261) Irish Blessings and Biblical Benedictions

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm on your face,
The rain fall softly on your fields;
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

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The Lord give us peace in our going out and our coming in, in our lying down and in our rising up, in our labor and in our leisure, in our laughter and in our tears; until we come to stand before him on that day to which there is no sunset and no dawn, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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The peace of God be with you;
The peace of Christ be with you;
The peace of the Spirit be with you;
And with your children;
From the day that we have here today,
Until the day of the end of your lives.

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Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

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May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

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Numbers 6:24-26  —  The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.  

John 14:27  —  Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you…  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” 

Romans 15:13  —  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

II Corinthians 13:14  —  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.  Amen.  

II Thessalonians 2:16,17…3:16  —  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word…  And, may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way…  

I Peter 5:10,11…14b  —  The God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever…  Peace to all of you who are in Christ.  Amen.  

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May the eternal God bless us and keep us, guard our bodies, save our souls, direct our thoughts, and bring us safe to the heavenly country, our eternal home, where Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ever reign, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.   –Sarum Breviary

As you go on your way, may the Lord Jesus Christ go with you.  May he be near you to defend you; may he go before you to show you the way; behind you to encourage you; beside you to befriend you; above you to watch over you; and within you to give you peace.  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, God forevermore.  Amen.   –Based on 10th century blessing

41) Liana Rose

Today’s meditation is again from the book “Sometimes Miracles Hide” by Bruce Carroll (see meditations #39 and #40).  It is another of the letters that Carroll received from someone with a handicapped child.

Dear Bruce,
     My life is in your song.  When I first became pregnant, I had no idea what the Lord had in store for me and my beautiful baby girl.  I had never given any thought to the possibility of having a handicapped child.  I had never even been around someone who was handicapped…

     After an emergency C-section, I delivered a precious baby girl.  We named her Liana Rose.  The doctors and nurses calmed my fear about the C-section and told us that Liana was perfectly normal.  She was certainly the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.

     At nine months we began to notice that Liana was not sitting up or trying to crawl.  As naive new parents, we thought it was because her grandma and grandpa (who kept her while I worked) held her all the time.  Just before she turned one, we took her to the pediatrician to see if anything was wrong.  We were stunned when the doctor told us that he thought she had a brain tumor!  His supposition was shortly proven wrong, but that was the beginning of an emotional roller-coaster ride.

     When Liana was just thirteen months old, she was accurately diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  But she was so perfect looking!  How could this happen?  Didn’t God love me?  Didn’t he love my baby girl?  Looking back, it’s a wonder that my marriage and my sanity survived all the extreme ups and downs.  We were told, and willingly believed, that her case was very mild and that with just a bit of therapy she would walk and talk…  During this time I was also dealing with the grief of three miscarriages, and we were having frequent money worries.  But surely, with just a little more therapy, Liana would walk, just a little more time and she would talk…  But no, no, and no.

     Her progress was very slow and painfully gained.  We soon had to accept that she would never walk or run or dance, and her speech was all but impossible to understand.  Our goals were lowered again and again.  Now, we simply hoped to get her out of diapers.

     When Liana was five, I had a healthy baby boy.  About this time, my husband became a Christian, and we prayed and prayed for Liana.  We took her to healing services and had others pray for her and us.  Doesn’t God love innocent little girls?  Was I being punished for something?  How could God be so cruel?  There were times when I was very mad at God for not healing Liana.

     My heart broke every time the neighbor kids came to ask if Liana’s little brother could some out and play, while Liana was ignored.  Then I noticed a lively little girl in a wheelchair who rode the bus that Liana took every day to school and therapy.  The bus driver mentioned that the little girl needed a place to stay while her father was out of the country.  I thought she might be the perfect friend for Liana.  That was how Kelly came into our lives.  Through a series of circumstances, we had Kelly for almost four years.  And so began our career as foster parents.

     Over the next ten years, twenty children came through our home.  We had babies, teenagers, hurt ones, handicapped ones– every kind of challenge you can think of and some you can’t.  God was using us in a miraculous way; we saw healings of every kind.

     We noticed that Liana loved each and every one of these children with her whole heart.  She accepted them just as they were– unconditionally, unreservedly.  She taught them and us that there was no one we couldn’t love, no matter how unlovable they seemed.  She taught me that everyone has something to give and that God can use anyone.  Liana, who has almost no ability to care for herself, showed me how to care for others…  

     My, how God has used her!  I know now that God is not cruel.  He is infinite in love and goodness.  Of all the things that I would not have chosen, having a handicapped child ranks at the top.  Of all the blessings in my life, Liana has been the greatest… 

     The most important thing I’ve learned from Liana is that we are all handicapped and that God loves us just as we are.  He does not need to heal us and make us perfect in order to love us.  If we were all perfect, we would not need Him and we would not need each other…

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II Corinthians 12:7-10  —  …In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Isaiah 41:10  —  So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 5:3b-4  —  …We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

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     Help me, O Lord, to make a true use of all disappointments and calamities in this life, in such a way that they may unite my heart more closely with you.  Cause them to separate my affections from worldly things and inspire my soul with more vigor in the pursuit of true happiness.  Amen.   –Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of John and Charles Wesley and 17 other children