In my last blog post, I discussed "Trading Sisters." In 1997, I found myself enduring the loss of one sister, while being gripped by the hands of two other "sisters:" Sorrow and Suffering. My sister, Sherri, passed away at the age of 22. She suffered from epilepsy, clinical depression, and adverse affects from her prescriptions. She had undergone two brain surgeries to correct her epilepsy, and had begun to live a more "normal" life---She even began a career as a nursing student. However, something happened in her last few weeks of nursing school (May 1997). Of course, we'll never know for sure the reasons "why," but I had to place those "unknown details" in the hands of our Sovereign LORD. The fact is, symptoms of her depression began to worsen, unbeknownst to us, and six weeks before graduating from nursing school, with honors, she ended her life. OH! The pain! Words can not describe the anguish of losing a loved one in such a tragic way. Especially a child of God. Oh my.
Living with clinical depression is difficult enough..BUT be a child of God, having accepted the loving Gift of His Salvation through Jesus, trying to grow and serve Him, and still be touched by a terrible disease such as depression can inflict pain and misunderstanding beyond words.
This post is not about depression, or the debate of suicide and Christianity. Nope. I'm not even going to "go there," not unless the Lord leads. However---enduring deep grief, such as the tragic loss of a loved one, can throw a person into the depths of despair!
You may be wondering HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH IT, TAMMI? Well, initially, I didn't think I could "go on." In fact, I had always "heard" that "God never puts more on us than we could bear." HOWEVER, I honestly felt this was TOO MUCH for me to bear. Yet, He whispered to me, "We know that all things work together for good, to them that love God and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) He gave me a tiny seed of faith to cling to that verse, even in the midst of the nonsensical grief! (I later learned that HE does allow us to go through some things that ARE more than we can bear---because HE will bear US, along with our trials, so that we don't have to "go it alone.")
What's your favorite comfort food? We all like to go to certain foods for comfort. . .Icecream. Chocolate. Cookies. Have you ever noticed that if your faith is in need of strengthening, the ole enemy tries to deceive you into losing your appetite for God's Word? Wonder why? Because HE KNOWS that God's WORD is the only source of TRUE comfort in the midst of our deepest sorrow.
Do not be deceived....instead of losing your appetite, ask God to muster up the strength to go to His Word. There you'll find a special morsel of comfort to get you through that moment. I will never forget the "morsels" He gave me. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (NIV) My spirit was crushed! My heart was broken. But He PROMISED that He was CLOSE to me and was GOING TO SAVE ME. I was even afraid to face another day without my dear sister! He gave me this: Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Here I found the promise that He was going to strengthen me and help me...with His SUPER-STRONG, RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND.
In Psalm 119:92, David says "If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction." Even though sorrow and suffering don't conjure up feelings of "delight," we can find our delight in God's Holy Word---it's "chock" full of promises to get us through every moment of each day.
Psalm 119: 76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.
I just wanted to follow-up the last blog about "Sorrow and Suffering" with a morsel of HOPE. Yes, Sorrow and Suffering have been my "new sisters"---but this journey has not ALWAYS been a gloomy, dark and dreary experience. The Lord has been with me all the way, and I have found comfort in His Word. And how special for God to point this out to me---The LORD was right in the middle of it all, with Sorrow and Suffering on each side of me. Look at the initials: S.L.S. And Sherri's initials were (Drumroll): S.L.S. Wow. :)
In need of comfort, sisters? Reach for the Bible, open it up and let God's precious promises bring comfort to your aching heart! Have a favorite "comfort food?" Take a moment to let us know your favorite Words of Comfort from our Lord. I couldn't think of anything better than to spend a moment with my new sisters, while enjoying some "serious" COMFORT FOOD from Our Lord! Could you? :o)
Thank You Dear Father, for being right there in the middle of the Sorrow and Suffering with me. Jesus, YOU are The Word....You are MY COMFORT. I pray for my sisters who may be out there embraced by Sorrow and Suffering right now. I know it hurts! I've been there, but make Your presence known and comfort them through Your Word. May the lessons You've taught me through my "times of Suffering" be an encouragement to others, for Your glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.