Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I am selfish.

I am selfish; I want what I want.  For the believer in Jesus, we are just passing through this earthly life.  EARTH is not our home; HEAVEN is our home--our eternal home.  Let that sink in--ETERNAL HOME--as in NEVER-ENDING.  If we keep that perspective, we won't fret and go to pieces over our loved ones' eventual "passing."

Or will we?  We are human, and it's human to want to keep our loved ones with us.  In truth, we should be rejoicing for him/her to be able to see Jesus and meet God, the lover of our souls.  He or she will be WHOLE with NO illness and no infirmity.  

Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. 2In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.…"

Our time separated from a believing loved one is only as long as our time left on earth.  Take heart, the risen Jesus has gone to prepare a place for each of us in heaven, where there will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more sickness.

This doesn't challenge my belief if I grieve what's to come or has come; it makes me a selfish, loving daughter who wants her father with her as long as possible.  


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Change

I wrote in a previous post that I don't like change.   Ironically for what we are going through with my dad's cancer, this sign has hung in the original bathroom of their house.  It has been there for as long as I can remember:


Dad gave the most beautiful, from-the-heart prayer at breakfast this morning.  See, he doesn't have scripture memorized; they use a devotional book and read accompanying verses. His prayer was from the heart and out of his head. In part, he prayed for my eldest brother (who "divorced " the family the month I began teaching in 1988: "Lord, we know he doesn't know you like we do." Then, he continued: "Lord, you've taken care of us for 67 something years, and we trust you to continue. When it''s our time to go, we pray we go and you don't 'beat around the bush."

The Bible tells us we have to have the faith of a child, and that is my dad. He doesn't have scripture memorized, but then again, I don't believe we have to pass a "scripture test" to get into heaven.


"Lord, help us (ME) find our (MY) way through the changes in our lives."





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Listening for God's Voice, Explanation

I want to clarify what I mean when I say I listen for God's voice.  I want to reiterate I don't "hear" voices, in case anyone thinks I do.  In the last post, I said it was like a command in my head.  Let me explain what I mean.

There are times when I am torn about things.  I pray and ask God to give me clarity if it is something I should do.  Now, I am the only human in my house, so I can and do pray out loud quite often; it's just me talking to God.  I suppose I am entertainment for the animals at times; at other times, I might interrupt their sleeping.  At any rate, it's what I do.  

Before I act, I wait until I get a very "strong" impression from him that it is something I should do.  For example, on Friday my guardian angel from NC called in response to a Facebook message about prayer that I had sent him.  As he was ministering to me, God plopped this idea into my head regarding the prayer request.  It was extremely strong and out of "left field," so I *knew* it was from Him and not just *my* thinking. (Sorry I can't be more specific, but at this time I won't be because it involves someone else.)  When I told my guardian angel, he said something that affirmed that it was God-sent.  See, I never want it to just be "my thinking"; I want to *know* it is God talking.

That's about the best way I can explain "listening for God's voice."  As time has passed, I have normally been able to eventually discern whether it is His voice or me.

And a note on my "guardian angel":  The reason I call this person this is because I know God has sent him to be my spiritual advisor/encourager/prayer warrior.  There are few people I can trust with certain prayer requests because they are too familiar to the situation or they really don't care.  This person is a "disinterested" party, so to speak, because he is not close to any of the situations.  He just remembers me from August of 1988---

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Listening for God's Voice

I made the first of four dental appointments back in November, before Clemson knew it would be in the National Championship last night, so I have today off.  Last week after Clemson trounced over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, clinching their National Championship spot, I *knew* I had to watch the game with Dad.  All week I had this "voice" from God telling me to go.  It wasn't an audible voice, just a command.  That's the only way I know to describe it.  For that reason, I knew Clemson would win.  God wanted me to share that with Dad.

We didn't go to bed until 1 am.  He never dozed off; I, on the other hand set my phone alarm during halftime so I could wake up.

We had a blast.  What if I were not tuned in to God's voice?


Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Pain Like No Other

Tucked away in the smaller bathroom, 
behind the curtain, beyond the hum of the heater,
the tears flowed and the cries went unnoticed to human ears.
Although the lavender candle flickered in its soft light, 
it did not soothe; there is no balm that will ease this hurt--
'cept you, Jesus.
Hear my cries, wipe my tears, cover this pain with your love and reassurance

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tired

Buried in a vast wasteland
of pain--uncertainty--heartache--
My soul longs for you, Lord.
Oh, answer my prayer, hear my cry
For healing--
Physical, emotional, spiritual.
People are hurting
With no place to turn, 
No one to trust,
No one who cares
There.is.not.one.,no.not.one.

Save for you, the Almighty
God, creator of the universe,
Creator of us.

O, hear my prayer, God.
End the suffering,
Heal your children,
Come, Lord Jesus

Monday, January 2, 2017

Is the glass half full or half empty?

This past summer, I saw something a colleague was making called a "Blessing Jar."  Its concept is to write down one blessing a day for the year and look at all of them on New Year's Eve.  I like that idea because it keeps the focus on blessings.  It's all a matter of perspective.  I have thought how I will respond when I got back to work tomorrow and people ask how my break was.  Do I focus on Dad's cancer diagnosis?  Or, do I focus on the blessings of time I spent with him and the knowledge that no matter when we are separated, it's just for my time left on earth.  I have the knowledge of eternal life with him in heaven.  

Today, that colleague reminded me of that blessing jar, so I began to look at what I have around the house.  I am a rabid recycler, so I had this plastic jug with kitten chow in it.  It seemed like the perfect thing.


I decided I wanted something attached to it for the strips of paper because I didn't want to be looking for paper.  So, I used a gift bag (I do save them all to reuse!)  Then, I found this angel journal someone had given me.  Voila!  I cut those sheets into strips to put in the bag.  Each day, I take one out and put the blessing on it:




So, in spite of the uncertainty of this year, I am choosing to focus on daily blessings. I think that will help with my overall outlook.

So, when someone asks me tomorrow how my break was, I will respond, "We found out Dad does have cancer, but God is so good at giving us some great times.  I look forward to more this year."  To focus on anything else will break my heart and make me immobile.

Is your glass half full, or is it half empty?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Processing.....Rambling

I knew by his face it was not good news.  When the doctor came in Wednesday, he had a somber countenance and began to wash his hands.  While he did, Dad said, "Well, I  hope you're going to tell me you'll see me later."  But, I was watching his face.  As he turned around from the sink, he said, "Unfortunately, the growth did not come back benign."  I knew from way back in Janis Blocker's English class (I don't know which of the four years) that "bene" meant "good," but "mal" meant "bad.  I knew "benign" meant not cancerous; the opposite is "malignant."  It didn't register with Dad at first; he said, "Well, at least you didn't tell me I have cancer."

I am feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Everything will fall to me to handle.  All business and  I will always have to be the one who goes to really important doctors' appointments with him.  Mother is nearly deaf.  My brother is just about there, and he and his wife have their own medical issues.  In fact, he was at his own doctor's appointment when I took Dad to his.  While Dad can hear fine, he is the patient, and patients don't always hear what they need to.

I have been processing this new reality and trying to stay sane.  I have five months from tomorrow before I retire.  It had been my prayer this year, and it still is, that I will have some years with my parents once I do retire.  Time....we can never get back time.  There is so much I regret about time and my own child, but I can't dwell on any of that.  I am fortunate that I have an understanding boss about when I have needed to go with Dad to doctors' appointments.  

For the last two days, this thought has been weighing heavily on my mind:  Tomorrow night is the big Clemson-Ohio State semi-final game of the College Football Championship.  I have a zoo, so leaving for a night has always been a concern.  However, it would mean so much to Dad to watch the game with me, so I am getting everyone settled in here, and I am going to spend the night and watch the game with him from his "man cave," i.e.  Matthew's old bedroom for three years and my childhood bedroom.  We will both wear our Clemson shirts that I bought him.  I feel this is a message from God to do it because it has pressed on my mind so hard for the last two days.

