Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections of the Past Year

As this year dissolves into the next, I find myself reflecting on the things that have happened in the past year. This was a year of many changes, and some very sad moments. I don't always deal well with change, and I can say that really, I don't like it much, but some changes are good ones. One of the agents at work retired, and that has opened the door for me to step into some career changes. I was apprehensive at first, but I find that I like the new work I am doing. I will have to carve out my place again, since this is a different arena than the type of policies I was writing before, and much more difficult to sell, it would seem. I know I can do it, it is just a matter of setting my mind to it, and learning the ropes. My daughter has also made some changes, in that she is now licensed and doing the job I used to do. Her daughter is also working for us now, and that has been a big help, as taking Amy out of the secretary position potentially left us with a backlog of clerical work, which Shai is tackling very well, if I might say so. All in all, I would say that the changes at work will be really good ones once we all get settled into our new positions.

Christopher has kept Corrie, Kevin and me quite busy going to as many games as possible. He is becoming quite an athlete, and has made us very proud. Josh went to his first dance, and had a very nice time, and in the new year he will be keeping us busy in the sports arena as well. Caalab has taken to playing the guitar and is getting quite good at it. I think he would own 20 guitars if he could afford them. Travis is also in a band now, and they have played several gigs this year. Bob has spent most of the year doing what he always does...working on cars, but at least I know where to find him. All in all, my family is doing very well, and any changes there are good ones too.

Loss, on the other hand is much harder to get used to. This year we have had to say good bye to several friends, and my niece's darling little baby daughter. Loss is always so hard. Our hearts feel like they will never heal and the pain just lingers on and on. Nothing you say can help change the pain and sadness that loss brings, especially the loss of a child. It changes you forever. You will never again feel the innocent joy of having a child, because you know how quickly that joy can change into indescribable pain. It saddens me deeply to see my niece and nephew-in-law in so much pain. They are normally such happy people, and now there is a new look behind the smiles they wear...sadness. Even their smiles show it. It can't be masked. It will be a long time before that will soften.

This year marked 3 years since my Dad went home to be with the Lord. It doesn't seem possible that he has been gone 3 years. I still miss him terribly each and every day. He was a stablizing factor in the lives of our family. You knew that he would always know what to do in any given situation. You felt secure in that knowledge. He was the leader of our family, in every way, but mostly spiritually. He taught us the importance of a personal relationship with the Lord, along with our Mom. They lead by example, and we always knew that above all, we must reach out to the Lord, our Savior, and for that I will be eternally grateful. They also taught us not to harbor anger...never let the sun go down on your wrath, forgive and make amends before you went to bed. A good thing for all of us to do. I can only hope that in some small way, my Dad's legacy will live on in the way that I live my least that is my goal, to live a life that would make my Dad proud.

As 2010 draws to a close, I can only hope that 2011 is filled with joyful times and void of sad times. So as the January 1, 2011 dawns, I wish all of my family and friends a very blessed and happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Mother's Heart and Empty Arms

As I was leaving church today, I caught sight of my niece, who had lost her baby daughter a little over a month ago, and as she smiled and waved, I could see behind her smile the deep sadness that lies in her heart. Then she turned to get into their pickup and I thought of how she must be feeling, the pain that is always with her now, the loss that she will always feel, the mother's heart and empty arms. It is an ache that will stay with her for a long time. I have never lost a child, so I couldn't really understand how awful that must feel, I just know that my heart aches for my niece, who I love very much. I wish there was a way that I could ease her pain, but there just isn't, and when I try, I feel like I make things worse for her by stirring up the thoughts and memories again. Memories of a life too soon over and the promise that life held gone. Yes, we know she is in Heaven with her Lord and Savior, and that she has seen the Father, and been held in his arms, she has seen her grandparents that have gone before her, and her little cousin, also a baby daughter whose life was too soon over, but for those left behind it is hard to take joy in those things, because we want them here with us, selfishly perhaps, but none the less that's how we feel. I don't think there can possibly be a more painful experience than losing a child, no matter what the circumstances, or how old they are, because parents shouldn't bury their children. It is just not the proper order of things. Our children should live a long life, filled with joyful experiences and happy moments, and when it doesn't work out that way, our whole universe feels like it is out of sync. This isn't a story with a happy ending, or an encouraging moral, it is just a story of reality at one of its most painful moments, the loss of a child, the moment that you can see the impact of that loss, the mother's heart and empty arms. I love you Jenny and I wish I could take your pain away, but since I can't, I can only pray for peace in your mother's heart, and comfort for your empty arms.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What Consumes You?

