You won’t need your checkbook in Heaven!

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I feel as though I bring a lot of Breaking News to you, my readers!  But it’s true…there will be no bills to pay in Heaven.  Let me back up a little so you can see how I came to this amazing conclusion.

The other night, while Mark and I were sitting around the fire pit, relaxing and enjoying some end of the summer down-time, I got thinking of my sister, Naomi.  I think of her often, as you can imagine.  I wonder what she’s experiencing at that moment, what is she seeing, what is she thinking, etc.  On this particular evening, I told Mark “You know, Naomi never has to worry about paying another bill!  She doesn’t even have to worry about what’s in her bank account.  She will never have to worry about where her income will come from.”  The more I thought about this, the more I got a little annoyed with her!  🙂  And then…you guessed it! The Holy Spirit didn’t just tap me on the shoulder!  He picked up a good piece of firewood and hit me over the head. (Not really, but just humor me, okay?) And then I heard that still, small voice tell me “You don’t have to worry about those things, either!”  Wait! What?!  Did I just hear Him correctly?  I couldn’t have!  Maybe He had forgotten that Mark has been out of work for 17 months!  Maybe He forgot that I’m no longer working!  Maybe He forgot that our income has taken a drastic hit.

But as I sat at the fire pit, I was reminded of several verses that command me to not worry.  Thinking that God must certainly understand my situation and there just must be some verses that justify my angst, I started looking up verses. I was thinking that clearly some of these translations must have left out a verse that would help me out.  So I checked different translations to see what they said about worry.  I was actually looking for a verse that would say something like “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Unless your husband has lost his job and you also are no longer employed, then by all means worry! Oh, and definitely worry if your bank account is lower than it used to be. And don’t forget to worry if you don’t know where or when your next job will come.” (Matt. 6:25-24…and a little more added!) But you know what? For the life of me, I couldn’t find those verses anywhere in any of the translations I researched.

You know what’s sobering and a wee bit convicting?  The very beginning of those verses…the part that says “Do not worry…”?This isn’t a suggestion.  It’s a command.  And by me not obeying, I’m being rebellious! And what’s even more scary is that there is a verse in I Samuel 15:23 that states that rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft!  Yikes!  That makes you sit up and take notice.

Over and over again, I am reminded of how faithful our God has been to Mark and I.  He DOES supply all of our needs.  He knows exactly what we need and He’s never too busy to hear the prayers of a sniffling, weak daughter who, once again has taken her eyes off of Whom she belongs to and starts to focus on the woes and troubles of this world.  He is so faithful when I continue to be so unfaithful.

So, with all that being said, I’ve forgiven my sister for being so carefree and worry-free in her present state and I’ve stopped being jealous of her and I’ve decided to obey the One who knows me and my situation better than anyone else. So, for tonight, I will not worry.  And then tomorrow morning, I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me not to worry. And probably Wednesday, I’ll ask for the same thing!

Oh, and I really am sorry that I won’t need my checkbook in heaven!  I just ordered the cutest checks with squirrels on them!!

I’m only a soldier but I do know the 5 Star General

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I know this will come as a shock to most of you but I’ve never spent a day in Basic Training. I know! I look as if I could be the military sort of person. The only Basic Training that I’ve really accomplished was three years at a bible school in New Brunswick, Canada. See, I am a soldier in the Lord’s Army. And, boy oh boy, do I feel as though I’ve been on the battle field these past couple of weeks! The enemy is busy hurling spiritual bombs my way and I’m pretty sure I have some wounds to prove his accuracy.

Why don’t you come over and sit down and look at what I carry around in my Rucksack. It’s pretty heavy and pretty full so this may take a few minutes. Feel free to grab a coffee before we go through this. Ready? Okay first I have several cans of World Issued containers of “Worry”. These aren’t issued by the General. Oh, and it looks like many of these containers have been opened these past few weeks. Oops. Wait, what do we have here? Oh…tins of “Doubt”. Yeah, these have been dipped into, also. And here’s a Tupperware container of “PIty Party Cake” (do soldiers carry Tupperware? I digress!) Oh and look! There is still confetti stuck to the cake….that must have been some Pity Party! Okay, now I see why this rucksack has felt so heavy! I’m carrying around a drum of “Fear”! And the drum looks like it’s almost empty. I must have opened this one quite a few times.

As I’m rummaging around in my rucksack, I hear the 5 Star General approach. But when this General approaches, it’s nearly impossible to stand at attention. I find that I automatically fall on my face before Him. And as I’m laying prostate in front of Him, He gently taps me on the shoulder and asks me where are my General Issued Items. Ummm, I think I forgot to pack those, I’m so used to carrying these things. And as He helps me to repack my rucksack with the items He’s issued, I find my load lighter. I guess that’s what He means when He tells me “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) I serve a gentle General. He only wants what’s best for me.

