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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

 

Meander Scar 1

“A meander scar, occasionally meander scarp,[1] is a geological feature formed by the remnants of a meandering water channel. They are characterized by “a crescentic cut in a bluff or valley wall, produced by…a meandering stream…Meander scars are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.[1] In certain habitats, if the scar has sufficient water, or as an oxbow lake fills with sediment, these areas may become marshes or wetlands.”

Wikipedia

I love words. Of course I do, I’m a writer. But when I ran across the words “meander scar” in my son’s Texas text book, being a sand-in-my-shoes Florida girl, I was bumfuzzled. I’d never heard those two words linked together before.

Now, for the past thirty years I’ve become a Texas gal, and I’ve seen boo-coddles of meander scars, ‘cause we have multitudes of flash floods out here. Raging walls of water that carve new pathways through whatever is in their way.

Tornadoes and spring storms feed these flash floods and scar the landscape with their zig-zag slashes. A number of years back one of these rogue storms transformed the normally quiet Guadalupe River into a water butcher, sculpting, and slashing new paths through the Texas Hill Country.

Along the Guadaloupe River

Now a scar by definition is a blemish, deformity, defect, or disfigurement. And left in their raw state, scars are often unsightly. But did you ever consider how many times our hearts, minds, and bodies suffer turbulence from flash floods of grief, relational pain, or consequences of diseases that leave meandering scars carved inside and outside our bodies?

 

The Word of God says: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren…whom He called He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30 NAS).

Meander Scar 4

 

Just like God transforms those ugly meander scars in the landscape, He promises to transform the scars inflicted in your mind, body, and heart, if you’ll let Him. And like Texas in the springtime heals and blossoms with the beauty of His handiwork, transforming those deep, ugly gashes in the land into multi-dimensional layers of spectacular photo opportunities, the Spirit of the Living God will heal, transform, and cover your scars with His mercy, His grace, and His love. He will turn you into a multi-dimensional vessel, assigned to pour love, mercy, and grace onto a lost dying neighborhood, town, nation—yes, even the world.

 

Spring 2016 BB 2

 

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NAS).

 

This Spring I’m off on another road-trip to locate and photograph those bluebonnet-covered meander scars. But for the past sixteen years God has been softening and transforming my own scars from the death of my daughter and my parents through my participation in the Grief Share ministry. How does He accomplish this restoration? By pointing those new to this journey through the valley of the shadow of death to Jesus, then watching them blossom as He heals and transforms them too.

bb fence and blossoms 2a

Are you allowing God to transform and heal your scars? He will, you know, but first you must acknowledge your need, come to Him, thank Him for who He is, ask His forgiveness for your sin of unbelief. Ask for His healing and His peace. Then rest in Him to perform the miracle of new birth in you.

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NAS).

 

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Sayin’ goodbye is hard.

The distance from the airport parking garage to the Southwest gate seemed endless. Tears threatened an assault. I gulped them back. Grandson Noah and I chatted about stupid stuff, each of us knowing the elephant in the room was grief over having to say goodbye. Again.

Oh, I knew I’d talk on the phone with him and see him next trip, but my heart ached. We’ve done this drill so many times and it never gets easier. But to say goodbye and know it’s final for the duration of life in the here and now—that’s hard. Really hard. But it’s not forever.
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Sayin’ goodbye hurts.

After the death of our daughter, I sat in the counselor’s office and heard her ask me, “DiAne, have you said goodbye to Michelle?”

Her words smacked me in the face. I snuggled in my self-righteous, stupid self and stammered mad. Why should I have to say goodbye, my daughter was a believer. She’s with Jesus. I’d see her again. Why should I have to say goodbye?

But in the days that followed, God brought scenes of my children leaving for college to mind. I saw them drive out the driveway, knowing I would see them again and what did I do? Stood in the driveway waving and watching ‘til they were out of sight, shouting goodbye.

And I know one day the goodbye will vanish and we’ll be together again and the hurt will vanish too.
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Sayin’ goodbye is necessary.

I remember the last time I saw my mom before she died. Alzheimer’s had robbed us of everything the last eight years of her life. But when I leaned over and kissed her, shortly before she went to be with Jesus, she replied in a clear, lucid voice, “goodbye.” Her body died a week later. But Mama’s mind and ability to respond to an earthly relationship died seven years before.

Saying goodbye frees us from focusing on the ugliness of death and to comprehend the glorious riches of God’s grace and the reality of His promise of an inheritance and eternity with Him.

