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A Birthday Lament

What We Ain’t Got by Jake Owens

I relate to this song – the lyrics – on so many levels. It’s Bethany’s Birthday. The singer, Jake Owens, is lamenting a lost girlfriend. Everyday I lament the children I’ve lost and Gracen’s degenerating health. How I long for what I once had! What I wouldn’t trade for the lives and health of my children! Cole, Bethany and Katie have moved on into their eternal futures, but I stagnate here filled with longing for what once was and what should have been. It’s true, “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped. . . ” It’s in those moments and the excruciating hours, days, weeks, months, and years when all of life is distilled down to the most important things – relationships and salvation of the soul. You don’t forget and you definitely don’t stop loving those who have moved on without you. 

No, you just desperately long for what you ain’t got!


Partial Lyrics below:

Third Verse
We all wish it didn’t hurt,
When you try your best and it doesn’t work,
And goodbye’s such a painful word,
We all wish it didn’t hurt.

Bridge
All I want is what I had,
I’d trade it all just to get her back,
She’s moving on, but I guess I’m not.
We all want what we ain’t got.

Ending
I wanted the world until my whole world stopped,
You know a love like that ain’t easily forgot.
I guess we all want what we ain’t got. 

 
Four years of longing . . . 

She should be 24. 

I had been married a year by that time. 

I think of all she’s missed out on in the last four years. Oh, I know that’s not technically true – as she lived every minute of her ordained days (Psalm 139:16). But my heart refuses to release what could have – what should have been – if we were not living in a fallen world. 

In the last four years I have prayed, thought, and felt these things:  

“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” ~ Psalm 13:1-2

“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.” ~ Psalm 31:9

“Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, . . . ?” ~ Jeremiah 20:18

 
And I have wondered why I have suffered sorrow upon sorrow. Why the Lord would not raise my children up (which I think has to do with the fact that Christ is no longer on earth. He is not performing miracles to fulfill the prophecies in order to verify His deity. That has already been established). Still my heart’s desire was to hear Him say “Arise!”, or “She is not dead, but asleep!”  

“Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the          only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”” ~ Luke 7:12-14

“Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.”” ~ Luke 8:52

“For indeed he [Epaphroditus – who labored with Paul for the gospel] was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.” ~ Philippians 2:27

 

But, alas, it was not to be. I must await God’s promise of redemption and reunion. I will mourn, wait, watch and endure for the joy set before me. And I will remember. . . 

“Bethany’s Song” written and performed by Emma Nilsson is a perfect way to remember and celebrate the woman Bethany was.

Bethany’s Song by Emma Nilsson

Complete Lyrics:  

She walked with a purpose,
strong head on her shoulders,
her laugh was infectious,
and those who know her know,
that she was fierce and fun combined.

She smiled as bright as she could allow,
She dreamed she loved she danced on clouds,
And those who know her know,
That she was walking sunshine.

Oh, Bethany,
It’s not how it’s supposed to be
But remembering you smiling, laughing, and oh so happy
Holds us in this tragedy.
Oh, Bethany,
We will love you for eternity.

She liked colors, especially in hair
She spoke her views without a care,
and to say she was bright
Wouldn’t quite justify her right.

And she found a love so strong,
Something so special when your young,
And the love is still alive
Through her spirit that flies.

Oh, Bethany
It’s not how it’s supposed to be
But remembering you smiling, laughing, and oh so happy
Holds us in this tragedy.
Oh, Bethany,
We will love you for eternity.

Oh, and it’s not fair,
Can’t be justified.
I could scream and shout
Cause this ain’t right.
But it wouldn’t be the light to shine,
On Bethany, 
Cause Bethany,

You walked with a purpose,
Strong head on your shoulders,
Your laugh was infectious,
And everyone who knows you knows this,
You deserved the best, 
Deserved happiness,
Which is what was there before this tragic death,
But you’ll always be, 
Our Bethany,
You’ll always be.

Oh, Bethany, 
You’ll always be.
We’ll always love you,
Always love you.

 

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Grief, Links, Music

 

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Tonight I Wanna Cry

Tonight I Wanna Cry, Keith Urban

Katie should be turning twenty this coming Thursday, October 19, 2017. I can’t even imagine the woman she would have grown into had she survived to see that day. 

