iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the tag “Tears”

MARCH 2, 2022


Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a solemn day in which I take my Christian faith seriously and begin the next 40 days on a journey to the cross of my Savior Jesus Christ knowing that the cross is not the end. I observe fasting ingrained from my Catholic upbringing and tie it in with a Lenten Grace group devotional from my practicing Protestant tradition.

Today also marks the third anniversary of my mother’s entrance to heaven.

I started this blog in 2010 after my father passed away in 2009. Writing helps me sort out all the thoughts that tornado in my mind and gives you, the reader, a peek at how I incorporate God in the whirlwind.

I wrote many blogs on grief (Late Night Visitor series) after my mother’s passing. It was a healthy way for me to voice the pain of loss. I acknowledged the elephant in the room of my mind and gave it space even though it was very hard. But it was definitely healing.

I think of my parents daily as they were such big influences in my life. After helping to care for each of them at the end of their lives, I remain a little empty and lost. When my mom passed away, I paced around my house not knowing what to do with myself since she was a big part of my day for the three years prior to her passing.

As we read in the Bible, the disciples of Jesus were lost and confused after Jesus’s death on the cross. In fact, they hid in fear that they were next. But the three years they spent with Jesus on his journey to the cross gave them the directions they needed for their life ahead. God gave them His strength for their calling to grow His kingdom.

My parents worked hard to give my family a good life. I know my mother would be shaking her head at me if she saw me shed a tear for her today. She and my dad raised me in the Christian faith, and I know death is not the end. She is face to face with Jesus and all her family and friends that went before her. So mom, the tears I shed today are because I miss your physical presence. I miss the wonderful aromas filtering through the house from your days of cooking and baking. I miss talking to you each night and I miss how you kept our family traditions. I am so thankful God gave me you as a mother.

Today I will have ashes placed on my forehead as remembrance that I am from dust and to dust I shall go. I will begin the journey on the road to the cross with Jesus knowing that death has no victory. I will shed a tear or two in remembrance of my mother and then God will give me His strength to keep going to grow His kingdom.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Late Night Visitor – Time Travel


Today we drove 5 hours, round trip, to celebrate the life of my brother-in-law.  I did not know very many of the people there, but it was a nice turn out of family and friends who were touched by his life.  Although drugs consumed a big part of his life, the bigger part was when he met Jesus on his own road to Demascus.  He was on fire for the Lord and that makes my heart happy.  Distance and finances had kept us from really getting to know each other, but I do recall one Easter brunch in a restaurant several years ago, I had the opportunity to sit next to him and we talked “God”.  It was a refreshing conversation, especially on Easter, my favorite holiday of the year. We had a few telephone conversations after that brunch and we shared God stories.  I love sharing God stories.

I recall when my niece, Jill, passed away a little over three years ago.  My brother-in-law heard the news and called me while I was at the funeral home with hundreds of people paying their respects to her and my family.  He shared the love of Jesus with me and comforted me with his prayers for peace. He shared Easter with me in December.

In the last leg of our journey home this evening, we passed the bus station.  The dark evening sky and the lights inside the station made it so I could see the bench that my two sisters and I sat on as we waited for a bus to transport one of my sisters back home after the funeral for Jill.  I remember how I did not want my sister to leave.  The closeness of family is the only thing I can grasp onto at such times and sitting on the bench made me want to stop time and keep my sister here with me.

Death is a wake up call.  We feel close to those we love; we cling to those we love that are still with us.  But as time moves forward, we hit a snooze button and “forget” we had that closeness.  Life moves on.

Even though we know we will all one day die, death is a shock.  Recent posts on Facebook of death notices include the familiar comment, “remember to spend time with your loved ones as you never know when someone will be called home”.  Why do we have to be reminded to spend time with those we love?

Funerals are the one occassion we stop what we are doing and pay our respects.  Our pictures and stories become extra special as we recall the relationships that have suddenly ended.  Distance doesn’t seem to matter when there is a death.  Most funerals are held only when everyone can be there that needs to be there.  We take the time to travel to be there.  Whether it is a 5 hour round trip or a bus ride across a few states; we make the time because we know love.  This love is what Jesus taught us.

Godspeed to the newly deceased.  To be absent from the body means they are present with our Lord.  Rest in peace dear brother-in-law, great is your reward.

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Late Night Visitor – The Phone Call


I heard of others doing this and told myself I would never do it. Read more…

Late Night Visitor – Grief Takes a Holiday


I feel like I have much to say, as well as nothing to say, because today is Mother’s Day. Read more…

Tears


I shed tears. Read more…

Maundy Thursday Service


For the second year in a row, a member of my church read the poem below written by Lucy Nanson, from New Zealand, at the Maundy Thursday service. Following this reading, everyone was invited to form two lines up in the center aisle to have one of two pastors pour water on our hands from a bowl at the front of church while making the sign of the cross on our palms. Next to each bowl were little wash cloths, neatly rolled up in a basket, to dry the hands.

