As I write this post, I am acutely aware of the date. Today is September 26, 2021, exactly three months since our precious son went to be with the Lord. By God’s grace and love, I have had a lot of time to journal, read and pray, and I sense His Presence every day. I find rest and comfort in Him, and I am so grateful. But to say this season has been filled with faith-testing moments would be a gross understatement.
It actually began on January 1, when Sue and I launched The Sublime Soiree. This ministry has been such a joy for both of us, albeit a humbling and often scary venture. For me, taking the first step created a crisis of belief. I was reminded almost immediately of Henry Blackaby’s words in Experiencing God. “God’s invitation to join Him in His work always results in a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.” Oh my, did I identify with that quote!
I knew instinctively that the first action I must take was to pray. For me, prayer is the lifeline to my Creator. As John 15:5 states, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” I must continually abide in my Savior and let Him direct my steps. And this is how He has guided me to interact with Him and the circumstances He allows me to navigate.
HALLOW – God’s Name. I praise Him for Who He is and what He has done. I have a wonderful list of 100 attributes of God, and a Scripture verse is attached to each of them. I love praising Him daily for three or four of those attributes and praying the Scripture verses back to Him. This process instantly gives me peace and confidence in my Almighty God.
HUMBLE – myself before Him. I declare to Him – and remind myself – that I am God’s servant, surrendered to His Lordship. I ask Him to “search me and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
HONOR – Him for all of His gifts. God’s word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) I love how there is no comma between “supplication” and “with thanksgiving.” That reminds me that I can ask for things expectantly and confidently but also mindfully, remembering all the ways He has answered prayers in the past.
HEED – God’s will and instructions. Heeding begins with asking. His Word tells me “This is the confidence we have toward Him. That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) And James advises us that, “If you need wisdom, ask your generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5, NLT) So I lay my requests before God, and I look to Him to provide guidance through His word. I am careful not to do this haphazardly. I don’t go looking for the answer I want to find. I go to the Scripture He already has assigned me – either through the study I am working on at the time, or through my meditation app, which I journal through most days. I also usually am working through a book, article, podcast or blog post from other Christians. I allow His word to remind me of the thrill of hope He provided through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is preparing joy for us in the future, and He provides joy to us now. Celebrating both breathes air into my lungs!
HIDE – God’s word in my heart. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” By God’s grace and love, I was invited into a Scripture memory group more than a year ago. Memorizing God’s word has equipped me in various moments to respond in godly fashion to the circumstances I am facing. But the treasure of His word within me took on such greater power in the hours leading up to and following our son’s death. During my very last conversation with him, my son questioned the sovereign grace of God – something he wrestled with regularly. Because I had memorized John 14:1-6, I was able to share it with him. Just hours later, Jesus came to him and took him to Himself, just as the Scripture described. And in my despair, I also could rest, knowing my son had the Truth.
HUSH – my body, mind and spirit. Oh, this one is so hard for me! Yet, particularly in this season, God has guided me to sit quietly and extensively with Him. By nature, I am a doer and a talker. I verbally process. Silence bugs me, if I am honest. But I must remind myself that God’s quieting of me is not Him quitting on me. Indeed, it’s the exact opposite! He knows that I am desperate not only to hear God’s still small voice, but to obey it. And He has taught me that the noise around me – often self-made – interferes with my ability to hear Him and sense His movement.
HOLD – close to the household of God. The fellowship of believers God has sent to envelop me and our family during the past three months has been nothing short of overwhelming – in the best way possible. We worship a God in three Persons – The God of Fellowship. And He has created us for fellowship with Him and one another. Without this fellowship of believers since June, I don’t know how I could have managed. We have been upheld so lovingly, so continuously, so selflessly. I am grateful beyond measure and recognize that life comes through Christ and His Church.
These daily practices have allowed me to walk in hope, even in the toughest trial of my life – the loss of our dear son. As we have mourned him, God has allowed us to experience other profound losses and trials. The weight has been heavy, but one thing I have never felt is abandoned. I have sensed God’s Presence and love powerfully throughout this season, and I am grateful beyond words.
How about you? How do you hold on to hope in the midst of the harrowing? Are there any actions mentioned here that you could employ? I pray that this process or even just one or two of the ideas will help you in your own journey. Do leave us a comment if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share. In the meantime, may your day be sublime, free above the fray.
Linda R. Maynard (c) October 2021