The Merry Life: “A Season To Mourn”: I stood at the graveside of my dear friend’s father today. I watched the cold air sting her face as the tears clouded…
The sadness hovering over our community this week has been debilitating to me personally. The death of Will McKamey has dominated my mind and prayers. This beautiful young man was the type of kid the world needs more of. Just doesn’t seem fair does it? It’s just not the natural order of life to loose a young man with so much promise and goodness.
I have wrestled with so many questions this week. Why things happen…tragedy, heartache, sickness and trials?
The devil always throws a few more jabs when we’re discouraged……my husband had testing this week revealing troublesome health issues. Waiting with my husband in recovery as he slept……. I was miserable in spirit and I just found myself asking GOD….do I really trust you?
These are hard days Lord…..do I really trust you?
This life stinks Lord….do I really trust you?
It’s so hard to pray when discouragement bares down hard and you wrestle with life and death issues.
Getting down in the pit and rolling around in the discouragement is exactly what the enemy wants us to do because it throws us off our game…..focus….. and mission. I’m sad to say I fell straight into the enemies snare.
I am amazed at the faith of the McKamey family……rejoicing in grief…..because they know where Will is. I honestly don’t know what I would do in their situation? I think back to the time my own son collapsed on the track after winning a regional meet. It was his senior year and he had just won the KIL county championship the previous week. He was preparing for his fourth visit to state, predicted to win it all in his division.
Doctor’s told us he had swelling on the brain from a bleed. The swelling caused seizures and unconsciousness. We were stricken with fear….I was numb. He was a week away from graduating, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk across stage. Diagnosed with a weak, leaking vascular angioma in the left frontal lobe of his brain, we were told surgery was too dangerous…..the risk for stroke too great…..and just like that…the scholarships were gone…..the athletic career ended …..it was over for our seventeen year old ambitious son.
When I heard Will collapsed last Saturday morning, I immediately told my husband. We stopped and prayed for him right then…..we knew what this family was going through. My heart just ached for them. I am still aching although I cannot understand the grief they are now in. My son couldn’t compete anymore….their son is now in heaven……I can’t really relate to their loss.
How does a family go on in the face of tragedy?
How do we cope in times of hardship and discouragement?
Everywhere I have turned this week I have been reminded of the scripture in Isaiah 40. This precious chapter holds several of my favorite reminders that give me hope and remind me who GOD really is.
In verse 11 it says…….
Like a shepherd HE will tend HIS flock, in HIS arm HE will gather the lambs…..And
carry them in HIS bosom; HE will gently lead the nursing ewes.
HE is our shepherd in all the seasons of life…..and death. The shepherd keeps us from straying….in our deeds and thoughts. Sheep are prone to stray, they are easily confused and frightened……. they are totally dependent on the shepherd for protection and guidance. They listen to their shepherds voice and follow him…..they don’t lead……they follow.
If we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..HE is our good shepherd…..and we can totally be dependent on HIM. HIS voice won’t lead us astray.
In verse 18 it says………
To whom then will you liken GOD? Or what likeness will you compare with HIM?
Who in your life has been everything for you? Man will let you down….even family…spouses….but GOD will never let you down. Who in your life can compare with GOD? There is nobody in my life that can restore me….heal me…..replenish me…..comfort me….. only GOD has done these things for me……nobody compares with my GOD.
Verse 26 reminds us that HE is our creator…….
“Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, HE calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of HIS might and the strength of HIS power, not one of them is missing.”
HE hung the stars, HE calls them all by name, HE knows exactly where each one should be, they don’t go missing. HE knows and calls us by our name…..HE knit us in our mother’s womb…..we are not invisible to HIM….therefore; HE tends to our needs….our broken hearts….our souls…..HE sees us.
The scripture goes on to say………
“HE gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might HE increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly……Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
So here we are LORD…..we are weary. Weary to the point that we lack might……so we wait for you LORD. We wait for new strength…..we wait until you take our weariness away. We need our good shepherd to keep us from going astray in our grief and discouragement…..we need you to call us by name and tend to our hurting hearts.
Who else can we trust?
Who else has been faithful the way our LORD has?
Only HE can be ALL and EVERYTHING to us.
Only HE can give peace to the McKamey family….only HE can give them a portion of healing to sustain them in the days to come…..
Only GOD can be their ALL and EVERYTHING.
No man or earthy thing can comfort them like our GOD can.
I honestly don’t know how people make it without JESUS? How do they cope? Who gives them peace and joy in tribulation?
I can’t function without my JESUS…..
We will experience hardship, loss, and pain in this life but the only one who can sustain us is JESUS.
JESUS is the only one we can trust.
Will McKamey’s life is powerful evidence of his trust in JESUS as well…….he knew him……he relied on him……he had felt his healing power before…….and now he is basking in his SAVIOR’S presence.
Tell me friends…….who do you trust?
