Not sure about the heartache
Or why things keep falling apart.
But I'm trying as hard as I can
To make some good things start.
I'm holding onto what is good
And living through all the bad...
It's times like this I remember
all the good things that I've had.
Life keeps spinning and handing
out things that devastate and destroy...
I'm clinging tight to my lover with
all I am, and our little boy.
I remember the good Lord teaching me
that tribulation will come my way-
But I think I've had all I can take,
I'm ready for something good to come today.
I'm holding on to the amazing marriage
God has blessed me with for so long.
I do not take that for granted,
In his arms I'll always belong.
I'm holding onto this precious blessing
wrapped up in my little boy.
The sunshine he gives me everyday
brings me nothing but pure joy.
I'm holding onto This Holy Spirit
whom I know will intercede....
In these darkest days and darkest nights,
of which I am in my greatest need.
December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Not sure about the heartache
Posted by jesnicole at 5:16 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
(This post was written on December 14th.)
Did I ever tell you about my red coat? I love it!!!!! It is so adorable. It is a long, wool coat that I wanted for many years. I finally saw the exact one I wanted, and got it two years ago at Christmas. It is beautiful. However, it's never been worn.
It was the last Christmas gift My Momma got for me. She had all of her Christmas shopping done early that year, (which NEVER happened,) and we knew it would be tough opening her gifts. My Daddy, sister, myself, our spouses, and all the grandchildren....we all knew we'd have to sit there together and open up the things she'd taken the time to get for us. Open them up, that is, without her there with us.
I'm not sure why I haven't worn it. I want to, I love it. But part of me doesn't want to chance "messing it up". I know my Momma would DEFINITELY want me to be wearing it!!!!! Hopefully I can sometime.....I just haven't worked up the nerve.
It is true that Christmas, birthdays, and most holidays are tough on families that are missing their loved ones. However, I have found that it's difficult year round. Some days are still much harder than others. Today at church a very sweet friend of mine took my hand in hers, and told me she would be thinking of me so much this week, because she knew the date was tomorrow. It took everything in me to make sure I didn't burst into tears. I NEEDED to hear that. I needed someone to tell me that. I'm not sure why.....but I did. C.S. Lewis said it best when he said something like "her absence is like a blanket.....it covers everything." If you have ever lost someone close to you, I'm sure that makes sense. Yes, certain places and certain times make you think a little more about them....but the great sadness will always loom, no matter the day. I still go to my phone to call her when amazing things happen. I still try to dial her up when things are just going horribly, because she always listened to me and said, "It will all be okay...". Today, especially, I'd give anything to hear her say that.
And still, though I know I can't hear her say it.....I CAN still hear her saying it...
"It will all be okay." One day, it will, indeed.
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus." -I Thessalonians 4:14-
Posted by jesnicole at 12:48 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
I’ve been thinking so much about the holidays this year. For many reasons. One of the most obvious being that the holidays are always tough when they’re celebrated without our loved ones.
Another reason I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving is because of our culture. I’ve been raised (as I’m sure most of you have been, also) to see blessings from God as good paying jobs, owning big homes, having three or four vehicles, having 3.5 children, and being healthy. I have been raised with the idea that if those things are NOT happening, then “blessings” from Him are NOT happening.
Think about that for a minute.
As I piddled around online during the past week, almost everybody was thanking God for their blessings…..and everytime, it was for the things listed above. And rightly so, these things ARE blessings. But what about when God does NOT give these things?
What about when life is not filled with happy days? What about lives that are filled with sorrow? What about lives that are filled with people hating you? What happens when things “fall apart”? By fall apart, I mean when we do NOT have a good paying job, do NOT own a nice, big home, do NOT own several vehicles, have no family, and our health is failing? What about loneliness? What about death? What about despair? What about those things??
We shouldn’t be surprised. As a wise man has reminded me time and time again….”If we claim to be followers of Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised when His story is lived out in our lives.” (One guess as to the wise man I’m referring to.) And His story is NOT filled with money, material things, children, etc. It is quite the opposite. It is filled with persecution, poverty, and towards the end He is put to death by the very ones who said they knew Him. (Thankfully, that is not how the story ends.)
We simply cannot see ONLY these things as blessings from God. Because eventually, that thinking falls apart. It falls apart when God stops being a magic genie who gives you everything you want. It falls apart when jobs are lots. It falls apart when women have miscarriages. It falls apart when a family loses their home because they were laid off and can’t pay their mortgage anymore. It falls apart when a spouse is loving and faithful only to find that they were cheated on by their mate. It falls apart when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, and you have to sit back and watch that cancer take it’s toll on someone you love dearly. It falls apart when you step out of this country!!!!! Because Christians living TODAY in many other countries do not have the things that most American Christians see as “blessings”. They don’t. There’s no way around that. And yet, I’d be quite sure to say that those Christians living there, who have no running water, who have no home, let alone a vehicle….who watch their children die sometimes, due to hunger……they still somehow consider themselves blessed SIMPLY BECAUSE they know God.
What is a blessing? Who defines it? Does our culture? Do we? You? Me?
I was talking to a dear friend the other day. I was telling her my frustrations as of late, and I LOVED having her listen. She is a wise woman. She said something that Darryl had actually said to me before. I was telling her how I’m tired of hearing “things will be okay”….and nothing happening. She said, “When people say those things, it’s never to comfort you, they say it to comfort themselves”. I think she and Darryl are so right on this one. Often-with good intentions- we tell people in their distress, “It will be okay……It will work out……..Things will work out…..I’ll pray for you”…..etc. We’ve all said those things at one point. And of course, there is something to be said for encouraging one another. But I’m wondering if sometimes people say these things in the midst of tragedy because the tragedy itself is too hard to face…….speaking these words to someone who is going through living hell brings comfort to the one speaking because it’s just too hard to figure out.
Because if someone we love is unjustly suffering, then where is God? If someone we love is living in poverty, why isn’t God doing something? If someone we love is facing a terminal illness, why isn’t God healing them? If someone we love is doing everything they can and NOTHING good is happening, WHERE IS GOD???? This same friend told me that MANY times through the past year, when her family has been going through a terminal illness, financial troubles because of it, heartache, sorrow, etc…..she has been asked by Christians, “Well, what are you learning through this?”. WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?!? And yes, as most of you have guessed, the times she’s been asked this, it’s been from a very condescending point of view.
I believe sometimes tragedy happens not to teach the one who’s hurting a lesson, but to teach the Church, as a whole, a lesson. Asking my friend that question would be like asking a toddler who has the flu, “Well, what have you learned from this experience?”. DUH…….That having the flu sucks, and I don’t want to have it!!!!!
(A little side story: Last year when Darryl's sister was dealing with a VERY tragic experience, Darryl said something that has stuck with me. The first time we got to see her, his parents were there, beside her in the hospital bed. She was laying there, unable to move anything at all. There were so many unanswered questions. There was so much hurt, anger, worry, grief, fear, sorrow. When asked "where is Jesus in all this?"....Darryl answered, "He's there, lying in the bed." I will never forget that.
By the way, his sister is doing MUCH better. She has a family that bent over backwards helping her. That is encouraging. )
I do not have the answers, of course. But I do know two things, following Him will not always be rainbows and sunshine. And ignoring the reality of sorrow, grief, and suffering in our lives, or those we know, will never turn out good.
