Out Of The Sorrow

   I have had so many people ask, how does a Christian’s faith stay so strong in the face of loss?

  Right away, I had to think of our friends, whose precious 20-year-old daughter, died in a car wreck recently.  They KNOW they will see her again, with joy and confidence!  With tears in their eyes, and smiles on their faces, they will tell you so with complete certainty.

  They are pictured below on the right.  We so appreciate them coming to not only the funeral, but the grave service of the memorial service of Papa. It was so hard, and so fresh for them, just a month out.
Ally’s gravestone is right next to our Papa’s…..I find that comforting somehow, even though I know those bodies are empty shells.  They are HOME already!

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   So the service is over, we cleaned out his house this weekend, we have a stack of bills and paperwork to sort through, and life is marching on.

 But it’s just not the same, because there are 3 sons and a daughter, 6 grandkids, and a daughter in law, who miss their Grandpa, Papa and Dad…..

Every. Moment. Of. Every. Day.

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How does life go on?

  Let me let you in on the secret……

It’s Jesus.

Plain and simple.

  It’s hard to fathom for those who don’t know Him personally.  It’s super natural, it’s not of this Earth, our minds can’t handle it.  We can’t wrap our minds around an Eternity in Paradise, in a place with no sorrow and no pain, FOREVER with those we love.
Only ONE way to Heaven, and the ticket is Jesus Christ and what He did on that cross. The Bible says in that it is NOT by works, lest any man should boast.  

  Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast.”

Wow.  What a gift!

  The Father always uses our darkest times in our lives, to make Himself known in the most powerful, undeniable ways.  Papa’s last days on Earth were no exception.

I am reminded of the Hymn we sang yesterday at his church; the church Dale and his siblings grew up in…..

 It Is Well  

Have you heard the story behind this heart grabbing hymn?

  A man name Horatio, a wealthy lawyer with a thriving practice, beautiful family; wife, 4 daughters and a son…devout Christian, successful businessmen.  At the height of their success, they lost their young son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed all of the family real estate investments.

  Shortly after, this weary family decided to vacation in Europe to take some time to recover from these losses.  Due to a business delay, Horatio sent his wife and 4 daughters on without him, promising to join them in just a few days.

  Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.  With a heavy heart, he boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on those very seas, close to the accident site, he penned the words to this famous hymn.  It is well in my soul….

Please take a moment to watch?

  Dale’s oldest brother, Kevin, told us he would be going to Papa’s church on Sunday to say something to them from the stage.

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  We didn’t ask questions, just quickly made arrangements to be there and support him.

Here is what he had to say from the pulpit of that church:

“In the final weeks of my father’s life, I felt the Hand of God through the overwhelming flood of love, and support pouring out from my family, and this wonderful group of believers.

  It made me realize I was trying to struggle through this life on Earth alone.  I have spent the last 20 years withdrawing from God, family and from friends.

  When I pulled my Bible out last week, it had a pretty heavy layer of dust on it.  I wiped it off and immediately turned to the 23rd Psalm. {Papa’s favorite}
The Lord IS my Shepherd…..  
And now I am open to his guidance.

  I am up here today, to give thanks.  I want to thank you for the love, support and delicious meals you provided my Dad, and my family.

  I want to thank Frieda for the warm invitation to return to this family.  And John Yoder for the same, his exact words were, “Don’t be a stranger.”

  I would like to thank Dale and Tonya for being there for Dad every step of the way, in his fight with cancer.  And for giving me my Bible that will not collect dust again.

  Finally, I would like to thank my dad, for leading by example my entire life.  And at the end of his, showing me what was missing from mine.
  
  Now, I want to cherish every moment I have with the loving family I was blessed to be given.  And I want to have a personal relationship with Jesus, starting with returning to this incredible House of God, that still feels like home.”

  What an honor to sit there and watch this transformed man on stage.  To hear the amen and applause from the church body, as he stood up before a crowd of witnesses, and gave a profession of faith.

  That, my friends, is the power of Jesus Christ, working through a church that is dedicated to being the hands and feet of Jesus.  The lost lamb has returned to the flock, praise Jesus!  There is great rejoicing in Heaven!!!!!

 I know Papa is so, so proud of Kevin, and so pleased that in the face of his death, new life in Christ was born.

And in the words of the famous hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Out of the sorrow, is birthed new life, new hope, new surrender.

And all else set aside……

  It is well, it is well with my soul.

Thank you, Father, for never leaving or forsaking us!

~T

 

{Embrace} Infidelity: A Guest Post At Marathon Mom

  Writing from my heart at Marathon Mom today, our monthly theme was Embrace.

The hardest thing I have had to “Embrace”?

Infidelity.

Not just embrace it, but accept into my arms as a part of my love story.  Not just to survive it, but thrive in SPITE of it.

  I will never stop talking about what God did in my marriage. 

  People hate that.  They do.  They think it means I haven’t moved on.  That I haven’t forgiven Dale.  That I keep running back to the past and throwing it in his face.

No. 

  If you think that is my purpose of talking about our story, then you are totally missing the point.

Talking about our struggles only points the way to a God who uses our brokenness.  

To stop talking, is to stop pointing a hurting world, to HIM. 

Do you know the triumph of coming face to face with the devil, and instead of cowering, spitting in that stupid jerks face?

  Do you see the beauty of kicking aside the heap of rubble, of a dream he destroyed, and finding a still firm foundation of Christ Jesus underneath it all?

  Do you know the Victory of defeating a plan the devil himself dreamed up to end your marriage and destroy your family?

I do.

You better believe I was shaking in my boots.  That my fight or flight reaction screamed, “FLIGHT, FLIGHT! Run away, start over, lick your wounds in the darkness, no one can know this awful truth…..”

I am proud to say we made it.  That FIGHT won out over flight.

And now?

Is that it is our privilege and honor to shout to the World:

With Christ we cannot be defeated!!!!!!

    We wear our story, our “War Wounds”, our marriage limp, as a badge of honor.
A symbol of Victory, glimmering and shining for all the World to see that in Christ, all things are possible.

  “Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Rick Warren

Come see me!

 ~T

Your most effective ministry, 4 little fergusons (2)

“Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
Rick Warren

There Is A Hospital Bed In My Living Room…

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  There is a walker, a commode, and a wheelchair sitting in my living room.  And I am not sure how I feel about it.   Actually, I do….   I am TERRIFIED for the day we have to use … Continue reading