I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Who are You???

"According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it." Job 4:8

"If you would seek God and implore the compassion of the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, surely now He would rouse Himself for you and restore your righteous estate." Job 8:6

"If you would direct your heart right and spread out your hand to Him, if iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect, and you would be steadfast and not fear." Job 11:13-15

"If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent, and place your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks, then the Almighty will be your gold and choice silver to you." Job 22:23-25

Sound familiar??

These verses, on their own, may sound good and well enough. "Do right, and God will reward you."

What is so saddening, depressing, heartbreaking, is that these words were spoken to a person who had just lost EVERYTHING. His family, his estate, and his health. We read in Job verse after verse, chapter after chapter, how sad he is. He is mourning. He is a broken man. He has nothing. He has lost the very people he lived for, and is now being mocked by those who claim to be part of the "family of God". He is told he MUST have done something wrong to open this door for God to take everything away. He is told, pretty much, "shut up and straighten up".....surely if only he'd repent, God would "show up".

To add insult to injury, Job was crying out to his "friends".....he was crying out from the depths of his soul, wondering, grieving, seeking....needing someone to comfort him. Enter these people who did nothing but point a finger of blame and tell him all the "holy" things they knew, as they sought out ways to teach him the "right ways" of God. If only one day he'd "learn" to fall in line, God would restore his life. Because obviously, according to them, he had it all wrong. (If you read the story, you can even hear the condescending tones in their voices.....the self-righteousness that comes with their heavenly words of wisdom spoken to Job.)

Know what happens throughout the story? The same thing, over and over again. Job laments...he can't understand why God has allowed this. (Which if you read the first chapter, we see that God DID, indeed, allow it all.) He cries, he complains, he asks question after question. And friend after friend comes along to tell him how wrong he is for doing so.

Surely we don't see this, NOR would we ever dream to condemn someone in their hurting now-a-days, right? Surely we've learned enough to know the heartlessness of this....surely....

Then finally, God speaks, after thirty-something chapters of Job crying out to him. A very long time of waiting. And doesn't he say what we expect? Doesn't he tell his friends, "Good job, he had it all wrong....thank you for pointing out the error of his ways and kicking him when he was down, my servants, you got it all RIGHT!"....


This is what he says to Job's friends;

"My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has..." Job 42:7b

Now there's so much in this story. Please, find the time to read it. It's worth it.

I wrote all this to say, who are we being??? Who am I? Who are you? Dear reader, are we spending time telling those who are hurting how holy we are, and that if only they'd come around to our way of thinking, God would "show up" in their lives? Are we discouraging those who are already overwhelmingly discouraged??? Are we even using select verses out of the Bible to shut up the cries of the oppressed????

Heaven forbid. I hope not.

But for some reason...I felt the need to share this story yet again.

I am thankful for a God who catches our tears, cries with us, hurts with us, grieves with us, feels with us.....and NEVER belittles a broken heart.

Because who have we ever learned more from in our hurt?? Those who had all the lofty answers of how we needed to change our ways??? Or those who took the time to carry our burdens with us???.....

I hope we all know the beauty of the cross...that it wasn't a beautiful thing at all that night. It was dark, scary, and He was alone. Much like we are throughout different times in life. Go "be a light"....don't add to the darkness that already surrounds us. After all, that's what the Gospel is all about...shining a light in the darkness. Not blowing out the flame of an already broken spirit.


Monday, December 20, 2010

He is FOR...

He is FOR…

The broken

The lonely

The abused

The bruised

The neglected

The hungry

The poor

The hopeless

The homeless

The despairing

The mourning

The forgotten

The cheated

The weary

The lame

The prodigal

The broken-hearted

The foreigner

The orphan

The widowed

The sick

….even when His very children live as if they are NOT.

Sometimes life gives us NOTHING BUT hurt….and ALL WE CAN OFFER is a broken heart. That is okay. That is acceptable….and believe it or not, it can even be an act of worship. There have been MANY days in the last 36 months that all I’ve had to offer God are tears, grief, sadness, and a broken heart…….what I’ve learned is that he NEVER turns that away.

In fact….He is closely acquainted with all of those things.

Dear reader, God never did ask you to “grin and bear it”…..don’t expect that of yourself, or others.

Just as a mother holds a child who’s hurting, and hurts alongside him, wishing she could take away those hurts and carry them herself…how much MORE does He wish we’d come to Him so He could do that very thing??

Our tears, our hurt, our grief, and our broken-hearts are accepted in His Kingdom.....

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Monday, December 13, 2010

She is Everywhere, Yet Nowhere.

There is a small, almost invisible, part of me that still hopes I can call my Momma, and she'll pick up the phone. That somewhere, somehow, she is reachable. I know reality, I know she is gone. I know I won't see her until the end. But that's just it.....I think I still have this almost non-existent feeling because it hurts too much to realize over and over again that she's not here. Some days, the pain of reality is too much. Everyday I wake up, and I remember. It's as if that first breath I take in the morning, when I realize I'm awake, is ruined immediately because I remember what the day will bring. And I remember what it won't bring. Her.

Sure, I've tried to even tell myself those things that other people have told me...that I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends who love me, and who are here for me. That is so very true....and it is a GOOD thing. Without precious loved ones by our side, who would we be?? But the ever present reality is that I still do NOT have her.

And I've tried to keep myself busy, as I've been told it will somehow "help"...or I've tried to focus on other people, so my mind won't be on my own hurt....which is ironic to me, because if I don't know how to deal with grief, how in the WORLD can I help others deal with their own by ignoring my pain? THIS is how I hope to help...by being brutally honest about the sting that death brings. It's not neat. It's not pretty. It hurts.

And so....life happens. Another milestone passes. I grow older. I attempt to celebrate another year. Without her. It's almost as if I'm chasing her memory, and I hate that. I hate calling her a memory, because she WAS. She is...

Some days, when the tears pour and I can't stop them, I just wish I could take a magic pill that helps me not hurt so much. I know no such pill exists....but there are some days that the pain cuts so deep, so fresh...and I wish I could shut off a magic switch--today is one of those days.

The other night we watched The Last Airbender with the Babylove. There was one part I can't get out of my head. The Last Airbender, a little boy named Aang, is pushing aside the grief of losing his loved ones so he can focus on battling the enemy. He wants to ignore his own pain so he can win against the ones who are heartlessly causing war.

But it won't work.

He is told that unless he lets himself fully grieve, and feel, he will NOT be able to win the battle. It is ONLY through grieving that he can help the people he's fighting for.

That is my hope. That somehow, somewhere, this very real pain that I carry around every. single. day. can give somebody the ability to be honest and real with their pain, whatever it is. Because let me just say this; I would much rather feel the empty sting of missing my Momma than have no feelings at all about her existence.

Without her and my Daddy, I wouldn't be here. My son wouldn't be here. My sister and her kids wouldn't be here. She is my Momma. And I miss her. And even three years later, I am grappling with her being gone. I will always want her, and miss her. Nobody can fill that emptiness. But I DO feel the emptiness, as well as others who love her.

I will be relishing in His words that I am blessed simply because I mourn. I will keep living, and keep hoping. And I will keep writing in the hopes that my pain and loss, which many of you dear people have felt in your own lives as well.....will help you grieve....or maybe help you be there for someone who needs you.

We were created to feel.
Think about that.
Think about the complete opposite of feeling, loving, mourning.....it's nowhere near how we were fashioned.
The opposite would be unemotional, unloving, unfeeling individuals who just went through the days never experiencing love.

That's chilling....because I can actually see how I could have ended up there, had I never dealt with reality.

We were created to love. With love comes grief.
It's something we can't ignore, and I believe with all my heart when we ignore our grief, or other's grief, we ignore Him.

Comforting one another is a very real way to spread the Good News.....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Everyday Nightmare.

Grief is messy.

Try as I may, I can’t describe it fully. I cannot put into words the gaping, bleeding hole that rips through me daily as I mourn her. If you were to ask me to describe it in one word, it would be impossible…..though “nightmare” is the first that comes to mind. The same nightmare every. single. day.

Grief is heavy.

We can’t carry it alone, nor were we ever supposed to. How could one ever be able to bear alone the deep sorrow and sadness that accompanies losing somebody that was a part of them? If it is true that love never fails (which I believe it is) then it won’t fail now, even after death.

Grief is cyclical.

It is always here, staring me in the face. Greeting me in the morning, reminding me of this present reality. Staring at me in the mirror as I hold back more tears, wishing I could just call and hear her tell me, “Everything will be okay, I’m here…”…It is here in the winter, the spring, summer, and autumn. And some days, it’s so heavy that the tears just flow, regardless of how hard I try to contain them.

Grief can’t be contained.

There is not a word to describe what we feel for those who are closest to us. Our “cups runneth over”. It is the same with grief…we can’t pretty it up and tuck it away. It is carried within us, echoing the love that was/is shared between ourselves and the missing ones we long for.

Grief is real.

Regardless of how hard we try to ignore our hurts, they will still be there. Have you ever seen somebody cry about their departed loved one? Did it seem fake to you? OF COURSE NOT! It is such a real thing….that we don’t know what to do sometimes. We don’t know how to react. We don’t know what to say, but we do know it hurts. It hurts like hell. That is, maybe, the best way to describe it. Every year, from December 4th to December 14th, I am visited by the reminder of walking through hell…and it does not hurt any less.

And how could it?? Time heals all wounds? REALLY? Then why do we still grieve over a Saviour who was crucified years and years ago? Why do we still hurt? Time may heal some wounds, true, but I hope I never see the day on this side of Heaven when we wake up and say, “You know, I am totally healed of grieving my loved one!”….there is only one Day that will end my grieving heart regarding my Momma…..

I’ve been told that I wear my heart on my sleeve. Let me tell you, I have tried to tuck it away. I cannot. For some reason, try as I may, it stays there. My writing about grief has been more than an outlet for me to trudge through the days without her. My hope is that it brings comfort to somebody, anybody else, if even for a moment……because the scariest thing in the world is to live through this nightmare called Grief alone.

Love is a mystery. If that statement is true, then so is grief. Many who study this very subject discover how difficult it is to define, and how endless it is. It’s limitless. Yet I press on, living through each moment….sometimes minute by minute….and I relish in the comfort I get from Him and His children.
I write for you who are hurting, in the hopes of letting you know that you are not alone.

Grief runs deep.
Grief is raw.
Grief can be a sweet reminder of happy moments.
Grief is always fresh when we think of the missing ones.
Grief can bring tears, laughs, anger, hurt, resentment, bitterness, hatred, screams, sighs…..

Grief just “is”.

In my tears, in my hurting, in my missing Her…….I can’t help but think of the others I know who are hurting. I can’t help but hurt with and for them. I can’t help but share my story with them, so I can somehow, in my small corner of the world, whisper, “Me, too”…….

“For if we have never loved,
Our hearts would never break.”

Monday, November 29, 2010

Untitled Lament.

I’ve seen many eyes roll,
And many shake their heads
When I speak of my grief,
How my Mother is dead.

And I STILL have a hard time
Putting those words together-
Because in my mind,
Her days would end never.

Some have said to be strong,
Don’t talk about it, don’t cry.
And all the while I’ve wondered
A great big, fat WHY?!?!?!

Why would I not talk,
Why would I not feel?
As if I ignored it, the pain
Would be less real???

And if I stopped my grieving,
It would bring her back again?
If I just shut my mouth,
The hurting would end?

If I just didn’t mention
The heartache and sorrow,
If I just didn’t cry,
She’d come back tomorrow?

Grief was meant to be carried.
By one another, and shared.
When we don’t help each other,
We all wind up scared.

Our hearts become hardened
By our unfeeling souls…
And instead of being warm,
We’re known for being cold.

If you know someone hurting,
Let them know they’re not alone,
And that you’ll help carry their burden,
Though their loved one is gone.

I’ve had a handful of people
Who’ve carried my grief with me,
And I can’t put into words
How it’s affected me deeply.

Though you may call this grief a weakness,
HE still calls it strength,
For if we have never loved,
Our hearts would never break.

Jessica Nicole Schafer

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Ponderings.

I haven’t been able to sleep well in…honestly….going on three years.

Since December 4th, 2007, to be exact.

It amazes me how I STILL put these expectations on myself regarding grieving Her. “I shouldn’t be so sad”….”I shouldn’t have such a hard time during Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries…”…”My lows shouldn’t be so ‘low’”….”I should be able to think about Her without missing her so much that my heart breaks all over again”….

Why do I do that? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a combination of what other people have told me through the years, and maybe it’s a little bit of myself, too. Either way, let me tell you, I’d never wish this sort of grief on my worst enemy.

I think about what we’d be doing right around now. We’d be planning on what to bring for our family’s Thanksgiving get together. I’d be talking with her about Dylan’s Christmas wishes. We’d be talking about Carmen’s kid’s Christmas wishes.

I’ve written before about the red coat she got for me that last Christmas. I’ve still not worn it. For some reason, I can’t. It hangs with the tag still on it.

I still lie awake around 2:00 a.m. wishing I could just talk to her. Even for a few minutes. I miss her laugh. I miss hugging her. I miss the way she’d always wink at me…..ohmygoodness that made me feel so special.

I still go to my phone to call her when anything cute, sad, hilarious, or crucial happens throughout my day. I want to text her again. I want…..I want….I want…….

It’s been three years next month. Let me tell you, time heals ABSOLUTELY NO WOUNDS.

I guess for me, the biggest thing I’ve learned about grieving is that it doesn’t end. How could it? How could I ever get over the absence of my Momma….the one that birthed me, the very one that put in me a desire to be a wife and Momma…the one my heart breaks for every. single. Moment?

Grief doesn’t end. I grieve, but not without hope.

I’ve not had a Christmas wish list since she’s been gone. She always used to tell me, “I don’t want a thing! As long as I have my family, that’s all I want!!”

That’s been my wish every day. Every Christmas. Every Birthday since she’s been gone. Only now, I TRULY know what she meant when she said that.

Happy Thanksgiving, Momma.
We miss you with words that can’t be explained. You left a huge absence that is filled with love, laughter, grief, and longing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A New Day Will Come

A new day will dawn at
a moment's notice-
The hurt you've been handed
will all disappear.
A new time will come
when justice is upon us,
Where you'll live
in freedom, not fear.

Those tears you've been crying
in private,
Will be answered for,
and you will see...
That the hell you've endured
on this side of Heaven
will have nothing
on eternity.

All the times you chose love
instead of hate-
Even when hate is all
some of them ever gave...
Will be rewarded,
and you will have hope again,
What they've done will be
buried deep in the grave.

All the times you didn't
understand why
Life kept handing
you disappointment and despair...
Will be replaced with new
indescribable life,
More than you'd ever be
able to share.

Keep on forgiving instead
of hating,
though they know exactly
what they do...
Keep showing grace in
place of the hate
that is continuously handed
to you.

Keep right on giving with
all you are even though
others choose not
to live that way...
Keep loving and trusting,
be faithful and pure,
even when hope seems
so far away.

Keep your heart fully
in the long journey,
For one day we will all
be set free-
To that place where
there is no hurting or fear...
And hatred and death are
nowhere to be seen.

J.N.S. October 27th, 2009

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can't Find the Words.

I would like to say, "I love you!"-
But that won't really do.
I can't seem to find language rich enough
To describe what I feel for you.

I've seen the sickness of innocence shattered,
I've felt the loss of death's cold door.
I've been without a place of my own,
I've been broken, depressed, and poor.

I've stared my best friend in the face
as she laid there taking her last breath
I've held the hands of the maternal
As she crossed over to another land.

I've felt hurt from close friends
Who've betrayed and turned away,
I've seen loved ones scar you deeply
So much more than words can say.

I've felt life inside my womb,
The beating heart of a fragile child.
I've seen his spirit so full of life,
One that is hopeful, free, and wild.

I remember saying our vows,
Through cracked voice and eyes full of tears.
I remember the feeling of knowing
We would have each other through all fear.

I look back and don't see how I
Would have made it through some days.
You being here and loving me
Has kept so much more hurt away.

You've always been so loving,
Always faithful, comforting, true-
Never because you felt it a duty,
Simply because you have wanted to.

Each time life takes another twist,
And brings another change our way,
I'll hold onto you, my husband...
The love we share will grow each day.

So, "I love you, you're the greatest,
My soul lights up when you are near!"-
Those words don't come close to describe
The love I have in here!!!

Jessica Nicole Schafer
October 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Momma-part two

This is the second part of what a dear friend asked me to do, which is write about my Momma, and my relationship with her. Thanks for reading.

One of the most bittersweet things to realize is that I still HAVE a relationship with her. Though she is now gone...the mother/daughter bond remains. Ahhhh...the circles we motherless daughters run in. Though she is here.....she is gone.....it's a neverending, heartbreaking circle in this life without them. Not to mention the fact that those sweet women who didn't have a great relationship with their mothers, or may not have even known their mothers....still yearn for that relationship. I could write about this for days. I'll save that for another time, though.

