Friday, December 17, 2010

Grief and Grieving

This past week I've been surrounded by death on all sides. First my cousin's husband died, then the husband's sister was killed by a drunk driver, then the husband's mother had a massive stroke and is hanging on by a thread and it does not look good for her to pull through.  My cousin's sons have lost their father, aunt, and most likely their grandmother in the span of 7 days.  Words fail me.  Grief chokes my heart.

This past Sunday the Hanley family lost their precious son Mattias or "Tiggy" as they called him in a tragic accident that could happen to any one of us in our own home. Words fail me.  My mind lingers on my own 4 year olds face as I imagine losing him in this way - or any way for that matter - and grief threatens to steal the life from me.

I'm reminded again how quickly you can lose a loved one when Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience shares an excerpt from her upcoming book One Thousand Gifts.  Words fail me. The darkness rushes in.

I know you might be tempted to ask "Where are you God? How could You let all this happen?"  I know you are tempted because I once would have asked the same questions.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 
1st Thessalonians 4:13-14

I grieve for all the loss around me.  Tears flow freely. Words fail me. There are only heart groans.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  Romans 8:26

In my weakness there is Hope. I cling to that hope, that knowledge, and it allows me to rejoice in the grief.  Little Mattias is with Jesus.  Little Aimee is with Jesus.    And Jesus has made promises that I stand on in times like these.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”  ~Revelation 21.4-5

This seems the best time to start my 1000 gifts list.  Here now as I wait on the coming Savior. I can start my 1000 gifts list now because He did come. As a baby. He will come again as King. This I am sure of.

#1 ~ The Sweet assurance in Jesus Christ. When all else fails this does not.

ICE! Opryland Hotel 2010

We went to ICE! today. It's always so fun. Words really don't do it justice so I'll just show you all the pictures. EVERYTHING is ice and it's 22 degrees in this place! It felt like it was colder than that though. The theme this year is from the classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

from our family
to you and yours!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Memory of Mattias Ryker Hanley

Because my heart just almost can't take it I'll direct you to other people who have said it better than me.  Please remember this family in your prayers this holiday season as they must live without their almost 2 year old this Christmas. 

There are no words.

In Christ Alone,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm determined to die today.

 This video has awoke a sleeping giant inside me.  It's not that it's new information for me.  I gave my life to Jesus years ago. 20 years ago in fact.  I've known that people should see Jesus in me.  That I should disappear and Him appear.  I can't say it's only been head knowledge up until now either. I've loved Him all these years.  I've loved Him because I was one of those poorest people before He saved me.  I've known the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I've tasted of His sweetness. Yet not once did I ever think that taking up His cross every day would be what cost me my life.  I was willing to give up my life for Him.  I just didn't know this would be what would take my life.  I feel dense and stupid right now.

If the Gospel brings death to the giver then I'm determined to die today.  Taking up His cross starts when I open my eyes each morning and look at my husband.  Mind you.  I've not died yet today.  I've already been frustrated, stretched, and angry and it's only 10:30 in the morning.  Why?  If I'm truthful with Jesus and you who are reading this then I know I've been trying to guard my own life this morning.  Isn't that the base reason peace doesn't come to each of us every day?  Aren't I protecting something I don't want, TRULY want, to give up?  This morning it's very true.  I've been protecting my schedule, my need to get my To Do list done, my CONTROL of my life. 

Is my schedule and To Do list bringing the Gospel to my family first? Is it Jesus' will or my will?  Do I really want to be the one in control today and every day?  I want Jesus to love me (I know He already does) because I'm all about His business like He was all about His Father's business.  He's given me a choice.  I can give up my life and I can take it up again.  There is NO OTHER WAY to serve Him because I've tasted His sweetness.  It won't be a curse. It will bring that PEACE that I seek after so diligently when I write my schedules and exact CONTROL over the day and my family.  Dying will bring LIFE. LIFE ABUNDANTLY.  Abundantly!  Did you hear that? ABUNDANTLY!  I don't know about you but I don't feel like life's been very abundant lately.

Anyone want to die with me today?  You can do right there in your own home.  Feeling stretched, frustrated, like your going to go crazy?  Give it all up for LIFE today.

In the name of the Prince of PEACE Jesus,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

But How Do We Go Mama?

The evening began with the 4 year old moving the 11 year olds presents around under the tree and the 11 year old yelling "Don't touch my presents!" and grabbing them and putting them back where they were. After dinner I'm watching a video on youtube and I watch another video produced by the same people.

I am undone.

I call the 11 year old to sit and watch and listen.  Tears stream down his cheeks.  I hold him and we cry together for a few minutes.  Then he looks at me and says "But how do we GO Mama?"

"Son Going will look different for each person. Can you see that we can't sit here and guard our own lives anymore?"

"Yes Mama. I understand. I will GO. I will be disappointed to not have my presents on Christmas morning but knowing the children will have presents is all I need."

I am undone again.

I am ashamed.

I am privileged.


Who I Am and Who I Want To Be

If you want to be made into a hero for Jesus Christ start HERE.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Advent Wreath & Resources

I purchased a new Advent wreath this week because the one we had was just not working for us.  The candles would not stand up or stay in the holders and it was frustrating.  This is our new one. 

I like this one because when I finally get the Way of Light Advent wreath that I truly want I will still be able to use this in another way during the Christmas season.  I purchased this one from Christian Book Distributors if you are interested in this for yourself. 

We are using 3 different resources for our Advent Devotions this year.  We are reading Jotham's Journey, using several ideas from Celebrate Jesus at Christmas, and also reading and making the Jesse Tree ornaments from A Jesus Advent Celebration.  Celebrate Jesus at Christmas has devotions for Advent through Epiphany and one thing it has us do each day is build a nativity and move Mary and Joseph closer each day to the manger.  Wisemen also move towards the Christ child. 

My sincere desire is for you to meet Jesus during this Advent celebration.  Be blessed as you quiet during this time and focus on His glorious first coming!

In Christ Alone,


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