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Seeing God in Action on An Ordinary Day

Poetry and PromisesFew things in life compare to seeing God in action on an ordinary day.

Of course, I knew it really wouldn’t be all that ordinary. Two years ago I was invited to lead a writing workshop during a Heartstrings Day Retreat for mothers who have felt the gut wrenching loss of a child. So when they invited me back this year, I knew the blessings that awaited, or so I thought.

Two years ago, a woman walked through the doors of this day retreat feeling uncertain if she’d made the right decision. She didn’t know anyone and the sudden loss of her adult daughter had left her feeling raw and vulnerable. I’d met her once through a mutual friend so I watched out for her and we sat together through the large group meeting and the lunch that followed. She was polite but a bit withdrawn, which was understandable.

Heartstrings Day Retreat

Thank you for sharing this photo, Kathy Elrod.

Soon after the 2014 retreat, this woman was diagnosed with cancer. We stayed in contact over the years so I was especially delighted to hear that she would be returning to this year’s retreat. I arrived first and saved her a seat beside me, like I’d done two years ago. I searched for her in the crowd but had trouble recognizing her due to her massive weight loss. She looked great, and even though she was admittedly tired, there was a joy about her I’d not seen two years ago. During our conversation, she shared how she is now cancer free. {Thank You, Jesus!} I told her I’d saved a seat for her, pointing to the table. She smiled, and said, “I hope you don’t mind, but there’s a women who is here for the first time and she’s sitting beside the place where I put my things. I think she could use someone to talk to.” And there it was⎯God in action.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 (emphasis mine)

Which reminds me of a beautiful poetic promise, found in Psalm 94:17-19:

Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping.”
Your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Heartstrings Day Retreat

Beautiful in every way.

She remembered how it felt two years ago to sit in a chair that felt awkwardly comfortable. Comfortable in that she knew she was surrounded by other women who understood her pain, and yet awkward because she didn’t know anyone. And now, God is using her to comfort someone else in the same way. I could barely fight back the tears as I made my way back to the table, happily removing my “this place is saved for someone” purse, making it available to another woman.

Seeing God at work on an ordinary day makes it anything but ordinary.
In fact, it’s quite extraordinary.

 

How about you? Can you remember one moment when time stood still as you marveled God at work right before your eyes? Celebrate that moment here by sharing it with us in the comment section. Thank you in advance!

Further Reading: Week 1, When Poetry and Promises Mingle

The beautiful artwork used for my Poetry and Promises graphic is courtesy of Ann Marie Bone. Please visit her Facebook fan page to connect with her and to see more of her amazing work.Thank you so much, Ann.

If you live in Upstate SC and would like to learn more about the Heartstrings Ministry, please leave a comment and I’ll be happy to connect you with Jan James and her amazing team. Or perhaps you’re interested in learning how to start your own support group for grieving mothers where you live. Please leave a comment. I know Jan would be happy to share what she’s learned from her experience.

When Joy’s Fragrance is Most Potent


by Cathy Baker

Last year I had the privilege of leading a writer’s workshop for a retreat focused on caring for mothers who’ve lost a child of any age. I marveled at their strength, faith, and joy, despite the heartbreaking circumstances facing them every waking day.

Someone who knows much about this kind of pain is Dee Dee Parker, an extraordinary friend of mine, who lost her 34 year-old daughter to cancer several years ago. It’s because of the forever fragrance released through Dee Dee’s life that I asked her to share how joy is possible even on the darkest of days. 

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Brooke’s death was imminent. 

I remember gazing into her eyes, memorizing her face. I longed to gather her frail body in my arms, a mother’s arms, designed to protect and run away to where pain could no longer ravish, and death could not steal her life’s breath. 
I remember thinking how our hearts have always beaten in tandem, when her heart stops, so will mine.

Truth:  

I could not whisk her away. She was heaven-bound. Death did come; I was left behind. Brooke’s heart stopped beating. My heart continued beating, but not my will. 

In the wee hours of morning under an ink-stained sky, I crumbled to my knees. 

Yes, I paint a harsh picture, but that’s because so many of you find yourselves in a place so black, so painful, and appearing void of joy. 

Since Brooke’s home going, I’ve been asked numerous times, “How have you continued on? How have you found joy?”

Truth is, I didn’t have to find my joy. My joy is in the Lord therefore it is constant, strong, and eternal. Happiness, on the other hand, like the fickle thing it is, had flown. I wasn’t happy seeing my daughter suffering or knowing I’d never hear her say mother again on this side of heaven. 

Brooke was a believer; therefore, according to scripture, she is with her Savior and Lord. She no longer is paralyzed from cancer’s tentacles. Praise the Lord she has a glorified body, she dances in stardust. Brooke lives, and I will be with her again. I have reason to rejoice!

I pray that you know Christ, the foundation of joy; it comes by establishing an intimate relationship with Him. I don’t know your names, can’t see your faces, but I can pray for you in your time of heart-rending hurt. I will fling the words of Romans 15:13 to the very courts of heaven on your behalf: 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   

Precious readers, I wish you all joy unspeakable.  

◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆

Thank you, Dee Dee, for bringing difficult but powerful words to the surface for the benefit of others. 

Friends, Dee Dee welcomes the opportunity to pray for you. She also wants to make herself available to those who’ve experienced the loss of a child or grandchild by lending a welcoming ear. If you would like to contact her, please email me or leave a comment. She can also be found on Facebook. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who
comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4
Don’t forget! There are only three more days left to put your name in the drawing for the teacup and saucer from my personal collection. Visit this post and leave a comment to register. A name will be randomly drawn on Friday, April 10th.
 
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