Friday, November 19, 2010

Brokeness Is Opportunity

Pastor has been teaching on the subject of Brokeness at our church, and last week taught on the book of Ruth. We learned about the bitterness that crept it's way into the heart of Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, through the loss of her husband and her son's. Naomi finds herself in a foreign land and in her mind, she is all alone, with only her two daughter-in -laws. She chooses to return to her homeland and even though her daughter-in-law's intend to follow her, she has other plans. She is wanting to go on her own. I believe Naomi's concern for her daughter-in-law is sincere and she means the best for them and their futures. But, the fact that she is making this choice to make this journey alone sticks out to me. How many times in our brokeness and grief do we make that same choice? To go it all alone!
Loss of a loved one is so very hard. It can change who we are, how we react to others, it can change the very way we look at life and/or God! But the greatest mistake we can make is to try to go through it alone and not see the opportunity God gives us through this experience!
I have wrote of the passing of my mom last year, and I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that nothing can fill that void left by the absence of her physical presence in my life. Nothing! Except God!
A mother's love is a most unique love, I believe the closest to Godly, agape love, we will ever experience on this earth. When a loved one is no longer here it leaves a big gaping hole in your heart.
A place only our heavenly Father's love can fill.
I thought I was doing what was best for me after my mom died by just staying busy and keeping my mind off of her and the fact she wasn't ever going to be here again. I was choosing to go "alone" on my journey through grief, kind of like Naomi.
After a full year had past I found myself falling into a deep depression that confused me. Why was I grieving so bad now when she'd been gone a year already? I didn't understand God had been waiting for me to fall into His arms the whole time, wanting to comfort me and guide me through this journey. He was waiting for me to come to Him that He could reveal to me the opportunity He was giving me to learn more about His love. Only God knows the extent of our grieving, only God knows the size of that void left within our hearts and God is the only one who knows just how to fill that gaping hole, and bring us closer to Him all at the same time. It's hard to imagine anything good coming from something that hurts so much, but God not only show's us this in His word in the book of Ruth, it's also shown in the book of Job. Loss is hard, one of the hardest things I think we have to deal with in this life but God can and will bring good from every loss if we let Him. No, our loved one won't miraculously reappear, but one day we will be with them again. And, until that day comes we can learn more about our Father's love by asking Him to walk with us. Asking Him to show us how to love more like Him and to bring us into opportunities to show that love to others.

He promises to always be there, to never leave us nor forsake us ,just as Naomi finally realized, we have to let Him in and choose to walk with Him and let Him show us the way. God brought restoration to Naomi's life. First, with Ruth's refusal to part from her, then by restoring her heart, by showing her His love. God still heard Naomi's voice, even through her pain and her bitterness.

I am so thankful the Lord loves me so much, He wouldn't leave me to myself.
I pray you experience the revelation of Gods love for you today- it will change your life forever- and you will never be the same!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Mother Daughter Relationship

I don't know how many times in the past several years I have listened to well meaning youth leaders talk about "letting go" of our kids once they become teenagers. They claim more time with their peers and young adults is what they really need at this point in their lives. One thing I've noticed is that the majority of the youth leaders suggesting this way of parenting have yet to parent through the teenage years themselves, and yes, maybe they know kids, but where did this gained knowledge or wisdom on parenting they are claiming come from?
One would hope their guidance and teaching would come from the Bible. But becoming more distant in your teens life is not what the Bible teaches. I am the mom of five great kids. Four of those kids are now aspiring adults who now manage their own daily lives and choices, the fifth child is just beginning to maneuver through the final stages of those teenage years into adulthood. Now, I've learned a lot of things through the years of raising those first four, yet I will never claim to know all there is to know about the right and the wrong ways of parenting. But, this stands out to me; you cannot have a close relationship with someone who is not there, you cannot speak wisdom to someone who is not there to hear you, you cannot guide someone if they cannot see you leading and God has called every parent to be and do every one of these. Do I believe the teenage years are a time to make sure they have opportunities to put into practice those things you hope you have instilled in them thus far? Most certainly! A child needs those opportunities. But, God's word teaches us that "we", the parents are to be their greatest influence, all the way through to adulthood. It doesn't teach us that we are to be this main influence only unto adolescence and then toss that responsibility to their peers, teachers, or even youth leaders. It is our responsibility as parents to see them through this journey into adulthood. There is a great article on this topic of influence at named "The Primary Influence In a Girl's Life". Although the article is speaking specifically about the mother/daughter relationship I really think it applies to boys as well. I hope you'll enjoy it. Proverbs 22:6 " Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." NAS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Symptoms of Grief

Psalm 94:19 "When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,

Your consolations delight my soul."

Everyone grieves the loss of a loved one or friend differently. Some hold all their emotion inside and choose to not let it out at all, others may keep their chin up within public view and then let it all out in the quiet or while praying, and there are some who are consumed with the feeling of loss for some time and yet others who for whatever reason, seem to handle the death of a loved one with such calm that one might claim they are void of emotion.
Since my mama went to be with the Lord last year I think I've gone through each one of these different ways of grieving. Much to my surprise has been the effect upon me as the first year anniversary of her passing has come. It's been harder than I thought it would be. I have missed her every day, and some days the pain has been so intense.
Grieving, I am finding is an unpredictable emotion that can seem to be totally absent one moment and all consuming in the next, with no announcement of it's coming symptoms.
But, Jesus is faithful to His word that he would never leave us, and He brings consolation to the anxious and the grieving heart and the one thing that brings me comfort is picturing my mama sitting with Jesus with a smile on her face, knowing one day we will both be sitting there with Him, smiling!