Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thanksgiving in the midst of pain....

Okay, I find it hard to believe that it's 2 months since my adult son went to be with our Lord.  He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer about 9 months previous to this...went through 3 surgeries and lots of chemo and radiation as well as a trial procedure trying to make his body fight the cancer.  I've been so thankful for the way he and his wife took on this challenge of trusting God and even to be joyful in the midst of it.  And I'm so proud of my two young grandsons, too!

Last night, I saw a picture of him in the church he attended for the last time less than 3 months ago.  As I saw his face with such a precious, calm demeanor, almost heavenly glow, as he was praying for families who were dedicating their children to the Lord, my heart almost burst...burst with sadness, and yet with gladness.  How can both be there???  Tears welled up, and as I sobbed out to the Lord, I said, "Thank you, Lord, for giving such a wonderful son for the short 43 years he was here on earth.  I don't know WHY he needed to leave us, but I thank You for the privilege of having him be my son."             
Another thing for which I am so grateful is for the woman that God brought into his life to be his wife, and who is the mother to my grandsons.  I am going to copy what she wrote today as her status on her Facebook page...
"Today makes 2 calendar months since my soulmate, my love, my best friend has gone to be with our Lord. Instead of being a Debbie downer like I do so well I've decided to worship Jesus. I'm reading a book from a dear friend called The Unquenchable Worshipper by Matt Redman and it is very encouraging. Through this book the Lord is teaching me many things. One of which is this; situations change for better and for worse, but God's worth never changes. Today I choose to fill my heart with contentment and praise. Don't get me wrong...I cry daily while my broken heart literally physically aches but then daily I am choosing to praise Him. How can I not with these 2 amazing boys He has given me? I read about a young lady who was blind. When asked if she was bitter and angry about not being able to see the blue sky or the green grass her response was "Well the good thing about being blind is that the very first face I will ever see will be the face of Jesus." I pray that I have her heart of contentment and praise. So today through my heart ache I will praise Jesus and be content with where He has placed me and my boys. Although it is not easy I know that Jesus will be holding us up as He has been. ‪#‎ChooseJoyEvenThroughTheTears‬ ‪#‎CancerSucksButGodIsStillGood‬ ‪#‎Happy2MonthsInHeavenMyLove‬ ‪#‎MissYouMoreThanMyNextBreath‬"   

I, too, am encouraged by her post, to praise God in the midst of such a loss to us down here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Unexpected continues.....but this time, questions why

     The unexpected continues, but this time an unexpected turn is for good news.  Well, I'm not sure that I'd say really unexpected, because I wasn't surprised when the PET scan came back this way.  He said he saw  "no convincing evidence to suggest any significant worsening in the scan."  My problem now is understanding why God would let me come to this good turn in my life, and yet, let my son pass on to eternity with his cancer.  I am almost twice his age, and have already raised my family.   He has a wife and two young children.  Yes, I know his was a much more aggressive type of cancer...but I and so many others were expecting God to raise him up, and heal him in this life.  Yes, he is healed...but not down here...and I don't know why! 

     I pray I'll use my time here on earth to bring Him joy...though even that thought seems strange, as I remember how my dear son and his wife, I'm sure, brought God much more joy because of their faithful trust, and their joyful acceptance of whatever the Lord brought into their lives.  Joel said   "and despite this crazy roller-coaster of emotions, of good news, bad news, worst case scenario, bad news, we made a choice from the get-go, that we were going to choose joy in this, that we were going to laugh, we were going to smile, and every time we got bad news, the thing that we say, is, 'we trust You.'  We trust in the Lord  and so, 2 weeks ago...when we.heard the bad news,  our response is 'we trust You,'  not that we are super human, but we have this deep confidence that God is doing something beautiful." (from the videohttp://vimeo.com/87591397 TeamHedlund, Feb. 25th)

  . But now, maybe my comparing these issues is not good either.  God has a plan for each one of us, an individualized personal map that we must fit ourselves into... by listening hard and being obedient to the Lord, and asking Him for direction, and insight and His strength for each day.  I confess my sin of laziness, of not loving God's Word more than I do, and of being very self-centered rather than Christ-centered.  I need to "choose joy"  in God's way in my life, even when I don't understand why He blesses me with renewed health, and not my son.  Lord, may my mind and heart truly seek You first before anything else in this life.  You answered Job by showing a little of Your magnificent knowledge beyond anything he could imagine,   Also as Isaiah, I want to remember, as he says in Isaiah 40, "Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable."  

 God is sovereign, and sooooo much wiser than I, so when we get there, He will show me the big picture.   Just now, my little mind can't understand this at all.  It is giving me another chance to grow in my faith. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

NOW with the ransomed in glory....

