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.....