God is shifting and shaking, exposing what is in our hearts, be it fear, offence, love, forgiveness and even our motives. He is asking us to pray and seek His face to rightly discern a matter. If we harbor any ill feelings or unresolved issues when we make a judgement toward others, it can become a trap of the enemy, to distort our hearing God clearly. “We cannot pray in love and live in hate and still think we are worshipping God…A.W. Tozer.” It’s imperative we come to God with a clean heart, asking Him to give us His heart concerning others. There was a time, that my heart was so broken by a situation, one in which involved a family member. I wanted to lash out, the pain went so deep. So, after a moment of crying out to God, beating my fist on the wall, and then crumbling into a heap on the floor, I asked God quietly, “How do you see this ‘person’, Lord? He said to me in a small, still voice… “You cannot curse that whom I love.” So, I prayed, I chose to forgive, and every time a negative thought would come, I would choose to forgive again, til one day I felt Gods compassion overwhelm me for that person. I still struggle, like everyone else, but I’ve learned, and am learning, that above all else I want Gods will, favor and blessing on my life more than I want to hold onto bitterness and offence. Lets choose to be Peacemakers, take the road least traveled, repent of offence, back biting and gossip. The Word says we are to “bless and pray for our enemies,” and even more so, those of the household of faith. ❤
In October / November of 2014, I had flown into Arkansas to once again spend an extended time with my mother and father; something I had begun to do on a yearly basis, especially after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers. They had left Arkansas as a young married couple, my sister and I in tow, and permanently moved to Northern California, where my dad spent his days as a logger, until he retired. A few years after retirement, the two of them, decided to pull up stakes once more unbeknownst to me , and return to Arkansas, back to where it all began, leaving behind my younger sister, and youngest brother, and a slew of relatives mostly on my mama’s side, in Red Bluff, California and the surrounding communities. It came as a total shock to me when upon calling them one day, the number so familiar to me as a kid growing up, and into adult hood, was disconnected! I panicked big time, started making calls, and finally my sister told me they had driven off into the ‘sunset’…(well, more or less). When I finally was able to talk to my mother, she said to me, “it’s our last BIG adventure!” Yes, Indeed, I just wish I’d been privy to it!
As stated above, I was visiting my folks, mama’s memory had slowly been fading, and though I knew it, nothing prepared me for what lay ahead. The year before, in 2013, I had a wonderful visit. I decided I would paint her kitchen all white, something she wanted for awhile, and feeling that time was of essence, I jumped into it with all my heart and soul! I just wanted to do whatever I could do to bring her joy and be close to her, as well as help support my dad. My main goal in going this time again, was to pour myself into loving and supporting my mother as well as my father, who was dealing with his own grief. It was in my heart to take photo’s and video’s, and to journal my time with mama, daddy and my other family and siblings when we were together. I am so glad that I did. These pictures, and videos are some of my most treasured possessions. I cherish these memories. I knew the inevitable would happen, that soon enough she would forget who I was, so I would hide my fears, and my tears as I hugged her, held her hand (she often would reach for my hand) and almost every night, I would sit on the edge of her bed, or lean over her and we would talk, and I then would pray with her before she went to sleep. That was 2013. Several months later, 2014, things changed.
Mama forgot who I was when I walked into the house. At first, she seemed to kind of know me, but I knew she was struggling the first night I was there; I was laying next to her in the bed, we talked and I was sharing some of our memories growing up. At one point she quietly said, “You’re Karen, aren’t you?” I said, “Yes, Mama. I’m Karen, your eldest daughter.” Oh, my heart. Oh, my heart. Oh, my sweet, sweet mama. To this day, that still brings tears to my eyes. I had fun ‘moments’ on this trip, but it was bittersweet, and my heart hurt. I had to stuff my pain and hide it as much as possible. I had to be strong. At the time, I posted on Facebook only the positive and left out the really hurtful experiences, mostly to protect my mother and my father, and to hide my pain: I was too vulnerable. I hurt for her, and for my dad, and our family. It was on this trip that I began to grieve the loss of my beautiful mother, the essence of who she was and had been. I saw glimpses here and there, of my mothers humor, and her fun spirit, including the time my husband came to pick me up. He stayed a week…and though she did not know him, and for the most part wasn’t sure who I was, she asked me with a twinkle in her eye, why didn’t I ‘tell’ her that I had gotten married? I said, “Mama, you were at the wedding.” I even showed her a picture. She still insisted I had not told her. She was chuckling, and I said, ‘Well, mama, I’ve been hiding him under the bed!” We both had a good laugh at that. Precious memories…how they linger ❤
This video, was made on my phone, my first attempt, and the lyrics of the song, ‘Love is Never Ending,’ spoke volumes to me about my folks, my mother, and father, and about the brevity of life, about God, and His love. When we said goodbye to mama in 2015, and the angels took her to heaven, it wasn’t the ending of a life of loving and giving. It was just the beginning for mama as she reached out for the Saviors hand, and for those of us who were left behind (for now), her legacy lives on in us, her children and grandchildren, as do her prayers. ❤
Love is Never Ending
Seasons come and seasons go One day sun, the next day snow Flowers die and flowers grow But love is never-ending
You can’t kill it with goodbye It always finds a place to hide Inside your heart for your whole life Love is never-ending
