“Sunday is Coming!”

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Again we come. The frozen landscape of winter solitude has yielded to a fresh, new season. Evidence is in the air. Birds share the news of the day as they busy themselves building nests to house their eggs of promise. Trees and flowers already show their own signs of promise with a hint of leaf and bud. All of nature is poised ready to paint the landscape in fresh rainbow shades.

I look down at the mat of brown at my feet. The dried wisps of winter grass are rapidly being pushed aside by eager sprouts ready to cover the landscape in crisp green. How refreshing to welcome a new season of life and beauty.

Where I stand now is our land, of sorts. Kicking, screaming, and flailing in protest we bought a piece of it. We had no choice. Someone we loved dearly ended his short life and needed a place to rest in Saturday’s death.

*****

It is a quiet Saturday outside Jerusalem. The horrendous beatings, fake trials, shouting, and sobbing at the foot of the cross had all passed. Friends and family had lovingly laid the Son of God in a borrowed tomb. They would return after the Sabbath hours to embalm Him, as was their custom, but now was the time to mourn their loss. He had done what He came to do. Jesus had predicted that He would rise in three days, but in their grief those words had slipped from memory (John 2:19). He was their Son, their Master, their Lord, and now He was dead. Sunday was on its way. It would come right on time, just as Jesus had promised; but now it was Saturday, and it appeared to be never ending, stretching to eternity as far as they knew. How could they go on without Him?

Heaven had a different point of view. As gruesome as it must have been to watch The Plan stretch out before them, the excitement was building. The Father’s heart beat a little faster. The angels milled around the throne, obviously eager for the long-waited moment to arrive. Gabriel was at his post, keeping his eyes on the Father. It would be his most important assignment ever, and he was ready. Eternity’s clock ticked toward the appointed hour.

Inside the tomb, all was quiet. The Savior had completed His work of saving mankind, and He was resting from His labor. His trust had always been in His Dad, even to the cross. He was not ticking down time. He was sleeping the sleep of death (Psalm 90:5).

Now The Plan’s focus shifted heavenward and particularly to His Father’s throne. It was a nail biter. Gabriel tried not to “bug” his Maker with intent staring. He was eager to get going, but God would give the signal, right on time, and when He did, Gabriel would soar through the heavens moving faster than the speed of light. As the black of night gave way to the first hint of red, Gabriel flexed his rippling muscles in eager expectancy.

Then God spoke, “Go, Gabriel, go!” Gabriel took off like a shot, flying through the cosmos encased in the radiant beams from his Father’s face. Heaven hushed. No one dared make a sound. God leaned forward in eager anticipation. The angels leaned forward, too.

Gabriel ripped thru space trailed by lightning, breaking the sound barrier as he went. As his feet touched earth in front of Joseph’s tomb, the fiery brilliance of heavenly light temporarily blinded the Roman soldiers, standing guard at the tomb, and they crumpled to the ground as though dead. The earth trembled and rocked on its axis as a mighty earthquake shook awake many who were asleep in their graves.

Gabriel rolled back the sealed stone as it if were a pebble. In a voice that rumbled on earth, but was heard as the sweetest music in the throne room of heaven, Gabriel cried, “Jesus! Son of God! Wake up! Your Father calls You!”

Sunday had come! The bleak darkness of this horrific Saturday had passed forever from view, never to be repeated on the hill called Calvary; but it still repeats on Planet Earth.

*****

Like other loved ones who remain to grieve, we added a pretty spring bouquet to the vase on our son’s grave. The colors were a plethora of pastel shades welcoming the new season, but there was no welcoming spirit of spring in our hearts. We looked down at the raised numbers in bronze, as if for the first time. Two dates and a dash are supposed to represent our son’s short life?

Wiping away the tears, we turned to leave. As we walked slowly away, we couldn’t help but notice the fresh mounds covered in cascades of funeral flowers reminding us that the cycle continues. Death follows life as it always has. Will it ever end? Will Saturday’s gloomy grip ever be broken? Yes! Sunday is coming!

And Sunday ~ whether it be Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of the week ~ will come! Relief is speeding toward us with the Deliverer slated to appear right on time! Jesus will return! He will wake up His sleeping children just as He promised!

