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On Earth as It Is in Heaven

* For all those who have suffered deep loss and question why…Even if you haven’t had a chance to get to know Jesus like I did as a young child, God is in the business of redemption and I’ve seen God catch up many people in time lost with Him.


A few times in the last nine years, people said they were amazed that I can be at peace with our son’s death, and not struggle with answers to prayers for healing for other people.  

The first thing I tell them is that I am not strong and daily, sometimes moment by moment, need to close my eyes, take a deep breath and ask Jesus to fill me with his healing love and power to make it through all the ramifications of our son’s death. However, when looking at the difficult question of why some people are healed on earth and some are healed in Heaven, I have these thoughts.

The answer is simple when you know God well and His ultimate plans for us. – Our faith. 

The answer is complicated when you throw human emotions and desires into the mix. – Our humanity. 

So how did I awkwardly traverse this emotional dilemma?

What helped me travel the road of grief was to spend time getting to know God and His plans, which started for me in 1971. When I was in the third grade, I met a family who had lost a child at a young age. I listened to Mrs. Childs explain to my mom how Jesus had helped them through his illness and death and how they trusted they would see him again one day.  

At that young age, I immediately said in my mind, not “if” but, “When I lose a child, I want to be like Mrs. Childs with my eyes on Jesus.” It was then I knew I’d lose a child one day! Why God decided to prepare me at such a young age, I don’t know. However, this epiphany started a long journey of being obsessed with reading my Bible, reading books on Heaven, watching other grieving parents, and getting to know my God who loved me so much He gave His Son to die for my sins. From my life experiences with God, others’ examples, and reading as much as I could, I knew He wouldn’t allow me to go through any terrible crisis alone. He would be there with me on earth and with my child in Heaven. 

So, nine years ago today, when Taylor drowned in the Boise River, I knew Jesus reached down into the water with His hand to lead our son to the most beautiful place in the universe, with Him. Taylor was truly in a better place, and I had peace in my excruciating pain. When I struggle with his death, I go back to the image of him holding Jesus’ hand walking over the waves of the river, or of him dancing around the throne of God in worship, or him resting beside some Heavenly river.


A few months after Taylor went to Heaven, one of my junior high worship team students begged us to sing Oceans by Matt Crocker, Joel Houston and Salomon Ligthelm. I knew the song and didn’t think I could get through it without crying deeply. My students were already used to me crying when talking about God or Taylor, so seeing Emily’s eagerness to sing this song, I let it go to the students and they took off with it. We sang it for months and each phrase of those lyrics were a gentle balm of healing to my heart, taking my trust in Taylor’s Creator to a deeper level. I could envision Jesus lifting him out of the water with Taylor singing in his struggle,  

You call me out upon the waters 
The great unknown where feet may fail 
And there I find You in the mystery 
In oceans deep 
My faith will stand 
 
And I will call upon Your name 
And keep my eyes above the waves 
When oceans rise 
My soul will rest in Your embrace 
For I am Yours and You are mine…” 


This is not to say the human side of me and the pain it has brought our family has not been miserable. Watching my husband and other children suffer from this lost has been as painful as Taylor’s death. My heart felt stabbed and twisted with a knife when our eldest son had to tell us Taylor was gone. There were a couple years of searing pain missing him, and now it gently aches today typing those words with the common soft tears that still flow, but I’ve learned that joy and sorrow can dance together, and we can be content on earth when God chooses to heal on earth or in Heaven.  He is God and I am not.

Three days after his death, one of his friends asked if we could lay hands on his body and go before God to ask for Taylor to be resurrected like Lazarus, so we did. I was hopeful but doubtful knowing that God had been preparing me for his death for 41 years. However, in that prayer time, our family and Taylor’s wife and friends committed to glorify God in a miracle of resurrection or trust Him if He chose, instead, to be glorified in our hope with grief should Taylor remain in Heaven. At the end of our allotted time in the funeral home, I felt a deep peace and the hands of the Holy Spirit gently rested on my shoulders whispering to me, “It will be okay.” I knew then that Taylor, being healed in Heaven, was God’s very best for our son and God would walk with us through the mess of grief on Earth.