We can’t focus on heaven when our eyes and heart are mired in the muck of fear. It takes months, maybe even years to say goodbye. But God has a purpose and plan for you, so it’s necessary to say goodbye, for now.
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Sayin’ goodbye confronts us with an ugly reality.

Whether your loved one has been ill for a long time or their death is unexpected, you are never prepared for that moment of separation. We are created eternal beings. And the bottom line when ferocious grief assaults your soul, you are brought face to face with your own earthly mortality. And Satan’s cunning voice whispers to your hurting heart, “You’re next.”

“Inasmuch then as the children(us) have partaken of flesh and blood. He (Jesus) Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He (Jesus) might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those (us) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14 NAS).

Yes, God has numbered our days too. But if we trust Him for today, can’t we trust all our tomorrows and everything that goes with them to Him too?
Hot in the Kitchen 4

Sayin’ goodbye reveals a weak link in the chain of our lives.

It is so easy to pour out platitudes when others are plunged into the tsunami of grief . We recite scriptures and think in our minds we believe them with all our heart. But in the practically of the valley of the shadow of death our faith is put to the test. Do we really believe what we preach to others when we’re the ones hurting? And God asks, “Do you trust Me?”

And that’s the bottom line. But even the faith to trust Him is a gift from God, all we need is a heart that wants to.

Sayin’ goodbye requires us to accept God’s sovereignty.

During some of the darkest days after our daughter went home to live with the Lord Jesus, I read Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord…” I had read that verse many times, but that particular day the words jumped off the page and pierced my heart. Her death was unexpected to us, but not to God. He numbered her days before she was born.

Clear as could be I heard in my spirit, “Do you trust Me?” In the silence of the moment with my teeny-weeny less than mustard seed sized faith I whispered, “Yes, Lord. I trust You.”

And the clouds of grief diminished a little each day as I learn experientially to walk through life’s dark times trusting everything to God.
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Grief never goes away—it changes, and grief is God’s roto-rooter to increase our heart’s capacity for joy.

Sayin’ goodbye is the beginning—not the end.

Jesus tells us death is an enemy. An enemy that reeks incredible heartache and destruction. But it’s not always going to be that way. God created us to become living stones, not dead stones. Stones that are being built into one body in Christ Jesus.

Our loved ones do not become heaven’s newest angels. God created all the angels there would ever be in the beginning. Those who love and trust the Lord Jesus are living stones who will rule and reign with Him forever.

Our loved ones aren’t sitting on a cloud, plucking a harp. No, if they had faith and trust in Jesus, they are doing what God planned for their lives. Doing what God transformed them to do and be. They are healed, filled with His joy, and alive forever by the same power that resurrected our Lord Jesus Christ and defeated Satan’s power over us through the fear of death.

The joy of His promise of a future and an inheritance is the power that enables us to keep on keeping on.

Saying goodbye is a choice.

The term “in that day” refers to a certain point in time, a time only God knows, when this age will end, death will be nailed in a coffin and buried forever. And Jesus will rule and reign, right here on earth, and we will never have to say goodbye again.

God’s promises are sure. You can trust Him. Scripture tells us He is not willing for any to perish, but that all should come to eternal life, through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you’ve never trusted Him, choose to accept His free gift of salvation purchased for you at the cross. Please make that choice right now.

You don’t have to wait ‘til you’re good enough. I sure didn’t. You can bow your head right now, admit you’ve sinned, and by faith believe that Jesus died to purchase you back from Satan. Thank Him for loving you and ask Him to teach you to trust Him more every day. Tell Him you want Him to be your Savior. Then tell someone, tell a friend, tell me, you’ve chosen to accept God’s gift of mercy and grace and follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Sayin’ goodbye allows you to choose worship.

We are so prone to hang onto the shirttails of pride. Meeting the challenges of the day, solving problems, running life—‘til death sideswipes us and we realize we are in control of nothing. At that point you will either turn to or away from Jesus. You will become bitter or you will worship The Lord God Almighty, El Shaddai.

And worship is the reason we were created—to worship. What do you worship?
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Sayin’ goodbye is an act of surrender.

Surrendering your loved one and yourself to the God who created you, loves you beyond your ability to comprehend will bring you to your knees giving honor and glory to Him. “… one Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6 NAS).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 NAS).

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Have you ever had your big toe poke a hole clear through your sock? A sore toe and maybe a blister is the reward for rubbing shoe leather all day, and it hurts.
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Auntie Marian sat on the front porch, in the cool of early evening, darning socks and rocking. And we were grateful for her diligence.

