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Forget Not, Even When It Hurts CV Lay-Off Day:35

My heart has been in my throat most of the day, and it took me until dinner to pinpoint my angst. I miss Justin. I still find it nearly impossible to understand that he is gone fully. This morning as I walked, I was grateful for the empty sidewalks that gave me the freedom to allow fresh tears to drop without inhibition.
I guess in hindsight, that should have clued me that this might be a tough day. But, the thing about grief is that, sometimes, it’s sneaky. It clouds your mind with countless unintelligible thoughts while stealthy depleting your energy reserve. And, grief, coupled with the added stress of Tim’s now extended lay-off, has me feeling a smidge undone.
One of the most impactful lessons I am learning since losing Justin is how to lament and simultaneously remember God’s character. In my “before,” I did not want to sit in my heavy emotions and wait for God to comfort me. Instead, I skipped the lament and eased my ache on my own terms. But, after losing my boy, the previous coping practices that I honed so well were inadequate in the face of such anguish.
Today, I am learning how to express my guttural moanings with my eyes fixed on the Lord. It’s like practicing Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.” while remembering who God is as described in Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

The term “forget not” in verse two means- to forget, ignore, wither, to cease to care.
Oh, friend, this is a good word for the pilgrim walking through the trials and hardship. When the weightiness of grief rests upon our hearts, and despondency whispers our name, and let us resist the urge to stop caring. Instead, let us run to our Savior and yield to the perfect Comforter. His tender balm reaches down to the deepest crevices of our hearts, heals another layer of our broken hearts.
Even when it hurts, let us not forget not His benefits; He is always faithful.
Grieving with hope,
Missy

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Drawing Close to God in Suffering CV: Lay-Off Day 5

I spent the first half of the day positive it was Tuesday. It is, in fact, Monday. At breakfast this morning, I whispered to my husband, “Maybe we should take the week off of school.” After thirty seconds, I decided that would be a horrible decision because what exactly would we do with more free time right now? Also, right after dinner, I set the clocks forward an hour.  

It was a very long day.

I saw a picture of Justin today, and my heart jumped in my throat. His smile was so carefree; for a moment, I remembered what it was like to hug him. There is a multifaceted mixture of emotions swirling around inside of me. I long for the familiar hum of life to resume. But, comfort is not what builds steadfastness, that’s usually sufferings job.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” 

My husband shared a post on Facebook today, and in it, he wrote, “The gospel never lets you graduate to self-reliance.” How accurate. Suffering silences the chatter of this world, and suddenly we become acutely aware of our need for God.

So, how do we draw close to God in Suffering?

Worship in the Storm

It was the morning of Justin’s memorial service. With the cold bathroom tile beneath my feet, I stood facing the shower as uncontrollable wracked my body. I reached for my phone and turned on an old Michael Card song, “Come Lift Up Your Sorrows.” There’s one lyric in this beautiful song that has forever changed the way that I view worship. It says, “Come lift up your sorrow and offer your pain…” 

I’d never thought of offering my pain as a sacrifice to God. But that single lyric gave me permission to rest in the Lord with confidence as I lamented.  

Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” 

It’s quite beautiful. We offer our pain to the Lord, and our sacrifices are like the fragrance of Christ. In this sacred exchange, He draws us near, and we receive His comfort. I know no sweeter healing balm than the tender care of our Savior. 

I would love to pray for you in your time of need. If you have a prayer request, please leave a comment or send me an email

Until tomorrow, 

Missy

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Learning to Suffer Well CV Lay-off Day:4

This morning, I decided it would be nice to put on a little make-up, do my hair, and actually wear real clothes. Just as I was about to apply my mascara, I heard one of my boys wailing and crying, “Mama!”. I opened my door and saw my boy, who loves all things creepy-crawly, sobbing.  

In his hands, he held a plastic container with the remnants of his favorite hermit crab, Stewart Little. After consoling him, I suggested he give Stewart a proper burial in the back yard; I was hoping it would give my tender-hearted son a little closure. When he came back in the house, he crumpled into my arms, this time, wailing. He kept repeating the same phrase, “He was so young, he didn’t get to grow up.” Finally, I realized his sorrow wasn’t so much about Stewart Little; this was about grieving the loss of Justin, coupled with our new routine at home with Tim’s lay-off.

