Romans 8:28?

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  Romans 8:26-28  The Message

One of the hardest verse in the Bible for me to understand for the last six and a half years has been Romans 8:28 – the last sentence in the above scripture passage.  I remember sitting with my dad in the nursing home two months after my husband died and a week after my mom had joined him and asking, “Daddy, how does Romans 8:28 work for you and me now?”  That was a verse that Dad had quoted to me many times when I was struggling with something, but for the first time, he didn’t have an answer to my question.

So many times I hear people say or write in their facebook posts about something good or wonderful that has happened in their lives and their comment is “God is so good!” and I wonder if they lost their spouse, would they be able to say that same thing about God.

C. S. Lewis said, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us.  We are wondering how painful the best will be.”  When I heard this statement, I finally understood my feelings about Romans 8:28.  And I’m still looking for the way that God is bringing good from my being a widow.  One thing I have found is that my heart has a special passion for widows now that I never had before.

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My Better Half

R.C. Sproul, Jr. Family (1 child not pictured)

On December 29, 2011 R.C. Sproul became a widower and single father with 8 children when his wife Denise went to heaven.

RC Sproul Jr. is the founder, chairman and teacher at Highlands Ministries in southwest Virginia. He is also a Teaching Fellow at Ligonier Ministries in Orlando, Florida. A graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary, he also earned a Doctorate of Ministries in 2001. He is the author or editor of a dozen books. His wife Denise wrote a regular column for Every Thought Captive magazine and is the author of Tending Your Garden: Wisdom for Keepers at Home.  Together they parented eight blessings, one profoundly disabled, two via trans-racial adoption — all of them deeply loved.

In his January 3, 2012 blog he wrote the following:

The Bible says that husbands and wives are one flesh.  Christian marriage pundits turn this too into “Be nice to each other.”  That is, we are told about the importance of open communication.  We are encouraged to be as concerned for our spouse as we are for ourselves.  We, in rephrasing what God has said so that we might understand it, end up further from the truth.  We are not commanded to live as if we were one flesh.  Instead we are told that such is the actual truth.  The one-flesh reality means that I haven’t just lost the love of my life, but half of me.  How could I recognize me, when I am now only half the man I once was?  It isn’t quite accurate to say that when she drew her last breath a part of me died.  Instead half of me died.

The good news, however, is the same.  Half of me has died, and is with Jesus.  Half of me has no melancholy, but only joy.  Half of me cries no more.  Half of me sins no more.  Half of me loves me, and the children, with a perfect love.  Mourning, over the coming weeks and months, will move to dancing, as this half of me begins to more deeply believe the blessings I have in my better half.

On January 27, 2012 R.C. wrote:

Jesus did not, forty days ago, take Denise from me.  She was never mine to begin with.  He placed her under my care.  He blessed me with her wisdom, with her example, with her love.  But she was then what she is now, and will always be, His.

Three days ago R.C. shared:

Since my wife passed I am constantly asked how I am doing.  I am so grateful for people’s concerns.  The truth is I do have a long to-do list, even without my honey making me honey-do lists.  I also feel the weight of the sorrow of missing her that beckons me to spend the day in bed.  I can’t, however, curl up in a ball because of my life’s work.  I have eight children to care for, children who miss their mom every bit as much as I do.  For all my sadness over the loss of my wife, I yet have what we have made, by His grace together, these precious children.  They need their dad more than I need a day in bed.  In loving, in serving them, my wounds begin to heal and I am reminded I am not a man without shoes looking at children without feet.  I am instead the richest man in the world, because of the children who are my and His heirs.  Give thanks.  Repent.  Believe the gospel.  And get to work.

My Daily Load

I wrote this a year into my grief journey.  At the eighteen month point my load of constant 24/7 deep, deep soul pain did begin to lift.

“A father of the fatherless and a defender of widows is God in His holy habitation. Blessed be the Lord Who daily loadeth us (with benefits).”  Psalm 68:5, 19

My initial interpretation of this particular passage was the God loads me daily with benefits.  However, after taking a closer look at it, I found it had an entirely different meaning.

The word “daily” does not translate into just the daylight hours.  It means not only for a twenty-four hour period, but continually.

Loadeth” means just what it says – to lay a load on.

The words “with benefits” were not in the original translation and do not give us the true idea of what this passage means.  The true idea here is Blessed be the Lord God even if He lays a burden on us, and if He does this daily, for He is the God of our salvation. He makes us able to bear it; He gives  us the strength to bear it; and finally He delivers us from it.’

The moment her husband passes away a huge load is laid upon a widow, but this scripture says that God constantly aids us to bear that load.  He does not leave us.  He enables us to triumph in Him and through Him, but the part that gives me the most hope is that finally He delivers us from it.

