Posts Tagged: pain

April Tears bring May Rainbows

The rain fits me right now, I am cloudy. As May is on my doorstep, so is Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday. I have had such an amazing year, but the heaviness of my heart is overwhelming today. So what do you do when pain and grief are so heavy they threaten to flood your soul?

I look for the rainbows. Lord, even grief carries the seeds of your healing. May I grow stronger as I remember my child. Amen

 

I Have Never Been Stranded on Mars, but if I were . . .

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.” –Mark Watney (The Martian)

I have had a multitude of troubles thrown my way, but I can honestly say, I have never been stranded on Mars. In the early days after Jonathan’s death a friend asked, “How are you doing this? How are you able to function?”

My answer, “I’m not.”

I knew several things almost instantly the day Jonathan died.

  1. This was hell on earth.
  2. I could not stand in this furnace alone.
  3. I would grieve with hope.

Galatians 2:20I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

I live, because Christ lives. The more I am crucified with Christ, my fleshly desire to have Jonathan alive dies. So many of us do not get over losing our children because it is a way of keeping them alive in our minds. God does not say, “Just get over it.” He mourns with us! At the same time he invites us to the realization that God will be glorified. We cannot stare longingly at the grave of our past and expect to resurrect what is not within God’s will. We must keep our eyes fixed upon the cross if we want to live.

I wrestle with this aspect of God’s character, but I also know he did not spare his own son. When Jesus started talking to the followers about “eating his flesh”, many walked away. (John 6:53) This is a hard teaching! Will I leave Jesus because I cannot fully get my mind around what he is asking of me? No! Who else in this world has changed my life. Who else has loved me like you? You are the Christ and my salvation is in you alone.

I am finding that the cross is the juxtaposition of Christ! Opposites collide on the cross– life and death, pain and pleasure, law and grace, sin and holiness, shame and glory. On the cross Jesus understands, both my deepest sorrow, and the heights of his fathers glory. And as I die my spirit is revealed more and more. I pray that I too, one day, can fully state. “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” I don’t have to scramble, alone, to solve enough problems to get home. Christ already solved them for me on the cross. I’m already home!

 

Unwrapping Sorrow

Packaged patiently within pain

is the gift of possibility.

Unopened. . . or open does not change content.

Bitterness and despair torn open and discarded,

like a shiny exoskeleton no longer attractive.

My passion–hope secreted within the gift of sorrow.

 

 

 

Bearing Weakness: Edifying our Neighbor

Romans 15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.…

A hard evening for my son. I sat rocking him as he grieved. No words were needed, they will not wash away the heartache he feels, and a Star Wars Band-Aid will not cover his wounds. I silently cried out to my heavenly daddy on my son’s behalf, and let God’s comfort wash over Daniel’s heart. God can get at those places that I cannot.

What do you do in those moments that others suffer? How do you respond to their grief? You may be dealing with a host of your own problems, and it feels like a heavy burden to sit and rock someone as they cry. Dear sister and dear brother we all are broken, and we all are grieving something. We all need to be held.

A neighbor mowed our lawn today. It means so much to me that they reached out. It is hard to accept aid from others, but that is the pride talking. Let others lift your burdens. What my neighbor did for us, enabled me to be present with Daniel. Jesus shared our burdens on the cross–he died to lighten our load! When we treat our neighbors as God treated us, we aren’t just sharing each others burdens, we share each other’s worth. You are valuable to me! You are a treasure! You are worth rocking and being held in your grief.

Join Me in my Tears

John 11:35 “Jesus wept.”

“Oh let me join you in your tears.” Natalie said cheerfully bouncing over to me last night as I broke down in tears during prayer time. After some great weeks, I once again feel as if my heart can’t withstand the loss of Jonathan. The silence of his presence is deafening! Sometimes I just need someone to join me in my tears.

