Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When God Runs............

A Walk To Remember
Mandy Moore (Jamie) and Shawn West (Landon)

For the past several days, I have been absolutely drawn into the movie "A Walk To Remember". The movie came out in 2002 and is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name. The lead roles are for teens of about 18 years of age, one male and one female. The male is a good looking young man, very popular in his school, rebellious and the typical 'bad boy' image. The female is a cute girl whose father is the local Reverend. She sings in her church choir and is a sweet and plain young woman with faith and values.

So, there's the premise for the entire movie. What will we do with these teens? They've grown up in small town America and have known each other since Kindergarten, but have taken much different paths. Through a series of events, they are thrown together in a more intimate environment and the story begins.

It is evident from the opening scene that the young man has the nucleus of a good heart, with compassion for others but he cannot overcome his desire to fit in as a member of the 'in' crowd and allow that heart to be nurtured. As the movie progresses, we see the young man's heart softening for the young woman. Still, he struggles with what his friends will say if he professes his affection and attraction for the young woman.

Finally, the inevitable happens and the two young people declare their affection for each other and become a couple. As in life, the other shoe drops and all is in turmoil when tragic news is learned. The remainder of the film deals with two young people, very much in love, dealing with very adult issues, the most painful of which is death.  Throughout this movie, I kept thinking "God is on that young man's trail"!

Isn't that just like life?  We go about thinking we're doing as we please, that all of our decisions affect no one but us.  Then, something happens that reminds us of our connection to countless others.  We step back and take account of our life and find that God has been running after us for most of our lives.  His only desire is for us to find Him dear to our heart; to love Him the way He created us to; to love each other as we were created to.

God runs after us before we accept Him as our Savior because He wants us to accept the free gift of salvation Jesus Christ has paid for.  We become Christians and He continues to run after us to convince us that it lies in our best interest to be committed to Him and to His way as we live our lives. 

He has a purpose and plan for each of us.  When we walk outside that plan, He runs after us to try to draw us in to the plan that will best glorify Him and give us joy and peace.  Even when we're walking in His plan, He continues to run for us in order to bring us into more intimate relationship with Him, to draw us into Himself and into the depths of His love for us.

So often, we live very surface Christian lives because we refuse to give up what our friends, neighbors and/or family members might think of us if we become 'sold out' for the Lord.  He pursues us, He guides us, He does all He can to entice us into that deeper relationship, yet we turn from it for our own selfish reasons.

Yet, in all of our confusion and downright rebellion, He continues to pursue us, running after us to remind us of the blessings we leave behind when we choose to walk away from a God that has, from the beginning, pursued His people and who will continue to do so until He calls us home.

When is the last time God ran ofter you?  Can you identify it or did you run so hard from Him that you've forgotten what you were running from?  For me, the last rebellion was a bout with grief that turned out to be not about grief at all, but about surrender...submission...letting go....trusting my Creator God to know what is best for me.

God is closing some doors in my life.  Not necessarily places I should not be or go or even people I should or should not be in contact with.  The most poignant has been a clear and definite instruction from God to put my wedding ring away.  I fought that one hard!  I felt as though putting my wedding ring away would feel like I didn't love Terry anymore or that I had forgotten all we shared.  It does neither, rather it only opens my life for new directions and a new way of serving.

I thought I would not be able to be without my ring and determined that I just could not do that.  Then, I began to forget to put my ring on before leaving my house.  I would get half way to where I was going and find I had forgotten my ring.  At first, I was so upset and almost turned around and headed back home just to get my ring.  Something (God?) would not let me do so. 

It doesn't make practical sense to me to put my ring away.  I have loved Terry since I was 15-16 years old.  What sense does it make to put my ring away now simply because he lives in heaven and I'm still here on earth?  Frankly, I don't know.  However, I have learned a thing or two about serving God.  The first is that, God often does not make human sense.  Why should He?  He created me; why should the created expect the creator to explain himself to us?  THAT makes no practical sense either, right?  Right.

I don't always under stand His way, but I understand that He loves me and ALWAYS, ALWAYS does what is best for me and what will allow me to bring more honor to Him.  Sometimes I forget that my purpose here is not to have a good time, or enjoy the ride.  My purpose here to is accomplish the plan He has for my life.  I don't know why wearing my wedding ring interfered with that, but it did. 

So, I put my ring away.  I don't know if this means never wear it again; but I know it means don't wear it for now.  I don't like it; but I'm accepting it and I will like it because I am commanded to revere and honor the Lord.

37 Jesus replied,
“‘You must love the Lord your God
with all your heart, all your soul,
and all your mind.’
38 This is the first
and greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:37-38  (NLT)

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Depths of Love

His hand reached farther down than I could reach up.....

"You're an ignorant woman!" That was Terry's last words to me before he settled back into his chair to sleep this morning..........I was cut to the bone by the comment, but I quickly reminded myself that it was not Terry talking..........I wanted to sit down and cry, but I knew it wouldn't do any good. It's just the beginning of what could become a very long and drawn out path on his journey home. 