I pulled my boy in a little closer and whispered, “You cry every tear you need to cry, buddy. It’s going to be okay. I love you.” 

It took that jarring moment to remind me that our kids can feel the stress that we, the adults, are carrying. When I looked into my boy’s red-brimmed eyes, my heart ached for him. Things aren’t awful around here, but I am not myself. I am preoccupied, I am concerned, and I am struggling to not obsess about the future. 

Last month, I spoke about suffering at a women’s conference. In my talk, I asked the question, how do we suffer well? 

The apostle Peter had a lot to say about suffering in the book of 1 Peter. I especially love what he wrote in 1 Peter 4:19, “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 

Now let’s pull this verse apart a bit:

  • To entrust: to place down, to deposit, to commit ourselves to His charge  
  • Soul: the very seat of our affections and will, our whole being
  • Faithful Creator: He who sustains all of Creation and hold all things together

In essence, in our suffering, we entrust (deposit) our souls (the very seat of our affections and will) to our faithful Creator (the One who sustains all of Creation and holds all things together) while doing good. 

With this in mind, I don’t need to figure out tomorrow. Instead, I submit myself and all of my ten-thousand emotions to the One who sustains all of Creation. Now that’s hope! He is faithful to do according to his will all that He has purposed in our lives. Let us cling to Him. 

Until tomorrow, 

Missy 

 

 

 

 

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CV Lay-off: Day Two

Day 2

It’s been a chaotic day, mostly in my mind. It all started when our youngest crawled into our bed just as the sun began peeking through the curtains. I had a feeling it was going to be a long day. 

I am figuring out that it’s challenging to stick to a routine when nothing is routine at all. I think my boys feel the same way as I do—case in point. I am pretty sure they thought they’d be getting out of school today. I noticed when I got back from my morning walk that they were dressed and getting all packed up to go to the park. When I told them we needed to do our math first, they were less than happy with me. I get it. We always plan our vacation days around Tim’s schedule. When he’s off, we’re off, except, not right now. I am glad today’s Friday. 

Today, I attempted to sit down with my Bible several times throughout the day. But, the roar of the unknown made it challenging to be still. Finally, this afternoon, I was able to take in Psalm 78-79 by listening to it on my Bible app. Psalm 78:5-8 stood out to me, especially the last portion of verse 8. 


“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Emphasis mine)


Last week, before I had any inkling that Tim would be laid off, I did a guest devotional in my friend Shanda’s Facebook group. I entitled my talk, “Remaining Steadfast Under Trial”. As I prepared for my talk, I studied the word “steadfast” found in the book of James. In some versions, the Greek word is translated as patient waiting.  As you might imagine, hearing the word steadfast once again got my attention.

The Hebrew word steadfast in Psalm 78:8 means: to be firm, to be established, to be fixed. Sadly, the Scripture tells us that the children of Israel were not steadfast or faithful to the Lord.  

I know when the pressure is on, and the future is uncertain, everything in me wants to escape. It’s easy for me to fill my mind distractions that end up, in the long run, end up being entirely unhelpful. I have noticed that my affections for the Lord and His Word significantly diminish when I fill my mind with cotton candy entertainment.  

I want to follow ‘s James’ exhortation when he says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

For me, that looks being courageous to show up for each moment and patiently wait for the Lord to sustain me in my discomfort.  

Until tomorrow, 

Missy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beauty in Our Brokenness

Since the early days after the accident, I have sensed a certain sacredness in grief. With the most vulnerable part of my heart exposed, I could only cry out to the Lord in my brokenness. It was laughable to consider anything else being even remotely comforting. As the days and weeks have turned into months, the temptation for distraction is enticing.

I am learning that it is of utmost importance to allow myself to sit in the waves of grief as they come; avoiding and postponing the ache is futile. In my lament, my heart is drawn to the great Comforter enabling me to cling to the Gospel, my hope. There is a sacred exchange in the acknowledgment of my brokenness and from the ashes arises a beauty only God can ordain.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalm 51:17

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