Posts Tagged: hope

Sowing in Tears = a Joyful Harvest

Psalm 126:6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

I dreamed about Jonathan last night. We were so excited to see him, but I knew it was only temporary so I invited everyone to visit him, hug him and we loved and laughed deeply together. It felt so good to see him, healthy, happy and whole. And then I quietly said my good-bye and turned away releasing the memory of him to where I now know it belongs.

There is such a shift in my heartache. It well never leave me, but there is an acceptance that I’m different and becoming a better person not in spite of the anguish of loss, but as a result of. How many years do we spend running from the painful things in our lives? If you are like me, our past is littered with brokenness. It can be so easy to slip into a cycle of short-sightedness and forget that God sows seeds through generations. Sometimes we sow tears for many years, but oh the harvest we reap when we do not give up!

Joseph, from the Old Testament, sowed tears for just shy of 20 years, before he saw his dream fulfilled. And Israel would later sow tears for 400 years before they were freed from slavery. The whole world had to wait for thousands of years before the promised Messiah would come and free us from the consequences of sin. Jesus sowed in tears. I am a part of his harvest.

Why does a good and loving God operate this way? Why does he allow pain and suffering? Why do we have to sow in tears? What if I told you WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING RIGHT NOW HAS THE POWER FOR THE REDEMPTION OF MANY! Would you believe me? Would you keep sowing in the midst of your depression? There are many witnesses who have gone before me to testify that there most painful times were when they drew the closest to Christ, grew in belief and action, and began to anticipate a larger harvest. I have seen first hand God’s hand move in the lives plagued by deepest despair (cancer, divorce, death of a husband or child, natural disaster). In Psalm 126, the psalmist is celebrating the restoration of Israel’s fortunes and he shares three crucial elements that are true in the deepest, darkest moments we go through. 1.We will be filled with joy and laughter again. 2. The Lord is aware of our planting. 3. We will reap and the nations will take notice of the difference in us

This is at the core of grieving with hope!

I Don’t Know What My Life Will Be Like Tomorrow

James 4:14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

I don’t remember what we were doing the day before my son died. I know that I prayed for Jonathan, I was in the habit of that, and since Brian had taken the week off for vacation we were having fun with Daniel and Natalie, but I don’t remember the details.

We don’t know what the next moment holds–celebration or pain. We are commanded to neither be in fear of the next second nor hold so tightly to things staying the same that we miss out on the joys that come in the morning. Today my kids built an amazing domino tower. I cleaned the garage and started a step program. I held Natalie who doesn’t feel well and scared the snot out of Daniel who was attempting to scare me. I laughed, I sang, I prayed . . . and I turn the page.

Tomorrow I open my heart wide to what the Lord has for me in that day.

Love Always,


This I Recall: Remembering God in My Sorrow

Lamentations 3:20Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. 21This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.…”Who we remember determines what we remember.” Can’t remember where I read that quote, but it has stayed with me. . It is not my son’s suicide that defines my life, but Jesus Christ. He is who I remember today, and it changes July 1st for me in a way that nothing else can.

I literally feel you praying for me today. From the moment that I awoke I felt a joy that makes 0 sense on the cusp of my son’s death. Therefore I recall:

  • God’s breathtaking pursuit of me in the midst of my rebellion
  • That he wooed me with a tiny little heart beat that promised life in the midst of my depravity
  • That God was my husband, father to my son, and my daddy all rolled into one as I stumbled into faith and motherhood
  • The mystery and beauty of my “little” 10lb 10oz Jonathan (Gift of God) as I cradled him in my arms for the first time
  • The joy of taking shape with Jonathan
  • Endless hours of Lego creations, car racing, and baseball games
  • Laughter, oh the deep and joy filled laughter
  • Watching Jonathan’s personality, his faith, his love and compassion blossom
  • Dreaming big
  • New adventures
  • Even in the midst of my heartbreak last year I find God present in the words left on my son’s Facebook wall, in the living room filled with prayer, and in the miracle of scripture, prayer, tears, teens, horses, writing, and planting seeds of hope

Thank you Jesus!

Anniversary Letter

Dear Reader,

The day my eighteen year old son’s suicide is fast approaching and I don’t want to celebrate. It was a horrible, mind numbing, and life altering day of deep agony. I don’t want it to be an anniversary of his death, but a day we chose to live! I want it to be the day that you declare “You knit me together in my mother’s womb, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that full well!”

