Small towns are a fabulous source of support. We are so connected here and we share each others triumphs and tragedies. This fall we have buried several great people who have left some big holes in the fabric of our community. Today we will walk with our 6th graders as they honor their friend Samantha who died two years ago. I couldn’t get my words right for this post and then I stepped away to pray for the words he wanted and he led me back to this post I wrote two years ago. The words are two years old but they are ever so relevant. Every now and again I suppose it’s good for the soul to think about God working in our lives even when things aren’t what we planned or expected.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Psalm 34:19
Every once in a while something happens that I just can’t seem to find the joyful words for. Several times since the Joyful Words blog began, I’ve needed to write a piece that presented my best attempt at trying to explain the unexplainable, offer comfort to the miserable and provide a window from which to catch a glimpse of the beauty nestled deeply in a tragedy. Today is one of those days and I pray the Holy Spirit will use my typing to apply some healing balm and loving peace to a hurting community.
From a human perspective, the best ending to life on earth would be to simply lie down for a nap at the ripe old age of 90 something and peacefully pass from this dwelling to the next. No pain, no suffering, no trauma, no mess. The problem is, that’s not often the way it all goes down. This week our little community has fallen to it’s knees; both in prayer and in grief as we mourn the loss of a beautiful little 10 year old named Samantha. She was a joyful light so full of love and life. We had a one day window to beg for a miracle before the Lord called her home. Now we’re all trying to fit the pieces back together. As teachers and parents we’re trying to help nearly 300 children process something they can’t wrap their heads or their hearts around. As family, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ we’re reaching out to a family that is stunned and a little broken. As Christians, we’re trying to trustingly grab on to the peace and comfort of the Father. And as humans, we’re confused, broken hearted and perhaps even a little bit angry.
I suppose the greatest tragedy of all would be for us to stay stuck right where we are. God doesn’t make this stuff happen. He doesn’t plan it or will it, but he sure does meet us in the middle of it and lead us through it. He didn’t turn his back on us and ignore our plea for a miracle. Our hope wasn’t wasted and our faith wasn’t ignored. It’s ok to not have a crystal clear understanding of things; it’s ok if we can’t figure things all out; it’s ok if stuff just doesn’t make sense. Having faith doesn’t guarantee understanding. God is so much bigger than our pain and he is so much stronger than our suffering. Those are the truths we need to stand on in times like these.
In the midst of the hard and the ugly this week there has been tremendous grace and overwhelming love. I’ve had a front row seat to some amazing views this week and I’ve seen heartwarming beauty come from deep sadness. Our miracle may not have looked the way we wanted it to but I’d like to share a few of the many little miracles of the week because they bring hope and they are a reminder that God loves us so richly and he’s too fond of us to leave us right where we are.
**Just like Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.” This week we have seen so, so many amazing helpers who have brought food, counseling and comfort to our students and staff. Helpers have transformed our school gym into a space of magnificent beauty to gather for prayer, and comfort as we celebrate the life of a sweet little girl. My favorite helpers are the army of folks who have swaddled Samantha’s family with love and prayers.
**Words aren’t always necessary. Sometimes the greatest act of compassion is to reach out and hold someones hand or offer them a tissue for their leaky eyes and drippy nose. It’s been a wonder to see the big kids take care of the little kids and see classmates lifting each other up in those moments when it just gets overwhelming.
**The power of family is unshakable when they are united in faith and prayer.
**The Holy Spirit always sends the right words when you ask for them and sometimes what he sends comes out a little twisted and that’s ok too because that often creates laughter and he know when that’s what you need most!
**There is absolutely nothing that can’t be made better when surrounded by prayer and the phrase, Jesus I trust in you is a powerhouse!
**Super Heroes sometimes come in the form of a 10 year old twin sister with the courage of a warrior, armed with the strength and the power and the love to make sure we had all the inside information about her sister so we could honor her memory perfectly.
**Together, united in trust and faith, guided by the Grace of God, anything is possible and joy can be found even on the darkest day.
I’m reminded of a line from one of my favorite movies, “Sometimes life is hard for no particular reason at all!” I may not be able to find a good reason for the events of this week but I sure can find God and his goodness splattered everywhere I look.
A Seed To Plant: Please say a prayer for peace and comfort for Samantha’s family, Connie’s family, Bev’s family, Terry’s family and Mark’s family.
Blessings on your day!
As adults, one of our primary objectives is to take care of our children and keep them safe. As a parent and teacher there have been lots of moments spent pondering the “best way” to break bad news to kids. We don’t want to see them struggle and suffer and we can sometimes look at them as fragile or unable to process hard lessons. We often work to provide a buffer between bad news and the young ones we love. Today I am going to share a post that speaks to the strength and wisdom of one of the young ones. She writes with the wisdom of an old soul with a deep faith.
Todays post is by guest blogger Saige. She is strong, confident, faithful and funny. Saige is a natural born leader who quietly and gracefully leads others in the right direction. She has navigated her way through some difficulties this year but she has allowed those trials to strengthen both her faith and courage.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the older things have passed away. -Revelations 21:4
There was one specific part in Make Every Day Count, by Max Lucado, that talked about days of hospitals, sickness, and sorrow. A failing report card. Cemetery dirt still fresh. I read that paragraph and i just felt connected right away. I knew what all of those things felt like. Like the part about the cemetery dirt. A little while before Christmas, my grandma passed away and I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. But when I was at Christmas Eve Mass, and I was up in the choir loft singing, I felt a wave of calmness come over me and I just felt better. I knew that God was helping me.
About a month or so after my grandma died, my grandpa, the one whose wife had just died, had a stroke. My uncle took him to the hospital right away. When I heard this, I was filled with sadness and worry all over again. He still isn’t his old self, but i know that God will take care of him the rest of the way, and make him the best that my grandpa can be.
Whatever you’re struggling with, you need to remember that God will take care of it, and you don’t need to worry. He will bring you peace when you need it and he will help you feel strong even when you don’t feel that way.
A seed to plant: If you are ever stuck in sadness, try to just go to church or listen to a religious song to help you to know that God is always with you.
Blessings on your day!
Thank you Saige...you're amazing!
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