Monday, December 28, 2009

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me






It is so hard to believe that two years have already gone by since our last Christmas with Renee. The first picture was taken at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve 2007. That is me with my three beautiful daughters. (Click on it for a better view.) The next picture was taken on the second floor deck of our vacation rental home in Barbados - Christmas 2oo9.

We were going to do a cruise with the family in 2007. That is something Renee really wanted to do, as well as Alayna who both had not been on a cruise. Renee was going to be in the bridal party of a very dear friend who was getting married in the DR and then join us for the cruise starting the day after the 20th of December. After the cruise to the Bahamas we were planning to stay over in Florida at what used to be our company's condo for Christmas. The cruise and flights were booked in the beginning of October. We were really looking forward to this. We wanted so much to believe that Renee was healed, but we had no guarantee that she would not relapse.

Then at the end of October all those plans crashed. Renee had relapsed. Back to MSKCC and more chemo. Renee did not get out of the hospital till just before Christmas. Renee didn't talk about it very much, because it was too hard for her to take, that she could not be at her friend's wedding and it was such a huge disappointment that we could not go on that family cruise.

Then on the 20th of December, which is Kara's birthday, we had the horribly shocking experience of finding out that the family business partnership was no more. It was absolutely excruciating.

And then Renee died...February 26...that huge tsunami blow to our family, creating this huge hole that will always be there, that we are all trying to cope with, each in our own way. Please continue to pray for our family.

I am so glad that we could all go on this trip to Barbados, not a cruise, I think that would have been too painful. Justin managed to get off from work and I think it was very important for us to spend this time together for healing.

I was feeling so overwhelmed with sorrow about doing this trip without Renee, thinking about that family vacation we had planned two years ago that never happened. Ray, Alayna and Kara still went on the cruise and then we had some dear friends who volunteered to take the extra room for which we could not get a refund. They were sent by God to be a support to Ray after that devastating blow he had received the day before the cruise. I don't know what he would have done if they had not been there.

We did have a very special Christmas with Renee in NYC that year except Justin couldn't come. That was the worst Christmas for him.

So the first night of our trip, God gave me a very special dream of Renee which helped me to not feel quite so overwhelmed with sorrow. I did find places and time to be alone to shred some tears. And on Christmas day as the choir at the church we attended, sang such a beautiful rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by a steel orchestra, the tears started flowing as I thought of Renee worshiping in heaven, singing the Hallelujah Chorus with all the angels and all the redeemed. I can't even imagine how beautiful that must be! And the tears came again later when I read an article by Joni E. Tada about Christmas and heaven from the book, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, after we had eaten our family's traditional Christmas breakfast of cheese blintzes with strawberry topping.

It was important to us to do some of our traditional family Christmas things, and yes, you don't need a white Christmas, to make it feel like Christmas! All we really need for the "Christmas spirit" is to worship the One whose birthday we are celebrating.

I found the following poem and it describes my dream very well.



WHEN TOMORROW STARTS WITHOUT ME

When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;


But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It almost seemed impossible
That I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.


You have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things
You knew you shouldn't do.

But you have been forgiven
And now at last you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand
And share my life with me?"

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The River of Healing


Trees on Both Sides of the River

1 -2 Now he brought me back to the entrance to the Temple. I saw water pouring out from under the Temple porch to the east (the Temple faced east). The water poured from the south side of the Temple, south of the altar. He then took me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the gate complex on the east. The water was gushing from under the south front of the Temple.

3 -5 He walked to the east with a measuring tape and measured off fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water waist-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet. By now it was a river over my head, water to swim in, water no one could possibly walk through.

6 -7 He said, "Son of man, have you had a good look?"

Then he took me back to the riverbank. While sitting on the bank, I noticed a lot of trees on both sides of the river.

8 -10 He told me, "This water flows east, descends to the Arabah and then into the sea, the sea of stagnant waters. When it empties into those waters, the sea will become fresh. Wherever the river flows, life will flourish—great schools of fish—because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. Fishermen will stand shoulder to shoulder along the shore from En-gedi all the way north to En-eglaim, casting their nets. The sea will teem with fish of all kinds, like the fish of the Great Mediterranean.

11 "The swamps and marshes won't become fresh. They'll stay salty.

