Senka has a message, we can help her live it.

Senka July2013Serbia has come along way when it comes to the rights and support of people with disability, but it still has a long way to go. Several years ago I traveled twice to Serbia to see the conditions of people living with disabilities in Dom Veternik mental institution. An institution is no place for a person to live. Many of Eastern Europe’s institutionalized people were born with normal mental capacity, but were challenged with physical disabilities. They found themselves institutionalized anyway.

And then there’s Senka! On my second visit I was surprised to see a small woman with cerebral palsy at an event. I may even have scared her I was so eager to meet her! She is unique. Senka stood out in a society that has a limited population living with disabilities in public.

And what a joy! She had recently become a Christian and was eager to share the truth of Jesus with others. Her smile lit up the room, and there wasn’t a trace of self-pity in her conversation. She is an overcomer.Senka 2

But it’s not easy living with disabilities in Serbia. The government provides little assistance to people who need it. And while new buildings and transportation may be built to code for access, most buildings are still inaccessible. I watched Senka try to navigate life during my few days in Novi Sad, it was a slow, tedious process. She is determined, but it’s obvious she needs assistance.

I’m passionate about assisting Senka because I can’t decry the institutionalization of people like her, without supporting someone who has beaten the odds, who sets the example to her community every day!

I have set up a GoFund Me campaign to help Senka pay a personal assistant. She needs about $165 a month to pay someone to help her navigate her daily activities such as school, shopping, and social outings. Because assistance is limited for people like Senka she relies on the help of friends and her own creativity.

You can read more about Senka at her GoFund Me page. We love to talk about equality and helping others, and this is a great opportunity to do it! Senka is an example to her community that people with disability can and should be a part of society. Her message of joy and determination in the face of challenges is just what her community needs! I hope you’ll join me in helping Senka overcome her society’s obstacles! Any little bit helps!

Donald Trump Is Offensive And So Am I

Donald Trump is offensive. Seriously. He bad-mouths women, he brags and boasts, he’s rude, he has not been faithful to the women he has married, he makes money off of strip clubs, please don’t get me started on his ‘policies’. He claims Christianity but he doesn’t seem to understand what that means.

He offends me. And I’m offended that other Christians aren’t offended by him!

Donald Trump is offensive.

And. So. Am. I.

Is he a bad man because he’s had affairs and owns strip clubs? Is he a bad man because he calls people names? Is someone a good man because he doesn’t do those things?

It is so easy for someone like me, someone who likes to play by the rules, and make sure everyone else does, someone who identifies with the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, to say yes, yes it does! We humans love boxes and labels, and to slap them on everyone else.

But that’s missing the whole point of grace.

It is not wrong to curse or drink or go to strip clubs or cheat on tests or call people names or yell at your kids, or overeat, or whine or any such things because a rule has been broken. Rather, engaging in or abstaining from those actions reveal a heart tuned into love, or to self.

Plain and simple.

True followers of Jesus don’t obey the ‘rules’ to gain love or acceptance, but rather to express it! Jesus came down hard on religious pharisees because he knew every generation would have them; people who set themselves up as the gatekeepers of faith. People who check everyone else’s report card! (Matthew 15)

I’m not saying we don’t need leaders, spiritual or otherwise, we do. And I’m not saying that God’s word isn’t bold, straightforward, and exacting in its expression of what true life in Christ looks like, it is.

The problem is we love to measure ourselves against each other and not the real measure of truth – Jesus. If we did that, measured ourselves against Jesus, we would recognize Donald Trump and our Sunday School teacher and ourselves are all in the same boat. None of us measure up. And while some of us have embraced Jesus’ offer of forgiveness, have submitted to what he says is best for our lives, and have chosen to be obedient, it doesn’t change that we all stand on level ground and without God’s grace we are all morally bankrupt. We can’t take credit for grace, we are all offensive. Many of us church people have just forgotten that truth. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

But believe me, no one likes a snotty kid who goes around looking at everyone else’s report card in class and shouting out the grade. (I know because I was that kid, I didn’t have many friends growing up.) What we all love is kindness.

