Saturday, January 5, 2013

God Doesn't Want You to Be the Same

I love fresh beginnings.
A chance to clear out and clean up.
A chance to rearrange the house and my thoughts.

Sometimes the beginning is the end of something else and brings greater things into your life.
Our family has been going through tragedy into this new year...my Dad is in the final stages of Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was diagnosed about 4 months ago and the disease has been unforgiving and rampant.
The roller coaster of emotions, the struggle, and pain that my Dad has endured is heartbreaking.
I thought for a while that my heart would never heal, Darren's wouldn't heal, and most of all our kids would be forever affected.
They are so close to their Papa and spend everyday with him.

I think the world might say that kids shouldn't serve in the face of suffering.
We are really careful about what they are exposed to, and I think that what they see needs to be age appropriate, but what God has allowed and shown me through my children is immeasurable.
Their hearts are totally selfless.
They give and give with nothing expected in return.
We talk to them about how God is using them and how healing that will be in the end.
Because of this struggle they are closer to God, more compassionate, thankful for the time my Dad spent with them, less selfish, more caring, and wiser.
What a gift that is.

It made me realize that God did not promise there would be no suffering.
He did not promise that bad things would never happen.
But He did say that He would be a source of great strength and comfort.
He is providentially the soothing healer of wounds even when all seems lost.
What the world would deem a hopeless situation with end results that could destroy a family, God sees as a way to change and forge a person into something beautiful.

So this New Year, I guess that is what is most pressed upon my heart: gratitude that God doesn't want us to remain the same.
Maybe you are trying to establish new patterns in your life.
Maybe it is a new way of eating, a new way of exercising, a new way of serving God.
More time with your family, a simpler way of living, a new perspective on life.
Maybe you are struggling and reaching out for that last ray of hope.
Know that there are miracles and joy even in the struggle, but most of all, if you turn to the Lord, He will shape you into something wonderful.
He doesn't want you the same...he wants you to grow so you are ready for the great things He has planned.
Out of ashes and rubble He sees the perfectly polished and beautiful you.

I pray that your New Year is off to a great start.

Blessings,

Julia


31 comments:

Ana Paula R. Portela said...

Julia, I'm so glad to understand your language, to be able to read all your text.
My father passed away 5 years ago, and I thing I can understand what's in your heart and your family.
I agree with you about 100% you wrote about God.
Thank for your blessings, and your text.
I wish you and your family, hope, love, and faith.

With love,
Ana Paula

Bevy said...

Lou Gehrig's is a hard thing to go through. I'm so sorry...

Praying for you and the whole family as you walk this road together.

HE will never leave your side.

~Bevy

Debby said...

It is so hard to go through these things with our parents. My dad had Alzheimerss for 10 years. It was hard. There were some good times though. When he passes I felt a peace in my heart. I knew he was once again the person he wanted to be. Keep the Faith. I think it is important to let the children be a part of this. But like you said only what they can handle.

Connie said...

Julia, I so needed to hear this today..My heart goes out to you with the illness of your father.. May God help you each momemt, each day... I will be praying that God gives you the strength and comfort that is needed... Hugs

Kathy said...

How difficult it must be to watch your dad suffer. You are so wise to lean onto Jesus during this hard time and how comforting to see your children so compassionate and caring. My heart goes out to you and you are in my prayers.

Kathy Monahan said...

So sorry to hear about what is happening to your Dad. My beloved father-in-law died of Lou Gehrig's 16 years ago. I wouldn't wish that disease (or any other disease)on anyone. He was more my father-in-heart and walking that final path with him was one of the most profound experiences of my life. My then 10-year-old daughter was with us every step of the way and learned more about living through his dying. She was very close to her grandpa and being a part of his life up until the end brought them closer together. Be honest with your children and encourage them to talk about what is going on in their minds and hearts. Death is a part of life and once upon a time, entire families were involved in helping their loved ones achieve a "good death", surrounded by love and family. God bless you and your family as you walk this path with your dad.

CW said...

Oh, Jules ... I am so glad you are able to look even now and see the blessings ... someday you will look back and see how you have grown, the difference in all of you will be amazing ... Take lots of pictures, hug, kiss and make memories ... I know you are doing all this ... just a gentle reminder! :)
We love all of you, Charity and Family, Dani and Family! And your MOM ...
We are praying! Praying you feel the peace of Father surrounding you and HIS arms upholding you and giving you strength when you are tired. Our love!

Kaitlin @ Homemaker Design said...

Beautifully writen! I lost my dad suddenly last February and what God has taught me over this past year was that I can only count on Him, lean on Him and trust in Him when nothing else makes sense! ♥ I love that line you wrote "He is providentially the soothing healer of wounds even when all seems lost." Our God is indeed a GREAT souce of strength and comfort! ♥ I too have a close and dear friend with ALS - I have seen God work wonderously so far and will look to Him for continued strength - praying His comfort, peace and unending strength for your entire family!

Debbie said...

Oh Julia, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with him, you and your family as you walk this path He has laid out. May you find strength to help you through the days ahead and know He is always at your side.

Lila said...

Julia, Lou Gerhig's is the worst disease I know of - I am so sorry to learn that your father has this. My precious husband, Phil, died 9 years ago of Lou Gerhig's Disease. God blessed us BOTH so much as we traveled the same road you are on now. HE gave me the strength I needed to do what was necessary; HE blessed us with HIS love and mercy... I will be in prayer for your father and your whole family - this disease touches all of you. Enjoy the time you have... every moment is precious. I pray that one day a cure will be found for this horrendous disease. GOD bless you and your famiy.

Carissa said...

What God Hath Promised

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for today,
Rest for the laborer, light on the way;
Grace for the trial, help from above.
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Prayers for you and your family, I'm so sorry that you are going through this with your father. Your testimony of joy in the fire right now is a blessing. God be with you.
Love Carissa

Anita Ashworth said...

Praying that God will give you strength and courage through this tough time. Cherish every minute.

Keeping It Cozy said...

Oh Julia, my heart goes out to you. I am so very sorry.

What a lovely post you have written. So much to be thankful for, even in times of struggle and heartbreak.

Sewn With Grace said...

I'm very sorry to read about your Dad. I pray for special moments with him and for the Lord to give you all you and your family need during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

ScrapCrazyyyy! said...

Well said Julia. I will be praying for you and your family. It's never easy to say "see ya later".

Anne Marie said...

Dear Julia -
this just confirms I need to get that letter in the mail to you dear friend...
with much love and prayers,
Anne Marie

Pur et Simple said...

The hardest of times draw us closest to Christ. I am sorry for your hurting heart.
I am so glad that you can spend every day with your dad - that is a gift!
I will earnestly lift up your family in prayer. :-)

Francesca Meazza Passionedeco said...

Julia, Julia, Julia...I am so sorry for yur poor Dad...it must be so painful seeing him suffering so much, I'm always thinking of you even if I am not that present on the web right now because I am trying to devote more time to my family and home and farm....live it first someone says,...that's what I want to do. I am so so sorry. Meanwhile, the way you are accepting this and the way you are handling the situation with your children, well...may God bless you, you are such an extraordinary woman/daughter/mom.
With deep admiration,
your friend
Fra

Joyfulmomofmany said...

Julia, please know that I will be praying for you guys. I found your post to be very timely for me. After 26 years of marriage, I recently had to flee my home with my children. We are in a safe place now, staying with my parents, trusting God in the midst of very dark circumstances. Truly, He does specialize in making beauty from ashes. I'm banking on that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. My children are watching a papaw with parkinsons and alzhiemers but you know what they see? A man they love and they jumped to his aid and are so loving and caring. I have seen how God uses them to just love and the good moments we get with him are treasured. Praying for your family and your children are awesome!!

Angieg said...

You are learning alot from this ordeal, and I am sure that will grow you and your families in a new and amazing way. But as you travel the path know that many people have walked similarly painful paths and we all sympathize with you. May God walk the path with you and comfort you as you go.

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Thinking of you and praying God gives you peace and strength.

Sreekala said...

Dear Julia,
I came to your site while searching for dishcloth tutes and found this post. Thank you very much for writing this - my Mom has been just diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and I am still overwhelmed. Reading your post made me calmer than I have felt for weeks. Thank you once again.

Linda Jordan said...

My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer last March. It's progressed to the bones. It's so hard to see someone that taught you everything, that you relied on and care so much about, to take the journey they are on.

I so appreciate your insight and words of wisdom that you graciously shared. Our paths seem similar now; I will pray for you & your family as you face each day, waiting for the phone to ring.

Jennifer said...

What a beautifully written post ~
My father just passed away a couple days before Thanksgiving, and I'm not the same. Death of a loved one has a way of changing us and causing us to pause and reflect!
May you have grace and strength to walk out these days with your father and be a blessing to him at his side~
I'm always encouraged stopping by :)

Julia said...

Isn't it amazing the strength and comfort God gives in the midst of heartbreak. My youngest daughter was 16 when she had to watch her dad die. She grew so much in her walk with the Lord. As we went through this time, as I took care of my once strong, independent husband, the Lord reminded me that He wasn't asking me to understand, but to trust. Such peace, even joy came in those moments.
My prayers are with you and your family. God is faithful. Blessings, Julia

Anonymous said...

Julia, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. Both my mother and grandfather suffered for years from Parkinsons Disease. Thank be to God that He promises to never give us more then we can handle. Your post is beautiful and encouraging. My family will be in prayer for you and yours and your Dad...Corinne

Bonnie said...

Such a beautiful post Julia. I have lost two good friends to Lou Gehrig's and it is hard. But God will hold your hand and bring comfort that nothing else can. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Julia,

I am sorry to read about the increasing struggles confronting your family at present. Having cared for my mother and then my father during their extended diseases and passings, I, like so many others who commented, share first hand knowledge of your life and emotions at this time.

It is plain to see that you realize that you and all your family are truly on God's time now. I remember thinking after my mother's stroke that we were on God's time. Of course, all our days are God's time, but after Mommy's stroke (preceded by Parkinson's), it struck me that this was His time . . . that whatever time she had left was God's gift to us, as is every day. But seeing the decline drove home every moment that the next breath of my loved ones may truly be their last. But that "in your face" reminder was a blessing to me and my family, as clearly it has become to you and yours.

We had the opportunity to put our love in action by caring for both Mommy and later Daddy (Alzheimer's). We had the opportunity to thank them for the loving care they provided all our lives and for all the support and sacrifices they made for my brother and me. We had the opportunity to ask forgiveness of wrongs not confronted in the past, and we had the opportunity to assure forgiveness on our parts for any ways our parents may have hurt us.

The time to love, and care for, and forgive, and ask forgiveness . . . all the blessings of God's time.

You and your father and family are in my prayers, Julia. May God comfort you during these dark hours and during the days of joyful sorrow ahead . . . joy at your father's becoming whole again in our Lord, but sorrow at the temporary separation from him.

The pain you feel is a result of the love you feel. It is almost impossible to handle at times, but those times are when I feel the presence of God most closely. I know you know of what I speak.

God bless you and be with you in the days ahead.

Warmly,
Joanna Mihalik

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your Dad...we will keep you and your family in our prayers. Your words are beautiful and comforting. I am so thankful that we have a merciful God who promises to never give us more then we can handle and who never leaves us nor forsakes us...Corinne

Michele said...

Praying for your family, Julia! May The Lord provide many sweet moments and memories for you all during this time!

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