Saturday, August 20, 2016

Morning Hymn

Do you ever wake up too early, or perhaps not ever fall asleep? This was how I felt one early morning, and times since, but I like how the thoughts that came to me helped put life in perspective. No pat-answer solutions, or three-easy-steps, but God does penetrate the ozone layer at times. May you find time to rest in Him this weekend.



by Ferree Hardy

I wake before dawn

and in the dark

begin the song

of ancient ways

and steadfast praise

With each note

the darkness fades

a rooster crows,

and spider sews

one last strand on her

dewdrop doily

Birds arouse

They join in

Mourning dove,

Robin, wren

Singing of You,

the Giver of all

Your goodness freshens

it brings cool hint

of snow and mint

to salt-stained skin

Red-brimmed eyes

and sadness-fevered


Father of health

and life itself

with love beyond

the stratosphere

and faithfulness that

fills the sky

Your glory orbs

the earth we hear

And wrapped in shimmering


it reaches down to

collect the songs

of one weak woman

and birds

Monday, August 15, 2016

Christ At The Door

I've written before about this familiar painting of Christ knocking on the door of our heart.

But sometimes he knocks on the back door, doesn't he? The entry we don't want our guests to use--that messy place where we dump the junk and burdens that pile up on a daily basis.

If you're crumpled in a corner today and can't see your way through the piles of problems in your life, God is still out there, still knocking.

He's come around to the back door, like family. But He won't just barge in on you.
And, one more thing, if your door is locked, he has a key. You don't need to get up, just cry out to him. God knows if we cannot fight any longer. He sees us on our knees.

the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow . . .
Psalm 146:8,9

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Widow's Journey - a book by Gayle Roper

Like looking into a mirror, A Widows Journey by Gayle Roper casts an accurate reflection of the thoughts and questions on many widows' minds.

She questions:
What am I to be now that I'm a widow?
Does the amount of time you've been married determine the depth of your grief when you're widowed?
Which is better, a prolonged decline to the end of life, or a quick, essentially instantaneous death?
If God is good, why did he let my husband die?

She's honest:
I miss being a couple.
I am having difficulty concentrating.
I don't want to feel so lost, so alone... but I can't not feel this way.
One of the hardest things about grief is figuring out what to do with the love I used to give to Chuck...
I want my life back.
I dislike very much the fact that I feel Chuck fading.

She lights on common experiences and gives unsaid words a voice: wondering when or if she should take off the wedding ring; ordering a headstone, what to do with his clothes, how to change Christmas traditions, how to face birthdays and anniversaries, selling the house, visiting the cemetery...and the impact of stark loneliness and grief on mere daily life.

C.S. Lewis said, We read to know we are not alone. Reading A Widow's Journey helps you know you're not alone. Gayle's talent is her ability to identify her emotions, and succinctly describe them. She cuts through the fog of grief with measured acceptance---honestly assessing both the good days and the bad.

I'd liken this book in some ways to Lewis's A Grief Observed. In other ways it's significantly different. In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis aptly describes his state-of-mind and daily ploddings with short, thoughtful observations. as does Gayle Roper in A Widow's Journey. Each book is quite small, easily held and easily read on a rainy afternoon.

The main difference, however, may be summed up in one word: HOPE. I don't recall much hope in A Grief Observed. I might be wrong, but I think it was only a brief snapshot of Lewis's grief, written as a private journal while in the clutches of grief, not public, and not really wrapped up and concluded.

A Widow's Journey was written during a two-year time, well over a year after her husband's death. There's a maturity and thoughtfulness to it, while at the same time the high cost of re-visiting her grief experience and authenticating it. The main difference however, is that each of Gayle's pieces ends with the truth and hope of God's faithfulness summed up in heartfelt Scriptures, a rich resource indeed.

I first bought this book with the intent of posting a quick review and offering my copy as a give-away to some lucky reader. But I'm not ready to give mine away yet. It's really good and I'm sure I'll refer back to it again. Here's a link where you may order it or get some more info.
A Widow's Journey: Reflections on Walking Alone
Please visit again when next time I will introduce you to Gayle herself. She's an award-winning author of more than 50 books, and one of the most down-to-earth women you'll ever meet. I know you'll enjoy my interview with her.

P.S. Oh, and if you're wondering about her answer to Does the amount of time you've been married determine the depth of your grief when you're widowed? Here's what she wrote: I don't think so. Love is love and loss is loss. Isn't that beautiful?