He watches over each of His sparrows. And He watches over me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sparrow

     My fingers have remained "silent" for a while since I last posted. There have been several attempts to fashion something for this space; they were all deleted because they were "just not right". Remember I promised that I would not post until I heard God say "go" and I was not hearing it - until tonight. This is a post I thought I was going to save for later but it became obvious to me that tonight was the time to share it with you.
     On May 22, 2011 - just 11 months ago I found myself sitting in a large arena awaiting the start of the ceremony that would mark our daughter's graduation from college. I had been up since 3:36 am after receiving the phone call I never wanted to get, telling me that my beloved had "passed". I had seen him the night before and although we knew the time was close there were no real indications that it was that close so I felt comfortable going home with the plan in mind that I would return first thing in the morning to visit before going to the ceremony. I did return first thing in the morning - but for a different reason and a different type of visit.
     Upon entering the arena and finding a seat I was able to keep myself composed but was pleading with the Lord constantly to" just give me enough strength to get through this please".
     As the seats around me began to fill I was in "fog" and was so glad to see that I was not surrounded by couples but women who for reasons unknown to me were alone. The two who were sitting on either side of me perhaps felt my "aloneness" and gently led me into conversation and I eventually shared with them that my husband had passed just a few hours previously and gladly shared about him and our daughter as they shared details about their graduates with me.
     As we were talking we noticed at the front of the arena that there appeared to be a bird who had gotten "lost" inside the vastness and was flying around. It wasn't causing any problems - it was just flying around up in the high seats and periodically perching up there like it was waiting with the rest of us for the ceremony to start.
    Once the graduates processed in and the music stopped after they were seated this bird started to fly again - and came and landed directly in front of me! I was stunned to see that it was a very small, delightful little sparrow! It stayed there for a couple of minutes looking at me and then flew off to the area where my daughter was sitting and then flew directly over her head. The Chaplain got up to give the opening prayer - a message from Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord - plans for a hope and a future - plans for good. How appropriate. How comforting. During his message the sparrow flew into the high seats and waited patiently. Then came back down when he was done and flew over my daughter's head again - and continued to do so throughout the entire ceremony. And then she walked onto the stage to receive her diploma with the announcement of Magna Cum Laude!  My heart soared! Tears of sorrow were mixed with tears of joy at that moment. As she returned to her seat the bird flew down over her head yet again.
    Now perhaps others would say "Well, it was just a bird that got stuck inside" - I say differently for this reason - my beloved husband had a special place in his heart for the little sparrows. He spent many winter hours in his basement shop building bird houses just for the sparrows saying that since Jesus felt they were important he did too and they would always have a place in our yard to nest and care for their young. We spent a lot of happy hours watching them do so.
     It was no accident that this little sparrow came to visit that day and it was no accident that the scripture for the day was Jer29:11. God sent a sparrow and inspired a Chaplain to give me comfort on a most difficult day.
     As I was sitting there I realized that I would not be able to go to the care center with pictures and an account of the ceremony to share with my husband - but then I also realized I didn't have to - he had a front row seat - right from heaven!
     As we come into a season of graduations, weddings and proms and other special events be mindful of the day God sent the sparrow to comfort this widow. He will send something to comfort you as well. Lean on Him, trust Him and know you are so very loved by Him.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Love Remains

