Tag Archives: mourning

Small sacrifices

30 May

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family” Matthew 5: 8-9 MSG

Today I had the honor of praying with a mother that lost her daughter. Her not quite woman, no longer child, beloved daughter. Her heart is heavy with grief, a grief I do not know and pray I never do. What I saw in her eyes was something haunted and at the same time, peaceful. Her faith is strong and she knows her child is now with Jesus.

I was incredibly moved by her, but what I found so incredible in her words and heart, was love. She humbly apologized for tearing up, stating she knows that other’s have it worse. She expressed such a gratitude for the time she had with her child, shared a joyful hope of watching her other child grow, she feels blessed to participate in his journey. She was gracious and humbled by the outpouring of friendship she has received from neighbors and family. This woman is strong in Jesus.
Her strength of faith, her tenderness and her sorrow all touched me deeply. Would I be so strong in faith? I would like to think I would. I have had my own grief and found the joy in that, but that took time and my grief was divorce, not the death of my child.

When I see people being so bogged down in their own anger and bitterness, the contrast to this beautiful faith-filled woman is stark. I am not speaking of those that are under fire, or those that struggle with mental illness or chemical imbalances. I am talking about those that are rude or unkind for no apparent reason, those that are so jealous of what other’s have they don’t see their own overflowing blessings. Those that speak out against faith,in bitterness for being slighted, in anger for the life they don’t have, for those that find the negative in every situation.

When you look at the eyes of anger, you are inclined to turn away. This world will tell you to not take it personal, don’t let them get away with it. Christ said to love the least of these. I believe the woman that lost her child but loves the Lord has far more than the one that is filled with anger. We are instructed to be drawn with compassion to love our enemy. We can do this safely from afar or minister directly to the one that is so angry. God didn’t create us to be doormats, through Christ He made us strong and victorious.

The next time someone is rude, rejecting of you, hurtful towards you, pray for them. Instantly. Pray for a compassionate heart. We ask for prayers for those that are reaching out to God already. They are in His hands. Safe and sound. Pray for those that don’t know Him. Pray for those that do and can’t begin to trust Him. To be in relationship with Him.

My heart is so full of compassion for those that don’t know Grace, Mercy, Hope, Forgiveness, Peace… This world is only the beginning. My friend is at peace because she knows one day, she will hug her daughter again. We will all pass from this world. We won’t have the opportunity to do this over. Our actions and our words will stand. Our hearts will be examined, not for how good we were but did we know and share Jesus. Were we transparent in our sin, were we striving to love better, to share the insurmountable, unexplainable Joy of Faith? Not for those we condemned or those we avoided because they were mean to us. Not because we were moved by a woman’s deep sorrow at the loss of her child.

Small sacrifices are as simple as swallowing your pride, loving first and mostly, in spite of.

Love Your Enemies

“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5: 38-48 MSG

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New Beginnings

20 Mar

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:4-9 NIV

It’s funny what we gain from being near to our loved ones physically, and how deeply separation affects us. This is not weakness in trial nor absence of faith. Our heart’s still feel love and mourn loss, because that is how we are designed.

My daughter is moving and taking my heart with her. This move towards the next phase in her life, the next page as a mother, is so painful, yet I know it is right. I am proud of her desire to challenge herself, to not settle, to achieve goals and do what is best for my favorite person in the world. Her move will bring him near to so much family and great male role models. Minnesota is a wholesome, fresh, healthy place to raise a boy such as my grandson. He will thrive there, in the place I love, but for me, I know, with all certainty, it is not God’s plan for me. So, I obediently stay where God has me, and trust His plan for my life.

Transition is so difficult, in a heart-wrenching, rip you to shreds, kind of way. Standing firmly in faith does not mean that we are not susceptible to grief, because honestly, my faith is so strong because of and through, my grief. This is trust at it’s greatest.

So I say goodbye for now and my heart breaks in two, feeling a bit alone here in Florida…and I cry out to Jesus, to my Father, to the Holy Spirit, to comfort me, to soothe my sorrow, and He is there. He comes swiftly and in ways that only He can. He brings me words, He brings me songs, He brings me His Peace,His Hope, His Joy, and I feel content. He is enough to satisfy me fully. He brings me hope even in the darkness. I can’t wait to see where His plan takes me, even through the tears.

This is my walk with Christ, this knowing. Knowing, even as I yearn to stay near to my daughter, nearer still, to my grandson, though it hurts, He has this. This isn’t me, going out on a limb and hoping I am right, this isn’t me believing what I am told, this isn’t martyrdom. This is complete knowing. Knowing my Lord and knowing this is the plan. Knowing the plan will unfold in His time, and trusting in Him, completely.

A friend told me it is my time; To walk alone, and to prepare my life for the next step in the journey.

They are beginning their new season. So am I.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Peter 1:6 (CEV)
On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while.

James 1:12 (VOICE)
Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life. At the right time, he’ll know God’s sweet approval and will be crowned with life. As God has promised, the crown awaits all who love Him.

Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

She Walked in Faith

16 Feb

I lost my beautiful friend this week. Though I am mourning her loss, I rejoice that her time here is done. She is free from the bondage’s of this world and she is with Jesus.

I feel so blessed that for my comfort and grief, I have my faith, God’s promises, and beautiful friendships to keep my heart set straight.

There is promise in the words of our Father, Hope in our Savior and Peace in the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:18(NIV)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

John 16:22 (NIV)
22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

I want to share some inspiring thoughts on my friend: She touched lives, she loved unconditionally and she walked her talk. We are all broken, but we are all given amazing gifts, as well. Jill’s gifts were Encourager, Mercy and Giver and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit were evident in her.

Jill was so beautiful in spirit, she shone with love; His Great Love. Jill was incredibly kind, humble and she was a stinker. Jill made me laugh, and I made her laugh,what a precious laugh and wicked sense of humor she had, too. Most of all, she loved the Lord with all her heart and wanted everyone around her to feel loved. Jill was not perfect, (to me, she was) but she had flaws like the rest of us. (There is no one without fault, you will always fall short). You will never achieve wholeness until you arrive in Heaven, then you will be made whole.

My thoughts have been around who we are called to be, who we are to one another, what our responsibility to one another is and walking our faith. This world is so unkind, so unforgiving sometimes. We will be disappointed many times, by many people (there is scripture for that, as well). We are to forgive. We cannot walk this world with hate in our hearts. Hate will destroy our peace and our relationships, especially with Christ. True, we are saved from our sins by Grace, we do not pay for our sins by God’s Great Mercy, yet we are called to walk within that belief, as well. We can’t perfect it, we can never be good enough to earn our way into heaven, we can never be flawless, but we know our Savior, we know who we are called to be and we are directed to walk in that faith.

Ephesians 5:15 (AMP)
15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

This walk means you stumble,fall,and start back on your knees tomorrow. This walk means you focus on His teachings and allow Him to soften you, to take your sin from you, one by one. This walk means you allow yourself to be convicted, to learn, to grow. You let go of shame, judgement and self righteousness. You learn to walk like Jesus; obedient and with Love. You allow yourself to be transformed, little by little. You become more and more whole, more centered. You heal and then you become the light you are meant to be. You find your gifts and you share them with the world.

“As a believer, your question is no longer what do I want to do, but rather What do YOU want me to do, [God]?” (Pastor Mark Ragsdale)

Jesus loved; Jesus loved everyone. Imitation is the sincerest form of gratitude and humble appreciation for our salvation.

Jill loved; Jill loved everyone.