Sometimes It Hurts

It is a sad day at our house. The two babies, (the two kittens) my husband rescued, were taken to the Helping Hands shelter in Topeka, Kansas, where we pray they find good and loving homes. They were only with us for almost three weeks, but they became a part of our lives very quickly. I must be getting old, but the emotional upheaval is more than I can stand. 20205746_10207245748420537_865269655_o

I sincerely pray that loving families adopt them, and that they have a good life. At least we know that three weeks of their lives were better than what they would have been if my husband hadn’t found them.

Last Friday night, our older cat came to the back door to eat. Cassie was to be an indoor cat, and for the most part for much of her life she was. But she really enjoyed the outdoors, and she was a very savvy cat. She would jump to the garage roof when it was not safe in the yard, and observe whatever dog, skunk, or intruder from her perch. When I left for work at 5:30 am, if Cassie was outside, and on the roof, I woke my husband to walk me to the car. Something was not right outside. Cassie would greet us each time we arrived home, running to our car and waiting for us to open the doors, greeting us with a “meow!”.

The arrival of the kittens didn’t make her happy. At one time, she rarely stayed outside after we went to bed. She would obediently come in when called, sleep with our youngest daughter, usually under the covers, and then head out again in the morning. During the cold months, her time outside didn’t last long, and on really frigid days, her nose was all that peeked out. But with the kittens here, she preferred to eat outside, or quickly in the kitchen, and then she left.

Last Friday night was the last evening she came for supper. We have called and searched, and Cassie has not answered. She was born the November of 2006, and became part of our family around Christmas time. She was a good cat.

So, we lost not one, but three cats over the past couple of days. Our hearts are heavy, and sadness meets us each time we enter a room where they once played, or snuggled on the sofa. And for now, I don’t want to hurt like this again for any family pet. I’ve lost too many over the years.

Our youngest daughter is devastated of course. I can’t blame her, but it’s the reality of life. One that I don’t understand, one that I don’t want to live through again. At times like these, you think it best to not care for anything, not let your heart melt at the touch of a kitten on your toes, or the soft feel of their fur against your cheek. For if you care for no one, or about nothing, you have little to lose. Right?

This life is painful at times. Your heart is ripped from your chest, and wounds are tore open, left to bleed. The loss of a loved one or a family pet is never forgotten. But it does ease in time. Time softens the sharp edges of pain, and blurs the memory just a bit. And I’m thankful for that. Maybe someday another cat will share our home, maybe Cassie will still return. But for now, that sharp pain is there. And I don’t like it. This is Cassie, taken last autumn.14536809_10155389110863009_1992044396_o

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Your Soul Lives On

You Live until you Die

You live until you die…well duh! Such a simple statement. Just five little words, that we should all take a little more seriously.

As we were singing in church yesterday morning, the words to the old hymn, I Am Resolved, really spoke to me, as they hushed my own voice.

For the past almost four years, we have struggled. Our family attended diligently, and was actively a part of a church since April of 1999. (We did go back to upstate New York for a couple years.) My husband was the pastor of this church the last two years we were there. Our son and two of our son-in-laws taught classes there and were on the board. For almost two years, we have not been a part of that ministry. Almost two years ago, my husband’s mother passed away. This was a woman that loved her children and grandchildren dearly, and she has left a hole in their lives.

To say that my husband has been struck-down is an understatement. To say that I have been there for him is not true. When I am hurt, I go into survival mode…and survive. And I want others to do the same. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work. Compassion is a trait I am working on.

The hymn yesterday morning caused me to think, and put things in better perspective, at least for a little while. Here are the words, and if you like, you may listen to it played on the piano. http://www.hymnpod.com/2009/12/31/i-am-resolved/

Our family no longer worships together. Because there are so many of us, we have felt it best to disperse. Our family doubles the congregation of a small church, and that is not always wanted. That is hurtful, but we humans wear our feelings on our sleeves, and just because you know Christ as your Savior, it doesn’t mean you have it all together. It means you are willing to let Christ into your life and guide you…or at least it should.

God has given us the local church to edify the saints…teach Believers the Bible, first and foremost. Then we are to use our spiritual gifts to build up fellow Believers, support that local assembly, and be a light in the community and the world around us. People need one another. We are to bear one another’s burdens. We are to love one another.

