Thankful

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For anyone who has lost someone close, you understand that the holidays are bittersweet. Making new memories can come easy some days. Other days, the grief comes in another wave. Memories from previous holidays come flooding back. The hole that person left in your heart feels like it expands in that moment.

During the first year without my Mom, I remember the feeling of being worried that the grief would steal away aspects of my current life. I was worried more that the holidays would be horrible. What I recognized right away and that which continues to be confirmed daily, is that everything comes down to a choice you make. In a world where we base many things on feelings, often not taking any responsibility for our actions, our lives would be less complicated if we just took care of us, instead of making drama about everyone and everything else. This does not mean that issues will not be talked out with others because that is healthy too. What I do mean is that we have a choice to live a lifestyle full of gratefulness despite our circumstances, owning what is ours and letting go of what is not.

When my husband and I look and plan for this holiday season, at first glance we see loneliness and gaps of missing people we wish would be a part of our lives. We see reconciliation that has yet to happen and very painful situations. But we have a choice to make. That choice becomes easy when Holy Spirit fills us like a breath of fresh air. Because we choose God daily, he helps us have the correct perspective. God uses everything. Sometimes when things look bleak and dreary, breakthrough may be on the verge of bursting forth like the suns rays after a storm.

We choose to be thankful. We choose grace and joy. When we do this, laughter becomes a normal part of life instead of a frown and a weakening heart. A renewed sense of love for others pumps through our veins as we choose to serve instead of wallowing our sorrows in the dark. When we choose God, we are open to new people, and new experiences that may look nothing like our original expectations. God has been molding our hearts to be open to enjoy life no matter what comes and no matter how few or how many are with us on the journey.

As we reflect on the memories we hold close to our hearts, the gift of Mom lingers. It is the gift of her that adds a unique spice to every new memory that we choose to make. It is her legacy of love from God that helps to remind us that God is good and that he makes everything beautiful in time.

Mom, the gift of you still lingers. Because of you, you showed me what beautiful looked like. You showed me how God walks with us through the pain, the heartache, and the refining fire. I am thankful I can cherish every memory of you knowing that no one can take that away.

I am thankful God gives us joy and the strength to choose it every day.

I am thankful.

Thankful.

In the Stillness

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In the stillness you are there God.


 

There is something so beautiful when we take time to rest and slow down. It is beautiful because in those moments God can bring healing to your mind, body, and soul. In many ways our culture is not one that values rest. It seems that the pendulum swings too far into apathy or to a state of constant busyness. God values hard work and rest, not one or the other. After he created all things he rested and surveyed it all to find that it was good. Resting can be similar for us. After a hard week of coming and going we need to take time to slow down, rest, and celebrate Gods goodness through it all.


 

I have been prioritizing a different mindset in order to slow down and rest more than I have in the past. It has been a beautiful time with God. I find myself  cherishing these extra long moments where I turn off my phone and allow God to speak his truth over me.


 

These times have been crucial for my heart. God has shown me more of the goodness in the negative. It can be so easy for us to despair when bad things happen and we face loss. But circumstances do not change God. He remains steadfast. His goodness and love remain even when it feels as if life is crumbling. We must fill ourselves with him. That only happens when we stop and focus everything we have on him.


 

Like my Pastor says,

“We must be so whelmed by Heaven that we are not overwhelmed by earth” (Dr. Davenport)


 

In the stillness you are there God.

In the midst of everything, you are there.

You are for us.

You are faithful through everything.

You have already won the victory.

We begin and end our day in your victory.

Even when there is darkness your light is there to guide us.

Your love and goodness surpass all understanding.

Your power and grace fill us so that we burst with joy.

Thank you for your faithfulness.

We relax in your presence.


 

Thank you for rest.

When the Numbness Wears Off

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As year two rolls around things are different in many ways. There are some days where the ache is very deep, especially when I think of the holidays and unreconciled relationships. I have processed through this difficult onslaught of deep(er) emotions this time around and I realized something.


This time last year I was numb. There was so much that I was feeling, and struggling with that I had no time to process the deeper emotions that I was feeling. Looking back, I did the best that I could considering the circumstances that occurred after my Mom’s passing. Now I am working through much more. I am working through what holidays are now and it makes my sadness feel huge in the short times that it hits.


The sadness seems to grow depending on the day the closer we get to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The sadness seems to grow as relationships go uncared for. I am mourning multiple things. Unreconciled issues only make it worse.


Hope. There is always hope. I know that the grieving takes time. Relationships take time too. In those moments when the grief hits like a ton of bricks God is there to carry the load. I am so thankful for a loving Father who takes care of my heart. I am thankful for grace and mercy. I am thankful for a God who brings to light the darkest places of our heart in order for us to heal and reveal to us what our part of the reconciliation process is. I am thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful God desires us to be full of his joy. I am thankful Holy Spirit is my comforter.


If the numbness is wearing off for you trust that God knows exactly what you need. He does not want you to stay numb. He wants to pump you full of his joy in the process!


You are beautiful when the numbness is wearing off.