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

background beam beautiful close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

logo.bird.light.blue

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

scan0005

 

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

Advertisements

The Rainbow

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

Journal – Thoughts from September 26, 2018:

The day we took Mom to hospice my cousin Patsy was with us.  She was a great support to us, not just during hospice, but from the beginning of the Alzheimer’s journey.  She is still in our corner and I am thankful for her.  We tell her she is the oldest child, Mom’s first child as Mom helped care for her when she was a baby.  She calls to check on us and she has come down to spend time with my father.  I don’t think we could handle this journey without her.

Patsy had a place in Mom’s heart long before she had her own children. Which is why I tell Patsy she is the older sister.

Patsy stayed with Mom that first night in Hospice while I took Dad home.  It had rained earlier and as we were driving home there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  A reminder of God’s faithfulness.  I knew it was a message for us that all would be well. I remember going to bed that night praying for God to be with Mom and for his will to be done.  I was hoping for some kind of miracle; hoping that the x-ray they were taking would show nothing broken even though we’d already been told that it was more than likely. Still, I was finding hope in a rainbow.

The next morning when we arrived back at hospice the doctor came in and confirmed our worst fears, that she was, in fact, suffering from a terminal injury.  I remember letting the news sink in and going a little numb.  No matter how much you are told in advance, you are never truly prepared for the moment when you have to face the inevitable.  We made calls to the family and prepared to stay by her side for as long as she was with us.

That second evening my Dad planned to stay and Patsy was going to go back home with me.  Before we left we ran out to get dinner for my dad.  On the way to the restaurant once again there was a rainbow in the sky.  Another promise.  This time I knew the promise did not hold a miracle this side of heaven but instead was a reminder that God is faithful, even in death. It was something to hold on to. He would give us new mercies.

When we knew that Mom would not be coming home again and that we’d need to be making arrangements for a service, Dad said he wanted one of Mom’s poems to be put on the memorial card and read at her service.  While looking through her poetry I came across one she’d written in 1974 called, The Rainbow.  It was the only choice because God had already pointed it out to us in the sky.

The Rainbow - Bernice Tackett. take 2. edited

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Rainbow picture credit: Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

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!

Blank Square Pin (1)

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.

NewMercies

Praying hard for grace,

Teresa

31:29 – Freedom From Fear

Image

Fear can be paralyzing.  It can cause us to do nothing.  As a young child I had no fear.  I think children who feel loved and are in a nurturing atmosphere don’t know to fear, so they don’t.  I can remember standing on our front porch as a little girl, during the beginning of a storm.  It was wonderful. I felt so free.  My mother allowed me to stay out to the last possible minute before finally making me come in the house.  I think that was the last time I ever felt such abandon, such freedom.

Soon after that time, through a series of life changing events and trust that was broken, I learned to fear.  The rest of my life seemed riddled with fear.  Even after I became a Christian I still lived in fear and struggled to completely trust.  I would remember thinking at different intervals in my life that I’d grow older and overcome the fear someday.  That never seemed to happen.  Even now I struggle with fear.  As I’ve matured in my faith, I have learned that only God’s perfect love can cast out fear, and I know this, but even so, it is a daily struggle to let go of fear and just live in his freedom.  I know it’s there, but sometimes my emotions don’t get the message and I find myself filtering life through the lens of fear instead of leaning on the one who has the power to calm my fears.

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, even though it is not close to me and so far, there have not been any predictions for major events in my immediate area, I am still reminded of how vulnerable we are and how fragile life is.  It would be easy to let the grip of fear overcome rational thought.   I know there are those today in the path of the storm that are fearful and worried.  I know the ramifications of such a storm could be far reaching and there could be ripple effects that touch many.

So, I pray for those in the path of the storm.  I pray for God’s protection.  I pray for people to seek him and trust in him.  I pray for this to bring people together.  I pray that we will wake up and be stirred to seek God’s will in our lives.  I pray that we will learn to completely trust his sovereignty and let his perfect love cast out our fear.

He loves us so much and there is great freedom in his love.  We just have to rest in his love.  Oh, the joy and abandonment we feel when we can do that.  Whatever has happened in life that has brought us to fear, God can heal those wounds.  He can be our strength, our very present help in trouble.  He can give us freedom from fear.

Will you join me in prayer and in learning to cast all our cares on him?

“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

Trusting in Grace,

Sadie