I am reading a book, set in pre-World War II. In it, the author describes the grief parents experience when their child dies. The author is so accurate in her description, that I wonder if she also has lost a child.
I think that when we become parents, we become vulnerable in a way, we never had experienced before. Our child’s pain becomes our pain, their dreams, our dreams, their successes, our successes, and if we should lose them in this life—we never recover. The hole they leave in our hearts will always be there, until we too, cross the boundaries of this world and enter into the next.
We have set aside this weekend to honor and remember all the fallen soldiers and all the loved ones who have gone before us. I am also going to remember their parents, and the ones who have suffered their losses.
If you are one of those who remain behind, I want you to know, you will be prayed for, and that you share company with God Himself.
God is a parent. We like to think of God as all-powerful, and invincible, and He is, but because of His love for us, He has made Himself vulnerable to us. His love for us makes Him vulnerable to us, just as our love for our children, makes us vulnerable to them. Our pain, becomes His pain, our dreams, His dreams, our successes, His successes. And if we should turn our backs on Him, and break fellowship with Him, He grieves.
Talk to a parent, whose child won’t talk to them anymore. They grieve. In scripture, it tells us that the Holy Spirit grieves when we sin. Sin is saying, “Hey—I want what I want, and I don’t care who it hurts.” Sin is walking away from God, and God grieves. He is vulnerable to us. He didn’t have to be vulnerable to us, He made Himself that way, when He created people who could choose to return His love or not.
I have learned more about the love of God the Father, from being a parent, than anything else.
If you are grieving, God knows your heart, because He grieves as well.
When Jesus was here on earth, He knew that He would raise Lazarus from the dead, and yet He wept at Lazarus’s grave site with Mary and Martha. He was able to enter into the moment with them and grieve.
So, this weekend as we grieve and remember, please know that we have a Heavenly Dad who shares and enters into those moments with us. I hope that encourages you, as it does me.
And so the conflict continues…and parents around the world are faced with strife and conflict between their children.
As a parent, I can usually see both sides of the conflict. Both people have a legitimate grievance, and both have a reason to feel justified in their anger. Yet, because I love both parties intensely, I want them to share that same love for each other—a love that covers a multitude of sins.
How I wish they could see each other through my eyes—they would see the hurt places in the other; they would have a well of love for the other; they would see the other’s perspective. Then perhaps they could look past their own hurt, and forgive, and be forgiven.
This is our Heavenly Father’s perspective, and this is every good parent’s perspective. We want our children to love one another.
That’s it—we want our children to love one another—and all that love encompasses—forgiving, giving and serving.
Sometimes, as a parent, we actually see this happening, we see the love, we see the forgiving, we see the serving. It is one of the most beautiful things to behold.
What parent doesn’t smile to see their children hug? What parent isn’t encouraged to hear one child praise another? Or offer to help each other?
When my son Sean was alive, he had a sibling that angered him a great deal. I would hear his story of woe about this sibling, and vice versa. The summer before he passed away, he made peace with this sibling. Their relationship was healed. They confided in each other, they helped each other, they loved each other, but first they forgave each other. They willingly laid their grievances down about the other. They chose with their wills to not take into account the wrongs they had suffered in the past. They chose to think the best of each other, while sharing the worst with each other.
I have been so grateful for this knowledge, that Sean went onto the next life, at peace with this sibling.
Right now, there is hatred and violence and discord all around our world.
The world would be a different place if we saw each other the way God sees us. He sees the total picture, the hurt on both sides, the right on both sides, the wrong, and evil on both sides. He also sees what can be done when we willingly lay our grievances down; when we do not take into account the wrong we have suffered in the past; when we chose to think the best of each other, while being honest about the worst that has happened. God sees what happens when we forgive, as He has forgiven us.
What happens is reconciliation– what happens is peace.
It’s a beautiful thing to see this kind of peace—ask any parent—ask the greatest Parent of all!
This past week, our family met our newborn granddaughter. Our son was giddy in his love for this little girl. It was precious to behold. It reminds me of God’s love for each of His children. There is a verse in Zephaniah that says, “…He will exult over you with joy….”
I remember someone telling me that the love we have for our babies is such a great picture of the love that God has for us. A baby can’t “do” anything—except cry, and eat, and sleep, and spit up, and throw up, and have messy diapers—and yet, parents love their babies, feed them, clothe them, and clean up their messes.
God loves each of His children, without conditions, intensely, with joy.
However, as babies grow, a training process begins—to help the child learn right from wrong, and to be fitted for their purpose here on earth –mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sometimes in that training process, the child can start thinking they are loved only if they “perform” well.
When we begin to grow spiritually, the same thing happens—there is a training process to help us grow and be fitted for our heavenly purpose here on earth. Sometime in that training process, we also can start thinking we are loved only if we “perform” well.
Most babies are wonderful at resting and sleeping, especially if they are resting on one of their parents. They feel safe and secure—they can hear the heart beating of their parent. This is what Jesus wants for us—that we are so close to Him, that we are resting in Him, safe in His presence, living, and loving through the power He gives us.
