Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This is a difficult month for me.  January is the anniversary month of my husband's home going.  His last days remain so fresh in my mind and in my heart.  In like manner, the pain also remains fresh.  I have struggled through each January since. 

I have had well-meaning friends and loved ones advise me to "just move forward", or "don't think about it", etc.  All that is within me wants to scream at those people "Don't tell me what to do or how to do it"!  I don't do that because I know they mean well.  However, I wonder how often I have made some one's pain more difficult to bear by taking it too lightly.  I never meant to, I simply didn't know what else to say.  Now, I realize that's exactly what my friends and family are facing with me.  They haven't experienced this loss and they don't know how to help me and that hurts them because they love me. 

They say things to me like "just be thankful you had him while you did", or "at least you didn't have to bury your child; nothing in this world hurts like burying your child".  I am thankful Terry and I had wonderful years together and I will never know the pain of burying my child because I was never blessed with a child that lived. 

I often wonder how those people would feel if I said to them "well, just be thankful you had children, I never had any".  It would be a rude and heartless thing to say.  I never want to make any one's pain deeper or more difficult to bear and I know others don't intentionally do things to hurt me. hurts. 

It hurts when people think that my pain should be less because Terry loved me so completely, because we had 35+ years together, because he was kind and affectionate and good.  Don't they realize that, because of all those things, my pain is worse because I had so much more to lose? 

I don't know how it feels to lose a child that you have held in your arms, loved through childhood, or even seen grow into adulthood; I never will.  I do know how it feels to sit in your doctor's office and hear him tell you that you have lost your baby; the baby you have waited for, prayed for, gone through every imaginable medical procedure and begged God for. I know that pain and have experienced it three times after trying  for over 10 years just to accomplish pregnancy.  I cannot imagine losing a child you have had with you; it must take a piece of your heart away; how could it be any other way?

The truth is that losing someone you love is painful.  Why is it that we want to quantify our pain and make it worse to experience one loss over another?  A friend recently posted on Facebook that a person who loses their partner is called a widow, a child who loses a parent is called an orphan, but a parent who loses a child has no name because there is no word that can describe that pain.  My first thought was "how could you possibly know since you haven't experienced either"?  She has both her parents, all three of her children plus all her grandchildren and three husbands plus a couple of 'friends' she's had along the way.  (You see, I am human and I may not say it, but I sure think it!) 

Why is it that we want to make our own pain worse than any pain experienced by others?  Why can't we just love each other and empathize with each other when we suffer?  Can't we just let pain be pain and loss be loss without trying to make martyrs of ourselves?  How inexcusable must we be before God?  I often wonder if He wants to speak up and say "have you ever given your only Son as a sacrifice for a totally selfish and unthankful human race"?  Hmmmm, why don't we all try comparing our loss to that one?  I don't know about you, but that shuts my complaining mouth in an instant!

How thankful I am that I serve a living God who loves me and understands my pain in a way no human being can.   Even when I'm at my worst, He loves me and has compassion for me without judging my pain.  He accepts me as I am and comforts me in His arms.  What an incredible blessing it is to know Him and to experience His love and acceptance!

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?

Psalm 118: 5-6      (NLT)                                     

Sunday, January 8, 2012

God Is My Fortress

Avadon Black Fortress

Some friends and I have been having an online discussion regarding some things that currently unfolding in world events.  We agree it is fulfillment of Bible prophecy that these things are happening.  We cannot control current events or how nations and governments conduct themselves.  However, we have the best resource available when our world troubles us.........the living Word of God.  It matters not how events develop, our God remains in control. 

As a Christian, I find solace and comfort in that.  My ending is established in the throne room of heaven.  I have nothing to fear.  Praise God for an election made sure on the day I asked Jesus Christ to reside in my heart and to cleanse me from sin.  Bad things and bad people will be in my life and in yours.  Does your soul have a place of comfort and refuge?  If not, may I introduce you the the King of Glory?  He is the answer when it seems your world is falling apart.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, a hymn with both lyrics and melody composed by Martin Luther, was written by Luther between 1527 and 1529.  It is a basic paraphrase of the 46th Psalm.  This hymn has been dear to my heart for many years.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

I pray all will have a blessed Lord's Day.  What a joy to know God is my fortress and I have nothing to fear!

