Tag Archives: grief

Blessed Lessons

22 Oct

As we journey through our lives, we will find ourselves either between trials or smack dab in the middle of one.  We can’t stop trials from happening, nor can we “snap out of it” when the very pain we feel is exactly what is meant to bring us to our knees, closer to Him.

Coming out from under darkness, from unraveling the lies, I can get very caught up in the why’s and the how’s and the what is the matter with me?  I wonder when I stopped listening to God, stopped hearing Him.  [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (psalm 111:10) the fear of man is the beginning of folly]-Jen Wilken

When we think in terms of “our” decisions, “our” consequences, “our” pain, “our” journey,  we fool ourselves thinking we could actually stop the tide from rising.  How did I let this happen?

A friend quoted this to me yesterday. She said “ If we knew in advance, God’s plan for our lives, we would pray to be exactly where we are at, right now”.

Would I really? I pondered that question and even dreamed about it. I know the answer to most certainly to be yes. I just don’t want to suffer, none of us want to suffer.

The enemy will lie, cheat and steal to gain his footing.  “The Lion is most handsome when he is hunting for food”-Rumi

He is the one that goes before me, behind me and nothing, nothing comes to us that didn’t go through His hands.  When peace is not mine, when the storm is brewing, He whispers “Come” (Matthew 14:23)

I am grateful for Him. For all He is and does, even when I don’t see it at the time.

The truth is: When I feel alone, He brings me someone who is alone too, to share the journey together. When my enemies lie about me, He brings me truth and reminds me of all that He is and who I am in Him. When I get lost in fears , He reminds me  He is the creator of all things.

Today, I am grateful for friends that bear with my crazy long enough for me to shut out the lies of satan and help me to hear my beloved Father’s voice again.

Today, I am grateful for this loving heart he put inside of me.  I am grateful for the truth:  This loving heart that without seeking wisdom, without discernment, was so easily misled. Grateful that  in the end, this is truly a gift from God. This heart He placed in me, was able to share the broken journey of a friend.  “Blessed to be a blessing”, we are meant to share our journey; Meant to carry the heavy bucket of trial together.  (Proverbs 11:25-31 and 2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Today I am grateful for a God that has this difficult journey all mapped out regardless of how much I get in the way, for loving me even in my wrecked completeness. Grateful that when I bring to Him my bad decisions, my unholy thoughts, my wrong thinking, my lack of faith,my dishonesty, my yuck, He loves me anyways. Always brushing me off and putting me right back on His pathway.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:2 KJV

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Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

Crazy Good

31 May

“Grief does not change you, it reveals you.”~ John Green

Grief is a funny thing. Okay, not funny, but odd. Okay, not odd, completely loony toons.

One minute you can feel so at peace, so strong and the next you can be sobbing, or worse, barely able to contain the anger you want to unleash on truly undeserving people. My patience is shot, my tongue is sore from biting it so much. My body is weary. My eyes are exhausted.

To say I want to run from all I am feeling is an understatement. My diaphragm is in spasm, my anxiety is at a high. It is physiological, emotional and spiritual, all rolled into one. In the end, regardless of the feeling, I end up crying, hopefully releasing all the toxins and negative effects from my tired body.

I do become frustrated with my erratic mood swings, I feel as if I should have a better grip on this or as if I am wishy-washy. I become disappointed with the setbacks when I find acceptance and a peaceful place. But that is just ridiculousness Satan tries to beat me up with.

This is why we need trusted friends to share this journey; Strong, loving sisters that we can speak truth with and that we can receive truth from. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us, you’re okay , you got this, you are still moving forward. This doesn’t eliminate the need for God, but rather God gives us those people to drown out the meltdown in our head. He knows when we are at our weakest. Those friendships are His gift to us.

The truth is, I am moving forward. In hindsight I take two steps forward and one step back.  I have discovered that at the bottom of each new melt down, I gain wisdom or insight into myself or His desire for me. In those moments I can feel like I am drowning and lost but from that pain, comes acceptance, understanding and wisdom as I jump ahead two steps. Those are precious moments of peace and even laughter again.

The next layer of healing then has to take place. We take what feels like a step back from what we just learned but in truth, we are applying what we just learned. Without even realizing it, we test it out, work it out, try it on and let it become a part of us.Even when we think we are flailing, it ministers to the pain as we go deeper; To the next step in understanding and wisdom.

In the heart wrenching, crying out, take this pain away, it’s too much… even in that moment, I know this is temporary, I know that this unbearable pain will be used for good, to bless me and as a blessing for someone else. Even when I just can’t take anymore, I can acknowledge my depth of faith in this, “I know You have this, I know Your plans for me are so good, but help me here, in this moment, Lord”. Sometimes I just say His name because there is no other option.