Indulge me on a little side note. My son, Max, has heard a lot of bad language at middle school lately. I’ve been torn in how to talk to him about it. Do I say, “don’t say those bad words because it’s wrong.” Or do I disapprove of his actions and scold him if he does say vulgar, ugly words? While that might be an okay thing to do, I’m unsatisfied with an authoritarian approach’s ability to get to the heart of the matter.

I decided I would tell my son that words meant to cut people down, that are common and low, words that describe the worst of human nature shouldn’t be used by people who have been deeply loved, and want to express love to others. It’s that simple.

Jesus has not called us to follow rules, but has set us free to express love profoundly, and if that means “limiting” ourselves for the good of others then that’s a life of great power and purpose.

So here’s my real problem with Donald Trump. He does not appear to be a man who has learned to limit himself or exert self control for the good of others. He does not appear to be a man who sees value in all people, especially women and his opponents. Which is Jesus’ real test. Can you love even your enemy? Because if you can it means you see in them the traces of God’s glory. Glory you seek to honor.

And that is why I am offensive too, because I haven’t chosen to see God’s glory in Donald Trump. I have laughed and mocked and ridiculed his behavior. We may argue that if someone is going to behave like a fool in public they should expect to be laughed at as one. But that’s their issue, not mine. His behavior doesn’t mean I have to take the bait and laugh. Instead, people, like me, who know what it’s like to be forgiven of so much, to be loved even at our most unlovely,  should know  bad behavior is nothing to laugh at. Foolish behavior, especially by someone in a public position should be grieved and prayed over. 

I think God would just as soon we not follow the rules, if we are not going to do it for the right reason.

All my not drinking or cussing or cheating or stealing, and all my going to church and giving money to poor people and being nice to animals mean nothing if my heart isn’t motivated by love. Love for God and love for others. Clinging tightly to the rules just highlights my pathetic attempt to prove I’m good enough for God to love me, and that’s silly, because I’m not.

As much as it feels good to mock Donald Trump in the moment, I can’t justify it anymore. And that’s thanks in part to Brant Hansen’s book Unoffendable. (I already knew a lot of these truths I just needed a strong reminder.) I’m afraid my actions toward Donald Trump expose me as the fool, the pharisee I am. Not the lover Jesus is and wants me to be.

It astonishes me the ways Jesus can call us to love, and hold us accountable to let love guide our actions. Anyone who says following Jesus is easy is trying to use him to their own advantage. Nothing in life is harder than following Jesus, because it means dying to our own selfish impulses, but nothing is more beautiful, captivating or exciting either!

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen Donald Trump as a great gift for the laugh I could have at his expense, but now I see him as a great gift for the love he can produce in my heart, as I learn to be like Jesus.

If you’re anything like me praying for Donald Trump doesn’t come naturally. (If you’re not like me, but like my husband, then good for you!) A gentle attitude, a kind thought, a patient heart turned in his direction seems counter intuitive, which sounds like the gospel to me. So let me offer up a prayer for Mr. Trump, and for us:

Father in heaven, your graciousness is shocking! It shocks even the senses of us who have long been acquainted with you, and we’re glad because we need it. I don’t see eye to eye with Donald Trump, but I don’t have to to recognize you knit him together in his mother’s womb, with purpose and hope. Help me to see him as a person of worth and a bearer of your glory. And help him to understand that truth about himself as well. Only you know his heart, in kindness and love search it out and teach him your ways I pray. Help him to walk in the light, in humility, and in love for his fellow man, just as I ask you to help me to do also. And help me to be ready to celebrate the work you do in his life. Amen.

{This was a hard post to write. And I’ve hesitate posting it because it may seem attention grabbing, which is not what I want. But I decided to share it since I had been public in my poking fun of Mr. Trump. I also want to clarify that disagreeing with a leader and voicing that disagreement is not wrong. The issue is why and how it’s done.}

Harper Lee and saying goodbye

TKAM 3

Today Harper Lee died. In a way I feel like my mother, who died in September of last year, was lost all over again.

