What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Is It Time To Dance?

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You."
Psalm 143:8

Today I read in "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young the following passage:

"Rest with Me a while. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.
The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty.  Look neither behind you nor before you.
Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion.  Trust that I will equip you fully
for whatever awaits you on your journey."

Actually this particular devotional was written for yesterday's date, but I didn't look at it until today. No matter, it is still appropriate and right on.  Yes, I have journeyed up a "steep, rugged path in recent days." Saying farewell to our precious son until we reunite in heaven still seems unreal. Since his earthly home was over 1500 miles away from us anyway, it is easy to allow myself to think that he's still there waiting for us to come up and visit again.  But then the reality hits, and I remember that he's not there...and it will most likely be a long time before we see him again.

My husband the preacher says that time in heaven is not something they are focused upon like we are here on earth.  That is hard for us to understand because we are so governed by time. We must make every minute count, we can never be late, time is of the essence, hurry up and wait...

King Solomon thought about time quite a bit.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 he wrote:

"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven;
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace."

I am still adjusting to this "new time" in my life.  I am not sure what time it is...I believe I am somewhere in the "time to weep and a time to laugh...A time to mourn, and a time to dance".  There are still moments when I feel like weeping and mourning...but there are also times that I want and need to laugh...and I find myself wanting to dance. Not a frenzied kind of dance...not even a waltz...just a holy dance between me and my Lord...where I allow Him to take the lead and twirl me around in His strong and capable arms...lifting me up above my grief and sorrow and showing me the new path that we will travel together. Such a lovely thought.

I am blessed beyond measure...I am not totally bereft of family...I still have my wonderful husband, two healthy and strong sons, a wonderful daughter in law and marvelous grandson...plus many other loved ones near and far.  I do not want to appear to be wallowing in self-pity or lacking in gratitude for all that God has done for me.  But there is this empty place in this mother's heart...a space that will always be missing that one precious son who has gone on to glory much too soon. 

So, what time is it in your  life?  I guess what I am learning is that no matter what season of life we may be in, there is much to learn...and we don't need to feel that we are all alone. God has promised to be with us in our life's journey...from beginning to end.  Perhaps you may discover that it is time for you to let Him take the lead...and just dance. I think I am beginning to understand that better now too.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Know I Need to Write Something...

Okay, I know, I'm getting way behind in my writing AND my reading of other blog posts. I do apologize, but I think most of you know I've been going through some difficult days lately.  And somehow I can't seem to get back in the groove of writing.  I look at this blank page and my mind seems to be just as blank.  I've had plenty of things happening that I probably should write about, but the words just won't come.  I think grief does that to us.

The grieving process is not something I really want to go through. However, whether I like it or not, it is happening.   Rather than write a whole dissertation about the stages of grief, I thought perhaps I would look up some things that are already written and give some links for you (and me) to check out.  You may see yourself in this information...and I may see myself as well.  So here goes:

 1.  Click here for the "5 Stages of Loss Grief" from Psychcentral.com

 2.  http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html

 3.  http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/dealing-with-grief/5-stages-of-grief/

 4.  Wikipedia article on the Kubler-Ross Model of Grief

These are just a few of the articles I discovered when I googled "Stages of Grief".  I am sure there are many more, but these definitely hit the highlights.

One thing I am certain of, when we experience the loss of a loved one, whether it be through death, divorce, or other kinds of difficult separation...we will each one experience grief in one form or another.  What I am discovering is that it may be different for each individual, but regardless of the order in which it happens, or the severity of the grief itself, sooner or later every person suffering a loss will grieve.  It may take you by surprise.  You may not recognize that your behavior and thought process has changed in subtle ways.  You may deny that you are grieving at all.  You may think it is a sign of weakness or lack of faith that you are feeling the way you are.  Or you may become critical of others who show more outward signs of grieving and may think that they need to "get over it".  Just because you are not demonstrating your grief for others to notice does not mean that you are not grieving internally.  Actually, I believe the ones who open up and let it out will be healthier in the long run than those who try to stifle the grief and hold it inside.  Sooner or later it will catch up with you, possibly manifesting itself in physical illness, emotional breakdown, or depression.

I find writing to be good therapy for grief...and perhaps this article is meant to do just that...provide therapy for myself.  I also believe that we should try to turn our grief into some kind of positive action.  Some may not be able to do that for awhile, but the sooner we can reach out in some way to use our grief experience to encourage and help others going through a similar trial, the better we will feel.

One thing our family is doing has been very healing for us.  What started out as a simple little memorial to honor our loved one has become a family and friend project that has developed into a place of comfort and peace for anyone who wants to share the experience.

First my husband wanted a simple plaque that read, "In Loving Memory of Matthew E. Steiner", and he wanted it placed in our yard, just as a reminder to never forget our son and brother.

Then, I thought there needed to be more than just a plaque that really didn't identify exactly WHAT was in loving memory, so I said we needed to place the sign in a garden or some special location in our yard that would be designated as a place of remembrance.

Next, our sons thought we needed a place to actually sit and pray or meditate on God's Word, or read or just enjoy the peacefulness of the place. So the carpenter son went to work:
 And soon our grandson arrived from Maine and got right into the action.  This was also very therapeutic for him as the memorial was indeed being built in loving memory of his father, our son.

 It was determined that benches were needed so we could actually sit and enjoy this lovely space, so pretty soon benches were being added...

 And here we are testing them.

Next, flowers were added:

And then, thanks to a wonderfully talented and kind friend, a very special wind chime was created that actually represents our son in a unique way:

The Dove of Peace
A Maine Moose

A Fish

The Wind Chimes

A beautiful sunburst

Family coming together to hang the chimes

A place of peace and quiet and prayerful meditation
 I have already benefited from this little sanctuary. As often as I am able, I slip away from the noise and busyness of housework and people and simply sit there and relax.  I can hear the birds singing in the treetops surrounding me, the bees buzzing in the honeysuckle vines, and squirrels chattering back and forth, warning the others that a human has invaded their space for awhile. A gentle breeze stirs the leaves and causes the chimes to sing, reminding me of my precious son who just left this world for the heavens above.

Yes, I am still grieving for him. I am sure that I will be grieving for some time.
I don't expect I will EVER forget him...and I don't really need this space to remind me of him.
But it is a pleasant place, and it helps sooth my sorrowing heart.
I can talk to God here...and that makes me feel closer to Matthew as well.

This reminds me of an old hymn that I dearly love.  Why don't you sing along with me?

"In The Garden"
Written by C. Austin Miles, 1912

"I come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear,
Falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, 
and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody 
That He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.


I'd stay in the garden with Him
Tho' the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go;
Thro' the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


And He walks with me, 
and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known."

I hope you have found this a balm for your heart today...I know it has done me a lot of good.  I knew I needed to write something...