Posts Tagged: life

Breathing Life Into Your Reflections

Caught a glimpse of you today

mirrored in another

standing in your

shoes, your smock,

your hat,

ready to

serve me

My son introduced

you to my pain

building kinship

to his brother hanging

on the wall.

fringe familiarity

blinked back at me

“I shared a bus.”

You acknowledged

Grief heaved

a heavy sigh of

silence between us.

How are you?

Questioning the

son I can longer ask

Willing another still

breathing to

value each breath

Embracing Photos

Embracing Photos

A Tree Planted for the Lord’s Splendor

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

I have a tree, just outside my office window that I love. When we first moved here, it was clearly diseased, but I just kept holding out as long as it had some semblance of life to it. A couple of years ago a tree expert gave it a death sentence and last year, it had a few branches with buds on them, but the rest was dead. Jonathan and I began to remove the tree. We trimmed the branches back to the trunk and Jonathan started cutting into the trunk, but because Jonathan was so ill, he got tired quickly and we took a break. That break extended out to this Spring.

Now the tree is loaded with new branches and full of leaves. In the midst of the very dead tree, life still existed, and where there is still life, there is still hope. Jesus died so that I could have abundant life, before I even knew that I was dead in my sins. Sometimes the weakness of our flesh must be trimmed, and the very marrow of our bones broken to reveal new life. Don’t give up, if there seems to be no fruit currently in your life.

Life Emerges from Death

Life Emerges from Death

You may be in a season of pruning, painful though it may be, the Lord promises a harvest in due season, if we do not give up. My little beautiful tree, is now a symbol, and it isn’t going anywhere!

A Little Closer to Death

Short visit among the gray stones of remembering

Words emptied when you sunk into the earth

Silence

our new conversation.

In the quiet bosom of your death the throbbing heartbeat of creation

draws my attention away from you

and I watch life flit like spirits dancing amongst

gray stones, a little closer to death than they want to be.

Jarritos Memories

A bottle of memories

Sparkling with your laughter, sipped

slowly by my broken heart.

Silly sombrero on your head,

Inviting life with your dimpled smile

as cheeks puff to blow out candles.

I walk by the Mexican soda at the grocery store

and you make my sorrow smile.

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.

Knowing God: What Job learned about God’s character.

Job 42: 1-3, 5 Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.

At the end of the book of Job, Job’s reply sums up all he has learned about the God of the universe.

1. God’s plans will not be thwarted!
2. There are simply some things God does that I will not understand.
3. God is not distant, he is personal!

I am convinced that the God of the universe wants us to know him. Don’t be afraid to ask God the tough questions. Here are some of mine.

1. If your plan for me is good, then why do bad things keep happening?
2. Do I have free will if you are up there calling the shots?
3. If you are a just God, then why is there so much injustice in my life?
4. What is your purpose for my life?
5. Where are you in the midst of a world that hurting and in need of you?

My heavenly father has take the time to answer each of my questions! He has not been intimidated by, nor upset that I asked. Sometimes he has answered directly and quickly. At other times he has taken years in answering me. He spent a lot of time working through my very off notions of what His justice is. If he had not taken the depth of time to reveal his identity, then I would have thrown in the towel when Jonathan died! What has happen instead is that the enemy has made me dependent upon Christ!

Don’t be afraid to ask God questions. He wants you to know him, and accept him for who he is, not who we want him to be. Blessings upon you today!

Questions and Doubts

Luke 7:20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”

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, “Go 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.” 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!

Lashing out in Anger

Things are a bit raw between my husband and I right now. When struggling with grief it can get easier to slip back into old habits or lash out at those you love. So how in the world do we keep perspective in our hurt and anger, and remember that the other person is in grief and process too? Here are some verses that may help:

Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city.

Ephesians 4:25-31 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If we have unity of the Spirit then when we hurt others in that unit we also are hurting ourselves. In the military a unit fights as one. If there is strife, and anger towards one another then your guard is down to the real enemy.

Brian and I learned early in our marriage that as long as we looked at each other as the enemy that we would get no where. But, as we began allowing Christ to be the center of our lives and marriage we began to become a unit, placing the problems outside of each other and crushing the devil’s schemes together.

Thank you Lord for giving me these verses to calm my wounded soul and give me a renewed focus on who I am fighting. The devil wants to crush both Brian and I. Give me the strength to guard his heart and mind as he heals from the wounds of losing Jonathan. Keep my tongue from coming into agreement with the devil. Amen

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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.