When Words Fail

 images coffee

I am sitting in a little coffee shop I have always wanted to go to but never have. Today seemed right. I have just found out a friend and his wife have lost their baby. My friend loves coffee and tea shops so I thought it fitting that I come here because he would like that. So I am here honoring he and his wife, and their little one that was never to take first steps on this earth, but in Heaven instead. What can I possibly say to their grief except that I am praying for them, and I am.

The cinnamon topped Chai is wonderful on my tongue, and my background noise is the sound of Mahjong tiles rattling against the wood surface of the tables. It seems these ladies are regulars here and I am enjoying their banter. “Are you ready to make your move?” One of them says.

What a question. Any given day we could ask ourselves the very same question. Life is full of moves. Sometimes it’s one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes it’s an unexpected chasm of grief we have no clue how to get around. But this right here is life. And it’s good for me right this moment, so I grab on and say a prayer for my friends.

Another friend has been trying to conceive for years. The dreams and hopes to have a child of their own have not become a reality for she and her husband. It doesn’t make sense really. People have babies everyday without even trying. Sometimes I wonder why God allows certain people to have kids they don’t even seem to appreciate or deserve. And then there are those to whom another baby means a paycheck. I can’t even speak to that.

We create life, and just as easily, some of us snuff that same life out as a matter of convenience, or fear, or something else. And as Christians we don’t like to think about it. It’s the law of the land after all. I worry for our country and the direction it has been going for a while now.

My friends will be okay, because they know God and though they may not understand His answers or His silence, they trust Him anyway. Despite everything that happens in their lives, they know their Redeemer. And they know in time, He will lead them to the other side of this sorrow.

And someday, either on this side of paradise or in the hereafter, they will understand. We all will. For they know whom they have believed.

“You were holding what I needed,” one player says. Yes. He holds what we need. He is the God of empty arms. Promises unfulfilled. Dreams dashed. He holds it.

He holds us all. Thank you for holding my friend’s little one in Heaven until they get there. And while You’re at it, mend their broken hearts. Amen.

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

See Me

Enough will never be enough.....

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

See me not as a stranger but as a potential gift to be opened.

Allow me to show you what beauty I hold inside, keeping in mind that maybe you might have to dig just blow the surface to find them.

Remember………..your best friend was once a stranger like me.

If you already know me and love me, don’t take me for granted.

Don’t skim over my words when I am talking like you can’t wait to interject your own. My words have value and when I share them it’s because I want to give you something of value, for it’s my love that’s behind them.

Listen to me…….Because someday you will only hear an echo where they once were.

There will be a time when you would sell all you have to see my face, hear my voice.

Imagine hearing from me again after I am in Heaven.

Pretend it’s that time the next time you call, or see my face and it’s like the most perfect summer day you ever spent.

Cherish me.

Here me now when I am right here beside you.

My words are some of the best advice you may ever get.

Don’t be too busy dismissing them because after all “it’s just me.”

See me as that new friend you are trying so hard to impress.

Remember all the years I have been here and all the rocky roads my feet have been on right beside you.

Remember me.

Don’t wait for the echo.

Image from Google

How to hope after the unthinkable happens



I saw her as I strolled on the back-forty of my brothers yard a couple of weeks ago in the early morning light. A flash of orange, she (or he) landed first on the fence, then fluttered down to hop among the grass, probably looking for breakfast among the dew. A robin sighting is always hope for me. I snapped her several different times before Tyler managed to scare her away. I couldn’t blame him, his enthusiasm was infectious as he ran to and fro, nose to the ground, seeming to thank me with a glance and wag of his tail every now and then.

Sometimes we need to cling to signs of hope however small when news comes to rock our world. I believe God created birds with a special role, that of singing out hope even when ours has run dry.

I draw back a memory of a time when my world was painted black. The morning after the call came that pulled the curtain down on life as we all knew it, my Mom looked out to see a robin on the grass. He was her little thread of hope and she clung to it. She also remembers thinking that she couldn’t believe the birds were still singing. The audacity of it all. How could they?