The emotions and memories that tie me to my mama have deep roots in the world of Harper Lee. My childhood, and hers, was very much like the one Lee described in To Kill A Mockingbird. I have always loved this description of Maycomb, it was the world of my mama and her mama, it was my young life’s rhythm:

Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.

My childhood was lived to the cadence of my mother’s voice reading. From the time I was tiny until I left for college mama read to us. She read to inspire, to educate, to challenge, to infuse our world with beauty. There were hard years and rough places in our relationship, but words endured. Even after I’d left home and had my own family mama and I would read the same books and discuss them together.

The summer I was 17 she read To Kill A Mockingbird to us. I think it was actually my brother’s summer reading assignment for school, but she read it aloud to all of us. I stretched out at the foot of her oak sleigh bed and listened to her voice carry us to a different time. The window AC unit beat back the heat and dried the sweat collecting in the creases of our knees and elbows. It was an oasis.

I have to pause in the writing of this post because my middle school son just came downstairs and asked me to come read to him. Mama would be pleased the tradition of loving books lives on in my family.

As I was saying, her voice transported us to another place. I met some of the most important people I’ve known in Mockingbird’s pages. Scout, the curious barefoot girl who came alive as she saw the world through the eyes of others; Atticus, the father who didn’t know he was a hero to all of us; and Boo, the mockingbird who saw what no one else saw, and sang what no one else sang.

We all have our favorites in the story. I think mama’s was Atticus. He was the father she didn’t have. The father she wished she’d had. The father she adopted and needed. My brother and sister can speak to their favorites. My favorite is Boo. I hadn’t thought about it until now but I’ve been looking for Boo ever since. The mockingbirds of our society who don’t hurt a thing but often don’t fit in, and sadly, too often, are wounded.

A friend told me once that mockingbirds sometimes sing at midnight. One night I heard it, the strangest, sweetest sound in the pitch black. You can only hear a mockingbird sing at midnight if you wake up, and listen. The world too often sleeps through the song.

When the world said goodbye to Harper Lee today part of me said goodbye to mama, all over again.

How will you respond to Christ? – An Advent Reading

AdventJohn 1:1-5, 10-14, In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

Over the last four weeks of Advent we’ve experienced the Christmas story through the perspective of Prophets, Angels, Shepherds, and Wise-men. Here we are tonight, at the threshold of Christmas. The moment of focusing on Jesus Christ himself! The Hero of the story. The Savior.

Perhaps this season doesn’t feel like much of a celebration to you. Maybe, right now, life is just hard. Maybe even hopeless. Then this message, that a Savior has come, is especially important for you.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:4-5

If there was no pain, no brokenness, no bondage, the need for Jesus to put on human skin and walk in truth and grace among us wouldn’t exist. If the world were safe, there would be no need for a Savior. Jesus was born into this dark world to join us in our pain, to be the Savior of all broken things.

We can respond to Jesus’ coming by minimizing the need, downplaying his saving power, turning him into an inspirational leader alongside a plethora of other spiritual gurus. Or we can be overprotective of Jesus, grabbing hold of spiritual dogma and shoving unworthy worshipers away, nailing the lid shut on the manger to keep him in, and a messy world out. Both of those responses stem from pride, a foolish belief that we know best.

The response God leans in close to see suits a soiled prostitute or a glittering music star, an orphan or a college professor, a prisoner or a king all just as well. Humility. How can we celebrate Jesus’ coming without first recognizing we needed him to come. And if we recognize our need how could we keep anyone from coming to the manger to meet mercy face to face.

Tonight, with celebration, with hope, with gratitude, we remember the Savior has come.

Is Christ your Savior?

The world is waiting to hear our story. Who do you know that needs the good news of God wrapped in skin, moving into the neighborhood to live with you and me? Where can you shine the light of the good news that the Savior has come?

Let’s pray:
Father, thank you for your sacrifice to send your Son to lead us home. Give us humble hearts that recognize our own need for salvation and never despise the need of another. Make us as extravagant in our love as you yourself are. Amen.

