Awe of the Creator

Christmas can be such a “magical” time of the year.  One that brings hope, joy and something new.

It can also be a time of sorrow in missing those we love.  Those who have passed away from this life as we know it and into an eternal one.  Maybe it’s finances, health or family issues that bring you stress.  I want to encourage you that Jesus is still Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords and He’s bigger than whatever pain you may experience.

Don’t lose your sense of wonder and awe of The Father.

Psalm 139, shows David’s wonder of the Lord.  He recognizes that God has known his heart, He’s intimately acquainted with all of his ways.  He’s everywhere, All knowing, He’s not bound by time and nothing is hidden from Him.  David recognizes the power and he’s in awe of God Almighty!

He then goes on to say he recognizes that He made him fearfully and wonderfully.  Wonderful are the works of the Father.

David is brutally honest about his hate toward his enemies in verses 19-22.  If the Lord already knows your heart, He knows this too.  If you’re struggling, tell it to God.  David says he hates them with the utmost hatred.  That’s a lot of hate.  And yet, he shared it with the creator.

But through all of this, acknowledging God’s greatness and goodness and yes, even hatred, we see David coming back to a place of asking the Lord to continue to search his heart.  Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

An everlasting way…  a way that lasts forever, for ever and ever.  As your family celebrates the advent of Jesus’ first coming, may we never forget He is everlasting.  And one day, He’s returning for His church. May we all be ready to reign with the Prince of Peace and Lord of Lords.  May we know Him intimately.  May we be in awe of Him. In Jesus name, amen.
photo credit: Unsplash

Grief is Crazy Like That!

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

The holidays can be some of toughest times of the year after losing a loved one. Click To Tweet

I remember our first Thanksgiving after Richard passed away.  We drove to Arkansas to be with family and when the time came to join hands for prayer over the meal it was awkward because there was a vacancy, a void in our family and empty chair at the table.

I tried to keep things as normal and as routine for the kids and I as possible.  But the reality was, it was far from normal, we were not the same.  Our loss was huge!

Thanksgiving 2010 marked 5 1/2 months since we had been with Richard. In some regards, 5 1/2 months seemed like such a short time yet at the same time it seemed like an eternity. How does that even make sense? Grief is crazy like that.

Our families were gracious in trying to continue traditions of gathering around the table and enjoying a full spread of ham, turkey and dressing but something, someone was still missing.

How on earth do you get through?  Is it even possible to survive?

I will say, getting through is sometimes just that…  Nothing outlandish just merely surviving.  Sometimes you just need to survive.  You may be saying something like, if I can just get through or survive this year I’ll be good.  Can I encourage you?  “Good” is overrated when you’re grieving. If you don’t feel “good” just know your normal.  If you feel “good” just know your normal.  Grief is crazy like that.

But, it’s the holiday season.  A season of thanksgiving.  A season to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  We should be cheerful.  Not necessarily.  Maybe another year, but it doesn’t have to be now. I give you permission to grieve.

It’s been 6 1/2 years now since Richard went home to be with the Lord.  Since that time, I’m not sure if there has been a single year the same.  Seasons change. But our loved ones will never be forgotten.

One year, I didn’t even put up a tree or decorate for Christmas. At first, I stressed, oh no, I have to put up a tree.  It won’t be Christmas otherwise. I had to get over myself and give myself permission to be okay with it. Of course, I’m hoping that this isn’t the one year my kids remember (unless it’s one with laughter…)  remember the year you were a “scrooge” and didn’t put up a tree or decorations?  ?  Maybe they will…. Maybe they won’t…. but we survived… we got through.

This year as you celebrate Christmas, remember the good times. Remember when….

You may be spending holidays with family and/or friends who have never grieved and they don’t understand, be gracious.

You may be spending holidays with family and/or friends who have grieved differently than you and they don’t understand, be gracious.

You may be spending holidays with family and/or friends who let you be you, be grateful.

I wish I could give you some magic tip on how to survive the holidays but I really believe it’s unique to each of us. Because we’re uniquely created by a unique God. He, who sent His Son, Jesus so that we have a reason to celebrate Christmas.

As you gather around the table this Christmas, as you look upon the vacant chair where your loved one once sat, be grateful that you experienced love.

In the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”

From our family to yours, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

*Photo Credit: Unsplash Web Agency

Walk in the Light, Don’t Crawl in the Dark

i-am-the-light-of-the-world-he-who-follows-me-will-not-walk-in-the-darkness-but-will-have-the-light-of-life

A couple of years ago I was watching Big Brother, (yes, I confess… It’s sometimes a guilty pleasure) and the contestants were competing in a challenge where they entered a pitch black room to find large wooden puzzle pieces.  One of the things I remember is that almost all of the contestants entered the room standing up, but it didn’t take long to realize that walking around in a dark room could be dangerous and slow.  So they got down on their hands and knees and began to crawl around the room.  These are grown adults, crawling around in order to find their way.  Although they could move faster, it was still difficult to maneuver through a dark room looking for these puzzle pieces.  While in the room they would sometimes hit a wall, become frustrated and maybe even blurt a curse word or two as they knew they were competing with others. Time was of the essence.

As I was reading Jesus Calling recently, Sarah Young writes, “Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly.”  Here we see grown men stooping to crawl through life.  It can be difficult to stand tall and walk, as an adult walks, when the space around us is not brightly lit.

In John 8:12 we read, Then Jesus again (this is not the first time) spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of Life.

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

As we journey through this life, we don’t need to crawl as He’s already shining brightly to illuminate our path.  May we stand tall, reflect the Light of the World to all who see us. May the countenance of the Lord shine brightly upon you today.