Our December Mother — “Courage To Soar”!

We would like to introduce our newest member of the Give Her Wings family — “Courage to Soar”. This dear mother of three took her children and herself away from a highly abusive husband/father. Courage is incredibly brave (in our book) because she left a well-respected pastor (yes, her ex husband was a pastor) in order to give her three children a healthy life.  In the process, Courage lost the support of her family and her ‘c’hurch family. Finding herself completely alone, Courage has also managed to share her story with the authorities. Her ex husband is currently being charged with criminal sexual conduct, invasion of privacy and criminal defamation. Courage’s stress level is extreme . . . but she continues to work hard and do her best to provide for her children.

Our hearts feel a deep concern for Courage because it is the holidays . . . and, when I spoke with her last week, she had only $3 in her checking account. I cannot imagine how scary life is right now for this dear lady. It is not an easy time for her. Here is a bit of her story in her words:

I’m a single mom of 3 beautiful children. I have a 14 year old autistic son, a 13 year old son and my youngest is my little 11 year old princess. I have been living in a verbally, physically and sexually abusive marriage for 15 years now and finally found the strength and courage to seek safety and freedom. I’ve been on my own with my kids for 9 months now. It’s been a struggle in every sense of the word, but yet an amazing journey! I’m learning how to trust myself and my decisions again. I’ve been learning that I will be ok! That I can be ok! I have choices! My choices have not always been popular and through my choosing to keep both myself and my children safe I’ve lost most of my family. Would I change those decisions? No! I know, in-spite of the pressure to return to the abuser to save face, that each decision I’ve made over the past 9 months have been the right ones. God has been showing HIMSELF to is in such a real way! I wouldn’t trade that! I don’t have support of my family but I have the support of people those at Give Her Wings! My heart is ever grateful for their love and support!!! I’m pressing on! Taking another step! And growing! ~Courage to Soar

We want to help our dear sister, Courage, during the month of December. This will be our last campaign before we take time off to become non-profit. We “fronted” Courage (by faith) over $300 last month to cover an electric bill and some gas money. We have also already been given $500 toward this campaign (yay!). We need to raise $1000 still. I do not think I need explain how much this will mean to our mother this Christmas season. And, as always, our goal is to remind her how much she is loved and cared about. She is not forgotten by God or by the Church.

Won’t you help us?

Why I Love “Help(ing) HER have a Merry Little Christmas”

I’m not much of one to cry when I’m happy.  I can cry a river when I’m sad, but it takes something really special to make me tear up with joy.  But, I’ve done just that several times this month.  And, every time it’s been when I was telling someone about the “Help HER have a Merry Little Christmas ‘store'” and the lovely response that it’s gotten from people.

I’m starting to figure out why that is. Although my family and my life aren’t perfect, I have to say that I’ve been blessed with many happy memories of Christmases past:

  • I remember my dad strapping a Christmas tree on the top of our car and driving from NC to MD.  By the time we got there it looked like something Charlie Brown picked out.
  • I remember my sister L peeling the stickers off of her off-brand Rubik’s cube and showing it to those of us in the other car on a trip up to grandma’s.  We so believed she solved it.
  • I remember having to go to BOTH grandparents’ houses for a Christmas meal because they wanted us there.
  • I remember baking Christmas cookies with my sisters and my mom and sometimes my grandmother
  • I remember my sister B and I licking candy canes to sharp points and sticking each other with them, probably while complaining that someone crossed the middle of the backseat.  (but your kids didn’t hear it from me)
  • I remember my now-28-year-old nephew making police car noises and telling me I had a police car stuck on my head.  In the back of a station wagon.  For 6 hours.   (He’d had a toy police car stuck in his hair a couple weeks earlier)
  • I remember our finding out my cousin was having her new boyfriend over for Christmas,  and my dad pulling out a can of tennis balls from the trunk of the car It went something like this: “We can wrap these up for him.”  “Oh, does he play tennis?”  “I have no idea”.  He didn’t play tennis.
  • I remember all the years when a family member would be trying to figure out what to get someone for Christmas.  Another family member almost always said, “why don’t you get him/her some tennis balls?”
  • I remember last year in the hospital my dad opening up the tennis ball that “Santa” left him and laughing hysterically.

