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Hope for the Hurting

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah the prophet says . . .

21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 25 The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. ~ Lamentations 3:21-26, 32-33 (American Standard Version)

Please, please, please, don’t rush by verse 33! In fact, below are several different translations of this verse. Meditate upon it. We do not love and serve a cruel a God! We love and serve a righteous and loving God! Look for the nuance, the subtle differences in translations below: 

For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. (NIV)
For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. (NLT)
For He does not enjoy bringing affliction or suffering on mankind. (HCSB)
For he does not deliberately hurt or grieve human beings. (ISV)
For he is not predisposed to bring affliction or suffering to the children of men. (NHEB)
For he does not afflict nor grieve the sons of men from his heart. (JB)
For he hath not willingly afflicted, nor cast off the children of men. (DRB)
For He hath not afflicted with His heart, Nor doth He grieve the sons of men.(YLT)

These translations speak to the character and integrity of God Almighty. They are in direct contradiction to the allegations leveled against God and His Word in the world today. 

God is not predisposed to willingly, or deliberately, hurt human beings. He does not enjoy bringing affliction, sorrow, pain or suffering to mankind. Neither does He cause grief nor cast off anyone from a heart filled with evil or cruelty.

Understanding those truths are so important to the grieving because the why question always begs to be answered and rarely is. The very foundation of a Christian’s faith is built upon the character, integrity, and power of God. And that power, oh, it trips us up! Because God didn’t intervene—and He could have. He could have but He didn’t protect the body of the deceased. He allowed the incomprehensible—the inconsolable to happen. But as Paul Harvey famously requested day after day on his radio broadcast, tune in for the rest of the story.

Before you vilify God when death comes calling consider Isaiah 57:1-2 in the Amplified version,

The righteous man perishes [at the hand of evil], and no one takes it to heart;
Faithful and devout men are taken away, while no one understands
That the righteous person is taken away [to be spared] from disaster and evil.
He enters into peace [through death];
They rest in their beds (graves),
Each one who walked uprightly [following God’s will, living with integrity].

And while our hearts stubbornly refuse to be comforted, the truth remains—there is a measure of consolation in understanding that your loved one has been spared future disaster and evil. There is consolation in knowing they are at peace, that Heaven is their home and reunion awaits.

But . . .

Hear this well!

Heaven and reunion are far off concepts for the parents, siblings and other individuals with a close, personal relationship with the deceased following the funeral when living with loss becomes a daily journey through the valley of shadow of death. The heart wants what the heart wants and the heart wants their loved one resurrected now!

There is a time to lament—to mourn and in Biblical days sackcloth and ashes were an outward manifestation of the inward heart. Consolation and comforting thoughts can never completely mitigate the anguish of loss.

Messages and reminders of hope feel oddly hollow in the face of life-long separation from your loved one. However, messages that reinforce the inherent and incalculable worth of the deceased, the great depth of loss for the grieving, and acknowledge that their lives have been changed in significant ways forevermore are well received.

Don’t rush past the hurt to extend hope. The grieving need to fully process and struggle through their pain and consistent validation and affirmation are the best gifts you can bring to the bereaved.

I know, hope, hope, hope. We have to have hope! But while the bereaved believer may feel hopeless it’s not true. It’s not reality because hope lies within the believer. It’s not something we have to strive to generate. Hope resides inside the heart and soul because the Holy Spirit is always at work.

Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let Him nudge you to remind the bereaved of future hope when the time is right. In the meantime, and by that I mean months, and depending upon the intimacy of the relationship, years—years—plural people!—the bereaved will be desperate to have the value of the deceased and the natural sorrow that follows validated.

When you rush to extend hope, when you try to point out the positive, you inadvertently dismiss the worth and importance of the one lost—and that is entirely unacceptable to the bereaved. And the general response in such circumstances is to dig in their heals and refuse to be consoled and frankly, struggle longer and deeper in their grief, as they feel offended and righteously justified in mourning the great depth of their loss.

Hope can be friend or foe.

Hope inspires anticipation and patience, but it also frequently results in disappointment.

