In a movie i recently watched they said several times “Everything will be alright in the end, so if it’s not alright at this moment then it must not be the end.” On one hand i like it because it helps me to not get caught up in a single moment of time. On the other hand i don’t like it because it means that for the most part i’m living life for the future for something to come. It’s like being a Christian for the sole purpose of heaven and i’m not convinced that that is what God had in mind when He created me.

UnknownMost people i have done and currently do life with, tell me that they never planned on doing what they are doing. They say that this is not the life they signed up for. They share that if they could have written their life stories during their early years; the story that they have today is not the story they would have written. i don’t even remember what i thought my story or life would be when i was i high school, but i’m fairly certain that this is definitely not it. But in all fairness that’s hard to say since i can’t remember and truthfully i can’t think of anything i haven’t done that i have ever thought of so maybe this is it. I mean i’m not dissatisfied with the core elements of my life. i have the woman i knew would be my wife, best friend, lover, and partner. i have two children who make me proud in so many ways. i have grandchildren that will accomplish great and Godly things with their lives. i have a handful of friends who have my back.

In general i think that i like others struggle with the “shoulds” of life. i have been raised to believe that life is supposed to happen a certain way, that regardless of the unexpected, there are set ways for me to respond and i am to accept them as “out-of-my-control.” When things don’t happen “my” way, then i need to get over it and get my life back on track. The thing that seems strange to me, is that i, we have all these “shoulds” and expectations of what our lives should be like, but very few, if anybody’s life, ever turns out exactly the way they thought it should.

So all that being said, i need to have dreams and hopes and expectations, to prepare for life in some ways. But i can’t hold on to the disappointments of life.
So it’s time to begin the shift and find out what “Life Is… Supposed To Be.
UnknownIsaiah 58:18 says, For thus says the Lord—Who created the heavens, God Himself, Who formed the earth and made it, Who established it and did not create it to be a worthless waste; He formed it to be inhabited—I am the Lord, and there is no one else.
He did not create the heavens and the earth to be worthless waste. So how can i ever think that He created me to live a worthless waste of a life? That’s only possible if i don’t know who i am or i trade who i am for something other than what i was created to be. He created the heavens and the earth to be inhabited and i believe He created me to be the inhibitor and the inhabited as well. Inhibitor of the heavens and earth by being inhabited by Him, created in His image and likeness.

Anyone can study to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or anything else, but that knowledge will only take me so far. On the other hand, discovering the deep wisdom of knowledge instilled in me before my creation ensures that my life is far more meaningful and fulfilling.

While there may be those that would strongly disagree i believe that the most valuable knowledge that i will ever discover is, and always will be, within. Everything outside serves only to confirm what i already know or to distract me from what i know.

So what i know for sure so far is that Life Is… not a worthless waste!

 

 

Life Is… An Amazing Story!

Posted: April 6, 2015 in Life Is...

One of the readers says… Life is… An Amazing Story.

Definitions:

AMAZING: causing great surprise or wonder; astonishing.

STORY: an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.

imagesNow that is life in a nutshell.

In the beginning… the whole creation process. Amazing! We grew in someone else’s belly. Amazing! We breathe. Amazing! Have you ever stopped to think oh I need to breathe? I’m not speaking of the phrase “take a (usually deep) breath”. Just breathe. No, it happens when God’s will allows it to happen. Amazing! Have you ever had to tell your heart to beat? No, it just happens on God’s will because we are God’s creation. Amazing! This is part of the Amazing story God has written for us. The gift of life is Amazing!

Weak you say? OK how about this. If I had to give my son up to die knowing the way he would die, knowing that he was doing it for people (some of which would never know that he even did it for them) to save a broken and sinful world would you do it? TRUTH time! I am a mom and I would say “NO WAY”. God gave his son, on purpose, with deliberate intent and allowed him to die on a cross for US. Amazing!

Unknown-1OK, too much? Well, it’s not weak! Let’s go this route. We wake up every morning under a roof, on a mattress, with sheets and a blanket, we walk into a 2nd room to brush our teeth, a 3rd to make our breakfast, hold on….a 4th room to eat that breakfast. Amazing! We walk on carpet, and the temperature is exactly what we want it to be for this morning routine. Amazing! We drive a car to work. Amazing! See more of God’s Amazing story being formed here? I have just started to learn (personal experience & in reading) but cannot even partially comprehend what conditions others live in. It is Amazing! They are happy, do not think suicide and depression isn’t an option. This is part of their story. Amazing! These people live in our world and share the same air that we breathe, TODAY not in the 1800’s or Biblical times, TODAY! There are people who have no home, no bed, no food, not even clean water. These things are very much a part of their Amazing story, but not a part of mine (I take much for granted & I am changing this). Some have sickness and illness I haven’t even heard of. These same people would love the chance to work. They would not grumble or complain about hours or bosses, nor would they ask for a raise. They don’t have a car to get them to this job but after walking miles they would be thankful. This is yet another piece in each person’s Amazing story!

