Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!”

Ruth 2:20

Lesson for today:

NEVER DISCOUNT A BOOK OF THE BIBLE!!

Yes.

Some are pretty short.

Some of them are about women. (Oh no!!πŸ˜²πŸ˜‚)

Some are insanely LONG,

And some are kind of complicated!

It’s funny how some of the books kind of fly under the radar…

Like Ruth.

I mean,

It’s no Genesis…

A page turner from creation to that crazy flood!

AND it’s no Exodus, with the Red Sea action packed thriller!

It’s also no Joshua, Daniel, the four Gospels, Acts, or Revelation!

In the book of Ruth, there are no huge miracles to be found.

No water turned to wine…

No feeding of 5,000 with the equivalent of a box of lunchables and a juice box…

Nothing really noteworthy happens here.

Until….

You take a closer look.

Naomi was a widow who lost more than most of us can even fathom.

A husband and her two precious sons.

Her given name meant “pleasant”.

Back then, your name meant EVERYTHING.

It defined who you were, and who you would become.

After she lost her husband and sons, she surrendered to the pain,

And gave herself

A new name…

Mara….

Which meant Bitterness.

First of all, let me just say…

We don’t get to choose our name!

Just as we don’t get to choose our stories!

GOD decides who we are,

And only HE chooses our narrative.

I’ve been so disappointed with His answer to all my prayers…

They felt like one giant”NO!”

But that wasn’t the case.

It wasn’t a “Wow!” kind of yes.

It wasn’t an eye-catching purple yes, or a bright fuscia yes.

Honestly , it was a tan or beige yes.

One of the lingering symptoms of my stroke is that I cannot see any neutral colors really well.

I can’t see the beige miracles, either.

But, friends, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

There is beauty in the basics.

There’s MAGIC in the mundane.

Provision in the midst of poverty.

There’s even hope in the hapless.

Don’t let your imagination define a miracle.

Naomi told her friends that she left her hometown “full”, but she was returning

“Empty.

But she didn’t see that Ruth

REMAINED!

Do you know what the name Ruth means??

It means

Friend.

She may have lost everybody else, but she still had a friend!

A decidedly beige miracle.

Ruth had a beige miracle, too.

Yes, she found a husband in Naomi’s town.

Beige.😊

But nice.

But she also became an integral part of the lineage to

Jesus Christ!!!

So.

Definitely ….

FUSCIA!!!!!!

There’s nothing beige about that.

Just as there is nothing run-of-the-mill

About Ruth.

There is nothing “beige” about what He is doing in each of our lives.

He has some AMAZING plans up His sleeve!

And I can’t wait to see what He will do with our beige little lives.

The “Beige” Book of Ruth

Vicki is my awesome older sister, by two years.

She was the first one to go to middle school,

First to suffer through high school (😊),

First to get a job,

And the first to get married.

I was never EVER jealous of her,

Because I would never want to be the “first” to try anything.

I have this pretty funny t-shirt that says,

” I’m a leader, NOT a follower. Except if we’re in a dark place….then screw it! You’re going first.”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

We are so blessed by those who have already BEEN to the place where we now find ourselves.

Sometimes these places are incredibly scary,

And often,

Just plain heartbreaking.

Two years ago, my church began implementing Griefshare.

It’s basically a support group for those who’ve lost a loved one through death.

I HATE going, initially.

Arms crossed, I pouted and sulked in my little chair for the first couple times.

And at first, I wasn’t sure why I felt that way…

But I guess I really didn’t want THIS to be my story.

I didn’t really expect this.

Tomorrow’s supposed to be “my day”.

I don’t have to be sad at EVERY holiday, do I???

I try.

I really do.

I try to think of how AMAZING my children are.

They totally are!

Macy and Micah are super compassionate kids, and both have a knack for sarcasm, for which I’d like to take credit.

And they both really and truly LOVE me.

Almost as much as I love them. It’s a huge competition around here…

“Who loves who more?”.

