Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Join In The Conversation, part 2

Hi everyone,
     Last night a reader sent the following note in and I appreciate that she addressed each of the 3
questions about bitterness in yesterday's post. She hasn't been able to write much since her husband died, but something struck a chord with her and these words flowed from her heart.
     Whether we are asking, answering, or simply telling our story, our words matter very much. It's as important that we say them as it is that someone hears them. Writing is very therapeutic, so journaling, keeping a diary, writing letters, blogging or posting on social media are good ways to help others (and help yourself)! Thank you Lisa W! 

Thank you  SJ for being honest with your feelings. We all have been there in some way, shape, or form..wondering how the unimaginable could have happened. How could something this horrific be part of a Good God's hopeful and harmless plan?  Plain and simple-widowhood is ROUGH...we have lost a part of ourselves and are left to learn to navigate life on our own. God is here for us though. We mustn't forget that.

 So for me, though I am no expert..

1. "If God made me , knew who I was ..knew how I would react...So if he knew I would react the way I am, How can He be mad or disappointed at how messed up I am?" 

      To be honest, I am not entirely positive that God is mad or disappointed. LIke you said, He already knew you would react this way. But I guess if He is, we can look at it like this- that sometimes as parents we know how our children are going to react when they are about to get some disappointing or bad news. Right? We know there is going to be some kind of melt down. Not to minimize it but for the sake of making a point, as an example let's say there was supposed to be a Chuck E. Cheese play date but suddenly it was cancelled. We know our child was looking forward to it and we know there will be some sad/upset/etc. feelings. Even though we KNOW this , and yes we may be frustrated with their way of handling their disappointment, we still, as a parent that loves our child, want to envelope them in our arms and comfort them and tell them we know they are upset and disappointed. We understand they were looking forward to it. Let's figure out what to do with those not-so-happy feelings? Calmly we can model for them how to handle their feelings because at that young age, they do not know how to. So maybe God is not really mad at all..maybe He is just wanting you to rely solely on Him to get through this. He is saying, "I'm here..I know this stinks and hurts and is painful...come here and cry to Me..it's okay..I've got you even though you can't see it..."  

 2. "How is it realistically possible to believe these promises now when they didn't work?" Like Ferree said, God 's promises always are true. He never promised that we would not see trouble or that we would not have hardship. He does, however, promise to be WITH US while we are IN these troubled times. Like he was in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, or even Daniel in the Lion's Den. Those are bad situations to be in and they were Faithful Godly Guys but that stuff still happened. But God was WITH them through those times. And, of course, Job...he was so, so godly and look at all he suffered through. It seems horrible that we lost our husbands. I know...mine was truly my soulmate, my best buddy, the guy who completed me, the dad of my kids, my ministry partner..But I know God has not forsaken me...He has shown Himself over and over again here with me and my kids ..No-- it is not easy, yes-- I cry every single day.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But I know God catches my tears and hears my laments each morning.  I'm sure I sound like a broken record-- "this is rough God..you have me confused with some Strong Christian..I"m not Joni E Tada, I'm not Elisabeth Eilliot. I'm just Lisa..."
I'm 11 months in and all I can say is I'm still standing because when I am weak, He is strong. Now more than ever, I have to trust God's promises. Ken's and my verse was Jeremiah 29: 11 "for I know the plans I have  for you says the Lord ...plans to give you a hope and a future." I have nothing left but to trust those words. Yes, this seems like a crazy way of showing me His plans are good, but what happened to those others who have suffered? Somehow, in God's way, He has taken what is bad and made it good. 

 A few years ago I had the privilege of serving at "Joni & Friends Camp." We provided companionship to kids with disabilities while their parents were able to relax without having to worry about their kids. These camps are all over the world. It is an international ministry. All I could think of was how when Joni was 16 or 17 and was told she would no longer have use of her arms or legs. How devastating that had to have been! And how never in a gazillion years could she have ever imagined herself heading up a world wide ministry to families with kids with disabilities! But that is how God rolls. So even though I don't understand the plan, I trust He has one and it's really all I can do. 

 3. God is not punishing us even though it may feel like it. He is going to use this to teach us stuff and to have a God glorifying story to share.   When my husband first went to Heaven, I was really, really struggling... I thought I should have gone first because I was not as godly as Ken. Ken was just a righteous guy . He loved the Lord with every fiber of his being. When the dr told him he had only hours, maybe days, to live he raised up his hands and said, "I am His and He is mine."
Four hours later he was in the presence of the Lord.  So I said to myself, "I should have gone first..I deserved to die first because Ken was so good." But then I thought, "Well maybe he did deserve to go first because Heaven is so wonderful and beautiful---it makes sense he would get to experience it first."
Around that time, my mother-in-law came with this verse in Isaiah 57:1-- "the righteous perish and no one takes it to heart ,the devout are taken away and on one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil." And that just kind of nailed it home for me--that Ken died at 50 to be spared from evil.. The good die  young... ( I know this is not always the case I am just sharing my thought process at this time) So, I told my daughter all of this. She was 20 at the time. She said, "Mom, don't you know you die when God is done teaching you all you have to learn?...look at Moses ---he was over 100 but Jesus did not make it to 35." I was like "Yeah I guess so...but what happened to  your dad was so crazy."
And she said this: "Mom, don't you know...the crazier the stuff, the better the testimony?"
I said "What do you mean?"
She said, "Imagine Mary sharing her testimony at a women's retreat..imagine how it might sound: "I was a virgin teenager, I had never been with a man and I was told I was going to have a baby. And I was told this by an ANGEL. But not just ANY baby- GOD'S baby! And then I gave birth in a stinky barn with animals and a king wanted to KILL my baby..and then an angel saved him and then when he was 12 he pulled a fast one on us in the Temple..then he performed a lot of miracles and then he was crucified on a cross, but He did not do anything wrong and then He came back to life!" 
I was like, "Well, now that you say it like THAT..that IS PRETTY CRAZY"
She said "See?! The crazier the stuff, the better the testimony!"

SJ, I say all this to try to help you find some peace with everything you are going through. I know that these questions are NOT the "ONLY THING" you are going through. If you are like me you have financial stuff, medical stuff, home repairs, car repairs, kids' school stuff, job stuff and more. It is a LOT!!!  Give God all your hurts and cry out. He is happy to take it.. He can handle it. Like when we carry our kicking toddler lovingly in our arms. God is here and willing to do that for us. 

 I hope this helped in some way...

 love and lots of prayers....

Lisa E. W.

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