God Carries Us Through

As promised I am beginning a series where I will blog through a book by Max Lucado. It’s called “God Will Carry You Through”. I have been on a mission to find books that I can bump up against my journey after losing my daughter so that hopefully the story, my story layered with thoughts from authored by others, will help someone. It’s been my desire since I started writing that somewhere, somehow, someone finds hope through this blog. And so it begins…..

Chapter One – God Carries Us Through

“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don’t be foolish or naive. But don’t despair either. With God’s help, you will get through this.”

Wow – when I read this, I initially thought those are hard words to understand when you are in the throes of grief and loss. In fact, some might just be downright offended, mad or pissed. But wait, listen – I know that while these words are hard to swallow, they are absolutely true. Not in a way you may imagine, but so true. You will get through this.

It won’t be painless. God never said we’d go through life without struggles. While I tried not to cringe while reading that and hearing me say it because you know, and I know, some people seem to slide through life without so much as a scrape and some, well they just seem to get hit over and over with life battles. So it won’t be quick. Whether you are a seasoned griever or just beginning this journey, know that somehow, some way, someone will be helped by your journey. I know this to be true.

God will use your mess for good. How do I know and how can I take comfort in that? It’s not always easy nor can I say that every day is good. I have my good days and I also have bad days, very bad days still eight years later. But I also know that through my small network of grief friends, we help each other. Our words often console one another. There are days I just want to scream at people – “you just don’t get it”. But I know my network, you my readers, some of my close friends, they get it. They understand that our connection is more valuable than anything else, except the one we lost. Through their words, their quiet silence, their steadfast dedication, and priceless extension of love, we are able to step forward.

Until next time,

M

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The Burden of Doubt

Chapter 17 – God’s Loving Pursuit

The Burden of Doubt

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” Psalm 23:4 NKJV

Continuing my series on blogging through Max Lucado’s book “Traveling Light” – and how it relates to the grieving heart. This has been quite the journey and one I hope touches your heart has it has mine.

Our moods may shift, but God’s doesn’t. Our minds may change, but God’s doesn’t. Our devotion may falter, but God’s never does. Even if we are faithless, he is faithful, for he cannot betray himself (2 Tim. 2:13). He is a sure God. And because he is a sure God, we can state confidently. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” – Max Lucado “Traveling Light”

In reading this chapter several things came to me about the story Lucado shares to demonstrate the fact that God follows us. Relentlessly. He follows us. Here is where I will tell you I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has relentlessly followed me, chased me down, spoke to me though dreams, through people, through death and through life. Because why? Because He is God.

After Brittany’s death I longed for answers from God about why. Why would I have to endure such suffering. Why would he allow such a horrible thing happen in my life. Brittany’s death wasn’t the first horrible event in my life – just so you know. There have been many, too many to share. I have written about them – but they remain contained in the private part of my blog. They are still too painful to see.

Yet through it all God relentlessly came after me. Time and time again. Showing me that despite all the loss and pain – he loved me. He loved me enough to send just the right message when I needed it. People came into my life that I would have never thought would be. And people left the same way.

God doesn’t always use the methods we would to run after, chase or at some point, stalk someone. I like to think of it as a flower arrangement that God is creating in one’s life. Always refreshing the bouquet in order to keep the beauty alive, fresh and new. When one flower is about to fall away – he takes it and put another in its place. That is how my life has been. God has always showed up.

Now I’m not saying God showed up when I wanted him to. He choses when and decides how he will move in and out of one’s life. That’s what I love about God the most. No matter how lonely I feel or how hurt I am – he loves me so much that he will refresh my life if only I will not get in the way. Because you know we do like to mess it up. With thoughts of “I got this” or “I can fix this” – but really it should be more like “God – I give it to you” – because God has got it covered already. So why work so hard? Right.

