Give Thanks


Thanksgiving pic

I’ve been thinking about how I can say to others, “Give thanks.” If you’ve recently lost a loved one or are still grieving the loss of a loved one, you may think, How can I give thanks?

As I thought about what I wanted to write to you this Thanksgiving week, I thought, Can I say that I’m thankful that God took my husband home to Himself? Can I say I’m thankful that I am a widow? “No.”

I realized I’m not thankful for those precise things. But I can say that I’m thankful that God didn’t allow my husband to linger in great pain and suffering.  I’m  thankful I know Phil is in heaven with our Lord.  I’m thankful God’s promises have continued to be true. He’s remained faithfully by my side. God promises that He’ll work all things for good if we just trust Him. I have experienced that in my own life and am eternally thankful.

I’m thankful for the normal things in our lives: my family, my church, food, clothing, and health. But I’m also thankful for so much more. I’m thankful for my salvation, that Christ gave His life for me. I’m thankful God never leaves nor forsakes His own.  I’m thankful  I had a loving husband and the evidence of that love that still surrounds me. I ‘m thankful for the healing of my grief and strength for those first few years. The beauty of this earth, even in its fallen state, can’t go unmentioned.

I could write pages about all the things I’m thankful for. Instead, I’ll close with this verse, “Jeremiah 33:11 “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Let’s praise the Lord for His goodness to us, which  is everlasting!

  “Thank You, Father”

(by Marsha Hubler)

 Thank you, Heavenly Father
  for your strength
which has seen me
through many trials.
Because of you,
I have had the courage
to face tomorrow’s unknown.
Your wisdom
from days gone by
now guides me
to make the right decisions
when I reach the forks
in the road of life.
Thank you, Father,
for the cherished cloak
of family ties
which has molded me …
now enfolds me …
… and fills me
with love and gratitude.
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The Meeting


I have been following a blog of which the author calls herself  “God’s Sparrow.”  The title of her blog is Sparrow’s Scrolls. Today with her permission I am sharing with one of my favorite  writings of hers.  Her blog has blessed me greatly and I am sure it will you also.

As I read “The Meeting,”  it helped me to be aware once again that when we lose a loved one, God does not forget to include us in His plan as well. He lovingly lays a pathway before us and guides us along that pathway.

The Meeting

Date: October 18, 2010

Time: 4:30 am

Where: Heaven

Present: God

Angels

Good Morning. I have called you all together at this early hour to tell you that my Sparrow’s beloved has just suffered a stroke.  This has come as no surprise to me. It has, however, shaken her immensely.  It is not in My plan to heal him, for his time to come home to me is drawing near.

The upcoming months will be most difficult for her and she will find her faith tested almost beyond measure. I, however, know she will remain faithful throughout the days ahead.

I set a plan in place several months ago to have her assigned to a position in the school directly across the street from the hospital. She will find herself working for a group of teachers who will be incredibly supportive, tolerating her ringing cell phone, last minute absences and her sometimes “foggy” days.

And, when it is time for him to leave the hospital after six weeks, I have arranged for there to be a room available at the best care center in the area. There, too, she will find a supportive and caring staff.

Although she will be greatly upset that he will need to be in a care center, it is My plan for him. There are many who will benefit from his presence there and his strong faith in Me. He will tell many about Me. In addition, I wish to have this time apart with him in order to prepare him to come home to Me.

Now for your assignments: Her safety while in her vehicle is crucial. There will be many late night and early morning trips. She will also be driving while in tears and in harsh winter weather to visit him each day. Her health is also very important. Stress will be her greatest enemy during this time.

Help will be needed to navigate through the mounds of government and insurance paperwork. Make the way easy for her when she shops for special clothing and shoes for him. I don’t want her going endlessly from store to store. Protect her house from winter’s storms and keep everything in proper working order. When a repair is necessary get it done quickly at minimal expense. There is a younger couple I have positioned in the house up the street who will be a great support to her, Keep an eye on them as well and let them know when it is time to check on her.  As the months go on and she is becoming increasingly weary I will lead her to online friends. At various times these friends will need a “nudge” to send her a message with a butterfly. These beautiful creatures of Mine have always been her favorite and I want her to receive many of them. I will also arrange for the butterflies to appear in her life in many different forms – on shirts of strangers and flying across the hood of her car one particularly hard day.

Shortly after the second anniversary of her beloved’s passing she will hit a very low point. She will find herself in a very dark place not understanding how she got there or why, This too is in My plan.  At the urging of her physician and with My permission she will start medication to alleviate this darkness. In time she will come to see the light again and I will return her “words” to her.

That day will be October 18, 2013. On that day, three years into the future, she will sit at her keyboard and once again feel the joy and honor of sharing My words.

She will still not know what her future holds. But I know – and it is only good, as I have promised. For, as she relays how I have worked in her past, she will be reassured of how I will work in her future.

Ok, meeting dismissed. Now you know your assignments – get to work My angel armies!

And this, my friends is what this verse means to me now: Psalm 91:11 For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.

A New Year


To many of you reading this blog, the start of a new year brings sadness. It may be the first new year you have entered without your loved one. It is another dreaded first. It seems strange to realize that you are going to be living in a year that he or she never will.

To others it may represent a new year in which you can try to put the past year behind you. This new year may stand for a year without fresh sorrow or grief.

Some people comment that it is just a new date. It means nothing to them. One thing is certain, time will always continue on. There will always be a new second, hour, month and year. That is, until we reach Heaven where there is no sense of time.

