This post is a bit delayed because it took me several attempts to get my thoughts written down, and it still doesn’t capture the full expression of my feelings…
But, death sucks! I think we can all equally say we hate it. Even when we can celebrate the long life a person lived or know that person is going to be in heaven, it still sucks for those of us who are still here on earth.
What do you do to get through it? What do you do to mourn? How do you move forward?
I’ll tell you, I am not a healthy griever. I have perfected the art of insulating myself to not feel fully. That is, until some unknown date many months later when I completely break down and sob uncontrollably. Growing up, I had been somewhat sheltered from death, until my grandfather passed away when I was in late elementary school. I don’t remember much of it. It wasn’t until my adult life when I lost my grandmothers and a couple other people connected to my life. But it was easier for me to shut it out and move on because I didn’t have the daily reminders of those people being gone. I missed them, but I could move on.
Then Leland’s dad died and that hit our family HARD. And we grieved, and we continue to grieve when there are reminders of him. But once again, I could insulate myself and move on because I didn’t have daily reminders of him. Not healthy nor helpful to my husband who does have daily reminders that his dad is no longer here.
When our family dog of 11 years died, that is when I realized how unhealthy of a griever I am. Not that I’m comparing a dog’s life to a human’s life because I know they are not the same thing, but her death brought daily reminders for me, and it was the first time that I really thought about others who have daily reminders of someone they love deeply who is no longer with them.
So I cry for your loss. I mourn with you. I hurt for you. I stand with you. I repent of my insulation, and I am learning to be better about allowing my feelings to come freely rather than smothering them inside my heart to explode later.
One of the hardest things about living overseas is the amount of family and friend fun stuff we miss. Graduations, weddings, birthday celebrations, new babies, vacations, parties, and so much more. We know we can’t complain because we chose this life and we don’t regret our decision. But that doesn’t make it any easier when it feels like the world is moving on without us. And of course the world is moving on. And so are we. Continue reading
So I’m not fully sold on the concept of having only one word for the year, as I feel like God moves so much in a year and I don’t want to be constrained to one word. But I like the concept of focusing on something God may teaching me rather than feel scattered by all the possibilities.
As I woke up early one morning (not by choice), I was reading my daily devotional and the word that came to mind for me at this time is “FOLLOW”. In the past, I have followed God in choosing a university, I have followed God along with my husband in youth ministry, I have followed God to Uganda. But the “FOLLOW” I am challenged about is Matthew 16:24-25: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Continue reading
I think that all of us struggle with pride and humility. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself to feel better about it. But I feel the inner pull, the tension to seek after my own benefits and well-being before others. I struggle with it in my family, relationships, ministry, and pretty much everywhere. On most days, I submit to God and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4). But I confess…I struggle with pride. Continue reading
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:34-40
True hospitality, true service, true love…whatever you want to call it. I have enjoyed getting to know my Ugandan friends and how they view hospitality. Some Ugandans are beautiful examples of hosting others in their homes and they see the true meaning of treating people as if Jesus himself is visiting them. The “could be entertaining angels” is a very real perspective here. The true feeling of hospitality is when we don’t groan at daily interruptions of visitors, when we are willing to help someone in need, and when we open our homes and our lives to other people. Continue reading
God is at work here in Mbale, Uganda! (Really, God is always at work in all places, but you get my point.) There are many different ways in which we see Him leading the mission work, but the best ways are stories of transformation in the lives of leaders. I’m honored to share these stories with you: Continue reading
I have read a few books over the last months that have really challenged me in how I love people. “You and Me Forever” by Francis Chan was more about my relationship with the Lord and serving His people than it was about marriage. And “Tattoos on the Heart” by Greg Boyle with Homeboy Industries is a beautiful testimony of how people need Jesus but they won’t know Him without finding love first.
We all battle judgement, both in feeling judged and in judging others. I’m not sure anyone can go anywhere without knowing judgement. And judgement is equal opportunity – singles, couples, poor, rich, men, women, moms, dads, kids, outcasts, celebrities…the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, it’s part of our flawed human nature. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it or let it handicap us. Continue reading