In church today, we sang one on my favorite songs. The song goes like this. "I'm consumed by the cry of Your spirit. I'm consumed by Your calling on me. And may my life forever be, consumed by Your fire in me." The service went on this way, "What consumes you?" I began to think about the things that we allow to get in the way of our walk with God. Oh we always think we have a "really good" reason for skipping church this week. I mean we were up late last night, we were so busy getting things done around the house, it's my only day to sleep in, I have a cold, and...well, the list goes on and on. I wonder what God thinks of our excuses. And just how would we feel if God suddenly had some excuse as to why He couldn't be bothered with our "petty little lives" today. You see, we always expect God to act on our behalf...whenever we call on Him that is, because, well He's God, and that's His job, that's what He is there for.

But, is that really a "relationship" with our Loving Father, or are we simply "going through the motions" and hoping no one will notice that our Faith Walk really leaves something to be desired. Our God is a loving God, and if we turn and call on Him, He is faithful to help us, but as we choose to step further and further away from a true "relationship" with Him, we begin to get to a place where we call on him less and rely on worldly advisors more and more, and when we really need to press into the Lord, we suddenly find that He has stepped back and let us go our own way. You see, God is a gentleman. He doesn't force His way on any of us. He gave man a "free will" when He created us, and if we choose to go to hell, well He will stand up for our right to do so. But it will be the last thing He wants for us. It breaks His heart to see it. We are His children, His family. He wants nothing more than to have a real relationship with His kids. He is no different than any other parent in that way, but His love, and a relationship with Him offers us so much more than any earthly parent, because with God, there is only Love. Even when we are in sin, even when we turn our backs on Him, even when we refuse to listen or even give Him 1 hour of our "precious little pathetic lives" each week, He still loves us. He still LOVES us!!! How can that possibly be? Well, it's because He is the God of second chances. He keeps taking us back, even when we don't deserve it. It makes me feel very ashamed of myself for the times that I have let the silly, worthless, unimportant cares of this world get in the way of my relationship with my God, my Father. And Father, for those times, I ask your forgiveness.

The really good news is that when we ask His forgiveness, He is faithful to take us back and treat us like kings again. So today I want to ask you this question again, "What consumes you?" Is it God and His love for you, a loving, perfectly wonderful relationship with a Father who only wants the very best for you, or are the cares of this world, and the cares of your little life so far more important that you can't be bothered...can't even take 1 hour out of your week; and maybe a little bit of time to read your Bible; to spend time with your God...who gave you your very life. Think about that.....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Longer Condemned

“[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Romans 8:1

Before we were saved, we were lost in our sin and condemned to Hell. We had no hope, but God, who knew that after the fall of Adam we would not be able to keep His laws, loved us anyway. Our world had come under the control of Satan, and we were separated from God; condemned. God had to find a way, within the laws that put our world into being, to bring about the atonement that would restore man’s relationship with God. Since the wages of sin is death, and the only one qualified to reverse the curse that had been brought upon mankind, was someone who was sinless and yet human, God had to find a way to bring a sinless person into this world. It would take a long time to find a man on the earth who was willing to partner with God to bring this to pass, because God was now outside of His creation looking in. God would partner with Abraham to bring about a race of people who would be His special treasure and the ancestors of His Son, who would soon put off His Heavenly glory to take on an earthly body, in order to go to the cross to buy back God’s people. He would pay for us with His earthly life, beaten and hanging on a cross, which was the most humiliating way to die in that era. But Jesus loved us and willingly made this sacrifice for us.

