Matthew 6:25 - 27

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Back ... Looking Ahead

As I sit here this morning seeing the "year in pictures" posted by others, and reflecting on the year past, my heart is heavy. My year in pictures would include the last few months of my dear husband's life ... as the cancer took him from us. It wouldn't be pretty.  I follow the lives of others who are on this same journey of loss and grief.

One is a few months behind me on this journey. She is realizing that the "life"  she has been living as only been "Performance Living". I know what she is feeling. The performance of the daily routines, the "dires", the "illusion of being o.k." ... yeah, me too. The exhaustion, the lack of motivation and interest, the "deadness" of true life ... yeah, me too. Most evenings find me putting on p.j.'s and crawling in bed as soon as supper is over and the morning coffee is set up.  

One is a few months further down the road; having just passed the "one year" marker. Following her as she approached that day ... and as she now moves forward has reminded me that the darkest hour is just before dawn. She is putting the year "away" and moving forward "Considering Life". I'm encouraged that, when I pass that "one year marker", I, too, may be able to move forward. Right now each point I've passed through is still sitting in piles and boxes, waiting to be put "away". Tom's possessions and memorials. My son's graduation from high school. My step-son's wedding. Christmas.

I haven't taken down and packed away the beauty of the Christmas season, because, once I do, all I have left is the brown and gray of winter, minus the blanket of snow that didn't come this year ... and the memories of the darkest and most painful days of the last year. 

As this year draws to a close, I want to look ahead ... to plan a "New Year". I listen to the beautiful music and download "The Daily Draft" from Ann Voskamp's Blog A Holy Experience. I note that under "The Definites", she includes "workout" (I haven't done this since October... I need to begin a New Year of workout), "food log" (I have to remind myself that food is necessary. I have to start to plan meals ... for myself and my boys), and "water" (yes, I've forgotten about water, too; getting dehydrated - the only water being in the coffee I consume daily to keep going). She also reminds me of these "dires": prayer, the Word, and seeing the Gifts He gives me every day. I download her app to record "1000 Gifts" for my phone and I take my first photo this morning. Being thankful ... seeing His Gifts ... Light in the darkness.

One more Gift that I am so thankful for today ... these ladies! They are very important parts of my "grief support group". And through them, I've been connected to so many others and resources that God has been using to heal me and lead me on!  

As I've written this, light snow fell and scattered glistening white hope over the brown ground outside my window, and rays of sunlight are beginning to overcome the gray skies above.  I receive this Gift, too ... hope of a New Year Life!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The BEST Christmas Ever

"What did you get for Christmas?" 
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son..."
This year, I got the BEST Christmas Gift Ever ... the Gift of GIVING

I didn't "stick to the budget" ... and I learned that God didn't "budget" what He was willing to Give that First Christmas.

I didn't give gifts according to what was "deserved" or "earned" or "expected" ... and I demonstrated that God's Gift was undeserved, can't be earned and isn't what we expected!

I spent more than I "should have" ... but I learned that all love is sacrificial and "worth" whatever it costs. 
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son..."
I got the Gift of Giving! What did YOU get for Christmas? 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Gifts Under the Tree

Last Christmas, we knew it might be his last Christmas with us. It had only been two months since we found out that he had an inoperable, grade 4 brain tumor. By Christmas, he had already undergone radiation therapy and his first round of chemotherapy. He was tired and slept most of the time. Family gathered and we took family pictures one last time ... with his cherished granddaughter on his lap and the one yet unborn, never to be held, also close to him as his daughter stood strong behind her father. Not yet having proposed, his oldest son stood with the woman his father had encouraged him "not to let go" of ... his future daughter-in-law, while the boys trying so hard to believe that their dad wouldn't be leaving them soon stood behind the mother/wife they would soon have to walk through the darkest of valleys with. 

It's been 9 months and two days since he left us to worship before the throne of his beloved. That is where I see him now; and this past Sunday, our King allowed us to stand hand in hand before Him in worship! I felt the presence of both my husband by my side and our precious savior and Lord before us!

This Christmas, the BEST gifts are under our tree! The Savior who humbled himself, gave up every rich thing and position He had and deserved, and came to this world as a gift to us - to give Himself ... His very life ... so that we might have the Gift of Life eternal with Him.  He is the GIFT ... not what He did, that was just the doorway ... so that we could be one with Him forever! 

Christmas is different in our home this year. Yes, there will be some gifts, but there is much more awareness of  the most precious gifts ... Jesus and Family!

Wishing you the gifts of Jesus and Family this Christmas!

~ Jan