Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The God of All Comfort

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

I hope you all had a wonderful and joyous Christmas.

It seems I had a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. I baked, watched Christmas movies, and spent time with family. But some years are just like that, I guess.

We received sad news a week ago today. One of the young moms in our church suffered the unexpected loss of her brother and nephew. We attended their funerals today. It broke my heart to see her grief and the grief of her family.

I wish I could wave a magic wand when people are crushed and are suffering such brokenness. How I wish I could call their loved ones back for just a few moments so that they could know and see that they are okay and with the Lord.

There is something so unsettling about death. It hardly ever comes with warning. It is when it comes so unexpectedly that it causes our grief to almost break us.

When our son died, it was unexpected in some ways, but also not a total surprise. Alex had come close to death before, but had always somehow pulled through. I thought that night in the emergency room would be like the other times. But it wasn't.

There isn't a lot we can do except pray for those who are hurting. Sometimes, I could sense the prayers of people praying for us after Alex died.  At other times, God seemed very far away. I wondered if He were indifferent to what I was feeling. I know now that He was very near, but at the time, I couldn't always feel Him there. The Bible says that He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities and that He is close to the brokenhearted. All during those days (and even now) when I felt so broken and wondered where God was, He was actually very near. We can't go by our feelings during these times - we can only go by faith that He will never lie to us. He is with us. He sees the beginning and the end. He sees our loved ones. They are not lost from His sight or His care. We that remain are not lost from His sight. He cares and sees every tear, every sigh, every groan, every thought.

Still, how I wish I could make everything right for those who are hurting today.

But one day, we will see our loved ones again. I will rejoice with them and I will rejoice for all of those who are finally reunited again forever.

So I begin this New Year with hope for myself and for others who are hurting today. Only God can restore and give hope once again. It isn't something we can work up. We can rest in knowing that He will bring healing and peace once again.

If you are hurting today, can I pray with you? Lord Jesus, I declare peace and hope over anyone reading these words today. I ask that You do the impossible and give hope where there isn't any right now. I ask that you reveal Yourself in their dreams at night and during the long hours of the day. I speak peace, peace, peace. Let their eyes be opened to your majesty and your glory. Let the supernatural become natural. In Jesus' name. Amen.

I send love and blessings to each one of you. Remember that God is the God of comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Gifts I Would Definitely Buy For Myself

If you are still looking for gifts for the females in your life, and you aren't tired of reading one more blog post about gift ideas, then look no further. I'm here for you.

If I were buying a gift for myself, then these would be a few that I would choose.

1. It's really too, too bad that I discovered this place a little late in life. But now that I have...

A Sephora Gift Card

Your mom, sister, girlfriend, or wife can get perfume, makeup, and lots of other things that women love - and your purchases come in a little black and white striped bag. It just makes me happy.

2. TJ Maxx Gift Card (can also be used at Marshalls or Home Goods - so,win win)

I love buying things for the home at Home Goods. Their inventory changes all the time and I love that I'm not paying full price.

3. Her favorite restaurant/coffee gift card. I love my Starbucks!

4. Hair salon gift card. I always have a mini heart attack at how the prices keep rising. A gift card would help immensely.

5. A new car with a bow on top is the thing that dreams are made of as well as plane tickets to a distant city....but really, an experience can make for a nice gift. It's as cold as the North Pole where I live, but I've always thought a sleigh ride in a horse drawn carriage would be so much fun followed by apple cider or hot chocolate.

*My son and daughter are going to Chicago this weekend to see a sing along version of White Christmas with Bing Crosby. For someone who loves Christmas, this would be a great gift surprise. (Chicago, IL)

*I don't have any interest in a sky diving experience, but maybe your wife or girlfriend does:)

*You could also purchase tickets to an event that you know she would enjoy. The Sound of Music will be playing at the Civic Center in DM next year and that is something I would love to attend.

One last experience idea. A few years back we worked at a non profit ministry. I wanted to give my husband a gift that he would remember. I wrote one of his favorite authors to see if he could possibly call my husband on Christmas. I never heard back from him, so I just assumed that he either hadn't received it, or it was just an impossible request. So, on Christmas Eve, I told my husband what I had tried to give him for a Christmas gift. He was very touched. Guess what? The author actually did call my husband on Christmas Day!

So you can basically bug your spouse's favorite author and hope that they will call them, too. lol

6. A gift card for her favorite shop.

I love going to Pottery Barn for inspiration, but I don't usually buy unless I run across a great sale, especially after Christmas. I have a lot of beautiful holiday things that I have purchased from Pottery Barn, but they were purchased ON SALE:)

7. Either a movie night at home with takeout food, or going to a special movie would be a gift I would love. I saw Hacksaw Ridge recently and really liked it. I'd like to see the movie Lion, also. Just purchase the tickets in advance and wrap it up!

These are a few of the things that come to mind. I hope it may help someone out.

I pray each one of you reading has a very Merry Christmas!! God bless you!

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