Archive for January, 2010
In The Message, Paul’s words to Christians in Colossians 3: 1 – 17 is just what I need today.
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
3-4Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
5-8And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.
9-11Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” — Anne
Caring people cautioned me that the first Christmas, my first birthday, our first anniversary without Dan would be a painful challenge. Did it help to have that information in advance? Maybe. At least I knew what was happening, but it did not make the pain any less. My birthday was Dec. 22.
My first Christmas without Dan came just three days after my birthday. Our anniversary was January 25, Monday, this week. We would have been married 57 years had he lived. I don’t know how I appeared to others. But, since my friends have asked me to share my experience…I will tell you that I found myself withdrawing, numbing out, smiling as much as possible, but feeling dead inside…like a robot with a script going through the motions…for days at a time. It felt like too much, too close together.
One time a client said to me, “You are a therapist. You should not struggle with depression.” Well, following that train of thought…a doctor should never be sick? A dentist should never have a cavity? A preacher will never feel fear? If you are willing to deal with truth…therapists are people. Most of us have real feelings. We are not robots programmed to live without feelings of loneliness, sadness, anger, confusion.
Somehow, knowing that does not help me deal with all the unwelcome emotions that draw me into my invisible cave where no one can discover what’s going on inside of me. I withdraw. I stop writing the blog. I keep busy like a robot doing what has to be done. (There is more work to do than I can possibly manage, so I just keep “going.”) I sleep 5 or 6 hours each night. No matter what time I go to bed, 6 hours later, I awake…but am too tired to get up. Whether I like it or not, I am too, too human.
When I finally realize that I am in the Black Hole, withdrawing into my cave, I do the only things that bring light into the cave of depression. I pray and open my Bible to let God’s Word bathe my weary soul. Then I make time for a Rapid Release Healing Therapy session with my Christian therapist. Right now, I am hearing in my mind the song, “God Is So Good.” Yes, God is so good; He’s so good to me. He sent His Son. I love Him so. He’s so good to me. — Anne
I was thrown into a most confusing, challenging situation only 6 days after arriving in Sfantu Gheorghe…visa problems forced me to leave Romania. Now I am strong enough to share my thoughts.
“August 24, 2009
I am now on a Romanian/Hungarian Rapid train racing through the blackness of a Transylvanian night. It is midnight. No stars can be seen from the window of my compartment for the sky is covered with black clouds with rain streaming over my window. There have been a lot of firsts in recent weeks…first airplane trip to Romania without Dan, first worship service in SG without Dan, and now another significant one…first train trip in Europe without Dan.
After settling me in my 2 persons sleeping compartment, at 11 p.m. Adolf stood outside my window until the train pulled out of the station. Only then, as I stared into the nothingness outside my window did I feel totally alone. No one, besides two conductors, are in this car. My door is bolted and locked with 2 locks. I am safe. The train is clean…and so quiet. As the emptiness began to challenge me, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God is with me. I am never alone.
Why I am going to Budapest? The visa problem is only what is sending me there. As I fumed about the interruption of my work in SG, I heard a small voice saying, “This is a God appointed time.” Then Nancy wrote me on Facebook that this may be one of those “God appointments.” — confirmation of what had “crossed my mind.” When Zoli and Andi invited me to visit them in Budapest on my way to Romania, I told them. ” I have no plans to come to Budapest…maybe later.” Well, this is apparently “later.” I am amazed at the strength the Lord has given me. Lots of challenges have been thrown in my path the last few days, but God continues to be faithful and work them out. So, I walk by faith…not by sight. Where would the glory to God be if I could work everything out by myself?
The words to an old song Dan and I used to sing keep coming to me, “I am a pilgrim, I am a stranger, I can tarry but a night. Though none go with me, still I will follow….” I’m fine; All is well. I await with wonder what lies ahead for me the next few days in Budapest, Hungary.”
Almost 5 months later, I know the answer. But that’s for another time. One message is that God is ALWAYS with us in all circumstances. — Anne
In sunny Texas this weekend with temperatures hovering around freezing, it was actually colder in Ft. Worth and Dallas, Texas, than it was in my new Romanian hometown, St. George (Sfantu Gheorghe – the name in the Romanian language, or Sepsiszentgyorgy – the Hungarian name.) The Romanian/Albanian Conference at Prestoncrest in Dallas was a great blessing to me. God gave me new friends and encouragers. I learned very important things – not techniques – but attitudes, a clarity about why God called me to my beautiful new hometown nestled in the gentlerolling mountains in Central Romania.
It was comforting to attend worship service with friends, and sit on the same bench that Dan and I sat on together for 9 years. (Well, we sat on that bench when we were not in Romania, or Russia, or Ghana, West Africa, or somewhere else serving where God sent us.)
But how do I explain the deep emotions that have risen to the surface? Pain began to “bury” me as soon as I walked into the room in California where Dan breathed his last breath. Coming to the DFW area brought another wave of gut wrenching pain and sobbing. Knowing that the many stages of grief come and go all mixed together helped me know that I am not losing my mind.
But it does not make the pain any less. When you lose someone you love, there is an ache all through your body…I keep suffering a physical pain accompanied by feelings of abandonment. God helps me pull out of it by reminding me that Dan is well, strong, happy, with loved ones who arrived Home before Dan did. In the midst of my tears, I find joy thinking about the reality of Dan’s life now. I see him, standing at a huge gate, smiling, looking down at me assuring me that he is at peace, yes, happy to be with God…knowing that I will be okay because I am in Jesus, a child of God. — Anne
It’s that time again…to get new immunizations for 3rd World Countries. It doesn’t seen like it has been ten years since we had shots preparing to go to Romania and Ghana, W. Africa. The pages on the calendar turn faster every day. At the moment, I am back in the States enjoying being with family in northern California… and getting shots, seeing my doctor, taking care of many tasks that every widow has to contend with.
January 8 I’ll come to Dallas to attend the Romania Annual Conference at Prestoncrest Church of Christ offered by Mission Resources Network . In the DFW area until January 20, I will then go to North Carolina to visit family. Those of you within driving distance, I’d love to see you. Call me – 817.454.5022. January 25, I will fly back to California. On February 13, I return home to Sfantu Gheorghe, Transylvania, Romania.
An exciting announcement – God is bringing Dr. Gerald White, P.E., to Sfantu Gheorghe, in February, to hold a seminar on alternative methods of defeating cancer. (see cancerwarsmaarsjourney.com ) We met Dr. White through Ed DeMoss, of Saturn Road, Garland, when Dan was ill. God chose to heal Dan by letting him go Home. Who would have thought that Dan’s suffering would result in this great blessing for Romania…and beyond!
The pain of my loss still sweeps over me like a tidal wave at times, but God smiles on me by continuing contact with the good people He has brought into my life over the years. I am not alone. God and many of His people are with me.
Some of you know that for the last 10 years each time I was leaving Sfantu Gheorghe, someone would ask, “When are you coming back?” My answer has always been, “If God wills, I will return next year.” Now, thinking about when I can return home to Sfantu Gheorghe, joy filled my heart as I was reading in the book of Acts tonight. In Acts 18: 21, Paul said to the people in Ephesus, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” How much easier is our walk when we constantly pray that we be in God’s will! — Anne