“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore, I will hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:21-25
My friend Heather has graciously allowed me to share her story in a four-part blog post series title Heather’s Story: I will hope in Him. As you read the lines of this post you will see that this is really more God’s story than it is Heather’s. It is raw and gripping, and still being written. However, her journal entries are so encouraging for anyone who is in the deep, deep well of grief. This season has just begun for Heather and her sweet family, but they have hope. They live hope. They express hope. They KNOW HOPE! As she shares her journey with you here today, don’t focus on the grief and pain, focus on the eternal hope!
Read part 1 of Heather's Story: I Will Hope in Him here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.
April 9 at 9:55 PM
We find ourselves in a very deep painful grief. Over the weekend, in various ways we each hit an all-time low, physically and emotionally. It feels like the hits just keep coming! Yesterday, I personally just felt angry. So many questions. So many whys. So much pain. I stopped and had an honest conversation with the Lord. I told Him exactly how I felt. It was painful, but healing to finally express the anger, confusion, and pain. However, at the end of the conversation I told the Lord despite how I feel betrayed and let down, I trust You! My mom reminded me of Job 13:15,
“Thou He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”
We did not choose this journey, rather God chose it for us. We desire to reflect Jesus in our response to this difficult time. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Oh, and by the way the warm chocolate chip cookies left on our front porch by our sweet neighbors were consumed in just a few minutes.
April 12 at 8:47 AM
“But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57
My husband is back at work, Riley's big sister is back at school, and I saw a few patients with a colleague. We are staying busy, crying often, but pushing through none the less.
April 14 at 9:10 PM
If I am being totally honest, up until this morning, I have absolutely been dreading Easter. All my mind has been thinking about is only filling one Easter basket, buying one Easter dress, and only needing to find one pair of white Easter shoes. My heart aches thinking of Easter traditions without Riley.
This morning’s sermon came from Zechariah 9:9. The verse says,
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you: righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
This passage is a reminder to rejoice in times of despair and trials. God is faithful and always has and always will keep His promises. Because Jesus died on the cross as a perfect man, He paid the penalty for our sins and death was defeated! Because of His resurrection and through salvation in Him, I will spend eternity with Jesus and I will be reunited with Riley.
Yes, I will cry on Easter because I miss Riley, however, I will also celebrate Easter because the resurrection paved the way to turn from a hopeless person to a person filled with hope. So, I will continue to focus my eyes on Jesus, trust Him when I don’t understand, and praise Him in this storm.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Psalm 34:8
So thankful for this reminder of the HOPE that comes through Jesus’ resurrection!
April 16 at 9:41 PM
Yesterday marked one month since Riley passed away. I must say, as a nurse practitioner, I have spent much time analyzing and playing her final week over and over and over in my mind.
Yesterday, I finally had the courage to investigate Group A Strep Bacteremia which was identified in Riley's blood cultures. The National Institute of Health article that I read pointed to the fact that Group A Strep Bacteremia can cause a very rare toxic shock syndrome. Riley was a classic textbook presentation of Strep Toxic Shock Syndrome. In 2018, there were only 327 documented cases in the US. There are many unanswered questions in the literature about STSS. But early lab work is typically normal and Amoxicillin would not have been strong enough to kill the bacteria. STSS can mimic the flu, is very rapidly progressing, and often fatal.
Please do not let fear grip your heart when your child gets sick as this is extremely rare and much is unknown. Riley is healed and she is safe in the arms of God. We continue to trust Him. We love each of you and are very thankful for your prayers! We will be okay.
I love where Heather writes, "...the resurrection paved the way to turn from a hopeless person to a person filled with hope." If you've read any part of her story you see hope. As written in the intro to each part of Heather's Story, "...they have hope. They live hope. They express hope. They KNOW HOPE! ...focus on the eternal hope!"
In a recent conversation with Heather she wrote, "I am just a broken clay jar and can do nothing in my own strength. But Jesus can use this broken clay jar to carry treasures." That's Heather! That is the truth, and that's the sum of her story. It's what she wants to share with you here today.
If you know someone that is searching for HOPE, a broken clay jar in need of strength, please share this post with them and be their encourager!
“But because I believe God’s plans for me are better than what I could plan for myself, rather than run away from the path He has set before me, I want to run toward it. I don’t want to try to change God’s mind—His thoughts are perfect. I want to think His thoughts. I don’t want to change God’s timing—His timing is perfect. I want the grace to accept His timing. I don’t want to change God’s plan—His plan is perfect. I want to embrace His plan and see how He is glorified through it." —Nancy Guthrie, Holding on to Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God
“Peace is a gift of God, but we prepare ourselves to receive this gift as we pray about everything, cultivate gratitude, and refuse to surrender to worry. You can emerge from your days of sorrow with a heart that has been softened to the Spirit of God—what a beautiful and profitable experience that will be! Or you can allow your heart to be hardened by bitterness and resentment toward God, and rejection of His peace and grace—what a dark place that will take you to... a place far away from the loving embrace of God. “They are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him” (Ephesians 4:18). Heart Mender, take this broken heart of mine and make it soft and sensitive to your Spirit. I want to stay close to You and soft toward You.” —Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book of Hope
In short, this book offers:
Suffering is Never for Nothing
Why doesn’t God do something about suffering? He has, He did, He is, and He will.
“Do the next thing.I don’t know any simpler formula for peace, for relief from stress and anxiety than those very practical, very down-to-earth words of wisdom. Do the next thing. That has gotten me through more agonies than anything else I could recommend.” ―Elisabeth Elliot, Suffering Is Never for Nothing
Suffering and love are inexplicably linked, as God’s love for His people is evidenced in His sending Jesus to carry our sins, griefs, and sufferings on the cross, sacrificially taking what was not His on Himself so that we would not be required to carry it. He has walked the ultimate path of suffering, and He has won victory on our behalf.
This truth led Elisabeth to say, “Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.” Because suffering is never for nothing." --goodreads
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