I want it to be a day that we reach beyond barriers to share that we matter to each other. I long for it to be a day that the one thing you thought you couldn’t accomplish that you complete. I want it to be a day that every breath matters. I want it to be a day of thanksgiving. If you haven’t begun, may it be a day of beginning. I want it to be a day that you realize that all things are possible through Christ! I want the things that lie dormant in each of us to see sunshine and blossom. I want you to write another word, another sentence, another paragraph and another page until your book is complete.

Your life touches mine. We aren’t separate, we aren’t isolated, and your story matters to me and so many others. There are so many things accomplished by people in deep hardships, how can we not look at their witness and break the chains of depression? How can we not root each other on to complete our mission. Be bold, be courageous, and be sure footed in your journey. You may have struggled with turning the page on Jonathan’s death, on the death of other friends, on divorce, on illness—turn the page. God turned the page on sin and death through his son dying on the cross. The disciples turned the page of resurrection to share what they had seen and heard. We don’t need to torture ourselves, we don’t need to prove ourselves and we certainly will never earn grace. Each day is a free gift. Love, live, and write each moment well! That is the anniversary I will celebrate.



My Spiritual Tool Box: What do I Use When Grief Overwhelms Me?

As I awoke this morning I was immediately hit with going over ever last minute detail leading up to Jonathan’s death. It is in these moments that I pull out every tool in my tool box.

Prayer: Lord, you know that my heart’s longing is for Jonathan to be here–to live. Please Lord, fill me with your love. Direct my mind to what is doable for me today. May you be enough for me. Amen.

Scripture: Lamentations 3:31For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 32Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.

Romans 8:31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

John 16:22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Fellowship: Headed into the office to work. . . bringing Daniel’s joke book. 😉

Witnessing: I share with you my grief, my hope, and my God with you today. May you find comfort in your afflictions, hope in your grief, and love and compassion for those around you.

Embracing Suffering as a Ransom for Many

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:18-25 NIV

Turning My Page

Embracing suffering requires us to accept that God subjected all of creation to futility and frustration. When my son was three he would say, “You got me in trouble,” as my husband and I disciplined him for disobedience. In those moments Daniel forgot that we loved him, he forgot we wanted good things for him, and he didn’t understand the purpose of our saying no. We frustrated his plans.

I don’t tend to struggle so much with rejecting discipline when I have done something wrong, but sometimes good plans, plans of following Jesus and living life to the fullest have been frustrated,  not of my own making. This was a stumbling block for me growing up and still trips me up as an adult. I was abused, neglected, and experienced injustice after injustice. Now, I have lost a son, a son that turned me to God. What kind of God allows this kind of suffering for a daughter that he loves?

Paul tried to make clear that the suffering we experience (whether a believer in Jesus or not) is so that we can be free from death (a consequence of sin) and made alive through Jesus. This can be extremely hard to accept for three reasons:

  • It is the complete opposite of our worldly thinking
  • No one wants to suffer, and
  • We don’t always see immediate results in our suffering.

I think that if I do good, such as raise Jonathan as a Godly mother, I should receive good outcomes.

Turning Your Page

How often do we say, “I deserve this?” TV commercials dangle their items and encourage us that we deserve whatever item they are selling. If God gave us what we deserve it would be death, an eternal separation from him. (Romans 3:23) I forget that Jesus was perfect and we crucified him. If doing good was enough for our salvation then he should not have been put to death.

So if the son of God wasn’t spared suffering, then maybe my definition of suffering needs to change. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God prepared me for Jonathan’s death (my current suffering) with this verse. I don’t know about you, but I tend to bristle when people throw out this verse when we suffer. I can tell the difference when someone clearly knows and believes what they are saying and when someone is just spouting something that sounds good. THIS IS A CRUCIFICTION BELIEF! I am saying that I believe that everything that I have experienced, the abuse as a child, the despair as a teen, the suicide of my son works to glorify God! That has to be a core transformation because it goes against my desire for self-preservation. God even uses fleas; just ask Corrie ten Boom who scoffed when her sister praised God for the fleas. God doesn’t use fleas for his glory! She found out later that the prison guards did not interfere with the bible-study that she and her sister led with the other prisoners because they did not want to get fleas. (The Hiding Place) Not a single bit of our experiences are wasted.

