Trusting God

The past couple of years have been hard emotionally.  I haven’t wanted to write about any of it really, because I usually want to try to learn something – or at least understand it – before writing about it.  I think it was Hemingway who said “Never write about something until you’re through it.”

Well, what if it doesn’t have a clear “end?”  What if you still haven’t learned anything profound from it?

What if you’re never really “through” it?

Losing my dad has been so horrible.  I don’t write about it, but I think about it often.  Sometimes I become extremely depressed when thinking too much on it.  Which is partly why I gained weight last year.  Remembering how much my dad wanted me to enjoy life in it’s fullest with a healthy body – and to be happy with my body, is why I started being healthy again right before we got pregnant with our 3rd.

He’s gotten much better, but the stroke (if that’s what it was) really changed his personality, and I miss him so much.

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And then on the blue line side of things, seeing so many innocent men and women die – seeing the public generally not understanding or thinking “this is what they signed up for” – that they literally signed up to be assassinated in a country that used to be free – has been hard to understand heads or tails of.  I didn’t want to write my thoughts on all the police deaths for many reasons: the anger, the depth of heartache, facing the truth that most of them are racially motivated, the ugliness of it all, and just plain not being able to understand it.

Something that HAS really helped, has been leaning on God, even when I was extremely depressed or terrified.  Trusting Him and trusting in His goodness even though knowing He allows the worst to happen has been healing.

The only thing I could find that’s close to explaining what I’ve been learning about God’s protection, even when He allows murder and death of good people, is this audio of Elisabeth Elliot.

She explains it well and it brings peace to me to know that no matter what happens in this life, our ultimate ends are safe and secure in Him.  Which is why it’s better to trust in God, even in times like these.

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Grace in Crisis

morning beauty

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns in the story, always an ebb and flow to the pattern.  I’ve been thinking on crisis situations… our sweet elderly neighbor recently found out she has rapidly spreading and aggressive lung and breast cancer.  She went from being normal, living out her everyday life, fostering sweet greyhounds in her home next to us, going about her business… to sudden hospice care.  A retired police officer herself, she was a strong cornerstone for me… in the midst of feeling helpless against the growing hatred and misunderstanding society, she was such a rock.  Such a beautiful, strong woman. I feel overwhelmed and heartbroken in letting her go.  She loved us so much.  😥

Her granddaughter has come down from another state, and has been helping wrap up all the details of her house and affairs, basically providing the hospice care herself.  She described her grandmother as a “hoot!”  And she still is even in her last days here.  A few weeks ago, when she was in the hospital having fluid drained off her lung, the nurses wouldn’t let her have a cookie.  “You have diabetes…” they said.

“I don’t think cancer cares, honey!”

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I was reminded by a friend this week, when it all just seemed a bit much, that things come in seasons.  Apparently, when things get difficult, I try too often to “save the world.”  It sounds all good in intention, but it comes with a heap of responsibility – trying to take control over things I have no power (or business) in controlling.  Maybe you understand this, too?

I can’t stop people from dying.  I can’t be everywhere all of the time.  I can’t change a person’s attitude or pride.  I can’t “make” someone like me by being kinder, sweeter, or more gentle if they have their heart set in shame and blame.

I’m not talented enough, smart enough, or mature enough to affect any of those situations on my own.  None of us probably are, and that’s why we desperately need God’s grace in order to have grace ourselves in crisis.  All we can do is walk in God’s glory, allowing Him to shine through us – through our pain – to carry us when we are weak, and to hold us when we are overwhelmed.  Repair us when we are heartbroken.

In the word’s of one of the wisest women to walk this earth, the late Elisabeth Elliot,

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Elisabeth Elliot was a woman who understood what it meant to have powerful grace in crisis situations.  Losing her beloved Jim to the violent and rage-filled unreached population of the Auca Indians, whom Jim was passionate about reaching with God’s love and compassion.  Any normal woman would be outraged, lose it, be vengeful even, if she witnessed this play out – and she was there in the missionary camp, with their 10 month old daughter, very intimately involved with Jim’s ideas and plans.  Jim didn’t even get to see their daughter reach 1 year old.  The heartache, pain, and sense of overwhelming sadness in this crisis would be enough to shatter any woman.

But Elisabeth was so different.

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In her godly maturity, she was able to offer grace to her husband’s murderers.  She stayed with the Indian population, continuing to help them even in her overwhelming grief.  She even lived with the tribe, among her husband’s murderers, for two years.

Some of her husband’s killers were so affected by her display of grace and love while living among the tribe in Ecuador, that they converted to Christianity.  Seeing her grace in heartache moved them, broke their own hearts, and allowed God’s love to penetrate deeply.

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If you aren’t going through something difficult now, you either have or will be in the future, but carry Elisabeth’s words with you in your heart… reminding you to let go of interfering in God’s business.  To walk this road of life, one step at a time, to keep obeying God in the daily monotonous tasks, being faithful.

And to trust that God will give us the strength and maturity we need when it’s our time to face crisis, and that we can face it with grace.

Inspiration

Its amazing what the power of a smile can do.  Brighten a grey day, lift up a sad face and heart.  Even the muscles in your face (when you force yourself to smile) affect your body to the degree that it changes the blood flow circulation! 

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So smile….  It makes you beautiful.  It makes you happy.

Happiness is more of a decision that an actual circumstance, anyway, so decide to be happy, decide to go out and do good in the world.  To make one person’s life better in even a small way, can have a ripple effect.

(Image: Shalom Harlow, Gisele Bündchen, and Carmen Kass from Caroline Trentini backstage at Alexander Wang)