 

I am you

SantaThis Christmas the intensity of life has left me breathless. I love Christmas. Often the season feels like a respite from the weariness of life. The broken, ugly parts of the year are folded away and tucked into the closet until the tree comes down and White Christmas has been watched fifteen times!

But this year I just can’t get rid of life’s reality. My legs are shaky from the journey. Not only from my own loss, but also from yours. Daily the news gives us much to scoff, and to dread. Closer to home, church friends are struggling with cancer diagnosis and illness, for themselves or their children.

I could sit and cry for a hundred years. Part of me feels guilty to think that way at Christmas. The other part of me thinks it would be a terrible relief! In those moments I cling to Jesus promise, even invitation, in the beatitudes; “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

I’ve been reading A Christmas Carol, as I often do at Christmas. I find the parallels between our two societies, separated by almost 200 years, is uncanny. I’m reminded there is nothing new, the same drama is replayed in generation after generation. Truth be told I wonder if I’ve found the secret in its pages. We can only celebrate after we’ve first grieved.

Scrooge learned this lesson from the ghosts and tiny Tim. He learned to grieve his own mistakes, to grieve injustice, to hurt for those in need. Only then could the gift of goodwill, the beauty of a Savior, seem sweet to him. Only when he recognized the need could he participate in the solution. He learned that mankind is tied together. A living heart cannot see the suffering of its fellow man and remain unmoved.

“Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” Marley’s warning to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

So what should we grieve? The want and despair of life, of our friends, of our enemies. We grieve injustice, and our own impotence, and too often our indifference. That grief puts us in a place of empathy with others, and gratitude to the One who has lit our hearts with goodwill in the darkness of ignorance and want. We celebrate our own redemption and participate in the reclaiming of mankind for love’s sake.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:4

Mourning is the order of things now. It’s part of the business of life. But it won’t be when the old earth is destroyed and a new order is put in place. Our grieving for what could have been, for what’s been lost, is only bearable when we realize the new order is coming.

This Christmas I mourn for me, but I also mourn for you. I mourn for children in poverty. I mourn for man’s foolishness that pits one group against another and speaks harshly of their fellow man, giving way to fear instead of courageous love. I mourn for the ignorance, and greed, and scarcity at work in the world. I grieve for the prevalence of disease. I grieve because more often than we want to admit we’re a part of it all. I grieve because I’m a part of the brokenness, often feeding fear and self instead of love.

This Christmas it seems appropriate to grieve. And as I grieve I pray. I pray for me and I pray for you. I pray with hope that the old order will pass away and the new order of things will bring relief. And I pray that in the meantime you and I will be people of goodwill, and that our sweet Savior will help us to endure!

I pray we will emulate the Child of Bethlehem who became one of us. His very presence an act of solidarity, stating, “I am you.” Can we do less?

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:12-13

Lullaby – How My Mother Lived With Hope In spite of Cancer

One of the last clear sentences my mama said to us was “She wants to be free – unfettered.” A few days later she flew home to be with Jesus. She had been diagnosed with cancer almost three years before. The journey was long. On the way she wrote these words. They are a comfort to me. I hope they will be to you too as you journey home.

Taken by Steve Morton

Taken by Steve Morton

Winter wrapped the rawness of a cold night around our small cabin. The crisp, stark evening fell hard. Beautiful in it’s severity. But the sturdy cabin stood brave against nature, protecting us. Tucked away in a crease of the giant hill our small home was shielded against the seeing eyes of the world, neighbors, or the passerby. And except for the telltale mail box and open mouth of the driveway there would not have been a hint that life was being lived in that fold of earth. The capable wood stove of our cabin glowed red, fighting off the threatening cold just outside, and warmed us as we observed our evening habits, our ritual falling into place, like every other night.