The Creator of life broke the cycle of sin on the cross. Soon death will be no more. Eternity will begin! Families who have mourned many dark Saturdays will leave all their pain and sorrow behind when Eden is restored. Loved ones will embrace. Eternity will be our new forevermore!

“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.  Here’s the point. God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge it; instead, He is here to rescue a world headed toward certain destruction.  No one who believes in Him has to fear condemnation, yet condemnation is already the reality for everyone who refuses to believe because they reject the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18 

Scripture shared from The Voice, (VOICE)

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Strange Bedfellows

62bdc040002462f0efd07dba43c18975-loveLove one another. Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.  Ephesians 4:2 GNT

Who of us has not lost someone we love? The loss of someone precious is as pregnant with meaning as our hearts feel hollow. Those of us who have been forced to bury a child understand this full well. There is an agony that plunges a knife so deep it defies expression. What of anger? Does it plumb the depths of one’s heart?

I would never have put anger and agony in the same sentence before I lost my firstborn to suicide, but now it makes perfect sense to write about them together. Agony is an emotion that quickly overcomes us when there is the sudden death of a beloved child. What of anger? Can it make a sudden appearance, too? No surprise if it does, really, since anger is a secondary emotion to pain, and who wouldn’t be in pain at such a time?

Anger probably loitered in the shadows of my mind ~ not much to justify its activation ~ until tragedy struck. In the face of sudden sorrow I became “unhinged” with both agony and anger; I could not tell the feelings of either emotion apart. It seemed they were destined to be my constant companions for the unforeseeable future.

As I reread the above admonition in Scripture, it reminded me that I had failed, and failed miserably, to follow it in the illustration I am about to share. This story is not pretty. It is an example of raw rage I experienced while feeling totally helpless in the face of losing my firstborn to suicide, the dreaded killer of so many of our young people.

After the shocking and horrific news from the police that we had lost our son, it wasn’t long before the word had passed through the family. Within hours of receiving the news, out-of-town relatives began to arrive, surrounding us with the familiar warmth of those who also loved our son. With tear-stained faces they reached out to embrace us, and attempted to provide a few words of comfort. What could anyone say that would comfort my shattered heart? I was not listening. Couldn’t hear. The fog that filled my brain left me unable to think or feel either, except I overheard one conversation clearly. Probably too clearly.

It doesn’t matter who said it, but I happened to be within earshot when she began to speak. Apparently the news had shaken her, and she needed to tell someone. I should have stepped away at the first few syllables, but for some unknown reason, I stayed put. The longer I listened, the angrier I became as she explained, in detail, the sympathetic responses of her teammates who hugged her and cried with her as she shared the news of our loss. In my messed-up, freaked out, frazzled mind, I took a different approach. Instead of feeling empathy towards her, I thought to myself: you would think this was HER child! 

I don’t remember the size of her audience except to say that what I did next probably embarrassed them all. Enraged, I came unglued and, like a mama bear defending her cubs, I stepped in her space, grabbed her collar with both hands, got nose to nose, and hissed in her face, “How I wish he were only a distant relative, but HE WAS MY SON!”

Silence fell around us like dried-out Christmas tree needles. Realizing what I had just done, I let go of her, backed away, and said nothing more. In the moment I felt nothing but anger. It never occurred to me to approach her with a civil tone and to make peace on the spot. Only minimal words were exchanged between us from then until she departed. She could not walk in my shoes. She had no conception of how broken I was ~ how much suffering was going on in my mind, body, and emotions. About all I could think was just breathe.

As I write these words now, I can still tap into my reaction and feelings at the time; the anger has drained away, but not the ache in my heart. I will add that some time later she and I were able to talk about this experience and come to an understanding which improved our relationship. I am not proud of my outburst back then, but I share the raw footage in case there are readers who feel embarrassed about situations that occurred during their time of crushing grief. We are emotional beings, and we agonize over loss. It’s as complex as that.

As humans, we can erupt into rage during unspeakable grief. Maybe some readers remained calm and in control, but there are probably many more who lost it a time or two in the rough days and months following loss. I am not seeking approval of my behavior, but I believe you understand, especially if an anger issue of your own comes to mind.