I find myself so very sad – absolutely heartbroken that the days I could imagine a future for her are gone. 

This song is about a breakup – she left him – walked away. 

I know Katie didn’t walk away. . . but this sentiment still rings true in my heart, “The way that it was and could have been surrounds me” . . . 

Oh, how it hurts that what could have been will never be!

Lyrics

Alone in this house again tonight
I got the TV on, the sound turned down and a bottle of wine
There’s pictures of you and I on the walls around me
The way that it was and could have been surrounds me
I’ll never get over you walkin’ away

I’ve never been the kind to ever let my feelings show
And I thought that bein’ strong meant never losin’ your self-control
But I’m just drunk enough to let go of my pain
To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain
From my eyes
Tonight I wanna cry

Would it help if I turned a sad song on
“All By Myself” would sure hit me hard now that you’re gone
Or maybe unfold some old yellow lost love letters
It’s gonna hurt bad before it gets better
But I’ll never get over you by hidin’ this way

I’ve never been the kind to ever let my feelings show
And I thought that bein’ strong meant never losin’ your self-control
But I’m just drunk enough to let go of my pain
To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain
From my eyes
Tonight I wanna cry

I’ve never been the kind to ever let my feelings show
And I thought that bein’ strong meant never losin’ your self-control
But I’m just drunk enough to let go of my pain
To hell with my pride, let it fall like rain
From my eyes
Tonight I wanna cry


There’s no bottle of wine, I’m not drunk, and pride be damned, I just want to let go of all this pain, to let it fall like rain because all I want to do is cry. 

To cry out all the sadness and sorrow. . . 

all the regrets, longing and missed opportunities. . . 

 to release all those painful emotions like an exhaled breath . . . 

hoping that the next breath I draw will miraculously infuse my heart and mind with the peace that so often feels beyond my reach.

I just want to cry!

How I miss when we were us!

When Katie was mine to enjoy up close and personal.

The echoes of her laughter are fading. 

The feel of her hand in mine a distant memory. 

And silence reigns where chatter once filled every corner of my home.

I so much miss her presence. Her smile. Her – and who we were when she was here – when we were Us.


This is what the Lord says: “A sound was heard in Ramah. It was painful crying and much sadness. Rachel cries for her children. And she cannot be comforted, because her children are dead!” ~ Jeremiah 31:15 ICB

Like Rachel, there are days that I simply can’t be comforted. Days I refuse to be comforted because all but one of my children are dead! I could shroud their deaths in more positive language. I could say they are “living eternally” instead of using the harsh language of death. I could refer to the day of their deaths as their Heaven Date. But, I don’t want to use pretty words to disguise the painful reality that “they are no more”, as some Bible translations describe Rachel’s children. They are gone, not lost with the hope of being found and returned to me. They are dead and my heart wails out it’s despair.

Heaven is richer for Katie’s presence, but this world is far, far poorer in her absence. 

I can’t celebrate her presence in Heaven with any real sincerity because I am not yet a resident there. Instead, I struggle to find a way to celebrate what was, while living in this painful vacuum of her absence. 

It was never supposed to be like this and I desperately miss when she was mine!

Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert, When We Were Us

 

Partial Lyrics

God, I miss when you were mine

Back when that song was a song
I could sing along without thinkin bout you every time it came on
Every beat, every line, every word, every time
When a road was a road
I could roll on through without wishin that empty seat was you
Money was gas, dreams were dust
Love was fast and we were us

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2017 in Grief, Links, Music

 

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What is the Harvest of Tears?

Photo credit belongs to FreeBibleImages.org

 
My friend Melanie recently published a blogpost based upon Psalm 126:5-6, which reads, 

5 Those who walk the fields to sow, casting their seed in tears,
    will one day tread those same long rows, amazed by what’s appeared.

6 Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs Will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest.

Psalm 126:5-6

In brief, it’s an important discussion about choosing to cling to God in obedient faith instead of the temporal things of this world (including those we love). Follow the link below to read this short post about costly obedience.

