Grief: Walking on the Edge of the Cliff

I was just talking to someone Tuesday about how grief is a little like always walking along a cliff.  It is always there just waiting for you to tumble into the abyss.  It doesn't take much when you are already on the edge, to just fall in.  You try to distance yourself but the truth is, I think we will walk by the edge always when we  have lost a child.  You can find a way to be steadier, you can find a way to walk stronger but the cliff is always there and if you aren't you will go.  Then it is time to claw your way out, pray your way out, thank your way out and if that doesn't work you start calling for help.  Yep, grief is a weird thing.

I fell in yesterday, right into the dark pit.  Gary is scheduled for open heart surgery July 27th, this is a great thing.  Except it isn't.  Someone will be missing.  Justin came last time Gary was in the hospital as soon as he heard.  He prayed for Gary, he sat with us and he made us laugh.  This time he won't be there and on top of a few other things, that pushed me right over into that place, the grief place.

So today I am trying to reframe things.  Thinking about how thankful I am that God sends people into my life to show his love, that I am surronded by loving friends, that I have a wonderful family, that this surgery is a good thing, that life is not all just isn't.  Sometimes it may feel like it but it is not.  In the middle of all of this (I won't bore you with all the messy details) God is still good.  I can find joy in my mess, hope is actually right on the horizon if I will put my eyes on Him.

My husbands heart is too big, its a funny problem really.  His heart is too big and mine sometimes shrinks to a hard little stone out of fear.  I am learning to not shrink back, to fight for love.  To feel more, to love more along this journey.  Love is something we have to fight for.  I am fighting for more and more of it, to fill my heart to overflow so that it pushes out any and all fear and doubt. That's what love does, it drives out fear.

So yes, I had a bad day yesterday.  It was also a good day.  Someone brought me a gift, a reminder that God is smack dab in the middle of the bad day.  The day helped me to process through why I felt so sad and I didn't stay there.  I woke up and started a new day, a good day.

I woke up this morning remembering that God swallowed death.  I have always loved that verse. death is temporary, so small that it can be swallowed up like a little cookie by our BIG GOD.  One day all this will be unimportant but in the meantime, let's all live well.  Let's love at every opportunity, speak love and give love.  That is how we stay out of the pit, how we win even over death. 

I am in progress, growing daily but not perfected.  Thanks for the grace and understanding.

Love you people,

18 There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 (ASV)

8 He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Jehovah hath spoken it.
Isaiah 25:8 (ASV)

54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
1 Cor 15:54-55 (ASV)

Be Fearless

This is what I hear the Lord saying to fearless.  Fear is the exact opposite of love and perfect love cast out fear.  I have plenty of love, I think, but still struggle with fear.  I love all things brave.  I lean into things and force myself to be brave and do them.  I have grown by leaps and bounds in the "being brave" arena.

Fearless, that is a different story.  Fearless: To be devoid of fear.  Hhmmmm....this seems like something different.  His love cast out fear, understanding His love cast out fear.  He is the kindest, most loving, perfect, strongest, amazing, gentlest, sweetest, compassionate, cheerleader, all knowing,  I could go on and on....when I remember how good He really is, in all things then He becomes my fear-eater!  That's right He devours my crippling fear.

I don't have to manufacture any emotions, I simply need to remember who He is.  He is the one who knows all things and turns all things and loves all the bits and pieces of my emotions, soul and will.  He gets me, like no one else ever will because He made me.  So today I choose to be fearless because my father has made me to live secure in Him, in the only fear that He ordained and that is the fear of the Lord.  The reverence for the amazing character of God of which I continue to see unfold before my eyes on a daily basis.  May I never lose the wonder of who He is and may that always cast fear out of my mind.  And may that be the only "out of my mind",  I experience. LOL.

Standing in faith, being brave and learning to live fearless.

Love you people!

Its a Damn Bloody Battle

Several years ago I had the conflict of all conflicts.  The kind that can only happen when you love someone desperately and you are devastated by the unraveling of relationship.  We all have experienced this and we all probably will again.  In the beginning I took on a victim mentality, poor me....I sat there teetering between victim and vengeance.  Then Justin died and well it just didn't matter anymore.  From time to time I would distract myself by thinking about the conflict, the heartache, but in the end, time ground on and life began to return to my new normal.  

