This is an actual picture of our Larry. It took about three months for him to over come his fears and learn that we love him and don’t want to hurt him. We still need to stretch out our hand and allow him to come to us. Once he comes to us he flips and flops wallering in all the love and attention. He has the loudest purr that echoes through our garage. Larry started coming around right around the time Mike’s dad passed away. Mike wanted a garage buddy, a guy, to hang out with during times the estrogen of our house becomes overwhelming to him. It is so sweet how God’s timing is “purrrrrfect” and provides just what we need. Now when my husband comes into the house from hanging out in the garage he is covered in fur. Larry can’t get enough of loving and cuddling now.
Our Larry story still reminds me of God’s love. God’s hand is continuously outstretched to us, but we must take the step of faith and come to him. We must lay down our fears, our pride, all of our selfish ambitions, and just come. Once we have taken that step and allow God’s love to infiltrate our life we react a lot like Larry. Once you have experienced God’s love we can just flip, flop and waller in the love and peace that He gives. There is no greater love than our creator God sending His son to die for our sins allowing us to fully experience God’s love and have the gift of eternal life. Forever we can flip, flop, waller and purr in the arms of God’s love when we just come to that beautiful outstretched hand.
1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Here is a link to Part one.
The year of “firsts” without my dad are now complete. All the holidays and birthdays have past and it has been a complete year since he passed. Little did we know that this year was a year of lasts with my husbands father. Life is full of firsts and lasts. Each day is filled with them. The question is do we live like every moment is a first and possibly a last? If we did maybe there would be a lot less anger, harsh words, and a lot more celebration of life itself.
Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
When our family met to make arrangements for my father-in-law’s funeral my mother-in-law communicated that she would like for me to sing at the funeral. Accepting her request I had to start praying about it right away. “What song do I sing? What about music? Please dear Lord keep me from crying!! ” Our pastor friend, the funeral director and I had pre-arranged that I would sing in a small room off to the side of the large room where the services were to be held. First off I wanted the focus to be on Jesus, my sweet father-in-law, the words of the song, and not on me. Having my plan of how and when to exit to the small room I felt well prepared at the start of the service. Without knowledge of what the three of us had previously planned another gentleman working with the funeral home closed the bi-fold doors to that small room just as the pastor began the service. At this point there was no way to slip into the small room and obtain the one microphone without causing a big distraction. My prayers went into even greater levels of desperation besides “Lord help me not to cry” they went to “what on earth do I do now??” Then my eyes were drawn to the cross hanging on the wall directly above my father-in-law’s casket. There was just enough room for me to stand in front of the bi-fold doors to the left of my mother-in-law allowing me to face the cross instead of the room full of people. Knowing that tears are extremely contagious for me even with strangers there was no way I could look into the weeping faces of those I love and be able to sing. The words “just focus on the cross and sing about my ‘Amazing Grace’ ” kept speaking to my heart as I prayed. It was easy to communicate to our pastor where to stop with the podium adorning the one cordless microphone allowing for minimal distractions to be made. God got me through with no tears I just had to look toward the cross. This has become the answer to everything in my life…Look toward the cross. When times are hard and I don’t know what to do…look toward the cross. When I feel weary…look toward the cross. When things are going great…look toward the cross. My hope, my strength and my help comes from the Lord.
Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Here we are back to looking for photos for reflecting and remembering a loved one. A grief smack hit me when going through the girls baby albums. I had made a “Grandpas page” in each of their books. Both grandpas are now gone. I am so thankful for this promise from God because my heart is broken for my daughters. Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” A link to What Would your 50 to 100 Pictures Be https://anitalucasfreestyle.com/2014/07/09/what-would-your-fifty-to-one-hundred-pictures-be/
The death watch is what I found the hardest part of nursing during my years as an intensive care nurse and honestly I think it is the hardest part of life. My husbands father’s health has been a roller coaster since January 19th and he has not been able to make it out of a hospital setting since. The last two and a half weeks he has been in critical condition in an intensive care unit. One day he would take baby steps forward and the next day a step back. With all the surgeries, medications, procedures, and treatments it became clear yesterday that his body was just worn out. The family was faced with the decision to stop treatments and allow him to pass peacefully and comfortably. Some death watches are quick and a shock like my father was on March 11th last year. Sometimes they take hours or days this death watch was about twenty four hours. Sometimes a loved one goes to visit their family and finds their family member already passed with no decisions left to be made. This happened to a friend of ours with his father just this week. I think of those in the hands of murderous evil barbarians waiting for their execution and murder. No matter the circumstances it is so hard. As a patient advocate it always has broken my heart for the patient as they go through the agonizing transition from physical life to death. Memories of patients and their families keep flooding my mind. Each experience is forever etched into my memory and has become a part of what defines my own life.
To realize that God actually came down to go through this agonizing experience of physical death is amazing to me. Jesus’ agony started in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prayed “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 Knowing what was coming he was in such agony he sweat drops of blood. “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44
We are sinful undeserving people yet God came to face the agony of physical death as well as carry the weight of all mankind’s sin. We still face physical death, but when we put our trust in Jesus we don’t have to face death of our soul. We do not have to be separated from God the giver of life. Jesus had the ultimate death watch. As he was in agony gasping for breath on that cross with every nerve ending in his body screaming in pain he cried out “It is Finished” John 19:30 He paid the price of sin once and for all. He rose again in three days victorious over physical and spiritual death!! My husbands father was a wonderful man, but through many conversations with him he wasn’t really confident in putting his trust in Jesus. After his heart stopped and he was revived a few weeks ago we had a few limited conversations. Every time I said to him God gave you another chance and has you here for a reason he nodded his head “yes” aggressively. A week ago Saturday evening I found myself with the opportunity to speak with him alone. He had a breathing mask on and he is hard of hearing so I trust that the Holy Spirit helped cross the communication barriers. I asked him if he remembered me going to speak with him about Jesus a little over a year ago and he nodded “yes”. I asked him if he saw Jesus when his heart stopped and they were reviving him. Again he nodded “yes”. I asked him if he now believed that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for him? Again he nodded his head “yes”. Through that whole conversation we were staring each other straight in the eyes. We don’t get to know on this side of heaven, but if that nod of the head “yes” was sincere then that is where he is today. God is a God of second chances and every soul is worth that death on the cross to him. All we have to do is say “yes I believe that Jesus is the Son of God”. If you have never said “yes” to Jesus please don’t waste another minute. We don’t know when it may be our last chance. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”