Just like last year, my emotions were heightened and I had tears in my eyes while I listened to the poem and thought about how my hands fit many of the descriptions.

Maundy Thursday: Wash My Hands

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

not my feet

My hands peel potatoes, wipe messes from the floor

change dirty nappies, clean the grease from pots and pans

have pointed in anger and pushed away in tears

in years past they’ve smacked a child and raised a fist

fumbled with nervousness, shaken with fear

I’ve wrung them when waiting for news to come

crushed a letter I’d rather forget

covered my mouth when I’ve been caught out

touched forbidden things, childhood memories do not grow dim

These hands have dug gardens, planted seeds

picked fruit and berries, weeded out and pruned trees

found bleeding from the rose’s thorns

dirt and blood mix together

when washed before a cup of tea

Love expressed by them

asks for your respect

in the hand-shake of warm greeting,

the gentle rubbing of a child’s bump

the caressing of a lover, the softness of a baby’s cheek

sounds of music played by them in tunes upon a flute

they’ve held a frightened teenager,

touched a father in his death

where cold skin tells the end of life has come

but not the end of love,

comforted a mother losing agility and health.

With my hands outstretched before you

I stand humbled and in awe

your gentle washing in water, the softness of the towel

symbolizing a cleansing

the servant-hood of Christ.

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

and not my feet.

At the end of the service all lights went out in the church and the final moments of light at dusk was nearly the only light available to aid a handful of church members as they stripped the altar while my Pastor sang Psalm 22. For on this evening, Jesus is going to be betrayed by one of his disciples.

I was listening to a talk show on Moody Radio yesterday called Chris Fabry Live, and a caller mentioned that two people that night actually betrayed Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss and Peter denied knowing Him after His arrest.

This caller made me think about all the times I betrayed Jesus in my life. Judas could have asked for forgiveness and it would have been given. This breaks my heart to know that out of the guilt he felt, he hung himself without any attempt to seek forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, recalled Jesus’s words predicting his betrayal, and he wept, asked for forgiveness, was granted it and used this as a stepping stone to witness for Christ.

Friends, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness for denying or betraying Jesus in your lifetime. As the events unfold for Jesus on this Good Friday, His arms will stretch out as wide as they can on the cross. His arms are opened wide for everyone to fit inside His embrace which never lets go.

Psalm 22:7 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver–let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Wrong is Right


When I was a kid, my family got into a silly mood often
Read more…

The Cross We Bear


You may have seen the chain email going around in the early days of email. The story where a person tells God that they do not want the cross they are bearing. Read more…

Pixel and The Warm Blanket of Peace


I was not raised to be a cat lover.  My aversion was a learned response from my family’s reaction to cats.    

When I started dating my husband, the topic of his cats came up early in conversation.  Jaguar was a male, dark brown (black looking) Manx, and Pixel was a female dilute torti.  Upon meeting the cats, I quickly found out that Jaguar had to give everyone he met a quick bite to state his dominance in the relationship.  After the initial bite, he was a cuddle-bug.  Pixel, on the other hand, was very dainty and the sweetest little girl.  She curled up with Jaguar, as one cat ball, and they would nap together all the time.  So cute!!

When Pixel began vomiting and drinking more water than usual, we made an appointment with the veterinarian.  Blood work results concluded that our little girl was suffering from renal failure.  We learned how to administer subcutaneous fluids to keep her from dehydrating and she was given a special diet along with additional medications.

The diagnosis of feline renal failure is an invitation to a funeral.  Pixel may have lived about two years longer than most “renal failure cat families” because we were on a strict subcutaneous fluid routine and we kept regular veterinarian appointments.

October 8, 2003…Quality of life was the deciding factor for the one-way trip to the veterinarian’s office where the last kisses were administered and the first tears flowed. I could not stop crying.  The pain was raw and insufferable. 

Did I mention that I could not stop crying?  About one week passed since Pixel passed.  I was on the second level of my home where Pixel and I spent a lot of one-on-one time together.  I was on my knees on the floor, in the middle of the room, sobbing uncontrollably, mourning the loss of our sweet little girl.  Remembering how she suffered during her final days kept me in this crouched position, dehydrated from the river of tears pouring out of me.  Here, at my lowest point, I began to cry out to God seeking His peace from the pain I was experiencing.  After this heart-felt prayer, it happened.  I began to feel warm.  First my head, then my shoulders and arms.  Next thing I knew, my torso, legs and toes…all warm. I instantly stopped crying and I was at peace.

God showed up, as I had asked, and He hovered over me as a warm blanket of peace.  What an awesome feeling. 

I was not raised to be a cat lover.  My love for cats was a learned response from Pixel and Jaguar’s reaction to me.

Today is the anniversary of your passing, Pixel.  Rest in peace, our precious little girl.  

Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

 

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