As I mentioned, the ties are still here. And the way she Mothered me still affects me every. single. day. It has made ALL TOO REAL to me the BIG job of being a Momma. It is an everlasting bond.

My Momma had a job outside of the home. She mentioned to me many times that though she DID enjoy working, she wished she could have stayed home with us. I think for me, that is why I have chosen to do what I do. I don't get a paycheck every two weeks. I'm not on salary. However....you couldn't pay me enough to stop doing what I do. So in an ironic way.....her working outside the home, which was what worked for my Momma and Daddy.....had a huge factor in my choosing what I do.

Another thing that has affected my whole family's life thanks to Momma was the way she encouraged me...as I've mentioned before. When we were pregnant with our sweet Babylove, I mentioned homeschooling. I was scared to talk about it with many people, because so many people have STRONG opinions. I talked to her about it, and the first thing she did was talk about how she knew I could do it if that's what we decided to do. Immediately I felt that familiar "you can do anything" feeling that she always instilled in me. I love thinking about that. I know our decision also affected several of our friends, giving them hope in homeschooling their children. To this day, our lil' boy is thriving in our little school. I really believe my Momma's encouragement has a huge part to play in giving me the hope of knowing our family can do this.

If I may, I'm going to back up a bit to when my amazing husband and I were dating. Momma and Daddy both instantly loved him...and my sister did, too. (He was called "Uncle Darryl" way before he was actually an Uncle.) :) Both Momma and Daddy encouraged our relationship, and thought VERY highly of Darryl. It really is a good feeling when one's parents love the person they're dating. It speaks volumes, actually. Parents always want what is best for their children....so it did my heart good. I never had a reason to call my Momma and complain to her about my husband....because he's never given me a reason to do so. Needless to say, losing her had a huge impact on Darryl. I can't speak for him, but I know part of the reason he's been able to carry my grief with me is due to the grief he, himself has carried.

Another thing about my Momma that my sister can agree with is the love she had for her grandchildren. I could write for days on that. She just thought the world of them. And Dylan was C R A Z Y about her. He would literally double over with laughter, squeezing his fists together whenever we got to see her, and say "It's NANA!!!!!!!"....and laugh like crazy after he said it. :) She had that affect on people....and I miss that.

There is an unspoken language for motherless daughters.....we are often very hard on ourselves, wondering if we're doing things "right". We are often lonely. We are often angry. The smallest thing can trigger our longing to have our Mommas back. When I see little ones Dylan's age out with their grandmas, when I hear a child say, "Nana!".....when Dylan tells me he misses her....it is the worst feeling ever. It is an ache that I would never wish on the cruelest person. I remember the look in Momma's eyes when she talked about my Grandma after she was gone. It was a look that I didn't understand until December 2007. Seeing my Momma miss her own Momma after she lost her helped me know it is okay to show how much I miss her. It is indeed a wound time will never heal, counseling will never fix, and no amount of tears will be able to cover. It is definitely a grief I know I will always carry. Until all is made new.

The one thing I've been thinking about so much over the past year is that I can't replace my Momma. As much as I'd love to find somebody to Mother me.....there is nobody else. Let me be clear....there are many who I know love me, and I know who they are! But there is not, nor will there ever be another Momma. She is gone for now. One day, I will get to have her back....and she will get to have us back.

Until then, I will learn to live with this HUGE VOID that can only be filled with her.

**Thank you again for asking me to write this. You know who you are.**

My Momma (Part One)

At the risk of diving into what will certainly pull out many feelings (good ones, that is....just emotional) I was asked by someone I love VERY much to write a post about my Momma. To write about the things that I love about her, our relationship, etc.

Keeping in mind that a person's writings are only a SMALL glimpse into what is in their mind/heart.....one would never be able to put onto paper all the things they know/feel about another person. (This fact fascinates me.....because the Bible is only PARTS of what we know. It isn't exhaustive. That definitely CHANGED the way I read the Bible.) Just wanted to put a little disclaimer....this is only small parts of the wonderful life experiences shared with my Momma. From my point of view. Enjoy.

She was always encouraging to me. I can't remember how many times I heard, "You can be whatever you want to be"....and things like that. She supported me. I always knew she was "in my corner". I remember having a BAD experience with an ex-boyfriend and knowing she was just as upset as I was made me realize my feelings DID matter. (This fascinates me, because so many times we try to downplay other people's feelings, thinking it'll make what they feel go away...and in reality it will only deaden others as well as ourselves....but that's a whole other subject...) She let me cry when I needed to. Even in my teenage years, when I knew she didn't understand what I was going through....you know, because she'd never been a teenager herself. ;) How my heart aches when I think of the times she was carrying my hurts with me....and I didn't even know it. And now, as a Momma myself, I've realized we hurt even more than our child does during any sort of pain they have....physical or not.

Looking back, now that I think about it, she always encouraged me to be ME. I never felt her pushing me in any certain direction, she supported my decisions, and wanted me to know who I was as an individual. Even when I was becoming an "adult" and I BEGGED her to make my decisions for me....she wouldn't. She would listen, talk about things with me, but she always made it clear that in the end, I needed to be the one making the decision, whatever it was. That mere fact has helped me so much....everyday. It stretched me, and helped mold me into a wife, Momma, and every other hat that I wear. Thank you, Momma.

I also idolized my big sister. (And still do, of course. Hi, sister.) Everything she did, I wanted to do....and I ended up following in most of her footsteps. She never compared us though, she always loved(s) us both so much.

My Momma always made me feel beautiful. I have always struggled with self-image. In my head, I am the MOST unattractive girl EVER created. She always told me I was beautiful, though. I remember picking up magazines with beautiful models on them. Salma Hayek is my idol. I remember her being on the cover of one I was reading....and I said, "Momma, LOOK at her. Is she not the MOST beautiful woman you've ever seen!!??!?!" She responded, "Not at all, I think MY girls are the MOST BEAUTIFUL!!" And you know what? I know she meant it. She wasn't trying to make me feel good, she believed that with all her heart. The way SHE saw me, though I still disagree, helped me know how loved I was, and how adored I was. The fact that SHE believed in me helped me believe in myself tremendously....and that still has a hand in who I am today, and how I mother our sweet son.

There's so much more, I think I will need to split this piece into two parts.

I realize there is a part of people who will try to make their loved ones look like Saints. This is normal. However, I want to be clear that when I do write about Her, it's reality. Yes, I fought with my Momma. Mainly when I was in high school. I rebelled in a big way. Though at times I wish I could change those few years....it was a part of our relationship. Seeing both my Momma and Daddy embrace me even when I made FOOLISH decisions that hurt me.....the way they always loved and always had open arms....THAT echoes the Gospel to me, and STILL does.

In a very odd, ironic, bittersweet way......my Momma's believing in me has helped me know how to grieve through her absence.

I've never thought about that until this very moment.......

Thank you friend, for asking me to post this. It helped me so much. I hope it encouraged you, too.

Second part to come.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm Trying.

My Momma's untimely, unexpected, tragic death.

Loved ones ripping my husband apart....and causing more damage than they'll ever know.

Countless friends enduring pain in their marriages.

Heard "no" too many times over the past two years to even count. Whether it be from people, or from God....the "no's" have been winning.

Watching loved ones struggle through various trials.

Being hurt deeply by those I called "friend".

Still looking for a place to belong.

One may say, looking over the past couple of years that I'm strong. That I've "hung in there, endured, kept the faith".....I beg to differ.

The truth is, I'm weak.

I can't do this alone.

If it weren't for my amazing husband, son, sister, Daddy, and amazing friends who've been by my side through the past "desert season" I've been in....I'm not quite sure I'd still be standing.

And Him. Of course. I have gone 'round and 'round with Him for so long....I have asked question after question. I have yelled at Him, cried desperately to Him, brought the pieces of my broken heart to Him time after time over the past thirty months.

And I know He's okay with that. He loves me...oh how He loves me.

But I have to admit...I get scared to death when I think about some things.

And here's the kicker; I don't get scared because of what MIGHT happen.......I get scared because of what has ALREADY HAPPENED.

Yeah, go figure.

One would think that after going through Hell in more ways than one, due to circumstances beyond our control, and finally being in (what looks like) the other side, that now I'd be oh so full of hope, happiness, joy.

I'm not. I can't explain it. I think it's because starting from December 4th, 2007...SO MANY of my worst fears have happened. Those close to our family know what I'm speaking of. And every. single. time I've thought good news was headed our way...we've been handed even worse news. It seems like the only light at the end of the tunnel has been a dream...one that won't be coming true.

