Sunday, February 18, 2018

We are FAMILY has been a week and a day. Last Friday, our family world shifted...again. It isn't the first time. It won't be the last.

Our dad was diagnosed with melanoma in 2014. He has fought the battles. He has had surgeries. He has done treatments. It is a malicious beast. It fights back. Last Friday, we found out how much. It is much. For now, a steroid helps lessen the symptoms. For now.

This week, we have added Hospice to our arsenal. Their staff is helping our family help our dad. For this, we are grateful. We have had a chaplain, nurses, a social worker all WAY more versed in how this happens than we are.

This week, again, I watched our family pull together in ways I didn't know we would have to or could. It is understandable how the stress can pull families apart. OR push them together in a common goal: make the time there is the best time there can be.

This Saturday, we made one of the things our dad wanted to do, happen. In the overall scheme of life, it was something small and to us not really as important. BUT. It mattered to HIM.

As I sat at a table eating dinner with our dad and mom, I realized what an impact their lives have made on us and how our family has grown and continues to grow. We started as a family of 7. Mom, Dad, me, 3 brothers and a sister. (affectionately known as 5 K's or my 3 sons and the bookends) We have added 9 grandkids and 1 great far!

Our mom and dad gave us a foundation of faith that has made us part of a bigger family. A foundation that has given our dad the courage to say it is in God's hands. A family that has helped support each other and our mom and dad.

Deep down, we all know we are on limited time. We will count it a blessing to have received notice that the time is more limited than we would choose it to be.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the last letters in FAMILY are I.L.Y.
I Love You

F - siblings especially may not start out as friends, but hopefully, we end as friends BONUS

A - being a family can make us aware of the needs within our own circle, but also those beyond it

M - Me turns into we. We join forces and tackle life head on.

I -  Issues.....we all got 'em

L - usually we love our family, if we're lucky we get to like them too

Y - Yikes. None of this is easy.

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Easy-to-Read Version[ Friends and Family Give Strength ] Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Jesus Wept

One of the shortest verses in the Bible (making it really easy to memorize) is: Jesus wept. (John 11:35 NIV) As usual, with all good stories there is more to it than just those 2 words. I had heard the story of Lazarus many times. What was different this time?

Lazarus, as well as his sisters Mary and Martha, was a friend of Jesus. While Jesus was out of town, his friend became sick. His sisters sent word to Jesus and the disciples that Lazarus was sick. They knew that if Jesus could come back there, He could make Lazarus better. Jesus would heal him. They had seen Him perform miracles! However, by the time Jesus returned to their city, Lazarus had already been dead for 4 days. His family and friends were devastated and weary from grief.

They went to visit the tomb where Lazarus was. There was a stone placed in front of the tomb. The family and friends were crying. Jesus wept. The friends were thinking oh Jesus loved Lazarus so much. And He did. He also knew that this was a way to show people what could still be done for Lazarus.

Jesus prayed and said for Lazarus to come out. He did!

The extra thing I heard recently and the more I think about it makes a lot of sense is that Jesus may not have only been weeping over losing a friend. Jesus had the additional knowledge of the glorious place Lazarus had been and what He was bringing Lazarus back to.

Even as Christians and the promise of eternal life, death is hard, painful and sometimes almost unbearable. We do not see our family or friend. We can't just ring them up on the phone. We see and hear things that remind of us those we miss. We weep.

In the day to day grief, knowing there is a better place to be than the earth around us helps. Most days. Some days we just miss them so much that even knowing doesn't seem enough.The waiting just seems too long.

The miracle of Lazarus made some people angry and further set the wheels in motion leading toward the death of Jesus. People expected a King. Jesus is not the King they expected. Some of the same people that were amazed at the miracles were the same people that were later yelling "crucify him!"

Later, Jesus would be placed in a tomb behind a large stone, when His friends came weeping.....He was no longer in the tomb.

The full story of Lazarus is in John 11. is an excellent resource for looking up Bible (MANY versions) books, chapters, verses and words.

John 14:2 (NIV) My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”