Home…..a word that can have so many meanings and can affect us in so many ways.
Maybe home is the place where you grew up, a word that fills you with nostalgia over days gone by…….
Or maybe, it is the place where you couldn't wait to leave….
For me, when I think of home, I think of my life as a child, safe and secure in the knowledge of my parents love….
And home is my life now— a house full of kids, a wonderful husband, friends and family who stand by through the good times and the bad.
But then there's Heaven…..
Heaven has always sounded wonderful to me, but now that my dad's there, Heaven is a place where I long to be.
In Heaven awaits Jesus, my dad, and so many others who have gone on before.
Heaven holds the promise of life everlasting, no more tears, no more good-byes, no more sickness, sorrow, or pain…..
Heaven is home.
I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday….
I've learned a lot about myself in the past year, some good and some not so good. I'm grateful for all I'm
learning, though I will admit that with the learning comes pain. But this pain, it's making me a better person,
opening my eyes to things I might otherwise not see. You see, The Lord is graciously using the pain as a
chisel, if you will, to strip away the layers of my heart, and to bring me to a place of simply being bare before
him. I've learned that being bare before my God allows me to come before him, real and without pretense,
no holding back. It means baring my heart, pouring out my fears and sharing the pain that just doesn't go
away. And this coming before him bare, it's not a one time thing. Oh no, it's coming to him over and over
again, pouring out the same hurt, the same sorrow, and allowing him to wipe away the tears once again.
*** I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo for five minute Friday….
Years back, I used to fear the future.
It began with my dad's Alzheimer's diagnosis, when he was only 53 years old. That's when the realization hit me that, as much as I want to, I can't keep bad things from happening to those I love.
As we walked the long, nine-year journey through dad's illness, watching him slip farther away from us each day, I found myself fearing what tomorrow would hold.
I wanted desperately to avoid heartache and loss, and I couldn't bear the thought of losing anyone I love…..I was so afraid.
Little did I know that five years into my dad's disease, I would be moving him into a nursing home, promising through tears that I'd come back very soon. I struggled with leaving him there, and I shook my fist at God and wrestled with the conflicting emotions that I felt.
LThe hardest part of this new reality was that I could do nothing about it.
Four years later, in October of 2011, I attended my dads funeral. At 62 years old, he was walking into the arms of Jesus, whole and complete forever.
In the year that followed, my life continued to be hit with one trial after another, but something was different.
I wasn't afraid anymore. God had done a work in my heart, using the very real sorrows of my life, to teach me that I can trust Him to be sovereign over me and those I love, and I don't have to try and fix any of it.
*** I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday.
*** I'm linking up today with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.
I've often likened this season I'm in to being on a raft……
It's as though I'm on a raft, and sometimes the waves are gentle, allowing me to loosen my grip a bit….
And yet, other times the waves hit hard, so hard that I'm choking and gasping for air and hanging on for dear life.
It's been a long, tiresome journey, one that shows no sign of slowing down, and yet, Lord, with each wave that hits, you're teaching me valuable, unforgettable things…..
You're teaching me heart changing truths that I will cherish for my lifetime,
And you're daily reminding me that I am cherished, and that no matter how hard the waves may hit, you will never let me go.
*** I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.
There's so much that I don't understand about this past year, so many questions left unanswered…..
When I try to replay the events of this past year over in my mind, it's overwhelming and impossible to remember exactly how it all came about and when…….
All that I can remember, without hesitation, is the deep deep pain that our family has endured, and the many tears that we have cried.
The pain is still fresh, and raw, and real, and the trial far from being over……
There's still pain and tears, and many more questions, again, left unanswered.
And within me, there's this desire to fix it all and at the same time, there's this hard reality of knowing that I can't.
As I try to make sense of it all, I am aware that I may never know the answers to my many questions,
And I may never fully understand why this has had to go on for so very long…..
And quite frankly, it's hard for me to accept any and all of this.
Through the long, drawn out months of this trial, God has been at work, though at times, it wasn't easy to see…..
And little by little, he has stripped me down, tearing away the layers of my heart, making me bare before Him……
My heart isn't what it used to be…..it is now raw, and tender and so very broken and ready for repair.
You see, though this trial isn't what I have wanted,
God has shown me that's it's exactly what I need.
I needed to be brought to this place of desperation, this place of being raw before Him,
In order for Him to be able to change and mold this heart of mine….
Without the pain and the stripping away, He would be unable to shape me the way He sees fit…..
I've walked through enough fire to know that my God, He is good; I've tasted of his goodness and I know his Word to be true….
And so, as I continue on this pain-lined journey, I continue to trust in the One who promises to make my paths straight.
And I will cling to the Truth that He who has begun a good work in me will bring it to completion, in His time.
So much has happened this past year, more than I could have ever dreamed or imagined.
I've experienced much sorrow and walked through more grief than I thought possible in a years time, and I can honestly say that I still haven't fully processed all that I've walked through.
With all the sadness that's been a very real part of my life, it's often hard to see all the good…..
And there has been good.
With every tragedy that's occurred this year, I've experienced the love of God in ways like never before. God has given me friends who have carried me when I've felt as though I couldn't carry myself, and he's deepened friendships that were already strong.
He's given me a peace in my heart that surpasses all understanding, and through the hardest of days he has spoken softly to my soul, reminding me of his love.
My love for God is stronger and sweeter than it was this time last year, and my heart more soft.
He has used the trials and the fire to refine me in so many ways, and though I've been broken, He has not allowed me to be destroyed.
Along with the many ways God has blessed me spiritually this year, he's also blessed me in many practical ways as well….
With all of the stress and tears of this year, I am more in love with my husband than ever before, and have a bond with him that's like no other.
I have a tenderness towards my family that's been born out of having cried many tears together and I see each of my babies in a new light.
God has been so very good to me, and though I still have the marks of 2012 still very raw and fresh on my heart, I can say with all sincerity that I am thankful for the way I've grown and all I've learned.
So I say good bye to 2012 and look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for 2013….and quite honestly, I hope it's a boring, uneventful year. Just sayin.
Happy New Year!