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Trusting God When Life Hurts (Guest Post By Meadow Rue Merrill)

Well, it's been over two weeks since we got the keys to our new house. But we areSTILL without our things! Our moving truck has been (majorly) delayed, but we're hoping it will arrive this week. 

Meanwhile, I'm thrilled to be the first stop on Meadow Rue Merrill's Faith Notes blog tour.  Meadow is a fellow member of the Redbud Writer's Guild and today she's sharing about trusting God when life hurts.  Thanks, Meadow, for sharing your story here today!

TRUSTING GOD WHEN LIFE HURTS

I never once felt as if my mother were dying. Perhaps she was trying to protect me. Perhaps I was in denial, despite knowing that the cancer had spread from her liver to her bones and that in such cases less than 2 percent of people survive two years. Perhaps it was due to her abiding faith—and mine—that God would, or at least could, heal her.

Either way, last winter when I buckled in my 18-month-old son, Ezra, in his car seat to drive from my home in Maine to visit my mom in the Connecticut nursing home where she’d gone to recuperate from a small fracture, I had no idea that the next morning would be her last.

If anyone deserved a miraculous intervention, it was surely my mom who had sold her house to earn a master of divinity degree; who gave up playing with her grandchildren to live in far-flung lands while translating portions of the Bible into a little-known Central Asian language; whose greatest love and supreme joy was Christ.

“I’m healed,” she proclaimed, not long after her initial diagnosis last summer. “I really truly believe it.” She couldn’t wait to see the look on the doctor’s face when new scans showed the cancer was gone. Only they didn’t, and despite aggressive treatments and earnest prayer, the cancer spread.

“If only I had more faith,” she said after one particularly disappointing check-up.

In her words, I felt the deeper wound of her suffering, as if she was to blame for her lack of healing. And I, loving her, praying for her, driving eight-hours round trip with my son to be with her, angrily questioned where was this God my mother had given up everything to follow?

This was not my first foray with trusting God in the midst of irreconcilable grief. Three years before my seven-year-old daughter Ruth had died without warning. In the agonizing days and months that followed, I was confronted with a choice: I could either draw closer to God or, in pain and distrust, I could turn away.

One thing my mother did not do in her sickness and suffering was to lose faith in God. Even when she didn’t understand his purpose, even while the cancer spread, she kept looking to him for her strength, her hope, her purpose, her encouragement, and—most importantly—her destiny.

Where we focus determines our destination. In hard times, we need to be even more determined to keep looking to God for direction rather than at our circumstances.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” the author of Hebrews writes in 12:1-2, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

But how do we do this? How do we trust a God who allows us to suffer? Over the next six weeks, I’ll share six ways that will build your faith when you are experiencing hardship. I’ll then introduce three friends who will share their own experiences with trusting God before wrapping up with a final post at the end of August. To join me on this journey, subscribe or follow along at www.meadowrue.com.

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Meadow Rue Merrill is an editor, speaker and Christian columnist who writes books for children and adults from her home in Mid-coast Maine. For more information, find her at www.meadowrue.com

 

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Guest Post: Grieving the Highchair

I'm so pleased to be sharing a guest post from my writer friend, Sheli Massie. Sheli is one of my beloved Redbud sisters.  This beautiful piece was originally posted on Eggs & Rice (Sheli's blog), but I asked if I could share it here as well.  In one short post, she touches on several important issues including adoption and postpartum depression.  And I love the way she weaves the story to end on God. 

Okay, enough from me!  I'll leave you with Sheli now.  Once you're done reading, will you take a minute to leave Sheli a comment here, check out her blog, or share this post?  Thanks!

Grieving the High Chair (1)

**Image courtesy of Sheli Massie

 

I bought the high chair at a rummage sale. It was wooden with chipped white paint flaking the sides. I had known from the moment I saw it that I wanted it to be mine. It reminded me of high chairs I would see in vintage black and white photos. It had no safety precautions yet I am sure it had stories it could tell. Stories of the many families and children it had served.

At the time that I purchased it for $10 I was not even pregnant. We had just started the process of filling out the paperwork for our adoption. And as we all know that high chair did not get used for a very long time. What we expected to take months took years. Years of waiting. Years of praying. Years of hoping. Years of anxiety, anger, frustration, signatures, home studies, finger prints, and did I mention paper work?

Yet after three years we were sitting across from our sweet little boy.

That high chair became the place where my little one ate his first meal as a family of seven.

It became the place where he clearly showed us that broccoli was never going to be one of his foods.

It became the place where he fell asleep when days were just too long for him and he couldn’t make it through dinner.

It became the place where he discovered pasta for the first time and decided the walls needed it too.

It became the place where his personality began to emerge and he entertained us all.

What I didn’t expect is that it would become a symbol of grief for me.