When the lights have all gone down It’ll still be hangin’ ’round Even when you think it’s lost, it can still be found When every memory has been made And the pages start to fade And every prayer you ever prayed is heaven bound When you think the ride is over You’re back at the beginning Oh, love is never-ending
When a man and a woman start growin’ old The fire of passion may grow cold But what they got still warms their soul Love is never-ending
Time may change what you believe But one day the truth will set you free Just have faith and you will see Love is never-ending. Love is never-ending…
Facebook Memory: November 5, 2014. Six months later after this posting, mama fell in rehab, hit her head, attempting to get to the bathroom, 3am in the morning. Hours later she was rushed to the hospital with a brain hemorrhage from which she never regained consciousness. She was recovering from hip surgery and it was going well up until this point. Prior to this, she had been struggling with Alzheimer’s for a few years; 2014 was a turning point as far as the severity of the disease. When I came for an extended visit to give daddy a break and spend sometime loving on mama she hardly recognized me. It was then that I truly started to grieve. I will always cherish the time I was able to be there. In spite of the heartache at times, I experienced a deep joy in loving them and pouring into them. I was very aware of the faithfulness and goodness of God during this difficult time. There were tears and laughter, but love was always in the mix. :
“Wednesday, November 5th, 2014. We went to the Senior Citizen’s Center for Spaghetti and bingo. I took a picture of the last of some of daddy’s flowers that he brought in for mama. Pretty with the yellow deck in the background. After bingo we head out the door and drive down the road to Uncle Billy’s Barber shop. We usually sit around and chat while he cuts hair. Sometimes the customers join right in with the mini ‘ family’ reunions. Laughter and tales of days gone by oft come up. I learned this day for instance from Uncle Billy, that their mom, my grandma Atwell…or granny….had no sense of smell. He said it was because of a run in with a skunk…a direct hit in the face. I love these little meetings….and I love his barber shop where he has been cutting hair for about 30 years. The building has been there since the early 1900’s. Most of the adjacent storefront shops are empty, including the Crawdad Hole where many of the locals came for years to grab a bite in the little cafe and then listen to a little bit of bluegrass, country and gospel. Uncle Billy said this little strip will soon be a relic of the past. It truly feels like you’ve walked through a time warp into the past….a lot of history there.”
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”
― Andrew Murray
Below is a video, one of my first attempts at editing, along with the caption that is below the video on Youtube. My husband, Lee, and I will have been married 41 years on August 7th, 2017. I am in disbelief at times how fast the years have flown by. There are times, of course, we struggled and still do, truth be told, but commitment to one another and to God is the key to lasting relationships. I honestly cannot imagine my life without the love of my life. Have there been times I wanted to throw in the towel, oh, yeah, but God would remind me, after I would complain to Him, that if I wanted peace in my life, that I needed to forgive and to bless.
One thing I have learned and experienced concerning love over the years, whether it is in a marriage or with other relationships ; true love is God centered, it is based on ‘action’ and not on pure emotion. It’s always a choice to love, especially when others have wounded us deeply. It’s not easy.
The pictures of family and friends captured in this video below, only tell a partial picture. In spite of the seemingly carefree and loving environment depicted here; it was not always so, though there were undoubtedly good times where we laughed and loved, there are also countless untold memories of heartache, disappointment, and hopelessness (not just for me, but for all involved at various times). As I watch this video again, my heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness for God’s Presence in my life. He promised to never leave us, nor forsake us. I am also very grateful that a loving God sees past our human frailty, sinful nature and our faults (our imperfections) and has made a way for us to experience His forgiveness, love and peace through His son Jesus.
“Through the Good Times and the Bad Times, God is Always Faithful. As Christians, we cannot really learn to love until we’ve learned to forgive others, ourselves and even God. I have had to repent many times for not walking in love and forgiveness. There is NO LOVE like the love of our Savior, Jesus…and He is calling us, as Christians, to take the high road as the scripture says below, to lay our lives down for Him, and that means to let go of all bitterness and hurt and let God come in and heal our hearts. He is calling the sinner to come and rest and experience the Greatest Love of all time, Jesus, the Lover of our Soul. There are too many broken hearts. I do not regret the storms of life…for in them God has shaped and molded me and I desire above all else to have a pure heart and follow His ways, not because I have too, but because I Love Jesus. This is dedicated to my wonderful husband who is the love of my life, and a special thank you to my friend Sean who made it possible for me to learn to make video’s…and especially to my Father in heaven, and my VERY best friend Jesus, the Lover of My Soul.
Joh 15:9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. Joh 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. Joh 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. Joh 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Joh 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. Joh 15:14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.
Special thank you to Dave Gregoire, Jenni Springer and LadyJane Fontaine for the use of some of the pictures…I appreciate it..”
30 Young people will get tired; strapping young men will stumble and fall. 31 But those who trust in the Eternal One will regain their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles. They will run—never winded, never weary. They will walk—never tired, never faint.
