A few weeks ago I was thinking about how holidays can be pretty painful for many and last night our Community group touched on the topic again and it brought me back to this post where God has been sitting… and waiting… the October thru December is a time where many focus on thanksgiving. This year I was presented with Ann Voskamp’s one thousand gifts – a study to embrace gratitude and allow God to weave it into the fabric of our daily lifestyle.
As I’ve shared before, for me I’d much rather focus on the blessing of cancer instead of the hard parts… but the thing is, it’s the hard parts that I believe bring about the blessings… which begs the question, ‘if cancer was easy, would I be as grateful?’ – good question, right?
And that thought brought me back to those whose “grief bucket” may be overflowing this time of year and Ann’s FaceBook live video that touches on gratitude and grief (around the 14min mark) Ann Voskamp – one thousand gifts
Are you desperately missing a loved one this season? Is this time of year a stark reminder of who or what you don’t have? Most likely. Ann suggests writing out traits of or experiences with that special someone that brings a smile to our hearts…. and in doing so, perhaps the bitter will become sweeter.
Last year my stepdad passed away the day after Thanksgiving. And even though the head knows a heavenly promotion is coming, rarely is the heart ready. Grief during holiday season last year was sidestepped by the busyness of an upcoming move. This year? Not so much. I watch my mom in her silent sadness and my heart breaks for her – there is nothing I can do that will take away her pain. Only God can fill the void in her heart, but I can do as Ann suggests… counter pain and sadness with sweet, precious memories.
Is there someone in your life struggling this season? Or perhaps you find your heart overwhelmed with grief or sadness? I encourage you to seek God and reach out – it doesn’t have to be some grand gesture – a simple “I see you” can do more than you imagine!
Early Sunday, my church family learned of a tragic accident and loss of a beloved member, wife, mother, friend….
While I didn’t personally know Mary, I knew of her as a cherished Believer. The shockwaves through our congregation are palpable as many struggle to understand…. her husband Marc, is in the fight of his life as he sustained numerous injuries. Their precious children were delivered from the accident physically unscathed… so many broken pieces of their lives to somehow be pieced back together…
At some point in our lives, we have or will face similar trials… we will experience the pain of a seemingly untimely death of a loved one… a terminal illness diagnosis… physical loss…. emotional loss… financial loss…. LOSS in some form or fashion…
My nephew posted on Facebook today and his words were so impactful, I felt led to share….
I have to admit, I don’t understand God. But I also confess that despite that confusion, and perhaps anger… I cling even more to my faith in Him. My faith that through the brokenness He will be there. He has power to bring some good from it. I do not believe He caused it, nor that He “wanted” it. But I know that He “allowed” it. And that is where my frustration lies. I don’t know everything, so I defer to His wisdom, His goodness. Even though I don’t understand, His character is still the same. His integrity is still there. His glory still shines. So I will praise Him and serve Him the rest of the days He allows me to remain on this earth. And on that day that He calls me home. I will reunite with my friend in the presence of God. And no pain, no tears, no sadness will ever be experienced again. It will all be okay in the end. If it isn’t okay… it isn’t the end.
— Mike Gonzalez
This life is fleeting…. if you take away anything, hug your babies….your spouse…. your loved ones…. show kindness regardless of the circumstances … love like Jesus
The past two years have been filled with opportunities / lessons for letting go. Saying goodbye to expectations, a job/career, & my dad. As hard as it was facing the changes in my dad’s health, today I’m thankful for the opportunity of time. It’s a commodity so easily taken for granted.
Not that we’re all a bunch of statisticians, but whether we realize it or not we plan based on probabilities. We assume we will have the luxury of putting things off for another day – at least I did… and the thing is, we know there are no guarantees.
But look how perfectly things aligned…sure the journey had some really rough spots…in a way that makes the memory sweeter…to witness the gracious hand of God at work on such a truly personal level is incredible. Before my dad’s stroke, he longed for the opportunity to see family one more time. By the grace of God, he did. I longed to be available for family without the constant work battle of feeling forced to choose otherwise. By the grace of God, I did. My mom & stepdad were scheduled to return to California just as hospice was called in for 24hr care. In the past, I had a habit of pushing people away when life got really hard. It was time to let family & friends in to help me through the days ahead, and by the grace of God, I did. I’m so thankful for that choice because it gave me the opportunity to be vulnerable & strengthen my relationship with my mom & stepdad.
Before my dad moved, he loved woodworking. He made HUNDREDS of these little wooden rooster note holders – HUNDREDS. For his service, I wanted to have something to remind folks of his passionate hobby that helped him maintain a sense of independence. Along with an article written by the local paper, my daughter, mom, & stepdad all worked together to make a special memory wreath – the wreath consisted of eight roosters: one for each child / stepchild and one at the top. My daughter added the dual cross in the center with one of my favorite verses, Psalm 143:8
“Let the morning bring me word of
Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I lift up my soul.”
P.S. Oh yeah…I hurt my back (again) the week before my dad passed – I thought it was from catching an elderly woman from falling 😕