As we sit here in America this year. As we spend Thanksgiving thanking God for our jobs, money, homes, families, health. And then as we go and spend hundreds-some people thousands- on Christmas presents that will probably be obsolete in a year or two…..I wonder if we’ve got it “right”. I wonder if it is pleasing to Him for us to thank Him when we have all we want, and shake our fists at Him when we don’t. I wonder if He is pleased when we sit idly by while those we know suffer. I wonder if He is pleased when we contribute to this beast that we’ve created when it comes to consumerism and Christmas.
I wonder. I don’t have answers…..these are things I’m trying to get a handle on, myself.
I spent last week thanking God for grief, as you probably read in my last post. Yes, I thanked Him for what I have. But one of the most sobering things I had to do this year, because I had NO CHOICE, was to thank Him for what I don’t have. Because I have been reminded that I need Him. Even in my lack of many things…..still I need only Him. Whether He gives me all those things my heart desires….I need Him. We need Him. Even when He is choosing not to “bless” us according to what the church in America thinks. We still need Him.
I guess what I’m trying to convey can be summed up in the following words, words that turn our thinking upside down…..words that my loving husband often reminds me of. As you experience the holidays, I hope you remember these life-changing words:
“And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.’” Luke 6:20-25
Posted by jesnicole at 2:42 PM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have written so much about it since December of 2007. To you, that may seem so long ago. Almost two years. So much has happened since then. My lil' baby was only three years old. The future looked so bright to me then. It seems so far away because the time since then has been so hard without her, yet at times it seems so close, because I remember her so well. I remember having just let go of the burden of worrying about My Momma. For those of you who don't know, she had dealt with cancer, and recovered fully from having a kidney removed a couple of years before. I had worried so much about that coming back, and just a couple months before that December, she had another surgery that ended successfully. I had finally, FINALLY gotten to a point that I literally told God, "Thank you. I feel like I don't have to worry about her anymore. Thank you for taking care of her. Thank you for keeping her here and healthy." That was actually my prayer at around 7:50 that evening, just as I rocked Dylan to sleep.
Minutes later was when we got the phone call.
Trust me, there have been moments that I was so ANGRY at God. There still are. There are so many questions. Why her? Why now? Why couldn't my son, who loved her more than any child I've ever seen with his Grandmother, get to know her for many years to come? Why won't she be able to be here when we have the rest of our children? WHY?.......
She ended up giving her final breath on the day of one of my best friend's birthdays. In the middle of December, right in the midst of the Christmas season.
Darkness has hung around my family many moons since then. I cringe thinking of my Daddy being here without her. They had been together since they were about fifteen years old. I think of my sister.....dealing with this as My Momma and Daddy's firstborn. I think of her grandchildren who adored her. I think of my husband, who was very close to her.
I'm no expert on grief, not by a long shot. I have learned that we DO need to grieve. I have learned that we can't pretend it doesn't exist. I have learned to be there for others in their grief, and NOT tell them to "get over it". I have learned to remember her life. I have learned that grief hurts. I have learned that when one doesn't deal with grief, it makes them bitter and angry, and often full of hate. I have learned that our Heavenly Father grieves alongside us. I have learned that grief NEVER goes away. It is carried, forever. I have learned that My Momma is grieved for not only by my Daddy, Sister, myself, but all of our family, and many, many more family members and friends. I have learned that the grief is SO BIG because the love shared was, and is, SO BIG.
This Thanksgiving season I am giving thanks for something a bit odd.
I am thanking GOD for GRIEF.
It hurts, it hurts to the core of my being. There are days that I remember everything all over again. There are days when Dylan is asking constantly, "When can I see my Nana?!!". There are nights when I just cry for no reason other than the fact that I can't call her on the phone. Because I need her, I need My Momma. I'm not even thirty years old yet. I have a five year old. I need HER. There are days when my husband wants to fix everything, but all he can do is hold me and say nothing. There are days I want to just scream because I still can't understand the reality of death. Death is not what we were meant for.....I think we Christians forget that sometimes. We try to mask our grief by calling it a beautiful thing. It's beautiful in God's eyes, yes...the death of His saints. THEY are reunited. BUT.....it's not pretty on our side. We were NOT meant to die. It's not supposed to be a beautiful thing to see our loved ones die. It is beautiful for THEM.....but it's not supposed to be this happy event on our part. It will be fixed one day...But that's a whole other subject, for another time.
I am thanking God for grief this year, and I will continue to do so. Because you see, in those dark moments of despair, in the deep grieving of my soul, I remember My Momma. I remember WHY I am hurting. I remember why there's a big emptiness in our family year round. I remember why there are odd silences when her name is mentioned. I remember why there's even more of an aching during birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It's because I love her. She was and is loved by our family. It's because life is THAT GOOD. Life was that GOOD with her here. Her laugh. Her smile. Her telling me, "Everything will be alright". God was in those moments. God is in the business of giving life. And GOD IS IN THE GRIEF.
And even in my grief, I thank Him. Because without the grief to remember every moment I had with her, I'd forget.
And I don't want to forget her.
I want to remember.
Grief is what I'm thankful for this year.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the grief.
Posted by jesnicole at 2:00 PM
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I was doing the dishes as I heard a blood-curdling scream coming from my little boy. I was wondering what in the world could have happened, I had just walked out of the room to do the dishes while he was viewing a movie about an adorable little puppy. What could have happened in five seconds?!?!?!? I turned the water off, and darted around the corner to him, only to find him standing up and screaming and crying as if someone was yanking his arm off. I asked as quickly as I could....."Baby, what is it!?!? Tell me, what is wrong......what's wrong, take a breath.....". He was heartbroken. He finally cried out, "They hurt him! Those bad guys hurt the puppy's little friend. Momma, they hurt him!". His new favorite T.V. pup had made a puppy friend.....and in the movie, some burglars hurt the little pooch.
So we sat down and I held him as he cried and tried to make sense of what just happened. He just kept saying, "Momma, I'm okay, I'm not crying.....I'm okay. I'm not sad and I'm not crying...". He was saying all this through his tears. It was as if he was ashamed of feeling his own feelings. We had a very long talk. I was trying hard not to cry, myself! We talked about how it was just a movie. But I also told him that whenever he is happy, Mommy and Daddy are happy with him. Just as when he is sad, Mommy and Daddy are sad along with him. We talked about God feeling things with him, too. I told him that God has given him a gift, he has a very caring heart, and he sees the GREAT importance of life. He also sees the importance of feeling for others as they hurt.....
A few minutes later as I was holding him, he said, "Mommy, I was lying to you when I said I wasn't sad. I was very sad, I'm sorry for lying."
I wanted to get the point across to this tiny little human that God made us to live in community. He made us to celebrate with one another. He made us to grieve with one another. He made us to go through the mundane with one another. He made us to feel with one another. He made us to feel FOR one another. I didn't want to see a day when my son didn't care so much for another living being that it hurt him to see life being taken away. I want him to know that what he feels, God feels, too.
(When I use the phrase "life being taken away"....I am talking more than murder. I'm speaking of the life sucked away from poverty....or from doing nothing about it. I'm talking about the life stripped away from an individual due to harsh and hateful words. I'm talking about the life taken away when people objectify one another. I'm talking about the life stripped away when The Body doesn't step up and do Her job to those in need....whatever that need may be.)
Don't undermine the pain someone you know is going through. I could write for days on the hurtful words I've heard from God's own children regarding the grief I've endured through losing my Momma. But I won't. That's not about this. I want to talk about the other side of humanity.
