Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hoax or not...

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement to me and my family this week. You are all very much appreciated. With that said though, I do have to share a few more thoughts on my heart as we mark another annivesary since Teagan's death. It's about faith.
I remarked in my previous post that if there were nothing more to this life beyond what we can see here, for people like our family and most everybody in this life who suffers pain and loss, life would be nothing but a cruel hoax. Without the hope of a 'hereafter', living would be moment to moment agony- yielding anger and bitterness and despair.
Believe me, I've been in the midst of some of that stuff and it's ugly and hurts to be there. But it does come to dare I say all of us at some point in time. It comes packaged differently, but still hits us regardless of who or where we are. Click on any of the sidebar links on this blog to see how it is hitting some others in life right now...from cancer to the edge of death. It comes in all shapes and sizes!
I've had a lot of time to think about my faith, to question my faith, to wonder if it's "for real" or not. You may wonder the same thing. You may question if faith even matters. I have come to believe that it does matter and it is for real. There is more to this life than that which can see or touch.
But let's just say that there isn't anything beyond this realm in which we live. Would I still cling to this 'idea' of faith? I say with all my being, "yes". Do you want to know why? Thanks for asking! =) I think believing in something bigger than that which we can see allows us to live in spite of our circumstances. For Chip and me, having a faith that Teagan is in Heaven and believing in the hope of seeing her again someday was one of the biggest driving forces in allowing us to move beyond our grief. Our faith in God has given us a foundation on which to rebuild the brokeness of our hearts and lives. It not only offers us peace and hope in a time of overwhelming uncertainty and anxiety, but it gave us the ability to do even more than that and extend forgiveness against a horrific injustice. It has also given us the grace to want to live with joy and happiness again despite our pain and grief.
I truly believe in God and His promise and hope of eternity. Not just because it says so in the Bible, but because I have felt it in my own heart and been filled with a sense of peace at the most unpeaceful of times in life. I used to think that having a deep-rooted faith meant I would follow a list of do's and don'ts as spelled out in the Bible. I now believe that having a deep-rooted faith is so much more than that. It allows us to live above and beyond what life sends our way. It gives us peace in the storms, rest when we're weary, strength when we're weak, and Hope when all is desperate. It is amazing and real.
So even if it were a hoax and someone made up the idea of Heaven just to have something 'nice' to look forward to, well, I am happy to believe it that anyway. Because it has changed my life. I believe it's real with all my heart though. And, if you ask me, that makes all the difference in the world.
I wouldn't blog if it weren't for my faith. I wouldn't take pictures of my family smiling at the carnival as they're about to share an elephant ear. I wouldn't want the woman who killed Teagan and Peggy to get out of jail in two years and have the chance to rebuild and live a beautiful life. I truly can't imagine where I would be if I didn't have faith.
The fact of the matter is, I don't really like to even think about that. It's not a pretty picture to imagine life without hope and mercy and grace. Thankfully, because of who God is and his redemption I never have to think about it and I never will. As much as I love a good joke, I'm so glad He is a God of love rather than a God of hoaxes. I'm so glad I have real reason to smile, seek Joy and have Hope. No matter what comes my way!
Edited to include:
Okay. I was just thinking about some recent family activites and how my life truly is so full and blessed. It never ceases to amaze me how much God has healed us and continues to from day to day, year after year. I have so much to be grateful for. I have countless reasons to sing His praises.
Which is what we did for a few short moments in church this past Sunday. The worship leader invited anyone who felt led to finish this sentence: "God is great because ______________."
It was a really wonderful and powerful thing to listen to random reasons why God is great. And no one deserves our praise and thanks more than He! SO, my thoughts just now were to do that here on the blog. Why not?! God has been SO faithful and good to me, and I know He has done things in your lives and people around you too! I think it would be amazing and such a tribute to God if we were to list or share short stories in the comments here telling why God is so great. I'll even start. You don't even have to log in or leave your name. Feel free to come back as often as you like and share more reasons and brag on God! I can't wait to read through all the ways God is showing up and in turn give Him praise and honor for being good to us.
SO, tell me, how would you fill in the blank: "God is great because..."