But whether you’re darning a sock, fixin’ and stitchin’ a hem, a family, or a life, it’s easier to restore when less stitches are required to patch the gap. These days we don’t stop to repair DSCF5450anything that breaks, just toss ‘em in the trash and shop for new stuff.

We’ve become the throw-away-generation.

Tired of a dress? Pitch it. Don’t like the sofa? Purchase a new one. Want a larger home? Get rid of the old one. And judging from the size of the malls, stores, and warehouses, we are indeed a nation of shoppers on steroids.

Newer, faster, sleaker everything—from cars to toothbrushes. Trouble is, our penchant for trashing objects has slithered into trashing people and relationships: Troubled kids, troublesome relatives, whoever and whatever flickers your feelings. Commitments? Disposable. Don’t even like the word. Gotta be free. Free to do my thing. My way. And in my time.

Like the three-year-old in the blog last week demanding a candy bar. Did I forget to mention the shopping cart was strewn with an empty cracker box, a half-eaten cookie, and a sucker wrapper? Bribes—given in place of loving enough to take the time and energy to properly discipline the child.

I’m so thankful God doesn’t toss me on the garbage heap when I wear out or offend Him. No, He takes the time to refresh me, to teach me to walk in accord with His Word. And I’m thankful His mercies are new every morning for those who love Him. God’s Word tells me He loves me so much He gave His only Son to die in my place. To die instead of me.

At the point we come to the end of our pride and arrogance and recognize we are hopeless without Him, He offers His amazing gift of grace and mercy to each person who repents, confesses, and truly believes in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to give them new life—now and forever.

What bribes have you allowed to creep in and litter the landscape of your home? What deceptive lies have caused you to refuse God’s repairing discipline?

And the rest of the world looks at God’s people. A world saturated in evil, poverty, and death. A world desperate for love, hope, and a Savior. Yet they look at Christians and wonder, “Those church folks act just like me. Why should I want to be like them?”

DSCF5451Could it be, church folks, we are full of rips and holes that need God’s darning needle? It sure is less painful to allow God to snip renegade threads from our hearts and take a few stitches in our character each day, rather than wait ‘til the distance between our hearts and His is an empty, dark cavern.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives…All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:5-6 and 11 NAS).

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Have you ever held a baby lamb? Felt the softness of the white wool? And understood the vulnerability of this little creature?

In the 12th Chapter of Exodus God instructed Moses to have each household of the congregation of Israel take a lamb for themselves, according to the number of people in the family.
Their lamb had to be an unblemished male, a year old, and they were to care for until the fourteenth day of the same month.

Can you imagine the joy of the younger children in the household?
I can hear them say, “Oh Daddy, can we keep the lamb?” But on the fourteenth day of that month, at twilight, each special lamb, in every household of the congregation of Israel was killed.

Imagine the number of lambs slain that night. Imagine the tension in each family. Imagine the fear. The anticipation. The hope. They were instructed to paint some of the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintels of their houses.

Roasting directions were given and they were to eat all of the lamb, have their clothes packed, and be ready to leave Egypt at dawn. This meal would be known forever as The Lord’s Passover—the night the Lord passed through Egypt and killed the first-born of every household without the lamb’s blood on the doorposts.

God told Israel, “I am the Lord.” And the blood would be a sign for them, when He saw the blood He would pass over them, and no plague would destroy them when He struck Egypt. And God did just as He promised.

This Passover Celebration continues in Jewish households today and is a permanent ordinance for them. Forever. The date of this event would have been around 1445 B.C.

Let’s fast-forward through the pages of the Old Testament. God told Israel over and over again in the fullness of time their would be another lamb. One Lamb, Messiah, Prince of Peace would come and deliver them. And they envisioned a king. A king who would sweep in, deliver them from all their woes, set up a regal kingdom and life would be good. They refused to hear and understand what God said.

We have the complete Word of God. They didn’t. And we still refuse to hear God’s Word. Like the stubborn and prideful Israelites, we apply our own understanding to what He has said rather than read and heed the beautiful painting of words our merciful God has preserved for us?

From that Passover night in Egypt how fitting that shepherds would receive the good news of the long awaited Savior—Christ, the Lord—a baby—God’s Passover Lamb, laying in a manger in Bethlehem. Just where the prophets said He would be. Yet, everyone but the shepherds missed it.

God’s Lamb left His throne in heaven and submitted Himself to the confines of a human being in order to become our Kinsman Redeemer. He loved us enough to live on this hostile, sin-filled planet in order to become our perfect, Passover Lamb. He obeyed the Father’s just judgment in order that you and I might be painted with His blood and washed clean and white. Forgiven. And through God’s mercy and grace and love adopted into His family. Forever.

