Where has the time gone? It has been since September 30th that I did my last post. It would take me many, many paragraphs to bring you all up to speed on my life. Suffice it to say, it has been a couple of months of loss (losing 4 family members and friends in about 6 weeks); many tears; deep trials and tests; and, praise God, ultimately finding the joy of seeing God’s hand in every single detail of this time.
I have to admit my spiritual walk was less than stellar. There were many times I felt like God was unfair and I could not take one more hit. I felt so deep in sorrow and memories it was as though I couldn’t get enough air to take the next breath. Questioning God became a daily occurrence, even when I was trying to have a quiet time with Him. My words again were, “Where are you…are you really here and know what I am facing?” Sleep was a luxury that just would not come. Laying awake and tossing and turning for several hours, while trying to come up with answers, or worrying about facing the “next shoe to drop,” was a nightly ritual. Watching our family and friends grieving was a daily helpless feeling.
Three weeks ago, our brother-in-law took his final breath after a long battle with Parkinsons disease. It was my husband’s and my privilege to be the ones with him when he passed from his earthly home to his heavenly home. As I was standing over him, I could not help but see the transition in his face go from anguish to complete peace. He looked up and took one final breath. The picture of his peace has stayed in my mind over the last few weeks. My husband wondered if he saw an angel coming to take him home.
These were challenging days because I was not relying on the One who brings everlasting peace. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I was carrying many things on my shoulders that if I had turned to scripture I would have found help and peace. Psalm 116:1 reminds me God DID HEAR my cries: “I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.” He promises He is a strong tower of protection in Proverbs 18:10 saying, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” I may have cried out to God during those days….but on examination…I did not rest in the fact He is a strong tower. Think of the anxiety, sleepless nights and fear I may have not had to face. I may have even had the look of peace that our brother-in-law did rather than looking tired and drawn. God is a refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Proverbs 46:1). He is mine (and also your) help and shield. (Psalm 115:9).
As I mentioned above, I ultimately was able to step back and see God working and found joy. Of course, I still felt sad and wished things were different, but once again HE was faithful to show me He always has a plan and uses the worst of times to show his love, glory, mercy, and peace. I am thrilled that we have a closer relationship with our niece and nephew than we ever had before going through this loss. They are truly a blessing in our lives. What a joy it was to watch the incredible loving and caring people who work at Hope Village and ultimately hospice take such good care of Charlie’s last days. We were reassured by the chaplain that while Charlie could still communicate, he did profess faith and his need for a Savior. The extended family had the opportunity to enjoy time together reminiscing and reliving wonderful memories. The greatest joy of all was the gospel was proclaimed clearly at the service which touched some hearts and hopefully will draw more people back to a relationship with Christ Jesus.
My message in this blog for you is this: If you are going through difficult times; experiencing loss; feeling like God does not hear or care; feeling overwhelmed with the expectations of this season of the year (expectations we put on ourselves); and are feeling alone, the ONE who promises peace, love, joy, and comfort is there for you. Whatever you are going through, He already knows what you need. Matthew 6:8 says your Father knows what you need before you even ask. We never know how our experiences will affect another person. How we handle these hard times could just be the thing that causes someone to take notice that we are relying NOT ON OURSELVES, but on God. I did not do a great job at this..but God even uses my failures to fulfill His plan. DO NOT beat yourself up if you have found yourself in my faithless shoes….look up and give it to Him. You will find Him faithful! I promise!