Have you ever felt like someone is watching you? I get that some times. Now as my faith has grown I believe it’s God in his relentless watch over me and his desire to keep me close. In this chapter Lucado refers to the word “follow” – God is following us. I laughed out loud at that statement, because as many of you know I am on Twitter a lot. And on Twitter people “follow” you so they can see what you have to say.

Ironically I always think it’s so funny that people want to know what I have to say. But in thinking about God as a follower of me – just felt so weird. So I envisoned seeing my follow list and seeing God there. And I got sense that God is following me. Sometimes feverishly following me, pushing me, pulling me here and there. Giving me life. Keeping me vulnerable to Him.

I love that about God. Because without his relentless pursuit – life wouldn’t be worth living. So the next time you think someone is following you, turn around and envision God – because He is there and will be there anytime you need him. I know. Boy do I know.

until next time

m

 

Who is God?

This is the 2nd part in a series based on the book from Max Lucado called “Traveling Light” – I encourage you to read if you haven’t already.

This series will be written through the eyes of a grieving mother and a child of God. My plan is to use Lucado’s book “Traveling Light” to inspire, enlighten and empower grieving parents, family members and friends to move through their experience and see God’s plan and to know His love.

 

When you are grieving a loss like the loss of a child it’s so easy to lose your focus on just about everything.  It’s as if blinders have been put on your face and all you can see is the immense pain and sorrow that prevails over your life. It’s as if a dark cloud hovers over your life and the sun cannot penetrate it. A black veil has been hung over your heart and will forever be there as a reminder of the profound loss that remains.

Fortunately for me, I had a foundation of faith at the time of my daughter’s death. Now it wasn’t as strong as it is today, but it was better than nothing. But here’s the real gift for me – I never really understood who God was until my daughter’s death. You can say “well how is that a gift” – well my dear friends, the gift is that God showed His face, His love and His mercy over my life every time I called His name and sometimes when the words were silent that came from my mouth. When all I could do was wail from the pressing sorrow that came from all sides.

For me God showed up and took my hand through the “Valley of Death” – that I will write more about later. But first I want to address who God is – in a way that I saw who He was and still is today for me, a mother who has lost the most precious gift of all – my daughter. To understand who God is; how magnificent He is and how awesome He is – creates a place for healing to begin in your heart as it has in mine. It doesn’t happen overnight and for me, it’s still a work in progress.

So – Who is God? Lucado describes God in a way that moved me to tears and he says it this way “He is the One who Is” “One who creates” “He is an uncaused God” “God is Yahweh an unchanging God, an uncaused God and an ungoverned God”.  So what I took from this is my God is a constant in my life. He’s a consistent calm in a stormy sea. He is always there and never leaves me. That is a comfort when you have a grieving soul.

“Counselors can comfort you in the storm, but you need a God who can still the storm. Friends can hold  your hand at your deathbed, but you need a Yahweh who has defeated the grave. Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life. You need a Yahweh.” – from Max Lucado’s Traveling Light

I love that segment of the book because it really puts God at the center of any situation and hopefully shows you that no matter what you are dealing with God is there. I have felt that for many months and now years since my daughter’s death. Although some of the time I wasn’t sure I was feeling God’s presence – I still knew by faith that He was there.

I think in the early days of my faith, before Brit’s death I put God up on shelf – kinda like my bible. Took it down when I needed it or needed Him. But since my world was shattered, and let me just say that Brittany’s death was for me the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve had many other life shattering events – but my only child dying right before my eyes – well that rocked my world so profoundly – yet God remained.

Now God no longer sits up on the shelf of my life – He remains at the center of my life – leading me through the valleys and giving me rest when I need it. Blessing me everyday even though I don’t always see it. God has now saturated my life and that has been the very life blood I needed to move forward on the journey that I am now on. That is why I write so that God’s love can been seen through the fractured vantage point of unimaginable grief.

Stay tuned as we next visit – I’m gonna do it my way – it’s all I know – or so I thought…..

until next time

m