Monday, April 08, 2024

Another Flannel Monday

 Twenty-three weeks. 

I'm not sure I'll ever make it through a Monday without reliving that afternoon, the phone call, the minutes immediately afterwards calling each of the siblings, calling close friends...."Josiah's been shot, and he's dead." Words you NEVER expect to say. The drive up to Anchorage...desperate to get to Carrie.  The sense that this could not possibly be real! Murder could not have touched our lives. 

I'm thankful we immediately determined not to become bitter but to forgive. There have been many opportunities to forgive - from the murder suspect to those who mean well but wound with advice that shows they really have never been in our shoes. We have received much grace and have extended much grace as well. 

I'd like to say a word to my "tribe." Those who go by the name of Christians, Christ-followers. Sometimes, we are the very WORST at hard emotions. We've gotten the idea we can't walk with God in the dark places of our lives. In our attempts to "help," we end up encouraging others to deny emotions, and honestly, it's not God's plan for us to deny our human emotions. Lament is a gift. As I lament, as I name the pain, God meets me there and walks with me in the pain. This is much better than "getting over grief" before I've had time to walk out the emotions. 

I'm thankful we "do not grieve as those without hope"...but I've come to know many of us miss the impact of Paul's comment. We stop at "We do not grieve." In doing so we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others. As Christians we DO grieve - but we do it with HOPE - hope in the person of Jesus, hope in the future. Make no mistake; we experience grief - the pain is real. The pain of what was lost in the present and in the future doesn't go away. We are human. If we love, we grieve when death enters the picture. The power of Paul's statement is that even though we DO grieve, we grieve with HOPE. Unfortunately, I've seen the tendency to think one has to "put on a happy face" in order to prove we have "hope." That simply isn't true.  Acknowledging the pain gives people more hope that God can walk through these things with us than "putting on church face." 

We should seek to follow Jesus. Jesus loves. Jesus weeps. Jesus is always with us. Jesus was a man of sorrows...and partying. 

I've had many moments of tears today. That's o.k. God continues to bless by bringing just the right person at the right time across my path... people who know the value of simply being with another. This is key - you can't FIX THIS. You can only love; you can only "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."  That's all we're told to do. Be there. You don't have to say a word, and unless you are SURE you have something necessary to say, it's probably best not to speak. Job's friends were HEROES when they came and sat in the ashes with him, but when they opened their mouths to "fix Job" and "help him understand," they traded being heroes and became zeros.  

I had tea today with a friend who has lost a loved one. Brenda gets me. I cherish our times together. 

I did not take a single photo today...and so I thought I'd have to resort to a bread photo...but google photos popped up this memory today...Ah...

It was 2010. Michael was deploying from Japan to the Middle East via Dallas and the East Coast. The boys were in college in San Angelo (20 and 18 years old) and drove up to Dallas to see Michael.  Time has passed so quickly. 


1. Tea with Brenda. 
2. We grieve with hope. 
3. Memories.
4. God carries the weight of my heart which craves justice. He will judge righteously.