Tag Archives: loss

Kirby

“One of the great joys of life is creativity. Information goes in, gets shuffled about, and comes out in new and interesting ways.” 

                      ~ Peter McWilliams
 
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a]
                     ~ Colossians 1:9
 
He was a small dog.  Eight and a half pounds when we got him at age 10.  He was an unfamiliar breed other than hearing that one of my students wanted one and that he was from Africa. A Coton’ du Tulear?  A royal dog of Madagascar?  Well Madagascar must be wild and unruly…this cute little dog barked and barked when we first saw him in his owner’s home.  We were told not to look at him, not to put our hands down near him or he would bite…we were given so many “nots” we wondered why they even had him.  He was cute as all get out, but unapproachable.  When we heard that the family was willing to give him away, I, for one was not interested.  Yappy, snappy, unhappy little creature…NO.
And then we heard about the alternative plan for his life.  We thought at 10 we might be able to give him a new home.
 
Our daughter wooed him for a week, visiting with him, taking him for walks on the beach near his home, and finally bringing him to ours.  He was unused to the small amount of traffic in our suburban neighborhood, willing to threaten biting even the cutest and bravest of children.  He bit several family members.  I think he tried to bite all of us, and succeeded with some.  We were told he did not like men and he tried to prove that, but I thought he just didn’t like anyone but our daughter.  He was attacked early on by a neighbor’s unleashed surly, aging pit bull. We did not think he would live.  We were heartbroken at the thought of losing him.  Other neighbors joined in our prayers for him. He rallied and made a full recovery.
 
Over the last six years, we grew to love him, talk to him, take him for walks, take him into our hearts, not just our home.  Stubborn, tenacious, opinionated our friend called him.  She was so right.
But he also was a good listener, a selective snuggler, and he took his time trusting each one of us.  But he loved us too.  And he was indeed a good companion.  Especially during NCIS marathons where he especially enjoyed the character named Ziva.
 
When the dark growths began to appear on his sides, he bit them off, licked them clean and kept going.  But this last year, something appeared on his ear that he could not get to, a growth the size of a designer potato.  He finally smashed it against something in his effort to self-clean and it became infected.  The doctor, in his assessment of the tumor managed to have it come off in his hand. He called it “cowboy surgery.” Our little soldier came home with a war bandage and began trying to get it off, even with the “cone of shame.” Three attempts were made to stay the re-growth of this thing, but to no avail. No freezing, crystalizing worked. The last proposal was to remove the part of his ear that the tumor insisted on inhabiting.  We had a tearful family pow-wow and decided that he would never stand for the imbalance of the ear, and that it was not going away. At 16 years old, watching him spend so much time trying to remove a bandage that was really just protecting the ever tenacious tumor from his teeth, grew to be too much.  We made the decision to put him down.
 
Again our daughter guided him to his new home with love and skill beyond imagining.  My future son-in-law stood by her side and we all cried and surrounded him with loving words.  And he passed.  The attendant placed him in one of his favorite blankets and in the casket that my husband fashioned. Our daughter suggested a funeral procession.  We went to the water he loved so much, drove him past the village cemetery where family members were put to rest, to our own home.  We had a short memorial service, saying what was in our hearts to say, tearfully watering the grave and then each shoveling dirt into his earthly resting place.  And then we had a good cry together.
We gave him a service that spoke of our love and feelings for this little opinionated doggie and laid him to rest.
 
Our Lord has done so much more for us, preparing a place, even before we were born.  We did our level best to honor the Lord in our life with this little curmudgeonly dog who listened to our joys, our sorrows, our fears without judgement. 
Just as our Lord has done for you.
Because of Him,
Linda
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It Is Well

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

Linda

Linda

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Clean

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.” 
                                                     ~ Dolly Parton
 

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

                                                   ~ 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

     When you point a finger at someone, there are always four fingers pointing right back at you.  And that was last summer.  My mother in law passed away.  Everything following that event was complicated.  Words were said, actions were taken.  The ones that  bother me the most were my own.  A side of me came out that was living under a rock.  I cannot erase those images from my mind.  My heart was hard, my feelings were as unraveled as a skein of yarn after cats have played with it.

     So many hurts, so many wounds.  I wanted to be mature, wise, even helpful.  But what I saw and demonstrated was anger, hurt, stressed out, unhelpful. I asked the Lord for forgiveness, I wrote notes to folks thanking them for kind things that they did in the face of my emotional breakdown.  But I cold not receive the forgivness.