Quotes from my blog post of January 21, 2009, The Journey Home...In The Beginning.  Little did I know I was within five days of releasing Terry to heaven.  It's been four years and I love him even more now than I did then.  It's has not been an easy road, but it does get better as time passes. 

I have been going through a difficult period and thought it was all about grief.  It was not.  It has been the Holy Spirit drawing me away to Himself, preparing me for the road ahead.  Exactly what that road will look like, I do not know.  I know this....wherever it takes me and whatever it includes, my Lord has a plan for me.  I surrender myself to His plan, knowing that my soul is at rest in Him and that my future with Him is secure.

I will miss my husband until the day I see him again in heaven.  However, death is but a time of waiting for me and a time of revelation for him.  At the appointed time, I will have my own revelation of the fullness of who God is and all He has prepared for me. 

I read something written by a 17 year old young woman earlier in the evening.  She said that we search for love and long for it, yet we cannot see that not only is God love, God CREATED love.  Wow!  Now, that is wisdom for anyone at any age; for a 17 year old, that is witness that she has a heart surrendered to the Lord!  Thank you to my friend and sister of the heart, Cheryl, for sharing what her niece had written.  She is, indeed, an exceptional young woman!

So, I move forward one day at a time, knowing God loves me, that He created love just so we, also His creation, could know the depth of His desire for our relationship with Him.

Your love is a treasure,
and everyone finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7   (CEV)

Friday, January 18, 2013


Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me.................

We talk about grace and mercy a lot in the Christian community.  It is what Joyce Meyer often refers to as our 'Christian-eze', that language we speak that makes us feel superior, very anointed, yet is so often not understood by those who need Jesus the most.  With that in mind, I would like us to think about mercy and just exactly what mercy is.

  1. Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm;
  2. An event to be grateful for, esp. because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.
pity - compassion - clemency - grace - charity

You will note that grace is a synonym of mercy as thus defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.  As we consider these definitions, what can we glean about God as He offers us mercy?

Compassion or forgiveness offered to someone over whom one has the power to inflict punishment or harm.  That certainly defines our relationship in regards to God.  He is our creator and has the power and right to punish us or harm us at His will.  Yet, from the beginning, He has gone beyond what would humanly be considered reasonable to offer us compassion and forgiveness.

In the garden, with a perfect paradise surrounding them, Adam and Eve chose sin over obedience.  In spite of that blatant act of disobedience, God offered a way of repentance and redemption, a way of restoration for Adam and Eve in their relationship with God.  The God who gave them life, who provided their every need, was willfully disobeyed yet it was this same God who reached out to Adam and Eve in restoration.  What an amazing act of mercy from the very beginning!

Mankind continued their willing walk away from the God who created them, who loved them so unconditionally.  Every imagination of their heart was sinful.  Of all mankind, only one man could be found faithful, Noah.  Because of Noah's faithfulness and obedience, he and his family were chosen by God to play the role of the redeemer of mankind.  Noah, his wife, three sons and three daughters-in-law were the only individuals of the human race allowed to survive the Great Flood.  From their line sprang the new line of humanity that re-populated the earth.

The scarlet thread of redemption continued through the ages and the lineage of Hebrew people.  Moses, who was the prince of Egypt by purpose and the redeemer of the Israelite people by plan.  David who was the child king of the Hebrew people, who was a man after God's own heart, who was offered redemption after willful sins and who became the father of the lineage of Jesus Christ.

Esther who became the redeemer of her people by marrying the Babylonian king and walking in a manner that might seem contrary to God's law to us, but which was ordained by God Himself as a way to redeem and restore His people.  Deborah, the judge, who walked out before the Hebrew army and proclaimed the way of the Lord for her people and led them to victory, again in what might seem contrary to God's will, but so obviously in the very center of His mercy.

All the way to a pure young virgin named Mary, who heard from the angel and submitted herself to God's perfect will and His seemingly strange plan.  And Joseph, a young man who loved Mary and had been promised her as his bride.  Who accepted God's strange plan and submitted to God's will, who loved our Savior as his own son while all along knowing he was the Son of the Most High God.

Then there is Jesus Christ, the living Son of the Most High God; Immanuel, Counselor, Redeemer, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  A man who was at once God and man; who knew no sin, but knew every temptation mankind can face.  A man or sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet who walked the streets of heaven both before and after his time here.  Who now awaits the opportunity to welcome His bride home.  Who bore my sin in His body; who knew death and the grave so that I might never have to experience the sting of death.

Above and beyond the mercy of salvation, are the manifold ways God bestows mercy on me every day of my life.  Blessings of peace and contentment in even the most trying of times; a loving family who watches over me; faithful and true friends who pray for me and encourage me; financial supply for my daily needs and many of my desires; His Word to guide me as I go and give me encouragement and hope....the list goes on and on.

