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Finding God in the Midst of Pain

I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Lord these past few days. My mornings begin with the One Year Book of Hope I mentioned several days ago. I have been looking for answers, and for the most part, finding them. A couple of days ago I impulsively tore out one of the pages to send to my daughter. Commonsense would dictate that I lay the page down on my printer to make a copy, but the urgency of my desire precluded rationality. A good thing; It turned out the verse on the opposite side of the page was what she needed to hear.

After delving into God’s word each morning, I pray. Yes, I have spent time down on my knees, crying out to God in anguish, but there have also been those moments of the bowed head, and the prayers of thanksgiving.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a small boy who has touched so many lives. Thank you for the beautiful daughter who has demonstrated a tremendous strength in the face of adversity. Thank you for the man who has become another son. Thank you for the grand-daughter whose eyes search mine as she asks the hard questions, and the younger grandson whose hand I have gladly held throughout the last two and a half years. Thank you for the beautiful baby girl who chortles with delight at the antics of her siblings. Thank you, Lord, for the man I loved who now waits in Heaven to welcome Jacob home.

“Perhaps you should put your book manuscript aside for the time being,” a good friend suggested. Instead, each morning I have pulled it out and wondered at the ease of the words I am writing. Refined By Fire is the working title of the book detailing my first year of grieving. In delving into my journal and blog postings from that year it is obvious how God worked in me through the pain of loss. It helps me now to read the words I’d written in the midst of grief because then I can believe that my daughter and son-in-law will make it through what is ahead of them.

C.S. Lewis wrote “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I am in awe of the words my daughter posts as updates on my grandson’s Facebook page. Despite all she has gone through, no, perhaps because of it, I have watched her grow in faith. As the mother of a child with a chronic illness that became a terminal one, she walks tall in the Lord. She is a witness of God’s glory and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

“God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I wasn’t sure how to respond to this platitude posted on my Facebook wall last year after David died, so I didn’t respond at all. My friend, Beth did, however.

“There is no Bible verse that says that. That is a man-made saying. How else does God get us to fall to our knees in front of him?”

Working on a book that chronicles those early days of grieving while we face yet more grief has become a balm for my soul. Yesterday I came across these words I had written;

“The first time I realized just how comforting music could be was the morning of David’s funeral when I started my vehicle and Matt Redmon’s “You Never Let Go” began playing. “Oh, no you never let go. Through the highs and through the lows.” I pulled a notepad out of my purse and wrote those words down. “Through the highs and through the lows…” 

I had never felt lower in my life. Nor had I ever felt closer to God.”            

“Look for God in all this,” a friend wrote recently. “Watch for him.” I don’t have to look far. My daughter Rachel took me to a concert at our county fair where the Sidewalk Prophets were playing. The lead vocalist, David Frey, spoke to the crowd in between songs. When he mentioned “Darth Vader” at one point, I turned to look at Rachel. She looked as confused as I was; the reference didn’t quite fit in with the rest of what he was saying. I felt a small spark ignite inside of me. Jacob is obsessed with the Star Wars movies. The singer had gotten my attention. One could argue that the odds of what he said next in a large crowd would certainly apply to someone there, but there are many other words he could have chosen. Instead, what he said was “Maybe you are about to lose someone you love.” My tears began flowing, unabashed. Shortly after that, the woman ahead of us who’d been sitting with two daughters for the entire concert was joined by two sons, one who looked to be approximately eight years old. As the mother casually slung her arm around his shoulders, I couldn’t help but envy the obvious good health of her children. At that precise moment, the boy turned his head and looked at me and I saw that he had the same brown eyes of our Jacob, of my David.

“Watch for him in all this,” my friend had advised.

I see Him.

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

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