When our friends and family are healed on earth, we greatly rejoice! We get to have them with us and we know God has great plans for them on this planet. But when they are healed in Heaven, we can still greatly rejoice knowing they have received the best gift of healing in the finest place of all.  

Until then, we live as humans, struggling at times with our feet on earth, peaceful in our spirits with eyes on our Heavenly hope.  


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God’s Diversions Bring Surprising Blessings: Moments Part 1

Ever had one of those really frustrating weeks where everything is going wrong? I know, stupid question. It happens to all of us. Well, I had a royal frustrating 10 days that ended up with God intervening with a beautiful kiss of blessing and patience… 

 My computer quit working, I got the wrong part, then our swimming pool chemistry developed into a royal green mess while we were on vacation. I had to reschedule swim play dates for my granddaughter.  After spending a ton of time, money and canceling the rescheduled play dates, I messed up the pool protocol the first time I did it. I was at my rope’s end having to go back to the swimming supply store and send a computer part back through the UPS store.  

On top of it all, I was wrestling with God about some serious prayer requests that He didn’t seem to be answering. Added to that was feelings of guilt for being ungrateful in the whole mess. I really was acting like a child with my reactions to all these distractions in my life.  

So, last Thursday, I drove to the UPS store and pool supply store later than planned and took longer than expected buying more pool chemicals, so instead of going into another parking lot to buy milk at my usual Fred Meyer, I decided to save time and walk next door to Albertsons for milk before heading home.  

Walking through the door, I glanced at the first checker to my left and stared in disbelief. There stood a missionary and former special student of mine, Breanna, who had been suffering and close to dying with a bizarre infection in Asia for the past two months. I knew she was doing better and had just arrived back in Boise, but never expected to see her out and about walking with her usual beautiful smile. You can imagine my emotions exploding to actually see, in physical form, the answer to my prayers and those of so many others around the world. Of all the places and timing, for me to see her, this truly was a gift from my merciful patient God.  

Breanna

I ran to her, we hugged, cried, and laughed, making quite a scene, while hearing her Boise doctor had given her a good report that day. The checker, a lady about my age, stood with an amazed questioning look. I explained that Breanna was an answer to my prayers after being so sick in Asia. Then Breanna adding to the story, left the woman almost speechless and in awe with her eyes wide hearing the brief powerful story of God’s healing.  

As I walked to the car, Jesus whispered in my heart, “I wanted you to touch this answer to prayer for Breanna so that you remember My power when you are bringing me all your requests and doubting my plans.” 

My swimming pool and computer messes were not just another bad set of circumstances for me to deal with; they were allowed by God to defer me onto a path that led to a great blessing for Breanna, me, and a stranger in Albertsons. It will be a continued reminder to me when I feel God is taking too long to answer my other prayers… 

Humbly Hopeful, 

Carla 

Psalm 36:5-9 NIV 
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, 
    your faithfulness to the skies. 
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, 
    your justice like the great deep. 
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. 
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 

They feast on the abundance of your house; 
    you give them drink from your river of delights. 
For with you is the fountain of life; 
In your light we see light. 

Carla's Blogs

COVID-19, WORSHIP, GOD, AND HEALING

I tested positive for COVID-19 early in September 2021. While I’m sure I was not even close to being the sickest patient in the hospital, I was still very sick and scared, especially having friends who started out ill like me and ended up dying. I was not afraid of dying and going to Heaven to see Jesus, our second son Taylor, and many others. I was just not ready to leave my earthly family yet. As always, in my greatest need, God was there with me.

He has used COVID-19 to give me so many gifts, one of which is the last chapter of my book. I won’t share the whole story now – spoilers are a bummer for the last chapter – but I feel it’s critical now that I share the story of the most important gift of all, God Himself, and how He and the prayers of so many led me to healing through worship.

The 5th night I felt so alone and abandoned by God. It was a horrible night with crippling fears that my husband and daughter sick at home could die. Day and night I had many times of hyperventilating and panicking because I couldn’t breathe. It was difficult to keep my oxygen in the safe zone, and I wondered if I’d ever see my family again, including our other two sons Andrew and Shawn and their families. I cried out to God and He reminded me how I made it through our son Taylor’s death, in worship with gratitude. I was a worship leader at the time and positioned exactly where I needed to be during that tragic time.