Today, I'm just at a loss. Yes, I have faith....of course. I recognize the fact that faith is more than just "I believe"....it's "I will keep pushing through the murky, lifeless water in spite of it drowning me"....I know that. I now recognize that faith is so much more than what we think it is. It has taken my husband and other loved ones to remind me of that.

There is potential good news on our horizon. So many good things could happen, and very soon.

But still, I have been finding it hard to hope....can you blame me?? Everytime I've held out hope recently, it's been for naught.

I am trying, Lord help me, I am. I am trying to believe that He will be bringing my family to a place of healing, restoration, new life, and answered prayers.

Until then, I will still be holding my breath.

I saw this the other day, and it's stuck with me. For me, it's HUGE. Because if you've EVER been in a prolonged place of heartache, sorrow, grief.......simply getting out of bed in the morning takes every piece of strength one can muster. Simply moving on through the days is a triumph...when one could so easily shut down...

I am proud of that. I am proud of myself for getting through all of this. I just hope with all of myself that I won't have to be "getting through this" much longer.

And you, thanks for reading. Writing brings such healing to me. Maybe it's "getting it all out".....or maybe it's knowing there are people out there who care. Either way, thank you.

There will be a HUGE sign posted in our new home one day that reads:

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6"


Until then, I will still be trying to keep hope.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Breathe Again.

In a couple of moons, I will be turning thirty. 30.
My life is nothing that I thought it would be at this age. It's a milestone, yes. For me, it's so much more than that.
It has opened up some fresh wounds and heavy sorrows that I've been carrying around for many months now.

In so many ways, I still feel like a little girl. And yes, I'm sure to many people, including my Daddy and sister, I still am. ;)

I still crave hearing my Momma tell me what a great job I'm doing being me....I know nothing will ever replace hearing her tell me she's proud of who I am.

When The Deep Sadness happened, I was still a new mother. My lil' Babylove had just turned three years old. I was still learning so much....had so many questions about Motherhood, and still do. HOW I needed her....and still do.

I think if maybe all the hellish circumstances my husband and I had faced in the past two years had happened at a different time, I would have been much stronger. But that, which I'd never wish on any person, coupled with losing Her, has just left me unbearably heartbroken.

So here I go, I've been holding my breath for quite sometime now. I've been carrying around sorrows that have happened to my family regarding my Momma, people who've hurt us deeply, and effected our very livelihood...and so much more that I won't bore you with.


So, Hello thirty.

I hope that you will be kind to me. I hope I can keep hoping...because this despair that's been upon my family and beyond our control has taken a lot of light out of my eyes. I hope that you bring new life, in more ways than one.

I hope, that for once in a long time, God will reach down, pull me out of this murky, lifeless water....wrap His arms around my family and myself, and let me breathe again.

Happy 30, me.
I hope you're proud of me, Momma. Actually, I know that you are.....it just hurts not being able to hear it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A birth story.

I don't think I've really ever shared my Babylove's birth story. Here goes.

My husband and I were VERY pleasantly surprised to learn we were pregnant when we'd been married for eight months. We were seven weeks along. The SECOND we found out, we were OVERjoyed, and of course, I called Momma and Daddy first. You couldn't take the smiles off of our faces. We weren't "planning" (ha,ha) a pregnancy, but so happy with the news.

A few days later I was rushed to the ER due to bleeding. I had no idea what was happening, everything happened so quickly. We saw my doctor, heard all sorts of things, ran all sorts of tests. When we were home that night it hit me when I realized what the doctor meant when he said, "You're only seven weeks along, all you can do is relax and hope for the best".... They thought we were going to lose the baby.

We were scared out of our minds. Within a week we went from extreme joy to extreme fear. So, we waited. And prayed. And I did a lot of crying.

What made things scarier was that two very dear friends of mine would suffer miscarriages around this time. Our hearts were so heavy for them, and we tried to make our way through the very long days.

After a period of time, things seemed to look better for our pregnancy. Though we would sit on pins and needles until this new life were out of the womb, his little life grew and grew. I went through all sorts of feelings of guilt after what our friends went through, fear of wondering if we'd carry him full-term, and you can imagine the things that went through our minds and hearts.

Our son thrived.
He grew and grew and well.....grew so much that they decided at one check-up to do a c-section because he grew TOO MUCH. :) He was due near my birthday, but they took him two weeks early, the day after my sister's birthday. (Keep in mind I'm 5'1", Darryl's 6'7"....a dear friend compared it to a chihuahua having a doberman's puppy...)

An added joy was that my Momma and Daddy happened to be visiting the weekend they decided to do the c-section. I am so thankful they were here.....

Dylan James Schafer entered the world at about 12:45p.m. September 28th, 2004.

The world has been much brighter since.

He has brought so much joy to our hearts, laughter to our mouths, and hope to our spirits. He is a miracle. I am fully convinced he is one piece of Heaven we see daily....especially considering what our family has endured over the past two and a half years.

He is wonderful. I can't describe just how wonderful. As I've said before, some things are just too wonderful for words....my husband, my son....they are some of those "things".

We celebrate you, Dylan James Schafer. You are wonderful. You are so bright, and full of joy. You are brilliant, and you have a heart full of compassion and mercy. You laugh a lot, and it is your laughter that lights up my heart.

What joy it is to watch my son grow, love, and get to know the God who gives life.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grieve Freely.

Over the past two and a half years, I've written so much about grief. Quite honestly, in the beginning, it was the only safe place for me-aside from only a few dear people in my life. They know who they are. I've written before on the GREAT need for us to learn to comfort others....and I am a firm believer that we have to face our own issues, embrace our own hurts, or we will end up squelching ourselves, AND others if we refuse to do so. That has been a big part of my experience. I've heard it all. I've been belittled for expressing my grief. I've been told to "get over it". I've been told it's not that "big of a deal". I've been told to "put a smile on my face and move on". I've been told that maybe if I change my perspective,it wouldn't be so hard. I've heard loved ones being told things things just as hurtful, as well. As you sit there reading, I'm almost positive your hurts have been squelched before, and I apologize for that. There is R O O M for grace. Those hurtful, heartless, selfish things we've all heard before by people who DO know better, they are forgiven. I choose to extend the same grace everyday that is extended to myself by Him. How could I not? He freely gives it....even to those who we think don't "deserve" it. So that same grace is given even to those who have scarred my already broken heart.


I think often in life, some evils need to be called out before they will ever be acknowledged and then changed. This is how I feel about our lack to grieve for ourselves and one another. I will never stop writing, talking, crying about my own grief.

My Momma is dead.

She is gone.

She should still be here.

There is no explanation for this.

There is no quick-fix band-aid answer that will explain it all away. I cannot enroll in a twelve step program, because I don't have an addiction. This happened to our family. It is a burden placed on us, and I will forever grapple with the effects, as will my Daddy, sister, and all my Momma's family and friends who miss her. So though I have spent many months feeling guilty for simply grieving, those days are gone. I will give full vent to what has been placed in my life. To ignore it would be to ignore God, to ignore the reality He, Himself has placed us in.

I will write, feel, grieve, hurt, love, heal.....for myself, for my family and friends, for other motherless daughters, for any hurting hearts out there who feel alone. Those precious people are the reason I do this.

Maybe you are one of those who has experienced the brutal, dark, calloused remarks of others......maybe you have been one to give those remarks. Sweet child of the Most High....He never intended us to live as robots. He gave us this life, and often it is full of hurt.....His OWN life was full of heartache. Don't ever fool yourself into believing that turning off your emotions is trusting Him more.......when we do that, we lie to ourselves, others, and Him.

For over two and a half years, I have tried to put into words the way I've been made to feel.......and I finally realized it days ago. The picture below came to mind. It is hard to look at, it was even harder to draw. It has been my reality. Let me also mention, this picture is for you.....I hope you see the great fallacy in it, the hurt in it, the hatred in it......so you can move on, and freely grieve, as I have. I guess this is my way of giving you "permission" to grieve freely.

For I truly believe we are MOST like Him when we are MOST HUMAN.......embracing humanity is embracing Him.

You are loved, you who are hurting and grieving for whatever reason.....you are not alone. I will use my days to honour you, to lift you up, and I will not be ashamed of grief any longer.....I hope the same for you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Can't find the words.

I would like to say, "I love you!"-
But that won't really do.
I can't seem to find language rich enough
To describe what I feel for you.

I've seen the sickness of innocence shattered,
I've felt the loss of death's cold door.
I've been without a place of my own,
I've been broken, depressed, and poor.

I've stared my best friend in the face
as she laid there taking her last breath
I've held the hands of the maternal
As she crossed over to another land.

