Suffering

I looked up from whichever distraction I had chosen to occupy my mind on that nine hour journey south. The blue SUV to the right was edging into our lane, inches from knocking us into the concrete median. My renaissance man swerved to avoid the inevitable crash, yet at 70 miles per hour that sharp jolt of the wheel was all it took for us to unwillingly surrender control. This car, which within it held everything I loved most in the world, my heart made up of three beautiful children and a faithful friend, rocked back and forth, in and out of lanes, dodging passing cars, and guardrails. My love tried to regain control, but simply could not. We spun 180 degrees as we crossed three lanes. Facing the on-ramp where I was certain we’d meet our last breath, I heard him cry out, “Jesus, please.”

highwayWithin moments, the car landed on the opposite edge of the highway, out of the way of oncoming cars and inches from the guardrail.
It was as if it had been placed there.
It was as if for that one moment, as eternal as it felt, all of the traffic that had occupied the highway had been cleared out of our way.
It was as if someone knew for that short stretch of time we would need three lanes of room to remain unscathed, when for up until that point the road had only been made up of two.
It was as if I was meant to look up.
It was as if we were meant to survive.

To experience it, but to survive it.familytn

I realize that it is not always the case. Sometimes we are left to survive when others are not. I know that feeling too, do you?

Deep breaths. Gratitude. No words, just tears. Streams of gratitude.
It was as if God was watching over us in that moment, but the truth, He always is.

The cancer-free diagnosis, the heart attack survived, the sick child fully healed, the accident avoided, the marriage saved. Sometimes in moments like these we see more clearly his hand and it’s easier to trust his heart. But how many times have we been inches away from hitting a concrete wall? Protected, shielded, guided away from inevitable brokenness and led to a place of safety.

Psalm 91-4

I don’t just mean dodging painful experiences, but walking through them covered by the presence of God, awakened by the power of his Word—a deep well of promises that pain often brings to life, and comforted by those who love the Lord and bring light when we are fighting the darkness.

Had we all not made it out of that terrifying near-accident, could I still be filled with gratitude? Could my heart still be content? My faith unshaken? Is my treasure stored up in these earthly gifts or in the Creator of each?

It is possible to be in a place where we are as thankful for the walls we hit as for the ones we miss, when we see that experiencing pain is not God sweeping us away, but rather a call to draw us near. God uses each experience to grow us, shape us, form us and teach us more about his unfailing love.
For in this fallen world we will have trouble, but we can take heart that this is not our eternal home.
We can be content no matter what the circumstance, because He is in control.
We can survive suffering on this earth, because He suffered on our behalf. 

And his suffering brought Life, eternal life, so that our suffering could be but momentary. Free of fear and worry. Resting in the full assurance that ‘it is well, it is well,” with our soul.

xo,
Tamara

       

Reflection
Worship:
 I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! Psalm 42– The Sing Team

Other posts you may enjoy: Puddles , Kiki , Free

© Tamara Gurley 2015

A Song & A Kiss

I was in a deep sleep. A sweet sleep, but not deep enough to block out the cries of my little boy. Those types of deep sleeps no longer exist in my world. I crawl out from under the warmth of the covers, fumbling to find the floor, my wool lined slippers and something to drape over my shivering arms. As I reach the bottom of the curved staircase, I hear his whimpers even louder, “mama, “ he mumbles through fits of small tears. It’s always harder to reach the top of those stairs at 3 in the morning, but where else would my feet lead me when my son is calling my name? I enter his dark room, we’d forgotten to turn the night light on, and crawl into his full-size bed. Every time I find myself here, I dread the day when he fills it to full.

“What’s wrong sweet love?” I whisper in his ear.
“Mama,” he sighs “I need a song and a kiss.”

A song and a kiss.

Here my son lay belly full from that night’s dinner, warm under the thick blankets, head on a feather pillow, in a room filled with childhood wonders. Every physical need is met, but he is crying out for song and a kiss. His soul is hungry. His heart is crying out to be held. So I do what he requests. I sing a song, letting the lyrics wrap around him as if they were my arms and pray they nourish his sweet spirit. I kiss his forehead, hold him close and ask if there is anything else he needs.

“A little light, mama,” he mumbles as his lids fall heavy to rest, “just a little light.”

