Category: Sorrow


“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”   Matthew 5:4

September 11th attacks

The attacks of September 11th have been the most devastating thing that has happened in my life.  My heart still hurts thinking of those who lost their lives, both the victims and those in the armed forces fighting to keep terrorists at bay and I know our world has forever been changed.

I fully admit that I am ignorant to what is happening out in the world.  I am blessed to live in a country that does not have desolate lands, a lot of poverty, disease, hunger or war on the street and I haven’t known a lot of tragedy in my life.

I haven’t dealt with abuse, don’t come from a family of divorce, haven’t lost a parent, have not been sick, never miscarried or lost a child.  Sure, I’ve lost grandparents but they lived long, full, happy lives and of course pets…but I can’t call flushing a dead goldfish down the toilet real loss.

dead goldfish

I’ve experienced job loss and financial hardship but have never personally experienced anything that shook me to the core.

I haven’t written about any of the heartless massacres that have taken place over the last many years.  So many grievous, heart-wrenching and unfathomable acts of violence that have been carried out in places of learning, entertainment, recreation, healing, solace and safety.  Places all of us visit and had no second thoughts about allowing our children or loved ones to do the same.

Of course each one of these tragedies have affected me; shocked me, sickened me and caused me to question humanity, but they never quite hit home.  The Dark Knight Rises movie shooting caused me to stop and gawk in disbelief, questioning what people in this world are thinking and the tragedy that happened at a Sikh Temple only a couple hours away from our home saddened me and I prayed for those families affected by it, but I carried on with life.

Even this past week at a mall in Oregon confused me and made me wonder… but honestly I shrugged it off, “That won’t happen here,” I thought.

But what happened yesterday at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Hold them tight

Yesterday was different.  They were children.  Children!

This one hit home.

 

I don’t know why God gives and takes away.  Why He allows terrible heartache and trials in one life and not others.  Why He provides gifts and blessings for one and nothing for another.

“Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?”   Isaiah 40:13

But I do know that God’s ways are best, His plan is best, His love never fails and He is still in control.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Hold them tight...

Last night I held my babies tight.  I cried while holding them in my arms… so very thankful that I could.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”   1 John 4:4

 

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Virginia Tech Massacre
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Carson City IHOP
Carthage Nursing Home

Ladieeeees aaaaand gentlemen!

Welcome to the main event; the Suffering Weight Boxing championships!

In the red corner weighing 142 pounds, previously wealthy land and livestock owner and former father of ten.  The current Suffering Weight Boxing Champion, from right here in the land of Uz, please welcome Joooooooooooob!

His opponent in the blue corner weighting 143 pounds, one of three pitiful friends of Job.  The chief “comforter” from Teman, please welcome Eliphaaaaaaaaz!

Are you ready to rumblllllllllllllle?

Ding.
Ding.
Ding.

Chapter 15.  Round 2.

Eliphaz starts in again with his accusations, echoing the accusations he brought to the ring in chapter 4.  He didn’t bring any new moves or new punches.  He was a friend coming to Job armed with gloves of blame and mistrust.

Job returns the blows of condemnation from Eliphaz with strikes of emotion and anger.  Calling his friends, and rightly so, “worthless physicians” [Job 13:4] and “miserable comforters.” [Job 16:2]

I can relate to Job’s friends.  I am a miserable comforter.

A dear friend of mine has been recently diagnosed with an aggressive, stage 2 possibly stage 3, form of breast cancer.

When I heard of her diagnosis, I froze.

I longed to go to her but failed.  I wanted to support her but collapsed.  I desired to encourage her but gave up.  I ached to be there for her but fell short.  I had no words and couldn’t process the news, so I didn’t.

I didn’t go to her.  I didn’t cry with her.  I didn’t comfort her.

I didn’t.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… if it is encouraging, let him encourage…”   Romans 12:4-6, 8 (niv)

I, like Job’s friends, just shook my head.

