In those frantic days between good health and the rapid advance of a brain tumor that took the life of my husband, I found the inner strength I needed to deal with our crisis within the book of Psalms.
The psalmist spoke the words my heart was experiencing. He articulated my pain, tears, and cries for help, both before death and later, as I grieved my loss.
In my book, A Love So Great, A Grief So Deep, I shared my story and described hope as a “double-edged sword.” Others shared stories of loved ones who survived, and I was stirred to believe my prayers, too, would be answered and my husband would survive, even though deep down, I could not ignore the symptoms before me.
We stopped trying to live the perfect life.
Would we become real?
We stopped pretending we had it all together.
Would we fall apart, or would we finally recognize our need for help?
We saw the Ten Commandments as a gift from a loving Father trying to teach us how to live non-destructive lives.
Would we use more of them?
Once again I gather my cup of coffee, Bible and journal and step out onto my deck brimming with potted plants. The orange and yellow nasturtiums along with green vines and shrubs create a privacy screen, a secret garden. This is my oasis, a place of solitude and quiet where I come to find renewal.
The sounds of the bubbling water fountain soothe my heart and bruised spirit. The questions about an uncertain future melt away like the early morning mists and I feel strength and confidence returning.
Psalm 18 begins: “I love you, God – you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God – the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.” (The Message)
When everything around us seems to be crashing and we think nothing else could possibly happen, it invariably does.
Problems have a domino effect. One problem creates another and so on. At such times, we reach out to friends for help and support and turn to God for encouragement and hope.
Difficult times compel us to stop and make an assessment of where we are in life.
- Are we achieving the ambitions and aspirations we had?
- Are our goals and plans to achieve stated in such a way that even when faced with unexpected obstacles, we have a clear direction on how to get there?
Such an evaluation can enlarge our vision. We may need to abandon unclear goals and replace them with new, more coherent, or articulate ones.
At these crossroads, we are given the opportunity to clarify what is really important to us so we can step out with a new purpose and ending in mind.
Christmas: a shining star – a break from the tedious schedules in which we find ourselves. A time to gather and connect with friends and family.
But Christmas is more than a nice diversion – a blip on the radar screen of our hectic lives.
- For a moment in time we escaped drudgery, pressures, anxiety, and uncertainties.
- For a moment in time we humbly knelt before the Christ Child whose birthday we celebrate.
- For a moment in time we laid down our heavy burdens of doubt and fear and unanswered questions and savored the blessings of Christmas.