But, one of the Christmases I remember the most was the one when I was 13. We were moving to a new city over Christmas break.  The house we were going to rent wasn’t going to be ready until Jan 1.  I’ll spare the details, but the reason for our move wasn’t a fun one and we had to move out of our old house the week before Christmas.   I was angry.  I was confused.  I was sad.

That Christmas, there were 5 of us in my older sister’s one-bedroom apartment with little to no heat, mattresses on the floor,  a dog, and a cat that loved to terrorize everyone.  Overnight on Christmas Eve, I developed a raging ear infection that ruptured my ear drum.  I was running a fever and was in severe pain by Christmas afternoon.  There wasn’t much room in the apartment kitchen, so we went to my older brother’s place for lunch. When we came back, we realized nobody had taken a set of apartment keys with them

Picture this… 3 adults, a college freshman, and a sick middle schooler…on the landing of a second story apartment on the main downtown street. So what was the most reasonable thing to do?  Of course…use the table knife in mom’s bag to break into the kitchen window.  Yes, my father, known as a pastor to the people in the area, was breaking into the apartment above one of the most well known florists in town.  On Christmas day.

Oh wait…it get’s better.  My mother (the pastor’s wife) then climbed through the kitchen window, across the table, and came through to open the front door.

Other than a very vivid memory of thinking I was eating a piece of candy with coconut in it while biting into a bourbon ball that one of my sister’s clients had put in her candy basket, I don’t remember much else about that day.  (I still can’t stand the smell of bourbon balls)

Little Girl Smiling

Honestly, that Christmas could have gone down on record as one of the worst Christmases ever. But, every time I think about or tell that story, I get a cheesy grin on my face, much like the one that 3-year-old me has in this picture.

I don’t remember ever having a Christmas that I would call bad.  I remember that I did get presents every year, but I don’t remember what most of them were.  Looking back, the specific presents weren’t so special by themselves.

Besides the obvious celebration Jesus’ birth, I think the reason for that cheesy grin is that I’ve always known that someone loves me.

(Ok, I’m crying again…)

I don’t know what kind of Christmases our GHW mamas and their children have had before.  But it touches me at my very core to know that THIS Christmas they will know that they are loved.   Every person that has provided a gift loves them.  Everyone that prays for them loves them.  The GHW team loves them.  God loves them.

Thank you to every one of you who has helped me have a front seat to see the miracle of love flowing out to these families.  I am blessed daily by your generosity and your kind words.

If you haven’t yet visited our “Help Her Have a Merry Little Christmas” store, and you are able, please do so and help us to show “our” mamas and children extravagant love this Christmas! If you already have, please share the link with others.  We’ll be adding even more options in the next few days.

Kat’s Story and Why She Helps

We have been blessed by some regular “givers”. But, Kat does not only help our cause, she encourages the down-trodden and uplifts the oppressed in a thousand ways. She is an inspiration. We have the privilege of being able to share her personal testimony here at our blog. Thank you, Kat. Read why Kat helps spiritual widows and orphans and be edified:

My father left my mom when I was less than one month old. She says he left when I was literally at her breast. I have two older brothers 4 and 8 years ahead of me. Mom has an amazing life story. Adventurous, educated, humorous and friendly. She’d been a teacher off and on after meeting my dad and moving to El Paso, TX, to marry him. She’d been a TV producer in San Francisco.

Her story: my dad couldn’t keep a job.

His story: she was crazy.
My story: They’re both right.

So, my mom had to go to work and find someone to care for me. My brothers were in preschool and elementary school. I was the one with the greatest needs. Thankfully, we lived on the border when it was more open than it is now. My mom couldn’t have afforded much. but we lived in a nice middle class neighborhood, anyway. She fed us rice, pasta, corn flakes ad nauseum. My mother had been raised in Virginia during the Depression. She knew how to pinch pennies, even if she didn’t know how to cook.

