Compassion

I have tried to write this post for many days and I just could not get the words to come out in a way that I believed would be acceptable.  Today, after much prayer and quiet time, I have the courage to write this post.

Yes, I said courage.  It takes courage to tell the truth and I made a promise to myself and to you that I would always be honest in my writing of this blog.  I also made a commitment to myself that I would not be political or write about what’s in the news.

Today I believe God wants me to tell the truth about the death of a dear friend’s brother because it might save one life.  It’s not an easy subject to approach and I believe that is part of her grief. The subject is viewed in “proper” society as taboo but it is happening every day in our county, our cities, and towns and even in our communities.

Drug overdose.

My friend’s name is Anne and she has given me permission to talk about this with you all.  Anne’s baby brother was in his 30’s and had had an addiction to drugs for some time before his untimely, tragic death.  He apparently had anxiety and used marijuana to calm himself.  Like most users of maijuana, he branched out or was coaxed into trying Heroin.  An illicit drug.  However, he was scheduled for a court date for a drug test and was nervous about the appointment.  Someone told him that marijuana stays in the body for days and would show up in a hair sample.  Heroin was suggested to him and he went looking for it but was not dealing with the source he knew and bought what was supposed to be heroin but turned out to be fentanyl, an illicitly manufactured drug.

I am crying now.

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC):

Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all levels of urbanization.

CDC’s new analysis confirms that recent increases in drug overdose deaths are driven by continued sharp increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).

“No area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic—we all know a friend, family member, or loved one devastated by opioids,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D.

The hardest thing to accept is not the fact Anne’s brother was addicted to drugs but that someone deliberately sold him fentanyl and that is a hard pill to swallow and a bitter reality.

Let’s take a step back and flip off our shoes and put on one of Anne’s.  She is a loving, Godly woman who is suffering and grieving the loss of her baby brother in a most tragic way.  Some people might think “Well what do you expect when you deal with drugs.”  If you think that then shame on you.  An addiction is just that an addiction.  It comes in many forms and anyone one of us, though we maybe Children of God, can fall into some sin against our bodies and our Lord.

Our daughter died of unknown causes at the tender age of 22.  Some feel my grief is 10 times worse than someone else’s grief and I would have to say it is and it is not.  You see when someone you love and cherish dies suddenly you are in shock and can be overrun with grief. It may not matter how they died you just know they are no longer an arm’s length away.  A phone call away.  I struggled with not having Sommer in our home.  We see her face everywhere.  Her special imprints on our lives are still very much alive and it hurts.  It really hurts.  It will always hurt sometimes a little and other times a lot.  But that is the cycle of death and grief.

God tells us:

Romans 5:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces [a]perseverance; and perseverance, [b]character; and character, hope.

If I were sitting across from my sweet friend right now I would take her hand and tell her:

I love you.

I care.

I am here for you.

You are not alone.

You are important to God.

Your grief is real.

Cry until you have no more tears.

Scream until you can not speak.

Hold your family closer.

Don’t give in to despair, as I have done.

Laugh out loud.

And ask God to relieve your burdens that come with grief.

Anne’s brother was not a bad man.  He was a good man who got lost in a world most of us can’t even imagine.  The way he died is a tragedy but we can learn from it. And we need to show great compassion for those we know who have lost someone they love in this same manner.  Because compassion heals wounds.

In Christ Alone,

Heidi

 

 

Be Stil And Know Him

Being still before the Lord does not always feel comfortable.  As I am in my rest and recovery stage I have had many moments to be quiet before the Lord.  On the most part, it’s a sweet exchange of love and devotion. However, today while reading 1 John 2 my heart was pricked by verse 9.

“Anyone who claimes to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

1 John 2:9

I have studied 1 John before and breezed right past this verse thinking, “I am sure glad I don’t hate anyone especially a sister or brother in the Lord.” But today a spiritual light bulb went on.

Hate derives from a strong dislike or ill will toward persons or things. As an emotional attitude, a person may oppose, detest, or despise contact with a thing or a person. Love and hatred often stand opposed. Wisdom says, there is “a time to love and a time to hate” ( Eccl 3:8 ). In the biblical record, every being may express or experience hate.

It’s hard to admit this let alone write about it but I promised I would always be honest with you so hang on and we’ll all see what God wants me to say.

We have many examples in the bible of what God hates we should hate as well.

The Bible says that God hates religiosity ( Isa 1:14 ; Amos 5:21 ), hypocrisy and lies ( Zec 8:17 ), wrongdoing ( Isa 61:8 ); divorce ( Mal 2:16 ), violence ( Mal 2:16 ), idolatrous practices ( Hosea 9:15 ), and the way the prophets are treated ( Jer 44:4 ). The theology underlying God’s hatred rests upon two essential qualities of God: holiness and justice. As a divine being with standards, God hates anything that despises, detests, or disregards those standards. In return, people hate God ( Psalm 139:21-22 ). Humanity may choose to follow in God’s path in hating anything that hates the Lord or his standards ( Psalm 139:22 ).

