Saturday, 27 June 2015

Until We Meet Again

We had a celebration of life this week for my sweet Mother in law.  We actually ran out of seats in our church. And aisle space. And floor space. And filled the foyer. And the balcony where the offices are. It says a lot about a person I think when that many people come to say their final goodbyes.

Although, they really aren't our final goodbyes. Not if you are a Christian. This is simply a short farewell until we meet again. And in the grand scheme of things, the time we have on this earth is so very fleeting. We have eternity to reunite with those who have gone before us. 

I love that Facebook meme I've been seeing lately. It says that if you greeted this morning with a heartbeat, then God still has a purpose for you.  I wonder what my purpose is today?  Do you know what yours is?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

All That Matters

I lost my mother-in-law to cancer last week. It was an awful, emotional, exhausting and eye opening experience. And it brought to my attention so many things.

I realized how many people one life can affect. How many lives can be changed just by one persons kindness. How one prayer warrior can make such a difference. How having a heart like Jesus can leave such a lasting impression. And all of these qualities belong to one woman who will leave a hole in our lives for years to come.

In four short, but oh so long, days, I witnessed countless people stop their lives to say goodbye to this woman. I think I saw more people traipse in and out of her hospice room than I even know. And that is such a testament to who she was.   And it makes you wonder what your legacy will be.

It also leaves us something to live up to.

 I saw my husbands family, and all our friends pull together. We had childcare provided for us so that we could devote our time to just BEING there. We had meals prepared by friends who just wanted to love on us. We contacted family that for their own personal reasons, had previously been cut off. And they dropped everything and rushed out.

We shared stories that some of us had never heard before. We learned that it really is possible to laugh until you pee. And imagined that there really is no better reason to wet yourself than whatever fun she was having to actually do that!

We made new memories. We had moments, good and bad, that will forever be etched on our hearts. We bridged gaps in our relationships. We held each other up when the strength just wasn't there.

We prayed together. Oh, did we pray together. We prayed for strength. We prayed for peace. We prayed for her suffering to end, and for Jesus to come and take her home. We prayed for each other. We prayed for our children. We prayed that those we love who don't know Jesus would feel His presence.

We realized that if whatever grudge you are holding can be forgiven at the last moment, then why not forgive earlier?  We realized that praying for people really does make a difference.  We realized that no matter how small a role you may have played in someone's life, the impact can last a lifetime.

And we learned that in the end, love is all that matters. 

Monday, 15 June 2015


It has been a long week. It seems more like forever than just one week. I am sitting in bed with my husband so grateful that I have been blessed with him.  You see, my mother-in-law is in the hospital with terminal cancer. My father-in-law was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. He had a perforated bowel.  And the clarity that such events will bring to your life is astounding.

I know that while it is easy to fall into routine, getting so busy with our lives that we forget to stop and smell the roses. Or really listen to what our kids are saying to us and laugh at their antics.  Or give your spouse a kiss worth rushing home to.  Or telling your loved ones that you love them.  Things we take for granted. Things we always assume we can take time for tomorrow, or next week, or month or year.  But if this last week has taught me anything, it's to stop taking that time for granted.

I have so many thoughts running through my mind that there is no way that I can make sense of them, much less be able to write them down. But they all boil down to one thing:  tomorrow is not promised.  Those dishes will be there later. So take the next 5 minutes to really connect with someone in your life.  Let them know how much they mean to you. Tell them how much you love them right now.  Don't wait for their eulogy. They deserve to hear those words for themselves!

What if you woke up tomorrow with only the people you thanked God for today?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Faith in the Valleys

It's been a busy few weeks in our house.

My son discovered that 20lbs of flour is really fun to spread around. On the floors...on clean the dryer freshly emptied of those clean clothes. He also discovered that he has to take out many, many bags of garbage at 25 cents each to earn enough money to replace that flour!

He learned that rocks will fit in his nose, but that doesn't make it a good place to put them.

And last night, they discovered that we are all human. All of us.  We all have bad days, we all love someone, and we all get scared sometimes.

You see, their Grandma was diagnosed with cancer after finding a lump in her breast last year.  After much research and prayer, they really felt that God was placing it on their hearts to try a naturopath rather than surgery and radiation.  And for this last year, she has changed her eating habits, lost weight, and we thought, kept the cancer at bay.  With regular checkups, the naturopath said she was doing great.

And this is the part where I remind everyone reading this that it wasn't your decision.  You weren't the one to have those conversations with God. So keep your opinions to yourself as we are a hurting bunch here right now.

She was admitted to the hospital and it turns out, the naturopath was wrong.  Her chest cavity is now home to a much larger tumor. So large in fact that they are looking at making her comfortable for the time she has left on this earth.  And so last night, they prayed for their grandparents.  And they loved on their grandpa in the only way their little hearts could. They hugged him. They told him they loved him.  And they believed us when we told them the doctors were working to make grandma better. Because at 5 and 3.5, what else can you say?

This is the same woman that I credit with really introducing me to God.  She has been a prayer warrior for almost every person I know.  She never judges or makes you feel bad about your journey so far, no matter what has happened.  And she will willingly lay her heart on the line to help anyone.

And she has faith that can move mountains. I had actually bought a wooden word of "faith" written script style.  Except when I got it home, it was broke. Into four pieces.  I thought it was beyond repair, and was ready to throw it out.  Until God laid it on my heart to glue it back together. It didn't have to be perfect, it just had to hold.  And so I did. Then I made it into a sign for her and told her that even though her body may be broken, her faith was still strong. This was a couple weeks ago. Before we knew how broken her body really was.

I know I have rambled.  And I don't know who needed to hear this today, but the moral of this story is that even in the valley, God has not changed.  He hasn't abandoned us.  He hasn't given up on us.  And he hasn't altered in his desire for great things for us.   He is still faithful, walking right beside us.  He is the same whether we are struggling in the valley, or standing in awe of all he's done at the top of a mountain. And he loves us so much more than we can ever imagine.

I don't know where my mother in law's journey will end. I know we have a long fight ahead of us.    I know that if she wins this battle, my children will get the chance to make more memories with this amazing example of gods love and faithfulness .  And if this battle is not to be won, then she will be up on heaven reuniting with those who have gone before her, and having no more pain in her body anymore.  And I know that no matter what, she leaves this earth a better place for every day she has here with us.

John 14:1-4
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”