So this final week of Advent, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was very eventful. I was indeed “running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” but, having said that, I still managed to get my “runs” in a number of times this week. I rejoice that I was able to run 5 miles on Sunday, run/walk 3 ½ miles on Tuesday, and run 5 more miles on Thursday.
Running was very therapeutic, as my week was a roller coaster ride of emotions with a number of former students celebrating the birth of their babies; I bumped into another former student who I haven’t seen in years, my car broke down…again, we baptized and welcomed another baby into the family of God, our organist who has been out since April was finally back and literally blew the cobwebs out of the organ pipes as we rejoiced and celebrated “Christ, the newborn King,” (It was beyond awesome), and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas day with friends. Unfortunately this was all overshadowed by beginning and ending the week alongside a large family, whom I dearly love, who suddenly had to say goodbye to the patriarch of their family. He was just fifty-six years old. Observing the tears fall and the family grieve was painful and difficult. My heart aches for them and their journey ahead. There are no words that will be able to take away their hurt, however, I continue to hug them, pray for them often, and will look to God’s Words to bring comfort and hope.
Photo borrowed “Travel Tears” from smartmeetings.com
The verse that brings me the most hope during difficult times is Isaiah 40:11. It is my favorite verse! “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” If you know me and my family at all we are HUGGERS! I believe there is nothing more intimate and wonderful than a real hug (none of that “side hug” stuff) and this verse reminds me that God is our Shepherd who gathers us, his precious little lambs, close to his heart. I am reminded how shepherds would gather up the sheep who were broken and unable to He embraces us daily! The visual of that is something that always brings me comfort and I pray that it will bring reassurance to you and yours as well.
Here are a few more Bible passages that bring hope in times of grief and loss.
Job 19:25 – “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 – “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
John 14:1-4 – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Finally, I offer a few words of wisdom that I have grasped this week:
1. Celebrate the gifts that God has given us…especially the little things!
2. Focus on the good, rather than always lamenting about the tough times.
3. Make the most of every single day.
4. Tell your loved ones “I love you” as often as possible.
5. Spend as much time with your family and friends as you can.
6. Don’t under value anything (ie: “don’t take anything for granted”).
7. Hug each other often.
8. Write down your memories in a diary, journal or notebook.
9. God is in control and will guide you through life, every step of the way, especially during the rough times.
10. You may never know just how many people your life has touched. People regard you! Always be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth” as you were created to be.
Matthew 5:13-16 – 13
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”