Blessed reflections…

Toimagemorrow is the day.

The day of the anniversary of saying goodbye to my precious Daddy.

Last year at his memorial I “stubborn-ed” to keep the day of his loss, happening to also be the same day he walked me down the isle 25 years earlier, both in respectful unison to my heart.

Indeed I stand by this, feeling my Dad’s strong and study arm as I gaze down the isle in my mind’s eye towards my soon to be husband.

As my husband and I prepare to celebrate our 26th tomorrow, and reflect on my dad, our determined self care is celebrated and therapeutic. But friends, I can’t help but say I miss my Dad oh-so-words-cannot-describe much.

Opening this very, very unexpected, most thoughtful card breathed comfort all over my heart. Reminder I’m not alone. God works in mysterious ways as this was just the right card, from just the right person, at just the right time for me to also remember to turn my attention to the comfort of our Holy Spirit.

So, so blessed.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

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One Day at a Time

11259196_982793978407110_546733615838848324_nAs mentioned, last summer we lost my dad, followed by losing my husband’s dad last fall.

Both to lung cancer.

I hate cancer.

Oh, and since I’m on a roll, I’ll add we had to put our beloved family dog down a few days after my dad passed.

Yes, you heard that correctly, a few days after.

Lots of grief, but in reflecting where I left off with this oye-vey-lung-cancer-fighting-year, while it’s confirming God is strength and peace in pain, and fills hearts with love even when suffering, more than ever I’m grateful for the gift of simply being able to take one day at a time.

One. Day. At. A. Time.

In taking one day at a time, I get in my proverbial boat each day, ask God for guidance, paddle, breath, take in the artistry of His creation, breath more, and when the storms of grief rise around me I exhale Jesus’ life giving, healing words:

“Be still” (Mark 4:39).

The gift of not having to be anything but still; in the “right-now,” even if surrounded by a storm of grief, reminds me Jesus’ trust in His Heavenly Father is so infinite, He slept trough a literal storm, on a boat.

On a boat!

Jesus comfortable rest as waves from the sea pummeled Him on a boat is reminder to let God be God.

After all, Jesus did.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

God Fills Our Hearts with Love: Even when Suffering

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We lost my husband’s father (link for more)…

…had someone told my husband and I on our wedding day, that in the year of our 25th wedding anniversary we’d lose both dads to lung cancer, I think we both would’ve buckled in grief before walking down the isle.

Unimaginable!

But I need you to know that if our suffering ultimately encourages other souls around us to know God will help them with ALL things, filling their hearts with love–even when suffering–then I’m confident this will honor our memory of my husband’s father more than anything.

After all, nurturing souls was the core of my husband’s dad, wanting everyone to join him at his celebration party for and with Jesus, in all things.

Just like my husband’s father stood under the cross praying for us the day he married us 25 years ago, I believe in my heart these prayers continue even in heaven, petitioning on all our behalf we celebrate Christ’s love.

God FIlls Our Hearts with Love: Even when Suffering

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. ~Romans 5:1-5

Grateful God fills our hearts with love. Even when suffering.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

Expect Unexpected Grace

Looking into my little daughter’s giant heart while gazing through her grief drenched eyes is simultaneously honoring and heartbreaking.

Honoring because I receive the security she feels in my arms as a gift from our Holy Spirit.

Heartbreaking because I want to snatch the pain from her.

But I can’t.

I can only teach my sweet girl how to navigate grief and trust God to help.

Part of this modeling comes in trusting God for help in unexpected moments of being real.

Just like my sweet girl was real last night, asking for help with her sadness when she broke down in response to a climate change with her grandfather fighting lung cancer, God too wants her to know He’s always there to help. God’s help is never ending (*she lost her other grandfather to the same a few months ago–yes, you read that correctly–lung cancer struck both grandfathers. I hate cancer.).

Psalm 46:1-

God is our refuge and strength,

always ready to help in times of trouble.

