Sunday, December 27, 2009

christmas is over

My family makes fun of me because I start lamenting “Christmas is over!” almost as it has just begun. They are puzzled by it, and I really hadn’t thought it through until recently.

I think the real enjoyment I have of Christmas is in the anticipation of Christmas… the decorating, the planning, the cooking, the music, and the waiting for the family to arrive. I love the process of giving a gift … acquiring it, wrapping it, and looking forward to the pleasure I hope it will give the recipient.

When it is all over, a let-down occurs because the exhilaration of anticipation is over, and there is an awareness that very few moments actually lived up to the dream. Exhaustion sets in… it takes a lot of work to make a family holiday happen. And, before you know it, “Christmas is over!”

I’m thinking about heaven, today, as I often do lately. I think that in heaven we will exist in a perpetual state of anticipation. The excitement will not fade, and the moments we actually live will be greater than anything we could ever imagine. It won’t be too crowded, or too loud, or too hot, or too cold. There will always be enough time, enough energy, and enough understanding. The gifts will be just right (and I think we’ll be surprised at what “just right” is). And, best of all, we will never have to say goodbye.

The true meaning and intention of Christmas will go on for eternity, and it will be exactly what we were created for…Christmas will never be over, and we’ll savor every moment of it. I can hardly wait!


Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am looking at our beautiful Christmas tree right now…at least, I think it is beautiful. It is both beautiful and precious to me.

When Loyd and I got ready to decorate our first tree, years ago, we had nothing to decorate with. We bought lights and glass ornaments from Wal-Mart (there were no Hobby Lobby’s, way back when), and we started making ornaments. I think we actually got better and better with every year. I was determined that our children would have a collection of ornaments when they got ready to decorate their trees.

After a while, we had so many ornaments, that we decided to just get something when we went on a trip. At times, there are no ornaments to be bought, so we improvise…we have name tags, key chains, a water park bracelet, and even fishing lures we found on beach walks…all of which have been fashioned into something to hang on our tree. The result has been a sort of family scrapbook, which we put up every Christmas season. Every piece tells part of our story.

After the people and cat, I would try to get the box of ornaments out if we had a fire in our house. But even if they all went up in smoke, the real beauty and worth that they hold are the memories they evoke and the relationships they represent, which have been knit together during the times of our lives.

And that’s why I think our tree is beautiful…it is full of reminders of how full and wonderful our life, as a family, has been. These reminders are precious to me.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

i will carry you

…thinking of another song on the new Selah CD. This song was written by Todd and Angie Smith about the birth (and death within a few hours) of their baby girl, Audrey. This song brings numerous pictures to my mind…a picture of a mother carrying a baby to term …a picture of the way we frequently carried around our younger siblings (with our little hips jutted out) when we were children…. how we have a family “tradition” of carrying each other through times of need….how we are still helping carry some of Kathy’s earthly responsibilities…how God carries us every day of our lives. The words, “I will carry you,” are the sweetest words on earth when we are exhausted and at the end of our resources.

Deb has a photograph of her and Kathy (they were about six and two). Kathy is in a wheelbarrow, and Deb is holding the wheelbarrow upright. Deb says that she always thought she was merely keeping the wheelbarrow from falling over…but when one looks closely at the photograph, it is obvious that she was actually grabbing onto Kathy to keep her in the wheelbarrow.

That is a good picture of our relationship with Kathy. Kathy had a brilliant, quick mind. She was usually a step or two ahead of us. We have a funny family remembrance of her. We’d put her in her crib, each evening, when it was time for her to go to bed, and she would beat us back to the den…running ahead, looking at us, over her shoulder, laughing and smiling.

Our Deb was with Kathy when she left us. She was the only one there. It has been traumatic for her on many levels…but what a blessing it has been to me. Just knowing that Kathy was not alone… knowing exactly what happened in the last hours of her life…knowing that Kathy didn’t have to worry about her children, who were at home, with us…knowing that Kathy was aware that her big sister was there caring for her….knowing that she knew that we were carrying her.

I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song)

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I'm not
Truth is I'm barely hanging on
But there's a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who's chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says ...

I've shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

Thank you, Lord, that in the silence of abandonment, betrayal, isolation and even the absolute silence of death…you will carry us.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

the next chapter

We said goodbye to two more young mothers in our community this past week. One of them was our precious friend, Nyla. Nyla has courageously battled cancer for the past years.

A sweeter, stronger person I have never known. We would hear that Nyla was not doing well, that she was very sick, and then she come to something that was going on. For instance, she, Mike and Lane came to Drew’s birthday party, this time last year. Last spring, she came to Jon and Emily’s wedding; and though she wasn’t doing well at all, she told me that she had to do something “happy” for a change. She was at school, in September, for Lane’s report card conference. At all of these events, she had a smile on her face as she quietly participated…never complaining, or thinking of herself first. She was a beautiful example, for me, of living and dying with love and grace.

She had such a will to live her life. I think the most pain she suffered was the pain of leaving her family. She will be greatly missed by her family, and all who knew her.

Kathy called me to tell me about Nyla’s diagnosis of cancer. She was so sad. She loved Nyla dearly. She didn’t realize that she would have the opportunity to welcome Nyla into heaven. I have wondered about what they are doing right now. I’m sure Nyla is telling her all about the family. Maybe she is even giving her the details of the wedding and birthday party. I know she is telling her another “Lane” adventure, and she is certainly speaking her love for baby Mason and her precious Shayna. I am sure, too, that she is letting her know what a good job Jamie is doing, and how she is so proud of all of them. Knowing Kathy…she has already shown Nyla all the “hot spots” to see in her new home, and she has probably introduced her to more new people and experiences than they ever knew of in this lifetime.

In fact, Nyla and Kathy are living the real lives they were created to live today… lives where pain, suffering, sin, separation, and longing are gone forever.

As C.S. Lewis wrote at the end of The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“And, for this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But, for them, it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover, and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


Saturday, November 21, 2009


This has been a long, hard week. The grueling shopping we did last weekend has left me weary and aching. It also has reminded me of what my sister’s husband and children have lost…what our family has lost. Life is broken and shattered; it is no longer complete. As I have stated before, there is a hole in our world.

The new Selah CD has a song that speaks to this hurt in my heart. It is about the loss and incompleteness that all people have in this life. Because we live “in the shadow of the fall of man,” we are separated from the completeness that we were made to have with God, with others, and even with ourselves.

