Friday, September 14, 2007

God's Help In the Shadow-lands

I am often asked, "How are you doing?” Those who ask, pause as if they had asked a dumb question. It is not a dumb question. It is a caring question, a comforting question, a great question. It is a question that shows someone cares.

So how am I doing? I am filled with a strange mixture of overwhelming sorrow and perfect peace. I have an odd combination of pain and joy; both bring me to tears. I have discovered that I can weep both tears of sorrow and tears of joy simultaneously. This must be what it feels like for the Lord to be my help.

People have said they want to do more than “just” pray for me; I am convinced that prayer is the greatest thing anyone can do for me. I have no strength of my own. However, through prayer, God's sustaining grace gives me strength and is sufficient for every need. This must be what it feels like for the Lord to be my help.

At this moment in my life, though I have a very weird, strange, and odd mixture of deep loss and great gain, God’s powerful presence is not shy. Temptations are real. At times, I am tempted to give in to bitterness, anger, questioning, and resentment. Yet, in the presence of those enemies, He makes me to settle down. He restores my soul. My cup overflows. Surely, His goodness and mercy follow me this day and everyday. This must be what it feels like for the Lord to be my help.

While walking through this valley of the shadow-lands, I hear terrifying howls. At first they seem to come from distant dark places. Then I realize they are coming from within my own soul; loneliness and grief are crying out. But I am not alone, for He is with me. I am comforted by His rod and staff. This must be what it feels like for the Lord to be my help.

When evening falls, it falls quicker in the shadow-lands. It seems darker in the shadow-lands. Yet, He is with me. Though death is still threatening, I don’t dread it as before. Though death is still a mighty foe, its victory was vanquished when my Shepherd conquered the grave. Though we all deserve death, the grace of God gives us eternal life in Christ alone. Sin has lost its power. The power of death is now gone. The sting has been removed. This must be what it feels like for the Lord to be my help.

Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed, last night Glen and I listened to Tammy singing "Come Home". It was like listening to the sweetest angel in heaven singing. Now she is in the very present of our Savior and her sweet voice like that of an angel is now falling on his ears! Please know that our thoughts are never far from you and the children. We pray daily that our Lord will wrap his strong arms around you, Josh, Tyler and Kayla and protect and comfort you from the slings and arrows of the enemy. Your family means so much to our family. We love you!
Glen,Sandy,Benjamin and Brian Jacobs

Anonymous said...

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." And if this is so (which I know it is) did He talk to me? Did He ask for me to volunteer for something? Did I say "Yes Lord, send me and I will keep and fulfill my promise to you." I think long before she knew you would be her beloved husband, Ed, or the blessings of Josh, Tyler, and Kayla, Tammy made a promise to God. I don't know what it was - but leaving this earth early was her fulfillment to this promise. At least that's how I have to hold her death in my heart and soul. That's the only way I can understand the death of any good people or innocent children. The way she led her life, with struggles and victories, always finding her way, her strength, her commitment, and her great love for you and the kids and everyone else through him allowed her to keep her promise. She affected so many. When she was lifted up her promise was fulfilled. And again, she affected so mamy. Now, in my own heart and soul I am reminded how far I have strayed from even being on the right path to keep my promise - whatever it my be - to God. I loved her. I didn't call to wish her a Happy Birthday because I didn't want her to have to hear the "burdens" of my life. I told mom to tell her that was my birthday present to her and you. Hindsight. What promise did I make before coming here? Thank you Tammy, for reminding me that I too, need to seek His guidance and keep my promise to God until it is fulfilled and I am lifted up. I love you, Josh, Tyler, and Kayla. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Although I only met Tammy once I could tell she was a woman of God and that she loved her God (my God, our God), that she loved life, and that she loved her family.I have often wondered if when I get married in the near future if I will be able to handle putting on all the different parts of life, being a wife, being in the ministry with my husband, student, worker, and one day I pray a mother. But when I think about Tammy, I am softly reminded that I am not the one handling it, but God is; as is everything else. Tammy was and still is an example of what I hope to be for my future family.

And I want to thank you. I have never had a pastor that stood his ground the way you have on many a Sunday. I know that is God truly working through you. Even now while you are taking the time to rest in Jesus' arms and the peace that God will provide.

Also I want to say that I am praying for you and your family. Your children are all at such different stages in their lives and I know how hard it will be to have Tammy miss the moments that will come. I am also praying that I do not forget. So many times in my life I have placed "bad things" behind me and just moved on....I will continue to pray that you, your family, and this church is healed, but that none of us forget, and none of us are left unchanged.

Heather Miller

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you. Your encouraging words and constant praise to our Lord through this time of sorrow has filled our hearts with praise and worship to God who has provided you strength. God is all powerful and ever merciful. Your life is an example of that. God is and will continue to bless you and your family for your faithfulness.
My family and I attended North Mobile for 5 years before moving to Idaho. I knew Tammy from the choir . I sat next to her in the choir occasionally. The one thing I remember about her was her smile. It could light up a room.
I wonder how much bigger her smile is today as she looks into His face and sings Him praises.
We continue to pray for you and your family.
Love, Felix, Rachel, Lex and Cody King