I've felt hurt from close friends
Who've betrayed and turned away,
I've seen loved ones scar you deeply
So much more than words can say.

I've felt life inside my womb,
The beating heart of a fragile child.
I've seen his spirit so full of life,
One that is hopeful, free, and wild.

I remember saying our vows,
Through cracked voice and eyes full of tears.
I remember the feeling of knowing
We would have each other through all fear.

I look back and don't see how I
Would have made it through some days.
You being here and loving me
Has kept so much more hurt away.

You've always been so loving,
Always faithful, comforting, true-
Never because you felt it a duty,
Simply because you have wanted to.

Each time life takes another twist,
And brings another change our way,
I'll hold onto you, my husband...
The love we share will grow each day.

So, "I love you, you're the greatest,
My soul lights up when you are near!"-
Those words don't come close to describe
The love I have in here!!!

Jessica Nicole Schafer

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I had a conversation with one of my favorite people today. I’d call her one of my best friends, and that’s true enough, but really, it’s SO much more than that. There are only a couple of gals I feel close enough to share my very soul with, and she is one of them. She said something that really stuck in my head. We were talking about an upcoming party, and she said, “I think sometimes people just need to know they’re invited, and they’ll show up…”

Interesting. It immediately made me think of all the impressions I’ve been given by those calling themselves followers of Him. It also made me think of the times I’ve been judgmental, myself.

So, Body of Christ, are you “inviting” or excluding others to His table?

When we tear one another down, for whatever reason we try to justify doing so, are we inviting them?

When we tell someone they are not “believing” right, (which always means they’re not believing like us…) is that inviting or excluding others?

When we tell someone they are not affiliated with the “correct” political party, (even though the world is much bigger than America…..) are we inviting or excluding people?

What about when someone hates us, and we hate them back in return…….inviting?

What if we exclude somebody for how they dress....is this inviting?

When we exclude someone from His church because of where they live……inviting?

But what if they just don’t “get it”….they keep sinning over and over and over again…..shouldn’t we cast them aside?

What if their skin isn’t the right color?

What if they hurt us? In ways that are irreconcilable? Shouldn’t they be disinvited?

What if they aren’t American? What if they’re a terrorist? Surely they’re not invited to His table, right??

What if they’re too “liberal” or the opposite, too “conservative”? (These terms always crack me up….nobody can truly define them. It’s different for each person.)

What if they are homeless…or the direct opposite, they own too many homes?

What if they’re homosexual?

What if they are immigrants???

What if they don’t speak English, the “chosen” language??

Is anybody picking up on the sarcasm??

How DARE we, for any reason, have the audacity to exclude any person from His OPEN invitation?????!!!!!?!?!?

Church, we have to stop the hatred. We SAY “love one another”…but we do NOT, as a whole, live this way. Don’t believe me? Read the news. Or better yet, talk to somebody who isn’t part of a church, and they’ll tell you. There is a reason we are known more for what we hate rather than His life-giving, comforting, encouraging, L O V E.

His invitation, regardless of what anybody says, is for everyone. E V E R Y O N E.

If they have breath, if they are human, He invites them.

But the question is…….are WE inviting them?? Because we aren’t required to “get it all together” and THEN come to His table. We are to simply come. Dear reader, there is always hope. We can change this. It all starts with one word: L O V E.

So, are you known for excluding those who are made in His very image?

Or are you known for sending out an invitation to the table that He, Himself, has set?

Monday, August 9, 2010


Dear Fear,

When I was a little girl, I used to be so afraid of what might happen to my Momma and Daddy. I don’t know where these thoughts came from. I would pray night after night that God would protect them and keep them here with me, letting them have healthy and long lives.

Then the unthinkable happened. I was Momma to my sweet little three year old boy, still waiting to have more children, still needing my own Momma for so many things. Still hoping she’d be here throughout the births of my other children, still looking forward to talking on the phone with her everyday since I didn’t live near her. And just like that, my worst fear happened. Her life was tragically ended. I will forever grieve that amazing woman…but I know this is not the last word…for in Him I have the hope of being reunited; because of L O V E.

I was forever afraid that I would end up with a husband who did not treat me well. I don’t know where this came from, either. I just didn’t believe I was worth much, I guess. Then God gave to me the most amazing gift ever, my husband. He has forever been loving, faithful, encouraging, and a shining example of what God’s love is to me. Our marriage has been the bright spot through this season of darkness; because of L O V E.

I have watched people I thought were our friends tear us down in their judgmental ways. I have been abused by the very ones I loved. BUT I have been blessed to find out what true love is in the midst. I have realized in an even bigger way that I hurt for these people who have treated my family miserably. They need help. They need to understand His love before they are able to give it. I hope one day they realize that, and reach out a hand to the God who is Love. They are forgiven; because of L O V E.

After going through so many hurtful things over the past two and a half years, especially since last summer, I was so scared my family would still be searching for community and a place of our own. Here we are, still searching. We stand here hurting, wounded, often alone, wondering what will happen in the future. Yet, we are still pressing on; because of L O V E.

Guess what, Fear???

We ARE still standing.

We have survived my biggest fears…and lived to tell about it. I have survived the deepest wounds, and I press on.

Though I carry the scars to prove the battles I have endured, that is all they are…..BATTLES.

You will not win. You never have. You have already been defeated in the mere fact that I am sharing my story. My victory is in Him. Though He could have changed many things, He is still the One who holds my family. Though you still whisper falsities into my ears….EVEN through His very children sometimes, I know you are full of lies. For even through the heartache, despair, loneliness, and hopelessness…….L O V E has already won, and L O V E will prevail.


A loved one.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"We, the Faithful"

We have the answers. We are the faithful ones.

We won’t allow any outsiders. We already have it “right”.

We know those who are living in poverty are there because they deserve it.

We know those who don’t have blessings are just being taught a lesson.

We know the ones hurting are not as blessed as we are, so we hope they change into our way of thinking.

We know we are the privileged ones.

We know we are entitled to every blessing because we have earned them.

We don’t need someone coming to change things. Different is NOT welcome.

We insist you do things our way, for there IS NO OTHER correct way.

We know the secrets, and will remain faithful to what we know to be right.

We will not listen to this man who claims to be the Messiah.

He is too close to those who are accursed. He loves the very ones we hate.

We will indeed win and crucify him for his blasphemy.

We will flex our muscle and show everyone who’s in charge.

We will show everyone that POWER is what brings about truth.

Sound familiar?

In their very hard-heartedness, in their judgmental ways, self-righteous minds, they missed the very One who came to them out of love. What they didn’t know was that in submitting His very life to the powers that were, their crucifying Him only fulfilled His grander plan. And they didn’t even realize He was also doing it for even them….the very ones who hated Him.

Church, we have to stop living this way. Look around. We are known more for being affiliated with a certain political party, for hating any sort of outsider, whether they are a different color, religion, race, denomination, or heaven forbid a foreigner tries to come in our midst. If another doesn’t “believe” the way we do, vote the way we do, we deem them an outsider who just doesn’t “get it”.

We are known in a big way for hatred. For trying to claim power. For silencing anything that doesn’t sound like “us”.

BUT….there is GOOD NEWS. We can change this. Let’s remember that as long as we have breath, there IS hope.

Let’s have a hand in beautifying what is broken….instead of killing what is already bleeding.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


If you know our story, which is pretty much a story of sorrow, closed doors, and hurting…..then you can appreciate more than anything what I’m about to say.

I feel encouraged today. I can’t say it will last….I don’t even know what the next ten minutes will bring, much less the next ten months. But I will say this….my family has gone from one form of a desert to another. And there have been many reasons to stop. When serving a church affects you emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and even financially….you just may have every reason to give up. When you give your life over to serve a church that in return does not treat you so well…..you are probably even justified in quitting. I have talked so much about the story of Job. I can identify with it. (NO….my story is not the same as his…none of our stories in this life line up, but there are definitely similarities and we can learn from one another both then, and now.) I’ve learned through the story of Jesus and Job that very unjust things will happen in this life. I’ve learned that those who say they love Him will often be the very ones that hurt one another the deepest. I’ve learned that the crying I’ve done almost every night for the past three years has not been done alone. I’ve been comforted in this deep sorrow, though NOTHING around our lives has changed…..I’ve been comforted by Him, my husband, my son, my sister, and many close friends who know very well who they are.

