Why BB4TheLord2

Why BB4TheLord2: My first blog, bb4thelord.blogspot.com was began a couple years after I became a young widow. After ten years on that journey of widowhood, I took a break from blogging. Now the time has come to begin again. Writing is a gift God has given me and I must get back into using the gifts God has given me.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hearing His Voice

This is taken from a poem I wrote last month called "Late at Night"
I had had fear pounce on me and was trying to figure out why.
As I poured my heart out in words on a page, the Lord spoke to my heart.
Here is that section of the poem:

My heart hears His voice:

Cast your care upon Me
Put them in My backpack
My shoulders are broad enough
To carry all your cares

Tie My love around you,
Like a rescue rope in a stormy sea
I will lift you up out of the raging
Fear, doubt, anxiousness

Rest in Me, let Me blanket you
With My lovingkindness.
Let Me hold you and sing songs
over you to calm your soul.

Rest in My arms,
Rest in My Word,
Don't just believe on Me,
Believe Me

I have plans, grand ones,
Trust Me, my child,
Stand on the water beside Me,
Let Me hold your hand like you did your sons'
So many years ago.
You may wobble and tumble
But I will catch you
I may lift you straight up
Or gently set you gingerly on the ground.

Feel Me cupping your chin,
Lifting your head,
Wiping away the tears,
Making you look straight at ME.
Lock your eyes with Mine.

Stray not!
One step at a time,
one breath at a time,
one prayer at a time,
one moment at a time.

Choose to trust,
no matter what your heart fears,
or your mind doubts,
Trust Me, child, this is best.
I love you, more than you can ever imagine,
More than you will ever understand.

Don't run ahead of Me.
You will fall. Just patiently walk beside Me.
Let Me lead, and guide.
Let Me protect

Allow Me to whisper secrets in your ear.
To reveal yet another sliver
Of Who I Am
To give you yet another name for Myself

-CLS

A Small Victory

We recently visited this 130ft high trail bridge after we spent some time with family. It was very cool! But more than being just pretty awesome and neat to see, it was a victory for me. I am scared of heights. Never used to be, but somehow in my thirties the ground began to spin when I look down from up high. Just walking down the steps of a balcony can make the world start twirling. I will feel like I am falling, though I am not, and fear rises up within me. Any touch from someone near me makes me feel like I am going to go over the edge.

On my time away for my birthday, the Lord spoke to me about many things. One of them was fears. We all have fears of one kind or another. No matter what kind they are, they paralyze us and cloud our rational thinking. Even more concerning is that the fears control us. The Good Lord doesn't want our fears to be controlling us. In fact He instructs us to fear Him only for what we fear has power over us.

Now some may argue that fears help us be careful and more cautious. And this is true. But like many things in life, this must be in balance. Having a healthy fear of fire, guns, sharks, storms, and heights could be better called having a respect for them and the power they have. When you follow safety rules and procedures, you have nothing to fear. The imbalance comes when fear is a irrational terror inside, even when safety rules are followed.

With this in mind, plus the determination to fight my fears in my forties, I walked across the bridge 13 stories above the river. I made myself stop at every lookout, and look down. When it got too dark to see, I shined my flashlight down into the world below. My head spun, but I kept the terror squelched. And each lookout was a little easier.

I have won a battle, but not the war yet. I may never be able to look down from up high and not have the world go spinning. But I have taken a step forward. On my time away, I bought myself a sign that says, "Let your faith be bigger than your fears." Let.....fears hinder our faith. Faith is letting go, it is trusting in what you cannot see. It is falling backwards without looking, trusting the Almighty will catch you. The Bible says, "Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?" Isaiah 43:13




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Planted

Several weeks ago my sister-in-law sent me this picture and it started me on a journey.

The day I got it I was feeling buried. I felt the heavy weight of life on me. I felt trapped and suffocating. This sign gave me an attitude adjustment. It reminded me that my perspective was all wrong.

A few days later as I was doing my daily devotions I read this verse:
Romans 6:5 "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

Like I told a friend, "I guess I better do a study on the word planted."
I was surprised how many times this word was used.

