Tag Archives: death

“love is a violent flame not to be ignored” -AE

24 Dec

I heard the most horrible story the other day. I am hesitant to write it here because it is so sad, but I want to convey the reality of this painful situation… (or is it the painful situation that is reality?) I am currently working at an insurance company, and a lady called first thing in the morning – she was distraught, asking about accidental death coverage for her mother. She went on to explain that her mom passed away earlier in the week. Her mother had dementia and wandered out of her sisters house somewhere up north where she was staying, while they thought she was sleeping. When they realized she wasn’t there and couldn’t find her, they called the police. The police searched the house and one of them went to the back of the house where they heard someone gasping for air. There was a freezing cold creek behind the house that she had fallen into. They rushed her to the hospital, but it was too late and because she had been in the creek for a couple hours, she froze to death. The lady on the phone began to cry as she said the words. My heart was so so broken for her. There was so much hurt and sadness on the other end of that phone line.

Its crazy how this time of year, the holiday season, is supposed to be so joyful and full of hope, and yet there are people all around who are in tremendous pain. About a month ago I was out watching some friends play football for an annual Turkey Bowl game they always participate in around Thanksgiving time. I sat next to a lady who was watching her son play. We small-talked for a while, and I asked about her Thanksgiving plans and her family. When I asked if she had any more kids who would be home for the holiday, she choked up. She told me through held-back tears and a quivering voice that she used to have 2 sons, but one was killed in a car accident 1 year ago to the day, right before Thanksgiving on his way home from college. She had taken the day off from work because she knew she wouldn’t be in the right mind-set, and came to watch her other son play football and spend time with him. My heart sank. Brokenness and pain was sitting right next to me.

Those stories ruined me. Each time for the rest of the day and the days thereafter, I could think of nothing else. Their sorrow left an ache in my heart, and the soreness would not go away. I wanted to do something, to say something, to somehow make things better, but what could I do? What could anyone really do?

In darkness like that, there is only one source of Light. I honestly don’t know how people get through life without Jesus. He is my rock, my comforter in times of sorrow, my support, my healer, my helper, my salvation, and so much more. What is the meaning of life without Him? What is LIFE without Him?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – Psalm 73:26

Hearing those stories prompts me to put my life back in perspective, remembering what and who is truly important and forgetting the rest. Their hurt reminds me to be kind to those around me, strangers or not, and constantly be showing and sharing His love in whichever ways I can. The holidays will never be the same for these ladies who have lost so much, as well as so many others with similar heart-aching stories. A little kindness can go a long way. Even a hug can go a long way. Even a listening ear and a caring heart can go a long way!

Don’t be so consumed in the holiday season that you walk all over those around you. In our American consumer-driven world, it is so easy to get caught up in what we need to get done, and who we need to buy gifts for, and who we are going to fight for the last Tickle-Me-Elmo doll (flashback!). Of course I am included in this, and just as guilty for making this season all about me and not about sharing the Love.

And so, with a heavy heart I challenge you (and me) to take a good look around. Be aware of those who are hurting, and extend your (fill-in-the-blank) in compassion and love. Make a positive difference in the life of someone who could use a little support. Thank your friends and family who have been that support for you.

Live your life for someone else for a change.  This is the message of Christmas.

Love is a powerful thing. Share it with someone.

“Love is a violent flame not to be ignored” – Andrew Ehrenzeller (musician)

So love, and do not stop.

refined, not defined

12 Jul

I think I only blog when I should be doing other things. Like studying. For my Finance test tomorrow. Yuck.

Here is something I heard today:  

“Your past does not define you, it refines you.”  – Jason Burns

 

So that’s what got me thinking. I mean, it’s true I think. I am not defined by my past (mistakes or otherwise), but rather I am made better because of my past, because of the things I went through and experienced and the choices I made – I have learned and grown and overcome, which makes the current, present me improved and refined. It makes sense. And I like it.

I’m a fan of this whole “improvement” idea. I think one of my greatest fears in life is to be stagnant… too gripped by fear or self-doubt or insecurities to move forward and be all that I am created to be. I want to be constantly improving, actively pursuing my purpose in life. Always.

But many times I do get stuck. Frustration and panic and fear settle into my heart and I feel as if there is nothing I can do. It is so easy to believe the lies. To start to believe that I am nothing. Nothing of worth or value. Nothing that can really do anything to make a positive impact or change in the lives of other people or in the culture around me.

But that is what they are. Lies.

Jesus = Truth. In Christ, we are overcomers. There is nothing our God cannot do. We are His children, and as such we have power – the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me!

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:10-11)

 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

 

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:18-19)

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

 

The same power. My mind cannot fully comprehend. Makes me wonder what I have been missing. If the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in ME – that’s an insane amount of power… and I have not even begun to tap into it.

Christ conquered the grave. He overcame death. And that same power lives in me. Therefore, I have conquered death also – this life is not the end. When I die, my earthly body will be gone but my soul will be alive with Him forever eternally. In Christ we too have overcome death, through death. And we put to death every day our sin nature, our old selves, our bound and broken shells that were slaves to sin.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24)

 

So here is something else I heard recently… if death has no more power over us, then that verse about walking through the valley of the shadow of death really means just that. It is not death. It is just a valley in its shadow. Because in Christ we have overcome death already.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor 15:54-57)

 

And He is with us. Always. In those times when we are walking through the darkest places of our lives. In those times when we feel so close to death as to be in its shadow… except deeper… like a valley in its shadow. He is there with you.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

 

He loves me. He will never leave me. He comforts me. He empowers me. Why do I search for anything else – as if He is not enough? He is my all in all. And by that I mean He is everything, all that I need, in every situation and challenge in my life. More than enough.

