Yet…I will Celebrate in the Lord!

Praise Him! First, and most importantly, I will praise Jesus for dying for me, giving life, and taking the punishment I deserved so that eternal life is secured! There will be a wonderful reunion, one day, and that is because of Jesus! Praise Him for the years I had with Jana. Every night I thank…

Thirteen Days

There are moments that sear into our memory throughout the course of life. Some wonderful, some devastating. We remember the place, time, smells, feels, and any other various stimuli from the experience at that particular second in time. For me, starting on July 26th, 2019, I had one of these moments after another as Jana…

Workings of Love

Where does the desire to be in relationship come from? What is it, within us, that drives us to connect deeply with another person? Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” Genesis 2:18 God’s design speaks to our desires….

Memories of a Mother

It’s the opening chords of a song, the smell of her shampoo, or the glimpse of one of the kids in her favorite sweatshirt…these are the things that draw me close to her memory. In an instant I’m standing at that altar in Springfield, Illinois on a warm July day in 1998. I’m standing in…

Hope in the Desert

Dry, barren, unbearably hot, and there is nothing as far as the eye can see. Movement feels impossible…the weight is more than one can carry. Looking across the dusty horizon, it is apparent that there is no relief in any direction…no green grass, no bubbling fountain, nothing to quench or alleviate this miserable state. God,…

Lovely Trails

I love life. This breath, that God has given, represents His purposes and my joy. I am here for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). The works of our loving Father culminate in His glorious will being accomplished. This fact can leave my life quite messy, and, at other times, exhilaratingly beautiful. I find myself, now,…

Not Here

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep….

Importance of the Beginning

I have reflected often on our early days of dating and marriage. In a relationship, those memories and moments are almost sacred to the couple. It is the beginning of a lifelong commitment and love. My personal memories are no different…the structure we built, with Christ as our foundation, was constructed with these early, cherished…

Grieving? Throw the Clock Out.

I’m in pain! When will it stop? In one form or another, the question of “when” comes up. When will I feel better? When will this intense hurt go away? When will I feel normal again…? I started looking for published grief timelines almost right away. I knew I couldn’t live forever under the soul-crushing…

Graduation.

We often just talked. Maybe just before dinner, after our day of work, or right after the family had sat down to eat together, we may have relaxed in the living room and visited on the couch. The rattle and clink of pans and silverware were heard from the kitchen as the kids performed their…

My World is Warped

Everything that happens in my life is measured against a “feeling” chart. I ask myself how I am feeling about this holiday or that memory. “How are you doing?” Still a great question… I’m tired of the question, but it still seems appropriate. I’m still walking in, what feels like, a fog. I find myself…

Joy in the Mourning

I am emotionally skipping across the bottom… So, I found it fitting to write about joy! Why not? Count your many blessings, name them one by one… Even in the darkness of my grief and confusion with life, there are things to find joy in. Here are a few… Family and Friends. I constantly find…

Finish the Race

Since Jana died, I have thought a lot about what happens after a person’s life is over on earth. I have thought about what she experienced, what it may have looked like, and how she made that transition directly into Jesus’ care. The fact that my best friend made this journey gives me encouragement for…

No More Sneezes

Laverne, one of our two new cats, was inching her way from my bed onto the nightstand where all of the stuff from Jana’s funeral sits. I have not gone through those cards, the sign-in book, or letters since the funeral. I am so appreciative of the things that people gave and did for us,…

Lovely Decisions

What prompts me to whisper, “Good night,” to her empty space in my bed each night? Why do I bury my face in one of her t-shirts and try to catch her scent one more time? What is it that makes me cry when somebody lets me know how much they miss her? Love. We’re…

Give Again

Serving. I have suggested that a sign of moving out of grief is when one begins to think more of others. Grief is consuming and very self-oriented. Grief gets us back to a place emotionally where we can interact with our world again. Now, my interest in serving others is taking up more of my…