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.

Psalm 46: 10-11   (NLT)                                

Friday, January 6, 2012

Who I Am

I feel so much like this bolt of lightning.....fractured into many strands and seemingly going off in all the wrong directions, making my journey frustrating but not keeping me from reaching my destination.

I feel so confused, dejected, lost, alone, sad, lonely, hopeless, apathetic, lethargic, angry, disappointed, overcome........

Then Jesus........that's all it takes......the Lord speaks to my heart, He opens my mind, He sends a text or an email or a Facebook message or a telephone call.....then I realize just how much I have to be thankful for. 

I rehearse memories of love and life from my past.  I take a good look around to appreciate all the blessings of my present.  I ponder my future and a life filled with the grace of God, a beautiful family, a bevy of sisters of my heart, a church family that draws me in and invite me to share their life. Ultimately I rejoice in the promise of my transportation to my eternal home with my Jesus at the end of my temporal existence.


When I stop to ponder those things, I realize my life is so full of color, excitement, joy, expectation, hope.....too many manifold blessings to innumerate!

My heart sings, my spirit rejoices, my soul dances the dance of joy realized and hope secured!

My life is much more like a beautiful patchwork quilt with each piece lovingly placed and sewn into place by the loving hands of my Creator.  There are dark places, subdued spots, bright places, cheerful colors create pops of joyful appreciation.

The quilt is finished by the bindings or hems of the quilting process just as my life is hemmed with my own prayers and the prayers of those who love me and joined with the intercessory work of my Savior as He sits on the right hand of His Father.

Then I sit down with my Bible and I am reminded of His love for me, His sacrifice so that I can have an abundant life, both here and hereafter.  He gave me everything I need to be more than a conqueror, an overcomer of all that Satan can hurl at me.  PRAISE JESUS!!!!

If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God
that I am giving you today,
and if you carefully obey them,
the Lord will make you the head and not the tail,
and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.              

 ~~~ Deuteronomy 28:13  (NLT)

I am ahead and not behind, on top and not on the bottom!  Revelation 22 further describes that my end will be better than my beginning.  HALLELUJAH!!!!!

1 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,[a] with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.

4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

6 Then the angel said to me, “Everything you have heard and seen is trustworthy and true. The Lord God, who inspires his prophets,[b] has sent his angel to tell his servants what will happen soon.[c]”
7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.[d]”

~~~Revelation 22: 1 - 7   (NLT)

Just Do It!

Lately, my life has felt much like The Road to Nowhere.  I've driven this road; it's long, hot, boring and seemingly endless.  Yep, that would pretty much describe what I've felt my life is like of late.

 You see, I want to do this.......

 And see those..............


 The trouble is, all of that takes of lot of  this...........

Well, truth be told, Daddy was very generous and he and Momma worked hard and saved to leave a little something for each of their daughters.  So, I actually have the money to take the cruise without adversely affecting any other plans for my future.

Now we get to the real problem.  You see...........

I've been doing a lot of this......


 And this..........

And I think this........

Just may be more along the lines of where and/or what the Lord desires of me. 

I'm not sure where or when, but I'm somewhat convinced that the Lord wants me to be personally involved in a present tense kind of in my boots on their soil and my hands helping their people.  Now, just who 'their people' are is yet to be determined.  El Salvador is a strong contender at present; so is any American neighborhood that needs help.

Margie, my sister of the heart.
Thank you to my cherished sister of the heart, Margie, for reigniting in me the yearning to live outside myself and above my circumstances.  Margie, you are my inspiration.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey
all the commands I have given you.
And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28: 19 & 20  (NLT)                     

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Living To Learn

All-American Muslim

One recent night, I don't remember which one, I watched a program on TLC called All-American Muslim.  I had never watched it before but noticed it was going to be about September 11 from the American Muslim prespective.  I was intrigued.

Now, I cannot come to a common ground with a Muslim when it comes to religion, other than to know they have the freedom to worship as they see fit, just as I do.  We do not worship the same god because I worship I AM, Yahweh, Jehovah God, Creator of the Universe and all that is therein.  They worship Allah, a name given to one of a pantheon of gods and jinns chosen by Mohammed to be their one god.

