Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Live and Laugh With Jesus" Blogger Jiwan Dahli

Jiwan Dahli, Teen Writer After God's Own Heart

Today, I have as my guest, Jiwan Dhali, who is an older teen who writes for teens.

This young lady is a walking dynamite. A writer after God's own heart! I've been following her blog site Live and Laugh With Jesus for a year now. I'm so impressed with Jiwan's heart for Jesus that I introduced myself to her. We are now friends, who support each others writing projects. We cheer each other on, as good friends should.

Besides, I have a soft heart for young people, especially those who want to make a difference as Jiwan does.

Without further ado, here's an opportunity to read more on Jiwan's blog after her beginning post. Take it away, Jiwan!

When you're a Christian and you're waiting for Christ to do something in your life it can seem like those who are not so strict with their love lives … well they actually have a love life. So we clench our fists and say what about me God?! What about me, why does the secular world have a better love story than me?!

Well if this is you darling, I have some cool news for you. Read more

Monday, February 25, 2013

Psalm 30:5/I Commit My Spirit

Joshua with mitt, ready to get the kid out on first base

Good afternoon, dear readers,

The Psalmist writes:
"Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth."

Does this sound familiar? According to my Bible references, Jesus said this before He took his last breath on the cross, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." Luke 23:46.

Was the Psalmist foretelling what our Lord Jesus would say? I believe so.

Even Stephen, the first Christian martyr of the Bible, said this, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Dear readers, could we then say this at our last breath?

Will we have lived a life that allows us to say with confidence this very thing before we pass over? I hope so.

No matter what the loss, whether death, financial, friendship, relative, health, we must reach out to the only one true God who can carry us through any trial ever imagined.

Does this mean we must be stoic and brave through it all? I think not. God wants us to need Him. He requires it, actually. I became so broken after my son died by suicide, I questioned my identity. That was a good thing.

Really? you may ask.

God allows testing to those whom He loves. We have to suffer in order to be like pliable clay in Lord God's hands. Am I being soft clay today? Or am I prideful, instead? How about you?

The last part of the Psalm verse concludes: "thou hast redeemed me." Once we've given our prideful selves over to God and we can say at the end, I commit my spirit, then God redeems/frees us and we go to live with Him forever in Heaven.

Isn't this a better way to live than what the world offers?

Holy Father, thank You for buying us with the death of Jesus our Savior from an eternal life of suffering. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . let us study God's Word and learn how.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Psalm 30:11/Girded Me With Gladness

Granddaughter, Carley, basking in the light

Good morning, dear readers,

The Psalmist says:

"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness."

Is this possible, you may be wondering. Yes, even if at the moment you've forgotten how to smile or to feel lighthearted. Whether it's loss of loved ones, or other types of losses, you aren't able to stir up feelings of gladness.

There is a time for every season.This season will lessen in time. Trust in God, dear readers, and know His Spirit watches over you. He knows how much you can endure. I tried to remember this, but too often I failed. I didn't recognize who I was anymore, and I understood God does not lie.

In the early years after my son died by suicide, I wondered daily how I could take another step in such agony. I felt myself disappearing. I imagined my face far older than my years. I knew my heart would hardened so that no one would recognized me anymore.

These things did not happen, though. Oh, sure, I aged from my loss of Joshua, but my heart is more giving today, than it was ten years ago. God made that possible by holding my hand through the toughest years of my life.

So, you see, God did turn my mourning into dancing ( I've danced with my teenage granddaughters and laughed so hard tears flowed). He threw off my heavy coat of deep sorrow and wrapped me in His glad joy.

What about you, dear readers? Please let me know how you are doing.

Dear Father, thank You for Your tender care through my early grieving years. Thank You, for sending friends and even strangers to lighten my sorrow load. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . hold God's hand.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vanessa, Mother of Sean, Shares Her Story

Photo by Jean Ann Williams

I have as my guest Vanessa, mother of Sean. Sean died by suicide on April 26, 2006.

Vanessa, thank you for your willingness to speak about your loss. I especially like the quote below your e-mail signature, "Remember Laughter". You mentioned to me in your e-mail, that we mothers who’ve lost children are eager to talk about them. This is so true.

I have a few questions for Vanessa, and she has some answers she hopes may help other mothers of suicide.

Vanessa, tell us a little about Sean. What was he like as a young child?

Sean was very shy as a little boy. He was happiest playing with his toys and his big brother at home. 

