Tag Archives: Love

He Lives!

John 20:3–18, Mary Magdalene speaks with the resurrected Christ

Today is the 42nd anniversary of Mom’s death – and also the day we celebrate LIFE. Eternal life through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, God’s son. Although in this life there is sin and war and famine and death – and heartbreak – God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved (John 3:17).

We still suffer loss – loss of relationships, loss of employment, loss of health, loss of loved ones. But through Jesus Christ, our hearts, despite loss, are healed. And we are saved. And like our Savior who rose on the third day, we can rise again – through Jesus Christ who saves us, and lifts us, and shines His light upon us, and shows us the way.

He knows us, each of us, and asks us in a very personal way to learn of Him – and to follow. He asks us to reach out to others who are hurting. He asks us to open our hearts and to simply LOVE.

But how can we love, or feel love, when our hearts are so broken, we may ask. Just as the seed is planted in broken ground, God’s love is firmly planted in the broken heart. Precisely because our hearts are broken, we can feel greater compassion and a connection to others who are also brokenhearted. Light can penetrate beyond the outer shell of our protected selves and reach into the center of our souls with a healing balm from whence can spring a beautiful flower.

God’s love.

The healing love of Jesus Christ who died, so we might LIVE.

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Thank you, God…there are no coincidences.

mother headstoneThank you, God, for reminding me today that you see me. And you see Jim. And by your love you stitch a beautiful tapestry called life, bringing together, however briefly, the tiniest scraps of fabric to create the whole. Each seemingly insignificant moment becomes meaningful when we listen to the small whisperings of your voice directing us to act. And for that, I am grateful. And honored.

Today, Jim introduced himself to me after a Suicide Survivor Day event. He had reached out to me by phone over a year ago after reading my story of suicide loss in the newspaper. He explained at that time that he had lost his mom too. He was just four years old in 1952. After the brief phone conversation, I forgot about Jim. But you didn’t, God. You led him to Survivor Day. Jim didn’t know if I would be there, but nonetheless, he came prepared with the newspaper article of my story – and the newspaper clipping of his own story of loss all those years ago. He didn’t know I would be there. But you did, God. And you led me to bring a copy of my book, Hope after Suicide. The book you helped me write. I prayed to you that I might recognize the ONE – the one who needed to know that despite devastating loss, despite the loss of our beautiful mothers, there is hope. Hope to heal our broken hearts. Even 64 years later.

Jim had never met anyone else who had lost a mom to suicide or spoken to anyone who could understand. Sixty-four years ago, his dad didn’t explain. It wasn’t OK to talk about it then. But today, it is. Thank you, God, for reminding me.

And God, please heal Jim’s heart. Help him feel his mom close as he reads words meant to help him understand, meant to share hope despite heartbreak. Help him see your hand. Help him see that there are no coincidences. Help him see that you were always there. Help him know that you see him. And you see me.

And together, we are healed. By your love.

Thank you, God.


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Clay and Creation

pottery1Today marks the five year anniversary of the bicycle accident that changed my life. Other than planning to get back on a bike for the first time in five years, I hadn’t really thought much about the anniversary.

Until this morning, that is.

While kneeling with my husband, thanking God for my bountiful blessings – family, home, sunshine – I asked for protection while I take my bike out for the first time in five years.

And I cried.

I didn’t expect to cry, and it caught me a little by surprise. Today was going to be the day I faced my fears and prayed for balance long enough to ride a block on the bike which I used to ride for miles. That’s all.

But God wanted me to remember. And acknowledge. Not just the pain, but the growth.

And He took a week to prepare me for the lesson.

A week ago today, I awoke in terrible pain with a muscle spasm from the base of my skull to my hip – my left hip – the side that hit the pavement after my head hit the bottom rail of a fence. I hadn’t experienced this type of muscle spasm for many many months. And I hadn’t done anything different that would explain the pain on the same side I landed when I wrecked my bike five years ago. But my body remembered, even if I didn’t.

This past week, my husband pulled out all of our home videos from years ago and I watched a beautiful, vibrant, energetic, polished younger self tackle the demands of work, school, husband, and children in blizzard-like fashion – talking and moving faster than I remember possible. And for a brief moment, I determined to regain that same energy.

Oh, but for a bicycle accident five years ago, I’d still be pouring out more of myself than God could pour in.

God, the great Creator, had different plans, though. He took that still-wet clay pitcher, and he pounded it down on the potter’s wheel. And he fashioned a bowl.

I sat silent for many weeks and months, listening with my heart because my head wouldn’t work. And God filled my bowl, drop by drop, to overflowing – with His love.

And lest I think God is done with shaping me, I am reminded that the clay is still wet. There will be future events – trials, tragedies, and beautiful blessings beyond imagination – that will shape who I am as life rolls forth towards the day that I will step out of this clay body prepared to meet my Creator.

No, not an accident. Just part of the plan.


*Photo Credit


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img150Forty years ago today, March 31, 1975, my mom voiced her last plea to her children – recorded on a scratchy old tape recorder. Four years ago, that tape was rediscovered – buried in the dusty boxes of memories from long ago.

“I found this tape. I don’t know if it is the one you’re looking for,” Dad said as he handed me an old Certron 45 cassette tape. Dad’s faded handwriting on the goldenrod label read, “Testimonies—Family Night.”

I sat on my bedroom floor, inserted the old tape into my stereo, and was immediately propelled back 36 years to the bottom stair that led to our red shag carpeted basement family room. I was twelve years old. Mom was 31. I remembered her faint voice, her sad face, her distance, as she held a microphone and a crying baby – my baby sister. She could hardly lift her head from the pillow.

