MATTHEW 10:28 ON 10/28

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Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  – Matthew 10:28

Several friends and acquaintances of mine have recently been diagnosed with terminal illness.  I feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart for them – but I never know the right words to say.  I think back to the time when my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer.  He was dying and we all knew it.  I tried to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the situation – as a family member.  I don’t remember a lot of what people said – but I remember more of what people did.  It was the same thing when my mom passed.  People shared of themselves – they shared light and love when I was a mess.share-light-love

Everyone was kind and encouraging to me – but a few people actually DID things and I remember that.  When my daddy died, a sweet lady in our church not only sent flowers, she included a little ceramic pumpkin for me to keep after the flowers died.  I let her know I thought that was real nice of her.  When my mama passed, even though there were not that many people coming to our house, our pastoral family went above and beyond the call of duty to provide sandwich stuff!  Oh my we did not go hungry!  I remember my sister-in-law and brother-in-law washing dishes and thinking that was so kind of them.

If our loved one knows the Lord, we know they are going to be alright.  We know that they are going to Heaven where everything is just right.  The soul does not die – but lives on – but the family that is left…  well, they are left here to figure out how to begin a new “normal”.   I always ask God how I can help them do that.  I ask God, “What can I DO for them?”

When families suffer loss and are at their lowest, isn’t that when Christian folk can shine the light of Christ in their lives in a very real sense?  Words are fine, but actions are better and make more of an impact on their lives.  After a loss, everything is fuzzy when you’re trying to listen to kind words.  Most of the talk just flies over your head.  You hear what people are saying, but you’re just so grief-stricken, you can’t process what’s being said.

So – how do you avoid hell and make Heaven your eternal home?   Open the closet door where you keep the secrets and sins.  It’s not easy to show God what is inside your closet.  Think about this though – He already knows about it, so…  who do you really think you’re foolin’?  We are so human – but the good news is…  He is so GOD!  If you ask God, through His Son, Christ Jesus, to forgive you of your sins – He is faithful and just to do it.  Trust Him for the rest of your days – and for the time when this life is over.

whats-in-your-closetI pray that you know the Lord as your personal Savior.  This life is brief and these bodies are so very frail and fragile, aren’t they?  I also believe we are living in the last days (I see some of you rolling your eyes) – yeah, I know I’ve said it before – but I’m going to say it again.  Be ready, for you know not the hour.  Did you know that Jesus doesn’t even know?  He’s waiting for the Father to tell Him when to come get us outa here!  It would be selfish for me to say I hope it’s soon because many are not ready – and He doesn’t want any to perish in hell.  He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and ask Him into their hearts and lives.  THEN – only then will the peace of God wash over you and your life will never be the same.  The peace of God surpasses all understanding.  I hope and pray you know HIS peace in your life.  🙂

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PREGNANCY & INFANT LOSS AWARENESS MONTH

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After 5 miscarriages in the first 10 years of marriage…  I had some pretty heated conversations with God.  You know what I learned?  I learned that when you are in pain and you’ve suffered loss, God is a very patient companion.  He never judged me for being hurt.  He never judged me for being angry – even at Him.  He just kept loving me.  It was a loooooooooooooong road through the anxiety and depression, but with God’s help – I’m better.images14xaj8uo

Is it easy to see the women my age posting photos of themselves with their grandkids?  Oh no, it sure is not.  Sometimes today I still ask God why I wasn’t “GOOD ENOUGH” to be a mom – and apparently all my friends from school were.  I know that isn’t really how it works, but it sure feels like it is the way it works sometimes.  It feels like a punishment, to be honest.

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The proverbial lightning struck me…  ZAP – you’ll never be a mother, a grandmother, or a great-grandmother…  etc.   BOOM!  I felt done and I isolated myself on purpose from grandparents everywhere.  It was too painful to be around the fortunate ones.  Does anyone understand this?  If it really was a REAP and SOW type of deal, wouldn’t a lot more women be in this situation?  Jus’ sayin’…

imagesl0sp8xt1As awful as it was to experience disappointment x 5, I cannot even imagine the pain of a woman who has given birth and that child is stillborn.  I can’t fathom the pain.  I’m so very sorry to all who have gone through that.imagesy75lazb9

People say loss is loss…  not true.  I never met my children, so I suspect my life got back to “normal” much more quickly.  I know they are in Heaven being spoiled rotten by their grandparents.  I have a lot of hugs and kisses to give when I get there.  I’ll be very busy for a long time.  But I know they’re okay – so I’m going to be okay too.  I will.  God is good all the time.images-41

I’m not mad at God anymore.  That’s a losing battle anyway.  I got tired of feeling angry at my Creator for something I simply don’t understand and never will.  It stings to see all the grandma pictures on facebook – I won’t lie.  But it’s simply not God’s plan for me, I guess.

