Blessed Are Those…

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What an amazing promise this is. 

When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, he specifically said that those who mourn are blessed. It took me years to understand WHY people who are in such distress are considered to be blessed. It feels like the exact opposite. It feels like when your world has suddenly crashed down, when part of your heart has been ripped out that you are anything but blessed. Often it feels like God has done something against you, or at the very least has overlooked you. But those who mourn will be comforted

The Message puts it this way:

““You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

…only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

I often feel that the nighttime is the worst when grieving. You’re tired, and often not in the company of others. You’re alone with your thoughts and with your grief. When all you need is some rest, you can’t get any. When all you need is a warm hug, you feel nothing. 

And yet, for Christians who mourn, God is right there holding us. 

Sometimes, the pain goes too deep to even feel Him there, but He is. 

Even when we push Him away, He does not let go. 

Even when we fight Him, He still holds us. 

Even when we are angry with Him, He does not relent. 

And then, when our exhaustion has won over, when our energy is spent and  we are too tired to feel anything else, we collapse. But we are already held. 

We finally rest in the everlasting arms of Jesus. 

And it’s in those moments, those of comfort and rest, that we realize that we are blessed in spite of everything. That no matter what, Jesus has held us tight. We we may not have answers, our heart may not be whole, but we have found rest in His comfort.

And for that, we are blessed. 

Tonight • All Sons and Daughters
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Life is Precious II

As Christians, it’s easy to make a big production of being perfect before we come to the throne of God. It’s easy to feel like we need to be worth of God’s grace and blessings. It’s easy to put on the right clothes and a smile before going to church instead of addressing what’s really going on. 

But the throne of God is there for the imperfect, for the lost, for the hurting and broken. We don’t have to do anything to come before Him. 

The same God who loves us in our high moments loves us in our low moments. 

This is what kept me going today. This is the promise I held on to. This is what I repeated in my mind when I heard of the sudden death of a dear old friend. 

It still doesn’t feel real and I am in shock. I’m sure I will grieve more as the week draws on, but for now, in between waves of some tears, I am in a place of peace. These are the things I want to remember. 

I thanked God that my boys were with me, alive, well, healthy. Only hours later, I learned that a mother lost her beautiful 25 year old son. A family I knew lost one of their own. 

There was always a special spot in my heart for this old friend. We grew up in the same church but I think we only became friend as late teens, but he spent many Sunday afternoons at our (my parents’) house for family dinners. Over time, I stopped seeing him as much but I always tried to be encouraging to him, whether by text or in person when I did see him. I saw him a handful of times in the past year and was always excited to hear about his life and how he was doing. He was a young man with a wide smile and contagious laugh who was trying to find his place in this world. 

He had his ups and downs in life. I had seen him more in the “up” parts, but the downs became obvious around the time of my wedding. He made mistakes in his life, and one of those mistakes cost him his life. 

But my God is the God of highs and lows. His grace isn’t reserved for those who are always righteous. His grace reaches down to the depths of the earth, to the lowest points. 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/rom.8.38-39.esv

I do not know what happened in his final hour. I believe that’s something that his loved ones can only guess about. But I do believe that he is free today. That he is living out his eternal life, away from this broken world and any battles he has faced. 

We who are left behind are in pain. We feel that someone was taken from us too soon. He was loved by many and is therefore missed by many. I cannot imagine the pain that his family is in in this season. I pray for rest for them and that, with rest will come peace and comfort. I pray that they will one day be filled with the hope that they will see their son/brother/father again in a place where there are no more tears. 

Rest well, friend. You’re home, you’re free. You’re in your Savior’s arms now. 💙

You're home now.
Alive • All Sons and Daughters

Trust

I’m not one of those moms who is too busy or tired to shower on a specific day. I don’t care how tired I am, or how much has to be done, I shower every day. (I do give credit to my husband here for his help in the evening so that I CAN shower!) It’s my favorite time to unwind at the end of the day. It’s my favorite place to think. 

One Friday night in the shower, my mind went to all of the medical bills that we have to pay and all the things we want to save for and student loan payments and credit card payments and wondering how to hold a job without sacrificing family time at night and without sending 2/3 of my paycheck to childcare. I was particularly stressed, and no matter how hot the water was, it did not soothe any of it. 

I got out of the shower and opened up My Utmost For His Highest (my favorite devotional book). The verse stood out right away — “come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Immediately, I prayed, I worshipped, I felt peace.

In an instant, I didn’t have the weight on my shoulders. But I still could not get the thoughts about money out of my head. I thought, “God, if we could just make $xx,000 then I wouldn’t worry.” 

That’s when I heard it. 

If you made $xx,000, you wouldn’t need to trust me.

Whenever I hear people talk about hearing God’s voice, I always wonder how they know it’s Him. I always wonder what it’s like. I always wonder how they can be sure. When I heard that, I knew it was Him. 

I’m not called to have everything together. I’m not supposed to do everything by myself. Life is definitely not perfect and there are dreams that I want to attain that I don’t know how I possibly could or would. I just have to trust, even if it means my plans will mess up. 

My year started out with this word too. On January 2, my son Ethan (who was 7 weeks old at the time) was rushed to the ER because he was sick and could not eat and was very dehydrated. It was the new year and I just wanted to spend time with my family as a whole, and my newborn baby had just been diagnosed with RSV. But the ER visit turned into a night at the hospital and then a middle-of-the-night ambulance ride to the PICU at another hospital when he was fighting for his life because he was working so hard to breathe. In all, we spent almost a week at the hospital, but it was on day 3 that I realized that I have to surrender my wants and focus on God and worship all that He is. I had to trust that this happened for a reason, that my helpless son was in the best place to get better, and that my God was in control. I had to trust that we were going to come out the other end and think “wow, I cannot believe that happened. And look how far we’ve come!”

Ethan’s very first smile on his last night in the hospital.
I knew at that moment that the timing was not a coincidence. I don’t know why my baby had to fight for his life, but I understood that 2016 started like that for a reason. I knew it would set the tone for my year. And I truly believe that the reason (or one of them) for me being there was to refocus on God and His plan for my life.

I have a plan for my life. I have a timeline for when things could/should happen, for everything to work out as ideally as possible in my human mind. But, as a friend reminded me the other day, and as I have seen in my own life, God laughs at our plans. He doesn’t laugh because they’re funny or silly, but because we’re so simple minded. We can only see so much and therefore cannot fathom all there is to go through in this life. 

There WILL be troubles, but even with what I picture to be an ideal circumstance, God has a plan for me that will blow my mind. 

His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. 

I choose to trust Him.