Josiah Sleeping

night light

Crack in the door

I switch on his night light, crack the door and ponder all of the times I’ve been hungry for all of those same things—A song and a kiss, and just a little light.

“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

When we are still before the lord and allow him to sing his love over us, he calms all of our fears. His presence is like a holy kiss, filling us with His sweet and sustaining life–offering light in the midst of the darkness. We just have to cry out like a child in the night. He promises to hear the cries of his children and answer them, to meet us right where we are and nourish us spirit and soul.

Zepheniah 3-17Are you in that dark room right now? Have you been there before?
Physical needs perhaps met, but emotionally and spiritually broken?
Cry out to your creator for a song and a kiss and his light will come. Like a mama crawling her way to the top of the stairs, it will always come because He will always come. And He is always there.
xo,
Tamara

       

Reflection
Worship:
 I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! Wasteland– Need to Breathe

© Tamara Gurley 2015

#waterforyourweek

Distrust, worry, fear, anxiety–these emotions have always been too close a friend of mine. But God you see beyond each situation and you help your children see, too. Not always the answer to the specific trial we’re facing, but the greater ultimate hope which is You & You alone. We have the great privilege of seeing You in the sheer awe and wonder of Your marvelous creation, in answered prayers, and each breath formed in our lungs. We can see You in the comfort You provided in our darkest days or the provision you rained down when we needed it most…
For all we’ve seen, let us trust you for all we have not yet. #waterforyourweek #quenchmysoul

lslw image

xo,
Tamara

       
© Tamara Gurley 2014

Dust

Sitting with tears in my eyes, head hung low amongst remnants of a toddler spaghetti fight that broke out during lunch leaving crimson stains across my walls and eat space cushions. It was one of those days. One of those hard days where you can’t see past the ugly to find the beautiful. God brought my eyes up, off the mess, calling my gaze to His Creation. It was here I peered into the beauty, the sea of lush green flowing through my wooded yard. Birds flitting amongst the trees, squirrels running free, all in search of something to nourish the hunger in their bellies. And I was there, too. Empty, needing filled. I thanked God for the beauty; the way I am learning to enter his presence—“with thanksgiving in my heart…with praise.” psalm 100:4. Just then, a piece of dust glided past that large picture window falling slowly with the day’s gentle breeze. The Lord whispered to my heart, reminding me that all of life was born out of dust. The Lord breathes into the dust and it rises and it lives. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust—so many of our days feel void of life. So much of this world so broken. But God promises to make beauty out of ashes and breathe life into dust, He is the author and sustainer of every moment of our days. I simply need to have a heart that is willing to be still, look up, and see. I have to partake of His Word and remain in His presence. It is in this surrendered place that he breathes into my day, shows me the beauty in the ashes, the life in the dust.

These lyrics were inspired from that brief moment on that beautiful, dusty day.

Dust & Ashes

We cry ashes to ashes
We cry dust to dust
From dust we were born, to dust we will returndust

But You make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

When I am broken into pieces
It is your holy arms that pick me up
You heal the open wounds of sorrow with your Word
When I am overwhelmed with the silence
Or overcome by the noise
You whisper sweetly to my soul…

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
From dust we were born, to dust we will return
But You make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

We are surrounded by the ashes, surrounded by the dust
So many days lived void of life
Dying, hurting, weeping, crying
But from the dust we rise
From the dust we live eternal
From the dust we cry…

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
From dust we were born and to dust we will return
But you make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

You give gladness for sorrow
You turn weeping into joy
You are the author and sustainer of my days

So I thank you for the ashes
I thank you for the dust
Without them I would never know Your greatness
I would never know Your grace
© Tamara Gurley 2014

xo,
Tamara

       
Reflection
Worship
I love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen & Enjoy! Wasteland- Need to Breathe

GratitudeGive thanks—  “I will enter his gates with thanksgiving; I will enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name”. Psalm 100:4. 

Grow: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soulGenesis 2:7. “And out of the ground, God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky” Genesis 2:19a. How does the knowledge that God initially brought up all of creation out of the dust, breathed life into your being and promises to continue to do so, affect the way you face the hard, dark, and weary days? 

Give: Jesus came “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 Who can you share this message of hope with today?

Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.