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Have you had a devastating event happen in your family? Did you question God? Did you doubt He was aware or cared about what happened?

I'm glad to say that God prepared me for one of those devastations, but it came as a response to me saying something very risky to God: "I don't care what it takes. Just make me into the person You want me to be." Many are fearful, believing God will cause someone's death to take place if they give Him Carte Blanche. But, I can reassure you that God, your loving heavenly Father, intends only good for you. Remember, "He works all things for good..." If tragedy strikes, it would have happened anyway, not just because we gave God permission to control our future.

Yes, in my situation, a death did occur. But that happened 18 years later. It's what God did in the interim that caused me to trust Him in new and exciting ways. He taught me unconditional love. He helped me see myself with new eyes. He took away my pride and judgmentalism, then stripped me of self-pity and unforgiveness. He filled me with joy during a time when I didn't have enough money to pay the rent and suffered daily with back pain.

Did God make me into the person He wanted me to be? You betcha!! But ... He's not through. I still learn that His mercies are new every morning, that I'll keep learning to be like Jesus every day of my life.

Rather than take paragraphs more to tell you my whole story, I'd be interested in hearing your story - what event hurt your family terribly and how you dealt with it.

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Comment by Ginger Haan on June 29, 2009 at 12:59pm
What a sad situation, Lisa; thanks for sharing. I'm sure no one feels the pain like the little boy's parents. There's a huge hole in their hearts. Continue to hold them up in prayer and that in turn will bring comfort to your own heart. Something about sharing another person's grief lessens our own. Heaven is more real to the person who has a loved one awaiting him/her there. I pray the parents will be drawn closer to the Lord through this experience and at some point can reach other to other hurting parents who, in the future, will lose a child. II Corinthians 1 says we should comfott others the way the Holy Spirit has comforted us.
Comment by Lisa on June 27, 2009 at 9:22am
We had a student run over by a school bus in front of our school. He was 6 vibrant and active, alll boy. It seems so unfair and unjust. The tried many times to revive him and were unable to do so. The damage to his body was just too great. It seems so unfair, and useless causing great hurt to teachers, fellow students in all grades, and his family. Yet he had told his teacher only a week earlier that he had Jesus in his heart. The Chritian artist's song regarding Cinderella finally helped put it into perspective for me. After the trajic death of his 5 year old daughter he changed the final verse to talk of meeting her again in heaven. Someday, no matter how useless his death seems now, many of us will be able to meet this student again. He didn't get to grow up and do the things we expect our children to do. Then again he got to miss much of the pain of this world and is spending his time in the safest of all places worshipping with Jesus and the Father.
The bus driver was found to be at fault. Many are surprised when we say the relatively light sentence was enough. However we know that this person did not set out that day to kill a student. They have to live daily with a pain that is even greater than our own. That in itself is a difficult sentence to bear. Val I understand your familie's hurt and resentment of the unjust sentence especially when the fellow already had a history. Remember though that he also has to live with the hurt of this thing.
I find myself simply trusting that as it says in His Word somehow, some way, God is working the death of this student for good. I have to trust because frankly I can't see the good in this. Years later it still hurts.
Comment by Rambling Rose on May 31, 2009 at 12:27pm
I think of the weed that grows up through the cement without being watered or receiving the proper nutrients. It survives through its own will and determination with the ultimate gardener as a guide. Each adversity brings strength, not weakness to the little weed that survives. The weak die, but the strong grows stronger.
Don't give up. Carrie Tannebaum in a book called "The Hiding Place" describes her sister who had great faith. The sister said, "Everything can be a blessing from God." Carrie asks, "Even the fleas?"
Referring to the fleas that plagued them in their concentration camp cell. "Yes" her sister answers.
(They had been arrested for hiding Jews in their house in Amsterdam).
Later, when a guard was going to inspect the cell, it was the threat of the fleas that stopped her from going in. The sisters had hidden pages from a Bible in the cell, and it was not discovered because of the fleas.

Later, the sister dies, leaving Carrie devastated. But we look at death as being the ultimate loss. Her sister had completed her destiny and was being released from the pain. Carrie had to continue on alone....without her sister.