Jesus would enter our world, having given up all the privileges of His status in Heaven, as the Son of God. The cross was so much more than simply the shedding of blood. There was a covenant made between God and Jesus, the Son of Man. Blood covenants in Middle Eastern culture are forever. Jesus had taken our sins, our sicknesses, our separation from God and through the shedding of His blood, He paid the price required to buy our freedom from the curse and condemnation. All that was left was for us to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and our lives would be forever changed. We would walk after spiritual things and be free from condemnation forever. The sacrifice Jesus made is free for anyone who will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Lord, thank you for the atonement for my sins that you have freely given. Now I am a new creation. I am no longer condemned, but an heir to the throne. I receive your salvation in Jesus name. Amen

Monday, August 9, 2010

I'll Pray for You

I am reading a book right now that, were I not a Christian, could put fear in my heart instantly. It is a book by John Hagee called "Can America Survive" and it concerns the end times and America's place in them. In my head, this book is very hard to read, and my head wants to fear over what I read here, but God's word says that many things will happen in the end times that could bring fear, but that we are to "fear not" so that is what I will do. Many of the things in this book are happening in this country as I write this. And they are things many of us don't give any thought to. We often take our freedoms for granted, and too often offer our freedoms to those who have no right to them, because they aren't even citizens of this country.

That said, I want to address first the issue of the claim that the Muslims make, that they will take over America. If you know anything about their faith, you will know that they are allowed to have as many as 4 wives, and birth control is not an option for these women. So many of them have 15 or more children. So potentially each Muslim man can contribute 60 or more new members each in their lifetimes, and that is just by having children. If they actively try to convert people from other religions, the numbers grow. That said, 1,000 Muslim could grow the Muslim faith by 60,000 or more people in a lifetime, and with that number and how many children they could have...well, you get the picture. Christianity is growing too, but are our numbers equal to those of the Muslims? Probably not.

Another issue to give thought to is our freedom of religion. We in America believe that each person has the right to choose, and that the church should be protected. So as a way of hiding all of their radical activities, the Muslims build mosques. We are not allowed to search these places, or even enter them. So, here on American soil there are places where they can hide guns, bombs, etc, and they are safe from our eyes.

So, what am I getting at? After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that the Christians in this world must pray for the Muslims people to receive an awakening to the one true God. We all know that we are to pray for them, but we also know how hard that is when they are out to kill us. So, I say, pray for them to have an awakening to the one true God, as an act of self defense...and defense of our nation.

My second point is that the Bible tells us to pray for our leaders. I know that many of you are struggling with this issue concerning our current president, as many of us believe that he is not a citizen of this country and that he is Muslim. Again, I say that Barack Obama (or Barry Soetero) must be prayed for to receive an awakening to the one true God.

I know how hard this prayer request will be for many of you. It will be as hard for you as it was for me, but in the defense of our country and our way of life, and most importantly in defense of our God, we must pray for salvation for these lost Muslim people, our president, and any other leaders federal, state and local that are not saved. The end times are near, and God's plan will be fulfilled. Every prophecy will come to pass, and our prayers will not change the outcome of the end times, except that maybe, just maybe a few lost Muslims who would have gone to Hell, will end up in Heaven. It makes our prayers worthwhile, don't you think?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Losing My Mother-In-Law

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer's. I go over three nights a week and help her get to bed, to take some of the load off of my father-in-law who is on oxygen and isn't very strong himself at nearly 81 years old. Most nights our conversation is much like the re-runs on television. I ask her what she did all day, and she pulls something from her dwindling memory such as the dishes or laundry, both of which she hasn't done much of in years. Then she asks about my day. After telling her I worked, she asks where I work. I tell her that I work at The Stengel Agency, selling insurance. To that she responds, "That's right." Then I get her to bed and tell her that I will be back in two days. And she asks what day today is. Our routine is fairly predictable...on most days, that is.