I want to remind you that there are people who care. There are little Dylan's who grew up and still care about the power of life. There are people like my husband who love everyone they comes across in a self-sacrificial way, even those who treat them disgustingly. There are people like Hilarie who care deeply and stand by their best friend through the storms that come her way. There are Krystles who end up going to the doctor because they have sympathy pains for their grieving best friend so badly that they manifest into physical symptoms. There are Kelis that come visit and constantly pray and do random favors for her dear friend. There are people like my sister and her husband who do MANY things for their loved ones that go unnoticed by many. There are Jils who send their close friend a bragbook filled with precious memories from the years past. There are Elizabeths who are constantly thinking of her friend when she has grief of her own to carry. There are friends who come along and pick up the pieces of a family that was hurt beyond belief by God's people. There are friends that stick closer than a brother. They are still here. I promise you that.
The next time you see someone hurting, DO NOT close your door and pretend they aren't hurting. That absolutely WILL NOT make the hurt leave. Do something. If we're teaching our children to "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.".....are we doing the same thing?
I'm thanking God tonight for those that love Him enough to follow Him, to serve Him and His children.....even when it's hard and uncomfortable.....and requires them to think of someone else before themselves.
"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."
-I John 3:18-
Posted by jesnicole at 6:11 PM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Where laughter is heard in abundance
And love is given by all around-
Where hate has been defeated,
buried deep into the ground.
In a place where leaves don't fall
And the flowers never fade,
In a place where hunger is no more-
And there's comfort in the shade.
Where pain is non-existent
And every soul has been set free.
Where joy and singing fills the air-
That's where I want to be.
My heart cries out for healing,
My soul cries for deliverance and security.
I'm hoping against hope that
Life will show us a sweet release.
The poverty that's on each doorstep
Has been carried away by love...
And the tears we've shed have been answered for
Nothing but sunshine from above.
There's no need for a springtime,
For winter and death won't ever set in.
There's love and acceptance, not hate and exclusion,
For His church learned how to love again.
There is no room for darkness,
Death is beaten by His empty grave.
Loved ones are all gathered 'round,
That's where I want to stay.
J.N.S. October 18, 2009
"Help me, O LORD my God; save me according to Your lovingkindness. And let them know that this is Your hand; You, LORD, have done it." *Psalm 109:26-27*
Posted by jesnicole at 3:38 PM
Monday, September 28, 2009
I admit that in my darkest hour, I doubt God. I cringe to even admit that. In just a handful of months, it’s amazing how life can mess with a person. I’m not talking about when we choose to live in sin, and things fall apart. (Though I, like I’m sure you are, am all too familiar with that…..but this is a different kind of falling apart.) I’m talking about the falling apart that happens around you, and you have absolutely no control over it. I’m talking about the falling apart that happens as a result of those claiming to follow Him. I’m also talking about death, which I think most of us have experienced. There has been a lot of change in our family lately, those of you close to us know all about it. I say that to say this. There are others grieving. There are others I love dearly, grieving for many reasons different than what I’m dealing with. I wrote this tonight on the heels of getting a text message from my husband yesterday. I really needed to hear this from him. Lately I have felt like evil around me has won. EVERYTHING around me tells me that. But I needed to remember that IS NOT the case. I needed to remember that even though things are so chaotic right now, GOD IS WITH US. I needed to remember that even though some things in our future seem so uncertain....that doesn't mean all hope is dead. And if you are going through something dark…..Remember. Thank you, my love, for reminding me of this. You inspired this poem. These are a few of the words Darryl wrote to me that started this very post……
“Things don’t need to stay like this…..We need to imagine the world that Jesus talked about and lived out constantly. And we need to believe that He is very much at the center of and entirely within that world of peace, love, care, justice, and compassion. He’s with us.” -My Love-
I’m picking up the pieces now and
Trying to move on.
I’m living like You’re with me,
Even though it seems you’re gone.
I’m refusing to believe the hurt
That’s been handed to my heart.
I’m leaving behind this desert place…
Ready for a brand new start.
I’m not sure where You will take me
But I’m hoping to heal.
Though it seems you may be a fantasy,
I’m remembering that You’re real.
I will remember You through a broken heart,
I will remember you through the grief.
I will remember that You are my hope,
I will trust You for my relief.
I will remember You through the tears shed
I will remember You through the pain.
I will remember that though I lose all things,
I have Your Kingdom to gain.
I will choose to forgive the evil
Though it has ripped me to the core…
And even though there’s no apology,
I will forgive all the more.
I will remember You, though around me
Darkness seems to have won…
I will live as You said to live…
As though Your Kingdom has already come.
Jessica N. Schafer
September 28th, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 8:06 PM
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
What good is love if it's
something we don't live?
What good is forgiveness if
It's something we don't give?
What good is abundance
If we will never share?
What good is honesty
If we're only putting on airs?
What good is integrity
If we hide our sin behind closed doors?
What good is compassion
If we don't give it anymore?
What good is friendship
If judgment and jealousy get in the way?
What good is encouragement
If it's something we never say?
What good is edification
When we're busy tearing others down?
What good is our faith
If we've buried it in the ground?
"...but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people."
-I Thessalonians 5:15-
Posted by jesnicole at 9:17 PM
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I sat in my home the other night, after serving dinner to my family. Seated were my husband, my Daddy, my babylove, and myself. We sat there eating at the dinner table that sat in My Momma’s and Daddy’s home for years…..eating off of the dishes they’d had since the eighties, I’m sure. I love them, they’ve got sunflowers in the middle, and they make me smile….simply because they were hers. Then I walked into the living room and sat on the furniture that was also in my parents home for many years. It is a heartwarming feeling to know I have many of My Momma’s belongings. In a way, it makes me still feel a little “connected” to her. Honestly, looking at that kitchen table was a hard thing for me. It’s such a beautiful table and it has ceramic tiles on the top……I remember many meals at that table. But for almost a year and a half, I didn’t see it. I had it covered with a tablecloth, because it was just really hard for me to look at, I didn’t want to be reminded of what had happened. Then several months ago, the table was uncovered.
No particular reason, just one day I decided I wanted to look at it. So it’s here, uncovered. Maybe one day I’ll have enough nerve to let you know everything that happened. After all, life is made up of all of our stories, the good and the bad.
All these thoughts have been flooding my mind lately. In a world where grief is covered up, ignored, or minimalized…….I’ve learned many things about people. I’ve learned many things about myself. As wonderful a thing it is to have my Momma’s belongings, to be her daughter, to know the love shared between us, our whole family…….it is still NOT HER. I could “pretend” I’m okay…..that after a year and a half, I’ve “checked off the list” of what is required of those dealing with grief……I could tell you exactly what you want to hear….”I’m fine!! I’m happy, and life goes on.” BUT, that wouldn’t be the truth. That would be a cheap substitute. I could cling to all My Momma’s things…..hold them dearly…..but it’s not her. She and I will be reunited one day…..just as Christ and his Bride will be reunited. I will always speak of her, remember her, think of her, tell stories about her…..I think there is MUCH honour in that. The Body of Christ, the Church, is not only those living today…..it’s all those through history, and all those that are living, and all those that will be born…….there is honour in remembering our loved ones. There is truth in that. There is freedom in that.
