Tag Archives: loss

Light Up the Room

15 Feb

By Beckie Halaska

People have often spoke of my light, post divorce 2010. There is a very real reason for this.

The light that people comment on isn’t because I am special in some way. I am not. I am loved by but no more special to God than the very least, the very worst of his creation.  I like to remind myself of this often or I get a bit too me focused, too approval needing. God finds us all special;  The homeless man, the man that murdered someone, the drug addict, the prostitute, the liar, the betrayer, the bully, the wealthy, the “saintly”, and even the successful, when they are humble and stewards of Him. When they use their blessings to shine the light back to Him.  He is the light. Not us. We are simply just the reflection of the light, and let’s face it, we are not always shiny! I’m not!

There is this perception out there, among both Christians, Jews and non-believers that when we say we are Christians, we become instantly like God, that we now should measure the rest of the world by how they uphold every law of God.
First of all, we aren’t capable, none of us, of that kind of perfection. We have sin in us, all of us do. The truth is, all sin is equal in the eyes of God. (Matthew 5-7).  The absolute truth of salvation is this, we have three choices: Believe in nothing, believe we have to live by the law and be perfect in it, (be a good person, that’s enough…are you able to be that good all the time?) or we can accept our need for an intercessor because living by law makes us fail every single day. Living by the law makes us finger pointers or with a sense of failure in light of those that live better than we do. Comparison is lethal!  There is also the believer, the hopeful believer that there is more to this story of God, and we believe, deeply or sort of, but it really isn’t a defining part of our lives. We may attend church sporadically, or maybe just the major ones (just in case) we may feel guilty on those occasions, because what if it actually matters? (this was me my whole life, fear and guilt but no real foundation or relationship to that weird place). Or we can be the rejector’s because God wasn’t the genie we wanted Him to be. We wanted to not have to suffer,  even though He did for us. He never said it would be easy, He just said you will never be alone in it.

My story, which I share openly, was that I found God at the bottom of me. I was suicidal, going through empty nesting and divorce. I was tired of living this hard, hard life and not finding any absolution, more than that, not finding love and acceptance. Depleted from striving for all that I felt, in the end, I had failed at, mostly love. I had no sense of belonging to this world. When you have decided that people or success are your mirror of who you are, how you are, there is not a good enough human able to fill that void!  It was all so heavy within my spirit, too heavy. The day I planned my suicide was the day God took me out of the wilderness and set my feet into His Glory instead.
Instead of taking my life that night, which was perfectly planned, I broke. I broke and cried from the depth of my soul. It was a cleansing with Him. He replaced the betrayals, the abuse, the hopelessness, the guilt, the shame, the fear, the empty with His light of hope; Hope beyond all Hope. I found acceptance and freedom from a life of lies and betrayals, hurts and failure.

There was, in that waking up the next day, a joy and a hope for sure, but more than that, His light was in my face. Like Moses. My life didn’t suddenly become so wonderful. Not even close. I have suffered incredibly in the 10 years since I found a hand to grasp, a hope to hang on to and a peace that absolutely sits in me, even in the worst of times. When my son was lost in his addiction, I had peace. When I married a conman and learned a thousand lessons, I had hope. When I lost loved ones, I had a joy that no one can explain, because they went home to be with the Lord.  Let’s get this right, right now. Not in any, not one, of my trials did I behave perfectly, saintly, without sin nor was I not humbled, convicted, in need of laying at the foot of the cross. But I was able to do that, go to Him, fully exposed, no lies between us, no pride,  knowing I was welcomed and set free from any bondage from those choices, though they cost me.  I was free and still accepted by my God, because of the blood of Jesus. Every. Single. Time. That my friend is what being a Christian is about. Surrender and Hope. Learning and growing. Seeking and finding.

This light that shines so brightly on my face is because I have been in the presence of God Himself. Because He dwells within me.  His word lights up my face. Worshipping Him lights up my face. Prayer lights up my face. Because my heart is set on Him and not me. That is where the light is found. Him. Not me. Not because of me. But because of Him. Just Him.

 

Exodus 34:29-30,34-34
The Radiant Face of Moses
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 34 But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Proverbs 27:19
As in water face reflects face,[like a mirror] So the heart of man reflects man.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

John 8:12
Jesus, the Light of the World
12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Psalm 119:105
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

John 1:5
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

1 John 1:5-9
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Luke 11:34-35  (AMP)
34 The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is clear [spiritually perceptive, focused on God], your whole body also is full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But when it is bad [spiritually blind], your body also is full of darkness [devoid of God’s word]35 Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness.

Revelation 21:23
23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Psalm 119:130
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

 

Precious Time

1 Oct

I broke a mug today.  Not a big deal on most days, but this morning, my broken mug became my catalyst for a good cry.