The good news…the news I have difficulty remembering when I am tired and overwhelmed…is that one day, God will redeem all the brokenness in the lives that are given to him. One day we will hurt no more…we will be complete…we will be as we were created to be….


The cruelest words, the coldest heart
The deepest wounds, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter nights, the wasted years

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled, they may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be

I’ve been reading Philippians 3:20-21 this week. It gives me hope of redemption.

“But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. “

The words of Jesus, in John 6:39-40, fills my sad heart with joy:

"This, in a nutshell, is that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”

Thank you, Father. Help me to remember that there is absolutely nothing I give to you that will remain unredeemed.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

you deliver me

We have been in Houston this weekend, doing the MEGA shopping for the kids’ Christmas. To say it is overwhelming is an overstatement.

Crystal and I were riding down together, and she had the new Selah CD. I didn’t realize there was one. I’m so excited!

The title song is “You Deliver Me.” I heard it at a perfect time. I was tired, feeling depleted of all resources, and have several “mountains to climb” in my life. I need deliverance.

As it says in Psalm 6:3-4:

“I am sick at heart.
How long, O LORD, until you restore me?
Return, O LORD, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.”

The song says this:

“Deep as the ocean
Right as rain
This powerful emotion
Lifts me up above the plain
It’s taking me to places
I never thought I'd go
Showing me a grace
I never thought I'd know
When there's a distance
Between what I am
And who I wanna be
You deliver me

When I feel like
I can't go on
You deliver me
And when the road is winding
And way too long
You deliver me
You deliver me”

This road is winding, and it is way too long. I’m not where I want to be just yet. Please deliver me.

PS (btw)…we have had a productive weekend with the shopping. The road ahead is still long, but God has helped us once again. Thank you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

heaven in our hearts

This week, I was reading 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (as I was riding nowhere, on the the bike, at the gym).

“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.”

I’m reminded of the wise words of C.S. Lewis:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”
(C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

Heaven in my heart…life in another world…I’ve always known it was there, but I let the minutia of this life crowd it out. I don’t want to do that. I want to be ready to fold my tent and go home…when I’m called.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

becoming more like him

Recently I read this passage about trouble in life. It is written by Rick Warren, whose wife is now battling cancer.

“People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness. We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings. “

As Jesus reminded us, before he left his earthly life, in John 16:33 (New International Version)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Rick Warren continued with these admonitions:
“Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.”

At times life is hard, but as God goes with me down roads I’d rather not travel…He’s helping me become more like him.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

i will lift my eyes

Todd just gave me the most precious gift. It is the little ring of scriptures that Kathy always kept with her. A friend gave it to her when Brooke went to the hospital the first time, and it was a comfort on many lonely, anguished days of waiting. It was on the counter, at Todd’s house, and I ask him where he found it. It had been in the car. He wanted to know if I wanted it. Did I want it?! It makes me happy; it makes me a little sad, but yes I wanted it…it’s a treasure!

One of the first verses I read was Psalm 121…such beautiful words of promise:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.”

This passage reminds me of the song that Tori sang at the celebration of Kathy’s life. It’s a song by Bebo Norman. Kathy sang it at church.

God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs You now
God, be near calm my fear and take my doubt
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

God, my God, let mercy sing
her melody over me
and God, right here all I bring
is all of me
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in

'Cause You are and You were and You will be forever
the Lover I need to save me
'Cause You fashioned the earth and You hold it together, God
so hold me now

I will lift my eyes to the Maker
of the mountains I can't climb
I will lift my eyes to the Calmer
of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes to the Healer
of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes to You.”

This little ring of scriptures reminds me of God’s love for my sister and it reminds me of his love for me. He has the storm under control. I can trust him.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

hold my heart

It is amazing (and unbelievable), to me, that the God who holds the universe in his hand could take the time to hear my voice…my concerns…my needs…. I wonder why he would do that. I have been listening to this song, “Hold My Heart,” by Tenth Avenue North:

“I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye.
But if there's no other way, I'm done asking why.
Because I'm on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees, Father will you run to me?
One tear in the dropping rain,
One voice in the sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin' heart?
One light, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.
So many questions without answers, Your promises remain
I can't sleep but I'll take my chances to hear You call my name
To hear You call my name
Hold my heart, could you hold my heart?
Hold my heart.”

It becomes evident… when something precious slips away so quickly that you don’t have the opportunity to say goodbye… that there is nothing of this life that you can hold on to forever. Only God, and his faithfulness remains.

The words of Lamentations 3:22-26 (Amplified Bible) are comforting to me today…as they have never been before:

“It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God's word]. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.”

I’m thanking Him today, for being faithful to me always…He’s holding my heart…

Saturday, October 17, 2009


When Kathy was in critical condition, and we were waiting at the hospitals, I truly believed that, with the power of prayer and medicine, she would open her eyes and be with us again. There were many people who fervently believed this.

I have heard that there were incredible prayer services at our church, and that the people who were there, believed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my sister would be healed. They felt God’s spirit with them. We felt God’s spirit with us, too.
But it didn’t turn out exactly as we thought… prayed…hoped it would.

This week, I’ve been listening to a song that Debbi gave me years before this sadness befell us. It goes like this:

“When I saw what lay before me,
I cried, Lord, how can it be?
I thought he would just remove it,
But he gently led me through.
Without fire, there’s no refining.
Without testing, no belief.
Without flood, there’s no rescue.
Without suffering, no relief.

I look back over the past months, and I truly can say that the only way I have made it through is because of the grace of God. He has gently led me through it. I love these scriptures:

“Trust in me always, I am the eternal Rock, you Shepherd, the Guardian of your soul. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. So, don’t worry. I never tire or sleep. I stand beside you. The angel of the Lord encamps around you. I hide you in the shelter of my presence. I will go ahead of you, directing your steps and delighting in every detail of your life. If you stumble, you will not fall, for I hold you by the hand. I will guide you along the best pathway for your life..”

(Isa. 26:4; I Peter 2:25; Isa. 43:2; Matt. 6:34; Ps. 121:4-5; Ps. 34:7; Ps. 31:20; Deut. 31:6; Ps. 37:23-24; Ps. 32:8)

He is taking us through.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

a clear view

I live on one end of a road, my sister lies in a cemetery on the other end. I don’t like to drive home that way. It always seems that my heart is being pulled out of my body by the arteries and veins when I pass the cemetery. I suppose in a way that is exactly what is happening. When hearts have been intertwined for so long on earth, it would be natural to feel the pain of the separation when one departs for another place.

