Category Archives: Mercy

And so it begins . . .

. . . the season of Jason. That is what I call this part of summer. From now until the end of August is a tough time for me. Four years later I have moved beyond the paralyzing grief to a quiet sadness that comes and goes during these days. I miss him, I think of him everyday. But I smile more at the memory of him. I am thankful for the man he grew to be. I am grateful for every day I had the pleasure of being his mom.

This summer I feel ready to let go a little more, we will be spreading Jason’s ashes on August 21st at Canyonville Camp.

This I still hold true, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

Here is a post I wrote about a month after Jason went home:

My journey this summer begins July 9th.

My son, Jason, called me, he had been struggling with “asthma” for a few weeks. He was struggling to breathe, could hardly walk across the room. A trip to the emergency room was needed, but he had been laid off a couple months previous. No insurance kept coming up, but finally he went. Little did we know at the time what would come of this.

A few hours later he was intubated and in an induced coma. I found myself sitting in a consultation room in ICU, trying understand the doctors words. He kept saying fragile. The doctor talked about a long recovery. It took days for me to understand that my son, was on the brink of death that day. Twice that night they brought him back.

For the next 17 days, we hovered, spoke softly to Jason. Spoke our love to him. He could not respond, but we wanted him to know. We sat vigil by his bedside. On the 18th day he regained consciousness, he was able to “thumbs up”. He often used the sign language sign for I love you. We communicated in a way, as he still had the tube down his throat, keeping him alive. But it was so good to communicate. The tube came out a few days later, he talked and talked. Of plans for his future, how he longed to serve God. how he wanted out of the hospital to begin his new life that was given back to him.

Quickly he got better, faster than anyone anticipated. But there continued to be that word – fragile. If you knew my Jason, fragile would not have ever been a word to describe him. Nine strapping pounds at birth, and every football coach that ever laid eyes on him, wanted him. Fragile was not what I would have ever used. but there it was, time and time again. Jason was far from out of the woods. He had a heart problem that caused his lungs to fill with liquid. It was treatable, but it would be a long haul.

His lungs recovered enough that finally on July 29th he got to go home. He was learning to live with this new discovery about his health. He researched it, he was going to beat it.

Then, suddenly, on August 3rd, 2011 – he went home. His real, permanent home. He was found like he just went to sleep and woke up in heaven.

So my son, with a heart so big with love, died of heart failure.

I miss him. I will see him again.

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Jesus and Picket Signs

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This morning I am sitting in my garden wondering about the righteous indignation I have been seeing. The picket signs, the yelling, the hate and judgment spilling from the mouths of “the righteous”.

I don’t recall Jesus ever carrying a picket sign. I began to think about the only times that I see Jesus outraged and angry was with hypocrites.

I see Jesus sitting with and loving people, I see him telling stories and inviting them to him. I see him moving through the masses with kindness while speaking truth with love. I see him feeding the hungry, healing the sick, I see him loving the sinner, which by the way is all of us. He calls us to himself gently and with unending love.

The picketing, the condemning to hell, not only turns my stomach it makes me extremity sad. It also makes me wonder, how pompous it must seem to Jesus. No one here on earth has the power to grant access to heaven or condemn to hell. How presumptuous to stand before another of God’s creations and pass such a judgment. Who do we think we are?

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them,
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but
fail to notice the beam in your own eye? Matt 7:3 (Luke 6:42)

I for one have much in my own life that needs attention before I begin to judge another.

On the other side, while I may or may not support certain things I reserve the right to do so with out being called out. Religious freedom, civil freedom, like or not gives us all the right to have an opinion with out being labeled. We seem to forget that freedom of speech and thought applies to all, not to just who we agree with. To threaten to take away another’s right to live out their convictions is wrong and hypocritical no matter which side of the line you stand on.

This is a very rough collection of thoughts and I want to end here with this:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have
loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
 1 Cor 13:13

The day before THE Day – Revisited

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Good Morning – On this day before “The Day” I want to revisit my blog from last year. On this day especially since the death of my son, I think of how Jesus’ closest friends and family must felt, how sad and hopeless. And then there was Sunday!

We celebrate Good Friday, we worship in eternal gratefulness Resurrection Sunday, but there is a day in between. This morning I was thinking of this day in between. What was that day like?

We often give Jesus’ followers a bad rap, we talk about how they did not believe, how they hid away. This day in between must have been so confusing. Their King, friend, teacher, Shepard had died before their very eyes. I’m sure they all had stories in their heads about how Jesus’ capture and crucifixion would go. Think about it, if you walked with him every day and saw the incredible miracles how would you imagine the end? I think I would imagine Jesus’ saving himself, or God’s army of angels giving those soldiers what they rightfully deserved. I know I would have been in that room with all the others trying to make sense of what I just saw. How can you make sense of that with our earthly bound, finite minds. We often can’t make sense of the death of a loved one who was not God, how could you make sense of God in human form dying?

I don’t blame them for hiding out, for being confused. At the very least taking time to re-group. Grief is a strong powerful thing to our human minds, sometimes it takes hiding out, returning to the familiar to get our bearings.

On this day in between I wonder, what was happening? Was Martha making sure everyone was fed? Was Mary sitting in a corner of the room weeping? What were the disciples thinking? Were the discussions amid their grief centered around what’s next? Were they feeling left behind, a little betrayed? Were they wondering if the last few years were real? This just did not happen like they thought it might.

