Posts Tagged: family

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Strengthened by Forgiveness

Words of yesterday slammed
into my chest, mocking the
rhythm of will.

Stupid.
Useless.
Pitiful.

Why do I till the rocky
soil of relationships for hope
day after day, I start again.
Close eyes.

Breathe.
Forgive.
Plant.

Let go—an impossible smile
appears on my battered tear-streaked face.

Strong.
Loving.
Chosen.

I look you boldly in the eye
strengthened by forgiveness. Whether
you ever embrace my love, I know I
have embraced His.

 

Turning My Page:

Embracing the love of Jesus is changing how I love. Quick-tempered, I replay events, fantasize what I would say to those who have hurt me.  I am the hero of every story. But, the truth is, I am often the villain, speaking words that cause heartache in my husband and children’s lives.

My daughter reminded me of this truth last week as she interrupted my son and me in a heated argument. Instantly the following happened:

  • I looked at Daniel and really saw him.
  • Recognized that what I was so defensive about mattered far less than my son.
  • To Natalie it didn’t matter who was right, it mattered that we love one another.
  • I prayed: God help me to love my son as you love me.
  • We apologized to one another.
  • Forgiveness strengthened our relationship.

I am different because Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Thank you, Lord!

Turning Your Page:

Forgiveness strengthens us because it takes our focus off of self and places it squarely on Jesus. Jesus was dying on the cross when he said the above words. He had his eyes on the prize. Reconciliation between his Holy Father and the wretched sinners placing our only hope on the cross.

When another person hurts you can the wound be filtered through forgiveness? Maybe all you can manage now is to pray for them. That is okay. Ask God to help you.

I cry out to you Jesus! Help me to forgive as you have forgiven me. I am a wretch hating another wretch. Lord help me to keep my eyes fixed on you, and to love my enemies, no matter how my soul is battered by this world. Amen

For Further Reading: Conviction Overturned by Love

Sparrow Falls

Not Even Sparrows Fall: Suicide

Sparrows Fall: Suicide

Not even a sparrow falls without God’s knowledge and we are more precious than they. Oh, one day, I pray that I embrace this truth with the depth and security of one who trusts God no matter what I experience in this life. I’m not there yet. As the poem reflects this was a tear-streaked day. I have witnessed God’s care over and over, but I still don’t understand why he allowed Jonathan to die by suicide. Bottom line, I just want Jonathan here.

Turning My Page

I wanted your heart to heal from
the world’s unrelenting fists of hatred.
I tried to shield you, but their blows penetrated
to marrow. Broke bone and spirit without pity. They
meant to crush you—rob identity.
Rearranged home until
you no longer recognized love or belonging.

I thought if I cradled your heart
enough with my love, that somehow, someway
you’d emerge from despair.

But, control
of your rhythm was never mine. Your
soul was formed and shaped by a God
who knit you together in my womb.
On my knees I plead that His will be
done in your life—from beginning to end.

“DO SOMETHING!” I screamed at a
God who was not deaf to my desperation.

He comforted. He still comforts,
but I will not pretend to understand
why He didn’t rescue you.

Your future—my future—was never
mine to determine. And I pray
one day I walk this path knowing
that not even a sparrow falls to the earth
without God’s knowledge.

Your life mattered, and heaven
mourned you even deeper than I.

Turning Your Page: When Sparrows Fall to Suicide

You may have sparrows who have fallen in your life. Your mourning may be deep and waves of emotions swamp you.  Courage! May the promise of God’s care sustain you, even when the feelings simply are not there. You are precious to God. Your loved one was and is precious to a God who was willing to suffer with and for you. As you think about Easter consider the following:

  • “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6, NLT).
  • “When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36, BSB).
  • “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father” (Matthew 10:29, ESV).

Lord, this sorrow is too great. Carry it for me. Your tenderness and mercy towards my loved ones exceed my own and not one of them falls to the earth without your knowledge and mourning. Amen

 

Further Resources

Rob’s Kids is an excellent resource for children who have lost a parent.

 

Open-Handed Love

I really couldn’t grasp
a way to love you deeper,
but then I let go.

Dedicated to the many parents of prodigal children. Keep holding out love.

Turning Your Page

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32

Children stretch and strengthen your love muscles. Stay close to scripture as a parent. God does not leave you guessing on how to raise them, how he loves them, or how he protects and sacrifices for his children.

  • How would you describe your love for your children?
    • color?
    • shape?
    • nature? (example: Loving them feels like trying to control a swollen river cutting out a new path to run.)

Lord, you have gifted me with love for my children, but you know and love them better. Grow my awareness of your ways that I will walk in your will as I parent. Amen

When Life Happens: Be Present

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).

I am trying to post more consistently, but sometimes life happens. I found myself growing frustrated with my day yesterday as deadlines loomed and nothing I wanted done, was done. But, a much-needed commitment to my son took center stage and revealed how off my priorities had become. I was leaning towards doing, rather than being.