This pain, though, has made me think of God and eternity more. And though I can lose sight of what is important, this tremendous hurt makes me stop and remember again and again.

I don’t know who said these words, I don’t even remember where I got them, but I am finding them to be true in my life:

“A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a clear view of God. God always gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.”

I want a clear view of God; but, at times, it hurts so much.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

long tomorrow

My cousin, Krecia, left us to go to heaven last month. She had a long battle with cancer. I was just reading her last email to me, and it made me think about heaven and eternity again.

I have often wondered how our loved ones, who go to heaven before us, could not help but miss us. I have recently had the thought, however, that in the light of eternity, one hundred earthly years would not even seem like a small “bump” in time. Maybe when you get to heaven, in a blink of the eye, you turn around, and there are all your loved ones walking toward you. Maybe it’s like no time has passed at all.

And this reminds me that I should be living my life in the light of what is eternal. My time, talent, and treasure needs to be invested in what is eternal. What would that be: relationship with God and relationship with others. If I miss out on this…I miss out on what is eternally important.

This is hard because there are so many distractions. There is so much that competes for my resources. There are so much hurt that I carry. I need to take more time to be quiet in his presence so that he set my thinking and priorities straight and he can heal me. I need to put this world in prespective…I need to think of the “long tomorrow.”

As A.W. Tozer writes:
“Even if the world should continue a million years not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow.”

I want to keep the “long tomorrow” in my sights. I want eternity to be my measure.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


I have been thinking about the pain that the people of this world have to endure. Our lives are a lot about loss…loss of trust; loss of life; loss of church; loss of spouse; loss of child; loss of a parent; loss of respect; loss of home; loss of friends; loss of freedom; loss of wealth; loss of a way of life….

I have found some of the most reassuring scripture in the oddest place (to me)…Revelation. When I was younger, I thought of Revelation to be scary…telling of times that I did not want to happen. Now, I’m thinking “Wow, we know what is going to happen! God is in control.”

These are some of the most beautiful words I have read lately:

“Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to Life and my life is now forever. See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s gates.” (Rev. 1:17)

“Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer….Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing.” (Rev. 2:10)

“Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing….” (Rev. 3:10)

"Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate. Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty.” (Rev. 21:3-6)

What do I have to fear? I know the One who holds my future, and the future of the universe, in his hands. He’s moved into my neighborhood…He’s right here beside me…He loves me more than I have ever been loved.

Lord, help me to put aside my fear, focus on you, and do the work you have put before me,


Sunday, September 13, 2009


I have taken a blogging-“vacation.” I didn’t really plan to, but with school starting…I haven’t had time to think or expend energy on anything other than a new school year. Also, Kathy’s birthday was the 26th of August. Since then, I have had a “grief-relapse.” Sadness has unexpectedly drifted on my shoulders again. Any extra energy I might have had has been sucked out of me.

Yesterday, we celebrated Brett and Brooke’s birthday with a big “friends” party, and I have to write about how God blessed us, yet again.
The twins have never had a party that included their friends. They’ve just had family parties. They have been sick for most of their lives, and Todd and Kathy were always dealing with the logistics of hospital stays…not birthday parties.

As most of these kinds of events have been, this past year, it was relatively easy. I made the plans; Deb came with game ideas and great favor bags; Crystal helped get the invitations out and was at the party to help however we needed; Todd got the cake and headed up the basketball games at the party; Loyd made a table and hauled stuff (as usual); and MeMaw got the hotdogs ready.

Then, there were friends who helped. Friends we didn’t know until recently. One of Kathy’s friends, Lisa, was so sweet to get addresses for us. She also helped get girls to the party, and then she stayed and helped with the party. She has been a special blessing to me, these past two weeks…weeks that I have been so sad again. Another friend, Mrs. Smith…a teacher from the kids’ school, saw that Brooke didn’t have a many gifts as Brett did…and she went off and bought some more gifts for Brooke. Mrs. Smith told me that she had prayed for Brett and Brooke when they were having their transplants…all those years ago…and here she is involved in their lives, now…helping them again. These two ladies are some more of the special blessings that the Lord has sent our way, to bless us, yet again, in this hard time.

So today, I’m talking to the Lord, and this is what I am saying:
“Thank you, Lord, for all the bright blessings you have sent our way to light this dark path we are walking. Thank you for people who are willing to give of their time and resources…not because they have to, but because they want to. Thank you for the visible and material ways you have blessed us. We need all the help we can get.”


P.S. I know, if Kathy can look in on us, her face is beaming. She continues to be blessed… for whatever we give to others, lasts for all eternity.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

more precious than gold

Our friend, Jill, has cancer. Recently, she wrote about I Peter 1:6,7 on her CaringBridge site:

“You have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
great trials.”

It seems that I would choose to do most anything to bypass great trials. I don’t like suffering. A commentary I read says this about suffering:

"Afflictions are but as a dark entry into our Father's house," wrote Thomas Brooks. Christians through the generations of the church have borne testimony to this experience. In the midst of the suffering we are able to see little or no point to it all. So we cry to God, "Why?" Afterward, whether very soon or much later, we find such good resulting from the suffering that we reach the point of being able to say sincerely, "The good I have seen coming out of the trial, especially the benefit of my knowing God far better now, is worth the suffering it took to get me here." Because we value the Lord and his kingdom and the crown of life more than we value ease or comfort, it becomes the choice of realism and wisdom to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds. ‘However reluctant we may be to embrace it, we know that suffering rightly received is one of the Christian's supreme means of grace.’(Wenham 1974:79). “

This past week, I have asked Loyd several times: “How did I get through starting school last year?” I realize that God, in his great love, guided me, rescued me, guarded me, and gave me refuge. I know this because the great grief should have killed me…but it didn’t…it has given me something more precious than gold.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

climbing mountains

Last week, Loyd and I went on a short vacation to a state park in Oklahoma. There were some small mountains (hills), with lots of rocks, to climb. It was beautiful! Loyd and I were hiking to some cliffs that overlook a lake. It was a long hike, and we started up a rocky hill. I gave out, and sat on a log. Loyd continued to climb to see if he could find a cliff (just because he knew I wanted to stand on one so badly). He found one! He came back down and urged me on. He told me it was just a little way up…a hard climb, to be sure, but he assured me it was worth the climb. I garnered my energy and continued the climb. He was right! We came to a cliff. It overlooked a lake, and we could see forever. We were on top of the world!

