Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #122

#122 "Matters of Life and Death"
November 20, 2007
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2)
I ran into my cousin, Myra, a couple of weeks ago. She's actually one of those cousins who are about third or fourth removed, on my mother's side of the family. She's nice enough, but very chatty. We exchanged niceties.  "How's Mom and Dad?" "How are the kids?" She's had her share of ups and downs in life. But haven't we all? At the end of our conversation she looked at me and softly said, "Wow! Life really turned out well for you, didn't it?" I've thought about those words a couple of times since that day. Life has turned out well for me. Hasn't always been easy. Hasn't always gone according to my plans. But .... it has gone well. There has been "a time for everything". There has been "a season for every activity under heaven".
The activity called "a time to die" is a painful reality in my life today. My father is dying of cancer. He was sent home from the hospital this weekend. There's not much more that can be done. All treatments have stopped and hospice will be helping my mom and dad for however long is needed. I was able to spend some precious time with him last week. Just he and I. Now, you have to understand, that Dad and I have not had a great relationship over the years. This is absolutely not the time to air the details, but let me just say that it's been less than ideal. I have had to receive the love of my Heavenly Father and look to Him and Him alone for my security, my provision, my care and my wholeness. I stopped looking to earthly Dad a long time ago. But somehow, all of that doesn't matter anymore.
What mattered the most to me was to talk to Dad about Jesus. And that's what we did. It's amazing how our priorities change when faced with urgency. Our fights no longer mattered. Our disagreements and differences in how we see things didn't mean a thing at that moment. The conversation wasn't as profound as I imagined it would be. I never used the eloquent words that I had planned. But the power of the Holy Spirit was in that hospital room and He guided our words and gave me amazing openings to talk to Dad about death and Christ. I must confess selfishness. It was probably more for me, and my piece of mind, to be sure that Dad was going to see the face of Christ when he opened his eyes after he died. But I know that it was the most important thing that I could do for him.
"A time to die". It really seems to become a time to look back. Dad talked about regrets that he had about things he had done, or didn't do. He remembered a Christmas tree that sits each year at The Henry Ford where he worked until he became ill. Describing it to me, tears filled his eyes and he couldn't continue. He knew he would never see that beautiful tree again. I heard him tell me that he was so glad my daughter came to see him because he got to see her one last time. I told him he'd see her again...but who knows? What happens now is anybody's guess. What happens now is in God's hands. 
But... I am also absolutely overwhelmed by the fact that while experiencing "a time to die", I am also blessed to witness "a time to be born." A time to look ahead. Both of my beautiful daughters are pregnant! Two precious grandchildren are on the way, one in March and one in June. I cannot even describe to you the joy that fills my heart. My babies are having babies! Isn't that just like God? He is tempering my pain with inexpressable joy! Truly, "weeping may last for a night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30: 5)  I don't know that anything can come close to the feeling I had when I held my children in my arms for the very first time. But I'm beginning to think that this is going to come pretty darn close. I can't wait to feel the softness of a baby's skin. And that smell. There's nothing like the smell of a precious baby. I long to whisper "I love you" in their ears. And to tell them that there is Someone who loves them even more than their Grammy. And I can't wait to watch my girls, as they love and care for their own children. Two babies...my "double portion". The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is giving me the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (See Isaiah 61: 3, 7)
There is a time for everything. A season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. Hasn't always been easy. Hasn't always gone according to my plans. But, this is the stuff of life. This is the circle of life. And....life HAS turned out well for me! It will turn out well for you too.
Have a blessed Thankgiving!
Donna Schultz
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