We have no choice but to keep putting one foot forward. In Philippians 3:13-14 we read, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus .” We all need to keep pressing forward. With God’s help and with Him walking beside us, I hope we can all keep moving forward and looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2014.

May God bless you, Kathy

Twenty-six Months into My Widowhood Journey


The further I travel on the road of widowhood, the clearer the picture becomes of my husband’s present state. With that realization the picture of his last days on earth becomes dimmer each day. Instead, I have a constant visualization of him being just behind the veil. The veil is what I  like to call the separation between heaven and earth.

Two months into my third year of his passing on, I still miss him very much and think of him often throughout each day. But, now when I think of him it is not with sorrow, instead the thoughts come to me because he is still a part of me. After 42 years of marriage he is intertwined with my thoughts and decisions. I have learned that I have to control my thoughts. If I start to entertain thoughts of his last days, or other sorrowful thoughts of the years of his illness, I realize that I have to stop myself. I am past needing to go through those thoughts for healing and for learning to deal with those times. I now am to the point that the only purpose those thoughts fulfill is to pull me back into sorrow. I know that he has just left his earthly tabernacle and moved into his house “not made with hands.” II Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” That is where I need to picture him. He is in Glory Land, where I will be someday also.

As I go through my day, my husband is right there in my mind’s eye. He is not really that far away from me at all. As Christian’s, our ultimate victory has been to one day stand before our Savior and Lord. God allowed Phil to see Jesus face to face much sooner than any of us expected. However, I know that one day I, too, will be in the same place as Phil is, standing before my Lord.

Will I still ever shed tears again now that my husband is gone over two years? Yes, I am sure I will. But I’ll shed them because I miss him, not because I grieve for him. One day, I will meet him again never to be separated throughout eternity’s endless time.

God’s Umbrella of Love and Protection


As I hear the thumping of my grandchildren’s feet running down the hill and across my back yard or I hear the back yard gate slam shut, I am reminded of God’s love and protection for me.

Often circumstances that look bleak or unfortunate to us are really God working out His gracious plan for us. When circumstances forced my daughter, son-in-law, and children to move from Arizona to Pennsylvania, all we could see was the rough- knotted side of the tapestry. We had no idea that on the other side of the tapestry, the side that God sees, a beautiful pattern was being formed.

After we heard the words, “He will have months,” referring to my husband’s prognosis, it was comforting to hear the pounding of hammers and other construction noises coming from a new home being built in field behind our house. While God was transitioning my husband closer to heaven, he was also planting my daughter’s family right next door.  Someone would always be close by to look out for me.

Many times I feel like God has put an umbrella of love and protection over me when I sit in my living room and know that in a matter of minutes family members someone would be at my door if I needed them. Friends often say, “Isn’t it amazing how we can look back and see how God had all of that planned?”

Yes, thank you, God, for always looking after me.

A Glimpse of Heaven


Two years ago, on June 4th, my husband entered heaven. Two pictures come to my mind when I think back to that day. They are contrasting pictures.

The first picture is one forever etched into my mind, a memory of how my husband looked as he was dying. Because of the chemo he had no hair. He had not been able to keep his food or drink down, so he was very skinny. He had lost his immunity with a previous bone marrow transplant, so he had developed a bad case of chicken pox which covered his entire head and body. All of these factors added together gave him a very ghastly appearance.

As I now envision that heart-breaking scene, I then shift to the other picture etched into my memory. This picture is actually more of a scene.

While my husband, Phil, was taking his last breaths, he opened his eyes and looked above his head and smiled! He did this three times! The last time he had a look of surprise mingled with his smile. Both my daughters and I were so blessed to have witnessed this. We knew that Phil had seen a glimpse of those who were waiting for him. Was one of them our son? Phil’s mom?  Jesus himself?

Genesis 49:33 says that Jacob “yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”  I believe that all believer’s will be gathered unto their own. There was something very sacred about standing there and witnessing the tunnel of eternity opening to my dearest loved one.

May we all remain faithful until that day that we meet again.

 

A Anniversary Letter to my Husband


Good morning,  honey,

The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the birds are singing. There are lots of  flowers blooming outside. You know how I love spring! A morning like this warms my soul.  God gave us such a beautiful earth. What beauty you must be enjoying in Heaven! I praise the Lord for His wonderful love and goodness! While feeling this joy, I realize that I have a still, small sadness trying to creep inside my soul. May 10th keeps popping into my head. Yes, we would have been celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary this week! Even before I realized it, this sadness was creeping in. However, this year I can say that I have sadness, not sorrow. Last year I felt very sorrowful. There is a difference between the two feelings, and I am so thankful that God has brought me through the deepest of the waters and I am now on the shoreline.

I can’t help but think, “How nice it would have been to have if we could have been together and one day celebrated our 50th wedding Anniversary.” But then my thoughts turn around to realize that to be in God’s will is the only way to have real happiness. You are now in “fullness of all joy”  forever. Psalm 16:11 says, ” …in thy presence is fulness of joy….”  However, I know that this verse applies to me also. As I read this entire verse, ” Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of  joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,”  I take these words to heart. If I strive to live daily in His presence, I can always have that joy He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  I am very thankful that God allowed me to have you for my husband. Our marriage was not perfect,  as no one’s is. But we loved each other deeply. I know that God fulfilled His purpose for you down here on earth, and He now has a further purposefor me. He gave me those precious married years, but He has a plan for me now as a widow. I strive daily to walk in His will and to be sensitive to His plan for me now.

Thank you, honey,  for choosing me as your wife and for being by my side all  those years we had together. You are still my hubby.

We may not live together any more, but my heart is still tied to yours. I love you very much.

Yours forever, Kathy