The bereaved are already residing in the land of sadness and sorrow as their hopes have been crushed. And therefore, it can feel absolutely incomprehensible that anyone would encourage those living with deferred hope to invest their hurting hearts in more hope. In fact, I dare say, that the bereaved would enjoy playing whack-a-mole with hope. Great satisfaction would be derived from whacking the crap out of the mole of hope every time he dared stick his head above ground.

Three years have passed and my hopes these days are invested in eternal things. My hopes of Heaven and all it promises won’t be deferred, of that I’m convinced. But it’s taken me a long time to make peace with hope. After the funeral, in the long days of suffering after friends and family had returned to the normalcy of their intact lives, validation was more valuable to me than hope. That was true for a very long time. 

I’ve turned a corner. Thank God I’ve turned a corner in my grief, but it was a hard-fought and time intensive battle. Time may not heal but it does allow the Holy Spirit to perform His meticulous work in the heart of a bereaved believer. We must always yield the right of way to the Holy Spirit. God is the Great Physician. We merely serve as His hands and feet.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Faith, Grief

 

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What Christmas Means to Me

I sat in the darken church, Christmas tree beautifully lit, a trio of nativity figures beneath, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Centered in front of the pulpit stood the Communion Table, the elements security covered in silver trays. The music was beautiful; especially the rendition of “O Holy Night”. I listened closely, maybe for the first time ever, to the words of each individual verse. And as the elements were distributed my mind filled in the words I knew to “What Child Is This?”, as the pianist played in the quiet sanctuary.

During an earlier song, “Sleep Jesus Sleep”, individual snapshots of the accident scene flashed through my mind. Horrible images of a day I wish were only a nightmare instead of reality. My Dad sat to my left, completely unaware. I contemplated exiting the sanctuary but stubbornly remained seated thankful that the images abated once the congregation stood to sing, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.

The Pastor took the pulpit and began to tell of the Christmas Story from Matthew chapter 1 verses 18-25. . . 

And in the reverence of that darkened sanctuary I knew exactly what Christmas means to me. It is the Genesis of my most precious hope. The reason my broken heart can celebrate at all. A babe in a manger, the seed of an untouched woman, a virgin, not the seed of the first man of sin, Adam. The seed of woman as foretold in the book of Genesis and Isaiah, free of the sin nature passed down through the centuries as described in the book of Romans. The first and only sin-free man ever born. A perfect blend of deity and humanity born in a sheep fold and laid in a manger – a feed trough – how fitting for THE BREAD OF LIFE. God set aside the exaltation worthy of His holiness and took on human flesh, the cloak of humanity, wrapped in humility, to enter our world for the sole purpose of saving His creation.

And therein lies my hope. His advent led to the Via Dolorosa, to the cross, on which He would sacrificially lay down His life for the sins of the world. And so at His birth we take into our bodies the symbolic representation of His broken body and spilt blood. We remember His death. He came to die and because He did, we all have hope.

Hope that a place free of sin and sorrow awaits those who receive the free gift of salvation through faith by the grace of God. Hope that every painful loss will be redeemed by the same Savior who laid down His sinless life in atonement for our sins. Hope of reunion. Hope of perfection. 

Hope.

That long ago starry night, full of angels proclaiming and shepherds searching and wise men from afar worshipping a tiny babe in a dirty sheepfold, the manifestation of the redemptive hopes of all the world. We think of the gifts offered this child-king but this little baby was both the gift and the giver. A lowly birth, a shameful death . . . culminating in the foretold resurrection and the birth of hope. 

Christmas – the small, seemingly insignificant babe for which there was no room – ushered hope into this world of sin. 


Christmas – and Easter – brought the only hope of my eternal soul. So as packages are passed, and families gather together, and the Spector of those gone before lingers over the day, I will worship the King of kings as my heart longs for His return – longs for that great day of rejoicing – longs for reunion – longs for Jesus – the one and only hope for all of humanity.

Christmas means hope to me!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2016 in Faith

 

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A Day in the Life . . .

It was a rough morning. I woke up and as has become my practice of late, rolled over hugging my pillow tight to my chest to offset the ache that is forever present in my heart. I lay there thinking, thinking, thinking. Torn between wanting to find a life for myself and simply wanting to melt into my mattress and quietly fade away.