If I could let it stay right there, I’d be fine.

I could THINK about Mother’s Day without crying….

If I could….

If I could think about tomorrow WITHOUT thinking about one of the main reasons why I’m a mom in the FIRST PLACE….

If I could think about Mother’s day without thinking of their daddy,

That would be great.

But I can’t.

When I was in labor with Macy, he was my partner. His was the hand I squeezed through every contraction.

His was the face I saw, with tears flowing down his cheeks,

When he carried her over to my face so I could see my daughter for the very first time.

He said Macy had “strong legs”, because Jeremy noticed she was kicking wildly when they pulled her out of me.

He said she had fire.

And he was right.❀

I can’t think about Mother’s day without remembering how fast the contractions started to come immediately after church that Sunday, with our second child.

On the way home, Jeremy knew this baby was COMING!

And he said to me, a fellow “foodie “, “If we’re going right to the hospital, you KNOW they won’t let you eat.

….,Do you wanna get a sandwich?” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I love that memory.❀

You didn’t mess with either one of us, when it came to food.

Well, just a few hours later, Jeremy was holding his brand new son.

He had so much joy that day.

He thanked me for the gift of his children.

I thanked him, too.

Every Mother’s day since my kids were born, Jeremy went

ALL OUT!!

He wrote letters to me, telling me I was a great mom, and how much he loved me.

He never failed to deliver on Mother’s day.

I wish I could stay in bed tomorrow….

I wish I didn’t have to feel the absence of his love tomorrow…

Or ANY day, really.

But I have to get out of bed..

I have two kids depending entirely on me to do so!

They will have gifts and letters…

And I will love them, as always.

But it will never be the same.

And that’s GOT to be okay with me.

Jeremy is gone.

But he left me with the VERY BEST PIECES OF HIS HEART!!

Macy and Micah.

And I will truly treasure his most extravagant gifts EVER!!

On this day, and on every day we have together..,

The three of us.

We might be sad tomorrow, but we will ALWAYS be grateful.

And we will ALWAYS be

Blessed.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

1 Samuel 1:27,28

Mother’s Day, Without Their Daddy

My kids are professional button pushers.

I mean, they are phenomenally good at it!

Macy can push her brother to the edge of sanity in two seconds flat.

Just the other day, she pulled out a verbal slap to Micah’s face.

( I have NO idea where she got that from.)

Well, there was nothing verbal about Micah’s response!

He didn’t waste any time, but just smacked her, and walked away.

My daughter came running to me, very dramatically (Again, I have no idea who she takes after.πŸ˜‰),

She told me Micah smacked her…

Then she paused for a second, eyes wide open, and kind of whispered,

“On PURPOSE!!”

It’s clear that Macy feels that when somebody hurts her, that it is much worse when they do it intentionally than if it had been an accident.

I guess I feel that way, too.

About PEOPLE.

When it comes to God….

I don’t ever want to think that God allowed me to go through something

ON ACCIDENT.

“Oops, Pami!

That one wasn’t meant for you.

My bad.”

That would be just awful. And I would never trust Him again.

But that’s not my God.

He makes no mistakes.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. β€œFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8,9

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Psalm 18:30

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Proverbs 30:5

Every loss,

Every tragedy,

Every trauma,

Every horrible thing that happens to us…

He ALLOWS,

He permits…

On purpose.

When God was just casually having a conversation with Satan, GOD BRINGS UP JOB!

God seemed to have given the idea to the enemy to test a man to which God knew He could entrust great and terrible pain.

Job trusted Him!

That doesn’t mean he didn’t have questions for God.

It doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park!

He was almost destroyed by the magnitude of his suffering.

But Job was comforted by the fact that God was in charge of EVERYTHING, and that even if Job didn’t understand the why’s or the how”s of his pain…

He could trust that God makes

NO MISTAKES.

Listen, these last few months have been…..

Terrible.

I’ve never been this sad,

Angry,

Exhausted,

Empty,

Lonely.