Some days find my mother-in-law much more...confused, lost even. Last week, during our "normal" conversation, when we got to the part about where I work, she said, "Oh, at Kmart." I know my jaw dropped, because I haven't worked at Kmart since 1974. I told her, "No, at The Stengel Agency. I sell insurance." Then came her normal response of "that's right." Then tonight, the conversation went along normally and I assumed we were past the bad spell, until she said that she would be glad when she could go "home." I wasn't sure what to make of that, so I asked where she was. She replied, "Casper." That being right I asked where home was. She indicated north of town, and I thought she meant the place they used to live out in the country, but she said, after obviously realizing that something was not quite right, "That place we used to live when Walt was working for the railroad." In talking to my husband about that part of her life, I found that his dad worked for the railroad in the 50's in Montana.

I have known that this stage of the disease would come, and there would be things and people she would not remember, and confusion would become the norm, but when faced with these moments that are still shocking to me, I makes me feel very sad. I can see what the future holds for her, and it is heartbreaking.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Today I said goodbye to my dear friend Evelyn. She was loved by so many people, and yet maybe very few of us knew the real her. Oh we knew parts of her, and together the parts mostly make her who she was, but the inner parts, the secret parts, the insecurities, the worries and fears, were things most of us never knew. I was able to catch a glimpse of a part of my friend that I didn't know existed. A part that made her the sweet person she was. How can someone who seemed so confident have been insecure? That took me totally be surprise. She worried that she didn't measure up to those around her, and yet in that humbleness, she far surpassed many of those people. In her final days, when people were praying for healing, and she was ready to go home, she worried about "letting those people down" who had been praying for her healing. In her last days, she was still thinking of others, and how they would feel. No wonder she was loved so much, by so many.
Good bye for now Evelyn, my very dear friend.

Evelyn Joy Ennis
March 21, 1929 - August 2, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Things Lost, Things Found

A couple of months ago, I lost a pin that I really liked. It had 2 Calla Lillies on it and it was delicate and beautiful. I searched high and low for it, at work, in my car, and at home. I couldn't find it anywhere. Being a Christian, I believe that the devil has no right to steal things from me. I believe that God takes care of me and my things. His word promises me that I have power over the devil, and since the devil came to steal, kill, and destroy, what was happening to me was wrong. I prayed over my pin, telling God that He knew where it was and asked Him to reveal it to me. During the next couple of months, I thought about my pin often, but it still had not been returned to me. I had not had to stand this long for a lost item before, and I wondered what to do about that. I know faith works, and I didn't want to pull back my faith, and yet, I had no pin. I just kept putting it out of my mind. Yesterday as I was getting some things out of my car after work, my attention was caught by something at the back edge of the driver's side seat. There, staring me in the face, was my pin. I was ecstatic!! I wanted to jump up and down. I knew God would never let me down, so if the pin had never been returned, I would have to face the fact that I had failed in my faith stand. I really hadn't much thought about the pin, and certainly not enough to be pressured to pull back my faith with some silly remark about how I guessed it wasn't going to be returned. I had simply put it out of my mind for the most part. But, God is faithful. And words are alive. The words spoken in faith two months ago, were not forgotten by God, He didn't put it out of his mind by saying it was too hard. No, God and I are in covenant, and He never takes that lightly. I, His child, had spoken in faith, and managed for two months not to pull back my faith, so God in His never-changing, perfect sense of responsibility and obligation to perform His word, did His part and brought it to pass. My pin returned, I went about the rest of my day with a lighter heart and an ever growing understanding of how true to His word my God is. Thank you Father, for your faithfulness to me. I know that my God loves me and cares about every area of my life, from the biggest to the smallest detail. How awesome is that? I can roll the care of anything in my life over onto God, and He is faithful to supply every need, and even cares about my desires. Every little thing in my life is important to God, because He loves me and we are in covenant together. God always keeps up His end of the bargin.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The waiting is over. My friend, Evelyn has gone home. For us here on earth, death seems like a thief that comes in and takes away those we love, but for those in Heaven, it is a joyous day. The day that humans were made for. The Bible says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalms 116:15. So today is a precious day to the Lord. For Evelyn, today is the day that her existance exploded into the most amazing joy ever felt by humans. She is free from pain and earthly limitations. She is with our Lord Jesus and she has seen God's face, a privilege saved for those good and faithful servants who have been made the righteousness of God through the death of Jesus on the cross. She is among the justified, as are those of us who have chosen Jesus, but now she knows true joy. The kind of joy that can only come from being in the presence of God. So, why is it that we have such a hard time feeling even the smallest hint of that joy when we, who are left behind, think of our loved one. Humans fight to stay alive. Fight to keep our loved ones alive. Fight to win the battle against illness. But for what? Our earthly travels are filled with troubles. And yet, our very existance is a gift from God. I guess it really is about the circle of life. Every life has its beginning, its middle, and its end, which is really a new beginning, with no middle and no end. Eternity with God is an amazing day that never ends, in which we never tire, and darkness doesn't exist. Is there anything better than that?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My dear friend, Evelyn