Back in the seventies, people would cross the border to “shop” with shopping passes. The women would board busses and go to jobs cleaning houses. The men would wait for trucks to drive downtown and offer them jobs — mowing, roofing and yard work. These people were risking it all to put food on the table at home.
We went through several maids (they’d be called housekeepers/nannies now). They’d live at our house Mon-Sat am for a whopping $70 a week (standard pay at the time).

I don’t know the total headcount. I know my middle brother was fondled in the tub by one woman as a little boy. When he innocently recounted story, my mom packed the woman up and put her on the curb. It must have been many years . . . I remember being hit in the head with brushes when I’d cry while the tangles were being yanked from my head. Another woman locked me in her bedroom with a black and white TV showing Mexican soap operas.
I can only imagine the complete horror my mom felt when I recounted those scenes at the dinner table.

Then came the angel that saved my life. Maria. She was much older than my mom (who was 41 years my senior). Her hands smelled of hand cream. Her wrinkles were deep and smooth. She sang while she scrubbed and cleaned and told me how much God loved me. She laid on my bed with me until I fell asleep. I tiptoed past my mom’s bed when I had bad dreams and into hers. She spoke only Spanish; I spoke only English. She wouldn’t correct me. It wasn’t her place, she said. So, we had our own language. It was love. Pure love. she told me how God loved me and would always love me. How much she loved me.

I got to travel over the border with her, once, when I was about 10. She must have been 75. There I was with blonde pigtails riding the busses and vans down dirt roads holding the hands of MY Maria! My protector, my Angel.

You see, she knew what I didn’t fully comprehend until after she passed away: my mother was a sick, mean woman. Constantly under the care of a psychiatrist, yet she never really understood.
She was smart and charming. And had the tongue of a viper.

I was called “Selfish Bitch” from the time I was five. My mother withdrew her love when I was less than perfect, but never gave it to me even when I was. Her tongue cut me down daily. As she drove me to church, ballet, private music lessons, etc., I endured her disdain.

Oh, we looked good from the outside! She was a whiz with money. She could provide clothes and home for us. She had a good job. She made friends everywhere we went.

But at home….sick and full of hate.

Maria loved on me. Raised me. Told me where my worth was…in Christ alone. She had to leave her 6 children to take care of me and put food on their table. She knew struggle. She knew pain. But she knew a love that surpassed all of that.

My mother remarried when I was in second grade. Cold and indifferent, he only lasted 5 years. But he wore Maria out. She was uneasy with him. And she was getting old. She “retired” a few years into that marriage. I knew she worked tirelessly at home.

We wrote each other. Maria’s nieces and nephews would write for her and translate my letters for her. I found neighbors to translate hers.
My mothers verbal and emotional abuse never ceased. Still to this day, she is volatile and unsafe. She is now almost 82 years old. When struggling with dementia, my brothers and I found out her brothers had molested her. No wonder she was sick and mean!!

I forgive her. Anything else would eat me alive. And did for years and years. But, I guard my heart and my precious family. The generational sin stops HERE. NOW.

I will not allow her around me without a friend or my husband. I will not allow her in my home. She still can swear and cut down me or my family in the blink of an eye.

Maria. She is my mother. When she died, I went to her funeral. As a senior in high school, I got to weep with her children. In her cement-floored home with no bathroom, she was laid out in the most beautiful coffin. We cried and held hands and told stories. Her youngest told me how she’d resented me as a young girl because Maria would tell her that I needed her more as she left every Monday after only being home less than 48 hours. Weeping and holding each other, she said how she came to understand that my danger was real. And that her mother had a purpose…to love me and show me the love of Christ.

She gave all she had. Her love. And I choose to do the same.

I learned how not to be from my mom. My father was not a part of my life other than miserably awkward required visits that ended when I turned 18.