Our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love!! He is giddy over us in His love!! He longs for us to know this and trust Him–to “rest or abide” in Him! If you would like this as well–just tell Him this.
There is an old Irish “saying”, that if a bird’s droppings fall on you, or anything you own—that is good luck!
My husband and I laugh when we remind each other of this saying, and my husband says, “Only the Irish, would look at bird droppings as a sign of good luck!” I think this saying reveals an amazing sense of humor, and a cheerful spirit—what a way to take something negative and turn it into something positive.
When coming back from my walk today, I took a picture of the “good luck” that had fallen on our property! Wow!! Would you look at all that, “good luck”!!
I hope this has given you a laugh.
Some of the best moments in my life, have been with people who know how to laugh. There is just something about laughing and sharing laughter that draws people together and binds them together.
One of the things I love best about my husband, is his sense of humor. He tickles my funny bone. I can be so mad at him, and he’ll say something so accurate and funny and witty, and I’ll be laughing, and the anger will dissipate. He also thinks I’m hysterical, and I love that!
I have heard that comedians have the longest lasting marriages, as compared to others in the entertainment business. I believe this. I think having a healthy sense of humor can stop us from taking ourselves too seriously and can help keep life in perspective. Laughter is often the medicine needed for what ails me.
Rainbows are very special to me. When I see them, they remind me of a time in my life, when I was distraught, and a Rainbow reminded me of God’s love and care for me. It reminded me that God was for me after the storms of life.
I’m sure many people have stories like mine– where they date someone when they are young, the relationship falls apart, and one or both are left with broken hearts.
I was like many people, I thought my heart would be broken forever, and I would always feel sad and dismal.
I was very fortunate to have people who loved me who told me their stories so that I would realize my life was not over. My dad told me about a girl he dated, that he thought he loved, before he dated my mom. He said at the time when they broke up, he was heartbroken, but God had someone for him that was a much better match for him. (My parents were married for 52 years, and everyone who knew them, recognized the love that existed between them. They loved and served each other, and the last 5 years of my Dad’s life, my Mom was my Dad’s caregiver, caring for him after he had had a major stroke. We saw my parents live out their love for each other for better or worse, and it was so real and so romantic.)
One day, when I was particularly blue, my mom’s friend came to visit. She noticed my sadness and started talking to me. She ended up telling me that she had been married and divorced before. She said it was the hardest thing she had ever gone through—the sense of betrayal and rejection—and wondering if her life was now over.
While we were talking a rainstorm had been taking place outside. My mom’s friend told me that she became a Christian because of her first marriage breaking up. She realized that God loved her and would never leave her, never betray her. Then – she later met her 2nd husband. They married, had two children, and they have been married for over 50 years now.
After the rain stopped, we went out on my parent’s front porch. We looked up into the sky and there was this beautiful rainbow and the sun was shining through it, bringing out all the colors. My mom’s friend looked at me and said, “This is your promise from God that you will never have to go through anything so traumatic again.”
When I went back to college in the fall, I arrived on my dorm floor and all the doors had rainbows on the doors. In my mind, I heard my mom’s friend say again, “This is your promise from God that you will never have to go through anything so traumatic again.”
6 months earlier, I had decided to trust Jesus to be my Savior, and to follow Him. I got involved in a bible study at college and started to learn about what God wanted me to know about living life.
I realized that God wanted to fill my life with His Spirit. He wanted me to know and experience His love and forgiveness. He also wanted to protect me and provide for me.
He wanted to protect my heart from being broken again. He wanted to protect me from diseases. He wanted to protect me from a pregnancy before I was ready and able to handle a responsibility of a child.
He wanted to provide for me a husband I could trust. He wanted to provide for me a husband who had character. He wanted to provide for me a husband who would be a good father to our children and someone who would help me raise those children.
(In reading over what I just wrote, I am struck anew with the fact that—that is exactly what God did provide for me through my husband of over 30 years.)
I believe that God has a heart to love us and want the very best for each of us, and when we come to His Word and what His word is telling us, we need to read it with that in mind.
Jesus talks about this when He tells us that if anyone hears His words and listens and obeys, they are like a man who built his house on the rock, and when the rains came and the storms came, (rains and storms always come in life), the house stood firm. On the other hand, if one does not listen to Jesus, they are like a man who built his house on the sand, and when the rains and storms came that house was destroyed.
God does not want our house—our life to be destroyed—that is His motivation. He loves us—He wants the best for us.
If we haven’t been listening to Him, we can start. The God I know is a genius at rebuilding houses that have been destroyed – and putting them on a solid foundation. It is never too late to cast oneself into the Hands of a loving and forgiving God and ask for a new beginning.
That is what I see when I look at a Rainbow, I see a promise from God after the storms of life, that we will never have to go through that destruction again, when we build on Him and His foundation.