Sunday, December 6, 2015
Hope has led the way to the second candle here in the corner house - Love.
A tree in the window, a small Nativity on the hutch, and the Nativity set outside joined the Advent wreath today.
As I loaded Joseph and Mary, holding the Babe, into the car for the short drive from the garage to the front yard, I thought about Mary's "ride" that night so long ago. Pictures depict her traveling on a donkey or a burro. The Gospel account says she was "great with child". It could not have been an easy or comfortable trip for her. I always thought her "yes" came from faith and trust in her God - now I think there also had to be Love - a love she had for her God that allowed her "yes" - with the words "Let it be done to me according to Your will". A simple, sincere statement from a humble, pure heart that set in motion the greatest show of LOVE mankind has ever known - the birth of Jesus, the Savior, who would lay down His own life for us. I wonder if Mary felt "loved" that night - with her Joseph close and that precious Babe in her arms - I suspect she did. She loved and she was loved - and she was blessed.
For those of us who were once blessed with love, this is a difficult season. The nights are dark and the days can be grey and lonely. Because of the darkness, it can be easy to focus on what we no longer have. Hearing the music, seeing couples shopping, and endless commercials about the perfect gift for her or him assault us from all sides. There are many days we long to go to sleep and awake in January.
So, what are we to do in the face of this darkness? I have chosen to light the candle of Hope, which has carried me to the candle of Love. God has asked me to undertake a journey - indeed a difficult and uncomfortable one. He is asking for my "yes" - will I do what I can in my small way to shine His light from this corner house? There are those in the world around me who need His light - will I do my small part to show it?
This fifth Christmas was almost going to be left to the Advent wreath and the inside Nativity - until today when the longing for light hit me so strongly I knew it was time for another "yes". Yes, I will put that lighted Nativity out front and yes, I will put that small, brightly lit tree in the window. My prayer is that just one person driving by on a cold winter night will see and be led to seek the Light Giver, and come to know the gift of His Love.
I no longer have a "Joseph" by my side - but I DO have Emmanuel - HE is with me - every day. I AM loved.
He is with you as well dear sister. Through the pain and loneliness of this grief He is with you. Tears come and waves of sorrow threaten to take you under - they will wreak havoc with you - but they will not prevail. Hold fast to Hope dear one - it will lead you to Love - HIS love.
Be at peace tonight dear one, for He loves you so.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Advent - a long forgotten remembrance from my childhood of purple and pink candles, ceremoniously lit each Sunday with appropriate readings - a time of preparation for the coming of our King - our hearts made ready for the wondrous celebration on Christmas Eve and the excitement of Christmas morning.
Advent - memories of my childhood transitioned to the lives of my children with a wreath some years - other years a paper chain of 25 pieces -other years a special calendar - still with the intention of preparing hearts for the coming of the King.
Advent now - alone in the corner house on a chilly, grey day. Quietly it came - the "idea" of a wreath - the "nudge" to make my heart ready.
And I struggle with the word for this first Sunday of Advent - HOPE. What is "hope" - beyond the definition in the dictionary "A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen"?
As a child it was easy - I was hoping for Christmas morning. As a mother I was hoping for Joy for my children and for them to know their Savior and understand why we celebrated His birth.
For those who are alone, the HOPE of Advent is difficult to grasp. Our hearts are hurting. Memories of past joyous seasons flood our minds as we struggle with whether or not to decorate and, if we do, how to endure gazing at the tree we used to trim together with each ornament a painful reminder of what once was.
So then, what is "Hope" for us - the "feeling of expectation" the "desire for a certain thing"? Truthfully, we don't know what to expect and we desire for things to be the way they once were. And we struggle with it all. And we ask, "Where is my HOPE?"
And quietly my Savior comes with the answer "I am your Hope - I have been your Hope since your childhood, and I will continue to be your Hope in the days to come."
My Hope is not in the decorations or in the external trappings. My Hope is in the ONE for whom the decorations and trappings are displayed. For even without the decorations of this Season, the ONE would still make His way into my daily life -living with me, walking with me, loving me.
I cannot grasp "hope" - but I can and will grasp Christ. As I go into this fifth season alone, I realize my "hope light" has become a bit dim for I am a bit weary. And so He came gently last night and said "Prepare your heart, child. Make the wreath. Walk quietly in this time of preparation. Expect ME. Desire ME. And your hope will be renewed."
And as darkness gently envelops the corner house, the first candle of HOPE is burning bright with the promise of His coming and the expectation of His love.
Be a peace this night dear one, for HE loves you so.