After little one clearly could not fit in the high chair any longer I scrubbed it all down and left it in the corner of the room for months. I would walk by it and think about what was next for our family. I would dream of my belly expanding and getting to wear cute maternity jeans. I would rationalize that I was keeping it for my grandchildren some day. Knowing full well that any mother would not let their infant sit in a chair with zero safety features.

And breathing in that I knew why I was really keeping it.

I was keeping it because I wasn’t ready to face my truth.

My truth that I would never carry another child in my belly again.

Seven years before I lay on a hospital bed and sobbed as I signed on the dotted line. I wanted someone to save me. To save me from the choice. I needed someone else to make the choice for me.

I knew that the level of depression that I had suffered after each of the four children I birthed had only gotten worse. I knew that I needed to make a permanent decision that I later would come to grieve. I knew at the time that I was scared of who I was after each child. And although I firmly believe in medication and will forever be on a small dose of a prescription. I could not function as a human and knew that depression would swallow me if I chose to continue to grow our family through childbirth.

I remember the day I sold that white high chair in the corner. It went to a woman who loved to refurbish furniture. To make things new.

My truth is that I grieve every moment when a friend or loved one is struggling with infertility or a miscarriage. The truth is that I feel like I was so selfish to take that choice away from my family.

But I know this.

I know God uses everything. He opened my eves to adoption, to safe families, to foster care and to taking in those around me. He shows me daily how I am that high chair. Chipped, tired, and covered with messes. But in His grace and mercy He is making me new. He is filling me with joy and wonderment. He is letting me heal and rest in in Him.

Where ever you are sweet one. Worn. Tired. Lonely. Grieving. Searching. Empty. Anxious. Fearful.

He is there.

He is binding Himself to you.

Making you new.

 

“Let us then approach God’s Throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 

 

aboutSheli is a writer on good days when a child isn’t puking or screaming or the dog hasn’t run away for the zillionth time or when the house doesn’t look like a Hoarders episode or she didn’t forget to pick up one of the five children from school. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband who has pushed her to be a better version of herself for sixteen years. She adore my best friends and she gets anxiety attacks around anyone pretty or skinny, so she stays in her yoga pants and writes about her redemptive story as a proud member of Redbud Writers Guild.   You can find Sheli at http://shelimassie.com/

 

 

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Guest Post: Lead Your Children Into ADVENTURE

Oh, friends!  You are in for a treat today!  This post is EXCELLENT.  And I can say that since I didn’t write it!

Guest posting for me today is Lara Krupicka, a writing friend and fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild.  Lara’s words are an inspiration to younger parents, like me, who are trying to figure out the balance between having children and having your own identity.  I hope you are as encouraged by this post as I was!

Lead Your Children Into Adventure

 

Last summer my husband and I volunteered on the ground crew of a hot air balloon for a local balloon festival. We helped unpack the basket, tethers, tanks, and envelope (the colorful fabric part of the balloon). And then we went through the slow, but exhilarating process of helping the pilot fill the envelope with first cold, then hot air. Once it was inflated, we lent our weight to keeping the basket on the ground so visitors could come up close to look. Which for a little while actually meant standing in the basket. Never mind that it never left the ground for a flight. It was still pretty awesome!

All the while, our children (ages 15, 13 and 10) slept at home. They couldn’t handle early hour (5am) and were too young yet to crew. But we didn’t let them hold us back from doing something we’d both been hoping to experience for years. And when we woke them for breakfast later, they were anxious to hear our stories.

We jumped at this experience now, while our kids are still growing, not only because it is one we have been looking forward to, but also because we believe in leading by example. And we want our children to embrace adventure. We want them to pay attention to the soul stirrings and heart cries that call them to engage with our world in ways only they can.

But our kids can’t do that if we fill every hour of their days with school, clubs, sports, and activities. And they won’t do that if we spend all of our days focused only on them and their clubs, sports and activities.

So in our household Mom and Dad sign up for classes, play in tournaments, and join clubs. And we do so without guilt or regret. Because even though those activities take us away from our kids for an hour here or a half day there, they ultimately return us to our families as fuller, more fulfilled people. We are better parents when we are with our kids because of the interests and activities we pursue apart from them. And our kids in turn are becoming explorers who aren’t afraid to strike out on their own to try an unusual sport or activity that catches their interest (like the fencing class my youngest took last fall).

When was the last time you engaged in an interest of your own apart from your kids? If you aren’t sure where to start, trying writing up a short bucket list of new things you want to do, places you want to see, and people you want to meet. Then pick one idea and give it a whirl. See what the adventure does for you and your kids.

Lara Krupicka is a parenting journalist and mother of three. She’s also the author of Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure & Camaraderie Into Every Day and the recent release, Bucket List Living For Moms: Become a More Adventurous Parent.  

Thanks, Lara, for this fantastic guest post!  Readers, you can connect with Lara on her website, on Twitter or by leaving a comment here!
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