Category Archives: scripture

Time. Grief. God’s Goodness.

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Today I am sitting in Jason’s garden.  I have not done that much this year, it has made me too sad. This has been a difficult season for me, I am still trying to put my finger on why. Maybe I need to stop trying to figure out why and just let it be. The sadness is deeper this year, harder to shake off. Maybe there is no why maybe it just is.

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Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

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Psalms 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Tomorrow is the 4 year anniversary of the day my world changed forever.

Time is a funny thing, it can seem like forever while feeling like it just happened yesterday.

Grief is a strange companion, mostly polite and staying in a distance so as not to bother life’s everyday. But some days it is demanding and will not be pushed away. (Read more about my thoughts on grief here)

But this truth I hang on to, God is good all the time.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.   Psa 27:11

Jason

 

I remain grateful and feeling blessed for the privilege of mothering this boy turned man. I thank God for the time we were given the last month of his life.  I praise God knowing I will see him again.

And then I smile at the mental picture of Jason, praising God for eternity.

What I have learned about grief

flowerGrief is sneaky. Out of the blue grief sneaks up on me. I do my best to prepare for the anniversaries, the times I know it will be hard. But it pops up, unwanted and unexpected.

Grief is strong. When grief hits it can take me down to the ground. Swiftly, I am out of breath and drowning.

Grief does not play fair. I make deals with grief, it can come when I am prepared, when I am ready to take it on, we have an agreement. Grief does not always abide by that agreement.

Grief is a thief. It sneaks in, uninvited, like a bull in a china shop, breaking our agreement and tries to steal my joy.

This is what I have learned about my grief. I say “my grief”, because everyone has a different grief visiting them, not all griefs are the same.

I have learned to give grief a time limit, especially when it shows up unannounced and bullies me into a puddle of tears. I give my grief  time and attention but with limits. I give myself permission to cry, a lot if I need to. I give myself permission to be sad, very, very sad, if I need to.

And then I invite grief to leave.

These are some ways I encourage my grief to leave; I go outside and soak up some nature. I listen to praise music, I read the psalms. I take a walk/run to get some good brain chemicals active. I count my blessings. I do something creative. I feed my soul. I pray.

I don’t always feel like I want to do these things, but I do them. I am persistent, I keep at it until grief finally gives in. Until it packs up it’s baggage and leaves.

So today, I am being persistent, grief swooped in yesterday and knocked me to my knees, but today I am standing. I am inviting grief to leave without taking my joy with it. Having cried myself to sleep last night in the wonderful arms of my understanding husband, I am sitting in my garden this morning. Worship is music playing, I watch the birds drink from the sprinkler, and the momma and poppa swallows try to keep up with the feeding of the littles. I am preparing for a prayerful walk/run with psalms of praise running through my mind.

I will not let grief overtake me. I have so much to be grateful for, I love my life, I will not let grief rob me of my joy.

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps 23

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!

Broken

 

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I entered this new year with great dreams of running a few 5ks this summer. My foot repaired and healing well, my husband willing to give running a good try. Big dreams. Big goals.

I sit here this morning a little broken, physically for sure, and fighting the mental brokenness that often comes with physical. Looking for the lessons that are sure to be lurking in the corners of broken.

I am drawn to broken seashells, there is beauty inside the shells that can not bee seen until they are broken enough to reveal what is inside.

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Colors and patterns hidden inside. Beauty missed if left intact. I want to be like that in this season. I want light to shine into my corners and reveal gratitude instead of bitterness. Broken with grace is hard work, it is easy for me to fall into the habit complaining.

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If I am honest, I am a little jealous when I see people jogging. I am missing walking on the sand by the sea. I am not fond of crutches, (I tamed that down a lot 🙂 ). I am an active person that finds it extremely hard to sit still for too long. This season of stillness has been difficult but there are lessons to be learned. I want to learn them, I want to use my broken to find beauty hidden in my corners.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

 

How does God put up with me?

 

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We live in a world where complaining is just part of our conversation. We whine “this line is too long”, “it took so long for that waitress to bring my food”, “why is this taking so long?”, “I don’t have . . . ” It goes on and on. It has become just how we communicate, we whine, we complain.

I have had a week of listening to just that, there is a lot of change happening where I work, good exciting things, but the path to get there is a little painful. And then there is me complaining about their complaining. Whew, no wonder I am so tired when I get home.