A phone call from the speech therapist interrupted my musings. Therapy to learn how to control Gracen’s respiration is recommended. Apparently, speaking is far more complicated than the general public, myself included, realizes. As the therapist explained to me, we all control our respiration in order to make our speech smooth. When your breath is either limited or comes out in bursts, your speech is adversely affected. The inability to control respiration will likely result in incompressible speech necessitating the use of a communication device. We can start respiration therapy now or wait until the communication device arrives. I’d prefer to start now but it will depend on Gracen’s availability based upon next semester’s class schedule. Still, I ask probing, unanswerable questions about what we can expect vacillating back and forth in my mind between the bliss of ignorance and the power of knowledge. Can I afford not to know? I envy the days long past where that was not a question I need entertain because the future was simply unknowable – there was no prognosis – dread wasn’t my constant companion.

I drag myself from the comfort of my bed in order to get ready to have lunch with my best friend in Northwest Arkansas. I’m looking forward to seeing her, yet dragging at the same time. I’m constantly tired, morose and melancholy, even as I prepare for enjoyable activities.

I decide to call the funeral home to follow-up on the request to get my daughters’ fingerprints in order to have them made into a necklace for me and a keychain for David. I’d really like to have it for Christmas but decided to look into it far too late to have a reasonable expectation of seeing that happen. I called two weeks ago and never heard back. It’s hard to make calls like this and I’ve not been able to muster the motivation to call back before today.

So I place the call once again and am once again told that a Funeral Director will return my call. Today I get a quick call back informing me that they don’t take fingerprints unless the family requests them and of course, we had not requested them. Even if we had not been busy taking care of Gracen, I would never have thought to make such a request. And my heart is broken yet again. The tears flow freely as David tries to comfort me.

When will I learn not to hope? Everyone thinks hope is such a good thing, but it seems to be my nemesis – setting me up for repeated disappointment I can little afford to endure.

Why does God withhold such a small consolation from a grieving mother? What possible harm could come from being able to wrap my hands around the proof of my daughters existence and their importance in my life?

Do I dare call the funeral home the girls were initially transported to following the accident or am I simply setting myself up for yet another disappointment. I want to hope but am not sure I can endure hearing “No” once again. What to choose, ignorance or knowledge? Bliss or power? Hope or hope deferred?

Where there is hope, there is life, I’m told. Hope grows like a weed, in darkness and drought; tenaciously it grows. I know, I know if I call the funeral home in Anderson, Missouri, they will tell me that, no, they do not have the girls fingerprints and yet my broken heart wants so much for the miraculous to occur. Do I subject myself to more disappointment just to be absolutely sure that there is no hope for a positive response?

So following my lunch out, I send David and Gracen off to see the newest Hunger Games movie and crawl back in bed, pulling my pillow into my chest and curling into a self-protective fetal position instead of wrapping the Christmas gifts I need ready to transport come Wednesday. Not making a decision is in fact choosing to do nothing. By default, at least for now, a phone call won’t be made. And hours later I’m second guessing my decision to refrain from making a decision. At least if I’d called, all the disappointment would be confined to one days time. Well, that’s not strictly true as every day I face the disappointing loss of my daughters and the discouragement of progressive disease follows quickly on its heals.

I’ve learned to anticipate the next blow – it prepares my heart for the inevitable pain that follows much like a boxer who tightens his abs when he sees the next punch coming. It just hurts a little less when the blow lands. So I guess living in a state of hyper awareness is actually good for me. There’s the silver lining, the positive to negate the negative for the choose joy contingent. What’s one more hard day in a string of hard days? As it’s been said by some anonymous source, my track record for surviving bad days is 100% thus far, and that’s pretty good.

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Chronic Illness, Faith, Grief, Muscular Dystrophy

 

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Trauma Momma?

