Tag Archives: death

To Grieve or Regret?

I caught myself grieving my life this morning.  Do you ever do that? I grieved the fact that I made horrible choices when I was younger – I just didn’t care about anything or anyone, not even myself. I just wanted to be happy, to feel good, to be loved at whatever the cost.

One of my first memories was my parents telling me, a 6-year-old child and my 4-year-old sister they were getting a divorce. I think a part of me died or at least changed me forever.  That may sound foreign to the reader since divorce is so “normal” now.  Back then it wasn’t.  There was no therapy available; coping skills were “suck it up and go on”. Because it was so hard on Mom and younger sister, I buried my feelings and told no one how I felt. That was just the beginning.

I’m knocking on the door of 60 and to this day, I look back and see every wrong turn, every decision made out of self-righteousness and self-loathing.  If no one else was going to care about me and what I do, why should I so I pursued self-destructive things and habits and because of MY choices (not because of anyone else) here I am today.  Alive?  Yes.  Saved and changed?  Yes, thank God. But I can’t help looking back to what could have been.

I stop short of regret, but grieve more than I care to admit. I think there’s a difference.  Grief allows me a healthy awareness of sorrow over things in my life.  Regret is, well regret.  I do regret – but I can’t wish it had never happened.  Regret would lead me (I fear) to resent my life, and all the things that led me straight into the presence of Jesus.  How could I regret anything?  I wish I had lived differently; I wish I had KNOWN to live differently.  I grieve the years I could’ve been different and the things I could’ve done differently.  I grieve the death of myself but I don’t regret who I am now.

Would I have been saved or had the privileges of seeing the hand of God in my life and in my son’s life had I (or my circumstances) been different?  Would I have ever written for Him, live to honor Him?  I know this:  I wouldn’t have this powerful testimony to share about a “wretch like me”.  I wouldn’t know what I know.

So there you have it – the point of it all, the beauty for ashes. All that ugly is turning into something beautiful…in EVERY life, not just mine.  Look back occasionally and no matter what you feel, see how God has brought you through it all for His good pleasure. Grieve a moment, but don’t regret.  Believe all of it has a grand purpose:  for His glory and for you to know He is the One True God and that He’s faithful to see His plan through to the end. Always.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 61:3; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:13

Is It Bad Enough Yet?

Some doctors wait to treat an ailment when the pain becomes so severe the patient can’t tolerate it anymore. If a patient comes in knowing something’s wrong but can carry out their normal activities of daily living, sleep uninterrupted they’re told to come back when they can’t bear the discomfort any more.  The tests prove there’s a problem but sometimes that’s not enough.  Some doctors choose no treatment until the pain literally changes a person’s life.

You would think the opposite would be true.  You go to a professional because you know something’s not right and you want something done to prevent the problem from disrupting your normal life and leave frustrated because you’re told your pain – your inability to function – is what will bring relief.  “Come back when you can’t stand it anymore.”  Wait.  Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid?

Some doctors want to jump right in and fix a problem before it gets to the point of altering our lives and we’re hesitant to move forward.  We talk ourselves into living with it.  “It’s not that bad; I’ve had it this long, I can stand it until, well, I can’t stand it anymore”, and we leave in the same condition we came in.

We deal with something as long as we can then we ask for help (from God, friends, etc), sometimes wanting someone (or something) to relinquish us from what we know is going to happen – yet we find ourselves, sometimes for years, dealing with the same thing, day after day, year after year and nothing changes.  It’s manageable; it’s not perfect but it hasn’t killed me…yet.  So we muddle on sometimes grabbing for spontaneous relief for the moment until the next time…and the next…

Do things have to be ‘that bad’ before we deal with them?  No. More often than not, we try everything (and everyone) leaving God as our last resort.  Need produces necessary action; that alone is often the “why” of why it’s happening.

Is ‘it’ bad enough yet?  Are you sick of the pain, frustration, depression, inaction, nothing ever changing?  Situations beg the question – “is it bad enough to turn to God”? Like doctors, sometimes He allows us to get to that unbearable place of no relief before we turn to him.  Why?  Because He knows sometimes we’ll only look to Him when our feet are inches from the cliff.  We can submit any time – way sooner than we do – and relinquish our pain and burden to Him.  Is it bad enough yet to give it to God?  It doesn’t have to be.  Let’s do it.  Now.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Killing Me

I don’t like my perspective today.  I don’t like what I think will happen, what I see and what I feel.  I don’t like me or anything about me today. So I’m not doing it anymore.  I’m going to kill myself. I don’t have the desire to deal with me or “this” anymore.