Costly Obedience | The Life I Didn’t Choose

Psalm 126:5-6 has long been a verse dear to my heart. It was a promise I could cling to after Cole’s death. I inscribed it across the bottom of every birth announcement mailed when Bethany Joy arrived 17 months after her brother was stillborn. She was the literal manifestation of the harvest from my promise keeping heavenly Father, but . . . and this is important. . . 

really important. . . 

the joyful harvest was never dependent upon her survival. 

Before she was ever born I understood, I was painfully aware in fact, and very very fearful, that the harvest greeted with joyful singing might only occur in Heaven. I believe that one day Cole will be a part of my long awaited harvest. I believed that then and I believe it now.

They that sow in tears will reap in joy (KJV) was the mantra that circulated though my mind throughout the duration my pregnancy. Others were quick to tell me that everything would be okay this time . . . which frustrated me beyond belief. 

To speak your fear out loud, to have it validated as a legitimate concern, loosens fear’s suffocating grip because you are no longer the only steward of truth. 

Two things allow fear to grow, isolated silence, and flippant dismissal. 

What I needed was someone to acknowledge the truth that while it was unlikely that I would lose another child, there were no guarantees that I would not leave the hospital empty handed once more. Over the course of three subsequent pregnancies, I never again counted my chickens before they hatched. There was always a part of my heart held in reserve – the part where naïveté was replaced with frank reality. 

There were other verses that competed for my attention among the cacophony of swirling thoughts and fears during my pregnancy. One of significance was Psalm 127:3 – specifically the King James Version. The Bible translation in this instance is important because different versions appear to communicate different things. Check out the versions below and see if you agree:

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” King James Version

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” New Living Translation 

Twenty-five years ago I wasn’t spending much time comparing Bible translations. Instead I meditated upon scripture as it was presented in my personal study Bible. I struggled to understand exactly what it meant to be “an heritage of the LORD.” But the last half of the verse impacted me most. I meditated on the King James translation and understood it literally as it was written . . .”the fruit of the womb is HIS reward”, not “[children] are a reward FROM Him.” Such a small but significant difference. I interpreted that phrase to mean that my children were literally His prize. And when you consider that in relation to Colossians 1:16b, it makes perfect sense:

“. . . all things were created by him, and for him:” (KJV)

He created Cole, Bethany, Katie, Gracen, David (my husband) and me for Himself. 

The NLT version of Psalms 127:3, it tells me that my children were created by Him as a gift to me – a reward for something I’ve done. 

Maybe both translations are correct (although it’s hard to understand how one earns the reward of parenthood). Many times I have found that scripture has a broader meaning than I initially was able to comprehend. Regardless, I approached Bethany’s birth with fear and trepidation reminding myself that the fruit of the womb is His reward, not mine. Who’s to say if my rejoicing would take place this side of heaven? God knows there are plenty of parents who have planted their seed, their children, back into the soil beneath their feet and are anxiously and sorrowfully enduring the wait for the harvest of our eternal souls. 

I don’t know about anyone else but I am so very weary of sowing in tears. Recent events in our country lead me to believe that I am not the only one who feels this way.

As Melanie’s post makes clear, we can either cling to the things of this world or to God in faithful obedience. 

I don’t think I am clinging tightly to my loved ones anymore. I think the futility of that practice has sunken deep into the very marrow of my bones. My palm is open, primarily because grasping to hold onto that which can so easily be snatched from it, is as exhausting as it is futile. 

But . . . I’m not quite sure that I am clinging to Jesus either. 

It “feels” as if I am clinging to His promises more than to the promise keeping Savior, Himself. 

The nuance nags at me. 

I can’t decide if I’m splitting hairs or if, in fact, at least one more scary and deeply painful trip through the Refiner’s fire will be required in order to strip away every last thing I might latch onto in place of God Himself. 

Am I living in obedience or desperately grasping for anything . . . anything . . . that makes me “feel” better instead of actually getting better? 

Promises make me feel better. 

The Savior . . . well it’s complicated. 

It’s easier, less painful, to anchor myself to His promises instead of to the God who allowed the deep wounds in the first place.

I know that God is the guarantor of every promise. 

I know that the Holy Spirit serves as the earnest deposit securing my soul.

