During one of the darkest seasons of life a couple of years ago, I needed to find spiritual whitespace. One way to do so, was to try and remember what used to bring me joy. Nature. Solitude in nature has been a thread throughout my life. Finding that place of God’s beautiful creation helps me find Him again.
The cold of winter still chilled the mornings, so I bundled up for a walk around my neighborhood. Without the distraction of dog or child, I walked. And then, I saw it. Peeking through the dead leaves and brown dirt… a tiny green leaf. My first sign of Spring! I pulled out my camera phone and began to capture any small signs of Spring as I walked.
This Spring, I find myself in a more hopeful place, but still with sorrow and joy residing together.
The last year has brought about so many unimaginable, and even miraculous, joys! I met and married a man who captured my heart through his passion for life, compassion for the broken, and deep commitment to Christ. Chris’s first wife passed away after a nine year battle with breast cancer. Because of her life… and death, I have the honor of mothering three beautiful children. While at my grandmother’s memorial service, my father, who has been estranged from me for 21 years, initiated a friendly conversation and parted from me with a hug.
There have also been losses. I have felt deeply the missing presence of my Mossy. The state struggled to find a good place to care for his unique needs, and monthly visits to his far away state barely seem sufficient to remind him of the place he holds in my heart. My amazing marriage brought with it a move away from dear friends and family. The reality of my own selfish nature while adjusting to a busy new life filled with four more people is a good but painful journey.
All of these moments filled my soul as we sang “In Christ Alone” at today’s Easter Service. The words “Jesus commands my destiny” drew a stream of tears—both of grief and gratitude. My heavenly Father has known each pain-filled tragedy and surprising blessing that I would face. None of it is a surprise to Him…. and His grace is sufficient for each one. As quiet tears dripped off my cheeks, my sweet 11-year-old Harmony placed her hand on my leg and her head on my shoulder. This often-wild pony can transform in a moment to be a deep well of precious comfort.
I was reminded of the words I had spoken to Sparrow and Harmony just hours before at the sunrise service this morning, “Because of Easter, we have each other! Because of Jesus, your mom is in heaven and you’ll be with her again. Because of Jesus, I am not a depressed wreck who never could’ve been in a good place to date your dad. It’s because of HIS love that we all love each other and have become a family.” The children smiled and we all embraced each other in a big hug as dawn gave way to day.
Beauty from Ashes (Isaiah 61:3)
Peace (John 14:27)
More than we could ask or imagine (Eph 3:21)
Repentance and Forgiveness (the whole Bible)
I loved our pastors words this morning:
“Only a REAL risen savior can forgive REAL sin” and I add “and heal REAL hearts.”
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting.
(from Thine Be The Glory, 1884)