The truth is: one will likely experience a myriad of emotions as part of the healing process. Grief causes many emotions, some of which may never have been tapped into before loss. Grief can bring out the worst at such a time. Agony and anger may make strange bedfellows, but they aren’t strangers. Both are emotions. Both erupt after death. Both likely tag along until the fog clears, reality sets in, and we are able to acquiesce a measure of acceptance and peace.

The time I have spent writing has helped me realize that God actually cares a great deal about our children; after all He loved them, too. The bigger picture, I believe, is this: every child who dies is His precious child, His awesome creation, His beloved. Loving our children that much, He both understands and sympathizes with the emotions we feel.

 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. John 3:16 AMP  

Scripture shared from Good News Translation (GNT) and Amplified Bible (AMP)

 

 

“Bless the Oblivious”

“Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t Heaven, so don’t expect it to be.” ~Max Lucado

I could’ve been carted off to jail. There is always a first time, and this was my debut as a criminal or, at the very least, a suspect. It was just a teeny, tiny infraction after all. Haven’t you driven away from the gas station without paying for a tank of gas? No? Oh, dear. Then I’m about to come clean all by myself.

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It happened a number of years ago. I readily admit that I had no excuse. It was a normal day like any other. I could have been distracted, but I wasn’t hurrying around like a frazzled chicken. I needed gas, so I stopped at a local gas station on my way home from work. I swiped my card, took out the hose, and proceeded to fill the gas tank. When it was full, I returned the hose to its place. I tightened the gas cap, got in my car, and nonchalantly drove away . . . apparently without paying. That’s their story.

As far as I knew, I had behaved like a model citizen. It was the “driving away without paying” part that seemed to be the problem. I thought I had paid, so I felt not the slightest flicker of guilt as I pulled out into traffic and headed toward home.

A couple of days later, the phone rang. My unsuspecting hubby answered it with the usual greeting.

A booming baritone voice on the other end of the line asked, “Is this Mr. Still?”

“Yes, sir,” responded my innocent better half.

“This is Sergeant So-and-So calling from your friendly neighborhood precinct. Sir, do you drive a blue Toyota?”

“No, sir, but the wife does,” he answered. (Why was he so quick to throw me under the bus?)

“Did she buy gas a couple of days ago?” the booming voice asked. (Why did he ask when he already knew the answer?)

“She could have,” hubby responded coolly (although his blood pressure was probably climbing), “but I can’t say for sure.”

“Well, sir, we have a record of a car matching the description of yours and with this license plate number. Do you recognize the number I just gave you?”

“Yes, sir,” answered hubby . . . (probably blowing steam by now . . . and already picturing his wife behind bars).

“Well, sir, your wife apparently drove away without paying for a tank of gasoline. Can you go to the gas station and take care of the bill?” asked the booming Sergeant.

“Yes, sir. I will go right away.”

Funny how things happen. Still clueless I was doing my thing without the slightest inkling that my husband was driving up town to take care of my delinquency and keep me out of jail. (He was, however, eager to point out my transgression when he got home that evening.)

I can report that I learned a lifelong lesson that day. Ever since my narrow escape from being fingerprinted, I make sure to tear off my receipt, which is my proof of payment. Funny thing . . . I don’t remember seeing a receipt that day. (That’s my story . . . and I’m sticking to it.)

Sometimes I am distracted, even oblivious to what is going on around me. How about you? You can nod, and no one will know. I think I have always been easily distracted, but so much more so after losing my son to suicide. I had no excuse when this story took place because it occurred years earlier. If it had happened after his death, no telling what serious trouble I could have brought down upon myself.

After my son died, I was a basket case. I was lethargic, foggy-headed, and confused. I had a hard time putting a complete sentence together, making decisions, or even carrying on a simple conversation. During the week following my son’s death, a visitor, I suppose trying to make polite conversation in an attempt to distract me, asked me what crafts I had been working on lately. I remember thinking, crafts . . . do I know that word?

I remember that all types of music set me off, making the tears flow. Time felt like it stood still or, at the very least, crept along at a snail’s pace. I had no sense of what I should be doing. I was not working at the time, so I did not have a place to go where I could lose myself in my work for most of the day. To put it mildly, I was a mess. Was it just me or did craziness descended upon you, too?

