"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Katie and Jeff

Steve, Kyle, and I went to see Katie and Jeff last weekend.  We had a great time!  Here are a few pictures we took. 

Katie, Jeff, and their fish!

Katie has a new hobby -- she learned how to crochet!  Here's a picture of her first finished afghan.  I'm the lucky recipient of her handiwork.   She's pretty talented!

Enjoying time together at a restaurant.  Kyle, of course, had to try out the pinball machine!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


As I wrote the last time, since Laura and Duane died my eternal perspective has changed. I never thought much about heaven until I lost two very dear people in such a short amount of time. Since then, heaven just seems so much closer. Here are a few of my rambling thoughts... :)

  • I've developed a sincere longing for heaven! I don't long for it in a morbid way (such as "I just want to die and go to heaven"), but as something I honestly look forward to. I really didn't give heaven much thought until Laura and Duane died. Now I catch myself dreaming about heaven! Steve and I have been privileged to take some fabulous trips to tropical locations. I love to breath in the scented air, bask in the warm sun, and revel in the beauty all around me. But as beautiful and refreshing as these tropical paradises are, they are just a shadow of heaven. Heaven will be so much more!
  • I'm excited to live in the fullness of what Christ has for me in heaven. For example, I love to play the piano, but my abilities here are so limited. In heaven, though, I'll be able to play as I was created to! There are times when I hear an impressive and difficult piano piece, and I just long to play like that. For now, though, the best I can do is promise the Lord that someday I will play like that for Him in heaven! My ability will finally match my desire. (I'm sure that Laura and I will have ample opportunity to once again play some fabulous piano/organ duets).
  • It pretty much goes without saying that I can't wait to be reunited with Laura, Duane, Steve's dad, my grandparents, and others I've loved! But I also think it will be so cool to get to know other brothers and sisters I never even met before. Imagine how quickly we'll bond! We have a taste of that now when we meet another believer for the first time. Our spirits connect in a unique way, and soon it's obvious we share the same Father. We will experience that over and over in eternity.
  • In heaven, our relationships will be complete. We will be able to enjoy each other and share life together as God intended. We won't have the brokenness, the awkwardness, the tensions (and so much more) that we so often now experience with our family members and friends. We will love each other - and be loved - as God originally designed.
  • The most incredible thing about heaven, of course, is that it will be brimming with the very Presence of Jesus!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Six years ago...

Six years ago today my dear sister, Laura, died. I still miss her so much. I often wish we could just sit down and enjoy a cup of tea together. When the loss of Laura was still very fresh, I would repeatedly catch myself thinking of having to call her or stop by to tell her something. Then reality would rear its ugly head and I would remember that Laura was no longer there. As the years have passed, those times are much less frequent. My heart and my head have finally caught up with each other. I know Laura’s gone, and my mind no longer tries to trick me into thinking she’s still living just up the street.

Laura taught us how to live -- and die -- well. When Laura’s cancer returned, we knew that her chances of recovery were slim. However, it was still incredibly shocking to be told (when it was obvious the treatments weren’t successful) that she would likely die within a few months. I remember thinking, “she could actually be gone by spring.” The thought was incomprehensible to me, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I couldn’t even begin to understand God’s reasoning for this.

To be honest, there are still times I wonder why this had to happen. Why my precious sister was taken home when it seemed she still had so much life on this earth yet to live. Only God knows the fullness of His reasons for taking Laura at such a young age. But I’m thankful that He’s pulled back the curtain a little so that we could have a glimpse. I am certain that many who knew Laura have a closer relationship with the Lord today not only because of her life on earth, but also because of how she prepared for life in heaven. When Laura knew that she would most likely die soon, she spent her remaining energy sharing the love of God with her family, friends, and students. She knew without a doubt that this was just the first part of her life, and she was eager to share her faith with others.

As I was thinking about all of this, I asked God to show me what He’s been teaching me in the past six years. The death of Laura (and my brother-in-law, Duane…who died just two months before Laura) was a pivot point in my life; especially in how I view life and death. Here are a few things that God highlighted in my mind (I’ll share more the next time...or this will get way too long!)…

  • My perspective on death has changed. I’m no longer afraid of death! I know it’s our enemy, but -praise God- Christ has conquered it. These used to be just words to me until I had the privilege of walking with Laura through that valley. The night we journeyed with Laura on her approach to heaven is one I’ll never forget. There was such a calmness and peace in the room – a solemn holiness – even in the midst of such sadness and sorrow. God’s presence, though physically unseen, was felt with a warmth and weightiness that transcends words.
  • My perspective on life has changed. Life on earth is short! Whether I live to be 50 years old or 100 years old, earthly life is but a pin-prick compared to the never-ending fullness of eternity. How am I spending my days? God has reminded me over and over that as long as I have life and breath I have a reason for being here. As I’ve been intentionally seeking Him, He’s been revealing to me what’s important in life.
  • I’ve also found out that life does go on after a devastating loss. God’s Presence has never been more real to me than it has in recent years. His generous promises have come alive for me! Promises such as, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14); and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). I’ve found these to be so true. While sadness and loss will always be part of this fallen world, God has promised to walk with us every step of the way. He’s also poured His Spirit inside of us, ready to provide comfort, guidance, and HOPE!
  • HOPE! My perspective of eternity has changed. Someday soon either Christ will return or He will call us home. In the perspective of eternity, it will be just a short moment until I have all the time I could ever imagine to spend with Laura and untold others! But more on those thoughts later…

Friday, March 12, 2010

Our precious grandkids!

