Review by Rayna: Find the Good

Finding the Good:

Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer

 

Find the Good was written by Heather Lende a long time obituary writer.  I really enjoyed this unusual book.

Re-framing situations and events is a skill taught in coaching.  Re-frame means to look at something in a new perspective.  I was impressed with Heather’s ability to re-frame the tragedies that brought her into these people’s lives at that moment.  Her 30,000 foot view of the person’s life brings such comfort and wisdom.

Find the Good is filled with wonderful stories and golden nuggets of truth.   Heather was asked to write a short essay describing one piece of wisdom to live by.  After spending time thinking about what would important to share she boiled it down to Find the Good.  From this simple concept Heather wrote this book.

After years of interviewing families during one of the most difficult days of their life she developed the knack for finding the good.  Though the end of someone’s life might be tragic for any one of many reasons, she has found the power of discovering how to find the good in their life and share it in a wonderful way.

Some of the chapters included in this book are Stop and Smell the Fish, Draw Lines in the Sand So You Can Move Them, and Listen to Your Mother.  Each chapter has a story of an obituary and ends with the conclusion that brings it down to the title she gave the chapter.

I can’t say I have ever read many obituaries in my life.  And I know I have never read ones written with so much care and desire to honor.  Heather’s unique view of life and death brings great perspective. I hope you enjoy this fun read as much as I did.

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Find Your Purpose for the New Year

I needed this today.

I don’t know about you but all this HAVING TO LIVE EVERY MOMENT ON PURPOSE is STRESSING me out.

As I prayed about it today the Lord assured me to rest in Him and He has got this. He said to be sure to stay close to Him but He is not going to layout what’s happening in 2017.

Kinda scary but also very reassuring. With that my word of the year is going to be Grace! He has enough GRACE for me and He wants me to extend more GRACE to others.

You don't always need a plan....grit&gracelife

2 Peter 1:2

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

I held my children in my womb but never in my arms….

My entire life like most little girls I have always wanted to be a mommy.  I never imagined I would be a mom of 2 precious children I never got to hold, cuddle, kiss or even have to discipline.

After my first marriage ended I was still hopeful I would remarry and have children.  No I would not be the young mom I thought I would be but I never dreamed I would not be a mom someday. Eccl 11:5

Then it happened.  Ron and I had been married over 2 years and I was finally pregnant.  If you have struggled with infertility you know what the monthly rollercoaster ride is like.  I didn’t even bother to take a test until I as a few weeks late.  We were so excited!  I was so sick.

It was an answered to many hours of prayers for sure.

Then it happened.  Just the Friday before our fist doctor’s appointment, I started spotting.  It wasn’t much so I was totally unprepared for the news that Monday.

As the nurse did the ultrasound she told us there were twins.  But the look on her face was not one of joy, rather concern.  Our first baby, Isaac, looked to have stop developing at a little less than 8 weeks.  The second baby, Lillian, was much bigger, at least 10 weeks old but there was no movement.  The doctor came in to confirm neither of them had made it.

I was in shock.  My heart was shattered! How could this be happening?  They were the answer to my prayers!

After losing the twins life went on and I did my best to trust God in this and wait for my chance to be a mom.  The longer time went by and we still were not pregnant the more my heart crumbled.  I had been through tough stuff before and always found God Good but this time I struggled.

How could God give me two babies and never let me hold them, play with them, or even celebrate their life?  It felt cruel not good!  I really struggled getting past it.

Thankfully I had a good friend who lead me to the lap of God and encouraged me to ask Him to understand.  Our father always wants to talk to us and bring healing, we often just don’t know how to ask for it.

That day my Lord helped me to see His eternal perspective.  He had answered my prayer.  I am a mom.  In my mind’s eye and in my heart He showed me my two beautiful children.  They were on his lap laughing and happy.  He reminded me that just because they did not grow up here on earth did not mean they didn’t exist; they just went on ahead.

They are waiting for me in heaven and we will spend eternity together.

That day I started to call them by name, Isaac & Lillian and I embraced motherhood.  Mother’s Day has always been a difficult holiday for me.  Between losing my mom to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis at 16 and the struggle of infertility and now miscarriage I would rather just sleep all day to be honest.

But now I have the vision of my mom, Isaac and Lillian all together in Heaven with my Lord and I praise my Great God for answered prayer.

Of course I would rather have had them live here with me first but I know that God is faithful, loving and good and I trust that eternity will be long enough!

Is there something that you have experienced that doesn’t make sense or goes against the character of God?  Go to Him.  Ask to understand, He will give you clarity around the situation if you ask with an open heart.  People often stay stuck in the whys of hurts when clarity can help you move forward.  Clarity gives us hope.

Being able to ask God what I needed to heal gave me clarity and brought healing I wasn’t even sure was possible.


When has God met you in a place that helped you find clarity?