I learned to love; I learned to give; I learned to trust that God has a plan…even in the murkey waters of life….to show His love to us and through us.

Maria loved me when she had nothing. How much more can you ask of a person? That, my friend, is Christ.

There are so many out there who are hurt by husbands, boyfriends, mothers, fathers. We live in a fallen world. But that doesn’t mean we fall over. We rise up…praising God and sharing the love that he gives. For without it, I would be nothing.

The end.
Or…the middle or the beginning.

“Help Her Have a Merry Little Christmas” Store – Now Open

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve “decorated” for Christmas here on the GHW site.  We’re getting a jump on the Christmas rush.  Why?  Because our mamas and kiddos are important to us. We want them to feel the love of God in a tangible way. We want them to have gifts this Christmas.

Our “Help Her Have a Merry Little Christmas” store is now open! It will be open at least through the end of November so you can be a part of loving them in this way.

"Help Her Have a Merry Little Christmas" Store - Now Open!

The details are all over at the store, but this is the general idea…  pick an item from the store, pay for it, we’ll send it along.  You aren’t buying direct from a retailer.  You’re donating the money to GHW, and we will turn around and purchase and send the item to the intended GHW family for you.  This method keeps their privacy intact.

Besides toys and clothes, you’ll see some grown up items like work boots and tools in our shop.  That’s because there are some precious teenage boys who have had to take on responsibilities for some big chores for their mother and younger siblings.

The Give Her Wings team is continuously overwhelmed by your generosity.  Thank you for being a part of showering each of our mamas with love. Thank you in advance for Helping HER to have a Merry Little Christmas.

If you haven’t seen it over on our Facebook page, here’s just a little silliness to show you how excited we are…

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

What Christmas May Be Like for Our Mamas

The first Christmas I had alone with the children was . . . bitter-sweet. It was (by far) the most peaceful time that we had together in, well  . .  . ever. We were calm. Two nights before Christmas, I turned down all the lights except the tree and allowed the two bigger kids to sleep in the living room. I sang them Christmas carols for 30 minutes. They slept sweetly. The next morning, on the 24th, we celebrated Christmas together. The children opened their presents. My friend, April, had taken the kids shopping to allow them to get gifts for me (so sweet). We had a precious morning.

Later that day, on the 24th, we packed all our things and went and “hid” at a friend’s house. My first husband was coming to town and he was hoping to see us . . . meet with us . . . he even insisted that he STAY with us. So, we took all the kids’ new toys and left for a week or more (I cannot remember). It was not ideal. But, we were OK. The children were happy. They had no idea of the anxiety I felt during that time. The fear.

They also did not know that I was barely getting by. What money I did receive back then from my ex went to paying for food and the energy bill for the sweet little house we were borrowing in Nebraska. I was trying to work but it was very very difficult . . . I had four children. Stress was mounting.

Something that made me especially sad (and still does from time to time) is that the children lost all of their toys and books when we left. We had nothing except a week’s worth of (summer) clothes, our Bibles and one toy each child was allowed to bring.

But, that Christmas . . . something happened that I will never, ever forget. A friend in Nebraska took me shopping and we picked out four BIG gifts for the children. Then, something even more amazing happened . . . I got a letter from a long-time friend, Taryn, telling me that she and a group of friends wanted to supply the children with gifts for Christmas. This was unbelievable. Unbelievable to this mama’s ears and heart. Overwhelming. And not only did they want to supply gifts, they wanted to be SURE that they got what the children needed and wanted. She asked me to make a list of what their little hearts desired. It was not easy for me because I felt like I was asking for something. But, she was kind and gracious and I sent her the list.

That Christmas, the children were flooded with wonderful gifts that they truly loved and wanted. Those gifts are still treasured in this household.

This month, Give Her Wings wants to do something similar for all our mamas and their sweet children. We have contacted 17 mothers who are struggling greatly this Christmas. They have sweet babies who will not be getting much for Christmas this year (if anything). To make matters worse, these mamas have been abandoned by family and by church members and left to get through the holidays on their own.