I go all gung ho into these battles, waving my puny little sword (not the Sword that the 5 Star General has issued: His Word) and it doesn’t take long to realize that I’m in over my head. And then I realize that I’m only a soldier trying to act like a general. I’m gently reminded that “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31)

So, I don’t think I’ll be needing these tins in my rucksack for a little while. I wonder if the commissary has a Buy Back Program? Ahhh, who am I kidding? Knowing me, I’ll be dipping into these rations again and then wondering why my sack is so heavy? Maybe I need to do Basic Training all over again. 🙂

I’m involved in a new relationship!

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I’ve become involved in a new relationship and I’m not sure if it’s a healthy one. It’s been going on for about a year or so. There are some good days but there are some bad days, too, just like in a lot of relationships. Now before you get all judgmental and shocked, I know some of you are also involved in this new relationship, too. Yeah, I’m aware of your shenanigans!

Oh, I should probably tell you who, or more like “what” I’m in a relationship with. It’s a little app on my phone and it’s called “Timehop”!! Yup! Timehop. Now most of you are probably thinking “She’s lost her mind!” but I know you’ve thought that before.

Timehop is an app that shows you what your Facebook posts were from years ago. You can then share these posts again to relive the past. And that’s where this relationship has become a love/hate relationship. At first it was fun to see what I had posted years ago. Brought back some good memories. And it brought back some not so happy memories. And this got me thinking (it always feels good when I get thinking….such a rare feeling!). Is it bad to look back? To think about the past and what happened? In the Old Testament (Joshua 4:1-9), God told the Israelites to take stones from the middle of the Jordan River and make stone monuments to remember the past. But in the New Testament (Phil. 3:13-14), we are told to forget the past and press on, go forward, set our sights on what’s ahead of us. So what am I to do? Look back? Look forward? And when I feel that I’m totally confused….the Holy Spirit taps me on my shoulder and helps to clear up some things.

I think the reason why God instructed the Israelites to look back was to not to dwell on all the hardships, uncomfortable times, or the pain. I believe it was to give God, and only God, the glory for what He did for the people whom He loves. My problem comes when I focus on what’s happened in the past and forget to remember how He’s brought me through these tough times. Why do I get so focused on the pain, the hard times, the losses? Why does God not give up on me as a hopeless case? Because He’s good and faithful and patient! My goal for this year, as I continue in this relationship with Timehop is to remember the faithfulness of God! Those tough times? They brought me closer to my Heavenly Father! Those losses? They remind me of the One who knows the number of my days! And those good times, those happy days? They remind me that some days, I feel like God’s favorite kid! They remind me that He is sooooo good to someone who is soooo not faithful!

In honor of Naomi’s birthday…I’m taking it off!!

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Now before you start gagging and panicking, keep reading! 🙂

As most of you know by now, my dear sister, Naomi passed away due to a brain aneurysm. Shortly after her home going, I purchased some red bracelets from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to raise awareness of this horrible disorder. Those of you who frequently see Mark and I, may have noticed that we are wearing these bracelets on our left wrists. The only time I’ve taken mine off in the past 3 1/2 years was on Sarah’s wedding day. It almost became an obsession with me: I got all angst one time when I thought I had lost it but it was just pushed up underneath my sleeve. Did wearing this bracelet mean that I was being loyal to my sister’s memory? Your mind really messes with you when you are grieving.

Recently, every time I look at this bracelet, I’m reminded of a very painful time in our family’s life. I’ve been thinking “Is this really what Naomi would want from me? Would she really want me to focus on this? This event in her life?” This bracelet was becoming more of a weight than an item of memory of my sister.

A few days ago, I told Mark “I think I’m ready to take off my bracelet! I’m ready to let it go.” My sister was so much more than this disease!

My sister was intelligent! From my earliest memories, she was smart and loved learning. A member of the National Honor Society in High School and a whiz in her courses in college. A lover of words, their meanings and their proper use.

Naomi was funny! Oh my goodness, did she ever make us laugh! Calling me to tell me that she just learned that Squanto had a twin brother who was near-sighted…his name was “Squinto”! I think the funniest thing was how she could laugh at herself. She was her own biggest fan.

Naomi was compassionate. Those that were underprivileged were especially close to her heart. The Sheltering Wing Ministry located at the old Peru School was started because of her concern for those who needed help with their babies and young children.

She enjoyed nature. I remember, as kids, spending hours and hours playing in the woods behind our home on Lovejoy Hill with our neighbor and best friend, Angie Moro. As an adult, Naomi, Rodney and the kids enjoyed hiking many of the surrounding mountains around Dixfield with their biggest accomplishment hiking Mt. Katahdin.

Her drug of choice? Her high octane coffee! No decaf for her. 🙂 She liked her coffee strong and full of caffeine. She never understood how I could function without a cuppa joe.