IMG_4279I haven’t wanted to talk about trauma and how it impacts an individual; those who grieve in particular. I haven’t wanted to go there primarily because of the reaction one receives if they try to talk about it; skepticism. I’m not sure if people think they can simply look at a person and tell they are dealing with the after effects of trauma, or if they simply don’t believe it happens to people outside of the military and first responder communities. Who knows? The truth is we all experience trauma; usually in small, manageable degrees. Generally we ride it out, push through it, brush it off and move forward and beyond it. We remain standing and to the outside world appear largely unscathed. But sometimes we experience trauma of a far greater magnitude. Below are the sobering statistics of how people are affected by trauma:

Traumatic experiences may or may not result in PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The general public understands little about this disorder. I understood little about PTSD and am slowly learning how it might impact an individual. What little people do know about the disorder has come from TV and movies and is usually, and justifiably so, attributed to military personnel who have seen and experienced frightful & life-threatening situations. Combat related PTSD generally results in the most severe effects and can dramatically alter an individual’s every day existence.

PTSD, like many other conditions, can be experienced in mild, moderate, severe or extreme forms. What most people don’t understand is that it can develop in an individual who lives in a continual state of heightened anxiety (soldiers on patrol who’ve never seen combat, individuals, especially children and family members who cope with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, parents of special needs children, individuals who live in high crime neighborhoods or who have become refugees due to war or natural disasters all qualify) or PTSD can result from a single traumatic event.

If you asked a random group of people to describe the symptoms of PTSD, I imagine the single most common response would be the occurrence of flashbacks. A heightened sense of situational awareness is another common symptom of PTSD and I believe, the general public is vaguely aware that sounds, smells, and images can trigger disproportionate responses in those who suffer with PTSD. Less understood are the more subtle ways in which people who have experienced trauma internally process their experiences and the ways in which previous trauma changes an individual and therefore, how they cope with subsequent traumas.

Shock is an additional component closely related to trauma. One thing I didn’t understand about shock was the duration of time an individual might live and walk through life under the influence of shock. I didn’t understand that disassociation, a means of separating oneself from the events until one is capable of dealing with them, is what long-term shock looks like.

There was and continues to be a lot I don’t understand about shock and trauma. For one thing, people are amazingly resilient and for another, every individual is unique and can respond and react to the same trauma in unique ways.

So what kind of symptoms are commonly seen in individuals who suffer from PTSD?

*Extreme reactions (emotional and physical) to sights, smells or sounds (triggers) that remind the individual of traumatic events

*Avoiding people, places, and conversations related to the trauma

*Avoidance behavior designed to escape thoughts, memories and heightened levels of anxiety, abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter or prescription drugs, watching TV, spending time on the computer or reading excessively; anything that numbs pain or distracts the mind

*Experiencing feelings of emotional numbness or detachment, lack of interest in things previously enjoyed, guilt and blaming of self and others, depression

*Inability to concentrate, irritability and/or angry outbursts, difficulty sleeping

*Panic attacks involving intense fear, heart attack symptoms including chest pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, shortness of breath, shaking, sweating and hot flashes

*Nightmares about an event

*Flashbacks (visions of a traumatic event where the individual feels as if they are reliving the experience while awake)

 

Aside from combat exposure, what kinds of trauma can precipitate PTSD? Surviving or witnessing situations involving extreme stress such as physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, torture, imprisonment, accidents and the sudden or unexpected loss of a loved one. Law enforcement officials, firefighters, paramedics, and medical professionals frequently deal with traumatic situations that make them vulnerable to PTSD.

Simply surviving traumatic experiences puts a person at risk for developing PTSD. However, most people will not develop the condition. Experiencing extreme fear or helplessness during the traumatic event, seeing others injured or killed, isolation after the event and dealing with additional stress such as pain & injuries, loss of a loved one, home or job, and a history of mental health issues all increase the risk of developing PTSD. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition.

There are several ways to lower the risk of developing PTSD. Support from family, friends, support groups and developing a coping strategy are chief among them. Surprisingly, how well an individual personally believes they responded during and immediately following a traumatic event or through the course of a series of lesser traumas plays a role in the development of PTSD. If an individual is able to act in a manner they perceive as effective during the traumatic event, if they feel good about their response in the face of danger, they are less likely to develop PTSD.

More than a year after the collision I received a CD from the McDonald County Dispatch Center of the 911 calls and the coordinated emergency response efforts related to the car wreck my family was involved in. It was disconcerting, to say the least, to hear my shrill voice in the background of two of the 911 calls reporting the accident. There was a definite tone of hysteria in my voice. However, the first emergency service provider who arrived on the scene, the Pineville Fire Chief, Gregg Sweeten, told me that when he approached me at the side of our minivan where I was kneeling and supporting Gracen’s head and shoulders, he thought I was a bystander who had stopped to help and had no idea that I was a passenger in the vehicle, let alone Gracen’s mother.

