Thursday, April 28, 2011

When I Get Where I'm Going

Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton.  It's not that I actively dislike them, it's just... well, you won't normally find anything from either one of them on any of my play lists.

But there is one song... one song that I just plain like.  I know it's not 100% scripturally correct.  But.  It IS accurate in its message and outlook.  Focus on what is yet to come, what we cannot see, what we have not felt or heard or breathed.  Focus on when we get where we are going.

I am going to heaven.  Maybe this very same hour, maybe 80 years from now, or maybe anywhere in between.  I do not know.  All I know, is I am going there, and when I do... when I do, I will see my Jesus face to face.  I will worship without end.  I will love without fear.  I will be made perfect.  I will meet my daughter Annaliah, and all of her siblings.  I will see my Gramma's shining face, and I will walk beside my Great Grampa Max, and I will see my Grampa Jean.  I will meet David, and Peter, and I will meet Paul.  I will meet so many I've never heard of.  And we will all be there forever.  And we will all be there because God loves us

So for now, when things get rough and I have a hard time just living day to day, I have been listening to this song and letting it get my mind back where it needs to be.

When I Get Where I'm Going.

When I get where I'm going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I'm gonna land beside a Lion
And run my fingers through His mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I'm goin'
They'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here

I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I've missed him
Every minute since he left
And then I'll hug his neck

Yeah when I get where I'm goin'
They'll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I'm going
And I see my Maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace

Yeah when I get where I'm goin'
Oh when I get where' I'm goin'
They'll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going
Yeah when I get where I'm going

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Words. Just Tears.

Heavy heart this past week, and it's not for me.  So much going so wrong for those I love...

SO tonight, I am going to share so much going so RIGHT for so many. 

And I freely admit, this makes me bawl my eyes out.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Driving Home

The other night was a "tough" night for me.  You know how sometimes, things just pile up inside and you feel like you're going to explode (emotionally)?  Well, whether you can relate or not, that's what it was.  I went to Martial Arts class, and that helped but only a little.  So after, I stayed.  I kicked, and kicked, and kicked.  My leg gave out in front of everyone still there, and it was really embarrassing.  But I got up and kicked some more.  Then I did forms and quizzed Derek about everything I could think of related to Martial Arts at the same time.  And then he left and I finished something on the computer there for my instructor.  And then I talked with him a while, and it ended up getting late. 

And then I drove home.  Usually, when you're half way through the month of April, a week after 60 degree weather that included tornado warnings and vicious thunderstorms, you don't expect snow.  But snow we had, and a fair bit.  Enough that NOBODY was on the road as I drove home.  Solitude.  I turned the brightness almost all the way down on my display lights, used only low beams as the world was glowing from the fresh snow, and drove in wonder.

If you've read here for long, you know tears don't come easy.  But that night... tears came.  It was that beautiful.  Still.  Perfectly serene.

I think that must be what it was like when Silent Night was written.  So beautiful that a timeless song could be written about it.

And I thanked my God, with tears in my eyes and voice failing me, for the beauty.  For the peace.  For the gentle whisper "I will will never leave or forsake you."

For my God is with me always, even to the end of the age.  And it's actually really, really easy to know that on a night like that.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's April 17th.

Today is April 17th.  When I woke up this morning, my phone was blinking.  It was telling me something. 

I let myself think about him... about Roy.  And his wife, Carman.  And their three children.  And about how Carman is still living life and having joy.  I prayed for her, and the children, that they'd know the strength and hope that only our Father gives us.  That they'd never lose sight of the fact that the day is coming when they'll be reunited with Roy.  And that they'd live life to the fullest, today and tomorrow and every day until our Lord returns for us.

You see, today is Roy's birthday.

He went to heaven in 2007.  I remember that phone call so clearly.  It was Sunday morning, and Derek and I were standing outside our tent in that early-morning mist, half a country away from home.  And we got that call... our 'brother' died.  It ripped at our hearts and we knew we had to get home.  Get home and be with our 'family.'  There may not be any legal relationship to these people, but they are blood-brothers, having chosen Christ as Lord.  We drove, and drove, and drove... it was a long, rough trip, but we did it. 

It wasn't that long after my Gramma died.  I feel like we (Roy's legal and biological family, and I) have grieved together.  And I pray that today, they are where I am.  I pray that they can think of him and smile, even though their hearts are a little sad.  I pray that there is peace and hope, not sorrow.  I pray that they feel whole again.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Heaven Day.

I know I haven't posted much (okay, not at all) in the last months.  It's not for lack of words or motivation, it's... well, trutfully, it's because I've been using up my words in otherplaces, before I make it here to write.  This post is two years old now, but I want to bring it back... for a special anniversary.