What was Sean like as a teenager?

In his teen years, he was a risk taker, engaging in individual sports rather than team sports. He excelled at Rollerblading, surfing and skateboarding. 

Sean never enjoyed school and struggled through barely. He was artistic and musical; playing guitar and he also built a guitar at the age of 16. He also sculpted a 3D guitar out of construction paper that we have in a shadow box. It was in art exhibits all through SC.

Sean had many interests and was indeed a talented artist. Would you share a little about when he started to have difficulties?

Sean suffered with depression at the age of 20 and took his life at 21. He lived at home with us at the time of his death. We had taken him to counseling, Psychiatrists, and he admitted himself at a Psych Unit of a major hospital in the state. Sean wanted to feel better but his impatience was one of his biggest challenges in life. 

This is heartbreaking, Vanessa. Do you sometimes feel isolated from those around you, because of the death of your son?

I used to in the beginning of this journey but now I don’t anymore. I have educated those around me about suicide prevention, awareness and mental health issues. 

How would you like people to respond to you when they find out Sean died by suicide?

I would like people to give me a hug and tell me you care.

What have you done to help yourself since the death of Sean?

I have been to counselors, and my minister has given my husband and me spiritual guidance that we desperately needed. He has been there every step of the way for us. I Chair our local Out of the Darkness Walk and currently serve as the AFSP-SC Chapter Board Chair. It helps me to help others, and serving on this Board will hopefully make a difference in many lives. 

You sound aware of your grief journey and have made wise choices. God does indeed send the right people to help us through our grief journey. I am grateful that God has helped me, also, Vanessa. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers that may help them in their grief journey? Or something they could say or do to help a friend who has lost a child to suicide?

Grieving has no time frame. It is important to take care of yourself and take it one day at a time. Please don’t compare your grief to someone else’s. Each of our children were unique, our relationships were unique and so our journeys are also unique. Something I appreciated when I lost Sean was when a friend walked with me and listened to me talk about Sean. Let your friend cry if they want to. They need support from friends and family. Be there for them.

Your words are wise, Vanessa. Thank you for being transparent about your loss of your son Sean. I'm sure what you’ve shared today will help others who've lost children to suicide or knows someone who has.

One more thing from Vanessa: The Bible verse that meant the most to me during this journey is this one. "If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there your hand will lead me. And your right hand will lay hold of me." Psalm 139: 9, 10

God bless you, Vanessa, and thank you.

Until next time, dear readers . . . be brave and help someone in need.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Psalm 30:2/Thou Hast Healed Me

Flowers from Jean's front yard

Good morning, dear readers,

The Psalmist writes:

"Oh Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me."

I can't say this enough that God hears our cries. When He hears our cries, we feel relief He is listening, and we grow in faith at that moment. Our true, spiritual faith always comes from Lord God. That is the kind of healing that counts the most.

We can muster up a faith that is from us, but it would work against us in extreme trials. That kind of faith comes from our own strength. And honesty, it's our idol.

Like the kind of faith I still had harboring within me after Joshua died by suicide. I had God's faith, but I also harboured some of my own faith and when I could not stand under the weight of sorrow another moment, I snapped like a dry twig. I could no longer walk around with MY faith. I came to the end of myself and allowed God to strip that idol from me. His strength and His faith began to fill in the gaps in my spirit.

For me, life on this earth does not get any richer than this, dear readers.

Oh, sure, we have trials. We suffer. Our bodies become ill or damaged, and we have to truck around a body that doesn't work as good anymore. This is normal life on earth. Even Apostle Paul had, a thorn in the flesh, as he worded it (2 Corinthians 12:7).

What is your thorn in the flesh?

My thorn in the flesh is missing my child. You know that hole you get in your heart that was once filled by someone who used to live here. I have other problems directly related to the loss of my son, but those are tiny in comparison to missing Joshua's hug. Or hearing him speak. Seeing him smile and hearing his laugh. I would love to watch Joshua playing baseball again or standing on the ocean waves with a surf board underneath his feet.

Back to faith, what is in our hearts and drives our spirits will either bring us holy joy or hatred. What will you choose, dear reader? It takes habit, but you and I can change and keep on changing in order to bless Lord God and give Him due honor and glory.

First, though, me must accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and all that follows.

Father, bring others to come alongside us and help us grow in Your Kingdom. We love You. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . Seek first the Kingdom of God. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Psalm 29:11/Bless His People With Peace

Klamath River near Happy Camp in Northern California

Dear readers,

King David writes:

"The Lord will give strength unto this people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."

