Archive | March 2012

children.

I wanted to create a protected world for my children. Don’t most mothers? It goes with the territory.

I did for awhile. The church we were attending had strong family values. It was a wonderful world that was truly sheltered in many ways. This isn’t a bad thing, when you are raising a family with a community rich in relationships. But ultimately, life hits.

And it did.

One lovely summer evening, my husband and 6 children were situated around the table, waiting for a steamy plate of home-made spaghetti. It was a scene I had always cherished – providing a meal and seeing the happy faces. A knock came at the door interrupting our dinner and ultimately, interrupting our lives for several years.  We were being sued regarding a business decision and the months ensuing brought a cloud of discouragement upon my family.  We didn’t have a clue such a thing would ever happen.

The months ahead placed me in unknown territory. I had to become strong for my children. I had to lead them by example. My faith would be put to the test of what it meant to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and pray for those who treated you unjustly.

Kids are resilient. Just as they get skinned knees when learning to ride a bike, they will get skinned hearts. Fixing a knee is quick and easy. Fixing a broken heart isn’t. But a kiss on that “boo boo” works for both.

Typically, moms are equipped to administer comfort to their children. There are times to seek professional help, depending on the circumstances. But it’s pretty amazing, the God-given ability moms (and dads) have with their children.

As my children watched my response, they followed my example. How we speak about our painful situations is everything. I am not suggesting we should hide our feelings of anger, sadness, disappointment, or frustration. Those feelings should be shared if appropriate, but where you go from there can make or break a situation. Even though it would be 10 years before resolution came with the family members involved, our home learned to endure the pain with integrity.

Don’t second-guess yourself in what you are capable of doing in helping your children through pain. Take heart in knowing you have what it takes to help them find their way.

spring.

Spring in the Northeast unfolds slowly. There’s always a teaser a few days in late February with temperatures reaching into the 40’s. But just as you get your hopes up, the frigid cold returns.

Pain is like that. Whether you’re grieving the loss of someone you love, or your marriage ended in divorce, or struggling with painful memories … there is an ebb and flow that may occur for the rest of your life. It lessens, as it should. But it can always be there.

Learning to live with pain isn’t a wrong way to think. There’s lots of chronic conditions we live with. We don’t embrace pain to the point of some kind of self-mutilation. It is practically facing the truth: it is what it is. That is not a hopeless statement. It is facing the facts with courage and learning to live with the pain, but not allowing it to rule you.

I’ve got a scar above my eye from a see-saw accident over 45 years ago. Every once and awhile I notice the scar and remember the pain. Accidents happen all the time and this was a minor one, yet, the memory of it is still there.

But I also carry scars in my heart. Two are still tender. The wounds were so deep that I am certain that even though the pain has lessened, it will be a scar that will always hurt when touched. That doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. It means I have faith to live with it.

Pain makes us human. It makes us reach out to others in pain and remember to love our neighbor.

Ultimately, spring will come. Isn’t that wonderful?  The gray clouds must give way to the warmth of a new season that promises cheery colors, sweet fragrances, and lush meadows. Spring expresses the promise of new life for nature, but how much more for you whom God says He loves?

hope.

My friend was suffering. She was facing multiple, serious situations all happening within a couple of days. She was going down and she knew it.

There are times when we just want to close our eyes and not wake up. The pain is too much.

“Tell me something,” she said. I knew the desperation she was feeling. I knew she did not have an ounce of strength. She had enough.

Without blinking an eye, and surprised at what came out of my mouth, I said: “All I can tell you is that the sun rises every morning.”

It was all she needed.

So much we cannot predict.

Some things we can.

And as long as we can, there is hope.

it works.

If you are a parent, you know how difficult it is when your child is sick. A sudden fever in the middle of the night or a broken arm from a fall – we want to take the pain away. We do all we can to comfort and help our child get well.

God is a parent, too. He is the Heavenly Father.  He is not distant from you. The Bible tells us God knows how many hairs are on your head. That tells me He is fully aware of you in a very personal way. When you are in pain, He also wants to bring comfort and help you get well.

A child learns to trust his parent’s care. God wants us to trust His care.

How does God comfort? First of all, it’s incredible to me what people can endure. Some call it the resilience of the human spirit. It’s there because God put it there. Secondly, if we want God’s involvement, we will find many comforting promises that will help us through our pain.

God has made us to work well within His design. That said, knowing those comforting promises help us with pain. It works. Just like a child trusts that an earthly parent will bring them a warm blanket, a glass of juice, a dosage of medicine, we can trust that our Heavenly Father promises never to leave us or forget us.

It doesn’t always feel like that. I know. But only when we see beyond ourselves and reach for something bigger than our pain, will we begin feeling differently.

When no one else understands, God does. When no one else cares, God does.

look up!

The earth continually replenishes, renews, and redeems. If God has such order in nature, how much more does He have order in human life?

Thing is, we forget. Pain makes us look down and focus on the wound. It deserves our attention. But too much attention causes the pain to be magnified. That’s when we must find something  bigger than the pain.

Step outside on a clear night. The sky is filled with a spectacular display!  Who tires of trying to find the Big Dipper ? Or gazing at the moon?  Have you thought .. really thought .. that you live on a ball suspended in nothingness? Not only is there amazing beauty all around us to behold,  but consider the dependability in which the earth functions like a well-oil machine.  The earth is wrapped with a blanket of air that warms, protects, and gives life. This reveals God’s care.

We know that pain is a part of life. Sometimes we blame God. That’s because, whether we believe in God or not, we’re wired to blame something or someone. And who better than the one who is in charge of the systems of the Universe?

Yet, it is this very concept that has the ability to take our breath away. All around us is amazing beauty, revealing not only God’s design, but God’s care.

Looking up from your pain isn’t avoiding how you feel or pretending it doesn’t hurt. It brings relief when you begin seeing something bigger than your pain. Don’t be afraid to bask in the joy that comes from the beauty around you. Let it soothe your pain and heal your broken heart.