While singing is not necessary to worship God, and despite my breathless condition, I felt God telling me it was okay to sing even though it seemed impossible at the time. Before COVID-19, my paralyzed vocal cord was giving me so much trouble that I could barely sing at all. With the memory of other miracles reminding me of His faithfulness, I decided to trust Him and pulled up my favorite worship song list. I knew immediately the best song was Breathe by Michael W. Smith.

I started… This is the air I breathe… I was able to sing the first line, then carefully walked through the next lines. With my confidence in Him working in me building, I stepped into a true place of worship, amazed at how much the gift He was giving me caused me to love Him more.

Then, moving into the lines And I…am desperate for You… I’m lost without You I began weeping because it was in that moment – I knew at a depth beyond any other moment in my life – I truly am nothing without my Creator, and yet I am so deeply loved by Him. It was only because of His grace and mercy, He thought it best for me on that morning to be alive. He was waiting for me to truly surrender my whole literal life and Bethany’s and Gary’s lives to God. That meant He could choose to heal us on earth or in Heaven. I surrendered all my continued earthly dreams to him and felt such a load of heaviness off my chest. A deep peace settled in the room… I wasn’t alone. I was in awe I could sing almost the whole song without coughing!

As if to make sure I believed He was looking out for me, the next song that popped up on the list was another Michael W. Smith song, Way Maker. Being reminded, in case I’d forget, that He is here, working in this place… a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness… I felt hope growing even more. Not to mention what I really needed, in the darkness of that night alone, was to tell Him,

Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working,
You never stop, You never stop working,
You never stop, You never stop working…

These words were added power to His air He was breathing into me.

I continued to listen throughout the day to my song lists, not always able to sing along, but my spirit was singing. After each nap, I woke with one of them playing in my head, feeling so loved immediately in my loneliness. It was so beautiful.

My healing began accelerating that day, as well, and over the next few days my oxygen levels gradually stabilized, preparing me to leave the hospital. In addition, my hand which had been partially paralyzed from the illness started to heal – before I left the hospital I was able to start opening it again. Today I can type normally, and this morning I hand wrote in my journal. Healing began when I was at the weakest point of my entire life, and it began in the center of the purest worship I have ever experienced.

The most precious gift of this experience is the deeper understanding I now have of the gospel of Jesus, after 55 years of following Him. Because of sin in the world, I truly am nothing, not even physically alive, without my Savior Jesus and His loving act of dying on the cross for my sins bringing me life on earth and in Heaven.

Going back and reading my last sentence doesn’t do justice for what I feel, but I hope and pray you can experience His love in exactly the way you need, to see Him more clearly in your life.

I’m sharing my favorite song list here, hoping maybe you can wake up with one of these songs in your mind each morning, stepping into a time of worship you won’t forget. I did this morning and was able to sing again today! Thank you, Jesus!

Breathe – Michael W. Smith

Way Maker – Michael W. Smith

What a Beautiful Name-Agnus Dei – Travis and Lilly Cotrell

Is He Worthy – Chris Tomlin

Agnus Dei/King of Kings – Brook Ligertwood, Jenn Johnson, & Chidima Uubah

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:6





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In the Waiting

8 years in Heaven. My eyes are fixed on eternity and my heart is happy Taylor gets to be in the perfect place of peace and joy with Jesus, my mom, stepdad, grandparents, friends, cousins and so many more.

8 years on Earth. My feet are on earth and my heart is at peace yet aching. I’ve spent the last two years learning to be human. I’ve ached missing my son, ached for the struggles my earthbound family and friends have had to endure. This year I’ve experienced more loss, physical pain and loss of sleep. I’ve ached for our planet, our country, our new way of life, transitions, change, confusion and polar disagreements. We have new fears all around us that we fight every day.

After I shared my hope on the I Choose Hope encouragement program our local radio set before us in November, I was hit with my humanity. January through June, God was silent in my life. Our nephew’s wife, baby boy, and his sister-in-law were killed in a car accident.  There were days, with the fog of an average two hours asleep, I wished I had not woken up on earth. Knowing my lack of sleep was causing the lies to penetrate my mind, I chose to get up and wait on the Lord as I cried out to him for help. I had just publicly shared why and how I chose hope yet I was at the worst possible place of losing hope I had ever experienced. I felt like a failure as a cheerleader in loss.