I know I can have confidence in His promises because of who God is, but I’m not confident that clinging to His promises is the same as clinging to Him.

In fact, I think they are two distinctly different things.

Has my heart rejected Christ in favor of His promises because I associate Him with the deep wounds that have been inflicted upon my heart?

Do I subconsciously blame God for the events that took my children from me and for the progressive disease that is systematically destroying Gracen’s body, instead of blaming the Devil, my true adversary and the author of lies who relentlessly seeks whom he might destroy?

Truthfully, the idea that I blame God for Satan’s actions doesn’t feel accurate. 

I honestly believe (know to be true) that sin and Satan and the fall of man are to blame for all my suffering, but it’s harder to determine if I harbor animosity and resentment toward my Savior for choosing not to intervene and thwart the plans of the enemy. 

I don’t want to look too closely. 

I don’t want to examine my heart!

Yet the questions beg an answer.

Am I resentfully resigned to the sovereignty of God? 

Am I clinging to animosity instead of acceptance? 

And then I ponder . . . 

Are resignation and acceptance the same thing? Does it matter?

Both recognize that there are things beyond our control but resignation is perceived in a negative light, as a defeatist attitude, because of its association with quitting or giving up a job, for example. (Not that leaving a job is a negative experience, just that “I resign” can be stated just as accurately as, “I quit”). On the other hand, acceptance is perceived in a more favorable light because we associate it with positive things. We accept a gift or a job. It carries a connotation of approval. We accept an individual into our circle of friends. 

Research tells me that both resignation and acceptance are synonyms for acquiescence (reluctant agreement). In my opinion, a good definition for resignation is unresisting submission or acquiescence whereas acceptance is well defined as willing tolerance without approval. 

I really don’t think God cares whether we accept or resign ourselves to His plans. I think He’s more concerned about the attitude with which we do either. Of the questions above, resentment and animosity matter more to God than resignation or acceptance.

Still these questions swirl around inside, and I find myself reminded that the heart is deceitfully wicked, that no one other than God knows and understands it. (Jeremiah 17:9)

So, It’s not surprising that I can’t unequivocally answer those questions.

I can’t resolve the confusion in my heart over clinging to God’s promises or clinging to God Himself, or even correctly discerning my feelings toward God as a result of the circumstances in my life. It’s not that I want to ignore those issues because I think they are important. But, my introspective nature has led me to decide that the confusion is irrelevant because I know that the Refiner of Silver, Almighty God, will not allow ugly impurities to hide unacknowledged, even in minuscule quantities, within the silver of my soul. The God who created and loves me is never satisfied with anything less than what’s best for me. He takes me places I have no desire to go, even if I sow in tears every step of the way – for my eternal good. 

Always and only for my eternal good.

And when God works in your life, His goals are the same as they are for mine. They may play out through very different circumstances, but whatever He allows to transpire in your life, even if those things result in tears, will always and only be for your eternal good.

For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 1:6 Berean Study Bible

The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. ~ Psalm 138:8 New American Standard Bible

He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Berean Study Bible

We are all the fruit of the womb. God, Himself, sowed in tears when He sent His son to the cross. Everything that is for our eternal good increases the harvest – the labor of God’s heart and hands – you and I are God’s reward. 

We are the harvest of tears.


By the way, in regards to resignation or acceptance –  acceptance may sound more positive but I’d rather respond to God in unresisting submission and acquiescence than I would in willing tolerance without approval. That’s just the rebellious way I roll!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Faith, Grief, Links, Muscular Dystrophy

 

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Is There Life Out There?

“I don’t need any more accidents in my life.” (From the video above).

That just resonates within.

I really don’t need any more accidents—any more tragedies in this life.

And the partial lyrics below resonate as well in the aftermath of death and this pilgrimage we are taking through degenerative disease.

IS THERE LIFE OUT THERE - Reba McEntire

". . . 
But now she's wonderin' 
What she's living for 
. . . 
She's dyin' to try something foolish 
Do something crazy 
Or just get away 
. . . 
There's a place in the sun that she's never been 
Where life is fair and time is a friend 
Would she do it the same as she did back then 
She looks out the window and wonders again 

Chorus 

Is there life out there 
So much she hasn't done 
Is there life beyond Her family and her home 
She's done what she should 
Should she do what she dares 
She doesn't want to leave 
She just wonders
if there's life out there

I’m still wondering what my purpose is.