I’ve also been reminded that God believed in Job. That’s one of the biggest themes of that story. God, Himself, had a big part in the heartbreak…”Have you considered my servant Job?...........Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” (Job 1 verses 8 and 12) Throughout the story, we see his friends come in for seven days (which is relatively a long time) BUT…..when they can’t find an answer for Job’s suffering, they immediately start to pin the blame on Job, himself. Trust me, this still happens today. I’m sure many of you have been there. However, through it all, Job cries out….he remains faithful. He remains faithful in JUST THAT: by crying out to God…relentlessly. He remains faithful by simply STILL going to God. He remains faithful by hurting to the fullest. Oftentimes we think if we can just ignore the pain, remain busy, hide the hurt….then we will win out.

That was not the case for Job.

To deny the heartache, sorrow, grief, loneliness, depression, and despair that God, Himself, had a hand in- would undermine the VERY thing God was trying to do. I think one of those things trying to be conveyed in this story is to let everyone, including Job, know that GOD BELIEVED IN JOB. Despite the pure hell Job endured, he felt the pain, the sorrow, for all it was worth…..by doing that very thing—HURTING—he was being faithful. I think another point to this story is that we can NEVER undermine the plot around us. A friend told me recently that she wishes I could find a way to be happy, because it hurts her to see me so sad…and maybe if I could find a way to do that, it would change things around me. She said this out of love, for she knows the hurts my family has endured. I shared with her that I can’t just “grin and bear it”. If I were to ever do that, I believe it would be being unfaithful to WHATEVER IN THE WORLD it is that God is doing in our lives.

I say all that to say this:

I feel encouraged today. Not because anything has changed. Not because all my prayers have been answered. But simply because I am reminded of Job. God believed in him, that he would do the right thing. He did. Throughout the whole story, he hurt, wailed, cried out, begged for God to do something….and he endured through the pain. He never ignored it. He never denied it. Yet he still cried out to God…which I believe with all my heart is another way to worship Him. (Psalms teaches us that.) I have done that very thing. I will still do that very thing. I could give you every reason why I have to give up, and trust me….you may even tell me I’m a fool for pressing on. Some days I have ALMOST told myself that very thing.

But amidst the turmoil, the unwarranted pain, the sorrow, the loss….

God believed in Job.

He believes in my husband and myself.

And guess what?


We are to believe in Him, true.

But let’s never forget He ALSO believes in us…..as individuals, and as His children.

For me, for today, that has made a big difference.

“Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Job 2:10

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.” Psalm 126:5
**I often quote this verse…it brings me more comfort than I can explain.**

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eyes to See and Ears to Hear


I left you to do My job.

Why isn’t it getting done?

I left you to fight hatred.

Why are you fighting for it instead?

I left you to take care of the poor.

Why are they still suffering from poverty and hunger?

I left you to take care of the widows.

Why are they all still alone?

I left you to care for the orphan.

Why do they still feel unloved?

I left you to love the unlovable.

Why are you hating them?

I left you to embrace the outsider.

Why are they being cast aside?

I left you to encourage.

Why do you discourage?

I left you to do justice for the oppressed.

Why do you judge them instead?

I left you a world to care for.

Why are you destroying it?

I left you to live out My Gospel.

Why do you twist My words for your own personal/political gain?

I left you to usher in My Kingdom.

Why do you choose to usher in your own?

I left you with knowing that the love of money is evil.

Why do you choose to love it more than Me?

I left you to love your enemies.

Why do you rip them apart instead?

I left you to be united.

Why are you divided?

I left you to spread hope.

Why do you spread despair?

I left you to forgive one another.

Why do you harbor bitterness?

I left you to seek wisdom.

Why do you settle for ignorance?

I left you to be faithful to me and one another.

Why do you betray instead?

I left you to be truth for one another.

Why do you spread lies?

I left you my Holy Spirit.

Why do you constantly squelch it?

I left you in knowing that love conquers all.

Why do you hate in your words, actions, and inactions?

I left you to be My hands and feet.

Why are you sitting down?

I left you to be a light.

Why are you known for darkness?

I left you….yet I am still with you. I created you in My image. I still believe you will do the right thing. Go, and do it.


A Broken Heart

by: Jessica Nicole Schafer
July 21, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

It Ain't Ice Cream

"Maybe if you just looked at things differently, it would change your life."

"Maybe if you just stopped thinking about all the bad, it wouldn't 'seem' so tough."

Sound familiar?? I've heard many things like this before. Admittedly, there is a kernel of truth here. However, there are times in life when it does nothing but rub salt into the wound. I've been there lately. Ever been there yourself?? I was thinking the other day about how sometimes people don't want to face the truth about the hard, hurtful, sorrowful things that they, themselves are enduring, much less what their loved ones are going through. I'm sure over the course of my life, I've been guilty of this. I hope it's not something I'm still guilty of. I am reminded of Job. And even moreso, of Jesus. "Hey, it's NO BIG DEAL, Jesus!! It's only a CRUCIFIXION!! Change Your perspective, and maybe it'll downplay the hellish circumstances You're in!"....think that would've helped at all?????

WHY do we do this with one another, when He, Himself NEVER did?!?!?!

I think sometimes we do this because seeing someone hurt or suffer for a long time is just too hard to handle. We can't find a reason. So people begin to think like Job's friends..."Well, they must have done something wrong." And we see in Scripture that is not always the case. Sometimes we think the hurt is too hard to face, so we turn away. Derek Webb put it best in one of his songs, "I don't know the suffering of people outside my front door, so I join the oppressors of those I choose to ignore. I'm trading comfort for human life, and that's not just murder, it's suicide...".

When we turn our back on pain, on hurt, on grief, on the oppressed.....I believe we turn our backs on Him.

My point, to put it quite simply, is this;
you can pile whipped cream, sprinkles, and a big ol' cherry on a pile of manure.....but trust me, that won't make it ice cream! It'll still smell and taste of what it truly is.....nothing sweet at all.

I know I've needed reminding of this lately. And by the way, I am indeed thankful for my amazing husband, and our loving family and friends who have and are living out the Gospel to us during this season in the desert...they are great reminders of the comfort that Christ offers.
They "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." -Galatians 6:2-

You who are hurting...you who are aching....you who are torn up on the inside through no fault of your own.....you who are weary....you who are hopeless......you who are poor.....you who are lonely......you who are despairing.........

I have something to tell you.

I am sorry for the times that others have minimalized your pain. Because HE DOES NOT!!!

We serve the God who hurts alongside us, even though He may be able to prevent the pain. We serve a God who cries with us. As I've mentioned before, He even catches our tears. (Psalm 56:8) We serve a God who is FOR the oppressed. I hope that gives you strength....if even for a moment.

And by the way, you are not alone. This 5'1" wife/momma/sister/daughter/friend is right there with you. Sometimes the pain is too much to carry. This is why He is here, and also why He gave us one another. Until my family gets out of the desert, I will do all I know to do, and that is worship Him, serve Him, my family,and His children, remain faithful....and HURT to the fullest. There are sometimes in life when that very thing, HURTING, will somehow bring honour to Him....for whatever reasons He is choosing to allow the pain. Even though we may never fully know...

"So am I alloted months of vanity, and nights of trouble are appointed me. When I lie down I say, 'when shall I arise?' but the night continues, and I am continually tossing until dawn............My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and come to an end without hope." *Job 7:3-4 &6*

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5-6

"I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him." Psalm 142:2

"For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." Psalm 149:4

"I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor." Psalm 140:12

"How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will you hide Your face from me?" Psalm 13:1

"As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:13

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:3-4

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." I Corinthians 12:26

"For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ." II Corinthians 1:5

"casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:7

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Power of One.

You wash the peanut butter crust off of the plates.

You spend hours studying His Word.

You rock a sweet child to sleep.

You write words that affect people for the good.

You clean rears.

You hug someone who is crying for her departed Mother.

You preach sermons that move one’s soul closer to Him.

You feed a hungry person.

You cry tears of hurt for another person’s sorrow.

You put a band-aid on a wounded knee, and kiss it to make it better.

You clean the socks that are drenched in sweat and dirt.

You listen to a friend who has nobody else to listen to her.

You give a home to the homeless.

You hug your Mommy and in doing so kiss her soul.

You pray relentlessly for your friend who is engulfed in grief.

You carry your spouse’s grief and sorrow.

You laugh with your husband.

You teach your child to read.

You remain faithful to your spouse.

You take care of the orphan.

You suffer hardship.

You lift up the downhearted.

You love the unlovable.

You don’t change who you are to appease the masses.

You touch the untouchable.

You love those who persecute you.

You pray God will send you a spouse because you’ve been waiting so long.

You wake up each day and do your best for those you love.

You offer worship from your weary soul.

You wash dirty feet.