When we contacted them, many of them sent us really sweet ideas for what their children want. Heart-break-ing-ly, most of them told us that their kids need warm clothes . . . or shoes . . . The team at Give Her Wings is compiling a list of what each family needs and . . . we are asking you to consider adopting some of these precious children and mamas into your hearts and purchase something for them. Some of the gifts are fun (a little girl’s tea-set or a loom bracelet maker) and some of them are necessities. I am tearing up now thinking of what one mother wrote me:

It is difficult to think of wants when they are cold.

Children at Christmas should have a list of what they want. Some of our kiddos just want to feel warm.

Please join with us. I am going to ask our entire church choir to participate. Maybe you have a group at work who would help? Or maybe a church group or even a group of families could get together to make this Christmas somewhat joyful for mamas whose hearts are broken . . . especially for their own children. Please. Watch for our “store” that is coming up soon. We want to help this Christmas season. Be generous in spirit. Join us.

 

Committing to the Journey — by Michael Ramsey

We celebrate when someone we love is able to escape an abusive relationship. We are relieved that such a painful part of their journey has ended, and we are optimistic about what the road ahead will look like for them.  While it may feel that they have reached the climax and resolution in their story, there are still important days ahead. In fact, the first few months after leaving an abusive relationship are critical for that person’s future relational success and satisfaction.  Remembering a couple of key facts will allow us to support and care for those we love after they have escaped a toxic relationship.

Reminder #1: We can do life with them, but never for them.

Most people who have been abused have been stripped of their sense of self-worth and significance. Establishing a relationship with them in which you constantly give and they are constantly receiving (time, advice, financial support, etc…) only worsens the problem. Persons who have faced abuse in the past have tons to offer the world, but it may take them time to rediscover what that might look like. They will need for you to give at times, but will also need you to step back and allow them to give as well.  Ask them for their advice about something going on in your life, allow them to buy lunch for you if they offer, it’s amazing how such small gestures can help rebuild someone’s confidence.

Reminder #2: They may initially be in greater pain or discomfort than they were while in their abusive relationship.

This one is easy to miss. It would seem that escaping the nightmares of abuse would immediately increase someone’s quality of life. Leaving the relationship is an incredibly healthy step, but it won’t always feel good right away. It’s not uncommon for people to experience increased anxiety and deeper depression for the first several weeks or even months after leaving a toxic relationship. A common and especially hideous lie that abusers tell their spouses is that they could never live life on their own. They are told that they are not strong or smart enough to handle life alone. These lies often sink down deep inside of an abused person, creating levels of self-doubt and fear that can feel suffocating. Over time as the lies are replaced by the truth of their worth, they will begin to experience greater relief and satisfaction.

Reminder #3: Their perception of relationships might be skewed for a while.

For those who are being worn down by loneliness and fear a new relationship to replace the old one will be incredibly tempting. This is a fragile and dangerous time for them to enter into a new relationship, however. It’s not impossible to enter a relationship that is healthy at this point, but it can be difficult and a bit tricky. The stronger they become the more ready they will be to choose relationship partners well, and to be healthy in a relationship. Strength takes time.  Be patient with them, but remind them often of the temptations of jumping into something too quickly. Some may feel a great distaste or even dread concerning a future relationship. They have been hurt before and they have determined to never allow it to happen again. This opposite reaction can be very unhealthy as well over time. They are throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Again this person needs time to heal, so tread lightly. Remind them that relationships can be beautiful. Our heart for those who have been abused is that they will have the ability to choose or not choose a relationship in the future, freely and without compulsion. Your love and support will remind them that they can be cared for, and that it is safe to care for someone else.

Above all remember that caring for someone who is hurting isn’t always easy. You are making an incredible difference even when your impact isn’t visible. Investing in others is always a good choice!

 

October Fundraiser for “Faithful in Trials”

We know you’ve been waiting to find out about our fundraiser for October.  Wait no longer.

In a Give Her Wings first, we have a pair of exciting fundraisers.

First up, we have three online concerts.  Three artists – Steady On, Jeremy Cain and Laura Sully – are donating the proceeds from ticket sales and tips to Give Her Wings.  The shows are Oct 14, 21, & 28 respectively at 9pm EST.

Steady On, Jeremy Cain, Laura Sully - Online Benefit Concerts for Give Her Wings

And what pairs better with concerts than T-shirts?  Nothing?  Exactly what we thought.

So, we have two designs.  One for Men.  One for Women.
$26 each (+shipping)

Give Her Wings T's.  One for Her.  One for Him.

If you’re ready to buy T’s or tickets right now, here are the links:

Ladies T
Men’s T
Steady On Concert (Oct 14)
Jeremy Cain Concert (Oct 21)
Laura Sully Concert (Oct 28) – link coming soon

For further information on both T’s and concerts, go to our Current Fundraiser page.

Stay tuned, we may even have a giveaway coming 🙂

 

Faithful in Trials — Our October Mother

Dear Friends . . . . It is with deep excitement that I write about our new mama. The reason I feel such great joy is because we have already been able to help her and the month has barely begun. Last month, we collected almost $1000 for “Walking in Integrity”. It was not what we had hoped for (we always try to raise $1500), but we were happy with it, trusting that God has got this entire little operation in His mighty hand. So, no sooner had we raised the funds than “Walking” let us know that she had received an unexpected check in the mail. Not only is she able to get on her feet, but she was even able to use some of it for a mission trip to Africa! (gasp!)

In keeping with the spirit and purpose of Give Her Wings, and in keeping with “Walking’s” reputation for integrity, we no longer saw this dear mama as a viable candidate. See, Give Her Wings is all about giving a woman a “breather” in the middle of extreme distress. Not only is her world turned upside down by leaving an abusive man and doing what she never thought she would have to do (divorce), she has children who desperately need her. Often, these spiritual widows are destitute. There is no chance to heal or even think about what to do when one has no support and is terrified of not being able to provide for her children. We cannot help long-term. But, we can give her the relief of having her bills paid . . . or a down-payment on a car . . . or gas to be able to find a job . . . or food money — the necessities.

Just as soon as we lost our candidate, another one fell into our laps. Prayerfully and carefully, we discovered that “Faithful in Trials” is living in a very small space with no heat in a mountainous region. She is turning her cooking stove on and gathering the children into the kitchen to get warm. She has no gas for her car. She cannot pay her rent this month. And . . . need I say it? They are cold.

“Faithful” has no family support and no child support from the man who left her in a lurch with her three children . . . after 17 years of extreme psychological and emotional abuse. All three of Faithful’s children are ADHD and have Asberger’s. And yet, this woman does not give up. She is loving her children . . . she is trying; She is on food stamps; She is working toward getting a job. I am not sure I have ever seen a woman who is striving as hard to provide for her children as Faithful is. That is why we call her “Faithful in Trials”. That is the name we have chosen for her. She deserves it.

Here is the incredible news. With the money you have donated (and, rest assured, we have contacted all those who have donated to be sure they are OK with giving the monies to our new lady), we are able to send her a check this week to pay for her rent, some of her bills and one cord of wood. Our sister needs 8 cords of wood to get through the winter but this is a start. We are hoping, with our new October campaign, to be able to send money for more firewood (could we raise another $1500? I know that God can do it. We could cover all of her firewood!). More good news is that there is a wonderful group of ladies up in Maine who have put together outerwear, boots and warm clothes for Faithful and her children. God loves this woman.

Faithful still needs money for smaller bills like internet. She needs money for gas and she needs money for medication for her children. Please consider donating. But, also, watch our new campaign this month. We have something really neat lined up. I know God is in this . . . please help and give.

