December 16, 2012

Sunday Gratitude




Forget Me Not.
Sunday has become my day of reflection and gratitude. There are so many things to be thankful for, especially during the holidays. The tragedy that occurred in our country on Friday just reinforces the need to be strong in prayer and appreciative of what we have, today, right now. You never know what tomorrow brings. I may know all of this in theory, but when a maddening occurrence that rocks the nation takes place, I am shaken by the truth and gravity of life. It is so important to make each moment count. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and the community of Newtown, Connecticut during this time. I'm sure they are struggling to keep a straight face as they kiss their babies and tuck them into bed tonight, struggling to maintain composure as they turn out the lights and try to explain to their sweet children why their brother or sister won't be here for Christmas this year. Or any other year. Struggling as they try to keep their composure and finish up their Christmas shopping and then lose it in the aisle of Target, crying out to God in their grief. Struggling as they try their best to shut out the awful sins committed against them. This is a trying time and they are entitled to their mourning. Indeed, as a nation we are all mourning the loss of the innocent angels whose bright futures propelled us forward with their purpose and meaning. It is a loss that can never be replaced. There is no good explanation for such a loss.

Perspective.
During my time in ministry school, I had the privilege to sit under some excellent teaching that has become foundational for my faith and my outlook on life. One of my pastors, Kris Vallotton, posted his very poignant perspective on Facebook:

"Jesus said, 'Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." In America we avoid pain at all cost so instead of mourning with those who mourn, we often think it is our job to cheer people up. But mourning and grieving is the road to wholeness and peace. David said, 'weeping endures through the night but the joy comes in the morning.' Sometimes the 'night' is longer than 8 hours; is it the dark season of the soul. In these night seasons it's important to remember that God is bigger than our pain. If we don't stuff our pain but allow the process of grieving to bring closure to our lives... the season will change and joy will return.

One more thing; trying to figure out the 'why' in the midst of our pain usually leads to wrong answers and bitterness. Not only that, it prolongs the 'night' season of mourning.

Sometimes people get 'stuck' in grief and they need us to take them by the heart and lead them back to joy. But shutting down mourning prematurely will lead to incomplete healing and chronic heart pain.

Love NEVER fails!"


Ahead.
Kris's words might just carry a lot of weight with me, but I found his unique perspective impacting. Tonight I am thinking and praying for those Newtown families. I believe that their hearts can be restored. I believe time can heal. Personally, I am on a mission to cultivate a grateful heart, in the big and the little circumstances. Life can be so short, and I am looking for opportunities to be thankful. Tonight, I am thankful that I get to smother my little niece and nephews with hugs and kisses in just a few short days. They will probably wriggle free from my grip as soon as possible, but it won't change the truth that I can feel their breath, their heart beat, and their sticky jam hands. Take a moment and reflect on things you are thankful for. Don't let them pass on by. Happy Sunday.



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