God's Silence, Grief, Growth in Trials, Healing, Hope, joy, Listening, Living in the Moment, Sharing hope, Stillness, Trials, Trust

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 an 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, 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

Gospel Chains, Gratitude, Grief, Growth in Trials, Hope, Philippians 1:12-14, Seeds, Sharing hope, Trials, Uncategorized

Grateful for Chains?

Philippians 1:12-14 NIV

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Sitting in my hotel room, alone in Montana, this morning, Sunday, June 25, 2017, while waiting for Gary to arrive, I was contemplating working on my book, but just can’t seem to get my brain or my spirit around it. Doubting if I should even finish this book or just focus on other things and people in life, I struggle to think then pray.

Jesus, would you please direct me and show me how you want me to spend my time this morning?

Receiving word, very early today, that the sister of Taylor’s high school girlfriend was killed in a car wreck, leaving two small daughters, I wasn’t sure I could write. Tragedy hits again in the wake of the loss of my friends, Travis and Debbie, all within one month. Overwhelming chains weighing on my friends’ families.

Praying. Phone calls with just love and mourning together. Text messages of love. More tears for all.

Knowing I just need Jesus, I open my Bible, and can’t see to read, so missing a few sermons from church, I log on to my church’s website sermon audio files and try to pick one I missed. If I can’t read the Word of God, I can listen to it. Wanting to choose the most recent, instead logic (God) tells me I should pick the first one I missed, even though the title, Gospel Chains didn’t sound interesting or pertinent, since I’m not in prison. (Yes, I am dense sometimes).

Listening to Rodd Ritchie speak on our chains in life and how God uses painful situations to share his love with the world, I begin to reflect on my circumstances and was strengthened in my resolve to write to encourage others who have gone through the same things I have. While I am at peace with losing a child, and learning to have peace with a hurting grieving family, I spend tons of time in doubt about my purpose in all this pain.

Why my story; so many others have gone through the same thing? I’m not a trained journalist! Do I have what it takes? Why do I want to share this story? Are my motives right? Am I sufficiently pointing people to God? Why am I doubting Christ in me?

So, as I’m listening to this sermon, encouraging strength returns as I hear of other stories of pain where God has used tragedies to share his love – Dr. Kim from South Korea, Paul in prison, among others, friends and family my pastor knows. These people didn’t plan to share their stories elaborately, nor was it them who caused the seeds of their stories to grow in the hearts of others. They just loved and shared – period!

Each time, someone loses a loved one, my heart breaks again for them with the same pain I felt when Taylor died. While it can exhaust me at times, it is not a bad pain, but a blessing of love that I know only comes from God as his compassion must pour out of my heart into theirs. God, personally, and many others poured this same love and hope into me to prepare me for loss as I grew up and others after Taylor went to heaven, so it is a totally natural thing to pass it onto others.

Listening to this sermon, I reflected on my hope shared in the current losses of others and I also realized, how God did this again with someone who wasn’t currently hurting. Last night, I walked into the hotel restaurant alone. While I am pretty comfortable eating alone with my phone, it is usually an awkward situation for many, especially those watching us who dine solo, thankful it is not them. Another lone woman cautiously asked me if I’d like to join her. Always up for an adventure, I thanked her and moved to her table as others in the restaurant smiled watching a stranger showing kindness towards me.

We shared our vastly polar reasons for being in Montana; me attending a motorcycle club convention with my husband and she, a keynote speaker at a convention. As we talked, I could see she was an intelligent highly educated veterinary professor with logical analyses of life. I didn’t sense we shared the same faith or interests, yet we found interesting conversation as I listened, fascinated with her line of work. She calmly, yet passionately explained how her job works, caring for students working with large and small animals at her university. We discussed all my last five crazy dogs, their temperaments and maladies with humor and laughter. My potentially lonely evening turned into a fun learning experience for me with a new friend, despite our differences.

Near the end of our meal, we exhausted the animal world and moved on to our families which always leads to the passing of our son. When giving a picture our beloved children, I brought Taylor up lightly but she asked for a bit more information. Within about five minutes, I shared Taylor’s passion and hope, thus my hope and some of the good that has come out of our loss. Surprisingly, this seemingly emotionally guarded woman teared up. I was touched by her compassion, but felt I needed to stop talking about me. After a bit of silence, I asked about her family. She shared and then it was time to part ways.

Who knows how much of a seed of hope for now or in the future will take root in this woman’s life from my brief story. Throughout my life, others shared their hope in the midst of their chains and thus gave me hope, courage and strength when I needed it most. So, today, my confidence was strengthened that sharing love and hope from the chains of life with this woman, I planted a seed of hope in God in her life. God is the one who will make it grow, I just share God’s story in my life.

So, what chains in life are holding you down? Have you found purpose in your pain in sharing with others? It doesn’t have to be written in a book. Like this morning, just crying with a friend who lost her granddaughter. Like last night just mentioning a short story of hope from your life with a random stranger. For my precious friends in deep loss right now, don’t try to process what you need to do, just rest in Jesus and he will open doors for you to share as you walk this journey.

That voiced, onto writing a book about hope to share with others. I won’t worry about it being well done today, my editor and God will help with that. All this from asking Jesus to direct my day. He is so faithful…