Getting Dizzy

Missing someone. I had a good friend ask me, yesterday, what I miss most about Jana. Man, what a hard question! Of course, there are so many attributes and characteristics that I miss. Everything that made up her…I guess that’s what I miss! I loved the question. It takes a long time to adjust from…

Good and Perfect Gifts

Let me be clear, I deserve nothing. There is nothing that I have done, or that is inherently special about me that God should be compelled to give me anything. There is nothing that I have gone through that would warrant God’s kindness to me. But, in His grace, He chooses to give good things…

Anything Can Happen

“It could happen.” This was a thought that I held loosely, almost with the same grip that I held on to World War III. Yeah, anything can happen but, it won’t. Then, the whole concept was shattered when…it did. I guess I played the odds. Odds were, my wife and I would live happily for…

A Thousand Camels?

Then Job replied to the LORD: I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, “Who is this who conceals my counsel with ignorance?” Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wondrous for me to know. You said, “Listen now, and I will…

Time Obeys God

On the 8th, earthly-time went on leaving Jana behind on the 7th. Then, the days of August ended and, again, moved on without Jana. Now, the calendar will turn to the new year, and time is doing it’s best to shuffle this one significant life into the stack of eternity. Old Man Time will not…

With Us

What is the Christmas celebration? Yes, for certain, it is the birth of Jesus. But, His birth does not bring the pain of missing loved ones, it’s the one thing that brings hope! No, celebration, and struggle, is also in the gathering, I think. Each year, we gather and enjoy one another’s presence. We also…

Prepared for…

Can I mention what many of us are asking? “What will 2020 bring?” If we knew now, what we will know on Christmas of 2020, would we even want to start the new year? Or, would we anxiously jump into January? Well, it doesn’t matter. You can’t tell the future…none of us can. So, buckle…

(Gray) Hair to Eternity

So surprising, so unthinkable… Now it’s the pictures that I have to remember. In the photos, right up until her last day, we never would have suspected the end of her life was imminent. Looking into our faces, considering the situations, remembering the conversations…pictures tell stories. They bring up the memories. Sometimes I can remember…

Whose Am I?

Belonging… Who do I belong to? Earthly speaking, I belonged to Jana for 22 years, and she belonged to me. We were not our own. We cherished and gave ourselves to one another, just as we would have cared for our own bodies. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but…

Step by Step

Faith, grief, finances, relationships, business…everything in my life is a big jumble. It is incredibly hard to isolate any one area and think critically about it. I know I am pushing forward in all areas, but grief has occupied the center stage, taking most of my attention. I am doing the grief work that is…

Home

Jana knew that I loved her tremendously. She had no doubt that I cared for her and would be by her side no matter what life brought. I know she loved me in the same way, and it would have taken my death for her to leave my side. These days I am considering the…

Divine Appointments Abound

I cannot over-emphasize the meaningful ministry of friends and family who have supported me in the last 4 months. There are days that, without the selfless care of others, I feel that I would have fallen to pieces. Praise the Lord for His people! We have all heard of those moments when God prompts another…

Faithless Feelings

God, I’m struggling. My questions run deep, maybe deeper than I recognize or want to admit. After years of confessing, teaching, and believing your word, I find myself questioning You, Yourself, because of Your decisions. More than just “why?” The question is bigger, the wondering encompasses more than just a simple query of purpose. God,…

Come to Me

I find myself crumpled in the corner. I’m clutching things that hold immense value to me. Some of the items include vacation pictures of Jana, a sweater she wore on one of our many date nights, and her journal filled with notes of faith-filled wrestlings with God and His call on her life. My knuckles…

Signposts of Success

My walk through grief is continuous. Every so often, I see a signpost that informs me of my progress. Most frequently the message gets to me through something that I say in conversation. After speaking the words, I pause and think about what I have said and realize that I’ve taken some kind of step….

Sharing With a Jewel

I am thankful for the exciting, happy times that I have. It is wonderful to experience mountain top highs and genuine joys in life. Every good moment comes with it’s painful chaser…I can’t tell Jana about this. Every little thing, or big thing, is something that you want to share with the one you love….

