Breaking the News About Grandpa’s Suicide

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958

As some of you may know, my father committed suicide at the age of 51. My oldest child was only a baby. I could deal with the tragedy without trying to explain it in details to my son.

With the cheer of the Christmas holidays also comes clouds of depression. Suicide is most prevalent during of after holidays. With that in mind, please check out this series of posts by Ryan Haack.


He sees you, he loves you, he’s just like you

2011-04-10 01.59.03Many of you who know me know of the trauma I went through in April, 2011. For those of you who don’t know, that’s when they found this …

Over the years since then, I have been blessed beyond measure by stories of those, too, who have had to deal with the ordeal of healing a life after dealing with a brain tumor.
Continue reading

A Perspective on Sin and Suffering

cucumber-fullThere are so many blogs I try to follow on a regular basis. Sometimes I tend to read more than I write. But when I find a story–or a view–that grabs me, I want others to be able to get grabbed, too.

Such is Becca Stevens’  guest post on Donald Miller‘s blog site. Open your mind as you read what burdens Becca’s heart.

live second … now it’s your turn

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)

We were introduced to the i am second movement, December 2008. Many of those who watched the short videos couldn’t stop talking about them. Doug Bender, author of i am second, took 2 Corinthians 1:4 to a completely new level; well-known people—as well as some not so well-known—share a time of complete brokenness with incredible transparency and honesty of how Christ comforted them.

But now there’s more! Starting December 9th, the book live second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First, by Doug Bender will be available in stores and online. This devotional/daily reader will lead you through testimonies, Scripture and prayers designed to encourage, instruct, and grow you in your faith.

I will be participating in the Week of Second campaign in which bloggers all over the world will be blogging our insights and reflections on sample readings. I invite you to buy the book on December 9th and read with me! As a bonus, if you email your receipt to Doug, he will share with you $150 in free downloads.

If you are blogger, you can join this campaign by emailing Doug Bender at

Join us as millions hear about the i am second movement and share in the power of testimonies for Christ!  Our prayer is that many will come to know Jesus or begin to grow in their faith and live second.

Make Jesus Christ first and as you live second!

Panic Set In

Panic set in this morning; when my alarm went off it was still dark outside.

Summer is leaving!

My first reaction was to try and make it stay. There were so many experiences I still wanted to have during the Summer of 2012. There were still places I wanted to visit and people I wanted to meet.

But I knew I had no power over my days. David reminds us:

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Psalms 39:4-6 NLT

I might not have lots of time, but I want to make sure I use every moment as wisely as I can. How about you? Don’t let panic cripple you to the point of missing out on the sunshine and warmth of summer that is still here. Enjoy … make new friends … see new places. Do these things while you still have the time.

I Did Not Blink

Converting my closets recently from Winter to Summer clothes, I came across some summertime pajamas I purchased last Spring. They weren’t flashy, but the sweet kind of PJ’s you buy with comfort in mind. Pretty, yet functional. Finding them brought a smile to my face.

They were a pair of PJ’s I bought for my hospital stay when I had brain surgery, April 2011.

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since that incredible Friday evening when everything around me took on a new life of its own. If you care to reflect back, visit an earlier post.

This past year has been filled with wonderful gifts and blessings. I don’t know if I would have recognized them as such if it had not been for that fateful night in April. For example, I’ve always known that I have an awesome husband. But Lew was there for me in ways that I could not have anticipated … it had to be experienced. He was tested right along with me, and I will forever be grateful to him and his dedication to me and our marriage. My children really stepped up to the plate of responsibility and attentiveness. There’s nothing as wonderful as seeing your grown children react as the loving and caring people you always knew they’d turn into being. And I can’t forget my friends. I received so many cards, calls, and e-mails of best wishes and support. I just recently re-read all my notes and once again felt the surge of love from all my well-wishers.

