No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Path Taken

Through every winding path this life leads me through
I will follow the voice of my Savior.
It comes as the rustle of the leaves,
the warmth of a spring breeze,
and even watching the clouds take shape overhead.
He gave me such beauty yet I know
my importance to Him is far above these splendors.

The path isn't guaranteed to be smooth
And I don't know how far it will go.
But I trust His promises
while I allow heaven's peace to fill my heart.

No matter the stops along the way,
whether they be easy or difficult
I will trust in my Savior
Knowing He will lead me all the way.

Jesus, my Lord, my Savior
May I never let go of your hand.
Renew me daily inside and out
For I want to depend wholly on you
Knowing that without recognizing your voice or following your lead
I will end up on a path that was never intended for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Whose heart are you after?

David, a man after God's own heart. As I review the struggles in my life, in the lives of my friends and family I think back on the life of David. A simple shepherd boy. No one, not even his dad saw it coming. The next king??! Yet David knew that it was in God's timing and he humbled himself to entertain for King Saul, and Saul's own son became David's best friend even though he would not follow his father as king.

David did not have an easy life yet he was "a man after God's own heart".
There was that battle against the mighty Philistine, Goliath.
Then there's that little matter of Saul trying to kill him every chance he got! So David trusted God anyway! He fought that giant and won! He was protected from Saul and he refused to kill Saul when he had the chance because he recognized that Saul was the Lord's annointed.

David did not always make the right choices yet he was "a man after God's own heart".
David's sin with Bathsheba seems almost unforgivable, yet God sent word through a prophet that David would be punished for his sin. David did "evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Sam. 11:27). He took advantage of the position God had placed him in costing many lives, lives that were lost that he may fulfill his lustful desires. David repented, but there was still a price to be paid. A higher price than losing his own life was losing that of his son's. But David didn't let it anger him against the Lord.

This is an important message!!

David's sin cost something just as our sins cost something. We have been bought and paid for, but even after our purchase we continue to mess it up and fulfill our own desires just as David. Sometimes we are repentant, sometimes we are not. In the end it cost God's Son. Regardless of the death of a 7 day old baby or 33 year old man one thing is for certain, sin comes with a price. We must learn from David and seek to be "after God's own heart". It's not perfection, it's seeking His will and being obedient. Accept the consequences of your own actions from your Father. We do not wish our children to hate us or be angry with us when we punish them yet it's exactly what we tend to do with our Heavenly Father.

Will you commit to allowing your Father to be a father? Will you let him mold you and make you into someone that will be seeking after His heart?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Grief Continued...

I posted yesterday about the grief I've experienced in the last year after losing my grandmother to cancer. I posted some of the writing I've done in the last year. Here's the latest entries that I have written.

Christmas 2009: Our last. The girls loved her and she loved them.

"Faith's Resting Place"
January 4, 2012

Someday my faith will be my sight.
The splendor of Heaven will consume me.
The roaring of the Lion of Judah that filled my spirit will be heard as the gentle voice of the Shepherd that has beentending to me for so long.
I will cry out in joyful praises for the battles I have fought and are now overcome.
I will reunite with the saints that have gone before me.
I will take a tour of a place I will never grow tired of.
There is a brightness that opens up new views of color never before imagined.
I will learn the truth of perfection.
I am forever grateful for that choice so long ago.
And the security that came with that reward.
I will never tire of seeing my Savior face to face and my eternity of worship that lies ahead.
I will see where my faith is made visible and where the chains of sin are removed.
For here is the resting place of God's grace as promised for those who chose faith.

Our last Christmas together 2009.

January 21, 2012
I know God is allowing these trials so that I might savor the victory that much more. Were I to walk through this life without tribulation it would be equal to the life of a spoiled child. There would be no appreciation in overcoming a hardship and faith becomes rooted in self rather than God.

It's not to say I relish the trials that come my way. Instead I must look forward to the victory that will come at the end knowing my Savior has my life in His hand.

I sometimes live just to survive a day and some days just to make it hour by hour. My comfort comes in many forms. The hug of my child, a gentle word from my spouse, a line from a favorite hymn, success of a student, Scripture and the history of the prophets, a call from a friend. These are things not to be taken for granted as I know many do not have such comforts in their lives.

My mind tries to form my feelings into words that apparently do not exist for no words can bring out the feelings I hold inside. Some days I feel a hurt inside that I can find no origin for. I suppose it is linked, like an intricate spider's web, to events that continue to take their toll.

A day will come where peace sets in and I can finally allow the voids in my heart to be fully repaired. I'm not ready for that fix yet. As strange as it sounds I feel the need to hold on a little longer, to grieve. I do not know how much time that will require so day by day it is.

Me with my grandmother. She surprised me at my graduation all the way in Iowa!

February 8, 2012
Thoughts of Heaven fill my mind when I think of anyone I've lost. I realize I have much to look forward to as my personal 'tour guides' are training until I get there. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Grief Over the Past Year

February 17th marks the one year anniversary of the loss of my grandmother. I have been through a lot of emotions since then. In the past year I occasionally write out my thoughts so I thought I'd copy them here. Hopefully it will help someone else or give insight to people of what I've been going through.

March 9, 2011
You ever just sit in the moment and replay random memories? Or even contemplate ones that can't now be made?

