Category Archives: Encouragement

Friday…<3

Happy Friday!

We got home late Wednesday and yesterday was my day with the band of brothers and Princess Caroline…so…needless to say I am tapped out in the brain this morning.

I will give a huge shoutout to all the young moms and dads out there because … have mercy…what you do is E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G.

And…mind-numbingly repetitive…

and thankless…

and frustrating.

But you are raising up decent little human beings and providing for their needs while training them to make good choices.

You might think…

as I did yesterday whilst holding a baby on my hip as I prepared dinner and wished I had a third hand to wipe the constantly dripping noise…meanwhile answering Emmett’s same question for the ten zillionth time and pulling Joel out of the pantry …in between telling Graham how many minutes were left on the timer for his reading homework…every thirty seconds…

that you are losing your mind.

However I can tell you…

you will look back on all of this one day and know in your heart…

it was just a long string of Best. Days. Ever.

And all of us out here on the other side say a big huge THANK YOU for everything you do.

It all matters and we love you for the care you give your little ones.

You will make it.

All of you.

So just keep plugging away and take up every offer of help that comes down the pike…you deserve it.

<3

Deep Healing…Some overlooked aspects of prayer <3

When in the throes of grief, our prayers at first can mostly center on triage.

Lord, stop the source of the insanity of this season and stop the pain.

Please.

Sooner, rather than later would be good.

As we progress through the early stages, if we continue to keep open and honest in our communications with the Lover of our souls…He begins to move us through some of the dross removal that we slogged through this past week.

The sifting and refining in the midst of the grieving and regretting can be …

sorry for all the “ing’s” but I am on a roll(ing)…

gut-wrenching, mind-blowing and best of all…

soul-cleansing.

Ok, I’m done “ing”ing for today. Hope it wasn’t too annoying…oops…

Hey, it’s Friday so thought I would throw a little levity in as we switch gears and move into…the … wait for it…

HealING 

part of this series.

I find as I cooperate with God’s work in my own heart during times of loss and grief, allowing Him to remove more of my selfish tendencies and tunnel vision, He begins to open my heart to deeper levels of prayer.

We do not experience deep loss alone.

Our lives are intricately woven into the lives of others – family, friends, associates, people who serve us and people we serve, and most importantly the Body of Christ to which we belong.

When one of us is hurting, we all hurt and so as God begins to work in us the first stages of healing, we need to look outside of our own wounded selves and begin praying for others who are also experiencing pain as a result of the circumstances.

I came across a printed copy of an email I sent a dear friend during one of these times.

While I remember very well what we were going through, I do not remember typing the words.

It was an apology for not being a very good friend to her in a time of need in her own life. I apparently was aware that she needed a level of love and comfort and support that I was unable to give in that moment.

My words assured her that I loved her dearly but my current season of loss had come quickly on top of several other seasons and I was temporarily sidelined.

I know that I would never have been aware of my negligence in offering appropriate comfort to this gentle and always-kind-to-everyone-even-the-mean-girls friend if I had not been asking God to make me aware of others around me who were hurting.

Even though I did not feel I had anything to give, at least the Lord prompted me to reach out with what little was left to share.

Our friendship today is intact because prayer led me to be honest and real with her about my distance in her time of need.

I don’t remember writing my confession to her, but I very much remember two broken women linking arms around each other and limping into some deep healing.

In seasons of pain, our human instinct is to crawl to the back of some dark cave and lick the wounds until we can emerge with the semblance of being healed.

How much better to open those wounds wide to our loving Father and ask Him to cleanse them so that they can heal properly.

Heavenly Father, You know me so well. In times when I am hurting, I tend to think only of myself and the pain of this moment. Remind me, LORD, that You died so I would could be free. Keep me from hiding in myself when I am wounded and draw me ever into Your Presence. Even when I would focus only on my current setting, constantly show me others who need Your light in their darkness. Lead me ever into greater places of intimacy with You, Lord, and as You pour into me, may the overflow splash onto others. <3

 

 

 

A little break since it’s Thursday <3

The last couple of days have been a little intense for me…maybe for you as well.

So just a simple word of encouragement to you today and then we will pick up and finish with the last few thoughts I have on the Deep Healing Series in the next few posts.

Deal?

I hope so.

Deep wounds need deep healing and while it is a very personal and individually unique process, there are commonalities we all can relate to.

Sometimes when I have struggled longer than most people would have thought necessary to get over some kind of painful experience, I have wondered why God continues to bother with me because even I am getting a little tired of dealing with myself.

Then I remember how He is an equipping God and when He commands us to do something, He also gives us the ability to follow through.

And Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.

To love Him with your WHOLE heart..your complete heart…your 100% intact heart…

.and it occurs to me that in order to have a whole and complete heart…sometimes we need the Heart Doctor to mend that puppy and put it back together.