You wonder if anyone notices your hard work.

You catch the tears of someone who is hurting.

You hug the hurting rather than judge them.

You fold and put away the laundry for the thousandth time.

You set the table again.

You clear the table yet again.

You wash the crayon marks off of the table.

You sacrifice your wants for other’s needs.

You comfort your brother who is caught up in his sin.

You believe in the midst of hopelessness.

You carry a cross up a lonely hill.

You give of yourself to those who hate you.

You forgive those who never ask for forgiveness.

You get out of bed though you are depressed.

You take another breath through your despair.

You keep waiting and praying….though nothing good has happened.

You study hard and learn subtraction.

You sing a song to your parents and bring a smile to their faces

You feel alone, yet somehow you make it through another day.

You worship in your grief.

You help your Momma with the chores, though you loathe them.

You clean the floors yet again.

You do another load of dirty pots and pans.

You wash the linens again.

You try to make a budget out of a very small income.

You remain a friend to someone who hasn’t been a friend in return.

You don't realize how much you are loved.

You are not alone.

You listen.

You laugh.

You cry.

You ache.

You hurt.

You mourn.

You feel.

You gave Yourself willingly on a tree for a people who despised You.

**Never underestimate the power of one. One person can build up. One person can tear down. One person can hate. One person can love.**


Friday, June 25, 2010


Seven years.

We've had our plans, God's had his. Sometimes, they've lined up, sometimes they haven't.

However, no matter the weather....no matter the happiness...no matter the grief and sorrow life has thrown our way....

Darryl James, I'm happy I've spent these days with you.

You are the ideal husband.
I mean it.
You make me feel beautiful when I haven't showered all day. You make me feel loved when I'm not so loving in return. You make me feel encouraged when I'm down on myself. You comfort me when I'm grieving. You hurt for me when I'm crying. You laugh with me when I'm laughing (even when my laughing hurts your ears...). You hug me when I am not acting very "huggable". You listen to me, even when what I'm saying often seems neverending. You even listen to what I don't say. My Momma adored(s) you. My Daddy thinks the world of you. My sister spoke of us being married even before we thought we'd be dating.

God has used you in my life in much bigger ways than you've ever imagined. You've always loved me with all you are. You've always been faithful to me. You've always thought of me before yourself. You've always lived out the gospel in my life and those around you. Everyone looks up to you. (Get it? haha....I couldn't resist.)

Though I know you're humble and don't like praise, I can't help but share the joy with everyone that you've given me.

Seven is my favorite number. You are my favorite husband. ;) The two of those together is bomb-a-licious.

Since you have loved me wholly, fiercely, tenderly, and fully...I only hope you'll give me the next SEVENTY years to do the same to you, my love.


I will say, "I love you"....however, that doesn't begin to describe the immensity of what I feel for you.

Here's to seventy more...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In the Face of Despair.

Sometimes life will beat the daylights out of us. I won't go into details, but the past three years have brought despair, loneliness, and hopelessness to my family's doorstep. Had someone told me years ago the things I would endure, I would simply say, "IMPOSSIBLE!". I would NOT believe it. It's too much to bear. I've seen my husband carry burdens that should not have been placed on him. I've seen my Daddy go through things no man should endure. I have seen many friends close to me live through tragedies that are horrible. I have seen many dark places myself. People have mentioned to me before that seeing the "positive" side of things will make it all better!!! However, sometimes in life, my friends...the positive side is a million miles away. Been there? Please tell me I'm not alone in this thing called life...

For so long I've beat myself up about feeling the way I do. I feel horrible at times for grieving. I feel guilty for hurting. I feel horrible because I've been told to "make lemonade" when life gives me these lemons!! But what about when I'm not getting lemons? What if I'm getting only silence? What if I'm getting darkness?? THEN WHAT?!? I learned such an important message of hope one day recently from a man who has a tendency to see things a little differently than most people. It was as if this message he was preaching to a large group of people was solely intended for my heart. I needed it. It has freed me. It has given me hope.

He said that maybe my faith and hope are stronger than I think. Maybe the mere fact that I still cry out to God shows the depth of my faith and hope in Him....because even through all the sorrow....I STILL choose to cry out to Him, to go to Him, to pray to Him, to hope in Him, that He will change things.

That. Changed. Me.

So I've come to a very big conclusion. I can't look at the despair, sorrow, loneliness, and emptiness surrounding me and NOT see God. I can't look at the hurting ones around me and NOT see God. He is here. I have to believe that...no, I GET to believe that. One of the biggest themes throughout the Bible is HOPE. The story of Irael=hope. The story of Job=hope. The story of Abraham and Sarah=hope. The story of Isaac and Rebekah=hope. The story of Joseph=hope. The story of creation=hope. The story of Noah=hope. The story of Jesus=HOPE.

Pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?

I can't, in any way, look at these stories, my stories, your stories....and NOT see hope. The thing that sticks out to me, though, is that in order to grasp the great hope we have in Him.....we DO need to see the very serious and sorrowful things that happen in our lives. Without the cross there was no Resurrection, right?

So I do. I look around, and I hurt. I wail some moments. I can't even find the words to describe the hurt some days. I wonder what the future holds in so many aspects. I wonder if this life will indeed bring some good news to my family. I bank on the fact that my tears WILL sow a harvest of joyful shouting! (Psalm 126:5)And I do all of this....and STILL hope. Because I believe that is what makes our faith so great. We have the audacity to look around, to see death, poverty, sorrow, and despair, and claim HOPE in the face of it. We GET to do that.

I think Job did it. Even when his "friends" found every reason to tell him he MUST have done something to anger God, he held out hope. He despaired, yet hoped. Through the many days and days and DAYS of hearing NOTHING from God, he still cried out to Him. When he heard nothing but silence, he STILL cried out to Him. He didn't give up that hope of knowing that something had to give eventually.

In Matthew 15, the woman mentioned in verses 21-28 asked for healing persistently, three times before Jesus answered. Perhaps her perseverance had something to do with it??? Maybe.

I guess I just wanted to share this story because isn't that what life is all about....our stories? This is a tiny part of my story.
Hope in the face of despair.
I will still hope.
I can't help but do it, even though many times throughout life I have many reasons to despair....I hope all the more. Easter is always just around the corner.

"Out of the ashes of hopelessness comes the fire of our hope." -Anne Wilson Schaef-

"At the bottom of the well, one can look up and see the sky." -Martha Whitmore Hickman-

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God hs been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." -Romans 5:3-5-

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." -John 16:33-

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;" -I Peter 1:6-7-

P.S. I bet you can probably guess who that man was that helped me cling to hope in the midst of despair.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An End to Grief?

I've been very open with my grief. Some would say that is foolish...others may be indifferent. I admit I have even felt those feelings. I wonder sometimes if what I share regarding my grief makes a difference.....and lately I've been thinking.

It does make a difference.......for me, at least.

I can't speak for anybody else. I can only tell my own story, and I believe wholeheartedly that healing comes out of sharing life with one another...and part of life IS grief. That is why I share my journey. That is why I think it's important to share my grief. So for you who do read, thank you.


Grief is a burden. It is a burden that, as I've mentioned many times, we canNOT carry alone. We need God....we need one another. I am no expert....but I do think I can speak about some things I see that are wrong with how the world handles (or does NOT handle) grief. One big issue I've noticed, while looking through book after book, title after title, is that there is one GREAT assumption we have.....there is this false belief that grief will eventually END.

My response to that is simple:

Does love end?
If grief ends, then what of our faith??
Do we not still grieve at the loss of our Saviour on a tree?

WHY did we ever get to a point of thinking we're "strong enough" to be over grieving the great loves that God has given us? HOW DARE WE discount the relationships that He has blessed us with??!!?!

I am not saying that there is never a time for laughter, joy, happiness after losing a loved one. (Ask my husband and my friends.....I laugh all the time....very loudly, mind you.) But I am saying that this idea that we are not "recovering well" if we still express feelings of grief is SHALLOW. I share these things because if you've ever grieved, I'd be willing to bet that you've been told things that make you feel as if you need to "get over it". (If you haven't, I envy you.)

There is something to be said for wallowing in self-pity. However, I cringe at the thought that I've been told I've been doing the same in grieving my Momma. I am EVER SO THANKFUL for a God who's picked up the pieces of my heart that have been stomped on during my grief. As if grieving the one who birthed me is a sin!! I would never have known His great comforting hand, had I not brought my whole self to Him.....including the grief that will forever weigh heavily upon my heart. I am thankful for those who love deeply enough to go to such a heavy place of grief with me. I only hope I can do the same for others.