Well….I’m having one of those days where satan is absolutely trying to mess with me. It actually started yesterday. You ever feel like you are just so sinful….and unworthy…..and a disappointment to GOD? Unfortunately I have many times. I loose my temper…..I think a bad thought….I get stubborn and harden my heart.
Its hard to lay our sin down sometimes…..but even harder to believe that GOD forgives us the first time we ask….so we keep reminding HIM and asking for forgiveness again and again….when really….if we are truly repentant….HE forgave us the first time we asked.
Anybody out there keep asking GOD to forgive you for something you’ve already confessed?
Satan is the one continually rubbing our nose in our failures……NOT GOD!
Grace is such a beautiful concept that has always been so hard to graft to my heart. I think insecurities…..child hood experiences…..even church experiences can have something to do with that as well….after all….Christians are hard on each other. We want to recall or remember when our sisters or brothers wrong us…..yet we don’t want them to remember our offenses.
Feelings are liars……they make us think things not true….they make us believe the worst sometimes….when GOD has only feelings of love for us…..HE thinks only good for us.
I wish there was some kind of magic filter that I could just install in my psyche that automatically screened out all the feelings and thoughts that cause me to beat myself up….over and over. “I shouldn’t have reacted that way…..I shouldn’t have said that…..I failed again.”
For instance…..when I felt GOD telling me to start a blog…..about three years ago….I kept telling myself….”Who do you think you are…speaking for GOD?” Many of my friends know that I am a playwright for church…I even struggle with writing plays that are effective for the kingdom….I don’t feel worthy……up to the task…..clean enough……yet HE fills my head with all these beautiful pictures and stories that translate into characters on paper.
I fought the blog thing for a long time…..until GOD spoke to me and said….“Just share your struggles…..as real as you can.” Relief is finally what I felt…because I no longer feel the burden of speaking for GOD.
I am just trying to share my heart…..as real as I can….through words.
Am I perfect?…..HEAVENS NO!!! Do I struggle with sin?….ABSOLUTELY!!!! All I can do is share how GOD takes this stubborn heart and prunes….jars…..grieves…..disciplines…. tenderly to the point of submission…. helping me think the way he wants me to think.
You see…..GOD just doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up over and over because of our failures……and as Christians….HE certainly doesn’t want us to keep beating up our brothers and sisters when they fail us….that’s just a tool of satan.
So when I fall in the ditch that satan has dug for me…..somehow GRACE sends just a bit of light….enough for me to stop….and realize…..GOD’S not rubbing my nose in my failures…..satan is.
I deal with my stinking thinking and ask GOD to help me think his thoughts. I recall some of my favorite scripture that encourages me…….
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1John 1:9
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they are red like crimson, they shall become as wool.
These are just a few of the many verses I love and write out from time to time just to let the words seep deep into my heart. I encourage you to get alone and look up every scripture where GOD tells us HE forgives us….over and over.
One of the tools I use to straighten out my stinking thinking is putting those thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 test.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….if anything is excelling or praiseworthy think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Put every thought of self loathing…..unworthiness……failure…….absolutely every thought that rubs your nose in your past……ask yourself…is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?
Remember GOD doesn’t want us wallering in our past failures….but Satan does!
ALWAYS BE ON GUARD OF SATAN’S TACTICS TO MAKE YOU FEEL LESS! HIS MIND GAMES ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE PITTS OF HELL!!!!
I pray that someone …..somewhere out there in the big “blog o sphere” that totally confounds me…..will get the message….HE loves you….HE forgives you…and HE forgets it……and…
HE wants you to forgive yourself!
Disappointment looms in the air today…….someone I love very much is struggling ……….I have friends that are down……..there is sickness…..aggravations…..regret……debt…….a heavy fog of grief. Heck…..there’s a bunch of adult men that get paid millions to chase a ball around that are pretty blue today.
Monday’s are notorious for being bad days but I really hate to blame Mondays. Mondays get a bad rap. I think we are all just snapped back to reality after a two day euphoric reprieve. Having the weekend to relax and forget our troubles is a welcome relief until the clock goes off at 6:30 A.M. Monday morning and you’re catapulted back to the real world……it’s even worse when the rains coming down in buckets outside your window.
Days like today make me think of my daddy that’s in Heaven……my little boys that are big boys now. I think about sunny days playing at the pool……..friday night movies……..cooking pasta so they could have a food fight outside. I think of my mamaw Millsey in heaven as well……. she was my prayer warrior and understood my heart and my hurts growing up. I’m tempted to mourne for the past when in reality….I wouldn’t want to bring my daddy or mamaw Millsey back from Heaven….they certainly wouldn’t want to come back……and while I miss the little boys that I so relished….this period where my nest is emptying is really a sweet place….and a divine appointment from God.