MERCY....unwarranted favor from someone who has the power to punish and/or cause pain yet who chooses to give forgiveness and restoration; who gives blessings to numerous to count...  THAT is JESUS to ME!

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends![a]
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.

[a]Hebrew reads of the Lord keeps us from destruction.
Lamentations 3:22-25   (NLT)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Barren...or Dormant?

A time of unfruitfulness can be beautiful
if you know the secret to loving that season.

I wonder if you've ever been in what you considered a dry and barren land; a time of life when there seemed to be no justice, no sense of fairness, when it felt as though the whole world was resplendent with blessing and your were alone with none.  Your dreams had fallen apart.  Your plans had become nothing more than disappointing daggers of doubt to your soul.  The wicked seemed to flourish even as you gave your best and had no reward whatsoever.

I have just lived one of those times.  Why God, why?  When God, when? How God, how?  Where God, where?  Just let me in on your plan, God; just let me in!  Lost in despair and feeling as though there could never be light or blossoming again.

Then, I began a study in Habakkuk.  It was not what I wanted to hear, but listen I must because I knew that's what God wanted me to hear at that time.  We were coming up on a study of the Minor Prophets in our Sunday Connect Group and I had decided to do some study on them in preparation.  Habakkuk help my rapt attention.  I could not turn away.  I woke from sleep during the middle of the night knowing in my spirit that I must read Habakkuk.  Over and over again I read.

The Holy Spirit began to show me things that I still do not have freedom in my spirit to share.  Perhaps someday I will; or perhaps what I learned was intended for no on but me.  Time will tell.  I do know that the verses quoted below became almost like a battle cry for me.  I can't see it right now, but I will praise the Lord anyway! 

Sometimes, the real beauty lies within the barren season.  What would spring be like without the winter?  Are my barren seasons really barren, or only dormant?  They are definitively separate things.  Barren is defined as unfruitful or unproductive, dormant is defined as latent but with the possibility of becoming active again.  I am only barren if I allow the enemy to make me see myself that way.

The last sentence of this book says "He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights."  I WILL tread the heights, both here and hereafter!  Incredible opportunities have been opened to me; opportunities that I never dreamed could be available to me.  I was not prepared to feel worthy of those opportunities.  I had to reach the realization that, although nothing I do makes me worthy, the fact that I am a child of the King of Kings makes me worthy of every blessing He places in my life. 

Through a series of adversities that have been in my life since childhood and moving forward, I had taught myself to feel 'lesser than' and completely unworthy.  Every time I lost something or someone important to me, I knew I deserved to lose that.  Habakkuk taught me a valuable lesson about what I deserve.  I can look more objectively at my life now and realize that, when Jesus said the rain falls on the just and the unjust, He was not referring me when He referred to the 'unjust'.  Honestly, I am 55 years old and I have just come to that realization.  I knew in my head, my heart did not know, could not accept that fact.

I am the JUST because Jesus lives in me.  I deserve the blessings He places in my life because I love Him and He lives in me.  I will tread the heights as I make this trip home because He lives in me.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.
Habakkuk 3: 17-19   (NLT)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thy Word.........

I worship you
with all my heart.
Don’t let me walk away
from your commands.
I treasure your word
above all else;
it keeps me from sinning
against you.
I praise you, Lord!
Teach me your laws.
Psalm 119:10-12   (CEV)
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:13-14   (NLT)

Friday, January 11, 2013


The road to nowhere..............

The road to nowhere....that's exactly where I feel like I am these days....going nowhere.

January is the anniversary month of Terry's home going...Jan. 26th to be exact.  It will be four years; four long and overwhelmingly dreadful years. I am overwhelmed with sadness.  Tears wash over me at any and every unexpected moment.  I cry day and night.  I am hibernating and praying no one comes to my door.  I don't want to see people; I don't want to talk to people; I don't want anyone dialing my phone and asking what they can do.  There's not one thing anyone can do for me.  You can't bring Terry back; you can't release me to go to him; you can't make the pain stop; you can't make the pain less than it is.  I love each of you for wanting to help me, but you can't. 

I've taken a hiatus from Facebook.  I know the only source of help and/or hope is through Jesus Christ.  I have to focus all of my attentions on HIM.  Sometimes I forget that; I forget that only He can give me what I need to face all of life's trials, including the grief of releasing my dear husband to heaven. 

I have not always walked as closely with Jesus as I should have; but I have known Him since I was eleven years old.  Believe me, there were times in those years gone by that I tried not to know Him.  I worked very hard at being lost again.  If I were 'lost' then I could just get 'saved' and have a clean slate.  Oh how I longed for that clean slate!  It just doesn't work that way.  Once He's in your heart, He's there to stay.  You can't walk away from Him and He won't walk away from are s-t-u-c-k! 

