Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hope Through Me, God of Hope

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."  Romans 15:13

Hope through me, God of Hope,
Or never can I know
Deep wells and living streams of hope,
And pools of overflow.

Flood me with hope today
For souls perverse, undone,
For sinful souls that turn away,
Blind sunflowers, from their Sun.

O blessed Hope of God,
Flow through me patiently,
Until I hope for everyone
As Thou hast hoped for me.
                                                             Amy Carmichael

Today, having battled on my knees begging for a breakthrough, enlisting friends and family to pray and we seem no closer to our requested answers than we have been, I am tempted to throw in the towel, forget the fight, give it up, stop the hurting by stopping caring, but this devotional Rachael shared with me this morning specifically for lost souls gave me a glimpse into His heart - He wants to hope through me when I am at the end of hope.  Well, here I am, LORD, I'm at the end of my own hope, please hope through me. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

She Had Her First M&Ms Today

She had her first M&Ms today;
She needed something with which to play.
O Grandbaby dear, you're already sweet,
Sitting quietly in your car seat.

Tight in her fist she held them fast,
She quieted down content at last.
The package would hold her eyes and her ears
Keeping at bay those much dreaded tears.

"She must he asleep," her mother said;
So quiet behind, she was misled.
The package now soggy began to spill
Its wonderful contents -- a new thrill.

So smooth and round and wonderfully sweet,
Melting in hand, and mouth, and car seat.
Mama turned 'round to see the sight
Daddy looked too, "She's a mess all right!"

Surprised and amused, her mouth now was blue;
They stopped the car, what could they do?
The candy was now all over her lap;
Hurry and get her out of her strap.

They cleaned her up as best they could,
And waited to see, would she be good?
Except for blue hands she showed no effect;
Only the start of adventures, I expect.
                     Patti Lofgren

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Treasure Day

Today was one of those treasure days you want to store in your memory in fine detail, to pull out and savor forever.  We gathered as a family - Dad and Mom along with the three of us girls with our husbands and our children who are still at home.  We spent the afternoon laughing and sharing memories of our growing up years.   We remembered them showing up at our school on a Friday mid-day and "kidnapping" us and taking us on a "grand adventure" to a cabin or other retreat spot for the weekend.  We remembered canoeing down the Mississippi starting at the headwaters in Itasca State Park and staying at those remote landings which seemed forever around the "next" bend but took hours to get to.  Dad would cook for us over an open fire and let us swim in the river.  We remembered ice slides Dad helped us build - one even after we were married and there were grandchildren.  

Since reading aloud together was such a wonderful part of our growing up years, we asked Dad and Mom to read aloud to us.  Someone had brought a series of Pat McManus books and Dad read us a chapter.  We laughed uproariously and wiped our eyes from laughter tears.

Then Mom read a chapter from Winnie the Pooh.  More laughter.  After our first chapter of Pat McManus we had called the children to join us so they wanted a chapter, too - thus a second chapter of Pat McManus.

Mom read from Walter Wangerin a chapter out of The Ragman and Other Cries of Faith.  We shared a bit then pulled out the hymnals and sang awhile together. I asked Dad to quote one of his memorized passages of scripture to us - he does it with such expression!   My sister, Jenn, had brought a Tolkien book and read a moving excerpt about Frodo and Sam in memory of how much we had enjoyed hearing Dad and Mom read it aloud to us in our youth.  Then in typical Dad style - he announced that he needed to get going as he and Barry would like to go to the evening church service. 

It made me think of the day about a week ago when he and Mom had been to the doctor and gotten the news that his lung cancer was quite advanced and no more testing would be done and hospice was called in.  Mom, Joan and I were sitting visiting with Dad at the kitchen table after his nap.  We shared a bit and cried a bit and talked about his cancer,Joan's upcoming trip, and various other things, then after about 20 minutes, Dad pushed back his chair and said, "Well, I think I'll get back to work..." and he headed out to the new addition and began working.

He looked so good today I could almost forget that he is dying.  What a heritage Mom and Dad have given us!!   Hours and hours reading and singing and traveling and talking.  Memories to hang on to and a legacy to pass on to our own children.  Today was a day of celebrating that legacy.  I will store it away and bring it out to brighten some day yet to come. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunrises, Sunsets, Geese and Gulls

     Once when we were in a family crisis, my Dad was here caring and sharing the pain.  He said, "It doesn't seem like the sun should still shine, does it?"  but somehow it still did.  Now Dad is dying, they've called in hospice and unless God intervenes and miraculously heals him, we don't have long left with him before he goes home to heaven.  This is somehow so much more difficult even than that other crisis and yet the sun does still shine, and our days still unfold in front of us with everyday details much the same. The children run and play and the household chores still need to be done.

      But my heart balks and rebels and the first thought on waking is a thought of grief and many thoughts thereafter.  Everything reminds me of him.  His life is so intertwined with ours.  I gave him a haircut last night and he wanted it short - wish I could have just cut a little so I could do it again, soon.  I wondered why he wanted it so short around the ears - is he thinking he might not have another one? 

     I took the children to the park today for nature study and for a few minutes forgot the pain and just drew and wrote in my nature journal and watched the children laugh and chase the geese and toss pieces of pancake to the gulls.

      I guess having to keep going is a mercy, there are still sunrises and sunsets, geese and gulls at the park, children laughing and playing to ease the pain and help pass the time.   And one of these days, when we've finished our work here and watched our final sunset, the rest of our heart will follow the part that has gone ahead  home with Dad, and we'll join him in heaven where there is no night and no more tears!