Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Instructions in the Night Seasons

I’ve had a difficult time expressing how I am doing lately.  Words won’t come.. only tears.. To keep my head from exploding, I journal.. sometimes hours a day.  Here is my most recent entry:

Sunday March 17th.. 

Last week, three months since Joel went home, I was struggling with the fact that murder had entered my “world;” that the evil of this world had been allowed to take my son away from me and I am still here.

Me with my new car.  So blessed.  We (our family) bought 6 cars in 2011.  Long story.

I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around living in such luxury and comfort as our daily American lives allow; living in such a dichotomy of good and evil.  How do the two co-exist?  Pain and comfort.  Sorrow and joy.  Good and evil. 

Sometimes, I forget how to breathe.

In the midst of my anguish over losing Joel, I’ve been able to see God’s mercy.  I am thankful that He protected us from loosing three of our children that night.  Thankful that he allowed Josh to be a witness (he’s glad he was there).. while protecting the rest of our eyes from such horror… especially Judi’s.

This week I’ve struggled with the truth of God’s Word.  I know His Word is true and His promises are “Yes, and Amen in Jesus” just like I know that His salvation is eternal.. not just until the next time I sin.  He died for all my sins: past, present and future.  They were all future when He died for me.  This knowledge frees me from the bondage of condemnation; frees me to live free from the power of sin.  I’ve lived by it most of my life.

I am fully trusting in His forgiveness and salvation.. But promises?  I want to stand.. but I don’t know where or how anymore.  Promises of healing?  Many never receive until Heaven.  Promises of a hope and a future?  Are those for in Heaven too? 

Romans 11:33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

I am afraid even to write/think these words.. they are so selfish.. so many suffer so much all over the world.  Please, Lord, forgive me.  I say this with fear and humility.  Where is Joel’s protection from harm?  His hope and future.. but in Heaven? 

Do I dare to hope again that Your promises will be true.. here.. for anyone else?  Thank You, Lord, for the promise of Heaven… where You will wipe away all our tears and death will die.  I look forward to the day when You will put Jesus’ last enemy under His feet.  

Joel so proud of his first car.  Proud to be learning how to drive stick.

All the boys cars in the drive way.  Mom’s and Dad’s in the garage.

I understood that one day a car accident might take one of my children.. 16 months before Joel went home, He walked away from an accent where a large truck t-boned the car he’d owned only 10 days.  The shock almost killed me.  For weeks, I couldn’t speak of it.  But murder.. a gun?  I’ve lost all sense of security.

Joel the day after his wreck.  I was so glad he was alive.  No one could believe he walked away.  He said he was sore; felt like he’d been playing football. 

A thought I couldn’t allow myself to think last week was of the possibility that a trial could make Joel’s murder appear as just another tragedy; only bring attention to the evil in this world; actually glorify the devil.  Isn’t that what most murders do?  I so want God to be glorified in his death as He was in his life.  What can I do but trust God?  I obviously can not control what does or doesn’t happen in this world.

Joel was captivated by storms; displays of God’s awesome power.
He took these photos.  Spring of 2011.

The sad thought that did run from the bitterness of my soul over and over through my heart and mind all last week was, “I don’t want to live here.  I don’t want to live in such an evil world.”  It was my way of praying, “Father, if there is any other way.. let this cup pass from me.”

Toward the end of the week, I began praying that God would help me to submit and humbly accept and live where He has placed me.  

I am coming out of the shock and disbelief.
Moving into a wilderness of temptation.
Temptation to give up the good fight. 

Praying for humility and grace. 
Committing my heart..
To trust in God.

Standing firm in the belief of His goodness; 
Of His good heart towards me..
Towards Joel.

Dwelling in the land.. 
This wilderness of pain and suffering.
This evil world.

Feeding on His faithfulness.. 
While afraid.. confused.. 
Desperately lost.

Not knowing which of His promises are for me.
Are for here.. 
For now.

Which are left.. 
Safe to stand on 
When so many seem to have crumbled beneath my feet.  

My hope is found in Christ alone.

Psalm 37:3  Trust in the LORD and do good. Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.

Up until July of last year, I had been faithfully fighting/believing for my complete healing from my surgeries and other ailments.  I grew weary of holding out for healing.. of praying.. 18 months of asking/believing intensely and specifically about the breast cancer.. years for other stuff.

I finally came to the point of “God heal me if and when you want to.  I have asked enough.  I have to move onto other things.” Praying that prayer freed me to receive the emotional healing I didn’t realize I needed.  The emotional healing I so very much needed in preparation for Joel’s death.  Now I need so much more.  

My heart is broken.. crushed.  
Numbness wearing off.. 

Coming to the end of one survival mode 
Moving into another..  
I am just beginning to feel the pain and loss.  

Resting in “It’s God’s plan.. not mine.” 
His timing.. there is no rushing through the trial.  
I have to let it do it’s work in me.  

It’s His strength that will carry me through.  
He will complete the good work in me.  

I will do the good works He’s laid out for me 
As He enables me to do them.  

Right now my work is to trust and believe.. 
To seek His face..  
To worship.. 

To allow Him to work in me.. 
To obey as He leads.. 
To do what I see the Father doing.

The Lord spoke to me from Philippians 2:14 early this morning:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” 

With instructions to, “Try to learn to be content.”  

I was so glad to hear His voice that I didn’t mind at all that He was asking me to be content.. content to live in a world where my dearly beloved son, Joel, was allowed to be murdered; in this world of terrible evil and great blessing.

James 1:2-6  Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.   Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. 

It’s something I believe I can learn.. mostly because He asked.. and I know He enables us to do the things He asks of us.  I am so thankful for His instructions.  I am counting on Him for them.. for a way out of this vast, dark wilderness… for something to stand on.

Psalm 16:7  I will bless the LORD, who has given me counsel. Yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons.

I have a long journey ahead.  I am taking my journey one step at a time as the Lord gives me strength; feeding on and trusting in His faithfulness to love and carry me through.

 I am sharing it so honestly here partly for selfish reasons: for in the
past, it has freed me to keep moving forward in my journey… to
receive much needed healing, but I hope that it some how ministers to you, also.

Thank you for your prayers; especially for strength and God’s glory.

3 Comments

  1. Dear friend, I have also wondered about God's love and faithfulness – why He doesn't answer some of our prayers. Thank you for sharing. I'm learning that we can know He is good, even when we don't know why things happen. Love you.

  2. I haven't heard from you in a while.

    I went through very similar thoughts and emotions the first year after my son died. I guess I thought I had God figured out. I would not have said so.. but suddenly He was unpredictable.. not following what I thought I knew of Him. I came to rest in it. I stopped asking questions. I chose to trust Him.. even though I had so many unanswered questions. I've written about this on my blog and also wrote a poem. The peace came when I chose to trust. It's a war with our thoughts and I understand getting weary. I'm nearly at 1 1/2 years and let my guard down this weekend and ended up in tears. God will get you through this and I believe you will learn to trust Him even deeper than before. Please write if you need someone to talk to. I'm sorry if I dropped the ball.

  3. “Try to learn to be content.”

    what a good word from the Lord for all of us.
    I searched it on Bible gateway and they included another word with another suffix: "contentious". maybe that's my word for today. As in: don't be so….

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