We can be like a tree planted.
Psalm 1:3 says "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The "he" in this verse is referring to the man in verses 1 & 2 that:
  • walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly
  • nor standeth in the way of sinners
  • nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful
  • delights in the law of the LORD
  • doth meditate day and night

Jeremiah 17:7-8 is similar. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

God plants.
Genesis 2:8 "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man who he had formed."

Psalm 80:8 "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."

Psalm 80:15 "And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself."

Psalm 92:13 "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God."

Psalm 94:9 "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?"

Psalm 104:16 "The trees of the LORD are full of sap: the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted."

Ecclesiastes 3:2 "A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."

Jeremiah 2:21 "Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"

Jeremiah 11:17 "For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal."

Jeremiah 45:4 "Thus shalt thou say unto him, The LORD saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land."

Ezekiel 17:5 "He took also of the seed of the land and planted it in a fruitful field, he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree."

Matthew 15:13 "And he (Jesus) answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up."

We are called to plant.
1 Corinthians 3:6 (Paul said) "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

In Genesis 9:20 Noah planted a vineyard. Later in Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a grove and calls there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. Ecclesiastes 2:5 We learn Solomon planted trees. In Luke 13 a fig tree is planted. In the Gospels is the parable of a man that planted a vineyard.

And in Luke 17: 6 we read "And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."

Final Verses I Noted on Plant(s):

Jeremiah 32:11 "Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in the land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul."

Jeremiah 42:10 "If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, I will plant you and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you."

Psalm 144:12 "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."






Monday, May 15, 2017

Softening Tears

Many years ago this picture was given to me.
I today I sent it in a letter to a couple who suffered a miscarriage.
And once again my acquaintance grief popped in to say hello.
My mama heart goes back many years to when I lost Benjie.
I read a quote today that once again brought tears to my eyes.
"Jesus, I wanted to hold my child in my arms and tell him about You. Will you please hold him in your arms and tell him about me?"

Jesus uses time as a great tool in healing. But I am thankful that He keeps my heart soft with tears. That I can go back and feel the loss of a precious little one so that I can pray with understanding for a couple going through a tough time.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

We had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday. The boys decided to give me two precious gifts:
  • an uninterrupted nap
and
  • to not argue with each other all day
They accomplished both. I love my children and the young men they are becoming.

Yet I remember a distant Mother's Day being pregnant and at the same time grieving a child I never got to know. I remember a Mother's Day holding a fussy infant and at the same time dealing with ornery preschoolers, when all I wanted to do was be able to hear the sermon uninterrupted. I remember days with tears and fears as a young widow with little ones looking to me to be an anchor through the storm.  But again those tears kept my heart soft to other mama's juggling little ones, alone. I think of all the times I have run to the Lord in tears because there was no husband here to turn to. Tears.

I was talking with a young girl yesterday and we spoke of tears. She tries so hard to bury her hurt inside and not vocalize it to others. And I reminded her God gave her a voice to vocalize in a right way her feelings, her pain. But He also gave us tears. Tears are our pressure-release valve. I know that when I squelch them and stuff them into a back closet, my heart gets hard. They usually come rushing out in a flood of anger later, hurting those around me. Holding them in can be destructive.  
"Tears are like rain. They loosen up the soil of our heart." I read that years ago. And it is a great truth.

So as the tears came to my eyes and the familiar lump swelled in my throat today, I choose to thank God for tears. I know He has collected them in a bottle and has used them to keep my heart soft. To keep me tenderhearted. Towards Him and towards others.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Turning 40


                        
I turn 40 this month. And I am really very excited!
Sounds crazy, don't it?

