Friday, December 5, 2014

We Played In the Rain

                                             at grandpas's 100th birthday - october 30, 2014

a  week ago i left my 100 year old grandfather's hospital room and on my way out he stopped my husband and me.  he said "keep taking trips.  go on picnics.  be together as a family.  that's where the memories are."

two days ago my mother told me that grandpa had officially been put on hospice care.  my children were just finishing their lunch and we talked about the new information we knew about grandpa miller.  we went to the front porch to watch the rain pour down.  it was amazing.  the curious slowly left the cover of the porch and inched their way out to the lawn looking back to me to see if the were going to get called back or not.  i let them play.  soon there were big splashes in the river of a gutter that was rushing down the street.  they were having a good time.  right there i had a choice.  was i going to go with in or live?  i did change my clothes real quick and joined my babies out in the rain. even the big guys came out. we splashed and kicked the puddles at each other.  we floated a plastic duck down the stream.  we had a great time.  we were making memories.  maybe crazy memories but we were making them none the less and we were having a great time in the process.

today i went to see my grandpa.  i told him about playing in the rain with the children as per his instructions to make memories.  he smiled and patted my hand approvingly.  with that my mom began to share fun times that she remembered with her dad, my grandpa while growing up.  it was a sweet time. a day that i will treasure always.

december 4, 2014 at 7:05pm Jesus our Lord and Savior pulled back the veil between heaven and earth and ever so tenderly invited my grandfather, Paul Kenneth Miller, to join Him there.  we are saddened as we will miss grandpa more then i think i can even comprehend at this moment but we truly rejoice  that he is not in any pain, that he is worshiping the King of Kings and that he is in eternity.  my grandfather was a man who loved Jesus, loved my grandmother (married for 74 years) and loved his family very much.  he was a man of integrity, great character and a hero to many.  not a perfect man, but a real man.  i am so grateful for the many memories that he made with me, my husband and our children.

thank you grandpa.  i love you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Have You Suffered For Nothing?

i ran into a girlfriend at the orthodontist yesterday.  she was willing to have a cup of spontaneous tea with me.  what a treat!  we sat for a couple of cups and caught up on life.  she asked me about a piece of art work that i made several years ago.  art wise i think it was a good piece.  mixed media stuff.  i was happy with the layout, layers, etc.  what it said was completely different.  i was at one of my very lowest points.  lonely.  self focused.  not realizing that i was self focused which of course always increases the self inflicted pain that causes.  i felt like i had been hit by a truck, left in the gutter.  kind of like that pitiful cat from the musical CATS.  seen that?  remember her?  gnarled and all.  as my littlest daughter would say "ba-lah.  blahhh!"  meaning ick.  down right ick ick ick.  it was sinful thinking.  and that my friends is ick.  what's that smell?  oh!  that's my disgusting flesh!

i didn't really share the turn from that piece of art work with my friend. so much has changed since than.  God has healed hurts.  restored relationships.  opened my eyes to His faithfulness to me.  restored the joy of my salvation.  blessed our family with unity.  provided a group of believers to fellowship with.  as my physical body slowly continues to heal from a couple of years of shakiness my soul feasts at the table of the King and i am ever so grateful for the fullness i feel in Him.

as i spent time in God's word this morning He brought me to galations 3:3-5.
"Are you so foolish?  after beginning with the Spirit, are you trying to attain your goal by human effort?  Have you suffered for nothing - if it really was for nothing?  does God give you His spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believed what you heard?"

i was struck by that "have you suffered for nothing?"  no!  i know that the trials that i have gone through, even the ones, mostly the ones, that were caused by my own selfishness, inward thinking, lack of service, fear, PRIDE (that one is the ugliest) judgment of others, control in my marriage, God will use this.  God is using this! as i have repented and have been given the gift of a repentant heart from the Lord i can share what the Spirit has taught me through His Word. if this brings anyone to the foot of Jesus, to the cross and they can have a repentant heart than i have not suffered for nothing.

a young gal i'm acquainted with lost her sweet baby boy just one month ago similarly to how i have lost my sweet daughter.  a mutual friend put us in contact with one another.  sharing with her the hope of heaven, that that's where our children are and the sharing the comfort that Jesus brings.  that made it so my suffering was not for nothing.  may God be glorified even in our pain.  may we rejoice as we know that "trials of many kinds develop perseverance.  perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  i still long for and miss all my babies i have lost, but i am able to see the many blessings that have come out of that hurt.  one of those blessings being how drastically our perspective on children changed to what a blessing they really are!  God used this to change even our words with our children.  how we talk to them and how we talk about them.  even in a joking manner.  we want to, and try to lift our children up with our words..  not tear them down by saying ill words.  we value them in such a different way and try to take our responsibility seriously as we understand it in God's word.

i often wonder why in the world should i write?  isn't there a book already out there on just about everything?  don't we have thoughts and opinions spread all through out this world?  why in the world would anything i say be different than the next gal?  my husband answered this for me.  sometimes he has to speak in "joanna language".  especially when we are talking math, money craziness.  he puts it into words i can get with my artistic brain.  he told me to write because maybe someone will hear the love of Jesus in their language.  maybe God will use me.  Lord please use me.

final thoughts...the trial you are going through right now, God can use this.  will you allow Him too?  is your suffering for nothing?  often it is so hard to see what some of the blessings are on the others side of the trial.  remembering that our Lord is faithful, has been, is now, always will be, this is some of the truth that we need to focus on.  not the feelings of "ugh, i'm sinking in this".  i am trusting more.  trusting, believing.  knowing that there is a specific purpose for the road God has us walk. are you going to trust that He has you on the road you're on for a reason?