A Curious Thing

Death is such a curious thing.

I want to weep and wail, scream and curse at no one in particular

Yet, I long to let my furry flow.

I want to punch and kick, run and stomp

at no person specific

Yet, I yearn to unload and unwind.

I want to tell every naysayer, “You’ll never know this kind of love.”

I want to tell every well wisher, “You’ll never understand the pain.”

But then,

I look upon Your face

Your whisper draws me closer still

Your eyes coax me to silence

Your hands comfort my tears

You remind me of Your sufficient grace.

You remind me of Your unending mercy.

You fill me with Your peace that surpasses all understanding.

You overwhelm me with Your love that is always without limit.

Where can I go from Your presence?

Where can I flee from Your shadow?

You see every corner of my world.

You fill ever space within my heart.

There will come a day I can breathe again.

There will come an hour I will see.

Until then, I will allow Your Hope to be my anchor.

Until then, I will dream of what could have been and what will be.

Heaven is going to be a beautiful thing.

Penned – MG – 9/19/17

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Live Now…There’s Nothing New

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We toil, and we struggle to get the work done in a day. We hurry here and hurry there, scrambling to stack the hours into weeks and weeks into years. We are constantly busy with something new, something pressing, something important that must be done right now, in this moment. 

Then a crisis hits. A tragedy befalls our friends or our family, and it seems everything changes in an instant. We are then focused on that problem, that issue, that crisis which has taken center stage. 

Too often, the everyday life and the momentary crises can take over, and we forget to live in the moment. We neglect the importance of living in the here and now. We bypass any and all around us, like an ostrich, we have our head in the sand, seeking dutiful ways to bow out” gracefully” of the life and purpose we live.  

King Solomon reminds us that in Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) There is no new emergency that hasn’t been before. There will be no new ‘created agenda’ which has never been thought of or tried. Everything we encounter, someone else has already experienced. In one way or another, someone has walked that journey of pain, sorrow, joy or apprehension that you are walking right now. It is only new to us and our lives.  
Sometimes, we have but one moment to make an impact on a life around us, and we miss it, because we allow the cares of this world to blind us. Sometimes, we are placed in strategic locations, a funeral home, a hospital hallway, an ICU waiting room, even a grocery store line, to reach someone right in the moment of their need. If we are not living that moment deliberately, we can miss it! 

Let us never be so caught up in the present crises, the present family issue or anything else, that we fail to remember why we are here. Let us never be so consumed by the present chaos of our lives that we can’t live in this present moment and reach someone else whose life needs His hope maybe even more than we do. 

Live For The Eternal

As I visited with my ailing relative today, I was reminded again of how sweet heaven will be when we are all there together. There will be no more sickness and no more pain. Our loved ones will never die, and we will never worry about crises, heartaches, destruction or even the threats of such. We will say no more goodbyes, and the trivial things of this world will have all been lost.

If I had but one piece of advice to give, it would be this: No matter what you seek in this life, all things will eventually fade away, only those things which are eternal will remain. Never allow the temporary pleasures to blind you from the eternal treasures. Live for those who matter, and let all the rest simply fade with the time of life’s journey. Recognize and acknowledge your reality. Cherish the ins of value, and make sure you are both ready for the other side; so together, you might worship your King in eternity…

Happy Mom’s Day

I usually have the Friday’s New Angle and the answer posted here on Fridays and Saturdays; so, I thought it might be appropriate to go ahead and wish all of you a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! …and for those who almost forgot, here’s your chance to go get that card and gift! 😉

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I hope you have a WONDERFUL day, and even if you’re not able to spend it with your children or your mom, I hope you are able to spend it with someone you love! My prayer is your day is consumed with good memories, well wishes and lots and of love and joy!

However, for so many, this day is filled with dread, with tears and even a little anger or frustration for the mother or spouse who has already said goodbye in this life. When Mother’s Day rolls around for those in this category, often, the feelings can be so overwhelming they would rather the day simply pass on like any other and not be mentioned. For these, I say, “God bless you, and I pray you find peace today. I pray you find grace for your pain, and I pray you find joy in your place of grief.”

