The Lord recently reminded me of the importance of being authentic and staying true to who I am in Him, according to His plan for my life.
As I strongly desire to live the life that God has planned for me - finishing well for His glory - I realize that the way in which I make my way through the journey of grief is a significant part of how I might "finish well."
Living with loss, and determining how I will respond to my losses has been the most challenging experiences and testings of my character and faith of my life so far.
Yesterday, a precious mom that I haven't talked to for many months shared with me that she is "trying to move on with God's help." I had to think about what she meant by "moving on." Some moms reading these words may cringe at the thought or the idea of "moving on," because they cannot imagine what that would mean or how that might be lived out in their own lives. For me, I sensed her desire to keep on living with God's help, moving toward something better, all the while doing the best that she could in her own way.
Many years ago, I heard a story about a young girl with special needs who came in last place, but actually won the Special Olympics gold medal, because she was "the only one who stayed in her lane!" All of the other runners were all over the course, laughing, high-fiving each other, stepping into one another's lanes and playing to the crowds completely oblivious for the white lines that created individual lanes. When the last runner crossed the finish line and the race was over, the gold medal was presented to the runner who came in last. Who knew that winning the gold that day would have nothing to do with speed or crossing the finish line first, but rather, the gold would be given to the one who simply stayed in the lane assigned to them.
Before the sudden cardiac death of our youngest son, Kevin, in January 2002, I was running a very different kind of race. I was confident, focused and determined to experience all that God had planned for me, and for my family, with hope and joy, because I believed Jeremiah 29:11 with all of my heart "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Little did I know what was ahead for me, my husband and my family, and how my faith and trust in God and His plans for me would be challenged and how I would be re-defined and refined.
Since Kevin's death, I have experienced a plethara of feelings and emotions, and I have faced and worked through what, at times, have seemed like impossible mountains of emotions, challenges and issues to climb over or break through. I have also learned a lot about myself, about life, people and God Himself. And, I have learned what it means for me to "stay in my lane," as I keep moving toward the finish line with the help of God and the hope of finishing well for His glory.
I have discovered, as you may also have or are discovering, that the journey through grief is a wilderness of unexplored feelings, emotions and experiences that are felt and expressed differently. And, that by being honest with ourselves and others, open to what God has planned for us, realizing that we are all people with "special needs" we can surely put one foot in front of the other, staying in our lane that will lead us across the finish line with our eyes fixed on the Eternal One who is in the lane right beside us - JESUS! "He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken." -Psalm 62:2
As we move into Summer, we hope that you will be refreshed and reminded of how special and unique you are, and that you will experience the peace of "staying in your lane" with God helping you over the finish line according to His plan for good for you and your family.
You are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers, and we are looking forward to mapping out our upcoming 2013-2014 Season of Comfort that will begin mid-September.
Love and Blessings In Christ - as we keep on walking and moving together toward the finish line with Jesus,
Angie and our "Mighty Like A Rose" ministry leadership team (Shelley, Stephanie, Christy, Julie and Sharon)