Tag Archives: tragedy

Things Can’t Get Worse, Right….?

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Things Can’t Get Worse, Right….?

I remember it well. The days leading up to and following the new year everyone was on Facebook proclaiming that this one just had to be better than last. I recall thinking “Maybe you’d better buckle up, because things can always get worse” but refraining from typing the words because I’m an adult. With a brain. And some common sense. Well, most of the time.

Then the unthinkable happened. 2018 roared in like a lion on steroids with a ravenous appetite for my family. Perhaps there is a similar lion in your world; I’m sort of busy over here manipulating a chair and whip while nursing bloody wounds where hearts are supposed to beat with joy and anticipation, but I see you there. This is for you, friend.

  • Well-meaning people are going to ask questions like “Are you okay?” when they know full well you can’t possibly be okay. The only correct answer is the honest one. If you are not okay, let it be known. If they care, an arm will slip around your shoulder and they will stick around without judgment for the tears and whatever else leaks out of you. If they don’t, they’ll find a quick excuse to walk away but they’ll know the truth…and so will you.
  • You might be mad. Did you know that’s okay? I have it on the authority of King David that God can handle our anger, so trust me on this one. He isn’t creating our difficulties, but He is aware of them and we can vent to the one who knows it all and loves unconditionally.
  • Get ready to be amazed. There are two extremes and you will experience both. There are going to people who won’t be willing to join you in your misery. When I say that I’m not referring to some pity party, rather the reality that is your present circumstance. In the words of the icy Disney princess, let them go. Or in the words of Taylor Swift, shake them off. Either way…be done with them. They aren’t worth your limited energy. But you are also going to be blown away by the people who see you and respond with the purest of love. These are not the “Go, keep warm and be well fed” church crowd that James warns of; they are the ones who show up with whatever you need, usually before you know you need it. You might not even know them yet, but they love Jesus and you.
  • Step away from social media. In the middle of your hard season you don’t need to be constantly exposed to everyone else’s highlight reels. Do ask your friends to share their greatest joys with you personally – send those cute photos and funny memes right to your phone or inbox.
  • Continue doing the things you love with the people you love as much as possible. Live even when it feels like you might die.

If you have a friend who is in this place right now, may I suggest some things you can do for them?

  • Stay in touch. Ask “How are you?” and be willing to hear an honest answer. Listen – with compassion and intention.
  • Ask what they need; make sure they know you sincerely want to help.
  • Pursue time together. Ask them to come for dinner/family game night/coffee. Insist, even if it means taking the food to their house and handling prep, serving and cleanup.
  • Share your joy. They not only can handle it, they need it.
  • Refrain from giving too much advice or opinion, especially if they have a team of professionals.
  • Pray for them and listen to God’s prompts for ways to help. Make it your goal to be their biggest encourager.

Trouble rushes in like a tidal wave of disgusting, powerful water and sweeps away normal. If you are barely keeping your head above water, keep treading. If the flood has subsided and you are faced with the muddy aftermath, keep trusting.

Hope and confidence in God is our lifeline; this is the verse that I return to again and again. I pray it encourages your heart as well.

Because of the Lord’s great love for us we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

Waiting in hope,

lorraine

I Think We Need More Bread

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I Think We Need More Bread

I was looking through some journals yesterday when I came upon an entry I posted last March. I’ve read it three more times since then. I can’t get over the way that God gave me such a powerful word just because I asked.

It began with this sentence: “Yesterday it ran out. The last of Mike’s severance from the school. There are no long term prospects for work; there are no unemployment benefits. There is so much uncertainty about our provision.”

Those days were difficult. A job loss is not ever easy to accept, but this one stung. A lot. For reasons I won’t rehash, it was personal and painful. We were hurting; we knew God was going to move and that he had a plan, but it was hidden from our clouded vision.

We were in the boat with him, but when we looked around we couldn’t see past the water lapping at the sides. We wondered if we had adequate resources for this journey.

Certain writers use words that connect with my soul. One of those is Emily P. Freeman. At the time I didn’t know much about her, but I occasionally popped into her blog. That day, she posted this wonderful piece about leftovers.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, Emily’s site isn’t a cooking blog. She was talking about “making lists and then shaking them in God’s face” as if to tell him what he already knows. And she helped me take a hard look at what was left over after a miraculous provision.

“Are we going to be okay?”

That was the question I had written out and was shaking at him that day. For thousands of years, God’s people have looked at one another and at him with that question.

Emily’s post inspired me to look at my concern in light of Mark 8.

Bread was his idea. He never needs to be reminded of our hunger. Time and again he had compassion for the physical needs of the crowd.

While the disciples worried about bread in the boat, Jesus reminded them of the excess after feeding the crowd.

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

“Twelve,” they replied.

“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

I am so slow to understand, but I get it – there was more left over that day than the original meager offering.

It’s been a tough week in the world around us. The things that have happened in my backyard in the last seven days are unspeakable.

I’m more desperate than ever to remember you when I hold the bread in my hands and taste the miracle of your provision.

The pieces are broken; broken because there was a very real cost to meeting our needs.

Your body was broken for me. I am eternally secure with you. No man can ever change that.

Today I ask the same question in a completely different context, yet in the shadow of the former.

Are we going to be okay?

His answer hasn’t changed.

In Emily’s words (thank you, dear Emily, for sharing these words with me last March):

This morning, I hear it, the invitation to hold the bread in my hands, to see my day with kingdom eyes, to feast on him, to move forward with the energy that comes from eating the broken pieces. This is My body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus Broken Breads.

I am sure I will ask the question again, but I pray that it will be with a desire to see with unveiled sight the places where he is meeting us with the broken bits that are offered so that we might become whole.

Whatever your needs, my friend, if you are in the boat with Jesus he’s got you.

lorraine

Please take a few minutes to check out Emily’s original post here:

http://emilypfreeman.com/bread-is-the-new-hustle/

I highly recommend her recent book, Simply Tuesday. It is a beautiful encouragement to look for the beauty in the ordinary. All of her books are here: http://emilypfreeman.com/the-books

 

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This is me enjoying “Simply Tuesday” poolside.

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