For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

 

Yet I still struggle within myself. I want so badly to be speaking the truth of my heart and soul when I sing words like “You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed” but the prideful voice of my “old self” fights me all the time. It says “No. He is not. You can’t sing that. He is NOT all you want. You want lots of other things. You don’t really think He is all you need, you need other things too.”

But then I think… everything good in my life is from Him. Because of Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

 

He has never failed to bring me through every hard time – to help me overcome. He created me. He knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. He died so that I could be with Him forever. He loves me more than I understand. He makes all things new – He continually restores me, each day a new day, each breath a gift. He gives me life – He IS all I want and ever needed.

I can’t imagine a life without You because its all for You.

That time I survived a huge killer wasp of death.

25 Jun

So I was sitting there, studying (hard to believe, I know) all alone in the dungeon (the office room on the bottom floor of my house) when I heard something. It was a slight buzzing sound. A buzzing sound that can only belong to certain …creatures. A sound that triggers something in my brain to freak out and causes fear to strike my poor little heart. And then, just as the fear started to sink in, out of the corner of my eye I saw it. In the air. Coming closer. Flying around. Flying towards me.

A HUGE FREAKIN KILLER WASP OF DEATH.

INSIDE my house!

Flying around trying to KILL ME!

And I mean huge, people. We’re talking like the length of a finger. A grown man’s finger. Like as long as a pack of gum. The stick kind, not the little Orbit pieces. Or like the size of those safety scissors for kids. And it was as if it grew as it flew! It freaks me out just thinking about it.

 

 

Pause: Some useful backstory on me: I hate bugs. Especially flying ones that sting. Or creepy crawly ones. Or just bugs in general. NOT cool. One time when I was younger I screamed bloody murder in the backseat of the car while my mom was driving and she literally had to pull off the road because she thought I was dying. She was very upset when she found out that I had seen a little spider on the seat next to me. She had to lie and tell me that she found and killed it before I would get back in the car. I would like to think I’ve come a long way since then, but I’m really not sure.

 

 

UnPause: So killer wasp of death is flying towards me and I am squealing like a little girl and using a piece of paper I had been writing on as a face-shield, and I freeze. Apparently I need to work on my fight-or-flight response. It buzzes around my face for a second and then flies back over to the sliding glass door across the room… maybe he was looking longingly outside, yearning to get back out where he belonged… or maybe he had simply relocated to plot his attack-strategy… I don’t know, and quite frankly I did not care. I was too concerned with how I was going to survive.

So I realize that I am all alone in the house and nobody can come to my rescue. So what do I do? What any good young American with access to the Internet would do. I announce to the Facebook world that I am about to be killed by a huge flying WASP OF DEATH in my own home, and plead for someone to come save me.

Of course that doesn’t really do anything except possibly allow the cops to figure out cause of death when they find me. So minutes come and go, and the death-wasp has not ventured back out of its safe-haven across the room, so I try to just pretend that nothing ever happened and the wasp is really outside and try to concentrate on studying again. More minutes pass and the huge killer-wasp re-emerges from its shelter. This time with a vengeance and furry as it recklessly darts around the air space between us. I am completely freaked by this point and, using my paper-face-shield, I flee from the room and up the stairs. Flight, not fight (or freeze) this round.

It is at this point when Friend #1 randomly texts me. I quickly respond with a “killer wasp of death trying to kill me please help” message, to which they reply with a laugh and a suggestion to call Friend #2 over to come kill it. I take this advice, as Friend #1 always gives good advice and it would be unwise of me not to. Friend #2 also finds the situation humorous but agrees to said act of violence against the evil wasp. Or set it free. Either way. Friend #2 says he will let me know when he is on his way, and I am much appreciative.

After a while, I venture back down the stairs in order to make sure I don’t lose sight of the wretched flying death-creature, and to hopefully continue studying if possible, and I see that it has relocated to directly above the front door. It wasn’t moving, just camping out on the wall above the door… trying to make me think it was “sleeping” or something, so I creep past it and back to the dungeon. I try to study some more.

Next thing I know, an hour has passed and Friend #2 is dead to me. Apparently the words “huge killer wasp of death” did not invoke a sense of urgency within him. Luckily though, at this point, the killer-wasp is still “sleeping” on the wall, and I cannot see it from the dungeon, so my nerves have calmed down quite a bit. It is during this time that Friend #3 calls. He needs to pick something up from my house. I tell him he is only allowed to do so if he kills/frees wasp-of-certain-doom. He agrees as long as I throw in a water bottle for the road. I tell him he can have as many water bottles as he wants if he gets death-wasp out of my house. Deal.

Minutes later, Friend #3 arrives, and I am perplexed as to how to open the front door with huge-killer-sleeping-wasp directly above it. With a deep breath and ninja-like moves, I quickly reach out, unlock, open, and back away from the door. Friend #3 is laughing as I point upward in the direction of the no longer sleeping wasp-of-death. Friend #3 grabs a shoe, throws it at the killer-wasp, and misses. I fear for both of our lives as now killer-wasp is angry, but Friend #3 swings the shoe some more and somehow, miraculously, death-wasp flies out the door into freedom.

Everyone should have a Friend #3.

And that is the story of how I survived the huge killer wasp of death.