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Losing a mom is like no other loss one can experience. I have heard it described as losing your best friend, losing your right arm, or even losing a piece of your heart you truly realized you had until she’s gone. Probably the best description I have heard was from my mother-in-law, who has become like a second mother to me. She said (my paraphrase), “It’s as if, all of a sudden, I had a great big hole open up in my life. You don’t know what to do with it. You can’t jump over it; you can’t fill it in, and the pain of it is almost unbearable. Sometimes, you contemplate just jumping into the hole, thinking that will make it better…People say time will heal the pain…No, the hole is there for the rest of your life. It never gets filled back in with the passing of time; you just learn how to manage it and begin to walk around it.”

Miss-you-mom-died-cant-stop-crying-tears-smilesCan I encourage you today to take notice of those who may be grieving during this “fun weekend” we call Mother’s Day? Can I urge you to let your heart mourn with them and allow your arms of love to reach out? They need your words of comfort, and they need thoughts of grace. These days are not easy for so many, especially when it is the first (or even second) Mom’s Day they have gone without her…

 

With or Without Hope

I’ve read several posts lately from those who are grieving and who are lonely. I’ve been there, in that lonely place, struggling to survive the pain…

These posts make my heart sad, not because the bloggers are heartbroken or grief-stricken, but because so many  grieve with no hope. For without hope, we have no purpose in the pain. We have no future beyond the pain. Without hope, it is all just meaningless and worthless. Without hope, life doesn’t seem worth living.

Yet, where there is hope, there is life beyond the pain. There is a purpose through the pain, and there is some semblance of meaning that we can try to grasp. There is something more that is worth holding onto.

It doesn’t mean we will never experience the pain, only that, deep down, we have a knowing that we will live BEYOND the pain, because there is something MORE for which to live.

Hope is a powerful thing. Without it, life is just a survival game.

Hope causes our spirit to fight. Hope causes our mind not to give up. Hope causes our body to push forward behind normal limits.  Hope causes us to thrive.

…Thriving is so much more fun than simply surviving.


“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

A New Beginning

“It’s not the end. It’s only a new beginning…”

A good friend shared this revelation with me as he had just been diagnosed with a curable sickness and was beginning to learn to eat differently and take some new medications in order to feel better…all at an age well over 60. 

I said goodbye to a precious woman the other day, a goodbye that will last until I see her again in eternity. She was a strong lady of character, dignity and grace. Her family is starting each new day with her absence, learning to grieve, to cope, to live again. 

Some great friends of ours moved away to another state months ago. We probably won’t see them but maybe once or twice a year now. They are greeting new friends and learning to grow and adjust in a new home, city and surroundings. 

Our sons started a new school endeavor this year. They are no longer taught in the classroom but now receive all their instructions virtually through the Internet and tutoring videos. They are beginning to transition and learn new ways of communication and knowledge gathering. 

In all these things, and in so many more, we close one chapter in our lives; yet, another is quickly opened. We may no longer have the comfort zones of our past, but in the new, we learn to thrive. That’s what life is all about. 

So, when changes come and transitions must be made, try not to be drowned by losses; look to what is ahead. Those things, and those people, will surely be missed, but if we remain stagnant in our grief, we will never be able to embrace the new which is ahead. We will never be able to start on the new beginnings, and growth will fall beyond our grasp.

So, reminisce over what was; cherish those memories. However, don’t stay there without forward motion, or you will surely miss the sweet moments which can be treasured ahead. 

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors might sum up this little thought…

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss 

Happy Valentine’s Day

IMG_9457 As I sat in a memorial today to celebrate the homecoming of a life well lived, I thought about love, life, faith and death. I thought about the wife of the deceased who had been married for 53 years. I thought of the precious lady who sat beside me who, just a few short months ago, had said goodbye to her husband after so many years of loving each other. I thought of the young man I would see just a few minutes later, who just lost his wife to an organ transplant failure. Surrounded by so much grief, I wondered how it could possibly be Valentine’s Day today.

So many getting ready for their ‘hot dates’ tonight. Others bragging about all the candy, cards and roses they had received. My husband and myself exchanging our love just a few hours before, yet, waiting to truly celebrate until tomorrow because of all that we were a part of today. I thought of those who grieve today. I thought of those who are heartbroken, abused, deserted, lost and alone. It’s not such a heart-filled, sunshiny day for those. What do we say to them?

What do we say when our hearts are so filled with joy, excitement and laughter? What do we do when their grief seems to cast a shadow on our smile? Do we tell them just to “Get over it…tomorrow will be brighter…you’ll simply feel better later on…?” Are we really that shallow to forget how it feels to have a shattered dream and an empty heart? Are we really that naive not to know? What are we to do?

