Trying to Make Sense…

Trying to Make Sense…

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. And it’s the 55th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. People are gathering at their relatives and friends homes to celebrate and reflect on what they are thankful for. But today, I am still struggling to make sense of the recent death of one of my daughter’s good friends, Tara, age 34. She died in a car wreck – she was on her way to see a friend. And today, so many are traveling. I’m praying for all of them, especially our daughter and her family.

Tara was the mom to a 10 year old son and 5 year old daughter. She was the wife of a Sheriff’s Deputy. She was the only daughter to a mom and dad, the only sister to their son. She was the best friend to so many friends. And she had an incredible impact on our family. Because of her, she gave me my daughter back!

This may help you understand why I am struggling with her death – my daughter was a bit lost and Tara helped her find her way back to good health. And in part, she helped our daughter maneuver through her two subsequent pregnancies. And they even shared a time of being pregnant together – our oldest grandson was born a few months before her daughter. And they had another good friend who gave birth to twins a few months before our first grandson.  They were quite the trio. There is nothing better for a woman than to share being pregnant with a good friend or two – I had that privilege myself!

I could hardly sleep the night I learned of her death – my heart went out to her family and especially her mother. She and Tara were especially close. And her husband – as a law enforcement officer, he is sworn to protect and serve his community – but yet his wife died in a car wreck in their community. Her precious children were – well, just so precious to her! She frequently posted pictures of them on facebook so I feel I know them both, but yet I have never met them in person. I was praying without ceasing the first night – and now every time I think of her. Praying for God’s comfort to surround them, to hold them, to fill them with His love and wonderful memories of her.

Tara and I had a special relationship and she promised we would see each other soon. She reached out to me recently. She is so much like my daughter, “…please don’t ask questions. I just need to know where in the Bible I can read about being tested and why and how. I just need some support right now from God….”  I shed a few tears as I love her heart. We’ve chatted about the Lord a few times before so I know she was searching for a closer relationship with Him. First verse I sent her:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I told her there was so many. And then I sent her:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name… 1 Peter 4:12-19 

Then I thought of another verse:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

After telling the Disciples about what was coming, He concluded with this:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

My heart was so blessed when she later responded, “Thank you so so so so much. This is just what I needed 💜.”  I instantly thought of our these, our last communications. What was she going through? I can only surmise.

She had a dream of 10 years. Because I was a retired Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), she had talked to me about her dream and wanted to do the same. Since she was a mom and her husband was an LEO, I explained how rough the hours are in the home life. So she changed her goal. Soon after our communications, she became a Code Enforcement Officer in her county! Oh, she was so proud of this and she shared pics of her in her “uniform” many times on both FaceBook and Instagram. We were all so proud of her. 

I haven’t been sure how to express my grief and my thoughts. But then today, my husband’s and my devotional spoke to my heart:

“God’s Clock”

“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14-15

How long will you live? No one knows. Life is like a vapor. You are here for a season, and then you were gone. The most important day you have is today. The Bible says much about today. It is the day of salvation. It is the day the Lord has made. Now is the time to serve the Lord God. Do not delay. Make today a masterpiece.

This devotional was written by Dr. Ted H. Traylor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida. He continues:

As a pastor, I frequently go to the cemetery with families to bury loved ones. Most often they are older people who have died, but not always. I have been there for infants, teenagers, and young adults. We never know how long we have. That is why today is critical.

Now is a powerful tool. one of the most important factors and having success is to focus on a goal and take action. Since death can come at any time, here are a few questions to ponder:

  • Have you settled the questions of eternity with Jesus?
  • Is there anyone you need to forgive?
  • Is there a person you need to tell “I love you?”

Now is the time. Today is the day.


Tara with her arm around our daughter. Oh happy day! All her friends have been post ing pictures of them with her….and she always has her magnificent smile on!

Please join me in praying for her family. And the families of all those who are grieving this holiday.

We had a bit of a spat!

We’re living the dream and our life that should be stress free!  We all know life is not stress free, but we really don’t have much to stress over. Sure, a tire blow out while going 60 mph should cause a little stress, but we handled it!