As we were hiking back to the car (a long hike), I was thinking about how often I am going through a difficult circumstance, and I want to give up; but God urges me on…telling me how good it’s going to be at the top. I was thinking about how he helps me…urges me on…supports me…encourages me. How he helps me to get to the top (if I trust him and keep trudging ahead). I was also thinking how good it would be to have people, who walk along with us, helping us continue the climb in difficult times of our lives.

At the end of the mountain hike, I was tired! But…I was also exhilarated…proud of myself…more in love with my Loyd than ever…and in possession of a memory that will never leave me.

The life lesson in this…I pray that I will trust and obey so that God can lead me to the beauty he has ahead for me. I also pray that I will be aware of the needs of those around me… and be willing to help them continue the climb.


Monday, July 13, 2009

the beach

We have just returned from our BIG Pitts beach trip. To say we are tired and worn out, would be an understatement! The ocean just about beat me to death! It will take me a few days to recover.

We missed Kathy. There were times when I was swinging in my hammock that I felt like my heart was going to break all over again. MeMaw made a very wise comment, though, …she said that we could not put everything on hold from now on…because we will never all be together again…that we were going to have to enjoy who we have with us and what we are doing. and, as usual, she is right! Joy, Blake, and Morgan could not come this year, but when we can be all together again, we will always be missing Kathy.

We did however, make some new memories. Bananagram was the game of the year…Deb found that one for us…we must have played at least a thousand rounds. The “snake of death” became the “flower of fear”…that’s just several inner-tubes taped together with duct tape…after riding the thing on some waves you feel like you’ve been in a major car accident. The little kids really enjoyed playing in the ocean this year. They were fearless, even when riding the “flower.” It was fun to watch the next door neighbors lob our kids with water balloons (using water balloon sling shots).

I don’t know if we will ever return to the beach, but I do know that we have some wonderful memories from the four years we have gone. At the end of the day, relationships that were built and memories that were made are really all you have anyway.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

100 years

Today, we celebrate the 100th birthday of Mrs. Virdie Drinkard, a very dear friend. We will have a celebration, at church, this afternoon. She wanted to have homemade ice cream and watermelon for refreshments.

Can you imagine all the living that would go into 100 years?! Think of all the changes in communication, travel, and…well…everything! Think of what one-hundred years would do to your body…your mind. Think of what all that living would do to your faith… your perspective…your insights.

Mrs. Drinkard has always been one of the most joyful people I have ever known. She is always glad to see you…always has a hug and kind words…and her laugh is contagious. She has lived about twice as long as I, and she has always seemed to have twice as much energy, too. She is a person I will never forget …one who made her little place in the world brighter, happier, more beautiful.

Happy birthday, Mrs. Drinkard. Thank you for the grace you have shown us through a life of love for God and for others. Thank you for a life well lived.

I love you,

Friday, July 3, 2009

in memoriam

In memoriam of Kathy Hiebert,
August 27, 1963-July 3, 2008

“They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind.
For in those whom they have blessed, they live life again.
And they shall live through the years, each day more beautiful.
As time declares their good, forgets the rest,
and proves their immortality.”

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Deb told me about Louie Giglio’s “Indescribable” message that is on UTube. Wow! I’ve always loved watching the stars and planets in the night and early morning skies, and this message reinforced my sense of wonder. All I can say is: “How great is our God! He created it all, and he holds it all in his hands.”
These are some of Giglio’s words:

“Maybe you are looking at a huge mountain. Maybe it’s the mountain of depression, or divorce, or abandon(ment), or loneliness, or (maybe) you have been wrongly accused and served a huge injustice. It could be cancer, or bankruptcy, or the darkness of death it’s self…but I say to you: there is nothing that this world can throw at you that can shake you out of the hand of God who is holding the entire universe in his very palm tonight and holding you. And his grace is big enough, and strong enough to hold on to you through it all, and to bring you through it all, and to bring you to the very end of it all still loving him and rejoicing in his goodness even in the darkness. You can trust him. We haven’t seen everything of God in our lives, but we have seen enough to trust him fully for the rest of our days.’

Psalm 33 says it like this:
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (he is a star-breathing God)

From heaven LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all, (and is intimately acquainted with) everything they do.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”

Thank you, Lord, for keeping us alive in this famine,

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

he does not forsake

When life hits you full force, in unexpected ways, fear and discouragement will not be far behind. When you are tired and physically depleted, fear and discouragement can overwhelm and overtake. I am learning, though, that God’s promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 is for me, and it is for me forever:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

It is encouraging to me that God has gone before me, none of this surprises him…he knows it…he has faced it…he has conquered it through his death…AND he will not leave me alone.

Building 429 has a song entitled “Always,” and it is about some of what life can throw at us. I’ve been hearing it the last month, and it always reminds me that God will not leave or forsake me…he will be with me always, and that in him is all the hope and promise that I will ever need.

“But I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all hope is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
He will be with (us) always”


Friday, June 26, 2009


On this day, one year ago, Kathy said her last word. She breathed her last breath, on her own. Her eyes closed for the last time. She had her last earthly worry. She formulated her last plans. Then it was over.

A Bebo Norman CD was in Kathy’s car CD player. The song, “Always,” was probably one of the last songs she listened to. It speaks to me, in this sad place I have found myself. These are some of the words:

“Friend I don't know where you are
And I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life
Or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy
If there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got
And you're still about to fall
…hold on, hold on, hold on
(because) I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and His promise remains
Always, Always
He will be with you always.”

I believe that God was with her through all this…and I believe he ushered her into his presence and gathered her to him with the love of all eternity.

As Psalm 73:23 says:

"Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand."

I believe God is with us now, in this pain, and He is with us always.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

what would you do on your last day?

One year ago, right now, our Kathy was living the last of her “normal days” on earth. Among all the things she did in her busy life that day, she took Brooke to music camp, shopped for MeMaw, and baked brownies. She said a goodbye to PawPaw and MeMaw over her shoulder, as she left their house, and went home. Normal, everyday actions…no one realizing that we would never speak to her again. She became unbearably ill later, and we all began this painful journey.