As sad as I am, I'm thankful I'm stuck with Him.  Wouldn't it be a sad day if the Lord just decided to walk away from us when we're so Him, to His children, to His creation?!  I don't want to walk away from the Lord, I just want to undo some things, just take a few steps back.  Is that too much to ask?  I just don't understand. 

Terry and I had dreams, so many dreams.  We dreamed of children, yet we never were able to have them.  We dreamed of a retirement together and traveling to see our country afterwards.  No, that's not gonna happen either.  We dreamed of perhaps doing some missionary work on a foreign field after retirement.  You got it, ain't gonna happen. 

Even years before any considered retirement, we knew those dreams were gone when his accident happened.  He wasn't drinking or drunk, he was tired.  Tired from having worked weeks on end at least 60-70 hours per week.  For the first time in weeks, he was headed home to a 3 day weekend off work.  The new program had been put to rest; the product was overwhelmingly successful with each client who came to review it.  He had been promoted and given a hefty raise because of all his hard work on this project.  I still have the commendation letter from his company president thanking him for the innovative and creative work he had done. 

It was now time to rest, to go out together, to enjoy church together, maybe even spend some time with friends.  Perhaps we would even take a get-away weekend.  We had talked about that as he was preparing to leave for work that Thursday morning.

Before he even made it home that afternoon, all of our future plans changed in just that few minutes it took him to fall asleep and hit that tree head on.  That's not fair!  What makes that fair?  So, we rearranged our lives according to our new 'normal'.  Our dreams changed but that was okay.  We were together and any dream was good as long as were doing it together. 

When we were told he was dying neither of us quite knew what to make of it.  How could this be?  We had been very near death and had looked him in the face more times than one and stared him down.  He left us and we moved on.  Surely we could do that again....surely.  It couldn't be the end for us.  We hadn't had our lifetime yet.  Wasn't that how it worked? 

God set him down in my doorway and delivered me from the hell I was living in after the sexual abuse.  He gave back to me all the enemy had taken from me.  It didn't happen all at once, but over time he was God's instrument to bring healing to my fractured soul and wounded spirit.  Why would God give him to me and allow us to have this love that seemed to transcend all earthly understanding and then take him from me long before we had lived our lifetime together? 

It makes no sense.  I know the right things, the 'Christian' things to say and do.  I am well versed in 'Christian-eze' and can meet you step for step, word for word, scripture for scripture, with that.  What do you do when all of that doesn't even begin to answer your questions or heal your wounds?  Where do you go then? 

You go back to the source of life; you go back to God.  You shower yourself in His Word, you immerse yourself in prayer, you make deliberate decisions to trust Him and you wait....That's the hard part, the waiting....waiting for God to work in me what He began when I was eleven years old. 

Oh dear Lord, please hold tightly to me while you're working or I may just fly to pieces and never be back together again!

Let all who fear the Lord repeat:
“His faithful love endures forever.”
“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: 4-6   (NLT)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Give Me Jesus

I am more sad than perhaps I have ever been.  My heart is broken, my spirit is broken....I feel as though whatever it is that makes me 'me' is oozing out, never to be recovered.  My only thought is "I want to be with my Jesus and I want to see Terry again".  I know all the Christian-eze 'right' things to say and do and I'm not going to commit suicide, but I would so welcome the Lord's call at this very moment. 
Yes, when I rise, give me Jesus;
when I am alone, give me Jesus; 
when I am dying, give me Jesus.......
you can have all this world, give me Jesus.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are You Ready For Some......IDIOCY?!

Just a few observations here.  First of all, I don't like professional sports.  No man or woman on earth is worth what those people get paid.  Secondly, I don't like college sports.  Multiple millions of dollars are poured into schools to support a sports program.  I wonder how much the library gets, or the chem labs, or the computer labs, etc., etc.....Thirdly, I don't like reading the events of the game play-by-play on my Facebook feed.  I couldn't care less who is playing and/or winning.  It's a GAME folks, a GAME!

Back during the election season, I was posting often regarding political facts and figures and/or attitudes or candidates I support.  I got so many remarks about how folks couldn't wait for it to all be over and all the political stuff would be off Facebook.   Really? And it's better that we spend our time screaming and taunting our loved ones, friends and neighbors over a GAME?!

Policemen, firemen, emergency response personnel, military personnel and others, like teachers, place their lives on the line every day and make minuscule salaries when compared to the money thrown away in sports.  Coaches are courted, paid ridiculous salaries and staffs of their own choosing to teach young men how to play a game.  I wonder how much the science professors are making?  Or, how about the librarian or sociology professors?  I can guarantee it is laughable when compared to those coaches.

Young men and women involved in sports are pampered through college so they can meet the guidelines and play the game.  No worry about an education, just keep 'em in the game!  They are spoiled with all kinds of things.  Oh no, you say, that's illegal!  Oh yes, of course it is.  (wink, wink!) 

If you are a great sports fan, please don't be offended; that is not my intent.  I'm just speaking my mind and living my life.  Feel free to do the same...on your own blog and not in my Comments section! 

