“Call Back!”


I have been praying about what to write to you as it nears Christmas time. During my devotions this morning I decided to pull out my 1979 edition of  “Streams in the Desert,'” by Mrs. Charles Cowman.  The devotional I read for today reminded me why I write this blog. I write it because I feel God wants me to “call back.”

I am sure I wrote about that topic before. Luke 21:13 says, “And it shall turn unto you as a testimony.” Here Jesus is talking to His disciples about all the trials they will go through. He tells them they will be as a testimony for them. We too have our sorrow and trials to use as a testimony of the way God always walks with us if we love Him and turn to Him. That gives the connotation of calling back to others to help their rough road that is ahead of them.

I have realized that all of us are at different places in our journey of grief. Some are farther down the road than I am and some of you are newbies. As I compare my first Christmas in 2011 to this  Christmas I can see that I have had alot of healing and growing during the past year. I often sat down and wr0te a letter “to my husband” during my down times.

I am going to share portions of last year’s letter which was written two days before Christmas. Since it is a personal letter to my soul-mate I will not include the entire letter. I am sure you understand why.

December 23rd. (5 1/2 months into my journey)

I miss you so much. You were a gem… I did not always appreciate you. But we loved each other dearly. I want to clarify here that my husband took an early retirement due to his health. Therefore, we had his last two to three years with more time together. I went on to write… I am so thankful that we had the last 2 or 3 years together. Even though I know you were sick, we had so much time together. I know it is selfish of me, but if I could have you back here, even on the couch, taking care of you, I would love it. I’d rub your feet, your legs, and your hands to help with your pain just as I did then. But I know that is no way for anyone to have to live. You deserved to be able to go to Heaven and really start living! I know God will help me through this. You would not want to come back to earth. Even though you loved your family so much, I try to remember that fact. Why would you want to come back? Who would want to leave his Lord and Master? I know we will be together again some day.

I wonder if I am just starting my grief. Was I numb before? I say this because it seems to hurt so much more now. Maybe I am in a different stage now. I don’t know. I go through the day “pep” talking myself. ( Here I listed all the many things that he always did here at the house that I, at the time of this writing, still had to remind myself to do. I shared how, when I slip, I try to do better. I then went on to write of the many things he did that he did not need to do, but he had spoiled me and did them anyway. I wrote…) I miss not having you here keeping my car clean inside and out and always pumping my gas. I miss our bed time ritual. I say to the dogs, “Well, are you ready to go up?” when it is bedtime…like we used to say to each other.

I continued to write and to thank him for the way he always took care of me and told him how I can still look around and realize that his care was still carried over to that day. I told him things I had changed or did at the house since his passing.  I told him how I am learning to become more independent so I do not need to lean so heavily on others.

Then I closed by telling him that I still love him very much and that he is still with me in my heart and mind at all times. I then wrote,  “I know you are where you belong, and I am happy for you. I know I am where I belong also. It is just very hard to accept. Knowing what is best and being able to handle that fact are not always the same. Sometimes it does not seem real.”  (I then shared some personal things and continued with the following…) I know I will keep on keeping on. I hope I can get more strength and not collapse like this so often. I know that death is a victory. It allows you to be with the Lord. It is just a transition from better to best. My problem is that I wish I did not have to be left behind. However, I realize that our God knows best and that I must accept it and go on. If you know anything about what is going on down here, please ask God to give me more strength and to dry my tears. I know now why grief is called a “journey” or, as I just read in a book,  “one foot in front of the other each day.”

As I reread that letter, I became aware of the fact that now, just a few days shy of one year of writing this letter, I can call back. I can call back to those of you who are near, or even just past, that stage. I no longer wish my husband back. I have that settled in my mind and heart. I can picture him in heaven with my son praising our Lord. I long to be in that place myself, but I am content to fulfill God’s will for me down here. I have almost mastered taking over his role around this house and have also learned when to delegate it t0 someone else  (at quite a cost I might add!) I still love him very much and carry him in my heart and mind daily. However, I can do so without so much pain. The pain is usually now best described as twinges that come and go. I do still have occasional times of breaking down, but they are much fewer and I would describe those times as getting weepy instead crying.

