Through Every Season

Year: 2020

Choosing Where My Triggered Thoughts Take Me

I drove by a yard decorated with plastic tombstones for Halloween this week. It was hard on my heart.

It triggered thoughts of death, darkness, and the deep pain of losing someone you dearly love.

Innocent pastimes like Clue, the Mafia party game, and Murder Mystery Dinners are no longer innocent or mysterious for me. I do still really enjoy seeing kids’ creativity and joy in dressing up in some of the nicer Halloween costumes and I’ve already bought glow bracelets, temporary monster tattoos, candy and tracks to pass out to the neighborhood kids.

I dreaded the drive back home past the play cemetery the other night. Then flenched when I saw it a second time and I prayed for those I know who are hurting this season. I acknowledged in my heart that the decorations aren’t going to get any brighter as the years go by and determined that I needed change what seeing death celebrated triggers in me.

I asked myself, “What thoughts can I connect to tombstones that would help heal my battered soul?” My heart answered, “The death of death! The day God swallows up death forever! The day we will celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, our last enemy! The day God will tenderly wipe away every tear from our eyes!” Oh, how I long for that day!

I compiled a list of “Death Swallowed in Victory” verses to help my heart in those triggered moments. Training my mind and renewing my heart will take a while, but I know Jesus gives beauty for ashes. I included a photo above showing how I use Google Keep to keep lists like it in my phone. Sharing it here for those like me who may need the brighter thoughts they inspire:

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. For Yahweh has spoken.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Isaiah 60:20 Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for Yahweh will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will be over.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies; and every one who is living and is a believer in me will never, never die. Do you believe this?”

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Psalm 16:7-11
I will bless Yahweh, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

I have set Yahweh always before me.
Because He is at my right hand,
I will not be moved.

No wonder my heart is glad
and my glory rejoices;
my body also rests in safety.

For You will not abandon
my soul among the dead,
nor allow your faithful one to see decay.

You cause me to know the path to life;
fill me with joy in Your presence,
everlasting delight at Your right hand.

Much love and grace,

Jenny

Tears Answered in Jesus

My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” – Psalm 42:3 ESV

What do your tears say to you? What questions do they ask? What do you do with them? Do you swallow them down or pour them out?

We have cried many tears since the death of our 20 year old son. The first question our tears asked was, “Does God understand how much this hurts?”

Maybe your tears ask with the psalmist, “Where is God?” or maybe they ask:
“Does He hear our prayers?”
“Does God see?”
“Does He care?”
“Did I do something wrong?”

The psalmist turns from swallowing bitter tears to pouring them out before God while repeatedly encouraging himself to “Hope in God” (Psalms 42:5, 11).

Shortly after losing our son, Joel, a clear choice presented itself to us:

a) We could turn away from God, swallow our bitter tears and go to a very dark place or…
b) We could turn to God, pour out our bitter sorrow and encourage ourselves to hope in Him.

This was a choice we had to make many times over; often within a single day.

As we continued to turn to God with our bitter sorrow and place our hope in Him, our tears were answered with God’s love shown to us in Jesus.

In Jesus, we see the sacrificial love of the Father for us (John 3:16).
In Jesus, we see God’s care for the very hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7).
In Jesus, we see Him weeping alongside us at the grave of those we love (John 11:35).
In Jesus, we see Him carry all our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).
In Jesus, we see Him providing forgiveness for our sins at the cross (Luke 23:34).
In Jesus, we see our Resurrection and Life (John 11:25).
In Jesus, we see our Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9).

In Jesus, we have the promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

In Jesus, we have a “firm and secure” hope as an “anchor for our soul” (Hebrew 6:19).

We know that God understands how much this hurts because we see Jesus during the days of His earthly life offering “up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death” (Hebrews 5:7).

We know that God hears our prayers, because this same “Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

What will you do with your tears? Will you turn with us and pour out your bitter sorrow to God, commit to encourage yourself to hope in Him, and allow His lovingkindness in Jesus to answer your tears?

Much love,

Jenny

Reasons Not to Seek a Medium or Spiritists

When you are suffering or have lost someone you dearly love, there can be a temptation to desperately grasp at any means of comfort. God may feel distant, inaccessible, or we may honestly not be on speaking terms with Him. Seeking a medium or spiritists may sound like a good idea, but the reality is that it can be devastatingly dangerous. What we need when our hearts are broken is nothing short of a miracle. We need the comfort that only God can give.