Not judge, bicker over items that really don’t matter, or get caught up in the world’s system of doing things. (I am not talking about government or laws here.) We are not to hurt one another in the local church or be a stumbling block. For more information on this, you may read Paul’s letters in the Bible. Some of these are I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Romans. And we are to have compassion and be a good, Godly testimony to the world.

Yes, it’s been a rough few years. We’ve had our feelings hurt, it’s caused us to stumble, wondering what we should do next, and where we should be. So those words in the hymn spoke to me. But it’s not about me…it’s about Christ and the price He has paid for us all. In the light of eternity, the hurts, the anger, and the stumbling do not matter.

You live until you die…and we will all physically die one day. As the old cliche goes, none of us are getting out of here alive. If you are saved, you have eternity in Heaven. As a Believer, the health issues, financial instability, housing, and our feelings, are not the issue. Our relationship with God and learning His Word is the issue. When we apply His Word in our lives, not just let it sit there, it changes us and the way we react and interact with others. All people. So you can have cancer, and still take joy in your world around you, and the people and things in it. You can lose a loved one, and feel that pain, but still go on. You can sacrifice all that you have for others, and still have more to give.

Life is not easy, but we are here for a time. Why not make the most of it? Greet the day with a smile, shrug off the little hurts, have confidence that God will take care of you. But it will be His way, His best plans for you out of the love He has.

And that is a love like no other. Be resolved to live your life for God and be Christ-like. Then you will be living until you die…that physical death. Your soul lives on.

“I Know the Plans I Have”

Anyone over the age of about thirteen can look back on this year and say, “Wow!”

It didn’t really matter if you were Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, owned a home or rented, had children or not, etc. I think we can all agree that it was a rough ride in many ways.

Every year I see something in the news about the people we lost over the past year. This year has been especially shocking to me. I don’t know if I’m just getting older, so I’m aware of more people, and have followed them over their careers. Maybe it’s more of a surprise because so many have been young…around my age. And yes, that’s young to me. To only reach your fifties or not even…half your life in the way I look at it.

And of course I always wonder what their belief system was. For me, to think that a person did not know Christ as their Savior before their death is scary and sad.

So many celebrities had it all while they lived their lives on this earth. So very many had tumultuous lives. It seems to me that they were searching for that perfect combination, that balm to the soul and all the money and fans could not appease that hunger.

That is not to say that if you accept Christ as your Savior your life is monetarily successful. That you have all that this world deems important and affluent. And I have had people say, “Then why bother? I’m fine on my own.”

But are we?

I like to have a plan, a goal, and know what’s ahead to some extent. No, you can’t know everything and life is full of surprises. Some wonderful and rocking our world, others not so much. At times those unexpected little things are just down right depressing and pretty formidable. But for me, wondering about where I would go after I’m no longer here on this earth would be unacceptable. I want to know and be sure. And I think most people do.

Because God created us that way. He created us to need other people for encouragement, support, accountability and love. He gave us a desire to have others in our lives. He designed us with emotions, feelings, taste and a decision-making process…for a reason. It was planned.

And for me, a plan is pretty fantastic. I want to know what’s ahead, and what I’m expected to do. And you can.

I look back on 2016 and think, “Wow!” But I look back on my entire last 52 years on this earth and can say the same. It’s been a pretty exciting ride, most of the time. Looking to the future of 2017 is a bit scary. There are many unanswered questions. And I don’t like that. But faith is where it’s at. I know God has a plan, and I’m part of that plan, and He’s the ultimate planner.

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version (KJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year 2016. The year has flown by, many changes have occurred over the past twelve months. We know, take by faith, that the sun will set tonight and rise again in the morning. Time is short, for all of us. None of us know how long we will be here. Make the most of the time you have, make the best decision of your life. Accepting Christ as your Savior, is a plan you can be sure of. And it sure beats having no clue! hourglass-1703330_1920

Start the New Year with a clean slate. Decide to live your life differently. Each day we are given affords that opportunity. If you are saved, make 2017 the year you put your Christian walk first in your life. That will be my goal.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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