Hope

Hope

Our Story

Our mouths were filled with laughter,

download nov 7 2010 082
Grandpa, Auntie, and daughter.

    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
~Psalm 126:2

My family likes to laugh. All the time. We have even been caught laughing at what others might deem ‘inappropriate’ moments. I’m not going to get into the details of the nitty gritty of our lives. But I will ask that you trust that we have gone though situations that have ranged from slightly inconvenient, to terrifying, to heartbreaking, and more. And still, we have found ways to laugh. Sometimes even in the middle of these situations.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where laughter seemed like something you would never experience again in this life time. I have a memory of being in an intensive care room with my grandfather, knowing he would probably die soon. It was a very sad and somber time for my family. But in the middle of it, my grandpa requested that bagpipes be played at his funeral. There was a surprised silence while we all dealt with our own emotions at hearing him say the word ‘funeral.’ Then one of my uncles said, “But Dad, you always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree?” Another startled silence and then we all started laughing so hard we were crying- even my grandpa! The tears were probably partly from all our stored up emotions, but what I remember is a nurse peeking in at us. I think she was wondering if we had all lost our minds. Because who could laugh at such a moment?

“We can laugh because we still have hope.”

Recently, I heard a woman share this sentiment. I almost fell over. It was exactly the line I’d been looking for! Because people really do wonder about the sanity of our family. How we can laugh in those awful situations. And it is because we are not hopeless. We serve a God who is full of love and compassion for us; a God who has promised to wipe away our tears; a restoring God; an all-things-new God; a God who is never ending. He knows our heartache and He is with us. He is with us! We have hope!

I am not belittling anyone’s pain. I am not saying that if you are experiencing something awful, you should just laugh it off. I am saying that you don’t need to give up. You can cling to hope, you can cling to the God who created you. You can rest in His promises. And I hope and pray that you will find something to laugh about. Something that will remind you that you have hope. And the hope we had for my grandpa, knowing that he was dying, was the knowledge that one day we would meet again- in a place where there would be no more tears! (at least no sad tears)

And just one final note. At grandpa’s funeral, when we arrived at the cemetery, there was a lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. It was so beautiful and moving, but we couldn’t help it… we all started snickering, because we were all remembering that Grandpa always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree. And if he was watching from heaven, I’m sure he was snickering too (that man was an excellent snickerer).*

Thank you God for laughter! Thank you that you have given us hope after hope, and that we can trust in You. Bless us to be filled with your joy! To love and laugh all our lives though. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

There is a time for everything,

At my sister's wedding.
One more of cute baby girl, because- cuteness!!

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

*so if you happened to be at a cemetery and saw a family snickering over a grave as a bagpiper played amazing grace… seriously, what would you think? We really do look like lunatics!

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Encouragement

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Aug 21 154I love that verse. Love it. Because it calls us into a deep relationship with those around us. If we are with friends or family who are rejoicing, our hearts should rejoice with them! We are not bystanders who simply observe the joy of our loved ones. We are active participants in their joy! And likewise, we mourn with them. When their hearts break, our hearts break too.

I have a theory about our culture. We only want people to be happy. Which is probably a good thing- wanting others to be happy, but we do so at the cost of ignoring other emotions. We pretend we are happy, when we are not. I see it all the time; sort of a hurry-up-and-get-over-it mentality. Or we compare our hurts to others. If someone has experienced something worse than us, then we really can’t complain, can we?

But the truth is our hurt is not lessened by someone experiencing a greater hurt. To me, Romans 12:15 says it is okay to be sad, and for others to comfort us by being sad with us. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to grieve. We are comforted when someone comes along side us and says, “My heart is breaking with yours.” I heard a woman once talking about the pain of losing a child. She said, “I had to face into my grief.” And that was the moment I realized, I run away from those harder emotions. But they don’t go away, they chase after me. I have to learn to “face into them” and then I can deal with my hurt and truly start to heal. Especially if I open up my heart to the Healer.

I’ve seen the ones I love hurting and realized we each have different coping mechanisms. We process grief and hurt differently. I know a few who need the time and space to talk. They need to be asked, “How are you doing?” They feel comforted when we check in with them. I know others who want time to process their emotions alone and only open up when they are ready. So it is okay to just ask, “What can I do for you?”

I heard a story once about a young man in college whose mother had passed away. At her funeral, a friend asked, “What can I do for you?” The young man said, “Sit in the front row and cry.” So his friend did. Is it just me, or is that a beautiful story? I think that must have been a beautiful friendship. To have a friend who would cry with you over the loss of your mother.

And as we learn to experience our grief, to “face into it,” God can come into our hearts and our relationships. He can do more than we can imagine. He is making all things new*, and can use even the most awful experiences for good. We can trust Him. So I encourage you to let those around feel their emotions, and to feel those emotions along with them. And also, not to let those happy moments slip by uncelebrated. I hope you can reach out to those around you and rejoice with them whenever possible.

Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for the encouragement you send through your word, and especially for the hope we find in your word. Bless us to have wisdom to reach out to those around us and rejoice with them when they are happy, or mourn with them when they are grieved. Bless our efforts, and speak to our hearts as well as the hearts of those we love. We trust that you are truly making all things new. We believe that you will wipe away all our tears, and that someday we will stand before You and there will be great celebrating. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

~Lindsay

*He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~Revelations 21:5

**I don’t have appropriate ‘mourning’ pictures. So I went with mountain pictures… because mountain and mourn start with the same sound? No. I really don’t have a good reason.***

***This post was too serious for me, so I had to throw in a lame joke at the end. I apologize.

This guy is rejoicing after sneaking a snack out of our hiking backpack.
This guy is rejoicing after sneaking a snack out of our hiking backpack.