Quick Note About… Nothing

If I am not careful, I will waste my days away. My despondency will overtake my drive for accomplishment. It happens in the little decisions. Motivation dwindles…interest can fade… It is easy to fall into blah. Nothing really matters, not interested in getting done what needs to be done, and my prayer is that, hopefully,…

Take the Step

There is a big step before me. It’s a decision that I have made in the past. A thought that got ironed out in the general angst of young adulthood… The decision is whether or not to take a step forward and live. This step does not entail leaving my grief, abandoning my sorrow over…

Safe At Home

It’s about to snow for the first time this season. The first accumulating snow, the kind that makes driving difficult. The worries of family and friends getting home safe are just around the corner! When you’re waiting on a loved one to get home, nerves can get the best of you. Those worrisome thoughts creep…

Exactly as He Planned

Why do I have to remind myself that Jana has died? Every so often, I find myself, sometimes saying out loud, “She is gone.” Then I consider that fact and go positive or negative in my next thoughts… Negative thinking includes sorrow, anger, and almost a sense of panic…wanting to yell out loud or fall…

Even the Little Things

My memories of Jana are countless. When I consider all the little things…the shared moments that nobody else was necessarily a part of. I am conscious of the things she liked, the events we laughed at, and the little physical problems we all encounter. So many things, that only I know… As I move along…

Worry, Work, and Feet

In marriage, their is a functional division of labor that occurs. Each person settles into their particular role within the family. Maybe certain chores are split up or activities get divided, but there are two to shoulder the burdens of life. When a partner is suddenly missing from the equation, the work falls to one….

Fulfilled

It’s so quiet. Our home was never a “loud” place. But, there was always a good deal of laughter and horsing around. Even just conversation would fill the air. There is still a bit of chatter and sounds of people doing their thing, but it feels quieter. I am involved in a more solitary life….

Character – Authentic Faith

We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. Romans…

Please Comment…

Sympathizers. Encouragers. Well-wishers. Helpers. Those who come alongside you in times of trouble. I have had many! And, I am thankful, and continue to be thankful, for their support! We all approach our own grief differently – this is true in how we approach somebody else’s grief, too. I understand a person’s orientation to trials…

Grief’s Selfish Design

My prayers have been very conversational, lately. I have been explaining my feelings to God and asking His help for very specific things. There is a confidence that I have when talking to God. When He assures me that all is under His control and I rest in His mighty hand, then I am calm…

Endurance – Faith Building

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation…

Affliction – A Stand in Grace

I am in the middle of heavy troubles…now what do I do? Romans 5:1-5 CSB [1] Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [2] We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice…

Source of Joy

What is the true source of my joy? When the person who is most dear to me dies, the source of my joy may be revealed. Was my life and happiness bound in my relationship with my wife? Much of my happiness, in this world, certainly was. Our faithful relationship brought much joy, this is…

Dreaming of You

In 1998, Jana and I went to Cancun for our honeymoon. We stayed in a nice hotel on the beach and enjoyed visiting Mayan ruins, swimming, and the food. One night the movie “Selena” was on cable and we watched that together. From then on I always associated the music or the movie, itself, with…

A Cord of Three Strands

Friends. Good friends. Godly friends. When I speak of not “going alone”, the people around you are part of God’s plan for community and burden-sharing. He created us to be together, knit our lives into one tapestry of life and ministry, and to comfort and love each other – as He has loved us! Have…

Learning from Psalm 71

God, you have taught me from my youth, and I still proclaim your wondrous works. Psalm 71:17 I could not count the lessons He has taught me in the last 22 years. God was working on me for a long time prior to that, too! He had patience with me, bearing with my mistakes and…

Thoughts on Thanks

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 Thankfulness is tricky. Give thanks in all things. How do I apply this, and do it authentically? I think it is important to differentiate between being “thankful” for the results of a fallen world, i.e. death of Jana,…