This is a daughter’s hospice story. This is end of life. Finding joy and grief so intertwined. This is love.

As my mother nears her end of life, I am still learning from her. She is still the teacher. Her peace is calming, reassuring. Her strength still shows, though her body is so frail, the strength of this woman’s soul is very present. Her faith rock solid.

Tears fall, but there is also a smile in my heart.  Grief is like that. My siblings and I are all gifted this precious time with her. Each of us spending our one on one time with our beautiful mom; To care for her, sit with her, talk with her as months turn to weeks and weeks to days.

My mom has done the unimaginable in this life. I think I am only really seeing ALL she has done in her lifetime because I can’t take her for granted any longer. I am so blessed to have this time with her, to have the gift of complete awareness of my mother, who she is.

Born with a heart defect, I think there was a part of us that always worried we would lose our mom. I also think ,because she always seemed to just take stuff in stride and bounce back, we grew to believe she would beat everything that came her way.  I think it made it hard for us to see our mom aging even.

As kids, the thought of losing our mom wasn’t even remotely an option for us being that our dad was not able to care for us with early onset Alzheimer’s. My mom didn’t have options, she still had little ones to raise. My mom always just did what needed to be done. She even crossed a picket line to feed her babies and keep a roof over their heads. She worked 4 jobs. We as a family learned what teamwork was and what hard work and tenacity can do. We also learned to enjoy life. We learned to value one another. What I find so remarkable is that she actually went back to school and got her Master’s plus 40. She is so amazing!

Through all of this trial and difficulty, she remained elegant and kind: Proud and strong. She beat breast cancer, she had oblation for her heart defect, collapsed vertebrae and ocular melanoma (her metastasis is from this, 16 years later, crazy!)  She never stopped, never stopped pushing through. I think there is a part of us that keeps think she will push through this too…

But she won’t.  Our beautiful mama, our energizer bunny is tired and even though it’s hard, it is well with my soul.

This is the gift of just being, of allowing and accepting my mother’s end of life instead of fighting it. Being strong doesn’t only mean choosing medical interventions, robbing one of quality.  This time of embracing my mother’s ending has been a gift. A beautiful gift of valuing and enriching this incredibly important relationship.  I could not be more inspired to do what I do every single day.

God is getting a pretty amazing angel soon, but not yet.  Today we still get the gift of more time.  I dry my tears, and I smile because today I get to do, be, affect, love, laugh, cry, feel. Today, I still get to call my mom and say, “Hi mama, I love you”.

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.”

-Dame Cicely Saunders

Still Someone

19 Jan

Beloved wife, soon to be ex; woman without her spouse, hear me. You were tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. There are so many intense emotions you feel, but when the waves are really rough, there is also a very steady truth underneath the dark, underneath the pain. There is a foundation of truth and faith so tangible that I beseech you to sink your whole grip into. Grab hold and hang on for dear life.

Our God hates divorce for so many reasons.
His plan for marriage was for two to become one; Inseparable. But now you are only one, severed and left to bleed. It is a ripping apart, a death for you. You have grieved and mourned it deeply.
He created marriage for us to help one another. You fought so hard for so many years, I know. He created marriage to help us walk through our lives with a helpmate. To prepare us for the day we meet our bridegroom. This is the piece missing in our churches. This is the piece society leaves out.

It will take a minute to let the aloneness become a comfort. It will feel like hell for a long time.  But the day will come when you have peace again…Maybe, for the very first time.

I know how you cry at night, every night. I know you have blamed yourself; I know you have blamed it on the other. I know you have tried to stop loving the one that no longer loves you. It is a dark and painful hell that none of us want to walk. When we divorce, we all have to go through each step of grieving the death of our other forever half. It is a death for us as difficult and tangible as the death of a loved one. But no one sees it like that. You are suffering and smiling as if you are stronger than you feel.

Trust God with every bit of hurt, every lie told about you, every friend lost during the divorce.  Trust Him when your spouse moves on quickly. It is commonplace, the one that jumps, replaces quickly, if not before. The one that is far from God has a hole they need to fill desperately and they do so, quickly.

You, the one caught off guard, is just worried about surviving. But look at you! You, on the other hand, have braved every awful, heart-wrenching night.  You learned new things, you became empowered in ways you never thought you could. You allowed God, out of need, to become your partner and provider. Look at what He did! With you, for you and through you. You had moments of panic and mistakes but you learned so quickly and altered your course back to His plan for you. You trusted Him in the dead of night to be your husband. You barely have enough to eat most days, it’s been so unfair, yet, you played so fair. Always fair.Now God will set things right.

You have lost people in this process. Let them go.  Not everyone is meant to be here when you don’t just survive your divorce, you soar!  Rejection is part of divorce. You have people that will never leave you, never give up on you, never pick a side. Never hurt you by not seeing how deeply your wound goes. You made new friends, we do that. God brings us healer friends, the ones that understand exactly what your world looks like and what your words mean, even if you didn’t know how to say them.  Friends that will always keep you on your path and point you back to Him.

