"Hold My hand, and walk joyously with Me through this day . . . together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings . . . be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you . . . I am your guide , as well as your constant companion . . . I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to Heaven!
~ Jesus Calling Devotional
As I type this, it is 12:16 a.m. on August 5, 2012.
To anyone who is a parent, 9 months is typically a joyous countdown! The culmination of 9 months of excitement and planning and waiting and wondering and worrying is coming to an end. 9 months results in the joyous arrival of a new addition to the family.
This 9 months is not that type of joyous celebration - for us, but for Rickey, it is. It marks 9 months of living in the very presence of Jesus . . . seeing, tasting, feeling, experiencing the eternal joys of Heaven! I am reading a book right now called "The Color of Rain". In it, a husband is dying of cancer. The last line I read in the book tonight was, "He (the dying husband) is being called home and that call cannot be denied". Since November 5, THAT thought has been an anchor to my soul. I love word pictures and my word picture from that day is of those fleeting moments between Rickey's earthly life and his Eternal life . . . and the moment the two intersected. My image has been of Rickey falling, but as he fell, God REACHED DOWN from Heaven with an outstretched hand and said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, it is time for you to come Home to me now". At that point, Rick reached out his hand and in the TWINKLING of an eye, he moved from this life to Heaven! Jesus called and Rickey went - without a backwards glance because he was READY to meet his Savior! Shouldn't we all want to be that ready, to be anxious to GRAB HOLD of Jesus' hand when He calls to us? Rickey was, and therein lies my comfort. So as I type this in the wee hours of the morning of the 5th of the month, I can say that the Saturdays do not come with such a sharp pain anymore. The 5th's of the month don't paralyze me with fear anymore. The "anniversary" days are there, they always be. Rickey's birthday is coming soon (the 18th), but we already have plans. God, in His mysterious ways KNEW that some of the girl's FAVORITE bands would be doing a FREE concert, in Green Bay, on Saturday, August 18! So, on that day, we will join hundreds of other Christians in worshiping the Lord - just a small taste of the worship Rickey will be experiencing on his first birthday in Heaven!
God HAS been gracious. He has BLESSED me BEYOND measure. Even in tragedy, HE has been there for me, every single step of the way. He has made the crooked ways straight, and as I have walked closer and closer to HIM, I have felt more and more real HIS presence. I have friends and family who mean the WORLD to me. Friends who know me and understand me and "get" me! I have been blessed by their presence in my life, and am forever thankful to the Lord for what they are to me! I am continually amazed at HIS blessings in this, my CrAzY life!
I have learned to look for the "little" things . . . the blessing of waking up each morning (even at 3:30 a.m. this past week as my work shift was 5:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.), the smell of the flowers (or fresh cut grass), the warmth of the sun, the trees blooming, birds singing . . . I see HIM in those things and more . . . in a beautiful sunrise or sunset, in a full moon rising, in the stars in the sky and sitting around the fire-pit listening to the nighttime insects chirping and the fire crackling. Listening to the goofiness of my girls and their friends and their infectious laughter! I'm learning to sense GOD in all things and to thank HIM for every blessing He sends my way - big or small - and not to question His leading, but to "enjoy the journey"!
Today, I ran another 5K and "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" was more true than I could imagine! :) When I started to run in January, my goal was to run (and finish) a 5K . . . just one . . . which I did do in March. My "goal" time was to finish in under 30 minutes. Today, i finished my 2nd "official" 5K with a time of 24:52 and was FIRST in the 45 - 49 year age division! Eating right (hardly any sweets, NO Diet Dew & learned to like COFFEE - WHAT is up with THAT??!), exercising, weight lifting and running have all pushed me to grow and move forward. To be stronger. To continue to live, and laugh, and love and enjoy life . . . because I KNOW that is what Rickey would want for me!
My new job is AMAZING! I am so at peace in making the decision to leave my old job and move on to this one! There are so many opportunities in this position and I really enjoy the change and the challenge! God is working on me and (hopefully) through me. My prayer continues to be that I may shine HIS light to others as He has blessed me with His love and peace!
So, even though this "9 months" will not be marked in the joyous way the 9 month culmination of a pregnancy would be, I will "celebrate" it. I will celebrate the JOY of Rickey being more alive than ever in Heaven where he waits for us. i will celebrate the work that God has done and continues to do daily in my heart and my life . . . in growing me and teaching me and upholding me. I will celebrate that "I know who holds the future and I know who holds my hand". I will celebrate my friends, old and new who GOD has brought into my life for His glory and His purpose - and I will not take a single one of them and their blessings to me for granted! I will celebrate the fact that even though I was excited for her to "move on" in life and experience the world, Tessa has decided to attend college locally - at least for this semester. I will celebrate her and her sisters - that they are each other's best friends and the lights of my life!
I will celebrate the fact that Jesus calls me to "Sit quietly in His presence while He blesses me . . . to rest in His sufficiency . . to keep looking to Him and communicating with Him as I walk through my days with Him!" ~Jesus Calling (paraphrased)