December 3, 2018 - a Significant Date

>> Wednesday, December 12, 2018

In May of 2013 my husband and I gave a party to celebrate John’s cancer being in remission.  In front of our friends we exchanged vows and placed new matching wedding rings on our fingers.  We announced we were now ready for our “bonus” round. For two years we traveled, laughed and loved.  

A few days after his death, I entered a jewelry store and inquired about etched wedding bands.  It was suggested I go to Walmart for that. Even though that seemed below my worthy cause, I did.  I purchased a Tungsten band with the words “always and forever” etched around it. Then I slid it on my wedding ring finger.  It seemed a bit crowded there, but it contained the message I wanted.   

Five months after his death, I traveled to Israel.  I had longed to go there, but John had never had that desire.  It was everything I had dreamed it would be.  And I wanted a souvenir to remind me of Israel … and my love for John.  My big purchase was a silver ring with the words “I am my beloved’s” etched in Hebrew. I placed it on my right hand. 

I’ve worn that Israeli ring for three years.  Suddenly, it began to irritate my little finger.  I could feel no rough spots, so tried to ignore it.  It worsened.  

On December 3, 2018, as I sat on a bench in my closet preparing to put on my shoes, I placed my hands in my lap.  And I contemplated.  Was I willing to keep wearing something that could possibly cause a skin issue?  

I removed my Israeli ring. 

As I held it in my hand, I was flooded with memories of who I was with, where I was and how I cried when I put it on my finger in Israel.  Why would it suddenly cause an irritation?  My eyes were drawn to my hands in my lap.  My right hand seemed naked … and my left hand seemed crowded with two rings.  Did I dare remove one?  

More contemplation.  

Without any emotion, I slid my wedding ring from my finger … the one placed there by my beloved.  It seemed this was the next step in my grief journey.  But what to do with it now?  Since his death I have worn John’s wedding ring on a chain around my neck. It seemed appropriate to place my wedding ring on that same chain.  Since my ring was smaller, it nestled nicely within his. Perfect.  I could feel John’s approval.  

My grief journey has been taken with baby steps.  It’s a journey that can’t be forced … and it is different for everyone.  

I’m pleased with my progress. 

 “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”John 16:22 (NIV)


The End is the Beginning

>> Wednesday, October 24, 2018

It happened again this morning.  Another familiar face in the obituaries.  Over the past year, there have been several of my friends and acquaintances listed in that classification.  Before my husband, John, died, I would see those epitaphs and wonder how I would handle it when it was his picture.  

It was hard.  

Some of those names were very familiar to me.  Others I only knew from church, motorcycle club, Starbucks or neighborhood.  But they had all come to an end … of sorts. I believe that death is not the end. Depending on their belief in Jesus, they either had a beginning in heaven … or not.  

I know John is in heaven. He probably has a gold motorcycle. When it thunders, I smile.  I think he’s riding it on the streets of gold. 

There were a lot of obits this morning.  I pondered where their new beginning had occurred.  It breaks my heart to think they missed heaven.  

“Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” Matthew 6:19 (MSG)


Set Apart

>> Monday, October 15, 2018

I grew up in a church that believed the Bible when it told us to be “set apart”.  That meant we were to have nothing to do with anyone who didn’t attend our church.  I know other denominations and religious sects that feel the same way.  

I was always set apart at school and in my neighborhood.  If I got too close to others, their worldliness might rub off on me. 

I wondered about the scriptures that spoke of the Christians being the light in the darkness and the salt of the earth.  How, exactly, could we do that if we kept ourselves separate?  

Today, the world I live in has gone nuts.  

As I watch the news and read the newspapers, I have been so grateful for the peace within me.  As a Christ-follower I know the end result.  I feel like I’m an observer, watching the craziness from the outside  

And then it hit me.  I am set apart.  

But I don’t have to live an isolated life, making sure to have no contact with someone who does not believe as I do.  That’s good, because I have many of those.  

I am set apart because of my belief in Jesus.  What the culture of this current world does cannot separate me from Him.  I can calmly look on from the sidelines, pray and be grateful for my peace.  

“Thus, you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the people to be Mine”.  Leviticus 20:26 (NASB)


Sort and Discard

>> Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Two weeks ago, I began a project that I planned to work on over the weekend. Boy was I wrong. Days later I’m still working on it. And I’m not done yet.  

I had 2,853 emails. 

Now I know there is a way to just delete them all. But I couldn’t. Some were receipts from purchases made and the receipt emailed to me. Others were pictures I wanted to keep. Still others were correspondences from when my husband, John, was ill.  You see they went all the way back to 2012.  That’s the year he was diagnosed with cancer.  Emails took a back seat to life.  

I’m down to 804.  And some of them have made me cry…again.  

But as I’ve been working on sorting, printing and deleting, my mind has turned to life.  There was a time in my life when I had to work on the project of removing negative input, untruths about God and incorrect advice for my future.  

And that wasn’t done in a few days.  It took me two years.  

What does your inbox look like?  Do you need to take the time to sort and discard?  

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” 
 2 Corinthians 5:17 (MSG)


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