The absence of one we loved more than life itself, is keenly felt in every cell of our being. How does one deal with a broken heart? How does one go forward without all of our children accounted for? There is at least one child that we can no longer safely “tuck in” for the night, whether he lived at home or not. Just knowing that precious one is no longer with us leaves a deep ache in the heart that is beyond reach, and it cannot be soothed away.

I have no easy solutions and no pat answers, but I do know that we eventually begin to breathe again . . . to become aware of our surroundings again . . . to move slowly forward as the wind billows softly beneath our gossamer wings. Is this wind something for which to be thankful? Is it possible that there is someone surrounding and guarding us? Is it possible that one’s higher power supplies the poof of air to move us ever so gently forward? For me, it is the God of heaven, who provides an unlimited supply of comfort for each breathing moment.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Scripture from the New International Version (NIV)

This entry was posted on March 3, 2017. 4 Comments

From Mourning to Dancing

I know the massive hole left in one’s heart after a child has passed away. As a mom I know the pain from losing a child to suicide. I lost my firstborn to this horrific killer some years ago.

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“… God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness.” Isaiah 61:3a

In spite of the words of scripture that mention anointing us with gladness instead of sorrow, we continue to be bombarded with death in our time. There have been mass shootings in Dallas, San Bernardino, and Orlando. And who can forget what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut? Once a peaceful little town it lost its innocence when the happy voices of sweet children were silenced forever.

Our planet has known death from its creation after our first parents experienced the death of a child in the beginning chapters of their recorded story. Firstborn son, Cain, became angry with his brother, Abel, and killed him. Adam and Eve’s overwhelming sorrow must have felt eerily unfamiliar; they had never buried anyone they loved before. They had no history; no family tree filled with names from previous generations to remind them of Satan’s lie, “You will not die.” Nor did they have the modern technology we have which allows us to converse with those suffering a similar loss. No. Our first parents had no one to talk to about the pain death brings to the living. They had no one to remind them that they were not alone.

We watch the evening news where the tragedies of others are televised, but Adam and Eve’s story has been documented for future generations. One might say they blazed a trail of sorrow for the rest of us. Just as they were blindsided by the evil mark of murder and were thrust into mourning the loss of their son thousands of years ago, we are still forced into mourning today.

When sorrow gets the best of me, and I tire of hearing about the evil being perpetrated around the globe, I feel a longing deep within my soul to draw near to the heart of God. I want Him to be my refuge, my rock (Psalm 71:3). If it were possible, I’d prefer the safety of His lap where I could cuddle and be comforted. This is the peaceful picture that comes to my mind when sorrow overwhelms me. It’s personal, but I gladly share it with you, although you may have a picture of your own that comes to mind when you need it most.

I find hope in scripture, and I share that hope with you; we are reminded that one day, not so far in the distant future, we will dance stead of shed tears of sorrow. Yes! One day we will trade our mourning “clothes” for dancing shoes! Hand in hand with our precious children we will kick up our heels and dance for joy!

“You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing; You stripped off my dark clothing and covered me with joyful light.” Psalm 30:11

Scripture from The Voice (VOICE)

 

 

This entry was posted on February 17, 2017. 2 Comments

In His Arms

Angel

Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father. Matthew 18:10

“Angel,” by Sarah McLachlan, was written after Jonathan Melvoin, the Smashing Pumpkins keyboard player, died from a heroin overdose in 1996, according to Wikipedia. I listened to Sarah sing her rendition today as I watched the movie, Flag of My Father. The song has a mournful tune and always brings on the tears. Sarah wrote about loss and I can relate. You, too? Here is the chorus. I know you will immediately recognize it:

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

At the first notes of the refrain, I usually flip stations or change channels to avoid listening to such a moving, haunting melody. Its message is so profoundly sad, but I didn’t turn away today. Instead, I listened. I let it wash over my being . . . sweeping me off to a distant place of mourning where it was fresh and shocking to my heart . . . and I cried like a baby.

Unlike J. Melvoin, my firstborn did not do drugs. He had nothing of concern in his system when he died. I suspected as much, and the autopsy verified it. However, there may be a reader who lost her child due to an overdose, so I want to be sensitive here. If I’m not, please tell me. What I am trying to say is that the story in the stanzas doesn’t have personal meaning for me, like perhaps it does for you, and, obviously, for the artist who wrote it. For me, it’s the melody, and it sticks in my mind playing over and over.

