Hope

Death And Living Responsibly

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Death, Hope, Life, Mother, People | 16 comments

clean field 2

 

 

Responsible people understand the value of preparing for their future. For instance, responsible parents create college funds for their children long before they actually need it. Responsible people also open 401K plans early in their career so they can ease into a comfortable retirement when the time is right. But how many people pride themselves in properly preparing for their death ahead of time.

After all, who wants to think about death before you have to? And Hospice – that’s an organization we don’t need to know about until it’s absolutely necessary.

I find it rather interesting that so much of our planning gets invested in a future that may never unfold the way we envisioned it. College funds might disintegrate into emergency cash instead. Or a sudden lay-off end up depleting an entire retirement account. We have no way of knowing, because the future is unpredictable.

It makes me question – what do we really have control over? How many plans shifts into Plan B through circumstances out of our control.

Truth is – the absolute only thing we know for certain every person will face, is death. No one gets out of here alive. So why doesn’t that fact make us better planners?

Sitting by my mother’s side last week as she labored through her end of life experience left me facing the cold reality of my own certainty of death.

I learned death is a natural process of life and not perverse.

I imagine like birth, every end-of-life experience is different – some are more difficult than others. In my mom’s case, apparently she was text book in the progression process. It reminds me of the two distinct birth experiences I had with our kids. Although their births were different as night and day – both still involved labor and both had predictable components imbedded in the process.

Death isn’t something to fear, it’s something to embrace and spend our lifetime preparing for. From the moment we arrive on the planet we’re moving toward one common goal – our end.

The end is not final. Up until the day our breathing stops and our next destination is reached, whether we know it or not, we’re packing for the trip.

Responsible people consider the destination they’re headed toward. I wouldn’t pack shorts and sandals if I planned to vacation in Antarctica. And speaking of packing – I have a much healthier perspective about the importance of “stuff” after last week.

It’s God’s mercy to spare us a future view of our tomorrows. He’s the life giver and Sovereign ruler over our time – for all time.

A few takeaways from last week:

  • Hold loosely to the things of this world, they’re not worth grappling for or hanging onto. They really don’t go with us and usually become tomorrows trash when we’re gone.
  • Invest in knowing the one who holds your future rather than tirelessly planning for a future that might never materialize.
  • Prioritize relationships above things and heart over agendas.
  • And hug your mom – you never know which day will be her last.

 

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The Door of Hope

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Faith, Hope, Love | 24 comments

european door 2

 

The door of hope is available to every living, breathing soul.

Unlike other doors it’s uniquely fashioned without a latch or handle. At first glance there’s no obvious way to open it. It’s sturdy frame rests on a threshold of love. It is hinged with strong brackets of grace. And although it’s a thing of beauty and a necessity for entrance, many weary travelers worry it’s too difficult to open. But it’s not.

No knocking is required – or doorbells to ring. With a light touch, a tap of faith – it opens, welcoming guests to peace, joy and spectacular glimpses of His face.

I urge you – reach toward it with confidence and marvel as you watch the door open. Receive with gratitude whatever waits for you on the other side. Take pleasure in the mystery. Rest in your personalized claim. Destiny triumphs. Struggling cease. Your arrival is expected and sacred gifts will be released.

Worry, frustration, self planning and defeat will be forced to flee. Rejoice in the relinquishment. Recognize sovereignty and the better plan. Walk boldly into your story –

beyond the beautiful Door of Hope.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12

 

 

 

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The Baton Has Been Passed

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Death, Extraordinary Everyday People, Hope | 24 comments

#60 seeds

 

The baton has been passed, my friend is gone. Prayers for comfort, peace and healing linger still as they gently shift toward the family she adored.

 

While we weep her loss and consider her life, she speaks still – from a place we haven’t yet seen. Her voice is clear and delivered with a cadence of familiarity, “Press on, stand strong, give grace, cry for the helpless, dream patiently, live with conviction and fervor, love unsparingly, live unceasingly, hope unreservedly.”

 

She now lives without time, or pain, or fear, or worry. Our clocks tick on with a voice of challenge to live and die like her. Her beautiful baton has been laid down for our picking up.

 

Weep with me. Listen with me. And run wholeheartedly toward the goal she’s now reached.