And doing something foolish or crazy or getting away from all that’s gone before—all that’s yet to come? I can’t even imagine what that would feel like.

I would do the same as I did before, and I don’t want to leave.

I just wonder if there really is a place in the sun—if there is something more in THIS world—something that doesn’t hurt out there. . .

For me.

And I wonder if other bereaved parents, other special needs parents, want to know that too.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Links, Music

 

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If 2013 Broke Your Heart… | Urban Hallelujah

Sometimes it feels like all we will ever know is the refiner’s fire. I am no Biblical scholar, but in rare moments I have wondered if the people who suffer the most trials and tribulations on this earth are paradoxically the most blessed of all people, because as the blogpost below points out, our burdens, trials, tribulations and just plain sucky circumstances force us to either get bitter or to lean on the Lord. 

I’ve observed many Christians over the years (those that seem to encounter an unusual amount of hardships) repeatedly chose to lean on the Lord.  Somehow, I think people interpret that to mean that the circumstances become easier to deal with, but I don’t think that’s true at all. The lightening of the load comes from trusting there is a purpose, a plan and even on the days when that’s not enough (because there will be those days) you know deep in your soul that He is there and you are not alone. Alone in bad circumstances is profoundly worse than having the Holy Spirit within you in the midst of your bad situation. 

I am so grateful for the encouragment I’ve received from those who have done little more than trudge their way through problem after problem, trial after trial serving as a living Bible for me and others to read. Most were completely unaware that anyone was observing their faithful walk. My prayer is that you and I will have eyes to see the work of the Lord and ears to hear what He says to the church (for that is what we are collectively) so that when our time comes to walk through the fire we instinctively follow the example displayed before us in better days. 

He is doing a new thing, but sometimes, we, like the wilderness wandering Israelites want nothing more than to return to the old, the familiar, the comfortable existence we once complained about. The known is less frightening than the unknown new thing God has planned for us. It takes courage to move into our new reality. Courage to face the raging Red Sea. Courage to walk across the seabed blown dry by the breath of God who is holding back the towering wall of water on either side of us. The Christian life requires the courage to allow God to have His way and to follow along behind Him as He leads us to places we never wanted to venture. And God knows this. 

He knows!

That’s why he told Joshua repeatedly to be strong and very (yes, He used that word!) courageous. It takes far more strength and courage to surrender your efforts, let go of your plans, and take the hand that reaches back for us, securely leading us into the vast and frightening unknown, than it takes to strive to control the chaos around us through our own dogged determination. 

Faith and trust are the hallmarks of courage.

When you exercise your faith and trust in God, you are bravely courageous!

Please follow the link below because it doesn’t matter what year broke your heart – we all end up broken at some point.

 

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it… 2 Corinthians 1:8 Each Christmas, my husband and I search the city over, in pursui…

Source: If 2013 Broke Your Heart… | Urban Hallelujah

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Adversity, Faith, Links

 

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No, No, No!

My heart lies in tatters once again as I hear of the loss of another son, another grandson. It’s personal this time. People I know and love . . . the second such family in two months time . . . it makes me nauseous.

Oh, how helpless I feel!

I don’t want to be there to help. . .

No, no, no!

I want to rewind the clock so this is not their present stunned and horrified reality!

I want to save them from this anguish like none other.

And since I can’t. . .

I want to draw them close and catch their tears.

I want to receive and heal their broken and distraught hearts.

I want to listen to every painful word and let them know they are loved.

That God still loves them—will still be faithful to them—that there are mercies.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed because his mercies never diminish. They are new every morning; great is thy faith[fulness].” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23 (Jubilee Bible 2000)

There is no silver lining! Nothing will ever make this loss acceptable or justify it for the family even when a good work of the Lord is later revealed. Silver linings imply that this horrible loss can be wrapped up in some future good, tied with a pretty bow and completely nullify the bad. The bad is made good.  Mercies, on the other hand, are blessings within and after and in spite of any tragedy.