Yet, one thing remained: His faithfulness in my past, gave me confidence in the silence, pain, and chaos. I knew it would not be forever and I realized I had to intentionally position myself for hope and healing and wait for hope to return.

  • I sought medical help for sleep and pain and listened to my body pacing myself.
  • I positioned myself to hear God’s voice and rest in Him daily, listening, without expectations, trying not to hear something that would fill my book or give me something to teach others, but just be with Him in the moment to receive His love.
  • I positioned myself to be with people that are struggling in their humanity with their eyes fixed on eternity. I entered an online prayer group when I couldn’t go out to be with people in person. Going back to church has been like a bubble of joy each week this past month and totally changed my view of life on earth. My friends I’ve confided in have been a lifeline to me.
  • I practiced joy with our granddaughter as I homeschooled her, even when I didn’t feel like it.
  • I treasured, loved and leaned on my precious family, accepting the help and love of others, and stopped trying to always be the strong one. Gary and our kids have been loving and supportive. Homeschooling our granddaughter gave me even more reason to get up and have spots of joy throughout each day.

I am now finding physical healing and joy in life, despite continuing struggles my family and friends have.

I have hope knowing that Jesus has overcome the world, even though we don’t see it every day. “He never stops working”. He is a “Waymaker”. His plan still prevails and many times I don’t understand why it’s taking so long to see results I want to see.

However, like my stepdad, John, who was in a wheelchair taught me, we can do anything for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months and I’ll add, 3 years. I can make it with Jesus, my husband, children and friends and family, knowing the end of the story is very happy.

Recently, my friend and our I Choose Hope cheerleader at KTSY, Brian Yeager, shared on the radio about his own struggles and gave me a visual on waiting that really helped me through a rough week. His honesty gave me courage to be honest with you. (Used by permission.)

“The stresses of life, finances, family, life, all of it. The weight was heavy. I was dragging and my silly workout routine had kicked it up. I was STRUGGLING. I was DRAGGING.

I know, we’re not supposed to SAY THAT! I choose hope! I’m supposed to be happy and on top of it all the time. But… I was not.

And that’s when my annoying workout app chirped in my ear, ‘You have, ONE MINUTE remaining.’ And I understood I choose hope. I didn’t FEEL any better. It was NOT a good day. But, I had one minute of this workout left. I was almost done.

This is I Choose Hope. It’s knowing there’s an end, and the end is good – and it’s coming – even when things are tough. When things are dark. There’s one minute left…This isn’t over.”

Brian’s words reminded me at a deeper level, we can make it and  it’s okay to struggle, but we can struggle with hope.

I have hope that, in the waiting, I will see our Taylor and dance and laugh again with him in Heaven and our Savior who made a way for us to be together. God is whispering to me now letting me know, once again, He is really here in the waiting close to my side.

He is in the business of redemption, and will restore all things in His perfect timing.

Hold on to this!

Please, no matter where you are in your journey in this crazy world, choose hope and call out to Jesus, even if you aren’t sure He is there.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – The Message Bible

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One Way to Organize Homeschool Student Work

Each homeschool mom will develop their own organization plan, but this two part plan works best for me with weekly planning and my accountability to another teacher.

Part 1 – Notebook:

In this notebook, I first let my student color or create their own binder cover. (To be colored today on the first day of school).

Binder Organization:

Inside the binder, I place the weekly outline in the front pocket. I’ve also put online class times in my google calendar with alarms so I don’t space the most important time of the class day.

Next I used pocket binder dividers labeled for each subject. In the front pockets I place all worksheets and any printouts for the week, with paperclips separating each day if there are more than one worksheet. In the pocket on the back of each divider, my student will place any unfinished work to be done at the end of the school day.

Tab Closeup –

Part 2 – Turned in Work

I just simply make file folders for each subject to place any work that has been submitted to the online teachers. Cyber space (and an absentminded grammie) can lose uploaded work once in a while, so I want to make sure I always have this as a backup. I’ve also included a file for scrapbook special work or journal pages as I’m making a “yearbook” for our granddaughter this year.

