Tag Archives: God

No truer love

Do you ever feel like you aren’t who you are supposed to be? Who you have been told you should be?

As a Christian widow I felt I was supposed to be emulating the bible character of Ruth: loving, faithful, loyal and courageous. But I was more like Gomer, do you even remember her? She was unfaithful, no self worth, couldn’t see beautiful, or the unconditional love offered her. Hosea, a prophet obedient to God, chose Gomer to be his wife. She was from the wrong side of the tracks and turned her back on his love over and over again.

I felt similar in the early days of my grief.  I didn’t care if God loved me. I couldn’t see it, and I couldn’t believe it. I was lost in grief and my world was pain and sorrow. Abandoned by my husband, where was this Good God? Frankly I didn’t care. He had killed my husband.

Over the years I had heard all kinds of conflicting messages from the pulpit. Like if you don’t pray hard enough God won’t look after you. Or if you don’t have enough faith you won’t be healed. That God helps those who help themselves and cleanliness is next to Godliness. What a load of hogwash!

Yes hogwash … I had broken all those rules, yet after a good while, I began to see it differently.

His promise was true even when I was not. His provision was full when I was empty. Unyielding, unfeeling, unworthy… yet taken care of. A Husband doting on his wife that cared not. No matter how sad or mad I was at Him, the greater the care and provision I felt. He was Hosea, I was Gomer.

I discovered an incredible truth…God’s unconditional love had absolutely nothing to do with my actions. It was and is ever present and true regardless of my actions. I have the choice to see it or not see it. He does not. He just does. My faith has become that simple, that uncomplicated.

I might not be a giant in faith or have an uncomplicated track record, but I know what I know. I know Who I belong too, I know Truth that untangles my mess and I know Love that just doesn’t let go.

No matter what Gomer did to Hosea he kept loving her and bringing her home. Nothing she did was too bad as to sever his commitment to her. I might be Gomer, but my love story of many chapters also tends upward. No doubt I have many lessons yet to learn, trials to face. But I have a deep assurance that in every season I am not alone. My rearguard is sure and solid.

He is Hosea, I am Gomer.


Still Believing

I am speaking to my own heart today, I am telling it to listen carefully, don’t shut down heart, don’t tune out this time. I’m yet not sure it’s listening, but I’m giving it a go. It wants to shy away, to sit in the back, to not be noticed as it wonders why. Why?

Why?

A long time after grief began, I found a smile on my face and I felt a sigh. It was a deep, relief filled sigh that I had indeed found hope again. Stress and anxiety lifted slowly, gratefulness for this hope grew and a respect for life heightened.

But I forgot a very important fact… Life still goes on and it’s not all happy. It’s not always as it should be, grief returns, people get sick, and hard, hard days are still part of life. It’s as if there’s some arthritis from the wound, it’s healed, I can walk, but it left some decay behind. So when conditions aren’t right, I feel it again. Agony. Cancer shouldn’t be able to touch my loved ones again, but it does. The agony of losing should be a thing of the past, but it’s not. My heart should not have to feel this again, but that’s just not realistic. Life, the good and the bad still march on whether I am prepared for it or not.

But why? 

Is God still good?

Is He a carer of my soul?

Is He really all powerful?

Can I trust Him?

Does He really want the best for me?

Is He even listening?  

I’ve learnt to answer “Yes” and yes there is sickness and death and horrid things that should never happen. Yes it doesn’t seem fair (don’t even get me started on that one!). But I still believe it through pain and when it’s hard. Why?

Why?

It’s nothing to do with a survey, it’s not a feeling, but a discipline of belief I can be sure of. Doubt surfaces for sure, and many questions race around my brain but at the end of the day I know there’s a whisper inside that knows hope will still come around the corner. There is a “however” on the end of the sentence that invites my heart to know there is something more.

There is more to death than grief, there is an eternity spent pain free in a better place. There is another side to hard times as we pull together and unite around common concern. There is another side to loss if I choose it. I can choose to add new people, new family, new love…if I choose. It’s not what I imagined in the beginning but it’s still good if I choose it.

I know by now that there are many, many questions in life that cannot be answered, won’t be answered, I don’t like that. That those “why’s” are not answered how I would like them to be and some days are just plain hard. If I make my heart listen it might bleed. If I summon it out of the fog it will need to go through reality before it can see hope. I cannot hear the whisper if I ignore the reason for hearing it. I cannot feel the relief until I know the pain.

When I walk with a limp I protect my wound, my broken limb, my pain from the blows of the world. When my heart hurts I protect it too. I put on my brave face, I distract conversation away from the pain and I keep in the shallows away from the deep stirrings that probe too much. I still don’t like the pain. I’m still a person. So I’m trying “however” on the end of lifes’ sentences. However, the treatment might be good. However, we are loved. However, there is yet hope. I’m hoping God is there in the however, planted firmly in between the pain and the hope that lies beyond. I’m not looking for new answers to all the hard questions, I’m choosing to keep believing what I began believing before grief began.

