Luscious Sweet Strawberries


As my husband was becoming less able to do the things he loved to do, he planted some strawberries. He reaped a few that first summer that he planted them . The following summer he passed away. If there were any berries, I have no recollection of them. The berries were not cared for properly, but last summer I did find a few. Often since the start of this present summer I would think, I must weed those strawberries Phil planted. They are special to me and I want to keep them going. But I never got around to caring for them.

Last week my grandson came down to cut weeds in a patch of lawn that once was a small garden. I hurried and pulled the largest weeds so he could see where the strawberry plants had been, hoping to save some.  Imagine my surprise as I pulled out the weeds, some which were two feet high, to see large, plump berries! Mmm, are they sweet! Words can’t describe how I felt about finding those hidden strawberries.  It actually felt as if I had been given a gift from my husband. I must have picked a least a quart that day. I have had just a few to pick since then. When I saw that the entire area was full of large thick weeds, I had assumed that I had lost my chance of keeping those plants. How glad I am that I looked carefully before just cutting everything down.

How many times do people miss out on God’s salvation and His blessings because they aren’t willing to reach out and trust Him.  God’s word says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed be the man that trusteth. .” Psalm 119:103 goes on to say, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea,  sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Just as I had to reach out and partake of those strawberries to experience their sweetness, we also have to reach out and read God’s word and trust Him before we can experience the sweetness of Him and His promises.

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.

 

Celestial Shore


Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven!

Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s,Reminds us of heaven

Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial air,

Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality,

Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm,

Of waking up, and finding it Home!

Anonymous

The words above were sung at my son’s funeral. They were such a comfort to me. Just imagine it! You reach out to a hand and realize it is the Lord’s! You go from this life that is full of trouble to absolute continuous peace and calm. Home forever! I Peter 1:17 says that we are just traveling through this world. Our stay here in this world is temporary. We are just passing through while we await our turn to go to our real home, the celestial shore.  What comfort and joy this can give us! Our loved ones just travel on a little sooner than us. One day if we have Christ as our Lord and Savior we will travel on also and rejoin them. There will be no more separation, pain or sorrow. No loneliness.

My son’s death was sudden. One minute he was driving and the next he was breathing celestial air. One minute he was clutching the steering wheel, and in the next instant he was holding God’s hand. There is no way to describe  the joy he had to feel.

As my husband was dying, he opened his eyes three times to look up and over at someone waiting for him on “the other side.” Just a few minutes after he shut his eyes the last time, he was gone from his earthly body and opened them the final time to see the face  of  Jesus. He too, stepped onto the celestial shore, and I believe he was embraced by our son whom he missed so much.

As we await our reunion with our beloved husbands, it is a comfort to us if we picture them as they stepped on that heavenly shore. We can look with anticipation for our own  time of “passing from the storm and tempest to an unbroken calm.”  Until that time we need to continue to follow Jesus one step at a time.  He will lead us on the right pathway if we allow Him.  May God bless you.

Kathy

Why, God?


The following is an excerpt from my book “God Never Fails.” This section is talking about the time God taught me not to ask why.

“Kiersten has acute leukemia.”

My sister’s devastating words were on the other end of that phone call.  Kiersten was my beloved niece who was just four years old. During the year that followed, my sister and family lived in the vicious cycle of that big “C” world.

Since my husband and I lived 98 miles from my family, we watched and suffered with them from a distance as their daughter fought for her life. We watched as she lost her hair and grew new, dark, curly hair in its place. We watched, from afar, as that sweet  angelic child went through painful treatments far from home. I watched while she and her mother lived in hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses for weeks at a time, leaving the other three children with our parents. Kiersten’s father divided his time between work, home chores, and staying with his daughter at the hospital.

We heard how little “Ki-Ki” braved the storm that lay before her. One time she stood up front in her church and sang “Jesus Loves Me” all by herself before leaving for her bone marrow transplant. Did she know it would be her last time in her beloved church?  A few weeks later, we listened to my sister telling us that the child was suffering inhumanly while her body fought against itself, rejecting the transplant. Yet, we were in awe to also hear how she and her parents continued to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and other favorite songs in the midst of that suffering.

Late one night, we received a call from my sister asking us to “pray for God to take Kiersten home.” The next morning she was in her Savior’s arms.