There is something God has planned from this time of trial. I know this with all that I am. It is all I hang on to in the worst moments. I have felt this coming for months. The purpose He has created me for is coming.  Even in the darkest moments, I have the light of hope and peace. I even know it is being drowned out by so many layers of untruths. I guess it is a sorting, a sifting. From there will come the new.  The hurts and untruths and unforgiveness and fears all have to be cleared away, one by one, to make room for what is to come.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

 

Dweller On The Threshold

29 May

As I watch and listen to the thunderstorm off in the distance, I am struck by the sheer peace I feel. It is the answered prayer we prayed for, my God-Given, God-Designed friend and I.

Peace was not what I felt earlier today. I was angry and the angrier I became, the more my heart broke and the harder I cried.  The unexpected end of my marriage followed by my daughter and grandson’s unexpected move out of state is a trial I tell myself deserves a bit of a good old fashioned meltdown.  I know other’s are suffering greater loss than I, and I feel so selfish in my pain. I do know however that pain, whether great or small,  is still covered in the same way.  Faith and hope in our Lord and Savior.

God shows off most to me in the friends He brings to my life.  My Bou as I call her (she calls me Blondie), prayed with me, talked with me, and spoke truth back into my soul.  Because He is a God of amazing abundance, three more friends checked in on me.  I see Him. I feel His provision and closeness.

The night is near pitch with only a sliver of a moon. The fish are jumping in the water next to me, the thunder rolls quietly after a beautiful lightning display, Van Morrison is singing to me quietly. I am just sitting here taking it all in.  Peace. Calm. He reminds me in no uncertain terms, that He is not just near, He dwells here.

This warfare wears on me; this world is broken, people will get sick, they hurt us, disappoint us and sometimes they leave us.  Those are the hard things that break us or make us stronger. The depth of my faith may be tested, but my faith stands strong. When we lean in, when we trust Him in it, we are humbled. We may not always calmly endure the journey through our valleys, but journeying through them all the way, with God beside us, allows us to grow stronger. We grow in our faith, wisdom, courage,and in the end, what is lost will not go without, because something truly is gained.

I am not through the valley yet, but the path is becoming clearer and I am starting to feel that hope begin to flicker again. God breathed daylight into me when he formed me and my light has grown dimmer, my hope weaker and my heart was heavy much of the time.

I know there is something coming, I feel it. I am being put to the fire to prepare me for whatever is to come. I know there is purpose to this time of refinement, of loss, pain and trial. There is a purpose and He plans to bless people with what is gained in this. I know this as much as I know the reflection of my own face.  This path may feel too hard at times, but he has given me great strength and I have grown so brave. This is the path He laid before me, and it is stick straight. I just can’t see ahead yet.

He beckons me to look inside my home from outside. I see what He wants me to see. There is restored peace in my home. Where there was dark, there is a warm glow. Where there was careful wariness, there is comfort. Where there was apprehension, there is calm.

This is a restoration of the peace that I haven’t rested in, in a very long time.

Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Deja Vu

13 May

If you have Facebook, you know there is a folder that reminds you of posts from years gone by.  Looking back at 3 years ago, I am watching my world unravel, to the beginning of spiritual warfare that I was not equipped for.

Prior to the spring of 2014,  my faith had matured and I had grown in so many ways.  I was surrounded by strong Godly women and I was doing alright; I was content. I was between trials.

Suddenly,  I found myself in the midst of change, a huge trial, everything was challenged. My daughter decided to move back to Minnesota and I was mourning her move.  My job was unstable and I was struggling terribly financially. I found myself suddenly lonely, for the first time in ages.  Moving into summer, things got worse and by July, I was worn out from the battle.

I honestly didn’t realize the depth of spiritual warfare I was dealing with at the time. It is only in looking back that I see the extent of the battle.

One night in particular I hit a new low.  As I cried out in sheer panic over finances, over my weaknesses, lack of faith, my temptations, a friend sent me a note in the middle of the night. She said I was on her heart that morning and she wanted me to read Isaiah 54. She emphasized Isaiah 54: 5. This is my response to her:

Last night, as I fell asleep. I cried out. I was deeply afflicted with sorrow and guilt and shame over how I am so double minded and feel so abandoned by God. I am surrounded with temptation and I don’t feel strong. I felt so distant from Him. So alone and abandoned, rejected, unwanted, I felt I had failed God in every way. I am weary of being alone and money and I felt like He was mad at me. That I must be such a disappointment to him. As I read Isaiah 54 my heart knew.. He wanted me to know He is there. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. 6 “For the Lord has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” Says your God. 7 “[c]For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. 8 “In an [d]outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” Says the Lord your Redeemer.

Then, I went the exact opposite direction and began dating my husband.

During that trial,  I didn’t share the depth of my fears and sorrows with my friends. I didn’t tell them all that I was going through. I skimmed the surface and hid the depths of my fear,my shaky faith and loneliness.

