12.17.2012

"I'll see you later."


There are no words.  

That moment you hear a beautiful, godly woman, age 39, wife, mother of 2 boys ages 9 & 7 - a woman who has been your mentor, your friend, who has played a huge role in your life by allowing her then 3 year old son to be in your wedding and whom you have worked with for your own sister's bridal shower - is dying.  "...perhaps a month (and probably not that long)", according to her husband's CarePage post.  

She's fought hard for 2.5 years, for her husband, for her sons.  

The Lord has positively shone, brightly, through this dear woman and her husband throughout the last few years.  

She and her husband told their two sons the latest update and, in her own words, via facebook, "that was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life".  That, after fighting 2.5 years of cancer.  After hospital stays.  After physical and emotional pain and suffering.  In her last weeks of life.  

God, why?

...For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. (Habakkuk 1:5b)

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (Romans 14:7-9)

Trusting Him.

Before the boys knew their mother was nearing the welcoming arms of the Lord, within hours of learning her life here on earth was coming to an end, fast, she posted on facebook:

"The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He wakes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He Restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his names' sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enenmies. You annoint my head with oil. Surely my cup overflowes. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23

The Lord continued to shine through her.

After she told her sons that she was going Home, she posted:

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home!

Isaac Watts 1719 (Ps 90)


She was released from the hospital to be treated with hospice care at home during what became her final days.  I don't know exactly how much longer she was lucid, but I do know it was only a few days.  She became extremely tired and slept peacefully most of the time. Yet, she was still fighting.  

She was fighting to bring glory to the Lord.  With each of the final breaths she took.  I can only pray the Lord gives me a similar grace - that He will shine so strongly through me, in my final days.

Final days... to those who are united in the Lord... those "last days" aren't really last days.  It may be many, many years before we see them again. Yet, when one is a child of God, what are 60, more or less, years of physical separation when all eternity, in the presence of God stands before you?

When my dear, godly grandmother passed away, Sunday, Thanksgiving weekend, 2003 - the grandmother who's ring I now wear daily with remembrance of her testimony - I was with a college friend's family in Philly, Pa. for the holiday.  I called my grandmother (who had apparently been relatively unaware of her surroundings prior to my call) to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving and to tell her I loved her once more.  We knew she had only days left here on earth.  She, by His grace, perked up, sounded like the grandmother I always remember - (she was tired that time, of course, yet) joyful.  We talked for a few minutes.  As our conversation drew to a close, my last words to her were, "I love you, Grandma.  I'll see you later."

I'll see you later.  

Yes, as believers, we will see those believers who have gone before us later.  In the midst of physical grief, appropriate grief, for those who are sons or daughters of the King who have gone Home, there is comfort that we will see them later!  

I.can't.wait!

Life here on earth is a mere season.  When one thinks in terms of eternity, life - no matter how long or how short - is a season.  Our spirits are eternal.  For believers, life hear on earth is the spiritual pregnancy/gestation in preparation for the birth of our souls into Heaven.

This is a hard concept to grasp, yet, I know it is true.  

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep... For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16-17)

While many of us know these Words from Scripture to be true, as sinful, frail human beings, we can still struggle to make sense of suffering.  Ann Voskamp, in a recent blog post, (please visit the link and watch the video!), addresses this very issue.  Please take time to watch the video on her blog - SO worth the 15 minutes!



12.01.2012

The Small Things

Oh, childhood discovery and imagination!

Recently, I collected a large Kroger bag full of CDs, along with two short reams of CDs from my parents house...  I've been enjoying muddling through them, reminiscing my beautiful high school and college years with genuine fondness for those years and thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for the growth I experienced during those years.  

The thin plastic Kroger bag contained a smattering of loose CDs and many albums in their original cases.  

I can't believe how far digital media has changed already in my lifetime.  From vinyl (I actually owned a Big Bird record player as a child!), to 8-tracks, to cassettes (and the walk-man), to CD's (the personal CD player), to mp3s (the mp3 player), to iPhones/smartphones, hold stinkin' everything!

My kids are growing up in a world where the world, literally, is at their fingertips.  On facebook alone, I have friends in Texas, California, Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Hordaland.  I follow the daily life of a beautiful, godly  woman in Western Canada.  I can be in communication with any one of them easily, cheaply and relatively quickly, by merely logging onto facebook or email and hitting a few keys on a keyboard, followed by a single click from my mouse - or by hitting carefully calculated spots on the touch screen of an iPhone!

Childhood.  Beautiful childhood.  That season of physical, emotional, and spiritual growth (though the latter two don't ever end here on earth).  That season of seeing life, the world around us with fresh eyes.  Those moments of self-instigated environmental discovery.  They are beautiful.


The small things in life; those are the moments I love - the moments I deeply cherish.  

Patrick had a moment of discovery today.  He somehow got hold of the clear lid of a CD case and discovered the joy of reflection.  The smile, the joy, the genuine enthrallment of such a small facet of Creation.  He turned the clear piece of plastic into his own "flashlight".  (I picture a child, hundreds of years ago, finding similar fascination with the reflection of themselves in a pool of water.)

He was mesmerized for at least 15 minutes.



Beauty.  Eucharisteo.  Watching my son discover creation on his own initiative was incredible.  That, and the awe I saw in his eyes.  In the picture directly above, note the light spot on the carpet between the green train (lower right quadrant of the photo) and the pink sock (directly by the bottom of the sofa, near the center segment).

Patrick experimented with shining his reflection on the ceiling, the wall, the floor.  Erin frequently chased after it.

Awe in Creation.  Isn't that how life is supposed to be?  Joy and thanksgiving, praising Him from Whom all blessings flow.

In those minutes watching Patrick in his moment of discovery, I longed for Home.  I can't even fathom how beautiful, how mind-blowing, how overwhelmingly joyous eternity will be and I can.not.wait.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for a refreshing view of the world YOU made.  Thank You for my son.  Thank You for the ability to find joy in the small things.

To me: small = mindblowingly massive

Thank You, Jesus.