12 "But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won't wither, the fruit won't fail. Every month they'll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing."

These verses are from Ezekiel 47 (The Message). I had been ministered to in such a deep way by The River song by Brian Doerksen the last two days and now today I read this story in Ezekiel about a river that will change the stagnant water of the sea into fresh water. And wherever the river flows life will flourish, life will abound. And on its banks will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Such a beautiful picture of what Jesus can do for us!

"God's power can transform us us no matter how lifeless or corrupt we may be. Even when we feel messed up and beyond hope, his power can heal us."



Thursday, December 03, 2009

Spring is Coming


I bought Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD "beauty will rise" yesterday and I just finished listening to it. A few weeks ago, one night when I couldn't sleep, I listened to some of his songs on YouTube and the story of how their daughter died. All the songs in this new album came out of that experience. Heaven is the Face is a really beautiful one. They all are. At least to me.

Jesus Will Meet You There
Spring is Coming
I Will Trust You
God Is It True,
Just Have To Wait
Beauty Will Rise

I don't know which is my favorite. I would like to share some of the lyrics. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Heaven is where Jesus is.

Heaven is where Jesus is.

It is the place-
where everything lasts forever,
where everything that is best remains,
where everything good is celebrated,
where light fills every space,
where love fills every heart,
where worship fills every breath,
where praise never stops,
where pain never enters,
where joys never cease.
- Roy Lessin

At the River


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

From Candle Light Service

A poem from the candle light service:

At the finest level of my being you're still with me.
We still look at each other at that level beyond sight.
We talk and laugh with each other in a place beyond words....
We still touch each other on a level beyond touch.
We share time together in a place where time stands still.
We are still together on a level called love.
But I cry alone for you in a place called reality.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rejoicing Together

Well, I imagine Renee and Ramona are rejoicing together in the presence of our dear Savior and King right now. I am quite sure Renee would have been there in the welcoming committee for Ramona.
Oh, how I miss Renee's smile, laughter, and our conversations. Hope the end of world will come soon.
Our staff in Morris gave us the gift of a 100 Bibles for LifeLight in Memory of Renee. They could not have come up with a better gift.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

God Works in Mud



God is a potter, He works in mud. The sovereign Creator formed and shaped humanity by unique design. Gen 2:7 in the Amplified says:

7Then the Lord God formed man from the a]">[a]dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being.A)">(A)

The word formed describes the work of an artist, molding and fashioning mud into a pot. And God breathed into man the breath of life, changing his form into a soul, with the capacity to serve and fellowship with the Lord.

God continued working in and with mud, by sending Jesus to this earth to die for us and regenerating those who receive him.

God is the only One who can make the dirty clean.

These thoughts are from the Our Daily Bread. They went good with the title of my blog.

I also read the following recently that goes with this theme:

We are a soul.

We have a body.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Give Me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I am alone,
When I am alone,
When I am alone,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

When I come to die,
When I come to die,
When I come to die,
Give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.

I don't know if anybody ever reads my blogs any more, but occasionally I feel the need to post something.

Last night I went to the ladies Christmas potluck at the church we attend. Included in the program were several beautiful pieces by a soloist. I think there were more than a few tears shed in that room. It was just so beautiful! One of the pieces was "The Holy City" about the new Jerusalem. It was so fitting after the study we just finished on the Psalms of Ascent.

The last one she did was "Give Me Jesus". Last night the tears didn't come, but this morning as I was thinking about that song being sung at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC the tears started coming. I couldn't remember if that was the last Sunday Renee went to church with us or not, but I checked the bulletins and it was. Wow, that brought on a flood of tears!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Draw Me Nearer

During the night when I was feeling a bit chilly, I was pulling the quilt up and as I was doing so, the hymn "Draw Me Nearer" popped into my mind. "Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to thy precious bleeding side."

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

All Though the Night

Lately I have been singing the hymns that we sang at the retreat we went to in September as I am using my elliptical machine. Good thing nobody is there to hear me except my Heavenly Father! Today I also added some more songs about resting in Jesus.