I heard divergent opinions expressed by the guests on the program from at least two generations.  The older generation seemed more ready to accept at least the responsibility to speak out against Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban and accuse them of hijacking the Muslim faith and proclaim they were not true Muslims.  The younger generation seemed more tired of apologizing and less ready to continue to accept that they have a responsibility to speak out against the terrorists.  I think they were perhaps a bit less patient than the older generation. To me, that seemed to be a commonality between our cultures, for sure!

I was, however, quite impressed with one young man and young woman who were American born Arabs of Lebanese decent and of the Muslim faith.  I honestly don't remember if they were a couple or were siblings.  They traveled to NYC to visit Ground Zero.  They had never been there and wanted to see the location for themselves, I suspect for much the same reason that you and I would want to make the same trip.  They both wore tee shirts proclaiming "I am not a terrorist" and were quite open to inquires and open discussion about why they wore the shirts.

They went to visit the tattoo parlor of Ami James of New York Ink fame.  Knowing that James was an Israeli, yet a talented tattoo artist, the couple were somewhat anxious about the visit.  After arriving at the shop, they entered into a conversation with James as he prepared to do the tattoos.  They talked about the fact that he was Israeli and had served with the Israeli military as a sniper in the war with Lebannon, which was the ancestry line of the Arab Americans.

One of the most poignant statements made during the program was this; James said "Isn't it bad that we both had to leave our ancestral homes in order to be friends?"  There they sat in New York City, home of the most agregious attacks of 9/11 and the most deaths.  In Israel or Lebannon, neither could reasonably expect to sit in public, talk and maintain any semblance of a friendship; yet here in NYC they could sit together and talk openly, expressing divering opinions without fear of retribution from any source.

For all that is wrong in our country, we remain the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave.  I thought as I watched those people talking "All of the brave don't necessarily wear a uniform; some just live their lives in a manner they could never do in their ancestral homes".  It was an eye-opening experience for me; one that taught me I need to open my heart and my mind to at least HEAR the other side.  God help me to remember I am no one's judge; only You have that right and/or responsibility.

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.
Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6: 37   (NLT)                       

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Liar...Liar...Pants on Fire

December 2011
I seem to always be smiling but the sadness is just beneath the surface.

 Some friends and I have been discussing the fact that our blogging, or lack thereof, has seemingly succumbed to our Facebooking and why we had allowed that to happen. Frankly, I haven't felt that I had a lot to say recently. 

The past few years have been difficult.  The really difficult years started in February, 2006 and pretty much hasn't let up since. In that 6 years, I have watched my Momma, my husband and my Daddy die.  In addition, my husband nearly died, as did my middle sister, who both had sepsis.  My husband was diagnosed with terminal NASH cirrhosis and my mother-in-love fell and broke her hip and ended up first in a nursing home and now in an assisted living facility. 

In addition to all that, I have had my own health issues to deal with as well.  One of which was my own diagnosis with End Stage Liver Disease due to NASH cirrhosis only 6 months after my husband's death.  How in the world was I suppose to deal with that?!  Life has been difficult.

Now, what does that all have to do with blogging you ask?  Simply this, I feel as though my spirit is broken and I don't want to talk about that.  Above all else, I am a Christian.  I love Jesus Christ with all I am and am dreadfully fearful of bringing dishonor to His Name.  I find that I am often afraid to be real.  What if I give someone the idea that Jesus is somehow deficient because I am deficient?  What if someone should decide that Jesus isn't for them because I'm having such a difficult time dealing with my life's issues?

I often struggle with sharing my feelings because they are such a dichotomy.  In one instance, I can be both dreadfully sad and disparaging, while at the same time feel great joy for other things going on in my life.  I struggle with how to find a balance in all of that.  Do I deny the sadness and despair and focus only on the joy; or do I focus on the sadness and give a lesser acknowledgement to the joy?  Where is the balance?  How can I be at both ends of the spectrum at once?

Momma used to tell me that being a woman meant I could feel deeper because God gave women that ability.  Is this what she was referring to?  It this feeling both ends of the spectrum at one time the 'deeper' feeling she was talking about?  What I would give just to sit down and talk to Momma for just an hour!  But that, like so much else in my life, will not be again on this earth.  Why didn't I take more care to talk to Momma and glean all the wisdom she had acquired before she left?  I knew she was terminal; why did I waste that opportunity?