Monday, June 22, 2015
…....and a time to rebuild. Ecclesiastes 3:3 (TLB)
Thoughts were whirring around in my mind like the contents of a blender on high speed: how to get the monster hedge trimmed; when was that particular bill due; what was that strange noise the car made, etc., etc. And in the midst of it all -what would I find to say this month to you dear sisters when my mind was so muddled with so very much.
I needed to just be still before the Lord and listen for Him to speak. One of my favorite techniques to "settle" my mind is working on a jigsaw puzzle online. There is something very calming in sorting the pieces, putting the frame together, and hearing the "click" of pieces going into place. Sometimes I challenge myself by not looking at the reference picture; and then there are times when I must refer to that picture frequently. Occasionally I do a puzzle with no picture - only a title. Those are the really hard ones!
As I worked through the process this time, I began to think about the new puzzle I was given four years ago with only a title "Linda without Ken". I had been perfectly content with the "Ken and Linda" project, but everything changed when the last piece of that picture was put in place as my beloved was called to Heaven.
Now I had a whole new set of "pieces" to put together alone. For a while I ignored it because I really didn't know what to do with it. I had no real picture of "Linda the widow" in my frame of reference. So many things were the same: the house, the car, my clothes, my friends - yet absolutely everything was different.
Yet, God is faithful, and eventually I found myself sorting and putting together the frame - finding some familiar pieces that gave me comfort - the corner house that he picked for us, the shelves and tables he made, the roses and flowers he planted. These pieces have fit very nicely into this new puzzle and give it strength.
I also found pieces that were alien - loneliness, sorrow, and yes some pieces named "anger" and "why". But these pieces are part of the whole and must be incorporated into this "Linda without Ken" picture. These are the pieces that are the hardest to fit into place.
Four years later I am still working on the puzzle - some days I just get tired of it all and put it aside - but those days don't come as often now as they once did. I am also discovering some wonderful new pieces - a deeper relationship with God than I ever could have imagined - a quiet peace in knowing that "God's got this" - the depth and beauty of each of God's promises to us in His Word - especially this one: "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:8 - the words Moses spoke to Joshua preparing him to move forward into the land that was promised.
Moses was able to speak this to Joshua because in his own life Moses had seen the faithfulness of God to be real. And now I speak it to you dear sisters, because I too know the faithfulness of God to be real.
Father, Thank you for going before us each day as we move forward putting together these pieces of our lives now.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Happy Heaven Day my love!
Here it is - number four. I turned off the lights as we always did for candle lighting in days past, and lit the candle. Its soft glow filled the room as I sang the song. When I got to the place where I sang your name my voice wavered a bit and I had to push to continue. I realized then that it's been a long, long time since I've said your name out loud. I've thought it and typed it and when speaking about you with our daughter your name is "Dad". So, this coming year I plan on speaking your name aloud more often.
It's been a good day here at our corner house. The roses you planted for me are beginning to green out and all the lilacs are finishing up. And, of course, the hedge is growing! But this year I have a cordless trimmer and I fully intend to get at that thing next week!
Since I decided last year to re-name this day "Happy Heaven Day" I have not had the usual dread about its approach that was present in years past. Things are beginning to level out a bit as I get used to living this single life. It certainly is not one I would have chosen, but it is the one that I have been given. It has taken some time to realize I am living as one person now because you are still so much a part of my life. Getting accustomed to doing things alone takes some time and I haven't mastered it yet.
The word "alone" is still so prevalent in my daily life. My love, I am so glad you are not the one going through this. Most of the days are ok now; but the evenings still present challenges. I sometimes will leave all my "busy" work to do in the evening hours, so they will pass more quickly.
For now it's a good way to cope.
Did our beloved dog find you? I had to send her on her way a few months ago. That was so hard to do. But, it was time and I had to let go.
Now it's God and me and Isabelle kitty in the corner house - and my memories. For so long my only memories where of the last year of our life together. Now I am able to go back to happier days and smile. I treasure those memories and I thank you for them my love.
God has been faithful. Since that night four years ago when He called your name and said "It's time", He has gently led me and tended to me. And I know He will continue to lead and guide in the days ahead.
And now at year four I can say healing is coming. Oh yes, there are still some tears, and I struggle with loneliness. But as I get stronger I find the tears and loneliness are easier to endure. God's sustaining grace has indeed been sufficient.
So, as darkness falls on this day I will say goodnight my love. We will see each other again when it is time. Until then I will hold you in my heart and remember that "Love Remains".