By dying after giving birth to my 4th child, I learned that death is beautiful. My heart stopped beating because I had been in labor for more than 24 hours. I started floating up toward the ceiling with the most peaceful, warm and comforting feeling ----can't describe it adequately because there is nothing in life to compare it to----but it was an encompassing feeling of intense LOVE. I wanted it and didn't like the nurses hovering around me....they worked on me to get my heart going again so I came back. At the time I wanted to stay with that feeling but I had work to do on earth. I was able to raise my children and continue on with my life....stronger and unafraid. Now, with the world going weird, I have total confidence that all is well. Our Father is in control and He will lead us to do what needs to be done to fulfull His will. It's an exciting time to be alive and I'm willing to be strong....like that weed. I have the will to do His will. Let's give Him our hearts and rejoice!
Comment by Val on March 30, 2009 at 7:12pm
Thank you, Anthony, for your kind words. God has been kind. He gave me a wonderful childhood amidst a huge loving family. I have many wonderful friends and I have a whole lifetime of beautiful memories. And, most important of all, now I have His love...something I have gone through my life knowing about, but never really putting forth the effort to really earn that love and to return that love to Him. Thank you, God, for opening up my heart and for never giving up on me! Amen!
Comment by F. Anthony DelGrosso, Jr. on March 30, 2009 at 10:13am
Praise God, Val, for the tender mercies and the graces of God. Otherwise we could not live and overcome these horrific experiences. May the healing that you receive from Jesus be an overwhelming source of hope for others who are suffering immense pain in their hearts. Bless you for pursuing Jesus in the midst of your hardships and tribulations. God is immensely glorified in such sojourning.

Regards................Anthony DelGrosso
Comment by Val on March 29, 2009 at 10:01pm
I was 13 when I experienced my first devastation. My 12 year old brother was shot and killed in an "accident". He was in the company of some older teenagers that were playing chicken with live ammunition in a local field and was on his way home when one of the boys thought that it would be funny to scare him by shooting his way. Unfortunately, his aim was off and it hit my brother in the neck and killed him instantly. This was my first experience with devastation and almost 39 years later, it still feels as if it was yesterday. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a large extended family on the street that I still live on. All of my cousins lived on this street and we had a wonderful childhood. The day my brother was killed, many of our lives turned a corner. The loss of my brother caused so muchheartache and pain in some members of my family that they never recovered. My brother Andy was a favorite of everyone. He was just that type of kid...happy go lucky...always had a grin on his face....just a joy to be around. My paternal grandfather lost his will to live. He was a little Greek fisherman who adored his grandchildren and I can remember as young children he would chase us around the kitchen table and when he caught us he would tickle our feet. After Andy died, Papou was a lost soul. It wasn't many years later that he died from complications from diabetes. My maternal grandfather went off the deep end too. He sat through the whole trial only to have the outcome be like a kick in the teeth. The young man that shot my brother was on probation when he did it. He got extended probation and his gun was taken away. A few weeks later he was put in jail for stealing cassettes from a local store. Grampa always blamed himself for Andy's death because he was going to take him fishing that day but it was too windy so he didn't want to be out in the boat. My poor mother, she fell into a bottle of Valium and she has never been the same since. My two grandmothers....I know they suffered horrible heartache, but they were very strong about it and tried to keep the families together. I saw and felt things that day that when I think of them to this day, I get the same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and the fear in my heart. I had an aunt that was real salt of the earth. She was a very strong, stoic woman who nobody messed with! But she had a heart of gold and had a big family and still took in foster children all of our childhood years. When I learned my brother had died, I went running to her house because she was always a rock and I knew that I would get there and she would tell me it wasn't true and would fix it all. When I walked into her house she was standing there wailing into her apron. My world came crashing down. The one person that could fix it all for me and comfort me was in such a state as I had never seen and never have to this day. I could go on for ever with the story of my life, but I will give you the shorter version of it. At Andy's funeral, they played Amazing Grace and I still can't listen to that hymn without crying and going back to that day. After Andy died, we all managed to go on with our lives, but there was a huge void. We went on and grew older and sort of put it all behind us. Over the years, I have lost several other close members of my family from ages of infancy to the expected elderly grandparents, aunts , uncles, and all friends in between. We have been hit with childhood cancer, suicide, car accidents, drownings, swimming accidents causing paralysis, and adult illnesses. Each time has been tragic and we always found ourselves wondering what we could have done to prevent it....if only we had seen it coming...or living with regrets of things left unsaid. But, as always, we would pick up and go on with our lives. Throughout the years, I have wandered through life seemingly unaffected by all the tragedies, with the people I have lost in my life feeling like just a distant memory. It has only been recently, in my quest to discover God and His true love, that I have begun to remember what it actually felt like to be around them...to remember how they felt when you hugged them, to remember their voices, and just the little things that made them all unique. I have put everyone I ever loved and lost up on this little shelf in my mind and tucked them away like an old sweater....not wanting to get rid of it, yet not being able to really remember if they were really once a part of my life or just part of a dream. God has given me a tremendous gift ! He has made them all real to me once again. I can now look at pictures and really feel their presence almost like they were never gone. He has opened up my heart with the knowledge that all of these people dear to me really were a part of my life and they will be again. My grandfather taught me at an early age, never say "goodbye"....say..."I'll see you later". God has let me say "I'll see you all later" to my loved ones and I truly know that I will! Thank you Dear God!

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