Recently it seemed it was time to revisit that happening.  To work through some forgiveness and surprisingly I found love lurking there.  There in the dark wounded corners of my heart, love was still there beating just as it always had for those dear ones.  I don't suppose it matters who did what or why.  It really only matters that God is always able to bring good out of every situation.  I am stronger, more loving, kinder and wiser than I was before the "happening".  Everything that the enemy intends to use to destroy is in fact being redeemed to teach us humility, courage, perseverance, hope, love, long suffering, etc.  It is helping us learn to die to self, to see our weaknesses, to respond in love, I could go on and on here but I won't.  There is always a purpose in our pain, God the Father waste nothing.  He takes the mess and the brokeness and reshapes our hearts to look more like His.  

I choose to believe the best, to let go of the past hurts so that I can experience the goodness of today. People come in and out of our lives for different seasons and different reasons.  I am thankful when they come and sometimes thankful when they go.  This life of ministry isn't easy, I hurt people and sometimes people hurt me.  I am so sorry, if I have hurt you.  We have all been on both sides of throwing rocks.  I am still learning this God thing, still a work in progress.  Knowing and growing.  l refuse to believe anyone is being malicious because the truth is we don't wrestle against flesh and blood....except I guess our own.  

I wrestle plenty with my own flesh.  Dying to self is not easy, but every conflict takes me closer.  Every time I choose love instead of defending, every time I humble myself and admit my fault I find myself slightly closer to dying.  The crucifying of my flesh sometimes happens at my own hands but sometimes it would seem to happen at the hands of another.  I am okay with that, as long as it brings God's glory to earth.  I never want conflict, I hate it and it makes me feel sick.  However, battle is bloody, that means you can't expect to have victories without ever having defeat.  In the darkness of seeming defeat, victory is often won in our hearts. Compassion and empathy are birthed in those places of loss and sorrow.  We are changed and change is good. 

And sometimes the biggest miracles happen in the quietness of a holy moment of forgiveness.  

12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:12-13 (ASV)

It's a Bloody Battle

A hundred words play in the background
and a million more swirl in my head

The weight of a simple sentence staggering
the judgement drowning  slowly

Those who had been the dearest friends
had become the enemy

Those hateful, hurtful stones
held tightly in the hands of sinners

The weight of judgement to heavy
for mere mortal hands

They threw them in self righteousness
in a holy war with themselves

They pronounced jihad and the battle waged on
the cost not counted and deception heavy

Battle plans laid out, it waged on
Hearts were broken and lives were shattered

On the bloody battlefield of gossip and slander
we all stood covered in the blood of sorrow

There I laid everything down
surrender my only option

The rocks that I could have thrown
piled instead as a memorial

My deliverer and I walk hand in hand
off the battlefield in determination

Enemies forgotten
new paths forged

The defeated has become the conqueror
the conquering King has led the way

Self has been destroyed, hope has been restored
the bloody battle a distant memory

The battlefield once soaked in blood
is now ruins restored, a city on a hill

That which was meant to annihilate
that hate, found no place to reside
no heart where to hide

Its only escape was a holy place
a place of grace

There it was changed, there it remained
hidden and covered, blessed yet disgraced

Slowly grace restoring, hate relenting
the ebb and flow of healing

The hate and love colliding
humanity and the Holy One

There hate was forgiven and love released
that which was disgraced now fully graced

For the battle was secretly waged in the heart not the field
won in the aftermath, born in the pain, metal forged of fire
and I am left standing in the glow of grace

The battlefield of every heart
for each to decide...better or bitter

Surrender to love or fight on in hate
The deceived battle on, the loved sing a new song

Humanity and the Holy one continue their dance.
hate and love colliding, beauty disgraced

A messy bloody battle
Till the trumpet sounds
and every heart knows the truth

The battle continues, not ours but the Lords
let's lay down our weapons of hate
let's join the legion of love

There is no battle that love cannot win

Thankful for all the people that have helped make me into the woman I am today.  Near and far, everyone has played a part in making me more like Jesus, because He uses everything if we let Him.   I am still a mess at times (you probably can think of some examples of this)  but don't give up on me yet, I have a few years to keep working at it.  I am pretty sure I am getting better with age. More wisdom and more fat....hehehe I will survive the apocalypse.  
Love you people.   

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