We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Open Letter . . .

As your Heavenly Father, I've noticed that you, as one of my precious children, have been sad and anxious lately. I am the God who sees your pain and your tears. I understand your frustration and desires. I see your less-than-perfect circumstances.

Because of my everlasting love for you, I allow situations to enter your life so you will grow and mature, becoming more like my Son. You see, I am more concerned about the patterns you are establishing and the process of learning to trust me than the symbols of success assigned by others or even yourself. I am working to weave positive character qualities into your life.

Diligence will always be your friend. Continue to work hard, but leave the outcomes to me. Aim to balance your work with creativity and service to others, nurturing the gifts I have given you. Respect those I have placed over you for your protection. Grace your attitudes with humility and a teachable spirit. Learn the habit of casting your cares upon me, even the seeming "unfairness" around you. My all-knowing point of view misses nothing. Trust me to write your story. There is purpose in it all.

Learn to appreciate even the difficult days. Truly believe I am in control of all things. When challenging times come your way, you choose to become bitter or better. As you move forward in life, your surroundings may change, but you will be the same. Your mindset will follow you. What kind of person are you becoming? Do not mimic some of my children who have been discontent and ungrateful. In the formative present, you are becoming who you will be in the future.

People of depth have endured hard times. Remember my servant, Peter? From a fisherman to a disciple of Jesus, to a church leader, to a writer, he understood the benefits of trials. "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you" (1 Peter 5:10).
Even though I have given you family and friends to help you, remember to come to me with your troubles. Tell me your fears . . . your worries. I will always hear your heart. When you take time to listen to my voice, I will give you my wisdom and strength. I will help you and never leave your side.

You are special to me. I have created you just right to serve me and bless others. I have a perfect plan for every day and every circumstance. More than anything I want us to have a close relationship. I will never let you down. I will always be faithful to you. I will always hold you in the palm of my hand.

I love you, dear child,
Your Heavenly Father

Photos from bing.com/images

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Taking Time to Remember . . .

For the first time in twelve and a half years, I went back.

I had written about this place, straining to see the words on the screen, blurry because of the tears in my eyes. It holds a hallowed place in my heart. My husband, Barry, arrived at Mountain View Care Center on May 8, 2003, in the process of slowly emerging from a six-week coma due to a car crash. On June 12, 2003, he transferred to another facility, a different man--still with a long, long way to go, but he could finally eat, converse, and walk with help. He even joked with the nurses early in the morning, asking for ice cream.

And so last week I drove to visit a friend there, wondering what I would find.  Would it be as I recalled? Would anyone remember Barry? Would my emotions hold together?

It was wonderful to visit with my friend, June, and see her receiving the care she needed. What I didn't know was that she had taken my book, Penned Without Ink, with her and told many of the staff about it. She also informed them I would be coming that afternoon, so several of Barry's nurses and therapists made it a point to drop by her room . . . the very people who brought my husband back to us.

And they remembered

In the Chapel at Mountain View Care Center, May 2003
One joked, "I didn't recognize you without your halo!" They spoke of Barry as "a gentle soul." They talked about our story, the progress he made, the victories. They asked about our daughters and could hardly believe the little girl who sat on her daddy's lap in the wheelchair now attended college. All these years later, their hugs brought another layer of healing to my heart. I could again say THANK YOU for all they did for Barry . . . and for us.

I wheeled June down to the Chapel for the 2:00 New Year's program. When I entered the large room, tears slipped down my cheeks as memories flooded my mind . . . pictures of Sharon playing the organ and Barry sitting beside her singing in his monotone voice, the place where we ate lunch and prayed together as a family for the first time since the accident, the spot where Barry first understood what had happened to us and wept as he held my hand.
Elisabeth, age 5, on Barry's lap at Mountain View

Taking time to remember now and then brings us back to the basics of gratefulness, wouldn't you agree? Seeing God's goodness over many years lends a perspective we may miss in the thick of our circumstances. Looking back gives us the courage to look forward with a determination to trust God with our stories . . . all the way to the end.

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:13, 14).