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Looking Back, Moving Forward

Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 1 comment

I’m always glad when I get through January and early February. Why? Because there are hazardous dates in there. Reflecting back though, I can say I was never alone.

Our God is full of compassion. Psalm 116: 5b

 

This morning I read Psalm 116, and picked out some phrases that stood out to me. That psalm could have been the song Jesus and His disciples sang after the last supper.

 

Here are the phrases that stood out to me:

He heard my voice

I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

The LORD is gracious and righteous, full of compassion

The LORD has been good to you.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.

 

 

 

 

He heard my voice.

 

Looking back on my January’s and the first week of February have for the past twelve years brought back memories, mostly sad, yet full of hope. During those early years, I remembered difficult times, yes, but I also remembered the closeness of my Savior. I called out in my distress–and he heard my cries. He heard my voice. (verse 1). Just as the psalmist, I experienced sorrow and distress when my loved ones left this earth, I was overcome by distress and sorrow (verse 3b).  Yet, The LORD is gracious and righteous, full of compassion. The LORD has been good to you. 

 

It is with joy….

 

The psalm comes full circle. God heard, had compassion, was good, and gives salvation. I will lift the cup of salvation (verse13a). He reminds me:  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants (verse 15). During the memorial services of both my parents, my husbands, I was able to give thanks for what God did in their lives and mine as well. At the time, it was a sacrifice to give thanks. Yet I know they are with the Savior in Heaven.

 

Precious means: of great value; not to be wasted, or treated carelessly.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

 

 

 

 

It is good to look back, to give thanks.

 

It is good to look back at our loved one’s lives. To give thanks for them. To see how God gave me compassion, comfort, love, and salvation.

 

 

 

Looking back…

 

Looking back more than 25 years ago now, my dad entered Heaven’s gates. Twelve years ago, my first husband, Bill, entered those same gates. Eight years ago, Blair entered them. And Mom, nearly eight years ago, entered the gates. There are many more names I could mention, but these are the closest ones to me.

 

 

 

They were huge blessings to me….

 

Each of those people: Henry, Rose, Bill and Blair were huge blessings to me–and to others too. It isn’t a sacrifice any more to give praise. I experience gratefulness for the memories. But more than memories, I will see each of them again one day, when it is my time to leave this earth. It’s getting closer every day.

 

I’m reminded of the words of Isaac Watts, a renown hymn writer of the early 18th century:

 

I love the Lord; he bowed his ear,

And chased my grief away!

O let my heart no more despair,

While I have breath to pray.

 

 

Of great value

 

Take heart, those of you who are grieving still. Where giving praise is a sacrifice. In time, remembering won’t be as painful and the precious memories–“not to be wasted,” “of great value” will cause you to rejoice for their lives, no matter the time they lived here on earth.

 

 

 

Read Psalm 116

 

 

I suggest you pull out your Bible and read Psalm 116 and write down phrases that speak to you. They will be unique to you, but possibly, similar to mine.

 

 

 

Look back and reflect.

 

I pray you too experience the comfort and compassion that only God can give. And one day, you can look back and reflect those precious memories.

 

Next week, I’m going to share with you the unexpected joy I experienced…..Stay tuned!

Stay tuned…..

 

Lessons in Contentment

Posted by on January 26, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 3 comments

I’m sitting here in a recliner with my feet propped up at or above my heart. I had some minor toe (hammertoe, if you are curious) surgery on each foot yesterday. I had instructions to keep both feet up above my heart for two days, then hip level for two days, and then I’m free to move as much as I like or am able. Once the stitches are out, I can wear regular shoes. For now, here’s what I’ve got to wear:

My stylin’ shoes for a time….

 

My first thought was now I can read for hours and not feel guilty! Interestingly enough, I could only read for a short time before wanting to get out of my chair and do something else. In order to heal from this as quickly as possible–and that’s my goal, I must stay down. My second action was to pick some movies from my on-demand cable and have a movie marathon. Problem is, I don’t feel like it! Isn’t that crazy? It’s a reminder to me that we human beings just aren’t that content.

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 

I Timothy 6:6

 

What is wrong with me? Why do I want to escape from one place to another. And when I’m in that place, want to be in the other place? I would like to honestly say what the Apostle Paul said:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

 

I’m learning to be content, but I’m not there yet.  I have contentment about a lot of things, though. I love my husband and want our years to go on and on and on. I love our home and don’t want anything else. I enjoy being a mom and grammie, yet they aren’t in my personal care anymore–and the grandies are in their parents’ capable hands.