 After my last blog about my husband going to be with Jesus, while "I Stand Amazed in the Presence of  Jesus the Nazarene" was being sung, I wanted to put the lyrics here.  That last verse, especially, brought tears of gratitude, as I think of Earl being there now, and praising Jesus for His wonderful love. While looking for the lyrics, I came across this youtube of it being sung.   Even Earl's favorite singer, George Beverly Shea is singing in it...with the camera on him quite often..  I can imagine he and Earl now harmonizing in unbelievably "out of this world" music for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!   Click here for this marvelous song...

Listen and worship our marvelous Savior, and soon coming King!

I see both text and music was written by Charles H. Gabriel...

1. I stand amazed in the presence 
 of Jesus the Nazarene, 
 and wonder how he could love me, 
 a sinner, condemned, unclean. 
 How marvelous! How wonderful! 
 And my song shall ever be:
 How marvelous! How wonderful 
 is my Savior's love for me! 

2. For me it was in the garden 
 he prayed: "Not my will, but thine." 
 He had no tears for his own griefs, 
 but sweat-drops of blood for mine. 

3. In pity angels beheld him, 
 and came from the world of light 
 to comfort him in the sorrows 
 he bore for my soul that night. 

4. He took my sins and my sorrows, 
 he made them his very own; 
 he bore the burden to Calvary, 
 and suffered and died alone. 

5. When with the ransomed in glory 
 his face I at last shall see, 
 'twill be my joy through the ages 
 to sing of his love for me. 
the YouTube I talked about.... 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

One year ago this coming Sunday....

One year ago this Sunday will forever be fixed in my mind...  Who would have known that it was going to be "the day"!

We got up like normal on a Sunday morning....well, normal Sunday mornings meant that Earl would usually expectantly get out of bed before me, whereas throughout the rest of the week, I was the one to get up first.  He loved preaching, and getting to church to fellowship with other believers.  And this Sunday was no different, except in retrospect, his choosing the closing song of "God Will Take Care of You" made me wonder if he had any premonition and that he wanted me to remember that fact.  It was Bro. Willie's turn to preach, but Earl led the singing, and prayer-time.

The two of us came home after church to our usual Sunday "breakfast-brunch" meal of scrambled eggs, toast, etc.  Then Earl reclined in his favorite chair in his "nest" with magazines and books all around his chair.  He knew what was there, even though it looked a mess!  His Bibles were there, and always also, his lists of people whom he prayed for, as well as the monthly prayer requests from several mission agencies.  (I was so thankful my name was at the top of the prayer list...)

There had been a bad accident in the community with 3 young people being killed.   At the Community Harvest Festival, it had been decided to have Sunday afternoon for a "Benefit Gospel Concert" to help these dear families with expenses.  Earl had just gotten comfortable in his chair, so I almost didn't ask.   But I reminded him of the program that afternoon and asked if he was up to going.  (He was 93, and a Sunday morning service did take a lot out of him physically.)  He got up, and said, "Yes, let's go."   Neither he nor I knew that would be the last time he sat in that favorite chair or walk out the door!

We sat in a row near the back.  It was being held in the Community Center.  Three sisters were singing beautifully, and both Earl and I were enjoying it as they sang, "I'll Fly Away".  Then they began singing, "I Stand Amazed in the Presence of Jesus the Nazarene."  I was listening to them, and looking up to where they were when I felt a movement beside me, and heard this exclamation  "Oh!" coming from Earl's lips, and he raised both his arms.   I turned and looked at him, whispering, "What's the matter?"   But as I looked into his eyes, he didn't look back into mine....his eyes were seeing something beyond me.  And just as quickly, he slumped over onto me.   I still can feel how the weight of his body got heavier on me.   I think his spirit must have taken flight at that time...no heaviness for him!

The rest is a blur in my mind, the mayor asking if she should call the ambulance and it seemed such a long time for them to come.  The air ambulance came and I numbly watched as they tried to resuscitate him, and then off they flew in the helicopter.

Later on, as I read the Bible reading in my scheduled "Read the Bible  in a Year" for that day, I came to a verse, whcih stood out to me.  It was as if the Lord was saying it  to me personally.  It was when the Lord was reminding Israel how they had become His, and the words, "and you became mine" jumped out at me.  It wasn't like I had not been His before this, but it was a confirmation to me that I was His in the sense of  His being my provider and leader, especially now since Earl was no longer here.

I did not know how much I would need Him, because two months later, my son was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer..   I've been learning to trust even though I had truly believed God would raise my son up from that bed of sickness, but He didn't.  Now, please continue to pray for my two precious grandsons without their Dad, and my sweet daughter-in-law without her husband and soul-mate.   Their story has brought much honor to Christ Jesus.   People have committed their lives to Jesus, as they've seen these precious young people continue to trust and even be joyful in such situations as they were in.  I think that's plenty for this time....thanks for reading and praying.