What would you do on your last day on earth?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

those who come after

In Walk with Jesus, by Henri Nouwen, he writes:

“We all must die. And we all will die alone. No one can make that final journey with us. We have to let go of what is most our own and trust that we did not live in vain. Somehow, dying is the greatest of all human moments because it is the moment in which we are asked to give everything. The way we die has not only much to do with the way we have lived, but also with the way that those who come after us will live.”

I have thought a lot, in this past year, how important our living is to our dying. I’ve thought a lot about how our Kathy would have never, in a million years, been able to see how her choices, her actions, and her faithfulness affected so many around her.

In Hebrews 11, Paul retells the stories of the lives of the people, of the old testament, who were faithful to him. He makes it clear that none of these people ever realized, in their lifetimes, all that God had promised to them. He also makes it clear that it is the combination of their lives and the lives of all of God’s people that will ultimately show the whole work of God. As he writes in verse 40: “…their faith and our faith (will) come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”

Wow! So, it’s not my perfection but my faithfulness that God will use, and he will use it for generations to come…all the way to eternity.

As Michael W. Smith sings, “may all who come behind us find us faithful,”

Monday, June 22, 2009

just a year ago today

Just a year ago today, Kathy posted this message on the CaringBridge site of a friend:

“And just remember that God is adding this to the list of ways you can help him. He equips us, through our trials and struggles, to help others traveling on our same (or a little different) journey. You have been, and continue to be, strengthened in ways you could never have imagined. And God will continue to use you for HIS glory.”

I have trouble getting my mind around the fact that Kathy had about five days left of conscious thought in her earthly life when she wrote this.

It was so “Kathy” for her to write these words, because she truly tried to use what she had learned, through all that they went through with the twins, to help others through similar situations.

When the friend gave me a framed copy of these words, it was like Kathy was talking to me…telling me what she thought about our situation without her. No, she didn’t tell us what to do at her funeral. She didn’t give advice on the continued care of her children. She didn’t explain how to keep going without her. She did, though, remind us that, as Paul writes in Romans 8:28, God works through everything that happens to us for our good…and through that good, we can share our stories of hope and trust in a God who loves us and always gives his best for us.

Just a year ago today, Kathy was emailing a friend with encouragement. She was also helping with VBS, and shopping, and cooking, and planning, and caring for her family. What a difference a year can make.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

celebrating the paradox

In Creative Ministry, Henri Nouwen writes:

“When we speak about celebration we tend rather easily to bring to mind happy, pleasant, gay festivities in which we can forget for a while the hardships of life…. Celebration is only possible through the deep realization that life and death are never found completely separate….Celebration is the acceptance of life in a constantly increasing awareness of its preciousness. And life is precious not only because it can be seen, touched, and tasted, but also because it will be gone one day….We can indeed make our sorrows, just as much as our joys, a part of our celebration of life in the deep realization that life and death are not opponents but do, in fact, kiss each other at every moment of our existence.”

In America, we have been so careful to make death separate from living. In fact, many view death in a frightening, horror-movie kind-of-way. God, however, sees it as a normal part of life…a part that is coming to all, just a surely as birth. He even says in Ecclesiastes 7:1: “…the day of death (is) better than the day of birth.”

At first, when I thought of Kathy’s death, I thought of it as “untimely,” and abnormal…a thing that happened that was really not supposed to happen. I have come to think, though, of the day of her death as much a part of “the truth of her life” as the day of her birth. It was a day that has been known since the beginning of time…but that we, in our finite thinking, have trouble coming to grips with.

So…I’m trying to learn to better appreciate life as the most precious gift God has given me, and to also accept death as the other half of the truth of my life…to embrace it all…to celebrate the paradox.


Friday, June 19, 2009


I’ve been thinking a lot about brokenness. What a broken world we live in; what a broken person I am. I’ve been reading the writings of Henri Nouwen lately. He speaks so confidently, that you would never think that he considered himself broken. With the help of God’s redemptive grace; however, he was able to see through brokenness to completeness. In his writing, “All is Grace, “he writes: “The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life.”

What a bitter-sweet thought…new life by the way of the cross….I like the sound of “new life,” but I don’t like the “way of the cross” business. That speaks of pain, humiliation, sacrifice, and ultimately, death. It’s that whole “to have life, you have to die,” paradox. This is the way Jesus saw the way to complete life…it’s the way God sees the way to completeness.

In Colossians 1:18-20 (The Message) Paul says:
“(Jesus) was supreme in the beginning and-leading the resurrection parade-he is supreme in the end….So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe-people and things, animals and atoms-get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.”

As Henri saw it, it is through our gratefulness and trusting-no matter what comes our way-that we will be put back the way we were created to be.

So…thank you, Jesus. I’m trusting you,

Friday, June 12, 2009

how to say goodbye

In a couple of weeks, we will be at the one year…what do you call it…anniversary…death day (like birthday)…of our Kathy? How can we even begin to think about, verbalize, or express what has transpired in the past year? My heart is feeling heavy again…I haven’t been feeling that way latetly, but I suppose I have more time to think about it, since school is out, and I feel like I’m suffocating again.

I have heard Michael W. Smith’s song, “How to Say Goodbye,” several times lately. It is actually talking about when a child grows up and moves on with his life, but it reminds me of the goodbye I’m still trying to say to my baby sister (she was actually a lot like a daughter to me)….These are some of the words:

“Tell me how to fill the space you left behind
And how to laugh instead of cry
And how to say goodbye
Here I stand
Arms open wide
I've held you close
Kept you safe
Till you could fly

Tell me where the road ahead is gonna bend
And how to harness up the wind
And how to say goodbye.”

How do you say goodbye?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

be still my soul

Today is our 32nd anniversary. How can time pass so quickly?! It seems like yesterday that we were preparing for our wedding and life together…what a life it has been!

One of the songs sung at our wedding was “Be Still My Soul.” What a strange song for a wedding…but what a good, truthful song for a wedding. I had no idea, when I was just twenty years old, what life would hold; and how, in all of it, just being still and waiting for God would be the best strategy for life.

"Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to they God to order and provide.
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly Friend.
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake.
to guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake.
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul the waves and winds still know,
His voice who ruled them while He dwelled below.

Be still my soul, the hour is hasting on.
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment grief, and fear are gone.
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still my soul, when change and tears are past.
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last."