 

 

I know some of you would really like to not be where you are. You might have a scary illness there might not be a cure for. Your loved one might be very ill with something frightening. You might be as I once was, lonely and wanting a mate. Wherever you are and whatever circumstance you might be in, join me in learning to have at least a mini moment of contentment.

 

In the Bible study I’m in, we’re looking at Prayers of the Heart in the Psalms. I’m enjoying the Psalm 3 this week. Here’s a few of my favorite verses:

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
 I call out to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain….

I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me….

From the Lord comes deliverance.

 

 

I am learning some lessons even now as I write this blog. For one thing, I have the time and help to have this procedure done. I don’t have a job to go to, children to chase after. I have my sweet man to take care of me. They told me the hardest part of this type of surgery is staying down–even though you don’t feel that bad. OK Lord, I’ll try to be content. And listen. Be thankful. And again, be content. Oh yes, I’m working on the “godliness with contentment” too.

What Was Lost

Posted by on January 19, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 11 comments

Last Valentine’s Day, my husband Jim gave me a beautiful necklace and earrings. He always does his research and carefully chooses a gift for me. I feel special nearly every day by the kind and thoughtful things he does. Last Valentine’s was no exception. He knows I like red and will spend lots more on a jewelry item than I would. I loved the set–especially the earrings–but it was mostly because my sweet husband picked them out for me.

Matching gold tipped rose set of jewelry.

 

I didn’t think it could be replaced…

 

Last December I had a busy day of cruising several stores including Costco, shopping for last minute items before Christmas. After I put everything away, I was dismayed when I glanced in the mirror and noticed one earring was missing! I was so disappointed! I didn’t think it could be replaced and was upset with myself that I’d lost it. It was a special gift after all. I hunted around the house, checked the car to see if it had come off there. I called some of the merchants. Nothing. When Jim came home, I confessed my loss. He was gracious and commiserated with me. I didn’t think it would ever be found. After all, it could be anywhere. It was gone.

 

A couple of weeks later, Jim gave me a little box to open and there nestled in the box was another set of gold tipped earrings! “Now you have three. A spare in case you lose another one,” he said. I was grateful and put them in my jewelry box.

 

It’s second nature to do it.

 

One of our cars is a hybrid and we plug it in to the electricity every time we come home. It’s second nature to do it. Just last week, I got out of the car to plug it in, and I glanced at the floor and here’s what I saw:

Lost earring–now found!

 

 

It lay there like a treasure…

 

It had been there for weeks and neither of us noticed it there. We’d worked in the garage just the week before, cleaning and organizing–even sweeping most of the floor, but there it lay there like a treasure, waiting to be discovered. Of course I was delighted and ran into the house to tell Jim. We returned the extra set of earrings and I put the found earring into its rightful place.

 

It was waiting to be discovered for weeks…

 

How many times do we mechanically put things away and not notice what’s right under our feet? That earring sat there waiting to be discovered for weeks.

 

 

 

And when she finds it….

 

I’m reminded of the parable of the woman who’d lost a coin and looked and swept until she found her coin. I confess I gave up–and we had the means to get another set. How often do we give up? Here’s the parable:

Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God. (Luke 15:8-10 The Message)

 

 

Look for the Treasure

 

 

I don’t know what you’re looking for today. Maybe you haven’t lost anything. Perhaps you’re discouraged about something or someone. Look for the treasure. It’s there even though you may not see it now.

 

Extravagant Gifts From the Sky

Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

We’ve been gifted

 

In the past five months, we’ve been gifted with some extravagant gifts from the sky. The first was the Solar Eclipse in August. Although we only saw 90% of the total eclipse, it was amazing. In a few moments, the warm summer sun turned into a cool evening twilight. The birds stopped their chatter and the light turned from brightness to a cool, buttery light. Soon it was over, and the soft light began to lighten with a return to a warm August afternoon.

 

Solar Eclipse, 2018

 

 

Super Moon

 

Just a few days ago, we experienced the Super Moon. “Ohhhhhh!” Was all I could say. It dominated the sky.

Super Moon 2018

 

The next morning was just as magnificent with the setting moon, gleaming in the western sky.