You say, it's just clean entertainment.  Really?  So, tell me wives and/or significant others, how are those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders lookin to you today?!  Personally, I think Victoria sold them her secret and now they're displaying it for free for the whole world to see!

Oh, and how about those guys in the very tight---tights (?), I'm honestly not sure you could call them pants.  Thank the Lord for those cups or we'd all be gettin a show that I'm sure most of us didn't bargain for!

And, how about the biased rules and regulations?  A nice young Christian man drops to one knee to whisper a quick prayer of thanksgiving to his God and he's crossing the line of separation between church and state or he offends John Q. Public.  However, another seemingly nice enough young man sports hair down his back and gets fouls called on his opponents when they grab a handful, even if by accident.  Put the stuff under your helmet if you don't want your hair pulled!  Or better yet, visit the barber!

Now, here's my personal favorite.  Several men dressed in official uniforms run up and down the field to make judgements regarding the rules.  One group of young men pounce upon another landing in a big heap.  All of a sudden, whistles are going off in every direction and yellow rags are thrown hither and yon.  Somebody gets penalized and we're off again.  This time the pile up looks just like the one before, yet there are no whistles or yellow rags.  What's up with that?!

So, there's my pile of opinions on professional and/or college sports.  For what it's worth!  Perhaps they are all Christians and are only trying to obey the Lord as He speaks in Amos 5:14a; ya think?!

Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!
Amos 5:14a    (NLT)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Four Years...............

Terry, August 2008

The following was copied from a post I made on January 10, 2009. For a few years we had known my husband was terminal due to NASH cirrhosis. His liver was failing and growing continually worse. This portion of that post deals with the events of January 6, 2009; what I describe as the beginning of the end. Within 16 days of my post and 20 days of this event, Terry would move to reside in his heavenly home. 

"The day for the second appointment arrived, January 6, 2009. He was even more bloated than ever and almost completely unable to take even a shallow breath. Of course, he was unable to keep his appointment. So, I called 911 and ordered an ambulance. They took him to the ER. He was assessed and they immediately wanted to take him to radiology to remove some of the fluid from his abdomen. They removed well over 2 gallons of fluid and then took him to his room on the surgical recovery floor.

We spent the night and were discharged late the next afternoon. We were referred to Hospice Home Care. Terry's liver no longer functions at all. Whatever lies ahead is simply the time it takes for his body to stop functioning now. It seems the final chapter of the Roller Coaster ride has now begun."

I had started writing on my blog in November, 2008 as a way to express myself during those 'dying days'.  As I look back, I realize that it was God's open door for a way to deal with my grief, but also a way for me to connect with others who understood what I was going through.

As time has passed, many have told me I should write, perhaps a book.  I have resisted that because I keep telling myself that I can't do it; I don't have the proper education for such an endeavor.  People have continued to insist I should write.

So, I was recently put in contact with WestBow Press, a sort of clearing house for those hoping to get their manuscripts published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  I don't know where this road will lead, or how this venture will turn out, but I am now convinced that writing my manuscript must come to be.  I don't know what God's plan is in all of this, but I know he has a plan and my only desire is to be obedient.

So, I press onward and will begin to write this book in earnest.  Should it turn out to be in God's plan for me to be published, Thomas Nelson would be a wonderful organization to be affiliated with.  We'll see how and where it goes.

Whether anything ever comes of the book or not, I am thankful for my blog.  I have often neglected it, yet have found it to be a source of reassurance when I have something in my heart that needs to be said.  Whether anyone else reads the blog or not, I will have received from my experience manifold blessings that encourage me as I make this journey.

One of the greatest blessings has been a group of Christian women from around the world who come together under the umbrella of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf.  Through my blog, I was introduced to these women and was soon afterwards asked to join their Sisterhood.  These women have been one of life's greatest blessings for me.

It's been four years.  The years have not been easy and moving forward has had many steps in the wrong direction.  However, with the Holy Spirit guiding me and with my family and friends praying for me, I know I am progressing even on those days when it feels as if I am moving backwards. 

Four the beginning I could not imagine actually living a year without Terry.  The truth is, I haven't lived one day without him since the first time I met him.  He has lived in my heart and has owned my affections. 

I never dreamed four years ago that this simple little blog would open my life in so many directions and bring people into my life that have helped me to grow beyond what I ever imagined possible.  All things considered, it has a been a good four years; I look forward to what the Lord holds in store for me over the next four years.

He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
The Lord leads with unfailing love
and faithfulness all who keep his covenant
and obey his demands.
Psalm 25:9-10   (NLT)

Holy Living

"The grass withers and the flower fades......"