Happy Homeschooling!

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1 Corinthians 13: Our Son’s Paraphrase for Such a Time as This

July 20th, a day we all float through with so many emotions. On this 7th anniversary of Taylor’s homegoing, I’ve prayed about even posting anything this year. We have so much to rejoice about in this season with Gary finally almost healed from 9 weeks of pneumonia, just to name one great praise!

The ache is still there but the joy knowing Taylor made Jesus the Lord of his life and is in His presence is such an overwhelming picture of peace and joy for me. My sorrow and joy are still dancing together…yet I asked the Lord if there was something He wanted me to share.

While praying throughout the day about this yesterday, I was walking down the hall and saw a framed copy of Taylor’s version of 1st Corinthians 13 he wrote during his premarital counseling. Reading in the hallway, I realized his paraphrase is so apropos for the state of the world right now. They also represent how Taylor seemed to love better than most.

I pray it inspires you as it challenges me to step up in areas of my life where I am weak in love…

1 Corinthians 13

  • Real love is being calm and silent when our human nature wants everything instantly.
  • Love doesn’t allow us to want anything from what our loved ones have.
  • True love doesn’t let us show that we are better to another but humbles us to what others need or don’t have in life.
  • Love shows no difference in life’s classes, allowing everyone to be equal.
  • When we truly love, we don’t put others down in anyway. Instead we build them up.
  • Love doesn’t allow us to put ourselves first but put others in front of ourselves.
  • It is calm and relaxed throughout stress, frustration and hurt.
  • It forgives wrongs done to us & leaves the past problems in the past.
  • When we love legitimately, we stay away from evil and sinful practices & places.
  • It fights for the ones they love & even ones they don’t know.
  • It is believing no matter what your thoughts were at first, they are telling the truth if they say they are.
  • Love always is pushing for the best.
  • It always continues through hardships & trials.

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A Deeper Healing Journey Begun…Be in the Moment…Rest…Freedom From Heaviness…

I listened to this new song, Freedom, by my friend, Cindy, this morning. It reminded me of my journey after a long roller coaster season of grief. In the last 7 years, I have experienced sharp pain, healing in hope, practicing joy, going back into time of healing, then grieving again.
Last year began with finding joy appearing naturally, hope rising to give me strength, only to find more places God desires to heal, tears, then wanting the roller coaster to end. Asking for direction, God revealed to me powerfully, as I crashed physically, I was letting work become my alcohol hiding unresolved pain from all the death I had experienced.
He invited me to join Him on a journey to heal me deeper in body, mind and spirit. Gradually, I’ve realized over the last year, this means, first, practicing rest then learning to surrender and take the waves of life, living in the moment God gave me. Not dwelling on the past or intense planning for the future, leads to finding joy and a deeper surrender of aches and pain, continuing to rest in the arms of Jesus.
God gave me Cindy’s song, then let me see the peek of spring sunshine in a walk today. I felt a new freedom from heaviness, and it opened my heart to see the hope that healing is progressing, reminding me again that this is what it feels like to really live again.
I know this season of healing and rest is not over, it may rain or even snow tomorrow, but the peace that has come has brought new life energy in this moment that I will remember in the next wave of life.
Listen to Cindy’s song, be in the moment, rest in His arms and ask Jesus what you need to let Him carry for you.
Psalm 118:24
This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

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HEALING THE CRACKS IN OUR LIVES – A KINTSUGI PROJECT

KINTSUGI FILTERED POWER POINT

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

For nine months,  I’ve been walking through a renewing of the mind process through Dr. Caroline Leaf’s program, 21 Days to Detox Your Brain using her Switch phone app and other resources. I began this as, like all of us, there are many areas in my life that need work, some that I decided were long overdue for a transformation. From insecurities and bad habits to grief, loss and transitions in life, I have had great victories in my life through this program. https://drleaf.com/

“Frame your world with your words.” ~ Caroline Leaf, Who Switched Off My Brain?

You’ve probably heard one of these phrases “re-frame your life,” “re-image your pain,” or the ever popular “make lemonade out of lemons.” In her writing and work, Dr. Leaf refers to this as re-conceptualizing your past, toxic thoughts, stress, conflict or pain. For one example she uses the image of a beautiful art form, Kintsugi Art. Japanese Kintsugi Art is the art of repairing pottery with lacquer that has been mixed with gold, silver or platinum powder. The word, Kintsugi, literally means “to mend with gold”.