What will it feel like to finally be free of this great pain that I carry around in the very depths of my soul every waking moment?  I cannot even imagine it at this point, but from the testimony of a widow who is years further down the road than I am, I see that it is true and that time will come for me.

In God I not only have a defender and a load bearer who gives me the strength to bear up under that load, but I can look forward with the hope that He will in time deliver me from all of this sorrow and grief.  I cannot imagine how those widows who do not have that personal relationship with Christ bear up under their load.

Thank You, God, that You are right here alongside me helping me to carry this heavy load and that someday You will deliver me from it.

Fire, Darkness, Flood, Thorns…

Smoke rises in the air as wildfire in Coke County, Texas, burns yesterday across the southern American state
The very fire that blackens my horizons warms my soul.  The darkness that oppresses my mind sharpens my vision.  The flood that overwhelms my heart quenches my thirst.  The thorns that penetrate my flesh strengthen my spirits.  The grave that buries my desires deepens my devotion.  Man’s failure to comprehend this intention of God is one of life’s true calamities.  
James Means – A Tearful Celebration

Anticipation

“We know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”  2 Corinthians 5:1-5  The Message

Not a day goes by that I do not long for heaven and wonder what is going on there.  I am jealous of what I am missing.  This world that used to be so important to me is no longer my home.  Things and events that used to be so important to me no longer matter.  Every time I hear the whistle of a train I am ready to hop on board.  Anticipation of the Rapture and all of heaven’s unimagined glories and beauties runs high.  I’m so glad that there is something fantastic to look forward to in my future.

(Photo Credit: hubblesite.org)

Nothing Greater Than The Grace of Jesus

I am at the point in my journey where I can turn around and look back to see how God brought me through especially the first 4 months after the death of my husband.  And as I look back, I know that it is only by the grace of Jesus that I made it through.  During those months I not only buried my husband and both of my parents, but I packed up both homes, put all my belongings into storage,  had a garage sale in the middle of winter and sold everything within 3 hours’ time, listed both homes with a realtor and had a contract on both places within 13 days of listing.  Bob and I had never sold a home in our lives.  So, this was all new territory that I was going through in the midst of my grief fog.

Not only had we never sold a home, but we had only bought 1 home and other than giving my approval and signing on the dotted line, Bob had taken care of all of those details.  Numbers and I don’t get along, but Bob loved them.  So, he always took care of those kinds of things and I was very glad to let him do it.  Now I was in charge of buying a home all by myself with the help of some trusted christian realtors who have a special place in their hearts for widows.

While I was doing all of this, I was going to the nursing home every day taking care of both of my parents before they, too, went on to heaven.  The amount of stress that I was under was more than tremendous and I shake my head in wonder now as I look back on it all.  How did I make it through all of that?  It seemed like more than God should ask of me.  It was only by the grace of Jesus.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”    II Corinthians 4:16-18  The Message

Our Emotional Wardrobe

“God, the ultimate designer, has custom created an emotional wardrobe for you.  And it’s beautiful.  It’s also essential to accomplish His purpose for your life.  Our emotions display our hearts–our beautiful, broken, blessed, glorious hearts.  All of our emotions are gifts form God to help us process everything we experience.”

Holly Gerth/You’re Already Amazing

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Photo Taken the Day Daddy Graduated to Heaven

Dear Daddy,

Today is your 2nd birthday in heaven and I can’t help but be jealous of where you are there in heaven with Mama and Bob.  The day you left us there was a double rainbow in the sky.  One rainbow shone brighter than the other and I knew that one was Mama because she’d been in heaven for 82 days and had absorbed so much more of the light of God’s glory. You were together with her again as you had so very much longed to be.

Many times I get frustrated down here as I feel left behind to face all the trials of life with no one who loves me like you three did.  I know that you wouldn’t want to be back here for anything and I wouldn’t want you back.  But, I also know that if you could say something to me, you would encourage me to keep going and not to give up because it was worth it all when you saw Jesus.  So every morning even though so many times I just want to lie in bed and not move, I get up and start my day wandering what each day will hold for me.

This is the time of year that you so much loved with the planting of bright colored gold and purple pansies, the blooming of red and yellow tulips and daffodils and the planning of a new garden.  You loved to take Mama for long drives to see how the trees are budding and blooming and the grass is greening up and coming alive.  The big forsythia bush out in your front yard would become that beautiful bright sunshiny yellow and the rabbits would run to find a cool refuge underneath it as the weather warms up.

Nothing can compare with what you are seeing now.  It must be simply glorious!  There are SO many times when I wonder about it all and long to be sharing everything there with you.

Happy birthday, Daddy!  I love you and miss you tremendously much.  I’ll see you again!

Love,

Candy

Peering Through the Fog

“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!

 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”

I Corinthians 13:12-13

(Photo Credit: Gas Scrapbook)