Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Christmas Eve morning 1978 found Mac and I sitting in a little church listening to a message about Christmas from the book of Romans. For over 6 months I had been discouraged and unhappy and was searching for the answer to one question: How to fix my relationship with God. This was our third visit to this church, and I was afraid I’d never find the answer I so wanted.

Then the preacher read Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”, and I knew he was speaking about me. Then he shared Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Suddenly I realized that I had found my answer and I wanted that gift more than anything.

The preacher went on to share that, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Christ died for ME! I was stunned at the notion that God loved me that much. Suddenly the preacher asked everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. He quoted Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” He told us that was all it took: confess with your mouth and believe in your heart. Silently I cried out to God, “I believe!” As soon as the service closed, I grabbed Mac’s hand and told him I’d accepted Christ as my Savior; and with tears rolling down his face he told me he’d been praying for me. My husband had been praying for me! From that moment on, we began anew. Our marriage was richer, our love for each other was deeper, our lives were set on a fresh path.

We traveled that path together for almost 36 years. Then God in His great wisdom took Mac home to heaven, and so I now travel this path alone. Yet, I’m never alone. God is always with me, and He has promised to always be there: “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Today I celebrate my 37th birthday—my “born again” birthday. It’s the best day of my life. The one that assures me that I’ll see Mac again someday; and best of all—I’ll see my Savior. Because of this day, I have peace to face each day, and find strength and comfort as I travel this new path as a widow. I rest in the promise found in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Empty and cold

Recently I noticed that my heart was very empty and cold. I realized that I didn’t care one fig about anything. Not Christmas, not cleaning house, not sorting through things, not changing the sheets on the bed, nor even whether I had clean clothes to wear or not. I noticed that days would go by and I wouldn’t even think of Mac, and when I did I’d shrug and my thoughts would go elsewhere. I haven’t “talked” to him for a couple of weeks now. I also was becoming whiny—something I truly dislike in myself. I was afraid I was heading for another meltdown, and so I reached out to my pastor for help. He came over and we talked. Mostly he just let me talk, and then he’d share his thoughts and as he did he guided me so that I came to realize this emptiness is totally normal, and it’s okay not to clean, or decorate, or sort through things. He had lots more to say, and I listened (!) and for several days I have mulled all this over, and I have prayed. God answered and something happened: I changed.

Last night I realized my heart was easier and lighter, and I also discovered that for the first time in over a year I was happy. I mean genuinely happy. Happy like I used to be when I was part of “US”. It was a strange discovery, and happened in a funny way (pun totally intended).

I decided I was ready for a Christmas movie, and I selected HOME ALONE. Suddenly I laughed. I mean I *really* laughed. Not a chuckle, or a “yeah that was funny when I saw it with Mac so I should laugh at it now” type laugh—I mean I actually found the humor FUNNY and I laughed out loud in total enjoyment! About the 3rd time it happened, I stopped the dvd and sat there talking to myself, “Kimberly, you’re … laughing. You’re actually finding this funny. This is a big step, woman.” Then I realized that talking to myself might not be such a good step, and I laughed out loud at myself. ;)  I went to sleep last night with a truly peaceful heart. No teeth grinding. No weird dreams. No waking up in a fright. Just eight hours of blissful sleep.

Today I was ready—totally ready—to dig in the tub of decorations and I took out all the things you see in the picture in this post, and I set them in a totally new place. The mug was a gift from Mac for our first Christmas together, the big snowman was his as a kid, and the others are gifts that folks gave me over the years. I’ve also put out my new little ceramic tree and my creche. There was no heaviness in my heart, in fact, I found joy in digging through things. Oh, there are items in that tub that may never see the light of day again as they carry a great deal of emotional attachments, but that’s okay. Just as it’s okay for me to make new traditions, it’s also okay for me to not do things. 

I’m amazed at this transformation. I really am. I never expected that God would so totally heal my heart so quickly. I’m sure I’ll have times when I miss Mac horribly. I’m sure I’ll have times when I’m discouraged and lonely. I may even have times when I once again don’t really care about anything; but I know that these things are normal, and that God will hear me as I cry out to Him. 

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your [MY] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (KJV)