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The Glimmer of Morning Light

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It was our first Sunday back to church since the accident. We purposefully sat near the back in case we needed to make a quick getaway. My senses were heightened as I watched people with a new set of eyes. I numbly observed my brother’s and sister’s in the Lord smiling and joyously clapping as they worshipped the Lord in song. The lump in my throat prohibited me from any singing that day; the only worship I had to offer was one of brokenness and tears. In my grief-stricken state, I silently wondered if I would ever feel the joy of the Lord again.

I excused myself to the restroom while skillfully avoiding our greeting time. I got myself into the bathroom and ran into a dear sister in the Lord. She greeted me with a kind “hello” and I fell into her arms and sobbed on her shoulder. She patiently held me tight allowing me to weep; the Lord met me there with sweet Penny that day. Finally, I sat back down next to my family armed with a handful of kleenex and inhaled deeply. I couldn’t help but glance down the row and remember that just a few Sunday’s ago our dear Justin was sitting right beside me. Once the service ended, we made a beeline for the door. I felt like I had just run an emotional marathon.

In those first few months, I had many sweet friends sending me messages of prayer and encouragement. A Scripture that I repeatedly received was Psalm 30:5b: “Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I pondered this truth and wondered when my “morning” would come. I found a beautiful chapter answering this question in the book, “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God“. The chapter is entitled, “Waiting for the Morning during the Long Night of Weeping. (I have linked to a free download for this book, it is quite worth the read). I found comfort and relief as I related to this statement:

“It is faith in our good and sovereign God that enables us to wait until the morning. But we must never forget that often the night is long and the weeping uncontrollable.” Dustin Shramek

Yesterday, seven months later, I realized that I am seeing a glimmer of the morning light. It was almost breakfast time and I was just sitting down to my first cup of coffee. Randomly, I started singing a song of praise. Our six-year-old Luke said, “Oh Mommy, that song sound really good.” I think I said something like, “Oh honey, do you like that song?”. The day went on and I didn’t think much about it. It was a few hours later and unbeknownst to me, Luke was standing at our bedroom door, I happened to be singing that same song. Again Luke said, “Oh Mommy, that song sounds so good!”. Now it clicked, I was singing songs of praise with a joyful heart! The more I thought about it, the more I rejoiced. Luke took such delight in my song (definitely not because of my singing voice), but because to his little heart it was like the first signs of Spring, it represented life and hope!

My circumstances have not changed; I will not see Justin again until I am with him in Heaven. But, I have a God who is the author and giver of grace. In His grace, I have hope.

Forever clinging to Him,

Missy

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Hope in the Darkest Night

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I remember when our nine-year-old Sammy was just a baby. There was quite an age gap from Sarah to Sammy and I was trying to adjust to having a little one again. One Sunday after church, someone asked me if I thought we’d have any more children. I think I may have gasped! I said something to the effect, “I can’t even begin to imagine, my cup runneth over.” This sweet little mama just looked at me and said, “If the Lord adds to your family, He will be faithful to sustain you.” I have held onto those words for years.

Soon after the news of Justin’s accident, I thought back to that conversation once again. I would whisper to myself, He will sustain me, He will sustain me. And then, O’ God, please, sustain me! It was a few weeks after the accident at this point and I began to feel confused and angry; I wasn’t “feeling” sustained! I was feeling the deepest pain and anguish that you can ever imagine. Where was God and why wasn’t he sustaining me? I cried out to him, Lord, where are you? You said you would sustain me, but I am still hurting!

Honestly, I don’t know exactly when he answered me, but he did. I realized that my understanding of sustain meant that God would take the pain from me. I thought that somehow he would lift it and I wouldn’t hurt so deeply.

Dear one, he is sustaining me, it is just not at all in the way I imagined. The weight of my grief is heavy. He doesn’t make the pain disappear, but he is with me in the pain.

  • He illuminates my heart to his Word and I partake in a heavenly fellowship with him.
  • In the intense moments of despair, he is the lifter of my head.
  • He provides songs of comfort for my grieving heart.
  • He helps me to look back and reflect on His goodness as I remember all of the rich time that I got to spend with Justin.
  • He provides for our family’s financial needs as we are in crisis mode.
  • He makes a way for my husband and me to have date nights and connect for some sense of normalcy.
  • He has provided for our dear Sarah and is taking care of her in ways we could have never imagined!
  • He has provided a beautiful group of ladies a.ka. the “Hot Mess Sister’s”, I will write more about them one day.
  • He has provided family counseling for us where we have been assured that this grief is not a life sentence for our family; he is our Healer!
  • He gives us laughter in our home with three precious little boys to care for and a legitimate reason that I MUST get out of bed every day.

These truths are still being worked out in my heart. This I know, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8

He is most definitely sustaining me for I have this hope:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Resting in His sustaining grace,

Missy

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The Provision of His Presence

Last year, I fear that if I had read the verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that stated sorrow is better than laughter, I most definitely would have thought it an oddity. Today, however, I am living its truth.

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the fool’s heart is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:3-4

It is a paradigm that is best understood in the midst of suffering. There is an unexpected and sacred intimacy with the Lord that happens when you ache in the deepest crevices of your heart.

I have found that while in the throes of affliction and great distress, the Lord meets me in that place. I liken it to a rag doll being picked up from complete brokenness and ruin and slowly, tenderly, and methodically being mended back together. When I think I cannot breathe another breath and feel as if my heart will explode, He, our great God, provides me with himself. He ministers to me as only his Spirit can, with consolations and whispers of hope.

I do not intend in any way to romanticize suffering or to elevate the sufferer. It is God who is the great One and the mighty comforter. In these months without Justin, the phrase, “I have been brought low” has been a constant companion. Strangely, in the low places, I have found that joy is also present.

The Lord is the giver of joy and somehow in his tender mercies, He gives me a gladness of face and joy in my heart in my low state. I am reminded of the quote from C.S. Lewis from his book, “The Problem with Pain. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” He has not left me in my lowest state, He is shouting to me that never will he leave me and never will he forsake me. In this, I cling to him.

I am learning that when God calls you to a certain suffering, He doesn’t give us grace for tomorrow, He gives us the grace to sustain us for our today. With this truth, I take my days one minute at a time knowing that He will “hold me fast”.

Forever held in his grace,

Missy

*This picture was taken last year by my daughter. She captured Justin walking in the cotton field across from our house.