OK, too farfetched for you to imagine? Let’s get personal. Let’s get specific! Cancer, Toothache, Chronic Pain or fatigue, Miscarriage, Heart Attack, Arthritis, Depression, Stroke, Diabetes, Allergies, Broken Foot, Headache, Cold, Flu, Divorce, Infidelity, Accidents, Fired, Death, Financial, Insurance… any/all of these ending with Suicide. Amazing that anyone could feel so desperate and without hope that suicide is even an option. Each of these items are a piece of a personal, intimate 1 of a kind AMAZING (see definition) story. Really? Before getting upset (even mad) at me, read the definition. YES, REALLY! You are here reading this blog (I am here writing it), so by God’s grace we are ALIVE & our lives are saved! That (example headache) is part of OUR Amazing story. Did that Cancer lead you to a new relationship, did divorce bring you to God and did that headache show you a co-worker’s sympathetic side? Why me & not him/her? Part of the story! Amazing! We (myself INCLUDED) spend a moment of time feeling sorry for ourselves & in that moment what we have NOT done is taken 1 moment to be grateful that we have the ability to survive, thrive, and overcome these things through our Amazing Christ. Remember EVERY moment is part of our Amazing story “good” and “bad” alike. No 2 stories are the same, each was written for us before birth by our heavenly father. We have free will to do, handle, and look at things as we please*. I have a promise that I am not alone, I am unique! God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28)ALL THINGS. Did we catch that? ALL! Amazing! It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, but God has promised it, and He will deliver. 2 Corinthians 4:8-18Living Bible (TLB) we are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Is God’s promise of our Amazing Story enough?

I think you get the point. My life is an Amazing Story verse for 2014 was Philippians 1:6Living Bible (TLB) And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. By NO means am I saying at any point in this ENTIRE blog that I am perfect or have any of this perfected, I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS, but Looking back, God’s promise for my Amazing Story came to pass. I chose to focus on this verse, I chose to FIND the AMAZING things that Life is … Embrace them, see the best in them, and trust that God created me in his image and likeness and he created an Amazing Story for me. AMAZING!

 

In my (humanly) effort to continue to be a work in progress in my relationship with God my 2015 verse is Nehemiah 6:3 (NLT) so I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come down. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Here is my translation… I am doing an essential job in my Amazing Story, I am building my relationship with God and I am allowing others to see him through my actions, words, and every piece of my daily life. I will not allow myself to be distracted by “things” (come down) furthermore, I don’t need to “come down” because down there I have an Army that can handle “things” and they can act on my behalf so I can continue my job at hand.

 

Unknown*The way you will handle things is directly related to the way you LOOK at things. If you look at anything you might perceive to be “bad” and see how it could be “good” or even a lesson, it might just change your reaction.

Life is… An AMAZING Story, written by my Father.

i have shared this very Easter for many years and i’m sharing it today instead of waiting for tomorrow in hopes that it will serve as a tool for remembering what the next three days are all about.. Perhaps this fits our series Life Is… better than one would think. Just maybe this is an example of what “Life Is”

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas.  She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips.  Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people.  His favorite patient was Edith Burns.

One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns.  When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.

Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:  “Hello, my name is Edith Burns.  Do you believe in Easter?”  Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.

Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly.  Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure.  Edith began by saying, “My name is Edith Burns.  Do you believe in Easter?”

Beverly said, “Why, yes, I do.” Edith said, “Well, what do you believe about Easter?” Beverly said, “Well, it’s all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up.”

Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips said, “Beverly, don’t call Edith into the office quite yet.  I believe there is another delivery taking place in the
waiting room.”

After being called back in the doctor’s office, Edith sat down, and when she took a look at the doctor she said, “Dr. Will, why are you so sad?  Are you reading your Bible?  Are you praying?”

Dr. Phillips said gently, “Edith, I’m the doctor and you’re the patient.”  With a heavy heart he said, “Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you’re not going to live very long.”

