... today, another Sunday, another day to worship with our church family, another day to be reminded that Rick isn't there at the front door of church to greet everyone with a smile, a hug and a word of encouragement (and this time of year - who am I kidding, ANY time of year), a hunting story)!!
So, you may think, it would be easier just to NOT GO to church, that would help eliminate those extra reminders of our "new normal". True, in a way, it may be "easier" not to go, but then, by not going, we would miss so many blessings. And, honestly, the BLESSINGS far outweigh and reminders that may hurt or cause us pain! Being together with Christian brothers and sisters, hearing the Word spoken to us, and worshiping in song are the BEST thing that we can do - to refuel ourselves for the days to come!
Each night, when I come to write (which my day now doesn't seem complete without), there is SO MUCH to say that I have to try and keep it to the "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" and today is no different!
First things first, when we got to church, we were anxious to see our dear friends, the LaCanne family who moved to Florida about a year ago and who we miss terribly! Seeing Jody and Alissa and their 4 wonderful kiddos was certainly a highlight to our day!! :) Ah, we LOVE them so much and are so happy that on Thursday night we will be able to get together and have supper with them at the Buckley's!
Today, for the first time, we went early enough for Sunday School. I didn't prepare my lesson (I teach the 7th grade - College age girls) so we joined with Robin and the boys class and worked out the plans for the Sunday School Christmas program! :) I LOVE this time of year, and am looking forward to the program this year . . . the CHRISTmas story will take on an all new reality and meaning this year as we celebrate the coming of the baby in the manger, who ultimately died on the cross to guarantee us ETERNITY in Heaven with Him! What a sweet, sweet peace we will have, even in the midst of missing Rick, to know that he will be spending CHRISTmas in Heaven, think of it, can you imagine it?? I LOVE CHRISTmas here on earth, I can't even begin to imagine what it is like in Heaven where we will be worshiping the Christ Child IN PERSON!
After Sunday School, and before church, my dear Aunt Peggy said she had someone she wanted me to meet. She then introduced me to a beautiful (inside and out - you could just "feel" her inner beauty and love for the Lord!) lady named Bev. In our short conversation, I learned that she had lost her husband in April. She first came to our church sometime between then and now, but I had never actually "met" her. She shared that the first time she came to church, it was difficult coming alone to a new church. She said that Rick met her at the door, talked with her and she told him of her husband passing away. Rick told her how difficult that must be for her. He ended their conversation with "Welcome, we will take care of you!" Rickey wasn't "at" church today, but he WAS there, his kind, gentle loving spirit is still being felt and I'm so thankful to Bev for sharing that conversation with me. My response was, "yes, that's my Rick!" (Yesterday morning when my friends came over, one of them said that she had tried to think if Rick had any enemies, and she couldn't think of a single person who would say, "you know, I just don't like that Rick Rye"! That is such an awesome testimony to the life he lived - he truly did "walk the walk") :) Bev & I talked a little bit more about the sovereignty of the Lord and how wonderful it is to rest in Him. She told me that she too was asked how she could deal with her husband's death, and that yes, people thought that she too, was in denial, but she UNDERSTOOD, I'm not in denial, I am resting in the safe shelter of my Lord and that is the best place to be! "Divine Appointments" . . . YES, I do believe in them, I believe there is a reason I didn't officially meet Bev until today, and I believe that she and I will be in contact as the days march on!
Our opening song today was, To God Be the Glory, great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son! We later sang a song based on Psalm 62, My soul finds rest in God alone, my rock and my salvation, a fortress strong against my foes, and I will not be shaken . . . I'll set my gaze on God alone, and trust in Him completely. With every day pour out my soul, and He will prove His mercy. Though life is but a fleeting breath, a sigh to brief to measure, my King has crushed the curse of death, and I am His forever! This song was immediately followed by, I lift Your name, Your Holy name, Jehovah God Elohim, the Great I AM, the Risen Lamb, my Comforter and King! Now, if I could only sing, we'd be all set!! :) Seriously though, again, a theme emerges, to God be the glory (no matter the circumstances), my soul finds rest in GOD alone, a fortress strong . . . I will NOT be shaken, I'll set my gaze on God alone and trust in Him completely. Then Psalm 62 continues on to remind us that our life is "just a fleeting breath", BUT my KING has CRUSHED the curse of death - YES, that's it, that's the reason we live in HOPE not DESPAIR, it is the reason we rest in Him, the reason we keep on "living life" . . . we have that hope in eternity because our KING has crushed the curse of death and I (we) are His forever! and finally, we ended the singing portion of the service by singing praise to God, who is the GREAT I AM, the RISEN LAMB, my COMFORTER and KING! :) . . . moment by moment His blessings fall on us, restoring, reviving, upholding us, little reminders that HE is in EVERYTHING and over EVERYTHING!
After church, we came home to a quick lunch and Taya and I ran to town to pick up some "Secret Santa" gifts for work - and it was so fun! :) Have I mentioned that I LOVE this time of year??!! :) ♥ We "jammed" out to Reliant K, Matthew West and "the Biebs" singing Christmas music on the way there and back (well, I "jammed" out and Taya laughed at me for my "jamming" moves!).
To top the day off, my PACKERS won ANOTHER one, they are now 12-0 on the season!! Though, I must admit watching them without Rickey is VERY different and yet another reminder of the changes in my life, I just kept imagining him giving Reggie White high-fives as they watched the game in Heaven and THAT thought brought a SMILE :) to my face! :)
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have HOPE; The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end! Lamentations 3:21 & 22