Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please Help!

Hello dear friends!

I'm posting again here in hopes to reach some of you that might not have accessed my newer website/blog.

Can I ask a huge favor of you?  I am in the process of writing my book proposal this summer - yes God's given me a book!

But in the hopes of getting it published, I need to show possible publishers the current stats about my writing, including how many followers I have, number of hits on my web page, etc.  That's where you come in.

If you read my writing and would offer your support to my project, would you be willing to sign up as a "Follower" on my newer website www.ondryground.org?  It's that little blue box in the left hand column that says "Join this site."  Just click that and follow the prompts.

If you wouldn't mind helping me out, I'd be forever grateful. 

God's the one in charge of this publishing process, but still I must give the publishers the information they require.

Thank you for signing up and also for faithfully praying me through this process.  If there's some way God can use our journey for His glory, I don't want to stand in the way.

In Him,
Juli

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm back!...and I've missed you!

While I was away the month of May, I reworked my website as promised. So now all of my writings will be posted on one site, regardless of topic. Please visit my main page, www.ondryground.org to continue reading my thoughts through the ups and downs of life.  I'm trusting there are many more stepping stones to celebrate in the years ahead. 

On my new website you can now sign up for posts to be directly emailed to your inbox if you're so inclined.

I'm sorry to have to ask you, but if you follow this blog, I'd love for you to re-sign up as a follower for my new blog at On Dry Ground.

Thanks for being here for me the past two years. I look forward to continuing our journey together at On Dry Ground.

See you there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's May! That means I have 23 school days to finish the school year, including all my assessing, grouping students for next year, helping my students celebrate their parents for Mother's and Father's Day, completing the pounds (literally) of paperwork and data that must be submitted, AND packing my room as I move to a new grade next year!

On a personal note, during that same time frame I have to survive Mother's Day myself!

And, on a writing note, I need to get my website and writing blogs updated!

Soooo...
1)PRAY FOR ME!!!!! :)

and 2) offer me grace.

I need to take a break from posts until June 1.

Please come back on June 1 for hopefully a new look, a fresh spirit, and the start of our summer stretch!

Much love and constant prayers...
Juli

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Never Over

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

As mentioned previously, I plan to streamline my writing. I've mentioned that this blog will likely end. It's been a year and a half...12 years since my journey with grief first began. Long enough, right?

Wrong.

I don't know how I thought time had anything to do with grief. I HAVE been dealing with this for over a decade! I know better.

This past weekend grief knocked me up side the head - hard. I still haven't managed to get up off the ground from where it left me.

The trigger?

Mother's Day.

Today is May first. Mother's Day is just around the corner.

Maybe the role of teacher makes it a little harder this year. I want my students and their Moms to have that same joy I shared with Peter when he came home from school the Friday before declaring "You can't go in my backpack Mom. I have a special surprise in there.... Daddy has to help me unpack today...Don't follow me Mom. I have to unpack my bag in my room...." I loved that he wanted to surprise me. I loved seeing evidence of his love, no matter how small, how handmade, how trivial. So we are busy at work in our classroom creating something special.

But whatever the cause, Sunday I woke up thinking about Peter's Faith Book. It's a photo album journal I created for him, journaling how we saw God work in his life. I'd planned to give it to him for graduation when he was 18.

I kept it current through a year past his diagnosis. So many God moments! So much to celebrate!

I woke up Sunday thinking I needed to finish it.

"But why?" whispered through my mind. "Who do you have to give it to? What's the point?"

And that blow knocked me flat. It's over. There isn't anyone else.

I truly am satisfied and OK with Peter's journey. I am content with his peace and the huge success of his life.

I just hate that being a mother has ended.

It helped so much when Andrew passed, that Peter still filled our lives. We kept Andrew present in our family by sharing him with Peter.

I hate that my house is empty.

Mother's Day is just compounding that fact, keeping me on my knees.

So here I am at the foot of the cross, again laying down my desires, entrusting myself to God's perfect plan.

He knows my heart. It makes his hurt too.

