This season leading up to Easter is a time of grieving, as we study the Beatitudes and look at how sacrifice is part of blessing through our "Seasons of Sacrifice" Extensions home devotional.
Is there a right way to grieve?
Our journey on how to live a Blessed life continues. Clearly, the service and testimony this past weekend from Jereca's life resonated with many and was an encouragement to thousands. The piece she read from Jody Burgin was gold, too. Here is some of it, in case you wanted to hear it again:
THERE'S NO RIGHT WAY TO GRIEVE
Sooner or later, we all experience the cruel blow of losing someone we love. You can't stop death. Like the setting of the sun, it comes, and when it does, never be ashamed of your humanity. Friends, you're not a failure...
- When you prayed for healing more times than you could count, and yet God still doesn't heal him.
- When you want assurance that God is there when you need Him most, but for whatever reason, you doubt He is.
- When the pain of the moment seems to yell, while hope only whispers.
- When you haven't practiced the best self-care because death has consumed you.
- When you're driving down the road and still can't look at the place you last saw your loved one.
- If you don't feel anything right now.
- If you didn't get to say 'I am sorry' and forgive them before they died.
- If all you can think about is that you never got to say goodbye.
- If you're just getting by or you can't do it and you have no idea how you'll go another day.
- If you ate your grief and gained weight.
- If you're angry at the deceased, or you're not grieving the way you think you should be (FYI, there's no right way), if you feel guilty, or you laugh and feel some joy.
- If you haven't done the laundry and there's a pile of dishes in the sink!
- If you're mad, have doubts, or wrestle with God.
When someone you love dies and you hear a voice in your head talking about your biggest failure or mistake, and it isn't calling you "beloved," it isn't God talking.
A season of remembering, sacrificing, grieving
Today, those of us with Catholic backgrounds may have celebrated Ash Wednesday...a day of remembrance and grieving of multiple things. For those of us who are Protestants, here's a good blog/primer on it.
And, our current Extensions program is an 'at-home' option called 'Seasons of Sacrifice.' It not only walks you through the Beatitudes, but also looks at how sacrifice is part of blessing as we enter the Easter season. You can pick up a copy the next time you're on campus or click here to get the digital version.
Whitewater member and friend, Joanie also sent this devotional. Synchs well with our Beatitudes series.
Solve 7: Help people find hope by removing physical barriers to make way for spiritual opportunities.
Find, Feed, Clothe, House, Educate, Rescue, Heal
Solve 7 - Hope in Action
Part of 'weeping with those who weep' is actively engaging in our ongoing Solve 7 - Hope in Action work. Solve 7 is all about removing physical barriers (seven greatest needs of our community and world), to make way for spiritual opportunities. This year, due to safety and an expansion in the philosophy of Solve 7 (living it out all year), we will be engaging in a month of opportunities "to bring hope in Jesus' name" around the tri-state area! So mark your calendars now for July 17 - August 14, 2021. There will be multiple opportunities during those weeks for all ages and stages of serving! These opportunities will be revealed in May/June and, in fact, if there is something you are personally called to do, to remove some barrier, we want to empower you to serve in that way. More details to come. It is our prayer you will join us, as we reach out in some creative, hope-filled ways this summer!
GO Trips in 2021-22
Although we are not certain of the future, we are confident God still wants us to make plans to reach out and bring hope to people in Jesus' name. So, we have planned six trips over the next year. They are designed for anyone who desires to be involved. For more information, next steps, and to sign up, click here! Won't you join us on a trip to help bring hope this year?
See you this Sunday as I give a message on 'Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.' Can't wait to bring it!
FYI - Easter weekend is only six weeks away! Our various teams are already discussing how we can make this year our best one yet, for Jesus!