Job’s friends, typical guys, wanted to fix things.  They offered suggestions and accusations when all Job wanted was support, encouragement, a strong shoulder and an open ear.

“But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”   Job 16:5 (nlt)

Sometimes there aren’t words.

I don’t have the words to comfort my friend, because I have never been in her shoes.  I don’t know what she’s going through so I can’t possibly tell her so, but I can sit quietly, wrap her in silence and learn from her.

Sometimes we aren’t supposed to fix things.

I can’t give my friend the medicine she needs or take the pain from her, but I can offer my time, my hugs, my tears, my prayers and my love.

“A friend loves at all times…”   Proverbs 17:17

What kind of friend are you?

 

I’m reading slowly through the book of Job.  I have read the Bible all the way through a couple times now in my life [insert happy dance here]

but I have never done an in-depth study of Job.

I’ve always liked Job.

He puts things into perspective when I think I’m having a bad day.  I mean, the poor guy!  All within six verses, a matter of exactly 27 seconds of reading, announcements that come within a period of what could be only minutes of each other; he loses his livelihood and his family.  [Job 1:14-19]

In chapter two, Job is plagued with “loathsome sores” and the one person who is supposed to stand by his side “in sickness and in health” turns against him.  [Job 2:7-9]

Then there are Job’s friends…
Eliphaz the Temanite
Bildad the Shuhite
Zophar the Naamathite

Now I’m only in chapter six so I have only started reading in-depth the counsel of Job’s friends, more specifically Eliphaz who tries to offer words of help and encouragement by suggesting the reason he thinks Job is suffering.

But from what I’ve read so far, Eliphaz is only doing what we all do for our own friends.  We offer our best guess.  Our assumption of what might be happening.  We try to give our best counsel based on things we have experienced ourselves and what might apply to our friend.

I hear all the time how Job’s friends steer him wrong; they are insensitive and give horrible counsel.  Perhaps there will be much more to learn as I continue my study through Job, but as of right now they seem human to me.  They just seem like good guys coming to comfort and help their friend.

What kind of friend are you?

Please take a few minutes to take my friendship survey!  The results will help me see what qualities we find most important in a good friend and how many of us consider ourselves friend savvy.

Click here to take the survey!

Thank you so much for your help!!

 

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.  And we are never, ever the same.”  -Anonymous

How are you at being a good friend?

I miss the mark more often than not.

A good friend is patient and kind.  She doesn’t get jealous, snotty or rude.  She lets us go first even when it isn’t our turn and doesn’t get angry when we do.  She is always honest with us, dreams with us and walks the long road with us.  She comes when we struggle, weeps with us and encourages us when we are down.  She lends her ear and her shoulder to help bear our burden and sorrow.  Her love never ends.

So often Job’s friends get a bad wrap, and rightly so; they give him bad advice, question his integrity, and accuse him wrongly.  Like us, our friends are not perfect; we all make bad choices, say the wrong things or jump to conclusions.  [Job 4-25]

But we can learn from Job’s friends in how they respond when they hear of their friend’s suffering;

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came… to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept… And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”   Job 2:11-13

They came.

They wept.

They sat.

What kind of friend are you?

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”   1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21

Job shook me this morning.

How do I respond when ‘bad’ things happen in my life?

Do I say “Why me?”

Do I complain?

I need to take a lesson from Job.  If I think I’m struggling in my life, I certainly have not struggled as Job has.

I have not had the heartache as Job has.  I get a “No. Thanks anyway,” response back from an article I sent to a magazine and I question God.  Job lost all ten of his children in one fell swoop!  [Job 1:18]

I have not had the physical pain as Job has.  I get a hangnail and I whine.  Job had painful boils from head to toe and scraped them off with a potsherd for relief!  [Job 2:7-8]

Job had incredibly difficult struggles and yet He trusted God’s plan.  He accepted his trials and understood them as something God had every right to give.

“… Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   Job 2:10

I need to stop being so drama queen.

Comparatively, my life has been quite easy.  My struggles, minor.

I need a new…  perspective.

What are you struggling with?

Don’t look at it with your own eyes…you’re too close, your feelings too real.  Look at your situation through God’s eyes…

God gave us amazing examples in His Word.

Maybe you just need a new… Job.

Have you ever had a girl crush?

crush   noun   \ˈkrəsh\
Definition of CRUSH : an intense and usually passing infatuation <have a crush on someone>;
(Definition of INFATUATE : to inspire with a foolish or extravagant love or admiration)

You know, you’re a girl and you meet another girl and she’s gorgeous, friendly, funny, sweet, and totally in style.  You feel like you’ve known her your whole life; you have the same beliefs, same views on life, family and God and you totally “get” why her husband married her.

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”   1 Peter 3:3-4

The Urban dictionary defines it as:

girl crush
feelings of admiration and adoration which a girl has for another girl, without wanting to shag said girl. a nonsexual attraction, usually based on veneration at some level.

These are the girls who are not related by blood and yet love us unconditionally.  They offer their shoulders freely for crying and their sleeves for blowing.  They act as a back board to bounce ideas off of and a coach to guide us.  They are a safe haven to run to in a storm and a gentle hand that picks us up when we slip.

This is a tribute to the girls in my life; those of you who make me want to act better, look better, love my husband and children better, portray Christ better, treat others better, and love my God better.

Thank you for the love and acceptance you have shown me, for the inspiration you have given me, for the wisdom you have shared with me and for the Godliness you have displayed for me.

I praise God for the girl crushes He has blessed me with, and although it is said that a crush is short lived, maybe these are the exception.

You know who you are… and I thank you.

On Tuesday of this week, I sat on a five-mile section of the “Ike“, or Interstate 290 running westward from the Chicago loop, for over an hour.

My traveling companions and I were returning home from an amazing journey God provided, traveling to Concord, North Carolina for my She Speaks writers conference.

We had traveled more than 2000 miles already and sat in the car for nearly eight hours that day, so being only a couple hours from home we were eager to get there.

The GPS told us we were to be expected home at 6:36pm and we knew we were traveling through Chicago at the wrong time; rush hour, so when we approached a sea of brake lights we weren’t shocked.  We were shocked however by the amount of cars and how long the back up was taking.

Now, I lived in the Twin Cities and commuted every day during rush hour traffic and knew what to expect, but this traffic was at a dead stop.  We were literally at a snail’s pace…going nowhere fast.

Thankfully we had decided to stop just before getting on I-290 to top off the gas tank.  We had a bit less than half a tank and figured we would be fine but we knew the time we would be traveling into Chicago so we didn’t want to take any chances.

Typically we fill up, have a quick memorial and cleansing service for those sacrificed upon our windshield and head on our way.  But this time we were delayed a bit longer than usual while we used the restroom and purchased a soda and Twizzlers.

Darn, had we not stopped at all…maybe we would’ve missed this whole jam!

About 40 minutes into our wait, only a few miles covered and most of the Twizzlers gone, we heard sirens behind us.  “Oh gees!”  I said.  Just the thought of having to maneuver through this mess was appalling.  The emergency vehicles blared their horns, much to the chagrin of the poor gal in the open convertible next to us, and waited for cars to move and then continued through.

I immediately wished we had a flashy light and loud horn to help us through this maze too!!

We watched as the expected arrival time on the GPS got later and later.

We inched forward and nearly an hour into our wait, we noticed flashing lights up ahead.  “Oh, of course! There must have been an accident” we said noticing that the emergency vehicles were blocking the two right lanes.  Oh gees, now we have to try to get over?  Great.  Four lanes of Chicago traffic squishing into two, with wonderfully gracious and patient Chicago drivers..

Mmm-hmm, no wonder there was a backup!

As we approached the cause of the backup a hush filled the car.