There are mercies!

He can take the shattered pieces of our lives and in time make something good and beautiful but still cracked and scarred for all to see. He can make us beautifully broken but never unblemished by the ravages of sin in this world.

And everyday from the moment of loss until my friends step into eternity there will be mercies.

Small mercies in the midst of overwhelming sorrow and despair.

God doesn’t promise to fix this in the here and now. He promises to draw close, to catch our tears. He promises to be faithful to us. He promises new mercies every day.

Here I sit several states away and I can’t ignore the parallel that lies before me. I am afar off but the wonders of technology allow me to be close via phones, social media, Skype, cars and planes.

In many ways I can immediately respond if my friends reach out.

But they know I can’t wiggle my nose and be in actual hugging distance instantly.

They know that God sees them, and responds immediately to their call for help . . . but at the same time they are separated from His physical touch.

Consequently, the bereaved often feel alone, abandoned and betrayed. Please don’t correct these feelings. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you feel the same? Validate those feelings! It’s not sinful to feel any of those things. Hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah:

“My soul has been cast far away from peace; I have forgotten happiness.
So I say, “My strength has perished And so has my hope and expectation from the Lord.”~ Lamentations 3:17-18 (Amplified Bible)

In many ways grieving families are simply inconsolable.

They don’t want to be consoled . . .

They want to go back!

Back to the moments before their lives were so tragically changed.

Three years later I can testify to this truth:  while life moves relentlessly forward there are parts of a parent’s heart that stand still in shocked horror indefinitely.

How can this be?

Surely, this is not real?

I’ll wake up from this nightmare!

God, please let me awake from this nightmare! 

Let it all be a terrible dream . . . a horrible mistake.

Please God, take this cup from me!

Yet the die has been cast and lives have unraveled in unimaginable ways.

Every sight thereafter will be seen through a lens of grief. Every written and spoken word filtered through grief. Every joyous event that follows will not be felt with pure, unblemished joy as in the past but will be bittersweet—tainted by the fact that you are no longer whole and you long for the presence of the one out of reach.

Faith will be shaken.

Minds fogged by confusion and fear, anger and frustration, and a sorrow so deep they will never find its limits.

They are shattered.

Not merely broken.

Utterly shattered!

Thus saith the Lord: A voice was heard on high of lamentation, of mourning, and weeping, of Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not. ~ Jeremiah 31:15 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Mourn with those who mourn!

Weep with those who weep!

God’s mercies will be new every single morning.

He has His job; we have ours.

Today, once again, I mourn for and with others. Won’t you join with me and carry those who grieve before the throne of grace?

Anguished prayers for parents, siblings and family as a whole rise in begging supplication for God’s mercies to rain down—for His presence and love to wash over every shattered heart—for this to be nothing more than a terrible dream!

The desperate prayer of my heart to see faith made sight is far more urgent today.

“Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cry for help! Do not ignore my sobbing! For I am dependent on you, like one residing outside his native land; I am at your mercy, just as all my ancestors were.” ~ Psalm 39:12 (NET Bible) 

If you know of a bereaved family, please pray them through the holidays. If you don’t, please pray for the VanGulick, Vickers and Williams families who will each be missing their son, sibling or grandson while others gather with intact families and celebrate together. These families are secure in their confidence that Harry and O’rane will celebrate Christ’s birth in His presence; but their hearts will ache with the absence of their presence (as my friend Melanie is known to say). Please cry out to Jesus on their behalf!


*Follow the link below to read more about the beautiful sculpture pictured above. It’s only a few brief paragraphs.

Rachel Weeping for her Children Sculpture

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Faith, Grief, Links

 

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How to Help a Breaking Heart Because You Have One & So Does Everyone Else

This post was written by Ann Voskamp. I copied it from her blog, A Holy Experience, as it seems readers don’t like following links within a blog post and I really want you to read this – to soak it in. The formatting is a bit different here. My blog doesn’t have as many bells and whistles. You can click on the link in red above if you’d like to read the post with its original formatting.