As I sat beside my widowed friend, and as I said goodbye to my other friend’s man, my heart broke for their brokenness. My eyes shed tears as they shed. My day was just a little more gray as I encountered my third friend’s grief in saying goodbye to her daughter-in-law and comforting her weeping son. Yet, as I walked away to go have a Valentine’s lunch with my little family, I breathed the air in deeply and thanked my Father above for these moments, not just the joys of my men but, as well, the pains of my friends. These times when I truly see reality. These moments when authenticity, vulnerability and honesty are raw and unedited, exposing the tender hearts within.

For, it is in moments like these when we grow a little wiser. In these hours, we learn to love a little deeper and let our trust become more secure. If it weren’t for the hard places in life, we would never learn where our faith truly lies. We’d never realize the value of a friend, the depth of love in our family, the importance in a given moment. It is said, “There is more wisdom in the house of mourning than in the house of laughter” (Paraphrased, Ecclesiastes 7:2). As my heart broke again and again for my friends, it caused me to appreciate, even more, the later moments with my men. It caused me to be keenly aware of my husband’s handsome smile, my JMan’s innocent laughter, and the love behind JGrizz’s witty remark, “Of course, I love you. It’s Valentine’s Day, isn’t it?” 😉 These precious occasions made me live life a little fuller.

So, as this Valentine’s Day is coming to an end, maybe you’ve spent a wonderful day with your love(s), maybe your dealing with a broken heart from a love that’s been lost, or maybe you’ve recently had to say a heart wrenched goodbye as your love entered eternity. Maybe this day just doesn’t seem as cheer-filled as it once had been, but no matter the circumstance in which you find yourself tonight, I pray you will hold tight the love you have, the joy you once had and the memories you’ve made along the way. I pray you’ll look toward the future and know He is still in control. Look forward and see that there’s still hope. I pray you hold all theses things close to your heart and realize there’s a heavenly Father above who’s looking down and sending you His eternal, unconditional love. YOU are the object of His affection tonight. He truly loves you! His love for is beyond your very hopes and dreams. His love for you died that you might live. ❤

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

A Season For Tears…A Season For Cheer

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Yesterday, I was so emotional all day, I felt I had to hold back the tears with all my might. It all began when I read a Facebook status update from a friend and relative who has lost her grandmother and grandfather within almost a month of each other and how she is struggling with the grief while trying to maintain a cheerful home for her children during the holidays. The feelings just washed over me like a tidal wave of how much I miss my own grandfather, even though, he’s been gone for over 12 years now. So much changed within my family after his death, and without him here, it will never be the same. Christmas has never been the same without him.

Several times throughout the day, I thought of him, and I began thinking of so many who have lost a mom, a dad, a child, or another loved one during this past year and even those who have lost someone during the past several years. I, also, thought of so many families I know who are facing divorce, or have already divorced, and even though their significant other hasn’t died physically, their love has died, and that is as painful as the reality of death. Losing a precious family member or friend makes the holidays a little tougher to handle. It makes the cheer and the joy of the season seem a little less festive, and sometimes, it makes it a lot less festive, maybe not even worth celebrating at all. Often, losing a loved one, especially those who filled such a huge part of our heart and our home, makes the Christmas season almost unbearable. Everyone else is cheerful, excited and filled with joy for all the wonderful things that bring the love of Christmas, and our world has just turned a little more gray from the loss of color with which our loved one took away.

If you are one whose world is a little more gray today, there is hope! It’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not a fallacy. It’s not a plastic mask which you wear just to convince your family that you’re okay. It’s, also, not a “snap of the finger and you’re perfect” solution, and it’s not a formula nor is it a potion or a thought. It’s not even an “it.” It’s a person, a Messiah, a Savior and a King.

His name is Jesus. He can comfort your heart and encourage your soul. He can give you peace which surpasses understanding. He can consume your mind with good thoughts, and He can give you a reason to get up one more day. He is HOPE. He is LOVE. He is LIFE, and He can give you all this and more. All you have to do is call on His name, and He will answer. He will wrap you in His arms of love, and He will give you purpose again. All you have to do is just trust Him.