I am doing the Bible study on the Psalms of Ascent. Did the lessons on Psalm 131 yesterday and today. A beautiful picture is painted there for us about calming and quieting ourselves in the Lord as a weaned child in the arms of a mother. If there are things that are so impossible to understand, we must quiet ourselves and feel secure in God's love.

"I do not seek, O Lord, to penetrate thy depths. I by no means think my intellect equal to them: but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe, that I may understand."
- Anselm, an eleventh century English monk

I must for now be content to believe, even although there are so many things I don't understand.

As I was doing my stretches after my exercising this morning some words of the following song popped into my head. "I my loving vigil keeping, all through the night." Where did that come from? It was probably on a lullaby tape that I would have played for our children when they were little.

The last four lines are especially poignant. The song also reminds me of Psalm 121 which is the memory verse assignment for the Bible study. Even although as parents we cannot actually stay awake to watch over our children all through the night, God's promise is that He will never slumber or sleep. He is our Protector by day and by night.


Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night. While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O`er they spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night. Love, to thee my thoughts are turning
All through the night
All for thee my heart is yearning,
All through the night.
Though sad fate our lives may sever
Parting will not last forever,
There`s a hope that leaves me never,
All through the night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lasagna

I made lasagna for supper today and was wishing I could make it for Renee. She always liked me to make lasagna when she came "home".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Parched Land

My heart longs for a place

I've never seen

I know only the promises

You've whispered to me

Of a milk and honey land

And a well of living water

Don't lead me to another oasis

I'm tired of going in circles

This thirsty ground is crying out

these cracked pieces want

To be made whole

Come flood this desert soul


This is part of a poem Renee wrote in Jan. '05.


Yesterday was two years since the day Renee found out that she had relapsed. Oh, that was such a dark day for her. When we went to Vancouver a month ago, I had such a powerful flashback as we approached the baggage area at the airport, of meeting Renee there two years ago today after receiving that horrible phone call.


I am trying to keep my focus on the One who is the Living Water, to bring refreshment to my weary soul. The Lord is my Shepherd. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you that you were there for Renee as she walked though this dark valley.


And thank you for the hope of seeing you face to face, our precious Savior. I must always desire your presence in my life more that anything.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Engraved in the Palm of His Hands

One of the devotionals I read this morning was on the verse "See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands." Isaiah 49:16 The writer says,"Why would God engrave your image onto the palms of his hands? Because ... he thinks about you all the time. He watches over you." He sees it all ... our cares and concerns, our weaknesses and wants, our tendencies and traumas ... and he loves us as we are. What matters is that he has set his love on us and we are never off his mind, out of his sight, or away from his loving care.

A month ago when we were in Vancouver, I was feeling so overwhelmed with sadness. I was missing Renee so much. As I was looking at the mountains, I was reminded of Psalm 121 and that my help comes from the Lord. I know it is okay to feel sad. It is not healthy to keep pushing those feelings away. But we need to be reminded again and again where to go for strength and comfort to go on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. -Leonard Cohen

Friday, October 02, 2009

Living in the Land of the Shadow

None of us will come out of here alive unless Christ will return before our time comes to leave this earth. We are pilgrims on a journey to a better land. We can sing and shout for joy knowing there is a much, much better place being prepared for those that love the Lord. Sometimes even although our hearts are heavy with grief and tears are streaming down our faces or just suppressed beneath the surface we can still find that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Justin!



We had a nice lunch at a restaurant with a patio for Justin's birthday. It was a beautiful summer day! We sat at a table for six, so there was an empty chair. There is this big hole in our family, a Renee-shaped hole. Her absence has left a very big aching empty void.

Kara had baked a three layer Mad King Ludwig's chocolate cake!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jason

Oh, I am so waiting and longing to see you again. Wishing you a happy birthday! I don't know if you celebrate birthdays in heaven, but I love you and hope you have a good "day" with Renee and Kris.

"When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be."

I am praying that we will all be able to persevere and continue to live in fellowship with Christ and not give up the good fight, to win the battle against this world, so that we can all be together in heaven some day.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kris

It is 35 years ago today that you were born -our first born son. I still miss you so much, wondering what it would be like if you had not died. A mother never gets "over" the loss of a child. You suffered so much pain in your short life. As a result of all your suffering you never learned to talk. Some day, I will have a conversation with you.

