off during our conversation? I don’t remember asking you to help me,” I stammered.

“God has been bugging me for months to help you, and each time I heard His voice speaking to my heart to get involved, I gave Him my laundry list of objections. But you know how persistent He can be, so I gave in. I will help you edit your blog.”

Not usually at a loss for words, this day I was. My friend relayed more of her journey. She let me in on her private pain and struggle for the past year, saying that it had been worse than her divorce, which I knew had been terrible. Not only were her personal struggles daunting, she still continued to work, so her life was full to overflowing. Bad timing for God to ask a favor, or so she thought. But at His insistence, she gave in and called to tell me she was willing to help.

Not by chance . . . I could use her help. In fact, I could have used her grammar expertise for both books, now in print, but God had not “bugged” her when those were in process. He chose to do it this year, during the worse year of her life. Were we to understand, at least from a human perspective, why He chose now?

Not by chance . . . God knew that my friend had not grieved her many losses. He knew she needed an outlet for her grief, which had been hidden away and ignored. He knows the subject matter of my blog first hand, because I rely on Him to give me ideas, words, and perspective from His loving heart. Even though my story involves suicide, she and others who have different losses can relate to grieving, no matter the cause.

Not by chance . . . as my friend reads my drafts and works on them with her skills, the emotional side of her connects to my sorrow, and the dam breaks ~ over and over again. Long held off tears begin to flow. Suddenly, we get it. It becomes crystal clear why God connected us so long ago, held us together for most of our adult years, and then reconnected us again to work together. If I had asked for her help, it would have been for my benefit. Because God asked my friend to help me, it was for her benefit. We have come to realize that it is all for His glory and for our spiritual growth.

Not by chance . . . our loving heavenly Father knew years ago that we would need each other even more now. He knows that writing is healing, and we would both benefit. Actually, it’s a win/win/win relationship; a three-way friendship begun on earth which will continue in heaven.

Not by chance . . . God works in the lives of all His children. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). He knows the best plan, the best path to take. He knocks at the door of every heart. If we choose to answer, it’s our gain, and not by chance . . . but by divine design.

Verse from the Clear Word paraphrase