Original Post - April 9, 2009
This post is one that I feel ill equipped to write. It needs to be written - deserves to be. But I don't think I'm in a position to actually write it the way it should be written. It's something I don't know anything about. It's something I've never experienced. And yet... I do know something about it. I have experienced it. Or rather, something like it.

You see, today is special. It is special to a mother and a father. It is special to sisters. It is special to an aunt and an uncle. Two cousins. Countless others I've never even heard of. And it is special to me.

Today is an anniversary. Not the sort of anniversary that is usually associated with happiness, balloons, cakes, or cards. Not the sort that everyone dreams of one day "celebrating." You see, this is an anniversary of sorrow. On this day, too many and yet not enough years ago, an earthly life was ended.

It was unexpected. I have been to the place of unexpected death. I have felt the very breath I need to live knocked out of me. I have felt so shocked, so... unprepared. I have whispered into the darkness, "It wasn't supposed to be this way." I have forgotten, upon awakening, that my lived one was no longer "with us." And I have been crushed all over again when I remembered the truth.

It was tragic. This was not a gentle death at the end of a long life. It was fast. It was violent. IT was traumatic. It was unfair. Many would say it shouldn't have happened. I have been there. I have listened as my grandfather whispered from his hospital bed, "this never should have happened." I have felt the sting of unfairness. I have known death that wasn't just a fact of life, death that was the result of tragedy. A single terrible event, which stilled the beating of a beautiful heart.

It was deliberate. This is the part that really gets me. It's one thing to keep living in the wake of an accident. Something that we had no control over. But in this case... there was no accident. There was nobody left on earth to blame. This deliberate, tragic, unexpected death - suicide - leaves nobody behind to take the blame. Yes, this particular suicide left a mother behind, believing that if her faith had been just a little stronger, she'd still have her son. It left a scared young girl who tearfully named her firstborn son after her brother. It left a particular twinkle in the eyes of children, a twinkle that reminds his loved ones that he was here. And it left, truly, nobody to blame. But it was deliberate.

To that end - he is not to blame, either. Not really. Yes, he made the choice. He took the actions that took a life - his own life. But he had help. A demon, perhaps several, whispering to him. Convincing him that if he just ended things, all would be well. Striving to keep him from living, from doing what God had planned for him. I have heard those voices. Felt compelled to obey them. I am ashamed to say, I even tried to listen to them. I failed - and I am thankful. He did not fail. I wish he had. But he didn't. I've heard people say that suicide leads inevitably and instantly to an eternity in Hell. I don't see this in my Bible. I see that there is nothing - neither life NOR death, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation (see Romans 8) can separated us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I see that salvation can't be earned, nor can it be accidentally "lost." Given up, walked away from, and declined, but not lost. And I believe that the young man I am writing about is in heaven. I believe that this act, this decision, was not a choice to turn his back on God. I believe it was a lost battle with temptation. We've all lost battles with temptation. We've all sinned. The difference here? There are so many left here trying to sort the results of this sin out. I believe that this young man's parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends... family... classmates... they can see him again. And I... well, I will meet him for the first time.

You see, I never knew this young man. At least not while he was here. I feel like maybe I know him a little, now. Now that he has changed my life. Permanently. His death shook so many. But they kept living. In their sorrow, they looked around. They saw me. For whatever reason, they took compassion on me. They took me with them to church. They, in many ways, made me a part of their family. And in knowing them over the last seven years, I feel like I have gotten to know this young man. I am thankful to him. I am grateful that he lived. And I look forward to meeting him.

Today is not about me though. It is about them - his family. His friends. So, today, I want to say this to them:
I remember. I am glad he lived. Glad he was loved. I won't say who I am writing about... but those of you who knew this young man, know who you are. You don't need a reminder of what happened on this day years ago. You don't need me to say he is missed, and you don't need me to remind you of the pain. But one thing you do need... is for me to remember. For me to say, "It matters to me. I won't forget. I know it hurts. And because I love you, on this day, I hurt with you."

I remember. It matters. I won't forget. I know it hurts. I love you. And I hurt with you.

And on this day, I celebrate. Will you celebrate with me? Will you celebrate the fact that this one life has touched so many? The fact that even cut off prematurely, his presence on this earth made an impact that we can't begin to fathom? Will you celebrate the fact that on this day, years ago, a young man shook off the chains of this life and stepped into his eternity? But most of all, will you celebrate the truth? The truth that like us, he was a sinner SAVED BY GRACE. The truth that not even death can separate him from his God? Because that is something to celebrate. Even in the midst of tears and sorrow.

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