In the Switch app Dr. Leaf encourages us to see our stories, good and bad, with a welcoming heart and honor respecting all aspects of who we are. Because of some past regrets, scars and pain in my life still dragging me down, I quickly latched on to this new idea.  I find great healing in writing and even deeper healing in art therapy, so I decided to step into this process through my own Kintsugi vase repair project on paper.

Dr. Leaf’s comparison of Kintsugi art to our humanity prepared my mind for this project. She explained each vase or bowl has a history that needs to be honored rather than thrown away. Creative repair treats the cracks as part of the life of the vase rather than a wound to disguise.  So, all our personal stories, good and bad, have shaped us and need to be respected as well. Emphasizing that our story is worthy of honor we thus welcome the process of being human. She goes on to add an idea that really hit it for me: We experience lasting healing when we acknowledge our full story because it keeps us from staying in bondage to the negativity of our past. Anxious to see the gold healing in my past, I gathered my thoughts and art supplies on hand to set out on my new adventure.

Below are the practical steps I took in my Kintsugi art therapy project. Not a potter, I used my modest drawing and painting skills. Each step took me a month or so as I needed time to meditate on the whole process. Now four months later, I am still processing but feel ready to share 😊.

In our rush to fix our problems,
we neglect to allow space and time for our wounds to teach us.
~ Richard Rohr

STEP 1: WRITE/SKETCH

I knew I needed to first sketch the details of my life and toxic thoughts I’d been working on in the last few months. I drew a vase, made cracks with the abbreviated pain or toxic thought underneath the line with the re-framed picture of that pain on top of the line.

kintsugi sketch image

 HOPE, GRACE-FILLED CHURCH,REDEEMED FAMILY/DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY 
COMFORT, HOPE OF HEAVEN/LOSS, GRIEF 
GOD IS WRITING THEIR STORY LIKE HE DID MINE/ WORRY ABOUT ADULT CHILDREN & HUSBAND
GOD’S APPROVAL/REJECTION, PEOPLE PLEASER
FORGIVENESS/SHAME GUILT
GRATITUDE/DISCONTENTMENT
COMMUNICATION/FEAR OF CONFLICT
TRUST GOD, STEWARDSHIP/FINANCES & HEALTH

Step 2: Draw Another Vase and Paint it Using Acrylics on a Paint-Friendly Board or Canvas

I then drew out three vases on watercolor board. Three, because I’m a perfectionist and wanted to make sure I had three chances in case I messed up. (Watercolor board because that’s what was handy). Using acrylic paint, I painted my vases then chose the one I liked best to work with further.

1st kintsugi vase no cracks_20190828_175343(1)This original vase represents what I was intended for when God created me. As I painted, I meditated on the gifts God gave me, my strengths, my passions and I thanked him for all the blessings He has poured into my life. I added shadows knowing from the moment He created me, He was aware of the pain I would experience in my life. This took about three days to add layers of light and shadow.

 

 

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

cropped 2nd kintsugi vase with cracks no gold20190828_181845Step 3: Draw Cracks with Fine Sharpie

After the paint was fully dried, I added cracks, meditating on the pain and imperfections, surrendering those that still needed to be relinquished. As I added each crack, I dealt with the pain again, making sure I was honest about each toxic thought or loss. As Dr. Leaf encourages, each time we speak out a toxic thought, it begins to die.

You cannot heal what you cannot acknowledge. ~ Richard Rohr

 

Step 4: Cover the Cracks with Gold Paint Sharpies

I was extremely nervous for this next step. I found it interesting that my insecurities were coming up even in my painting. Finally, I just had to take the dive and do it. It was freeing after the first line and, soon, I began to truly enjoy the whole process as I meditated and expounded on the re-framed visions of my toxic thoughts and beliefs.