The grief counselor I see asked me how I felt about hearing that I was not initially identified as a victim. I hadn’t really thought about it from that perspective but I’m glad she asked because it led me to analyze my feelings. It helped me to realize that overall, I feel good about my response in the aftermath of the motor vehicle accident. There are things I wish I had the wherewithal to do, such as checking for a pulse or deciding if CPR should be started.  But, I am thankful that I didn’t become hysterical to the point of inactivity or worse by far, to the place where my behavior prevented Gracen, David and O’rane from receiving needed medical care.

I’m glad I was able to help a bystander locate O’rane’s bag so the hospital would be aware of the medications he was taking.  I’m glad I was coherent enough to explain to David’s mother the scope of our accident quickly over the phone. I’m glad I was able to tell the paramedics that Gracen is allergic to penicillin, to verbalize the medications she takes and the name and nature of her disease so the medical team might know about potential drug interactions, etc. Had I fallen to my knees screaming out my agony and despair emergency workers would have been distracted from caring for Gracen, and frankly, her life hung in the balance at that point in time.

I am beyond grateful that I was able to hold it together so that she got much needed medical attention and that I am not left with the suffocating knowledge and guilt that would have surely destroyed me had my reaction in the moments following the collision resulted in a failure for Gracen to receive prompt medical care resulting in her death.

I can’t say I’ve handled every traumatic experience in the way most beneficial to my daughter. There were moments when pain was not well managed well and I escaped Gracen’s hospital room, in effect abandoning her to the care of the medical staff and leaving David or my sister-in-law, Sandy, alone in the room to cope with this new trauma. How does a mother, or a father for that matter, determine if staying with their child when they are personally falling apart is more harmful to their child’s psyche than leaving the room so that the child doesn’t carry the burden of their parent’s despair along with their own? All I know for sure is that had another family member not been present, the staff would have had to drag me out before I would have left Gracen alone regardless of my state of mind.

Several years ago, I was driving home from dropping Gracen & Katie off at school when I heard a news report on the radio. The report stated that research had shown that long-term care givers were among those who suffered from PTSD due to the constant anxiety. I remembered thinking at the time, “I wonder if I have that?”

Looking back, and having become aware of lesser known symptoms of PTSD, I can see that not only was I actively practicing classic avoidance behaviors but that both Gracen and I were exhibiting emotional responses common to those who suffer from PTSD long before the collision that so impacted our lives. Observing the physical changes related to Gracen’s disease, coping with chronic daily migraines as well as complicated migraines coupled with painful medical tests, fears related to safety and an uncertain future took a toll. The most painful of which is the realization that the avoidance behaviors that allowed me to continue to perform day to day tasks while enduring the unrelenting anxiety also resulted in distancing myself from greater intimacy with my daughters.

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Avoidance behaviors serve to insulate your heart from further pain and are a form of psychological protection. For example, consider the mother of a child who is undergoing cancer treatment. You may find her consistently present in her child’s hospital room. She brings a book or her tablet to occupy her time while her child sleeps or during times when her child is undergoing tests she can’t be present for, such as an MRI. As her child’s condition worsens you may notice that during times when her child is awake the mother may still be consistently present, may meet every physical need but personally engages less frequently. She may play with her smart phone while her child watches a movie instead of watching with them. She may read while her child colors a picture instead of coloring with them. She slowly and without conscious awareness, disengages from personal contact. The behavior that grants her a distraction from her worst fears and the lack of control also creates an emotional disconnect that is nothing short of emotionally devastating when she becomes aware of them.

This is the face of PTSD.

IMG_4280Rarely can you identify an individual who is coping with PTSD by simply observing their behavior. Unless you are present when they encounter a trigger, have a flashback or wake up screaming in the middle of the night, PTSD can silently hide beneath a veneer of socially acceptable behavior.