We need to look no further for an example of struggle with suffering than the Rich Young Ruler. For the disciples Mark 10 is a lynch pin moment. The rich young ruler runs up and bows to Jesus. He calls Jesus “Good Teacher”. And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” Already we can see that his thinking is not the same as Jesus’ on what constitutes goodness. 18The rich young ruler wants to know what he must do to inherit the kingdom of heaven. They run down the list of the 10 commandments and the young man has to be getting excited, because he has kept those commands. But, wait there is more! Jesus tells the rich young ruler, whom he loves mind you, “Sell everything you have, give it all to the poor, come follow me and store up treasures in heaven.” The rich young ruler loses heart and leaves because he has great wealth. Jesus, thinking is the complete opposite of the young ruler, as well as the disciples. Jesus tells the disciples that wealth cannot save us. “We have left everything to follow you.” The disciples say. They might as well have said, “We have left everything, because we thought you were going to make us rich.” The cup that Jesus drinks from is one of suffering! The rich young ruler was going to have to trade in his “tangible” results for the intangible, not yet seen results in heaven!!! Many walk away from Jesus today for this very same reason. I’m first to admit that I often struggle with a desire for immediate results in my obedience to God!

When my focus is on the immediate results that I think that I should obtain, such as I accepted Jesus, I turned my life around, I raised Jonathan as a godly mother . . . I, I, I . . . should have a son that succeeds in life and does not die. You owe me God for all that I sacrificed to follow you. This thinking is small, whereas God’s is so much bigger!!! Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” My current suffering, the loss of my son will be to God’s glory! What if the suicide rate, the hopelessness felt by so many turns around because God allowed this suffering in my life? I know it is hard for us to embrace the truth that God works even horrid things in our life to his glory, but I have seen way too many examples of that occurring to dismiss it as “Christian silliness”. Not the least of which is the Son of God, being mocked, lashed, and crucified by men and women wanting immediate results from this supposed king! Only to have Jesus turn the tables on death and save those very same people who put him on the cross. Over 2000 years later my faith is a result of Jesus’ suffering. I am grateful that God caused all of creation to be frustrated in sin, so that I now have hope that is not limited by circumstances and that I can offer that same hope to you.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'”

The water bill almost undid me last night. I have had a really good week since Mother’s Day and have been swimming confidently out to uncharted waters with Christ.

Brian excitedly stated, “I don’t know how, but our water bill dropped this year.”

It took me a moment to realize why . . . “We don’t have a teenager using the water.” I quietly responded. Suddenly I was deeply weary. The busy week had not drained me, the amazing time with teenagers at the ranch had not brought me to my spiritual knees, and several days of not sleeping had not disabled me. No, it was a water bill. I wanted to disappear in that moment, not feel the grief that poured into my soul. I’d give anything to do Jonathan’s laundry or hear him singing from the shower as he got ready for school.

I realized that the best thing for me to do was to head on to bed. Nothing good was going to come from me sitting there dwelling on my heartache. I heard a woman wisely say, she set a consistent pattern of going to bed when her kids do, because she realized that anything past that time that her flesh was weakened.

Again I did not sleep well, but this morning I sought the Lord’s face and reread Matthew 5:4. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He gives me comfort through scripture, laughter with a friend, my husband and kids, as well as the discipline of writing this blog. Just to name a few. Tapping these resources today I clearly see that in less than a year there is a transition happening. The days of deep anguish are becoming . . . well . . . moments. Why? Developing discipline (just about a curse word for some of us), is shutting the door on death, and opening the roof for unfathomable faith, hope, and love. The more I experience these gifts, the more I long for them to finish their work.

Oh, my sweet son, you are experiencing these three things with Jesus! May I be a witness of that indestructible abundant life, promised on this side of heaven. May I grasp ahold and be strengthened by the truth that nothing is impossible for God. Amen.

You Knit Motherhood into my Soul

On this day you knit motherhood into my soul

Sweeping away cobwebs of brokenness and rebellion

Filling my world with the vivid colors I grew up missing

You deepened my breath, made me reach deeper inside

for strength that I had never explored, laughter never expressed, and hope unquenchable

by death.

On this day you made me a mother, and not even the grave can swallow my


1st Birthday of Hoping Without You

How many kids do you have? . . . That question has not gotten any easier to handle. I have three children, not two and I will never get used to saying that I have two children. Today I was asked a couple of times and Natalie, very matter-of-factly elaborated on how Jonathan died. The poor ladies didn’t know how to respond.

These days leading up to Jonathan’s birthday are harder than I expected. My emotions are a bit runny right now, and I’m not much fun to be around. So . . .how do I get a grip?


2. Crawl into my Heavenly Daddy’s lap and cry, scream, kick, whatever I need to do!

3. Let Him hold me.

4. Love and hold Brian,Daniel and Natalie a little tighter.

5. Drink Jarritos every day (Jonathan’s favorite).

6. Draw, write, walk.

7. Plant.

8. Go to survivor’s group.

9. Speak scripture over the pain until the heartache subsides.

10. Blow out the candle on my first year of celebrating your birth . . . without you.

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at