This time of year gets hard for me. For the past five years, when my birthday rolls around in mid-November, I can begin to feel the shift. I described it a few weeks ago to my husband as this- “There’s just this deep ache within my soul that feels heavy. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Yet, I feel as if there is something sitting on my chest and it’s not going away.”
I’ve learned that this deep ache is GRIEF. With the holiday season there comes a longing. . .a longing for the way things used to be. A longing for what I had hoped always would be. Continue reading Joy in the Heaviness
Just this morning I saw a FB article written by a recently widowed acquaintance. She lost her husband to cancer within this last month and has suddenly found herself on the grief road. Her grief is very real and consuming. Her days feel foggy and all out-of-sorts. She is struggling with new feelings, thoughts, and heartbreaks.
I know from my own experience that grief can suck the wind from your lungs. Grief paralyzes you. Grief makes everything 10x’s harder to do. Grief robs you of sleep. Grief steals much joy and happiness from your everyday life. Grief is just.so.very.hard!
The Lord brought to my heart and mind a few ideas for ways to extend love and grace to a grieving heart. Perhaps you know someone right now who is walking along the grief road. It may be your spouse, your child, another relative, a church member, or friend who needs your love and encouragement to press on and keep walking on this incredible challenging journey! Continue reading Love and Grace for a Grieving Heart
Oh, how I wish I still had it sitting on my kitchen table! Of all the vases that have graced my table, this beautiful red and yellow vase was my absolute favorite! The porcelain vase was delightfully shaped, vibrantly colored, and filled with a gorgeous collection of silk flowers. I loved the vase mostly because it represented my sweet mom. Mom had carefully chosen the vase for me as a birthday gift then filled it with beautiful red silk roses, brown twigs, yellow tulips, and other greenery. She was thrilled to present it to me as a token of her love and care! Little did I know at the time this vase would be the last gift from my mom before she met Jesus. After Mom’s death, I cherished this vase dearly and was reminded of her love each time I passed the kitchen table.
Continue reading A Fragile Clay Jar
2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.“
As I read this verse this morning, my heart jumped a bit inside my chest. My eyes welled up with grateful tears. And I silently whispered a prayer of thanks to my Lord.
God is faithful. . .even when I’m not. His very nature is faithfulness. He promises to remain true to His Word. He never changes. He is always the same–yesterday, today, and forever.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of remembering. Remembering His faithfulness to me in my 38 years of life. He has never failed me. He has remained faithful to me when I have run from Him. When I have broken His commandments. When I have doubted His love. When I have looked to other things for fulfillment. When I have chosen to walk in my own goodness. Continue reading He Remains Faithful
Life is hard. Overwhelmingly difficult at times. I want to give up. I want to cry. I want to run away and find a safe place.
A place of calm. A place of rest. A place of security. A place of safety.
I have found myself constantly searching for my place of safety during these last several months. (Really it’s been the past several years!) It’s been a real struggle to find joy on many days. I’m exhausted. My heart is weary. My strength seems to be sapped so easily. I’ve been discouraged. I’ve questioned God’s ways. I can’t seem to understand why my life has been full of heartache and stress…heart attacks, ministry/job changes, death of loved ones, burns, anxiety, friendship changes, and parenting struggles to name a few. During the past few weeks, I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me new truths and reveal to my heart what He wants me to understand through this tough season of life. Continue reading My Place of Safety
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . .” Psalm 23:6a
It was 12:30 am, December 12, 2016, when God’s Spirit reminded me of these verses. As I was trying to calm my body and mind, I began to quietly quote Psalm 23. My earlier evening had been spent at the hospital beside Jason’s bed . . . watching him breathe and constantly reading bedside monitors. Never would I have imagined that my 38 year old husband would suffer a life-threatening cardiac arrest and miraculously survive! (You can read his story here.) Continue reading Surely Goodness and Mercy
I’m sure you’ve been there before. If not, you will be at some point. I’m talking about that day in your life when the bad news comes, life turns upside-down, your loved one dies, or you simply are blind-sided by someone’s decision.
How do you handle those rough winds in your sea? What do you do to avoid drowning? How do you keep breathing when it seems you can barely stay afloat? Where do you turn for help?
A few nights ago these simple thoughts came to mind as I was praying for wisdom in helping a friend who is struggling with her own “hard.” I hope these will be a blessing and encouragement to you today. Continue reading When Life Is Hard
In November of 2015, I had the privilege to speak at a ladies conference in NC. I have shared these sessions with a few friends in my church who encouraged me to post them on the blog. I pray that God will use these words to strengthen and encourage your own heart. God has certainly been faithful in my own life and continues to move my life from “empty to full.”
In these sessions, I quote and reference from many of the following authors. I highly recommend these books that God has used to bring healing and help to my own life through my journey of grief. Continue reading Conference Sessions Available on Vimeo- “From Empty to Full”
We were here. Again. For the second time.
Lauryn, with a terrified look on her face, climbed apprehensively into the dentist’s chair. She knew what was ahead. She had been through this before!
Having four teeth pulled was no joy-ride. It was rather horrific to a ten year old girl who struggles very much with fear of pain.
As I gently held both of her hands in mine, I winced in my own heart as she strangled my fingers with her death grip. I knew she was terrified! As her tears began to flow freely into the sides of her hair, my own tears welled up within my eyes. As she tried to resist the pain and endure the struggle to remain in that chair, I thought of how often I try to resist pain. Pain that I know in my mind will be worth it. But pain that my heart can barely seem to endure. Continue reading The Dentist & My Father’s Love
(If you missed part one and two. . .)
I must tell you that I have had to fight to get from living in empty to living in His fullness. I’m still fighting daily to live in His fullness and truth.
After mom’s death, I had no idea of how intense the battles (and wars) would be that I would fight within my heart for His truth. Grief is such an ugly journey. . . full of many ups and downs.
John 10:10 has become a very special verse to me in the last few years. As I was deeply struggling in my grief, anger, and spiritual questioning, God led me to this verse. Jesus says, “I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” One author paraphrased the verse to read, “The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come to bring them life in its fullness.”
I seriously doubted the truth of this verse for months. My life felt anything but “abundant”. It seemed to me that the devil had won and I would never experience a full life again. Satan is the Ultimate Deceiver! He is downright ugly and plays cruelly! He wants to take me captive. .. and he wants to take you captive. And very often, he slyly pulls our hearts and minds away from the truth by using our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and experiences to pull the engines of our mind and heart rather than allowing Truth to direct our minds and hearts. Our experiences and emotions cannot be our guide. Every event in your life must be understood and interpreted by the Scriptures. For the God revealed in Scripture doesn’t change. (Malachi 3:6) Continue reading Filled With All the Fullness of God- Part Three