Friday, June 26, 2009

Joy and Sadness

It's been a week since Ruth went home to be with her Savior.

There have been moments of joy. We've received cards and letters and calls from so many people who loved and supported Ruth. Russ and I have been enveloped by arms (both literal and figurative) embracing us and letting us know that we too are loved.

There have been moments of sadness. Walking into Ruth's house for the first time since her death brought a tear to my eyes. Russ thinking of picking up the phone to call her, or leaving work and thinking he needed to visit her--then realizing he wouldn't speak to her or see her on this earth.

No matter how "prepared" you think you are--you're never fully prepared for the loss of someone you love. I've been told by several people that moments of sadness will come upon us at unexpected times and unexpected places.

We can't prepare for those either; we can just know they'll come.

Joy in the memories. Sadness in the memories that will never be.

I can't say much more than this . . . I just miss her.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grieving with Hope

In December 1984, a young man transferred to the restaurant I worked at. I didn't think much of him, at first, but along with him came his mother.

She was a nurse, and she'd come into the restaurant before or after her shift a few times a week. I got to know her quite well. Charming. Witty. Caring.

We all really enjoyed her, and she became my friend.

She continued to be my friend, even as I began to date her son (I eventually began to think quite highly of him!). And then in April 1988, she became my mother-in-law.

Over the years, we've had our times of joy and of sorrow, times when we adored each other, times when we didn't want to be in the same room. But I've been blessed to call her my friend for almost 25 years and my "mother-in-love" for over 21 years.

If you've been reading my blog, you know my mother-in-law, Ruth, has been in ill health for several weeks. I'm blessed to write that yesterday morning at 6:30, she ended her earthly battle and was ushered into the presence of her Savior.

And even though I've lost loved ones before, Paul's words to the Thessalonians became that much more real to me. I don't have to grieve as those without hope. I have hope in the knowledge that Ruth is with Jesus and I'll see her again.

When Russ and I went to pick up Ruth's personal things yesterday, the case worker, Mary, told us how, when she'd gone to "pay her last respects," Ruth had such a look of peace on her face and even had a slight smile. In her over 20 years in long-term health, Mary had never seen such peace.

What joy, what hope it gives me to know that Ruth really is at peace . . . and maybe that slight smile was because, just as she left her earthly body, she saw Jesus, waiting for her with arms wide open.

So I'm sad at losing this woman who's been an important part of my life, but I have hope. And a lot of it!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A New Insight

I may have written this before, but don't you just love it when you read something you've read before and see something new and wonderful?

That happened last week for me. I was reading Proverbs 3, and kind of rushed through verses 5-6. I knew them by heart, so why linger? Then I read verses 7-8, and something struck me that hadn't before. Those four verses go together and provide a wonderful guide for living. In case you don't know them:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear [revere] the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

This is what struck me anew, this guide for living (for me, at least!):

  • Trust in the Lord. Look at how He's worked in your life, and remember His faithfulness.
  • Don't try to figure it out yourself. His ways and thoughts really are higher than yours!
  • Give everything to Him, and He'll direct you. He loves you and will always lead you and protect you.
  • Don't try to be self-wise. You may not know as much as you think you do!
  • Give reverent awe to God. He is sovereign and worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.
  • Turn away from anything that isn't of God. Don't even give the enemy a toehold!
  • Focus on Him and be spiritually healed and physically refreshed. Trust Him to give you daily strength, and He will (I speak from experience!).
I pray you spend time in God's word every day. I also pray for new insights for you as well.