We Hold On To Joy

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

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When last we spoke, well when last I wrote and you read which is still a conversation between friends, I shared with you that I wanted to do a recap post of the 31 Days of Grief Journey.  I wanted to share what I had gleaned.  I had planned to do that sooner than now but last week proved to be a week of needing extra rest. I’ve learned, due to the MCTD, to hold on loosely to plans and go with the flow.  I think, too, that I needed some extra time to let the writing settle before revisiting.

So, earlier I sat down and read through the series to see what stood out to me.  To discover what wisdom there might be that I could take away. To see what helped me and how can I summarize that for all of us as a take away to remember; knowing of course, that the journey is not over and there are more stores, memories, and lessons in the process. And of course, the ever-present grief will ebb and flow. Below is a list of 12 truths that I received from this journey.

  • Writing through my grief was designed by God; It was a calling he put on my heart (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
  • Grief is a process and it can’t be rushed. There will be times it will crush your heart (Psalm 31:18).
  • Even when we feel betrayed by God, he loves us and understands our hurt. He will make all things right in his time (Isaiah 55:8-9).
  • We can never truly lose our loved ones, they will always live in our hearts.  Remembering is necessary.  Our memories of good times with our loved ones is a source of comfort (Philippians 1:3).
  • Having a community of friends and family for support in our grief is important (Proverbs 27:9).
  • In the midst of our grief life does go on.  We can still find joy and laughter.  We can find peace in ordinary days (Psalm 23:1).
  • The floodgates will open sooner or later. Our tears are sacred and Jesus cares about them; they are collected in his bottle (Psalm 56:8).
  • Reading Scripture can be a source of strength. Remembering his promises can sustain us (Isaiah 40:31).
  • He will be our comfort (Isaiah 63:13, Matthew 5:4).
  • If we sit in the stillness we will feel his peace (Philippians 4:7).
  • we have to live in the reality of heaven’s sweetness in order to truly be at peace in this life (Hebrews 13:14, Psalm 30:11-12).
  • Christ is our only hope (John 3:16).

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

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Joy resides deep in our soul.  Grief is not the absence of joy, but the realization that even when we grieve we hold on to joy.  Joy is not crushed by our grief but rather sustains us in our grief.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.  I hope it has touched your heart and brought you encouragement.  If you have not read the series you can click here to be taken to the table of contents page.  Once there, clicking on each title will take you to that day’s post. I will continue to share updates on the grief journey and share stories about my Mom from time to time as well as sharing other writings.  I hope you come back. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

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Linking up with Emily for What we Learned.  Click over to read what others’ have learned.

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Comfort

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…  Isaiah 66:13

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Comfort is a lovely word.  A warm word.  I imagine comfort like a warm blanket shielding me from the cold. Comfort is the touch of a mother’s hand on a fevered brow.

Growing up in our family comfort was many times practical and extended when there was a need.  A warm washcloth washing our feet after we were already in bed, mending a torn item, rubbing our aching legs, praying over a hurt.  Mom had the gifts of mercy and service.  Her love language was definitely acts of service. She was a natural born caregiver and was in her element when ministering to the need of someone else.

Even after the Alzheimer’s slowed her down she still had that instinct to comfort others. Not too long before she passed away I was staying with my parents for a few days.  Mom and I were sitting on the couch side by side.  My arm was aching as it does so often with the MCTD, she reached over and rubbed my arm.  She sensed my discomfort and wanted to take care of me.  It was a sweet gesture.  Sometimes she would come near and pat my head, partly because she needed physical touch but also because she wanted to provide comfort.  That was what she knew to do.

How many times over the past few weeks have I wished for one more pat on the head, one more arm rub, one more hug, one more time to sit side by side on the couch and feel her warmth.  The last Sunday before we took her to Hospice on Monday, she had been sitting on the back porch with my Dad.  I looked out the door and she was leaning over on his shoulder napping peacefully.  It was a beautiful picture of love and comfort.

In our deepest hurt scripture tells us that just as a mother comforts her child, so God will comfort us.  I’m holding to that promise these days more than ever.