There is something else I like about this song. It’s the title, “Angel,” which makes me think about angels, my son’s angel in particular. I know my son had a guardian angel; we all have one. Heavenly angels are God’s messengers, and the Bible says that they watch over little ones while in the presence of God (Matt. 18:10). That’s beautiful. I like pondering what my son’s angel is like. I’ve named him “Gabe” after the angel, Gabriel, mentioned by name in Scripture.

I have a tendency to ramble, so I’m told, and this may be one of those times, but I have a point. Really I do. It’s about the angel. My imagination of the angel may be different from yours or McLachlan’s. Since it’s likely that few of us have seen an angel in person, I choose to use my imagination.

As far as I know, my firstborn was alone when he died . . . or was he? We had talked that evening on the phone. He seemed cheerful. There was nothing about our conversation that triggered alarm or made me worry. In truth, though, was he sad? Lonely? Depressed? These descriptive words hurt my heart, especially when I am well aware that my child could cover his true feelings. As my imagination kicks in and I wonder  maybe he wasn’t really alone, even though he thought he was, in the human sense. I’d like to think that Gabe was with him; after all, they shared 30 years together. Surely Gabe wouldn’t leave him alone now, even as he prepared to end his pain. Was God there, too? In my mind’s eye, why not? Where else would the Creator be when one of His kids was in so much pain?

~God knows every thought, every dream, every longing my son ever had in his young life. In fact, God wears his name tattooed on His hand, and I like to think his name is also tattooed on the wall of His heart.~

It comforts me to picture those final moments my way . . . far different from what the police reported to me after they found him. I choose to black out that image and replace it with this one: Gabe sent an SOS to heaven, “Come quickly, Father. Our boy needs you” . . . and God came. He didn’t need to wait until the scene turned ugly. He came to be with my son: The Creator holding His created, enfolding him in His loving arms and cradling him close while he softly breathed his last. Or maybe the same God who blew a tiny puff of air into his lungs when he entered the world, simply withdrew His breath back into Himself. After all, which one of us can take a breath on our own without God’s provision?

Peace followed my son’s last breath. The suffering was over. Silence settled down over his bedroom filled with soft, heavenly light. God and Gabe looked upon the still form of their child. My child. This was a divine moment, and God would not be rushed. He tenderly stroked my son’s hair while Gabe gently touched God’s shoulder, a loving gesture attempting to comfort them both. Their eyes met. Both of them had tears trickling down their cheeks. Oh, how they loved my boy! He was their boy before he was loaned to me ~ and he will always be our boy! All the love from heaven, at that moment, was pressed into this man-child they loved utterly and completely.

Now my son sleeps the sleep of death (Psalm 13:3). No more pain or sadness or distress. Peace has come at last to my firstborn’s heart. God tries to sniff back the tears as He looks upon my child. But tears, being unruly as they are, fell like prisms of dew unto my son’s cheek. So Heaven leaned down and kissed them away. God smoothed my son’s brow and closed his eyes for his final rest. Still holding him, God stood to His feet, then He and Gabe gently laid him down on his bed, and tucked him in like Gabe had done every night since his birth. They straightened up and wiped their eyes. Gabe murmured softly, “He looks like he is sleeping peacefully, Father.”

God gave a shuttering sigh, “Yes. He is finally at peace.” 

It was time to go. God turned to Gabe. “Now we must comfort our boy’s family,” God began. “They will need heavenly comfort for a long time to come. Gabe, I know you plan to keep an eye on our boy’s resting place once the memorial service is over. Please be there when his family members come to mourn, shed tears, and bring bouquets of flowers. They won’t know you’re there, but put your arms around them anyway.”

God spoke. His voice breaking, “Parents are left with such sad pictures in their minds after they bury their children. What Satan does after we leave doesn’t help. He mocks death by resetting the scene to one of horror, making the suicides of our children even harder for their families to understand and accept. How I long for My Son, Jesus to return and wake up our sleeping kids, but we must wait a little while longer for more people to choose to love us; to choose heaven.”

