Archive for July, 2009
This morning I was struggling to stay out of thinking, “It’s impossible!” I’ve lived long enough that I know prayer and asking God for a message from scripture when I open my Bible helps me get out of the Black Hole. Endless days of little sunshine push me into that dark place. Today God directed my attention to, “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28. Even in the midst of the pain of our loss, I believe this is true.
Around noon, the sun had been playing peek-a-boo long enough that a walk seemed like a good idea. Even though the weather changed rapidly within the thirty minutes I walked, afterwards I felt much bettter. First, there was sunshine which quickly turned to light mist which later turned back to sunshine which went away when clouds filled the sky a few minutes later. But God’s Word is stronger than sunshine, for it is full of the Son.
Encouraging messages, nutritious food followed by an hour’s rest made it possible to have a productive afternoon and evening. I don’t have to like being without Dan, but God gives me times of peace, even joy in the midst of my grief. Let me say it again, “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Are you tuned in to the right place so you can hear God ? — Anne
Today we drove into San Francisco to visit the couple whose wedding Dan performed last year. She is a great Russian cook…and knowing that I miss all the good salads and whipped cream cakes, she prepared a banquet for us! It is always special to be with them because they are so kind, so considerate.
I could not help but think, “Dan would have enjoyed seeing their apartment. It is so tastefully decorated.” “Dan would have enjoyed this feast.” They live near the hospital where Dan spent so many days. Being in that area brought up painful memories and deep feelings. But this is the life of a widow. Challenging feelings come – I’m never ready for them. God helps me get through it by surrounding me with compassionate people, and by remembering His promises to help me carry my burdens.
When trials come your way, I hope you will remember this. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you. Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone he may devour.” I Peter 5: 6-8 — Anne
Today held unexpected blessings – visits on Skype or Facebook with Claudia, Mihaela, Debbie, and a fun tea time at Goose and Turrets B & B in Montara. That offset the fact that when I went online to purchase Travel and Repatriation Insurance, I found myself at a medical supply for travelers…then at a comparison of policies for travelers.
Allowing frustration to fill me, I did not see the blessing — the comparison is what I really need to examine. Tomorrow afternoon, I hope to study them and make a better decision. At the end of the day, I realized I had only felt very brief moments of sadness. Some might say, “That’s a good thing.” But long ago, I learned that staying “too busy” keeps you out of your feelings…feelings get buried deep inside you where they eat on you, but don’t get resolved. Fortunately, in the morning at 8 a.m., I have another grief recovery session via Skype.
When I asked God for a message for me as well as for you tonight, this is what He gave me —
“Again and again I sent all my servants, the prophets, to you. They said, ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your fathers.’ But you have not paid attention or listened to me. The descendants of Jonadab son of Recab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’
“Therefore, this is what the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.’ “
Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Recabites, “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man to serve me.’ ” Jeremiah 35:14b – 19. Do you hear a message in here for you? — Anne
This morning I thought I saw sunshine peeking through the curtains…but, no, a thick fog covered the Pacific. Moving slowly, I got ready for church. Driving over the winding mountain road beside the Pacific I found myself wondering, “There are no real hairpin curves here? Hummm, Is this a 90 degree angle here? Ah, yes, that is! 360 degrees in a circle…” as my mind went back to school days when we studied angles. I was surprised to realize that my driving skills must be quite good because that road is easy to drive…or is it the little Saab sports car that hugs the road making it easy to drive?
As I rounded the last almost hairpin curve leading down the north side of the mountain, sunshine beckoned off in the distance! Though thick fog was hovering over the top half of the mountains, the sun was bright in Pacifica. We had a very helpful lesson, “In His Grip…Staying the Course in Distressing Times,” based upon Isaiah 40. Verses 27, 28 tell us that God is completely on top of our situation. And verses 29-31 tell us why we need to stay the course, “those who wait upon/hope in/trust the Lord get fresh strength.” When we are suffering hard things, we keep on keeping on. That’s what carried Dan and me thoughout his illness…and keeping on keeping on waiting – hoping in – trusting the Lord – is what is carrying me through my time of grieving.
I bought lunch at the Safeway Deli, and sat in the car with the windows down beside the Pacific Ocean – no, I did not put the convertible top down. The sharp wind was too cold for my ears! As I ate, I watched the waves rolling in. Ah, the sunshine was delicious. Coming back south of the mountain range, fog greeted me. Even though it knocked most of my energy out of me, I kept on keeping on. God is my strength, my helper in distressing times. — Anne
Sometime the bills for Dan’s medical care will surely stop coming. I hope I paid the last one tonight. Oh, I just remembered…there are two bills for regular doctor’s appointments that Medicare won’t pay because Dan was in Hospice Care. The charge for each visit was over $500 apiece…to sit and talk. No one told us that Dan could only see Hospice doctors. If our Secondary Insurance won’t pay it, I’m going to call the doctors myself and ask that they adjust the bills downward.