"My dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come." I want to remain faithful and hang on to my faith and my Savior. "It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus, life's trials will seem so small, when we see Christ, one glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race till we see Christ."

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful "day" in heaven with Jesus, and Renee and Jason and all the other saints who have gone on to their reward.

Love you Kris, wish I could send you some big hugs and lots of kisses, your mama.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Than We Can Handle


We have all heard it many times. People will say that God will not give us more than we can handle. That is simply not true. I probably wrote about this in a previous blog, but I was reminded of this truth again today. We have certainly had more than we could handle. Like it says in 2 Cor. 1:8-9, we thought we would never live through it. God wants to teach us to rely on him, but apparently I am a very slow learner.

Like the author of The One year Book of Hope says: "The ethos of our world is to bury our natural sense of inadequacy and inability in an avalanche of pep talks, telling ourselves, I can do it. I just need to believe in myself. .... It helps to stop kidding ourselves. Rather than seeking to become more self-confidant, we need to strive to become more God-reliant, and if we do that, we have to root out our desire to appear altogether and in control. This desire has deep roots."

I need to keep praying that I will become more God-dependent.

The picture I posted reminded me of the song,"Consider the lilies, they toil not nor spin, they bask in God's sunshine and drink in God's rain, if God cares for them in such marvelous ways, how much more, how much more will he care for me and supply every need every day." God had reminded me of that song several times as we were going through Renee's last stretch of treatments, those four months in NYC. We had so many people praying for us during that time as a result of our weekly updates and I really felt the power of those prayers.

Now we are trying to slug our way through this path of grief and all the other trauma. Last Saturday all of sudden the words of the hymn came to my mind, "Ask the Savior to help you, strengthen, comfort and keep you, He is willing to aid you, He will carry you through." But the very next minute I couldn't remember what it was. So God had to give them to me again the next day at exactly the same spot and maybe almost the same time. Wow! Why do I always try so hard to do it in my own strength? Why have I not learned my lesson yet?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Thankful for all Six

I'm so thankful for all six of my children as I think of Mother's Day coming up. Posted pictures of the three that are with Jesus in the previous post. Here is Justin at his favorite Japanese restaurant and Kara with Alayna.

I am also so grateful for my mother and my mother-in-law.

Mother's Day







HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY - FROM HEAVEN From Our Precious Children - To The World
Hey World

When the rest of you are celebrating Mother's Day - with all your gifts and cards,
I'm wondering if you would please remember, My mom - because it's still so hard.
It may seem to you that my mom's had plenty of time -
to do her grieving and to adjust and to get me off her mind.
But what you may not understand is that for her it's never over,
And with Mother's Day approaching it makes things that much harder.

From Us - To Our Precious Children
Oh, my precious child, how I miss you, how my heart still breaks into pieces
When I think of all my Mother's days now are spent here without you.
How I wish you were here with me so I can feel your sweet, kind touch,
And share my Mother's Day with you, for I love you and miss you so much.

From Our Precious Children - To Us
Oh, Momma, don't you know by now, I know just how you feel,
But know for sure with in your soul, our love is still very real.
Mom, I would like to say some things and make it crystal clear,
That although I'm not with you in bodily form, I'm really very near.

So happy Mother's day, from heaven Momma, I just wanted you to know,
You are still the best mother in the whole wide world, and I love you so.
Now listen very closely to me, Mom - It's important that you show,
To those you come in contact with, so that the world will know.
That when I left the world below and came to heaven above,
I brought with me all our good memories and your sweet motherly love.

So, when the rest of the world is celebrating Mother's Day, with all their children who are still there,
You and I can still hold each other close in the "secret world" we share.
For I live on in every memory that resides within your heart,
and even death cannot separate us or cause our love to part.
So, my gift to you this Mother's Day is one that cannot be seen,
but it comes wrapped with tissues of love, and sent on angel's wings.
I am sending hugs and kisses and words of love that say -
"To the Best mother in the whole wide world,
~"HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY"~

In honor of all bereaved mothers ~ in memory of all our children ~
and in loving memory of my three children in heaven - Kris (6/2/74-10/1/77)
Jason (8/7/78-4/16/79) and Renee (3/18/84-2/26/07)