 

 “Your life is your own, your glory is your glory, but you will lose it if you keep it for yourself. Grasp it for the sake of others.” Nate Wilson – author and her beloved son-in-law

 

 

 

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Redemption

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Hope, Prayer | 18 comments

lightening strikes

 

Redemption: an exchange, reclaiming or rescuing – my new favorite word. I find myself pleading for it as I pray for my friends. This week especially – my heart feels like it’s encased in thick cement.

A young father waits for a bone marrow transplant after flushing his body with poison to interrupt the wicked plan of cancer. Another friend is stalled midstream in treatment, waiting for test results as she battles a rare female cancer.

Still another friend sits with her daughter in ICU hoping she’ll wake up after careening into an asthma-induced coma. Two states away from her, another friend fights her way back to us after trauma to her brain.

Each one of these dear friends knows the love of God and knows Jesus as their Savior. Each one of them confesses unwavering faith in the face of their storm. They wait. They pray. They’re my heroes.

I watch their communities join them in prayer – pleading for healing – waiting for the supernatural rescue line.

Our Heavenly Father holds all lifelines. He also knows the outcome.

What does he think as he watches us bang heaven’s doors telling him – the creator of all we see and all we can’t see – what he must do? Surely, if we cry hard enough, shout loud enough, make wrong things right – somehow, heaven will finally respond the way we want it to. The torrential storm will pass and clear skies of grace and fairness will return. Bad will be redeemed with his good.

But what if redemption comes in the form of death – or through the mystery of suffering?

Redemption scoops up our broken pieces and reconstructs it for his best use. We didn’t redeem ourselves into right standing with him in the first place. And we cannot redeem our difficult circumstances by what we do or say. As believers, we can’t even claim our own life as our own. Hard times remind us of that.

His plans are always best. He knows the tomorrow we can only dream about.

Releasing our will, our plans and even our grip on the tiller is a lifelong journey. Graciously receiving his redemptive plan – whatever it may be, is an even tougher sea to sail.

Sovereign God, help me let go and accept your perfect plan. Chip away the hard surface of my stoney heart. I yearn to reclaim it with complete trust in who you are. I don’t need to know what your plan looks like – I only need to walk in my own completed redemption with full assurance you are bigger, smarter and wiser than me. Heal us, I pray.

Psalms 66:19-20 “Praise God who does not reject our prayers or withhold his love from us.”

 

Linking up today with #TellHisStory by Jennifer Dukes Lee. Hop on over to read her blog along with the many others invited to participate in sharing their stories. You won’t regret it.

 

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Remembering With a Friend Today

Posted by on Oct 1, 2013 in Death, Friendship, His Love, Hope | 8 comments

He loves & listens

 

We turn the pages of our calendars to October today. For some, it’s a joyful welcome to the new fall season. But for my dear friend Debbie, it’s a reminder she faces a month peppered with memories – both good and hard.

Five years ago today, her family welcomed the first grandchild into their lives. Inexplicable joy came in the form of a redheaded bundle delivered by her youngest born. For the next three years, pink exuberance took over the family gatherings.

Coming up in a couple weeks another more difficult date looms on Debbie’s calendar. Two years ago on an October Sunday morning, her granddaughter’s residency drastically changed. While her parents slept peacefully down the hall, little Eisley was ushered to her heavenly home without warning, without explanation and without a kiss good bye.

Can you even imagine burying a three year old – much less, your daughter, your niece, or your granddaughter?

My heart aches for the October grief this family suffers each year. Dates scream out the ‘what if’s’ as birthdays and meaningful holidays pass by. And the memory of leaving her little body at the cemetery – could there be anything more difficult.

As Debbie’s sister in Christ and friend, I apologize for trying to understand her grief – or worse, trying to make sense of it. Grief is painful. Grief is long lasting. Grief needs understanding and sensitivity.

Eisley’s memory is worth keeping alive no matter how hard it is. Debbie needs Eisley’s memory to be kept alive. So as her friend, I need it also.

CS Lewis said in his book Grief Observed, “The death of a beloved is an amputation.” This is hard truth!

The Holy Spirit offers comfort. The Word of God sustains. But we, her community and family – are called to be the gauze and tape. We squeeze with pressure until the bleed subsides. Each October the wound reopens. Each October my friend needs holding.

Recording artist Laura Story knows about pain and suffering.

Remember a friend today as you listen to her beautiful call to embrace our hard places. Please remember my friend Debbie and her family today too – October 1, 2013 – on what would have been Eisley’s 5th birthday. Pray for unveiled mercy.

 

 

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