Martyrs

As we approach Easter weekend…Good Friday, remembering our Savior being beaten and killed for our sins, Resurrection Sunday…knowing He still lives and He has overcome, I thought reviewing this strong courage and faith seemed appropriate.

The strength, courage and faith of these 21 men could only be given by Christ.  They encompass what we all hope we would do in that situation.  They faced the fear, the pain, the anguish not with timidity, but with singing and praising the Lord.  And moments after, they joined their Savior in eternal perfection of Heaven.

Maybe the most amazing part of this story is that there was one man taken with the group of Christians who was not a Christian.  He, however, chose their same fate after seeing their faith.  He saw their faith and knew their God (our God, the only God) is real.  He gave his life to Christ moments before joining Christ in His Kingdom.

When we go into this weekend, we praise the Lord for giving us earthly examples of incredible faith.  We also praise Him for being the only One through Whom we can be saved.  He paid the ultimate price…pain, suffering, death on the cross, taking every sin of all of ours onto Himself.  There has never been greater pain, and He took it for us to offer us a way to Heaven.  He is the ONLY way.  Not anything good we do, but knowing we are not good enough and giving our lives, ourselves, to Him.

Remember His sacrifice this weekend, remember His love, remember His daily grace and mercy.  And talk to Him…thank Him…give yourself up to Him.

Sweet Blessings

I know I keep saying this, but God is bigger.  Corny as it may sound if life is going to throw us lemons, God is the ultimate lemonade maker.  I pray that blessings pour out of the struggles that everyone is going through.  It won’t take away the pain, but may show the purpose for the pain.  Or at the very least, which is still amazingly great, we know He is with us through the pain.

Yesterday was Joshua’s birthday.  It is a tough time of year for me.  It is also a wonderful time of year for me.  I miss my little guy terribly, but I love Christmas.  Conflicting emotions.  My husband, the best one ever, took my kids out for a “secret mission” yesterday and they came back bearing gifts of balloons, ice cream and cards.  (The ice cream set me off on my emotion eating, which I had been controlling so well…but I digress).  It was the perfect gesture.  I cherish my family…I truly couldn’t be more blessed by them!

In the midst of sadness sometimes it is hard to find the joy…God allowed them to make the joy very apparent yesterday and I am thankful for that.

My heart still aches for my family and friends who are in so much pain right now, but it also sings with the joy of God’s blessings that I don’t want to miss through the tears.

The Kite Runner and Catching Fire

I finished The Kite Runner.  It took me about a third of the book to “get into it” but then I was hooked.  It was done well.  Khaled Hosseini is a talented author.  It is eye opening.  That is the best way for me to describe it.   My heart breaks for the suffering of people all over the world.  I am not one to pretend that the world is always happy and no one faces pain.  On the contrary, I know that there is more than enough suffering and pain to go around.  But sometimes thinking like that is just as bad as pretending there is none, because we get immune to it.  I like reading books that put it in my face a little bit.  It makes me better aware.  And hopefully the more aware we are, the more help we will be able to provide.  Even if our help is “only to pray,” prayer is an enormous thing we can do, because God can reach across the world.

I also saw Catching Fire this weekend.  I give a lot of credit to everyone that is part of the Hunger Games movies.  I think the movies are an excellent representation of the books in details, characters and settings.  I enjoy the Hunger Games series.  I am not as big of a fan of the second and third books as I am of the first, but I still enjoy them.  The movie was the same for me.  As good as it was, not quite as wonderful as the first.  It is a tough thing to do.  I still think they all did a great job!  And, I loved that Divergent was previewed…cannot wait to see that, too.  🙂

7.22.13

Proverbs 20:6-7

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?  The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.
 
 
 
Marriage:  
 
Marriage used to be sacred, used to be taken seriously, used to be forever.  It should be.  It is called to be.  It isn’t anymore.
 
I (sadly) often wonder how many brides and grooms go to the altar these days pledging to love and adore their spouse until death do they part, or someone better comes along.  I wonder if brides and grooms these days expect forever.  It is heartbreaking.  I expect forever, my friends expect forever, but forever isn’t always what occurs.  
 
So many of our friends now are experiencing the pain of affairs and divorce.  It is horrendous to watch and be up close and personal with.  There are so many pains in this world, but I cannot fathom facing one where you lose your best friend, the one who is supposed to carry you through the bad times or at least bear them with you.  God of course is ever present.  It is still so hard.
 
I blame the selfishness we as a people have acquired over the years.  So many horrible decisions are made in the here and the now.  “This feels good now, I should do it.  My kids, wife, family, friend, etc all come in second to how I am feeling.  It is all about me.  I should be able to do anything I want and not deal with the consequences.”  This way of thinking causes issues in marriages, in unplanned pregnancies, in drinking and driving, in drugs, in every sinful area of life.  I despise this way of thinking.  And I say that knowing I am not perfect and my thoughts are not perfect.
 
Whether or not you are a Bible believer (of course you know I am), the rules and laws of the Bible do prevent a lot of pain if they are followed.  And they don’t prevent a lot of fun as many tend to believe.  
 
I am thankful for my faithful husband.  I am more thankful for my faithful God!  And I pray all the time that my children may grow up caring for others over themselves and that they may spend eternity with their Holy God.
 

5.12.13

Proverbs 31:2

Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.

 

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day!  Whether you are a mom, have a mom, have a child, sister, wife, daughter, etc.  This is a special day for so many!  And for those of you that feel pain today I pray that you may see God’s richest and fullest blessings in your life and that your heart may heal.  

