Happy Thanksgiving!



My girls

If any of us were to think that I'd never have a picture of all my girls together, well think again. This is what happens when Kristen babysits for me...

Thanks, my friend!



3 years...

that our sweet girl has been with Jesus.

One dear friend has faithfully driven out to the cemetery where Alivia is buried every November 2nd and left a note to her. One of the reasons I'm so encouraged by this expression of care is because it reminds me that her short life was not wasted and that God has used this trial in our lives and in the lives of so many for good. This year I was so blessed to once again see that my friend had been there earlier in the day and left pink roses with this note:

Dear Alivia,
I think about you so much. I imagine what you'd be doing right now were you here with us. I imagine you'd be enjoying your family and running around. And yet I know you are in a safer place - a place where all of us would rather be! One of the many things you taught me was that this life is short and that we have a Father who longs to be with us forever and yet we have work to do here - to be made more like Him, to look more like Him and guess what? You being with Jesus has made your parents look more and more like Him! The Lord knew that they would bring glory to Him in this life and so many of us remember you, look at them, and see Jesus in them. They are stronger, wiser, braver and more loving because of you. While today makes all of us cry, we cry with hope because of who you are with.
Missing you today, Alivia.



Our refuge and strength

A friend gave me a wonderful book as a birthday gift recently that I've slowly been working through. It's called 90 Days of God's Goodness, by Randy Alcorn. It's full of daily readings on various topics related to suffering. It's a perfect read for a new mom who doesn't have a hunk of time for devos. Anyway, I opened up the book today and what I read could not have been more perfect on this eve of November 2.

"Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing'...Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord , who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Pslam 16:1-2, 5-11

"God is the source of all good things. He is our refuge. Those who recognize his presence and call upon him, those who live with a daily awareness of the eternal pleasures he has promised us, those who set the Lord always before them, in the end will not be shaken.

An unskilled truck driver who obtained his license through bribery allowed a large object to fall from his truck onto a Milwaukee freeway in front of Scott and Janet Willis's van. Their gas tank exploded, killing six of their children.

Standing before cameras and microphones, Scott Willis said:

The depth of our pain is indescribable. However, the Bible expresses our feelings that we sorrow, but not as those without hope. What gives us our firm foundation for hope are the words of God found in Scripture...Ben, Joe, Sam, Hank, Elizabeth and Peter are all with Jesus Christ. We know where they are. Our strength rests in God's Word.

Fourteen years after the tragic event, Janet told me, 'Today I have a far greater understanding of the goodness of God than I did before the accident.' This might have taken my breath away had I not already heard it from others who've also endured unspeakable suffering. At the end of our two-hour conversation, Scott Willis stated, 'I have a stronger view of God's sovereignty than ever before.'

Scott and Janet did not say that the accident itself strengthened their view of God's sovereignty. Indeed, Scott's overwhelming sense of loss initially prompted suicidal thoughts. Rather, their faith grew as they threw themselves upon God for grace to live each day. 'I turned to God for strength,' Janet said, 'because I had no strength.' She went to the Bible with a hunger for God's presence, and he met her. 'I learned about him. He made sense when nothing else made sense. If it weren't for the Lord, I would have lost my sanity.'

Is that denial? Is it wishful thinking? Or is it the real power and transforming grace of God that came in suffering? I'm convinced it was God's grace.

I asked Scott and Janet, 'What would you say to those who reject the Christian faith because they think that no plan of God - nothing at all - could possibly be worth the suffering of your children and your suffering over all these years?'

'Eternity is a long time,' Janet replied. 'It will be worth it. Our children's suffering was brief, and they have the eternal joy of being with God. We and their grandparents have suffered since. But our suffering has been small compared to our children's joy. Fourteen years is a short time compared to eternity. We'll be with them there, forever.'

La Rochefoucauld may have best captured the difference between one person's lost faith and another's deepened faith in the face of suffering: 'A great storm puts out a little fire, but it feeds a strong one.' "


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