13 So think clearly and exercise self-control.
Look forward to the gracious salvation
that will come to you
when Jesus Christ
is revealed to the world.
14 So you must live as God’s obedient children.
Don’t slip back into your old ways of living
to satisfy your own desires.
You didn’t know any better then.....
23 For you have been born again,
but not to a life that will quickly end.
Your new life will last forever
because it comes from
the eternal, living word of God.
24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News
that was preached to you.
I Peter 1: 13-14; 23-25   (NLT)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

This is a sort of pictorial journey through my life, thus far.  Time passes all too quickly and things change much faster than we ever dreamed they could or would. 

My parents were married on March 23, 1957.  They had dated for only six months, having encountered each other at a local country grocery store.  My uncle dared Daddy to ask Momma out and bet him that she would say no.  Daddy asked, Momma said yes and the rest is, as they say, history!

Thelma Howell and Van McDonald
February, 1957
I was born in the early morning on Friday, November 22, 1957, the Friday following Thanksgiving. Daddy brought us back to the home of my paternal grandparents and moved his small family into a larger house that weekend.

Baby Di
Ca. 1957-58

My first picture.  I was always told my arrival was cause for no small amount of joy and celebration!  First child of my parents, first grandchild of both sets of grandparents and the first girl ever to be born into my McDonald grandparent's family!  Can anyone say 'spoiled'?!

Di, Debra and Charlotte
Ca. 1961
By the time of Mommas 21st birthday, she had three daughters and seemed to be absolutely content being a Momma and a wife.  She was always so happy, singing as she went about her household chores.

Charlotte, Debra and Di
Ca. 1962
My paternal grandfather gave Daddy and Momma land from the farm to build a house on and  supplied whatever was needed that my parents could not afford.  The house was built and was remodeled and added to many times over the years.  It remains the house where my sister and BIL live today.

Charlotte, Debra and Di
Ca. Summer, 1964
 In 1964, Momma once again found herself pregnant.  The new baby was due in October.

It was October 6, 1964.....just short of my 7th birthday.  Momma got 'sick' during the night and was taken to the clinic by Daddy.  Unfortunately, our baby sister was stillborn, having the cord wrapped too tightly around her little neck for the doctor to save her.  I have never seen Momma so sad, then or since.

Daddy (Van), Momma (Thelma), Di, Charlotte and Debra
Memphis Zoo, Aug. 21, 1966

Paw McDonald was sick one summer and took a couple of weeks off work.  He went back to work on the second shift.  Late that night, we learned that Paw had died. It was June 30, 1966 and my Paw was dead.  What in the world did that mean and when was my Paw gonna come home?

Back Row:  L-R: Debra, Roger (cousin), Di, Charlotte
Front Row:  L-R:  Wade (cousin), Terry (cousin) and Randy (cousin)
Ca. Christmas, 1969
I was sad for so long that I thought I might never be happy again.  But life moves on and so did I.  Maw McDonald went about making a life for herself.  My sisters and I spent lots of time with her and life seemed to be happy again.

Di, Debra and Charlotte
Ca. Summer, 1970
(Sorry, cannot remember our dogs names.)
 The summer of 1970 came and with it, the approaching of my 13th birthday in the fall.  It was an exciting time in my life.  I was almost a teenager and I was beginning to notice boys.  And, even better than that, boys were beginning to notice me!  Yep, life was good!

Charlotte, Debra and Di
Ca. Christmas, 1971

 Christmas 1971.....don't you think I look happy?  I mean, who wouldn' t look at that young girl and think "happy"?  I had just turned 14; this was supposed to be a good time in my life.  I smiled, no one knew anything but me.  But I knew.....I knew and I never planned for anyone else to know, not EVER!  I knew that a man had raped me many times over an afternoon and evening while he held me hostage at his house.  I knew it was my fault, he told me so.  I knew no boy who wanted a good girl would ever want me because I was not a good girl.  I was a bad girl and I had done things I could never talk to anyone else about.....EVER!  I knew about the tears of a clown....I knew about acting happy and looking happy....and being emotionally barren....I knew.

Di and Terry
August 4, 1974
Then, in May of 1973, I met this man.............Terry Chandler called my house and asked me out.  I didn't know him, had never heard of him.  He didn't know me, had never heard of me.  His friend was dating my friend.  He got my name and number and dialed the phone.  Momma and Daddy said yes.  He came for me, I looked into his eyes and knew I would love him for all eternity.  Somehow I knew he would be the one who would understand, who could accept me, damaged and all.

Di and Terry
June 14, 1975

 I graduated from high school in May, 1975 and we married on June 14, 1975.  It was at that point the happiest day of my life thus far.  He was a sweet, gentle man who loved me so completely and unconditionally that the wounds of the past began to heal.  I felt myself feeling joyful again, whole after so long of feeling fractured, flying apart in minuscule pieces of me.