 

Early morning Super Moon, January 2

 

I believe God gives us these glimpses of the vastness of His creation to give us just a pinch of Who He is. I love the Psalms:

 

When I consider thy heavens,

the work of thy fingers…

which thou hast ordained;

what is man, that thou art mindful of him?

Psalm 8:3-4

David the shepherd was awestruck by the night skies. His question “what is man, that thou art mindful of him?” is comfort to me–because it reminds me that God is mindful of us. How do I know? From my own experience. He’s been there in the dark hours. In the times of joy. In the ordinary times. He provides me with the treasure of His word, the Bible so I can know Him better.

 

I like what Tozer, a mid-twentieth-century pastor and writer from Pennsylvania said about where God is:

 

God doesn’t have to ‘come’ to help us

because there isn’t any place where God is not.

A.W. Tozer

 

 

That gives me comfort. God has given us the skies to gaze at His wonder and creation. A reminder of His presence.

January Color

Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Shirley's Blog | 1 comment

 

Sunrise January 2

 

 

Bare branches pierce the sky

 

Often January is thought of as drab and colorless. The deciduous trees have dropped most of their leaves and their bare branches pierce the sky. The grasses are brown and tumbled. And for some of you, there’s probably white snow on the ground.

 

Super Moon!

 

On January 1, we had a Super Moon–meaning the moon is the closest to the earth as it ever will be in a year. We were rewarded with fairly clear skies that day. I nearly forgot about the full moon until we were driving down the  street. I snagged a couple of shots while we were moving, trying to avoid the power lines and buildings along the way, for I knew it would soon be out of my view on the horizon.

 

Super Moon, January 1, 2018

 

I usually wake up before dawn and Tuesday morning was no different. There was that super moon glowing brightly in the western sky.

Setting super moon, January 2

 

 

 

I began to see pink-ness

 

I sipped my coffee wondering if the sunrise would be as beautiful. It was. With my back to the eastern sky, I began to see pink-ness, bathing the walls generously with an ethereal  glow. I quickly snapped this photo–not changing the exposure.

 

Sunrise January 2

 

 

The scarlet branches command their presence

 

Each day I am rewarded by something in God’s creation that I can get excited about. First the Super Moon–at night and early morning. And then, the stunning pink sunrise. On our morning walks, I see a scraggly blackberry branch with a few leaves clinging that are a crimson/orange color. Sometimes I see white berries on bushes, giving contrast to the brownish grasses below. My favorite is a type of maple tree that has scarlet branches. In the summer they look like any ordinary tree draped in green leaves, but in the winter, it commands its colorful presence. Yes, there is color and beauty even in January! If you are able, get outside, try to find some unexpected color or beauty.  I think you’ll find it.

Sunset in December

Looking Back, Looking Forward–Always a Good Choice

Posted by on December 29, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 0 comments

Journey. Photo by Ruth Sullivan

 

 

 

I’m looking forward to a new year. I don’t know what’s in front of me, but I know what’s behind me.

 

Hope for the future.

 

As you may know, Jim and I are facilitators for GriefShare and often the grieving one will say, “I can’t wait for this year to be over. Next year has got to be better!” They’re looking at it from the perspective of getting past the pain of grief and loss,  but also hope for the future.

 

 

Ninety-five hundred miles and barely scratching the surface of our great nation.

 

Today, I’m looking back over the year 2017. We did a lot of traveling, but what stands out the most, was our road trip through our United States. We had a marvelous opportunity to see our beautiful and varied country close up. Even though we traveled 9500 miles, we barely scratched the surface. I look forward to seeing more sometime.

 

Our country is beautiful.

 

Our country is beautiful. We gazed at the beautiful Badlands, the unending cornfields of the mid-west, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes–that are like the ocean, the farms of Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana–I could go on. We were awed by the mighty Niagara Falls, the steep contours of Vermont and Maine, the Atlantic Ocean. We drove on roads near New York City and saw the Freedom Tower in the distance, we gazed at the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Plymouth Rock. We wandered through a cemetery where Paul Revere was buried, gazed up at statues of the freedom fighters for our nation’s independence. Heading west, we enjoyed the rolling hills of Missouri, the craggy Rockies in Colorado beckoning us from the plains. And then. The wonder of Arches and Cayonlands in Utah. Heading homeward, we returned through more familiar territory in Idaho, Oregon and finally our home state, Washington. Feast your eyes on some of the sights we saw not in any particular order:

Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Lake in Many Glaciers National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bison in the Badlands, North Dakota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Michigan

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Niagara Falls from the United States side.

