Monday, November 29, 2010

Dying Grace

Labor Day, 2010

I have been sitting here trying to sort my thoughts into something at least partially comprehensible.  Last week was a busy week, but it doesn't hold a candle to the amount of energy needed for me to successfully finish this week. I have doctor's appointments today and Wednesday, then eye surgery on Friday with a follow up at the eye surgeon's office on Saturday.

As if that were not enough, Daddy, my sisters and I have an appointment with a Hospice Case Manager on Thursday afternoon.  During the last hospitalization, the lung specialist advised that we do this and begin developing a relationship with the Hospice team so that the transition from Home Health care to Hospice care can be as near seamless as possible for Daddy and for us when that time comes.

I have walked this road before and I do not hesitate to say I am not prepared for another journey on this particular pathway.  However, whether I'm ready or not, the journey must be made.  I openly admit my feelings are selfish ones.  I know full well that the conclusion of this journey will mean Daddy is at home with Jesus and will never suffer again.  As I said, I know my feelings are selfish.  As the Diamond Rio song goes "God only cries for the living".

I often think of that scripture that advises us to weep when a baby is born and rejoice when a saint makes their final journey as the angels escort them into their eternal rest.  When I was younger, I simply could not understand that.  Terry and I were making monumental investments into achieving a full term pregnancy and birth of a child.  Investments not only financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  How could it be that all the tears we had shed when we lost a pregnancy, or simply refused to attain one, were wrong?

As I aged and matured, I came to understand that our tears were not wrong, but did come from a place of incomplete understanding.  After having witnessed the trials of others parenting their children and the joys of saints making their final crossing, I now more clearly understand that scripture and indeed have come to view my own mortality as a blessing and my call to go home as an exciting time and place in my future.

Daddy has talked a lot lately about dying grace.  I told him that, after having witnessed Terry's home going, I am absolutely sure that the Lord grants dying grace to His children.  However, I do not believe it is an event, but a process in which the Lord grants the grace you need to meet each day's challenges as you make your journey.  We receive the strength for the journey, the peace with the process, and the understanding of what is happening to us as we progress on the pathway.  It is as though God spoon feeds His children during that transition just as He did when were young and immature Christians.

So, we will make a definite step on Daddy's journey this week.  As the Lord reminds us in His Word....

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants."

Psalm 116:15 (NIV)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

Yosemite Chapel
Yosemite National Park

As I began to reflect on this season of Thanksgiving, I realized what a truly blessed woman I am.  Earlier this week, I reached my 53rd birthday.  I have known the love of two Christian parents who sacrificed all my sisters and I.  They gave us love and raised us to love the Lord and to serve Him.  I have two sisters who have loved me and supported me.  I had grandparents who thought the sun rose in me and never let me forget it.  I have never known real hunger or gone without a warm, dry place to lay my head in the wet and cold and have, for most of my life, had an air conditioned place to cool my heals in the dog days of summer. I have been loved and cherished by a man who loved with me with his whole heart and who loved only God more than me.  I have always had more than enough to eat and clothing to keep me warm and decently covered.  I have had friends who loved me, prayed for me and supported me.

But above and beyond all of that, I have known the love, grace and mercy of a living God who gave His only Son for me.  I have been partaker of the forgiveness of a sinless Savior and felt the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, during the best and worst times of my life.  I have come to understand that walking with Jesus has to do with RELATIONSHIP, not religion.  For that, I am perhaps the most thankful!  Everything else in my life has taken on new meaning in that context.

Every day of my life I am thankful for all that God has so graciously given to me; but today I am more aware of all I have to be thankful for.  I am also thankful my forefathers saw fit to set aside this day each year to help us reflect on our blessings and to spend time consciously being thankful.  As the Lord tells us in His Word......

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

Colossians 3:17