Have the door posts of your life been painted with the blood of the Perfect Lamb, God’s Only Lamb, your Passover Lamb?DSCF2349

If you hear His voice today, be very sure, because the Word tells us He’s coming again. And soon. And this time He won’t be in a stable in Bethlehem. He will be The Prince of Peace, The Lord of Lords, and The King of Kings. Forever.

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37-40 NAS).

Have a joyful and blessed Christmas as we celebrate The Lamb!

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Stuffed in my ears and heaped in stacks around my feet. From hands-free devices to flat screens. TVs. Phones. And books. Zillions of them. A constant barrage of words. All day, every day and into the night, words surround me.

But is anyone listening? Does anyone really hear my words?

As a parent I’ve asked the above questions concerning my children, my spouse and my friends.

So why should I even take the time and energy to speak today?

Because the Lord Jesus Christ gave me the ability to speak and the command to go and tell.

“So what am I supposed to tell them, Lord? And how am I supposed to say it?”

Jesus instructed I am  to… “Go and make disciples.”

Now preachers go to seminary to learn apologetics—how to present God’s Word to their congregations. But I’m just a normal person. I don’t have all those degrees. I don’t know what to say or how to say it.

My mind raced back to those first century Christians. How did they make disciples? They didn’t have Bibles. Yet their numbers multiplied. They just shared their experiences. The joy and peace they found in knowing Jesus after centuries of enduring a bloody altar that didn’t fix their sin or their problems. The joy of suffering persecution on account of His name. The joy of knowing and believing their life on this earth was only the beginning.

They understood with their minds and believed in their hearts that at the moment of death they would open their eyes and be in the presence of the Lord. Forever. In His everlasting kingdom that is to come. Where He will rule and reign here on earth.

The accounts of these early saints lives and deaths are an incredible role model for us today as we see persecution of believers escalating around the globe.

Perhaps that’s the problem. We lack experiences. Maybe. But I don’t think we need more experiences or how to—I think we need more want to. I wonder if pride and churchiness aren’t the issues preventing us from sharing our heart.

Fear and pride are sister-boogers-in-the-woodwork. Fear and pride of what others would think if they really knew what we had done, what had been done to us, or what we really think in those dark corridors of our minds. Fear and pride of deception, thinking we are better than we are.

So we retreat behind the walls of the church, compare ourselves to all those sinners who don’t go to church, and become clones of one another. Using fancy words. Words without power. Words that do not affect or change the life of another, much less our own life.

The cure comes when we begin to recognize the depth of our deception, dear church, acknowledge our need for repentance, and get real with others about how and why God is transforming our lives. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s not. Being transparent is painful, to us and sometimes to others.

I’m here today to use my word limit to share my troublesome boogers with you. Not with flowery words that loose us in a trail of sweet sounding emptiness. No. Just the sorrow of my heart and the immediate and responsive love of my Savior.

This past Christmas Season was the most difficult one of my life. Family issues, changing relationships, grief and coming uncertainties for America, brought the onslaught of a spiritual battle in me that loomed larger each passing day.

‘Til I admitted that terrible word—depression—and fell on my face, crying to my Lord Jesus for help. I was ashamed and confessed that I had squandered this year’s holy celebration. More concerned about me and mine rather than focusing on the miracle of His conception and pondering the purpose of His birth, death and resurrection. I had to confess I had ignored God. When I did that, I bowed to worship of The Sovereign God of all creation—Immanuel—God with us.

He didn’t stand me in the corner. He didn’t shout reprimands. He immediately answered the groaning of my heart and reminded me, I’m His child. He dried my tears and wrapped me in the warm Emergency Room blanket of His love and refocused my eyes and my heart on His mercy and everlasting love for me.         

“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?” (Psalm 56:8).

The battle ceased. The fog of deception lifted. Have the problems vanished? No, but the bottomless well-spring of His joy immediately bubbled-up and filled my spirit to overflowing. When a wisp of gloom tries to creep back into my thoughts I capture that thought and give it to Jesus. The light of His love overpowers the shadow of darkness every time.

The formula is simple but sure:

My plight + my cries to Him + His love and power = His comfort, His mercy, His grace and His healing = complete forgiveness and restoration for me, now and forever.

As soon as my lids flutter open in the morning, my heart tunes to sing the anthem, “For Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me, the glory and the lifter of my head.”