It was at that time that I cried out to God, “Why? Why? Why did you have to take her? Why didn’t you heal her?” As I sit at my desk now, I can visualize the exact place I was when I heard my Lord whisper in my heart, “You would not understand if I were to tell you.”

Instantly, the Bible verse Proverbs 3: 5: “Lean not unto thine own understanding …” became very clear to me. “Your mind is too finite,” he whispered in my heart. I fully understood then, as I do now, that our finite, small minds, much more like an ant’s brain compared to God’s, simply can’t understand the events our God has planned. We must only trust because we never could understand even if he were to tell us the “why” of every situation.

It is very natural for us to wonder why things happen to us or our loved ones. There is nothing wrong in asking this. However, we need to be careful to trust our Lord that although in most circumstances God’s ways just do not make sense to us, He makes no mistakes. The verse above reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  Isaiah 55:8 & 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God loves us more than we could ever imagine. He can only do good.

When my husband went home to be with His Lord, I never asked God why. I had settled that issue so many years ago with the death of little “Ki-Ki,” and I never felt the need to ask that question again. We all need to find peace in our hearts that we can trust the Lord. Then we can hold His hand with the trust and faith of a child. It is then that God can lead us on the uncertain and new paths that lie before us.

I pray that you do all have this trust. Please feel free to contact me if you so desire. I would welcome the opportunity to be able to talk with you. You can contact me through the comments section below or via email, kbellows60@yahoo.com

Kathy

Tears


Anyone who has gone through a loss in his or her life knows what it’s like to shed many tears.  I have to admit that with the loss of my husband, I fought more times to hold those tears in than I did with any other loss that I had gone through. Yet, I would tell others how our tears help cleanse our wounds so we could heal.

A good friend of mine asked me why I did not like to cry. My answer was that I supposed it was because it feels so bad. When I would cry, it often would last over an hour and it felt awful. To that she replied, “Well, God gave us those tears so don’t you think you are saying that you do not like something that God gave us. Isn’t it almost rebelling to fight it so much?”  That gave me food for thought. I realized that she did have a point. If God gives us those tears, He has a reason for them and I should accept them as a part of my grieving process.

A couple weeks ago I heard a man say that our tears “honor our loved ones.” I never thought about it that way before, but I do agree with him. Hearing that has helped me to not be so embarrassed to shed a few of those tears around others.

With those thoughts in mind I decided to take a further “look” at our tears and crying. There are several places in the Bible where they are mentioned.  I googled “tears in the Bible” and found many verses. Tears were mentioned as being shed over many things besides the loss of a loved one. Hannah wept before God because she wanted a child, Esau wept over Isaac. In the Psalms we find King David speaking of his tears. Jeremiah was called the “weeping” prophet.  There are many recorded incidences where tears were shed for sins and disappointment.

A friend sits behind me in church used to pat me on the shoulder and say, “God keeps all your tears in a bottle, Kathy. Isn’t that special?”  Psalm 56:8 says the following; “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” If God knows how many hairs there are on our heads and if He knows when a sparrow falls, He most certainly knows how many tears we have shed. That is a precious thought to me.

In Genesis 23:2 “Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.”

In John 11:35 we find that Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus.

In Luke 19:41-44 we read Jesus wept. As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem after His triumphal entry, “he broke into loud weeping.” Klaioo is the Greek word used for this weeping and it means to weep audibly, to burst into tears.

I attended a thirteen week seminar called Grief Share. During one of the sessions this question was asked. “What purpose or value, if any, does crying have in recovery from loss?” was asked. The answer stated that crying can represent a physical demonstration of emotional energy attached to a reminder of someone.

When studying about tears, I found that tears really do get rid of toxins in our body. When we keep our emotions inside of us and do not release them, it makes us feel worse. The emotions become suppressed and can cause depression. For me it would cause such a build- up of emotions that I felt deep turmoil. It was only after I allowed myself to cry or sometimes willed myself to cry that I would get relief. I have learned that the reason I felt better after releasing those tears is because crying releases endorphins. These are hormones that act as a mood elevator. Each time I wept I was releasing these hormones and elevating my mood.