The Lord can give us His strength and then bless us with His peace, not the world's strength or peace. What is our part in this? Become His people.

It is that simple, but pride gets in our way time and again, and we hold back. We say, "I don't need God. He made me with a brain. I can do this."

Yes, God indeed gave us a brain. He gave us a wonderful vehicle of a body to move around in. What happens though, when these are taken from us to some degree? What happens when we lose a child, even the loss of suicide? We lose our courage for a time and are forever changed.

This is when God can do His best work. He will give us His strength, and then His peace comes.

Look at the last part of the sentence: bless his people.

Dear readers, we have to be His people for any of the blessings to begin.

I believe with all my heart, and scripture backs this up (read the gospel of John) that the only reason why God never left me when my son died by suicide, is because I already accepted Him and became His child. I had given myself to Him in my heart and was baptized to wash away my sins. That act happened forty years ago.

And even though I had this relationship with God already in place, I almost didn't make it. So, you see, we need the Lord. We never know when tragedy will hit and tear apart what we once knew as "normal life" with its normal ups and downs.

Open your arms and embrace our Lord. He loves us so much, more than we can imagine.

Dear Father, please help us to learn more about You. Give us Your strength and Your peace. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . Receive Christ and live.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Psalm 26:7/Thy Wondrous Works

Jean, her sons Jason and Joshua, and her grandfather Papa with new wife

Good morning, dear readers,

King David says:

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works."

I'd like to invite my dear readers to follow King David's lead in blessing the Lord. I'll begin.

Jean Ann says:
God is faithful, and so I am still here. I long to spread the good news of Jesus. Even though I lost a son to suicide, I can with honesty say, God is Good! I feel sorrow over my son. Yes. Some days are plain harsh, but I am joyful in the Lord. I announce this because He sent His Son to die for our sins and that allows us everlasting life in Heaven. 

Now, I'd like others to jump in and share with me on today's post. If you can't get your story in today, we'll extend this for as long as necessary so that you can be heard. I'll be sure to make a spot for anyone who wants to Bless the Lord.

Why am I doing this? Folks long to know how God has blessed you in the worst of times. People need to read, hear and see the joy God has given to us, even in our darkest hours. So, please jump in and share.

Go to the comments section below this post and write your story. I'll copy it into this post or on another day's post if I see it later than sooner. Or, you may email me at

Let's publish! With a voice of thanksgiving, share your joy in serving a wonderful and holy Lord.

Father God, I am excited You gave me this idea. Now we shall see what will come. In Jesus' holy name, I praise You. Amen.

Until I hear from you . . . write to publish!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Psalm 26:1/I Shall Not Slide

Joshua to the right and his friend on Senior Prom Night

Good morning, dear readers,

King David shares this with us:

"Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide."

Notice, David is asking God to judge him, for he has walked in trusting the Lord. David shall not slide, since he has taken good action.

I stopped trusting in God when I stayed in the house where Joshua died by suicide. I still loved God. I knew I needed Him, but what little trust I had crushed beneath the weight of my wants and sorrow.

Once I trusted again, my sliding halted. I even welcomed God to judge me. God gave me peace. Like clay in His hand, I yielded to Him. Would my burdens flee? No, but my burdens would be easier with Lord God driving my life.

Dear readers, are you sliding sideways?

I understand, truly I do. If you are, just remember God is waiting. As long as you draw a breath, He waits.

I'm giving us a challenge to trust more in Lord God today and tomorrow and all the days after.

Do you want to email me? Need to talk?

Father, holy Father, You are Perfect. You are waiting on us. Please, give us that strong or gentle nudge that says, "I am waiting." In Jesus' holy name, I ask. Amen.

Until next time . . . open up your arms and reach.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Psalm 25:21/For I Wait on Thee

DoeWheat the goat in her treehouse

Good morning, dear readers,

King David finishes up this chapter by writing, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee."

What do we think this means? Could it mean if we wait on the Lord, we will gain integrity and uprightness?

I know all too well how hard, ugly and horrible it can be to wait for the Lord. I had this worst attitude when I waited on the Lord to move me out of the house where my son died by suicide. I HATED that house.

I understood a bit of what a jail sentence felt like. I stood behind bars, until God broke me. Once I gave in, once I truly waited with a repentant heart, with a trusting heart, God let me free. The house sold. I could go free.