We’ve made it a habit to start our day with a prayer before breakfast and then normally a Bible reading and devotional after we eat. We started this habit after missionary friends gave us a few wonderful devotional books. But it wasn’t always this way.

It’s no secret, our marriage fell apart after 13 years. There was trouble at 7 years, but we thought a baby would be the glue to hold us together. She became the center of our world and things were good for a while.

But after 10 years of marriage, things got rocky again. I began to job hunt. Maybe a change of scenery would help. So we made a major change to our lifestyle. But that didn’t help, either. So finally, we succumbed to that thing God detests, d-i-v-o-r-c-e (Malachi 2:16). You see, we forgot our wedding vows. We vowed to love each other in good health and bad….What happens? Why do couples who are seemingly so “in love” finally break apart?

We’ve blogged a lot about our marital trials and tribulations (click to read more), but nothing recently since we have been living the dream: traveling full time in a magnificent motor home, retired and making plenty of visits to be with our grandsons….and their parents. We should have no reason to be stressed, we should be living “happily ever after.” Right?

We’ve said often we are sorry we divorced and wasted all that money with lawyers and caused a deep wound in our relationship. BUT we are so GRATEFUL we serve a mighty God who healed our relationship and restored our family.

God is not a genie and He only works miracles in His own way. We had so many people praying for us as we went through the divorce. My very dear sister-in-law, who became my spiritual mentor, talked herself blue in the face, trying to get me to see Jesus was the only Hope we had, to get me back into the Word, to get me to really seek HIM and not the worlds way to solve a problem. I know she fasted, prayed and even had her entire church praying for us. But my heart was hard and cold. I heard nothing and I didn’t want any advice. I was determined to get out of what I thought was a bad situation. And what was my bad situation? No matter what anyone’s bad situation is, you feel you have absolutely no alternative but divorce. Or for some, it’s even worse. I know, I’ve been there.

Ours was a spiritual war. Plain and simple. We both put our own needs above the other. We certainly weren’t looking out for the best for our daughter. Did I really think breaking up our marriage was the best for her? Really? How dumb was that?

My husband didn’t abuse us, he went to work every day, he didn’t get drunk (anymore), he was faithful, but he was not the spiritual head of our household. When we divorced, our daughter was six years old and had never been to church. I met Jesus when I was seven. Something was driving me to make things right but Bill refused to turn back to God. It was crushing me spiritually. And when someone is in that situation, everything looks hopeless, everything black.

We’ve blogged about how we finally forgave each other, click here, and we began to rebuild our family. We eventually began to lead a young marrieds ministry after we worked with youth for nearly 7 years. We moved and began attending a new church. The pastor said he would like us to work with young couples. We said yes after he and his wife lead a course on marriage. It helped that they were honest and said they had their share of troubles to overcome! Heavens knows it is very stressful to be a Pastor and the wife of a Pastor. They looked so perfect to me! We knew God had given us a powerful testimony for a reason….

Remember I said earlier we really have no reason to be stressed? Well, life is full of stressors (trouble) and for some reason, we do let stress sneak in and get the best of us. After all, Jesus said,

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When we have a change in our daily routine, it can create a few problems. As you age, you see how your habits have a way of being a good thing (like habitually reading your Bible or as ordinary as brushing your teeth after every meal) or a bad thing (like “needing” a drink to relax, or smoking cigarettes). It’s best to practice good habits when you are young as it helps you as you age because your body does begin to wear out. And that is about the main stressor in our lives. We are becoming forgetful or we do dumb things, like have “senior moments.” We are close in age, Bill just 8 months older than me, so it has helped that once one of us begins to have a health concern, the other is right there and can emphasize. Usually!

