Hello, friends! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Three months, I believe, since my last blog post. I began the Fall with a renewed determination to delve back into blogging and to edit and re-publish my Christmas book, Keeping Christ AS Christmas. But in His wisdom and perfect timing, God had other and more precious plans for my time.
My sweet mom needed our help (and a hip replacement) so she moved in with us in early October. Though she was in tremendous pain, we have spent days on end visiting, laughing, watching Christmas movies, drinking coffee, and just being together… and these days have been the greatest treasure. After what seemed like insurmountable delays, she finally had her surgery in December and was released from Rehab on Dec. 22, just in time for Christmas. We praise Jesus that she is doing wonderfully!!! (I’m so grateful that the Lord allowed me a schedule to be able to serve her in this way. More than that… I’m doubly grateful that she and my husband love each other like Mother and Son!)
We are counting our blessings this Christmas season as Mom is with us in our home. But this day, December 27, is also a bittersweet date for our family. It’s the day our Daddy went to live with Jesus 21 years ago. We adults remember it like it was just a few years ago – yet our son, Nathan, was just a newborn. He has lived a lifetime without this wonderful man in his life. Seems like we all have. None of my dad’s grandchildren even know him. He only laid eyes on Nathan for 10 short weeks. But God has been so present in our lives and ever so faithful…faithful to my Mom as her Husband… and to us as our Father… and to our children in providing other grandfathers or grandfather-figures in their lives. None of us were left alone, and that has been such a blessing from God!
We miss Daddy so much. But we no longer grieve for him, nor do we long for him to live here on this earth with us. And that… that is peace and contentment, which is also a blessing from God, enabled by His good grace.
On Christmas Eve, I noticed on my Facebook feed that four of my friends had lost someone in their immediate family this year on December 23! That’s just a small sampling of the loss and pain many are walking through during this “festive” season. My family has been there, too. It colors every holiday memory for years to come. But today, on this day we will never forget, I wanted to share that there is also hope and joy on the other side.
I found this post from December 2011 and felt led to share it again. If you are heavy with grief over any kind of loss today, I pray that the Lord will use His Words to strengthen and soothe your heart.
I am praying for you ~
December 2011. God Blesses Those Who Mourn
My heart is heavy this morning for so many who are missing loved ones this month… My own precious Daddy died two days after Christmas (fifteen years ago, and we still miss his presence in our lives). Our blogging friend, Bella Mella – Melanie Dorsey and her family are grieving the loss of their 12 year old son, Andrew, who moved to Heaven two years ago on the 15th. The news is full of tragedy, made especially difficult during this season where love and family and memories are so cherished. I’m praying for many who are mourning this month.
As I drank my coffee and opened God’s Word this morning to see what He had to say from my study through Matthew, as God often does, He had a beautiful Word about those who mourn. I knew immediately that He gave it to me, as well as to many of you… to any of you who mourn.
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.” (NIV)
That’s the verse most of us know. The second of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. But read it in these other translations and versions:
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Mt. 5:4 The Message)
“Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” (Mt. 5:4 Amplified)
“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4 New Living Translation)
I’m using the New Living Translation as I study verse by verse through Matthew, and the different wording of a familiar verse was a blessing to my heart. Between the NLT and the AMP, this is what I wrote in my journal this morning, and what I want to pass along to you:
“God blesses those who mourn with His comfort and matchless grace. Thank you, O Lord! You bless each need with a deeper revelation of yourself. In that way, we are blessed with the happiness only produced by the experience of Your favor conditioned by the revelation of your Matchless Grace.
Conditioned = restored, nourished, hydrated, refreshed. When we look back on the loss we are mourning, we will see what you have done for, in, and through us as we walk each step with You and in Your strength alone. Your grace conditions, restores, nourishes, hydrates, and refreshes each dry and weary heart. In this… In you… is the blessing… when we are in the midst of deep sorrow and grief.
Thank you, O Lord, for the blessing of Your Strength, Your Help, Your Carriage, Your Nourishing, Your Conditioning, Your Mercy, Your Love, and Your Presence as we walk the days of mourning. Thank you that weeping will last but a night, and that joy WILL come in the ‘mourning‘.”
My sweet friends, if you are mourning – especially during this supposedly “festive” season, I am praying for you. Rest assured of this: God knows. God understands. God will not leave you nor will He forsake you, Assuredly not! (Heb. 13:5)
With love, from the deepest part of my soul~
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