paradox

There is an apparent paradox in Scripture.  2nd Corinthians 12:10 says, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  On the surface that doesn’t even seem to make sense.  How is that even possible?  We cannot be weak and strong at the same time, or can we?

We can, and it looks something like this in my life. I am weaker now than I have ever been. That weakness deepens my dependence on Christ for strength each day, each moment. The weaker I feel the harder I lean on Jesus.  The harder I lean the stronger I grow as Christ imparts to me the same strength and power that moved Him to the cross and kept Him there until the work of love was done. There is no greater strength known to man. And when I am weak, that strength is mine.

So there is no paradox. It’s through our weakness, God builds that kind of strength into our lives. We don’t grow stronger by eliminating the pain, the problems. We gather strength by embracing our weakness and falling into the arms of Jesus.

I am so weak today, Lord, therefore I am strong…grieving with hope

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not why, who

If I fix my gaze on who God is, fix my gaze on what Christ has done, the “why” questions melt away. They don’t matter as much when I look at them standing in the shadow of the cross. Instead of asking “why” I try everyday to ask God, “who”, who are you? I cannot comprehend the “why’s” now, here. And even if I had the answers, I would still be broken and sad.

But knowing “who”, who God is, I can live without knowing why. I will know the why’s someday, and it will all make since. However, I don’t need to know “why” today. Today I just need to know “who” For me, the “why’s” are settled in the “who” He is.

Instead of just being comfortable with God because I have a comfortable life, I now know that it’s the pain and trials of life, the uncomfortable, that shows me God. The true God. True intimacy with Him. Utter dependence and trust. And knowing “who” helps me to live without answers to the “why’s.”

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god’s eyes

If I look at this with my own understanding my view will be warped, skewed, darkness will prevail. If Satan can capture my gaze, fix my eyes on the world and my own perspective and understanding, my eye sight will be too poor to read God’s word with light. Bad, flawed eyesight fill with darkness so heavy, the soul aches.  I must see this thru God’s perspective. Scriptural glasses, Biblical lenses. Without God’s word as a lens, the world warps. I must see this as God sees this…thru His eyes in order for there to be any light. Life is so much more than what we can see with our eyes. We need God’s eyes, his omniscient vision.  Only God sees from beginning to end, we are only able to see the here and now, a narrow view of all that their truly is.

Matthew 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

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grace by the way

“Let us mark well this lesson. If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing, if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace by the way and glory at the end—all this our Savior has promised to give. But he has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. He loves us too well to promise that. By affliction he teaches us many precious lessons, which without it we should never learn. By affliction he shows us our emptiness and weakness, draws us to the throne of grace, purifies our affections, weans us from this world, makes us long for heaven. In the resurrection morning we shall say, ‘it is good for me that I was afflicted.’ We shall thank God for every storm.”

~J. C. Ryle

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his guarantee

I read this recently, “I cannot imagine living the Christian life on any other basis than this. If the Father loves me so much that He did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up to be crucified for me, no further guarantee is needed of His wholehearted and permanent commitment to me and to my blessing.”

Whatever has happened to me, to Grant, must be seen in that light. Yes, my deepest fear became a reality. No, I do not understand what God is doing in and to my life. At times He may seem to be hiding His face from me. And yes, my heart is broken and will carry the scar to my last day. I now “walk with a limp” as a friend refers to it…and I will never  be the same.

But I can trust the One who demonstrated His great love for me.  When I was helpless in my sin, He sent Christ to die for me. Yes, He proved His love for me, for Grant, on the day of Calvary. I must look at every other day, the tragic, the dark, the hopeless, thru the lens of Calvary’s day, or my view will be skewed.

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grief as teacher

9 months today.  9 months and still we grieve. But we are learning as well.  Grief is a teacher of sorts…

I have a love/hate relationship with this thing we call grief.  I am certain I do not need to list the reason I hate grief.  We all know what those are instinctively.  The pain is unimaginable and indescribable.

