For Those Who Are Grieving…

482 Hidden sunlight

My heart has been heavy in recent months as I have witnessed increasing division in our country. And this morning, as I prayed and sought the Lord, my heart broke all over again for our country. A song has been on my mind (song attached at the end), and as I read this passage it came to me again,

“Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.”

Psalm 85:4-13

Oh Lord, only you can heal the hurts within us, and within our country. Only in recognition of how much we need you- our healer, our sustainer, our vine- the one to whom we must be connected. You are necessary for life. In you we find the only abiding peace that this life offers. We long for your peace. We long for your presence. We long for your glory to dwell in our land. Redeem and restore us Lord. Thank you Lord for the reminder this morning, that the answer isn’t in looking at others and what they “should” be doing, but availing myself to the work that needs to be done in me. May your glory and righteousness dwell in our land, and Lord, may we be faithful to your very personal call to each of us, and be faithful in the work you have called us to do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

From Weeping…

Sadness
I have been crying.  Sobs that shake my body, wails, moans and groans.  Have you ever cried so hard it hurt?  I have been sore, feeling like my whole body has fought a battle.

Grief and sadness fell like a veil around me, everything was altered looking through its lense.  My heart was heavy.

During one of these intense times of crying, I was sitting in my car.  I felt that still, small voice just say simply- “I am here.”

It brought so much comfort.  Not just knowing that God is present with me, but that He understands.  He knows me- He sees me- all of me- and still loves me.  Even in my lowest and most vile moments.

I want to talk to someone- to explain to them how I feel- but I don’t know that I really could.  Some of it is beyond words- just this season- what God has laid on my heart- and my own personal struggles.

My heart is breaking for the innocent- but many of the tears I have cried are for the guilty and lost- those who can’t see how much they need Jesus.  Those who have bought the lies of this world- and are suffering.

I am a passionate person.  I cry easily-  I laugh easily-  I am touched by little, seemingly insignificant things.  A look from my child, a verse of a song, a note from a friend, a clever joke from my husband- and I can be in the depths of despair at the beginning of the day and rejoicing and dancing in jubilation at the end.

Sometimes I lament for my lack of consistency- the way my moods wax and wane- how I feel some burdens for people so deeply it feels like my heart is splitting open.

God has made us all differently- I like to hope that as there are weaknesses and problems that come with being so tender and passionate- there are also ways that God can use it for His glory.

And that no matter where we are- on the mountain top- in the valley-or anywhere in between- we can know that God is there with us always.

The following are some verses from Ecclesiastes that have brought comfort to me this week.  I encourage you to take the time to read the whole book and to let God speak to you.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Ecclesiastes 12:9-14  The Conclusion of the Matter

9 Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. 10The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

 11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

   Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

 13 Now all has been heard;
   here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
   for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
   including every hidden thing,
   whether it is good or evil.

There is nothing new under the sun- God, our creator, our Savior- He is the answer to all that we seek- our place of rest and peace.

morning walk series

Coming Home

Heaven

What a blessing to spend the past few days surrounded by family.  As the day approached to travel for my Grandmother’s funeral, I felt a sense of apprehension.  It had been so long since I had been with my family, would it be the same?  Would time make for awkward interactions and disjointed conversations?

I felt the doubts starting to weigh on me a little, and the guilt that I didn’t try harder to be with them, to find time to travel- we are all busy with our children, jobs, and commitments in our home states.

Yet, as I met each one of my family members- I felt the time melt away to insignificance as we came together to celebrate the life of a woman of God we all knew- and were blessed to have shared this life with her.

We laughed, we cried, we told stories, we remembered.  I love the remembering- treasuring the times of the past- we are a forgetful people.  We need to remember.

We need to remember all that God has done.  How many times He has answered prayers.  His Faithfulness, His Love.  How easily we forget and can be filled with doubt.

Remembering can also heal us- or simply remind us that God has healed us so many times before.  He has shared our sorrow, held us in our grief, and given us the courage to embrace life once again- to not run away from pain or seek escape.

Today sorrow and grief are pressing me- I feel the weight in my chest, making it hard to breathe.  Emotions are just below the surface, churning, threatening to spill over at any moment.

But I am not running from the pain or sadness.  I feel the depth of loss, what I will miss, letting memories wash over me.  I know that all this will pass- and what will remain is a confident hope and peace.  My Grandmother suffers no longer, she is at peace with her Savior.  I will see her again.

Someday there will be another homecoming.  A friend of the family sang this song at Grandma’s Funeral- it is a favorite of mine- here are the words.

Finally Home

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea,
Unknown waves before you roll;
At the end of doubt and peril is eternity,
Though fear and conflict seize your soul.

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!

When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!

But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!