  

July 24, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — A man was killed in a traffic accident near Woodfield Mall on I-290 just south of the Higgins Road exit Tuesday afternoon.

State police say a car crashed into semi-truck in the northbound lanes and ended up underneath the truck.

There was a five-mile backup on the interstate.

(Copyright ©2012 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
What if we hadn’t stopped at that last gas station?
What if we hadn’t been delayed in the store?
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28

 

A couple years ago my Dad (who is an avid coin collector) and Mom went on vacation, and while they were gone a coin set was being released to the public called the Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Set. There were only 50,000 sets made, buyers could only buy one set each, and there was a specific day and time that the sale would start. Dad asked if I could buy that for him while he was gone. I didn’t hesitate to let him know I would take care of it.

It’s not often that my Dad counts on me for things. There aren’t many times that he asks for my help — so in order to come through for him…oh, what a feeling!!

That day came, and I sat both on the internet and on the phone trying to get my hands on that cherished set. Two hours later I got through, made the purchase, got the confirmation email, and was so excited and proud that I was able to do this for my Dad. I couldn’t wait to tell him, so I immediately called to let him know.

He was THRILLED!!!

A few weeks went by, and my Dad asked if I had gotten the coin yet. It was back ordered and was going to be sent out at the end of October – so I wasn’t terribly concerned that it hadn’t arrived yet. Then yesterday I got an email that said:

“Dear United States Mint Customer,
We were unable to process your order because the credit card charge was declined. Please contact your financial institution to find out the reason(s) why your charge was declined. Unfortunately, some of the products that you ordered may no longer be available.

WHAAAAT?!!

That was impossible. We had the money in our account to cover the purchase, so there must be some mistake. I called the US Mint and spoke to a gal about my account, in which she informed me that there was a problem with the card, so they canceled my order and it was put back into circulation so the next buyer got it.

WHAAAAT?!!

There was nothing I could do. I tried to reason with her, I tried to plead with her — but the set that I ordered for my Dad was gone.

I immediately burst into tears. Oh how disappointed my Dad was going to be! Oh, I couldn’t bear telling him…but I had to. I finally got ahold of him, took a deep breath, and told him what happened. It was very clear how upset he was about it, and my heart broke in two.

The one time he really counted on me, and I let him down…

Oh God — how many times do we fail You?!! The heartache I have over disappointing the earthly father you gave me is unbearable … and yet I disappoint You so much worse and so much more often.

I have often heard that the way we see our earthly father is the way we perceive our Heavenly Father. I am so thankful that my earthly father, my Dad, has shown me love, patience, protection, kindness, compassion, guidance and so many more wonderful traits. I have a beautiful picture of who God truly is…and yet I take Him for granted.

Why do I not fall into great sobs when I choose to fall into sin?

Why do I not cry out when I make wrong choices that disappoint my Maker?

“who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”   Psalm 103:3-12

Oh, I praise you Lord. Please help me to truly know the pain I cause you. Help me not to take you for granted! Please give me a heart like David’s…one that truly wants to serve and please you.

Happy Father’s Day…to the best Dad in the world!!

And may we not forget our Heavenly Father on this day, the One who truly deserves our devotion and praise.

Oh…and praise God for my Mom who was able to find another Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Set.  Whew!  🙂  Thanks to moms who tend to help dads overlook our failures.   Love you both so much!!

Have you ever been lost in a department store?

You’re eight years old walking down the toy aisle with mom pushing the cart when you are lured by the call of the Glo Worms, Masters of the Universe, She-Ra and Star Wars action figures, Rainbow Bright, Pound Puppies, Donny & Marie dolls and Micro Machines when you look up and realize Mom’s nowhere in sight.

Your heart pounds, your eyes widen, your pulse quickens and your whole body stiffens and practically tingles as you frantically search aisle after aisle desperately seeking someone you recognize.

You know that feeling… empty, desperate, nowhere to turn, no one to listen, lost and without hope.