Psalm 34:18 promises that God is close to those who are broken hearted. I love the translation that says He is “nigh unto”…old English for snuggled up right beside, I think…and it says He saves those who are crushed in spirit.

We can take encouragement that our God is not just putting up with our aching hearts…but that He is pressed up against it, gathering the pieces in His loving hands and shaping it more into the image of His own heart.

He loves us so much and He is working diligently to make our hearts whole and holy.

Be blessed today and as you thank Him for the way He loves you, remember and obey the second commandment…to love others as you love yourself. Think how deeply you are holding on to the love you are receiving and then look for ways to extend it…with His help…to others <3

What to do with the memories <3

This little man is the first one that made us grandparents.

He still asks me if I can pick him up and I just barely can.

I am not sure which will be harder…the day I can’t…or the day he doesn’t ask.

A few weeks ago we had a slumber party at a hotel with a pool for him and his brother.

In the morning as we packed things up, he looked at me deep in the eye…which is often the way he looks at me and said so wistfully….

I wish it was yesterday. 

I asked him why and he said then we could just be starting.

From the mouths of babes.

As we continue our series on Deep Healing this week, I am starting out with those poignant reminders that come out of nowhere and pierce the heart and soul.

We live in an age with constant visual reminders of our past.

Photographs tucked in boxes, the “memory” notice that comes up on Social Media, old acquaintances who want to catch up on our life as we stand in the middle of a store or the sidelines of a football game.

Caught off guard, we can find ourselves awash in grief all over again as we struggle to find that footing we thought we had secured.

As I was putting my thoughts down for this section, I came up with the word “wistful” for Graham that morning.

Looking up the meaning today I find it is defined perfectly for the feelings these moments evoke in us as we are in the early stages of healing…

wistful ….having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing

Yes, that’s it.

A vague longing that is like a cavern that only fills itself with more emptiness.

There is an ache there as we are reminded and a sorrow knowing we can not go back and a sting wondering if what we thought we had was a lie all along.

It is a difficult place, this sorting through memories.

And as in all things healing, the only place to really take them is to the Lord.

Ask Him what to do with the physical reminders such as photos and tokens that are tied to those severed relationships.

Get rid of what you need to … find a safe place to stow what you can’t until you can…literally lift them and the accompanying emotions to Him and breathe deeply from His strength.

I truly believe the tears are cleansing so cry as needed and then let Him wipe them away.

Forgive the awkwardness of these words today.

This is such an individual reality in grief and each person experiences so differently so for now I want to just say a prayer for us and tomorrow we will look at what some of these feelings can reveal as we lay them before the One who knows us and loves us perfectly <3

Heavenly Father,

Like little Graham, we can be a wistful child when we come across reminders of lost love, relationship, position, status.

We see the smiling faces of a joyful season that has been taken from us unnaturally and sorrow mocks us.

It is no longer a milestone in our story. Now it is a shredded piece of the tapestry that was our journey.

Like a photograph torn in half, only portions of the past remain tangible and we are left missing sections of who we thought we were.

It is in these moments that we pray no root of bitterness to form.

We pray that we would not look at others’ intact lives and allow that to influence our understanding of Your love and mercy and grace over us.

Instead we pray for guidance in how to move forward.

We pray for mercy gifts when those unexpected reminders crop up.

We pray for honesty in facing the truth of our circumstances and for renewed hope in the future.

Most of all, Lord we pray, that none of this season be wasted.

Let it be used for Your glory, in Your timing and in Your way.

Thank you for Your Presence in our grief.

Thank You for your sufficiency in our emptiness.

Thank You for Your comfort in our sadness.

Thank You that nothing we experience has not first passed through You and that we are never alone  <3

Because sometimes people are kinda like the cable company

I have been working around the house today catching up on cleaning and chores.

As I worked, I prayed and I pondered about our next step in this series of Deep Healing and how to share enough and not too much and generally word it so you can apply it to your circumstances; yet honestly and transparently so that you know it’s from my heart based on  my own experiences.

One of my tasks for the to do list was to call the provider for our internet.

When we moved here we found out we have one choice for that and to put it mildly, they simply do not have a great reputation for service, support, pricing, communication…etc etc etc.

It is the company we left many years ago for those very reasons and evidently they continue to embrace this method of business practice.

Making a long story short, we have made multiple calls and been told a variety of different things. Even though we have clearly stated on every call what we got out of the conversation; and each time, the person on the other end affirmed that indeed we had…

nope.

Not happening that way after all.

And I can get as mad and offended as humanly possible and vent the unfairness to the next customer service rep I get, but basically he or she will cheerily apologize for my inconvenience and either do nothing or make matters worse.

Because the truth is.

The rep and the company Do. Not. Care.

And that’s the crux of the start of our series.