But there is another side of grief.  A teaching side, an educator. Of course I would never have chosen this relentless roller coaster of pain, but it has taught me so much already and I imagine it will whisper words of wisdom to my soul, the rest of my days. I pray I have ears to hear…

grief has taught me to trust more deeply…

grief has taught me to love more profoundly…

grief sharpens my vision, and I see this life and the life to come more clearly…

grief has increased my capacity to relish the moments of joy with less struggle and expectation…

grief clarifies what is important and what is not, weaning me from idolatrous cravings for what the world has to offer…

grief has taught me it’s the little things that come together and make a life…

I am grateful for the teaching side of grief…

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where hope grows

I must rebuild hope. I can’t live without it.  Without hope a soul withers and dies. So where does hope come from when we can’t see it, feel it? Hope comes from the promises of God. I can have hope because I know these promises to be true. And there are over 6000 promises in the Word of God.  That’s a lot of promises, that’s a lot of  hope.

When life doesn’t make sense and everything in the world seems broken, we must hold onto those promises of God. What do we do when hope lets us down, when hopes are dashed, when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would? We must hold fast to  the promises of God.

Sure, we could curse God, accuse Him of being a fake and a phony.  We could blame ourselves, and give God a way out. Or we could walk by sight alone and remain miserable and confused. No! I choose hope.

When my world seems to collide with the promises of God, I am left with a mystery. When what I know and see here doesn’t seem to match up with those promises, what should I do? Look to the promises of God, stand on them, believe them…that is where the seedling of hope is planted, grows.  Hope survives by looking at the promises not the circumstances.  We will not always, right now, have answers, be able to make sense of things.  But that shouldn’t leave us without hope. All that I know of God contained in His promises birth hope, grow hope within me, make soul survival possible.

God promises He loves me; hope grows.

God promises he loves Grant; hope grows.

God promises He will never leave me or forsake me; hope grows.

God promises to bring rest to a weary and burdened soul; hope grows.

God promises there is purpose and meaning in this suffering, and He will be glorified through it; hope grows.

He gives power to the weak, strength to the powerless; hope grows

God promises to provide all of my needs and that nothing will ever separate me from His love; hope grows.

He has comforted in the darkest of times; hope grows.

God is for me, for Grant; hope grows.

Weeping may last for the night, but God promises joy is coming in the morning; hope grows.

God promises resurrection, this isn’t the end of the story; hope grows.

As believers in Christ, Grant and I are heirs to the 6000 promises of God. And God’s promises are as deeds already done giving birth to hope, growing hope.

Hope doesn’t come from thinking about happy moments on earth, but Holy moments in Heaven, where all of God’s promises are fulfilled. I will look to those promises and let hope grow…

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another birthday another first

3 to wish him a happy birthday instead of 4. Undone with sadness…

1 worshipping his Heavenly Father on his earthly father’s day.  Undone with gratefulness…

And so the dichotomy of this grief journey continues…two competing emotions at war, constantly fighting for supremacy, learning to live at peace with one another occupying the same space in my heart.

Happy Birthday Glenn.  I love you more than I know how to express.

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what time is left

The below post was written by Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts” which happens to make my top 5 list for life changers.  It is a must read!  I have read it twice and plan on reading it once a year until my last breath.

This post she wrote…So beautiful. So true. So life changing if we let it be.

How to Live When You Only Have So

Much Time Left

Yeah, who knows how long we’ve got?

Somebody answer us that.

Somebody get up on your tipsy soapbox and wring just that out of a grimy, holy world.

Flip over your neat little nursing chart and scan the scans of our broken hearts that somehow just keep on beating brave and you run your finger along all the fracture lines and just tell us that — how long have we got.

Tell us that we’ve got more than a few days –

That it looks like we’ll make it through the next seven sunrises, even though we’ll likely not even notice the miracle of it, but we’ll still get to drive in late to church again next Sunday, and there’ll be burnt soup after service that we’ll swallow down, and there’s a chance we’ll be glad of the tasting and seeing and for one widening moment, we might even wake to how good He is.