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1 in 4 women experience the loss of a child.  This month, let a grieving mom know that she’s loved.  Let her know that God’s sent angels to surround and protect her.  Remind her that God still loves her and is not punishing her even though I’ll bet a few still feel as though it is a punishment.  It’s not.  It’s really not.images-43

As strange as it sounds, it makes me feel better to know that my kids are with their grandparents – but especially that they are with Jesus.  We’ve all seen the sweet artist renditions of Jesus with the little children.  He loved them the best because they are the most innocent humans.  He loves them because they have not learned how to lie or steal or do bad things yet.  They speak only truth and although sometimes the truth they speak can be hurtful (I know, I taught Sunday School)…  they mean what they say and they won’t sugar-coat it.  That’s why Jesus loves them, and that’s why I respect them so much.images-44

We’re supposed to be training them up – but I think there’s a great deal we as adults could learn from them, don’t you?  🙂  images-45

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  – 1 Peter 5:7

Be sensitive to other women.  You may not have all the facts about the path they walk.  Don’t be so quick to judge them or dismiss them.  A childless woman has moments of jealousy because she wants what you take for granted.  When that happens, try to overlook it, but the best thing you can do is just pray for her.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (3)UNCONDITIONAL LOVEWe’re mourning a loss in our family.  Our precious fur baby passed away on the 22nd of January and our lives are so different without him.  He had diabetes and cancer that was very aggressive.  He was 91 years old in people years, and had a wonderful long life with us.  The 13 years he was with us were the happiest of our lives – that’s for sure.

I hate disease…  just flat hate it! 

What a beautiful prayer my friend Mark wrote:

Dear Jesus, Divine Physician, Healer of the Sick.
We call upon You and ask Your help for our loved ones
Who are suffering from cancer.
We entrust them to Your loving care.
They are Your children and they are in pain.
Give them the ability to know in their hearts
that You are with them in this difficult time.

Give them strength and healing.
Comfort them in their fears,
soothe their anxiety,
and let them rest securely in Your arms.

Help those who care for them.
Give insight to researchers that they may discover cures.
Give patience and energy to doctors and nurses so that
they will care for them with grace and love.

For us, their families, their friends and their community,
we need Your courage and strength,
to be with them and help them bear their burdens.
Give us joy, peace and confidence in You
so that like Mary, Your mother,
we may stand with them in faith and trust,
witnessing to Your healing love.
For you are blessed, for ever and ever.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen    – Mark Farouk

I received a sweet poem from Lucinda Berry Hill and it brings me comfort – thinking of God’s heaven and eternal life always brings me comfort.  Thank you, my sweet friend!

HEAVEN'S GIFTWe don’t have children, therefore, we don’t have grandchildren.  I like to think that Casey is in heaven playing with all the little children there!  If you’ve read the book, “Heaven is For Real” or seen the movie, you know that little Colton saw his family in heaven – but they were young, not old.  All the residents there are free of pain and the burdens of this world.  It’s selfish to want them back here, isn’t it?

I’ll miss my furbaby – I won’t lie.  He had the sweetest disposition (like his mama – lol).  He loved everyone and never growled at anybody.  When people came to the house, Casey was just sure they were there to see him, not us!  Such a funny little fella…  I’m gonna miss him, but he’s not in pain and is at peace.  God will take care of him… and He will take care of us too.  🙂

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDAre you a griever?  Do you know another griever?  Maybe part of preparing your heart and mind for the birthday of Christ should include a conversation with another griever.  It really does take one to know one, and we feel so much better if we can share a Christmas memory.  Some memories make us laugh, others make us cry – but they are all so very precious and we hold them close – especially during the Advent season.

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I’m fortunate to have many friends who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  I’m even more blessed to have the freedom to talk about the loved ones I miss this year.  More importantly, however, I try to be a good listener as well – and let them talk about their loved ones.  Sometimes we tell the same stories over again, but that’s okay.  By repeating those tales, we keep them alive in our hearts and minds.

