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

Learning To Trust Our God-given Voice

Do you ever feel stuck between a myriad of opinions? So many that your own voice is smothered? Or maybe you finally get more brave and you venture out with your voice, but it is rejected, criticized, or ignored. And you wonder – Doesn’t my voice count at all?

Coming from a religious background where ministers were put on a pedestal as the voice of God Himself, it felt like our thoughts didn’t count. Their interpretations of Scripture became law. So if I felt a verse meant differently than what we were taught, I scolded myself and tried to smother it. I didn’t want God to rain down fire and brimstone on me. I had no voice at all. I felt like a puppet, only moving where or when someone wanted it to.

God has released me from that mindset, but it has been a long process, and I’m still a work-in-progress. God is showing me more and more how much love He has for us, not condemnation, and how His Spirit can shed light in each of our hearts. How He has given each of us a unique voice.

There are times legalism still digs its talons into my scars and scrapes them open again, but Jesus shows again and again that in Him is freedom, not chokeholds on who we are. He wants us to be who He created us to be, not who others want us to be.

My insecurities still sometimes rear up their ugly heads and distort my thinking. And I falter. Surely that person is more knowledgable than I am, so maybe their opinion is right, and mine is wrong.

To be honest, I am often afraid when I post, reply to comments here, or comment on other blogs. Doubts and fears rattle my heart. What if I write the wrong thing? Once it’s out there, I can’t take it back. What if I don’t glorify God in these words? What if what I say or don’t say hurts instead of helps? I never, ever want to add to the weight of a hurting soul.

Then God whispers, “Follow your heart, My child.”

But God, what if I don’t trust my heart? What if my heart is in the wrong place? 

Step by step, God is leading me to trust Him and His provision more. He confirms to me that if He is my treasure, my heart will be there, too, attune to the rhythm of His own. He wants me to place my heart into His, to rest in His all-sufficient grace, and to allow His love and grace to flow through me. Freely and without restriction.

“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21
“May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14

However, on this earth, we remain imperfect and broken, don’t we? We may sometimes slip or go astray from following God’s heart. But He will never condemn us. He understands how sorry we feel and how much we desire to follow His heart. No matter how badly we mess up, He wholeheartedly forgives us.

He values each of us. He loves us just as we are, unconditionally. He has given each of us a unique voice, and each of our voices is special to Him. He wants us to follow our hearts, our intuitions, what we truly believe is right.

Through Your Eyes
by Britt Nicole

Jesus Says “Run To Me, My Beloved”

Jesus holding child photo: Jesus holding child.s Jesus_holds_child-1.jpg

Her hair flying behind her and eyes dancing with delight, she ran toward my open arms and snuggled in my embrace. Such uninhibited love and adoration makes my heart sing.

We have a hallway that stretches down between our individual condo units. Recently, I thought of our Thanksgiving gathering with our family. I went out into the hallway from the Commons area where we were gathered, and I got down on my knees and opened my arms wide. My 2-year-old great-grand-daughter, who was running up and down the hallways with two of my grand-daughters, ran towards me, almost bowling me over with her exuberance. She giggled and wanted it “Again!”

Now many weeks later, as I walk that hallway, I think of how my heart feels so ready to burst with love for my grandkids and I would do anything to keep them loved, safe, and happy. And isn’t Jesus’ love full like that for us, only infinitely and powerfully greater?

My heart longed to visibly see Jesus with His arms spread wide at the end of that hallway. I imagined how glorious it would be to run with childish abandon to Him. Wildly and freely as His beloved. Sure and true of His love. Not one inkling afraid to run into His embrace.

And He whispered:Jesusloves

My precious child,

I am here, always,

Arms spread open wide,

Waiting for you to run into,

Waiting for you to want My embrace,

Waiting for you to feel My safety.

Your heart bursts with love for your grandkids;

My heart infinitely more spouts forth love for you.

I am here, My child,

Run to Me.

I am safe,

I am the Best Friend

You can ever have.

I will never let you down,

I will never, ever abandon you.

Nestle in My embrace,

Rest in My arms, My child,

Confide in Me,

Pour out all the cries of your heart

In times of fear

In times of weariness

In times of despair.

It delights My heart to listen

And to show you My unfailing love for you.

And even in times of gratitude

For My unconditional grace,

Run to Me

With joy in Your soul.

Jesus loves us so much He died to save us. We are His beloved, so treasured and precious in His sight. Let’s run like a child to those open arms, nestle into His love, and confide in Him freely and fully. In the good times and the bad.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3

“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty Savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17

cutecolorsbutterflyline

“Drops In the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson

Jesus’ arms of love
ache with longing
to hold you!

Signature

cutecolorsplantline1

Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews