Triumph in the Fallen Garden

'Child Hiding' photo (c) 2006, D. Sharon Pruitt - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/My father died 11 days ago.

There are no words in any language to describe what it feels like when someone you love dies.  There are also no well-intended platitudes, spiritual rhetoric or flower bouquets to lessen your despair.  You suffer through it like a fly glued to sticky paper.  You writhe, groan, and spasm.

Have you felt true grief before?  If you have, you know exactly what I speak of.  It is life changing.  If you don’t believe me look at the before and after photos of soldiers’ faces from the Iraqi war.  Grief can literally etch itself upon your countenance and impact you at the cellular level.  The physical body screams out in agony.  When you take a breath, you fear you will explode. When you exhale, you wonder if it is the last.  It takes all the sufferings from your past and puts them in a box called Not Grief.  It suddenly casts you into an abyss of alienation from normalcy.

As Christian Soldiers we must find a way to cope with suffering, death, and the resulting grief.  If not, we will become emotionally and spiritually immobilized. Our desperate attempts to quell the pain via drugs, alcohol, sex, money, and food will be of no avail.  We will thrash about in a befuddled state and be of little use to the Remnant Army.  This is exactly what the devil desires.  Don’t let him win; you must embrace your grief.  I mean it.  There is no band-aid for human anguish.  You must honor it, feel it, and allow it to move through your being.  It will hurt like the dickens but you must walk through it.  And therein lies the good news.  You can walk though grief and journey to the other side.

God has a beautiful way of providing us with support during our trial of tears.  Don’t be surprised at how healing may manifest.  It may be predictable in the form of a close friend, pastor, priest, or grief counselor.  On the other hand, God may lead you into the unexpected.  You may find yourself suddenly writing poetry, endlessly sipping tea, stealing cat naps, or hiking alone in the woods.  Allow Jesus to offer you a very personal prescription for recovery.  You are a unique soul and the Lord knows exactly how you best be mended.

It is vital you be patient with your personal response to the loss of a cherished other.  There is no perfect way to grieve.  The moment I learned of my father’s passing, I felt completely cut off from God.  It was horrible.  My daily religious practice simply unraveled with the exception of robotic Church attendance.  I was the woman sobbing in the back pew.  The few words I could squeak out to Jesus were steeped in anger and despair.  Thankfully, my Christian friends immediately came to my aid, offering prayers up for my grief-striken family.  Don’t be shy about asking others to pray for you.  They are a precious gift from God for times such as these.  When you can talk to Jesus, do so.  Be honest with Him.  Jesus knows what you are going through and besides being a Just God, He is also a God of Mercy and Divine Love.

Time can take some of the sting out of death.  However, I have to wonder if the soul ever truly heals from the ravages of human decay and loss.  It is, after all, the gift that keeps on giving per the hands of our enemy.  Yet Jesus can heal even the deepest of wounds.  He provides us with Grace sufficient to rise us up so that we may engage in the battle once again.

My dad was a good man.  I want my remaining days here on earth to be a testimony to his spirit and his life.  His years of suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and final descent into death cannot be the end of the story.  Satan cannot have the final say.  It is in moments like this that we must choose.  We can retreat into misery, isolation, and inertia or pick up our spiritual weaponry and fight the prince of darkness who brought death and suffering to the human race.

Today, I choose to fight for the hour is at hand.

Please join me as the Remnant needs you.

Your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

Yuletide Depression

'Christmas tree #2' photo (c) 2008, bjaglin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

So it’s Christmas. That means lots of sparkling, outdoor lights, fabulous cookies, and jubilant parties with family and friends.  Additionally, since you are a serious Christian this also means that you are feeling deeply pious and brimming over with good cheer.

Not so?   Read on.

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of folks who have depression during the Christmas season. The party-line, psychological explanation is that we feel crappy when we realize that our life is nowhere near the artificial, media-induced ideal of Christmas perfection. Add to that a heaping spoonful of family dysfunction and a pinch of financial insecurity and you have yourself a nice dish of yuletide blues.

So is this the last word or is there more?  There is definitely more.

The world is whacked at the moment. We are created to love, adore, and worship God the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The whole planet should be rocking with joy on Jesus’ birthday; singing His praises and walking in the Light of the Holy Spirit.  Instead, mankind’s primary response consists of a distorted, perfunctory nod to Our Savior on His birthday.

If He even gets a nod.

As a Soldier for the Most High, this does not sit well with you. You eat your Christmas cookies and hum your favorite hymns but you remain flat like fizz-free ginger ale.  Even Church festivities may not feel the same.  You sense that the enemy is intent on taking the pep out of your Christmas step.  Do not be dismayed.  There is an explanation and a solution.

The knob on the world has taken a decidedly anti-Christian turn.  For Christian Americans, our land is increasingly hostile to our religious beliefs.  Our own backyard is now different; so Christmas feels different.  That is the simple answer.  More than ever, your renewal lies in Him and drawing close to His Presence.  You are called at this time to retreat into the Heart of Jesus.  His Heart is Sacred Ground and will not disappoint.  For in the silence of Our Lord’s Beating Heart is the Holy Spirit; who is able to envelop and fortify your very core.   Once shored up, you can contend with whatever may come your way this month.  Carry on with your usual Christmas routine but take time daily to be alone with Your Savior.  Make this a priority and do not compromise.   

Lately, in the quiet of my alone time with Jesus, I am gently reminded of the following:

Our Lord’s Birthday foretells of His Second Coming. 

I don’t pretend to understand all this.  All I know is that Jesus is coming again and He will make right all that is wrong.  There will be a day when both Earth and Heaven will be as one.  Imagine how Christmas will be celebrated in the New Paradise!  Now that is a stunning image to ponder.

May your Christmas Season be blessed as you find your true celebration in the Quiet Sanctuary of the Heart of Jesus.

As always I remain your Comrade in Christ,

Cindy

%d bloggers like this: