|Posted by bmshoemaker875 on August 7, 2017 at 4:15 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by bmshoemaker875 on June 12, 2017 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
As I answered the phone I could hear the desperation in her voice. The cracking of the broken words as she shared the dark place her nineteen-year-old grandson was living in. Eight and a half years earlier his father was killed in Iraq. He was my friend's only son. Now his son was struggling with the after effects of losing his “war hero” father who suddenly vanquished out of his young life. His father was a Sergeant in the National Guard. He volunteered to go Iraq. It was his first and only deployment. Tragically he returned to his family in a flag- draped casket.
This war Hero's young son was struggling for years with the why questions. Why did his father choose to serve his country? Why didn’t he love him enough to stay home and be his father? Why did his father have to die?
We never know how far reaching our loss can take us. The struggles that those left behind must deal with. There are so many organizations and programs for our veterans but what about the others who have lost, the wives, the children, the parents. They also carry the burdens of war the rest of their lives. The aftermath of the devastation touches all those we interact with. Siblings, grandchildren, and even friends. Where does it all end? How do we make sense of it in a world that easily forgets?
This same world appears to have forgotten a savior that took the long journey to the cross over two thousand years ago. “He himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness” Matthew 8:17 NKJV. We are on the precipice of a window of mercy. There are days I grow weary of fighting the battle, the pain, and struggles within myself and my own family. But then that call comes in and when I hear the hurting, weeping voice on the other end of the phone, once again I am reminded of why I do what I do. It is called Discipleship. God calls us to bear one another’s burdens and to comfort others as we were once comforted.
In Matthew 8:10-12 we read about the Centurion who had such faith that Jesus would heal his servant. His servant was lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented. I know the bible says he was paralyzed but it hit me that not only was he physically wounded he may also have been suffering from what we call PTSD today. I remember being so tormented I too was paralyzed in fear, anxiety, anger, and bitterness. I couldn’t leave my home yet I struggled to be there all alone. The centurion said to Jesus “I am not worthy that you should come under my roof but only speak a word and my servant will be healed” Matthew 8:8 NKJV. Later, Jesus said to the Centurion “Go your way, and as you have believed, so let it be done for you. His servant was healed that very hour” Matthew 8:13 NKJV. Can you believe that? He just spoke a word and his servant was healed immediately. How much do we as Christians limit God to work only in specific ways due to our lack of faith? The Church today isn’t much better off than the religious Jews in those days. We have become much more about our religious habits than how God can truly work in our lives. We hear so much about “our faith.” Do we really understand what that means and how much God wants from us? He demands complete loyalty no matter what the cost. Loyalty over family, friends, finances, and possessions. He wants complete obedience! In obedience, the cost of following Christ is high, but the investment lasts eternally with incredible rewards. I am reminded of Joan of Arc whose last words while being burned at the stake were, “hold the cross higher so I can see it through the flames.” That my friend is faith! When we are in our fires we need to have such complete trust (faith) in God no matter the outcome we can cry these words, “Hold the cross higher!” I believe God was right there with her in that fire.
The farther I walk in my “grief” journey I realize how great my God is. How much he loves me. The cost has been high, being a disciple even higher. In knowing his mighty power, I wouldn’t change my walk. I find myself yearning to do more, touch more, share the loving grace and mercy of Jesus with the hurting and the lost. I have found there is no greater relationship to satisfy my hunger. I am a broken pot and imperfect. I also am the daughter of a King adopted into the royal family! A servant who is no longer paralyzed and dreadfully tormented. Like Joan of Arc, God has always been right there with me in my fire.
©Copyright Beverly Shoemaker 2017
|Posted by bmshoemaker875 on April 15, 2017 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
Bondage, Fear, despair, depression. We all are prisoners of lost hope at some point or another. Somehow we just find ourselves locked in a struggle with pain or in a wrestling match with sin. We refuse to look deep within ourselves during these struggles. We only want to find a way to deaden the pain. The emotional pain of the past and present transgressions locked deeply in our hearts. The hopelessness of all the devastation around us comes crashing in. Many times we can’t find the way out of the entrenched and dark tormented prison we have found ourselves in. Yearning for a ray of light, just a sliver of hope somewhere. Trying to climb out of the murky recesses of our mind. The pain in our heart is so great. We become bitter cold and lonely. Void of any life or passion.
I spend time at a local ranch that ministers to our wounded warriors after returning home from the battlefields. I have found that their biggest battle is in their own mind's eye. They can’t forget all the terror they have seen and been a part of in war. They are unable to forgive themselves for the role they had taken on in the war zone. They have become a prisoner of their own pain. A pain so deep it is too much to bear. Many times the only way out of that pain for them is to attempt to take their own lives. They live in the hopelessness of the devastation around themselves.
Four years ago my husband made the decision to take his own life. He could find no other way out of the painful prison he was locked in. If only he had run to the stronghold (faith), to the protective arms of El Shaddai “the all-sufficient one.” The one who sees.
Romans 5:1-4. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Jesus holds the keys to the lock. That key is called grace. We need to run to him in our darkest hour. When we get there we have to look, be still and listen and fall into his quiet place of peace. There, in his arms, we will find our peace we are so desperately searching for.
Hope gives us a promise of a future. Hope gives us that ray of light to get out of that deep and dark prison. Hope in God will set you free, protect you and give you the strength to get through the times of trouble. Ask him to set you free and give you shelter from the storm. Know that he loves you and will give you the victory over your prison of lost hope!
|Posted by bmshoemaker875 on June 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
Several weeks ago my husband and I were hiking in Ouray, Colorado. We chose a hike that was recommended to us by the inn keeper of the Bed and breakfast we stayed at. He told us the first part of the hike was difficult terrain but then it became easier as you hiked along. We took off on what we thought was the trail which was remarkably easy only the reach the end of the trail a little less than a mile into it. Realizing we made a mistake we turned around to find the correct trail head. When we finally found it I stood there analyzing that it went straight up the side of the mountain. Little did I know how hard it was going to truly be to climb that mountain. There were numerous areas of difficulty I had to navigate. Literally climbing and pulling myself up through the rocky crevices. Several times my husband had to push me up through those areas. When we finally reached the top edge I walked over to look down at the views below. Not knowing my husband had a huge fear of heights, he began calling me away from the edge in a rather anxious tone. I stood there and realized this is how my heavenly father is always there for me. Pushing me up through the difficult times and calling me back when I am too close to the edge and possibly slipping and falling. Too many times in my past I didn’t turn to him and listen when he called and I fell off that edge of the mountain into the darkness of sin. If I had only listened to him as I did my husband I could have been saved from a lot of tragic mistakes in this journey of my life. In Habakkuk 3:19 it says “The Lord is my strength. He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.” We need to learn to live in the strength of his spirit during difficult times and put our total trust that he will bring us safely through the rough terrain and to forge ahead in his sovereignty and allow him to do a mighty work in our lives.
Today would have been the 27th birthday of my youngest son Nicholas who was tragically killed in a car accident 7 years ago. As I sit here in remembrance of Nick feeling the intense pain of the loss of a child I am reminded that God has been with me as I have had to climb up this mountain. Over the years I have felt as if I have been broken into a million little pieces… Slowly but surely I know El Elyon ” The God Most High” is picking me up one piece at a time and bringing me back together as a new person for his glory!