We are never told to ignore reality. We are never told to “pretend” things are fine. We are never told to go through this life alone. We are never told to cover up what we’re going through. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures point us directly opposite of that. We’re never asked to ignore our pain and our hurts. We’re never asked to “Be strong, hold it together, and just smile!”. We’re told if we are going to choose to follow Jesus, to be LIKE him. He was compassionate. He mourned for those He loved. He mourned with those who mourned. He, Himself…JESUS….prayed to the Father. He kept company with those in need. He kept company with those whom nobody else wanted to keep company with. He loved…and loves. He, Himself said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) He wept. He is the God of comfort, of hope, of love. He hears the cries of the poor, needy, and oppressed. (Psalm 72:12-14) He is the God who wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:24) He is the God who keeps our very tears. (Psalm 56:8) But if we’re keeping parts of ourselves from Him…..and from others…..how will we truly be able to worship Him? If we NEVER see ourselves as needy. If we never cry out to Him. If we can make it through each day, each milestone, each moment, each joy, each tragedy, each triumph, each valley, each mountaintop without Him, and without ONE ANOTHER…..then what is this life for? How can we expect to be LIKE HIM when we never are even HONEST with Him, ourselves, or each other? How can we BE the Church when we’re divided, reclusive, unloving, and unwelcoming? How can we usher in the Kingdom of God when we won’t live through this life together, in community, and in love? How can we usher in His kingdom when we’re too busy building up our own? How can we share in this life with one another if we remain closed off from one another? I was telling a friend the other day that one of the most comforting things in the world is to have someone just there with you when you’re going through a hard time. Just to have someone there, not judging, not pointing a finger, not offering advice…..merely there as comfort….merely there to maybe cry with us……that is showing God’s love. I hope we’re not settling for any cheap substitutes. There is freedom in living in community, bearing with one another through whatever is happening around and within us. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
What part of ourselves are we keeping from Him? What are we keeping from one another? He knows, yes. He always knows. He knows our very hearts. (Psalm 139:1-4, Acts 15:8) But just as we hope our children come to us with every need, just as we hope we can wrap our arms around them when they are hurt….whether it’s a small hurt or a big hurt…..and do we not LOVE to be their comfort? Do we not LOVE encouraging them, loving them? Do we not, ourselves, hurt WITH THEM? Why would we expect any less from Our Father in Heaven? Why would we deprive ourselves of our VERY NEED FOR HIM? Why would we deprive ourselves as living as we’re supposed to be living---in community? “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…” (Matthew 11:28).…….He told us to come. That is all we NEED to do…..simply come. And before we can come, we need to recognize our great need for Him…everyday, in every moment. We NEED HIM, and we NEED ONE ANOTHER.
Posted by jesnicole at 12:34 PM
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I can’t get the following words that Jesus said out of my head lately, “..’You shall love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ -Matthew 22:37-39
This is something I try daily to instill into my son. He’s four, granted, but there’s a lot one can teach a four-year-old….and there’s also a lot a four-year-old can teach us. Anyhow, I’ve been deeply disturbed lately. Because I’ve been trying to make sure my son “gets it”. You know, that he understands that over and over and over and over again in the Scriptures, we’re taught to love one another. We’re taught to love one another, regardless of what people look like, what income they have, how old they are, and whether they are family, friends, enemies, or strangers……we’re taught to love. Repeatedly, we’re taught to love. And Jesus even spoke of the importance of this. I guess I’m disturbed because it’s a pretty sobering thought to realize that I’m teaching my son to love EVERYBODY….and I know full well that the world he is a part of is FULL of so much hate. Hate, that is…not just in the “world”….but in the church as well.
I mean come on, let’s be honest. I’m sure as you read this you can think of several people who have NOT shown love to you, and I’m sure you can think of several people that you have NOT loved. We were created----every single person that has breath in their bodies-----were created in His image. What I’ve seen throughout my life, though, is that it gets pretty easy to look at an individual, or a group of individuals, and forget their humanity. It becomes easy for some people to forget that the person or people they are hating are HUMAN. And once you stop seeing any individual as a human, as someone’s son or daughter, as someone’s husband or wife, as someone’s brother or sister…..it’s easier to stop loving them. And especially when people hurt us, right? It’s VERY easy to loathe those who hurt us, or those who hurt our loved ones. And oh, how we can find any little excuse to hate……”But what they did was evil….they haven’t changed…..they’ve done this over and over again…..they never have apologized…….”. But we forget those words of His….”Love your enemies..”. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we are to be doormats and enable those we love to step all over us, because that is NOT love, when we constantly let others abuse us in anyway, that is a perversion of love…..that’s a whole other subject.)
And yes, I know I’m being very preachy……..with good reason. I have seen so much hate in the church, it’s pathetic. I have seen those who are called to walk in love instead walk in hate, and judge others constantly. I see it in those who are not part of the church. I used to see that in myself. I still see it almost everyday. Why is it so hard for humans to love one another?
Someone told me a story the other day about how her husband has experienced racism many times by others, and even lost his job, because he is Hispanic. In America. In the year 2009. Seriously? I have never been able to wrap my mind around treating a person differently because they look different than I do. It’s baffling. And it’s pretty pathetic. I know of a person who has been told the most hate-filled jokes regarding racism during Sunday School. In the HOUSE OF GOD. I have heard Christian people tell the most racial, vulgar jokes regarding our President's race in the last several months.......Why is it easy for us to hate one another? She hates him because he's not the "right" political party. He hates them because they're too "liberal". They hate those other guys because they're covered in ink head to toe. She hates her because she's jealous. He hates them because the lifestyle they live is just wrong. They hate the other guys because they're not in agreement about abortion, or gay rights, or healthcare.....And the hate goes on and on until a Doctor is shot. Or someone is attacked at a town hall meeting. Or someone's dignity is stripped away. Or a relationship is shattered. Or a war is started. Why is hate spread so much quicker than love?
We have a choice to make. Everyday, with how we treat one another. With the very words we use or don’t use with one another. With how we treat our spouses, our children, our friends, our enemies…..we have a choice. Pro-life means so much more than what many think. Pro-life means pro-HUMANITY. It means loving every person that draws breath into their lungs. It means loving those who disagree with us on every single issue. It means loving those who are VERY hard to love. It means loving those that Jesus gave his very life for.....which was everybody. We can bring about His Kingdom while walking in love for one another, or we can surely bring about Hell while walking in hate. What choice will we make?
Posted by jesnicole at 9:48 PM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please - not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of him to make me love a foreigner or pick beets with a migrant worker. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of a womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I'd like to buy $3 worth of God, please."
Posted by jesnicole at 8:04 PM
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 1:21 PM
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
There are many people who do what's right when everyone's looking, and do what is completely wrong when they are alone--whether it be something with their actions, inactions, words, or even their own thoughts. Should we do what is right simply out of fear? Because we're afraid of what would happen if we got caught? Should we do what is right because someone has manipulated us into it? Should we do what is right because "Momma says so".....or is there more to it? I think about this so much as a Mother. I want Dylan to do what is right because he wants to, because that is what is in his heart. I want him to do what is right because he loves God, and he loves the people God created. I don't want him to do the right thing because he's afraid Momma and Daddy will catch him and send him to time-out, or take his toys away for a brief time. I don't want to manipulate him into doing what is right, because if I do that, what happens to him when he's a grown man? I talk about this stuff with him many times throughout the weeks. Yes, he's only four years old, but he thinks an awful lot. And I want him to understand that God loves him, and that is reason enough to do the right thing---even when nobody will know the difference.
Do we do the right thing? Do we ALWAYS do the right thing, or do we do what is the EASY thing? Do we want to do the right thing out of fear? Do we want to do the right thing because we think we deserve a medal for doing so? Do we do the right thing because we're self-righteous? If these are our reasons, then trust me, they won't last. Eventually we will find out that those reasons are not good enough to base one's life on.
Christ didn't take the easy road. If He had done what everyone else wanted, He couldn't have accomplished all the things He was sent to earth in the flesh to do. But He still did the very hard things, the things that cost him friends, brought scrutiny, and cost Him His very life.
