Redeemed Refuse

I thought i was re-fuse

garbage for one to recycle

at best, and reject

at worst. But You re-purpose

me, shape my redemption

into refined reality.

 

Creating New Memories

Jonathan would have been 22 Thursday.

Jonathan Tree Birthday 22
Kids birthday decorations.

This has been one of the hardest years for my daughter in particular. The youngest, she has fewer memories with her brother. This is a sizable loss and she is feeling it deeply. So what do you do when memories soften, or you don’t have them at all?

Make new ones.

There is so much healing power in acknowledging the memories we do have and then creating new memories with our loved ones in mind.

  • Celebrate their Life: So we went to the dollar store, purchased streamers, graduation decorations and birthday signs to celebrate Jonathan.
  • Talk About Them: I asked Natalie some questions about her brother today:
    • What do you remember about how your brother looked? His sparkling blue eyes.
    • What is a favorite memory of Jonathan? When it was his birthday and his friends had a Nerf battle and I was the princess he protected.
    • What is one thing you wish you could do with Jonathan? Ride horses together.
  • Photo Album: She and I are looking through pictures to find pictures of her with her brother so that she can look back and see who they were together, but we are also looking forward with Jonathan. How can she love him, laugh with him, celebrate his life overlapping hers? We find ways to love others more deeply, discuss him, and keep stepping forward with his life making ours better. By no stretch is remembering on this level easy, but being moved with compassion for others struggling, because we understand Jonathan’s and our own despair, can profoundly change the world for the better.
Mother's Day Hike 2018
Our favorite trail at the cemetery!
  • Help Others: If you have lost a loved one to suicide here are some ideas we are currently looking at:
    • Helping homeless youth
    • Because my children are younger we are looking at serving meals
    • Making care bags
    • Share your survivor testimony with others
      • Each survivor story is unique
      • Others need hope and encouragement
      • Read to the elderly/or children
        • Life can be so lonely for a neighbor or person in a nursing home
      • Do a suicide prevention walk as a family
  • Seek Support
    • Hospice Community CentersMy children and I have benefited greatly from the support of the counselors at hospice
      • They helped me to stay connected with my children’s grief while grieving in my own unique way
      • Gave practical and fun ways to grieve with hope together

What types of new memory activities have helped your families to grieve with hope? Please comment below with ideas, support groups, personal experiences in your area.

Love Shaped Sorrow

Your suicide left my soul

deep within smothering grief,

stiffening clay against purpose.

 

But God worked his tears

into my sorrow, softening

bitterness with his love.

 

Forming from this cherished clay

a testimony of love, joy, and peace

for those tempted to despair.

 

 

When Words Don’t Come

Scripture:

Exodus 4:15 5“You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do...

Devotional:

Y’all might have noticed that I’ve been rather erratic in my posting. Moses, whom God is addressing in this scripture,  waited 40 years to set the Hebrews free. He is in the palace, a perfect position! But when he thinks his opportunity has finally arrived he gets the calling very wrong. He sets only one person free through murder . . . nope, not God’s plan. So Moses flees and then waits another 40 years to be ready to return to Egypt to set God’s people free. While I don’t think God is going to make me wait as long to continue writing he definitely has me in a holding pattern.

A twofold dynamic is at play. One, I have few words currently surfacing, and two, my family needs my full attention. Several health issues have arisen and are needing quite a lot of appointments. Every time I sit down to write the words don’t come. And that is okay.

We need to relax in silent periods. Writing is my God-given gift of expression, I am secure in his purpose. If he is not putting the words into my mouth, I am quite sure he has a good reason. I trust him with this new leg of the journey, and besides, there have been joyous developments that I will get to share with you very soon.

When we are operating in the will of God, mighty things happen, even if we can’t do the very thing he calls us to do. The reason? God is good and faithfully maturing us to accomplish His will. It can become easy for me to lean hard into my own understanding of his purpose, but when I wait patiently on God, amazing things happen!

Trust that he loves to give you good things. Are you feeling flustered because a clear calling seems to be thwarted at every turn?   Look back at the pattern he has established in your life. Is he growing you? Does he have a different road for you to take? Is he addressing a stumbling block?

Burning bushes often lead to our greatest conflicts, but when we wait patiently, we also witness spectacular displays of God’s sovereignty, provision, and salvation for many. I will joyously wait to lead His freedom march across the Red Sea.

 

Prayer:

Lord, you are preparing me for good things. I trust your direction. Address the stumbling blocks in my way. I see you tackling my fears, teaching me to trust you completely. Thank you for reminding me that your plan is good, even when detoured in a different direction.  Amen

Keep Hoping Because . . .

Frostbit by fear

I keep feeling

Dented by doubt

I keep driving

     Burnt by bitterness                                                                                  I keep believing

     Taunted by trials                                                                                      I keep trusting

Supported by scripture

I keep standing

because . . .

Condemned by cross

You kept carrying

Lifted by liars

You kept loving

Revealed by resurrection

You keep redeeming

 

No Regrets, Mother Mary

No Regrets, Mother Mary

https://turningthepageonsuicide.org/2016/04/27/no-regrets-mother-mary/
— Read on turningthepageonsuicide.org/2016/04/27/no-regrets-mother-mary/

In honor of a friend who has just lost her daughter and grandson. Life is so precious.