I felt myself these last couple of days…

Just kind of unravelling,

Spiraling away….

But this word came to me while reading the book of Job…

That what has happened all throughout my little insignificant life…

All the scary stuff,

All the painful stuff,

All the incredibly sad stuff….

It was all given to me, or permitted to me, by my Father.

He’s perfect, by the way.

He can’t mess this up!!

If He wanted to mess up my life, all He would have to do is put ME in charge!

I’d be over and done with in about a minute.

He decided which experiences I would have to walk through, and He sort of put a stamp of approval on the “final plans”.

GOD leaves nothing to chance, because

THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

There is a kind of peace that I have when I am aware that God has allowed all of these crazy things to happen in my life.

Scary things.

Sad things.

He wasn’t asleep when my husband died on that icy road.

He wasn’t distracted when we lost a baby on Christmas Day.

He wasn’t busy with something else when I was laying, paralyzed on my living room floor from a massive stroke.

They happened,

The same way ANYTHING happens to ANY of us.

God never stopped paying attention to us when the bad stuff took place.

He didn’t doze off during the worst moments of your life!

It happened….

ALL of it…….

Every last painful bit of it…..

ON PURPOSE.

Because…..

He KNOWS what He’s doing.

On Purpose

In my family, there were three girls.

I was the the middle child…which explains ALOT!😊

But the oldest is Vicki.

You know what?

I was never jealous of her, I don’t think.

She was the first to experience switching from grade school to middle school.

She was the first to start high school.

She was the first to move away from home.

Vicki was the first to get married, too.

I never WANTED to be first, when it came to any of those experiences.

I was nervous and scared, but I could look to her to get a “lay of the land”.

I never entered anything scary without some tiny tidbits of info from my awesome big sister.

Having those who have already walked the painful road you find yourself on….

It’s priceless.

I have this t-shirt someone gave me recently.

These words are on the front:

“I’m a LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER..

Unless it’s a dark place, then screw it. YOU’RE going first.”

You see, I’m definitely not the first.

Not the first to be in this horribly

dark,

lonely,

painful place.

You won’t make it through your time on this earth without having front row seats to the worst day of your life.

That dreaded front row at funerals.

Jeremy’s was at the building we use for church services.

Every Sunday, I am reminded, when I look out at everyone from the front of the room…

I’m reminded of the seat I had to sit in with my two babies next to me.

There is a woman who sits in that spot, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop this bit of sadness that creeps in every Sunday and Wednesday,

Each time I steal a glance at that chair.

It’s a pain unlike any I’ve ever known.

My husband’s death has set me on a CRAZY journey!

A journey filled with heartbreak,

Filled with questions that I feel I need answered…

Filled with anger…

Filled with fear of holding my family together on my own…

I would be very lost without a special group of people…

People who have lost what I’ve lost.

These special brothers and sisters come in the form of Griefshare.

This is a program available at many churches, and we began implementing it a few years ago.

Honestly, I don’t like going.

The first few weeks, it was torture!

I was the petulant toddler, pouting with her arms folded…

As if to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m here, but I’m not going to like it!”

I just really didn’t want THIS STORY.

I didn’t want to face that my husband, and the father of my children,

Was dead.

But…

My heart opened when I heard others’ stories.

They were so much like mine.

The group leaders have also walked this road, and their guidance…

Their constant reassurance that every crazy thing a person says they are feeling, is NORMAL….

Is so NECESSARY!!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3,4

In Griefshare, we are directed primarily to the Word of God for direction,

For comfort,

For understanding,

And for TRUTH.

I am not alone.

Sadly, there is plenty of pain for

ALL OF US.

But I’m so grateful that I have this group of family members, who encourage one another,

Who cry with one another,

Who pray with one another.

It truly is the Word of God, that mystically transforms into the hands and feet of Jesus.

I’m so grateful for Jesus’s

Hands,

His feet,

And His arms that hold me…

Through people who have felt

His arms, too.

Guided Through Grief