Category Archives: Devotion

Shattered by Kailee Diaz

Shattered

We live where the weeds pop from the field grass at the start of each spring. Much to my southern husband’s chagrin, those aggressive little plants don’t stop their onslaught for the next three months of summer. He claims, he’s never seen anything like it, and I believe him because—well, in the southern heat of Georgia, not much grows past a certain point of the year.

Poor transplanted man of mine…

Ironically, that’s not the only thing growing in these parts, from the corn that’s about “yea high” (I’m motioning to my shoulders just in case you can’t see), to the kids who keep inching taller, our place is a well-spring of life. And with that, comes the busyness of lawn mowing season, the wild yelps of toddlers ready to enter the summer sun, and a little more chaos then the usual season.

Why just the other day, the littles knocked a lamp from its side table while playing in the house. They had been captive for quite some time and probably needed the sun to free their energy-filled bodies from the small indoor space. But whatever the reason, these poor littles knocked that lamp to the ground, and it shattered—in the blink of an eye.

Glass lay strewn across the floor, a wobbly, unfixable lamp resting by its side.

Sometimes life happens in an instant. Doesn’t it?

It’s those inexplicable moments, where we sit back and can hardly catch our breath. The glass is shattered at our feet, and we’re left with the pieces of a life that once was…

Maybe for you, it’s a life-altering diagnosis, a barren womb, an unattainable marriage, a lost child, and you’re sitting back grasping for any wholesome piece left behind.

You, my dear sweet friend, to you I say, you’re not alone.

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Isaiah 53:3

How is it, in our deepest desperations we sometimes feel the most solitude?

Whatever the quiet aching of your heart, there is a man who is acquainted with your grief, both in a human way of understanding and in the capacity and sovereignty of an all-knowing God. This man, this Jesus, knows what you’re experiencing. Better yet, He’s not indifferent to it, my friend.

As a child, I grew up with a grandfather diagnosed with Parkinson’s. For those of you not aware, Parkinson’s is a crippling disease. It attacks the brain and nervous system, so that its victim can’t control their muscle movements.

My grandfather had to leave his pastorate far too soon. He loved ministry and people in a way that for all my love of words, I can’t express in written form. One of the first Parkinson’s patients to have electrodes placed inside his brain to help control the muscle spasms, he spent years plagued by a disease which had no cure.

And yet, even through suffering, He lived a life of joy. He couldn’t physically participate in our outdoor excursions, but he often pulled the board games from the shelf, challenging us to a chess match or taking the least opportune moment to prepare a bowl of ice cream, just because…

Looking back, I know these moments weren’t for show. His joy welled from inside of him. He spent many quiet hours in a back study, diving into God’s Word, praying, leaning.

I hope to never experience what he went through, but if God so chooses me, I pray my heart would set into Him like my grandfather’s. My God is a man of sorrows and grief. He is acquainted with my world, even in its shattering.

And that, my dear sweet friends, can carry a body through life.

Kailee’s a Christian historical-romance novelist and member of ACFW. She’s the daughter of a preacher, with generations of pastors filling her ancestry. A former middle school writing teacher, Kailee now writes full-time. She’s happily married to a wonderful husband, and together they’re expecting their first child in August. While she lives in America’s heartland, amongst cornfields and open skies, her passion for travel and love of history drive her stories.
Through fiction and in life, Kailee seeks to leave a legacy for future tales to be told. She hopes you’ll join her in the wonderment of God’s faithfulness to you and those who follow in your footsteps.
If you’d like to learn more, please visit www.kaileediaz.com or check her out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorkaileediaz/

 

 

Resurrection Day Testimony – April 16, 2017

Resurrection Day Message at Southside UMC Sunrise Service

What does the resurrection mean to me this year? It is hope.

Two weeks ago with my family we celebrated the life of my name’s sake—my uncle Guy Leslie Kirby. He was the youngest of my father’s siblings, just turning 60 in February. He was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever met. He was always interested in what was going on in our lives, and whoever he met he gave the same undivided attention. Saying “see you later” to him was a really sad day for my family, but knowing we will meet again brings me comfort. I have hope because Jesus was resurrected to give us eternal life. I also know that it’s okay to feel sorrow—even Jesus wept. But he didn’t weep for loss, he knew his friend would live again. He wept with Mary and Martha and he weeps with me because he cares that much for us. That is our comfort—that is our hope. My uncle is living in glory—free of pain—no longer weak, but strong and full of life like he always was. My soul finds rest in God alone and my hope comes from Him.

Resurrection Sunday means hope to me. If you know me, you know I love scripture, and I love to research, so I spent some time this week with my concordance looking up and writing out all the verses on hope that I could find. I enjoyed this exercise, it brought me comfort and peace, but I think I was mostly doing it to avoid thinking and writing about the loss I just described. A few weeks before my uncle died, I told my small group that I felt a peace about his illness, and I knew that peace was from God, but it made me sad because I knew that if God was giving me peace the end was near. I prayed for a miracle, and I know that we did receive a miracle because we got 12 months, and most people with pancreatic cancer live less than 6 months. I know God gave us that extra time, so we could have peace—so we could have hope.

Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” And Titus 1:2 says “A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.

God is faithful. I believe in what He promises, and He promises eternal life. This changes everything for me. It gives me an eternal prospective. Jesus is close, holding my hand. As the hymn says “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; Look full in His wonderful face; and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim; In the light of His glory and grace.” I was born a worrier, but as I look more and more to Jesus and less and less to worldly troubles, my anxious mind finds peace. Because of His promises and His faithfulness, I have hope. The writer of Hebrews says we hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. Jesus’ Resurrection gives me the strength to grasp the wheel, pointing the bow straight to heaven, slicing through stormy seas or calm waters.

As I mentioned, I spent much of the week procrastinating on preparing this testimony, but I planned to immerse myself in the hope verses Thursday and have this completed Friday morning. I got the hope verses completed, but Friday, as I was reading and writing in my journal, my son sliced open his finger with his birthday present—a new, very sharp pocket knife. We spent the entire day at the emergency room.

When I got home, I checked my e-mail and found a newsletter from Charley Reeb, a college friend, who is a Methodist preacher in St. Pete.  http://charleyreeb.com/

The newsletter included a link to three of his Easter sermons. As I read them, I saw right away my procrastinating had actually been for God’s purposes. The words of his sermon spoke to me—perhaps, it was that in my family, the family that included my Uncle, we like to be right and we like to have the last word, but also because it reiterated the hope I have because God resurrected Jesus to save me and to save my uncle and to save you.

Here is a little of what Charley said. “God has the last word! The worst thing is never the last thing.”

“If you allow the truth of Easter to penetrate your soul this morning you will experience a hope that will bring healing, a peace that will bring joy, and a life that will be worth living.”

“God has the last word in death.”

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

So, this Resurrection Sunday, hope embraces my sadness, just as Jesus embraces me, reminding me that because I believe in Him, I have eternal life, my uncle has eternal life. It encourages me to give more love, more grace, and more joy.