I've been thinking about these things, hour after hour, day after day....month after month. I would never be able to live through this, had I not offered myself to Him. Sometimes, it's quite simple to see:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4
**How can we be blessed and comforted if we don't first mourn?**

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
**How can He give us rest if we don't first come to Him?**

"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears." Psalm 18:6
**How can He answer if we refuse to cry out in our distress?**

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19
**How can He bear them if we're trying to carry them on our own?**

"O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and You healed me." Psalm 30:2
**How can healing come if we never cry out?**

"Jesus wept." John 11:35
**If even HE acknowledged hurt and grief, why do we think it's okay for us to ignore them??**

"You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?" Psalm 56:8
**How can He catch our tears....if we never cry them?**

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." *Psalm 126:5-6*
**How can the harvest of joyful shouting happen if we never plant our seeds of tears and grief?**

forgive us for ever thinking that hiding our grief will bring us closer to the truth. Forgive us for ever thinking we are right in holding back our grief. Forgive us for holding others back from their own grief. Help us to know there is room for all of us at the cross....our smiles, our tears, our joys, and our fears. Help us be a people that offer up to You our grief, and carry one another's tears with them.

"Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Importance of Tears.

Many times throughout my life I have cried.
I am a very emotional girl. I used to hate that about myself. I felt out of control, like something was wrong with me. Not only would I cry when I was sad, angry, or mad....but I would cry when I was happy. I still do.
For many reasons, I cry. The difference now is that I see the importance of it...I even see the good in it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about tears. My tears, yours tears. The tears I've shed for family and friends whom I love. The tears shed over life's tragedies. Now, in this part of my life, I am comfortable in my tears.

At this time.
On this hour.
I am thankful for a God who hears my cries.

I am thankful for a God who hurts with me.

I am thankful for a God who carries my burdens.

I am thankful for a God who catches my tears, when I feel so utterly alone in a world full of grief and hurting.

"O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and You healed me." Psalm 30:2

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah." Psalm 68:19

"You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?" Psalm 56:8

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pictures of God Amidst the Pain.

I have a confession, I used to have all these ideas about God, the pictures I painted of Him were beautiful. They were mighty, strong, He was probably carrying an American flag. He voted a certain way. He shared my beliefs regarding well...everything. He had a very good paying job. He had a savings account. He, though a male in my pictures, looked an awful lot like a mirror of myself.

How my pictures have fallen.

I'll spare you the story of the past three years of my life. A handful of those close to me know the big things. Even then...I'm quite sure nobody aside from God and my husband know everything of the true heartache and sorrow that has gripped my very soul over the past several years. To say I feel as if I've been alone in a desert is an extreme understatement. There are times I look around....at myself, my family, my loved ones...and I have wondered WHERE IS GOD??? Why are they suffering? Why are we suffering?

Ever been there?

If He is God....why won't He step in and do something? (I believe with my whole heart that even today...He does. And I also believe that often He calls His children to step in....and sometimes, they DO!! They BECOME His hands and feet. On the flipside, there are those times they/we choose to do nothing...which echoes out into the world around us.)

I've learned that my pictures of Him are severely wrong because of just that.....they are PICTURES. HE is more than just a picture. More than an idea. More than any doctrine. He is more than a political party. More than a denomination. More than any gender or race. More than age. More than time....more than space. Try as I may, I will never be able to describe Him in His "God-ness". I have learned THAT is the beauty of Him.

I have found comfort and hope in my own grief and suffering. Not in ignoring the pain-absolutely not! Only THROUGH the pain can I recognize my weakness. Through the grief I recognize my limits as a human being. Through the tears I see my neediness.

In my tears, I see Him. I know He is all around...even though the pain lingers.

My pictures are no longer "pictures".....

He is alive. He is here. He is here not only in the beautiful things....but He is here with the brokenhearted. I dare say He MAY be a bit closer to the ones who hurt.

My pictures are now speaking, living, loving...they are animated. And not only that, they are here...amidst the suffering.

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." *Psalm 126:5-6*

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hope in Falling Apart.

So much is happening in and around me. I know people hurt for so many reasons...and something I've learned throughout my walk is that putting a happy face on a tragedy WILL NOT fix it. So, this is for those of you hurting...for whatever reason. If you're hurting, grieving, mourning, angry, lonely, feel abandoned...I hope this is encouraging.

I've been thinking about the relevance of tears. There's good in them...so often we try to hide them, and are afraid to cry for ourselves or for one another. I find comfort in reading "Jesus wept". He didn't ignore hurting hearts...neither should we.

















J.N.S. January 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I know, I know. I can't help but think that some people roll their eyes as I constantly talk about how much I ADORE my husband, our family, and our marriage. But....I can't help but do just that. So on the one hand, I feel compelled to say, "I'm sorry".....because I DO know there are those who aren't married and wish they were, who have gone through a bad marriage, are in a bad marriage, and I know hearts have been broken. There are those like my wonderful Daddy, who has lost his one love. This is nothing to ignore. Many of you I'm speaking straight to, and I am sorry. Trust me, my heart is heavy for you, and if I know of your pain, there have been tears shed out of my own eyes.

However, I have to share this. To me, it's too good NOT to share.

You see, there are times in life that one looks hell straight in the face. There are times when tragedy comes, and those who know me know our story. These times will continue on throughout life. If you're lucky, maybe they won't come your way. But if you're like most people, sometimes life will beat. the. heckfire. out of you. It is in those times that I have become even MORE thankful for this birthday boy that I'm talking about.

You see, Jesus said, "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This speaks to me. In a world where people hurt. In a world where babies starve. In a world so full of hatred. In a world of broken homes, abusive spouses, hateful words.....HIS Kingdom is at hand.

For me, there have been many times in my life that I have been certain of this, because I have experienced it. In my marriage. In giving birth to our son. In sweet friendships I have been blessed with. In my Momma, Daddy, my sweet sister.

I look back on the past two years...much more have I carried besides the burden of losing my Momma. Much more have I endured. Much more have I cried about, ached about, been depressed about.

And this man, this very, (VERY), tall man that God gave to share this life with me has been here by my side through it all. He has been a reminder to me of the VERY real presence of God. Just in being himself, in loving me day in and day out with his very life. In hurting with me, mourning with me, and yes, even arguing with me because there was that ONE time I was wrong..... ;) Just in showing me true love, loyal love, REAL love, God has used this man to remind me of His very presence. My husband's love for God, for the wonderful humanity He created....it is beautiful. He loves with his whole self. I admire that. Through him, I am reminded that though I may go through hell many times throughout life...God has given him to me. I have seen glimpses of Heaven because of my husband. And I just had to share that.

Darryl James, my love, my husband....HAPPY BIRTHDAY. You are wonderful and I am honoured to be the one you choose to love everyday.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


There has to be a better way
Than what we’re seeing now
There has to be a better route
Than letting hatred and exclusion abound.

We’re saying we’re pro-life, save
All the babies, keep them alive!
Yet we hate others with our very words…
Dehumanizing through our strife.

It’s as if we only want to treat
Life sacred while it’s in the womb…
But once someone is breathing
It’s okay to send them to a tomb.

Indeed, humanity is lovely…
From beginning to the end…
What if we treated each other with honour,
Just as we’re told to do by Him?!

We act like it’s okay to tear someone down
When they don’t agree with us…
Because people will come to know Him
The more we shout and scream and cuss!

The more we shout, the louder we’ll be!
What a great way to spread the love.
What a great way to let people know
Of a God that looks down from above.

As if He’s not here, he’s off in the distance
Unattached from us and looking down…
What if we lived as He said to live,
As if His Kingdom were all around?

Yet we still sit back and judge other’s actions-
As if its our duty to measure the heart.
But, when it’s us needing help--
We cry for forgiveness and grace from the start.

We like to say, “God is love!”
And that’s the business we’re in!
Yet we can’t even be faithful and love one another,
And even backstab ones we call “friends”.

Instead of being known as oppressors,
When will we stop the oppressing that’s being done?
When will we be known for the love
That’s supposed to bring others to the One?

When will we stop being busy
Gossiping about other people’s days…
And get down on our knees instead
Praying we can all understand His grace?

I long for a day when His church
Will be known for what they adore,
For showing love and grace-
Rather than the hatred many of us are known for.

I long for the day that we’ll be known
For embracing every person, and showing grace-
Instead of drawing lines in the Kingdom,
Whether it’s because of opinions or one’s race.

When can we sit back and realize that
His table is open to us all?
If He’s given someone breath, then they’re human…
Everyone’s invited to hear His call.

Jessica Nicole Schafer