Reality seems optional at times.

All the talk about closure but not sure that I want closure. That's like admitting defeat.

Grief began 20 months ago with the initial diagnosis. Little by little the thoughts of the looming 'death date' seem to creep further into my thoughts. There's no denying it's coming, but you would expect that having some advanced warning would make it easier or prepare you in some way. It doesn't. Even being blessed with what I consider additional time didn't soothe the grief I now carry.

It's a permanent change in life. Not the change I would have chosen.

June 18, 2011
Weird the things that trigger emotion. A tv show, a song, a smell or sound.

Staying busy all day has been the equivalent of a magical pill. There's no time for thinking on your own time which means no time for thinking back on what you've lost. I think there are times I've really put it so far back that maybe I will make it today. I think at this point I've had one night where I haven't cried. It's not wailing by any means. Often it's just laying on my pillow at night quietly crying so my husband doesn't hear me and realize I'm just a mental case now.

One thought that I can't displace is recalling the image of my dear grandmother lying in her coffin. I can't recall all the words spoken at her funeral or even many of the people there, but the image of her is burned in my mind.

June 17, 2011
I try as I might to find something to compare the pain of loss to. Metaphorically it's like an amputation of a limb or more accurately a piece of my heart.

School is down to the final quarter. I convince myself daily to hold on a little longer. Once school is out I can allow more emotion. I know the reality is that I will still stuff it. There's not much more to do with it these days. I think back to movie scenes in the olden days where people grieved for a specific amount of time. It was observed by all around. I think they had a better grasp on the process of grief than all of our professionals, technology, and society have missed out on. We're expected to tough it out and move on. I think the harder part for me is people assume a grandparent is older and nearing the end of their life anyway. Maybe that should make it easier and more acceptable. Maybe not. There's no doubt my grandmother's life was shortened by a horrible disease. Cure was never listed in the treatment. I know that losing her is painful regardless of any reasoning anyone has to offer. I wanted her cured. I want a phone call, a visit. I just want her back.

June 18, 2011
Days have turned into months. Just when I think I am getting through it I lose it all over again. The tears aren't daily now, but I'm not sure if it's healing or the medication I gave into to get me by. Still the tears come, trying not to forget that last conversation I had. Knowing then that she was saying her good-byes. It was nothing short of miraculous the time we got with her. I should be thankful, that I know in my head. My heart doesn't comply. I wonder if the two will ever meet. Part of me doesn't want to stop grieving. Perhaps it's fear of forgetting her.

July 2011
Some days I'm fooled into what once was normal. I wrestle with how deep my feelings really go. Work keeps my mind occupied. My evening is so busy with motherhood responsibilities that I land in bed too exhausted to dwell on the sadness that lies within.

Avoidance has become a new way of life for me as I fun from the depression that really holds me prisoner. I don't know who it's safe to confide in. Peace is out of my reach. I find pleasure in my children and my husband but don't desire to search beyond these walls in my house.

I'm afraid of being alone.

Where will this path continue to lead? If loss of one is this unbearable, how would I ever survive the loss of more? I know I'll survive, but now likely without losing a few battles along the way.

If you made it to the end don't lose heart...I will post other thoughts in another blog! Grief is painful and is a process. I'm glad for the ability to grieve, but I can't say I enjoy it in any way! It's not something to be taken lightly.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dr. Grace

On January 31st my favorite college professor, Dr. Dave Reid, died in a skiing accident in Utah. He was 74. No surprise he was skiing at his age. He lived his life to the fullest and enjoyed the outdoors.

Dr. Dave was my Old Testament survey teacher as well as Hermeneutics and a couple of other classes. No one could fail his classes, thus he was known as "Dr. Grace". Some of his classes were "cake classes" and not because you didn't learn anything. He made learning fun and more important than his teaching was the investment he put into everyone he met.

I am most saddened that I will never get to go on his tour of the Holy Land. That was a dream of mine. I am thankful that he completed his work of recording talks of the entire Bible. His ministry reached beyond the walls of the college. More can be found at

So many people will mourn his loss for quite a while. College reunions will undoubtedly bring up conversations of "Dr. Daveisms" and remembering conversations and time spent with him. As a military wife I appreciate his wife. I never knew her, yet she was without her husband from Monday night through Thursday just so he could commute from Chicago to Dubuque to teach classes. What a trusting wife and an amazing dedication to the work of her husband.

I will forever remember the Walk Through the Old Testament (not enough to recite fully!), "Baaaaddddd Hermeneutics", "I'm so sorry", and many more quotes. I'll remember playing tennis with him, my ride from Chicago in the middle of the night with him, and talking to him in October and being impressed that he remembered who I was though I hadn't seen him in years. I'm thankful my oldest daughter could hear him speak. I remember earning grace points by playing in the OT band and classmates doing skits and just plain crazy stuff to earn grace points in his class. He was in a class where few reside. He was a model for all of us to look up to. Thank you God for the influence of such a man and I can only imagine he is having the greatest celebration now as he can hear the Old Testament stories from the prophets themselves. There is no doubt from anyone who knew him that he was greeted with "Well done good and faithful servant!"

Dr. Dave with his wife Margie (By Tim F.)

(By Linda W.)

In Greece

On top of Mt. Sinai at age 71!! (By Tim F.)