Remembering my Dad

Remembering my Dad

I'm so thankful for the man that GOD chose to be my earthly father. I wish I had had more time to get to know him as a person. He died young ... just 60! Twelve years on earth less than I have had to this point.

Here are my reflections of my dad from a post 2 years ago. I hit a grief that caught me by surprise:
An Unexpected Grief, first posted November 2016…

There I was, sitting at the stop light. All of a sudden, an overwhelming grief ... not primarily for my mom who died an exact year before, almost to the day. No, for my dad ... who had died in 1983 right before Thanksgiving.

But why am I grieving now ... why this year, when I hadn't thought of him at this time other years?

I tried to track my train of thought and realized that my thoughts had gone from grieving over my mistakes in my parenting to the difficulties in my own childhood home.

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Bits of Grief!

Bits of Grief!

My babies are gone. They left this morning to go back to their home ... to the place that Uncle Sam assigned after the birth of their fourth child, their first daughter (after three awesome, lively sons). This was the third time that the military transferred them immediately after the birth of a baby. Now that baby was celebrating her first birthday.

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Grieving the Loss of the Living this Christmas

Grieving the Loss of the Living this Christmas

Scrolling through Advent/Christmas posts of the past, I came across this one that I wrote in December 2013.

A lot has happened in the four years that have passed since that writing. My sweet little "Mommy" has been at home with Jesus for two years already. My mother-in-law Betty Jean has also been with Jesus for a year. My husband John and I are four years older (I hit the big 7-0!) ... and feeling it on and off.

But I have younger friends who are now taking their turn saying their "slow good-by" to loved ones. So as a help and as a sharing of their tears as they "walk through the valley of the shadow," I'm posting this again.

This is for you, sweet ones. The path is filled with griefs as well as joys, but also with the realization of how few the moments of life left to share. But our God walks through it all with you. He's the God of all comfort!

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An Unexpected Grief

An Unexpected Grief

There I was, sitting at the stop light. All of a sudden, an overwhelming grief ... not primarily for my mom who died an exact year before, almost to the day. No, for my dad ... who had died in 1983 right before Thanksgiving.

But why am I grieving now ... why this year, when I hadn't thought of him at this time other years?

I tried to track my train of thought and realized that my thoughts had gone from grieving over my mistakes in my parenting to the difficulties in my own childhood home.

Read More

For those who have lost "their valentines"

Thinking of you this week, dear grieving ones.  Are you one of them? -- you've lost the "love of your life," a treasured loved one, a precious friend. I've been listening to this song... and thinking of you!  May the Lord's comfort be yours in abundance today!

God Is Love

All we hold is frail and brief Patched together by belief The pattern only partially Revealed for us to see What are tears but seeds we sow? In fields unseen such harvest grow Whose joys will one day overflow The measure of our grief

REFRAIN If God is love Then love we trust Is strong enough to hold our sorrow If God is love He carries us We will not fear what comes tomorrow Love will heal us For God is love

Then suffering's no enemy And poverty, no poverty And death our greatest victory When swallowed up in life

REFRAIN

Though sorrow surge at every step Yet goodness is assured For none that harms or troubles here Will speak the final word Love speaks the final word

REFRAIN

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt6z67UA04o']

Joy & Grief & Love & Life all mixed together: for Shirley

For your Maker is your husband,    the Lord of hosts is his name... Isaiah 54:5

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows    is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

Don & Shirley
Don & Shirley

My dear friend,

I heard a song as I was walking this morning...and I thought of you!

I remembered a poem from days gone by...and I thought of you!

And I thought of grief and joy and love and life...and I thought of you, my precious sister-friend!

And I remembered your delightful, "crusty," out-spoken husband Don, who is now "exploring the mysteries of Christ."

Most of all, I remembered Jesus who has experienced grief and joy and love and life...all of it, so He knows!

So for you my darling Shirley (and for those you love and who love you and your Don) as you face the loss of your dear husband:

Grief Joy Love Life

And so first the poem:

Life, Paul Dunbar
Life, Paul Dunbar

Life Paul Laurence Dunbar

A crust of bread and a corner to sleep in, A minute to smile and an hour to weep in, A pint of joy to a peck of trouble, And never a laugh but the moans come double; And that is life!

A crust and a corner that love makes precious, With a smile to warm and the tears to refresh us; And joy seems sweeter when cares come after, And a moan is the finest of foils for laughter; And that is life!

And then the song:

God Is Love

All we hold is frail and briefPatched together by beliefThe pattern only partiallyRevealed for us to seeWhat are tears but seeds we sow?In fields unseen such harvest growWhose joys will one day overflowThe measure of our grief

REFRAINIf God is loveThen love we trustIs strong enough to hold our sorrowIf God is loveHe carries us We will not fear what comes tomorrowLove will heal usFor God is love

Then suffering's no enemyAnd poverty, no povertyAnd death our greatest victoryWhen swallowed up in life

REFRAIN

Though sorrow surge at every stepYet goodness is assuredFor none that harms or troubles hereWill speak the final wordLove speaks the final word

REFRAIN

Don & Shirley & Jim D & me
Don & Shirley & Jim D & me

Alone? On Mother's Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home...out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-byes as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.