Jesus didn’t have to cry. He knew what he was about to do. He didn’t say, “Buck up Mary, don’t you trust God, don’t you trust me?” He missed Lazarus too. Jonathan may be in heaven, but his body is still here. I truly believe that God mourns with us our loss. It may be temporary, I am learning to see Jonathan’s death in light of eternity, but Jesus had eternity in mind and still wept. Loss is real, loss is present, and loss is ongoing. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. I take comfort that Jesus joins me in my tears.

I Have Hope

Inspecting the pain blossoming in my soul,  I

Have tenacity that is nonsense in society’s chatter.

After all that I have experienced in my

Very short life, I have developed an

Eternal perspective that refuses to be held down! Jesus,

He was not a victim of sin, so I am not a victim of infliction! Helping others–my balm.

Opening my heart to infinite possibilities keeps me

Pressing through–pain is but a speck on my timeline and I

Expect good things from a God who hears.

Dusty Realities

Dreams–dusty realities

removing time and distance

Like a movement of dissidence, tucked into a symphony of

reason. You are a memory that makes no sense, resurrected by heartache,

sewn together by longing, until the persistent alarm shatters my dreams

to a heavy concrete world without you.

Turning the Page on Saturday: Embracing the Resurrection power of Sunday

“It is Only for the Weekend” was the sermon title at my in-laws church. God, who is not limited, doesn’t even operate in the limits of time, takes our circumstances whether good or bad and declares that they are temporary. Even death is now an unpredictable outcome for those who believe.

On our drive home Brian and I agreed that the heartache of missing Jonathan sure didn’t feel like only a weekend. “Feels like we are stuck on Saturday.” Brian said. Maybe your circumstances are like ours and you feel stuck in pain, your job, your life, your loss. The resurrection hasn’t happened or become an active part of our thinking, living, and dying. We are confused and reeling from plans not of our own making. We want to hide away, cry out, shake our fist at a God for allowing such agony into our lives. We would not map out the same path.

This is exactly how the disciples behaved after the crucifixion, the Romans guarded the tomb just in case the disciples tried to steal the body. They needn’t worry–the disciples were stuck on Saturday. When they started getting reports that Jesus was alive, most of the 12 did not go running to the tomb to confirm that it was empty and that Christ was indeed resurrected. They were in disbelief, and that was where they were likely going to stay if Jesus himself hadn’t walked through the door. I mean that literally, he waked through the closed and locked door.

Does Jesus have to walk through the closed and locked door of my heart for me to accept that his plan for my future is a good one? Or do I declare with my hands open to the heavens “BUT, SUNDAY!” The resurrection isn’t just an event that happened in history, it happens today when believers see the risen Christ in their lives and are transformed.

Lord, open my mind, heart, and soul to Sunday and help me to Turn the Page on Saturday! Amen.

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.

Perseverance: The “Hooah!” of Christian Discipleship

Romans 5: 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And 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.

My sciatic nerve is damaged. I have had pain every single day for the past eight years and it would be weird if one day the pain was suddenly gone. I have learned to adjust how I sit, stand and move to keep the pain at a tolerable level.  My grandfather, on the other hand, burnt his foot because his nerve receptors were destroyed and he didn’t know he had stepped on hot coals. Which would you rather?

Losing Jonathan hurts worse then any other pain I have experienced. I could try to avoid it, many do, or I can allow it to teach me perseverance. Some translations use the word endurance, but I see perseverance as the “Hooah!” of Christian discipleship. Perseverance comes from the gut of our spirit, and is an outward acknowledgment that I hear, understand, and obey the will of the Lord. When I persevere I am allowing God to draw out my character, which makes the impossible possible (hope) and displays God’s glory. At my core is the knowledge that God will not fail me.

Many of us endure trials, but not many allow those sufferings to complete the work in us so that we are not lacking anything (James 1).  That is what my suffering has the potential to do. Jonathan death motivates me to speak boldly on the behalf of others, to be aware of depression and suicide in a way that I never have before, and to seek the face of God every day. I know the pain will not always be this severe. But until that moment comes the pain is necessary and teaches me the discipline of perseverance. Hooah!!

Free Gift

Embrace hope in dark places.

Get three free printables of hope and encouragement when you sign up for my monthly newsletter.

.
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.