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

God is great because He meets us where we are.

Anonymous said...

God is great because He is love.

Jody Ferlaak said...

God is great because He has turned my mourning into dancing. He is the Healer of hearts!

Beckypdj said...

God is great because He loves me in spite of me. He sees me through the blood of Jesus instead of how I am. He has surrounded me & my husband with wonderful people that have been such blessings to us these past 18 months since Peyton has been gone. He is great because He has provided a way to have a blessed and wonderful life right here on earth and an even better one when we leave this earth. God is great because He provided a way when there was no way.

God is great because He is the Author of new beginning.

Thank you Lord!

Gina Dayton said...

God is great because He's provided a new church for my family to worship Him and love others.

Andrea said...

God is Great because He offers Grace to the unworthy, Peace to the tormented, and Love to all.

This was a beautiful post, so inspiring and truthful.

Jessica said...

Because He knows my heart, he knows my tendencies, my sins, my joys, and my failures And He meets me right where I am. I was a selfish, world-centered young woman that was living life my way until I surrendered to His way. His way isn't easier...It's just full. There isn't an empty ending, this isn't empty striving. Assurance in his love and salvation that's where my hope dwells.

Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I've been a lurking follower for about a year. In that time God has spoken clearly to me through your words of...Joy. Life-giving words. Grateful to our Savior that you are able to dance again. He is good.

Anonymous said...

Jody, could you tell us about the picture of Teagan on the side of this blog...the one with her hat on...I have often wondered if perhaps it was a favorite of yours.
Your love and grace come through your blog so strongly and I do so admire the woman you are...may the Lord bless and keep you...
~blessings from a Mama in Illinois~

Anonymous said...

God is great because...well, even though I don't think He's in the habit of making deals with people, I distinctly remember about a month ago praying for my daughter to be well (she's suffered long-term breathing problems since infancy due to RSV), for Him to place any medical burdens on me, whatever form they may take, and let me carry them for her. Her last serious illness was June 26th. I had surgery on July 1st to remove a growth from my bladder. My daughter got a stunningly clean bill of health on July 3rd. At my post-op appointment on July 9th, I was told I have cancer. God is great because I have cancer and my daughter is well--in a strange way, I feel like all is as it should be and I'm honored that He trusts me to carry this confusing and scary burden. God is great because He answers all prayers, in His own way and His own time.

MJ

Allie in AZ said...

God is great because He loves me despite my many failings and short-comings. He has deemed me worthy of His grace for which I (every day) woefully DO NOT DESERVE.

I am a sinner and He redeems me.

Every day I feel Him gently nudging me to take another step with Him, to trust Him to lead the way in the perfect plan that He has for my life.

Allie in AZ said...

And-Oh my Goodness MJ!!

I will be praying for you! :)

Jan C. said...

My older sister had a stroke when she was 21 (I was 13) and was in a coma for about 6 months. It looked like that was all we would ever have of her--just a person in a bed, attached to a respirator. Not the Jane we knew and loved, the vibrant young woman who had just started her career as a high school English teacher.

But so many people prayed for her and for our family that miracles occurred. Jane came out of her coma, and although she has been paralyzed on one side of her body since then, her brain was remarkably unaffected. She has been able to live at home with my parents (now just my mom) instead of in a facility. She enjoys life, and she and my mom really became incredibly close, whereas before Jane's stroke they were kind of at odds with each other a lot of the time.

Oh, and she was not expected to live past the age of 40, but she's in her late 50s now and is still in great overall health.

God is great because he taught our family about love and the power of prayer, and he allowed my mom and sister to heal their relationship! And that's just one reason I can think of that God is great.

(or Mom!) said...