Edith said, “Why Will Phillips, shame on you.  Why are you so sad?  Do you think God makes mistakes?  You have just told me I’m going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends.  You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!”

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, “What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!”

Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips.  Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd.  On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up.

Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, “Will, I’m very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter.”

Well, they did just that, and women began to come in and share that room with Edith.  Many women were saved.  Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is, everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.

Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a “religious nut”.  She had been a nurse in an army hospital.  She had seen it all and heard it all.  She was the original G.I. Jane.  She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick.  Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot.

When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, “Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Well, you can quit praying for me.  It won’t work and I’m not interested.”

Edith said, “Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Then you will never die because that will never happen,” and curtly walked out of the room.

Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, “God loves you, Phyllis, and I love you, and I’m praying for you.”

One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith’s room like a magnet would draw iron.  She sat down on the bed and Edith said, “I’m so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, ‘Do you believe in Easter?’, but you have never asked me.”

Edith said, “Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked .”

Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Edith said, “Phyllis, do you believe in Easter?  Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Oh, I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life.”  Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart.  For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.

Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, “Do you know what day it is?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Why Edith, it’s Good Friday.”

Edith said, “Oh, no, for you every day is Easter.  Happy Easter, Phyllis!”

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties, and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies, because she wanted to go up to see Edith, give her some Easter lilies, and wish her a Happy Easter.

When she walked into Edith’s room, Edith was in bed.  That big black Bible was on her lap.  Her hands were in that Bible.  There was a sweet smile on her face.  When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith’s hand, she realized Edith was dead.  Her left hand was on John 14:2

“In my Father’s house are many mansions.  I go to prepare a place for you.  I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4:

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down her cheeks said, “Happy Easter, Edith — Happy Easter!”

Phyllis Cross left Edith’s body, walked out of the room and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting.

She said, “My name is Phyllis Cross.  Do you believe in Easter?”

God works in wonderful ways, and to believe in His power is to truly be free.

In closing… Do you believe in Easter?

i just love it when God shares a few ideas and some material for me to use and then just takes it over by sending someone else… well actually 4 someone elses to put it all together in a way that i couldn’t. Thus is the case for this post.

Some days, it is a lot harder to wait. When i’m bringing my concerns to the Lord again and again, i can grow tired of waiting. It soon begins to feel like my prayers are falling on deaf ears. Often my response is to take control and just “do the best i can” Let’s look at a story about waiting

images-2John the Baptist was a fearless preacher who found himself waiting. In case you didn’t know it he is the cousin of Jesus and that’s important in the bigger picture of things. He openly pointed out the sins of the people regardless of who they were. And because of his boldness he was put in prison by Herod, the ruler of the Jews.

For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not. (Mark 6:17)

Here’s where that relative thing comes into play. If i’m John i am most definitely expecting Jesus, my cousin, to come and rescue me from prison. It’s an opportunity for Him to use a wondrous display of supernatural power. But, instead of moving in that direction, when He came to know of John’s imprisonment, Jesus moved farther away! What! John is blood, what about having his back?

John was updated by his followers of the marvelous works of Jesus. And he, John sent his representatives to Him.

Now listen to this! John tells his disciples to ask Jesus, “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2, 3)

That’s doubt if i’ve ever seen it. John sent messengers with his questions of doubt. If he hadn’t heard of the marvelous works that Christ was doing, then his doubt would be understandable. But having heard of His works and doubting is strange! This is John who proclaimed Jesus arrival!

The thought that troubled John and has troubled me on many occasions was, how come Jesus was not coming to help?

Jesus understood the struggle that John was going through. At least He didn’t rebuke him, but instead gave him more evidences so that all his doubts that the enemy was trying to put in his way would be removed.

Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what’s going on:

The blind see,
The lame walk,
Lepers are cleansed,
The deaf hear,
The dead are raised,
The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.

Then Jesus says something profound or at least it was to me. He says, tell John, “blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.” This is a post in and of itself because Jesus just announced that He would do things or not do things that would cause some people to stumble. If you want more on this watch Andy Stanley’s “When God” series part 1.

When John’s disciples left to report, Jesus started talking to the crowd about John. He says, “No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer;

Many miracles were performed right there, even the raising of the dead. That was supposed to give John hope and courage to face even his death, which followed. But this is what John had to remember and so must i, my God’s power extends beyond life, beyond death, beyond any challenge, beyond any circumstance!

Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

In closing… Jesus i wait for you because honestly… i don’t want anyone else!

 

 

Ever felt lost? Alone? Frustrated? Scared? Unsure? Anxious? Trapped? Unfulfilled. Stuck in a dead-end job. Smothered by others expectations. Has there ever been a time when you didn’t have a clue what you wanted to do with your life and further that when it comes down to it you feel as thought you have no say in regards to it?

imagesBeen there… done that! Maybe not today or this week but not all that long ago. The worst part for me was that i was living the life that society and Christianity had always told me to live. They said it was the “right thing” to do.

i don’t know about you, but it turns out for me that, the “right thing” to do sucked the joy out of life. Perhaps that’s the epitome of becoming weary in well-doing?

Wasting my precious time doing things that i really didn’t want to be doing. Being afraid to express my uniqueness. Having fun on the weekends then dreading the upcoming week. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it at all, a few moments of satisfaction drowned out by a constant grind of activity?

Life should be… most anything other than what i’ve described above. i knew it could be and actually should be different, but i had no clue where to start. Mind you, i was a “Christian” and working full-time in ministry. But i spent my days wishing that things would change—that i could escape a life that didn’t seem to fit.

Forest Gump said, “My momma always said, Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That doesn’t sound so bad… if you like chocolate? But i know for a fact that i don’t care for many of the things inside the chocolates… such as bacon!

Am i to settle for a life that seems, somehow, to have just happened? That, in and of itself is ambiguous because nobody’s life has just happened. My life has been a series of choices, responses, actions, words etc., etc..

images-1I think most everyone has or maybe had an expectation of what our lives should be. From my daily mundane tasks to who i will become at some time in the future. Through-out my life i have had many ideas of what i want or thought i wanted from life. And when life doesn’t meet my expectations… i’m so disappointed even in small insignificant things. i can’t tell you how many times i have planned my days right down to the very last half-hour, but no matter how detailed, how perfectly calculated a day is planned, it seldom goes exactly as planned.

That’s not to say that every day is a disappointment. Not even close, especially since i have focused on not defining my days as good or bad days. Even on the days i need to be as perfectly put-together as possible, something is bound to occur that was not a part of my schedule. A train brings traffic to a stop. i find out that i forgot to put something on my calendar, a meeting goes longer than i anticipated, etc. And then let’s not forget that outside of these everyday things, there are the major life events that i think i have planned for but happen outside the parameters  that i have set for them. And then i find out that life or more importantly God has other plans.

Let me close today with two thoughts. First, i don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that i just lived the length of it. i want to have lived the width of it as well.

Secondly, Sometimes my expectations sell me short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. i wonder why i cling to my expectations, because the expected is just what keeps me steady. The expected’s just the beginning. The unexpected has been and still is what changes my life.

 

i’ll tell you up front that this is not your typical read it post. In order for this to be of any value it will require some or all of your effort and the result you get will be based on the effort you put forth. So let me save you some time. If you don’t want to put in any effort or you feel you have none to give then take the five minutes it would require of you to read this and do something else. i have six things to consider… well, they’re really six questions to help answer the one question, “Life Is.”. By answering these questions we may discover our unique passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations, which are all just waiting for our own interpretation and expression.

images1. What do I absolutely love in life?

List anything that you love about your life and the people in your life. Think about any activities that get you excited and enthusiastic and make you feel vibrant and alive. This can be absolutely anything: God, music, sports, cooking, teaching others, learning, watching movies—anything. Within your love for these things should be a deep passion.

2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

List all of the moments that you are proud of as well as the times that you’ve succeeded. To have accomplished these, you would have used some of your key strengths. See if you can identify why you succeeded. Also, list any activities, hobbies, or anything else that you do that you complete with ease. Within these lie greatest strengths.

3. What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?

List everything that you would do if you weren’t afraid, even your wildest dreams. This will help you discover your greatest values.

4. If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Describe your ideal lifestyle. List what you would do throughout the day if you knew that you were bound to be successful, what kind of person you would be, how much money you would earn, and where you would live.

5. What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

List everything that you would really love to do if you had all the money in the world. Okay, so you would probably travel the world, buy a house or two, and give some money to your family. Then what would you do with your time?

6. Who do I admire most in the world?

List your greatest inspirations and the qualities that you admire about these people. Think about what really inspires you in. What you admire about others is also a quality that is in you.

images-1Taking the time to answer these question may answer the question “Life Is” for you and if so they may change your life. The more that you can implement your passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations into your days, the better understanding you will have of “Life Is.”