God has been healing me daily. This year I have accepted invitations to my church friends’  homes and have gone to church functions. Last year to go alone was too painful and awkward. So you see, I indeed can call back and tell you that the journey does get better. God does fulfill His promises. You will smile and laugh again, and you will even enjoy decorating your house again! Hang tightly to Jesus’ hand as you travel through these holidays. He will bring you through them and you will continue on your journey to healing. Joy does come in the morning! (Psalm 30:5)

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

Ponderings at Thanksgiving


As Thanksgiving approaches I think of so many things I could thank God for. First and foremost I thank Him for my salvation. I thank Him for loving me just the way I am and for sending His son to pay the penalty for my sins. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to hear of Jesus and the leading to give myself to Him at the age of 16.

I am thankful that God led my husband and myself to each other later on in that year. He too was a Christian. I have come to realize that God gave Him to me for a season. As much as I wish our time together as husband and wife could have been many years longer, I still am so thankful that God allowed us those 32 years together. After my husband became ill, he apologized to me saying he was sorry I married someone who “was sick”. Naturally I told him I did not feel that way at all. I am thankful that I was the one that God ALLOWED to marry him. The Bible says , “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me” , or in other words, “He will fullfil His purpose for me.” God fulfilled His will for my husband and will continue to fill His will for me.

My house sits on a hilly piece of  land.  I do not have to walk very far to be uphill where I can look down and see most of our property. Each time I look back down from the top of our yard I am thankful for the way my husband provided for me.  I realize that he worked hard for that provision and to give me this security. My home is not a new home, but it is comfortable and I am secure. In many ways I feel like he made me safe and secure in my earthly home before he moved on ahead to our heavenly home.

I am very thankful that God has surrounded me with my family. They are very close both in proximity and in our relationships together. He has also provided me with a wonderful caring church family. Aside from my Lord, I would never have made it this far down my journey of grieving if it were not for all of them.

Although I could write all night on the things I am thankful for, I will end with this last thing. I am thankful that I will never be alone. God promises He “will never leave me nor forsake me.”  Hebrews 13:5.  In Isaiah 54:4-5 it says “… for thy Maker is thine husband…” in reference to widows. So with those thoughts in my mind I say, “Praise be to the Lord for all His goodness and mercy He hath bestowed upon me.”  I could never thank the Lord God enough for what He has done for me!

Quiet my heart Lord


10-31-1012  written during a battle…of sorrow…won with the Lord.

Oh my soul, why art thou dishearten within me?

Knowest thou not that God is with me? Do not look back! Keep your hands to the plow and your face forward! Or better yet, heavenward. How can one feel so calm in their spirit for days, even weeks, and then fall so far in the other direction? Why does my heart suddenly yearn for my loved one so very deeply tonight?

Why did my mind take me back to the days, weeks, just prior to my dearest husband’s death? Why did I need to remember the night I sat up on the couch and sobbed loudly, awakening him from deep sleep? Why must I remember that sweet man, rising from his couch to shuffle over to me try to comfort me? Or why must I remember the time I started quietly crying in the restaurant after his last treatment? I can hear him now responding to my apology, “It’s alright. I would be the same if I were you.”

Did I say all of the things I feel now would have been important to have said? But does it really matter? Why must I allow Satan to torment me? My soul, arise up and pick the torch back up. Continue to be a comforter, not one that needs comforted. Know that you have loved and been loved, and that is one of the greatest gifts here on earth. Know that you are surrounded by the extension of that love daily by his children and grandchildren. You have been left comfortable and well taken care of. You can look everywhere and see where your beloved’s  hand has been and where he left a reminder of himself. Faint not. Forge on ahead and continue to pave the path for others to walk on after you too are gone.

All the possessions left here will deteriorate unused. But the memories, the love, the example in dying, will be remembered in my heart and soul for as long as I am still here.

God, lift me up again, that I may hold my head high and forge forward again. Please give me wisdom in all areas of life. Keep my path straight. Thank you Lord, for giving me all your promises and for fulfilling them day by day.  Thank you for never failing me.  My soul is lighter once again, Lord.  I will praise your holy name forever.

life goes on


Sometimes when you are grieving it feels like your world has stopped while the rest of the world moves on.