All the while we lose site of the fact that we have a job, a good job. We lose fact that we should count it a privilege to sit in a nice clean waiting room to see a doctor. It should be counted a privilege to wait to have food served to us. We should count it all a privilege.

There is so much we should be grateful for, I have a saying that is a little joking but so full of truth, when I am met with a lot of complaining. “At least you aren’t sleeping under a bridge tonight” This statement is as much for me as anyone. What an abundance we live with.

There are people in hospice that are grateful for just that next breath, there are people living under bridges that are grateful for the sandwich a stranger gave them, there are people who are grateful to have any job even if it is working a field.

How can I be so brazen before God to complain about anything. Anything at all. All that I have is a gift, straight from the hand of God. How is that not enough? How would I feel if I handed precious gems to my children and they complained because it was not gold, or it was not enough. How does God put up with us?

Eve did it, “why can’t I eat that?”. Adam did it “why did you give me this woman to tempt me?”  The Israelites did it “why do we have to eat that?” From the beginning of time God, who has showered us with blessings has had to listen to our ungratefulness.

While thinking about this I wondered why God created us this way? If it were me I sure would have taken that module out, I would have snipped that wire that went to the complaining component. Then I realize complaining isn’t the problem it is a symptom. The problem is that we were created with a longing for something more. We were created with an empty space, We look around for something to fill it. Things, action, anything but what was meant to fill it. How ridiculous we must sound to God.

There is a very real reason we feel unsatisfied. It is a God sized hole. Only God can fill it.  God created that in all of us, I need to remember to fill my complaining corner with God.

I have been sitting here thinking of all the things I tend to complain about, I am ashamed.

Instead of complaining about being stuck in traffic I want to thank God for the ability to travel so easily. Instead of complaining about waiting on the doctor again, I want to thank God I have medical care. Instead of complaining about waiting for my food, I want to be grateful that we can sit in a nice warm space and have food served to me. Instead of complaining about cleaning the bathroom, I want to be thankful that I have a nice warm home to clean.

Do you find yourself in the habit of complaining? How will you show your gratitude today?

Gratitude Production 101

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Here are all the links to all 7 blogs in case you missed one. Trust me you do not want to miss one. All on the same subject, all so different yet so similar.

Before November gives way to December and all that seems to go with this time of year, make sure to read these. After this week of reading these I feel better prepared to enter this busy season. I will be more intentional with my thanksgiving, more satisfied with what I have, more compassionate to those who don’t have, more focused on the real reason for the season. I will be more thankful.

Take a few minutes, ready them one right after the other, like chapters in a book. it won’t take long. Choose just one or two of the suggestions to try see if it doesn’t change the way you look at celebrating the birth of our Jesus.

Day One by Traci Castaneda : Thanksgiving Blog Venture Day 1

Day Two by Terry Porter : Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Day Three by Bev Landgren : 365 Days of Grateful

Day Four by Joe Castaneda : Be Thankful. Be Thankful. Be Thankful.

Day Five by Tom Tanner : Rooted, Built, Established and Abounding in Thanksgiving

Day Six by Danny Ray : 3 Ways to Make this Thanksgiving the Best One Ever

Day Seven by Becca Forrest : Intentional Thanksgiving

I am working on a special project for this weekend. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed tomorrow.

365 days of grateful

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Today is my day (day 3) in this project, I am honored and excited to be part of this Gratitude Project 101. I hope as the week progresses you will stop in and check out the 6 amazing bloggers I have been teamed with.

 

365 days of grateful

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This is the time of year we stop to reflect on what we are thankful for, we post out thankfulness for the 31 days of November. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great practice, but last year my heart was softly challenged, why only once a year?  Why do I  take only 31 days out of 365 to actively practice gratitude? These thoughts continued to nag at me for several weeks. Why would I not express my thankfulness every day, all year long? I have a blessed, beautiful life.

Instead of making resolutions for the New Year I chose this one word to focus on and put into practice for 365 days– Grateful. (See this project for more details.)

For days I prayed, planned and wondered, how would that look? How exactly would I place this word in my life in practical, tangible ways. I decided on at least 3 things I would practice every day.