I didn’t know that just sixteen days later she would be gone, or I might have listened more intently. I might have been more reverent or quiet or respectful. But then again, I was 12.

I listened as my little sister, my youngest brother, and my dad shared their thoughts. Then it was my turn.

“Okay, um,” I started loudly as I mustered courage. “I’m thankful for our…for Mom and Dad and everything they help me with and, um, I know that sometimes I expect too much from them.” I spoke in hurried phrases separated by short, apprehensive, awkward pauses, complete with a rural western twang that I outgrew after my dad remarried.

“And I’m thankful for brothers and sisters, and especially when we can get along. It’s lots funner to…to do things when you can get along and just enjoy each other’s company.”

My baby sister cried in the background. As I listened to the tape from my bedroom floor, I tried to block out the loud crackles of the microphone while it was passed to Mom.

“I’d like to…,” Mom began, a soft distance in her voice—a voice I didn’t recognize. The baby cried again, children giggled, and my youngest brother whispered while Dad tried to quiet him. Mom sat silently on the couch.

A full thirty-six seconds later, Mom began again under the baby’s cries and scratch of the microphone. “I’d like to…,” Mom paused again, “thank my Heavenly Father for the blessings that he has given me.” I listened with my eyes closed, trying to block out the loud fingernail-on-chalkboard scratching of the microphone and the screams of a one-year-old who wanted a turn. I can’t hear Mom. Is she speaking? What is she saying? I turned down the volume  and listened even more intently. I just hear noise.

“Don’t hit her!” my youngest brother said in the background, followed by a whispered “Ow!”

“Why don’t you…you lie right here, and I’ll work on you,” Dad said finally to my brother, who had been trying to get his attention. I imagined my dad rubbing Drew’s back. “Work on you” meant work on your back – give you a massage. The phrase came from mom’s interest in natural healers, and Dad had picked up the vernacular. But where is Mom?

After another long pause, Mom returned, weary, depressed, and resigned. “I’d like to thank Him for each one of you.” Mom sniffled. She’s crying, I thought. My 4 year old brother and Dad still whispered in the background.

“And…” Mom cleared her choked-up throat. I looked across from my place on the bottom stair of the family room, and I saw Mom lying still, hardly moving—too weak to console a fussy baby. I saw Mom cry.

“There are many things that we can…that we need to do in order to be good members of the church.”

Mom paused again while the baby took the opportunity to interject her own words. “Ah-ah-ah-Dad!” she babbled loudly – a stark contrast to the heavy mist that smothered Mom’s quiet words.

“And it begins with…being loving to one another…and not just to me and to Dad, but to each other.” Each word she said was deliberate and panged. She pleaded with her children to be better. She pleaded with her children to LOVE.

“And I pray that we can, each one of us, strive more diligently to be like our Savior wants us to be.” She spoke slowly, from a distance many miles away even though she was just across the room.

After another long pause, Mom concluded almost in a whisper, “And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

The baby let out another long scream as Mom handed the microphone back to Dad.

I grabbed a pen and some paper and rewound the tape to the beginning of Mom’s testimony. I began the painstaking task of transcribing the words I could barely make out underneath the microphone pops, baby cries, children’s giggles, and Dad’s whispers.

“And it begins with…being loving to one another…and not just to me and to Dad, but to each other.”  I stopped the tape, rewinding it over and over again to capture and transcribe each word. “And I pray that we can, each one of us, strive more diligently to be like our Savior wants us to be.” More than an hour later, I had scribbled Mom’s final “Amen.”

What was it Mom just said underneath the baby’s screams? I rewound the tape and listened again as Mom handed the loud microphone back to Dad.

“They weren’t…” I couldn’t make out the last word. They weren’t what? What did Mom say? Dad answered with a long “No,” and his voice trailed off.

I rewound the tape again and concentrated even harder at blocking out the baby’s screams. I was back on the bottom stair looking across the red shag family room carpet at Mom lying on the black couch. “They weren’t listening,” she said as she handed the microphone back to Dad. “No,” Dad replied.

“They weren’t listening.” I heard her, and I remembered. I remembered her disappointment. I remembered her pain. I remembered the sharp guilt I felt fueling my desire to be better—to be better for Mom. To listen.

Mom, I’m listening! I cried. And my heart overflowed with LOVE. Love not only for Mom but also for each of my brothers and sisters, who two weeks and two days later woke to a silent, motherless, ghost-filled home – brothers and sisters who obediently poured their tender souls into a crackling microphone and sealed their desire to be better, their devotion, and their love in Jesus’ name.

I hear you now, Mom. And I’m listening! “I’m listening, Mom!” I said out loud.

I prepared five handwritten letters to accompany a digitized recording of the old tape, as well as a typed transcript of Mom’s testimony for each of my siblings and my dad. I’m listening, I thought as I resolutely penned my own testimony. Feelings leapt from my newly uncovered heart – my feelings about a Savior who comforts and teaches and heals and loves. A Savior of light. A Redeemer. A Savior who lifts from the darkest abyss, even from the depths of hell. A Savior who died so all might live – so Mom might live.

“I’m listening, Mom,” I said to myself as I prepared this Easter gift thirty-six years after the tape had been recorded. My written words inadequately expressed the love that spilled from my heart. Love that comes from God himself, from His gift to us—His Son!


I’m listening!

(taken from Hope after Suicide, chapter 32, Buried Treasure)


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