Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Psalm 56:8

 "8 You have taken account of my wanderings; 
Put my tears in Your bottle. 
Are they not in Your book?"

Someone asked me once to describe grief...I really couldn't do it.  It's not like being sad.  When you are sad, a friend can come along and cheer you up.  Grief is deeper, it robs something from you permanently, it is physically debilitating, it is so intense it does not lend itself to description.  

Two news articles in the last two days have reminded me just how difficult the process is.  The first, located at: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/4-dead-in-apparent-murder-suicide-in-SE-Ohio-2454821.php ,

tells of a man who was caring for his terminally ill wife.  He apparently got very upset at the number of people taking up her time, when he wanted to spend time with her.  I immediately related to this.  In his last months, it was difficult for me to share my time with Layne--I really hated work, and the time it stole from us.  In the hospital, I struggled because I knew the kids needed time with him, but I wanted every second that I could get as well.  I knew friends wanted to be with him, but every breathe of his made my heart soar, and I didn't want to miss one!  It's not logical and it isn't "normal", but when your life is caring for someone twenty-four hours a day, you are worn down, and you are pouring your life out for them.  So I can understand this man's despair.  I am very sorry that it came to this.  

The second story, located at   http://abcnews.go.com/Health/grieving-raises-heart-attack-risk-study/story?id=15324068#.TwxmkaU3Sa8  tells of a study that indicates the odds of a heart attack are much higher in the month after losing someone significant.  This didn't surprise me, either.  There were times after Layne passed that I wondered if my heart would explode in my chest.  It wasn't, again, sadness, it was a physical pain...  with no explanation.

The other interesting thing I have learned is that grief is different for everyone, and for some, it begins long before a death.  This is why some people "seem" to get over their grief so quickly.  In reality, if your spouse has terminal cancer, you begin to grieve as you begin to lose them.  The person who cared for you as you cared for them slips away...and you lose grip on them.  You become a total caregiver, and you grieve their loss long before they are physically gone from this world.  There is no "cure" for grief...a movie doesn't fix it, a card from a friend cannot touch it.  But love, shown in these ways, does soothe the jangled nerves and the parched soul.  It helps you live through a hurt you could, before this situation, never imagine.

I have so many friends who are grieving right now.  My heart goes out to them.  I want to save them from this physical and mental hell,l but I know that there is no way I can do this.  The only promise I can offer is that one day, there will be no tears.  The Lord promises that he loves the broken hearted and will heal.  Lay your trust in Him...

If you know someone who is grieving, don't forget them as time marches on.  Recognize that grief happens before the loss, as well, and shower them with love.   Provide balm to their soul...for in doing so, you may be unwittingly caring for an angel!

Blessings to all my grieving friends.  I love you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Genesis 42:38

38 But [m]Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey [n]you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.”

Jacob, who is also known as Israel, a man of great faith.  A man who was honored to have the tribes of Israel descend from his personal line.  And yet, here we see that he was in fear.

If you remember the story, Jacob's son, Joseph, was sold into slavery by his brothers.  Later in his life, Joseph correctly predicts a seven year famine by interpreting a dream, and he is then put in a position of great authority.  His brothers come to him for food, not knowing it is him, and he asks them to bring back Benjamin, the brother who would be from the same mother as himself.  Jacob clearly does not want to send Benjamin.  He really isn't sure he can take anymore.  His life has been filled with sorrow.

Yet, God has great blessings for him in what appears to be a storm of life.  He means these things for Jacob's good.  He is about to bless Jacob hugely, if Jacob will only allow him to do so.

How often do we quiver in terror in the storms of life?  How often do we say "God, why would you do this to me?"  I know I've spent a lot of time in the last three years asking that question.  It's the human condition, we can only see the storm we are currently battling, and not the picture that the Lord sees.  So we grumble, we whine, we tremble.

Yet, through it all, the Lord has us.  He has held the kids and I in His hands.  When there was no provision, provision found us.  When there was no safety, we were kept in his safe hands.  As I look back, I realize that even as I cried out and insisted God explain Himself, he was paving a path to blessings.

Even in the worst of times, God is there.  He knows your tears, and he wishes you to reach out in faith...and take those hard steps.