Life has held many beautiful and joyful times for Loyd and me. But it has also held some dark, and unimaginably painful days. It is easy to love God and thank him in the good times, but it is much more difficult to praise in the hard times. It is in the hard times, though, that I have learned to cling to him… to trust him… to believe that he is still with me, and that he still controls the winds and waves.

Psalm 46:10 (New International Version)
"Be still, and know that I am God…”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

strong faith/great trials

I know several incredible women who are going through horrific trials at this time. George Mueller said, "The only way to know strong faith is to endure great trials. “ It is a beautiful thing to see so many embracing God and his promises in the time of pain and uncertainty…it gives me faith…it gives me hope.

I really believe that bad things happen to all of us on the human journey. The only difference, as Christians, is that we have the God of all hope traveling with us. We still become sick, dismayed, hurt, grieved, and abandoned (at times by those we love the most), but our hope endures…because God is with us.

I have blogged about the song, “Our Hope Endures,” by Natalie Grant. It has spoken to me time after time in the past year:

“You would think only so much can go wrong
Calamity only strikes once
And you assume that this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here….

…Walk a mile with a woman whose body is torn
With illness but she marches on

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear
But our hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our hope is unchanged

Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient

We never walk alone
This is our hope
Our hope endures, the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
let the earth quake
let the earth quake
let the earth quake
Our hope is unchanged.”

So…let the earth quake…Emanuel, "God is with us"….


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I read this quote today:

“Life will not always be what I expect. Sometimes it will be more and other times it will be less. For me, the main thing is to set realistic expectations and then let go and let God (do what he knows is best).”

We just got Emily and Jon’s wedding pictures, and I was thinking what a wonderful day it was for our family and me. I dreaded it, because I thought it would be sad, but it wasn’t. It was a beautiful day of celebration of love and family. It was a time that was “more…” so good after several “less” times, in the last year.

The past weekend, we celebrated Baker’s graduation from high school. We felt Kathy’s presence all through the weekend, because we heard her favorite scripture repeatedly. Guess what??? It mirrors the main thought of the quote, above. The scripture is:

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So…thank you, Lord, for the times that are more AND for the times that are less. Help me to keep my eyes on you…knowing that you always have plans for my good…for hope…for a future with you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

me too

It has been said “that the most powerful sermon in the world is two words: “Me too.”

Me too.
when you’re struggling,
when you’re hurting,
wounded, limping, doubting,
questioning, barely hanging on,
moments away from another relapse,
and somebody can identify with you-
someone knows the temptations that are at your door,
somebody has felt the pain that you are feeling,
when someone can look you in the eyes and say, “Me too,”
and they actually mean it…
when you aren’t judged,
or lectured,
or looked down upon,
but somebody demonstrates that they get it,
that they know what it’s like,
that you aren’t alone,
that’s “me too.”

Lord, give me eyes for the fellow traveler whom I can come alongside and share the hope you have given me in this journey.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

troubled waters

I was reading a blog by Susan Lang, who is a building consultant. She writes:

“Many times in my life I have found myself in “troubled waters” which has caused me feelings of despair, pain, fear, sadness, panic, hopelessness, etc. depending on the situation. These “troubled waters” may have resulted from the death of a loved one, an illness of a loved one, my job, my children, my friends, my relationship, or simply an everyday situation. When I was younger I found when I was in “troubled waters” it was quite disturbing and uncomfortable. As I matured, so did my faith. I learned that the Lord led me to “troubled waters” to teach me something, to prepare me for something better, or to even prevent something from happening. Now when I am faced with “troubled waters” I remind myself of two sayings that I have heard many times: “If God took me to it, God will bring me through it” and “when one door closes God will open another door”.

I’m reminded of a Bible verse that I have read frequently:

Isaiah 43:2 (New Living Translation) “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown….”

I have the quote about God ‘opening and closing doors” on my kitchen windowsill right now. In my adult life, I have been working on resting in God’s hands (as he opens and closes doors)…I want to allow him take care of me in the “high waters.” I have to admit that some days, I react to life better than other days. When I write, I can be more thoughtful about it, and I react in a better way than I do “off the cuff.” That’s why I write…so I can sort through things, and give more thought to life.

Most days, I (or someone I know) tread the troubled waters. It’s good to remember God is right in the middle of it all, offering peace and rest.
help me remember,


Sunday, May 17, 2009

rock of comfort

So…Jon and Emily’s big day, which we have anticipated and planned for, has come and gone. It was a beautiful time of thanksgiving and reunion…an eclectic mixture of Emily and Jon’s family and friends…of their pasts…and of their future.

As I was watching the ceremony, that took place at the altar of our church, I thought about how many special times of our lives have happened at that very place. It was there that Loyd and I exchanged our vows, thirty-two years ago . When Amy and Emily were newborns, we dedicated their lives there; and almost a year ago, we celebrated Kathy’s life at the very same place. And now…it’s almost as if we have come full-circle… Jon and Emily have dedicated themselves to each other at the same altar.

During the wedding, the congregation sang an old hymn of the church, “Come Thou Fount.” In one verse, there is a reference to raising an “Ebenezer.” We were having a family discussion about what an Ebenezer is, and I had to “google” it…It seems that, in the Old Testament, to Samuel and the Israelites, the Ebenezer was an actual stone that was erected to be a testament to the fact that God keeps his promises… that” his mercies are everlasting; his covenant is forever.” The Ebenezer stone was a visual reminder, to God’s people, of God’s comfort to them. An Ebenezer is literally “a stone of comfort.” Wow! The altar in our church is just that to me…a symbol of the comfort of God…a reminder that I can give the situations of my life to God, and he will take care of them….

Thank you, God, for you comfort…thank you for the reminder,

PS Kathy’s presence was felt this weekend. She was with us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

they are not dead

They are not dead (author unknown)

They are not dead,
Who leave us this great heritage of remembering joy.

They still live in our hearts,
In the happiness we knew, in the dreams we shared.

They still speak in the echoes of the words we've heard them say again and again.

They are not dead;
Their memory is warm in our hearts, comfort in our sorrow.

They are not apart from us, but part of us,

For love is eternal,
And those we love shall be with us throughout all eternity.

We have felt your presence, in so many ways, this weekend, Sister. We love you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

thank you, friends

Tomorrow our daughter, Emily, will be married to a fine young man, Jon Newlin. Our Kathy would have been all over this! She would have known just what to do. I never realized how much I have grown to depend on her... her advice, her help....Thinking of things like this was so easy for her...her mind was so quick and is hard for me, sometimes, I don't have a clue as to what to do.

