It's been a year since my last post here.  Not a year of Rickey being forgotten by any means, just a year of us living life, and continuing on in this "new normal" that God is writing for us.

As I opened this page to write this morning, many thoughts flooded my mind, but I believe writing right now was divinely appointed.  At the exact moment I positioned my fingers on the keys to begin typing, "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone" came on the radio.  In case you don't know, that was Rickey's funeral song.  The song I can FINALLY make it through without crying - most of the time - but not today.

November 2, 2005, my sweet Mama called me early telling me that she had called the rescue squad for my Dad, "We think it's his heart" she said.  As that day unfolded, my amazing Daddy was transferred from the E.R. to the I.C.U. at our local hospital where they attempted to stabilize him before feeling it was safe to flight him to Green Bay for further evaluation and treatment.  I will always remember how I felt late that afternoon as I watched the helicopter lift off and head south, holding one of the most important men in my life. That helicopter represented so much to me in those moments ... fear for my Daddy and his health, gratitude for the men and women who had taken care of him all day, and those who were caring for him on that flight, and desperate prayers that God please help my Daddy!  God wasn't through with my Dad's work here on earth.  After quadruple by-pass surgery, an implanted pace-maker and later an ICD, some setbacks and many medical "miracles" my Dad came home and today, 9 years later he is at hunting camp preparing for another hunting season!

November 5, 2011, a police officer and my Pastor and his wife met us in our driveway prior to a frantic drive to that same E.R. where my Dad's journey had begun just over six years earlier.  I clearly remember as we pulled into the parking lot, I longed to see the landing pad set up with Eagle III waiting. That helicopter represented {earthly} life and hope to me. The course of November 5, 2011 wasn't anything like the course of  November 2, 2005.  Rather than a helicopter swooping in and whisking Rickey to another medical facility for treatment and {earthly} intervention, as it did for my Dad, God reached down with divine intervention, calling Rickey home to Heaven.

"Time heals all wounds" they say.  I do not agree. Time softens the hurt.  Time allows you to breathe again.  Time gives you a new, better perspective. Time allows for acceptance. Time brings God into focus, and allows you to lean on Him like you've never leaned on Him before. Time does not stop, just because your life feels like it did. The wounds that we experienced on November 5, 2011 will always be with us.  The wounds have softened, though some days they feel just as fresh as they did that day.  We are able to breathe a little easier, most of the time. We have a better perspective, of life on earth, and the hope of our eternal life in Heaven, things that once seemed so important have faded some in light of eternity. Time has allowed for the acceptance that God has a bigger plan for our lives. Time has allowed us to fully lean on God and we have grown closer to Him than we ever imagined we would. Time has not "healed" our wounds.  They are still there.  We still miss Rickey. Every day. We miss the commotion around this time of year, getting ready for hunting season.  We miss the things that he, as a Daddy/Grandpa "should" be here for, the graduations, the birth of babies, the big and little events that we used to take for granted! 

"Time" has passed.  Three years of time.  Thirty-six months of time.  1,096 days of time.  26,304 hours of time. 1, 578,240 seconds .... yes, time has passed, and continues to pass each moment. Life did not stop 1,578,240; 41, 42, 43, 44 seconds ago .... it keeps on ticking away.  Rickey's "time" on earth did stop three years ago, but with that last fleeting breath here on earth, he breathed his first breath of eternity.  At that moment 1096 days ago, God spoke softly, "Child, come home", and Rickey did! As I type this, 26,304 and 1/2 hours ago, I fully believe that Rickey stepped into the presence of his Savior and Lord and heard the words, "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done."

Yes, we still miss Rickey today, three years later.  We still, at times wonder "why"?.  We still feel the hurt, time did not "heal" that wound.  We will always have a piece of our hearts that left with Rickey that day. We miss his laughter and soft, gentle personality. But, as one of the girls put it, "We had Daddy as long as we were supposed to."  Our earthly minds cannot comprehend God's ways. We will not fully understand this side of eternity why God chose to call Rickey home that day three years ago. We will however rest in the fact that

 "Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. " {Psalm 139:16}

We will believe that God in His sovereign will had designated November 5, 2011 as the ending of Rickey's "days ordained {on earth} for him, before one of them ever came to be".  We will also believe that Rickey's last and most important prayer would be that one day, he is able to stand there and greet you at the gates of Heaven {as he greeted everyone coming into church on a Sunday morning} with an "I'm glad you are here" as he hears Your Lord proclaim to you "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done."

Time does not heal all wounds, but time does not stop either!  Each of us, like Rickey will breathe our last breath here on earth.  When you breathe your last earthly breath, do you have the assurance of an eternity in Heaven as Rickey did?  If you do, live each moment FOR eternity, use your life to bring glory to God, and lead others to Him.  If you don't have that assurance, please search your heart, dig into your Bible, ask someone some questions and make that decision today.  It is the most important decision you will ever make! You can never be good enough or nice enough, or giving enough to get into Heaven. You will not get into Heaven through regular church attendance, service or by being baptized {that's your outward profession of your internal decision!}.  The ONLY WAY you can be assured of hearing "Well done My good and faithful servant, well done" is to have a personal relationship with Christ .... don't wait - you aren't promised your next earthly breath, life can change in the blink of an eye!

So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...