Water to Wine

This is not a post about whether or not the water Jesus turned into wine was fermented or not. This is not about whether drinking wine is right or wrong. This is about how Jesus still turns water to wine in our lives. Bland to fully flavored. Clear to richly colored. Tasteless to sweet.

I love how His first miracle was at a celebration, a wedding reception. He didn’t shy away from celebrating with his friends and family. He didn’t shy away from grieving with them either. He entered in, and when asked, He changed things. Sometimes over time, sometimes in an instant.

When He touches the heart of a homeless person, He turns water (hopelessness) into wine (care). When He rescues and strengthens an abused woman, He turns water (shame, worthlessness) into wine (dignity). When He comforts a grieving parent, He turns water (despair) into wine (comfort). When He provides financially, He turns water (needs) into wine (provision). When He helps us forgive, He turns our water to wine. When He dusts us off and reminds us who we are, He serves us His best and welcomes us to the table.

We all know water is the best and healthiest beverage we can drink. When we need water, we thirst for what our bodies need most. Clean drinking water is a gift from God. Many don’t have it and I thank God for it. But, when Jesus takes our stories (water) and uses them for His Glory, He miraculously makes wine. He still turns our water to wine. He is still in the business. He was and is still able. Oh, how sweet and all-powerful He is.

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Feel to Heal

feel

I was talking to one of my coworkers about her mom yesterday…She’s in the last stages of cancer and has been struggling with it for years now. I asked if she was in any pain. She said no, she’s actually numb now due to her neuropathy. Relieved, I said, “We’ll take numb over pain any day, right??” Yes, so true. Whether it’s for ourselves or our loved ones, we want them free of pain. Just take this, take that, anything to numb or lessen the physical pain.

I know one of the most comforting things for the family when a patient is put on hospice is that they help them to feel no pain. Please, just take their pain away.

This got me thinking about the difference between physical pain and emotional pain. You don’t have to feel the pain to heal physically. You will, until properly medicated, but healing isn’t dependent on feeling the pain associated with the injury or illness.

With emotional pain, we naturally WANT to numb the pain, but healing comes from feeling it. Going there. Expressing it. Grieving it. When our loved ones are emotionally hurt, we naturally want to numb them too. We just want them pain free. The best thing you can do is listen, talk, ask. Engage. Be willing to hear. It helps the healing. It helps. Numbing prolongs. Distracting avoids. Suppressing hinders.

We need safe people who will go there. If you’re having a hard time finding a safe person to go there with, pray for one. Look for a counselor or a trusted Christian friend. One you can trust with your story. Someone who will go there, listen, and hug you through it.

Sometimes the people you want to go to and expect to be able to, won’t be willing or able to. Sometimes they can’t handle your hurt or sometimes it brings up too much of their own.

I know someone who’s son actually left the house when he was going through his separation and divorce. Not because he didn’t care, but because it hurt him too much to witness his dad’s pain. Know that some of the people who love you can’t handle watching or hearing you in pain. Show them mercy.

Find someone who will. There are those who can bare your burdens and walk you through it. You’ll always remember these people. They will help you heal. They know the process. They know what you need. And, that is to be heard.

I have a heart for the hurting and want to help people feel comfortable expressing their pain. I know how hard it is. I know the fear in doing so. But, I also know the relief in doing so. I want to be a safe person. I want to help because I have been helped. I know what it takes.

As attractive as numb sounds, I’d still rather feel to heal.

 

Deep Grief

deep grief

While I can’t personally speak of the grief associated with physically losing a child, parent, sibling or best friend yet, I can speak to the grief of divorce. As both a child of it and one of my own, I can relate to that pain. Both divorces I didn’t want. Both divorces left me at the mercy of other people’s choices.

I grieved the loss of a dream, the loss of my will, the loss of the life I thought we would live, the loss of a man I loved whether I should have or not. I still did. I grieved the loss of his family whom I had grown to love. I grieved for my girls. I already knew the life long struggles they would encounter because of it. The loss of my marriage hit me deeper because I was determined to stay married through anything. I was willing to fight for it. It was devastating to my self worth, tender heart, and desire to honor my commitment.

It’s been four years since my divorce and I thought I would share how I felt and some of the things that I did during my deep grief. There seems to be a lot of grief around me right now. Three deaths and a funeral this past week and my heart is heavy with loss. No one escapes grief. It comes in many forms. The emotional or physical loss of someone you love, a dream you had, or a change that alters what you had originally hoped for will need to be grieved. If this helps one person to know they aren’t alone or strange in how they feel or deal with grief, it will be worth it.

