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I rolled out of bed with a light heart. A merry heart. An anticipating heart.
Gingerly, I made the coffee, plopped down on my well worn couch, grabbed my bible, and sat there holding it against my chest for a moment.
Thank you, Father. I am so grateful.
The words melted down my lips.
I meant it.
I wasn't just trying to make God happy with me, or check off the "thankful" box.
I truly meant it.
My boy, my oldest child, was coming home from college today.
Since the moment he stepped out the door that warm August day to go to college, I have been preparing for his return.
As the months ticked by since August, I found myself falling into a pit of sadness.
I miss him.
I miss seeing his shoulders hunched over his breakfast plate in the too-early light of school day dawns.
I miss buying the extra breast of chicken, and the bigger can of green beans.
But today, he is back home.
Only for a few weeks, but I cherish it none the less.
These past few months have changed me.
There has been loss everywhere it seems.
Shattered families. Kids left without daddy's and without momma's all around me.
After a phone call recently, I fell on the cold cement of my carport and just cried...
Lord, what is happening?
When I felt like the weight of the world would bury me, I would call on Jesus. Beg Him to comfort me.
He always did and He always does.
In many ways, I have learned to surrender in a whole new way.
Not just by saying the words, but by living the words.
Gratitude has molded my heart in a new way.
I see life a little differently now.
Compassion and empathy pulse through my veins harder than they ever did before.
Jesus has given me fresh vision in this season.
Things and people I may have missed before, I see now.
How hearts ache.
How hearts break.
How we all are just one big broken mess.
Really, if you opened us up and peeked into our insides you would see it.
A jumble of organs with broken parts and broken hearts.
Still beating, the heart, none the less.
When we grieve, and when we cry, and when we hurt....
We start to become one with people in a new way.
I see in on the Cross...the suffering...
How it brought HEALING.
How it opened eyes, and cut through curtains....long standing curtains.
Our suffering makes us better people.
I don't know how or why, but it just happens.
God tells us this over and over in His Word.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
When we see our children or loved ones suffer, we get angry at God sometimes. Or/And, angry at people.
We don't understand, and we raise our fist at God, and sometimes at people, who allow this to happen to the ones we love.
Yet, I am starting to see it differently now.
I am seeing there is fruit...
The tiniest of gleam....
I see it.
The hard stuff.
The hard days.
The not understanding why all of your prayers are seemingly going unheard....
Then, one day, you wake up.
You feel this Joy. This Gratitude. This Warmth.
The suffering changes into something beautiful.
And NOT possible, without the suffering.
Perhaps all along you were numb. Numb to true compassion, empathy, humility...
Until your heart bleeds out of its chest wall.
Maybe it is a severed relationship, a diagnosis of a loved one, a phone call that changes the course of your life, a job loss., a college kid, a financial disaster, a marriage uprooted by sin, an aging momma or daddy....
Whatever the bleed....
The suffering that comes with it....
Will leave you changed.
With a new heart.
And new eyes.
Only Jesus can do this.
Without Him, the suffering will harden us, bitter us, sour us, close us off.....
Oh, but if we surrender to Him in our suffering....
We get a glimpse of Glory.
A glimpse of Jesus' love for us.
His rallying for our good, not just our good, but our BEST.
I go on and on, I know.
But, I just have to tell you...
Hold on to Him.
When the days are long...
When the nights are dark...
When you feel like you cannot breathe...
Call out His Name.
Bury your face in His Word.
Surrender whatever breath you have left in your body.
And wait some more.
And just when you feel like the darkness will never end...
You begin to feel the Warmth.
Suffering changes us. In the best way.
My heart is more full than it has ever been.
hanging out with my college kid,
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