Monthly Archives: June 2015

I Saw God Today

A few years ago, what started like a normal summer’s day…in our family, anyway, (kids at baseball practice, husband at work) ended with me trying desperately to grasp onto a tiny piece of ‘normalcy’. Midmorning, we were told the news of an unexpected tragedy. Unbelievable. Inexplicable. Devastating. Why, why, why, and again why? And then the parental ‘stuff’ enters in. How do you explain something to your kids that makes no sense to you, as an adult? And what, for goodness sake, can we possibly do or say to help ease the pain of the immediate family members that are trying to make sense of this heartbreak as they go through the same kind of pain we feel, multiplied by infinity? Sometimes hugs and prayer say more than even the wisest of words can.

As the day wore on, my restlessness caused by not knowing what to do or say reached its peak. I then picked up my camera bag, told my husband I’d be back in a little while, and drove off. In the past, sorrow has driven me to my Bible or my piano. That day, I was driven to drive – with my camera by my side. I drove for a short time, turned back toward home, and about a quarter mile from our house, saw the above scene of the sun and its reflection in a slough. Sloughs aren’t necessarily thought of as picturesque locations, but upon seeing this, I immediately stopped the vehicle and reached for my camera. Undoubtedly, it was God’s way of reaching through my anguish and reaching me that day. You see, I take thousands of photos. Many of the photos are of my children’s sporting events and other fond family memories, but the majority of them are of landscapes, trees, sunsets and the beauty of nature. Why? Because since I was young, I have been incredibly stirred by the beauty of nature. It has always brought me an appreciation for God’s creative splendor, and it has always made me feel close to Him. For many years, I wished I had the talent of painting, because pictures of God’s creation are what I would paint. Then a few years ago, it struck me that perhaps the next-best thing would be to capture those beautiful scenes with a camera.

I saw God that day. He spoke to me through His creation. I believe that God was telling me, “I’m still here,” through a breathtaking scene that only He is capable of producing. And He certainly was still there. In the midst of devastation, there was still beauty, order, peace…and God.

If it’s dark right now – pitch black, even – the sun will set tonight, rise again, and grant us its brilliant, unwavering light tomorrow. And then the next day? It will again. It’s sometimes extremely challenging to sense His presence through darkness and despair. On that tremendously difficult day, I stopped and looked in an unexpected place, and caught a beautiful glimpse of a beautiful, ever-present God. My prayer is that on your next difficult day, you will too.

Parental Heartbreak

It’s likely that if you are a parent reading this, you’re familiar with the awful feelings that well up within us when others cause pain in our kids’ lives. Sure, sometimes pain is caused by something our kids did or said, but right now I’m referring to the non-“you-brought-this-on-yourself” brand of hurt. This kind of hurt brings out Mama Bear instincts of protection, and “oh no, you did NOT just do that to my baby,” kinds of feelings. I’ve been there. I’m guessing you have too.

This is also the kind of hurt that brings out the comparison game. It’s possible we all play it sometimes. We either think it to ourselves or God-forbid, say things like this directly to our child: “Well, I’m not surprised that so-and-so did that to you, because his parents have let him get away with such-and-such since he was born.” (Because the little snippets of their parenting we see make us experts on what happens in their house…)

I’ve played that game, and there are no winners. After all, we’re all trying to maneuver through this parenthood thing and make it to the other side shouting, “That’s my child!”, and be proud of who we are pointing to…all the while knowing that if they do make it into adulthood as a productive, kind-hearted human being, it’s due to about 10% parenting and 90% God’s grace. The next time I’m tempted to play the comparison game, please remind me of the scientific 😉 percentages I presented, and also that as parents, we are on the SAME TEAM! Let’s support each other a little better.

And let’s remind each other that instead of going down the road of comparison, where we should really be heading is right into the arms of God. God knows how we feel when our children endure any suffering. In fact, during the darkest night known to mankind, He experienced parental heartbreak that we can’t imagine!

God sacrificed His only Son for all of us. Jesus was mocked and ridiculed by a mob of people not worthy to pass judgement on anyone, let alone the King of Kings. He was beaten in an unbelievably cruel fashion and suffered to a point beyond our imaginations. He died an inhumane death. Oh, and the crowd that gathered around this horrific event? They CHEERED during His demise. How beyond-words-heartbreaking for Jesus’ Father!

But…how awesome that we can place our parental heartbreak and our heartbroken child in an all-knowing-God’s hands and that we can thank Him for being in control of the situation and for knowing how we feel…God knows how we feel. How awesome is that?

Then, while standing with our child through the painful situation, how awesome is it that we can prayerfully stand back and boldly trust God to work in and through our child’s heartbreak and life! Hebrews 4:16 says, “So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive His mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need.” And then we can thank God, because sooner or later we will surely witness a victory in our child’s life, courtesy of a Heavenly Father that’s ‘been there.’ How awesome is that?