And her greatest pride and joy? The Five Little Farrars. 🙂 They were her life and all she did was because she loved them to the moon and back.

All this to say that I’m choosing to focus on the 41 years that God allowed us to have such a special, funny, loving and compassionate woman in our lives and not focus on the difficult, heartbreaking, horrible last few days of her time here on Earth. I think that’s what Naomi would want.

So, it’s that time to take it off. On January 13th, I’m taking this old bracelet off and saying goodbye to a reminder that I don’t need anymore. I don’t need a physical thing to remind me of one of the best gifts I ever received. My sister, partner in crime, best friend and confidant, Naomi. 🙂

Let’s play a game of “Word Association”!

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Have you ever played the game “Word Association”? It’s a game where someone says a word and you reply with the first thing that pops into your head. Okay, playing with me may be a very scary thing to do. Most of my answers have something to do with squirrels. 🙂

Recently, Mark, Kaitlyn, my mom and I drove part of the Benedict Arnold Trail in Maine. And this got me thinking…another very scary thing. So, let’s play Word Association! I’m going to list some names and you think about the first word that comes to mind. You may not want to shout it out as those close to you will think that you’ve finally lost it. Ready? Okay, here we go:

Judas…..
Thomas (the disciple)……
Mother Theresa……
President Lincoln……
Benedict Arnold…….
Lizzie Borden…….

While we were driving and talking about Benedict Arnold, I mentioned that it’s pretty sad that when we hear this gentleman’s name, the first thing most of us think about is that he was a traitor. We forget that Mr. Arnold may have done some pretty cool things before he decided that the US wasn’t appreciating him enough.

Let’s take Judas…traitor; Thomas….doubter; Mother Theresa…kind; Lizzie Borden…axe!!

As we were driving along, the Holy Spirit does what He does best with me. He tapped me on the shoulder and asked me “What are people going to associate your name with?” Hmmmm. I would hope that after I’ve left this earth that people would have good things to say about me. I’m hoping that “faithful”, or “compassionate”, or “kind” will be some of the words that people think of. I know some will say “sensitive”, others will say “overly sensitive”! 🙂 “Indecisive”, “distracted”, “scattered” will probably be other words that will come to people’s minds. But most importantly, what will God say about me when I enter into His presence? Will I hear the words that every believer longs to hear when they stand before our Heavenly Father: “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” Oh, I hope and pray that I’ve served Him well.

Sometimes I put way more stock in what people think and say of me. This has been my dilemma for a long time now. I recently heard what some one thought of me and it bothered me and then my husband asked me “Why does it matter?” Yeah! Why does it matter?! I feel as though these past couple of years, God has been revealing some of my “issues” and working with me to get over my insecurities. He’s such a gracious and gentle God.

I just told my daughter that sometimes I don’t know how to end my little ramblings here and she said that I should just put that I have to log off so I can go wash my kitchen floor! So, I’m logging off and when someone says the name “Terry” to you all, you can say “Clean kitchen floors”! Lol!

No longer a slave!

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On our way home from Milwaukee, Mark and I decided to swing down to Gettysburg to walk the fields where a huge part of our US history took place.  I wouldn’t call myself a “History Buff” but I do get a certain feeling when I am standing in a spot where our country had some of her major events take place.  Lexington and Concord, MA always gives me a sense of awe and pride.  Kaitlyn and Mark probably retained more of the facts during our tour of Gettysburg than I did; I usually stand in these places and close my eyes and picture the precious sons, husbands and fathers who fought with such gusto for the freedoms and privileges that I enjoy these many years later.  So much bloodshed for those who were held in bondage and slavery. One part of the auditory tour mentioned that the survivors could hear the wounded and dying calling out for family members.  As a mother, that just broke my heart.

I listened in on some of the visitors’ questions that were asked of the rangers re: the strategy of the battles. I was a little jealous of their interest in this part of the battles as I don’t understand most of what they are talking about.  For me, my biggest strategy is when should I wash the kitchen floor so I can get out of preparing supper?  And trust me, that takes many hours of careful planning, sketching out the floor plan, what type of mop or rag should I use, the conditions of the day: is it humid or dry, etc.  Washing the kitchen floor is no “fly by night” operation!

Standing at the Gettysburg National Cemetery and seeing the many, many graves of those brave soldiers that gave their lives for our country, it was one of the most solemn and touching moments of our visit.  And there were so many graves that simply had “unknown” on them.  And then….the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder….and we had a little chat.