Several months ago I wrote an “I Spy” about pulpit thumping, which I realized I hadn’t posted on here yet…so, I literally just posted it now if you’d like to take a look:  “I spy God thumping

The co-worker I refer to in that post has been prayed over by many people and so often since that incident with the radio preacher almost five months ago now.  I shared the “thumping” story with the owner and other employees at Life 102.5, and they have been praying that God might open a door for me to continue to witness to her at work.

However, to be completely honest I never thought she would be brought to a place where a door would be opened wide enough for her to be accepting of it, let alone have the time needed while at work to share with her, so again I shrugged it off.

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?”   Genesis 18:14a

How silly of me.

Just the other day, I was able to sit down and catch up with this co-worker, and she shared with me about enduring some real heartache and difficulty in her life, and that she is very much struggling with everything right now.

Creeeeeaaaaak…the door just opened.

God provided a good 45 minutes for me to chat with this gal and share of God’s love and the sacrifice He made for her, but as we talked what struck me was that I saw in her eyes a glimpse of that little girl lost in a department store.

I saw fear and confusion in her tear filled eyes.  She couldn’t recognize anyone around her, she couldn’t understand how she got there and unable find her way.

 

I read a new friend’s blog just this morning that God spoke through, bringing my co-worker to mind and into my prayers:

“Maybe you are standing at the bottom of that hill or mountain looking up high at a mountain and that’s all you know for sure.

And when this happens, and it does sometimes, we can look a tiny bit higher than the hill to the clouds, look for something–no, Someone–we can’t see, and say, even when we don’t have any other words:

“Jesus, help.”
 
I remember the one time that He was up on a hill.
 
And I wait. Because He is strong in my weakness.
And that’s why I need grace.
 
Will you wait? See His strength in your weakness.
We all need grace.
 
He comes when we ask and we find His strength.”
*Excerpt taken from Jen’s blog: Extra*Ordinary

Do you know something is missing, but can’t figure out what?

Do you long for the warmth, peace, and embrace only our loving, forgiving, and all-powerful Father can provide?

Please don’t wait another moment to turn to the One person who can give you what you’re missing.

Call to Him.

He’s waiting.

Christian; do you remember a time, even if you grew up in a strong Christian home and gave your life to Jesus at an early age, where you felt far away from Him?

He hasn’t moved.

“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”   Matthew 19:26

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.    Proverbs 15:1

How do I, when in the midst of chaos (and my temper) bring out those soft words?!!

I only have a few short hours with the kids on the days I have to work but even on my days off, it seems I find myself yelling more and losing my temper more quickly.  I see it sometimes in my husband, and it irritates me so much when I think he yells at the kids unnecessarily.

But why, when we do it ourselves, it seems justified?!!

I lost it the other night when my five year old son was trying to open the cake saver with his oldest sister’s birthday cake in it.  I asked him not to (I could foresee the mess, of course, that was about to ensue) but he continued to try to figure it out trying to open it anyway.

The lid popped off, slid right into the cake, and…

I lost it.

It wasn’t even the fact that he ruined the cake (because I’m cool with eating any type of birthday cake whether it’s in pieces or whole) but it was the fact that he directly disobeyed me.

The problem was, I screamed at him.

Over cake.

I didn’t stop to control my temper, I let it out to do its destructive work and now I’m sorry for it.

I did sit him down later, after the sparks were through flying and the embers had cooled, to explain why I was upset, to apologize and ask his forgiveness… but it’s not enough.

If I am truly sorry, I need to change because that’s what being sorry is…feeling sorrow for what I have done.

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”   Proverbs 29:11

I don’t want to be that fool any longer.

I ran across this brilliant blog post by Khamneithang the other day:

The wise old owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we be like that old bird?

Image

Oh God, hold my tongue when I get angry.  Help me to express my feelings softly, and like the owl… choose words wisely!

 

 

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