But let's do a quick review:
  •  My 28th birthday I was a happily married women with two great kids and a wonderful husband.
  • My 29th birthday I was a barely functioning widow, really an emotional amputee with three sons (5, 2, and a newborn). My birthday was simply a day focused on breathing as my wounded heart bled out my eyes.
  • I simply have no memory of my 30th birthday. I entered my 30's with about as much enthusiasm as a corpse.
  • Most birthdays since then have been a blur. Usually full of vast emotions and learning to breathing again. Putting another school year behind us and forcing myself to walk forward.
  • Certain ones stand out. I remember the cold splash of reality of being a widow longer than I had been a wife. Yet still having his missing "happy birthday" put a hole in all the well wishes of others.
  • There were a couple birthdays that family did surprise parties after church. It was sweet of them, I felt showered with love, but inside was a storm.
  • Then there is the birthday when my dad broke his hip. That was a memorable and crazy day for sure!
This year is vastly different. I have been planning for months. 40 to me isn't "halfway between diapers and Depends" or becoming "over the hill". To me turning 40 is a declaration, "I lived through my 30's!"
"I survived my 30's (and maybe even thrived a little) as a widow homeschool mom of three boys." The fact that the Lord did an amazing healing in my heart this last year just is icing on the cake. Turning 40 feels like a graduation.

With God's unshakeable grip on me, I have kept the faith.Through His wisdom, He has used my pain to help others. Through God's grace and provision, I have continued to homeschool the boys. I have survived, and lived over 4,000 days longer than I ever thought I would. I stumbled and fell many times, got scrapes and bruises along the way. But with the help of God, I struggled to my feet and tried again. Miraculously, I have lived to tell a tale that I thought was going to kill me. He stood against my deepest fears and healed my shattered heart. Like I said in December, "I feel as if I have finally graduated from physical therapy with prosthetic limbs and I am able to walk again. I feel that the LORD and I can hike together now toward something special up ahead. I don't know what it is, but I know the LORD is good and He knows best."

And so, for my 40th birthday, I am looking forward to a retreat.
Some time completely alone with just my Healer and me. Time to relax and just be. 
Not be a mom, or a teacher, or a house manager, or a daughter, sister or friend.
Just be me. Spending time with my Creator. A two-day long God date.

Time to reflect. Time to write. Time reading my Lord's love letter. Time listening to Him. Time to look forward and dream. Time to step into my 40's with a smile and a sweet peace knowing God's got some pretty exciting adventures ahead.

And in all my anticipation of my 40th birthday, I think of my Jim. I can just see him with a big grin on his face, like he knew this is where I would get to all along. And there'd be a knowing twinkle in his eyes, showing secrets he won't share, but that say "It's going to be great!"


Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Gift

Every time I am in church, I look up to the ceiling above the pulpit. Upon the ceiling is the shadow of a gift. It has the shape of a present with a fancy bow on top of it. I know this is just a shadow of the mounted projector from the lights below, but each time I look to it, I am reminded of several things:
  • "Today is a gift; that's why it is called the Present!" Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone.
  • My preacher is a gift to my family. He bears our burdens in prayer, instructs us in God's truth, and guides us to step out in faith and follow the Lord daily.
  • The sermon is a gift. A message from the LORD personally to me. An audio letter from God. Pastor is just the speaker. It maybe be full of encouragement, or it may be like sandpaper to rub away a sharp corner of sin in my life. Either way it is a gift from the Lord who loves me and wants the best for me.
  • My church family is a gift giving support, encouragement, fellowship, and accountability.
  • It is estimated that 100 million Christians are persecuted around the globe. Openly meeting to worship the Living God in a place free from persecution is a gift.
  • The list can go on and on.....our building is a gift, the music is a gift, the Bible is a gift, the children in my Sunday School class are a gift, my own children are a gift, my health is a gift. My vehicle that brought me there is a gift. Events in my life that brought me to this church body of believers, these too were gifts.
  • God the Father giving His Son to die for me on a cross that was to have my name on it....a gift.
I am so very thankful for the shadow picture of a present that calls me to be thankful and attentive to the many blessings the Lord showers down upon me daily.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unspeakable Joy

Our ladies group has been practicing "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin.
Recently the chorus has been "an anchor for my soul."
I just can't help, but sing it.

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

Easter of 2007 was a day of hope for me. It was a day when I really began to feel like the boys and I were going to be okay. A day I realized some day my husband's grave would be empty too. Ten years later, I can say we are better than okay. We are a living breathing miracle of God's healing power and grace.