Today, I find myself in a similar place. Almost a ‘Groundhogs day’ experience!

I am navigating the grief and pain the end of my marriage brings, and now my daughter is once again preparing to move away from me. This is an excellent move for her and my grandson, but my heart is torn in two.  I am shredded.

But God. But God. He is more than enough.  His love letter to me in Isaiah 54 still stands true.  I know His words are true.  Now I need to walk in it, to trust it completely.

How does one do that? It is a persistent faith;Believing what you don’t see or feel.

You start by sharing the burdens in your heart. You share your faith questions, you humble yourself and admit you are weak in trust, you accept that you are weak and need Him terribly. You let people know your journey. You let them pray over you. You ask the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. Then, you seek Him. You seek Him constantly. You pour your heart out to Him at all times. You yell, you cry, you beg, you bargain, you read His word back to Him.

And….you still your words. You quiet your mind and breathe. He is in the quiet. He is in the everything. He is in your tears. The quiet is when He speaks to you.  I can’t tell you the comfort of that time. When You just sit with Him, no words, just stillness.

The rest of Isaiah 54 has such promise. He makes promises to us all the time. He also gave us the free will to choose.

I am putting all my trust in Him whom has never let me down. Even when I falter, even when I run the other direction, He never stops pursuing me, never stops loving me. His covenant is forever.

Amen!

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken

    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

 

 

Blessed Arms

7 May

It happens without warning.  You are doing something, or look up for a second from your task and the vision hits you.

Them….Him with her; It is almost a physical blow. You are thrown off kilter and it‘s as if your mind is betraying your fragile, broken heart. You can’t breathe.

Why does this thought come to me out of nowhere? Every time I think of them together,   a piece of me dies inside. I grieve from the depths of rejection, sorrow and abandonment.  Literally, it breaks me.

At a certain point, you have to let go, say goodbye… Grieve fully and let go. Only… he isn’t dead. He just became someone you didn’t know. In an instant.  In a moment, he changed your world without warning and without a discussion. You had no say. You were duped.

BUT… God. Amen.  God leans in and whispers in your ear,” I suffer this with you. You are my beloved and I suffer beside you. Your sorrow is felt by me as well. “

The Holy Spirit holds you a bit closer. God shows off a bit brighter, more brilliantly. Jesus shows up in unexpected ways, right when you need it. He is in a friends text, a friends voice, the friend that holds us and cries with us.

Jesus mourned. He suffered terribly from betrayal, from sorrow. He knows what we suffer. He cares deeply about our suffering. We are not alone. We are never alone. He understands.

Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and stay awake and keep watch with Me” Matthew 26:38

We don’t hold people, we don’t control them.  What they do with their free will is not really within our grasp to predict or direct.

What we do have, is a Perfect Savior, He is in our hearts.  In this moment, even in this devastation,  I feel so held, so loved.  I have been alone in my life, but the truth I have walked for 7 years, is the truth that holds me so tightly now.

I am not alone.

He is with me in this sorrow. He grieves with me. He cries with me. He hold my tears in a jar.  He won’t change this. Not now. Not in this time. This may not be what I chose, but He holds it all in His hands. I just need to trust that.

And I do. And I cry. And I grieve. And I accept.

Thy will be done. Amen.

 “My eye grows dim with sorrow. O LORD, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].”

‭‭PSALM‬ ‭88:9‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Lost At Sea

2 May

In this life of blessings, there will also be loss.

It is in these desperate, painful longings that you reach for Him. It is unbearable to be alone.This is when our beautiful God shows himself fully and shows off mightily.

We are swiftly reminded that we are not lost, adrift at sea. He is our anchor, our eagle, our Lion of Judah; Our hope, our peace, our light, our rest.

Oh my, but, there is a true beauty within the raw agony of grief.

When you seek God, from such a humble, wounded place, His presence is just that much fuller. The Holy Spirit holds you tighter and is more present than any other time.

How grateful is this one broken heart, for a Savior that is so loving, so responsive, so perfect?

Cry out to the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf. You don’t need to have words. He knows. Cry out to God to hold you tightly while you pour your heart out in tears. Cry out to Jesus, our rescuer for the redeeming hope he gives.  Write His words on your heart: “Thy will be done.”

I feel more beautiful in this raw state. Not to the world but to my Heavenly Father. It is such purity and truth.

Oh what an amazing life this is. Even the sorrow is so rich with life, peace and hope. Grace pours from Him, covering me, and then outward from the depths of my soul, bringing healing.

He is doing a good work within my soul and it is well. Trusting in Him, knowing, this too, came to me, sifted through His hands. It is meant for my journey. It is meant to bring Him glory.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Matthew 5:3-5 MSG