Di and Terry
Christmas 1976

I was deliriously happy.  I wanted nothing more in the world than to be with him.  I would have followed him to the jumping off point and then would have jumped if he had said "jump".  We had an amazing marriage.  It all seemed too good to be true.  How did I deserve this man?  Yet, every day he asked me that very question "how did I ever deserve you or the love you give me?"  We were created one for the other.  It was so obvious to us.  We knew there would never be a 'letting go'; one could not survive without the other.  Life can be cruel as it teaches you what you CAN bear without descending into utter and complete lunacy.............

Back Row:  Debra and Dwade
Middle Row:  Ricky, Charlotte, Daddy (Van), Momma (Thelma), Di and Terry
Front Row:  Adam, Katie and Jared
February, 1984
 My sisters began to have children and we loved them!  We did all we could to completely spoil them!  I so desperately wanted to have children, but for some reason, the Lord had not seen fit to allow that in our lives.  It was a source of great sadness for us both, but we held on to each other and to the Lord.  Somehow, we would make it: we had each other and we would make it.

Back Row:  Terry, Ricky and Dwade
Front Row:  Di, Charlotte and Debra
Christmas, 1985
 Another year and we still did not have children.  Well, truth be told, we had three children in heaven.  We had lost a son in miscarriage on Dec. 19, 1984 and had lost two other children, one in August, 1985 and one in November, 1985.  We smiled, we still had each other, but we so desperately wanted our babies..............

Back Row:  L-R:  Dwade, Adam, Ricky and Terry
Second Row:  L-R:  Katie, Jared, Debra and Di
Third Row:  L-R:  Charlotte, Jacob, Momma (Thelma) and Daddy (Van)
Front Row:  Caleb
Our Family
Sept., 1994

 A family sisters and their children, my parents and us, still without children.  We were now sure children would not be in our future.  I had had to have a hysterectomy and so that dream had died.  But, we still had each other and we still spoiled our niece and nephews; there was still plenty to smile about.

Di and Terry
20th Anniversary Party
June, 1995
 Our 20th anniversary!  A surprise party had been planned at our church for us and for my best friend, Charlotte and her husband Wayne, who had married the night after we had married.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and memories of all those years together.  Charlotte and Wayne had two beautiful daughters whom we adored and, yes, whom we spoiled if we got the chance!  Life was good!

Di and Terry
40th Anniversary Vow Renewal Ceremony for Di's Parents
March 23, 1997
 Momma and Daddy had married in a courthouse.  Momma had always wanted to renew their vows in church.  Much to the surprise of my sisters and me, Daddy agreed to do it at their 40th anniversary.  We couldn't believe Daddy agreed and set about getting our husbands to agree as well.  It went off without a hitch and the renewal ceremony took place on their 40th anniversary. 

Everyone kept asking why we didn't wait until the 50th anniversary.  Momma simply said she wanted it now.  We were all so thankful we did it.  Momma died about a month after their 49th anniversary.  If she had waited, she would have never had the ceremony. 

Di and Terry
Christmas, 1998
 It was now 1998.  I had become very sick and had had to quit work in 1996.  Terry stood beside me when no one, not even my parents, understood what was going on with me.  He saw what no one else saw...the symptoms went on and on and were not noticeable if one spent no more than an hour or so with me on a good day.  Yet, he stood beside me; always at my side and always reassuring me of his love.

Di and Terry
Christmas, 2000
Our First Christmas After His Accident

 April 13, was the day that changed our life forever after.  Terry fell asleep while driving home from work on a Thursday afternoon.  He hit a concrete culvert and then went head-on into a tree.  Both femurs were driven upward and through his pelvis, bursting the pelvic bone into multiple small pieces at it's most dense area.  His right kidney was bruised so badly it stopped functioning for several weeks.  His liver was lacerated three times; his spleen was damaged.  His lungs were bruised and began to fill with fluid, eventually causing both lungs to collapse.  He had a closed head brain injury that ended up causing his core temperature to rise between 1 and 2 degrees; normal temp for him going from 98.6 to nearly 100 degrees,

We were told he had a less than 5% chance of ever walking again.  With monumental effort on his part and on the part of his therapists, and with miraculous healing from the Lord, he did walk again. 
He walked, but had to wear a brace on the left leg due to nerve injuries.  He was never able to return to work.  He struggled with that for the remainder of his life.

Terry and Di
Christmas, 2006
Our First Christmas After Momma Went Home
 We adjusted to our new 'normal' and went about adjusting our lifestyle to our restrictions.  He was alive, I could live with anything I needed to as long as he was with me.  In time, he adjusted and we were happy.  Being together now meant so much more because we knew how close we had come to his death.

Then, Momma got sick. On April 20, 2006, Momma went home to be with Jesus.  Our hearts were broken, especially Daddy. With the Lord's help, we managed to pull ourselves together and go on as a family.

Aunt Di with Alix and Jaden
Des Moines Zoo
Summer, 2009

 Then, on January 26, 2009, after battling liver disease for a few years, Terry went home to be with the Lord.  I honestly did not think I could make it without him.  Life held very little that brought happiness anymore.

