“To Lie Passive in His Hands.”

“For so he giveth his beloved sleep.” — Psalm 127:2

In my last post I spoke of not striving, but abiding in Christ for what I lack. I may sit here a while, as the Lord seems to have something for me here.  Today I stumbled upon a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon  entitled, The Peculiar Sleep of the Beloved.

I have tried to understand why I struggle with sleep, to feel rested, and why God has not removed this thorn from my flesh so that I can better have the energy to glorify him. I strive to sleep. Many of you understand at the deepest level my suffering. Spurgeon and the Psalmist reminds us that God gives sleep to his beloved, no striving necessary.

I believe that this is why Jesus was able to sleep in the boat when the disciples were panicking during the storm. Or how Peter could sleep, chained between two guards, or many men and women of faith, who faced certain death could rest before their execution.

There are so many aspects I love in Spurgeon’s sermon, but of course poetry speaks to me the most. He quotes Madam Guyon (A French Mystic, and amazing Christian influence of her time).

To me tis equal, whether love ordained,

My life or death, appoint me pain or ease;

My soul perceives no real ill in pain,

In ease or health, no real good she sees.

One good she covets, and that good alone,

To choose thy will, from selfish bias free,

And to prefer a cottage to a throne,

And grief to comfort, if it pleases thee.

That we should bear the cross is thy command —

Die to the world, and live to sin no more;

Suffer unmoved beneath the rudest hand,

As pleased when shipwrecked, as when safe on shore.

 

Are you shipwrecked like me? Do you look at the ship, tossed and smashed again and again as equal to the life on calm seas? I am honestly not pleased with my circumstances, I don’t fully trust God yet in all things. I am asking God to help me with my unbelief and he is answering! Rest dearly beloved, as a free gift. He will not let us falter in his love!

Grow to do one thing, and do it well. Abide (live in) His love for you. Amen!

 

Seeing the Bouquets Beyond Dispair

John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.–Jesus

“Sorry, my ADD is kicking in.” I apologized, acknowledging that I was distracted from listening because my attention was focused on the beautiful flower bouquets she had in her office. I was delighted by how well they coordinated with her purple blazer.

She smiled and laughed, “That’s your creativity shining through, certainly not something to apologize for.” My eyes widened, I had never thought of my distraction like that.

“Those flowers were here yesterday and you are the first person to mention noticing them. And probably the only person who will notice them. I hadn’t even noticed that my blazer coordinated with them. I take the expansion of your attention to the room as a sign of healing, not weakness.” She encouraged. “Most people when they first come into my office look down and can’t even look at me. As they begin to heal they begin looking at me and then beyond.”

How depression shrinks our world. Until the only thing that we smell, hear, taste, see, feel, is the sweat of our own fear, hear the loud ramblings of our own thoughts, taste the bitterness of our failures, see that we are alone, and feel disconnected from a huge world of possibilities. If you are in that place, may my testimony encourage you! It is because of one step, and then another, and then another that I came to place that even when my worst nightmare came true I can still declare that life is worth living.

May we journey together in looking up and seeing the beauty beyond our nightmares. Talk with me and let me know how you are doing.

The Object of Our Agitation

My son was very agitated today about surface things that I could see had nothing to do with his anguish. Finally, I heard him sobbing in the other room. “Mommy I can’t stop crying.” I wrapped him up in my arm and rocked him as he continued to talk about the object of his concern, but quickly shifted to crying out for Jonathan. “I miss him so much!” he sobbed.

My heart broke for his grief! Oh Lord, equip me to comfort him. How many of us have those moments, we feel anxious about our broken toy, the car that just cut us off, the snow trapping us inside, the phone ringing–all the things that on another day wouldn’t bother us, but today it is just too much. All the time brewing beneath that agitation is real heart ache, longing, brokenness, fear, and sorrow.

Why did God create us with emotions? Emotions tend to squish out in strange ways when we deny them their purpose. I believe that our emotions were created to feel joy, pleasure, interact with each other and our God internally and externally–literally to be stirred by God. When the fall occurred our emotions were suddenly stirred by sin, which will always point to us away from God. But, we can learn to lay out our heartache, our pain before his throne so that he can replace our burden with healing. Our emotions always long to be in right relationship with God! Don’t be afraid to lift the veil to reveal your heartache to him, He longs to hold us, and is moved with compassion for our sufferings. He may prune away what we think is causing us grief to reveal the root.

If someone around you is agitated about things that don’t seem to match in value do a little gardening. Dig past the surface to the root pain; much easier to heal when we correctly identify the source of our anguish. It may just be as simple as being present with your loved one and listening, but it can make all the difference in the world.

Yielding Peaceful Fruit of Righteousness: The Results of Discipline

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I shared with you that my son Daniel is learning to play the violin. He is a beginner, but shows real signs of a great musical ear. It is a delight to watch him discover his capabilities. This last week I got a front row seat for a transition in him. His teacher was more firm with Daniel and I saw the look on my son’s face. His response could go one of two ways, either he melted down into tears because he perceived he wasn’t getting it right, or he heard what his teacher was really saying. “Daniel you are too talented for me to let you get by with sloppy playing.” I bit my lip and held my breath watching Daniel process his teacher’s constructive criticism.

“So if I was giving my best, we would be further along in the book?” Daniel asked.

“Yes.” His instructor answered.

