Photography by Julie Sheppard
I took this picture after the memorial for my mother in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. She had planted this rose bush in her yard. After the service this beautiful rose stood out against the desert that surrounded it. At that time my heart was broken and my grief was overwhelming. I saw only a rose and knew that she had planted. Today this picture spoke to me. Her life had many harsh times and she survived and even bloomed.
She was an amazing woman and she made sacrifices that cost her more than I had ever known for most of her life so that I could live and still be here today. Now as I look at this rose I see more than a rose. I am learning a lesson. Life can be harsh and cruel for many of us. Yet no matter where you are or what cruelty may surround you, love and life can still prevail.
I still miss my mom and always will but my thoughts of her bring me joy and she is still in my heart. She was a loving mother and a beautiful and hard working lady.
Rom 8:18 NKJV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
forgive me for complaining about my pain more than I praise you and for any time I blamed you for my suffering. I am sorry. Help me to praise you even when it hurts, to share Your love with others who hurt and are suffering. Use my imperfections to show the world Your perfect love. What the world designed for my destruction use to be glorified in me. For I understand that it is not You that hurt me or caused my infirmities. I live in a fallen world and we have all been given free will to choose do right or wrong. I know when I have been hit and abused physically, sexually, and emotionally You were with me suffering with me. You know my every wound and pain because You bore my pain when You were beaten Jesus. They mocked You, spit on You, beat You, rejected You and crucified You, and still in that moment You did not defend Yourself but submitted Your body to their punishment because You love me. On the cross You said to Your Father, ‘Forgive them, they know not what they do.’ You forgave my sins and paid my debt when I did not deserve this from You. You love me truly and You cry with me when I cry and hurt when I hurt. This pain I feel may feel like I have suffered a lifetime but a time will come when I will know that it was just a small part of my life. Yes I have been hurt and I am weak but Your love fills me and gives me hope that better days are coming. Thank You so much for loving me as I am and for taking all the mess of my life and turning it into just one of Your masterpieces.
In Jesus name, Amen
Your imperfect Child
Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. We all suffer one king of loss to the next. You grieve the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, a home, a pet, and anything you may have lost.
I have suffers various loss in my life. This does not make me an expert on grief though. I have sought counseling and read books to help me with my grief.This is the latest book that I have read.Please be Patient I’m Grieving Author Gary Roe. I first learned of this author on Facebook and took a course he offered for free. His teachings have helped me deal with the losses I have suffered and he even took time to write to me personally and encourage me as I heal. It is not often that I publicly recommend books or author so I am going to just suggest that you visit his page and learn for yourself about his teachings.
This is the web address for his page
He does not just teach on personal grief but also how to help others who are grieving.
I pray that this will help at least one person out there.
Prayers and of blessings of healing and comfort for you all.
The sound of a closing door is not one we pay much attention to. A saying most of us have heard is, ‘When one door closes another will open’. Then there is the scripture Revelation 3:20 Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me. These words encourage and give hope.
We open and closes doors every day so the sound of a door closing means nothing to you, yet there are those that it breaks their heart. It can represent loss, an ending, or rejection. Add the sound of a lock being turned it can make one feel hopeless. That they are not only shut out but that there is no hope of that door ever being opened again.(Which is not always a bad thing because there are some doors that not only need to be shut and locked, but the key needs to be thrown away.) The pain of loss or rejection can amplify the simple sound of a closing door. Then there is the sound of a door slamming shut. Which is usually done in anger, meaning one person has turned their back on another in anger and not just walked out but stormed out leaving the other behind. The one who stormed out may feel like they cannot return because they were the one to leave and no matter what their reason was at the time they may feel guilt and even fear because now they are the one who may be rejected. The one left behind feel not only rejected and hurt, but they may fear that when the door slammed that was the end, and that is not their desire. Loosing loved ones to death or an end of a relationship can leave a lasting memory that the sound of a closing door can reopen the wound that the sound of a closing door can bring.