What comes to my mind so often is that I will now “grow old alone”. I see so many couples growing old together. They are holding hands, hands that have weathered all of life’s storms together.  I miss the fact that there will never be a picture of us grey haired, old, wise and loved. Their will never be a “50th” wedding anniversary. There are no “good-night honey” said any more. “I love you. ”  “I love you too honey.” These are among the many things that I  miss. Who will hold me when I cry over another grief ?

The answer to that question is “my Lord”. When those thoughts come to my mind and my heart aches I need to run to Jesus. God told me He would be as a husband to me. It seems to be easy to for me to slip out of that habit. I need to make the fact that God is as a husband to me as natural for me as it is to breathe. Those of us that have Jesus to cling to need to keep ourselves fully aware of that. When I feel lonely I need to talk to Him, because He is always there with me and I am never alone.

It is easy to look at my grief and losses and get my eyes off of the pathway in front of me. When this happens I stumble and fall. I wander around aimlessly with no direction.  Proverbs 21:20 tells us that there is a treasure to be desired. There are treasures to be looking for.  These treasures are only found in Christ Jesus. V 21 goes on to tell us that ” he that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life…”. My life in Christ can be abundant and full of joy. If we allow God to direct our paths we will not wonder around aimlessly feeling lost. I hope you will join me as I follow God on a victorious pathway of victory and joy.

Poem “OUR BOY” – One Year Later


I am reposting this blog this week in honor of the one year anniversary of the home-going of  sweet Jeremiah Ulmer. I have watched his family sorrow, yet not without hope.  I have grieved in my own heart with them as well.  We continue to remember him daily. February 6th will represent the completion of a year of “first’s”. It is not, however, the end of grieving. Grieving does not come with an expiration date. Everyone’s grief is different. Still,  I know from the loss of my own dear son that their grief will continue to lessen over each new year. As each wave tosses them out into the sea of grief, each wave will also bring them back closer to the lighthouse on  shore.  As I have watched them travel this first part of their journey, I have seen the entire family keep their eyes heaven-ward and lean on their Savior.   This week is bringing to close one year of  indescribable joy and peace for Jeremiah as well as one year of learning to cling to God for His healing and peace for his family. May God bless them as they they start another year in their journey with their Lord.

“OUR BOY”

by Charlotte Ulmer Minium on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 2:44pm ·

Our Boy”

by Stephanie R. Ulmer

I heard your prayer from up above,

For another boy to hold and love,

And so I fashioned one with grace,

A beautiful boy with a handsome face,

I gave him twinkling eyes of blue,

His baby skin was soft and new,

He had ten fingers and ten little toes,

Big chubby cheeks and a cute little nose,

A hearty laugh, an adorable grin,

He was as sweet as a boy could have been,

And so I was finished, my planning was done,

I sent him to earth, I gave you your son.

Take heed though, I whispered, his time won’t be long,

Make each moment count, for soon he’ll be gone,

And so I watched ‘or him from heaven above,

Our boy was growing, he was showered with love,

He teased his sisters and played with his brother,

He respected his father and was sweet to his mother,

He liked hunting and fishing whenever he could,

He picked on his siblings like little boys should,

He loved knives and guns and trucks that were loud,

He was boy to the core and he made us all proud,

But just like I told you it didn’t take long,

Our boy grew up. He was tall, he was strong,

No longer a child, He was more like a man,

You had hopes for his future, but that wasn’t My plan.

I missed the boy, he was Mine from the start,

I knew all his thoughts, I knew him by heart,

And so when his time on earth was all passed,

I called My boy home, back to heaven at last!

He came in an instant, My bright happy child,

And when he caught sight of the angels, he smiled.

He’s up here in heaven, he’s sheltered from harm,

He’s safer than ever he was on your farm,

His eyes are still sparkling a beautiful blue,

His skin is remade, its again fresh and new,

The memories he left are all yours to share,

They’re sweet and they’re precious, so handle with care,

And so when your feeling discouraged or blue,

Remember he’s Mine, but I shared him with you.

In Loving Memory

Of

Jeremiah Justin Ulmer

5/27/93 – 2/6/12

Jeremiah with his big 7 pt. buck. He shot him from 750 yards away straight through the eye. He couldn’t have been more proud.