I’m praying my and my loved ones hearts understand. Understand we are loved, understand we know it hurts and understand we are all in this together. I’m praying we hear the whispers of hope over the noise of the why’s.

I’m praying. 

Hope.

MI Rainbow blessings getty


The Upside of Death

light in the dark

What is it about death that causes you to stand up and pay attention to life?

I used to be a very content home body. Happy being wife and mum, in fact, I felt it was my highest calling. I know I’m supposed to go on about how women can have it all these days, but for me, it was having it all. Oftentimes that calling was exhausting and time alone at home was a rare prize. But I loved it. Now I can hardly contain the need to get out and live.

I guess living becomes more deliberate, more on purpose; after all it is precious and finite. I know that now. I think the living helps the loss to shrink. It pushes grief out of the way, like light chasing away the shadows and illuminating a path to hope I was convinced I’d never see again. Not denial, I certainly know it happened, that empty space beside me screams it, I am fully aware of what I have lost.

I also feel a responsibility to show the kids life goes on, even after our darkest days. I’m it, the only parent left so I better be fit, healthy and living a full and happy life. I can do this, and so can they. Of course, realistically, I still have grief moments that interrupt the living, but they are part of the remembering and that’s OK, as long as the living is resumed.

Loving kids, family and friends have been crucial, I would not have made it on my own.  But I can see now that my faith has been a huge influence. Even when I blamed God and couldn’t understand how He was loving and just in letting Paul die, even then, I felt His hand in the small of my back nudging me on, willing me to live. A patient Gentlemen who never swore back at me, even in the coldness of my accusations. I am eternally grateful.

So I guess this is an upside of grief…that seems so wrong to write, but surely I deserve an upside, a silver lining, a rainbow after the storm?? Life is the upside.  A determined spotlight on living.

The contrast between life and death is massive, like the difference between light and dark. Once the light hits the darkness it just isn’t dark anymore.


Single Parenthood – Grace in the Desert

                                                   hand-pouring-sand

I realize single parents have to do all the tasks; laundry, cleaning, shopping, endless running around after kids etc. But it’s not always those things that are the hardest. Of course sometimes the actual doing of these things is exhausting beyond belief but when rest finally finds you, recovery follows.

I am a widowed single parent. Something hard to understand until you’ve faced it personally, when you’re forced to stare in the face of circumstances and make them part of your life. Your own life, not someone else’s, not a movie you can watch and leave behind in the cinema, but yours. This is hard for me, I know I am a single parent logically, but in my heart I still find it hard to accept. All the responsibilities land on me, no one else, no Dad somewhere else, no consultation about anything. I have focused hard on coming to terms with my widowhood, and focused on trying to heal, but being a single mum adds another dimension.

The hardest part about being a single parent for me is not having a partner. Sounds obvious right? What that means to me is that there is no one else on the face of this earth that has the same vested interest, unconditional love, or do-whatever-it-takes energy towards my family as I do. No one to come alongside when I have had enough, no one that chooses not to just come and go in the kids’ lives as they please, because parents, well good parents, no matter the circumstances are always there for their kids. So when two becomes one there is just less and that just seems so unfair for the kids. That becomes part of the kids “loss” and the control freak in me just can’t handle not being able to change that.

For arguments sake let’s say shared parenting is about 50/50. Now that I’m on my own, can I possibly become the 100% they need? I really don’t believe I can. My reality is that I became about 75%, give or take. Your normal 50 + everything extra you try to cover. But try as I might I can never be male, never be their Dad, never be all they need; I come up short, and very tired! So two things come to mind about figuring this out. Firstly I just need to accept the reality, it is what it is so for goodness sake I should take the pressure of myself and quit trying to be everything. Secondly, I have faith in God and He will need to help me accept the first thing and I need to trust Him to be there tangibly for my kids.

I have come to believe that Gods love for my kids is endless, fearless and pursuing. Even if they can’t see that yet. From the time they were but a twinkle in His eye He has loved them unconditionally and without hesitation, and will continue to do so forevermore. Gods position on that love does not move if they doubt or make a mistake, His desire is relationship with them not retribution, He is fearless. God is a pursuer, He never gives up on people, instead He waits for them to choose Him. He never forces, He actively waits, endlessly offering love, acceptance and grace.

When all seems hopeless, dry deserts, lost loves, battles lost, God offers us love, grace and repair. That’s one amazing Dad. Even if I tried my hardest every single minute of every single day I could not offer what He can, I can never ever be enough, it’s His design. I will believe in that design and hope my actions follow suit. I will trust that He is enough for my kids, enough for me; He is Father to the fatherless.

