Posts Categorized: life

Jesus Redefined Death with His Beautiful Blood

Today was all about death. God revealed his active role in my circumstances through worship. I heard the song “Beautiful Blood” by Kutless for the first time this morning, and I cocked my head in disbelief. It referred to death as being sweet. For someone mourning the tragic death of her son to suicide, the opening line was not something I am easily inclined to accept. My spirit is resistant to stating anything about death as beautiful. Death is our brokenness, death is our bodies breaking down, death ends our connection to our loved ones, death is cancer, death is loneliness, death is final.

My pastor called death a bully this morning! Jesus’ friend Lazarus had been dead for four days, and it was impossible to come back from. Death didn’t even have the decency to spare Jesus’ best friend! Why in the world didn’t Jesus save his friend while he still lived? Like Mary and Martha I want to cry out. Say the word Jesus and my son is healed, say the word Jesus and my marriage is restored. You know that I love you, you know that I follow you. Don’t I deserve something extra? Thomas, Jesus’ disciple, responds to the death of their friend by saying, “Let us also go, that we may die with him. Oh, I have never understood Thomas’ grief more than now (John 11).

You and I may struggle to look beyond death, but Jesus has heaven in view the whole time.

He comforts the sisters of Lazarus and his disciples with these words, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Oh Jesus, I want to believe, help me with my unbelief! Jesus had raised others from the dead, but not after four days in the tomb. The other miracles could be explained away, but not Lazarus walking out of the grave alive. While everyone was celebrating the miracle, Jesus had signed his death warrant.

Today is all about life beyond death because Jesus’ chose death on a cross, in my place. His death is beautiful because he died while I could do nothing about it. I was still caught in sin and he chose me! So his blood is beautiful because I know that my son’s suicide is not the end of my story. God will be glorified.

What is my happily ever after?: Finding hope and abudant life in Jesus

Once upon a time . . . Last night I fell asleep watching episodes of Once Upon a Time. I am hooked (all pun intended) and am well into the third season. I have loved fairytales, fables, and Greek Mythology since I was very young. Taking the characters from many of our beloved stories and giving them real world experiences fascinates me. “Does happily ever after really happen?”, seems to be the question asked by the writers. For Emma, the lead character life has been very, very hard. It doesn’t matter that her parents are fairytale characters.

Jesus declares that I have come that you may have life, and have it to the fullest. Seems like a happily every after statement, but remember that he speaks of thief who comes to destroy that abundance in the very same verse. (John 10:10) We have an evil enemy who doesn’t want us to have our happily ever after. He is going to make our life difficult and try to destroy us. So how do we keep going no matter what our enemy tries to do to us?

Snow White declares that one of our strongest weapons is hope. She says that the moment she gives into despair she gives up her happily ever after. Therefore she presses forward with the firm belief that their happily ever after will happen. When others would throw in the towel, Snow trusts that good will always defeat evil.

I declare with every fiber of my being that there is a happy ending to my story. The impossible is a chance for my heavenly father to part the sea. Since God has power over even death nothing is impossible for him in writing our story. He will turn my desert into a lush garden of his glory. The story of my life is fraught with battles and I am weary in fighting. But I know that the victory is mine in Jesus Christ, and I refuse to give up hope. That is enough for me to keep believing in my happy ending.

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!

Remembering My Son: Because he lived I am changed

John 16:20-24 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Today our church celebrated All Saint’s Day by remembering our loved ones who have passed away this year. I have stood in remembrance for friends, but this year friends stood for my loss. Throughout the morning we were surrounded by hugs, tears, and love. While my husband and I sobbed we were not isolated in our grief. We knew that today would be hard, but no matter how much you brace yourself for the emotions you know are coming, grief is exhausting.

So how do I keep this moment from just being another day the band-aid is ripped off my healing heart? I take in a deep breath as I type this post and truly, deeply, remember my son. Because Jonathan lived I fell in love with Christ, and became a stronger person. Because he lived I returned to school. Because he lived I took better risks. Because he lived I found love I never knew existed. Because he lived I gave friendships a chance to blossom. Because he lived I took a chance again on dating and found my soul mate. Because Jonathan lived I write to help others. Because my son lived I ride rollercoasters! Because my son needed protection, I am learning to boldly advocate for those who have no voice. Because Jonathan laughed I laugh more deeply, and because he wrote, my writing became deeper.

Because my son lost sight of hope, I cling to it, nurture the hope in my heart and allow God at those places that I never have before. Because Jonathan has lived I want other teens to know their value. Because Jonathan suffered, I advocate for others who suffer illness. Jesus told us that we would have grief and loss, but because Jesus was with us, we are able to do amazing things! So, because Jonathan my beloved son lived, I take in another breath . . .and keep turning my page!

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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.