It’s been a tough start to the new year. I’ve been fighting a nasty cold all week which has forced me to slow down. Sometimes I think I need sickness now and again to get me to slow down. The one-year anniversary of a dear coworker’s passing was earlier this week. She died rather suddenly of brain cancer, and I remember seeing her for the last time and going to her funeral last year. I have also found out some sad news today. My cousins’ mom died, which was unexpected. My cousins are my age – early 30s. I know it will be hard on them because my mom lost her mom (my grandma) when she was 30, and I know how it has affected her life. My cousins’ mom made a lot of bad choices in life that led to her early death and has affected the upbringing of my cousins. One of my cousins is raising his stepbrother right now, who is very young and will most likely take their mom’s death the hardest. I also found out my grandma’s house is going to be rented soon. My grandma has lived in that house forever, it seems. My family went through her possessions this weekend. She had a stroke in June and reality is hitting everyone in my family hard that my grandma will not be coming home anytime soon. She is doing well at the moment, but she can’t take care of herself any longer. My grandma’s five kids (my dad included) are all emotionally in different places right as they deal with this situation. My Uncle Rick’s health is not the best right now either as he fights cancer and undergoes numerous treatments. My mom gives me weekly updates over the phone about my family and lately it’s been very hard to hear about everyone. It’s been so hard on my Mom too. It is not easy living 1,200 miles from home when so much seems to be happening with the ones you love.
I’ve been at a loss for words this week, but God keeps bringing Ecclesiastes 3 to my mind, so I’ll share verses 1-15 on here:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor, it is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.”
I like verse 11, which says that He makes everything appropriate in time. Other translations say beautiful in time. I do see the beauty through all the sorrow. God has done some amazing things in everyone’s lives lately. My aunts and uncles are growing closer to each other as they band together to help out my grandma. My grandma has a different perspective on family circumstances that have plagued our family for years. My cousin who is raising his stepbrother has a beautiful family who loves the Lord. My uncle has learned a lot through his experiences dealing with cancer and can relate to his son, my cousin, who had cancer a few years ago and recovered from it. I am glad to see that God is working in peoples’ lives through the difficult circumstances they are experiencing. I have no doubt in my mind that God will continue to work in them and through them and reveal Himself in new ways to them. Not all of my family loves the Lord, but I think God is working on their hearts.
Isaiah 61:3 comes to my mind. This scripture is speaking of what Isaiah is called to do as the Lord’s anointed. It says: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” I think this entire passage in Isaiah shows us God’s caring heart for his people. I know that in time God will make all things beautiful, joyous and praiseworthy.
My prayer is that of Vienna Cobb Anderson, written in 1991. She prays, “Bless those who mourn, eternal God, with the comfort of your love that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that nothing can destroy the good that has been given. May their memories become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives encircled by your love. Amen.”
Thank you Lord for my wonderful family. May I never take them for granted and may nothing ever tear us apart for good. Our families are a gift to us, no matter what they are going through and where they have been. Family matters really do matter! I hope I can be a good encouragement to my family right now as they are in pain and hurting both physically and emotionally and spiritually.