Or tell us that we’ve got at least a few months to a few years, that the cells won’t start going haywire somewhere in the body until the kids at least get close to 16, till we almost get them to edge of the nest and know that their wings will hold, that they could take to the thermals and ride, that they could beat a thousand feathers through a thousand storms and get to the other side, that we all be together on the other side.

Or tell us that it looks like we’ve got at least a decade left — or maybe don’t.

Maybe if you told us that we had ten whole spins around the sun left, we’d be duped into thinking there was time to fritter away the breathing with flipping channels or flipping fingers or flipping lids, as if that ever made the living better instead of distastefully bitter.

Yeah, go ahead and rattle the door all you want, but there ain’t no one who is going to tell you how long you have. You’re going to have to figure out how to live without knowing when you die.

You’re going to have to get it: Death may be certain, but when it comes is uncertain, which is what makes the living gloriously uncertain — a choice.

Who knows if you’ve really got time to clean out the garage, or to read this endless news feed, or to pick up and move to Haiti and live your dream of spending the fleeting time holding the hands of forgotten ones.

The road ahead would seem obvious if you knew how much road ahead there was.

No one tells you that. No one tells you if you have just enough time to laugh till your belly hurts, one more time with the beautifully strange people you love, if you have time to pull their neck close and whisper hoarse in their ear that there aren’t enough words to say what a love like this has done to you.

No one tells you if you have enough time to try to change the world or just enough time to try change your own story.

If you knew how much time you have to live, you’d know how to live.

But that is the thing: You don’t know how much time you have to live — so you have to make time to make the life you want to live.

No one can tell you how much time you’ve got for what matters. Only you can tell how much time you’ll make for what matters.

Everyone knows they will die. They just don’t know when. So forget about the when. Who cares when you die. The real question is: when will you start to live?

You already know: You will die.

So the only question that remains is: Will you live?

Will you risk impossible things today so you remember how much you love the rush of real oxygen in your lungs, adrenaline in your veins?

Will you forget thinking there is no way out– only a way through? Sometimes the only way through is not taking the next step — it’s taking a wild leap of faith. Take it. Do it. Live it.

When will you lay there just to listen to the sound of him breathing in sleep beside you?

When will you memorize the way her hair feels as you stroke it back from her brow? When will you bend over the cup and inhale the steam of tea and breathe in living? When will you have time to walk in the woods with no place to go but looking up?

When will you be done with the armed way of living, the harmful way of living — when will you drop the arms you’ve crossed in front of you like some cynical shield, steeling you from really feeling?

When will you join the brave and move the crossed arms into open hands, into open hands to receive and really feel the glory that is called life as it falls into them –

How syrup saturates the pancakes and wind can lift your hair at the roots and how you can feel grounded just by inhaling. How tears can fall like rain and wash your wounds right clean, how those wounds are beauty marks that make you one of the medalled warriors. How there is common grace everywhere but it is startling uncommon to taste it on the tip of your tongue or feel it pulse through you.

The question isn’t: How long have I got to live?

The point is simply: You got to live. You get to live. Today. What will you do with the time you have left?

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his first breaths of heaven’s air

I read these words on a blog this morning.  They were written by a daughter who just lost her mother days ago.  I was so touched by the vision they created for me of Grant’s homecoming last May 5th, that I re-write them here.  They soothed an achy heart and brought a smile to my tear stained face…Oh, to imagine his first breath of Heaven’s air!

“He called Grant’s name.  He rose up and took his first breaths of heaven’s air, in a beautiful new body.  I’m not sure how formal heaven’s entry gates are, but I’m vividly imagining a welcome like the one in Luke 15.  A jumping, leaping, running Father meeting His child on the road.  Tears of joy!  Bear hugs!  Triumph!  Together, at home, forever and ever and even more.  We miss him.  We’ll always miss him here.  But thank goodness even the missing will come to an end.” 

 

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