Beautiful Portland, Maine

Maine Lobster–see those eyes?

Harbourside Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Cemetery where Paul Revere was buried. Many leaning headstones. Boston.

Oil Wells in the Prairie Skies, in the Dakotas.

Prairies

Statue of Paul Revere

Western Montana Ranch

 

 

 

Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Good morning Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado

 

 

 

 

Dixie Stampede, Branson, Missouri

Tomb of President Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln and three of their sons are also entombed there. Springfield, Illinois.

Replica of Noah’s Ark, made in proportion to measurements in the Bible. Kentucky.

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

Arches National Park, Utah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I probably left something out from our journey, but I must say, what impacted both of us the most, were the people we met. We visited cousins in Montana, reacquainted ourselves with a former pastor, and worshipped with them in their church in North Dakota.

Shirley’s former pastor, Brian and wife, Dayna Martin

Graybill Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aunt Ruth–also a writer so we have lots to talk about.

Captain Tom and Cousin Linda, New York State.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the people I remember the most.

 

We visited my last surviving aunt and cousins in Nebraska, visited family in Illinois–and worshipped with them where my stepson, Greg, pastors. We headed north to territory we’d never been, and visited more family in New York state. We still think about the conversations we had there. On to Vermont to visit an old friend. Now it was time to meet new people who’ve become our friends. In Maine, we were treated to wonderful hospitality. Lovedy made sure we tasted ice cream only made in Maine, hot dogs, lobster–Maine lobster–mind you. She took us to Portland and Kennebunkport, we enjoyed good food and conversation. We traveled down into New England where we met more new friends and stayed in charming Connecticut where more hospitality was shown to us. We met family in Branson, and though we live in the same town, we look back on that time as a wonderful reunion. Then on to Colorado where more people shared their homes with us. Yes, it was the people I remember the most, though the sights were unforgettable!

New friends in Maine.

Shirley and Ibby, deep in conversation. Connecticut.

Speaking at Women’s Connection in Woodstock, CT.

Don and Nancy Rudberg. Family on earth. Family through faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I read the words of a wise man.

 

In their hearts humans plan their course,

but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

 

 

I’m looking forward to a new year

 

I don’t think I need to add to those words. I’m looking forward to a new year. To new experiences, yet I know I can trust the One who establishes my steps. Happy New Year!

Journey. Photo by Ruth Sullivan

Broken Hearts, Cured Soul

Posted by on December 22, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 4 comments

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

 

 

 

We went to a Festival of Lights last evening. The lights were beautifully placed on every tree and bush in the beautiful area called The Grotto. Once a rock quarry, a priest saw the potential in the wild and woodsy spot, found a way to purchase the land, develop it and since and almost 100 years later, is a place of peace and refuge. At the dedication in 1924, this was said:

Let this be a sanctuary of peace for all peoples of the earth and surely in this day a sanctuary is needed. Torn with differences, strife, and grief, the world needs sanctuary where the human spirit can seek peace and consolation.

 

Many people do come to enjoy the peaceful surroundings where in the winter there are beautiful lights belying the dark and rocky terrain. In the summer, it is a cool and quiet refuge to think and pray. People of all faiths or no faith come to this haven of peaceful surroundings.

A cave carved out of the rocks at the Grotto.

 

 

People seem to be more cheerful and giving this time of year.

 

As we strolled though the grounds last night, I reflected on this holiday season. Of the beautiful time of year whether people believe in Jesus or not seem to be more cheerful and giving than any other time of the year.

 

Traditions don’t work well when you’re the only one.

 

Jim and I work with those grieving the death of a loved one and every week we are reminded of the extreme sadness the envelopes one who has lost a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent or grandparent, a friend. In the early days of grief, these happy holidays are like salt in a wound, music that sounds out of tune. Fortunately, if they work through their grief, they are able to sing again, and enjoy the happy times. I was reminded of what it feels like again to be alone. If you don’t know me, you may not know that I’ve had to say goodbye to two husbands in death, so I know what I’m talking about–this grief. A friend of mine who lives a very solitude life was widowed less than two years ago. They’d been married for fifty years. She said a few days ago, “This is kind of a hard time. Traditions don’t work so well when you’re the only one.” She’s right. I found something that helped me when I was in the depth of grief and alone. The presence of my Savior. He was my constant companion during those lonely days of eating dinner by myself. Going to bed by myself. Getting up in the morning by myself. An English 17th century poet and hymn writer, Philip Doddridge, said it well:

 

Hear the glad sound, the Savior comes, the Savior 

promised long!

