Tag Archives: Change

Life Under Construction

BA13A934-E086-4F7A-AB8A-A2E993C5400EIn March of 2017, Mike and I went on a seven day cruise with our son, David and our daughter in law, Clara. Finding someone to stay with Jon that long is rare, but our good friends, Lou and Thelma, graciously offered to hold down the home front for us.

It wasn’t so much about where we went and what we did, but the opportunity to unwind and be uninterrupted together. It took Mike about four days to leave the weight of his many responsibilities behind. I watched his shoulders relax, the worry lines across his forehead fade, saw his dry wit and easy laughter return. And the fun of cruising got us talking seriously about his retirement when he turned sixty five, still five years away.

Retirement seemed like a mute point to him without us having freedom to come and go. We needed a solution for Jon if we were going to be able to travel and do some of the things we’ve always wanted to do. On Friday of cruise week, he sat us all down at lunch, excited about a great idea he had. He wanted to build a caregiver house on our property and have someone live there to help with Jon. It would be a one time expenditure, something we could pay off, unlike life long residential care, and would provide a long term solution to our retirement challenge.

The four of us agreed it was a good idea if we could convince the code and permitting powers that be, to approve it. In Mike’s typical get-on-it, gotta’-fix-it-now style, he started in as soon as we arrived home. Checking out tiny house architectural designs, taking out a loan, calling the city, arguing with permitting, lining up the general contractor, surveyor and land clearing. As usual, he began moving through the process methodically, with the weight of a freight train and the efficiency of an ant army.

Before the concrete slab was poured, he was craigslist surfing and sale shopping, buying appliances, flooring, paint, sinks, faucets, lighting, a hot water tank and AC unit. All of which are still piled in packing boxes in the garage.DD9A92A2-C803-44E4-B2D8-C7A41A57F2FA

Things propelled into fast forward and we were excited to see block walls going up. The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of December. Then, in early October, my husband died. I put the project on hold, seriously considering bulldozing the whole thing down. Why care about retirement now? And why would would I want to travel or do anything without him? This was his dream for our future and he literally died at the door of it. That is where I found him when I came home that evening, leaving our future in ruins at my feet.

This little house had suddenly become a reminder of all that was not to be and a barely completed weight added to the many new responsibilities I now had to carry alone. Every time I looked at it, it reminded me of life in my sorrow-filled season: sad, empty, incomplete, uncertain and burdensome. I began to hate that house, but realized God knew the timing of all this. It had been constructed far enough for me to see the foolishness and waste of tearing it down. So I resolved to finish it.

FF9E636D-308C-42F1-9AF4-8B8179B7344FAfter four months it is back under construction (along with a new roof going on the house we live in, another project landing in my lap when Mike exited). My property is swarming with construction people this week. It is anything but peaceful here.

Life is always under construction. Change comes. Ripping down. Rebuilding. Clearing away the old. Making space for something new. Some construction we look forward to and just as often, are the times we would never choose the abrupt, difficult and complete re-structuring we find ourselves in.

Construction is loud, messy, noisy, annoying and feels endlessly incomplete. But it’s goal is for a finished product. A purpose. Something useful up ahead. Though I don’t see it, can’t feel it, and hate the place I’m in, I must believe God has my best at heart. Only He can complete me.

“And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the day of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:6.C3A6ECCF-C130-4D56-87BB-A6483B4676D8

My entire life is currently under construction. Fortunately, God is a patient master builder. He leaves nothing undone. While everything feels chaotic and uncertain, I’m hanging on to the hope of a finished product that glorifies Him and the promise of a future that looks to Jesus, ‘the author and finisher of my faith’ (Hebrews 12:2). And I pray something beautiful will rise up from the dust of this unwanted situation.