My nephew got married recently. Years ago I used to love weddings. That all changed when Jim died. I avoided them like the plague. Some where unavoidable, like my sister-in-law's and I just wept through them. In time, I didn't weep the whole time through them, but the vows got me every time. "Til death do we part." Most couples are clueless about that statement, thinking of being old and grey. No one thinks of being 8 months pregnant with their third child. Tears, a punch to the gut, a grief wave, curling my toes to stop from weeping. This is how it usually went hearing the vows and "I do's"

With the great healing the Lord had done on my heart this past fall, I was wondering how this wedding was going to affect my heart. I was going to be running into memories and was more involved in this wedding than any previous one without Jim. Having worked through the most emotional six months of my year, this wedding was the last heart check. Am I really healed?

I can honestly say that I felt no twinge, no grief wave, no lump in the throat, no curling of my toes.
And my heart wanted to leap for joy! I can't even begin to describe the joy of being healed. The Lord promised it many years ago. This is how I longed to be healed for so long. And it has finally happened!  "No more sorrow, no more pain."

I am not naïve to think I will never feel pain or sorrow again. But in my heart where it concerns Jim, there is no more sorrow and no more pain. For pain that used to suck my breath away and make me feel like I was dying a slow excruciating death....to go from that level to "no more sorrow, no more pain" is a miracle. Like I said, I don't think I can describe it. I just know that God truly is my Healer.

I also feel that if the Lord has someone for me in the future, that I am healed now and will be able to give them all of me. Like the Lord on Resurrection morning, I feel alive again. And there is unspeakable joy where once was the darkest, most overwhelming pain imaginable.

Thank You, Jesus, my Healer and the Lover of my Soul.

Lord, Shew Me a Tree

Notes from Bible Study:

Exodus 15:
22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them


Deu 8

2  And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;


Great dissappointments---look for the tree to make the bitter situation sweet
Cry out to God, He will show you the tree.

Reasons for disappointment--to humble me, to know what is in my heart, reveal if I will keep his commands, prove me, to do me good at my latter end.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God Says No

When I first became a Christian and was learning about prayer, I learned the LORD has three answers:
  • Yes
  • No
  • Wait
I once saw a saying that had a 4th response from God: "You've got to be kidding!"

Though it makes us smile, it can be so difficult when God says, "Wait" or "No."

In my head, I know when God says No or Wait, He has my best interest at heart.
I know this, but that doesn't instantly take the disappointment away. When hopes or dreams don't happen, when expectations aren't met, when something easy turns into the most difficult thing in the world....it is hard to remember that the "No" from the Lord is best. When I want to run away from a situation or speak my mind on a matter, and He says "No" it becomes a battle of my flesh and His spirit within me. When the timing for something seems to make sense but God clearly says "Wait.", it can be so difficult to not run ahead of the Lover of my soul who knows exactly what is best for me. It is trying on the soul when I pray, and pray, and pray for someone or a situation, and don't see any change or things get even worse. God has said "Wait" and I impatiently want to see evidence I have been heard.

And often when told "no" or "wait", we grumble and complain. The Israelites did the same thing to God on their way to the promise land. And what is really cloaked under all that murmuring and whining? 

Unbelief.
And that is exactly what the Lord reveals to me in how I respond to His answers. I am such a daughter of Eve. For I am doubting Him, not trusting in God when I respond to His "No's" and "Wait" with complaining and fretting. Oh, me of little faith.

I recently journaled, " I feel like the LORD has been telling me No about lots of things lately. I need to be mindful about telling Him Yes about things."

Instead of focusing on His answers, I should be focused on my response to my Lord. My Lord.
Too often, I shamefully admit, I have said the oxymoron, "No, Lord."

Luke 6:46 says, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"

So once again, I humbly bow before the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the Only Wise God and surrender myself to Him.  I choose to press into my God, when my inner brat wants to pull away because I didn't get what I wanted when I wanted it. I look into the heart of my Saviour who bore the cross for me, whose blood washes away my sins, who loves me with an everlasting love, and rejoices over me with singing.  I kneel before my Maker, My Healer, and choose to say "Yes".





Thursday, March 2, 2017

Breathe in Grace

Sunday night as my pastor was preaching, he said that if his grown son was in a car accident, the LORD would give grace to his daughter-in-law.