Today I was handed some shocking news. My dear friend from when my kids were little has lung cancer and is at the point of death. Her daughter is a friend on facebook, but I didn't know she was Evelyn's daughter until she posted that her mother was dying. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Ours had been an unlikely friendship. We met at a really hard time in Evelyn's life. Her husband was very ill, and she was looking at a long road ahead, caring for him, waiting on the love of her life to be slowly taken away from her. She was having a bad day, the stresses of the situation had gotten to her, and I just thought she didn't like me. It would be weeks before someone would tell me why she was so moody. Once I understood that part, our friendship grew. She and I had bowling in common, and I substituted on her team many times. She was such a different person when she had the chance to relax and enjoy herself. Our friendship grew and continued for many years. After she quit bowling, we lost track of each other...until today. I had thought of her many times through the years, but the time never seemed right to go look her up. Why do we wait too long sometimes? I was in hopes that there might still be time to go and talk to her one more time, but that is not to be. She is in a coma now and the opportunity was never made available to me, so I wait...for news, that I don't want to hear.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family ties

Today I took my mom to a birthday party for her sister's great granddaughter. Why were we there? Well it wasn't because they are such a close family that they all attend each and every birthday party for their siblings children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. It was because the daughter of my mother's great aunt, who is ninety, came into town and wanted to see some of the family. So why do we have the neverending desire to reconnect with family? Is it the need to save the memories of our past in our mind so we can pass them on to our children, or is it the possibility that we may never see some of these people again. My mother wanted to go to this event to see her great aunt, who she thought would be there, because she feels that at ninety, she may not see her again, and she was disappointed that her aunt did not come, rather her cousin was here for her class reunion and wanted to spend a little time with her cousins. While my mother was disappointed at not seeing her aunt, she did enjoy visiting with her cousin. I'm sure that my mother really would have been happy going to almost any event, since she doesn't get out much, and she does feel the passage of time more acutely than I do at 20 years her junior. While I very much enjoy searching records from the past to locate lost ancestors, I don't necessarily feel the urgency to reconnect personally as much as she does. Maybe I will in the future, I don't know. In the interim, I will continue to take her to the gatherings with her family whenever they come about, and help her to gleen what she needs from each event, so she and I can live our lives without the regret of neglecting the responsibilities we have to each other and to family, distant and not so distant.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The beginning

Having never had a blog before, I guess the best place to start would be the beginning. I am a Christian first and foremost, a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother second. I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I work to follow God's leading. And I love my family more than any of them can ever imagine. I am slowly learning Hebrew, as I believe that this is the language that we will all be speaking in Heaven, and I find that facinating. It is a beautiful language. The names of God mean so much more when you know them in the Hebrew version. Our God is so powerful and so loving toward us. It is simply beyond our meager ability to understand His love and faithfulness. Since this is such a big part of my life, you will find that, if you follow me, much of what you read will be about my wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua), God my Father (Elohim), and God the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). I hope you find this as interesting as I do.