July 31, 2012

It's over and it has just begun



Regina G. Atkins

February 21, 1952 - July 24, 2012

It has been a week since Mom went home to be with the Lord.  Her memorial service was yesterday - so beautiful, so healing.  I will be going home, finally, after over a month of caring for her and her husband.  What a lifetime it has been.  My sisters and I spoke at her service.  I wanted to share with you my part.  

At the end are some pictures of the family.  It was a happy and a sad time.

~oOo~


Mom loved the Lord and lived her life to glorify Him.

One of the wonderful things about Mom was that she was very generous.  Anyone who knew her knows this.  She was generous with her smile, her love, her time and money.  But in my puffed up way, I thought she was too generous.  I was a prideful daughter and criticized her ways.  I covered this pride up by telling her and myself that I was “protecting her from her own foolishness.”  I thought she gave unwisely.  It was too abundant, too extravagant.  Sometimes, I thought the people she gave to did not deserve her gifts.  They were ungrateful. They didn’t know the sacrifices she made and took advantage of her.  I even thought they weren’t needy enough.

The Bible says to do all things without murmuring and disputing.  When we do murmur and complain we are making ourselves out to be “wiser” than God.  We are just to obey, even if it doesn't make sense.  That is what Mom did.

I remember as a child, very poor, Mom sitting my sisters and I down and telling us of a family that had lost everything in a fire.  They had nothing.  The house they owned had burned down and they were living in a  rental home, but it was empty.  She asked us if we would be willing to give them our blankets and pillows.  They were sleeping on the floor.  I thought, “So are we. That is asking a little too much!” I don’t know if I said anything, I was just a child.  But we packed up our trunk with our newly washed and folded blankets and pillows and drove our beat up car to their rental house.  It was a very large house overlooking the water in Pacific Grove, CA.  It was true, their house was empty.  They had nothing and the woman who received our offering cried from gratefulness.  But there was also a BMW in the driveway.  I just thought, “this doesn't make sense.  They have a nicer house and car than us. Why would God have US give to THEM?”  We went home and I don’t know what we covered ourselves with.  God provided, as He always did, but I was angry and the seeds of prideful rebellion were growing.

At times, many many times, I was the recipient of her generosity.  I would think “But I don’t need this!” or “I don’t want this.”  Or, I knew that it was beyond her means to give the way she did.  She would always say “Laura let me take you shopping. Laura, let me buy you this.”  But I didn’t want her to.  I didn’t let her be herself or allow her to give to me the way she wanted to give. “It’s too expensive, mom.”  Maybe at times that was true.  But the bottom line was pride. In my mind, I knew the best way for her to give and she wasn’t doing it right.  My way was wisest and best.

Thank God, my stingy, prideful ways did not keep her from giving.

Mom’s generosity was a picture of how God loves us. He loves us Extravagantly.  We don’t deserve it.  We are not grateful enough for it.  It even seems unwise at times.

The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  That doesn’t sound like a very wise plan.  Give to the people who are not sinning.  Give to the ones that deserve it.  But All fall short of the glory of God.  There are none that doeth good, no not one.

Even so, in light of this God gives to us so abundantly!

He wants to give us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation… that we would know the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”  Eph 1:18

“My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:19

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph 2:7

I don’t know if it was deliberately in Mom's mind to show how God loves me every time she wanted to take me shopping, but that is what I see now.  How often do I dishonor God in the same way?  "God, I don’t need this."  Or, "God, I don’t want this."

Because of Mom and how she loved me, I am closer to knowing and understanding God.  I don’t want to tell God how to love me or how to give to me.  I just want to receive.  And now, I also want to give.  I want to give like my Mom gave, abundantly, lavishly, and without expectation for a return.

I thank God for using my mom to teach me this lesson.  Thank you Don for giving to Mom and allowing her to be so generous. Thank you, Mom, for giving to me even though I was so ungrateful for your many sacrifices.  I love you. I will always love you and I look forward to seeing you again.


The Santos Family


Sophia playing "Come thou Fount" at the service


The family left behind. 


Don, my three beautiful sisters, and me.



July 19, 2012

God is my Rock!

I am so thankful that there is more to life than how I feel because

It feels like...

Mom will continue dying forever.  The end will never come.

It feels like...

I will never see my children again.

It feels like...

I will never have another civil conversation with Mr. Santos. There will always be tension.

It feels like...

I will never sleep through the night. 

It feels like...

I will be waiting and waiting and waiting forever.  Waiting for what?

It feels like...

All I do is exist.

I am overwhelmed.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalms 61:2


Eight years old!

Happy Birthday Noah!


Enjoying Shaved Ice with Cousin Mo.


Pet Cougar!


Always giving his momma flowers


It's time for church! Don't get dirty, my boy!


Go, Noah, Go!



What a cutie!


I used to love watching you sleep.


Remember when you used to collect handfuls of "roly poly" bugs?


I wish you were here to make me laugh with your laugh!

It has been the most wonderful EIGHT years
knowing you!

I can't wait to see you again!


Hard working little farmer


One of my best playmates


My knight in shining armour.

