Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas Gift of Grief

Christmas has a way of stirring up all kinds of emotions in us. My Christmas dinner table has two empty places this year. Maybe you're missing someone too. In light of that I want to re-share this post from several years ago...

As I woke up this morning, I had a picture in my head of grief being like a gift. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. It’s a gift that no one really wants, but we all receive at some point in life. Some of us receive it earlier in life. Some receive it more often. But if you ever love anyone, chances are, you will receive the gift of grief somewhere along the way.

My grief if wrapped up in a beautiful box. Early in my grief journey, I carried it with me everywhere I went. It was heavy and it consumed every moment of every day. It invaded every decision, every action, every move I made. I couldn’t escape it. I couldn’t go into Wal-Mart without carrying this giant gift with me.

As time went by, I was able to leave my gift at home more often. It was still there. It was still mine, but I didn’t have to carry it with me everywhere I went. Now, almost seven years after my daughter’s death, it’s like I keep my gift on a shelf. Every now and then, especially on holidays, birthdays, and what would have been milestones in her life, I take my gift down off the shelf. I open it up and take out my grief. I hold it in my hands, turning it over and over. I feel the weight of it, the hardness of it. I know this sounds crazy, but I also admire its beauty. I cry a little—sometimes a lot. I blog about it some, but not as often as I used to. But then, I put my grief back in that box. I tie the beautiful bow around it, and I gently place it back on the shelf.

Then I go on with life. Seven years ago, I never would have believed that I could go on with life without my daughter. But here I am, functioning, parenting again, serving, living. And my gift of grief remains… until the next time I take it down off the shelf. My grief has changed my life, but it no longer consumes my life. Because of this gift, I have found a Hope that I otherwise would never have known… a true Unswerving Hope.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mary's Magnificat

I find it so interesting that Mary has just learned that she will give birth to the Savior of the World, and she doesn't have a laundry list of prayer requests for God. She must have had so many questions, so many fears. Her very life would be in danger for being pregnant out of wedlock.

"Lord, help Joseph to understand!" "God explain this to my parents and help them not to be mad at me!" "Lord, please don't let them stone me!" "Father, I am going to be raising the Savior of the World, please help me!"

But Mary's focus was not on herself. She asked for nothing. She wasn't worrying about what everyone else would think of her. She was willing to be scorned and misunderstood because she knew the truth. She didn't know the future... I'm sure there was much she didn't understand. She only knew that she served a magnificent God and she was willing to do whatever it took for Him to accomplish His plan.

Amazing. Oh, what we can learn from Mary.