~Here are some pictures we took last weekend at Stephanie and Kirk's house~

Konner eating his favorite food...chicken-broccoli-alfredo pizza from Pizza Ranch

Uncle Kyle and Konner hanging out -- they both love computers!

Stephanie and Haley -- so sweet!

Grandpa Steve with Haley and Kaden ~ Loving every minute of it!

Konner and Kaden horsing around
Kirk and his precious little girl

Kids will be kids!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It was great to spend a couple of days with Stephanie, Kirk, and their kids over the weekend. Konner was so happy to see us! He has a knack for making you feel like the most special person in the world…bless his heart. And the babies—they’ve changed so much! We couldn’t believe how much they’ve grown and developed since we were last there. They are such little miracles! It’s amazing how well they’re doing. Haley and Kaden were so anxious to get started on their lives this side of the womb (they arrived 9 weeks early), and haven’t slowed down since!

The babies still aren’t supposed to go out (high risk for RSV), so we spent most of our time at the house. Of course, Steve, Kyle, and I played a lot of store, animal doctor, and school with Konner (as well as the required games of Trouble)!

Steve took Kyle and Konner out for awhile on Saturday afternoon. They went to Wal-Mart, then on to the hotel. They spent time in the swimming pool and hot tub, and also snacked freely from the vending machine (oreos and skittles…can you say “sugar high”?)!

Since the kids were all taken care of (Kirk was home with the babies), Steph and I were able to go try out the new coffee shop in Sioux Center. It was great to be able to sit and talk without the usual distractions. I love this stage we’ve moved into…still mother-daughter, but one that’s blossomed into an adult level.

I love having an adult relationship with my girls. It does my heart good when I’m able to have some quality one-on-one time with my daughters. Unfortunately, since both of my girls live several hours away, those times are too far and few between. So we do a lot of talking on the phone – and of course, even some texting. Katie’s motivated me to improve my texting skills! I know I’ll never be even close to her skill level, but I do the best I can! I don’t want the distance in miles to translate into distance in our heart-relationships.

And always, I’m praying for them. I once heard someone say that if we aren’t praying for our children, who is? As moms, we have a unique knowledge of their hearts. We know them intimately. Of course, there will always be much that we don’t know or understand about our children; there are always areas we’re not invited to be part of. But I believe that if we ask the One who sees the hearts of all – and then listen for His answer -- we are given insight into the hearts of our children (no matter their age); a special view that shows us the way to best pray for them.

Ask – and listen – how you can pray for your children today. James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person (woman, wife, mother) has great power and produces wonderful results.” (NLT)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Kyle came home from school the other day with a new Peter Eide cd. He’s a Christian musician who was at PCHS last week for spiritual renewal days. His music is great -- very high energy! I can see why the kids love him. All week I’ve been playing his cd, and the music keeps running through my head.

One phrase of a particular song keeps spooling around in my mind. “Life is a mystery to me / I look at You, You look at me…” I love that word picture! In my imagination I see myself looking up at my Father with longing and desire…and He’s gazing down at me with unmasked love and adoration in His eyes.

But is that how we always view our relationship with God? Do we see God lovingly gazing at us while we talk to Him? Or is the more accurate perception one of God impatiently tapping His foot, waiting for us to finally run down (“enough already! I have other people to tend to.”)?

God’s been teaching me much about intimacy with Him…what it means and what it looks like. It’s not something I’ve spent much time thinking about in the past. I mean, it seems so human, so carnal, almost. I have a much easier time thinking of God as my Father than my Lover (even typing it out makes me think, “is this right”?). But as I’ve been seeking deeper intimacy with Him, God’s been revealing His heart to me.

Listen to what John and Stasi Eldredge wrote in "Captivating". You are the one that overwhelms his heart with just “one glance of your eyes” (Song 4:9b). You are the one he sings over with delight and longs to dance with across the mountaintops and ballroom floors (Zeph. 3:17). You are the one who takes his breath away by your beautiful heart that, against all odds, hopes in him…He is not interested in the woman you think you are supposed to be. He wants intimacy with the real you.” (p.120,121)

Nothing can separate us from His love! God is deeply, intimately in love with me...with you. Why is that so easy to believe when we read it in Romans (see 8:38,39), but then we wonder if the Song of Songs was really written for us?!