Consequently, this morning while walking my daughter into her school office to provide an update, I literally also walked into an opportunity to model embracing God’s help prompted by being real in a safe, unexpected moment. Once I opened the door and saw dear office personnel I-love-oh-so-much, I had a surprise cry fest right then and there as everyone was starting their day.

It was like the world stopped on it’s axis for a moment. The hustle and bustle of parents and staff prepping for school spun around me as the words of office personnel spoke comfort straight to my heart. It’s as if they were on angelic assignment. For this stop in time–my real–this time in the form of tears in a school office, gave the Holy Spirit a moment to help.

In other words, as my “I’m so DONE with cancer!” tears of grief streamed down my face in our school office this morning, I was also reminded God is continuing to teach me to His grace is so much bigger than me. He pours it on regardless of my expectancy, or not.

Grateful God wants me to expect unexpected Grace.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

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Strength & Peace in Pain

This has been an I’ve-never-been-more-miserable-season.

Cancer took my dad. I’m watching my husband help his dad fight cancer…

I hate cancer.

But I also want you to know I’ve never been more filled with strength and peace only God can give.

“… when we are weak, He is strong…”

-2 Corinthians 12:9

“…peace which surpasses all under standing…”

-Philippians 4:7

Trauma has a way of bringing us to a day-by-day, moment-by-moment pace as it forces us to measure our powerlessness, and stop enforcing and inserting our own strength and resolution into crisis as we realize we’re asking the impossible of ourselves, ultimately surrendering to the gift of pain, letting God be God. I can stop playing god by setting down my self sufficiency.

At least this is what trauma is teaching me.

Exhaling as I hand the reigns of control and masks of, “I can do this on my own,” pride to Him.

I’m a Christ follower because I’m broken and need a Healer. So I get to be broken, because I am.

Releasing.

Exhaling.

So as I continue in this season of trauma which is seeming to be my new normal–with crisis being my break–I need you to know I’m OK. Ney, I’m better than OK, I’m thriving in the covering of my Healer God, watching Him work His strength and peace in the most miraculous of ways.

I wouldn’t change that for anything.

He is my, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

-Isaiah 9:6

This is my way of saying thank you for praying as your petitions are my life line, but I don’t want any to worry. God is in control, and I’m encouraged.

Today’s devotional from “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young is a reflection of my heart sentiments above, and also a gesture of appreciation for your love and support.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

November 4 Devotional, “Jesus Calling,” Sarah Young:

Walk peacefully with Me through this day.

You are wondering how you will cope with all that is expected of you.

You must traverse this day like any other: one step at a time.

Instead of mentally rehearsing how you will do this or that,

keep your mind on My Presence and on taking the next step.

The more demanding your day, the more help you can expect from Me.

This is a training opportunity,

since I designed you for deep dependence on your Shepherd-King.

Challenging times wake you up and amplify your awareness of needing My help.

When you don’t know what to do, wait while I open the way before you.

Trust that I know what I’m doing, and be ready to follow My lead.

I will give strength to you, and I will bless you with Peace.

*

-Exodus 33:14

-Deuteronomy 33:25

-Hebrews 13:20–21

-Psalm 29:11

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Hello, there.

Hello, there.

I’m humbled you’d stop by my heart abode, Grace Gratitudes.

Sharing my grace gratitudes was born from a difficult season of loss, which included losing my dad to cancer (my hero). Like any rain storm I’ve once again been reminded God’s faithful whisper speaks grace through the darkest clouds.

When I am weak, He is strong.

My heart wells with gratitude for this grace gift shared by Jesus in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT), “My grace is all you need.”

Regardless of life’s emotional forecast from clear to cloudy skies, my heart’s desire is to celebrate God’s precious gift of grace with gratitudes, encouraging my heart in both seasons of joy and sorrow.

I’m hoping your heart is encouraged as well.

Grace Gratitudes,

-rk

PS: for more on my season of loss prompting me to celebrate grace gratitudes, *click here*. For additional inspirations click: *Grace Wisdom* -&- *Grace Faith*.

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