Tag Archives: grace

Across the Atlantic – Part Two

“The days after were a blur,” Andrew recalls.  He spent the next several days communicating with the police on the accident.  Next, making plans for his family’s funeral became his main focus.  He wanted it to be perfect and everything they would have wanted.  He said, “It made me feel I was in control of something, because everything else was out of my control.”

Eight of his friends helped Andrew organize, rotated on staying with him – even for his 3:00AM daily walks.   While making preparations for the funeral, one of his friends visited the local flower shop.  When the florist inquired on what he wanted, his response was, “I don’t know.  I am a man.  But, I want it like Elton John.  I want (insert your own explicative here) flowers everywhere!”

Andrew still laughs about that.  He said during that time, he had never cried more.  But, there were also times, he had never laughed as much.  I believe that laughter is a part of God’s grace.  It helps you push through to the next day – and sometimes, just to the next hour.

The day of the funeral came, and Andrew said, “It was perfect.”  Stacey, Joshua, and Georgia were all three buried together in the same casket – a request Andrew had to get special permission for.  He decided it would be best if he spoke at their funeral.  “I wanted to let people know to not take anything for granted.”

“The detail that was achieved was breathtaking.  When the casket was lowered, I threw rose petals onto the casket, as I did not want the sound of dirt hitting it.  Then, three doves were released at the same time.”

Is it just me?  Or, are you sitting back right now in your comfy chair trying to soak all of this in?  Most of us probably don’t want to go there in our minds.  It’s just too much.  And, there is so much, still, that I take for granted.

You can only imagine the added grief the holidays brought for Andrew.  And, when I think about how one manages to get out of bed the next day, I cannot help but think of the grace of God. 

How often we say, “I can’t imagine….”  And, we can’t.  But, I do know that God gives His grace to us as we need it.  A grief-stricken father has been given more grace than another.  That’s why scripture says, “His grace is sufficient.”  A mother who loses her child has a different measure of grace than a mother who has never experienced such loss.  He gives us the measure of grace we need – as we need it. 

Pictured below are Stacey, Joshua & Georgia Gitsham.


To be continued…


Filed under disappointment, life, Love

Back to life. Back to reality.

Family vacation was oh so nice.  I usually leave the beach with aspirations to one day live there.  But then, I question.  Would I value that wonderment of God’s creation if I soaked it in every single day?  Or would it, like so many blessings in my life, be taken for granted?  Probably the latter.  Unfortunately. 

The comings and goings of vacations are similar to life.  In life, we experience good times and bad.  Scripture tells us that in this life, you will have trouble.  But, it’s in our trouble, in our pain, that God reveals a little more of Who He is.  And, as a result, we are better for it.  If not better for going through the trial in itself, but who we learn that God is in that trial.  When we choose to endure hard times God’s way, He makes Himself known in ways that we could not imagine.  It could be seeing God’s provision during a financially difficult time.  A friend calling you when you are feeling indescribably lonely.  Losing a child and waking up the next morning wondering how you are even breathing. 

I will never, ever forget sitting in my house on Sweetbriar Lane with my eight week old baby boy.  John Henry was asleep.  I was sitting in my living room chair sobbing.  I was lonely.  The despair I was feeling hurt so deeply.  I heard a knock at the door.  It was my friend, Stacey.  I yelled for her to come in.  She did.  And, she saw a young, single mother cradled up in a chair with tears soaking her shirt.  What does Jesus look like?  He looked a lot like Stacey Beheler that night.  She dropped in to give me some things for John Henry.  But, God used her to give me much more that night. 

The Bible says that His grace is sufficient.  A mother who has lost a child has a greater measure of grace than one who has not.  God gives his grace as we need it.  And, He measures it exactly right.

I don’t invite tough times.  But, I also know that without them, we take for granted the good.  During those times, we see and feel the love of God like no other time.  And, it forever changes who we are. 

I would like to be back in a beach chair with my toes in the sand.  I’m not.  But, when I am again, it will be oh so nice. 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33


Filed under God Stuff

Loving the hard to love.

I like surrounding myself with fun people.  I often avoid those who carry a lot of emotional baggage such as bitterness, addictions, or depression.  I avoid people who aren’t nice.  Let’s face it.  Life is short.  Why waste a perfectly great night out with people who don’t seem to “fit in”?  After all, those babysitters aren’t cheap.  Why invite them into my home only to watch the clock and wonder when they are going to go back to their house?  Why return their calls?  Respond to their e-mails?  They never seem to listen to my advice anyway.  They are still going to hold onto their stuff like it’s a sack full She Takes the Cake’s “Chocolate Therapy”.  And, my condolences to you poor souls who’ve never tasted that little bit of heaven.

I like fun people. 

But, Jesus said love your enemies.  Now, I don’t consider the people described above as enemies.  But, if God wants us to love our enemies, I’d bet he means them, too.

This kind of love isn’t easy, is it?  The Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding” (Philippians 1:9, NLT).  This means that as we get to know Jesus – and understand who He is more and more, that this kind of love will grow.  Not overnight.  It’s a lifelong process.

I think the first thing to remember is that we ourselves are in desperate need of a Savior.  That we, too, fall short and fall short often.  Pride sets in when we don’t realize how God loves us in spite of our failures and short-comings.  And, we all know that pride and love mix about as well as oil and water.  But, when we see that we all need His grace, then we become less judgmental.  And, loving the not so fun people becomes easier.

Who did Jesus chill out with when He walked the earth?  Well, not the self-righteous Pharisees.  Nope.  Not a one.  He kicked it back with prostitutes, stinking fishermen and even the I.R.S. of the day.  And, we are called to love just as He loved. 

It doesn’t mean it’s an easy endeavor.  But, we have the Holy Spirit within us.  And, that empowers us to love with the love that lives within us.  As a child of God, that kind of love is our inheritance.

One day, I might even share my “Chocolate Therapy” with the not so fun people. 

I’m just kidding.  I don’t even share that with my friends.

Do you struggle loving the hard to love? 


Filed under God Stuff, Love

My shabby old coat.

Louisa Fletcher Tarkington wrote in “The Land of Beginning Again”:

I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again
Where all of our mistakes, and all of our heartaches,
And all of our poor, selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.

I’ve heard some people claim they regret nothing, because it’s made them who they are today.  I understand this declaration, but I don’t always buy it.  I certainly have regrets.  I think we all do.  I have had days where I wish I could drop my shabby old coat at the door and leave it there.

We can’t erase the past.  But, we can embrace today and all of its opportunities.  I can choose to hang that coat up and not put it on again.  I can, instead, wear His coat of mercy and grace and start anew.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5.17

Are you still wearing a shabby old coat?


Filed under Spiritual Journey