Monday, August 7, 2023

Tears of Sadness, of Joy

Two women saying goodbye
Saying Goodbye
 Today, Glen and I have had some difficult tasks to accomplish. 

A ministry we have loved for twelve years has come to an end.  Another one, which we have wanted to be able to add to our schedule will be taking its place.  We have had to tell people we love dearly we will no longer be with them.

Leaving a place is rarely easy, but in this case, it is very sad.  We have come to love the people in this congregation.  They are thoughtful, kind, caring, and loving individuals.  As a body of believers, they are unparalleled.  The thought of rarely seeing them again breaks my heart. Glen and I have shed many tears over this and I don't suspect we are finished crying yet.

Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, "Frannie, in this day and time, everyone can keep in touch as much as they want."   Yes, that is true.  But I have been separated from work friends well enough to know that it rarely happens that way.  Without shared experiences, it is harder to connect with each other.

I am reminded of the tender story in Acts when the Apostle Paul is leaving Ephesus.  He had just prayed for these believers and the Scriptures tell us,

"And they wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more,"  Acts20:37,38.

Today I can truly feel how those Ephesians felt.  But, just as Paul felt called to go somewhere else, so do we.  Thankfully though, for we who believe, there is coming a day.  There is coming a great day.

"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words."  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Several months ago a well-loved nursing colleague of mine passed away unexpectedly.  She and I had both worked in our unit for over thirty years.  The day of her funeral was a day of reunions.  I saw nurses I had not seen literally in decades, some of whom I loved dearly.  I would not have finished hugging one, before another would catch my eye and I would be hugging her.  We all cried for the passing of our dear friend, but we also joyed in our reunions. 

This is what we have ahead of us. As believers we will have all eternity together. That moment, when we are all joined together to meet our Lord will be one of great reunion with each other.  Then, the most blessed moment of all, when we see our Lord for the first time.  We will likely all shed tears of joy, and we will all share this glorious moment together!  Think of how we will talk of it among ourselves for eons to come.

Eternity. . .the joys, the laughter, the love we have shared in this life will be but a sad memory compared to the glory of living together with our Lord.  Oh, what days we will have!  What a glorious eternity we will have!  

Our best days are ahead!


Tuesday, August 1, 2023

"We Got This!

Exercise Equipment
Since I (mostly) retired in September, I have been able to be more consistent with an exercise regimen.  For my workouts, I used an app with online trainers.  The trainers can't see me, but they talk as if they can.

Many of you who at one time or another have had exercise instructors know how they talk when they are trying to rally you to continue.  "You can do this!"  is one of the more positive phrases you might hear.  Some instructors however will be almost bullying, "Don't you dare quit now!"  

Yesterday, the instructor said something I found very encouraging.  Toward the end of a fairly difficult arm workout, when the muscles had been fully worked and were tired, he said, "We can do this.  I know your muscles are burning, and mine are too, but we can work through any burn.  We got this!"


That makes a big difference, doesn't it?  By using that word he not only gave encouragement but also the feeling there was someone along with in the suffering.

My mother died 26 years ago today.  She had cancer, and we knew the direction in which things were heading.  It was a very difficult time.  While we knew what was going to happen, we didn't know when or how, and that added to the stress of the situation.  Also, my father had died four months before, so it was grief upon grief.  

It was especially difficult to go to work in Labor and Delivery where everyone was so happy.  I was truly happy for the families I cared for, and I tried to be happy with them, but my heart was often too heavy to truly share in their joy.  

I received strength from knowing I was not alone.   While I could not hear the Lord speaking to me audibly, if I could have, I believe He would have been encouraging me like the fitness instructor, "Frannie, we can do this."  "We."  I may not have heard the words, but I certainly felt them in my spirit.  He was there, with me, strengthening, encouraging, comforting, and loving me with each step.

For His children, He will always be there.  There will never be a day when He is not loving us, encouraging us, and comforting us.  He will be for us all we need in every moment if we trust Him to be so.  He loves us so very much more than we can ever begin to realize.

"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5

"I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Matthew 28:20

"I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
Jeremiah 31:3