Archive | January 2013

is there hope?

Yes.

There is a scene in the African Queen when Charlie Allnut and Rose are stuck in the  mucky Ulanga River. They become lost in the weeds and cannot see ahead. They have no recourse but to get out and pull the boat if they are to survive.

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They suffered an attack of leeches and mosquitoes.

They finally gave up when it was clear they could not move the boat any further.

Night came and they fell asleep in the boat, accepting the inevitable.

As the camera pulls away from the scene, it begins to rain. And unknown to them, just a few hundred yards away, was a clearing of the thick brush and weeds – and the mouth of the river. Overnight, the rain caused the river to rise and effortlessly freed the boat out of its demise.

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Life is like that at times, isn’t it? We get stuck in our situations and we can’t see ahead.

But we never know what the next moment, the next hour, or the next day will bring.

If you are overwhelmed and think it’s better to end your life because it hurts too much – don’t.

There is hope. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not just a few hundred feet away.

~~~

Photo Courtesy:

http://tinyurl.com/a3a389x

http://tinyurl.com/by83ok8

suicide.

It’s one thing if someone dies in a war, an accident, or from a disease.

It’s another thing if someone you love dies from suicide.

You think people understand but you soon find out they do not.

The closest people to you can be talking behind your back about the one you lost and you don’t know it until the tell-tale signs begin to appear.

And then you think, “Oh. They are talking about it.”

And the one who is gone is being pulled apart and analyzed.

But the worst one is, “I thought so.” How dare you?

I’m so thankful God knows everything. He is my Defender. And his.

I know that now.

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You should know it, too.

How I love you, Lord! You are my defender.  The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe.

The Bible  (Psalm 18)

~~~

Photo Courtesy: VinothChandar / Foter.com / CC BY

spring.

Laying below the frozen earth there is life.

At first glance, something may look barren.

Or hopeless.

Or impossible.

But since the beginning of time, the earth is constant…

revealing the predictability of God’s design.

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If God cares for the earth, how much more does he care about you?

Winter doesn’t last forever.

Cheer up! Spring is on it’s way!

more disillusionment.

There are tragedies which are so horrid, so painful, so devastating – and you think people are feeling what you are – and they are not.

How could they not?

But then, to make matters worse, you find they are talking about you.

Examining.

Analyzing.

Judging.

And the pain deepens.

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There are many wonderful pleasures in our life.

And there are many horrible tragedies.

But the pleasures tell us God is with us. He sees. He knows.

And he is your defender. Because one day he will make it right.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shieldand the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

-The Bible

God may make it right here or in eternity. But he will make it right.

You think you have to hold onto God … when it’s he who is holding on to you.

~~~

Photo courtesy:…-Wink-… / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

christian disillusionment.

Some of us have ventured into the deep darkness of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Some of us didn’t have any warning.

Some of us were thrust into it without  permission.

Some of us have seen things others have not.

The death can be actual death. Or it can be the death of a dream, a prayer, a promise.

Don’t stick to your guns with what you thought you knew – just because you think you know it.

We’ve read the stories of many men and women throughout the centuries who have gone where we have not gone. We’ve taught about them and preached about them. We’ve been amazed at their faith – determination, endurance, tenacity, devotion, commitment. But they are mere stories on a page until the danger comes to our door. Then we find out what we’re made of. Or should I say – what God is made of.

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Sometimes you can’t speak to the storm because it’s so loud it can’t hear you. Sometimes all you can do is hang on for dear life. Oh, but that doesn’t look very Christian. Really? I’m sure Job, Paul, and Jesus on the cross looked really “Christian”.

Trusting God doesn’t mean you have to look so good to everyone. We’re afraid we’re not representing God honorably if a hair is out of place. Who are you trying to fool?

Don’t be afraid to be you. God already knows who you are.

Don’t be afraid of the storm. Nothing is going to happen that God does not see.

Don’t be afraid if you don’t do your part, God will not come through. You will collapse from exhaustion.

Don’t cling to your performance, cling to God’s performance.

Some of us have seen the scenery in the Valley – where life has gone terribly wrong. And we have come out of the darkness with an understanding we didn’t have going in.

But no one listens.

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.
Job 42:5
Some of us have seen Him.
~~~

ashamed.

Embarrassed.

Humiliated.

Ashamed.

Some of us have felt it more than others. But we’ve all felt it.

When you see things the way God does, it makes it so much better. That’s because God is always there, waiting for us, and wants to help us. We just have to see things his way.

desert

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

-The Bible

Don’t spiral down into hopelessness even when everything looks hopeless.

God is able to make a way in the most difficult situation. Even when we mess up. Guess what? He wants to because he loves you more than you know.

~~~

Photo Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuzeytac/3595268615/

january thaw.

January’s thaw loosens winter’s icy grip and brings reprieve.

The birds find berries once hidden in drifts of snow and the deer find fresh bark.

And water! Cool, clean, and fresh.

If God provides for these, how much more for you?

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Weighted down with heavy ice and snow, branches threaten to snap, exposing its tender green to the cruel cold.

But now, they spring up toward the sky once again.

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Whatever your winter is – God will bring hope and rest in the midst of it.

paths.

Where have you come from?

where I've been

You’ve made your mark – whether big or small. It all counts.

Your presence, your contribution, is important.

Even if you don’t think so.

You have regrets? Let them go. Make it right if it’s in your power to do so.

God has given you a new day with a new start.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his compassion never fails.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

-The Bible

where I'm going

Where are you headed?

The path is right before you.

If you fall, get up and keep going.

Your life is valuable. Somebody needs your smile, your kindness, your humor, your concern.

                                     ~~~

beautiful strength.

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You can’t fix grief.

A paper cut will heal quickly.

A gun shot wound requires more time.

Sometimes the bullet cannot be removed.

People live with bullets inside of them.

People live with broken hearts.

This isn’t hopelessness.

It is acceptance of what is.

Once accepted,  you carry grief with  strength…

 beautiful strength.

~~~

Photo Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mait/5184718154/

coming to terms with grief.

The Key to Resolving Grief

by Dr. Lani Leary

The key to resolving grief is the feeling of acceptance that comes through validation. To resolve means to settle, to work out, or to find meaning. It does not mean to erase, or to end. Grief does not end, but grief is transformed. Grief can soften. It can be accepted. It can take on another shape, rather than taking over a person’s life. One can carry grief differently after working through grief and finding resolution. But grief does not end.

The great healer of our grief is validation, not time. All grief needs to be blessed. In order to be blessed, it must be heard. Someone must be present, someone who is willing to “hold” it by listening without judgment or comparison.

Those who grieve need both verbal and non-verbal permission to feel whatever feelings arise during grief. Their personal way of experiencing their loss should be given consent and validation. The ways they “know” their grief should be honored. Mourners need to be encouraged to express their grief in ways that are most comfortable for them, through words, tears, song, art, movement, or activity.

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While grieving, those in pain need a sense of a compassionate presence. That is a person who provides a healthy relationship and companions them. It is the person who can “just be” with them in whatever way is helpful throughout the journey. There may be several people who support with their ability to be present, and each may offer different aspects that are needed. The bereaved need:

  1. To be cared for with your presence, permission, patience, predictability, and perseverance.
  2. To have their feelings acknowledged and their loved one remembered.
  3. To have their feelings and needs normalized.
  4. To be heard.
  5. To be seen and acknowledged.

~~~

Photo courtesy: Jeff Kubina / Foter / CC BY-SA