Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life, Love, Loss, and Letting Go

September 11th. I don't think today's date typically brings to mind cheerful thoughts. (Unless it's your birthday like it is my nephew's. Happy birthday, Dev!) Bottom line - our country and the mindset of just about every American was changed on that day seven years ago. Can a person get on an airplane any more without the word "TERRORIST" crossing their mind for at least one brief second? I know that people have said, "I'm not going to quit living or that'll mean the terrorists have won!" But certainly those individuals don't live the same carefree way they used to, especially if they have children.

But the sad fact of life is that . . . well, it goes on. As much as we want it to stop when a tragedy occurs, it doesn't. I am certainly not by any means an expert in this area. I'm not a philosopher or a theologian. I have experienced a great loss in my life, though, the December before our country suffered her great loss, and this is what I think on the topic of life, love, loss, and letting go:

I've come to believe that it is absolutely essential for life to go on after loss because for your typical, average, ordinary person (like me) if it didn't go on, if there was a way to stop the world from turning, to stop Father Time from marching right on as if nothing ever happened, then the grieved would have no reason to let go, move on, and experience all the richness and fullness life still, even still, after a devastating loss, has to offer them.

The Bible says in the book of Romans chapter 8, verse 28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I believe this whole-heartedly. I believe that in times of hardship, those that love the Lord will rely heavily upon Him and in return grow in their relationship with the Lord. I believe this because I've experienced it. The Bible also says in the book of Proverbs chapter 3, verse 5, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". Oooo. Lean not on your own understanding. That's a hard one for me. I want things to make sense, but I've learned that despite what your teachers taught you in grade school, there's NOT a clear cut answer to everything . . . at least not here on Earth. I don't understand why our country suffered such an overwhelming tragedy those seven years ago, but I trust in the Lord, and I know that those who love and serve Him are able to see some good come out of the devastation.

For one, I have seen a surge in pride for our wonderful country just in the past seven years and a new respect for our country's men and women in uniform - not just our military men and women who are willing every day that they serve to lay their life down for the freedoms that we take for granted, but also for our police officers and fire fighters. I might be naive or maybe simple-minded, but I believe that within the last seven years many families have grown closer, friends cherish each other a little more, parents hold their children a little closer all in an attempt to savor every precious moment we've been given on this earth. We hear everyday on the news that our economy is falling apart, people are losing their jobs while the price of oil is continuing to rise, recession, recession, recession, but no one reports on the number of men and women who are saved for all of eternity because they've come to the end of their ropes and they have no where else to turn. They have no hope, no way out of the pit they're in . . . until they see Jesus there with His arms out. They jump. And He catches them. Call me an optimist, but it happens! After all, we are promised in Deuteronomy 33:27 "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

I wish that it wouldn't have happened on that September 11th seven years ago today. I wish that the families of all of those brave men and women could have their loved ones back. But, no matter how painful, life does go on. It's been going on now for seven years and it'll continue to go on. I pray that those families have (or will) let go and jumped into Jesus' awaiting, everlasting arms.

In my upcoming posts, I will be introducing you to the two nominees who won my "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" contest. I believe that you will be moved by their story. I also want to share with you a very special nominee who didn't win, but whose story changed my life. So stay tuned!

PRAYER CONCERNS AND UPDATES: I want you all to know that I am honored to be able to serve you in this way. I have seen first hand the difference prayer can make for a person in his/her time of need. Just this week, I (either alone or with a group) have been asked to pray for the needs of five different people. Please add these concerns to your prayer lists at home and pray mightily for these families. (I'm listing them in the order that I received them.): Please pray for the Belsich family, and especially for 16-year-old Amanda. It was discovered that Amanda had an orange-sized tumor in her neck which was removed. However, it was cancerous and had gotten into her lymph nodes so she will be undergoing treatments in the near future. Please pray for strength - both physical and mental, and for both Amanda and her family. Also, pray for health and healing for this young lady. And pray that after her treatments are over, she will experience a strength like she's never known - in her mind, in her body, and in her faith. Please pray for Sue Tatum. Sue was in a boating accident in Alabama and is clinging to life. Lift her up to the Lord and pray for a miraculous recovery. Also, pray for her family during this time of unrest, that the Lord will give them all a peace that passes understanding. Please lift up Kelly M., the daughter of one of the authors published by Sheaf House. Kelly has been very ill so please pray for restored health and returned strength for her and peace for her mama, who has been very worried. I also need for you to pray for the family of Dick Hohler. He passed away on Monday of a heart attack just shy of 67 years old. Please especially pray for his wife, Ron Anne, his son, Mark, and his brother, David. Pray that they will be comforted in a way that only the Lord can comfort in this time of loss and that they will experience the Lord's peace in the months ahead. Lastly (for today) please pray mightily for Robin Baughman, a 40-year-old mother of an 11-year-old daughter, a 10-year-old son, and 3-year-old twins. It was just discovered that Robin has a mass on her brain that has turned out to be stage four cancer. She also has a mass on her breast, and a spot on her lung. She will be having surgery to remove the mass on her brain next week and then undergoing chemo treatments. Please pray for strength for Robin and her husband, Gary. Please pray for healing for Robin. Pray that they are abundantly blessed with help and encouragement from family and friends. Pray that the Great Physician is with the doctors of Robin, Amanda, Sue, and Kelly, giving them guidance and wisdom to know exactly what to do for His children. I have one update: Larry Harris is still in the hospital and not out of the woods quite yet so please continue to pray for him and for his wife, Kathy. And remember, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

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