3 Things I Learned from Abigail’s Extravagant Obedience to God

As a young woman who wanted to love the Lord our God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength I struggled with the concept of submitting to my husband.  Not because I rebelled against submission as some do but rather I struggled with checking my mind, convictions and common sense at the door so to speak in order to submit.

I married while still in college and desired more than anything to join my husband in loving and serving the Lord in our marriage.Matthew 22: 37-9

Sadly, though he did not spend the majority of our 10-year marriage submitting to the Lord.  His selfishness and rebellion made our years together difficult rather than being filled with blessing we experienced trials and struggles.

I tried to be quiet and follow but I bet if you asked him he didn’t see it that way.  I felt the need to express my opinions but always gave in to his leadership in the end.  Our marriage did not survive.

I am remarried and one of the things I spent much time in prayer about before marrying again was submission.  I was thankful the Lord helped me understand His heart for marriage and submission as I sought him.

Just recently I read about Abigail and Nabal.  It was good to have a reminder of those things which God had taught me years ago about a marriage relationship.

3 Things I learned from Abigail’s Extravagant Obedience to God in Numbers 25

  1. Abigail was a woman of great worth apart from her husband….

His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.”

It really stood out to me how valuable Abigail was to be highlighted in the Old Testament.  As a young wife I did not find myself in a relationship that valued me or my thoughts.  I ended up losing myself and forgetting my value.  I became unhealthy in the struggle of caring for my husband.  At one point of brokenness and pain I was poured out my needs to the Lord, He assured me that He loved ME and I was worth DYING for.  I had forgotten that.

  1. Abigail knew God and honored Him even when her husband did not…..

18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.”

As soon as Abigail heard that Nabal had sent David’s men away with insult she jumped into action.  Her drastic response to her husband’s foolishness was eye opening.  In that day and age, she definitely took her life in her hands by honoring David even when Nabal did not.  Her quick action brought a blessing from David instead of the revenge he was on his way to extract on Nabal and all those he was responsible for.

  1. Abigail was blessed in her obedience…..

35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

It can be confusing at times when it appears that scripture contradicts itself.  After all Ephesians 5:22 states clearly “ Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  Obviously, Abigail did not do that.

I think that God is clear, we are to follow the first commandment always and all the others after that.  If we are being asked by our husband, father, boss or anyone to break the first commandment which Christ told us in Matthew 22:37-9 “ Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.   All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” 

I was blessed and encouraged by the reminder of Abigail and her actions in Numbers.  I don’t spend a lot of time looking back to find things I would change or regrets in my life rather I look to learn and do better today.

In my marriage today I am thankfully I have not had the struggles of submitting to my husband in areas that I know are not God’s will for us.  But even as I read of Abigail I am encouraged to Love my Lord and my Husband well!


What are your thoughts about Abigail’s actions?  Have you ever experienced a time when you had to follow the first commandment rather than submit to someone in authority?

No Way, I Can’t Do That

Isa 40 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (1)As a freshman in high school one of the things I looked forward to most was playing volleyball. I had watched my sister play in Jr. High and fell in love with the game. I played basketball and softball and loved sports but playing at the high school level was a whole different ballgame.

Volleyball is a fall sport where I grew up so that means before school started for 2 weeks we had practice twice a day, two and a half hours each time. I loved morning practices, we actually got to touch the volleyball, we learned basics, we drilled skills, plays and learned to play as a team.

The second two and a half hours of the day was in the heat of the afternoon and it was nothing but conditioning. We didn’t see a ball the entire afternoon. We ran stairs, we did sit ups and push-ups, we jumped rope and we even did Jane Fonda’s workout. The true torture was the sprints!

Coach Schuler became one of the people whose influence significantly impacted my life. She was the person in charge of our afternoon conditioning. She knew how to push and motivate me beyond anything I could imagine I was capable of.

She ran us so hard there were people that were throwing up. Even that was not a reason to quit, they had to be back to the line by the next set of sprints ready to start or we all had to run more. She timed us every day and challenged us to run faster than we did the day before.

There were many times that I thought there is no way I can keep going. Coach would say hit the line, ready set go and I would do it.

By spending time under Schuler, I learned that I really didn’t know the limits of my physical body. She knew I could do more than I ever dreamed I could.

Learning to understand that I am capable of so much more than I think I am has made a big impact in my life!

I didn’t think I could handle the heartache of having my mom diagnosed with terminal illness(Alzheimer’s Disease) when I was 16. I didn’t think I could handle my marriage coming to an end. I often think I can’t handle watching my dad struggling with Alzheimer’s today.

But I have found that God knows what I can handle even when I think I can’t!

Trusting Schuler to push me physically beyond what my brain thought I could do helped to build a foundation of understanding that I do not know my limits.  Not to mention I can trust God to push me beyond where I think I can go. Because He knows me even more than Coach did. He created me.

When I am trusting Him I know I can do all things! I trust Him and I praise Him, even in the middle of times where I don’t think there’s any way I can do what he’s asking me to do.

Have you experienced a time where you were able to do more than you ever thought you could? How has that helped to grow your Faith in the Lord?