  • I thanked God He had redeemed my dysfunctional original family. I thanked Him for each of those family members and the blessing they are to me.
  • I thanked God that He had provided such a great support to me in my grief through His Word, worship, others and His Spirit in the loss of our son plus preparing me my whole life to trust Him in that pain.
  • Daily, I need to trust our Creator and not worry about my husband and children, in the fallout of losing a child/sibling, because God is writing their stories just like He is writing mine. He loves them more than I do.
  • The ultimate approval I need is God’s. I need not worry about what others think if I am loving God with my whole heart and loving others as myself.
  • Through the cross I am fully forgiven and need not carry shame for anything. Though others may not think highly of me, my God delights in me and died for me on the cross even when I was a sinner.
  • I am grateful for so much I don’t need to be discontented.
  • I need not fear conflict or stress because communication brings growth in myself and in my relationships and stress strengthens us when we see it as a gift.
  • I need not fear pain, illness or financial instability when I’m accountable and am a good steward of my body and finances because God delights in me and will provide all I need to live an abundant life.

original_prepared_photo

Seeing the beautiful gold highlights in my once, plain and cracked vase, revealed at a deeper level how beautiful the healing is in my life. It reminded my heart, He is bigger than all the cracks and attacks in my life. Without them, His golden glory would not be so evident in my life.

Step 4: Looking Through Other Filters

This summer, my husband, Gary, introduced me to a camera phone app filter, Prisma, which is so much fun. This took me to another level of contentment and creativity in this project. The filter adds different colors, highlights and twists in the graphics. After taking photos of my paintings, experimenting with the filters started me thinking about all the seasons of life. Each moment in life has different reflections of light, people, weather, pain, spiritual growth, geography and, the list goes on. Once again, our all-sovereign all-powerful Creator makes a new moment with a unique vision of our lives and how many ways He shines that love on our lives.

KINTSUGI FILTERED 6 BLOCK

Final Encouragement to You: 

I encourage you to at least sketch out the cracks in your life and begin to re-frame those cracks. Maybe some of you really adventurous artists may want to take a broken pot or throw one to fire for this project for your life. Whether you sketch, paint or draw, I pray healing will come and God will be glorified in your honored story.

John 16:33 (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

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Surprised by Laughter and Deep Joy

Psalm 30:5b (Good News Translation)

Tears may flow in the night,
    but joy comes in the morning.

When you lose a child, happiness is hard to find. You practice joy and fun for years, hoping one day it will come naturally. You focus on your hope of Heaven and look for God’s fingerprints in your tragedy. Each year it becomes a little easier, yet you forget what a truly good belly laugh really feels like. Then one day, you are surprised by joy and it takes your breath away.

Tonight was one of those brief powerful kisses-from-God-moments for me. First, I was listening to our firstborn talk about his seven-year-old daughter and the joy in her precocious observations of life. I felt a sudden burst of emotions of joy mixed with awe and pride over what a wonderful dad Shawn is. I had to ask him to scoot over and sit next to me so I could hug him and just tell him how proud I am of what an amazing dad he is.

A few minutes later, Bethany showed me a “princess post” on Facebook comparing Disney princesses to what we really would be like if we were that princess as real humans. Suddenly, I saw myself in those truly human versions of princesses and was overtaken with such deep humor, giggling and joy that I couldn’t stop laughing and my belly hurt and is still hurting now, an hour later.

God promises in this Psalm that weeping will last for a time, but joy is on its way. I wasn’t looking for joy tonight, yet it showed up, (maybe with a little help from caffeine).

Princess Photos with Belly Laugh Videos Bethany Took in the Comments

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A Time to Be Human: Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together Part 2

Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV)

 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

In Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together,

I was heavy on joy, light on sorrow.

This week is heavy on sorrow, light on joy.

Feeling very human…so many emotions…

February 7th – Our very close friends’ daughter, Jesse, died – a time to weep…

February 8th – My wonderful dad’s 87th Birthday – a time to smile…

February 8th – The highlight of Josie’s year –a time for the Daddy Daughter Dance…

February 9th – Celebrate the life of friends’ son, Mike – a time to mourn…

February 10th – Celebrate the birth of our beautiful daughter Bethany – a time to smile…

February 10th – Anniversary of the passing of precious friend Andy – a time to mourn…

Life goes on for some, drags for others, redeemed for many, renewed in Heaven for others.

Time will bring more healing…heavy on the joy again…

Revelation 21:4 (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.