In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer

My heart is heavy today with the suffering, trials, loss, and pain of so many. The only thing that I can do about it is to pray, read my Bible, and write about what I am thinking and feeling. Perhaps then, I can have some comfort. Another thing that always helps is a good cry and a nap or great night of sleep.

Philippians 4:6 states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I have been comforted by prayer during the storms in my life, but know that they aren’t always answered in the way that I would have liked. In those cases, I then pray for comfort, peace, wisdom, and understanding. Those can be very hard to come by, but are something that I am trying.

I also want to be sure to include the thanksgiving portion of that scripture. I am thankful for so much that the Lord has provided for me and my son. We may have lost my husband and his dad, but we know where he is. We know that he has seen our Lord face to face. I have to tell you, each time I think of that, I cry happy and sad tears.

We have been comforted and sustained by our faith and our loved ones. We have suffered and still don’t understand the loss. I am not sure when I will, but, there there is light now more than darkness. For  that I am truly comforted. Now, we can remember something good along with the sadness. Okay, so here goes.

“Lord, so many of us are in pain, are dealing with tremendous losses, and are suffering. Please watch over us, help us through these storms, and provide us with the peace and comfort that only You can give us.

“In Your mercy, hear our prayers about:

  • Deaths of our loved ones whether suddenly or by a long illness – including spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin, and friend
  • The long suffering of a loved one
  • Illnesses and viruses, including COVID-19
  • Cancers and tumors and the treatments
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Mental health issues
  • Heart attacks or transplants
  • Surgeries and the recovery
  • Violence and hate
  • Bullying and threats from others
  • Job losses
  • Uncertainty of our loved one’s safety
  • Health both physical and mental of our military
  • Safety and health for our law enforcement, first responders, nurses, doctors, military, and all trying to help those who are sick or dying
  • Losses of our lives as we knew them prior to COVID
  • Racial strife and injustice
  • Treating others poorly just because they are different than us
  • Eviction from home and homelessness
  • School and learning challenges for our children and young people
  • Stress of teachers and all educators in finding the right balance
  • Our leaders and the ability to govern again with healthy debate that isn’t threatening or hateful
  • Freedom and our democracy
  • Our clergy and religious leaders in this very different time
  • Hunger and not being able to have enough food for families
  • Losses of our beloved pets who truly are part of the family
  • Uncertainty of life
  • Suffering and challenges of daily life

“Lord, may we know You are always there for us. May we reach out and help each other through these hardships. May we provide comfort and love and listen when someone needs to talk.

“May we bear one another burdens as You instructed us to do.  May we treat one another with kindness, respect, compassion, honesty, and empathy.  And, may we always, always love.

“In Your Mercy, Lord, Hear Our Prayer. Amen.”

(images from Power Point clip art)

We Are More Than Just Numbers

I have heard and seen information recently that indicates that the percentage of people who have died from this pandemic isn’t that high and not really a problem. Or that it is less than those who die of the flu. Or that the numbers are stated without much thought to them.

While statistically the low percentages may be true, each number is a person who has passed away. Let’s please not forget that. Sadly, I think we do or it doesn’t register that a loss of human life is what that means.

I have to say that making such light of this has been bothering me for a while.  Another comment that has bothered me is — it is what it is.  Sorry, but to me that just isn’t good enough.  We can and should be doing better; much better.

Each of those people have loved ones who are grieving and whose lives will never be the same. Each of those people touched others throughout their lives. And sadly, many of them may not have had a chance to say goodbye.

I truly feel for the loved ones who didn’t have that chance. I was fortunate to have had that chance when my husband passed away unexpectedly. I cannot imagine the current way of things.

For those of us who have lost loved ones, we know the pain of loss. We know that the loss is real and has to be dealt with each day. We know how much it hurts and wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone.

We are now at more than 160,000 deaths in the United States. That is a staggering number to me, but yet it just doesn’t seem to register with a lot of people. That number is more than the population of my hometown.  It is more than packs Neyland Stadium on a day of college football, at least pre-pandemic.

Please remember that behind the numbers there are actual people. There are families who are reeling from loss and will have to rebuild. There are people who are suffering and trying to make sense of the loss. There are also health workers who did all they could but it still wasn’t enough.

Let’s do what we can to take care of each other. Let’s do better for ourselves, our families, our children, our communities, and our loved ones.  Let’s please do what we can to stop the spreading of this damn virus.

My family will wear our masks, stay home when we can, be cautious and careful when we are out, and practice social distancing.  It is not fun and often inconvenient. But to me, it is worth it if it will help us stay healthy and help those we love stay healthy as well.

Morning by morning, new mercies I see

“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!…” — Great Is Thy Faithfulness hymn

This hymn came to mind this morning when I saw this gorgeous sky.  I just love those words, that each morning, there will be new mercies.  It is a definitely a comfort to me as we are starting our second year of grieving the loss of my husband.

And, the words that continue, “all I have needed, thy hand hath provided.”  These are true.  As hard as it’s been and as mad as I have sometimes been, what we have needed has been there.  People have helped us and we have been okay.  And, frankly, that has felt like a miracle at times.

I still don’t understand the why of this, I find myself with many questions and anger at times, and I realize that I may never the get answers that I want.  But God is still faithful and is still a comfort.  Truly, the mix of good and bad is being felt and helped, but without all of the answers.

I also read this week an amazing post about grief and how the waves change over time but keep coming.  I have found this to be true.  I am not stopped or gutted each day like I was at the beginning.  That is good since life has a tendency to move on, despite what we may be feeling like.

Now it hits me at random times.  Like yesterday, I was very sad after taking my son to school.  I came home to try and work but found I couldn’t.  So I took time with my breakfast, watched some TV, and ended up taking a 2 hour nap.  I then woke up, read, and later had lunch prior to having my son come home from school.

I later helped him with his homework, we had a good dinner, and I fell asleep on the couch.  Clearly I was tired and needed the extra rest.  I prayed a bit for comfort and thought of my loved one who is gone.  And, I cried a little as well.

Then this morning, I felt better and then was blessed with this amazing sunrise.  So, mercy was truly there for me.  What an amazing feeling that is.  And as crazy as it sounds, it felt like a message from my loved one that he is okay.  And, a result, we are also okay.  Cue the tears, right?!

We continue to struggle at times since we never know what a new morning will bring.  But we are trying to settle back into our routine.  Right now, we are both a bit tired.  Ian’s school starts really early so that means early wake up times.  As a result, we are supposed to have early bedtimes, but those don’t always happen.

My prayer is that we may have continued mercy, that we be blessed with many more new mornings, and that we continue to appreciate all of the times that we had with my husband.  He was an amazing blessing in our lives and all who knew and loved him.  He continues to be missed, loved, and fondly remembered.

Prayers for you as well.  If you are grieving, may you have comfort.  If you are sick, may you be healed.  If you are sad, may you find a reason to smile.  If you are struggling, may you find the help that you need.

May we continue to be there for one another.  May we live with kindness and grace.  And, may we always, always love.

Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.