Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Job, Mary and Me

Again it's been quite awhile since I've written! I was reminded of this the other day when my daughter in law Dawn mentioned it.

The last few months brought some highs and one very low point. And here I thought I was finally recovering from the loss of son John when, on November 14, I learned that my son Eric had died suddenly... out of nowhere... so here I am again.

First, on to the highs. Right before I got the ugly news I had participated in a Chazown group with members of my church. Mind you, this was online using all that wonderful tech that allows us, tho far away from each other to be together.  Chazown is a group of exercises that helps us to see events in our lives; to see God's big picture and discover our purpose. For me, some themes stood out...and some of what I thought was my calling were less apparent and so I was going to discard them.

...and then I lost another child!

After all that could be done was done and I was once more alone with God, of course I was angry, frustrated, annoyed and most of all in pain.  The "why God, why me" took over for a short time. "What is Your purpose in this?" I need help to understand!!!

Unlike the loss of my firstborn, this loss was less difficult to deal with. I chalk it up to "been there, done that syndrome". It IS difficult to know that I'll never talk to my boy again in this life. I still have moments of anger as I pour out my heart to the only ONE who has the answers...but is silent.

...and that brings me to Job.

If you've never read it, Job was like THE most righteous man on earth in God's eyes.  God even drew attention to this man while satan was before Him.  "Hey you twerp, look at my servant Job! He's the BEST!" Of course, satan being who he is, reminded God that it was easy to be righteous when he had it all. And so God gave him permission to remove the blessings. (Job 1:8-12)

Two verses have gotten me through... first Job 13:15 which reminds me that my first purpose always is to praise God... not the easiest thing to do in this place in my life.  And yet, I do. As to the "why" question... Job 38:4 reminds me that even while I'm feeling so out of control with emotions that at times overwhelm my common sense- God is sovereign... in control.  Right now, I haven't a clue as to what's next in my life. But our God does! I don't know what today will bring, let alone the year and beyond... but I know He has a plan... and He is good. I know from reading the entirety of the book of Job that HOPE is the reward of our faithfulness in life... especially in adversity. Which brings me to Mary...

It is said that this young girl said YES to God without hesitation, freely and joyfully accepting the work God had for her-knowing in advance all the ugliness that would come. ( Luke 1:26-38 ). As we celebrate the birthday of our Lord, a song I love reminds me also of how she must have felt as the hope of the world was dying on the cross.  This song always makes me cry! Even and especially in my grief I empathize with this mother... and have to wonder if the events of our Lord's death took her by surprise as the loss of my two boys did to me.  Here is the song, but I'm betting you already know the song I'm talking about ...

OK to sum up... I have the hope that I will see my sons again.  Eric often said he was angry with God for not letting him say good-bye to John.  They were as close as two brothers could be and I know that he missed him greatly. They were fishing buddies, had an outrageous love of dogs and heavy metal music! And so I imagine that when it's my turn, I'll find them with pups by their side, fishing poles dangling and singing some booming headbanger song.

As we come to the end of this year I have so many to thank for their love and support! The staff of (Dana, Amanda and Austin-you're my heros!) My Church Online teams braving the early hours and googlers for the 7AM CT experiences with me. Of course my sweet, loving, supportive and generous beloved unbeliever Scott.  HE is my port in these storms!

I love my children, my siblings, my grandchildren (and their moms), and most of all I love God and am thankful most of all for JESUS... who is my hope for the world even in the deepest darkest places!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

---- this is the week I set personal goals, hopes, plans and make adjustments... Check out and let me know if you will be taking this journey to find vision!  See you next year!

Friday, August 22, 2014

What the World Needs Now...

It's been quite awhile since I've posted...
I've got to admit to some minor depression about the death of my son, even after such a long time. Yes, even after almost two years since his hospitalization and the illness that took his life.

In the meantime, it feels (to me anyway) like the world is going to hell in a handbasket! A new and much more powerful terrorist group in Iraq and Syria; the continuing skirmish between Russia and the young country of Ukraine; the Hamas vs. Israel violence that continues; and last but not least, the ugliness in Ferguson, Missouri. And those are just the "big ones"! Not too long ago I heard on the news that there are at least 40 "killing" events going on in the world at any given time.

Lesser but still relevant events include the ebola epidemic in West Africa, the influx of Central American children at our U.S. southern border and let's not forget the House suit against our duly elected president.  And all this just in the month of August!

Really, what is going on? Why can't we all just be reasonable with each other? Really LISTEN instead of attacking? Where is empathy, diplomacy, and the desire to live peacably with one another?

The rich are getting richer, the poor and even the middle class in America are getting poorer. Voting rights are being threatened and let's not forget the gerrymandering of voting districts. More tax cuts for the wealthier among us, subsidies for corporations, while cuts are being made to social programs. Our government officials being bought because now "corporations are people too" and being given religious exemptions because their owners don't want to follow the laws to provide certain services mandated-all the while keeping their bottom line in the black.

Yes, we all have certain inalienable rights, but it is now too often feeling like some folks have more than others. (Reminiscent of the piggies in "Animal Farm" perhaps?)

I have often said that more than caring about others, practicing the Golden Rule, or a government of, by and for the people-it's more about money, power, and influence. Whether it's Putin in Ukraine, or ISIL/ISIS in Iraq- don't they realize that killing and making war is self-defeating?

Here in the USA where we passed a Civil Rights law back in 1965, people are still being judged by the color of their skin. The recent shooting of Michael Brown brought it all to an explosive head in middle America. The continual bias and outright hatred of Muslim Americans is still apparent... as is the vitriol heard often against immigrants, even to the point of demanding that children be returned -- again, against the law.

I don't have any solution for any of this, except that each day I wake up, I do my best to LOVE my neighbor as myself. To do my part to make this world a little bit better for someone, anyone. I try to actively and intentionally LOVE without benefit of gaining money, power or influence. I recall the words of Jesus daily "Love your enemies..." (Luke 6:27–31) I suggest you read the entire passage. What I see there, corny as it may sound is "Love conquers all".

We have become such a selfish, self-centered, ugly world. I guess what really bothers me is that many of these bigoted, black-hearted actions come from people who say we (the USA) is a Christian nation, and wear Jesus like a badge to justify their behaviors. I can only imagine right now the truth of the shortest verse in scripture- "Jesus wept" (John 11:35)

In other news... I am going to try to get back to stuff that I've let slide for too long.  Abiding Ways was initially meant to be a place for group and individual Bible learning. My call to teach has been refreshed as I emerge from the pit of depression and back to the land of the living. What that means for me is that 1) I will be re-doing the entire site, 2) switching over to Wordpress from blogger and 3) be more actively soliciting your attention whether in a blog post or announcing and inviting you to join me in learning.  What do you think? In the next week or so, I'll be asking everyone to comment on a survey so I can better meet YOUR needs and desires to grow closer.
I am also working on a book-sorta... piecing it together for now.  More on that as I get nearer to completion...whenever that may be :)  Thanks for reading-comment as you will!