Snurr instantly leaned over to me and whispered loudly, "Did God give you grace, Mom?"

"Yes," I whispered with a calm, confident voice, as my brain took me back in time and rattled my soul, "God gave me grace."

He did.

He still does.

Daily.

For every situation.

It is a gift the Lord has for me each morning.

It is a choice for me to open it and receive it.

It is what I breathe in deeply
                 when I hear troubling news,
                            when I am frustrated,
                                   when I am weary,
                                            when I look into the future,
                                                     when I face another loss,
                                                              when the enemy whispers loud accusations,
                                                                          when the Lord seems silent,
                                                                                     when I must make tough decisions,
                                                                                                when I pray for a hard-hearted loved one.

Grace, I have learned, is freely given and in great heaping amounts.....
                though it is given when needed, like manna from heaven, it is provided daily,
and it is my responsibility to gather it daily and look to God in faith the next day for the next need.

Even as I type this, a concern for a loved one comes.
             I pause. I breath in deeply. I breathe in the grace of God for this moment.

I take my tears, my fears, and worry....I shakily exchange them for His grace.
I choose to trust in my Healer, my Creator, and the Lover of my soul.

I breathe deeply His abundant grace.


                                                                 
                                                                    


Monday, February 27, 2017

Worship His Holy Name

Life verse I picked out after I got saved:
Psalm 28:7  "The LORD is my strength and my shield: My heart trusted in Him and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him."

Verse that spoke to my heart this morning:
Psalm 103:1 " Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name."

Made me instantly think of song that some young ladies sang in church a little while back. Just the piano and their strong voices praising the LORD. Was very powerful! Here is the chorus and the 2nd verse that I like best:

"Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find"

Song by Matt Redman

Amen!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Valentine

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Red and pink are everywhere! Flowers, chocolate, cards, and candy overflow the store aisles. As with many other holidays, this one for me is different this year. I smile and linger at the frenzy of the approaching lover's holiday. I don't feel like half of me this year. I am well aware of being single in a couple's world, of course. But I don't feel alone. I look at the cards and candy. I pick out some cards for my boys and get them a tasty treat, praying they will do the same for their wives someday. 

In the book Every Young Woman's Battle, the author's have a chapter titled "Falling in Love with Jesus." Three sections of that chapter are called:
  • Making Jesus Your First Love
  • Giving God Every Chance
  • Seek Him and Find Him
Very powerful truths!!

I have blogged many times how God is enough. His word promises us so. Ps 23:1 says, "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." Faith in Christ is not a religion! It is all about a relationship! A relationship between my heart and the heart of Christ. The Bible is His love letter to me and He gives me gifts every day. He sends flowers each spring and peaceful snow-globey snow in the winter. Every time someone gives me chocolate, I know it was Him prompting their heart to do so. I have felt the comfort of His hugs in my soul and His gentle hands wiping the sadness off my heart. He has held my hand through countless storms, but also as we've scampered forward into a new adventure.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lover of my soul, my ultimate valentine. He pursues me. He knows me. He loves me for me.  And what person doesn't want that?!

I will admit, it has taken me years to recognize and appreciate HOW He loves me. It is so NOT physical. It can not be felt by the skin or seen with the physical eyes. It's heart and soul communication and closeness. He takes the initiative and I respond. I seek His face and He reveals Himself to me.

This is why I say you will never find contentment and fulfillment in a love relationship until you find it in Christ. No spouse will ultimately fill you and tend to all your needs. It is humanly impossible! But Christ can do what man cannot. The Bible states in 1 John that God is love. Who better to love you? Who better to lead you to still waters to satisfy your thirst? Who better to fulfill the longings of your heart?

And like any relationship, it takes effort. You must care and tend to the relationship with trust and communication. There will be times you feel distant and you must work at drawing nearer to God. The book of James tells us to draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to us.  But no matter what we do or say that isn't right, the LORD always loves you. Always waiting with outstretched arms, ready to forgive, ready to love.......

Christ is the Ultimate Valentine! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Grandpa

Snurr and I were relaxing on the couch chatting the other day and he made this statement,
"My kids won't have a grandpa."