My Heavenly Father had a strategy from the moment sin entered the Garden of Eden.  Blood was shed to cover Adam and Eve in their sinful state.  Further on in the Old Testament, my Father’s strategy included the shedding of blood of lambs, bulls, doves for the covering of sin.  And then, praise God, the battle was nearing the end, the final shedding of blood took place on a hill.  And my Savior called out to his Father in his anguish!  And He gave His life to free me from my bondage and my status as a slave. I am not an “unknown” to my Father, He knows my name! In the Psalms, we are told that He knows our rising and our laying down, He knows our thoughts before they are even spoken. How fitting that I read in Galatians 4:6-7 that same evening the following: “Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out “Abba, Father”.  So you are no longer a slave but God’s child and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”  Praise God!  Words escape me.  How can I ever thank Him enough for delivering me out of my status as a slave?  Thankfully I’ll have all of eternity to praise His Holy Name!  What can I do in the meantime?  Well Gal. 5: 1 tells me: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Sounds easy, right?  But how often do I get myself yoked up with something that drags me down and feels burdensome?

I’m so grateful for the time spent on the road and visiting Gettysburg.  Who knew that an old battlefield could turn into a sanctuary where God and I met?

 

A Letter to my little sister! :-)

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 Dear Naomi,

I know you probably don’t receive mail in Heaven but I thought I would take some time to write you a letter pretending that you are sitting in your mansion with the biggest mug of highly caffeinated coffee and a box of Dunkin Donuts, which in Heaven have no calories.  🙂

Three years!!  Three long years but at the same time, three very short years.  How can it be that you’ve been gone for three years…1095 days…36 months.  At times it seems like just yesterday that I called you just to chat and get a feel for how much coffee you’ve digested.  I could always tell how much coffee had been consumed by how little I could get a word in.  🙂

There are days that missing you is a physical ache.  Like the day that Sarah got married and there was a yellow rose on the alter reminding us all that you were not there.  Or the day we took Kaitlyn to college and dropped her off for the first time, I ached to call you because I knew that you’d get me laughing about how Kaitlyn was going to reek havoc in Canada.  Or the time that Kenny and his family came to Maine to visit and your absence was so noticeable.  Or when Sarah and Jonathan told us that they were expecting and I sat in Wendy’s crying because I wanted to call you so badly.  Or even just the day to day events that I pick up the phone and start to dial your number and then realize that I don’t have THAT kind of long distance….Attleboro to Heaven!!  🙂

Do you know that I can not get through the song “Holy, Holy, Holy” without becoming a mess.  I told Mark that when you passed away, I thought that that was the end of you and I ever doing anything together again.  But when I sing that wonderful hymn, I picture you in the presence of God singing your little heart out and I realize that at that moment, you and I ARE doing something together.  We are worshipping the same God at the same time….you at the throne and me in Faith Alliance Church.  So that song reminds me that we can still do things at the same time and one day, we’ll be in the presence of our Savior worshipping together….side by side!

You would be so proud of your family.  I often pray that God can give you a wee glimpse of how well the kids and Rodney are doing. Esther is such a lovely young lady and everyone is in awe of her abilities.  We know that you had a huge hand in training her to become the young woman she is now.  Vernon is ahead over everyone….both in his character and height.  lol.  He really is a head over most of us.  And he still allows Aunt Terry to hug him and tell him that she loves him.  I can feel the grimace but I do it anyways…it builds character.  Elizabeth is such a lovely young lady.  She’s quiet like me….well, she’s quiet but she’s passionate about her Celtics. Katherine is so you.  Her sense of humor and quick comebacks make us feel as though you are contained in that little body.  Mary, oh my goodness, Mary!  She is going to be an actress. Her ability to mimic people and do impersonations….between her and Katherine, there is never a dull moment.  So my little sister.  🙂

Whenever I feel as though the weight of grieve is overwhelming, the Holy Spirit comes along and taps me on the shoulder and whispers
“Do not lose hope! Do not be overwhelmed! You will see her again.”  Praise God.  What a joy and comfort to know that you’ve just gone on ahead of us, you’re waiting for us.  But there are days that I have to put you in your place.  🙂  I have to refocus that seeing you is a side benefit to going home.  Being with our Savior should be my main reason for wanting to be in Heaven.  What Jesus has done for us by providing a way to spend eternity with our God (Abba), Jesus (Savior) and the Holy Spirit (Comforter)….wow!!  I’m so unworthy but so thankful.

So, Naomi, I’ll let you get back to your coffee mug that never needs to be refilled and your Boston Crème Donut that has no calories and your crossword puzzle that you know all the answers to.  I miss you more than words could ever convey.  You are the best sister that anyone could ask for.  Oh and could you polish up on your birds.  When I get to heaven and tell you “Oh, Naomi, the other day I saw this bird at the feeder. I’m going to explain it to you and you tell me what it was.”  I don’t want you to answer “Well, let me see. It could have been an emu or a hummingbird!!”  Work on that, would you?

I love you, Naomi!!

Your blessed sister,

Terry

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