There are seasons of trials in life and seasons of blessings. When the seasons of trials come, we must be willing to reflect on the wonderous blessings of seasons past and hold tight to the promises they bring.
This week my sister and family came to visit. Her love was amazing; tender, patient, kind, and self-sacrificing. Her actions were the epitome of unconditional love. I was totally unable to give to her like she did me. She cooked food, listened, gave generously, sacrificed and was patient with all my limitations. Her grace was abounding and so was her husbands. They asked for nothing in return. It was amazing.
There is something special about the love Amy and I share. It’s beauty is ever-changing, growing, and developing. Like the sunrise and sunset, it is never exactly the same, but it’s colors fill my heart with hope and reminds me of all that is good and lovely. I am grateful she was here and see her visit as a gift from the Lord.
It was so healing to have her here even though most of the time I had to be away in my room because the noise of the kids was overwhelming and painful. Her presence, and the joyful interactions of the cousins, my parents, Phillip and I shared with her and Jon, brought enduring joy to my heart. Knowing their hearts are intrinsically linked with ours; believing they are with us through the good and the bad, and experiencing their love in tangible and intangible ways brought hope to our whole family. Authentic love, is a wonderful thing.
Just as Amy was leaving town, I received an email from one of my doctors in Denver that was rather devastating. She explained the device we hoped would help with my hearing is no longer the best option for me. First, our insurance cannot be billed for it. Second, since it is music based and it appears music is triggering seizures, it potentially could cause more harm than good. While there are other options, none bring the hope or promise that the original device did.
After reading her email I came to my room, laid in bed and began to sob. I can’t imagine the rest of my life being lived out in isolation, constant pain and lacking the fun and excitement of seeing my kids thrive in the real world. Could it be the Lord is going to allow this for the next 40 years of my life? Oh I pray not.
As I cried the pain out and began to settle down, I reflected on my visit with Amy. Our relationship has not always been what it is today. We’ve had to grow into the deep mature love we share now. In our early years, we were polar opposites and didn’t share much in common. As teens, we enjoyed fun together but I think we both held insecurities in our heart and perhaps even some competition. In our early 20’s we hurt each other by judging and lashing out. Our 30’s were years of rebuilding and learning to trust again. Now, finally in our 40’s, we are able to just love and enjoy each other. We deeply care for each other’s families. I love her girls as my own and her husband like the brother I never had. All the history that blew us apart is laid down. We now live for the best of the other and can lean on each other on our darkest days. It is truly an amazing thing when reconcilation opens the door for love to be the foundation of a relationship to flourish and grow!
Amazingly, my relationship with my sister is serving as a counterbalance to the discouragement that is trying to rule the day. The Lord knew that email was coming and brought her and her abounding love to steady me right before a new wave of disappointment was going to hit. What an amazing gift from God.
I think all too often, when difficult times come, we forget to stop and look back at the blessings in our lives. The temptation for me today is to minimize the blessing of Amy and her family and spiral into despair over the news I received. What a critical mistake this would be. When I do this, the discouragement of the day quickly overwhelms and whispers that no one cares and that there is no hope. However, when I pause to take an account of the blessings in my life, the landscape looks much different. Instead of a dark, desolate land that is parched and aching for refreshing waters, I discover regardless of my current situation, I am in lush lands filled with green pastures and still quiet waters.
Yes, there may be a storm I have to walk through, but there is grace for that storm when I am willing pause, remember, and be thankful for the blessings I have. There is refreshing grace and tender mercy when I take the time to remember God’s provisions in my life. This is true for all of us.
My heart and emotions tell me today I am never going to have joy and excitement again. They tell me there is no hope, no peace, no way out of this painful mess. However, my recent history of grace and love with Amy and Jon tells a very different story. It tells me there is a God in Heaven who uses people to shine his grace, mercy, hope, passion, direction and peace. It tells me that if I pause and remember the blessings, the darkness of the day can be penetrated by the light of his truth and love. It brings hope where there is hopelessness and a way out from under discouragement that wants to overtake me.
I have no idea of how the Lord is going to write the chapters of my life. Right now they seem filled with pain, disappointment and limitations galore. Yet, I know as he writes the chapters, he brings grace and mercy into every situation. It is not my role to judge how he writes each chapter of my life. Rather, my role is to let him write them and trust He will provide all the grace and mercy I need through my best AND WORST days.
Consider with me the parable in Luke 15:8-10. Jesus said, “… a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”
I believe every time we choose to pause in the face of disappointment and look at the Lord’s enduring blessings and choose to trust him despite our current circumstances, (searching with diligence for the lost coin) we will not be disappointed. When we turn to God, His grace is poured out, strength returns and in Heaven there is a huge party because one who was lost in depair returns to the hope and joy that can only be found in trusting God.
I have no idea of how on earth I am going to learn how to live life with the limitations I have. I have no idea. I am perplexed, confused, disappointed and teetering on hopelessness. This is one of those days where all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and trust God to give me the strength I need to endure to the end. It is a day where reflecting on God’s blessings of Amy, Jon and so may others gives me hope and reminds me of His faithfulness. In doing so, I turn my life back into His loving hands believing He is good even when the turns in the road hurt.
May we all learn to trust him. May we all become disciplined in remembering not only his promises but also his faithfulness and blessings. May we all seek him when the storms come racing our ways knowing, by doing so, He will provide all we need to make it through to the other side.
Thank you for your love and prayers. I need them so much and I am thankful beyond words you are part of my life.