And God.  He was there all along. You began to talk with Him more and more. You exposed your complete heart to Him. He knew it anyways. He sat there beside you, whether you reached for Him or not. He is always ready to refresh you, he was already to catching your tears, each one, in a jar He keeps forever. Your tears are so important to Him.  Even as other’s listened in on your prayers, your conversations with God, with friends, you just let God have that. You have given justice back over to God. This is His justice now.

You are stronger than you know my friend. Stay true to Godly truth. Stay true to God’s word. That is where your real healing comes from. People will believe all kinds of lies. You just stay with your moral compass, Our Lord. People will take sides. Let them. That is their cross to bear and isn’t about you. Just keep your eyes on biblical truth and God’s omnipotent, sovereign, all knowing, all seeing, ways, hope and blessings. He will never reject you, never take sides, never hurt you.

That is a beautiful, amazing place to be; With Him. Your world will only become more and more beautiful. Let Him show off for you. Let Him heal you. Let Him restore what the Locust has tried to destroy.

A family is broken now, yes. But God uses broken people, and He binds up wounds, making you better than ever. He will make beauty from these ashes. He always does.

Trust in Him. Do not dwell on the things of this world. See His Love in all things. Trust with unshakable trust. Let these waves wash over you and keep your eyes on Him and He will restore your peace, you will be loved beyond measure, you will want for nothing.

Amen.Amen. Amen.

He Holds Our Hand

21 May

I begin each day in God’s word. I need and protect that time. It is essential to my well being.

This year, I’ve been so blessed to do a one year study with a friend. I look so forward to hearing her insight into the scriptures we read together daily. Mostly, it is what God says to me through his word that simply brings such hunger for more of Him more of His word.

From my quiet time, I learn something new.  I share these revelations with people that I’m praying for, because they are so perfect. Today was no exception. What He showed me, wasn’t just for me. It is to be shared. Always.

This Psalm,written by Asaph, fills me with such hope – he shows hope from faith even in our darkest moments -God never lets go of our hand! How reassuring and needed is that!

“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭73:21-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life can be really hard some times.  In this world, we are very hard on one another as well. We will have terrible times, we will have depressed times and deep sorrow. We will fall ill, or be hurt by people we care about. We will be afraid. We will have times of loneliness.

What The Psalms point to over and over is the never ending, persevering love of God for us.  It doesn’t mean we have to ignore our circumstances nor our emotion in those times. David acknowledges every feeling he has when he is on the run, (Christ did as well in the garden). The key is this, he also chooses to praise God in the midst of his hardship; despite his circumstance.

It is a free will, purposeful choice to protect himself from more lies of Satan by reminding himself of God’s promises and his past protections. Humbling himself by reminding himself through worship of the sovereign goodness of God.

Paul reminds us to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ? 2 Corinthians 10:5.  This is so important to remember that we choose what we pour into us. Even more important is who we choose to be around because they will pour into us, when we just can’t.

This is so important. This is the importance of spending time daily with Him. This is the importance of being transparent with our circle. To not act like you have it all together when you feel like everything is crashing inside.

In those times, when we can’t do for ourselves, or when the world is harsh, we can be reminded to to grab hold of His word- to speak praises to Him- along side of our need, grabbing hold when we are lost in our emotions- and reminding ourselves that He is still good. He is still the same God of David, the same God of our blessings. He still as present to us today, as he was to David.

Amen.

Never Alone

13 Dec

Spending the evening with a community of givers, showering 24 foster boys with love and gifts for Christmas, filled my heart to overflowing.

The night turned my thoughts to the evident, loving hand of God. These boys have struggled and some have gone through things none of us can imagine, some of us can.  If you could have been in that room full of the body that cares, witnessing the gifts they gave the boys, in presents and presence; You would feel humbled and moved, cup overflowing too.

Some of these boys stand out in a great way, they have a strength, a light about them. Some are just doing the very best they can, finding their way.
I have been reflecting on the people I am surrounded with, each has suffered deep hurts or loss. Some from rejection and abandonment, some the loss of someone they loved way before they were ready to say goodbye. God has surrounded me with these beautiful, raw souls. They have taught me so much. He opened my eyes, when I stopped seeing my own pain and started seeing theirs.

What stands out to me is that this world ebbs and flows with goodness and evil, but the God of the bible, never, ever changes. His promises stay the same. His Love stays the same.

When He sent the sweetest Christ child to be born for us, our lives were transformed forever. We can just get too lost in this messed up, broken world when we think it’s supposed to be so easy. When we try to do this alone.