So this past Sunday (June 12, 2016), we were visiting lots of family in Missouri. We were excited about attending one family’s new church and in fact, everyone decided to go and then, we would all go out to eat afterwards. Then we would be on our way home (at that time, Illinois). It was the Sunday of the horrific massacre in Orlando. We normally never have the news on, but we wanted to check the weather. We were in a hotel since it was too far for us to bring our motor home for a long weekend trip. Maybe that set the tone for the day. We were focusing on the bad and not thinking of how our Lord is in control in spite of evil ruling one man’s life to the point of mass murder. There were beautiful stories of survivors helping others and the outpouring of support not only the city of Orlando showed the victims, but the entire state stepped up to help as well as support from all over the US and world.

We didn’t have our prayer time or devotional. And we lost track of time and were running late. It was a 20-25 minute drive and we didn’t know the area. We had set the GPS in the car the night before so we sort of knew which way to go…or so we thought. And in setting it, I guess I was the one who forgot to turn out the “map” light. We rushed out to the car, Bill getting in first while I checked out of the hotel. The car had a hard time starting. Then I get in the car and notice the map light was still on. Bill mentioned the battery seemed to be dying….and our GPS had started acting up a few days ago. Our tempers were fragile and we had a spat. I accepted responsibility for leaving the light on, but Bill didn’t pay attention to which way to go….so off we went in the wrong decision.

After being together for over 40 years, we don’t yell at each other. We did in our younger days and before we returned to the Lord. We’ve had spats along the way, but northing serious. And we go to church no matter what else is happening. But not this day….

We both went silent and it was a long 5 hour trip back to our RV …. and the worst part was that we missed an excellent church service and more time with the family. It’ll probably be a year before we see them again. 😞

What is the moral to this story? Bill is actually very wise. While he majored in Psychology in college (he thought he’d go on for his PhD and become a marriage counselor), he minored in education. One thing he learned and taught me, Biblically, as well as from his education, was when one has thoughts (and they did to me) was to control your thoughts and to say, “Get thee behind me satan.” And you know, that has helped me control my temper!

As it turned out, our GPS (part of what they now call and Infotainment system) went bad as did our battery. Our car was in the shop for two days. Was it anyone’s fault? No, just that batteries now only last three years with all the electronics but leaving light on helps it die faster! We both make mistakes and we just need to extend grace to each other. It’s hard enough feeling the aging aches and pains….we don’t need to rub salt in each other’s wounds.

So lessons we learned while we were being prepared to work in a couples ministry, don’t ever let the sun go down on your anger, don’t sweep problems under the carpet, don’t stuff your feelings, don’t every say the “D” word, love and forgive each other daily!

If you are having your own “problems” or situation that seems unbearable, one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, wrote this wonderful post that really says what I know is true and has helped me, at least, keep control of my anger at certain life situations.

Your Problem isn’t YOUR Problem!

We have the hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure….Hebrews 6:19

Finally and Forever!

I’m re-blogging this from a dear friend and mentor’s website. She posts her daily conversations with the Lord. They always speak to me but this one was especially meaningful!  Posted August 6th, 2015 by Diana Furr & filed under Inspiring Courage. How I long for that day, Lord — that day that will be unlike any other! “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3b-4) Oh, Abba… It is so reassuring to know that day is real and will one day come to be! It is reassuring because sometimes the battle here is fierce. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) The enemy of our souls is relentless in his efforts to blind us to who You really are, Lord, and how much You love us. He is forever (so it seems) lying to us about who we really are — Your sons and daughters, for whom You have won an eternal life with an abundance of all that is most precious to You. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:20) Sometimes the battle is one day at a time. Sometimes, one thought at a time. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Sometimes, we fight the good fight, by Your Spirit, for ourselves… on the battlefield of our own minds. Sometimes, we fight it for others… by helping to bring Your Truth onto their “radar screens.” “We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14-15) By Your Grace, Lord, I am reminded that the war has already been won. You saw to that… didn’t You, Jesus? “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15) So many Truths! Truths that inspire me to long for more of You, Lord. Truths that reassure me about a priceless future that will last far longer than any present pain. Truths that remind me of the Infinite Source of all I will ever need for Victory… today and forever. “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11) “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Lead on, Lord… until that precious day when we are finally — and forever — face-to-face! Abba’s Girl