“We must go now,” God continued. “We must be there to comfort our boy’s family when they get the shockingly sad news. It will break my heart all over again to see the beginning of their sorrows.” 

Dear Readers, No matter how death happens, I believe it comes quickly to our children who die by suicide. Even though their stories have sad endings, I believe that peace settles quietly over them in death. No more pain. No more suffering for them, but not so for you and me. Our sorrows have just begun.

One parting thought: every once in a while, I thank God that my son, who must have suffered a great deal in his young life, is finally at peace. Thank You, God, for Your peace.

Text shared from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Comment from Kimberlie Budd Smith:

[Every word written, I feel. Every picture painted and depicted, I see. You are not alone. He was not alone. We are not alone. His arms hold you daily and his fingers wipe the rivers of tears as they flow down your cheeks.

I have had a personal experience with my Angel. I was blessed after a near fatal car accident to have seen my Angel and talk to him as I was careflighted to the Hospital. He brought me comfort seeing him at my feet overlooking me as I listened to the rotors of the helicopter blades.

I know in my heart that his guardian Angel and God was with your son as he took his last breath and brought peace and love to him in his time of need. No doubt in my mind. Never lose the pictures you have of him at peace with our God.

Thank you for sharing this with me. You are in my prayers.]

 

This entry was posted on February 3, 2017. 4 Comments

No hope?

img_6371-hopeI’ve been listening (perhaps I shouldn’t) to spokepersons on television news stations repeat words spoken by some in authority that our nation is now “without hope.” Are these wise words? Naturally I disagree with them. After all, my post address is “Hope Is Possible.” As most of you know, I am not referring to national hope, but hope after suicide; hope for those surviving suicide, which includes hope for all who grieve. Therefore it’s no stretch to be inclusive and say that there is hope for the whole world, right?

You may agree with political mindsets who feel we are “without hope” in our nation going forward from the swearing in ceremony on January 20. The statement gave me pause nevertheless, but this is not intended to be a political piece. I won’t air my opinions, however the words got me thinking.

“We are without hope.” How does a statement like this make you feel in your grief? It doesn’t have a question mark, but a period. Is it truth? Does it apply? To be “without hope” is to be hopeless, right? Personally I am not hopeless, but my firstborn likely felt he was, causing him to end his pain by taking his life. Suicide is the prevalent next step to hopelessness. I dare say that if we, as a nation, think negatively and feel hopeless, what is the logical next step, or is there one?

Readers who have been following my blog know that I write to help other grievers feel hopeful. Yes, life is hard after loss. There is no argument there. I have it hard, you have it hard, but I do not live without hope. You don’t either, do you? We may be shattered, bone dry, sickened with grief, and feel broken beyond repair, but we are not without hope. Keep reading the devotional below for someone else’s take on this topic.

~ Hope springs eternal in the human breast ~

“The English poet Alexander Pope wrote, ‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.’

“The director of a medical clinic told of a terminally ill young man who came in for his usual treatment. A new doctor who was on duty said to him casually and cruelly, ‘You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year?’

“As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept. ‘That man took away my hope,’ he blurted out.

“‘I guess he did,’ replied the director. ‘Maybe it’s time to find a new one.’

“Commenting on this incident, Lewis Smedes wrote, ‘Is there a hope when hope is taken away? Is there hope when the situation is hopeless? That question leads us to Christian hope, for in the Bible, hope is no longer a passion for the possible. It becomes a passion for the promise.’”

No one, not even a professional, can know whether or not that young man will live out the year. That information is known only to the God of heaven. It is also true that no one can tell you that you live without hope. You can choose to believe that you have no hope or that you will never feel joy again in your grief journey, but is it truth?

I will not answer this question for you, but I will answer it for me. If I did not have hope ~ hope in the next life, hope that I will see my child again ~ I would be someone most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19). Further, I dare say, that I, (and speaking for no one else), do not see how I could survive my son’s suicide without hope . . . hope in the Eternal.

There are hundreds of verses of Scripture with the word “hope” in them. Not all of them are positive, but discerning reading gives me confidence in the hope to come. You may choose to believe otherwise, but I believe that the hope, referred to in Scripture, is the good stuff which is ahead for those who put their trust in God; therefore I choose to rise every day in the hope of being reunited with my firstborn son once more!

Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope? Job 4:6

Quote from Our Daily Bread, December 19, 1996, (Bible “dot” org)

Verse from Job, New King James Version (NKJV)

 

This entry was posted on January 20, 2017. 4 Comments

Drab days of winter

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“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

The weather report says “overcast” as a cloud cover obscures the sky. We are experiencing a stint of drab gray. Winter, in our neck of the woods, is hitting its stride. Don’t laugh, but I feel frustrated enough to write about it (noting that days without sunshine can be difficult for those who are susceptible to depression), and I am more ready than ever for Mr. Sun to poke his smiling face through the gray clouds and bring a pop of color into my dreary view.

As gray of day turned into black of night one evening, I approached the wall of windows to lower the blinds. I stopped in my tracks and stared at the horizon. There bore the evidence that sunshine will return again as I stood, transfixed, and gazed at a strip of crimson. It looked as if shimmering liquid coral had pooled on the lackluster landscape. Just a touch. Just for a moment. Then the beauty sank out of sight, but it was enough to remind me that it won’t always be dark. Light will return. Glory will once again light up my world.

Like me, you may be on a grief journey. You may feel the seemingly endless drudgery of weary steps, and dark days don’t help. We go through the motions, day after day, living for that moment; the moment we are reunited with the ones we were forced to bury while they were still young and full of life.

I picture this expanse of grief like a conveyor belt. It keeps moving whether I move or not. With my carry-on in hand I am borne, not toward a distant destination promising great joy, but along a curvy, bumpy road that often feels like it is heading nowhere.

And yet . . . this journey of grief is taking me somewhere. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, I am inching closer to a grand reunion more spectacular than humans can imagine.

Meanwhile, we face holiday after holiday occupied with thoughts of those who can no longer join us around the kitchen table. We miss their hugs, their smiles, their jokes, their stories we have heard so often that finishing them is automatic. They may be gone, but their memories are not.

Just as the sun will return to shine upon our upturned faces, I am reminded that my “Son-shine” will return, too. His glory will be spectacular. We will see our children face to face at last, and they will be radiant. The drab gray of pain will disappear. The darkness of our shattered hearts will be replaced with hearts that will beat in unison throughout eternity. hallelujah!

The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. Malachi 4:2a

Version selected, GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

 

“Silent Night, Holy Night”

baby-in-manger

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

Strains of sweet carols floated through the open front door where my hubby was standing. He beckoned me to join him. As I drew closer, the music grew louder and sweeter. Who is singing? Was it recorded music? No, it was carolers! A group of people from church had gathered outside our front door and were singing their hearts out. I joined in . . . Silent Night, Holy Night . . .

After the group finished singing, we clapped, and I thanked them. We shared smiles and hugs. Several, knowing of my cancer journey and the surgeries involved, said they were praying for me. How wonderful that a choir of friends makes house calls!

They had no idea that this day had been a downer for me. They had no idea that Christmas doesn’t get any easier each year I don’t have my firstborn to share it with. They had no idea that I determine to write, through struggle, encouragement for the both of us, dear reader. Don’t misunderstand. I have hope. You have hope, too, but that does not mean we don’t feel the sharp pain of loneliness more acutely during the winter holidays.

It is my personal belief that, because of Baby Jesus born so long ago in Bethlehem, our hope is not in vain. Because this same baby grew to be a Man among men, and gave His life’s blood to save every one of His created, there is hope enough to go round. The Good News is that He will return, but this time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! This will be a “homecoming” for all mankind!

Scripture shared from New King James Version (NKJV)

 

Hoodwinked . . . again!

I should have taken a picture of my cat’s latest caper. To you my readers it would be positive proof what a stinker he is. I guess I was too “steamed” at the time to think to take one. Since a picture is worth 1000 words, the crust edges left in this picture gives you a visual hint that he has an appetite for people food; he would gladly have gnawed on this pizza crust if he had been given the opportunity, for he loves bread. This meal he missed. Read on to find the dessert he didn’t . . .

photo (13)

You could call him a villain, but his name is Pippy. He sleeps all day and goes on the prowl at night. Anything with an attractive aroma is fair game. My son calls him Satan. I wouldn’t go that far, but he is full of mischief.