Grace for the journey

PS: My Mom was the heart of our home.  Click here to read a poem and tribute I shared a few years ago on Mother’s Day.

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Welcome, Fall

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~F Scott Fitzgerald

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Fall is the nesting season.

Pumpkins beckon us from roadside stands to celebrate.

A pot of soup slowly, simmers on the stove, the smell warming us with anticipation of the goodness that lies ahead.

Book lists are at the ready enticing us with words that will settle into our souls as we find comfort for the long nights ahead.

The first bashful leaves drift to the ground playing hide and seek with the squirrels who are scampering to fill their pantry for winter.

Striking blue skies make promise of colorful days ahead when the trees will glow like warm honey, then blaze into fire red before they settle around us like a warm brown blanket.

Cheers for touchdowns waft on the cool night air speaking of a camaraderie that is strong and true.

Flannel and Wool trickle back into our wardrobes begging us to coordinate cozy layers that will carry us into Winter.

Hot chocolate and Apple Cider are once again inked to our grocery lists so we’ll have warm companionship for the chilly evenings.

Lights flicker in windows, shining out into the streets with a greeting that says, at last, we have come home.  This is our time to nest.

Welcome, Fall, it is so good to see you again.

Nesting in grace,

Teresa

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And I Pray Hard

This post has been hard for me to write and I’ve struggled with whether or not I even need to share. I’ve embarked on a health journey that will be an ongoing part of my story. Writing about it helps me see how I am processing and will hopefully give me perspective. Since you sometimes read what I write, you too are part of my story, so I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I shared with you.  The original post was too long, so I have broken it down. Today’s part is more general and reflective after living a  year of discovery that led to a diagnosis of a chronic autoimmune disease. The main take away is that God is faithful, even when I have questions; especially when I have questions.

And I Pray Hard

God is good, even when life is not.  I know that.  But yet, sometimes I wonder why he allows me to suffer.  I find myself wondering why I’m being punished.  I know that is not Biblically sound, so I try to banish that kind of thinking immediately.  Even though I know better,  I wait for the other shoe to drop.

I remind myself of all the good that God has bestowed on me and remember the times he has restored my health, but I still find myself wavering on a shaky tightrope between faith that he will heal and fretting that maybe I’ve run out of get-well tickets.  Again, I know that is faulty thinking.  I know better.  And I pray hard because I don’t want to give in to such fear.

Because it is fear brought on by attacks of the enemy who is constantly trying to defeat our walk of faith.   If he can convince us that God is out to get us then he can render us useless and a quivering heap on the floor, bound by fear, unable to fulfill God’s purpose for our life.

Even in those times when we need healing, and God chooses otherwise, he is still good, and we can still have faith in his promises.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.  He is faithful.  I know that, and I cling to that and do my best to head in the direction of hope.  And I pray hard, thanking God for his goodness even in the midst of my bad. 

Life for me last year was a very up and down journey that ranged from despair and depression to faith and hope and back again.  I’m sure over time I will be able to unwrap some beautiful gifts from the journey.  I do believe that in all that is hard, God works on our behalf and teaches us great truths.  When bad things happen to us, he doesn’t leave us to stumble in the dark.  He is right beside us, holding us under his feathers.  He knows life can be scary and uncertain, but he also knows that he is our only certainty.  I know that too.

The truth is we live in a fallen world that is rampant with sin and disease.  Sometimes, for reasons we may never know or understand, we fall prey to the fallen.  We know that bad things do happen to good people.  But God, in his great merciful love for us, holds us tight in those times and works on our behalf. We don’t always get the answer we are hoping for, but we always have the hope of our father.  In his time, he will make all things right.  Some of us may suffer this side of heaven, but he knows all about suffering, and he knows how to comfort.  And I pray hard because I need his mercy and comfort as I live in a fallen world.

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Praying hard for grace,

Teresa

Take Comfort

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finding comfort in grace,

Teresa

This is day 13 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
This is day 15 of a 31 day series. Click image to go to the series home page.
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog
Click image to see the response posts from my sister’s blog