Tuesday, April 19, 2011
1:49 p.m. Today's project was to get my mind back onto what really matters this week: sharing the gospel, inviting aquaintances to one of our church's four services, and fully focusing on Jesus Christ's death for you and me on the Cross.
I had foolishly overreacted inwardly to the news that a family member will not be able to make it to Easter dinner on Sunday afternoon. the enemy had me very depressed and concocting disappointments for future family times, too. However, last night the Holy Spirit led me to open my journal and complete a second page for the day while my daughter and grandsons played "Movie Scene It" in the family room with Steve enjoying the popcorn and the boys' antics.
Thanking the Lord for seeing me through the initial shock and disappointment with a calm demeanor on the outside, I went on to confess:
Lord, I just don't know how to get focused on the real meaning of Easter with the boys here, working my business, the wedding, the book (Galatians), and Steve's issues worsening! The bottom line is that Your death saved me and my loved ones. I am eternally grateful and need not let a circumstance steal my joy like Alzheimer's is stealing Steve away.
As I further reflect today, this spring has been so unusual, especially the weather, that I suspect that frustration with my garden, battling vermin like never before, the lateness of planting for that reason, and even the very late date of Easter itself have probably played a role in my odd feelings. I looked back mentally on blogposts I wrote between Palm Sunday and Easter last year, tracing the Savior's arrest, trial, death and resurrection for that whole week through Isaiah 53, and thought, "Where did that person go?! That's what I should be writing about this year, too!" Then I realized that Jesus Himself warned about "pouring new wine into old bottles" (Luke 5:37-38); and God said in Isaiah 43:19, "Behold, I do a new thing."
Sharing, teaching and writing about God's Word is never old or out of place by any means. But perhaps when He is doing a fresh, more intense work in a person's life, what they share with others may need to be more personal, more transparent, and therefore more genuinely reflective of the power of God's Word and the influences of that Teacher of Truth, the Holy Spirit.
I've kept asking myself, "Why is 2011 so different than 2010?" There are some outward factors, of course, like giving up the RV, and with it, time spent with a fun circle of church friends; or the fact that we didn't renew our Disneyland passes for financial reasons, and also that towards the end, I became worried about whether we'd get as much out of the park as Steve's confusion mounts. Actually, this year has seen glorious works of God, with my book being published, the Heart to Home ministry thriving, as well as the opportunity to communicate God's Word and ways to a widening audience online. The I Samuel Bible study that begins on May 19 now will offer childcare at one of the moms' homes, an aswer to prayer, hallelujah! Even though our savings are gone two years after my retirement and Steve's total income deriving from Social Security disability, my Mary Kay business is growing and really filling in gaps in our income.
I finally have to admit that with Steve slipping away gradually, the multiple extra little tasks and reminders are taking up more and more of my mental space and actual time, crowding out other areas of concentration that have always brought me personal satisfaction and joy even in tough times. As my wise friend and mentor Honey Simons wrote me once, "What a thief that disease is!" Waiting for Steve's next downturn would rob me of today's joyful moments if I let it.
Alzheimer's is not a trial such as Christians normally experience, where even a shocking tragedy can only happen once on a certain day, with the consequences actively dealt with over a distinct period of time; or a physical illness that will resolve itself by a healing, or a loved one going to be with the Lord. Over time, God eases our mourning over the loss of a beloved spouse, parent, or child, and He strengthens us to carry on with our lives in due time, never forgetting the one we miss, but allowing Him to give us a peace despite our loss.
I could find myself in a minscule, but very real, state of mourning every day if I did not know the Lord, and trust Him with every aspect of my life and Steve's. And basking in self-pity over a shakeup in my perfect picture of the Easter family gathering is just plain embarassing, when I compare it with what the Father gave for my sins--His Only Begotten Son!
As Steve and I head out the door for assorted errands, may I be ready to share the Good News with anyone the Lord places in my path: JESUS LIVES!