God hates evil but does that mean He hates the one who does the evil?  Is it possible to hate the sin but love the sinner?  I think it is but is it that easy?  It should be as a follower of Jesus but that is not always the case.

We hold grudges, a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. Holding on to past transgressions does nothing to the person whom we feel have wrong us in some way.  The person who rejected us.  The one who gossiped about us, physically hurt us, emotionally, psychologically, in any way we have been hurt God cares about us.

At times the mention of the person’s name can raise a fire inside of us that keeps that hatred alive for days, months and even years.

I learned today that my hated towards people I believe have harmed me in any way…in any way is not being like Christ.  Sure, I can go on hating and yet believing my hatred is justified but is that pleasing God.

When we concentrate on the transgressions we of others we simply overlook our transgressions to others.  We’re short-sighted. We justify our hated or dislike towards others yet fail to see past the end of our own noses and being honest with ourselves.

We are all sinners and only by God’s great grace and mercy are we saved.  If we choose to accept that gift of love.

Mercy is God’s compassion towards us.  He doesn’t give us what we deserve, hell, but restores us to Him and wants a full and honest relationship with Him.  No more holding back my sin.  No more having grudges towards others no matter what that sin is or was.

Today, God revealed my sin in His gentle way He showed me through His word even though I’ve read that passage many times it just now spoke to me. God does that.  That’s what makes Him an awesome God to serve.

Today He released me when I confessed my sin of hate.  That is the victory in Christ. For years I have thought I walked in the light though I held hate in my heart I was in the dark.

But whoever hates His brother is in darkness  and walks around in darkness; and he does not know whr he is going, because the darkness has blinded Him.

1 John 2:10

God brought me out of the dark and shone his light on me while I was still before Him.

When we are still before God He flushes the bad out of us and pumps in the good through His word, a teaching, a friend or His small still voice.  It was a tough realization of mine and at first, it stung but I chose to confess instantly and He instantly gave me victory.  I know that those hate feelings will come back but I have the Holy Spirit in me and He will give me victory one day at a time and draw me closer to Him.

“Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10,

I like to say “Be still and know that I am your God.  He is my God and I am the daughter of the King.

Still Waters and Restored Souls

I’m still recovering from pneumonia and the hypoxia. My family has gone back to school and work and I’m alone resting. The worst part of it is I have four to six months of recovery time. I asked my GP if I would be able to run a 5K I was training to run with my youngest daughter. After his head snapped around he said: “Are you running now?” He looked at me like I’d just spilled my marbles, “No, sir.” I felt like a 10-year-old. “Well, then, I wouldn’t recommend that.” He went on to tell me, “Listen to your body, I mean really listen.”

I am listening. And resting. I have no choice – my mind is strong but my body is weak. I need time and patience and before I know it my mojo will return.

Whilst I was in the hospital and was conscious of what was going on around me, I found my favorite television channel that shows a lot of westerns.

Big Valley, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Wagon Train. Along with Andy Griffith and some “70’s shows.  You know, the kind of shows that have action and a moral to the plot. When right was right and prevailed. Good guys wore white hats and bad guys wore black. The kind of show that openly quotes scripture and openly talk about God and His love and mercy.

I like that kind of show. Sure, some fighting happens and some characters get killed but you never see it, unlike today’s television.

When I was in the hospital I was surrounded by love prayers and loving nurses.  However, I was surrounded by God’s angels. I mean, angels with a wingspan longer than an American Bald Eagle. The kind of angels you want surrounding you.

Though I was quite sick I felt comforted. When God’s spirit spoke to me through Sommer’s voice, “Momma, it’s not time yet.” I became still and refreshed. My hold onto misery was gone and I felt a great hope in my heart.

“He leads me beside clear waters, He restores my soul”

Psalm 23:2-3

What an amazing God I serve. He takes time for me. He hears my prayers and the prayers on my behalf. He heard the cry of my family and answered their prayers to restore me to health and to return to them and not slip into the coma that awaited me.

He knows me by name and I pray He knows you by name. It gives peace to a tired soul.

In Christ Alone,

Heidi

It’s Not Time Yet

We’ve all probably said a one time or another “God works in mysterious ways.”

During my time in the ICU on a BIPAP machine,  a nonevasive ventilation machine, pushing 100% oxygen into my body.  My blood oxygen level was 75 that’s as close to dying you ever find yourself.  My family was told I had a 95% survival rate within 72 hours of entering ICU.

My family was placed in the same position we were all in when our Sommer was in ICU. With Sommer, we all knew she went too long without 100% oxygen.  All the doctors could do was to test what we already knew.  At least, I knew it.

Some people don’t believe God speaks to us today as He did in the old testament.  But I believe he talks to us through His word, other Christians, teaching and personally.  That’s okay if you don’t believe God speaks to us but He spoke to me in that ICU room.