 

Have you heard of an animal that complains about not having enough money? Have you heard of an insect that suffers Kid to mom about funky dog: 'I'm not complaining, Mom, but when can I get one that's not a bobblehead?'from too much stress? Have you heard of a fish that lives in pain due to a broken relationship? Probably, only human beings live complicated lives. So why is life so complicated? How about this for an answer, because i have increasing needs. When i have more needs, i add more complexity to my life. Here’s another question, do people ever have enough? Or am i always looking for more. What about figuring out how to enjoy more with less.

I shared a story about a 14 year old who committed suicide on Friday. For the parents of this child life got real complicated and will probably remain that way for some time if not the rest of their lives. At the funeral on Sunday this little girls 8 year old sister spoke and shared that she was both angry and sad because her sister did this. This 8 year olds life just got complicated. My grandsons life got complicated as well. my life got a little more complicated because of my grandson. He’s a little young to have to begin dealing with such awful and bewildering situations. The only persons life that didn’t get complicated was this 14 year old who decided to end her life. Obviously she felt the complications prior to Friday but for whatever reason saw no hope of a solution.

This post is not the one i wrote to open this series of Life Is… either. i can not shake this question of, “Life Is…” so i decided to begin asking people if they could tell me the answer. It caught most people off guard and i could tell that they were puzzled and struggled to come up with an answer, any answer so that i would leave them alone and stop making them uncomfortable. The most popular response i have heard thus far is “Hard.” “Life Is Hard…!”

i began looking at those around me and saw some of the complications that they are dealing with. Theres’ the couple that got thrown off track and now they can’t seem to find each other. There’s the person dealing with depression and their own thoughts of ending life. There are several who feel like their in a waiting mode and some of them not even sure what their waiting for. There’s one who feels that playing the lottery is complicated as they try to find the winning combination of numbers. One person shared how their car began falling apart this week end and now life is financially complicated. There’s a single mom trying to put their daughter through college and they only have one car making getting around complicated.

62176560c92ddddee0f2a394f11aed21This series is taking on a life of it’s own and some are willing to share their answer, so i will begin sharing their answers. i am not suggesting that they are right or wrong. They are just what they as individuals feel that life is at this time. i’m guessing that if i ask them the same question in a month or two that their answer may take on a different look.

If there is a reader out there who would like to share your answer please send it to annmarieanded@yahoo.com and i will consider sharing it. i am looking forward to what others will share!

Today’s post expresses that “Life Is Complicated Sometimes” on so many different levels. This is not what i had written for the first post of the series titled “Life Is…”. i got a phone call on Sunday and found out that my grandson’s very first girl friend from last year committed suicide on Friday. She was 14 years old. i do not pretend to understanding what makes a child of 14 decide that they cannot cope with life. i have some understanding when it’s an adult… but 14! They haven’t lived enough of life to make that decision.

It’s said that a child should never die before the parent, but it happens. There are no words that can bring comfort. But when a child decides to end their life it leaves the parents decimated. Most often they didn’t have a clue and that makes things worse because as a parent we think we should know everything about our children. As hard as we try that just isn’t going to happen and so we end up having to deal with the aftermath of an event like this.

The Facts: In 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th.  It is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds. There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors. There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 will die by suicide this year. i am so sorry to say that my grandson knows that one. 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide this year. 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide this year.

Common misconceptions about suicide.

Misconception #1 “People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”

Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Misconception #2 “Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”

Not True. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

Misconception #3 “If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”

Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

Misconception #4 “People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”

Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

Misconception #5 “Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”

Not True. You don’t give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

What children might feel after losing someone they love to suicide:

  • Abandoned – that the person who died didn’t love them.
  • Feel the death is their fault – if they would have loved the person more or behaved differently.
  • Afraid that they will die too.
  • Worried that someone else they love will die or worry about who will take care of them.
  • Guilt – because they wished or thought of the person’s death.
  • Sad.
  • Embarrassed – to see other people or to go back to school.
  • Confused.
  • Angry – with the person who died, at God, at everyone.
  • Lonely.
  • Denial – pretend like nothing happened.
  • Numb – can’t feel anything.
  • Wish it would all just go away.

A child may have many mixed feelings or may feel “numb.” Whatever they are feeling, remember our role as an adult is to help them and be supportive. Reassure the child whatever feelings they might experience, they have permission to let them out. If they want to keep to themself for a while, let them. Don’t tell a child how they should or should not feel. Also, don’t discourage them from expressing negative emotions like anger. But most importantly… BE THERE FOR THEM!