I’m sure some of you readers also have struggled with your tears. I can reassure you that God did intend for us to shed our tears and they really do help us heal. I also know that as you allow yourselves to cry, (and by doing so honor your loved ones), you will one day realize that your tears are coming less often and with less intensity. We are all different and grief does not come with an expiration date. Allow yourselves to be YOU and give yourself all the time you need. It does not matter if it has been only six months or two years. Release those tears when they come.

May God bless you. Remember, there will come a day when God wipes all our tears away. Revelations 21:4 “And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying.” Praise His Holy Name!

Full circle


As I sit down to write this post, I am fully aware that I soon will have come “full circle” with my loss of my husband. By that I mean that on June 4th it will be one year since he passed away.  He passed away from this life into a wonderful, new eternal life. You may wonder how I can say that with such confidence. My confidence comes from my faith in the Word of God. In Romans 6:23 we are told that “…the wages 0f sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  John3:16 says,”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Phil did believe on Him and had accepted Him as his Savior. Because of this,  I know He is in Heaven with His Lord and Savior.

I feel a deep sadness when I think of my beloved husband. I miss him terribly. However, I do not grieve as one that has no hope. I do know that we will be reunited again someday. I know that he is in fullness of all joy and that I too will have that same joy one day.  I have slowly been walking down the pathway before me with all of its ups and downs, twists and turns.  I know that just as I healed from the grief of my son’s death I will also one day be healed from the grief of my husband’s death.

I would like to think that now since I will soon have experienced all of the “firsts” I will completely turn a corner in my grief and not have  sadness any more. However, I know that in reality there is no magical time when you suddenly are healed from your sorrow. God has held my by His right hand and will continue to do so. I can reassure you that as I look back at the past 12 months and compare them to how I feel now I can see that I have come a long way and that God has allowed me to do a lot of healing.

If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one be assured that it will not always hurt so badly. If you do not have an anchor in Jesus Christ to hold on to I can explain to you how you can have it. May God bless you in your journey.

Facing your fear


I remember the day I received the telephone call that my husband had “something wrong with his blood”. The next call was from a hematologist who proceeded to tell me that my husband had to go to the emergency room immediately. She said, “Your husband’s hemoglobin is so low that he is at a risk for a heart attack.”  The fear that gripped my heart was like none I have ever felt before.  I called my pastor to tell him what was happening. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I said, ” I am so afraid. I do not usually feel this way, but I am very afraid. ”

Later, while my husband was waiting for his transfusion, my pastor and his wife walked in. We visited for a while and the pastor prayed for us. He addressed my fear while talking to God. A calm came over me once again.

Most people who have received the news “you have cancer” or the news that your loved one may have cancer have experienced this same fear. I want to reassure you that you do not have to live with fear. The bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee….” (Isaiah 41:10) God is not a God of fear. You need to be honest with God and tell him you are afraid.  Ask God to give you His peace and He will. Each time your fear returns give it to God.  Remember that God is walking by your side if you are trusting in Him.

Never alone


Good morning,

The sun is shining brightly today. I took my coffee and sat on the porch swing early this morning. It was not daylight yet, h0wever the birds in the trees were singing their morning songs already. I love to  sit and listen to the sounds of God’s creation around me. Last night I heard bullfrogs from the pond when I was in the backyard. The sounds all around my house remind me of God’s continual presence and love.

When you have lost someone you love, it is easy to feel alone. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are never alone. I am very aware that since my husband went to be with the Lord, humanly speaking, I am alone. That is, I live alone. However, in reality, I am NOT alone. It is impossible for our friends and family to be with us at all times, but Joshua 1:5 tells us “Only God can stand with us all the days of our life.” Our lifetime mates and our children can not make that promise. Psalm 16:8 states that God is at my right hand. “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

As a deceiver, Satan wants to make us forget that God is always with us. He wants us to look at our circumstances we are in.  It could be you have lost a child, as I have. Or, you may be a young widow such as me. Satan wants us to focus on these losses and to feel like no one understands. He wants us to feel alone in our grief. He does not want us to focus on God. Do not misunderstand me. God wants us to allow ourselves to grieve. He gave us tears. He does not want us to forget our loved ones. However, He does want us to feel His presence and His comfort in the midst of our grief.

Today, keep your mind focused on God and his presence and remember that He is with you always.

If any of you readers do not have that peace and comfort to carry with you daily please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to show you how you can recieve it. May God bless you today.