I had not thought of this before, but while sitting on my porch I heard the sound of a neighbor shutting their door. A sound that I hear often living in an apartment because neighbors are coming and going daily. Yet this morning when I heard the sound it seemed amplified and I even heard the sound of the lock being turned. I don’t know why it made me stop and think, but it did. I go in and out my door multiple times through out my day and when I am on the phone I know the person on the other end can hear the opening and shutting of my door so I try to close the door quietly so I do not interrupt what they are saying to me. Yet today I am thinking of all the ways the sound of what a door makes can mean. For some it can mean security, (This makes me think of the song ‘Shut the door, keep out the devil’) and for another it can feel like they are all alone, shut out and not welcome.
For the ones who feel rejected and shut out there is One who will never leave you or forsake you. He knocks on your door patiently waiting to be let in. He is the one I mentioned earlier in Revelation 3;20.
Now there is the sound of a door opening. Think about how a child reacts when the door opens and it is their Daddy who just came in. They run to him joyfully and yell ‘Daddy’s home’ and they jump into his arms.
Now the sound of the door closing behind him means they are safe and they have no reason to fear. For when they are with their Daddy they are not afraid, but are happy and secure. For it is written that perfect love casts out all fear. The love of our Heavenly Father, our Abba Daddy is available to all who receive Him, and Jesus is the door we enter to get to Him.
God bless you and keep you in His perfect peace
3 John 2 (ESV)2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
Then the need to pray for the health of other is so very important. There are so many who are facing so many health issues. Every day you hear of a new need for prayer for healing. Cancer,diabetes, disease, the long list of illness and health problems goes on and on.
I like this scripture because the writer of this is praying for the recipients. It is a good reminder.Let us continue to pray for each others health.
The Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit
18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
We must take diligent care of our body. It is a daily effort. To neglect our body is to neglect what God has given to us. When we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord we receive His Spirit to live in us. Many of us have some type of ailment. This was the inspiration for me to start a study on both physical health and spiritual health. I know so many who suffer from different health issues. Before I started this study my main health issue was pain due to injuries to my back that effected many areas of both my body and my attitude. I want to live a better life not restricted by my body. I had learned some years ago that when my pain level spiked my attitude got ugly. I was short tempered and my mind would think about all of the abuse it had gone through and I would be angry for all the wrong I had suffered. I would start playing the blame game. If this had happened to me I would not feel this way. Then I finally had enough and decided that I could no longer this way. Despite what condition my body may be in I had to learn to have the joy of the Lord. For it is written to count it all joy when you face trials and tribulations. I was also holding onto bitterness and resentment. I was not forgiving those who had hurt me. This had to change. I started with my tongue taking great care to learn to speak words of love, life, peace, and encouragement. Now the health problems of others are not the same as mine but I know from my own experience that we all face feelings that make our problems worse when we give into them. So I started looking deep into the scripture about caring for my body as well as tips on taking better care of the body.
Now a month after I started this study I have been hit with a new health issue. I now have been diagnosed with stroke level blood pressure. Any of you who have blood pressure you know what my body has been going through.This however is new to me since this is the first time in my life that I have experienced high blood pressure. I used to say with all my problems at least I had a good heart and good blood pressure. As a matter of fact the worse it had ever been was extremely low when my health would get bad. Now I am not a big fan of going to the doctor. Yet I knew that was not something that I could ignore. So I went to the doctor the other day so that I could know what exactly was happening with my body. I did not want anything to be wrong but I knew that for the last few weeks my body was going down hill fast and I needed to know what was wrong so that I could deal with it. Pretending nothing was wrong would have only done more damage. I had often heard from some people that that hated doctors and that they did not want to get checked out because they would rather not know. Now I am not saying run to the doctor or E.R. for every sneeze or cough. That to me is unnecessary. Yet when you feel that something is wrong do not ignore it. We need to know the cause so that it can be dealt with. Next month it will be four years since I lost my mother to a sudden stroke. If had not gone to the doctor and got examined I very well could have had a stroke but now I am under a doctors care and on medication and will be able live a healthier life.
Take care of your body. It is the only one on this planet that you will have. As long as there is life in your body you have a purpose Go has for you. No matter what shape your body is in you can still serve the Lord. You are more likely to be emphatic to another because you know from your own experience how pain and illness can effect a persons attitude and how one can feel hopeless and depressed because of their ailment. You are the witness to them that no matter what God loves us and cares for each and everyone of us. That despite our circumstance we still have hope and joy.
God bless and keep you always.
I have updated this Bible study presentation on the heart.
A power point presentation for Bible study click on Heart above to open and enjoy.