He's whispered to me of spiritual children, the impact on my students, the lives that will be touched when the book is complete.

But as any Grandmother knows, the longing to mother never ends.

God must truly work deep in my heart to help me be as Paul describes, content in all things.

Would appreciate your prayers....
I need them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Joining the Club

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Sunday at church I talked for a bit with a friend recently joining the grieving mothers club. It's a club no one longs to be a part of. Yet, life does force it upon some people.

It was great to connect with her, to encourage her to stand strong. Not in that she needed to "be strong" but to cling tightly to the One who IS strong. Our respective spouses soon joined in and it became such a valuable conversation for all of us.

It's hard sometimes to face others' grief because it can easily trigger your own. But how awesome it was to validate her, to offer her confirmation that she's doing exactly what she should be. When she commented how emailing together and connecting the past few days had helped her, it brought to mind today's verse.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

It's certainly NOT a job I asked for, connecting with those in grief. But I know how much it helped me and I'm so honored to possibly help another.

So today, would you just pause a minute and pray for my friend who lost her precious treasure just one month ago? Would you also pray for every grieving soul whose heart is broken, desperately longing for the presence of one they loved so much?

When Jesus met with Mary and Martha, he joined in their grief and wept with them. As my friend said Sunday..."he hurt because of the intensity of their pain, of the wound that death inflicts, knowing it was never supposed to be this way."  Jesus wept with his friends.  Sunday I did too...for all of us.

Thank you for praying with me this week that God's comfort would be known by those walking in grief.

And know I'll be praying for you as well- that when God gives you the opportunity to comfort someone who's struggling in places you once walked, you'll rise up and offer hope and comfort, becoming the arms of God to those in need.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seasons of Change

You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.
Deuteronomy 2:3 NASB

The past month God has been diligently whispering, tugging, and leading me into what seem to be next steps. I read the following quote this week by Ruth Graham that kind of sums things up.

Either we can be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it. Often it is easier to play the victim than take off our masks and ask for help. We get comfortable with our victim status. It becomes our identity and is hard to give up. The Israelites often played the victim card, and I love what God finally tells them, "You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north" Deut. 2:3

Turn North! It's time to move on! Self-pity, fear, pride, and negativity paralyze us. Taking off our masks takes courage, but if we don't do it, we will remain in our victim status and end up stunted.
(Fear Not Tomorrow, God is Already There pp.104-105)

What God's been showing me are whispers toward what's ahead. I don't know all the details, but then I wouldn't need to be walking WITH God would I? I do know that God's starting me on a journey towards a book. I also know God's laying direction on the hearts of my husband and I toward future purposes and ministries.

And then I read the above quote. And as I pondered what God would have me share in this blog, I think the quote confirms that it's about time for some change. I originated this blog to share my "stepping stones" - those milestone moments when God answered my questions and doubts, brought truth to replace assumptions and lies, and healed my broken heart...all through events connected with my boys.

But that season is now behind me. And like the Graham quote above, I think I've circled this mountain long enough and it's time to move on.

I have a new neighbor and it's been difficult not to mention what happened to my children. There's not been a need and so I've refrained. I found my desire to share wasn't out of necessity or God's direction, but the feeling that "grieving mother" was my identity.... I'm a Mom who's lost both her boys.

While that is a true fact, it is NOT my identity. While it will always be a part of my story, it is just that - a PART, a part of my journey in pursuing God. That is my identity- God's daughter.

I'm not saying I've arrived and have total truth now and there remains nothing to learn as per grief and the situation with my boys. But I do feel this blog will likely come to an end soon, as I move toward a more integrated approach to writing.

So would you pray for me? Would you pray that I know God's exact plan, timing and direction? As I begin fleshing out the outline God's given me, would you pray for my stamina and commitment to this calling? Would you pray that God goes before me, even now lining up the exact writing resources I need for this? And would you pray that I NEVER get before him, but rather walk closely with him letting him lead, guide and direct?

