When the Burden of Grief Makes Gratitude Harder

Thank you for your prayers concerning the tragedy I wrote about in last week’s post. We appreciated it so much! Though Tad opens his eyes, he is not allowed company right now. All the nurse would tell our son is that he gets very agitated when he gets visitors, and that’s not good for him. So we don’t know too many details of his condition, but we are so afraid he will have some lasting brain damage. We continue to pray for his healing.

Yesterday morning was a funeral for a young husband and father, only 33 years old. Three small children, 5-year-old twin boys and a 3-year-old girl, will not grow up with their devoted dad. The wife is a granddaughter of the couple that live across the hall from us.

The day after my neighbor heard about the loss of a granddaughter’s husband, she had to take her husband to hospice because of cancer.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the suffering and death there is in this world? It’s hard, isn’t it?

I know some of you readers are personally dealing with the death of family or friends only recently and will be experiencing your first Thanksgiving and Christmas without them. It will be so difficult to have missing places among you. May God give you strength!

There are others of you whose loss I don’t know about, whether a loved one, a relationship, or a loss of who you really are.

Maybe you have no family to share these days with. Or your families are so dysfunctional that it devastates you and fills you with anxiety to get together.

Whatever your loss and however alone or misunderstood you may feel, I am so sorry. But infinitely more sorry than I am is our God who knows, cares, and understands. Even when grief clouds our vision and it’s hard to grasp that truth, it is still the truth. Even when life changes drastically for us, He never changes. He is faithful. Even if we sometimes have a hard time being grateful, we are still precious to Him and He will never leave us.

Someday when we can look back to the times of great sorrow, we will see one set of footprints in the sand. It was in those times that He carried us. Thank You, God, for Your unconditional love, Your never-ending compassion, and Your unchanging faithfulness!

“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

I hope to be back here the first Tuesday of December.

Footprints In the Sand
by Leona Lewis

November Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


The Light of the World
by Lauren Daigle

“The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel…”

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added another “M” word for Jesus’ Love.

❤  Manifested Love 
“For God expressed His love
for the world in this way:
He gave His only Son
so that whoever believes in Him
will not face everlasting destruction,
but will have everlasting life.

John 3:16 VOICE

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust by Lori Schumaker

“In a true story of learning that trust means surrendering your version of how the story should unfold, Lori and Bryan finally let go – of their dream, of their daughter, of their fears and frustrations. And in that relinquishment, God began to move.”

“But God…” took on an even more powerful meaning in my heart as I read this story of adoption. I’m awed, not only about how God miraculously brought Selah home to her forever family, but also how God worked in and prepared Lori’s and her husband’s hearts. Even in the hearts of their other two children. I highly recommend it not only for those who have adopted or plan to adopt, but for anyone who desires a closer relationship with God. This is an inspiring story about living surrendered to God’s plan and His perfect timing. We all need to learn more of that, right?

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 When Trusting God Takes Courage by Joann Fore – “But this courage God offers is his! When he bids us, “take courage,” it’s as if he stands before us, arms extended wide, offering the very courage we need to face and overcome whatever situation in front of us. This courage, this Truth of his Word, it’s ours for the taking.”

💞 I Have Trust Issues by Lisa TerKeurst – “But life doesn’t add up. People don’t add up. And in the rawest moments of honest hurting, God doesn’t add up. All of which makes us hold our trust ever so close to our chests until it becomes more tied to our fears than to our faith.”

💞 When It Feels Like Your Dreams Are Kinda Dying by Laura Story – “Like Mary and Martha, we can call on Jesus to heal those who are sick. But if Jesus doesn’t show up like we think He should, we can’t conclude that He doesn’t hear us, doesn’t care, or doesn’t love us.”

Nature Retreat

“The greatest cathedral of all is nature itself.
It simultaneously humbles and pulls up giant emotions
that cannot be fully expressed in mere words.”
Rodney Cobb

This summer was more rainy than usual, so the Falls here in our city of Sioux Falls were really roaring at times. It’s fascinating to be still and soak in the sights and sounds of the rush of water. It puts me in awe of the beauty and power of our God. Here are just a few pics I took a couple of days after a big rain.

 

A female Mallard Duck contemplates crossing. This is below the biggest falls.

Here you can see her crossing and what she could be pulled into.
It was amazing. She made it! God surely has equipped
ducks with strength to paddle against the current.

🐾 Nature Wonders – Lots of breath-taking photos of natural wonders in a variety of countries

🐾 Janette Hill Images – Awesome wildlife and nature galleries

🐾 34 Rare Sea Animals – Oh my! These are animals I’ve never seen before. Imagine what else is in the sea!

cutecolorsplant1c

Quotes

New quotes this month are about Gratitude.

❤ The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” – Henri Nouwen

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterton

cutecolorsbutterflyline


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.

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When It’s Hard To Be Thankful

 

It isn’t always easy to be thankful, is it? When physical or emotional pain and/or losses overwhelm us, it can be hard to see through our tears or focus our minds on blessings right in front of us. 

Hagar was an alien and a slave. When her mistress found herself barren, she was given to Abraham to bear a child for her. But dissension escalated, especially after Sarah birthed a child herself. Sarah no longer wanted Hagar’s son around her son Isaac.

Hagar and Ishmael were rejected and sent away to wander in the hot and dry desert with only some water in a skin and some food to sustain them. But the water emptied…

She couldn’t bear to see her son suffer and die of thirst, so she put him under one of the bushes and distanced herself.

Dehydrated and devastated of hope, she sat down and sobbed. Did no one hear her and her son? Did no one care?

“What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Hope heralded in by an Angel of God.

Someone did care. She wasn’t alone. God heard Ishmael’s cries. He heard Hagar’s cries. He hears the cries of the needy.

“For He will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.”
Psalm 72:12

God lifted her drooping head and opened her tear-swollen eyes to see it. A well. Right in front of her.

Hagar got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink.

We, too, may sometimes feel empty and hopeless. Spiritually parched. Physically exhausted. Blinded by the tears of our grief over the losses and struggles in our lives. How can we ever be thankful?

If we look into our discouraged hearts or at our bleak circumstances (or that of others), we will surely despair of hope. We won’t see the well of blessings God has placed in front of us. We won’t see that God really is good and is full of love and compassion towards us. We won’t see that He actually is for us, not against us.

God longs to be gracious to us. He tenderly lifts our weary hearts to see His bottomless well of love. He invites us to drink, long and freely.

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!”
Isaiah 30:18

Jesus’ love and compassion will never empty. They will always be more than enough for us. No matter what. He heard Hagar’s and Ishmael’s cries, and He will hear our cries. He didn’t forget them, and He won’t forget us.

Precious Lord, You know the heart of every person. You know the heavy burdens weighing us down. Please lift us and carry us through this Thanksgiving season and always. Open the eyes of our hearts to Your never-emptying well of love and empower us to drink from it. Send fullness in spite of empty places we feel and strength and peace amid the struggles of this life. Please help us to truly believe You are good, You are love, and You are for us. Thank You for Your patience with us and for never condemning us. Help us to express our gratitude to You by releasing our burdens into Your hands and trusting Your plan for us. Open our eyes, too, to see all that we still have and still are able to do. Thank You so much for Your unconditional love, Your endless patience with us, and Your ever-flowing and over-flowing grace!

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
by Chris Tomlin