Thursday, June 22, 2017

I have been thinking about death lately.  Happy thoughts, right? I mean, I can't imagine why my blog is not that popular, with all the awesome topics I choose to write about.  Seriously, though, that's okay with me. I don't really do this for most people.  I am thankful for being a nameless face to most people.  Mainly, when I do write, I write for my own kids someday.
Anyway, I have been contemplating death.  I suppose the reason is the recent health issues I have been having.  Nothing like health problems to bring you face to face with your own mortality, and how out of control you actually are.  I am doing my best with diet and exercise, to give God as much help as I can give him, for me to be around for a long time for the people I love.  But the truth is, all of us will die.  Every last one of us, unless the Lord Jesus comes back and we see him face to face before we die.  But for most of us, that won't be the case.  I can't say I want to die, although sometimes, I admit, it's difficult in trials to continue having the courage each day to choose to actually live, to keep going and pressing on in spite of pain or sorrow. I can say there is heaven, and the thought of seeing my loved ones and friends there, that I look forward to seeing.  The process of death, itself, is not so appealing.  And I still feel like I have so much I need to do.   But it's not my part to determine when I will die. It's my part to obey the Lord Jesus, and to try to live my life in glory to Him, day by day.
I have many things I still want to experience in this temporal life. If I had my way, I would be here to see all of my children, my grandchildren, and even my great grandchildren, serving the Lord.  I want to be faithful to my husband, and see us celebrate many years together.  The first many years of our marriage have been hard, honestly, as we are both so stubborn sometimes, and it seems that we are only finally now  learning what it truly means to walk together in life, though we are both messy sinners.  I want to travel and be involved in missions work, and still do ministry in a church with young people.
I want to write a novel. I don't know why that's so hard for me, but it is.  I have ideas in my brain, but disciplining myself to write and bring the ideas together is difficult.
I want to paint something beautiful.  I know I have painted things, but I don't see them as great things.  And  I have so much to learn still, and so much growing to do in art.
I want to get to a place with my children that they will be able to say, when they are grown, that though I was imperfect, I loved them well.  That I taught them through my life and actions what humility, and service to others, and compassion, and deep, abiding joy look like.  I want to celebrate when I come to the place that my children are grown that we can sit as friends.  I love my children, by the way.  I don't ever think I can say that enough. 
I want to be a faithful friend to my friends.  I want to be a prayer warrior and someone who will rejoice with them in their joys, and sit in the dust and love them in their sorrows. 
Today was  a tough day.  My  migraines were bad, and the anxiety I battle was at an all time high.  My children had an activity tonight, that I wasn't able to go to, because I felt so poorly.  My dear husband had to take off work again today to run our home. I struggled with feelings of worthlessness and failure, because my health prevented me from being the mom I desperately wanted to be, for my kiddos.   I was not in control. I had to depend on others, which I don't like at all. I felt weak, and helpless, and so unnecessary. It was a serious hit to my pride, honestly, that the universe went on without me, and a great comfort as well.  I suppose I am flawed and selfish like that. I want to be needed, but not indispensable.
I know all the things I WANT.  But I cannot say what God's plans for my life will be, sitting in this moment.  I can pray for many fruitful years, and commit myself to the Lord, who is wise and good, but I cannot make him grant my request.  I believe He is sovereign over all, though how that plays out in smaller ways, I am unsure.  I don't think God is the one who does evil, but He does allow it, and He takes horrible situations and redeems them.  I don't think I can grasp all of that even yet.
Like I said, I want to be around for many years. That is what I hope and pray for, and pray even more ardently so for my family, and my friends.  But  every moment is a sacred gift.  I recognize, even in this moment, how many of those sacred moments I have squandered.  And I don't want that.  I want to live every moment in light of eternity, in light of the Cross of Christ.
I want the moments that I have to be used and spent in the worship of my King, and in discipleship to others.  I want my life to be salt and light, pointing others to the truth of God's love for them, and the peace found in serving Jesus.  I never want people to walk away from me saying how great a person I was, but rather, how great a God I have served.  That they will see Him in me.  And I want this most not for strangers to see, but for my kids, my husband, and my closest friends to see.
It's difficult to look at your life and see all the imperfections and flaws, the broken places.  It's tough to look at your life and see so many ways you have not measured up as a disciple. To see where you DIDN'T love someone well, maybe an unkind word you spoke, or a time you sat idly by while someone else perpetrated hurts upon another. I can see places like that in my life, and all I can do is pray for God to be bigger than my mistakes and inadequacies.  For Him to take the broken places, and make something beautiful.
I look at other people's lives, and sometimes it seems I can see a pattern of a story God is writing in their life, which is a lovely thing.  Sometimes it's a story of redemption, or healing, or what it means for God to be a father. Sometimes it is how God is shining in someone else's life through their talents or giftings, like the gift of writing or painting or science or math.   So many lovely, beautiful stories. I have loved them all.  But when I look at my own life, it seems so plain.  It's difficult for me not to compare, and feel frustrated or like I have failed.  I have not "done" that much.  I am a mediocre artist.  I write poetry.  I love my kids.  I teach them. I have tried to be faithful in the smaller opportunities that have come my way, in teaching co op classes or praying for friends, or even just trying to learn to be a better listener.  But it's mundane stuff really.  And I often worry how I would handle true trials of faith, like standing for Christ in a time of persecution.  My hope is that I will not have to find out, but my prayer is that no matter what, I would stand firm in Christ.
These were the rambling thoughts I was having tonight.  I felt like I needed to get them out of my head.
 I will close with Psalm 6, a cry of my heart tonight:

Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
    heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
    But you, O Lord—how long?
Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
    save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who will give you praise?
I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
    it grows weak because of all my foes.
Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
    they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

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