God is not distant or inaccessible. Jesus died on the cross so that nothing can ever separate us from His love again. All we have to do is ask and He will come to our rescue.

I am not saying that our journey through suffering to comfort will be quick or easy, but if we will continually turn our hearts to God, He will be faithful to meet us and minister to us as only He can.

I was so blessed a few years ago when I read a Kim Nolywaika’s “Eight Reasons Why I Will Not See a Psychic Medium” that I wanted to write a similar post of my own. I hope this line of thought helps you as it has me. Kim’s post can be found on her blog at: https://youcantrusthim.com/2017/03/09/eight-reasons-why-i-will-not-see-a-psychic-medium/

Download my page of reasons below as a pdf here.

In His love,

Jenny Coleman

Trust the Engineer

It can get really dark on this fallen planet, but those who trust in Jesus are only traveling through.
The darkness is not our destination.
Eventually, if we trust our Heavenly Engineer and don’t jump off, we will find that He is the Everlasting Light at the end of our tunnel.

 

Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will cease. – Isaiah 60:20

But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12

All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. However, they saw them and welcomed them from afar. And they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. – Hebrews 11:13

I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. – Ephesians 1:18-19

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. -2 Corinthians 4:6

Love and grace,

Jenny

Heavenly Intercessors and Witnesses: Encouragement to Run and Pray

I recently learned that my friend, Donna, joined the great cloud of witnesses, who cheer for us. She promised to tell Joel funny stories from when we were little when she got there. Her friendship was such a gift.

Three precious women, who have prayed for and often encouraged me, have joined that cloud of witnesses in the last nine months. Their prayers and witness continue to encourage me now. I was praying this morning for their families and others who are grieving and leaning into these verses:

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God…

34 Who is there to condemn us? For Christ Jesus, who died, and more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God—and He is interceding for us.

I lean hard because I am weak and often don’t know how I ought to pray, but long to join Jesus and Holy Spirit in their intercession for us even when only groans too deep for words can suffice.

Jesus, consumed with zeal for His house, drove money changers out of the temple and declared:

“My house will be called a house of prayer.” (John 2, Matthew 21)

I imagine that He is consumed with that same zeal for His heavenly house and that intercession is a central part of what goes on in Heaven.

My dear friend, Terri, commented below, “Hebrews 7:25 He always lives to make intercession for us. I had to read that verse over and over to really believe I was reading it right! He lives to intercede for us. What a wonderful Truth in God’s word!”

Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.

Yes! He lives to intercede for us! Holy Spirit is interceding, Jesus, the Central Focus of Heaven, lives to intercede for us and is zealous that His house be called a house of prayer.

Our loved ones in Heaven have seen Jesus. They have seen His face, His great heart of love, His longing, His zeal, and have become like Him. I imagine that they are consumed with His zeal and His longing. I imagine that they have joined Jesus and Holy Spirit in interceding for us, asking that we would be strengthened in our faith, that we would know the width, length, height and depth of His love, be encouraged by their witness and His faithful promises to us.

In Luke 15:10, Jesus tells us,

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

“There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels.”

Who is in the presence of the angels rejoicing?

In this chapter, Jesus tells us stories of a shepherd searching for a lost lamb, a woman scouring for a lost silver coin and a father running toward his returning prodigal son.

He is telling us how valuable we are in God’s eyes. He wants us to know how our Good Shepherd searches for us and how our Father in Heaven watches, waits and longs for our repentance. He is showing us how when we turn towards home, He runs towards us with hugs and kisses, joyfully puts us on His shoulders and calls His friends, neighbors, servants and sons together and says, “Rejoice with me!”

22b “‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

“…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels.”

Knowing that Jesus lives to intercede for us, and God longs for and rejoices with heavenly intercessors and witnesses over my repentance makes me want to run hard and well toward Home with my eyes fixed on Jesus for the joy set before me:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I am so thankful that God so loved me that sent His Son, Jesus, to seek and save me. I am so thankful for the opportunity and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. I am so thankful for the prayers and witnesses of Jesus, Holy Spirit, friends and family, and of saints around the world and in Heaven. I am so thankful for our firm and secure Anchor of Hope and the encouragement to run. I am so thankful that the Spirit Himself intercedes for us when we don’t know how we ought to pray with groans too deep for words and according to the will of God.

Rejoice in hope, endure distress, devoted to prayer. Romans 12:12

With love and intercessory groans,

Jenny

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