Song by Rita Springer
If this valley and These shadows stay
If broken wings can bring you praise A promise made
But never came Can show me your unfailing grace
Can light the dark And find my way
If ground and grave Can steal my heart
Yet when you save A new song starts
And just your name Can move me near
Can change my hope, cast out my fear
I need… more Of your breath here
You are my Hallelujah
You are my Hallelujah
You are my Hallelujah
You are my Hallelujah
When silence falls And then remains
When worn and bruised, I still can raise
My voice to make You famous still
All of these tears, upon your feet
Become the wine You taste in me
Do you have peace? Do you ever wonder if true peace is even attainable? When I was a young teenager and a new Christian, I once said to my father, that we can have perfect peace. He just looked at me and said, “Perfect Peace,’ is not possible. Young and inexperienced, I felt a little deflated, and perhaps a little intimidated. Understand, daddy wasn’t much of a church goer at the time even though he had grown up in a strict Baptist household, his daddy being a preacher. I think he was skeptical and a bit disillusioned with the church overall from his own personal experiences. Walking away from my father that day, my heart sank, a feeling of hopelessness tried to overwhelm me. I NEEDED to believe that God would give me peace, and lift the oppression and depression that had settled on me a few years earlier when I was diagnosed with Juvenile (type 1) diabetes at the age of about 12 years.
Leading up to the diagnoses, I had all the tell tale signs of having diabetes. I drank lots of water and my thirst was NEVER quenched, I lost weight, dark circles under my eyes, and overall moodiness. I remember clutching my daddy’s side, probably leaving a bruise, as we went to the lab to have blood drawn. Little did I know needles, labs, Iv’s, hospitals, and doctors would become a way of life for me. Laying in the hospital bed that first night, my mom and dad and other family members staring at me, with mournful looking faces, I was hardly able to acknowledge them. The doctor said I was lucky to be alive. They shoved books into my face that talked about losing limbs, shorter life expectancy, blindness and finally at one point I just shut down. Fear gripped my heart and my life: fear of dying, fear of losing a limb, fear of going blind, fear of not being able to have children, fear of needles etc. etc. etc. The carefree days of childhood were essentially over and the stark reality was more than I could bear at times. It took years for me to walk in the freedom and peace that I walk in now. I haven’t totally arrived, but I thank God this was not and is not the end of my story…
At that time, though, the depression was getting worse, and I remember crying at the back of my maternal grandmothers house, unable to describe the unbearable pain that was in embedded deep in the hollows of my heart. The tears were unstoppable. She took notice but did not press me, and even if she had, I would not have known how to answer. I am certain, that once I had left for home, she got down on her knees and cried out to God on my behalf. How grateful I am to this day for those powerful prayers. A few years later, at the age of 16 years old, lonely, feeling isolated, angry and miserable, I came to know, through a dear cousin, the Prince of Peace, Jesus. She took me to a meeting in Redding, California, and for the first time in my life, I had a supernatural encounter, face to face, with Jesus. I felt His Presence physically and emotionally that day. My spirit came alive! Joy came into my life, and I began to experience the Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). I began to understand through the ensuing years, true peace was and is always about trusting in Jesus, through the good times and the bad times. My peace came by looking full into His face: staying focused or centered on Him, by talking to Him (prayer), listening to Him (quiet contemplation), reading His Word, being obedient to His Word, and through praise and worship. Philippians 4:7 says it best:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I decided many years ago, after our first child was stillborn (8lbs 4oz) due to diabetic complications, that when trials or tribulation came, I would ‘run’ to Him not ‘away’ from Him. I would choose to look to Him, to worship Him regardless of my brokenness. To surrender to His Love and Mercy. There is Peace in knowing Jesus, as John 14:27 says…27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
As I sat and listened to this video today (as I have many, many times over the years), I felt such a peace come over me. There are so many looking for peace today, for many it’s a false peace, some kind of Utopia, or perfect world. We will NEVER achieve that here on this earth, but as the darkness begins to get darker, we can be assured, as believers, if we KEEP our eyes on Jesus, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we WILL walk in supernatural peace that the world knows not of. Much love and prayers…Karen
My precious mother passed on May 21, 2015. My last entry about her on Blogger was taken about a year before she passed. There is so much more to the story but this was where we were at, at that time. I sure do miss her and love her. Love my daddy too, he’s no spring chicken, but he’s busier than most youngins’ these days. Mama had Alzheimers, and this link to the blog is just part of the journey. I love the pictures I posted too, and will probably rewrite and transfer that blog on here at another time. <a href=”http://www.pureheart2heart.com/2014/05/memories-here-i-sit-tears-flowing.html
Not the greatest quality picture, but this was my mama at her best. She had the most beautiful smile, graceful hands and ways about her. In her younger days she was a bit of a tomboy, but you sure couldn’t tell in her latter years. Daddy and Mama grew very close the last few years of her life. I would say they ‘fell in love’ all over again but it was a deep, compassionate love. Daddy would say, after she passed, ” I think I needed her, more than she needed me.”