Posts Categorized: knowing god

Grandma’s Perseverance Lessons

Psalm 105:8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations . . .

My grandmother on my father’s side laughed like a teenage girl. I loved to hear her giggle. One summer I got to spend several weeks with her and heard stories that she never shared with me before. Behind that giggle was a whole lot of suffering. It was impressed upon me that she had a resilience, that at sixteen I did not have, but longed for.

Grandma’s father died when she was a little girl and when her mother remarried her step-father wasn’t so interested in the baggage of a daughter. So my grandmother was passed from relative to relative until her siblings started arriving and then she was brought back home to be a babysitter. She did not hold a grudge! When she was older three of her sisters died because they got caught in a whirlpool and drowned. My grandmother, who could not swim, stood on the shore and watched the whole devastating moment. She lived through the great depression, wars, and a husband who was a very harsh and unforgiving man. As a grandfather he had softened and I only caught glimpses of his stubbornness. She loved him with every fiber of her being and I got to witness that love. She lost a grandson, whom lived with her for a while when his own parents discarded him, and then suffered, like me, the loss of him through suicide.

Yet, despite all of these experiences, she laughed and celebrated life to the fullest. She shared her faith with me at a little white church in the country. She played cards with me and taught me how to make butter milk toast when she was sick. I loved her tea, her stories and everything about this five foot nothing, curly red haired, now turned grey with wisdom grandmother.

I was always struck by her quiet perseverance. As I persevere through my own loss and tragedies, I too learn to laugh, celebrate and live life to the fullest, what ever circumstances may come. Thank you grandma!

The Shortest Route through Grief

Turn the Page:

Proverbs 3:5-7Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Simple is a loaded word. It carries the weight of my desires, failures, and pleasures. I have complained a lot, through the years, when things break down, or seem to take too long. “Why can’t things be more simple?” Obviously, grief is no exception to the rule. We must go through it if we want to live life to the fullest. If there were a short cut through suffering and loss, I’d take it.

But scripture states clearly that there is! The shortest route between two points is obedience to God. For all of my complaining I am my own worst enemy when it comes to simplifying life. What makes my life more complicated is sin. I don’t want to go through suffering, so I have tried to avoid it, medicate it with alcohol, bad relationships, and running away or fighting my way through. None of which have ever worked. God has offered all of us a shortcut through Christ.

Since the moment the officer arrived on my doorstep with the nightmare of Jonathan’s death I have had a choice. Do I go through grief my way, or God’s way? He told us we would suffer and grieve in this life, but he also promised us that we would be comforted. The short cut is to love the Lord my God with all of my soul, heart, and mind. To lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge him in all my ways. God will make my paths straight!

By no means have I fully accomplished this, but it is my goal. When I accomplish the above command, I will go through this grief the shortest route possible and be comforted along the way to boot. Grief will be but a speck! It is when I disobey God and go my own way that things get more complex. Just ask the Israelites who spent forty years wandering through the wilderness when they had had God himself leading the way! If I want a shortcut through grief then I’ll keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith.

New Mercies: A room of possibilities

Turn the Page:

Lamentations 3:21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Jeremiah the prophet knew how to mourn. He wrote a whole book on grief. Josiah, the one good king who tried to restore Israel to its faith, is dead. Not a single king after him follows God and Israel is plunged into political and religious decay. Jerusalem has Babylon knocking at its door and the surrounding verses reflect Jeremiah’s own personal grief. In verse 1 he states: I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath. . .Like many of us he puts the bad in his life back on his creator. And certainly God allows bad things to happen in our lives. Babylon got in because Israel had long since turned their back on God.

Jeremiah was a reluctant prophet, shy and timid, and yet God used him to do mighty things. He certainly is living in difficult circumstances, but he reminds himself that God is not limited by our circumstances. He will give us a new day!

I mourned as I removed the pictures and things that made this originally Jonathan’s room (before we needed a pink room). I acknowledge the reality of my circumstances. This morning we start with a blank slate and the joy of blessing Daniel reminded me of all the spectacular new days that God gives before me. His mercies never come to an end!

So, as I grieve, as I paint, as I celebrate Daniel today, I remember that God is my portion and therefore I hope in Him!

Grief and Hope

Grief and Hope

DSC04575

Knowing God: What Job learned about God’s character.

Job 42: 1-3, 5 Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.

At the end of the book of Job, Job’s reply sums up all he has learned about the God of the universe.

1. God’s plans will not be thwarted!
2. There are simply some things God does that I will not understand.
3. God is not distant, he is personal!

I am convinced that the God of the universe wants us to know him. Don’t be afraid to ask God the tough questions. Here are some of mine.

1. If your plan for me is good, then why do bad things keep happening?
2. Do I have free will if you are up there calling the shots?
3. If you are a just God, then why is there so much injustice in my life?
4. What is your purpose for my life?
5. Where are you in the midst of a world that hurting and in need of you?

My heavenly father has take the time to answer each of my questions! He has not been intimidated by, nor upset that I asked. Sometimes he has answered directly and quickly. At other times he has taken years in answering me. He spent a lot of time working through my very off notions of what His justice is. If he had not taken the depth of time to reveal his identity, then I would have thrown in the towel when Jonathan died! What has happen instead is that the enemy has made me dependent upon Christ!

Don’t be afraid to ask God questions. He wants you to know him, and accept him for who he is, not who we want him to be. Blessings upon you today!

Free Gift

Embrace hope in dark places.

Get three free printables of hope and encouragement when you sign up for my monthly newsletter.

.
Suicide Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.