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Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comfort. Show all posts

Monday, December 29, 2008

Unfelt Blessings

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

How contrary to the direction my prayers usually take. They often boil down to Lord, spare me and mine. Spare me grief, loss, disappointment. And when those losses and disappointments come--as they have, in abundance, this year--I throw a pity party.

I pity myself. In what way have I displeased God or failed my children that my precious daughter committed suicide? And I question God's goodness. Can't I even go to see my granddaughter? Will You deny me even that sliver of happiness?

Instead, God says I have given you a blessing.

Huh. I don't feel blessed.

But I do feel comforted. Tenets of faith which I have long held in my head I know hold in my heart. They have become real for me (they have always been real, of course). Some of those truths:

Jesus died to give us eternal life.

Jolene has eternal life because she placed her trust in Jesus.

Jolene is in heaven, tears and pain a thing of the past, watching the race I continue to run on earth.

I will see Jolene again.

Because God became man, He understands my pain and mourns with me.

Christmas is about more than traditions. It's about God's loving intervention with mankind.

I confess, I would still rather have avoided the "blessing" of grief. My pastor's words about trusting God comfort me (hey, there's that word "comfort" again. Hmm.)

Let me tell you a few things, fellow struggler: First, God knows you struggle. Second, He loves you, pilgrim. Third, if you ask Him, He'll give you the gasoline (in the Bible, gasoline is spelled g-r-a-c-e) to trust Him. Fourth, you see, whether you realize it or not yet, we can't do this Christian life by "our" hustle. It has to be by Him, of Him, through Him, and for Him." (from "One Parson's Opinion" by Dr. Jim Perkins, The Challenger, January 2009).

Amen.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Marius Revisited

We postponed our monthly visit with Jolene's fiance when dizziness overcame Mom last Sunday.

Today, when we left our apartment to pick him up, Mom said, "I feel queasy."

"Of course. We're going to see Marius."

She took an anxiety pill. It helped.

The visits are hard for all of us, yet good at the same time. As Marius said, we're the only ones who truly understand his grief. We can be honest about our love and longing, the hole she's left in our lives.

Marius blames himself for Jolene's death. If only he had returned to her apartment ... if only they had already married ... if only ... We remind him that the decision to end her life was Jolene's alone, but he says, "I know, but--" My heart aches for him. How hard to carry that guilt, as well as his grief at her death.

I ask Marius if he believes in life after death. He answers that he can't think about it; it's too painful. I share how my faith comforts me. Jolene is alive in heaven; I will spend eternity with her, and one day, God will wipe away my tears when there is no more death or crying or pain.

We explore our shared memories, and all three of us tear up. "Some day," Marius says, "We will meet and remember the good times without crying."

Pray for this sweet man, with a poet's soul and an agnostic's struggle.

We honor Jolene's memory in maintaining our relationship.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dancing with Grief Plus 2 weeks

Two weeks have passed since that Monday we waited in agony for the phone call that came half an hour before midnight.

It’s also the last day of the month that Jolene died. I will be glad to see it go.

Mom, a widow and the lone survivor of five siblings, said, “You’ll be sorry to see it come from now on.”

I hope not. My son and one granddaughter were born in March. But I doubt it will be easy.

That Monday morning, when we were only aware that Jolene was missing, I prayed the following: “Oh, Lord, You know my worries about Jolene. I thank You that You know where she is and that You are working out all things for her good. Break through the stone walls she has erected.”

She is not only in a good place, she is in the best place now. Those stone walls are smashed, replaced by the loving arms of our heavenly Father. But oh, that is not the way I wanted my prayer to be answered.

The words from Natalie Grant’s song, Held, one of Jolene’s favorites, continue to haunt me. To think that providence would/ Take a child from his mother while she prays/ Is appalling. Appalling. Perfect word for the sense of helplessness and hopelessness of a child dead in spite of all our love and prayers and faith.

But with Natalie, I also affirm And to know, that the promise was when everything fell, we'd be held.

God’s arms are strong enough.