Failure and Success


"Both the clashing cymbals of our failures and the loud trumpeting of our successes can drown out God's still small voice. It's time for us to quiet our hearts to listen for Him as we meditate on his Word."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hope


There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.
- Orison Swett Marden

Sunday, April 12, 2009

God's Grace


Some quotes from Our Daily Bread: "No matter how much we have personally lost because of sin, we have gained far more through the resurrection victory of Christ." "More gained than lost? Can it be true? Each day we experience the damage caused by sin entering our world. Greed, injustice, and cruelty all trace their origins back to Adam and Eve's decision to follow their own path rather than God's." And we can add to that disease and death. "But Jesus overpowered sin through the cross and conquered death through His resurrection. In every case, grace overpowers the consequences of sin."

Is that Good News or what?

And a quote from Henri Nouwen's book - The Road to Daybreak reminding us of God's perspective: "I am your God...I see all your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my image....Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself....Come. come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth say....I love you, I love you, I love you."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Heart is Deceitful


"The heart is deceitful and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 Do we really believe this or do we think that with a little bit of tweaking we can clean up our act and make ourselves presentable to God? Do we just have a little seedy side that needs a bit of help? I have been thinking about this a lot this week. It is so easy to tell little lies out of fear, trying to protect ourselves and maybe make ourselves look a bit better. Or is our only hope to come before God to be justified by faith in the work of the cross?

I have been reading a book by Marilyn Meberg: "The Zippered Heart- Healing for the Secrets We Hide Inside."

May we all have a blessed Easter, as we think about what it means to be justified.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Have I Learned?


That was the question asked in the grief/share email today. Well, one thing I have learned is that people actually do care, even if they don't understand or don't say anything because they don't know what to say. That has made it a bit easier. At least I haven't had to go through that whole battle of thinking that nobody cares.

I did go through a period of time where I felt very lonely and felt like withdrawing. It did take a lot of courage some days just to get up and face the day. I had to battle with the question of do I have what it takes to make it through another day. Do I even want to? Then came the realization that every day I am one day closer to eternity and one day closer to being with the loved ones that are waiting in heaven for me.

Another thing I am learning is that I must desire God more than anything else. Jeremiah 7 -11 was part of my Bible reading for today. "Lord, there is no one like you!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Renee


Renee, it is twenty five years ago today that you were born. And it is already your second birthday in heaven with Jesus. You always loved celebrating your birthdays so much. You would sometimes start planning your birthday parties before Christmas and I had to slow you down a bit.

I'm so thankful for all the good memories we have, of your joy and love of life and people and your love for our heavenly Father. I don't need to say this, because you already know it, but I'm missing you so terribly much. However, I'm trying to keep my focus on our precious Savior and not so much on my pain.

Renee, I'm sure you are having a very happy, happy day in that place where there is no more pain.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Angels


Well, we survived the first anniversary of Renee's death. Oh, I hate that word, but that is just how it is. However, the moment Renee took her last breath on this earth, she was more alive than ever, praising God with all her might together with the angels.

The topic for this week from "The One Year Book of Hope" is angels. "Angels show us how to worship in fear and freedom, in faithfulness and fullness. We might think that angels would grow comfortably familiar with being in the presence of God, but they are eternally in awe of him, filled with holy fear. However, they are not frozen with fear. ... They shout and sing and fly. This freedom is what we, too, were made for! Angels show us what wholehearted, all-the-time worship looks like - gazing at Jesus on the throne, responding to him with reverent fear, enjoying him with great freedom, obeying him with genuine joy, and inviting the whole world to gaze on his beauty. Our lesson from the angels begins when we recognize the holiness of God."