Warmly and with a Hopeful Heart, Megan

Jesus was Hurt Over Betrayal

I recently read a series of articles by George K. Simon on the “Aftermath of Toxic Relationships.” I also had a deep and interesting conversation with a very compassionate friend about how those who hurt us . . . are often more hurt themselves than we can imagine. People are broken. We ALL are broken, really. And, as I say often, there is much beauty in brokeness. Or, at least, there is beauty in the brokeness of a believer in Christ. If a believer admits his or her brokeness and yet desires to obey God, he or she will be working toward wholeness. That kernel of wheat that has fallen to the ground will spill out . . . and bear fruit in that brokeness. And restoration and redemption will set in. It won’t be pretty . . . but it is necessary.

However, there are those who are broken who are never restored. There are those who betray us who never (or do not, yet) turn to Christ, repent and receive the blessing of humility and grace. Judas Iscariot was (obviously) one of those people. Surely, he was remorseful. He was sorry. But, he did not choose to then turn around and “feed His lambs” like Peter did. And, do you know what I find interesting? It hurt Jesus’ heart. After Jesus washed the disciples feet, Scripture says this:

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ John 13:21

This intrigues me to no end. We know that Jesus wept when Lazarus died. All sorts of commentators love to explain away that emotion in a super holy way . . . explaining Jesus more in more-than-necessary ways because . . . well, because it almost seems as though emotion is weakness . . . tears are weakness . . . right? So, out of fear that Jesus will not fit in our box, otherwise, we say things like: “Jesus was sad over their lack of faith”. Whaaaa  . . . ? I’m sorry. Is Jesus not allowed to just be sad? ‘Cause it is sad when someone dies and people are crying at your feet. What about when Jesus was sorrowful because He was about to die for the sins of the world? We can explain that away. He seems more fully God here and less fully man because of the undertaking before Him. But, John 13:21 might be a little more difficult. Sure, some could certainly say that Jesus was sad over the hypocrisy of Judas. That is maddening. But, the Bible doesn’t really say that. It says Jesus is troubled . . . he was troubled in spirit; in his soul, which shows him to be truly and really man, and to have a fully human soul . . . like ours. He shares in our emotion and in our passions. And, you know what else? Jesus knew what was going to happen to Judas. He knew the man’s fate. Repentance was not on its way. Time was not going to heal Judas. No amount of compassion on anyone’s part was going to win Judas back to the Lord. It was over for this man. And it was deeply troubling to our Savior.

We are betrayed. It is not “all in our head”. We are not paranoid. An abusive spouse betrays his wife over and over. Perhaps family has, as well. We are allowed to be “deeply troubled” in our spirits. Our sinless Messiah was. It hurts to be betrayed by a friend . . . or by our inner circle . . . by someone we have loved, served, shared meals with . . . by someone we have given ourselves to over and over. Feel it; grieve it. And then move on. But, for heaven’s sake . . . don’t let anyone mute your pain by telling you that you must just love that person through it. Sometimes you can’t. Jesus knew this. We would be wise to know it, too.

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

The pastor of the local church fellowship that I attend has just begun a sermon series on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).  He will be preaching through it over the next 6 months.  Meanwhile, we are to be working on memorizing it in small portions.

On this, the national day of remembrance of the terror attacks of 9-11-01, and the 8 month marker of the death of my own father, I find it so appropriate that our next verse is Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn | Dawn S.

I’ve had losses in my life before, but I’ve never known mourning quite the way I have in this past year.  Sometimes it feels quite like the picture above: cold, grey, just barely alive, lonely, but covered in the “snow” that makes everything look beautiful to the onlooker. It’s hard.

But, you know what?  (This is where the cool part comes in. Don’t miss it.)

Jesus knew that we would experience loss.  He knew it would difficult.  He promised that we would be comforted in the midst of it.  And that comforting?  It doesn’t come from a person who will fail you. It comes from the God of the Universe.  How cool is that?

The Message version of the Bible really drives the point home for me:  “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

No matter what you mourn (someone you love dearly, your marriage or family, a relationship with a friend, or a grand-scale loss like the national loss we all experienced 12 years ago), be encouraged with me today that God sees you.  He knows you.  He understands you.  And He longs to embrace you and comfort you through your mourning.