For those who have lost "their valentines"

broken heart
broken heart

Thinking of you this week, dear grieving ones.  Are you one of them? -- you've lost the "love of your life," a treasured loved one, a precious friend. I've been listening to this song... and thinking of you!  May the Lord's comfort be yours in abundance today!

God Is Love

All we hold is frail and briefPatched together by beliefThe pattern only partiallyRevealed for us to seeWhat are tears but seeds we sow?In fields unseen such harvest growWhose joys will one day overflowThe measure of our grief

REFRAINIf God is loveThen love we trustIs strong enough to hold our sorrowIf God is loveHe carries us We will not fear what comes tomorrowLove will heal usFor God is love

Then suffering's no enemyAnd poverty, no povertyAnd death our greatest victoryWhen swallowed up in life

REFRAIN

Though sorrow surge at every stepYet goodness is assuredFor none that harms or troubles hereWill speak the final wordLove speaks the final word

REFRAIN


Alone? on Mothers' Day?

There are lots of emptyings in life.  There are deaths and losses of every kind.  There are ends of relationships...ends of jobs...ends of school-years...ends of eras...ends of phases of life.  Some of these are expected.  Some catch us by surprise! This Mother's Day, I think of an emptying that affects all mothers sooner or later...the emptying of the nest!

I know!  This is what we have been preparing our children for, right?...the launch, the flight out of the safety, security, and nurturing of their childhood home... out into the excitement of what God has for them up ahead.   But who ever prepares us moms?

I've always been an independent person. So releasing my children into adulthood...to make their own way...has caught me by surprise.  It has been harder than I ever thought!  In fact, it's been one of the swords that have pierced this mom's heart.

My mind goes back to a Mothers' Day at the very start of the emptying.   The Lord in a unique way comforted this grieving mother's heart.  It was at a time when my children, who were young adults, had just gone through some serious health crises.  So I was drained emotionally.

At that time, there were significant others in the picture.  So the issue of celebrating Mothers' Day became somewhat of a dilemma.  John & I decided to defer to the other mothers and postpone our celebration to the following Sunday.

That should have taken care of it, right?  But to my surprise, being alone on the real Mothers' Day was a grief to me!  I was doing my best not to wallow in my sadness, when the Lord surprised me with three gifts...three delights for a hurting mama's heart!  Three God-winks that most likely would have gone unnoticed had we been celebrating that day.

The first gift was finding old cassette tapes of my babies' voices.  (Keep in mind that in the 1970's early 80's, that was the best you could do to record audio.)  There were tapes of Jeremy and Beth when each of them was just starting to talk.  Others, when they were very young.  One was even labeled "doing school and being obnoxious!"  I listened...I laughed...I cried...as the bitter-sweetness of those precious voices washed over me!

The second sacred wink was catching sight of a mama house finch launching her babies.  Talk about the perfect metaphor at the perfect time!  Here the mama of the little family of house-finches, that had nested in a bush next to our porch, was giving this sorrowing mama a lesson in the circle of life.  I imagined mama finch saying her good-bye's as each left the safety of her nest.  Was she grieving the way I was, or was she more courageous than I?

And last but not least, I just happened to come across a monthly letter from Telling the Truth, a ministry I had begun to follow.  I had tossed it aside to join my stack of others to be read someday.  By God's grace, in that alone time, I picked it up and started reading.  It all came together...

Stuart Briscoe, describing how motherhood changed his wife Jill, wrote:

When the baby was born, I stood by helplessly and watched the transformation that took place in my wife.  Motherhood changed her irrevocably.  As she nursed her child I detected a mysterious gleam in her eyes--a certain glow, a knowing, a secret insight that she shared with the new arrival.  She and he knew something that I didn't know.  I could do nothing more than observe and wonder at the mystery of motherhood.

He went on to say...

It occurs to me that the unique bond between mother and child makes possible an intimate nurturing relationship that men never know for they, by definition, are removed--they stand at a distance from the mother-child phenomenon.  But hard as it can be for the father to make the adjustment to the beloved intruder, there is divine genius in the arrangement.

For the day comes---all too soon--when the child must spread his wings and take flight from the nest.  Guess who struggles at this point?  The mother, of course!  Releasing and relinquishing are not mother gifts.

Guess who knows how to handle distance?  The father, naturally.  So as the wise mother has steered the puzzled father through the mysteries of nurturing, so the wise father now steps forward to guide the fearful mother through the anxieties of relinquishment.

And the child receives what he needs -- a healthy balance of mother nurture and father freedom... (Stuart Briscoe, Telling the Truth newsletter, May 1999)

What a comfort these words were.  Having never gone through this phase of life before, I was struggling.  And as hard as it was and would continue to be for some time, I had to realize in my experience that it is God's way to move my children into responsible adulthood.  It's their turn to step up to the plate of life and fulfill the will of God in their generation.

Emptyings are never easy...

But God's intent in the emptyings is never to leave us void.  He wants to fill us with a greater capacity for Himself...to fill us with a greater experience of WHO HE IS in every phase of life.

So dear mama-sister, if you are going through THE emptying of all emptyings (or so it seems at the time), open your eyes...there may be God-winks all around you, visitations from your Abba-Father to comfort a relinquishing mama's heart.