I thank my God upon every rememberance of you...Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

July 14, 2012

July Daybook



(click on the picture above for more daybook fun)

FOR TODAY

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Outside our window...

It is a warm and dark night in California.

Palm trees, a quiet swimming pool.

I am thankful...

for the lonely quiet of the evening.  It has been an eventful week full of activity and people.  I'm thankful for this time of the day when the people are gone and it is time to sleep.

I am wearing...

Red nail polish on my toes!

My sisters took me to get a pedicure and manicure today.  Oh My! I hated to have someone touch my feet, but once they started the apricot scrub...well...it was very nice.  The chair massage was so relaxing. Wow.

I feel spoiled.

From the kitchen..

A little of everything and more sweets than I should.

I am learning...

About waiting.  I am also learning to submit.  I want to be in CONTROL!  But, right now, I am not.

It is not nice.  But what is nice, is that I can completely trust the One who is.  He is making me wait.

Some verses on my mind...

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints"  Psalm 116:15

"As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;"  Ezekial 33:11a

I am creating...

Little packages that I have been sending to Mr. Santos and the children back home in Washington.  I miss them.

I am going...

to continue serving my parents, until the end.  The end is near.  I think.  God is in control.

I am remembering...
The Bible says "Rejoice in the Lord, always and again I say, Rejoice!" Phil 4:4

I don't know how to do this.  Lord, teach me. 

I am reading...

My Bible.
I am praying...

That through this whole thing, (caring for my dying mother) I would see and know my Lord.

I was meditating on Psalm 37 today ..."Delight thyself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." 

Is the Lord my delight?  If so, why am I so miserable?  There is so much I want...not Things, or stuff...but just my own way.  I think I would be very delighted if I got my own way in life.

"Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth...covetousness, which is idolatry:" Col 3:5

Around the house...

The buzz of the air conditioner.

Bottles of medication. 

Too many sweets.

A sofa calling my name "Time to go to sleep!"
Some of my favorite things...

Sisters

Friends that I can call anytime
A few plans for the month:
Wait on the Lord.  Care for my Mom and my Don.  Look forward to my children coming to join me soon.

Here are some picture thoughts to share...

 This is the beginning of a walk I take every few hours daily.  I like to wait until the cool (if you can call 85 degrees cool) of the evening.  I walk straight to the end, turn right and then right again and end up back at my Mother's door.  Apartment life.


 The palm tree outside her door.  We don't see any of these in Washington.  I like them.


The front door of my "home away from home"





My Mother and my twin sister (I am in the white) just yesterday.  Since then, things have taken a turn for the worse...Mom is unable to get out of bed now.

I love you, Mom!


July 10, 2012

Late Night Tea Time


I am having...

Green Tea.  I hope it doesn't keep me up. It is so comforting to sip a cup of tea in the quiet before bed.  I just said "good night" to my Mom and my Don.  I have been here in California caring for them for five days.  Soon, my children will join me and Mr. Santos will be left alone to hold down the fort.
I am feeling...

Thankful.  These have been some of the hardest days of my life, but God has shown Himself Faithful and near. 

To live and know the Creator of the Universe? What a GIFT!
  
On my mind...
My children. I miss them. Mr. Santos. I miss him too.

My mother.

My God.

A conversation to share...
I walked into the room and turned on the lamp just to check on Mom.  She was lying there awake.

"Oh Mom. I didn't know you were awake! I'm sorry I left you in the dark."

She smiled at me.

Her gentle smile and penetrating stare encouraged me to share my heart, which I did.

"I have been a prideful and an ungrateful daughter.  Mom, please forgive me.  I have wasted so much time trying to prove how 'great' I am.  I have dishonored you by telling you how you need to be or how you need to change.  I'm sorry.

Thank you for being my mom.  God chose you for me and He chose me for you and I am so glad."

Quietly, weakly,  she said, "Those are nice words, Laura."

July 07, 2012

Pie Anyone? There's plenty here


But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  James 4:6

That's good.

Because it seems like all I've been eating lately is Humble Pie.

~oOo~


One of the grandest things in having rights is, that though they are your rights you may give them up.
~ George MacDonald


Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept, His lordship.
~ Elisabeth Elliot

Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
~ C.S. Lewis

The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed... The heart's fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest...
~A.W. Tozer



July 03, 2012

Cancer

The edict has been given.

Mom has "glioblastoma multiforme WHO-4" cancer.  She has been "given" 3 months to live. Hospice care is at the ready to help in her last days.

All I can think of is Queen Esther.

She was also given an edict, an edict signed by the King.

And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. Esther 3:13
Her response was to fast and pray. It is a wonderful story if you have never heard of Queen Esther.  It has a happy ending.

Anyways, that is my response.  I am fasting and praying.  I wonder if you would join me? Would you consider fasting and praying for the healing of my Mom?, for God to move on her behalf, on our behalf?

I know that the Bible says:

"...to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Mom is ready to face her Maker. We are thankful for the joy she will have in meeting Him.  But, I am also aware that God does Great and Mighty things today.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

If He is willing to heal her, He will. And so, while we still have her with us, I am praying for her healing.

But not my will, THY will be done, Lord.

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