I can not do this myself. I have no desire to do this myself. I want to keep growing with God. If this is how he wants that to happen, then that is where I want to go.

I'll let you know as things move forward. And I'll always have a blog to follow :) But I'm seeking direction now for how to integrate things and focus my writing. Thanks for your patience, your support, and especially your prayers.

Excited about what God's doing....
juli

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Don't Miss the Miracle


But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"
"They took my Master," she said, "and I don't know where they put him." After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him. John 20:11-14


It's Easter.

I'm sitting here struggling a bit.

I've reveled in the glory of the empty tomb. I've sung songs of worship and praise. I've danced with joy and shouted His name. But now the church service is passed. The food that took almost two hours to prepare and then consumed in 10 minutes is put away. The house is quiet and still.

And I struggle.

I miss my boys.

Holidays and celebrations are to be shared.

I could easily get overwhelmed today by grief, spiral into sadness and self focus. I could dwell on everything I've lost.

But this morning I read John 20, the story of the resurrection.

As I read the familiar story I was struck this time by Mary's response to discovering Jesus' missing body.

Verse 1 shares that "Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, 'They took the Master from the tomb. We don't know where they've put him.'" MSG

I relate to Mary's heart that morning. I often visit the boys' graveside just to pull a few weeds and place some flowers.... a chance to do SOMETHING one more time for them...a chance to express my love in action. I'm sure that longing filled Mary's heart that morning as she went to minister one more time to the one she loved. In verse 15 she states, "tell me where you put him so I can care for him." Thus, her despair when she found the body gone.

As the chapter continues we see Peter and John race to the tomb and find the burial clothes. But then they leave.

Verse 11 continues the story, "But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, 'Woman, why do you weep?'

'They took my Master,' she said, 'and I don't know where they put him.' After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him."

As I read these words this morning the thought came to my mind, Mary is so paralyzed with grief that she doesn't even react to seeing angels. Jesus also appears and she doesn't recognize him.

Mary is so paralyzed with her grief that she's missing the miracles.

That is what keeps me afloat. I don't want to miss the miracles.

I have to choose where my thoughts will go. Yes, my house lacks the joy of sharing this present moment with my boys. But my boys' resurrection celebration I cannot even fathom. Their joy, their peace, their wholeness I would not deny them. I must acknowledge my grief and pain, but balance it with truth and hope.

Jesus' resurrection was the first of many miracles. His demonstration of supreme power created a domino effect- Jesus is alive, sins are forgiven, Peter is restored, the disciples' lives are changed, the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, thousands come to God, the church grows, expands, and grace and freedom become available to all both then and through all the ages to come.

When I choose to balance my grief with truth, I'm able to see as well, the miracles of Jesus' work through our situation... the boys are alive! The separation is temporary. In the neediness of grief, I lean on Christ and find not only strength but also forgiveness and grace and freedom from past bondages and habits and lifestyles. My life is changed. My husband's life is changed. The Holy Spirit works to teach us and use us. Our lives touch others and people come to God. The church grows, expands and grace and freedom become available to all, both now and through the ages to come.

Grief stricken, Mary didn't notice the presence of angels. But Mary stayed. Mary kept looking. And even though she didn't recognize him, Jesus woke her from her grief so that she wouldn't miss the miracles.

In verse 15, Jesus speaks to her. Mary replies, "thinking that he was the gardener, said, 'Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.'

Jesus said, 'Mary.'

Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, 'Rabboni!' meaning 'Teacher!'"

Like Mary, I want to keep searching. I want to turn to God. I want to seek God and all that he is doing.

So today, I will balance my grief with truth. I will cling to the hope of the morning even as I endure the emptiness of my home.

I will turn to Jesus and rely on the power and presence of the resurrection to see me through the loss and loneliness of the present.

What grief do you face today? What trouble clouds your horizon? What challenge paralyzes? Bring whatever it is to the power and presence of the resurrection. Bring it to Jesus and watch for the miracles, the power of God working to change lives and bring freedom.

Don't let your grief make you miss the miracles.