Champagne and Feet

Last night my awesome cousin and her husband took us to an awesome champagne bar!  Very cool.  I am not a big drinker, but I do like champagne, so ordered a champagne cocktail with strawberry something in it.  SO GOOD!  Then also ordered a scrumptious s’mores crepe…may be the best thing I ever ate.  I seriously wanted to move the place into my basement.

Because of that and the birthday party we had prior to, my foot was not wrapped at all yesterday and I am feeling it today.  I feel so old between the tendinitis and the food allergies or whatever is making my body react, but the fact that neither is serious is awesome…can’t keep me down.  😉  No complaining…really…when I was on the elliptical the other morning after the sermon I was listening to they showed a clip of a girl that was sold into human trafficking.  The degrees of suffering in this world are so great…I was reminded again that I have no right to be upset about little things in life…at least not dramatically upset…a little frustration may come out at times.  No use creating drama when there is enough real drama in the world already.

And my tangent post is done, but if you have a champagne bar anywhere in your vicinity, I would highly recommend!

 

4.13.13

My heart is heavy tonight.  I see so many lives falling apart.  Christians as well as non-christians are suffering across the world from hunger, fear, abuse, neglect and hopelessness.  Christians, as well as non-christians in my immediate life are suffering as well…they live with children who are destined to a life of health strugglea, they live with the pain of a spouse who has given up on them, they live with the heartbreak of a child who has died, they live with no answers of what is to come.  I am sad for those especially who do not know my Lord and Savior, for without Him I do not see how they can get through even one second of the pain.  I am sad for those who do, too, because they still hurt and grieve, but they have the peace that comes from God and they are able to give their burdens to Him…for that I am thankful.  I am thankful that God knows the end as well as the beginning, the future as well as the past…and that He knows best.  He will forever reign victoriously!  He will rejoice with my friends as they come to rejoice in life’s joys to come and He will rejoice with them even more when they join Him for eternity at the end of their time here on earth.  Praise to God who carries us through and loves us despite our failures!

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.

Jeremiah 29:11

Grief

Yesterday we went to the cemetery.   We always go on Mother’s Day and Joshua’s birthday, and then as much as we are able throughout the year.  We went to the cemetery after visiting our friends who are dealing with fresh grief right now.  They are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.  My heart breaks for the devastating situation they are going through right now.   We have old grief.  Old grief is like a covered wound.  It is concealed and on the surface okay, but can be ripped open at any time and be flooded with pain.  The thing about old grief, though, is that even though pain comes, your tolerance for it builds.  The words our friends said were verbatim to words I have said since we lost Joshua…it is interesting how God gives us similar wisdoms to get through trials.  “…a new normal.”  “…pain won’t go away but will be manageable.”  “…it is really real.”  “…life shouldn’t keep going when ours is stopping.”  The events they are going through this week brought back our events like they happened yesterday.  (I am not saying they are the same, not saying the pain or grief is the same, just saying we both grieved for loved ones).

So with their words swimming in my head with my own recollections I was flooded with memories of our loss.  I remembered thinking I couldn’t pinpoint which day was the hardest in my life…the day we said goodbye at the hospital…the day we had to choose a headstone and floral arrangement for a baby…or the day when life had to continue and he really couldn’t be with us.  I recalled standing at his gravesite after the funeral before he was buried.  The men that were to bury him were waiting for us, I knew.  They kept their respectful distance, but just knowing they were waiting made my skin crawl a little.  I remembered memorizing Joshua’s features in the hospital, because I knew, sadly, that reality and time would make those memories fade, so I studied him and memorized him …not just his pictures.  I remembered how my husband stood by my side and held me up through everything.  I remembered looking back and being so grateful for the shock so I could get through the week.  I think shock is a gift from God.  I remembered feeling guilty the first time I smiled after he was gone.  In my remembering, I also remembered the rays of light that came through this time too.  Multitudes of amazing support from family and friends, God’s unfailing love giving us hope and strength, sweet memories, a way to support others in the future.  Joshua’s life has touched many.  We celebrate that he is with our Lord and Savior even though we miss him.  We try to teach the kids that as well, as we often decorate his spot with balloons and each child takes his/her own toy to leave there…sometimes we even picnic there.  Grief is hard, but often produces beauty on the other side.

As Mother’s Day was approaching on the radio and at church I often heard how difficult it would be for some…I already knew that…having friends and family who are not able to have children, knowing others who have lost moms or children…but I was pleased that they were remembered.  I found it interesting that those who lost mothers were mentioned and those who couldn’t have children, but not those who lost children(in what I heard).  I was not in the least offended…truly…I think it is because it is just not as common…it is just not how we think the world is supposed to work.  Thankfully we are not as smart as God and His plan is perfect!

I have always been one to enjoy parties, holidays, birthdays, celebrations.  But…this year at various events I realized that all these “fun” days always leave someone feeling sad.  Birthdays are hard for the ones who haven’t met goals.  Mother’s Day can be hard for moms (or women who want to be moms) and children…Father’s Day can be hard for dads (or men who want to be dads and children).  At each holiday someone may be missed or someone could hold regret.  I am certainly not boycotting holidays and celebrations, but perhaps being challenged once again to make the most of each person in my life each day.  I should celebrate my loved ones everyday!  They are not just blessings on their birthdays or holidays…they are blessings the whole year through.