Our son Shawn would have been 42 years old.  Travelling the road marked grief is long, and sometimes very lonely. The journey is different for each person. Although the stages – markers have been identified, no two individuals walk in the same direction, the same manner and pace.  And the imprint left by the loss is different as well.  You are changed at the core of your physical, emotional and spiritual DNA.  And those changes will either cloud or clarify how you look at life, your relationship with others, yourself and God.  As you recall the memories of your loved one, you will make a choice to move toward hope and love or not.

Remembering can hurt, but it does not mean constant pain.  John 16:32 [HCSB] records, “I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”    We have a Savior who understands, and is with us. He is our present help at all times.  Because he knows and understands, we can go to him anytime with our grief, our sorrow, and our pain.  He is our Shalom-our precious peace that passes all understanding.

I can celebrate Shawn’s life and legacy, and thank God for the time given us.  Resting in His glorious peace provides hope when the road seems cloudy.

Can We Save Them?

Junior Seau, former NFL great found dead in his home of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound.  He is the eighth member of the 1994 Chargers team, which reached the Super Bowl, to die before age 45.  He leaves a mother, children, and former players, coaches, fans and league officials in shock.  Questions about the enormous physical toll the game takes on players, as well as how much the league does to assist former players, once their active playing days are behind them will once again be raised.  As words of sympathy roll in from all over the league, these questions while valid did not come close to an answer to this tragedy.

We can all speculate on what we believe was the real reason for his decision to take his life, but we will never know.  Or do we know? As tragic as this situation is, and my heart goes out to his mother, family, and most of all his children who will spend much of their lives negatively impacted by their father’s decision.

We all must be alert to those around us who are suffering inside, and who appear like Junior to be strong,invincible, and yet feel like there is no hope, no reason to go on when one season of life is over.

Winslow Townson/AP Taken in 2007

What we sometimes fail to realize is, there is always another plan-a better plan waiting for us. God’s divine plan is always better.  It is filled with love, joy, peace and hope.  And there is always hope.  Not hope in what this world offers, but hope in our strong tower, in our mighty fortress, in our refuge, our Strength, our salvation and in our God.  A God who said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  So when we come to the end of our journey, the fork in the road, God will be there leading and guiding all the way.So let us resolve to do more to share the message of hope for all those caught in the tangled of web of despair.

Let’s do it for the Junior Seaus’ of the world, their families, and others like him.

The Space Before – Forgiveness

Yesterday, I wrote in my journal about forgiveness while praying for someone who is dealing with the lost of their mother. Grief and lost are difficult enough, but dealing with bad attitudes, misplaced emotions, and contentious behaviors in the midst of it can be too much. As I was meditating, the word forgiveness came up. It wasn’t in any of the scriptures I read, but there it was. Forgiveness. What is forgiveness? And why is it necessary to forgive? And when does it occur? I believe it is a gift-a sacred present. A grace offering. Jesus said forgive and pray for those who mistreat you. It is an expectation, a divine directive from our Savior. Life’s challenges make it difficult to forgive, and much time and energy can be lost in the space of unforgiveness.
I was intrigued, and compelled to write about it. In fact, the word returned this morning, so I had to share this thought. How does forgiveness happened?

Forgiveness takes place in the space between “for” and “give”. Yes, in the space before forgiveness is offered. There is a melting, a release, and moving away from the rock and the hard place. It is like the cold snow melting away under the warmth of the bright morning sun. Picture it! The snow and ice becoming water. This is what happens in the space before forgiveness. Transformation takes place, when the giver makes the decision to for-give. In that space hate becomes love, resistance becomes acceptance, and the past gives way to the future.

A new beginning comes into focus in that sacred space [the before]. And this is not a small space. Look at the word forgive. There does not appear to be any space between the letters. Now, look at it again. F O R G I V E. There is more space. Look at it one more time. F O R G I V E. The space is much wider. In fact it huge, because if you have ever been hurt, betrayed, rejected, abused, the space from the pain is wide. However, at the second, the very moment the decision is made to forgive the space [gap] begins to close. And during the closing of the space preparations for the delivery of the gift begins. The gift is wrapped in love with a bright ribbon of hope. Upon delivery the space is closed, and miraculously another space is opened.

Forgiveness is a wonderful gift. It restores, heals, and allows you and I the opportunity to share the greatest gift we’ve ever received, that of God’s forgiveness.

A Pocketful of Miracles

A Pocketful of Miracles

Last night I watched a classic movie based on a story by Damon Runyon called A Pocketful of Miracles. In the story an old bag lady, a hustler brilliantly played by Bette Davis, learns her daughter, whom she hasn’t seen in years is coming to America. The problem is the old lady’s daughter believes her mother is a member of high society. Through a series of “miracles” her life and the lives of those who comes to her rescue are transformed.

Didn’t Christ do this? His gift opened the door so we to experience the miraculous. To enjoy a life filled with wonder, joy, abundance. But there is a problem. Catherine Marshall described it this way, “It would be wrong to have a “poverty complex,” for to think ourselves paupers is to deny either the King’s riches or to deny our being His children.” But isn’t this exactly what we are doing? We are either living below the miracle, or deny miracle exist. Our Jesus came so we could become partners, and hand out pocketful of miracles.