Still trying to find my voice on this blog, I’m searching for ways to share what I know, where I learned it and how it helped me. Thinking, it is one of the things, I’m suppose to be doing.
There is a passage of scripture that has stuck with me about who to watch and how to walk. It wasn’t one that I was familiar with until I was aware that I needed to learn how to live all over again. What once was, was no more. Samantha was gone and I had to go on.
By God’s grace, I was introduced to a beautiful soul in my own community that had suffered the loss of 2 children. Unbeknownest to her, their first son would be born with a genetic disorder; for the second son, she knew early in utero that he would be born with the same circumstances’ which had the same result. With 2 sons in Heaven, she stood before me, beautiful, bold, tender, compassionate and Christ-like. We were at a birthday party and she was actually in a celebratory mood. Me, not so much, it was too early in the process. Nonetheless, I took note of her smiles and lighthearted nature. She spoke to me, sharing her story. Telling me she had watched and learned from others that had walked through the fire. Stressing the importance that she do the same for me. Citing Jeremiah 31:21 as her eternal instructions to do so.
Set-up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take.”
Reading is a tool I have in my “trauma” toolbox. Many, many personal stories sit upon my bookshelf. The authors write about their unique circumstances. However, the stories are similar because of the “pain”component; loss, tragedy, sadness, sickness, grief, death, divorce. Those aren’t the reasons I chose to let their lives enter mine. Trust me, I had enough of that in my own home. What was causing their strife was not what attracted me. Instead, and more importantly it was their hope and healing that I longed for. I knew I wanted to get better, had to get better. Knowing, I needed help to get there. While I was reading, I was working. I gleaned information on how these families handled their loss and what happened along the way. How they responded in certain situations and reacted when they were asked questions. What they thought and where they placed their trust. Looking forward, how they would live and what would be important. At that time in my life, the families in the books were my personal friends. Those were the people I was sharing similar emotions and experiences with. All of us grasping everlasting promises to enable us continue on. Honestly, by exposing their experiences, they placed their guideposts for me to see.
I know the same set of biblical instructions apply to me. Show and share with others what has been given to me. Liz’s Library will allow me to remember and recall what I learned, from what I read. I imagine each entry to be a book report of sort; outlining the circumstances of other’s stories but, more importantly what I learned from as I read and walked through the fire with them.
Following in their footsteps, I pray I will end up on the other side, just as they did. Able to talk and teach about the fire I walked through. I’m working on that, not quite having arrived where I’m can see “in full” what that will look like or be. As of yet, His complete plan for JustDoToday.org hasn’t been revealed to me. Each day I wrangle, wondering what I’m to do next. Shame on me, I know all I need to do is rest and watch where He leads me. In the meantime, what I can do is pass on what I have read and how it has touched me. Furthering my own progress to peace. As well, following the eternal instructions given to me.
When Your World Falls Apart ~ Seeing Past the Pain of the Present
by Dr. David Jeremiah
Drawing on his insightful sermon series, renowned pastor/teacher David Jeremiah shares the comfort and hope of the Psalms and how these truths can guide believers through life’s greatest challenges. He includes inspiring real-life stories of people who have struggled with terminal illness, the loss of a child, or the imprisonment of a spouse. Jeremiah interweaves his own journal entries, revealing his battle with cancer and how the Psalms helped to sustain him during the fight of his life. When Your World Falls Apart is an invaluable source of help and encouragement for people facing major obstacles in life.
This was one of the very first books that I read after the accident. The title, “When Your World Falls Apart” caught my attention. A book title exactly explaining my life. The subtitle, “Seeing Past the Pain” gave me hope for the future. I believe I ran out of ink having underlined so much. When I was finished, I remember thinking this is the goal of my thinking. Honestly, my thoughts weren’t there yet but, I was being taught where they should be. Peace was the prize. David Jeremiah laid before me how to label the struggle that comes with suffering and who I could become if I allowed myself to see my story with a heavenly perspective. Some of his thoughts that captured mine:
“His hand gathered me up through the Scriptures and pulled me into His powerful embrace. In the late-night loneliness and lack of sound mind, i found blessed hope.”
“Trials put us in place for that to happen. They are for our benefit, as unwelcome as they are at the time. They make us better men and woman, which makes us more influential men and women who can make a difference for God’s purposes. When you have walked through the fire, people begin to listen to you. When you have the wisdom borne of suffering, you begin to have the tools to accomplish something in the world.
I have let earthly comforts fail you, that, by turning to me, you may obtain everlasting consolation (Thessalonians 2:16, 17)
Depth and wisdom can only come from shadowy valley of tears, sickness, loss, disappointment and broken dreams.
But we are stubborn creatures who struggle to learn. And we learn the least when the sun is shining and when the winds are crisp and life feels good. Peace and prosperity have never provided effective classrooms. Crisis and catastrophe, on the other hand, offer master’s degrees. By the way, that accreditation makes you a Master of Disaster.
“When we begin to praise God, not in response to prosperity but in defiance of misfortune, we align ourselves with the deepest truths of the universe, the place where God dispenses deep wisdom and spiritual maturity. We unleash His victorious power in the world of pain and suffering. We create environments where miracles occur.”
“As terrible as the time was, it was also filled with irrefutable evidence of the presence and grace of God.”
“If a candid journal can be a healthy thing, how much more can an honest prayerful expression be, when we bring our concerns before the Lord?”
“A devoted believer will pray for God’s deliverance from problems, but a wiser one will pray for God’s use of them.”
“The Lord reminds us that the mind is a powerful element in our armory-both weapon and shield. Our thought patterns are crucial in the midst of our difficulties. In the spiritual realm, we must go into battle with our thoughts fixated on Him.”
“Never forget that He has offered us a storehouse of guidance in the field of adversity. We have the answers for how God’s people can face heir trials with courage, faith and hope. That storehouse can be found between the covers of your Bible.”
I could list so many more lines. But, I will stop. So, that others will read the words on their own. Allowing their thoughts and hearts to be healed by the signposts and guideposts laid out before us by others.
Thank you, Dr. David Jeremiah