For all of us who have learned to cope with the deep scars of loss, and for those who have yet to experience this heart-wrenching pain, maybe we can be a little kinder to those who are hurting this Christmas season. Maybe we can be a little more attentive to those who may not feel as festive as we expect them to be. Maybe we can share a little more love, a little more encouragement, a little more hope. Those of us who have found this One Hope who helps us survive through the darkest of nights, we must share Him with those around us. We must share this Hope with a hurting and desperate world. We must share why our Christmas is so Merry.

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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

 

Bigger Than Life

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I experienced one of the greatest losses of my life 12 years ago today. You see, my grandfather was bigger than life. When he walked in a room, he owned that room. He had the personality of a John Wayne, never meeting a stranger and never afraid to “get up on that horse,” no matter how many fears he had inside. In fact, as a child, I was convinced he couldn’t possibly have any fears!

He was born in a small, no name kind of town, a son born into poverty and of low education. When he was 15, he was told by a banker he was worthless and didn’t deserve the money he was seeking. He told the man that one day he would prove him wrong, and he did just that. He began his own HVAC company, became a county commissioner, retired from his business when I was just a little girl, and went back to buy out that banker, only to find the man had already lost his place. He believed in hard work and the common decency among men. He could spin the biggest tale, keeping you entertained for hours; yet, when it came to business, he believed in integrity, fairness and an honest wage for honest work.

He stood at six feet four inches tall, wore Stetson hats and alligator boots (or the nicest, toughest boots found in the store that day), and he struck up conversation with every person he encountered on the park bench while waiting for his wife to finish shopping. He could wrestle and kill a six-foot rattler, and he’d do the same to a six-foot man if he threatened a child (which actually happened once!). He loved his wife, his two girls, and his four grands (and their spouses), even if his gruffness hid that love most of the time. He believed in taking care of what you have and working hard for what you want. One of his famous lines was, “Take care of your equipment, and your equipment will take care of you!”

He was like a Daddy to me. My mom was single for most of my childhood, and he just kind of filled in that gap. He made sure I was clothed, fed and had just about all I wanted or needed in life. He’d pick me up after school in his old Ford Ranchero, and we’d stop by the Stuckeys gas station to get some candy…that was back when you could get a piece of candy for a dime and a coke for fifty cents; so, I always loaded up with the $3-5 he gave me!
He taught me how to fish and how to clean them; although, he always handled the knives. He bought me my first car, and even though, he had the money to pay cash for it, he set me up with monthly payments; so, I could learn how to pay bills and manage a checkbook properly. He always had a bear hug waiting and would never let me leave without a little cash in my pocket. He loved me something fierce, and I loved him right back the same.

When he left this world, he took some of its color with him, and my life has never been the same. He sure wasn’t perfect, but he brought a little perfection into my world. They say, “Time heals all pain,” but I have to disagree. Time doesn’t really heal grief, only Jesus can do that. Time just simply helps you learn how to tolerate the pain and be able to “categorize it” within your own heart. It helps you to see more clearly, and if you choose it to, time allows you to help someone else along the same journey.

I’ll miss him until the day I die, and I’ll keep his memories alive for my children to remember what a great legacy we have.

Goodbye, Pa”T”

~ Saying goodbye to my grandfather … He was like a father to me … I miss him still. ~

So many memories fill my mind.

So many days, so many years, my tears make me blind.

Oh, Pa”T”, how I will miss you.

My heart is now breaking in two.

So many future things make me wonder and dream.

So many joys, so many sorrows, you are with still, it seems.

Oh, Pa”T”, how I will look forward to the other side.

My heart rejoices and, in Christ, it abides.

It’s as if I can see you at those pearly gates.

For all your loved ones and friends, you eagerly await.

I can see you waving and shining a grin.

I can see your new body is not at all like it’s been.

Oh, I cannot wait to see your lovely face.

Oh, what strong arms you’ll once again have to embrace.

We’ll dance and we’ll sing for many days on end.

No more counted days to us will be lent.

So many memories fill my weary soul.

So many days, so many years, the tears, they overflow.

Oh, Pa”T”, how we will miss you.

But now, you are made brand new.

So many future scenes make me smile and sigh.

So many joys, so many sorrows, you’re only a temporary goodbye.

Oh, Pa”T”, how I eagerly search for heaven now.

My heart leaps for the time when together before our King we shall bow.

Penned – MG – 10/6/02 … the day we said Goodbye …