Tonight, I even filled in the survey questionnaire sent by the Plastic Surgery Department at UCSF giving them a good to very good rating in all areas. I paid for my plane ticket to Texas for the Memorial Service. I paid the bill for shipping 4 boxes of our things to California, 2 huge boxes to Searcy to go in the 40′ container going to the Covasna County Red Cross (in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania), 3 boxes of my counseling books, winter clothing, and a few household items headed to Romania.
I still have to phone one credit card company to report a charge on one of Dan’s cards after he passed. I don’t use that card. (He certainly did not buy something a month after he left this earth. He has everything he needs where he is!) I list all these things to give those of you who have not gone through being a caregiver and losing a loved one an idea of what it is like.
The fog continued all morning. About noon, the sun broke through for an hour or two. I made myself set my work aside and went for a walk. Stopping at the coffee shop, I found a book to read and sat in the sunshine on the patio until the clouds hid the sun completely. This afternoon, the fog began to roll back in from the ocean. Ah, well, that’s life here on the northern Pacific Coast. Perhaps the best news today is that for dinner we had the most delicious homemade pizzas that have ever touched my lips! There are several good cooks in this household!
Tonight, I quote from God Calling, by A. J. Russell again, “Jesus, you are watching over us to bless and care for us.” “Yes, remember that always–that out of darkness I am leading you to the Light. Out of unrest to rest. Out of disorder to order. Out of faults and failure to perfection.”….Fear nothing. Hope ever. Look ever up to me and I will be your sure aid.”
Thank you, Jesus. — Anne
Today was really a mixed bag. The fog is affecting me just like cloudy days do. I haven’t counted how many days of fog we’ve had in a row, but I’m running on “low battery.” I’m thankful that using the BioBrite light visor or the Apollo GoLight keeps me from sliding into total lethargy.
However, several very good things happened today. First of all, Don and Joann Hall, faithful supporters and encouragers, introduced me to their friend who they think will be a good Secretary for God’s Children. When we have her responsibilities clearly outlined, and the Board has officially elected her, I will announce her name. I will say that she has been on many mission trips overseas and is a very kind lady who follows Jesus.
We still need a new Treasurer – someone trustworthy who enjoys accounting using the computer, and loves helping people overseas. I will appreciate your prayers about that. God will provide.
I was blessed to have a good visit with Adolf and Reka, and also with Attila today. It helps my attitude when I can talk with friends who have chosen to be my Romanian family. God has blessed me with a big family! I made a list today of what I need to do to be ready to go. In less than 3 weeks, I will be in Sfantu Gheorghe – – on 13 August.
I have started fund raising, but have not yet sent out a general request in an e-newletter. I hope to do that soon. Good things are developing. When I asked God for a message to help me and you, this is what He gave me from God Calling by A.J. Russell, “Drop those burdens. Our God is our supply. Look to Me for all…rely on Me for all. Drop those burdens, then you can go on your way, singing and free, rejoicing. Encumbered with them, you will fall.”
“Drop them at My feet, knowing that I will surely lift them and deal with each one as is truly best.” Are you listening? — Anne
Driving along the curving, twisting highway beside the Pacific and over Montara Mountain today, I was struck by the fact that now I drive that road with the greatest of ease. The fog floating and drifting around the mountains made everything seem magical…like I was living in a dream world. Was that really me, driving a 9 year old black Saab sports convertible in the mountains through the mist with the ocean right beside me?
Sounds like a person who has everything? In a way, I do. It’s just that there’s a great big hole in my middle. I miss Dan. The only way that hole can ever heal is if I let God fill it with His love. Another way to help the hole heal is to do good things for other people with no expectation of getting anything in return…I like to say, “Be Jesus with skin on.”
While I was on the other side of the mountain, I did a little shopping for things to take with me to Romania on Aug. 11. While I found no joy in putting my budget on a spread sheet on my MacBook, I am happy that I will soon be back in the last place Dan and I called “home.” I will do the work to prepare to go. God is with me, leading me where He wants me to be. Please, pray that He will provide the funds I need to serve Him in Romania, and that I will always listen – following Him no matter how twisting and sharp the curves in the road may be. If we keep our eyes on our Shepherd, we’ll get pretty good at managing the mountain roads in our life. To have a mountain top experience, first, you have to climb a mountain. — Anne
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8.