I’m going to decide to trust God and what He says about me – that I’m cherished, beautiful, and the apple of His eye.  I’m going to believe He has a great plan for me, plans to prosper me.  He has hope for me and since I don’t (today), I’m going to keep moving on what He says and act like I believe it.  He’s my willpower and energy today because this ole gal is dead.  I’m choosing to “kill” her and not do anything, say anything or believe anything she says.  I’m living for and BY Him.

Some days that choice…that sacrifice is more significant than others.  Some days it’s easy and we live subconsciously doing our normal things without giving them a thought.  Other days we just don’t want to get out of bed.  Whether we’re going through something or recovering from having gone through something, some days we may not want to.

Even on good days, strong days, we should get ourselves out of the way and live for Him as that puts us in a different place, a better place…a place outside ourselves.  During those times, everything has more purpose and meaning and we see it’s really not about ourselves at all.

Killing ourself isn’t such a bad thing if it means sacrificing our wants and desires for Him and what He wants for us which is better and greater than we can imagine.  I’m willing to believe that and try it again today…are you?

Psalm 54:6 “Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name O LORD, for it is good.”

Silencing the Lambs

Divorce.  Death.  Natural disasters.  Sickness.  Depression.  Struggling to make ends meet.  Broken heartedness.  Disappointment.  Cancer.  These are just a few things embedded in life.  One would think – especially after something life-changing – and you trust in Jesus that bad things would no longer happen.  I could refer to all kinds of scripture to prove my point, yet I don’t think I have ever seen a time when God’s people seem to be suffering more than they are right now.

Remember where you are.  God gave the enemy this “playground” for a time.  This is his (the enemy’s) domain.  This earth isn’t heaven although sometimes the Father allows us to see glimpses of it here.

Because life is hard at best, so many who were passionate about their salvation have allowed their light and love for him to become dim.  Once so bold with His love, we’ve grown cold and find it difficult to usher a smile, let alone a word.  We’ve become a selfish people (note I said WE), and may I say in a human kind of way, rightfully so.  Life has beat us up. We walk around with all kinds of heartbreaks, disappointments and frankly, things haven’t turned out at all like we thought they would.

The enemy has successfully, in many cases, shut us up.  Perhaps faith has wavered because of what we’ve been through or going through and we’ve grown cold and silent.

Let’s try a different perspective.  Let’s believe that all we’ve been through is so we can help and encourage someone else.  Let’s choose to love and keep growing our faith in spite of how we feel and what we think (Proverbs 3:5-6). After all of this, are you going to stop believing in God now?  So many do; they get mad at God and turn away from Him.

Let’s believe Romans 8:28 – ALL things work together for the good…all means all things – even the bad. After all this, we’ve seen His provision, we’ve had a glimpse of His glory and He’s chosen us to bolster someone else’s faith that although all hell breaks loose He’s still faithful and will do exactly what He says He will:  be with us, never leave us, and see us through whatever moment of darkness we find ourselves in.

Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Remember who you are and Whose you are.  You’re more than a conqueror.  You’re royalty; live like you believe it.  “By your endurance you gain your lives.” Luke 21:19 (NASB)

A Dinner To Remember (John 12)

Just last week, he awoke hearing that familiar voice calling his name.   Bound by death-wrap in a cold tomb, he obeyed his Master by getting up and waiting for someone to unwrap him.  What had just happened?  I wonder what Lazarus remembered (?did he remember he died) what did he think about finding himself one minute on his deathbed and the next, standing while his loved ones unwrapped him? Can’t wait to talk to him about that experience!

Now alive, he finds himself sitting at the table with Jesus. Just a normal dinner; He had probably eaten with them many times as Lazarus is identified in the Bible as being loved by Jesus.  I must laugh.  This occasion had to be anything but normal.  Sick. Dead. Body wrapped in a tomb.  Over. The voice. Awake. Alive.  Out.  Now…sitting at a table with the One who called Him back to life.  Can you imagine?

No wonder Mary had to break out her best bottle of fragrance to anoint Jesus.  That kind of gratefulness for what Jesus had recently done for her family required a major display of gratitude.  I imagine she just had to do something to show Him what was in her heart.

Jesus has done the same for us, in a way.  We were walking dead, perhaps with no hope, little happiness, getting through this life as best we could then He came to us and changed us. Perhaps we were wrapped in the death-wrap of some addiction, chronic bad lifestyles or haunted by life-stealing horrible memories and never-ending pain when we heard ‘The Voice’, saw His face and became alive…really alive for the very first time.  If you haven’t had that experience, you can by simply calling His name to save you.  Believe me I know.  Jesus has changed everything for me, and continues to, every day of my life.