Let every heart prepare a throne, and every voice a

song.

He comes the broken heart to bind, the bleeding

soul to cure,

And with the treasures of his grace to raise the

humble poor. 

 

 

He comes the broken heart to bind, the bleeding soul to cure

 

So whether you’ve a broken heart and you need it to be “bound” or your soul needs “cure,”  give it to the healer of broken hearts–Jesus. We celebrate Jesus’ birth every Christmas, but do we really think about what that means? I wish I could say I always do, but this year I am. What a treasure we have.

 

There’s only One who can give peace.

 

It is my hope you have placed your trust in the only One who can give peace, Jesus, the Savior of the World. Wonderful Counselor. Almighty God, The Prince of Peace.  If you haven’t attended church in a long time–or ever, this Sunday might be the perfect time to start. Read the Christmas story. Start in Luke at the beginning where Mary is told she’s to be the mother of Jesus. Her reaction is amazing and beautiful.

 

Merry Christmas everyone. And though you may not feel like being merry because of great loss in your life, focus on the gift God gave. His only son.

At the Grotto.

 

Thoughts for Those Who Grieve At Christmas

Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

 

Perhaps your grief is new and you don’t know how you’ll get through this holiday season….

This week I’m writing especially to someone who is grieving the loss in death of a loved one. Perhaps your grief is new and you don’t know how you’ll get through this holiday season without that person–a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child, a friend. Truly no one person can be replaced–but we can replace that sorrow and loss with comforting memories–it takes time and work. Both are necessary.

 

Why are people so happy when I’m so sad?

 

I understand your grief, for I’ve been there too. I remember wondering why the people around me were so happy when I was so sad. Didn’t they know my world was turned upside down? My first major loss was near Christmas time fifty years ago now. My best friend was in a car accident and was killed instantly. I was shocked when my mother told me the news. I cried buckets of tears, knowing I’d never see Karen again. She was my bestie. My confidant and partner in crime. I taught her how to drive a car that had a stick shift. I loaned her lipstick on the school bus. She helped me with math when I didn’t understand it. We sang together. Stayed overnight with each other countless times. Cheered our team at school. She lived only a block away so it was convenient to be together. We shared the many things friends share and most of all, we shared our faith–and hope in eternal life.

 

There is hope.

 

There is a God of all comfort.

 

My husband Jim and I facilitate a grief group and we hear many stories of loss. We do our best to give comforting words to them, but the best thing we can do is direct them to the God of all Comfort for their relief from their terrible loss. Death is stark. It is final. And permanent. But those who put their trust in Jesus have hope of eternal life with Him in heaven. I like what this Psalm says about Hope.

 

Hope in the Lord;

for with the Lord there is

lovingkindness,

 and with Him

is abundant redemption

Psalm 130:7

 

 

Even though the loss was recent, I had the hope I’d see her again.

That Christmas so many years ago now, I remember having the hope I’d see Karen again. I missed her so much, but I reminded myself many times that I’d see her again. That is true with others in my life who have entered eternity. I know I’ll see them again.

 

 

It’s hard to be comforted sometimes….

 

If you’re grieving the loss of someone and it’s so fresh, it’s hard to be comforted with the hope you’ll see that person again. You just would like them to be here on earth–with you.

 

When I sign one of my books, I usually sign it with a verse. It’s one of my favorites. I hope it will give you strength today–especially if you’re facing a recent loss.

 

My prayer is you turn to the God of hope this Christmas season. That you place your trust in Jesus, the Christ Child, born to save us.

Listen to the Words

Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 4 comments

 

I love Christmas carols. Not the “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” type of carol, but the ones often written many years ago. I enjoy reading the story behind a song and this one caught my attention.