     This would have been our 25th Wedding Anniversary. As the day approached I wondered how to mark this day. It is a day the world says no longer exists. Yet is still a day that exists for me and one that I am not quite ready to relinquish. We always celebrated this day together - and therein lies the core of it - the word together. You are still with me, but you are not "here" with me. I have decided that I will mark this day by telling all who read this what a wonderful man you were.
     When you came into my life 25 plus years ago it was for me like the Kenny Rogers song"You Decorated My Life" and you said I did the same for you. Our friends said we made each other sparkle! And my love how I did sparkle in the glow of your love for me.
     You encouraged me in all I attempted. You taught me how to sing and together we sang at weddings and anniversaries and at endless Karaoke shows. You spent money we didn't have on art supplies because you knew I could paint and would spend hours watching me do so. You baked cookies for me to take to work and cooked dinners for me to eat when I got home. You planted flowers in our yard that still remind me of your love for me. You built bookcases, and tables and shelves for our home that I use daily and give me comfort because I know your hands were upon them.
     Most importantly you joined with me to have our daughter. She is such a wonderful testament to our love, She has inherited your woodworking abilities so those saws and routers and hammers of yours are not sitting idle!
     The last year of our life together was so painful because of your illness and the shared knowledge that it would soon cause us to part. During the initial months following your passing I could only focus on that pain and the pain of being left to live life alone and find a new direction now. Today I realized that was only one year of 20 plus years. I have so many more years of joy and love to remember that they are beginning to cause that painful year's memories to fade just a bit. I still flounder at times when I am trying to figure out how to be a widow but you taught me many lessons that have served me well in these last months.
     Two days before you passed you said to me "I want to thank you for all those wonderful years of marriage" I will always remember those words my love. This is my way of saying thank you as well for all those wonderful years of marriage and your unconditional love for me.
     Love remains.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Garden

     This is Holy Thursday - the night of betrayal for Jesus and the start of an horrendous ordeal for Him. Tonight I would humbly like to share something I wrote about 25 years ago. At the time I was going through a very difficult trial which I won't detail now but then I thought it would be the most difficult thing I would ever have to endure. How little did I know then that it wasn't and that these words would come back to me all these years later to give me comfort in this present season. But God knew - and I believe that is why He led me to find them all these years later. For He is the same God today as He was then and will be in all my days to come.
      At the time I wrote these words I was attending a major denominational church and it was the custom on Holy Thursday to ask members to sit in various time slots for an all night vigil.  I signed up for a 60 minute time slot and off  I went. And this is what I wrote to Him and how He responded to me in my heart.
     It is so quiet here. Such peace fills this place - such calm. So much calm and peace it will be difficult to leave. There are others here - many have come to sit through the night with you. As I sit here I wonder what was really going through your mind that night. There were no candles for you - no baskets of beautiful white flowers - You didn't even have anyone sitting with you. They were all asleep. I'm here with You now, but I wonder if I'm really no different. It's easy to spend 60 minutes with you in a comfortable seat, in a warm room with candles and flowers. But would I go out into the garden in the dark on a chilly spring night and kneel down in the dirt by a rock - I think not - I would probably be asleep with the others. How often do I fall asleep in my life becoming unaware of the call to spend time with You. How many have been the times I have feigned sleep so as not to be available or become involved.
      Yet, You knew that about me even then as You knealt. How incredible that is to me - my mind cannot grasp it - You knew I would fail and fall short and yet You still gave Your "yes". You knew what was coming - about the cross and the horrible way you were to die by taking upon my sins and thereby being separated from Your Father. It is written that you sweated blood and that an angel came to comfort you and give you strength. I believe the angel also brought you peace and that You were given a vision - a vision of the resurrection glory that was to come. You understood that Friday was necessary so that Sunday could happen.
      And so, when I come here to "stay awake with You awhile" with the intent of sharing Your anxiety and pain You say to me - No my love - look to the vision - the glory and victory of the resurrection. On all the Fridays in your life when you feel lost and alone remember that I carried all that for you. I leave you with the vision of victory - the glory of triumph over death. Walk in the light - let no one in the world or of the world rob you of the peace I give. It is a peace so strong and powerful it carried me through the most horrendous time a human could have endured. Remember the vision - I share it with you to give you strength and peace.
      And so on this night as I prepare to spend my first Easter without my beloved I am strengthened by that vision - the triumph over death that is given to us all as a pure gift - salvation through the blood of Christ. Yes, Jesus Is Lord - Jesus Is My Lord. He is here beside me this night as I pray in my garden of sorrow - He is not asleep. He stands ready to comfort me and strengthen me.
      He stands ready to do the same for you as well dear one. He is right there beside you.