Snowflakes sooth my soul,
While silent seeds of spring drink
–SnuggledÂ beneath death.
Snowflakes sooth my soul,
While silent seeds of spring drink
–SnuggledÂ beneath death.
IÂ haveÂ had enough shades of grey in my life, it has left me lost, confused, afraid, and depressed. Seems to me that our world keeps trying to sell us cheap grey imitations of love when what we crave is black and white love! I have only found that kind of crisp,Â clear love in one place–the arms of my heavenly father. It may have involved a cross, but that was his choice for me, and again added depth and dimension to my life thatÂ is like nothingÂ I have ever feltÂ before. Agape love is unconditional, and itÂ is something I can count on for a lifetime!Â Jesus’ love enables me to reach beyond my grief, to hold you, encourage you, and to keep writing my story no matter what. God’s love isÂ not stored in a “room” for only a select few, but is sewn into the very fabric of creation. Look around you, it isn’t hidden!
Are you craving some black and white love? Check these verses out:
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak in the tonguesa of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,k neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 1
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to
do with punishment.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
Matthew 6:5 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
What is just between God and I? Developing the sacred, in a world where it modeled …day in and day out that everything is lived out in the open, can be difficult. I’m not sure that the Kardashians have much that isn’t public. Because of Jonathan’s death, I am getting the opportunity to share my faith a bit more publically. But, to truly value God and our relationship with him, there must be things that are shared only with him.
So why should I develop the sacred, even as I am being transparent with you as I walk through grief?
1. Am I looking to please God or man? (vs.1)
2. Where do I want my reward to come from? (vs. 6)
3. The enemy is unable to penetrate this bond! (Lord’s Prayer)
When the enemy comes to attack us, and he will, we stand firm because there is nothing that separates us from God’s love! When Satan offers earthly rewards they will seem like nothing, when he offers me food I can say the food I eat is to do the will of my father. When the enemy tries to stir up unforgiveness, I can state that I forgive because I am forgiven! I declare to you that is possible to know the will of the Father, just as Jesus did. Jesus was spelling it out in chapter 6 to us.
Pray like God’s voice and his will are the only that matters. Serve others like they are Christ before you. And know that heavenly treasures are far better than anything we could be given on earth. We develop a relationship with God in secret so that our focus is on him, and that he is a source, not man.
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens
Today I have to attend the funeral of my great aunt. Knowing that her death was coming soon, I declared that I could not stand to lose one more person in my life right now. But loss comes no matter what we declare. We cannot hold so tightly to anyone that we forget that our days are numbered. We have to love deeply, care deeply, but hold onto relationships with our hands open.
My cousin is celebrating that his mother is with Jesus! He reminded me to long for heaven more than I long for earth. How do we grow to the place where we engage our earthly life to the fullest and yet yearn for heaven at the same time? I have been close to friends who have accomplished this. I can see clearly that they walk this earth with one foot already in heaven.
As my friend faced cancer, yet again, she shared her struggle with seeing God for a moment and feeling his presence with her. She could not face the cancer again without knowing that her best friend Jesus was by her side. As we studied scripture she found comfort and his close presence was restored.
Do you and I love God so much, live in obedience to him, and are so familiar with heaven that we find ourselves longing to be released from the confines of sin? To go home. Scriptures say that we are foreigners here when we become princes and princesses of his kingdom. He adopts us! Just saying those words stirs my longing.
I want to live this life to the fullest! Every person that I have observed, through scripture and in my life who have accomplished living as Christ have had their eyes fixed on heaven. It is the finish line! They have served, given to others, forgiven deep transgressions, built up others with the goal of heaven in mind. My eyes have not yet been fully trained, disciplined to keep my eyes on Jesus. Jesus endured the cross because he had his eyes fixed on heaven!
Lord, grow me to this point that my longing to be with you, trumps and motivates everything that I do in my earthly body. Amen!
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!
