Joy and Sadness

This week has been one of roller coaster emotions.  We shared a wonderful Christmas celebration with all my immediate family in which God's grace, presence and joy filled our home.  All eight grandkids were here and did an amazing job of getting along! We had some amazing verbal gifts exchanged as well as the more physical ones! It wasn't perfect--but even the Hallmark movies add a little drama to make it interesting!  I felt so much joy, love and pride as we watched our granddaughters give us an impromptu talent show complete with violin and song.  We are a blessed family.

As we were preparing for our oldest daughter and family to leave the next day, we received a phone call from my sister.  Her son in law, my nephew had chosen to leave this world.  Many things contributed to this decision I'm sure.  He had lived with many medical issues since birth--much affecting his kidneys.  He was blessed to have two kidney transplants.  However, for over a year he has endured dialysis to help keep his one kidney functioning.  We had prayed for him for the transplants and were praying for another, when he recieved word that no matter what, he would not ever qualify for the transplant list.  We will never know exactly what was going through his mind, I know he felt hopeless and discouraged.  I know he chose to be released from the pain.  We all lost something that day.  His wife lost her husband--their children their father.  Even though I didnt' interact with him that much, he still impacted my life.  His smile and laughter filled a room.  His quick wit and generous spirit encouraged many. He left a Pat shaped hole in all our lives.

So I asked myself what is my take away from this?  I don't think he understood just how many lives he affected.  So once again I pray, Father help me to share the value that others are to me.  Not just to think it, but to share it with them while they are here to hear it.  Help me not to take for granted family, friends, co-workers and others.  To spread encouragement with my voice and my actions.  I also am aware of how we need to help people learn how to re-new their mind with God's Word and thoughts.  To catch the lying thoughts that would lead to more despair and hopelessness, and align them to how God sees us.   

Today, my nephew Matt and his wife Becky and children came and helped me with the monumental job of emptying my bedroom for a planned makeover my children want to do for me.  As I was praying this morning asking the Lord for strength and grace to do it by myself--He must have been laughing, because He knew He had help planned all along!  They did it with cheerfulness, they did it with love.  I felt humbled and blessed to recieve their care.  While we were emptying my waterbed, I found a missing treasure, Darryl's wedding ring.  It's only been missing for about 4 years!  His fingers had grown so thin that it fell off one day and I couldn't find it anywhere.  It was such a joy to see it laying in the lining on Darryl side of the bed. Memories flooded of when I first put it on his finger, over 40 years ago.  But, he doesn't need it anymore.  

I have a friend who knows her time is short, but she is still here, sharing and loving others.  In the normal course of things, she is much to young to pass on, but she is at peace for His timing in the matter.  I know her family are treasuring every moment with her.   She has brought much joy and laughter to her family and friends.  She has made an impact on this earth for His Kingdom.  Darryl and Pat are finished with their race, we still have ours to run.  May I encourage you to keep on.  You are valuable to those around you, and to the Kingdom.  Let your light shine and if you need it, draw close to those who are shining around you when you feel a bit dim.  God has enough to replenish us all.  I wish we could have helped Pat when he felt so lost, but that is out of our hands.  We get to love on his family and friends this Saturday, would you pray comfort for us all.  Thank you.