If we are honest would not we have reacted in the same manner? I know I would have gone to the familiar to re-group, maybe even hide. I know I would have been wondering if I had just given the last few years of my life to a dream that just blew up. I think about the things of so much less magnitude that shake our faith, make us doubt, Jesus’ followers were human with feelings like ours. Let’s give them a little grace this season, understand how confused and grief stricken they were.

Take a minute, try to imagine what this day in between held, what you would be feeling and doing. Then celebrate with all of creation for the next day, the day that brought unbelievable, uncontainable joy to all.

Have a blessed Resurrection Day!

Sally (actually Sammie)

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I am going to imagine that her name is Sally, she looked like what I would imagine a Sally to look like.

I noticed her as I left the parking lot. She was sitting behind a cardboard sign, five or six white garbage bags all around her. She had on several layers of clothing, her face was dirty, and wore the wrinkles of a hard life. I started to drive by but decided to pull over. I got out of the car and dug out one of my beach blankets from the back. She had gotten to the car by that time. I grabbed a couple bags of hotel toiletries, I told her that I did not have money to give her but I had this blanket and these toiletries. Her eyes lit up, her whole face broke out in a toothless grin and she exclaimed “Soap!” She thanked me like I had handed her keys to a warm house and walked back to her spot on the sidewalk.

I know I posted this before but I have a follow up, I had not seen her for several weeks, and I had been wondering about her so when I saw her I stopped. I asked her if she needed anything in the way of toiletries, she wanted shampoo, I dug around in the bag and pulled out shampoo and a few other things. I asked her name and was surprised to find I was pretty close in my guess, her name is Sammie.

Soap

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Her face has been floating in and out of my consciousness all week. I noticed her as I left the parking lot last week. She was sitting behind a cardboard sign, five or six white garbage bags all around her. She had on several layers of clothing, her face was dirty, and wore the wrinkles of a hard life. I started to drive by but decided to pull over. I got out of the car and dug out one of my beach blankets from the back. She had gotten to the car by that time. I grabbed a couple bags of hotel toiletries, I told her that I did not have money to give her but I had this blanket and these toiletries. Her eyes lit up, her whole face broke out in a toothless grin and she exclaimed “Soap!” She thanked me like I had handed her keys to a warm house and walked back to her spot on the sidewalk.

I am humbled. Soap, she was thrilled to get soap.

While I have been focusing on gratitude all year, I realized in that moment I still had a lot to learn.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.   Colossians 3:17

 

 

 

My Race

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Yesterday I wrote about running, and that I was committing to this activity, and making myself accountable by telling others my intentions. I wrote about some lessons I had learned in the first week. My desire is to also learn God lessons from this experience.

God lesson #1 – Just like I have to run my own mile, and not compare my mile to someone else’s, I have to walk my walk with God. Not someone else’s, mine. I should not compare my God walk/run with others. It is so tempting to look at someone else’s race and envy the “easy” race they have to run. The truth is I don’t know what waits around the bend for them, or what horrible dark valley they have come out of. The path I was given to run is my own. There have been bumps, times of pure despair, times of great rejoicing, and carefree running. But whatever turn in the road God has for me is mine to run without comparison to other’s path.

God lesson #2 – I should not try to look too far ahead on my God run. Just a few steps, just enough to not trip. If I knew all that was going to happen, how could I love and enjoy the moment of now? I would fret and worry, and miss the joy of the moment. If I had known that when my daughter was 6 months old I would find myself single, would I have missed out on this incredible woman? If I had known that I would live through the pain of losing my son at early in his life, would I have missed those amazing 30 years? God graciously does not allow me to see all that is ahead on my run. He allows me to see just enough.

My race is my race.

 

snippets

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Lately, I have been pondering some of the pros and cons of social media.

One of the biggest pros is that, whether we live near or far from those we love, life is busier than ever, it is so easy to peek into our loved ones lives through social media and feel very connected to them. I am thankful for the glimpse I get into my family’s everyday lives as we don’t live as close as I would like. I love being able to look into my nieces and nephews every day lives, and see how they are growing and changing. I love being able to see what is happening in the ministry my brother and his wife are evolved with half a world away. I love seeing what my brother is cooking up for dinner, and seeing the wonderful everyday life of my daughter. I get to peek into my husbands families lives and feel like I get to know them a little better by seeing little snippets of their everyday lives.

One of the biggest cons is that we get to peek into people’s lives that we don’t have a real close relationship with. We believe that this is how their life is, these snippets that are shared. We envy their nice home, perfect yard, and well dress family, all the while behind the little picture we are allowed to see, may be the storm of a wayward child or broken marriage. Sometimes we peek in this window and see  a “mess”, not knowing the work that God is doing, and God is very pleased with “this mess”.

We make judgements about people based on these snippets. We assume their life is perfect, we wish for that life, not knowing what we are really wishing for. Or we make a judgement about how messed up their life is, we secretly thank God we don’t have the problems they have, not knowing that they have a peace that passes all understanding.

These posts on social media are just glimpses of a person’s life, and usually just what they want the world to see. We have this unique privilege that no other generation has had, to peek into each others lives, but let’s be careful not to assume that the snippet we get to see is the whole picture, and use this privilege to hold each other up in prayer.

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