My husband had achieved reentry from his day of hard work, and time together had been well spent around the black stove as we enjoyed the remains of the day. Dinner had been satisfying, delicious in it’s life giving. And our chatter had been satisfying as well. Our conversation had not been of much importance or of great interest, but necessary in sustaining the relationship, keeping us in touch with each other, a little like taking a pulse. We used this time to familiarize ourselves with each other after the separation of the day. I washed up dishes looking out on a view I never tired of. The almost gone sun made leafless trees and pines, which edged the ridge, appear shadowy against a deep purple sky creating my rural skyline. The angle of the meadow right out my window was a very steep grade and it’s contrast with the horizontal tree line could sometimes make me dizzy. I gave thanks for it’s beauty again as I looked at it for the last time of the day.

Taken by Steve Morton

Taken by Steve Morton

Settled in our favorite, respective chairs we read aloud together. Using someone else’s words to help put meaning and description to our own feelings and thoughts. We found comfort, pleasure and amusement in another’s creativity. It was an ordinary evening, exactly the same as other evenings. It was the sameness that made if feel secure, familiar, and comfortable. All seemed right with the world, especially in our secluded, private piece of it. Troubles seemed far away if not nonexistent. The grandfather clock dutifully counted off nine strikes signaling phase two of our evening, and our flow moved upstairs seeking deeper rest. Dependent pets were taken care of, their needs of food and warmth supplied, all lights were turned off, downstairs shades drawn, doors bolted securely against evening and anything unwelcome it might hold. I usually made it upstairs first, turning back covers, covering our canine companion on his bed, and beginning my relaxing, warm shower, ready for cozy covers. He lagged behind feeding the little black stove a heaping serving of logs. Guaranteeing warmth in the depths of the cold night. I was soon followed by him, where he took his place on his side of the bed, and he checked in on the cyber world while waiting for the last of the evening’s rituals to be complete. Being in a rhythm together had given peace, now for sweet, restorative sleep. Layers of covers insulated us and the nearness of another added to the warmth of our bed.

Taken by Steve Morton

Taken by Steve Morton

The silence outside so filled our sheltered nook you could almost hear it. Any sound was amplified by the cove and by the crispness of a winter night. Stillness, the partner of silence, settled on us just as the heavy, black velvet of night blanketed us. All was hushed as if the earth had put her finger to her lips and issued a slow shhhh. It was easy to imagine us all alone on the planet, but being watched by the universe. As I had pulled the last shade against the dark, I glanced up at the seamless sky seeing it full of watching, twinkling eyes. Tucked in, sleep came easily and cocooned us. Soon after darkness was allowed into our room breathing slowed and deepened, movements became involuntary and our bodies worked on auto pilot having been programed for a night setting. Visions from unknown places, funny, weird, or relating to the events of the day played in our heads while the mystery of sleep was at work holding us captives in other worlds. Dreams became our reality and there we lay. The clocks in the cabin ticked in the night and the sands of time slipped away unnoticed. The night deepened and the world whispered.

Sometime in the night I woke to change my position, adjust overs. Something wasn’t right. Maybe this leg needed to move, or that pillow be shifted. Comfort had left me. Dread lay a heavy hand on me. I sensed it in the room. It moved from corner to corner and whispered uncertainty to my fear. The menacing spectral was glad to have me alone in the darkness, there it could fill me with worry. It offered me anxiousness, not of anything certain but made me guess while my fear grew. I recognized fear. The gripping you have when you smell smoke in your house but you can’t find it. It was present but wouldn’t identify itself. It laughed at me, making fun of the peace I had celebrated during the day. It lay close, up against my cheek, ridiculing the security I had found in The Faithful One. Spinning stories of failure, ruined finances, loneliness, disaster. Casting doubt on my belief in Forever, it hissed that the dark hole may be all that awaits. I felt suffocated, my heart rate increase, panic began in my chest but the darkness gave me nowhere to hide from my tormentor. A prayer formed in my heart and I cried out for reassurance.