There is more, but maybe that is enough for today. The above picture is from when we were at the grief retreat in Pennsylvania and it seemed like a special cloud, an angel cloud.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cabbage Soup


I just made a pot of cabbage soup, accompanied with some tears. I remembered that cabbage soup is what Renee requested me to make for her a year ago. She wanted to make sure I wouldn't make the cabbage pieces too big, so it would be easier for her to eat. She hadn't eaten any thing for a few days. The only thing she had been able to get down was smoothies. Justin actually went and got the cabbage. I was still feeling kind of out of it from donating stem cells, so I said I would make it later. But that never happened. When it became apparent that Renee was having trouble breathing, things went into high gear and I never even ate supper. Had a few crackers when I realized I was getting hungry. So now here we are a year later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Can Only Imagine


I am writing this with tears in my eyes, as I'm listening to that song. I was looking for a sermon that I had just downloaded on my computer this morning. There where all these untitled tracks from before which I always thought was also a sermon from Redeemer. As it turns out it is an album, one of the many that Renee put on my computer just two weeks before her heaven day. To think that this song was there all this time, it is almost a year already, and I didn't know about it. She was very thorough in doing all the titles properly, but why she did not do this one, I'll never know. I don't even know who the artist is, but it is a very beautiful rendition of that song: "I Can Only Imagine". For Renee it is reality now. It is so hard to believe that almost a whole year has gone by already. How is that possible?

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Thought For Today



I was looking through the Psalms for a verse to share. This one seemed to express my feelings for today. Psalm 38:9: "You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh."

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Alarm Clock


He is very faithful in waking me up each morning.

My First Christmas in Heaven

Christmas 2008 is history, but I wanted to post this anyway. I am sure Renee was and is praying really hard for her family.

(Renee took this picture of our Christmas tree in NYC last Christmas.)

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
with tiny lights like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
but the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you of the joy their voices bring
for it is beyond descriptions to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, the pain inside your heart
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
I can't tell you all the splendor or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas with our Savior face to face?

I'll ask Him to lift your spirit as I tell Him of your love
so then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.
Please let your hearts be joyful and let your spirit sing
for I am spending Christmas in Heaven and I am walking with the KING.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Prayer

I took this picture a year ago. "Thanks, Renee for the smile. You are such a precious gift. We all miss you so incredibly much.... I treasure all the precious memories we have."

A quote from our church bulletin by Thomas Merton: "Prayer is an expression of who we are...We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment."

Renee expressed a lot of this in her prayer journals.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Big Picture

I would once again like to share the grief/share email for today. It would be nice to be able to remember this truth a little bit more consistently and to let it change our attitudes, etc.

Remember the Larger Picture
Day 197

Sometimes when you ask why, He answers by reminding you of the eternal picture. Learn to live your life in light of eternity. Live each day from the perspective of one whose life lasts forever.

Dr. Joseph Stowell says, "I can't underscore enough how important it is to prepare for grief and sorrow ahead of time. One of the ways to do that is to get a grip on eternity, on the world to come. Learn to live here in the light of there so that you are seeing all of your daily affairs and daily routines in light of the world to come. You need to see all of your interactions and reactions and value systems in light of the value systems of the world to come. Then when grief or sudden loss or wrenching sorrow and deep disappointment shatter your world, you are already schooled in all the realities that give you strength in that moment."

There is much more to this life than just doing your best day by day until you die. The big picture is that a glorious eternity is in store for those who know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

"Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off" (Proverbs 23:18 nasb).

"And this is what he promised us—even eternal life" (1 John 2:25).

Eternal Savior, thank you that You have given me abundant life through a relationship with You. Every time I get bogged down with life on this earth, remind me of the reality of a glorious, eternal future in heaven. Amen.



Saturday, January 03, 2009

Questions




The grief/share emails have been really good the last few days. Here is part of the one for today:

You will likely have questions to which you will never receive answers. It is human nature to want all the pieces to fit, to want to make sense of things. But there are times when that will not happen. "I was real angry because I couldn't get answers," says Dora of her daughter's death. "I now realize that there really is no logical reason why my daughter suffered. It is what it is, and to say that she suffered and died for my betterment or for our growth does not make sense. So I've come to realize that I'll never get an answer to that question."

Here is another part from a few days ago that I thought was really good. Too often people give you the impression that it is wrong to ask questions:

It is natural to have questions when unwanted and unexpected loss comes into your life. The more traumatic the loss, the greater the questions. Dr. Tim Clinton says, "Not long ago when I lost my mother, I struggled with the question why. Why so early? Why so quickly? When you ask why, you are in essence validating your own humanness and realizing you are not in control." Express your questions freely, but realize that you cannot control your life or anyone else's. The sovereign God is higher than all, and His ways are beyond comprehension. "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8).