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It took me a long time to come to terms with this, but even though my loved ones have gone to heaven, it is still the same Spirit that watches over us.  Of course, they know God in all His beauty and splendor now – and I still see as through a glass dimly…  but the day will come when we will both be in His presence.  That is the hope we hang our hat on, isn’t it?

THE SAME SPIRITGrieving people don’t mind if their grieving friends shed a tear or two – and usually they both shed tears in empathy.  There is no shame in that…  we got so used to certain traditions and happy times with these people – and they’re now gone.  It hurts – that’s just the heart of the matter.  ❤

God of compassion,

There is such a hole in my heart!  Today should be a day of joy, but I feel only the emptiness and loss of someone so beloved.  While the world celebrates around me, I remember Christmas celebrations of the past and I long to have my loved one with me.  I bring my sorrows to you, Lord, like some odd gift of the magi and dump them at your feet.   In my blind tears I wonder if anyone can possibly understand the depth of my sadness. Yes, you can.  You sent your son to be with us in our deepest sorrows and I know that even though I might not feel it at this minute, you are here with me, grieving with me, caring for me in my sadness and loving me.  Dearest lord, help me to turn to the one I miss so much today and speak.  Help me heal the loss of our parting and help me not to regret the things I didn’t say.  Sorrow tears at my heart, but today I ask that my loss soften my heart and make me more compassionate with everyone I meet.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

CELEBRATION IN HEAVENWe’re blue when our loved ones are not around at Christmas time.  We can’t help but think of the past – old traditions and fun times with family that will never happen again.  I know heaven is a beautiful place and would never wish for them to come back here – but by the same token, I really miss them!  😦

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE (2)

Always defend your right to heal at your own pace.  You are taking your time.  You are allowed to take your time.  – Unknown

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Isn’t that pretty?

The other day I was at an antique store and spotted some very pretty quilts!  I’m in awe of those who cut material and then sew it back together – of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that.  When I see quilts, my mind goes back in time – to my Granny LaVella.  She was such a sweet soul.  I know heaven is a wonderful place because she is there – and she may be making quilts!

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Granny’s Singer

I remember seeing granny at her Singer sewing machine – one that was very ornate and set on a sturdy and fancy wrought iron stand.  She always had scraps to make a quilt for somebody.  Her ministry was to keep everyone warm!

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We must grieve

Even though she left us so long ago, when I see beautiful quilts I can’t help but go back in time and think about her.  Her quilts were a labor of love and she personalized each and every one by using the recipient’s favorite colors or if possible, she would use some of their old clothing for the quilt scraps!

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That’s a nice pattern

I never learned to quilt and certainly did not gain that knowledge through osmosis…  but I sure do admire and respect the art.  Quilts are so beautiful and a reflection of their maker.  By the same token, my Granny LaVella was so beautiful and a reflection of her Maker.  Thank You, God, that she was my granny!

When I see quilts, taste biscuits, or hear an elderly woman laugh…  it’s like I go back in time for just a few seconds – and she is still here with me.  I miss her – but I know God has so much work for her to do.  I would not want to take her away from Him, but one day I’ll get to see her again.  Love you, Granny LaVella!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!  – Mark 3:24-26

Join me in prayer for our country.  My spirit is heavy and I’m so weary of the widening chasm which is leading to hate and division in America!  I just want to scream – STOP IT!!!  Enough already.  Am I the only one?

These tragedies are happening much too often.  What fuels the fire of hate that leads to this end?  What is the answer for the United States?  What will it take to keep the United States…  well – united?

I believe with my whole heart that Carman sang about the only hope to solve America’s problems nearly 20 years ago.

 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.  – 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

When will we listen?  When will America humble itself as a nation before God?

The fact that this shooting happened makes me so sad, but that it happened in a church – a place that should have been safe…  well, I can hardly wrap my mind around it!

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Do I have the answers?  No, but it’s my hope that America will seek God with a humble heart and ask Him to please heal our sick, immoral, divided, irreverent land.  The Bible is not just a book – it’s the Word of God.

B.I.B.L.E. = BASIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE LEAVING EARTH.

Let’s continue to read the instruction Book, pray and seek God together…  🙂