The other day as I was praying in the car, a dove came to sit on the lip of my sunroof. He perched there looking at me for a moment, I think we both surprised one another…..then he flew off. I could tell you many more stories than this. Of other times God has sent birds.

Yesterday I got a call that something unthinkable had happened to a family member. From then on my day kind of went on pause mode. I hadn’t seen them in years but we all grew up together as kids. It’s a bond forged by memories and stories and for many years our lives intertwined and we were close. My heart breaks for them, but they’ve always been a strong family. Even now, their house is filled and they are surrounded on all sides with love. For that I am grateful.

There is nothing I could tell them right now that could take away the awful sorrow, and I wouldn’t even pretend to try. If I could I would hold them close and share their tears. I called and left a message on their phone and for the longest time the beep didn’t come to leave a message, so I started talking anyway.

I don’t even remember what I said, I just wanted them to know that they were in my heart. Later, I got a text message from him thanking me for thinking of them. Something he said in his message makes me wonder how it’s possible for someone to not know they are loved despite all the evidence surrounding them? How can we be assured that they know it, and that they love themselves enough to accept it?

And today, when I got up, the doves were cooing, and the birds were singing again, just as if they didn’t know what was going on. They can’t help it, they know the way out of sorrow is to keep singing no matter what, it’s what God created them to do. They know that there is something still worth singing about even if we don’t.

In my heart is a prayer that they will get through this even stronger and that once again hope will be theirs; that they will find a way out of the sorrow with the love they have for one another.



When you lose a faithful friend


My post today is dedicated to a very special lady whom I met on Facebook. She regularly uplifts me with the things she posts there. She goes by the name “Sam Bobtail” but that is not her real name. It is her dog’s name she uses because she loves him so very much. She lost her faithful friend yesterday and today I am posting this poem I wrote when I lost my cat Buster several years ago. This is for her “Sam” and all other furry friends we lose. Grief and loss look the same and there is no way to measure the sorrow, human or animal, it’s all just sorrow and it was never in God’s original plan. That is why it feels so very wrong…….

Don’t tell me it’s just a cat.

How can you be leaving my life so soon? You’ve been a part of my life for so long now, a little shadow, always beside me.

You were dragged out from under a house with your litter-mates and right away I knew you were the most special. When I picked you up, I knew you were the one.

How could something so small lighten such a load of grief? Your little presence broke through such clouds of sadness in my life. A little dynamo, tearing around the house destroying everything in your path, then settling onto my lap or shoulder when you wanted to be sweet.

Years went by and you remained a faithful friend. Through all the moves, joys and heartaches you were there, never failing to come when I called you. You’d jump up to settle on my lap and settle in just a few inches from my face, purring that rattling purr and doing your best to assure me with your steady gaze that everything would be fine.

It always was, except for now.

The vet says you won’t live much longer. The cancer moves fast to swallow up your little life. I see your size diminish, but not your spirit. How can I say goodbye to such a faithful friend? I gather your little weightless form into my arms and tell you everything will be allright, but I know it won’t.

I can do nothing as you breathe your last breath, my tears falling on the soft coat I have stroked so many times. It’s the least I can do after all you’ve done for me.

So don’t tell me, it’s just a cat.

He was so much more than that.  (Born April 1989-went to chase dragonflies in Heaven July 2001)

Dedicated to Buster and Sam Bobtail and all faithful friends we have lost over the years.


A happy addendum to this is that I got Sydney after Buster and he is so like him it is uncanny. The grief does make way for laughter and joy again, but as with all loss, it takes time. While we have to deal with the pain this side of Heaven, there remains the bright light of hope on the other side of the darkness. Jesus hope.