The kind of deep wounding we have been talking about is the kind that comes from someone who let us down, or bailed out on us, or sold us out and they really don’t care.

If they cared, there would be a measure of healing at the start of the pain.

We could understand if someone was bothered by the fact that their choices and actions completely changed the trajectory of our life.

But when we are wounded by someone who was supposed to be on our side and now that one has basically said with words or actions…to us or to someone we cherish…

Your pain because of my decisions does not matter.

You aren’t worth it to me to work this out.

See ya.

Even as I type that I feel the stab in my chest.

At those times our first response to God might be to tell Him how unfair all of this is.

How we, or our people, do not deserve to be so unloved and disregarded.

For me this step is a process that can take a while and comes with a mixed bag of emotions that can include anger, depression, despair, bitterness and a deep wounding to my spirit that makes me withdraw into myself.

On a constant loop.

I don’t want to talk to anyone human because to voice what has been done makes it real

Personally, I don’t think this is a bad response unless I turn to any kind of substance to numb pain or allow myself to simply wallow in this season with only my own thoughts and solutions.

To turn to God in this initial shock is the only way to begin the process of healing.

Because it is in these times that God meets the full vent of my emotional roller coaster and speaks words of TRUTH.

So here are some things that I have gained in this process…not all the things…and certainly they are based on my experiences and personality and wiring and faith journey…but I pray in sharing that you will perhaps gain a different perspective on your own pain or that of someone you care about.

<3 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, but fear the Lord and turn from evil and thus receive healing for your body and refreshment for your soul.   Proverbs 2:5-9     my paraphrase 

Sometimes/often it seems as if God, Himself is the one who bailed on me. Since I believe He is Sovereign and able to do anything…why couldn’t He make it work out or kept me from going into the situation to begin with. As I vent, I find that I have to acknowledge that I am holding some of those wild emotions towards the God I love and who died for me and I have to come to terms with it.

Oswald Chambers refers to these times as when God will appear like an unkind friend.

It is in these times that I find I am so thankful I drew a line in the sand of my life at some point and said….no matter what…You are good and You are kind. You are my God and I will trust You even if I NEVER understand what happened and why.

Burying myself in His Word instead of my grief reminds me of who He is and when the waves overtake me, it is by faith that I say what I know until I can feel it again.

<3   It was good for me to be afflicted that I might learn your decrees.  Psalm 119:71  NLT

After about the zillionth time that I tell God how we didn’t deserve to be treated like that, and I get absolutely no divine pat on the back and affirmation that, by golly, we are too darn good to experience pain…I start to get quiet.

In the silence I realize what I am actually saying to the God of the Universe who, by the way, sent His sinless Son to the Cross on my sorry behalf.

Then I start getting really quiet.

It’s an uncomfortable place as I start to recognize the sin of pride and entitlement that are rather pervasive in little ways that I had not noticed before.

A driver cuts me off and I feel a surge of rage because I was obeying traffic laws and this crazy guy just about clipped my bumper.

I get overlooked as I wait in line for an appointment or to pick up an order.

I have to come back tomorrow because the post office closed two minutes ago and my clock says it’s straight 4 PM

I have to return a box to the internet office because the girl that arranged our wireless charges assumed I wanted TV too..

You get the idea.

Entitlement

Pride

“I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

That’s a hard one when you are in the midst of grief and sorrow at the hand of someone.

And if your toes hurt right now, just remember … mine have been stomped on mightily.

<3 He was despised and rejected…a man of sorrows acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care.   Isaiah 53:3    NLT

Here is the richest treasure, my friend.

When I go to the Cross, I realize that my own “righteousness” is non-existent.

Any good I thought I did that should have bought me insurance against pain is suddenly exposed for what it is. Maybe a nice effort…but my motives even on my best days are tainted with self.

In the midst of my sorrow and pain, when I finally acknowledge that the other party made a choice and it wasn’t for me and mine but for something or someone else…I acknowledge the rejection and realize..wow..this is just a small sample of what Christ felt.

As I am humbled…the sin of my own selfish ways revealed, I can move from the foot of the Cross to the arms of my Lord.

It is then that I begin take those tears and despair, the depression and anger, the pain and shame, the fear of how the future will play out now and the questions about the truth of the past now that it is darkened by my new normal and I can finally move right up to His own wounded side.

I hold up the shattered pieces of my own heart, and in prayer, the hearts of those I love and I begin to truly release them into that nail-scarred hand.

And I can cry with Him and rest in Him and lean on Him as I have never done before.

His suffering and my suffering blended now and this is the start of where He can work the deep healing I so desperately need.

It’s a journey, my friend…one we share with Him.

This is the hardest one I will post in this half of the series…most likely….maybe not…we shall see…<3

Go put some ice on those bruised toes…pray for what He might be saying to you…sit down next to your Savior and let Him minister to you….and I will see you back here on Monday.