Monthly Archives: July 2016

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When Tragedy Strikes

By Vicky O.

It is 1:00 a.m. on July 20, 2000, and I am alternating between sitting and laying on my bathroom floor crying out to the Lord, “Why?”

I am so weak that I cannot get up; I can only cry and pray. But “Why?” and “Why us?” seems to be all I can say in between the reminders to God of all the things I have done on His behalf. I list off all the mission trips, the ministry work, and so on and so forth. As the tears keep falling, He gently impresses me that it was to prepare me for what I face now.

My panicked questions continue. “How am I going to do this? What will become of our family? How can we cope with this, how can I live?”

As I sit, inconsolable, a verse comes to me. ”My grace is sufficient for you,” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Exhausted, I tell God, “Okay.” I thank Him for the thirteen years He gave us, get up off the floor and get into bed.

July is here again. How I used to love this month! It is the middle of summer and my birthday month too. But it has become the month I dread. Sixteen years ago, July 19th, God called my 13- year old son, Thomas Evan, to be with Him. It was the result of a car and bike accident. With the Lord’s help, we have come a long way, but there are still memories that remain and are more pronounced at this time.

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It has not been an easy sixteen years, but the Lord has been good to my family and me. It was awful in beginning, as though the whole family had fallen apart. I really just wanted to roll over and die myself, but I still had my husband and two other children, and none of them was doing well. Each had their own issues, and I felt I was running around trying to fix everyone’s problems, getting nowhere. I grieved mostly by myself because I didn’t want other to see me that way. I wanted to “walk the walk,” showing that I believed God had not made a mistake and that His will was perfect, even if I didn’t like it. I trusted that God had a reason for taking Tom and I wanted others to know that I did. I wanted God to get the most glory from our situation as possible.

Sometimes, when I was alone, I would just sit down and sob. The Lord would let me do this for a while and then He would intervene. Something around me would happen. The dog would start barking and it would be like God patting my shoulder, saying, “That’s enough for now, get up and go see why the dog is barking.” Or the phone would ring and it would be the same thing, “You don’t have to answer it, but get up and go see what the caller ID says”

Although I experienced despair, I could feel the Lord’s presence. I had this image of a hurt, angry child with their arms wrapped around their dad beating on him. He just put his arms around me and kept telling me it would be okay. I may have been angry at times, but I still realized that God alone could help our family get through the hard times.

God used others to help me as well. I was blessed with wonderful friends who came alongside me. I was also blessed by getting to know women who had gone thru the same tragedy a few years before. I had never known them before Tom died. It was truly God thing who worked out those relationships.

The Lord also used His Word to help me. Not surprisingly, I had a hard time sleeping. I would lay on the couch and read my Bible on those sleepless nights. I desperately wanted to know more about the Lord now that Tom was actually with Him. One of my favorite verses is a fairly familiar one.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

It took a while, but we slowly began to heal. I am forever grateful that the Lord helped me. Now I also want to help others in similar situations as well.

About Vicky:

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Vicky with her daughter, Melissa

Vicky is a wife to her husband Ken (they’ve been married for 35 years), a mom to Tim and his wife, Miken, to Melissa and her fiancé, Travis, and to Thomas Evan, who lives in Heaven. She is also a grandma to Harrison Evan. Most importantly, she is a daughter of the King.


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The Pinterest Trap

Last night, I fell victim to the Pinterest Trap.

Let me set the scene for you:

I get married in two weeks, and I am right in the throes of wedding planning. It was late, and I had been working furiously for hours. At the moment, I was scouring Pinterest, looking for the perfect, DIY, low-budget, shabby chic, über-creative way to display the seating chart for the reception. I just could not find one, and I was getting frustrated and emotional.

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And then I looked at the time. It was 2 am, I had work the next morning, and I was almost in tears over a seating chart. A SEATING CHART!

Since getting engaged in December, I have insisted that I will keep my priorities straight, that I will not let the wedding take over my life, that I will not become a Bridezilla. And I have done a pretty decent job so far.reasons

But last night was a gut-check for me, as I had to confront myself and ask: “Am I really approaching this whole wedding thing right?” I’m not so sure I am.

Social Media and a Cultural Crisis

Like other forms of social media, Pinterest is a great tool when used properly. It is an amazing idea generator, and I would be lost without it.

But it also has a huge shadow side, what I call the “Pinterest Trap”. It sucks us into a fantasy world that leads quickly to coveting and greed. It sets an unattainable (and stressful!) expectation that every detail of our lives must be unique and meaningful and perfect. It espouses a worldview of perfectionism whether in wardrobe choices or house décor or meal prep or workouts or weddings.

But lest I be seen as a Pinterest-basher, make no mistake: Pinterest is not the enemy, but it is symptomatic of a greater cultural crisis, one where image trumps substance.

And when the image we project becomes more important than the substance we contain, we have a serious problem:

We have become a society of perfect weddings and failed marriages.

Some Hard Questions

If you asked me, “What are you doing to prepare for your wedding?”, I would rattle off, “Well, today I booked our hotel and designed the program and finalized the décor plan and ordered flowers and tasted wedding cakes and…”

But if you asked me, “What are you doing to prepare for your marriage?” I would be harder-pressed to come up with an answer.

I am convinced that Christian marriages are successful when two people with a commitment to each other and to God consistently act in ways in alignment to those commitments.

And that leads me to ask myself some hard questions:

Am I pouring into my walk with Christ with the same fervor I put into my seating charts and spreadsheets?

What is more important to me, staying true to my 30-day fat-blast pre-wedding workout plan or spending time with my Savior?

If I am criticizing my fiancé and causing conflict over a small wedding detail that he let fall through the cracks, am I not prioritizing my wedding day over my marriage?

What Do I Want More?

If I had to choose, I would rather have a simple, no-frills, courthouse wedding and 70 years of successful marriage than a Pinterest-perfect wedding and a divorce down the road.

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Of course, no one gets married intending divorce, and I am not saying that you cannot have a beautiful wedding AND a successful marriage. What I am saying is this:

You cannot pull off a big, amazing wedding if you do not put months of hard work into it. How much more, then, will a marriage fail if you do not prioritize that hard work of intentionally nurturing your relationship?

Getting My Priorities Straight

I want to be a wife who is more concerned with her character than having that perfect wedding.

I want to be a wife who cultivates habits of intimacy, good conflict management, and communication over tending to her Pinterest boards.

I want to be a wife who sacrifices a morning workout to spend time with her Savior.

I want to be a wife who prioritizes showing love to her husband and practicing hospitality to others, even if it means sacrificing a perfectly clean apartment.

It is time to get my priorities straight.