If I had a video camera, his nightly exploits would be entertaining. At people meals this cat will stare you down with every bite you take. He’s brazen enough to take swipes with his paw at morsels of food heading for his “tenant’s” mouth. If he gets lucky, he’ll get an unexpected morsel, and the score tips in his favor.

Recently I got reminded, yet again, that I may be off my game, but Pippy is never off his. If I get an “F” in food storage, all the better for my “shenanigans” cat. He will chew through paper bags, plastic wrap, or tin foil to reach something that smells delightful. His nose works overtime to hunt for something sweet or salty. My mistake at night means cleaning up his mess in the morning.

One night I forgot to put white chocolate away. Pippy honed in on the aroma of chocolate, which he had never tasted until this caper. Fortunately for him, its consumption did not appear to have an ill effect.

A few nights later, I failed to put marshmallows away behind closed doors, and “Sherlock” was on the case. I had triple bagged the marshmallows, assuming they’d be safe, but Pippy tore through all the layers of wrapping and helped himself. Chocolate + marshmallow + hmm . . . one more item . . . ahh, graham crackers! Pippy just missed making s’mores! Sigh. Will I ever learn?

When I pause to think back to the time when our hijinks cat found us, he was a bitsy “pipsqueak”. Skinny and determined are two adjectives that best described this little kitten, who had picked us to provide home and comfort. How could we have known that just a few short weeks later, our firstborn would take his life? Wracked by grief, we were inconsolable. The only creature who could get through to us was little Pipsqueak. He was frail, but also feisty. There were so many times in those first months after losing our son that he made us laugh in spite of our hearts’ resistance. I dubbed him our “God kitty,” for who else could have foreseen our need for laughter breaks in our grief?

~ Pippy wanted to live, and in some small way, known only to our Creator, he was willing us to live too. ~

Pippy is all grown up now and still the determined stinker. If I get careless, he wins. Unfortunately, I have to admit that there is a parallel in my spiritual life. Just like my cat, I may be off my game at times, but Satan is never off his. When I don’t spend time fortifying myself with the “bread of life” in my Bible, I can feel the enemy’s hot breath bearing down on me, waiting for the opportunity to attack. He will always take full advantage of my weaknesses. He will never play fairly. Being described as a roaring lion, he’s always on the prowl to devour spiritually as many humans as possible, so he won’t die alone (1 Peter 5:8). Just as I must be vigilant with food storage, I must also arm myself with truth so that Satan can’t trip me up.

The good news for all who are interested is that Satan’s days are numbered! As soon as Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,” on Calvary’s cross, the countdown began for the devil’s demise. The hands on the clock of time seem to move too slowly for us grievers, who are eager to see our precious loved ones again. Never fear. Satan will be destroyed forever! Death will die! No hint of sin, sorrow, or pain will ever mar our lives again (Nahum 1:9). We will be forever free to enjoy the wonders of eternity with our precious children and others we love. We will never be parted again. Yippee!

“The last hostile power to be destroyed is death itself.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 

Scripture shared from The Voice 

 

Taking a Break

I have been writing my blog and sharing it with both members and friends on Facebook for over 4 years. I feel strongly that there are those who need the particular words God gives me that week to write. I hate to take a break for medical reasons, and if it is His will, I will be back at my computer, writing again before long.

The problem which keeps me from writing now are the muscle spasms, that apparently, are a part of phase two of breast cancer ~ the expansion phase. So for the time being, I cannot type enough to fill more than a few paragraphs before the sharp, painful spasms overwhelm me. I know you understand that this life is full of difficulties. This one is to be weathered just like all the other ones we face.

Please don’t forget about me and drop your membership. You certainly have access to the months and years of posts on file. Go back and read a few for your comfort. God will lead you to just the right ones. Perhaps the archives will hold you until I can return.

I am unable to send this message to every grief site. If I could, I would try to write and send something special for you to read, but this break I must take for now, includes all aspects of blogging. I will send this message to my author page and perhaps those who read it there will pass it along to the grief sites they are members of, etc. That will help to spread the word. God bless you all.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3) Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12)

God willing, I will be back . . . soon.

Love you, my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on November 4, 2016. 7 Comments