Truth is; When we accept our Savior, we are never alone again. When that sweet baby grew,  taught us, and finally died on the cross for us; He promised to leave us with the Holy Spirit.  He didn’t abandon us. This is the gift that allows us to endure all things. This helper, this guide, this friend that dwells within us, never leaves us. Holds us, whispers Peace into our crazy lives.

There are no completely rejected people on this earth. When Christ died for us, we became co-heirs.  We are all welcomed, we are all wanted, we are pursued relentlessly! He longs to have a relationship with each of us. Being a Christian is about who He is, it isn’t about who we are. It isn’t about what we do, but rather what He does in us.

Like Job, our testing of faith will never be easy, our journey will never be without trial, hurt and sorrow. Nothing in that bible says it will, but our faith will grow stronger within us when we stay close to Him.

Most know Psalm 23. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.
We have to walk through the valley to get to the other side. We can’t go around it, we can’t avoid it. We must go through that valley but it also says “the shadow”. Shadowing only happens when there is light present. He is that bright and shining light at all times, proof again that we never walk alone.

May you find your peace, your hope, your joy in Him. He is all we need. He refreshes us, builds us up, strengthens us, and gives us hope for the future. Amen.

This is from my devotional today. It says it way better than I can. Be blessed.

 

Worse than not having anyone close is to be rejected by the one person you thought you could count on. 

 

When memories of rejection dominate our thoughts, it’s because we are putting human relationships in first place. The way out of that gloom is to let God take his throne back in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to be rejected and burned by other people so that his steadfast love will shine all the brighter. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).

 

When you read the stories of the books of Joshua and Judges, you get the sense that God will do absolutely anything–even breaking the very laws of the universe he created–to make the lives of his people better. If God’s faithful love and promises are the first thing we trust in and depend on, everything else will fall into place in its time. When you know that you can absolutely depend on the Lord’s affection for you, you can face anything. “In the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

– time of grace

 

Grief Support

30 Oct

“Please listen to my heart’s cry for I am low and in desperate need of you!” Psalm 142:6a

I met with a grief counselor today. I finally realized I needed to sort some things out. I don’t know why I still get legalistic and hard on myself. I have this bar of excellence I hold myself to and when I don’t reach it, I feel like I have failed completely. He helped me see that my faith and grief were walking together, not against one another.

There is counseling, and there is faith, and then there is grief counseling. I found it to be such release. I am suffering. I am processing and also sure of the simple fact that this will pass but right now, it is pretty rough

Grief takes a toll on us. We can get so lost within the trauma of it all.  I feel this weight of expectation on me, to be so strong and joyful in trial… Isn’t that what James 1 says? People are watching us as Christian’s, right? To see if it’s all for real or not.

I thought that was the needed response, to be okay, frankly I am not;  To be strong and assured, I am not. People needed to see me to be strong in my faith walk, to remain upbeat. This is the truth, this is transparency; Though my faith remains solid and my hope is still with Him and I trust Him fully with this journey, this has just been a bit too much for me to keep smiling through. The cards came tumbling down this weekend.

I need my God, my savior so much. My most necessary grief support! This, this, is the precious, precious promise part. He hears me, he draws nearer to me.

When I finally dropped the weight from my shoulders, when it all came toppling down yesterday, He caught me. He said ‘rest’.  “He restores my soul” Psalm 23:3a.  And then He provided the unplanned opportunity to sit with a grief counselor. My blessing.

There is a release and a relief when we can finally set it all down and say, it’s too much for me. To tell another person that it is too much. For them to say “wow, that is just too much” , validating your turmoil. Reassuring you that you aren’t weak, you aren’t failing, you aren’t just complaining.

There is such powerful reason I share my journey including the reality of suffering. We need to know we aren’t alone here, that God is here and other people journey through trials too. He brought us people to share that burden with.

The truth is that we all suffer and we suffer whether we share the burden or keep it hidden. But… when we hide our pain away from others, it begins to seep out. Maybe it’s physical illness, depression or maybe it’s anger or bitterness, or we become less tolerant, less loving. Satan loves to see us isolate our pain so he can bring us lower. He wants nothing more than to separate us from other people, fellowship, and our relationship with God.

He heard my cry and rescued me. He brought me support.  I am God’s girl, the “apple of His eye”. He promised me in Isaiah 54 and Philippian 1:6.  Even when my heart is weary, He will never, ever stop loving me or rescuing me.

Humility is really difficult but so necessary for clarity , true peace and true relationship with Him.  One thing I know for certain, life is really painful at times.  The life in our head, never really is the life we live. It is a series of bumps and sorrows, but with God as our shelter, there is a hope for a future that is secured.

 

From Tenth Avenue North’s “I Have This Hope”

“As I walk this great unknown

Questions come and questions go

Was there purpose for the pain?

Did I cry these tears in vain.

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and you won’t let go. “

 

Amen. Thank you, Father.

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