Let them know that…

It’s okay to grieve. With the death of a loved one the pain cannot be described and no scale can measure the loss. We want so much for our loved one to return so that we can do something, and we ache knowing that it just can’t happen. It’s okay to grieve.

It is okay to cry. Shedding tears is not a sign of weakness-it is a sign of our human nature and emotions of deep despair and sorrow. It’s okay to cry.

UnknownIt is okay to laugh. Laughter is not a sign of “less” grief. Laughter is not a sign of “less” love. It’s a sign that many of our thoughts and memories are happy ones and our dear one would have wanted us to laugh again. It’s okay to laugh.

Life is… Complicated Sometimes and on that note i’ll close.

I love this thought.  Not just because it’s thought provoking or cute, but because it’s true. We’re all… no… i’m just one small adjustment away, from…. and each of us can fill in the blank.

images-2How about if i make one small adjustment every day for a year regarding my relationship with God! Imagine what i might achieve? But here’s the thing.  i often know what the adjustment i need to make is…  i just don’t do it.  i get stuck in my comfort zone or my indifference or my laziness.

my goal is to make at least one adjustment every day, nothing to bold or daring but an adjustment that’s small, minor or slight by some standards. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! i want 2015 to be a year of growth and maturity, yet realizing that these small adjustments won’t remove all the obstacles. But i’m pretty sure i’ll handle those obstacles in a much different way.

Adjustment – a small change; a minor correction; a slight modification

Isaiah 55 says, “Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.” 

What’s the adjustment required? Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully.

When i make one small adjustment, it will often require another adjustment and then another and i think you get the idea. i imagine perfecting a skill at almost anything, playing an instrument, a sport, or anything else is about small adjustments making big differences. Isaiah 55 says by making these small adjustments to your life you will get My life-giving, life nourishing words. you’ll get sure, solid, enduring love.

sam-gross-in-order-to-be-free-i-had-to-make-certain-adjustments-new-yorker-cartoonJust like the adjustments in Isaiah 55 many of the adjustments i need to make are about being more conscientious. When i am tempted to get angry my adjustment could be to pray for them or zip my lip. When someone is offering their two cents and i don’t want it, i can say thinks you and let it go at that. These adjustments will be personal to each person.

What do you think?  Are you small one adjustment away from ……..?  What’s your small (or not) adjustment?

What a story of transformation! i have known Cathy for around 30 years and she is a different person. What she failed to imagesmention in her story was that she at one time was very involved in church and like many left being disappointed by the stuff. That took her to a place of not even believing in God and ultimately looking at multiple Gods as an option, but when she prayed that night she told me she prayed to the Christian God and knew that it was Him who had done this.

Transformation is the act, process, or instance of changing in character or condition. In this case it’s “The Act” a small adjustment and her life is working. Sure there is a process that follows but “The Act” “The Instance” of change has taken place. Her character and her condition have changed.

i knew that this transformation was different than other attempts. She is not just trying to change her life it has been changed. Nothing has been left to trying. She is doing. As she said, she still has things to walk through but who doesn’t?

At one point during all this i’m going “GOD” really? We have been there for her for all those years and this couldn’t happen when we were there? The truth is that the voice of God is a whole lot better than my voice in any matter. i recall a couple of conversations where Cathy and i talked about those same accomplishments… but nothing. God brings it up andimages-1 Bam! i know this is how it’s supposed to be and i couldn’t be more excited and so glad that we didn’t quit her and now we get to share in her excitement and be a part of what’s next.

There was so much i wanted to share about all this but it seems so insignificant at this time. i also don’t want to say anything that takes away from the seriousness of where Cathy has spent most of her life nor from the absolute miracle that God did by reminding her of a few earthly accomplishments, at precisely the exact moment, where it would do what it was intended to do.

Cathy has been at our home for a several weeks now and will be here for several more. i wish i could have recorded all her words and been able to share the excitement she has for life now. She has many thoughts for helping people and animals in the future and not necessarily in that order.

Transformation1As i close i want to say thank you to Cathy. She has always been willing to share her opinions on most anything but is very private when it comes to her and her feelings. That’s one of the reasons i know how real this is. She is not fixed on herself but has become fixed on others and shared openly and honestly. So again thank you to Cathy and while i have always counted our friendship as a valuable one, i am even more convinced of it today.