It’s been said that beliefs and sponges are alike in that they need to be squeezed to see what they hold inside. Truly my beliefs were squeezed—or challenged—last Spring. I had to evaluate if what I believed would be enough to carry me through to whatever happened during the surgery as well as beyond. I had to look dead-on into the eyes of my mortality … I needed to see if I felt the need to turn away from what I saw or if I would be the first to blink.

No blinking for me!

I won’t say that it’s been easy, because this past year has brought challenges. Even after physical, speech, and occupational therapy, I have needed to find a new normal that works for me. I will probably always have some weakness and loss of dexterity in my right side. Running up or down stairs is just a memory now. The area on my head where my hair was shaved has filled in a bit and there aren’t as many renegade wisps as there were only a few months ago.

But I clearly know what I have gained. I can tell you—without a doubt in my mind—that I know Who holds my tomorrows. I can also tell you that I have peace knowing that the Creator of the Universe also planned the existence of Robin Gilbert Luftig. After I was created I truly believe that he stood back, looked at his creation, and smiled.

He watches my back just as he watches my tomorrows.

Life is sweet, don’t think it isn’t. There may be trials in your world today, but they are temporary. Time—along with trials—will pass. Don’t waste time fretting about what could have been. We should always hook our wagons to the “what-is”, remembering who it is that’s holding all of our tomorrows; because honestly … it isn’t us.

“… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 NIV

A Witness to Life

It unimposingly sat on the table . Its purpose was to make life better by offering up sweetness. In itself, it wasn’t all that attractive … in itself it was plain and unadorned.

But its value to me was greater than many of my other possessions.

I’m talking about my family’s sugar bowl. This sugar bowl sat on our family’s kitchen table for as long as I can remember. The table coverings changed from Country Check to Simple Linen. The tables even changed from chrome and flecked laminate to a much more civilize walnut. But it wasn’t the style or the material that the sugar bowl rested upon that was so special. It was the conversations that were held over that vessel of sweetness that remain with me … the memories of how life changed and how those experiences happened around that simple piece of china.

… Like the time when my dad asked me to sit in his lap on Saturday morning so he could tell me that life just wasn’t working out between him and my mom; that he was going to live somewhere else. While I sat there, summoning up my whole four years of maturity, I remember how I sobbed into his shoulder while I asked if he would ever come back to visit me. Then, through his own tears he pulled me close. I can still see how he wiped away the tears from his eyes and said he changed his mind, he wasn’t going anywhere.

… Or there were the many times I can remember moving the sugar bowl aside so I could watch Mom make dozens of fruit pies, apple dumplings, or cookies. She would expertly reach her spoon into the white sugar to sprinkle glistening crystals atop each piece of homemade heaven.

… Then there were all the times when I would sit at the table that held the sugar bowl, waiting for Dad to come home from working his job at the factory. We would share a milk-diluted cup of coffee sweetened by too many spoonsful of that sweet white stuff and talk about life as only a six-year old understood it. No topics were off limits, and many times he would tell me that life would be difficult for me, because I didn’t just see life as black and white … I saw life’s experiences in shades of gray.

… Sadly, the day came when that same bowl of sugar and a less diluted cup of coffee occupied that maple table when Dad told me that he and Mom were, in fact, splitting this time and I needed to pick who I would stay with. I remember the pain from that conversation and how no amount of sweetness offered up from that sugar bowl could console me.

Years later, when that sugar bowl sat on my own table, I experienced life’s pain that came in shades of gray. Dad was right about that in my life.

For too many years my view of Christ was just like that of my sugar bowl. While I looked the other way, turning to resentment and cynicism to help me in life, he was always there witnessing all the good as well as bad that was happening in my life. Faithfully, he offered up a sweetness for my broken spirit whenever it held bitterness; all I needed to do was accept it. He was ever-patient, offering comfort from the unpleasantness that comes with life. John 10:10 shares, “… I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”.

Now that is what I call a real sweetness.

That sugar bowl is still in my home, but now in a place of honor and safety. It represents that no matter what happens, life’s bitterness can be dealt with properly with a filling of the sweetness That comes from a relationship with Christ.