Have you been doing the right thing? What is your motivation? Fear, self-righteousness, or LOVE from God, and for Him, and all whom He created?
"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." ~J.C. Watts
"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." ~Thomas Babington Macaulay
"...but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people." -I Thessalonians 5:15b
"We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." -I John 4:19-21-
*If you're wondering why I picked these particular verses, it's because everything hinges off of love. LOVE IS A VERB. God SHOWS his love for us, He doesn't just tell us. So in the same way we should understand His love, so we can ACTIVELY love Him, ourselves, and one another. That is when doing what is right comes easily to us, though it may not be the easy thing to do, we shouldn't have to think twice. It will happen automatically when it comes from a place called LOVE.
Posted by jesnicole at 12:42 PM
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 11:27 AM
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
THINGS SOMETIMES ARE SO BEAUTIFUL
MY BREATH CAN BE TAKEN AWAY
SO GOOD IN EVERY ASPECT,
IN THAT MOMENT, I WISH I COULD STAY.
BEAUTY IN A KISS FROM THE
SWEETEST MAN I KNOW,
BEAUTY IN THE FRESH SMELL OF RAIN
AND AFTERWARDS THE RAINBOW.
AND THEN SOMETIMES LIFE SEEMS
TO TAKE A TURN AROUND
IT SEEMS LIKE I CAN’T GET MY HEAD
OUT FROM UNDERGROUND.
DEATH HAPPENS, TRAGEDY COMES
IN SO MANY WAYS TO SAY
SO MUCH HURT I’VE SEEN AROUND ME
SOMETIMES I SEE IT EVERYDAY.
I CRY, I HURT, I MOURN,
AND WHEN THAT TIME PASSES, I SEE
THAT SO MUCH HURT IS AFFECTING OTHERS,
AND NOT ONLY ME.
SO I WAIT, I PRAY, I CRY
FOR THE DAY TO ARRIVE
WHEN EVERY PERSON AND EVERY LIVING THING
WILL BE GIVEN BRAND NEW LIFE.
AND IN THE DAY I HOPE FOR,
DEATH WILL HAVE NO SAY,
TEARS WILL BE WIPED FROM THE ONLY ONE
WHO WILL NEVER GO AWAY.
POVERTY WILL VANQUISH,
HORRIBLE THINGS ALL DISAPPEAR,
NO MORE WORRIES ABOUT ANYTHING,
BECAUSE OUR MAKER WILL BE HERE.
EVERYTHING BROKEN WILL BE FIXED
IN THE BLINKING OF AN EYE.
NOTHING HERE IN THIS WORLD CAN DO THAT-
EVEN AS HARD AS I MAY TRY.
SO MANY THINGS I COULD HOPE IN HERE
A DOCTRINE, A JOB, A CAUSE, A MAN…
BUT THEY ALL SEEM SO EMPTY
WHEN I SEE MY LORD’S OUTSTRETCHED HAND.
SO AS LIFE KEEPS HAPPENING AROUND ME,
THE JOY, THE PAIN, THE SORROW, THE GLADNESS,
I’LL REMEMBER THAT HE SAID ONE DAY
HE’LL TAKE AWAY ALL THIS MADNESS.
April 18, 2008
Posted by jesnicole at 6:45 PM
Saturday, July 4, 2009
For You know how clueless I am.
I’ll just keep holding my arm out,
Letting you lead me by the hand.
I won’t pretend that I’m not hurting while
I’m living through sorrow and doubt…
But I will keep coming to you,
While life is so hard to figure out.
I won’t find another substitute to make
Myself feel better for a little while…
I will continue to lay myself at your feet
I will not let myself live in denial.
I will keep hoping though everything
In life sometimes seems full of despair…
I’ll keep asking You to come and act,
I’ll keep giving You every care.
Though things may spiral downward,
And loneliness is always near,
I’ll keep holding onto hope in You…
I’ll keep trying to let go of fear.
Though I’m told by others, and often myself
That it’s foolish to trust in You…
I’ll remember the truth of Your Word,
And that I’m nothing without You.
And though your children may continue to hate,
Though they bring no comfort, hope, or peace,
Though they may keep tearing down Your works,
I’ll trust in You for both mine and their release.
Though it seems today that Your followers
Are spreading nothing but disunity and hate,
I’ll still pray for them--myself, included-
Because I know with You, it’s never too late.
Even when there are days I feel a very little piece
Of what Job felt years ago…..
I will keep hoping in You, My Lord,
You’re the Only One who really knows.
Though I come to you empty-handed
With nothing at all but myself to give,
I’ll keep waiting on you to deliver me,
For it’s because of You that I live.
Posted by jesnicole at 9:55 AM
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 5:18 PM
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This post is for anybody, young or old, single or married, with or without children.....any person who has or is dealing with depression. Whether it's been brought on by a death, loss of a job, divorce, loss of a friendship, loss of a relationship, tragedy, postpartum depression, or even if you have no idea why.......I want to share some things with you.
Someone I love very much told me just several weeks ago that she felt "stupid" for even being depressed. She feels stupid that she has to take medication for her depression. (Which, by the way, sometimes some people need medication for a while.) She feels that since she's a Christian, she shouldn't be depressed.....but in reality, it's other people......GOD'S CHILDREN.....who have made her feel stupid. They may have told her things like "well, if you know God, he wants you to be happy......well, just keep on the bright side, and you'll get over it........are you sure you even KNOW the Lord, because maybe if you did you wouldn't be depressed...". (Which makes me want to scream out loud, because those things aren't true!!!) She's done nothing wrong. She is hurting, she is very discouraged, she is sad, she is lonely. This has been heavy on my heart for sometime now. It has made me think about everyone else who may be feeling these same horrible feelings about themselves, on top of already being depressed, which is such a hard thing, itself. For my friend that I love dearly, and anyone else who is burdened with carrying this, these words are for you.
* You're not stupid. You're not useless. You're not alone. You're not "less of" a Christian. (what an oxymoron)
You're going through something that needs to be dealt with. It may be easy for a time to push depression aside, but it will be much harder to deal with later if it's not dealt with now. You may even feel like you're a "loser" if you even entertain the notion that you're depressed. But sometimes, it happens. You may be depressed for a long time, or for a short time.....but you are not alone.
I want you to know something, God is with you. Though He may even be the one you're angry with, He is with you. I do NOT think He thinks you are a failure for being depressed. I encourage you to read the book of Psalms. Lamentations. There are more verses than I could even list that would bring comfort and hope to you through these dark times. Jesus, himself, said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) II Corinthians 7:6 reads, "But God, who comforts the depressed,.....". If we are told in His word that those who are mourning or depressed are comforted........are we really to assume that He sees those same people as failures? Are we really to assume that He's comforting those that need it, but thinking, "You know, you should really get over it, keep your head up, think about positive things, just smile...."??!! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! One of the ladies in our Bible study said something that has stuck in my head for weeks now. She said when we're going through hard things in life, people may say, "Well, look at all the good things you have.".....but that doesn't fix the problem!!! She said that sometimes in life, there will be things happening that are so bad, the good probably won't outweigh the things that the person are depressed about. And I think she's onto something. Think about it. If I were to lose both of my legs and weren't able to walk, telling me, "Hey, Jess, you still have your arms!".......I'm not sure that'd make me that happy. And you'd better be glad I didn't have legs to run after you after telling me something that insensitive!!! :) I doubt that when Christ was carrying that cross a long time ago, that God was telling him "Pick your head up, things could be worse!". Isn't that what we do? Come on, I'll admit that there are times I've done that. Sometimes it's too hard to talk about the horrible things going on in someone's life, so we try to let them see the good. And yes, there's something to be said for that, but it hardly EVER brings lasting comfort or hope. A very wise lady here at my church, who now has great-grandchildren, told me a story that still sends chills down my spine. She and I were talking about grief, and how many people in the church are insensitive to other people's grief. She said she had a friend who had a miscarriage years ago. Her sweet child was no longer here anymore. MANY people told her things like, "Well, at least you have your other kids!......well, maybe something was wrong with the baby, so.........". I couldn't believe that!! I had a hard time even typing those words, let alone knowing they were told to a grieving Mother! And times like that, comments like that, told to people hurting for whatever reason, are where the loneliness begins, the depression sets in. To people who are hurting, they need comfort. They need hope, yes....but comfort. Jesus, himself wept. If THE LORD, the One who created everything and everyone, wept with those whom He loved, ....why don't His children do this more often? My friend, whatever it is that has you down, you are not alone. You are not worthless. You are loved. And Jesus, Himself, says you are comforted.
