The Art of Public Grieving

I struggled slightly with this post, going back and forth with choosing a title that would clarify the topic but not be offensive and even trying to write about something different. It just wouldn't happen so I chose to stay on the topic of grieving.

My husband's grandmother passed away two days ago and our family is fresh in the stages of grief for our loss. You must understand that grief is not new for this family as they have lost a a baby sister, a mother, all four grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and numerous close friends over the years of pastoring. When I first came into the family I was overwhelmed by the loss that they had already encountered at such young ages and stepped into married life just in time to walk with my husband through the loss of his mother. Grief is a very personal thing unique to each person in its affect but I must say that a pastor's family must learn to handle it carefully.

Families look to the pastor to help them through their own times of grief but who is there when its the pastor's family that has lost? Who comforts those who mourn in the pastor's house? I have watched from the side as my own family has grieved quietly at home and put on a brave public face. Their heads raised, their eyes still moist with tears, their hearts broken beneath the double breasted jackets they wear. The pastor and his family know that they emulate God's hope to the congregation. They know that the words of comfort that they speak to others are words for themselves as well and even as their feet grow weary in bringing the good news to others, it is still that, the Good News.


Great Expectations

Trust and Obey, because there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.

I remember singing that song in Sunday school as a little girl and yet its still such a hard thing to do. At our women's meeting today at church my friend, Deanna, preached on the subject and she was honest enough to admit that she struggles with trusting God too. What is it with us Christians? We can walk out this life of faith with ease giving things up and sacrificing our lives for Him...but do we really trust Him? We give up habits, we choose life and not death, we walk the narrow way, but don't ask me to trust God for all things, please.

Our family has its ups and downs like every family. Sometimes there are questions like what do you want for dinner and sometimes there are questions like what can we have for dinner, you know what I mean? Can I trust that God will supply all my needs, not just those things that are fluffy? He's providing when its a new dress and He's providing when its paying my bills on time. He's providing when I don't know how its all gonna work out and when it feels like life is on cruise control.

Trusting God is a difficult think to do, not because He's an untrustworthy God, but because I may not be completely happy with the turn out of the situation. Sometimes I'm disappointed because my expectations are not met. That's where the problem lies, in my expectations. God is not compelled by my expectations for Him, I should be compelled by His expectations for me. He sees so much further and deeper and beyond anything I can even imagine for my life. So why not trust the control of it to Him?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.


No More Questions, Please

Why me, why us, why now, why not? Life is a questionable affair. I ask lots of questions, partly because I want to do things correctly, and partly because I want to know what I'm doing, where I'm going. When we were kids, my parents would often load us up in the car and start driving, not telling us where our destination was. My sister and I would pester them with questions, only to have them reply that it was a surprise. Because we knew our surroundings we could usually figure it out before we got there. I was never disappointed. I loved that little game.

Now as an adult, I ask the same things of my heavenly Father. But the difference is that I'm not familiar with this road, and I haven't seen these surroundings before and I'm just a little scared because I've learned that I'm not always happy with the momentary destination. This is not a nice country drive or pleasure cruise. Life happens, there are circumstances beyond my control, I am full of questions.
Job 42:1-5
Job answered God: "I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, 'who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?' I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, 'Listen , and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give me the answers.'" 


It Only Looks Easy

I know I wrote a few weeks ago about the perils of getting older. I'm still thinking along these lines and bear with me but I've come to a conclusion. Life doesn't get easier as you get older, the scenery just changes. I always thought that I'd hit a point where life would be an even keel, coasting along, Sunday afternoon drive kind of scenario. Nope, nada, wrong! Relationships keep you on your toes no matter what year you were born in. People still hurt your feelings and you put your foot in your mouth just as easily at 35 as at 15. Kids come to you as screaming demanding little bundles of joy and grow up to keep you awake at night just like they did as babies. My love for my children has grown, my love for my husband and family and friends has matured. However, I still mess up and hurt them. There are times I feel alone in a crowded room and being left out still stings. So with all that said and the end goal moving in focus from being some pie in the sky perfection, I think I can sit back and embrace this ever changing chameleon that I call my life. Carpe diem, you only live once, so live well.
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