Grief, Acceptance, and Grace

This past week has been a hard one. Filled with losses that don’t make sense.

A baby left in the car.
A sister’s body found outside an apartment building.
A dear friend who jumped into a lake and never resurfaced.

I think during such times of unexplainable tragedy, it’s natural for us to want to make sense of what happened.

How do you forget your baby in the car for 8 hrs.? How did you not see him on your way to work? How did your sister die? Why was she lying outside of an apartment building? Who was with her that night? How could such a good swimmer dive into a lake and not resurface? Why were there not cuts, bruises, or abrasions on his body?

What happened?
What happened?
What happened?
Why?!

I think of the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think that they must have left out the stage of wanting to make sense. Or is it part of denial?

I think about my dear friend in his last moments. About the baby. About the sister. In that moment, just before death, when time is frozen and all is quiet, what was he thinking about? His family? His life experience thus far? Childhood memories? Did he think, “Ok I’m going to die now”? Was he scared? Was he peaceful?

Questions. Questions. Questions.
These are what we’re left with when our loved ones are snatched away from us without warning. Questions to which we likely will never know the answers. “I don’t know,” being the sole answer we must carry forth.

I don’t know why.
I don’t know how.
I don’t know.

I think how as humans it’s against our nature to admit that we don’t know. It’s against our nature to accept that we may never know. That some things will never make sense. That maybe not everything is supposed to. Acceptance.

Acceptance invites faith, freeing the chains of uncertainty that bind us to the dark. Acceptance and faith, I realize, go hand in hand. Together they form the sliver of light in our stormy sea of darkness.

Acceptance is our freedom.
Faith our guiding hand.
And grace our greatest gift.
This much I know.

The Calm Within the Storm

I received this message in my email recently and was quite touched by it. Wanted to share it here in hopes that it might touch some of you as well.

The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” PS 55:6

dove

Have you ever felt that way? Sorry, there’s no escape! Wherever you go — there you are!

Peace is “an inside job.”

Oceanographers tell us that even the worst ocean storms rarely extend more than twenty-five feet below the surface. Gales can rip the ocean, causing tidal waves one hundred feet high, but just twenty-five feet below the surface the water is as calm as a pond.

storm

The point is this: The only place you’ll ever find peace in the midst of life’s storms, is through an in-depth experience with God.

Korean Christians have a saying: “We’re just like nails. The harder you hit us, the deeper you drive us; and the deeper you drive us, the more peaceful it becomes!”

hammer nail

Part of God’s purpose in allowing the storms of life to blow, is to drive us deeper. Deeper into dependence on Him and deeper into relationship with Him.

Someone said, “God takes life’s broken pieces and gives us unbroken peace.” When you focus on the God who never meets a problem He can’t solve, instead of focusing on the problem you can’t solve, you’ll experience in-depth peace. And you’ll carry that peace with you wherever you go. Others will notice it and seek your advice when they too face trouble.

You see, when you know that the God within you reigns above you, you won’t succumb to what’s around you.

Nurture and Grow Your Love

“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” – Brene Brown

Let Love Know You’re There (A Poem)

We cultivate love when we allow
our most vulnerable selves to be seen and known.
Love is not something that we give or get;
it is something that we nurture and grow.

Withholding of affection,
disrespect, betrayal and blame
damage the roots from which love grows
and hurt the place from which it came.

Love can only survive these injuries
if they’re acknowledged, healed, and rare.
So put down your ego, put in the work,
and let love know you’re there.

Forgiveness (A Poem)

If it were up to me

and me alone,

I’d hurt you just as you’ve hurt me.

But I know a path

that starts with love

and ends with love just like a circle.

It’s a healing path,

life changing

and fulfilling all the same.

And so I choose to take with you

the path that Jesus took with me.

It is the only path that works

and my Hope rests in its effectiveness.

Conversation with God – NOW

Dear Child of Mine,

Stay present. Now is all you have. Don’t you see that the present is all that exists? It is where you find Me. It is where you find True Life. I am.

Do you not know that I am with you always? I am guiding your every step. Even when your fallen mind becomes distracted and begins to wander from Me, I will not let you go too far.

You are never lost. You are home. You are here. With Me. Now.

When you need to be reminded of this, come sit in My Presence, just as you are. It is good to stay grounded. I have everything under control and you are exactly where I intend for you to be.

So enjoy this moment, love the ones you’re with, and share The Good News about Me. It is really that simple.

You all complicated things when you introduced time. Have you forgotten that I am Timeless? Where I exist there is no time.

I am here with you, now and forever. Now, won’t you stay here with Me?

Discipline

Discipline is not God trying to pay you back, it’s God trying to bring you back.

“How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded! Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others… But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways, our woundedness.”
― M. Scott Peck

Circumstances (A Poem)

They say circumstances don’t define you

but they certainly can reveal.

In the midst of crisis,

you’ve become a person who can heal.

A person who can mold and bend,

more flexible than you thought.

A giver and receiver,

blooming from your most vulnerable spot.

Through the tornado and turmoil,

you’ve stood strong like a tree.

And if these circumstances have revealed you,

then I love who you’ve proven to be.

Fall

The crisp, sweet smell of fall reminds me of this time a couple years ago; a uniquely sweet period of healing in my life. I am reminded that stillness, presence, and grace are all powerful tools of healing that we should routinely practice, even (and especially) if we think we don’t need to.