Sheila Walsh, one of my favorite authors and speakers, has a book titled, "The Heartache No One Sees". (It is a great read, I highly recommend it.) She talks about Job, and how his friends weren't really his friends during his time of grieving. We read in Job that his friends were there for him for a period of time....and then when he started speaking up about his pain, they immediately started pointing the finger of blame at him. They pretty much said things to him that insinuated maybe HE did something wrong.....SURELY God was punishing him, otherwise things would be going better. IN HIS PAIN. IN HIS MOURNING. IN HIS DEPRESSION....the very ones he hoped would comfort him only rubbed more salt into his wounds. I have been there before, many times. I am sure you have, too.....or you know someone who has.
Hurting one, alone one, mourning one, grieving one, angry one, hopeless one, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The book of Psalms tells us that He keeps our very tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8), that is how precious we are to Him always.....even in our hurting, yes, even in our depression. Talk about what you are feeling. Even if, like Job, nobody else will listen, HE WILL. We are to come before HIM in truth. All the time, even when things are dark and seem hopeless. If we don't START off in truth when we come to Him, when we gather with one another, how in the world do we expect to end up in truth?
People can be REALLY good about rejoicing with those who are rejoicing....but let's not forget the other part of that verse......."Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
If you are depressed, relish in His comfort. Hope in Him. Don't look for a quick fix, trying to ignore the reality, or some band-aid that temporarily "fixes" you. He is our Hope. No matter your situation, or how you got there, whether you did it to yourself, or life has simply happened around you.....HE is your hope. And depressed one, He says He comforts you.
Monday, June 8, 2009
*Quotes from my babylove from today.*
“Dylan, look at all those cows!! I wonder why they’re all meeting together?!? Do you think they’re saying they’re in a bad mooo-oooood?”….he responded, “Hey, Mommy! I bet they’re having a deacon’s meeting!” (Can you tell he’s a Pastor’s child? haha)
“Wouldn’t you rather go to Incredible Pizza instead of the zoo, since it’s so hot today?”…..after thinking for a moment he proclaimed, ”No, Mommy, I’m really cold right now, and I need to be warmed up, so we should go to the zoo.” (It was 90 degrees today……..I doubt he was cold, but he sure is clever.)
“Mommy, you’re just the greatest mommy, greater than all the other mommies!.........Are you gonna cry now, since I said that?” (Because I usually cry when he tells me something sweet.)
At the zoo today: “Look, the storks!!! Hi, storks!!!! Thank you soooooooooo very much for taking me to my Mommy and Daddy!! Thank you!”
Posted by jesnicole at 6:17 PM
Monday, June 1, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
What bliss there is in not dealing with reality.
My wonderful little babyboy had such a wonderful relationship with his Nana. Nobody, to this day, could make him light up like she did. He had just turned three when The Deep Sadness happened. So, of course, he hasn't been able to understand yet what is going on. He still wants to call her, he still prays for her everyday, he still says "I miss Nana" on a daily basis. Soon he'll inevitably learn reality. For now, he's able to fly through these tender years of his life, not having to carry the grief that has fallen on the rest of us.
What a wonderful thing. There are many days that I wish I could just "turn it off". That I could just pretend nothing happened, that My Momma is still here. That I could just shove all the grief, sorrow, and mourning into a neat little box and tuck it away. That I could just consume myself with the busy-ness of life and never have to deal with what has been handed to me. I could. I've wanted to many times. Many people do this, and for a time....it may work. But one day, we have to live through what it is that God has placed us in. It may be today....it may be twenty years from today. But we will.
Two of my greatest faults in any kind of relationship I have are being too trusting and being too transparent. I give my heart away so freely....and many times, I end up getting hurt. I have learned throughout life that I have to guard myself. I have had to apologize to myself for that. But being too trusting and transparent with My Lord, I WILL NEVER apologize for. It's how I am. It's how He made me. I have been face to face with sorrows beyond belief many times over the past three years....the main one being losing My Momma. And ignoring the realities around me would definitely have put me in an awful place by now. I thank God for listening to me. I thank Him for listening to me complain, cry, mourn.....and for allowing me to actually worship Him through my complaint!! WHAT?!?!? Yes, I said it. From what I read in scripture, Old and New Testament, beginning to end.......I have NO IDEA why people think it's just an abomination to complain to our Lord. Read the Psalms. Read the Old Testament. Read the New Testament. Look at Jesus' life!!!
I find comfort in knowing I can offer my hopes, my dreams, my mourning, my complaining, my sorrows, my joys......everything to My Lord. I believe He finds it good. He made me, He knows me. Why hide?
There is still this mindset within the church of America that "well, if you just work hard enough........or.........if you just think good thoughts.......or say good things........good will happen". Don't buy into it. First of all, it's not even Biblical. (HELLO.....look at Jesus' very own life!) Second of all, what many American Christians live for nowadays, what we see as "Gawd-s hand blessin' us"....Christians in other countries will never see. Some even here will never see them. Those things, whatever they may be, are not our hope. Sorrows will probably happen. Death is a promise in this life. (Though the next one, it can't touch us!! AMEN??!?!) I refuse to ignore the realities that are around me. I will continue to love My Lord, to serve Him as best as I know how, to follow Him, to try and learn from Him everyday.......even if sorrow continues to abound. HE ALONE is my hope. Nothing here, no job, no thing, no person, no house, no idea, nothing else lasts.......HE ALONE is my HOPE. I will never try to find a cheap substitute that makes me "feel" better for a moment. Hallelujah, He is Hope.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ."
-II Corinthians 1:3-5-
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Being a wife and a momma never ceases to amaze me. I think I have learned more about the Lord through my husband and my son than I ever knew before I had them in my life. I have much to learn, but I cherish every moment He gives me, and I hope change happens when I learn....I also hope the lessons continue.
One of my favorite lessons was earlier this year. My husband had just given our precious little one a wonderful new toy. It was some Star Wars toy....and I'm quite sure my husband got it because it was more precious to him than it would EVER be to our son. Just about a day after that, I discovered the toy was already missing one of it's parts. I quickly told my son he'd better find that piece as quickly as he can, or Daddy would NOT be very happy when he got home!!!! I could see the tiny little wheels turning in his head.......he thought for just a minute. Then with the sweetest smile on his face he looked up and said, "It's okay, Mommy! I will just hide the toy, and then Daddy won't find out, and he won't be angry!". WOW. Now, understand, he wasn't trying to be mean, in his little heart, he was just trying to make sure Daddy was happy. This particular time, it came from a good place. I quickly explained to our sweet little son that he should never hide things from us, he should always be able to talk with us about anything, even if we may get angry about what happened. I then tried to explain to him that we should always do what is right, even when nobody is looking.
