4Lines For Hurting Hearts
My God my God, why have you abandoned me. Matthew 27:46
I had a Holy Week post all planned but then life took a different turn. Readers can always count on reality and raw truth when they stop by to read the Joyful Words blog. Another thing you can count on is that from time to time the post isn't exactly joyful; today is one of those days. The scripture verse from Matthew has real meaning for our small town this week and I think God has a reply to those of us pondering the way that verse relates to the lives of the hurting. When a beautiful couple in their late forties heads off on a spring vacation and they die in a tragic accident on their way, you have questions for God!
Jim and Tonya were full of life. They were great parents, great neighbors and great friends. They worked hard, prayed hard and played hard. They raised three wonderful kids to young adulthood. They spent years going to games and school events supporting their kids and everyone else kids right along with their own. Tonya always came with her bubbly personality and her infectious smile and Jim was always good for a great laugh. I’ll never forget being at a baseball game huddled under blankets watching our sons play baseball on a 35 degree spring day in Michigan. It was so cold the boys were actually wearing the coats that came with their uniforms. Those coats were so old that Jim shouted to the players to check their pockets and see if they could find a “Vote for Regan” button. Loosing Jim and Tonya will leave a hole in this community for sure!
Tonya was one of the blogs biggest supporters and most Monday and Thursday mornings she would be the first “like” or comment on a new post. More than once I have thought that the blog might have “run it’s course” and just as if she knew, she would call or message me and randomly offer the encouragement I needed to keep writing. A couple of years ago I wrote a post at the beginning of Lent that touched Tonya’s heart. It’s funny that the words from that post, offer comfort and hope to my heart tonight. That post talked about a simple way to approach difficulties and call on God’s help. It seems completely relevant today so I’ll share that prayer and how we might use it to find hope and peace as we lean hard on God this week. The prayer is four simple lines; I can’t, You can, You promised, Please do.
I Can’t …I can’t understand, I can’t comprehend, I can’t believe all that happened in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe you could let this happen, I can’t imagine how difficult it will be for those three kids and the families that loved them. I can’t do anything right now…but I don’t have to…because YOU will.
You Can…You can bring triumph out of tragedy, you can make all things new, you can bring hope to the hopeless and comfort to those who suffer greatly. You can bring mercy and grace and forgiveness to any circumstance or situation if we invite you in. Please come Jesus, we need you…we need all you can do, and will do in the grief and the hurt.
You Promised…You promised to never leave us, and to always love us. You promised that if we trust in you, goodness and blessing will follow us all of our days. When you created us in your image, and claimed us in the waters of Baptism, you made the promise of eternal life with you. You promised and we will remind ourselves that you are a God who always keeps his promises.
Please Do…Please do what you promised and wrap Jim and Tonya in your loving arms and grant them eternal rest. Please rain down your comfort and your love and your understanding on all those who are hurting. Please give us hope and strengthen our faith. Please do a great job loving us hard and putting people in our path that will support and love and care for the ones with hearts heavy with grief.
I know Tonya prayed this prayer often and I know she shared it with others, especially with her son Hayden. The prayer touched his heart too; so much in fact, he has those four simple lines tattooed on his arm as a constant reminder of what to do and how to call on the Lord. I still giggle about the night he texted me and asked me to proofread the words before he got it inked on his arm; he told me he wanted to make sure he’d always remember the words. From now on I think I’m going to call it “Tonya’s Prayer” and I’ll think of it as her final lesson.
As we focus this Holy Week on these words from Jesus, we have to remember that God didn't abandon His Son and He will never abandon us. His love and mercy are far greater than our emotions. In those moments when the pain and the grief make us feel alone and abandoned, those are precisely the moments we need to be assured of the Father's presence and his desire to meet us in the middle of the pain and messiness of our life.
A Seed To Plant: Please take a minute to offer prayers for the souls of Jim and Tonya and for their children Halie, Hayden and Reece as well as the rest of their families.
Blessings on your day!
3/26/2018 06:11:35 am
Thank you so much for this touching tribute to your friends. Sometimes it is so hard to loose friends knowing that the Lord that loves us so, now has them in his hands. We still are upset when we should be happy for them. Keeping the family in our prayers and hoping they will shine down on you and smile when you need it most!
