Two months since my last post. How is that possible?
It seems more like a lifetime and, actually, it has been.
Two weeks ago yesterday, Betty, my husband’s Mom, departed this world for the next. The past 5 months have been very full with “Betty care”. It’s been exhausting and stressful. And yet, I honestly believe I am richer in so many ways because of this time. Richer in relationships with family members with whom we are daily separated by geographic distance. Richer capacity to step more quickly from the edge of all the light I know into the darkness of the unknown as, once again, My Heavenly Father has faithfully met me in that place both providing something on which to stand, as well as, teaching me how to fly.
It has been a “stress test” for all I believe, all I share with you. I can honestly say it is true that Our Heavenly Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit do walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death; that they can and do provide places of rest, refreshing, guidance, strength, wisdom beyond any training or experience, mercy over and over and over, and goodness in the midst of life and death (Psalm 23).
Have the last 5 months been difficult, painful and exhausting? Absolutely.
Have they been hopeless? Absolutely NOT.
Yup. Unconditional hope is real. But you have to look for it. It’s like a chameleon, so you can miss it. 😉
- I found hope in well-loved faces, both their smiles to encourage and their tears that told me they trusted me to see their heart and not condemn it for its questions or pain or grief as we walked together transparently and with the gift of knowing we were not alone in what we were feeling.
- I found hope in the faces and voices of strangers, also known as doctors, nurses and nurses aids.
- I found hope in the kindness of a hospital security guard in the middle of the night.
- I found hope in the kindness of co-workers that took on extra responsibilities and a very understanding boss which made it possible for me to be away with family.
- I found hope in quiet, still moments giving God the space to permeate me with the peace and knowledge He is God (Psalm 46:10).
- I found hope in thankfulness when I took the time to look for and acknowledge the much that was being provided in the midst of daunting challenges.
- I found hope in a morning sunrise bursting through the clouds.
- I found hope in the midst of tears of remembrance, by standing up, taking 3 steps forward, 1 deep breath and turning to look upon the faces of those who loved Betty. As I heard my own voice sing “O Lord, My God …” He answered before I could go any further by resounding within me “I am indeed Your God; I am faithful; I am the One you’ve walked with and worshipped so many early mornings and I am here with you now as you worship.” His presence fell blanketing those before me and myself with His comfort to the point the only way I was able to respond was “How Great Thou Art”, Betty’s favorite hymn. Afterwards I asked my husband … “Did the babies quit crying as I sang or was I so intensely focused I didn’t hear them?” He responded “The babies definitely quit crying. The Spirit of God fell.”
- I found hope as I listened to the stories of family and friends how this one life had touched so many other lives in small ways and big ways and like the ripples on a pond that touch was continuing on to the next generations.
What is my point? Our Heavenly Father always give us a choice. He wants to be chosen, just as much as you and I want to be chosen. Every day life and death are set before us and the choice is ours. What choice? The choice for life, i.e., to trust God’s heart and love for us or the choice for death, i.e., to doubt God and His intentions. Think Eve in the garden. (Deuteronomy 30:19). Our enemy does his very best to separate us from the very One who can heal our hearts (Isaiah 61:1) by lying to us and trying to blame God for what he, himself, has done in order that we would doubt and distance ourselves from the very One who can help us. How can I say that?
The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I [Jesus] came to give life with joy and abundance. John 10:10 – The Voice Translation.
You see unconditional hope comes in many different forms. It will be very personalized for you and your needs as it was for me. But our God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11) which means all He has done for me these past 5 months, He can and will do it for you. Why? Because of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done.
Unconditional hope is real .. the choice is yours!