In the summer of 2009, I went to my niece's home for a few weeks.  It was such a wonderful time.  My niece and NIL and their children were so good for me.  We met my sister and BIL and my nephews in Branson for a long weekend of family fun that really made me feel as though I could go on.

When I returned home, I had a mental breakdown because I had never told anyone except Terry about the sexual abuse when I was 13.  I saw a therapist that advised me to talk to my family and tell them what had happened.  He also told me I should not live alone for a few months.

I moved in with my sister and told my family, all except Daddy, about the abuse.  I would not tell Daddy and never did.  There was no reason for him to have to bear that burden while sick and dying. 

Allyson and Aunt Di
Easter, 2010
 By Easter of 2010, I was doing much better and was actually beginning to feel like I wanted to live again.  Life seemed to hold good for me again.  My niece's children and my nephew's little girl gave me so much joy.  With the support of my family, I found the courage to push forward.  I had found a precious church family who loved and supported me and encouraged me as I moved forward.  Yes, life was again good.  Lonely at times, but good.

Di, Charlotte and Debra
Smoky Mtns. Sister Vacation
Fall, 2010

 My sisters and I took a brief trip to the the Smoky Mtns. together. It was a wonderful trip where we reconnected as sisters and remembered all those times Momma had taken us on brief trips. These girls were my medicine and they worked wonderfully well!

Charlotte, Debra and Di
Smoky Mtns. Sister Vacation
April, 2012
 And so, my life moves forward.  I have health issues that are beginning to take their toll, but the Lord knows all of that; He has a plan.  So, I move on and try to live my life to make a difference in this world as I go.  I love my family; they have been a lifeline to me.  I love my church and the precious people there who love me so well.  I love a special group of ladies who are my ScarfSisters.  They love me, pray for me, encourage me and even give me a swift little 'boot' when I need it!

I have no idea where my life goes from here.  But wherever it goes, I know the Lord goes before me and Terry's love will always be with me, deep inside of who I am.  Our love lives in eternity and we can never be separated.  It worked out just like I knew it would on that Saturday afternoon in May, 1973.  I have loved him since that day; I always will.

Forever and always............that's the way he always signed anything he wrote to me.  You're right baby, forever and always............

So, where does the time go?  We live our lives, hopefully we serve our Lord and bring joy to others as we go and time passes.  Then, one day, we are forced by circumstances to stand back and take a good long look at our life and what we have done with it. 

I missed opportunities along the way to love others who needed my love; I missed opportunities to share the love of Jesus with those who needed Him; yet, all in all, I have lived my life in a manner I am proud of.  I haven't been perfect, but I have loved and have offered acceptance and forgiveness to those whom I felt needed it.  I have learned from cruel experience just how true James 4:14 really is.  Whatever tomorrow holds, I walk there joyfully and with pregnant expectation of what the Lord has planned for me.

"What do you know about tomorrow?
How can you be so sure about your life?
It is nothing more than mist
that appears for only a little while
before it disappears."
James 4:14   (CEV)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year---What Does It Mean?

Happy New Year........the first day of the first month of the incoming year; that's the day we think of when we send out this greeting.  We send wishes for new beginings, the potential, the hope, the expectations of that year.  I've often wondered just what we actually mean by those epitaphs.
Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives the following definitions of the word "potential" when used as an ADJECTIVE:
1: existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality
2: expressing possibility; specifically: of, relating to, or constituting a verb phrase expressing  possibility, liberty, or power
and as a NOUN:
1: something that can develop or become actual
The definitions for "hope" are:
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2: to desire with expectation of obtainment
3: to expect with confidence
4: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
5: expectation of fulfillment or success
Expectation is defined as:
1: to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of
2: to consider probable or certain
3: to consider reasonable, due, or necessary
And, finally we have the definition of the word "new":
1: having recently come into existence 
2: different from one of the same category that has existed previously

And so we have the definitions of what might be considered the plans we make for each beginning year.  We have a cherished desire and look forward to the resumption of life and happiness in this year that we experienced in the last year, but with an assumed understanding that desired changes in the coming year are things that we can reasonably expect to become reality.

And where, or in whom, do we place our trust for our future dreams becoming a reality?  Is it in my power to earn money?  Is it in my ability to be a better person?  Is it in the people with whom I place my innermost thoughts and secrets?  Do I somehow expect them to be able to help me make reality out of dreams? 

Or, is it in the hope I have in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of my soul?  The One who redeemed my past, who redeems my present and who will redeem my future?  The Creator God who knows me from the inside out and who holds my furture in His hands.  He is the source of my expectations, my dreams, my desire to take up my life in 2013 and make better use of His blessings by seeking His will for my every move.

So, Happy New Year!  May you find your motivation to walk well with the Lord and live well His desires for us and His plan for our life.

"This means that anyone
who belongs to Christ
 has become a NEW person.
The old life is gone;
        a NEW life has begun!"     
2 Corinthians 5:17   (NLT)