Thursday, June 18, 2015

When life is hard...

It's been awhile since I posted here and since then some hard stuff has taken place. Last Wednesday, a couple I graduated from college with were in a bad accident while vacationing in Florida. The husband, Ben, was killed along with his 11 year old son and 9 year old daughter. Erin and Kaia (7) will bury their family tomorrow. Then on Friday, Becky, my cousin who used to spend some summer days on our farm and invite us for camping trips, passed away after a short battle with cancer. She leaves behind a husband and 3 children. We celebrated her life on Tuesday, but also spent much time grieving her death.

For the last week, I've been reminded that life is hard and death is final. I've been sad and thinking a lot. I hurt for Jason, Erin and the kids left behind. I can't imagine being in their shoes, and find myself falling apart if my mind goes there. I wonder, "What would I do?"

I type that question now and don't even want to continue writing because honestly I don't want to think about the "what if's?" but four words keep coming to mind - "Remember Who I Am." And friend, I know that is wisdom from God that I need to cling to, perhaps you do too. This simple phrase says so much and is helpful when bad things happen, when I'm tempted to do bad things and when I don't understand.

Friend, when you or I face trouble, and we will...see John 16:33, we must remember who God is. He is our Creator. The other day I was reminded that God did not create death, man's sin caused it. Death, cancer, terrible accidents, these hard things were not a part of God's initial plan.

He is our Father. A Dad who loves us, cares for us and will never leave us. When life is hard, we must run to the One who can hold us, strengthen us and help us.

He is our Healer. It could be easy to argue this with the reality that Becky, a woman who just turned 40 died. Clearly God didn't heal her, but yet in a way He did. Not the way we wanted, but now her pain is forever gone, she is healed. And I trust, in time, for some a long time, He will heal our hearts too.

He is our Provider. Tonight I told my daughter, I could wash her shirt. A simple task that I practically do every day, but as the words came out of my mouth I thought of my cousin's daughter, Lilly. Her mom isn't there to wash her shirt or do the countless other more important tasks a daughter needs her mom to do. That just breaks my heart and makes the tears fall, but even in the midst of sadness I remember Phil. 4:19 - "My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." 

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In the midst of tragedies it seems there is no way to go on, but yet people do. They do the next thing and then the next thing. Survive this moment and the next. Jesus is the Way to heaven and He will show us how to walk the path of life, even when it's an uphill climb. He is Truth and that's something I've needed to remember. When my mind takes over, worry can set in. The other day I listened to a pastor as he shared following another tragic accident and the words I took away were "Fight Fear!" When doubts enters our minds and Satan tells us lies, we must replace them with Truth. Finally, Jesus is the Life. The other night my husband said to me - "Jill, God is the God of the living not the dead." Matthew 22:32 says, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Friend, when we and our loved ones pass from this life, we have the opportunity to live with God forever (as long as we've confessed Him as Lord and Savior) and while we are here on earth, we have His spirit in us and He not only provide eternal life, but abundant life as well.

Friend, I don't know how life is hard for your right now, but I pray we can each remember who God is and if you're hurting, grieving or doubting cry out to Him. Remember who He is and pray and ask God to make those traits visible in your life. Speaking of prayer, would you join me in praying for Erin and Kaia Bartlett and Jason, Dalton, Logan and Lily Snow.

The Bartlett Family


  1. Dear Jill~ I'm so sorry for your loss and I can't image the pain and heartache. Your family and these families have been in my prayers. I keep thinking of the Bible verse "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted". It's hard to have the words to say. I've been battling some fear/anxiety and shortness of breath. It's been comforting to listen to music and also proclaiming God's promises and Bible verses like Psalm 34:4. Here is a song based on Isaiah 41:10 "Do to not be afraid for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will help you, I will strengthen you".
    Song is here. I pray it blesses and comforts all who listen. Just click the arrow to play:

    1. Thank you for your prayers Amber! Thanks also for the verses and the song. God does provide peace that surpasses all understanding. Blessings to you!

  2. Sweet child of God, I have cried while reading your post because I understand the pain you are feeling. Losing someone tragically and suddenly is the worst, yet God is so faithful in His care for us at those times. When I taught at our local high school, I experienced the tragic death of 6 students within 2 years. We were asking what was wrong at our school. ( It seems that I have already told you about them~ this was besides my brother's step daughter). One girl was my student( a 9th grader)when she gave birth to a little boy and she died right after delivery; another of my students and her friend (that same year) were killed in a car accident-her fault; and her boyfriend was one of my favorites; she was pregnant with his baby, which I found out in a letter that the boyfriend wrote to me afterwards. He was a wreck for over a year. They had an alter call at the close of Janet's funeral and so many youth went up. God is always working. Two young students died because of terminal illnesses their entire life. My principal, at the time, asked me to have my room as "a funeral home" where the kids who wanted or needed to just "chill" could come. One of the boy's daddy preached his own son's funeral--you talking testimony!!!! I spoke at the other boy's funeral--hardest thing I had ever done, yet I felt honored to share. One of our football players dropped dead in a science class. That day we had prayer out in our 9th grade hall way for any students who wanted to come and be a part. God blessed me with having Christian co workers. Such grief was felt within our school family for quite a while, and yet we saw God at work in even the darkest hours. You know that God is holding you up during this time and that He will bring glory to His name in some manner as a result of these devastating deaths of such precious people in your life. God has just used you in writing this blog about life being hard, and oh, yes, it is!!! I had just read Jennifer Duke's blog about her dad calling out names of each finisher of a race and how important it was to him that their names be called out. She gave the analogy of how God calls our name at the Finish Line, and He says, "Well done my good and faithful servant." She used Hebrews 12:1-2 with her story.
    Sorry that I've gone on and on, but it's a part of my life that I will never forget-where and when God used me for His glory, and this time when you have lost such special people, He will use you and their special lives for His glory. He will hold you up with His righteous right hand. He has whispered each of their names as He called them home, and now they will have a new name and a new home, and we will see them one day SOON!!! Oh, how I believe it will be soon.
    I am praying for you, Jill, and I promise you that I will pray for the precious ones who are left here on earth to adjust to a life without their loved ones!!! You will have to be such an encourager to them--what your children will learn of God's love and His faithfulness and His grace....!!!!!
    Draw near to Him during your grief,
    Mema Jeanne

    1. Great to hear from you Mema Jeanne, your words bless me and shared stories remind me I'm not alone. Just last week our pastor preached on the idea of fellowshipping in Christ's sufferings...something we never want to do, but yet a part of life. So grateful Jesus walks beside us and the body rallies around us. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Love you, Jill