Ann Voskamp has mastered the art of capturing important truths in a single sentence and this article is chock full of them. It’s not an easy read for the deeply wounded — primarily because your heart might chafe at the hard truths it reveals. But those truths, when the time is right, might help a broken believer get back on their feet again. I hope you will read it, and maybe save it and return to it on occasion, in order that it might take root in your heart and ground you in truths that will sustain you when you need someone to get the saw. So buckle up; here goes. . .

 

Someday,

they say this is true like coming taxes and the grave —

Your heart will break.

You may not feel the the crack of it, but you may feel the bleed.

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Your chest may pain to the touch and you may want someone to break your chest wall down, to get to you, to not leave you alone in the ache pressing, the way it’s hard to breathe.

So, this is hard but true: you will need someone to get a saw.

You will need a fine, sharp blade and an oscillating saw and you will need to let them saw through the sternum of you, crack open your chest wall.

Sit with that a moment: Your skeletal armour will have to break if anyone is ever to get to your heart.

This is a hard thing:

You must surrender to a breaking that must happen if you want any of your brokenness to heal.

I hadn’t known this or felt this — but I have now and I cannot forget. 

You may need to let your right pulmonary artery be cut away and sutured directly to your superior vena cava. At least, that’s what the surgeon told us, told us what would have to happen to her little broken heart.

And this is a harder thing —  You have to trust that the breaking of your heart will heal you into a kind of stronger. 

The greatest strength can grow straight out of the greatest weakness. The universe is a beautiful place, made in the strangest ways. I AM knows who we are and what we need.

And the people who love you, right in the midst of the aching? They will need to be brave. (Sometimes the greatest courage is to trust enough to let go.)

They will need to hope that miracles can make a home right inside of broken peopleThey will need to believe that broken things can become new things.

(Sometimes your people may have to pace in waiting rooms, 8 hours, more, because broken hearts need time. When you’re busted and bruised… people around you may have to kill the clock. Because — broken hearts don’t heal on anyone’s timelines.)

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Please be gentle with yourself; grant yourself grace and time. Any kind of heart break will land you in a kind of ICU. It’s true: A heart has to be monitored if you’re ever going to survive. This too will take patient time, a quiet suffering of its own.

Listen to the beat of your own heart. Listen to what it’s telling you, to the rhythm it wants you to keep. Listen to the bravery of your beats — believe that your heart is pounding together something new. This is how He made a heart to work. Listen to this and rest.The way to recover is to cover everything with grace.

Take all the time you need to find out for yourself how this is the most proven kind of true:  

The best kind of intensive care for a broken heart is to let the words of Christ intensively care for you. 

This can be hard to swallow—- when we want easy serum for our veins, cheap comfort bought with plastic, quick fixes that cost little and let us be fine without refining anything. But if you let His Word wash your wounds, let His grace caress your pain, let His Truth touch your bruises, let His hope heal your ache, you can feel a kind of resurrection on earth. His promises are more than true — they are your resuscitation. 

Turn to the window and wait for the sun to rise, to keep always rising. Never stop being surprised that it does, never get over the miracle that you get to see it. 

It’s okay to let the tears come, to weep over all this pain, all this love, all this beauty, all this brokenness and the hard roads that we somehow find ourselves walking, forcing one step in front of the other.

It’s okay to let someone trace the scar down the middle of you and to touch your holy brave and bear witness that your fight is hard and sacred.

It’s okay for you to feel along your wounds wired closed and wonder why you have had to warrior through all of this.

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And it can happen that they find out in recovery, that when they broke open your chest walls to get to you, when they broke your broken heart in different ways so healing could happen in new ways, that somehow your lung’s collapsed —- and that’s why each breath hurts.

Even though you’re in recovery, you’re still in pain.This can happen. And somehow you still have to keep breathing through the ache. 

Sometimes you can’t experience full recovery until you let your pain be fully uncovered.

You have to be a willing brave, if you want more. 

And when you don’t know how? 

When you don’t feel brave? 

When it all feels too hard?

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Turn and look up into someone eye’s and let yourself be seen and touched and known.

Let yourself hear it, and let it reverberate through the hurting chambers of you and let yourself never forget:

Pieces of your broken heart mend when you make peace with what He gives. 

The healing has begun.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Faith, Links

 

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