Acts 4:31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Daniel wanted Jonathan to be a part of Halloween. So we took the huge poster that the funeral home created and stuck it in the window with a talk bubble. I had to smile at Daniel’s insistence, and that my spirit so readily agreed to it. I’ve had more of those moments this week. A calmness has infused my being that certainly wasn’t there a week ago. I have no illusion that I am no where near the end of grieving, but what is happening is that I am having more and more moments of genuine joy. It was a pleasure to take the kids trick or treating.
Even though the disciples had Jesus back for forty days, they still had to grieve the loss of their friend after he ascended to heaven. But boy the difference in how they grieved. They went from locking themselves in a room and hiding away to praying together, celebrating the resurrection and waiting for the comforter (the Holy Spirit) to come. They didn’t have to wait long before things began moving and shaking. The Comforter had arrived!
In my previous posts I have mentioned that I am allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me. This isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t simple either. Just like the disciples we need to spend time with Jesus, get to know his voice, his character, and his love for humanity. Otherwise, we will may find ourselves being guided by our own selfish desires or the voices of others who do not have our best interests in mind. These voices will always lead us away from God. I love the song of Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns, it describes the struggle we have with knowing the Shepherd’s voice. Since I was a little girl I’ve had a lot of voices in my head (don’t laugh, unless you’re my siblings) and the loudest was my overpowering, obnoxious critic. Nothing I did or ever could do was good enough. It got to the point that I stopped trying and quit a lot of things I actually enjoyed.
A couple of year ago I really began asking, ‘How do I know God’s voice?’ My question sprung from John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” I began discerning what the Holy Spirit sounded like and practicing stepping out in faith and acting upon that voice’s direction. Amazing things began to happen, and a power that I had never been able to tap into began surging through my spirit. Following the direction of the Holy Spirit takes practice and a solid knowledge of the other parts of the Trinity. I’m still learning and growing in this area, but since Jonathan’s death, the fear that had once held me back from trusting the Holy Spirit’s direction and acting on it is getting kicked out.
I had a bit of fear when I approached a complete stranger on the prompting of the Lord. I held back, but the urging became even stronger, and she kept looking at the books I had on the table as she waited for her coffee. I felt awkward, but managed to introduce myself and a new connection was born, very much in line with the previous connections that God has been forming since Jonathan’s death.
Here is the criteria that I follow:
1. The voice of the Holy Spirit will never contradict the other parts of the Trinity (revealed in scripture).
2. I will never have to rush in, or be impulsive, the Lord is not limited by time.
3. The Holy Spirit will always be affirmed. (Example: The woman at the coffee shop thought that we might be in the same field)
4. Pray and be open each day.
5. The Holy Spirit always has humanity’s best in mind. He will strengthen us and bring the resources for us to help others.
Luke 7:20 And when the men had come to him, they said, â€œJohn the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, â€˜Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?â€™â€
Yesterday was a particularly rough day for Daniel at home and at school. As we began trying to dig past the bad behaviors to what was going on in his heart Daniel started blurting out a series of doubts and deep questions. The same questions and doubts I still struggle with. If Jesus took all our sins away why do we still sin? If I love Jesus why can’t I seem to do good? If you and the adults in my life love me, why do you punish me. If Jesus loved Jonathan, why did Jonathan die? He concluded, “It would be easier to obey, if Jesus was here and I could see him.”
John who had been preparing the way for Jesus to come asked “Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?” He’s sitting in prison, awaiting execution because the wife of Herod wants John dead. It would be a natural question for someone who has spent his entire life preparing for Jesus. At its core, if I obey God, why am I facing death?
Many of us have these very same questions. We wonder why do bad things continue to plague us, we wonder if God and those around us really love us. If you struggle with depression, you wonder why living is so hard. I struggle every day with why Jonathan took his own life. I see it as so preventable and sometimes I too am overwhelmed by my questions and doubts. So what hope is there when we have so many doubts and questions?
Luke21-3 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22And he answered them, â€œGo and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.â€ John the Baptist, took that hope and did not give in to his doubts as he faced death. Even if that path leads through dark places like Jonathan’s death, I still see him laying a foundation for me to offer healing and hope to others who are grieving. Am I going to be offended by who Jesus is? He is patient with my questions and doubts. Do not lose heart Daniel, do not lose heart dear reader!
If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at https://988lifeline.org/