In the past I have wallowed in my melancholy……sometimes the mindset would set in for a few days. While it’s sweet to remember in order to escape……the LORD doesn’t want me to linger there to the point I loose sight of the future or it causes me to sin. But gosh dang it…..when I think about the future…..it’s so overwhelming at times. Fretting over worrisome problems, disappointments or things unsettled doesn’t help my state of mind.
So how do I handle these vulnerable…..worrisome…..nerve wracking….anxious…..melancholy……and dreadful days?
You know…..that day where your heart is just raw…..unsettled…..aching in a sense?
We all have them for whatever reasons our lives warrant. Concern for a child….worry for the future…..anxiousness for a problem…..health issues…..deadlines…. consequences from sin…..job pressures…..and the list goes on and on and on.
The important thing to ask when our emotions are tender…..where do we turn?
Do we open the fridge? Do we turn on the TV and let the noise drown out our thoughts? Do we hop in the car and go for a little retail therapy? Do we shut ourselves off emotionally from friends….church or family? What do you do? I have to confess that I have done all of the above in the past…….but finally…..I started to face those fragile times in my spirit because I wanted to deal with them…not push them back where they kept popping up…..causing me to digress to “stinking thinking.”
One day I finally talked to God about it…..”Okay Lord….I’m here at this uncomfortable place with this thing that I can’t change or fix…..what do you want me to learn from it?……what about this situation is causing me not to have truthful thoughts about everything and everyone involved…..including you Lord?”
When we get in these melancholy moods…..or mental states of depression or negativity….it’s usually because we have allowed satan to use our problems against us.
I’ve always been a fixer….but it seems GOD has given me things in the last few years that I can’t fix in my human flawed state. Have you got some problems that only God can handle or fix? I used to pray for relief from things blatantly out of my ability to make better…….but now I do these little steps to get my mind in tune with the LORD’S. I have found that I can face my problems a lot better when I have a GODLY mindset.
Step 1– I make myself write down a simple list of all the good things in my life that I am grateful for. You will not believe how much better you will feel afterwards. Seeing in black and white the good things I have to be thankful for….raises my spirits to another level. Once I get to this point….my “stinking thinking” starts aligning with the “voice of truth.“
Step 2 – I rebuke satan and all the “stinking thinking”….. lies…..discouragement and negative things he tries to whisper. You see….if you have accepted JESUS as your saviour….you have been bought with the blood that he sacrificed for your sin. That blood gives you authority over satan and any devices, lies or problems he can throw into your life. Claim the blood of JESUS and tell satan to go back to pit of lies and stay……he has no authority over you if you have been been redeemed by JESUS.
Remember satan is cunning….he comes to kill, steal and destroy your life (John 10:10) and your loved ones…..and the place he starts……. is by seeking to control your mind.
Don’t let satan control your mind or thoughts through the problems you face on a daily basis!!!
Make a point to get rid of your “stinking thinking” because it’s from satan…..it will never be from GOD! Any negative thought that comes into your mind is from the pits of hell!
GOD will never give you negative …..condemning thoughts!
THIS IS CRITICAL TO REMEMBER IN HAVING VICTORY IN YOUR THOUGHT LIFE!!!
Step 3 – The next step…… give it all to JESUS……every hurt…..problem……weakness….inadequacy… …..negativity……every burden……desperation…..past joys…..past sins….Give it all to HIM……pour your heart out to JESUS in honesty and humbleness.
If you have a problem concentrating in prayer……that’s a ploy of satan’s as well so I suggest you sit down and write your prayers…… emptying your heart out to God. Sometimes it hardest to pray and focus when satan has compounded your problems or hurts to a state of overwhelming thoughts.
I have written my prayers so many times…..but it helps me focus and zero in on what the real problem is……which is usually my “stinking thinking.” Oh the sweet relief when I give it to HIM…….it’s that very delicate vacuum of time…..where I have just confessed sin……given HIM my problems….and I am perfectly clean…..at least until I fall again…..but gosh….that sweet little space of time….where all is right between me and JESUS…..oh it’s priceless.
Finally sweet friends…..remember this……
“GOD IS FOR YOU!”
GOD is on your side!!! Though John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to kill, steal and destroy our lives….the rest of the verse says that HE came to give us abundant life!
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
HE has come to free us of all our burdens……set the captives free……heal the hurts……break the chains of bondage…….we weren’t meant to carry all this baggage……..that’s why HE died for us.
When we become entangled in our “stinking thinking” because of our problems…..friends….that is NOT ABUNDANT LIVING!!!
Oh how I am so thankful to have a saviour to run to when the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
The next time you fall into one of those ditch’s that satan dug for you….just give these simple steps a try…..I promise you…..JESUS will pull you from the plunder.
I pray that this message…..goes out to those struggling with burdens that entangle to the point of “stinking thinking”…….oh how I pray that you find relief in that sweet delicate place…..where JESUS meets you one on one….and all is made right between you and your precious saviour.
GOD IS FOR YOU!
“I know that you are for me” by Kari Jobe