A Time to Die

Sunset w

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


As a young child, I experienced a bit of trauma when my father died. I was only six years old and I don’t remember a lot about his illness or death but I do remember watching my friends have dads and wondered what that was like. Of course, because the main wage earner was not around, we experienced financial hardship. And sure my mom was exhasuted by the four of us! As I moved through different stages of life, I knew I missed out on something. But, it was simply a fact in our family and we moved forward in life.

Years went my and I married a great guy and we started having our own children. When we were pregnant with precious child #3, I started to get nervous. When my husband’s mom was pregnant with her third child, her huband died of a heart attack. I thought for sure that would be my future. Of course, I was wired for something like that since I grew up without a father in the home. My mom raised four kids by herself and I figured that was going to be my lot in life. I actually thought far more about the day I would be raising children on my own due to my husband’s death than I ever thought about my mom leaving this earth.

Moms are immortal, aren’t they?

It didn’t happen that way. Don’s still here and my mom died ten years ago. (She was the best!) And it has been so much fun to watch my kids have their dad in their lives! Watching my husband be such a great father to our kids has been a great thing. So many of the things I feared would happen, in fact, have not happened. But they were fears I simply had to face and move through.

There are days we feel like we are dying because of the agonizing heartache or the anticipation of pain or paralyzing fear of the future or the prospect (or certainty) of a challenging treatment plan. And yet, those are not the days our bodies die. We are all marching toward that final day but we don’t really know the circumstances surrounding our final breath.

We know it will come, eventually. It always does. Are you working on those things you’ve hoped or dreamed about? If you knew you had a short time left on this earth, what are the things you would focus in on and do?

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [Psalm 90:12 NIV]

I am at least halfway through my life. When did that even happen? I don’t fear death itself as much as I wonder about the pain that might be involved in the process of dying. But, no matter, I don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding my final breath.

But what if this is what I am facing in my remaining days?

  • Life without a special, precious someone
  • A difficult diagnosis
  • Financial hardship
  • Disability
  • Chronic Illness

I will cling to His promises. He is the God of all comfort. He sees the bigger picture. He knows this life is temporary. He knows and uses every trouble and trial for faith building  either in me or in others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.        [2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV]

I trust that God is with me, strengthening and upholding me! And I trust He is with you too!

On the way,

Liz

Isaiah41_10

A Time to Tear Down

Castle in Ruins w
A castle in ruins in Transylvania

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


If you have ever done any home remodeling you know that there are times things need to be torn down or ripped out. Sometimes it is due to an invasive species (termites) or a natural disaster (flooding or tornado) and sometimes it is due to poor workmanship. Othertimes there is a change of vision and to make the change, things cannot stay as they are.

Have you ever invested your energy into something and found that the idea needs to be scrapped? Maybe it was an educational path or a relationship or a traveling itinerary. Sometimes you have to go back to the core of a structure, the core of who you are, or to the core of who God is and start again.

Did the builder stray from the original plan?

Have I surrendered some core beliefs?

Have I taken some liberty with God’s promises and met a crushing blow?

It is important to peel back the layers to see the original blueprint and evaluate whether the foundation is on solid ground. When I look at my circumstances and it seems hopeless and I am trembling, somewhere along the line I am sure I have shifted where my hope lies. I have added to the structure of God’s Word and promise and added in some “shaky ground”.

Have you found this to be true? We are only human, after all. It is so easy to be caught up in how things might look and if I do this then that should happen.

We live in a broken world there is death, disappointment, and disease. Sometimes we receive news that is devastating. Revisiting God’s promises and God’s character helps me regain His perspective and gives me fresh eyes to see my circumstances. And it gives me hope.

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn #370
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento
Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Tune: “Magdalen”

On the Way!

Liz

What Are You Waiting For?

Are you living with dread for the coming days?

The next doctor’s appointment. The next review from your boss. The next episode in your family. The next rejection from a job. The next piece of disappointing news. The next roadblock.

Or are you living with anticipation for what God is doing?

God’s next provision, transformation, redemption. God’s perfect timing. God’s healing. God’s promise to work all things for the good of those who love him.

If we knew everything that was awaiting us, I don’t think it would be good. We think we want to know but I don’t know that we would be all that happy about knowing the future. Sometimes knowing something is going to happen is mesmerizing, debilitating, and paralyzing even if it is a good thing. While impending doom motivates some people to prepare it grips others with such fear they cannot think through to plod ahead and do the next thing. God knows having too much information too early on most items is distracting to the present.

Be careful that you are not so focused on what you are waiting for that you don’t breathe in and celebrate your today. The provision, the gifts, the beauty, and the aromas are sometimes here for just a moment.

Who holds your year in His hands? Who has the ability to work all things out for good? Who has led you where you are today?

Today. It is what we know and what we have. Don’t spend all your days wrapped up in tomorrows that may never be.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. [Romans 8:28 NIV]

Waiting (is the hardest part)

Have you ever had a day (or a season) when the future looked very uncertain and you were called to wait for an answer and you waited, and waited, and waited? The waiting felt terminal–with many things hinging upon that one answer.

Here are some things that I have found helpful–

  • find a couple of Bible verses that communicate God’s promises–memorize them.
  • review your life, what has God done for you in the past? Remember His provisions and repeat them. It does help to recall His previous provisions.
  • let God change the course of your life. There are times when we are convinced we have a plan and it isn’t necessarily the direction God would like us to go. Remember, we are the clay–He is the Potter! Sometimes God wants you to give up your job, your house, the community you live in.
  • Stay in God’s Word! Satan wants to steal your courage…surround yourself with God’s promises.

Here is a great Psalm! What words stand out for you?

Psalm 145 (NIV)

A psalm of praise. Of David.

1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.  2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b]
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

If you are struggling as you wait, hang on….He is with you…