3/27/2018 09:08:46 pm
Sheri, thank you for your inspiring words. I am very sorry to hear of your loss of friends and community people. They are in my prayers. I agree withCeil, I love the prayer, will say often but no tattoo at this time. God bless you, your friends family and community during this challenging time. 🍀🙏
3/26/2018 06:14:19 am
I'm so sorry for your loss and the loss of their family and the community. Lifting you up with prayers.
3/26/2018 06:35:27 am
Oh, I am so sorry. My prayers are for comfort for all those that are hurting from this huge loss.
3/26/2018 06:39:11 am
Oh my...Sheri...how tragic. I am SO sorry. Prayers for consolation and acceptance to the, the family and all their friends and neighbors.
3/26/2018 08:01:53 am
So sorry for the tragic loss you and your community are going thru. Thank you for sharing that beautiful tribute! We are praying for their family! Hugs!
3/26/2018 08:12:06 am
It is an awesome responsibility you have to lead us closer to God in times of tragedy. God bless you for living his call and loving our community so deeply.
3/26/2018 09:54:07 am
Eternal rest granted unto them Dear Lord, Prayers are sent.
3/26/2018 10:30:26 am
Thank you for sharing this prayer. Our community is reeling from 2 young people ending their lives in the last few weeks.
3/26/2018 10:38:20 am
Wonderful words for a sadden community. Thank you, Sheri. Thank you.
3/26/2018 11:05:44 am
Beautifully written. Thank you!
3/26/2018 11:33:43 am
Thanks, Sheri. That prayer is comforting,especially now when we just learned two of our Cursillista friends and young fathers are battling cancer. I won’t tattoo it but I will pray it often! My sympathy and prayers are with you all.
3/26/2018 11:35:39 am
You always have the right words when tragedy hits. Thanks for sharing your wonderful gift with all of us and many prayers for the Platte's.
3/26/2018 01:35:35 pm
Words to live by Sheri. Praying for the Platte family and the Westphalia community at his time
3/26/2018 04:44:31 pm
Another horribly tragic accident for Westphalia. My heart aches for all the friends and families hurting at this time. God be with them. God be with the fire fighters that died trying to help them. God bring peace and comfort to all of us. Well said, Sheri. I will remember Tonya's prayer.
3/26/2018 05:36:34 pm
Thank you for your comforting words and sharing "Tonya's Prayer." I will share this prayer with others as we pray for the family and community during this most difficult time. God has blessed this community with you. Thank you for all you do for everyone.
3/26/2018 08:46:53 pm
Thank you. We were lucky to have Jim and Tonya in our community and lucky to have you also!
3/26/2018 09:31:07 pm
This tribute to Jim and Tonya is so beautiful
3/26/2018 10:43:55 pm
Thank you for this. I am Jim's sister! I am so so so deeply hurt by the loss of Jim and Tonya. I can only hope they watch over all of us and give us strength to help us get through this very difficult time of our life. Please pray for the Simon and Platte families.
3/26/2018 11:01:20 pm
What a beautiful tribute to dear friends. I will keep you and Jim and Tonya’s family in my prayers. Peace be with you.
3/27/2018 09:09:07 am
Thank you, Sheri. That was incredibly beautiful. I didn’t know them very well, but now I feel like I do from your beautiful words. Our family will continue to pray for them and their family. God bless, and thank you for continuing to share your special gifts with all of us.
3/28/2018 04:21:10 pm
I went to the prayer service for Jim and Tonya last night you are such an inspiration to all. What a great gift you have, your words were very comforting and helps in the healing process.
3/29/2018 06:42:10 am
What an inspiring tribute
3/29/2018 01:33:52 pm
I learned of these wonderful people, Jim and Tonya, through my son's teacher, she shared how your words were of great comfort and how well you know what to say, and she is more than right. I have prayed for them, their children, family and their friends; shed tears for such a loss; and now read your beautiful blog. You are a light in a very dark place for the family and friends and I hope yourself. My prayers continue and.. you have a new fan and friend in Christ.
3/30/2018 07:40:06 am
This is truly beautiful. Thank you for allowing us to see God still even in this difficult time through your transparency. God Blesd.
5/26/2020 10:40:21 am
This post touched my heart two years ago when I needed it most, but I want you to also know that I come back and read it often.
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