I sighed deeply. Once again his brain is processing the absence of his father, this time thinking forward into his future. This is the part of widowhood that is most difficult, watching my children grieve. There is nothing I can do to shield them from the pain. I will say I do feel privileged at the same time. I am thankful they feel safe enough they can share their heart and hurts with me. So very thankful.

I waited for Snurr to share more.
I could see the gears turning in his head.
"I have two grandpas."
"Yes, you are very blessed."

I explained to him that if his wife's father is alive that his children would for sure have one grandpa.
Then I explained I actually had three grandpas, but I only knew two. My father's first dad died when he was eight. So his stepdad was my grandpa also. Then I had my mom's father as a grandpa also.

So I told him that if the Lord sees fit, and someday I remarry that his children could very likely be like I was. Have three grandpas, one in heaven and two on earth.

As he quietly processed this, I thought about how unpredictable grief is. We never know when it will pop up or what will trigger it. Most often when grieving, we think backwards in time. We also grieve that our loved ones can't be with us currently. But grieving forward also occurs. It is all apart of our hearts trying to process our loss.

One thing is certain. The Lord is there. He is there where ever we are grieving.
And He has great grace for whatever the future holds.


Monday, February 6, 2017

An Acquaintance Visits

I stood on the porch. It's 5:55 p.m. Eleven years ago there was a horrible, life-altering accident. I look down the sidewalk and recall the policeman and my neighbors walking up it. Tears flow at the memory. The mind flashes thoughts of metal crashing and tearing, of tires on the pavement, of my beloved mortally wounded and bleeding, then silence with just a cold winter breeze.

Back on the porch, I pull up my hood and step down one step.
Hot, salty tears flow down my cheeks. I take a deep breath and head down the sidewalk to meet an old acquaintance, Grief. We have traveled many miles together. We've never been friends. Grief can be demanding, bossy, rude, exhausting, and overwhelming.  Though Grief has been very painful, knocking the wind out of me, pouncing on me, and wounding me to the ground, I don't think of Grief as an enemy either. A bully at times maybe, but whose power has diminished over the years. Two things are constant about Grief: it is unpredictable and the Lord has always sent comfort.

It has been quite a long while since we last spoke. There has been such healing in my heart, I had hoped we'd not ever have to meet again. But the tell-tale scar on my heart and soul give it a passport to come, though its stay won't be long.

Grief and I walk down the driveway together. Then I force my feet to face the cemetery. Tears continue to fall with each rhythmic step of my feet crunching in the snow. I head to go into the cemetery one way. I stop. Another flash from the past. A tent. Chairs. A casket. Family. Cold wind blowing through the huge hole in my heart.

I turn and walk along the edge of the cemetery. Three trees. A garden stone. A dream remembered. A touch to the cheek. Understanding eyes. Permission to move forward. Crunch, crunch. The snow beckons me on.

I turn again and walk forward uncertainly, not knowing what Grief will do. I reach the graveside. And the tears come more forcefully and sobs escape my lips. Time stops.
Grief swirls around me like an icy blizzard.
Blinding my eyes,
stinging my cheeks,
making my lungs gasp for warm air...

"I love you so much....." I whisper into the night as I stare at a picture of a married couple, so happy, so in love, sharing the secret of a third child within. It seems like a lifetime ago I posed for that picture with my Jim alive beside me.

The icy blizzard calms, and the blessed warmth of comfort of the Lord comes.
Time begins ticking again. Grief backs away into the shadows of the trees, but doesn't yet leave.
I breathe in the grace of God.
I fill my lungs with the warmth of His love and faithfulness as the tears continue to flow.
But the sobs are silent. Like birds released from prison, they have flown away.

I stoop down. With my finger, I write in the snow. After five words, my finger throbs with pain from the cold. But it is the only pain I feel. I breathe a sigh of relief. Through the tears, I read in the moonlight, "I will always love you."

The mind jumps to a beach in Michigan and the waves flowing in. Two honeymooners write in the sand. The waves threaten to erase their creation. Quickly the bride writes "T.I.D." which means True If Destroyed. They turn their backs on the water and the good man plucks an enormous red maple leaf and hands it to his soulmate.