God has sent me incredible help for this task. My family...,Mom, Dad, Deb, Mike, and Crystal... Joy is even here from California (I am very excited about this).

My most unexpected help, though, has come from a little group of women that I call the FOK's (Friends of Kathy). They are a group of ladies whom Kathy did all kinds of little projects with...the ladies she talked to...and was involved in their lives...some of her most dearly loved friends.

These friends are so kind and helpful and dependable. They do what they promise they will do, and they do it with prayers and smiles and deep love for us and Kathy. What a special blessing they have been to me and my family. What a gift from God (and Kathy).

Thank you, friends...what would I do without you?


Saturday, May 9, 2009

mother's day

So tomorrow is yet another special day that will remind us all over again of what has been lost. I will be glad when this first year is over. It’s like you can almost touch what happened last year…but yet it is so, so far away….

I am clinging to the promise of Psalm 91:4:

“He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

This verse paints a lovely picture of God acting as a mother would…protecting her helpless children…giving her very life for them.

It is actually in times such as these that I realize the power of the love that our Father has for me. I have come to the end of myself, and I find the very heart of God…

Lord, I’m trusting your promise…be a father… a mother…to all children, everywhere, who need you,

Saturday, May 2, 2009

somewhere down the road

“So much pain and no good reason why
You’ve cried until the tears run dry
And nothing else can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear
Is slipping from your hand
And you say
Why, why, why
Does it go this way
Why, why, why?”

(Amy Grant, “Somewhere down the Road.”)

So many unexpected things happen in life. Many of them are kinds of death….the death of a life, the death of a marriage, the death of a relationship; the end of a dream, the end of a friendship, the end of a career; someone leaving, someone moving, someone changing; something taken, something lost, something misconstrued…all death…all having to say good-bye to an old way, a comfortable way…moving from the known to the unknown.

“Why, why, why?” I have found that my God is not angered or intimidated by my “whys.” Back when the twins first got sick, I thought about this a lot. I asked “why” many times. Why do such hard, painful things happen to some people? Why did God “choose” certain people for their particular trials…why did He allow the things that happened to them, to happen?

Through it all, I have concluded that God does not “pick” trials for people…life just happens to all of us…sometimes, our genes determine what happens…sometimes our choices determine what happens…at other times, the choices of other people determine what happens to us. Life happens to us because we are humans, living the human experience. God, in his infinite demonstration of love, gave us, humans, choice. In doing that, He gave us control of things that, at times, we don’t have the good judgement to control (Remember Adam and Eve and their choices… remember me and some my choices?).

So “why, why, why?” I’ve come to the conclusion that Isaiah 55:8 says it best:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.”

The important truth I have learned is that I do not have the where-with-all to understand it all. I do not have the answers…but HE does. When I trust him, he can work it all out, and he’ll work it out for my ultimate well-being.

So “… all I can say
Somewhere down the road
There’ll be answers to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Though we cannot see it now
And somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers at the end of the road.”

thank you, Lord,

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I am so busy…always moving…always thinking… always on “go.” I know this is the reason God has told me to be still…in fact, he has forced me to be still. I have a condition called fibromyalgia, and there are days, that I feel so tired and I hurt so badly, that all I can do is to be still.

As Psalm 46:10, in the Amplified Bible, says:

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!”

And as Hillsong sings in the song, “Still:”

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust.

I’m praying for quietness and trust to grow in my brokenness. I’m praying for his power and his rest to prevail in this storm.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

i will rise

This Easter weekend, I am thinking about life and death a lot differently than I used to. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, gives me a hope that I think about daily. The song, "I Will Rise," by Chris Tomlin, says it so well.

"There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes."

How thankful I am that the grave is indeed "overwhelmed," and that there will come a day when this sorrow will leave my heart as I fly into the arms of eternity to be with him.

Thank you, God, for making a way for me,

Sunday, April 5, 2009

blessed be your name

blessed be your name

The song, “Blessed Be Your Name, “by Matt Redman, speaks to me in a special way these days. It reminds me that, especially in these difficult and unsure times (in my life, in the lives of those I know and love, in the world), I can bless God’s name. I can bless him because his name is the only thing that can save me from all this pain and uncertainty…this craziness!

“Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name
Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be your glorious name.”

Lord, I praising you as I travel through this place I’ve never known before. I travel it, putting my hand in yours and blessing your name,


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

new life

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)
"So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small...compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

heaven will heal

I'm getting ready for our Java Jack's book study, and I came across this quote, made by an unknown author:
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.

This brings to mind Revelation 21:3-7 (in the Amplified Bible:
Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.And He Who is seated on the throne said, See! I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine).And He [further] said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I [Myself] will give water without price from the fountain (springs) of the water of Life.He who is victorious shall inherit all these things, and I will be God to him and he shall be My son.

What a day that will be!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

yet i will praise

Psalm 73:26 (New Living Translation)
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

I will praise you, Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise you Lord
I will praise you, Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise you Lord
And I can’t understand
All that you allow
I just can’t see the reason
but my life is in your hands
And though I cannot see you
I choose to trust you.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

burning bright

I read some of Edna St Vincent Millay’s words, recently, that I haven’t read since college days. For some reason, they have always spoken to me. They say this:

“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”

This brings to mind a song by Switchfoot. It is titled, “Burn Out Bright.” The chorus goes like this:

“If we've only got one try
If we've only got one life
If time was never on our side
Then before I die
I want to burn out bright.”

Which brings me back to our Kathy…all these words reminds me of her. No, she was not by any means perfect…who is?...but her life burned like the hot embers of a beautiful fire…giving warmth to many…burning bright.

I miss her warmth,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

story translated

I found the passage about Jesus weeping at Lazarus’ grave. It is in John Eldredge’s book, Desire. He says:
“ He (Jesus) then comes to the grave site and weeps. Certainly the tears were not for Lazarus, for according to Jesus, Lazarus is quite well. Jesus weeps for Martha and Mary and for all of us who suffer loss. I think he weeps not only for our loss, but also for our inability to see beyond it. Dare I say, sometimes our refusal to see beyond it?”

He goes on to quote John Donne’s words:
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language, and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators.: some pieces translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every situation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”

And our lives…our stories…so translated, will be the joy and the music of heaven…the whole reason Jesus came to redeem our souls. Our sorrow and our sadness…our sickness and our pain…our tears and our tiredness…all translated into the joy of Heaven (Wow! That’s a lot of joy!).