Continue reading 365 days of grateful

Stretcher Friends

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When they couldn’t find a way to get him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on his stretcher through the tiles into the middle of the room, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:19

From the time the fireworks tents start appearing through August is what I call the season of Jason. (You can read the whole story here.) This season the story of the man being lifted up on his stretcher and brought to Jesus by his friends has been running through my head.

Many times through these three years when I have been at my lowest I have heard from you that you are praying. Your prayers have carried me time and time again to Jesus. You did for me what I often could not do for myself. When the grief was crippling you picked up my stretcher and carried me. You spoke the words to Jesus when I had no words.

I write this today to say thank you to all of you, I have felt your prayers, I have felt you lifting me to the presence of Jesus. I have felt his healing grace over and over. Thank you for being there still, three years later. Thank you for allowing me to grieve, for not telling me it was time to get up and walk on my own, for giving me the luxury of being carried. Thank you for walking beside me when I can walk, and then carrying me again when I need to be carried. I don’t have enough words to thank you properly, but I want you to know, that I know you are there, I know you are lifting me up to Jesus. Thank you.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil. 1:3

I had a day

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I had a day last week that I have been pondering, still unsure of where it came from and what to think of it. Maybe if I write it down I can process it a little better.

This day I wanted to take a break, it was more than that, but I am even having a hard time explaining how I felt. I wanted to not be a mom whose son was dead, I wanted to not be a manager, I did not want to knit, I did not want to not knit. I did not want to take a run, I did not want to not take a run. I did not want to sit out in Jason’s garden, I did not want the reason for it. I did not want to cry, I did not want to feel, I did not want to be sad, I did not want to be happy. I did not want to do anything, I did not want to be idle.

Does any of that make sense? I have heard the expression “stop the world and get off” but have never felt it like I felt it that day. I was at a loss with what to do with myself, I was restless and lifeless all at the same time.

So, I put on my favorite Christian praise station, put on my headphones and made myself take a run. I really did not want to, and I really did not want to not want to.(Hope that makes any kind of sense.)

This is what I sorted out on my run, the fireworks tents started going up this week, these mark the beginning of Jason’s end. I also realized that my favorite season will forever hold some sadness, I am a summer gal, but it holds some darkness now. (I don’t really like that.)

By the end of the run, I felt like I had run to the arms of my heavenly father and he held me close. I cried, we had a long talk. Then I sat in the arms of my husband and he held me close.The world was okay again.

I am a blessed woman, my amazing daughter is just that, amazing. My two step children remind me every day of the love between siblings, and they make me smile. I cannot say enough about my wonderful husband, he makes sure I live the most carefree life possible. He makes sure I feel loved and cherished. And last but certainly not least, my heavenly father who is never more than a breath away.

Yes, the world is okay again, I have regained my balance. I am truly blessed beyond measure.

Is. 43:1-2, 4
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to Me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
MSG

I did it! (but not on my own)

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I did it, I set a goal 9 weeks ago to go from no exercise at all to running a 5k. Yesterday was the day – I did not have any goals except to finish. I finished, shocked to find I was 10th in my division, females 45 to 55. (I am hoping there were more than 10 of us 🙂 )

I did not do this alone, family and friends rooted me on from the start. My first time out running I could barely run for 30 seconds. I was not sure I could do it, but I pushed ahead with the encouragement from others. Strangers offered encouragement God was gracious to send me “winks” as my friends Joe and Traci Castaneda call them. (You can read about those here) .

I am so grateful to my husband who has not minded the neglected house, and a few more “on your own” dinners as I prepared for this run. I am grateful to friends who offers tips and hints when I was really struggling. I am grateful to friends, family and co-workers for cheering me on. All of these things were essential in my journey.

It makes me think about the great cloud of witnesses that surround us in our spiritual race here on earth. How very much like preparing for an earthly race is like our spiritual race.

I am so much more mindful of what I put into my mouth since beginning to run, there is a definite cost/return mindfulness.

I am dedicated to practice, getting out and running on a regular basis. I am mindful of what inactivity will cost me in working towards the goal.

I am mindful of being public/transparent in my process, I knew if I told people I was doing this that I would be more accountable.

Isn’t this so much like our spiritual race? Shouldn’t we be mindful of what we take in?, Shouldn’t we be dedicated to practicing/studying on a regular basis? Shouldn’t we be transparent and let others help keep us on track?

IMG_1034Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb 12:1