And I have yet to get that story out of my head. Who am I? Who are you? What lurks in the dark corners of our minds, what goes on behind the closed doors of our hearts? What thing or things are we keeping from others....even those closest to us? That, my friend, is who we are. Is that who we want to be? Is there something we are holding onto that compels us to stay hidden?
I hope as I ask myself these questions that I am answering them honestly. I hope that those things nobody knows about are being changed in myself.....in yourself. I hope that when I read Proverbs 15:3, it brings great comfort and hope, not terror and the urge to hide myself.
Who am I? Who are you?
Posted by jesnicole at 12:44 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 7:22 PM
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Is a mom someone to come to when it’s food our stomachs
Or is momma the one who comes to us-reminding us to
Is a mom someone who holds us when we scrape a tiny
And is she the one who comes running when we scream out,
Is she the one who used to tuck me in when I would cry at
Then she’d come in and tell me, “Everything will be
She works all day and runs the house, a wife, a mom,
But still finds time to clean it all-from every cranny to every
Is a mom that lady who, somehow, can always make me
Is she the one who always says, “Come sit with me a
Is a Mom someone I aspire to be more like
From the way she laughs, to how she thinks, or something she may
I think she’s the one who may get mad, but she’s always quick to be
She’s poured so many years into this tiny, little
She’s the one who’s given me so much more than I
Not only the manner in which I speak, but my attitude, my heart,
She’s all these things, my best friend, and more special than she
Lord, help me show her everyday how much I love her
By: Jessica Nicole Schafer
May 12, 2007
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Since I talked about the SUFFERING, now what? What about when the suffering doesn't stop? I had already told myself back in December that 2009 would be such an WONDERFUL YEAR. It had to be, right? I mean, after all the junk, the heartache, the sorrow......SURELY God will show mercy and let me have some happy times in 2009!! RIGHT?!?! Well.......not so much. In fact, MANY things have fallen apart since New Year's Eve. Not just with my family, but with many dear, dear friends of mine. WHY!?!?! "But God, I thought.....I thought THIS year would FINALLY be happy!?!?!?"
So, WHAT NOW? Prolonged suffering. And Waiting. Waiting for Him to deliver me. What do I do in the meantime? What if the suffering lasts many more months......what if (GULP).....my life is FULL of deep sorrow and grief until my very days here are over? Hard pill to swallow, that's what I've been thinking about. HOPEFULLY, that will not be the case. HOPEFULLY, I will get to BE IN the Promised Land, and not just SEE IT. That is my hope, but there is NOT a person who can answer that, only the LORD knows. So, I've been asking myself. "Jessica, WHAT IF this is to be the story of your life?". And you know what, yesterday I got a little piece, not the whole picture, but a little piece of hope. A little piece of what to do, you know, in case "WHAT IF" turned into a reality.
All my life I have been told of the LORD's lovingkindesses. How they never cease, they're new every morning. Lamentations tells us of this, a huge picture of Hope. We even have songs about it..."Great is Thy faithfulness....Morning by morning, new mercies I see...". (For me, lately I've been singing it "mourning by mourning".) Did you know the English language doesn't have an equivalent for that Hebrew word? His "lovingkindness" in Hebrew is such a good word, a loving word about God, we didn't have a word to fully describe it, so we called it "lovingkindess". WOW. That's good stuff. I learned that in my college days. ;) Didnt know you'd learn something here, did you? Haha. Moving on.......so I'd been thinking about His lovingkindness.....and how I'd been waiting on Him, MY DELIVERER to show up....how I've been wanting to see some more of this lovingkindness. So, I opened up that Bible, and I went looking. And do you know what? I found something. Let me share. Please read this first, because I don't want you to miss it.......
"I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of HIS wrath........He has broken my bones.......In dark places He has made me dwell.......Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer........He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces.......He made the arrows of His quiver to enter into my inward parts.......My soul has been rejected from peace, I have forgotten happiness. So I say, 'My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD.' Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:1-23NASB- (excerpts from)
Did you catch it? I never did until Sunday. I was able to find even more Hope to cling to when I did. For the writer, what brought hope? Did God come down and change all his circumstances? Did God audibly tell him He would "fix" everything? Did the brokenness change, did the suffering stop? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! But, we read, "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease......". Nothing changed, there was no change in what was happening around. He remembered the Lord's lovingkindnesses. He remembered His compassions never failing. He remembered His faithfulness. And if you've read the rest of that chapter, we find even more hope. But YET, we're reminded of this...."Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?" -Lamentations 3:38NASB-
That was the shift in thinking for me, in hoping, in my "theology"....which, thanks to my old professors I learned our theology should always be changing and growing.....never stay where it is. You see, I was freed from that thinking that I can hope in Him and rejoice in Him and worship Him whenever He comes to deliver me. Because what IF he doesn't come in this life, for me? What if MY deliverance will be the end, when we're all reunited with Him? Like I said before, HOPEFULLY that will not be the case. But if so, I learned the other day to lift up my face, look ahead, yet still look back and remember. Remember the suffering, remember the sorrow and the grief, remember the dire circumtances God has placed me in.....yet alongside that, remember Him. I learned to remember that I can't change what's going on around me, but I can change me. (Please don't misread, there are times in one's life when SIN is the reason for the suffering, they need to repent and stop the sinning.....but sometimes the suffering has nothing to do with that. It just happens. Look at Job, and hellooooo, JESUS!!!) But I can let Him change me. I can look back and remember Him, my Hope. I have to hope in Him even when NOTHING AROUND ME HAS CHANGED. Because if I don't, sorrow wins. Death wins. Loneliness wins. Grief wins. But if I just remember, though all around is the same.......I know that CHRIST has already won. And THAT is HOPE.
So, I've been thinking. Ever do that? Gets me in trouble sometimes. ;)
WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO GRIEVE WITH ONE ANOTHER??
Looking back on the past fourteen months, I've learned a ton. More than I could ever write on a little ol' blog. But I DID want to share a few things. I want to talk about SUFFERING. I want to talk about PAIN. Now, before you click to another blog, please stick with me. I am FULLY aware that many people do NOT want to read about hard times in another's life. I mean, why worry about someone else when you have ENOUGH of your OWN WORRIES?! And, in our society, in AMERICA....we often think that if someone is enduring prolonged suffering, it MUST be their own fault, either they're living in SIN, or they're simply NOT TRYING hard enough. I have had MANY a "friend" talk with me about how maybe I'm stuck in a hard place because God's trying to "teach me a lesson" or I'm not "trying hard enough"....I've even been told to "get over it". As disheartening as it is to hear someone say those words to me, I'm sure I'll continue hearing the same stuff from people who have good intentions....however, good intentions aren't always good.
Okay, back on point. I want to talk about something in this post, and continue on with the next post when I get the chance to get it all out successfully. MANY people say while enduring hard times, "Well, I know God will never give me more than I can handle...". Where in the Bible does it say that? If it DOES say that, I am FULLY UNAWARE OF IT. I know some use I Corinthians 10:13....but that verse is talking about God making a way for you when you're being tempted. Not suffering.
