Saturday, September 19, 2015

One Year Later

If I have my dates correct, tomorrow a year ago was a day that my face went white from shock and I could barely stomach my breakfast. I remember exactly where I was sitting, and my eyes well just thinking about that moment. A great man had suddenly and unexpectedly received his reward and had gone to be with Jesus. My heart still wrenches today for those who deeply love him. I remember sitting in church the next morning; I don't think anyone had a dry eye. We all felt the loss, all mourned.

                           Tragedy was faced today. It has a magnificent power
                              to break hearts in two, yet bring people together
                         in love and community. Sitting in church this morning  
                       listening to the sweet strains of "Nearer My God to Thee" 
                                 on a violin made tears spring to my eyes.

My heart is still filled with so many questions. I know that God is sovereign, faithful, and loving. I know that He saw all that pain, carried this great man's wife, children, and grandchildren through. I just don't understand why he had to go, why there will be so many things that he will miss.
                        In control He is, and sometimes I fight this, 
                                but grace, grace...incredible grace.

So a year later, I honor him again. This kind, gracious man who loved everyone well.

I remember this gentle man, full of wit. I treasure how he saw each person he spoke. I can't help but smile at remembering his grin, his laughs, his jokes. He was one of kind. I always admired the hard way that he worked, though I never thought to tell him. He always loved with his full heart, his smile lighting up each room or area that he was in. He teased a lot, but you always knew that you were loved by him.

I honor and lift up his family, this family who seemed to have never-ending turmoil, but how they persevered. How they held to the gloriously goodness of Jesus. And I can't wait to see him again. See him surrounded by his children and grandchildren. I might sit at the edge and listen as he shares hilarious stories. What a day that will be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Water Bottles of Grace

I drank my coffee in silence this morning, wondering if maybe today something would sink into my heart and firmly take root. Opening my Bible, I came across my favorite book...Hosea. Yes, I could get lost in this story. Mostly because many times I feel like it was written about me. Thinking that I might read the entire book again this morning, I only made it to the second chapter, and stopped to mull over these verses.

"But then I will win her back once again. 
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble
into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes," says the Lord,
"you will call me, 'my husband'
instead of 'my master.'"
[Hosea 2:14-16]

I saw the word desert and stopped. I know that place, know it well. I have fought anger over it, mourned over being in it, felt peace for knowing it ends, experienced desolation over want of what I thought I needed in it. As I thought for a moment, I remembered this long season of desert. To be honest, it's been a little over two years. I remembered all the times I thought there was no way that I would make it, especially not without the water He gives. No one can make it in the desert without water, nourishment. I kept looking over my memories, thinking I would not find anything. A thought kept running through my mind. "Bottles of water, He gave me bottles of water. That kept me going." 

What? 

So I looked again, and I saw those moments of blessing, those breaths of oxygen. Hidden as they were, they were always there. He was always there, always giving water, always beside me, sometimes even carrying me. I would cry out, and something would always happen, but in my anger at being in the desert, I couldn't see that it was His grace. Couldn't see His love flowing. But He is so patient, so kind, so gracious. His love is everlasting and faithful. 

Deserts will come and go; they'll always be a part of life. Darkness will come and go; it may leave you feeling like you are wounded, devastated, rejected beyond help. But, what I'm learning and relearning is that He is literally there. I don't know how or how to explain it. But, somewhere, somehow in the middle of every single thing that happens, He is the only thing that keeps any of us breathing. 

So if you are in that darkness, that desert, or coming out or going into one...it won't always feel like Jesus is there. Reading this, you may fight anger or some other such emotion. Go ahead. I know what that's like. Just don't give up or into lies. I did. It's hard to fight out of those lies. The truth is that God is still sovereign even in the middle of the unknowns, the battles, the deserts and darknesses, the pains. He is still sovereign. Write it on your arm with a Sharpie if you have to. 

Just know.

God is still sovereign.