This is the way God put it:
“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
Jeremiah 31:2-6 (The Message Bible)


Life and Other Sadness

I lost a friend this week, a beautiful lady, mum, wife, sister, and woman.  So much sadness. She was young; she has 2 gorgeous girls and family that are aching for her.  I get it. I know the sadness, I know that ache, the yearning for it not to be true, the disbelief, loss is hard.

When I heard the news I felt my heart resist, turn off, I didn’t want to feel the sadness, not again. But I have learnt something this week, I don’t need to be afraid of sadness, it won’t kill me, I can live this life, it won’t be the same, but it will be OK.

It means risk to keep my heart open; an open heart can be crushed so easily, to close it off makes more sense. To hide behind excuses of “well I need to protect my heart after such grief” or “it’s just not in my personality” may hold some truth but will only cause my heart walls to harden. It will shut out any potential for pure life that I have, so I won’t do that.

Life dishes up sadness sometimes. It also offers joy and love. God offers me the ultimate choice between life and death. He encourages me to choose life. It occurs to me that so much extreme sadness drains said life and erodes away the ability to choose. So many lives are cut short because there doesn’t seem like a choice exists anymore, there seems like only one way out…such a tragic illness.

So today I choose life, sadness and all. I will not be afraid of sadness, I will embrace it as part of my journey, part of the fabric of who I am knowing that God holds me close, whether in joy or sadness. Yesterday, today and forever I can count on that.


Waiting

Waiting-For-You-Hd-Desktop-Wallpaper

 

Waiting waiting, waiting. I am impatient and stubborn by nature, waiting is murder for me. But at least when I’m waiting in anticipation for a something, an end in sight, there is hope. In this new chapter as a widow, (I still find that word hard to swallow), I don’t know what to wait for. What’s supposed to happen now? I have never been one to go along aimlessly, and it seems absurd to do that now, especially now. Yet try as I might, I cannot conjure a purpose up on my own.

I’m ruined you see. Ruined to ever just live in order to buy a new TV or whatever computer gadget comes out next. When I was 16 I made a choice; a choice to no longer live another moment just for myself. But to live the life I had for a higher purpose, a life and heart surrendered. A plan that was not my own. I believed God created me and knew what was best for me.

But I have a confession.

My higher purpose was interrupted when my love died. Like the internet went down and the download had to start again. How annoying is that! My trust in God slipped and caused a break in the connection, it’s repairable, but it will cost me.  Not in money, but in the vulnerability of my heart. To let the walls of self-protection down and allow the same God that took my love away to lead me again is a bigger ask now than ever before.  To trust someone, anyone, with the control of my life after such a catastrophic disappointment seems like asking for heartache. But I’m believing it won’t be. I’m believing, deep breath now, that life can not only be happy again, but full and purposeful.

So I’m waiting.

Waiting for the connection to be strong enough once again to handle the gigabytes of life yet to come my way. New things, old things renewed, who knows. But I want them, I really do. So every day I will choose to open my heart to God, the Creator of the universe, and trust Him with all that I am, and all that I am yet to be.

Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what life after death looks like.

Waiting.


Uncrackable

Is the cosmic boogie man really sitting out there waiting to pounce and make a liar of me? Or is it that the normal ebb and flow of life is exaggerated after a particularly wonderful day? Either way, trying to stay positive in the face of disaster is hard at the best of times. Yet after you have announced to the world that “My Cup Overflows”, it feels like a whole other beast!

The virus that produces enough snot and flem to stretch across the state or the car you need to sell blowing up, are both poking holes in a supposed happy persona. What the hell?? Well that is actually a very good question? Is it hell? What about heavens help? Huh? What about it?

Actually…I think it’s still the same.

The things that caused me to feel that indeed my cup really does runneth over, are still the same. A couple of life events, that we all face, do not equal an empty cup. (At this point you really need to have read my last blog entry!) Sure inconvenience, spending extra money and illness can get me down but they do not change the good things.

My kids still make me laugh, they are healthy (well you know, excusing winter lurgies), my heart is not the trodden down mess it was, life is getting back on track, I can live a great life again, I don’t need to be lonely forever, My God is still now and forever looking after me; I am His child and He is my Husband.

It does strike me that the God factor in life’s equation really is the only non-variable. My world can, and was, turned upside down, spat upon and kicked to the curb, but the non-variable anchors my everything. There really is hope and purpose in trusting Gods best for my life; it gives me foundation, strong and uncrackable. In contrast my heart itself proved weak and crackable! Crackable is to a word spellcheck!!!

So cosmic boogie man ruining my day or not, I can still smile, and still trust in the goodness of One that knows my day before I even wake. What a comfort. Good day or bad day, my cup, my heart, can still overflow with blessing.


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