Seize the day, for we do not know how many we have left....any of us.  Don't live with regrets of "I wish I had...."

P.S.  If you are a praying person, I would covet your prayers for strength for me and healing for my dad.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

One.day.at.a.time

Those words--the title of my blog--never have had the meaning that they now do.  (I want to start by saying I have the settings so no one in my family can see this.)  Today, my dad got his second cancer diagnosis, and I don't feel "good" about this one.  Maybe it's because he's 89 this time instead of 84; maybe it's because it was found in a lymph node, and cancer does not begin there.  That means we don't know where it is at this time.  We are waiting on a referral to my oncologist here in Beaufort and the one Dad went to before.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 44; four years later Dad was diagnosed at age 84.  He had it much easier than I did because he had a flat tumor on the wall of the colon.  He was out of the hospital on the sixth day and mowing his lawn the following week.  He didn't need chemo or radiation.

Tonight I came home and took a hot bath.  I do a lot of crying in the bathtub.  All of my makeup is off by then, and it's cleansing to let the tears fall where they may.  I don't know what I will do when my dad does leave me, whether by this cancer or whatever means.  I truly don't know what I will do or how I will go on.  I know I will have to, but I sure don't know how I will.

One.day.at.a.time---truly this is how we all should approach life and its trials.  Life is precious, and none of us know if today will be our last on this earth.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Meaning of Christmas

I have never liked the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Most of the time, I feel like an outsider looking in.  The commercialism turns me off.  Don't get me wrong; I like to get presents like anybody else.  But, the smallest things make me happy:  the dark chocolate Hershey bar thrust at me from an unknown, random 1st grader this week, the bag of assorted Lindor truffles (sorry, little 4th grader, but the rest are going to Priscilla's house today (I ate 3 that I shouldn't have.), the French lavender body set from another child, and the Bath and Body Works lotion and assorted cat notes from my "daughter from another mother."  It takes little to make me happy.  It made me happier to see Ashley's giddiness over her B&B pumpkin body wash I gave her.  She was excited over the container and said she had never seen that in the store; of course not, as I ordered it online.   She *is* like the daughter I never had; that was my same giddiness over the pumpkin spice creamers by bff gave me.

Let me speak of the Hershey candy---as soon as the little *unknown* girl thrust it at me and said, "Happy Christmas," I immediately thought of the widow's mite in the Bible.   That widow gave all she had; this little girl only knows me from my duty station in the hallway in the morning and the one time I subbed for an hour in her class; yet, she wanted to give me this candy.  It's dark chocolate, so could it be she didn't like it?  Maybe; maybe she can't read it yet to know what it is.  The point is, she saw me and wanted to give it to me.  Her gesture meant so much.





In the rabid push of commercialism, I focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  It is my duty (and joy) to bring happiness to others where I can.  Jesus did for others all the time; that was His ministry.  I am an epic failure at emulating Him, but still I try.  I listen for God's voice, and this week He has left me in tears with what I have felt coming from Him and the responses those couple of gestures have brought from the people He told me to minister to (and if you are reading this, you know who you are.)  

Today, I will take Priscilla her Christmas meal and settle in for more Christmas movies on Netflix with my fur babies.  Tomorrow morning I will take meal ingredients to my parents' house and cook there.  I have never done that before, but I will banish Mother from the kitchen.  Dad will likely want to help, and that will be fun.  We always talk when I cook on Sundays, and he hangs out at the doorway, doing little things to help.  Hopefully, my son will call from frigid Colorado, and my brother and sister-in-law will come for the noonday meal.  There's nothing fancy about it, but that is fine because it helps keep the focus on what is truly important:  Jesus' birth to save the world from itself.  Lord knows, we need that now more than ever.  We need a little Jesus.

                    Merry Christmas!