My physical grief was such that I lost 20 pounds that first year. I had no appetite and excessive thirst. I couldn’t get enough water and didn’t want any food. Nothing sounded good. I ate to live for the first time in my life. Normally, I love to eat and look forward to my next meal. I was physically ill from my emotional pain. I could feel it. I had physical pain in my chest and queasiness in my stomach.

I never missed a day of work. Work gave me purpose and routine was helpful during that time. My boss made it clear that if I needed to stay home for emotional reasons, they would understand. If I had skipped and stayed home, I felt like my sadness would have been worse. Alone, in the house we shared, alone or with the kids, didn’t help. I went to work every day and poured through the Bible between patients. I clung to Bible verses and sought God like I never had.

I read and read and read. I would shut my office door sometimes and cry. When time to reset passwords would come, I would use words like “surrender”, “godisfirst”, “remember”, “remain”, and “godislove”. If I had to type a phrase over and over again, it might as well be some of these. I needed the constant reminders. I still do this.

I started to walk every day on my lunch break. I already had anxious thoughts constantly racing through my mind, at least my feet could try to keep up with them rather than sitting still with my heart pounding. I felt like my heart raced whether I was moving or sitting still. Walking and fresh air helped. I still look forward to my lunch time walks. Sometimes I pray silently or out loud while I walk, sometimes I fill my headphones with music. Depends on my mood. It helped and still does.

I prayed on my face first thing every morning on my bathroom rug. I cried more tears than I knew possible. I dry-heaved. I questioned. I surrendered. And, I ultimately, accepted. None of that makes what I deal with today easy. But, what I learned to do while grieving does still help me today. It also gives me HUGE compassion for others who have felt similar pain.

I plugged into a women’s Bible study small group, leaned on them, and gained prayer warriors. I started to write and summoned the courage to share. I decided to write about the love I craved in hopes it would touch others like it touched me. Writing about His love helps me. The love that never walks out, demeans, betrays, or rejects. The love that never fails. I knew I needed it desperately, and still do.

Grief doesn’t end, it changes. I still deal with issues because of the divorce. I’m aware that I always will. I’m also certain I will encounter more grief as this life continues. My prayer is that what I’ve learned will help me through those times. And, that I can support others through theirs.

May His Love surround us.

What’s in a Name?

name

A lot…that’s what. I’m sure there are names you hear that make you cringe and names that just as quickly make your heart swell. Names that you may have a hard time dating because of a person in the past and names you have lovingly picked out for your babies.

Every girl puts their boyfriend’s name behind theirs to see how it sounds and writes it to see how it looks. Every divorcee wonders what to do with her last name. Keep it for the kids? Go back to maiden? Make a new name? A name marks a person. For good or bad, first and last, there’s a lot to a name.

One of my dear friends lost her mom this week. She passed away and left her daughter reeling as to how to go on without her. Understandably so. We all have, would, or will. It’s a huge loss. Huge. As I was walking and praying for my friend on my lunch break, the name “Reuniter” came to mind. There are many names for our God, but this one had never crossed my mind before. And, He is our Reuniter.

As the song goes…”Sweet name (sweet name), dear name (dear name), There’s no other name like Jesus, Sweet name (sweet name), dear name (dear name).”

There is no other name like Jesus. I’d like to share a list of some other names that come to mind….

  • Deliverer    The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.Psalms 18:2
  • Lover           I have loved you with an everlasting love…..Jeremiah 31:3
  • Provider      My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  • Forgiver      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins……1 John 1:9
  • Redeemer   Our Redeemer—the Lord of hosts is his name—is the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 47:4
  • Creator        For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalms 139:13
  • Comforter   ….who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves  receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:4     
  • Carrier         In the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son….Deuteronomy 1:31
  • Counselor    …..and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
  • Vindicator    He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Isaiah 50:8
  • Convicter     When he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment… John 16:8
  • Liberator     He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Psalms 107:14
  • Reuniter      Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds….1 Thessalonians 4:17

These names are so sweet to me. Growing up legalistically, my innate name or character trait for God was “condemner”. That’s how I inherently viewed Him. A God I could never please. A God I wanted so badly to please, but always felt like I fell short. That was a lie. The true condemner himself put that in my head and I took it to heart.

Now, I take John 3:17 to heart and choose to believe it.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

He is not our condemner, He is our Savior….and so much more. There’s A LOT to a name.