Archive for the ‘loss’ Category

This is another post from a few years back that gets requested often:

EmptyPlaceTableI’ve written about it before, the dull ache that grips my heart right before Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up until January 1.  There’s something about the holidays that accentuates grief and loss.

Some years are better than others.  Ramona Glory’s presence ushers in profound joy, but even little sweet pea can’t fill the empty place at the table.

And she wasn’t meant to . . .

I’ve come to embrace the ache as a gift; to see the empty spot as a reminder that we are truly just pilgrims passing through.  Jonah’s place will remain vacant until we are all gathered together at the Lamb’s wedding feast.

My heart goes out to those who will face those empty places for the first time this year.  The gatherings, the traditions, the music, the gifts . . . will all feel like nails in the coffin of the loved ones lost.  The wild grief eventually subsides, the weeping stops . . . but the ache will remain until our pilgrimage ends.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev. 21:4


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So, my friend Lisa and I have been developing a clothes closet type of ministry at Parkrose.  Lisa (who is very cool and peppery) works with homeless youth in Clackamas county and has experience in such things.  We’ve gathered bags and bags of gently-used clothing and blankets, painted the designated room with hip, happy colors and are waiting for racks and shelves to be installed.

We are good to go–except for the fact that we gave away ALL of the clothes and blankets this week!

My Native friend, Chief, told me on Sunday that a fire swept through his reservation that weekend, destroying at least 20 homes.  Without a second thought, I offered him our entire inventory.  Chief gratefully accepted and emptied out our closet.

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord!  How awesome that we were able to bless others in their time of need!  But now we need to restock . . .

If you live in the area, could you take a moment and go through your closets–and pull out the clothes/blankets/shoes you don’t need or wear?   Your donations could wind up blessing a local high school student or family–or folks from the White Swan reservation!

We also need a name for this outreach.  We are open to all suggestions!  Email me or leave a comment if you have clothes to donate or ideas for a name!


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“As I stand at the brink of a new year, I find myself still waiting. Still straining to hear His quiet voice say, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Still scanning the horizon for mileposts to point the way. Still wondering if our future will ever come into focus . . .”   from last year’s New Year’s post, 2010 vision.

Boy howdy, did things ever come into focus this past year!

If 2009 was a year of waiting, then 2010 was a season of receiving.  Just thinking of all His good gifts to us this year makes me feel like a spoiled child!  I am so undeserving . . .

We married off our last daughter to a very godly man–God gave us sweet Ramona–we got to visit Africa and Alaska–God led us back to Abundant Life!  Those are just the highlights; there really are too many blessings to recount!

I believe that 2011 will be a year of speaking up.  The verses I want to camp out on for  the next 12 months are:

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8,9

I just finished reading through the Bible this year, and if there’s one theme that is close to God’s heart, it is defending the defenseless.  I’m not sure how He intends to use me this coming year–but I’m confident it will be one wild and wonderful ride.

Anyone want to join me?

PS:  A good resource to jump start your heart is Kimberly Smith’s blog.  She speaks up with boldness and compassion for the most destitute people on the planet.

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(This is a post I wrote two years ago, and it gets more hits than any other blog I’ve written. Desperate people around the world google words like “what will Christmas be like for my child in heaven?” and other poignant phrases, trying to get a glimpse of eternity. Please know that if you’ve stumbled upon my blog in a search for comfort and hope, I am praying for you! I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me: salyne@hotmail.com)

Christmas is a bittersweet time for me. To be perfectly honest, a mild depression sets in right after Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up until the Christmas decorations are safely packed away until next December. I’m not the Grinch . . . I just really miss my son this time of year.
Jonah was born on December 6, 1984. This may sound cheesy, but I couldn’t help thinking about Mary and her newborn son as I nursed my baby boy in the glow of the Christmas tree lights that first year. All the Christmas carols about the infant Jesus held new meaning for me as I tenderly cradled my first born child.

Four Christmases later, I sat in the same rocking chair, mourning the loss of my son. Jonah had been killed in a car accident in late August. My body had pretty much healed from the injuries I’d suffered, but my heart was still hopelessly shattered. In my head, I knew that Jonah was with Jesus, perfect and whole and happy. He wasn’t autistic anymore. But my heart ached because my arms would never hold him again–not on this planet, anyway.
Greg and I numbly went through the motions of getting a Christmas tree and decorating the house that December. We baked cookies and bought presents. But it all seemed so hollow, so pointless that year. I found it difficult to celebrate the birth of Jesus as I deeply grieved for my first born son.
My manger was empty . . .
I think it was during this dark period of my life when I began to write. Paper and pen became my therapist, a channel for my soul to wrestle with its loss. One night, when the pain had become unbearable, I tried to imagine what Jonah was doing–how he was celebrating Christmas in his new home. This poem emerged as I tried to capture my imagination in words:

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will you hear the angels sing
Of Jesus birth–how He came to earth
As a helpless infant King?

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will He let you touch the star?
That shone so bright, with heavenly light
and led wise men from afar?

What’s Christmas like in heaven?
Will the wonder ever cease?
To see Him as He really is–
To know, at last, His peace?

As I visualized Jonah, sitting on Jesus’ lap and hearing Him tell the Christmas story, I was comforted somehow. I was given a new perspective–the joy of celebrating Christmas in the very presence of Christ–and it gave me a peace that quieted my heart. And got me through that first Christmas without him . . .
Twenty-two Christmases have come and gone since Jonah died, and that thought comforts me still.

To see Him as He really is–and know, at last, His peace . . .

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