Taken by Steve Morton

Taken by Steve Morton

I heard it faint and far off. A low, easy sound broke the spell encasing me. I reached over my head to raise the window allowing the cold air to usher in my comfort. Deep in the woods of the ridge a lone owl sang it’s night song. Who, who,who,who. It sliced through the darkness of night and my soul. I lay still, listening, willing it to sing again. Needing the sound of a fellow living creature. A companion song came from across the meadow. The same song, the same tune, it’s mate in one accord. The two owls created to endure the cold, to give life to the empty night, sang in duet and I heard their words given to them by their Creator. They sang to the One who had given them voice, and to me. They sang, “I will praise the One who made me, I will be the owl He knows, I will watch over the darkness, I am not alone. He is faithful to His creatures, He is watching over all. He sees you in your darkness, He does not sleep, He hears our song, He sees you weep.” The mountain walls vibrated with their worship, it rippled through all of the wood. As the praise of the night filled my room, the blackness that sought to fill the night and my heart could not stay. I joined in the praise to Him, along with the singers of the night, until I fell asleep. Peace had returned with the lullaby.

 

The unknown has become known to my mom. What she hoped, a reality. Her hope was not in a god of her making or imagining. But in the God made known through creation and the words of the Bible. How could I have let go of her if we hadn’t received the comfort that God was present with her, with us, keeping his promises to the very end?

Regardless of what we are experiencing, God is present, he hears us, he will not leave us. And he desires the gift of our worship in those moments. It’s what all of his creatures were made for.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:1-2, 7, 14

When Grief Is Eclipsed By Joy

Grief isn’t a land to live in, but a season to journey through. We all have seasons of grief. Strangely at times grief mingles with joy. Life is funny that way. This past weekend my family and I spoke at my mom’s memorial service. Grief was certainly present but it was mostly eclipsed by joy, at least in my heart.

My husband spoke on the legacy of faith mom passed on. My siblings and I gave examples of what that looked like in our lives. And my dad honored her well. This is what I had to say:

mommyandbeck

Mom was my first and primary teacher. She taught me about life from her example, not just through ten years of homeshcool lessons and bible studies.

Mom taught me that the word of God is powerful and important. She taught me to love books. She taught me that manners are for other people. She taught me that faithfulness and love are rooted in the nature of Jesus, not ourselves. She taught me that beauty matters. She taught me to be kind to creatures and people more vulnerable than myself. She taught me to marvel over nature, to identify trees, and rescue box turtles. She taught me to enjoy laughter and family and a good story. She taught me to appreciate the testimony of people who served as missionaries.

Most importantly she taught me that nothing satisfies our hearts more than Jesus. Let me say it again. Nothing satisfies our hearts more than Jesus. I think that’s what I loved most about our relationship, pursuing that truth with her together. My life is good because she taught me to be satisfied by Jesus. Above all else.

Mom was a beautiful person. Creative, kind, loving, fun. But years ago, for a season, mom succumbed to despair. Fear and depression at times overwhelmed her. There were moments when she didn’t know if she could hold onto God anymore. But out of that season was birthed great joy. When she didn’t feel able to hold onto God she found out he was still holding onto her. I watched that truth transform her.

And what had been her naturally fun, lovely, creative personality deepened and intensified, containing even more beauty, compassion, and kindness, and adding to it hope and joy. The love that attracted all of us to her and the beauty we saw in her came from a nature transformed by Jesus, in the midst of real life.

In the last week I’ve been thinking about the words to the song Through All Of It, by Colton Dixon. It captures her story well. Here are a few lines:

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

I have won and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

Mom wasn’t a person of faith, that’s too fuzzy. We all have faith of some sort or another. Mom was a person of faith IN Jesus. He was her only hope. He has been her God through all of it. Through the brokenness and the healing, the loss and the joy, the sorrow and peace. He was and is the source of all her hope. That has been mom’s legacy in my life. Jesus satisfies. He still satisfies her, now more than ever. This is my comfort.

Mom4

The day was amazing. The sanctuary filled with her favorite things. People from every stage of life present with us. An opportunity for her family to rise up and bless her. The service was closed with a clip from Loui Giglio’s talk Symphony. Mom had been so comforted on her journey by the truth that stars and whales praise God and we can join in that song of creation. And then God gave us a surprise! Loui Giglio himself showed up and spoke a message of Jesus presence to our family! It was a kindness we could never have expected.

Are you comfortable with sorrow and joy intermingling in your life? How has God shown you he is present as you walk through valleys of grief?