“Come let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” Hosea 6:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain..” Psalm 127:1

Christmas ReWrap

74A61655-0EA9-41A3-829C-6C7DAE8A7A39On Christmas Eve of 1974, Mike asked me over to the apartment he and his brother shared. We’d been dating since June of that year. Not long, when I think about it now. I drove to the old house in our home town and climbed the stairs to the third story attic some eager landlord had turned into a makeshift resemblance of a living space. As I remember, It was sparsely furnished, befitting of two young bachelors barely out of high school.

In the living room, a Christmas tree, set in front of a floor to ceiling window, was decorated with not enough lights and dime store ornaments. The only other furnishing was a shabby sofa which we leaned against as we sat on the floor, holding hands.

That evening Mike reached under that old sofa, pulled out a tiny box with a red bow on top and asked me to marry him. He was eighteen. I was nineteen. I’ve never celebrated a Christmas without him since.

Until now.

Year after year, Mike was my Christmas tradition. He was the constant in every season; from setting up the tree, then sitting on the couch to watch the kids and I decorate it, or hiding gifts all over the house and warning me not to peek if I found bags and boxes in strange places, to his impatient waiting for the pie to come out of the oven, so he could harass me endlessly to have a piece before Christmas dinner.

Forty three Christmas seasons have come and gone and now, so has he, and I have to figure out how to rewrap Christmas in a different package, one that doesn’t continuously assault me with loss, emptiness and tears.

I don’t know how to do Christmas without my husband. I don’t even know where to start. I do know that Christmas will never be the same again.

One certainty of this season is a confidence in Who it has always been about. I know the Jesus we are celebrating. While everything feels disheveled, broken and uncertain; in the middle of my sorrow, my hope is in The One the prophet Isaiah foretold and Jesus himself proclaimed to be:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18-21.

No other Christmas season has it ever been as clear as in this one, and never have I been more thankful for Emmanuel who came for me. Emmanuel who is with me. I SO qualify to receive His promise of hope and redemption and He does not disappoint. Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving.

In whatever difficult, impossible, unbearable, crushing situation you’re facing this Christmas, you qualify too.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Who Am I ?

5D7B0A02-BF33-41D0-9831-40DB1222CB4EI’ve been Pastor Mike’s wife for many years. I no longer have a pastor husband and I’m no longer a wife.

You don’t realize how much of your identity is tied to your spouse until they’re gone.

Everything I thought I was changed in one day. I know who I am in Christ. That’s not the issue. I just don’t know who I am on this earth. Not without Mike. This isn’t a path I planned. The choice was made for me. It’s the beginning of a journey to discover my new ‘alone’ earth identity and everything within me is resisting this road I must travel.

There is so much loss this side of Heaven and earth life consists of constant change. But where there is great loss the potential for gain is greater.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19.

In this present wilderness, as I’m stripped of my former self, there’s no guarantee of what the future holds or what I will become. But God promises to make a way. He promises water in the wasteland and I want to trust the day will come when a ‘new thing’ springs up. I‘ll no longer be consumed by the past but will have hope for the future.

No Lord, I don’t see it! Or perceive it. Not now.

Don’t let me give up. Help me to keep moving forward.

“He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5.

I surrender it all to You. Trustworthy and True One.

Make me new.

Resolutions or Revelations?


I have a revelation about resolutions. I’m not good at keeping them. And after watching sixty-some New Years come and go, I don’t make them anymore.

I also have a resolution about revelations. IF I spend time listening to the still, small voice of my Heavenly Father, He lovingly reveals areas in my life where I need to change. I can tackle problem areas with greater ease when He enlightens. I move forward in divine grace, instead of by the sheer determination of my limited human effort.

The Creator God of Heaven and Earth and Me, knows what I need better than anyone so I can move forward into the New Year with confidence.

For the One..“who was seated on the throne said,Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

No one is more interested and invested in our progress and improvement than God. As we walk in His enabling power, we are continually becoming new and renewed.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

God specializes in New! He specializes in You!

Start a personal revolution. Let His Revelation become your Resolution.

Spend some time listening and surrendering and have a Happy, new and improved you, in 2017!