So.....where do we get this idea? Beloved reader, whoever you are, could it be that indeed WE ARE given MORE than we can handle sometimes? What if God often does give us such a huge load to carry because he WANTS US TO COME TO HIM? "Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easey and My burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30 NASB-
I can't get Job's story out of my mind. I have thought about that story over and over again through the past fourteen months. The tragic circumstances with my Momma were one of many things I've been going through. I remember Job. I remember how he still said "Blessed be the name of the Lord" though he lost everyone he loved. I remember how his "godly" friends were the VERY ONES pointing at him telling him SURELY he has done something wrong to be living through such hard times.....the very friends he needed were the ones quick to judge him instead of be there for him. I remember so much of his story. AM I JOB? No. I am Jessica. BUT, is not life a mixture of all our stories in history? Was not the Bible written for us to learn from and draw comfort from? That is what has comforted me lately. I can say, with all my heart, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." -Job 1:21b NASB- Though we never forget sorrows, we have to move on.......BUT, ignoring reality will NEVER bring true healing.
Read the Psalms. They're filled with complaint. Almost all of them are filled with complaint WITH Hope, though. (Though I wonder about Psalm 88.) I have learned that God knows my heart, HE alone knows my sorrows, what I've seen, what I have endured, what I will endure.......and HE is BIG ENOUGH to hear my complaints. He is the VERY ONE who is in charge of what's happening around me. He listens. He comforts. He doesn't condemn me when others do. He knows. He always knows. I have learned, as a very wise Professor of mine spoke of, to worship him THROUGH my complaints. Why pretend with Him? Why push aside reality with Him? HE KNOWS!! Oh, what comfort I have been able to experience through my questions to Him, my anger, my loneliness, feelings of betrayal.......through staring death in the face.......through one thing after another falling apart.......what comfort in knowing HE IS WITH ME. And HE KNOWS and DELIGHTS in my honesty with Him.
And you who are reading, HE KNOWS. He knows your struggles, your pain, your worries, your doubt, your fears, your loneliness, your depression, your sadness, your frustrations, your sorrows, your grief.......He Knows. He wants you to bring it to Him.
More next post.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 8:32 PM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Posted by jesnicole at 11:32 AM
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
YOU KEEP TELLING ME NOT TO WORRY
I KEEP TRYING MY BEST TO TRUST,
NOT LETTING MY HEART BE TAKEN OVER
BY WANTING MATERIAL THINGS OUT OF LUST.
YOU KEEP SAYING YOU’LL DELIVER
THE NEEDY WHEN THEY CRY…
YET I’VE BEEN HERE WAITING…
AND EVERDAY WONDERING “WHY?”.
I KNOW YOU ALWAYS KEEP YOUR WORD
I KNOW YOU WILL ANSWER ME
AND I ALSO KNOW ALL I CAN DO
IS SIT AND WAIT PATIENTLY.
I’VE PUT MY TRUST IN THINGS BEFORE,
IN OTHER PEOPLE, MYSELF, AND MY PLANS…
BUT THE LESSON I KEEP LEARNING
IS JUST TO LET YOU HOLD MY HAND.
“BUT LORD, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND-“
AT TIMES I’VE CRIED OUT TO YOU…
AS IF YOU DIDN’T, YOURSELF, CREATE ME-
AND MAKE ALL THINGS AND PEOPLE NEW!
“I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE-
I GIVE UP!” I’VE CRIED BEFORE.
BUT I KNOW IN MY HEART THAT’S NOT
THE WAY I CAN BE ANYMORE.
ALL I KNOW IS THAT I DON’T KNOW!
AND IT’S OKAY TO BE HERE NOW.
IT’S OKAY TO TRUST YOU HAPPILY,
AND NOT KNOW THE “WHY’S AND HOW’S”.
IT'S EVEN OKAY TO HOPE THOUGH SO MUCH
DESPAIR IS STILL LINGERING AROUND...
SOMETIMES YOU DO YOUR BEST WORK
WHEN MY HEART IS SO CLOSE TO THE GROUND.
EVEN THOUGH OTHERS MAY FAIL ME,
AND IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE, TOO...
I'LL REMEMBER YOU SAID THAT ONE DAY
YOU WILL MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.
THOUGH THINGS AROUND MAY BE HOPELESS,
AND LONELINESS AND DEATH ABOUND HERE...
I'LL REMEMBER YOU SAID YOU COMFORT THOSE
WHO ARE MOURNING, AND I WILL NOT FEAR.
EVEN WHEN THE FUTURE SEEMS HOPELESS,
IT’S A GOOD THING TO TRUST IN YOU-
IT’S GOOD TO KNOW, LORD JESUS,
THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO.
SO I STAY HERE-IN THE WAITING PLACE.
I MAY BE HERE FOR YEARS OR DAYS.
BUT I WILL DO MY BEST TO FOLLOW YOU, JESUS
AND LET YOU TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.
JESSICA SCHAFER-JULY 4, 2007
*with added lines April 14, 2009*
“HOW LONG, O LORD? WILL YOU FORGET ME FOREVER? HOW LONG WILL YOU HIDE YOUR FACE FROM ME? HOW LONG SHALL I TAKE COUNSEL IN MY SOUL, HAVING SORROW IN MY HEART ALL THE DAY? HOW LONG WILL MY ENEMY BE EXALTED OVER ME? ……. BUT I HAVE TRUSTED IN YOUR LOVINGKINDESS; MY HEART SHALL REJOICE IN YOUR SALVATION. I WILL SING TO THE LORD, BECAUSE HE HAS DEALT BOUNTIFULLY WITH ME.” *THE PSALMS*
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
EASTER PEOPLE, SING OUT LOUD.
EASTER PEOPLE, HOPE IN ME.
EASTER PEOPLE, DON’T FORGET
ALL THINGS WILL BE NEW IN ME.
EASTER PEOPLE,YOU CAN LOOK AROUND
AND SEE THE SUFFERING, PAIN, AND TEARS…
DON’T JUST FOLLOW ME, I’VE CALLED YOU
TO JOIN IN MY WORK THROUGHOUT YOUR YEARS.
IT’S IN ME THAT YOU WILL FIND LIFE
YOU’LL FIND HOPE IN MY COMFORTING VOICE,
REMEMBER THAT EVERYDAY I GIVE YOU,
EVERY MOMENT YOU HAVE A CHOICE.
WILL YOU LOVE THE LOWLY?
WILL YOU TAKE CARE OF THE POOR?
WON’T YOU COMFORT THOSE WHO HURT,
WON’T YOU BE AN OPEN DOOR?
WILL YOU LOVE OTHERS THE WAY I LOVE YOU?
SO MUCH THAT IT CHANGES YOUR INNER CORE?
DON’T LOVE THROUGH ENABLING OR SELF GRATIFICATION,
YOU CAN’T DO THAT ANYMORE.
I LOVE YOU ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOU,
YOU CAN’T KNOW ME AND STAY THE SAME.
STOP SAYING AND START DOING,
AND DO IT ALL THROUGH MY NAME.
YOU SEE IT’S MUCH BIGGER THAN YOU THOUGHT,
I CALLED YOU OUT TO DO MY WORK….
SITTING IDLY BY IS NO GOOD…
DON’T JUST SIT THERE AND SHIRK.
I LOVED YOU WITH MY WORDS, INDEED,
BUT I LOVED YOU WITH MY ACTIONS, TOO…
DON’T FORGET THAT YOUR WORK ISN’T DONE,
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.
SO EASTER PEOPLE, REMEMBER
THE REASON YOU’RE STILL THERE…
TO CARRY A CROSS TOGETHER AND SHARE
THE HOPE I GIVE TO PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.
J.N.S. April 7, 2009