Let Jesus give you a “dinner to remember” today.

I’m Positive: I Don’t Know.

 

Good job: gone.  Money:  nonexistent.  Friends:  nowhere.  Money:  none. Refrigerator:  empty.  Eviction notice:  served.  Diagnosis:  terminal.

Lying awake night after night, praying, crying, begging God to help.  Nothing.  The next day is like the last day, spent in the grasp of fear and anxiety.

What do you do when you’re clinging to God with every breath, and He’s silent?  He has certainly not responded like you thought He would…like you think He should. Getting out of bed to do it all again seems unappealing.  Why? Just another day of failure, fear and discouragement.  Why even try, you ask yourself. Isn’t there a story in the Bible where Job’s wife told him, “curse God and die…”?  Maybe that’s the answer.  You tried everything else and it appears that you’ve failed.

There’s some fierce battling going on here.  On days, in situations like that the only thing to do is go on His say-so.  You must muster up enough faith in the Lord to try to convince yourself…despite whatever circumstance…that He is true to His word.  This is a battle for your faith.  The enemy knows what’s inside you and he’s (I believe) concerned that you’ll have an impact in the future so he must defeat you now – he’s aiming for you and this time his aim was very good.  You’re down and your faith is almost nonexistent.  Thus the decision.

Believe that God hasn’t left you.  Believe He’s faithful and His promises are applicable to you, personally.  Believe He will see you through.  How will He do it?  I have no idea.  What will He do to help you?  I don’t know.  I just know He will.  “Lord, because You say you’re with me, You’ll provide for me and will never leave me, I’m getting up out of bed.”  Sometimes we have no other reason other than that to start a new day.  This is faith.

Countless, the times in the past two years I’ve done just that.  I couldn’t see how I would live through the day (wasn’t real sure I wanted to), but I did…by His grace alone.  I could tell you story after story of how He has provided – it hasn’t been pretty and lots of it I didn’t like but He did. Through that, I have seen Him as never before…and I know Him better than I ever have.

How will he help you?  I’m positive of one thing:  I have no idea.  But.  I know He will.

~Philippians 4:19~

Reruns

“Why me Lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known…”

This time of year is bittersweet.  My son was born 33 years ago tomorrow.  Every year I replay the days leading up to his birth and it astounds me that it feels like it did then.

I was in labor 23 hours and I was rushed for an emergency C-section when my water broke and it was green and his heart rate became very concerning.  The fear grips me to this day.

When he was taken, I was under general anaesthesia so I didn’t see him, but I was told he wasn’t breathing.  They resuscitated him for 11 minutes and when he finally started breathing he had grand mal seizures.  When I finally did see him, he was green and unconscious on a ventilator.  I remember seeing him laying there, lifeless and to this day, I relive what that heartbreaking moment felt like.

I remember my Mom and family holding a death vigil at the hospital for the next three days until I held him and he opened his eyes for the first time.  Until that moment, he had had no urine output, low body temperature and every time he was touched to draw blood he seized.  I only got to hold him because his doctor told me that was the last thing to do, they had tried everything else.

The battle for his life raged on for years.  When he was six months old I was told by a doctor that if he lived to be a year old, he would never walk and talk. If you’ve never experienced this kind of pain, no words do it justice.

Now almost 33 years later, I look at him and wonder how anyone who has ever met him doesn’t believe in God and the fact that He still is in the miracle business.  I stand in awe of what He has done in our lives.  I stand in his doorway at night listening to him breathe sometimes and cry thanking God for letting him live and not only live…thrive.  Why would He do that? Why bless me…bless us…like that? He could have died…he should have died as I could have/should have.

To not share what He has done in both our lives would be a crime.  I know God exists. I know He loves us.  I’m sure He has a more divine plan for our lives than we can imagine and I want you to know the same is true for you.

As I reflect on those bittersweet reruns, I’m jolted to the now.  I’m well aware of the fact our story could have been so different…and had I been my judge it would have been different.  I didn’t deserve to live and I didn’t deserve to have my son live.  But God chose different.  He chose to let us live and experience Him. We KNOW Him and what He can do with a surrendered heart, believing He can do exceedingly abundantly more than we can even conceive. Grace still prevails…almost 33 years later!

We all have things that have happened that we will never forget and sometimes feel the pain associated with them.  That’s just to show us how far we’ve come.  It’s okay to remember and when we do, let’s be grateful.  Happy birthday, Matt.  No matter what I will always, always be thankful God chose me to be your Mom.  I love you.

for the complete story/testimony, go to http://www.amazon.com and search for my book, “But Grace Prevailed”