Even when someone suffering from PTSD encounters a trigger or experiences a flashback you may not recognize the trembling hands, the internal panic, the flinch as gruesome images assault their minds. When they drop out of normal activities you may simply think they are grieving instead of recovering from a night without sleep or filled with nightmares. And how many people are privy to the methods of distraction utilized or the inability for those affected to perform simple tasks like returning phone calls, making appointments or paying bills?

Then shame takes center stage causing the individual to castigate themselves for all they can’t control or accomplish without understanding why the lesser known symptoms of PTSD are plaguing them. Unless they’ve seen a counselor they may not even know they have PTSD.

And of course, depression plays an active role as well. There’s also a difference between a mild or moderate case of depression and full-scale clinical depression. While the symptoms of mild and clinical depression are the same, the intensity of the feelings and the degree to which everyday life are impacted differ greatly. Common symptoms such as a change in sleep patterns (either sleeping too much or too little), new eating habits (evidenced by weight gain or weight loss), sadness, and a complete lack of motivation abound.

Outsiders look in and can’t understand why this person declines invitations. Why they don’t return to normal activities, get a job, or do any number of other things in order to help themselves never realizing the extreme melancholy, fatigue and shame often prevents them for taking the initiative to do anything. It takes too much energy or exposes their vulnerability to the outside world. Both are adequate deterrents by themselves.

Who wants to admit they are clinically depressed? Aren’t those people in institutions? Who wants to confess to struggling with PTSD? Isn’t that just a bid for attention? Who wants to admit that simple things are much too difficult – that they can’t quite cope – that they aren’t enough – that the awareness of their utter lack of control is terrifying?

Where is your faith, one might ask? Right where it always was, solidly grounded in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Then why can’t you trust in His loving care?

Consider Isaiah 43:2 with me.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

 

We like this verse because we concentrate on God’s promised care. But it seems to me that we only meditate on the “good” parts of the verse. We focus on the fact that the waters won’t overflow is, the fire won’t burn us or kindle a flame on us and that God will be with us, but we overlook or ignore the less desirable truth this verse reveals. We will be in deep water fighting to keep our heads above the surface. We will walk through the fire. And God will be with us – but we will still feel the water rise, we will still feel the heat of the flames. Experiencing PTSD and/or depression are not evidence of a failure to trust God, they are simply normal responses to trauma. PTSD, depression and anxiety, represent the deep waters and the firery flames of life’s tribulations. So we’d do well to recognize that it won’t be easy in spite of God’s presence. Additionally it will likely take a great deal of effort to try to respond in a Biblical way. Thankfully, there is love and grace and mercy when we stumble or outright fail to behave as we believe or expect we should.

There is hope of healing. Hope in making peace with an unknown future when experience has taught us that it will be painful. There is hope that we will exit the firery furnace without the stench of bitterness clinging to our hair and garments. There is hope that shock, depression, anxiety and PTSD will not define us but instead refine us, but oh, it’s a slow and painful process and we need to show ourselves grace along the way.

My personal prayer is that I will lower my self-imposed expectations. That I will be oblivious to the expectations and perceptions of others and that I will find overwhelming comfort in the unfailing presence and love of God, because the spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is oh so weak.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2015 in Adversity, Faith

 

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Look Up!

Look Up!

(Originially posted to Facebook 9/20/14)

“My hope is that instead of searching for ‘God’s will for my life’ each of us would learn to seek hard after ‘the Spirit’s leading in my life today.’ May we learn to pray for an open and willing heart, to surrender to the Spirit’s leading with that friend, child, spouse, circumstance, or decision in our lives right now.” – Francis Chan

There’s a big difference between ‘searching for God’s will in your life’ and ‘striving to walk led by the spirit’. The first implies that we will one day stumble upon this mystery God has previously veiled from our eyes and it will be smooth sailing thereafter. The second seems much more consistent with the entirety of scripture. In visual form it’s the kneeling Psalmist “looking up” every morning for manna from heaven – or the image of a vine awaiting the ministrations of the vine dresser.

Make no mistake, laying down your will for Christ’s superior plan is no easy feat. The surrender of the will is nothing short of a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer and the peace that passes all understanding seems to follow fast on its heels. That kind of peace, well, it’s definitely a pearl of great price.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Faith

 

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