     I heard this song by Natalie Grant, “Clean.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAQQFB7btbc

     The healing has begun, I don’t know if the others have forgiven me, but I have begun to forgive myself, and allowed the love of God to wash over all of that complicated stuff.

     I have a pastor friend, the Reverend Tom Castlen, who makes the following phrase a part of each benediction he pronounces at the end of a church service. “And remember, be good to yourselves at least once a day.”

      And so say I to you.  Let these lyrics wash you in mercy. Take a bubble bath in them!

     Because of Him,

     Linda

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Always Stay Humble and Kind

A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It’s an undo-it-yourself project. 
 
                                                               ~ Abigail Van Buren (1918–2013)
 
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
                                                              ~ Philippians 2:9-11
 
     It has been a very painful few weeks in the United States of America.  Lots of death, lots of loss, lots of hateful things said.  I listened to the President talk about changing the way we speak, the way we treat each other, the way we need to move forward.  I heard the choir sing, “Glory Glory Hallelujah.”, I have seen the posts on social media.  
      Still lots of pain, lots of people who know better. Lots of platitudes, lots of stinging words.
 I saw this: on a friends’ page on Facebook the other day.
” Two thousand years ago, Jesus ended the debate on which lives matter. He died for all. ” I still felt the sting.
    Ultimately it doesn’t matter whose words sound better, who is right, who is more politically correct.  We are all hurting, afraid, tired, scared, done, in shock, and trying to move forward, not on.  One person at a time, if we are humble and kind and remember whose light we are called to walk in, we can/will, make a difference.  I believe I’ll let Tim McGraw preach today.  His words heal, remind, charge us with today’s task, “Always Stay Humble and Kind.”

Always Stay Humble and Kind
Because of Him,
Linda

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Fear and Gratitude

Replace fear with gratitude, and the whole world changes. 


          ~Terri Guillemets
 

How well God must like you—
    you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon,
    you don’t slink along Dead-End Road,
    you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

Psalm 1:1-3

     A former student of mine passed away suddenly.  He was a bright young man, full of promise.  He pursued college for a time, had a loving family around him.  He is gone.  Out of respect for the family, I am not mentioning details here, God knows them all.

     I was tempted to fear from one  of the younger, very very sensitive siblings.  But I know whom I have believed.  I know how that young one has been prayed for. I believe that God will raise that young man up to be everything that God wants him to be.

     You who work in schools, who deal with young people, know that temptation often has an office just outside the doors.  Don’t give up on your kids.  Keep asking God to show you who to pray for, and how.  

     You are that tree getting ready for Eden.  You know the Gardener.  Replace that fear with praise, with gratitude.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXVuBaXvcd4

All Good Gifts

Because of Him,

Linda

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Just Be Held

Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. 
                                                        ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory.
                                       ~ Romans 15:7
 
     My Aunt, my favorite, most faithful aunt, my only remaining relative from that generation, is gone to be with the Lord.  We spent some glorious time together in this life.  She was there for my very first day in the world.  And she will be there for my very first day in the next, standing with the rest of my family.
     My Uncle and my family have been in touch every day.  We are telling stories back and forth, laughing, crying and being together as we can.  The best thing about this whole experience is this:  the Lord is present in every conversation, as are open hearts, open minds, pure love.
    Letting of her is hard.  Then I heard this song on K-Love yesterday.  Just Be Held by Casting Crowns.
 
     Just be held. Relax into the love, the tender mercies, the everlasting arms of the one who keeps you, who lay down His life for you, the one who knows you from before time began.  Just be held.
     Because of Him,
Linda
    Here are the lyrics:  
“Just Be Held”

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

 
 

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You Lift Me Up

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. 

     ~Mark Twain
 
 

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice,

Psalm 95:6-7 KJV

     Sometimes it’s a plunge into a task, pruning trees or mowing the lawn.     Sometimes it is a distracting piece of music or a conversation with a child.
Sometimes it is picking up a book. Oft times it is helping others, getting involved with teaching or assisting those in need.
     Whatever it takes to drag your thoughts away from your troubles brings you closer to God.  It brings you closer to God because it takes you outside of you!
     Today, as you weed, prune, play, hear a child, read, or help, at some point you will have to bend.  And with the bending comes kneeling and with the kneeling comes a hand.
     A hand that gently lifts your chin to meet the eyes of your Savior.
You Lift Me Up
The Afters
 
 Because of Him,
Linda

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