I can hardly wait!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

always love you

I miss you and the funny things you say
I remember every day
in a hundred different ways
I miss you being here with me
Though you've been set free
I hold you in my memory

There's one thing I want you to know:
No matter how far you go
I will always love you
Like a thousand rivers from my soul
I will always love you”

Performed by: Nicole C. Mullen

happy V-day, Sister,

Friday, February 13, 2009


Today has been a sad day for me. I’ve been tearful, and have felt jagged and raw. I got on a bike at the gym, this morning, and just cried and cried…all the time feeling like I was suffocating. I haven’t felt that way in some weeks, so I was trying to figure it out.

I picked up the little Hieberts Tuesday afternoon after school. I stopped by their house yesterday afternoon, and Nick, Brett, and Drew were playing catch in the front yard. It seems that when I spend time with them, I’m reminded of our profound loss and my heart breaks all over again. So, I suppose that is what started my tears once more.

I’m reminded of what I read recently about the possible cause of Jesus’ tears at the grave of Lazarus. The author proposed that perhaps Jesus wept because of the great pain and sadness he knew Lazarus’ sisters and friends were experiencing because of his death. I can understand this, because I want to weep whenever I am around Kathy’s motherless children. My heart literally hurts.

This is just another reminder of why Jesus is so precious to me. He knows where I live…and not only that, He lives here with me. He weeps with me. He feels my pain.

All that said, the sweetness in this day was that when I got to school, I was surrounded by my friends. They literally enveloped me with their love. God used them to help dry my tears and lift my spirits.

Thank you, Father, for being active and present in our joy and in our grief…but mostly in our grief.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

kathy finally said goodbye

Since Kathy left us, I have often wished that I would just have a short dream about her. It seems that when you think about someone so much you would surely dream about her…at least once. Well, it never happened…until last night…I finally had a dream about our Kathy, and it was a wonderful dream.

We (I think it was Deb and me) were at the first hospital, and Kathy was still dying…I’m certain of it…but her body didn’t appear to be broken and hurting. When we came toward her, she was smiling at us…delighted to see us. She didn’t say a word, but she gave me a big hug. It was the best hug I’ve ever had, and there was a feeling of incredible recognition, happiness, and love.

I feel like Kathy finally said goodbye to me, and I’ve been smiling all day.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

donkey on the edge

Our Kathy was a funny person. She was always repeating catchy little phrases for particular moments in life. One of my favorites was her “Donkey” quotation from the movie, Shrek. Any time she was talking about being stressed out, she would say she was “a donkey on the edge.”

Since her death, I have thought a lot about being “a donkey on the edge.” On the edge has been where I’ve been…on the edge, and seeming to barely hang-on-for-dear-life. Life has gone on around me, and the “busyness” of it has affected me like hearing fingernails scraping on a chalkboard. My nerves have seemed raw and exposed…and this has made me feel fragile…unable to take on a lot of extra emotional “stuff.”

Since Christmas, though, it seems I have “turned a corner.” Life (and my nerves) seem to be mellowing out…I’m more normal…less fragile…more ready to “take on the world. I can still feel “frayed,” but mostly, if I get enough rest, I’m feeling better.

I have been thinking about the “grace notes” that God has been leaving in my life, and I want to write about those in the coming days.

And for those “donkey on the edge” days, I just have to depend on Him more and fall into Him…that’s where I find rest.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

i miss mommy

People are always asking how the five children are doing. Between Todd, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Amy, friends, and basketball, they are piecing a life together for themselves. It hasn’t been easy, but they are making their “new normal.”

Deb and I were helping Haden and Brooke clean their room over the holidays. Brooke had written all over her bed’s headboard…mostly names and flowers…but right over where she lays her head every night, she had written the plaintive words, “I miss mommy.” I think that says it all…we miss Mommy!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

not alone

I’ve been feeling better lately…since the holidays are over. I dreaded them and now they’re over, and I feel better. I feel better, that is, until I go to bed. I suppose that is when I have time to think. When I think, my thoughts go to how much I miss my sister and how I can’t believe she is really gone from us. I feel like I have a weight on my chest…I can hardly breathe…and I cry. I feel so alone.

Recently, I heard this song, by Meredith Andrews. It is titled, “You're Not Alone.” It’s just like God talked to me through it.

“I searched for love
When the night came and it closed in
I was alone
but you found me where I was hiding
and though I'll never ever be the same
It was the sweetest voice that called my name
You're not alone
for I am here
let me wipe away your every fear
My love I've never left your side
I have seen you through the darkest night
and I'm the one who's loved you all your life
All of your life”

As Deuteronomy 31:6-7 says:

Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.”

In my mind and in my heart, I know I’m not alone…I just forget it in my body and emotions sometimes…

Thank you, Father, for reminding me,

Thursday, January 8, 2009

when i call on jesus

I’ve been listening to a Nicole C. Mullen song this week. It is the same song that Brooke used to belt out when she was about three years old. She was going through a traumatic illness and transplant. The song is “When I Call on Jesus,” and I can’t help but think about how much it must have encouraged our Kathy in some of her darkest days. Some of the words are:

“I'm so very ordinary, nothing special on my own.
Oh, I have never walked on water,
And I have never calmed a storm.
Sometimes I'm hiding away from the madness around me
Like a child who's afraid of the dark

Weary brother, broken daughter,
widowed, widowed lover, you're not alone
If you're tired and scared of the madness around you
If you can't find the strength to carry on

When you call on Jesus,
All things are possible
You can mount on wings like eagles' and soar
When you call on Jesus,
Mountains are gonna fall
'Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue you when you—"

This all reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses, Isaiah 40:31:
“ but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

Here, in my weary and broken place, I’m calling on Jesus.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

painful and beautiful

I am so glad that 2008 is finally over! I have never lived through more difficult times. I would also have to say, though, that if I described the past months, I would have to admit that they have been the most painful I have ever lived, but also some of the most beautiful. How can that be?

This is what Jesus had to say: “…trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 The Message)

This is hard to understand…an oxymoron in nature…but it has happened in my life. The harder the world presses me, the closer I get to God. Horrible, difficult things push me into the arms of the One who loves me like no other has ever loved me…it is painful and beautiful, at the same time.