How easy it is to make life into a to-do list. And while checking off agendas can be a nice feeling for the moment, just like any addiction it is only a short and a temporary high that requires more and more doing. God is looking for men and women who make themselves available to those in front of them. As long as I can remember I have always looked to do big things for God. But God is teaching me to skip stones and change the waters a little at a time, in individuals, rather than making a splash in the crowd.

So as I watched my son race around a track with his friend, I realized the depth of importance this moment has. Daniel needs solid friendships, he needs experience, and he needs to know his life is valued. My time with this growing young man is fleeting and what I do for and with Daniel and his sister matters. Turning the Page on Suicide is a big deal and I love the unique details of your purpose and lives dear reader. But speaking life into my children has far bigger implications because we are face to face, day in and day out.

Who is in front of you Page Turner? How can you spend time with them? Be intentional to speak life into their circumstances? Lean into Christ’ purpose for all you encounter.

It can be easy for us to look for opportunities to do and miss out on being present, right where God plants us. Christ was very good at being present with those in front of him. Notice his habits, where he positioned himself and who he spent time with.

  • temple
  • streets
  • meals
  • homes (rich and poor)
  • outcast camps
  • boat
  • road (Can you imagine how many saddles he wore out)
  • wells
  • market place

So excuse me if I have moments of catch up, but I am being with my children, and what a delight to speak God’s life into them.

The Importance of Being Present
  • Podcasts post every Monday at 10:00 am
  • Devotionals post every Tuesday at 7 pm
  • Poetry posts every Thursday at 7 pm

When the World Tilts Pray

Please  pray for my husband. He is struggling with severe vertigo and numbness in his leg. If you are one who believes in prayer and fasting for breakthrough, I ask that you join me in praying for my entire family’s health, as well as others who are struggling with illness.

 

James 5:14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

 

 

When Digging a Trench, Assemble Your Team

Ecclesiastes 4:7Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Shoveling snow would not have surprised me on December 23rd. Digging a trench to save our basement from flooding, however, was not on my Christmas list. We were in the path of the storm today thanks to El Nino. While we didn’t get the gloom and doom that weathercasters had been threatening us with all day, we did get heavy rains.

We had planned to go see the Peanuts movie tonight, but Daniel wasn’t feeling up to going so we set up shop in the basement. As the rain came down harder I began to be concerned about our window, a weak point in our backyard swamp. When we looked out the water was about three inches up the window.

We went into problem solving mode. Shovels, siphon, buckets, and building a damn. Think we have done this before? The kids begged for a job so we let them pick up the clods of dirt and carry it over to the weak point. Within a half an hour the window well was cleared, our trench pulled water away from the window, and four very wet and muddy humans trudged inside to get cleaned up.

It was amazing! I love my family and it is wonderful what we accomplish when we work together. Do you have your ditch digging team assembled? God did not create us to go it alone. Reach out to those around you. If you don’t have friends or family, begin the steps to develop friendships. You will make mistakes, pick yourself up and try again. My life changed drastically when I stopped being dominated by my fear of rejection. As I began to fall in love with Jesus, loving others became easier. Scripture is filled to the brim with fellowship. And if you see others who are isolated, reach into their world and be present with them. You don’t know what trenches they might be having to dig.

Blessings upon you this Christmas!

Your friend,

Karisa

2nd Annual Photo Scavenger Hunt

Last year I began a Christmas tradition of sharing a photo each day and inviting you to share your own photo of a similar activity or memory. Starting December 1st I will share some of my favorite memories of my son Jonathan and I encourage you to join in the fun and share special moments with me as I share them with you. Invite friends and family to get involved.

Photo Scavenger Hunt begins December 1st and ends December 20th. I will post a picture of some of my favorite Christmas memories with Jonathan and give your photo assignment each day. (PLEASE LET ME KNOW THAT YOU WILL BE PARTICIPATING.)

Rules:

1. Be respectful of others and their property.
2. Ask permission before taking a picture.
3. Have fun and invite as many friends and family as possible to be involved.
4. Describe your location.

5. Respond in the comment section.

 

Questions for those who Grieve

Been a bit occupied with a certain mouse these past few days so I haven’t had a chance to write until today. Extravagant fun is hard for me. I know its early, but I’d kind of like to stop searching for Jonathan in the crowd. I know where he is, but it is like my whole system of being needs a reboot. For eighteen years my son was a part of my everyday living in someway, and though I know no one is wanting me to erase him as if he never existed, there is an expectation for me to enjoy what I do have in front of me today.

As I grieve, evenings are the hardest. I’m weary, my defenses are lower, and I seem to get more gut punches after 6. I tend to go inward, rather than connect with my surroundings. So I’m trying to figure out how to move through those hard moments. Any suggestions from my fellow grievers? How do I manage the darker moments without disconnecting from my family or the good memories that could be developed.

Swimming in Belief

Body bolstered by belief,

and honed by instruction

motors towards the finish line.

Joy, baptizing those in your wake.

Arms outstretched to receive

the prize.

Embraced by love,

Until you wiggle free,

ready to face your expanded distance.

Swim Practice

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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.