A Season of Grief ~ Death Stinks

Words. There are none.

A speechless writer is an overwhelmed writer.
Some things are too elusive to pen.

Not to worry. It will eventually find its way out. If there's one thing about writers its that they must bleed on the page. To keep things trapped inside is suicide.

Sunday. The day I found renewed freedom in Christ. The day Jesus's love flowed unhindered in my heart. The day I praised God from the depths of my soul. The day in which I dove into the Lord's Supper, feeding my soul and quenching my thirst with Jesus.

Sunday. The day I lost one of my best friends. The day when my heart became suspended in shock. The day my mind cried "NO! No, no, no!" to God. The day she danced in my mind - her voice, her laughter. Her smile, her sparkling eyes. Her arms holding me. The gift of her tender love comforting me. The day I changed forever.

Every person who enters your life leaves their fingerprints on your soul. Every person whose life you enter are forever marked with your fingerprints on their soul. It's how God made us. We are not islands unto ourselves. Do we think about the impact we make on others? What kind of DNA are we leaving behind? What kind are we allowing in our lives? Is it life giving or life sucking?

Michelle's DNA added life to mine. Her death threatens to suck it right out of me. That's what death does. Thank God for precious memories! They make my heart hurt and yet sing. They threaten to pull me under, yet give me buoyancy to float. I'm okay with her being in heaven, yet I hate that she's not here with me. I want to absorb her pictures one moment and throw them away the next. Sometimes I want to do both at the same time. One thing is for sure. I will forever be glad God created her and placed her in my life even if I feel my time with her was too short.

This makes me think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. In looking toward the cross, he was looking at separation from all those he loved. His family, his disciples, and most of all his Father. No wonder he cried, "Father, let this cup pass from me." Yes. Jesus knows all about grief. And as painful as it is, I need to be able to say with Jesus, "Not my will, but thine."

Grief. It's a strange creature. How I long for God to turn my mourning into joy.

It Takes My Breath Away

I love the book of John! It's more than an eye-witness account of Jesus's life and ministry. 

It's a love letter from Jesus.

It's Jesus saying, "This is who I am, Beloved. I want you to know me - to know all about me. I want you to know where I was before the world began. I want you to know I created you. 

"I love you. I want you to know the depth of my love for you and the desire for intimacy with you. 

"I sacrificed my days and nights for you. I understand you and the trials you face and will face. I understand your heartache and pain because I've been there myself. I want you to know, not just that I pray for you, but what  and how I pray for you. I love you so much that when I leave, as I must, I'm giving you a comforter until we can be together forever. 

"I want you to know the love I have for you, so you can love me in return. I want you to know what that love looks like so you can love others as I have loved you. I want you to share my love, spread my love. I want you to know I am yours and you are mine - that nothing can ever separate us." 

I needed this reminder - to feel his love covering me. As Pastor Thomas, would say, “It takes my breath away."

What do you think? When's the last time you read John? Read it and, as you do, see it for the love letter it is and learn anew who Jesus is. Learn what real love looks like as you witness for yourself the sacrificial love of the one who loves you. Let me know what you think. Does it take your breath away?

Is Faith Like Dandelion Dust?

"Kelsey told me once that faith wasn't about trusting God when it was easy. Faith appeared when God seemed farthest away." 
~ from "The Shadow of Your Smile" by Susan May Warren

A dandelion is a noxious weed, ruining lawns all over America. Sure it's a pretty yellow wildflower that turns into this puffy white thing that kids like to blow all over the yard making the dandelion family abound.

Is this a picture of faith?

Life is good. God is good. Then trials or tragedy strikes. Our world is torn apart and our faith is blown to smithereens.

But is it?

Or is God using the trials to grow us and those around us?

Maybe. Just maybe, while our faith is shaken and scattered to the wind, he makes our roots grow deeper and he casts the seed of our faith to the world.

It's hard to look past the bald nub that used to be filled with life.

It's hard to not feel cast away - like when the child drops the nub, forgetting it in his awe of the dandelion dust.

It's hard to feel God's presence and love when we're trampled under foot.

Yet the rain comes. The sun shines. The roots sprout a new flower and the scattered dandelion multiplies - producing new life.

I wonder.

Does faith appear when God seems farthest away?

Does it multiply like dandelion dust?