My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Monday, April 11, 2011


    This past week it has seemed like tragedy and death had the upper hand.  In some ways for me, it has seemed that way for me for a couple of months. Life, love....and loss. No matter what our position in this world, we all must face the inevitable truth that you can't have one without the others. If you really live, you will find a way to love...And if you love, you will undoubtedly suffer loss at some point. Loving brings life and losing means you have dared to love...and to live. Do you see the miracle of this circle?
     This week I visited a young man with his family in the hospice unit. Suffering a tragic head injury, life support had been removed and he was breathing on his own though his breath came in halting and strained gasps...He had dealt with confusion and strangled emotions for years but, in this moment, his face was calm. My heart immediately went out to this family in their sorrow and brokenness. I prayed with them--that, no matter what the outcome, each one of them would know peace even in the things they could not understand.
     I left there with a heavy burden for their pain and all that they would face in the days ahead, promising to return the next day. As I went down in the elevator, tears were hard to hold back as I prayed, "Give them peace, Lord. Just give them peace." 
     Within an hour, I received a call that the young man passed away. Death isn't new to me. I've seen the last moments of life up close many times--family, friends, church family, and even strangers. I understood what was to come. I had only met them personally an hour before for the first time. I had only invested a few moments of my life with this family, but the loss was too quick and too deep--this mom losing her son. 
     I called to offer help and condolences. Her voice was steady and sure. I was trying to lift her and her strength lifted me. She knew her son was finally at peace. Even now, she still clings tightly to the words Pastor had read the previous Sunday from Isaiah:  

    "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,”  declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV                                                           
    The next day, a precious friend lost her grandfather. Though his illness had been long, thinking of life and family without him was unimaginable. Her grief runs deep. 
     I watch my children continue to deal with the loss of their dad. The hurt at times seems too hard to bear but they go on. Daughter finds love that is strong--a young man Dad would surely approve of. Oldest Son begins the task of being the backbone--the one that keeps home and land in order. Not just house or properties--he's the spine that holds the family together. Even as he misses the everydayness of his Dad, he gets through it by making the legacy--the best part of Dad--his own. Middle Son looks to the future and asks his true love to be his wife. The next Son--our fourth child--shares before he leaves for Afghanistan. He looks ahead to opportunity and dreams that await him even though unsure what it will be. He shares his heart--he seeks love. Youngest Son returned so quickly to the battleground in Afghanistan but looks forward to the day he returns and makes plans for college beyond the Marines. Each one would give almost anything for one more day with dad. He was taken too soon and they can't understand it, but life goes on...They go on, keeping the best of Dad with them and letting the rest go--not living in regrets.
     As I pray for these other grieving families who grieve--maybe my own still too fresh, those words in Isaiah sink deep: "My ways are higher than your ways..." And I remember well what follows for it's one of my favorites:

"...Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until they've watered the earth. Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do; they'll complete the assignment I gave them.
So you'll go out in joy, you'll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines—Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God." - Isaiah 55:10-13 The Message

Stately and lasting evidence of God. I think again of my children--MY sequoias, and I know there are regrets I have to let go too. Life goes on. There is much that we can't understand about loss and love and life. Death may come at any stage of life--young, old, or in between--but we can always trust in God's promises. He is still in control...He is with us always... And no matter what we face, He walks before us making a way through it. I remember the strength of the mother knowing her son was at peace and the confidence of my precious friend knowing she will see her Papa again someday. Their lives too will go on. Suddenly, the truth of the resurrection cracks this stubborn armor:  DEATH DOESN'T WIN.


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