Written by the famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, during the Civil War in our country, Longfellow was a widower and father of six children. He was told his oldest son was injured in the battle of Mine Run Campaign and was in danger of complete paralysis after a bullet entered the left shoulder, skimmed his spine and exited through the right shoulder blade. While in Washington DC where his son was hospitalized, Longfellow heard the bells of churches on Christmas and wrote a poem part of which, I’m going to include here. There’s lots more to the story. To read the full article, go here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/the-story-of-pain-and-hope-behind-i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/.

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound
The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn
The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

A lot of words are written through pain.

I won’t sing that song again without thinking about the writer of the words and his tragic story. It reminds me that a lot of words are written through pain. It certainly is true for me.

 

When there are no words.

During those painful days when I felt so alone, I cried out to God and was reminded I was not alone, though at times I felt I was. How did I know? Through hearing songs like the one above. Through comforting notes from friends. Through worshipping at church. Reading my Bible was the most comforting to me–and I encourage you who are mourning to pick up a Bible and read through the Psalms. They are full of comfort when there are no words. I really like this one:

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging….The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:1-3, 7

Foamy waters…..

…and the mountains quake..

 

Go to the psalmist.

If you are grieving some kind of loss whether it’s through death, medical issues, an ended relationship, job loss, marital problems and countless others, I encourage you to go to the psalmist. I hope it will help you as it has for me. In the past–and in the present, too.

 

Listen.

And when you hear a Christmas carol, listen to the words. You will find comfort there, too.

 

 

We’re Celebrating Four!

Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Shirley's Blog | 2 comments

God is good and brings JOY!

 

We’re coming up on our fourth year of marriage. If you’re married and around my age, most likely you’ve been married more than four years. It’s comfortable being married to the same person a long time–I was married for 40 years the first time.

 

…there is a calm. A steadiness.

 

I once heard marriage likened as one river flowing into another. That in the joining, there is turbulence with swift currents running against each other. After many years of working through the rapids and ruffles of the joining of the two rivers–marriage–there is a calm. A steadiness.

 

The ruffles and joining of two rivers was now complete.

 

 

 

 

 

In my first marriage, we finally learned we didn’t need to win every argument, be right every time. The ruffles and joining of two rivers was now complete. At the end of that 40 year marriage, there wasn’t anything unsaid. I really missed Bill when he moved to his eternal home. I didn’t believe I’d ever find another man who I could love and respect like him. But I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a newlywed in your sixties is more fun than when you’re nineteen. I think the lyrics to a song, love is wasted on the young..is true. I appreciated being with a living, breathing person after being alone. Someone to enjoy a new recipe I’d tried. A movie. Sharing insights from a good book. Making love. We hadn’t even gotten past the newlywed phase when Blair was abruptly taken in death.

 

I missed having a life partner.

 

Yet again, I didn’t believe I’d find another who was as good, loving, and kind. It was difficult living alone, and though I made a life for myself, I missed having a life partner.

Lovely rememberance.

 

Four years ago last summer, I wrote down some things that I really wanted in a mate, should God bring someone into my life. First, I wanted him to be crazy in love with me. Second, he would love God more than I did–which is a lot. Third, that I’d love him and we’d be compatible. Miracle of miracles, we found each other and every one of those desires I’d written down came true with Jim.

 

 

It’s the person not the places that’s most important.

 

Now, we’re close to celebrating four years of marriage. It has been good. We’ve traveled many places. Explored our country and beyond. Seeing new sights is exciting. But the best part is having a partner and lover to explore these sites. It’s the person not the places that’s most important. We enjoy each other!

 

I’m grateful to God for the four years we’ve been given.

 

As we begin our fifth year of marriage, I don’t know the future–as does anyone. I’m grateful to God for these four years. We’re no longer newlyweds. We’ve traveled together. I’ve depended on Jim to take care of me when I was healing from broken bones. We’ve shared our families. Best of all, we worship God together–the most important part of our relationship.

 

We can trust…

 

So this week, we’re going to celebrate the four years we’ve had together. We hope for many more. This we know. We can trust the God who brought us together for whatever time is given to us.

Four years and counting!

 

I’m reminded of an old hymn that comforted me when I was deep in grief during the losses of dear ones. I’ve not paid attention to the last verse until today, and I’ll share it here.

 

What’er my God ordains is right:

Here shall my stand be taken;

Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,

Yet am I not forsaken.

My Father’s care is round me there;

He holds me that I shall not fall:

And so to Him I leave it all. (Samuel Rodigast, 1675)

And so to Him I leave it all…..

 

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