I found a nice warm spot in the bed and I just wanted to sink deep into it.  I was so weak and tired that that warm spot was tugging me down deeper and deeper.  It felt good there and I really wanted to snuggle in and drift away.  Then I heard Sommer’s voice say, “Momma, it’s not time yet.” That is not mysterious, that is a miracle and I’ll tell you why. That warm place went away and I saw my husband and our two daughters in my mind’s eye sobbing and I knew I was not meant to die. I was needed here in this broken world.  My sweet family whom never left my side for seven days needed me and God was not ready for me.

I read about Billy Grahmn talking about entering heaven before our appointed time.  He said he didn’t want God to say, “Billy, your too early but that’s fine come on in.”

Billy was talking about taking one’s own life and not waiting for the appointed time and how he imagined what God would say.

That was not my case.  I had been in great despair about Sommer dying that I really did not care what happened to me. But I am too big of a chicken to take my own life.  I was just lost in my grief and that can be a part of grieving.

Today, a month out of the hospital, I have no despair but lots of hope. More hope than I have ever felt.  I like this feeling and I pray it lasts.  I feel as if God had to put me in a place of complete surrender for me to hear His voice loud and clear.

Yes, I believe God talks to us today.  The problem is we can get wrapped in all the noise of this world we can’t hear Him. God’s love and mercy are so great for us that missing a conversation with Him can change our lives.  Listening to Him will also change our lives if we just slow down and listen.

In Christ Alone,

Heidi

 

 

 

Give It All

When Sommer was about seven she needed heal cord lengthening surgery.  I had no reservations about putting her under anesthesia.  I had complete peace.

One night before the surgery I had a dream about Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22) The next morning during my quiet time I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “Are you going to continue to trust me?”

I’ve always known our daughters were on “loan” to us.  Our job was to raise them in the way they should go.  We took them to Sunday School.  Taught them to pray.  Introduced them to Jesus as their Savior.  Each of them accepted God’s grace and mercy at young ages and then the job of discipleship began.

I knew my babies were on loan but I didn’t know it was a short-term loan.

The night before her surgery I dreamt that I was Abraham and Sommer was Isaac and me, like Abraham obeyed and put Sommer on the wood pile and said,  “I trust you with my baby.”

Sommer came through it and awoke to two lime green casts on her feet and halfway up each leg. She picked green because of Kermit the Frog not knowing the color would be lighter then the sample.  I remember we joked that she would now glow in the dark for the next eight weeks.

I continued to believe that our daughters were a gift from God but that they were on loan and I still had a spiritual role to play in their lives.  But I never really believed God would “call in the loan” before he called me home.

God wants to know if we’re willing to give up what we love to Him because He loves us much more.  He wants us to trust Him with everything. Yes, even our adult children.  Our most precious gifts.

Sometimes I don’t understand God or His ways.  Have you ever felt this way?  I don’t believe we are going to understand all His ways this side of heaven.  Until then I will continue to believe God is good and He is in charge of everything in my life.  Even if I don’t understand His ways.  He is good.

Blessings,

Heidi

 

 

Everything

Greetings!

Well, recovering from pneumonia has taken the wind out of my sails.  I do want to share something that I read today.

Jesus prayed to his Father, I brought glory to your name on earth by doing everthing you told me to do.

John 17:4 (NLT)

Did you catch that! “EVERYTHING!”

I don’t believe Jesus is just speaking about His three years of ministry I believe He is referring to his entire life.  Remember, he stayed at the temple while the family packed up and left town.  And he was not running around the city trying to hitch a ride with anyone going His way home.  He was calmly sitting and teaching and that is all He was concerned with.

I Can”t say that I always do things, say things that will bring glory to God. I wish I could but I don’t. Like when my phone went on a vacation and didn’t invite me. I am not one to live on or having it glued to my hand. However, that day I was frustrated with my phone because I know no ones cell number except my hubby’s.  Thankfully we still have the Flinstone land phone.

I have often told my family “All phones on the table while we watch this movie. First, one to pick their phone up owes five dollars to everyone else.” I end up watching the movie alone because everyone suddenly has an assignment due.

But I have a beautiful example through the life of Christ.

Six months before our Sommer died I felt so connected with God like nothing I have ever felt before.  God was preparing me for something way out of my ability to handle without His preparation.

Jesus, sweet Jesus help me to do everything to bring glory to our Father’s name.

Peace is yours.

 

A Time to Heal

Precious friends,

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted anything for you to read.  Let me tell you what has been going on:

On July 29th I was admitted to the ICU because of a  critical case of pneumonia, hypoxia, and an upper respiratory infection.  I had a rough go at it but I am home and recovering.  I am as weak as the runt of the litter.  My recovery time will be a couple of months but I am hopeful God will heal me quickly and completely.

I will try to post as my body recovers because I have many learning lessons to tell you about.

Until then I covet all prayers and I am grateful for cards to lift me up.

Take care and God’s peace be with you all.