No sin is beyond His ability to forgive. How long has it been since you have had honest words with God? How long has it been since He rescued you? How long has it been since you’ve used words and actions to tell and show someone what God has done for you? Now is the perfect opportunity. I invite you to share with the readers of this blog what God has done and is doing in your life today.

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If you’ve lost a loved one in the past three years, chances are on November 15th you’d like to have taken a sleeping bill that would last until January 5th of 2013.

Truth is, all of us live life from one holiday ‘til the next. February brings Valentines, then Easter is next in line, followed by Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, then the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, birthdays and anniversaries are sandwiched in between these festivities—and they are all difficult days.

Then we begin again. Next year.

But if you’re agonizing over the death of a loved one, holiday celebrations are brutal reminders of who’s not there to celebrate with you. You’re sad and lonely. Very lonely.

This year was the fifteenth Thanksgiving without Mama, the thirteenth without Daddy, and the twelfth without our daughter, Michelle. And Monday, the one before Thanksgiving, I had a complete meltdown.

You’d think after all this time I’d be able to get through a holiday event with only a twinge of an emotional setback. But when I opened Mama’s silver chest to polish those family treasures that would grace our dinner table, memories of Thanksgivings past rushed down the corridors of my mind, ripped through my heart, and tumbled out in a river of debilitating tears.

I collapsed in the middle of the floor and gave myself permission to shed tears of love and loss that honor the lives of those who’ve gone home before me.

Tears of grief are liquid healing. Tears that, scripture tells us, God saves in a bottle. Tears necessary to move us through the grief process and into our new normal.

But what happens to those who refuse the opportunity to cry and grieve? Are they stronger? Are those of us who weep and grieve weak?

Absolutely not.

Family members grieve in different manners—each person’s grief is unique. And most every family who has lost a loved one has at least one member who refuses to do their grief work. They choose instead to bury their grief alive because they believe their sorrow is much worse than anyone else and much too difficult for them to bear. Problem is when grief is buried alive there will be a resurrection one day. Or perhaps on many days, year, after year, after year—most often during holidays.

Graves of buried grief incubate anger. Anger blossoms into bitterness. Bitterness transforms itself into rage. And that rage dresses and terrorizes, in many colors and forms—sullenness, rudeness, unexplained irritability, unreasonableness, inability to demonstrate love within the family unit, stubborn refusal to participate in and accept the joy and thankfulness of the season. These reactions can damage or ultimately bring death to living relationships with family members who are dealing with their grief.

These desperate souls have stumbled unknowingly into the quagmire of grief and will not or cannot escape the devastating consequences of their wrong choices.

They are stuck in grief.

Can we do anything to help these scalded, scarred folks?

 Love and prayer. Prayer, prayer and then more love and prayer. As long as there is breath, there is hope.

But we  can’t heal them, only God can—if they seek Him. However, we must not allow ourselves to become entangled or sucked into their web of chaos. And that’s where the line in the sand must be drawn and the remedy may result in the need to create distance or space between ourselves and the one stuck in grief.

Like any other behavior, becoming stuck in grief is habitual. And habits are hard to break. However, catering to bad behavior ensnares all involved in co-dependent relationships.

There are no time limitations on grief or healing. People have come to GriefShare after forty years of being stuck in grief. And when they do the grief work, God promised to heal them and to restore the years the locust have eaten.

As we enter the Christmas Season where does Christmas 2012 find you? Like me, pausing to remember and shed those treasured tears of grief? Or are you the one stuck in grief? Or perhaps you find yourself dreading the family gathering around the tree or table this Christmas, fearing the eruption that is sure to come.

Surviving the Holidays is a wonderful place to begin the necessary healing. Go to the GriefShare website www.GriefShare.org and click on the link to find a Surviving the Holidays event near you. Ask family members to attend with you. Work to keep lines of communication open within the family. Ask God to break down strongholds of anger that have caused family discord.

Every holiday becomes bitter-sweet a few years after loss. And it’s okay to cry,  to feel sad, and to remember.

But hold onto the truth that the day is coming when there will be no more tears, no more separation, and no more death. ‘Til then, I’ve wondered what sized bottle God used for my tears these fifteen years? My guess is a giant washtub. What size bottle will He need to hold your tears?

“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book?” (Psalm 56:8 NKJ)

Ancient “tear bottles” were actually excavated by archaeologist in Israel. The vessels were used to catch and preserve the owner’s tears during their grief or difficult times.

If you need help dealing with your grief this Christmas Season, please feel free to respond to this blog. I have been  a GriefShare facilitator for the past nine years. There is help and hope available to you today.

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