In the Quiet


And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest; Psalm 55:6

This morning I didn’t even change, I went out to my prayer closet in my PJ’s in the half-light. It was hot, sticky, and the air smelled of dust. I couldn’t really smell it, since I have never had that sense. I share that genetic trait with my Grandpa on my Dad’s side. I went out, lit my candle and tried to remember the hymn that came to me at around 2AM this morning. I pulled it from the cobwebs of my mind after a few slugs of rich, deep coffee……..

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in endless praise, let them flow in endless praise. Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee, swift and beautiful for thee.

I never did enjoy singing it, because I felt the melody kind of dragged along, but the words, the words. I feel the power of those words and the rest of the hymns I learned so long ago now more than ever. Those melodies, those words are the backdrop of my life. They come back so often and never fail to comfort, to strengthen, to bring peace. Unless someone had taken me to church, (thanks Mom) I never would have heard them. I hope they never go away.

This morning, God beckoned me to a still forest, a place I’ve cleared in my heart. Desert beauty only goes so far, especially when the mercury soars 110 and above.

There I gathered all my happiest memories like a child gathers favorite toys. “Sit with me,” He seemed to say, and just enjoy my presence here in the quiet. So I did. And I imagined I could actually smell the pine. “It’s one thing I want to smell when I get to Heaven,” I told Him. That, and salty air and flowers. “Oh,” He said, “You will smell that and much more, for the air teems with life and only life, and death is not even a distant memory.”

If you are grieving someone today, please know that there will come a day when the joy of simple things will make you smile again. There will come a day, and it will surprise you, that you will laugh again. You will probably feel guilty about that too, but try not to. They wouldn’t want that. But sure as I know anything, I know this. Dawn will break in your heart, and you will know you will be okay. And the memories will no longer cut like a knife, they will be a source of comfort.

You may wonder why people don’t come by. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because they may not know what to say. They may be fishing for answers themselves, and they feel useless if they can’t give them to you. Just the same, you are loved, you are thought of, you are not alone.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Filled with messages from Thee.

Words: Frances R. Havergal 1874.


Those who mourn…….


Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…….Jesus

Last night the wind howled wildly. I was thinking of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives yesterday and praying for their families as I debated whether to go outside and take down the flag, which I could hear whipping furiously. You could smell the dust from inside the house. It was the same kind of wind that trapped those firefighters and made it an impossible situation. They were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. One of the news articles said of them: “There were tough as nails, but being nice was key requirement.” So today, we mourn. We miss them, even though we didn’t even know them.

Yesterday I was volunteering and I missed the sermon, but I saw that many who came out were wiping tears. Pastor Kevin has been preaching on the Beatitudes for this series. He talked of how difficult it was when he lost his best friend to suicide. How he tried to help but it wasn’t enough in the end. We don’t have to look far to find grief and sadness and loss. But, thankfully, we also don’t have to look too far to find joy, and life, and laughter. In fact, each day carries a measure of both, but one overpowers the other.

Jesus came to an earth in mourning. The Bible says, even nature is in a state of mourning:

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22

Isaiah, many centuries before Jesus birth, describes him this way: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Isaiah 53:3

When tragedy and sadness strike, we search for answers. We search for causes as if explaining it away will make the grief easier to carry. We want to say something, anything to make them feel better. Sometimes though, things just happen, and there are no words. All we can do is hold our arms out to them. Cry with them. Mourn with them. And know that on the other side of mourning, is hope.

Always hope.

I won’t hold out any empty platitudes or easy answers today, but I will hold out Jesus. Lots of people have died, and lots of people have felt the weight of grief, but He is the only One who not only went through it, He had the power to conquer it for all time, for us.  I can attest to the fact that the only way we can successfully pass through that dark tunnel of grief, and death is with Him by our side. I know, I’ve been there.

So today, I pray for these heartbroken families. They are in a deep valley and right now they feel they will never get out. But someday, they will wake up and not feel quite so devastated. Because that’s what we do. We go on. That’s how we honor those who have gone before. And until then, we hold out our love, with tear-stained faces that will one day be alight with joy once again.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8: 18-25

Photo credit:David Kadlubowski / The Arizona Republic via AP