Gospel of Spring (Haiku)

Souls bubbling up,

gushing with undeserved love.

— the gospel of Spring.

 

 

 

Keeping Our Eyes Fixed (Faithful) to Christ

Scripture

Mark 5:28,34  For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” . . . And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Devotional

 

Yesterday could be summed up in one word.

Overwhelmed.

Many of you have been praying for my family, and I thank you deeply. It has been a very rough week. My pain and insomnia are so severe that I can’t function very well. By the time I made it for my son’s archery practice, my body and mind had enough. I melted down into tears and couldn’t stop them from coming.

Just a glance at my webpage tabs yesterday, would tell you what I spent my day doing. On the one side were scriptures and commentary on the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garments to be healed, and on the other multiple medical sites were open researching answers for my family’s myriad of illnesses. The woman who had sought medical care had spent 12 years without relief. She was an outcast and now broke with failed medical treatments. I think she might have shed some major tears. Then she hears about this great healer . . . he’s the answer, I just know it!

Do you and I know Jesus is the answer? And if we do, do we also remember that his plan is good for us?  Are you wrestling with a God who just will not fit into a nicely wrapped box? Do you believe that his purposes are greater than your circumstances?

The weight of my family’s health is so heavy that it feels as if my faith might break. I want an outward manifestation that God is good, but I realized last night that I don’t need to touch the hem of Christ’s garment, I have HIM in my heart. Do not take for granted that the greatest miracle in our lives is that when we believe, Jesus chooses to dwell with us. No more law to get to God, the answers are all right there, living with us! Amazing!

So as I close the medical tabs of anxious searching this morning, and determine to trust God’s perfect plan. Maybe he does an outward healing, but I can tell you this much for sure. Our family is changing from the inside out.

We cannot always help the moments of wrestling with flesh, the world, our enemy–we live in the crowded, smog filled, faith-challenging world. But, don’t spiral into fear, depression, and despair because God isn’t answering the way we think he should. A friend reminded me last night, what is God’s greater purpose in my circumstances?

The growth in my family spiritually has been noticeable. My book is in the hands of the publisher. And I certainly can speak bold encouragement into your lives.  None of my physical circumstances have changed this morning, but God is giving peace from the inside out.

Hit the mark of faith. We’ve stepped out of the boat, but we still have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Prayer:

Father, you are faithful. Help us to deeply root our trust into the rich soil of your promises. When our eyes fail us, help us to breathe in your testimony of miracles. You still do them today! Break the chains of depression that say God will never measure up to our expectations. Thank you for changing my family from the inside out! Amen

 

 

Spring in Februrary

Writing/ Photography Prompt: Spring in February

Psalm 68:9 You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched.

This has been a long depressing winter for many of us. There has been a lot of evil rearing its head, thinking that lives taken end the story. Let’s prove our enemy wrong. Find signs of spring in a photograph, poem, or both. Pingback to this link so that we may encourage and remember that our sorrows last for but a while.

Starting Place

i didn’t know this

was my starting place

until You ended my suffering.

 

This yanking war of soul and flesh

Soothed to peace by Your sacrifice.

 

I became a fledgling paragraph developing purpose

in the womb of just one word

 

hope

Dressing in Delight: Changing our Outlook on Life

Numbers 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 

Playing dress up was not on my agenda yesterday. I have been battling a cold that is moving in and picking out curtains. To say I was miserable yesterday is an understatement . . . I was even second guessing going out on the planned date with my husband.

But, grandparents arrived to watch the kids and I prepared to leave, such as I am. . . enter Natalie. “Can I pick out your dress?” Dress . . . I was doing well to get out of the house in jeans and a nicer shirt. But, sigh, who can resist a pretty little redhead with big brown eyes who just got to be her daddy’s princess at the Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it is.

 

Ready to Dance
Dancing the night away!

A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up. I laughed and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the wardrobe fairy. He was transformed into dress pants, my favorite of his blue shirts and a tie put it all together. We even took a picture, just as she and he did for their dance. All because a little girl expected elegance for our date.

There is something about putting on a different attitude in the circumstances we are in that can help change the course and pattern of our lives.  When we put on grace, forgiveness, or gratitude that can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and unforgiveness. It doesn’t just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts and pull them back up out of the pit. Sometimes we need someone to come in and say, ‘You aren’t going out dressed like that!’

Story Telling
Keep those smiles looking good.

 

Make a date this week and then dress, not based on feelings, but on the event planned for.

Some suggestions that perk me up:

  • A hike in the woods
  • Out with your spouse
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
  • A local band
  • Photography
  • Art class
  • Surprise me

I would love to hear how your date went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find your countenance improved?

Seeing Through the Pain: Message of Hope

Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 

Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she was at my window a year ago, her strange behavior the same. She is more interested in what is going on inside our house than anything outside. She sits, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she lands on the sill to get a closer look. Neither the barking dog, nor the kids frighten her away.

She is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me! I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and many layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I can forget He loves me, when the mess of the years problems seem insurmountable. Having her suddenly appear as I walked into the office took my breath away. God knew I needed to be reminded of hope. He knew that I was struggling in my exhaustion to even look for his many provisions for my family. So he made his promise clear through my little feathered example.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good, because all you see and feel is bad? Frantically scrambling to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be that little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind you that God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers!

 

Love,

Karisa