The cool breeze tussles my hair and I turn towards the path in the woods. I feel Grief lingering behind me, following, yet staying in the shadows. Tears continue to fall as I meander through the woods to the field drive. My back is to the life in the house, my back is to the grave. I walk on and on until I feel Grief has given up following me and the tears cease. Then I just stop and stand.
Alone, I just stand and Be.
"Be still and know," God said.
My eyes contrast the crumbled down old barn and the home beyond full of life.

The nightly breeze has begun to dry my cheeks. I lick my lips and taste the remnant of salt. The mind flashes to a memory, but it is blurry and fading. The mind quickly tries to jump to the future, but it is halted and captured. I turn around and retrace my steps.

Suddenly the night is pierced by a holler from the boys, "Mom?" It is repeated, then the door bangs shut. I turn towards the house as I tramp through the woods. Instinctively, I follow the path to the cemetery. Without even thinking I write "T.I.D." Then smile at my Jim's picture and use my boot to snowplow my words of love into forever. Into eternity.

Using my sleeve, I remove the tears from my lashes and finish drying my cheeks. I walk back towards reality and the boys who need me. I glance at the time. 6:11 p.m. Sixteen minutes have passed; it seemed like hours. Where will we be in five years? Who or what is in my future? I round the corner of the house and light from within streams out across the snow. Home awaits.

I open the door to reality, to continued healing, to the possibilities of the future, and shut the door behind me. And Grief remains in the cold, waiting for permission from the Almighty to visit me again.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"God doesn't waste pain."

Back in 2009, my homeschool mentor had asked me to pray for a fellow homeschool mom who was battling cancer. I never met this brave woman who went to be with her Lord several months later. But something my homeschool mentor quoted from her has stuck with me.

"God doesn't waste pain."  -Barb Gorman

Go back and read that again.

Pain comes in many forms from emotional to physical. It ranges from dull aches to sharp excruciating throbbing that makes it hard to think...hard to breathe. It can makes silent tears fall or grief wails escape from the throat and swirl around a person like chains. It can make a person walk with a limp or be curled up in a fetal position writhing in agony.

What good does pain do? Does it do anything good?

God created us to feel pain. For a good reason, just feeling it gives us an adversion to what ever caused it. Pain also alerts us to problems emotionally and physically. Pain alerts our body to a problem as well. As healing begins, continued pain helps us to not over use the healing muscles.
Pain  isn't any fun. Some pain can be endured knowing the reward that is coming, like a mother giving birth. Or crying about an emotional hurt can physically hurt but a calmness comes afterward.

Lately I have had to deal with some physical pain. I used to think I had a high pain tolerance. I homebirthed three boys with no painkillers. I have battled migraines and sprains without using pain killers. Even broke a toe, I think, and though I almost passed out, I never even thought about taking ibuprofen. But lately, I haven't dealt too well with physical pain. Either it has been very intense like a level 8 or I am getting wimpy in my old age.

But as I deal with it, Barb's words from years ago come to me again. "God doesn't waste pain." There is purpose to the pain I feel, emotional or physical. Purpose? I looked it up and most people can come up with ten reasons pain is a good thing. Really?

Easy to say but hard to remember at 3 a.m. when your shoulder is killing you and you are desperate for relief as well as sleep.
Pain is humbling. It makes us vunerable, weak, and needing assistance. It can make us irriatated easily with others which reveals our true heart condition. Pain makes us prioritize, choosing which activities are most necessary and which ones to let go for now. Pain gives others the opportunity to serve us and makes us realize how interdependent we really are. Pain makes us appreciate our good health more. Pain tests us to see how quickly we will let us use it as an excuse to be lazy or manipulate others. Pain challenges us to not be controlled by it. Pain is a tool in the hand of God. He alone is sovereign. It makes us seek His face and examine ourselves. Pain gives us an adversion for sin and disobedience, for straying and reaping negative consequences. Pain is not necessarily a friend, but it isn't always the enemy. It can be our school teacher.

