Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gentle Reminders

As we all know...a year is coming up.  Ryan and I both found ourselves being short-tempered, edgy, and just in a "down" type of mood.  I don't think either of us realized what was "causing" this change in us, until someone close to us, told us of her and her husbands experience with their own son's birthday, short life, and heartbreaking passing.  I started looking to others for encouragement, turning less and less to where I needed to actually turn, and I could feel myself putting up the walls around my heart.  By doing this I wouldn't let anything kind out of it, or in it.  I felt my hope escaping and not having the will or desire to look to where I needed to to replenish it.  I messaged my pastor one night, in hopes that there were some "magic words" to get me back on track, some magic scripture, something...anything.  He responded with Psalm 139: 1-18.  This same passage is in Justin's Jesus twice, and when I first read his response, I thought, "this one?  But I know this one!" But went to the Bible anyway and reread the verse I had read so many times before.  Thinking that I knew it like the back of my hand; it was the same one said at Justin's funeral, the same one given to me by my sister, the same one read at his grave, I knew this verse right? It's funny how the Holy Spirit works though.  Even though, yes I knew this verse, it wasn't a "new" one to me, it still seems to take on a whole new meaning each time I read it.  Even though it was one I am so familiar with, it still took on a power of it's own, and it was a nice little gentle reminder, that God knows. He knew before, He knew then, He knows now.  He knew what was going to happen, how He would carry us, how we would feel, and what His peace can do for heartbroken souls and how only in His power can we achieve that supernatural peace.  It was a nice lesson to learn.  Never underestimate the power of His Word, and always allow the Holy Spirit to show you knew meaning to already "known" passages. 

That same week at bible study, Beth Moore, talked about hope and hopelessness; what it is, what it does.  She went on to say that when our soul is sick we are going through a season of hopelessness.  And that hope is encouragement....(wait wasn't that what I was looking for??? An encouraging word...a magic word! Once again, don't I know where to find that hope?) I do and always have known where to find hope, just sometimes it takes a little more effort to allow God to work in you, through you, and just receive what He offers.  I wasn't willing to try to receive, and the walls were becoming larger and harder for me to tear down.  Beth Moore also explained that hope is when you fully expect Jesus to show himself in any and all situations.  I know the peace He provides, I have felt the hope He has given, I have seen what He can do, and felt the power of His love, but some how was still turning away from it without even realizing it.  I was worried about a year coming up, how it would hit us, how we would feel, how we all were going to react for those three months this year.  Those same three months that were great last year...what were they going to bring this year, pain and heartbreak, and I "forgot" to just let go and let God.  I "forgot" that God will take care of us, just like He did then, I "forgot" to just rely on and expect Him to do what only He does...I lost hope and didn't even know it! "We are tossed and tumbled souls, that are anchored by God and everyone of his promises will be kept!"  He will provide when need it, He will be with us from May-August, just as He is with us always.  Thank you Beth Moore for those words of encouragement, for opening my eyes.  Once again another very gentle reminder, that everything will be okay!

That same week, (obviously God knew me..(Psalm 139)....and knew I would need quite a few reminders during this time) a lady knocked on our front door.  We were not expecting company, and we don't have a lot of company. (I am not complaining I get nervous when there is a knock on the door, and look around to see how messy our house is at that particular time, and wonder if I will be embarassed to have this person come in) :) It was a lady from down the street, that I had never met before.  Her very sweet husband brings our dog, Duke, back to us about once a week when the boys leave the gate open and he wanders over to their house to play with their shih-tzu's.  I have met him, he is a very nice man, and talks with Ryan often on his weekly Duke returns.  During one of Ryan's conversations with this man he learned that this man and his wife tragically lost their son in a car accident at the end of last year, and they talked about a father's heartbreak, and Ryan gave him a copy of Justin's Jesus.  His wife had come over to tell me that she had read it and talk about our children in Heaven, God's plan and purpose, keeping things in perspective and just a nice chat.  Thank you Lord once again for those gracious hearts!!

Then....yes like I said I was obviously in desperate need of some God attention, and He provided!! We were at the grocery store, the boys were being CRAZY!!! Riley had already knocked the cart over on himself, Jacob...well....let's just say you can now definitely tell he is living his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, 3's...and on top of it has that red hair, that we always tell people goes straight to his soul; I also only had 5 things on my list and now had a cart full...I will never understand how that happens! :) Anyways, as I was looking at something, (that was not on my list) I heard someone say, "Are you Mary?" and looked around thinking there must be another Mary in the store. But there wasn't and this woman was talking to me.  She told me she recognized me from seeing Riley and his picture.  She also had read Justin's Jesus and we talked a little bit about her own personal experiences and loss. That was a really cool experience.

Thank you Lord, for all of these gentle reminders.  For healing my "sick" soul, and providing hope to my hopeless soul.  Once again, I am still learning, every day, and I falter often.  I am so thankful for a Lord that "knows" He knows my heart, He knows my needs, and He provides in a way that only He can.    As I was picking Riley up from school today, a song came on the radio, that I feel very fitting for this season in our lives, I know I have heard it many times before, but didn't pay attention to the words until just today. The first verse and chorus say this:

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right


There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus
Thank you Lord for allowing us to cry out to you in any and all situations and for knowing just the right way to heal our sick souls, pick us up, and get us back on track!  Please remember that He will meet you whereever you are.  That your pain is not too big for Him, and you can never fall off track enough that He can't reach you.  Cry out to Jesus! He will find you, comfort you, and provide you with a hope that surpasses all understanding.  God Bless all of you who are hurting, discouraged, and just need an encouraging word.  May God be with you and place a certain peace in your heart that only He can provide.  He will meet you right where you are, where ever you are. 

Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears

Psalm 139: 1-18 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.