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Walking Her Home

     Today would have been my parent’s 67th anniversary. 67 years. That is probably a record in today’s world of quick marriages and instant divorces. They met on a blind date with her cousin, Estelle and her boyfriend. My mother was spending the weekend with Estelle, whose mother told her she could not go out with her boyfriend unless she found a date for my mom. Estelle’s boyfriend asked my dad to go and he flatly refused. “I don’t believe in blind dates,” he said. But the boyfriend persisted and Daddy finally gave in. Daddy says by the second date, he knew she was the one he would spend the rest of his life with and three months after they met, on August 24, 1946, they were married.

        Their marriage was not perfect and they would be the first to tell you that. They had the usual “disagreements” like most couples do. But in 66 years, 11 months and 20 days, the word “divorce” was never mentioned, not to my knowledge. They walked with each other through thick and thin, good times and bad, lean times and prosperous ones. Their love never faltered, but only grew stronger.

        On Tuesday, August 20 at approximately 5:30 in the afternoon, my mother took her last walk as she left her earthly home to enter into the presence of our Lord and Savior. As always, Daddy was right by her side.

        At some point during this week of long days and even longer nights, my future son-in-law sent me a text message that simply said: “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (II Cor. 5:8) How comforting! How true. We know where Mom is and we will see her again one day.

        There is a song by Mark Schultz that reminds me of my parents and their marriage. Some parts of the song don’t fit their actual story, of course, but the overall premise, “He Was Walking Her Home” fits their love story of 66 years, 11 months and 20 days. I encourage you to listen to this song and the words. And I ask that you pray for my dad, as he finishes his walk without my mom.

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODSx0UfAcA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Ah-Ha Moment of Comfort

**This post was written on August 14, 2013

It is deja vu all over again. Many times in early 2012, I sat in the Emergency Room, waiting and praying, as my mother was treated for congestive heart failure. If she was admitted, I would sit in her room, watching and praying.

Tonight, I sit in my sister’s family room, waiting and praying. But, it’s different now. After being sick for so long, my mother’s passing draws closer. The hospice nurse says tonight, tomorrow, the weekend or next week.

My sister just commented, “It’s hard to believe we are sitting here, doing this.” (“This” is looking at casket sprays.) And she is right–it is hard to believe.

As we grow up, we never think about our parents growing older and dying. Even in our thirty’s, forty’s and fifties, we still do not think about the death of our parents. Certainly, it’s not a subject we want to dwell on until we are faced with the actual fact. And when that fact slams into us with the force of a hurricane, our entire system–physical, emotional and mental–becomes paralyzed when we realize we are about to lose a parent.

My parents 68th wedding anniversary is just a few days away on Saturday, the 24th of this month. Can you imagine? Losing someone you had loved and built a life with for 68 years?

My dad said earlier this evening, “There’s nothing easy about this, is there?” No, Daddy, there isn’t. Except for one thing.

I received a word from the Lord a few weeks ago at a conference called She Speaks 2013. This conference is sponsored by Proverbs 31 Ministries; this was my third time attending. Each year, one of the staff members of P31 prays over each woman who has registered, asking God to name one of His characteristics that He wants the woman to know about and/or experience. Once the staff member hears from God, the women’s names are placed on tables in the prayer room by the characteristics of God which has been revealed for them. The women are encouraged to find their name and learn what characteristic God wants them to know. My name was beside Comforter. Here is what the note said:

       “In the midst of sorrow, He comforts. The Lord longs to heal your broken places, where you are weak and weary.

He will restore His lasting peace in the depths of your being.

Jeremiah 8:18; Isaiah 61:2-3

What a wonderful Ah-ha moment – to be reminded that I – and my family – do not have to go through this alone, with no Comfort or Peace.

So, yes Daddy, this is hard. But we have the Great Comforter with us. The One who bore all our sorrows on the cross. We are not alone.

If you are going through any situation that is grievous to you, I pray that God will be your Comforter and His all-encompassing Peace will surround you and keep your heart through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Love, Mercy and Forgiveness of God

By Archbishop Craig Bates

 

* ImageWhen we decide to live out the command to love, which of course means a life of mercy and forgiveness, we soon discover that we will be misunderstood. This is particularly true when it comes to mercy and forgiveness. Even those within the faith community will suspect that we have either ignored the horror and consequences of sin or we have somehow approved of sinful behavior. On a large scale this was seen this past week when the Bishop of Rome, Francis, spoke to reporters about “judging” homosexual priests. The secular press immediately jumped all over the statement calling it a “watershed” moment in the life of the Church. As if Francis had somehow hanged the entire course of Christian history regarding homosexual behavior. One should not be shocked that priests, and even bishops, have committed sins – and perhaps sexual sins are a part of it. Francis issued a call for mercy, which we should all embrace. That is, if one has sinned, repents of their sins, confesses their sins, and amends their life then indeed who are we to judge their relationship with God? Should we not rejoice that a sinner cries out to God and seeks Him? Do not all of us approach God as sinners in need of the life of grace and mercy? The Bishop of Rome continues to believe the teaching of the Church that homosexual behavior is sinful. And, the Church should embrace sinners with the love, mercy, and the forgiveness of God – whether they are ordained or not. To show mercy is not to approve of sin. To show mercy is to recognize totally the horrible effect of sin not only on the sinner but also on persons around them and indeed the whole culture. It is to acknowledge the terrible consequences of sin and a sinful lifestyle. To show mercy is to recognize the centrality of the cross and the need for the atonement – in fact the cross is the ultimate act of mercy and love towards sinners. It is no wonder that at the beginning of a liturgy we begin with confession and absolution. It is no wonder that the ancient liturgical rites have the Kyrie (Lord have mercy … “) at the beginning of our worship. Calling for mercy not only for us but also for the entire world. The Church does not cry out “Lord bring judgment upon them”. It is no wonder that prior to the breaking of the bread we cry out “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.” To learn that mercy is desired rather than sacrifice will cause us to be misunderstood by society but it is far more important that we are understood by Christ. May our hearts be consumed by the merciful heart of Christ our Lord.

*Reprinted with the kind permission of Archbishop Craig Bates

 

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