Now, wait a minute, there is so much more to this story. It doesn't end just because I no longer live in that house. I must share the good news of Christ, the love of God for I am not the same. I am renewed, pruned and ready to shout it out to the world how merciful is my God.

You must be wondering just how awful was I when I waited impatiently? Pretty awful. I cursed my life. I hated my surroundings. I broke down emotionally. I thought God could never use such a wasted person as I had become. I had no joy for months. I barely hung on by my heartstrings. I still loved God. I still needed God. I also knew that God could do whatever He chose to mold me into a person that will glorify Him day and night.

I was a tough nut to crack, that's for sure.

I'm here today to say, I'm glad God cracked me open. I'm glad I suffered to the point of wanting to die. Now, then, God can use me for His glory.

What will it take for God to break you? Have you lost enough, yet? Or are you already broken? God will continue to pound, refine before the fire, until you are totally His. What then?

He can use you, now. It doesn't mean we have arrived and know all things of God, because we do not. We will never arrive until we reach heaven.

Father, please, continue to discipline us, Your children. For You love us even more than an earthly father loves his own children and gives them instruction and discipline. In Jesus' holy name, I ask. Amen.

 Until next time . . . Look, watch, listen.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Psalm 25:8/Good and Upright is the Lord

Larkie, the miniature Nubian goat

Good morning, dear readers,

King David continues:

"Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way."

I love this verse. If I'm understanding, God does not want to give up on us. He teaches what is righteous, needed, truthful and how we are to love. I can't imagine not having this God in my life. I would be and would feel dead, a walking dead person. Dead in my sins. Dead in my spirit. No hope for heaven. We NEED God, dear readers.

When my son died and that compounded by suicide, and compound that again to him dying in my arms, I felt another kind of dead inside. Then, Satan tempted me just minutes after Joshua died and I ran stumbling in my heart to Jesus. I knew I wanted to keep Jesus in my life even in such a horrific loss as losing my youngest child. I could not and would not blame God.

I needed God to walk the path of loss with me.

What is it that you are walking through at the moment? Do you have Jesus as your Savior? If not, you will perish. You will have a need that cannot be met until you reach out to God and take Jesus into your heart and do all that follows.

Even if we have a fine family. Even if we have plenty of money. Even if we have a perfect job with loads of friends, we are as good as dead without Jesus in our life. We are spiritually dead and will not live in Heaven with our Lord.

If my words today create more questions, please leave a comment and we can talk. Someone reached out and told me about Jesus, I want to do the same for anyone who may be reading this today.

Father God, please hear my prayer. Hear my dear readers' prayer for mercy to come into their lives. So many of us are hurting and You hear. In Jesus' holy name, I ask. Amen.

Until next time . . . study God's Word.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Psalm 25:7/Remember Not the Sins of My Youth

Joshua age nine in Little League

Good morning dear readers,

King David writes:

"Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O Lord."

I like this verse, especially the first part. Some of us have a past we're not overjoyed with. Or something we did or didn't do that brings us shame when we think of it.

The good news? When we become a child of God, when we decide to have a relationship with Jesus and do all that He requires in becoming a new spiritual person, God forgives and forgets our past sins.

David wrote about what God could do then and for us today.

That brings me to the question, can one go to heaven if that person dies by suicide? Can they be somehow forgiven if they've died by suicide in their youth?

Dear readers, I don't know.

Yes, I've read all the fine words of how God will forgive that act. I've listened to comforting friends and family say the same. The bottom line? We just don't know. We do know that if God is willing to forgive that dear one that took their own life, they would have to have been a Christian.

My son Joshua became a Christian, buried with Christ by immersion in water at the age of fifteen. Because Joshua believed a lie so powerful, that he took his life and he was but a youth (emotionally he never grew up), I believe he may be in Paradise where he sleeps and awaits the coming of Jesus.

I'll never know for sure on this side of Heaven. That's between Lord God and Joshua.

What is between God and us? Are we searching and seeking in forward motion the Lord with all our hearts?

Let's not believe Satan's lies. God can and will meet us right where we are in: grief, sickness, divorce, troubled children, loss of relationships. Picture this. God opens His whole Being to us, waiting for us to crawl, walk or run to Him.

Dear Father, please help us to seek You. We are weak. You are strong. We need Your strength to walk through each of our days. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen.

Until next time . . . read the Word to seek.