Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Brand New Day

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.  
I Thessalonians 4:13-14

Today, January 29, 2012, marks the 10th year that my beloved husband left this world to enter his eternal home.  I never much cared for the month of January; I mean the weather is usually gray, cold and dismal. Plus with all the celebrations of Christmas, January has a hard act to follow. But for the past 10 years there has been another reason I did not care much for this month, it reminded me of my husband’s illness and his passing.

But this year I have chosen not to dwell on what was the sadness of January. I have chosen to think on the good things…the “whatsoevers Paul talks about in the book of Philippian: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Has it been an easy transition? “No!” But it is do-able with God’s help.  I have learned lots of things these past years and one of them is: grieving is a process that takes most of us a lot longer than we want it to.  But the key to the healing is to take it at your own pace, whether that is one day or one second at a time. Another thing I have learned is: there are lots of people out there that are hurting. I believe that I have more compassion and sensitivity towards others that are grieving for whatever reason. So I must move on, not wallow in self-pity.  There are many that need encouragement and yes… hugs.

I’m not the same person I was before January 29, 2002.  It has been a long, slow and sometimes excruciating process. But this one thing I KNOW, God has been with me every step of the way.  NEVER have I felt He had deserted me. He has been by my side teaching me things I thought I could never do, encouraging me to put one foot in front of the other and move on and yes comforting me when no human could do so.  Yes! God is real!  And He loves us with an everlasting love!

When those close to me say “You have changed” I am thankful that they see the work God has done in me. I am grateful that I did not allow myself to succumb to the grief that tried to overtake me. I am grateful that I …”do not grieve as those who have no hope…” The HOPE is Jesus; He is our all in all. He wants us to come to Him with our hurts, our sorrow, and our pain.  He will comfort and make us whole again.

It is a nice bright sun-shiny day today, unlike the “normal” January days.  Thank You Lord!

(pictures taken by my son @Laguna Beach California 2008)

Thursday, January 12, 2012 from God

"The righteous care for the needs of their animals..." Proverbs 12:10a

Since as far back as I can remember I have been a lover of animals, especially dogs. Had a Collie mix, my brother brought home when I was a kid, loved that dog so much.  Named him Scottie (don't know why). He was my closest companion during those years.  Loved to run in the fields, give him a bath in a galvanized tub out on the front lawn and ride my bike with him galloping beside me wide open, with his tongue hanging out!  But one day he just never came home.  We believed that he was kidnapped, since he was such a beautiful and friendly dog.  I was very sad for a long time about losing him.

Then many years later, married with an 8 year old son, here comes into our lives...Scottie...our beloved mini schnauzer mix. We had him for 16 years. My son brought him home from a neighbor whose mini schnauzer had pups. "Mom can we keep him?, "I'll take care of him myself." You know who ended up doing all the work right? ;-) My son wanted to call him "Wolf" but we ended up calling him Scottie after my childhood pet.

What a sweetie he was...I still miss him. It has taken me about 18 years after losing Scottie II to get up the courage to get another pup. I looked for another Scottie, but I could never find another dog with the same temperament or personality. I don't see him in my new pup at all. That's because there was only one Scottie...

BrunoEach pet that I've had, I have tried my best to show them love and treat them well.  It is the least I can do with all the unconditional love and loyalty that they have given me.  I believe God made them that way.

If dogs are in heaven, I'm sure Scottie is there. Until I see him again I will enjoy Bruno, my fiesty, ornery but sweet chihuahua ;-)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Living life...Large!

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

While reading "The Shadow of Your Smile" by Susan May Warren, I came across the part in the book where the above scripture was used. In the book it was stated that this was the favorite scripture of a deceased young woman who "Lived life large." As I read that scripture it began to dawn on me about my late husband, a man that always had an urgency to fulfill his calling by God.  There was an urgency; rather it was to simply apologize to someone or to sponsor an outside festival to unite local churches. He would work overtime at his job sometimes specifically to have extra money to do the things he felt God calling him to do, so that "He would owe no one for doing what he felt compelled to do." 

I admit, at times I did not understand his urgency; why he had to go and preach in the men's prison, even when he did not feel well.  Why he had to spend his hard earned money to have breakfasts for unsaved men from his job, so that he could tell them about the hope we have in Jesus.  Why he had such a burden to share with these men that you COULD change and be a better man, even when they acted like they sometimes did not want to hear it.  Why he had a heavy burden for worshippers of the Lord in different denominations, to put aside their differences and come together to worship in unity.

He had an urgency to do all he could with God's help, because God knows our times, they are in His hands. Though misunderstood by many, even accused of things not true, my late husband continued to pursue his calling, not behind a pulpit, but in the world that surrounded him.  And for the first time this morning, I understood...he lived LARGE!!!!  He did what he was suppose to do for God!

We may see living large as having a fancy car, big house, rolex watch...while those things are that REALLY living large?  How about getting up in the morning and saying to God, "You woke me up this morning Lord, so what do you have for me to do?" and then being obedient to do just that.  It may be for you to take time to smell the roses or appreciate the beautiful sky.  God is full of surprises.  And sometimes He may ask you to put your arms around a person that you may not even know what they are going through, but He does.

Living Large is making your life available to God, so that He can use it to help and bless others.  And believe me we get a real blessing too.  When my husband left this earthly realm he was literally praising God with all his might.  His last spoken words were "Thank you Jesus!"  Now that is living large!

May we all fulfill God's purpose for our lives. And on that journey"...may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."