The same is true with Terry and Daddy.  I knew they were dying.  Why didn't I talk to them more about the things that really matter?   What was I thinking on all those days when I let hours slip by me without sitting with them and talking about the lessons they had learned from life?  Or, what about the joys, and sorrows, we had shared?  Why didn't I talk about all of that with them more?  I had the opportunity; God gave me the gift of that time.  Why didn't I use it better?

As I think this out and write, I realize I am much less 'through' my grieving process than I thought.  I've just let it pile up because I didn't know how to deal with the grief and keep doing for the next one in line.  Now, it's all piled up and I have no idea where to begin to unravel it. 

So, this little excursion into blogging on this night has brought me to a great realization.........I am a liar.  I have lied to all the people who have asked "How are you" and I have answered "Good".  The truth is, I don't know how I'm doing; I really don't.  Therefore, my goal for 2012 is to find out how I am doing and to deal with all this piled up emotion and to do so in a real way......good, bad or otherwise.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Beginning

January 1, 2012...........the first day of a new year..........a new beginning.

This new beginning brings a sorrow to my heart that I have never faced.  As I enter this new year, I do so with my parents, my children and my precious husband all dwelling in heaven with the Lord. 

I'm not quite sure how to approach this year.  My life goes on............just how that happens I must confess is still a mystery to me.  I have hope in Jesus and look forward to seeing how He will guide during the days ahead.  Yet, I often think that I feel very lost in this new world I find myself in.

I am so wonderfully blessed with two sisters who love me and watch over me with devotion.  As Terry breathed his last breath, each promised him they would take care of me and they have most certainly lived up to their word.  I have two brothers-in-love that help me in any and every way possible.  My nieces and nephews are ever vigilant to be sure my needs are met.  The little ones never leave me without making sure to squeeze me tightly and tell me they love me.  My church family couldn't be more loving and/or supportive.  A host of friends and extended family are so gracious and supportive.

Then, I have this precious group of ladies we lovingly call the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf, or more succinctly, the Scarf Sisters.  These women have loved me, prayed for me, encouraged me, laughed with me, cried with me and been my rock through these difficult seasons of my life.  What I would have done without them is far too sad to even imagine.

Yet, when all is said and done, when the night comes and everyone is at home with those whom they love, I am home alone.  The darkness closes in around me and I feel the emptiness and loneliness more acutely than at any other time.  It is easy to be busy, but the time to go home alone always comes.  Some have suggested that another relationship is the answer.  I can't think of being in a relationship with another man.  My heart, and all that lies within it, still belong to Terry.

Perhaps my heart is smaller than others, but there just isn't room there for another man.  He would only be compared to Terry and, in my heart and mind, no one can live up to that.  I see no reason why I should accept second best at this time of my life. I lived with the absolute best for 37-1/2 years.  God sent Terry to me when I was quite sure no man would ever want me.  Not only did he want me, but he loved me completely.  He wasn't a perfect man, but he was perfect for me.

Since Daddy went to be with Jesus, I spend a lot of time thinking about how happy he must now be.  He is with the Lord and now back with Momma.  He longed to be with her again; I understand that longing.  I wouldn't call either of them back, but I long to hear their laughter again; to see the joy in their eyes as they playfully pick on each other.  I even get lonely to hear their silly arguments about nothing.

I long to sit at their dining room table and have the family gathered around, ten different conversations going on at once and Momma trying to keep up with them all; Daddy sauntering through and announcing that he was going to bed and for everyone else to stay as long as they like.  The laughter and teasing that always comes when two or three generations gather in one place and love each other!

Life is a mystery; of that I have become more and more acutely aware as time has passed.  Few things remain constant.  Those whom we love and who love us depart.  New ones enter and we grow to love them as though they have always been with us.  Of all that changes, these thing remain the, hope and love.                                           

Three things will last forever—
faith, hope, and love—
and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 13  (NLT)   

But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

Habakkuk 2: 4b  (NLT)

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you. 
Psalm 39: 7  (NLT)          

He that loveth not knoweth not God;
 for God is love.

I John 4: 8  (NLT)