That Friday Morning…

Sherman Oaks Elementary School

Friday morning began like any other day. Parents dropped their young children off at school. Teachers arrived for another

day of workbooks, activities, chubby pencils, and pink erasers. The seconds ticked on the clock as the school hummed with the busyness that only those in an elementary school can fully understand.

He showed up, full of anger…hell bent.

Lives lost. Futures changed. Hearts broken. Tears flowing.

A large, irreparable tear in the fabric of so many lives.

People don’t understand. They want answers to the why. Why did this happen? WHY?!!! They demand someone tell them how a young man could kill? How so many young children could be dead? How teachers are now gone? How did we get to this point?

The pain is raw and gaping. The pictures of those lost, breaks our hearts.

We are indeed, broken.

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Some would say, How can we be thankful on this day? How can we give thanks in the midst of grieving?

It is when we are thankful on the other 364 days a year, that we are more prepared for that one horrible day.

God is still good. He is still here. He has not forsaken us. He gives us things everyday to be thankful for. When we walk with Him on the good days, when we see His hand in the sunshine…it gives us the ability to trust Him in the darkness. When we don’t understand the why’s, when the pain seems unbearable, when our bodies are wracked with sobs…..

We can trust Him.

But, some will say, “Why wasn’t God there?”

To them I reply, “God was there.” He is Emmanuel-God with us.

We live in a broken world, where sin happens. Evil is real. Most days, we as a people, are able to “forget” this. Push it down. Not acknowledge it…but, it is there. Always there.

It is because of that sin…that brokenness…that Jesus came. We celebrate Christ’s birth during this season. He came into this world because we needed Him. We could not, would not, get out of this sinful mess on our own. The gap was too wide, the chasm too deep…between us and God. Sin has a horrible way of doing that. It divides. It hurts. It leaves us empty. Jesus knew this. He knew we needed Him to step into this world. To take our place. To be that bridge between us and God.

God was there on Friday.

Just like He was there, the day His own son died.

For us.

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Today I am thankful for:

* God who is here in the midst

* Jesus, who came as a baby…

* that Christ is the bridge

* for He is the One that redeems

* one day when sin will be no more

* knowing He is there, even in the darkness, when I can’t see Him

* children who make me smile

* anticipation leading up to Christmas day

* movie night with friends

* early morning emails

* rainy Mondays






God’s Story

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Life has joy mixed with sorrow. Incredible highs punctuated with incredible lows. Births and marriages. Smiles and friendships, scattered amongst deaths, chronic illness, financial challenges and broken promises.

There are so many people that I know that are going through difficult times. People that are hurting because life has handed them situations that seem almost impossible to handle.

*Family members that continue to fight through treatments to rid their bodies of cancer. Their bodies are tired.

*A friend whose husband has to face early onset Alzheimers in his 40’s…and she has to watch it.  It seems so unfair.

*A friend of a friend who woke up yesterday morning to find her teen had passed away during the night. And a mother’s heart breaks.

*A woman from my home school group who said goodbye to her husband one morning in early November, he died hours later in an accident. And she is lonely.

* A mother who has three children and all three children are on the autism scale. She feels overwhelmed.

*Friends whose hearts are broken because of divorce. And they feel like failures.

*Financial devastation. Lost jobs. Foreclosures. And they are scared.

It’s easy to love God when life is going well. When the bills are paid, the house is warm, and the family is safe. How do I feel about Him when life is hard and seems unfair to me? I thought I wasn’t supposed to get more than I could handle? WHERE IS GOD?!

Not being able to get pregnant again after my only child. A first husband who died from a chronic illness. A father who chose to take his own life. A second husband who lost his job of 22 years. Pain. Broken dreams. Confusion. Scared. I have been there.

Life isn’t fair. I said it out loud. It tastes bitter in my mouth. I gag on the pain of saying it. And yet it is true.

Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. Good things happen to both. It really doesn’t make any sense by itself.

Each of our lives must be looked at in the scope of eternity. Each of our lives is but a chapter in God’s great story of redemption. When we just “read” our chapter, most of the time it doesn’t make sense by itself. It seems jumbled and confusing. And not fair. It is impossible for us to fully understand how we fit into the story…how our chapter is interwoven with others.

But God does. He knows. His story began before time. He is an exceptional and deliberate writer. He sees each smile, and marks every tear. As He penned the story He already knew how it would end. Each of us is a part of His grand story of redemption. In light of His son, Jesus Christ, everything begins to make sense. It is Jesus that makes this story special. And real. And alive.

It is He, that is the main character in God’s story of redemption. The reader begins to see the central theme of God’s story is love.

Love for a hurting and dying world.