“Life is a journey.” I read it on a friend’s mug on Sunday when I was in the house caring for one of our children while the rest were in the shop listening to my uncle preach. (We take turns hosting church services, this time, it was a half mile down the road.)
How true; we all have our journey. Yes, we do, but we also all have something in common. Naturally, we all desire love, safety and happiness.
Looking around, you can’t help but wonder how long our nation will have peace and prosperity like it has for hundreds of years. We naturally have ideas of what we’ll do in the next five or ten years; then, when it gets down to the point, we can’t control it. How real this was, as I wept over my husband’s body as he lay still in the coffin.
I don’t know about your life personally, but as I look around, it seems like hearts are shattered and dreams are crashed on every side. Sometimes the hurt is so raw you even feel like kicking all the deep dreams within; after all, they are now only a source of intense pain and reminders of what could be, if only…
Children hurt too. On Sunday night, as our little boy cried relentlessly for his Daddy, I knew there was not a single thing I could do to heal his heart or make his Daddy come back. Yes, I held him close, prayed for him, told him I knew he had the best Daddy and how we all miss him and love him, and as an angel, Daddy loves him dearly.
Finally, he smiled through his tears as he slipped on Daniel’s light blue shirt which Daniel wore when we were witnesses at my brother Javin’s wedding. Now it didn’t matter that it hung on the floor, it was Daddy’s shirt. Next he clutched his ‘Daddy blanket,’ he was soothed; he was wrapped in Daddy’s love.
I ponder, like little Yoder in my arms, I too am allowed the privilege of tears and telling God how my heart is rent for grief. Sometimes when I talk to God about it, words come out in a jumble of halting segments. At last, when I surrender it all to him, he wraps me in his Father’s love and tells me that he knows the burden is much too big for me to bear. Just like my little lad now snug and happy, I am soothed. I still hurt, but there’s hope. I do not know how it’ll all look in the future, yet I know it’s bound to be okay and even good if I stay in his strong arms.
I usually don’t throw my journaling out there too much, but this morning’s notes fit with what we’ve been discussing here, so I’ll share part of it before wrapping up with a fall sweet potato bake recipe.
Here are the journal jottings:
“I stand in awe. I am never without hope.
God, while I am waiting to be face to face with you, I give my all for you. Daily, people are dying; they are going to eternity. Oh God, those souls, those souls. Oh Lord, I claim them for you. God, it hurts so much to grieve, at times I feel I can bear it no more, but Lord I pray that if possible, this pain may be transferred to prayers for the multitudes of people which you love so deeply. Lord for all these souls to receive your love, as we all fall before you in repentance, knowing we all have sinned and need forgiveness. Ah Lord, that you’d heal, restore and even make whole all hurting hearts. Though we don’t understand everything, just show us how to be still and rest at your feet so you can minister your love and peace to our hearts. When we don’t know how to move forward, pave the way just like a mighty snow plow pushing right through the impossible, with snow flying off to the sides.”
Okay, for the sweet potato casserole. A next-door neighbor shared it with me when we were young. Now as we’re digging a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, I’m hungry for it again.
Sweet potato casserole
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup butter
½ cup sugar (I substitute with natural sweeteners)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 ½ Tbsp Butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar (I use xylitol mixed with a bit molasses)
Mix sweet potatoes with softened butter, sweetener, and salt.
Beat eggs with vanilla and flour and mix into sweet potato mixture.
Pour into an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.
Mix up all crumb ingredients and sprinkle on top.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until set.
I like eating the leftovers cold or hot.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427