From that moment forward Daniel focused and they played a beautiful duet to end the session. Daniel has not been the same this week. He is practicing without much prompting, way past the 15 min we had been requiring, and he has even picked up on how to play the intro to the Star Wars Theme Song just by watching another violinist play it on YouTube. There is a joy, and discipline that wasn’t there a week ago.

What is it that you and I need to take more seriously? God has gifted each of us! Have you taken the risk to find out what that gifting is? Seek the heart of our creator to discover who he has made you to be. Like Daniel and I, you may be in the midst of God’s discipline. We are too beautiful, too loved and too talented, not to embrace our calling. Don’t you dare tell me that you have no gift, I’ve tried that same tactic. To be totally honest I squandered my writing abilities, because I feared rejection, lacked discipline, and didn’t want to take risks. God is changing me through Jonathan’s death, and revealing to me how much my unique creative fingerprint matters. I want to give you comfort and hope in the midst of your trials and circumstances, because God created in me a love for words, they are my violin. There is a drive, and urgency in my sharing my story, because God created my gifts for such a time as this!

Suicide Has a Face: Learning to Offer Hope

As a survivor of suicide, there is nothing that makes me recoil worse than hearing, “Sometimes there is nothing that you can do, if someone wants to kill themselves then they will find a way.” The speaker is talking about some abstract, undefined person–not my son. Gratefully I have not heard that too many times, but I have heard it. I have not had the strength to respond until now, not out of condemnation, but out of a desire to offer hope and healing to deeply wounded souls and educate those that desire to help.

My son wanted to live! Everything he was doing, everything that he was planning for was to live a long life. Ironically I’d have to say that I would have fit the above statement better than Jonathan. I made repeated attempts on my life, he made one. I am still here because there were people who never stopped offering me hope in little and big ways, no matter what I might do.

That is the thing, the above statement always comes after someone takes their life. I believe that the speaker is trying to understand something too horrific to ever comprehend. Suicide is not something that we will ever be able to stuff into a box and say, this is what it is! I left no note, Jonathan left a note, some suffer from physical causes, others depression. Our suffering may be different, but the one thing that we all need is HOPE!

Don’t ever stop offering it to me, to those around you just because the task seems daunting or impossible. God is a god of the impossible! Jesus saw our suffering and mourned with us, brought healing, and hope to those that others claimed were without redemption. I will cling to that hope, because in my darkest days it is my sunshine.

Wanting to be Heaven Minded So that I am Earthly Good

Colossians 3:1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

“They are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.”, is a false saying! Yesterday I was at  a funeral for a man who was an interracial part of our community, our state, and our lives. Even the Governor and Senator came to pay their respects. Mike’s son shared, “It was not all the things that he did to improve our lives that made him a great man, it was the fact that he loved the Lord his God, with all his heart, soul and mind.” Mike was heavenly minded! I contend, that if your mind is truly on the things of heaven then you will be doing the greatest good here on earth.

I have a son in heaven! To say that he has turned my head towards heaven is an understatement. Jonathan’s death has made me cling to the only one who gave me love, value, purpose and meaning in the first place. Jonathan’s death has forced me to renew the foundation that Christ laid, to strengthen it, and to fix my eyes on Him. Jonathan’s death has increased my longing for things above, and I pray that my longing grows deeper. I want to be heaven minded, because this earth deserves nothing less than my best!

Welcome, New Page Turners!

Dear Page Turner,

Today my page has been filled to the brim and running over. I wanted to take a moment to welcome the newcomers, thank you for your comments and support. As this blog grows it is my hope that it becomes a resource, encouragement, and lifeline to those effected by suicide and depression. Which, I am finding, touches just about all of us in some way. You may have a friend, loved one or even a complete stranger that you are concerned for. Don’t hesitate to reach out, be present, or sit with them. Be sure to vote in the poll I have set up. Your answers will help me to form content for new posts, and create resources for you as you engage those around you. Feel free to share it with your readers.

Continue to write your open page turners, I want to read what happens next.

Sincerely,

Karisa

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Grief effects our health. It is important to hydrate (I find I get dehydrated more quickly), and eat foods that will encourage and strengthen our bodies. In the weeks after Jonathan’s death my back went out, I had a sever respiratory infection and had seizers that were triggered by insomnia. To say that my body was depleted and not strong enough to carry the load I now bore, is an understatement.

I don’t have much of an appetite these days, but the health choices that I am making are horrendous. You’d think, if you aren’t craving things, that it would be easier to make better choices. But, I went into grief with bad habits and they are now magnified. I have enough to deal with, without adding more pounds to carry.

What does it mean to eat to the glory of God? At its core is acknowledgment that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4) Jesus had just completed 40 days of fasting, prayer and preparation for ministry. Satan tempted Jesus with food first because Jesus’ body was in desperate need of food. Jesus responded that man’s health does not come just from physical fulfillment.

Throughout scripture, there are so many examples of breakthroughs in the lives of Israel centered around food. Daniel and his friends were put in charge because they honored God by not defiling themselves with the king’s rich foods and their health was better than all of the other candidates. Jesus stated that there are some demonic forces that can only be cast out through prayer and fasting. There is power in what we choose to put into our bodies when it is to the glory of God.

Lord, I long to glorify you in what I eat. Father discipline me to bring scripture to mind when tempted. Help me to enjoy what is before me, and for food to no longer be a hindrance in living on every word that comes from you. Amen.