At our church's midweek service, our pastor talked about how the disciples rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer.   Counted worthy.....not quite the attitude I have had as I recall painful events of my life. In fact, that the Lord counted me worthy to suffer never entered my mind until my pastor mentioned it. I pretty much equated that verse with being persecuted. Never thought of it as I struggled through emotional or physical pain. I wish I was there yet. I am not. Knowing the correct attitude to have and having it are miles apart.

But I can start the journey. I can choose to look to my Lord and let His presence be enough. I can look to the cross and remember what He bore for me. I can put on a smile and praise the Lord that though, I physically hurt, I am not alone. I am not forgotten. Quite the opposite, I am counted worthy. And my Lord has great grace sufficient for the pain, for the trial, for the struggle.

Once again He reminds me, He is enough.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Lord is Faithful

At night, when the children are in bed, where do you pray?  Some nights I go to my room and sit on my bed. Many other nights I walk up and down the hallway by the boys' rooms. I wonder what they will remember when they are adults.

Some nights my voice is weary and I walk slowly almost dragging my feet. Sometimes I pace quickly calling on the Lord in desperation to work in a situation. Some nights it is a steady rhythm of my feet in time with the tears that slide down my face for my unsaved family. Sometimes my voice is choked and the tears fall hot and fast, and boys slip out of their beds and reach out to me as I pass their doors.

And there are many nights also that I pour out gratitude to my precious Saviour who has blessed us so much, to my great God who has cared for us so tenderly, so personally, so detailed, so knowingly.  I walk up and down the hall like I'd walk with an old friend to the next place we are traveling and reminiscing the whole way about our journey together.

My Lord has been so faithful. I don't know what the boys will remember when they recall my nightly prayer walking in the hall. But I pray they remember this most of all---the Lord is Faithful

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Be a Tree of Life

Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."

I read these words this morning and this thought was pressing on my heart,
"Be a tree of life to others."


Now there's a life purpose!
Think about a tree, better yet think about the tree of life that was in the garden of Eden.

A tree of life:
  • has good fruit, more specifically the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
  • gives life to others, by words and deeds.
  • witnesses to others so they can have eternal life.
  • has integrity which means a sincerity of heart and intention, truthfulness, uprightness. It is one of the words on the breastplate of the high priest.
  • has knowledge or illumination of the mind to perceive things from God's eyes which is granted to those who have an honest relationship with Christ.
  • knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.
  • knows what not to say...ever.
  • sows seeds of mercy.
  • reaches for the Son.
  • gives others a place of rest and shelter from storms.
  • gives oxygen to others.
How can you and I be a tree of life to others today?









Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Love Letter Part 3

After reviewing my posts, I realized I never concluded Isaiah 43.
I felt the Lord speaking very personally to my heart when I first read this passage this summer.
He alone knew the fear and struggles I would face in the weeks ahead. He alone knew the great healing that was coming.

Here is how I penned it in my journal in August:

I created you, Christine. I formed you into who you are. I redeemed you from sin and shame. Christine, you are Mine! I love you and will not be okay with you straying from Me.

You have mistaken my love flowing through others as independent  of Me. You've mistaken the physical world as greater than what you can't see, feel, or hold. I am enough. If it wasn't so I would have told you. Some of what you feel is just being crucified with Christ. Be humble-life is about others. Be grateful-count your blessings and cherish the moments.

I have called thee to be a single mom. I have called thee to be a country mom of a handyman house. I have called thee to homeschool the boys. I have called thee....When you go through deep water, I will be with thee. I am the LORD thy God.

You are precious in My sight. You are honorable. I love thee. Fear not, I am with thee. Everyone that is called of mine name, I have created for My glory. I formed you. I made you. I am your potter. Be my witness. And my chosen servant that you may know and understand I am He.

There is no other god before me or after me. There is no other savior or hero coming to rescue you. I deliver-let Me work. I am your King. I will make a way. Remember not the former things. I am going to do a new thing. I will make a way in the wilderness. I will make rivers in the desert. Where you are thirsty the most, I will quench it.

You are one of my people. You are chosen, my chosen. You were formed for Me, to show forth My praise. I know you haven't been faithful, thankful, or joyful. I will blot out your sins and remember them no more. Put Me in remembrance of you mind. Meditate...think on Me. Because I am thinking of you.