God is great because he knows just the right people to place in our earthly lives to bring us joy. I have been married for over 10 years to a man who is truly my best friend and soul mate. God made David just for me and me just for him. I LOVE that!! And even more, I LOVE that God made me for fellowship with HIM. Heaven is going to be the best!

Tammy Nischan said...

God is great because someone led me to your blog, and I just have to say "thank you" for showing me that it is okay to still grieve the way I am....my daughter died in 1992 to SIDS and my son died to cancer this past fall after a 6 1/2 year battle....thank you for being transparent. I hope that we can become friends. I love your smile! I love you!

Anonymous said...

God is great because he woos me to himself. He's willing to meet me where I am. He loves to transform me as much as I give him the freedom to do so. I love him, but he loves me even more!

Nancy Peacock

Mere said...

God is great because He allows me to rest in Him. When the hustle and bustle of life gets me down, or I become too overwhelmed, He wraps me in His arms and gives me rest.

Love, Mere

Lauren Kelly said...

God is great because he's always revealing himself to me in the midst of circumstances where I might have felt like he's forgotten my need!

Jess in Nebraska said...

God is great because of the grace he gives me....He does not give me what I truly deserve!

LaVon Baker said...

God is great because HE is God. After the suicide of my husband and 11 years of not being able to or wanting a relationship, God dropped a wonderful Christian man (a preacher, noless) into my lap and healed my heart. God called us into the RV ministry where we travel and minister to folks in RV parks. God is great and good, all the time.

Courtney said...

God is great because He is true to his promises and He is a personal God.

Jody, this post confirmed for me that He was speaking to and through me yesterday. I found your blog through Angie Smith's last year. When I read yesterday's post re-telling your family's tragedy, I said often through tears, "Amen, sister." I then went to my blog at first intending to simply post a link to your testimony. Well, the words came out and how surprised I was to read your blog today and see an almost identical them laid on your heart.

God bless you and your family as you walk this road. Praise God, He is always there with us!

http://makeGodlaugh.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

God is great because He has mercy on us and hears our prayers!

Anonymous said...

God is great because He gave us His Son to die for OUR sins and provide eternal life in Heaven with Him!!

N, Kelly, D, E and Zoe said...

Jody, I couldn't agree more. My sister and brother-in-law lost a son. They went to a grieving group through a local hospital. The one thing they walked away with was that, despite the fact that they will always miss Zeke, they know they will see him again. They know he is with Jesus. It's a sad reality that not many people find that peace, not only through a terrible circumstance like losing a child, but all those other situations.

He truly is a Prince of Peace. He will meet you wherever you are. Faith does take on a whole different meaning, but that's what being Christ-like is. It's not a do and don't list, like you mentioned. It's a hope that can only come from God.

Jody, the more you share your heart, the more God uses you, your family and your blog. Thank you for being so transparent, showing the blessings and the hurt. God is there through all of that.

Kim said...

God is great because even though my husband has a lump on his chest and we are waiting for the results of a biopsy I feel a deep sense of peace inside.
God is great because no matter what the result is I have God to see me through because he knows what we can deal with and is by our side each step of the way.
xxxxx

OP SuZ Q said...

God is great because he is ALWAYS with us and knows our hearts!

Anonymous said...

God is great because He never gives up on us, even though we've given up on Him in the past.

Kuntz Girls said...

God is great because he has healed my broken heart, restored my weary soul, forgiven my disgusting sins, placed hope where I had none, provided freedom from chains of bondage, loved me the unlovely, adored me through my ugliness, been a friend to me when I've felt abandoned, been a father to my father-less daughter, cherished me when I was un-cherishable, provided for me when ends didn't meet, provided mercy when I was undeserving and called me back to Him when I wandered so, so far away. God is great because after everything he was RIGHT THERE with wide open arms, rejoicing when I came "home".

Kyra said...

God is great because He has healed and given purpose.

Debbi said...

God is great because he never leaves us alone.

Anonymous said...

God is great because in my weakness, His power is made perfect!