Monthly Archives: June 2013

Losing a Loved One—Overnight?

The phone was ringing at three o’clock on Sunday morning….

“Can’t be good…” Frank thought to himself.

Tragic news followed that Frank’s brother, Stuart, had been found unconscious, and was being rushed to the hospital. Even more tragic, upon performing several tests, there seemed to be no activity whatsoever in the brain.

How could this be possible? Our youngest son, Woody, just played golf with Frank and Stuart, and Frank’s son-in-law, Jonathan, three days prior to this. They’d had a blast playing in a scramble to benefit A Woman’s Choice Resource Center. (www.awomanschoice.org )

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Frank Thompson, Stuart Thompson, Woody Hoagland, and Jonathan Slevin

Within hours this past Sunday, conditions worsened. With family clutching Stuart, and each other, at his bedside, “Uncle Stuart” as we all knew him, was ushered into Heaven Monday evening. God rest his soul.

First, I want you all to know Uncle Stuart. Second, I want us to be reminded of what God’s Word tells us when something as startling as this happens…

Let’s talk about sweet Uncle Stuart for a moment. John and I were blessed to know Stuart and his precious wife Emma because Woody dates their niece,L.T.(Lindsey Taylor). I believe Stuart “approved” of us because of our allegiance to the University of Kentucky Wildcats.*

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Seriously.

There was no bigger fan of the Kentucky Wildcats than “Stuie”. Three years ago when L.T. found out she’d been accepted at UK, the first phone call she made was to Uncle Stuart.

Equally huge was Stuart’s heart. Woody told me that just last week in the golf tournament, when they were raffling off door prizes, people nearby them kept winning, including their own foursome. Stuart kept looking down at his ticket stub sayin’, “Come on, come on, …come on NOW!!!”

Sure enough, the last number was called and it was Uncle Stuart’s!!! He went up to accept the gift, never looking in the bag, handing it straight to Woody. He wanted Woody to have something too. He was all heart.

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Oh, it hurts. We cannot believe he’s gone. Oh, but we know where he is! We will see him again!

Stuart’s brother, Frank, and his sister-in-law, Aletia, Frank’s wife, are the original connection for us to Stuart. Frank and Aletia are very dear friends of ours. (Those of you who hail from Lebanon, Kentucky probably know Frank as “Frankie Joe”. Frank only has fifty-two first cousins!!! Now THAT’s a family!)

Frank and Aletia have many claims to fame. Being LT’s parents is one of them! (Not to mention their other daughter Chelsea and son-in-law, Jonathan.) The entire, extended Thompson family is amazing and has blessed our family abundantly over the years.

I ask you sweet readers to lift them all up in prayer. Especially Frank’s brother Mitchell, who is patiently enduring cancer in Lexington right now. They also have a brother, Tim, and sister, AnnCoury, here in Louisville.

You may have heard the saying, “You may be the only Bible that someone ever reads.” The Thompsons live that out on a daily basis, wherever they go.

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So what does God’s Word tell us about dying, especially so suddenly?

A great passage in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 is known as “Our Heavenly Dwelling” and is worth our review today. Paul talks about our earthly bodies as earthly tents. And tho’ we may groan while on earth in these tents, to be absent in our earthly body is to be present with the Lord. Heavenly dwellings await those who’ve made a commitment to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

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My Life Application Bible says about vs. 6-8, “…facing the unknown may cause us anxiety, and leaving loved ones hurts deeply, but if we believe in Jesus Christ, we can share Paul’s hope and confidence of eternal life with Christ…

And here’s the kicker:

“For those who believe in Christ, death is only a prelude to eternal life with God. We will continue to live. Let this hope give you confidence and inspire you to faithful service.”

Two favorite books with hope-filled words on death are Traveling Light–Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear by Max Lucado and When the Bottom Drops OutFinding Grace in the Depths of Disappointment by Robert Bugh.

Max Lucado reminds us, “In God’s plan, every life is long enough and every death is timely. And though you and I might wish for a longer life, God knows better.

While we are shaking our heads in disbelief, they are lifting hands in worship. While we are mourning at a grave, they are marveling at heaven. While we are questioning God, they are praising God.”

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But….what if you’re uncertain of your loved one’s beliefs?

Max reassures us, “Who among us is privy to a person’s final thoughts? Could our God who is partial to the humble, resist it? Maybe you never heard your loved one confess Christ, but who’s to say Christ didn’t?

God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) He wants your loved one in heaven more than you do.”

Rob Bugh, senior pastor at Wheaton Bible Church, wrote of his experiences of losing his best friend, Tom, to cancer and a year later of losing his wife, Carol to cancer. His book I mentioned earlier, When the Bottom Drops Out, is by far one of the most encouraging books on dealing with loss and/or tough circumstances I’ve read.

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Rob shares, “My faith in God’s goodness and love was my safety net and it kept me out of the abyss of anger and unbelief…the net was secure tho’ the bottom fell out.” What tethered Rob to the Lord were the beliefs he’d learned and built on over the years from studying God’s Word.

Rob adds, “…After years of pastoral ministry, I have concluded that a KEY DIFFERENCE between Christ followers who transcend their circumstances (see last week’s post on sinking under vs. soaring above circumstances…), and those who don’t is that long before crisis ever hits, the first group is deeply passionate about their faith, and deeply rooted in the Word, while the second considers faith just one more good thing in their lives. As a result, when difficulty comes, the first group focuses on and lives in light of the divine realities of life, while the other is unable to do so.” Yikes…

Rob closes with, “God taught me nearly as much about joy as about sorrow during and after Carol’s illness. I discovered that happiness apart from Jesus is fleeting. Joy, however is a natural outgrowth of our relationship with Christ.

When He becomes the root, or Lord, of our life, joy is the fruit. Joy is a second thing; Jesus is the first thing. Joy, therefore, isn’t the absence of problems, but the presence of Christ in the midst of them.”

Let’s pray:

Lord Jesus, we come to you heavy hearted. We may not know the “why” this side of Heaven, yet WE WILL TRUST IN YOU. We grieve, and we trust. Please hold us. May we keep putting one foot in front of the other when things are so, so sad and difficult. You are Sovereign and WE WILL TRUST IN YOU. Amen and amen.

Friends, our tomorrows may be different from today. They may bring life. They may bring loss. Cling to your faith, savor God’s Word, and be ready.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is an obvious dedication. We salute and pray for the Thompson family. The visitation and funeral is this week and we pray for love, support , comfort, and encouragement to all of you. You are a gift. “Stuie” was a gift. May God hold you tightly.)

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Sinking Under Circumstances or SOARING ABOVE Circumstances?

“Oh me, oh my….” she’d proclaim numerous, upon numerous times a day…

She was a glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl.  The staff at the nursing home, her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandchildren, and her friends could predict her woe-is-me words on a daily basis.

Sad, but that’s just the way she was.  I told her as much.  She’d laugh and say, “No I am not negative!”

To make matters worse, I’d blame her for making me that way…Whoa…let’s just come to a screeching halt, right there….No blame game allowed.

Every day, every day, E-V-E-R-Y day, we have a choice.  Yeah, not easy, but it’s the truth.  My perkier-than-he-needs-to-be husband wakes up singin’ country songs every morning.  (Surely there’s a law against that?)  I grumble ‘til I’ve had at least half a pot of coffee.

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Those of you who knew her, know that the “Oh me, oh my” lady was my Mother, God rest her soul. Confession: I fight sinking versus soaring above circumstances daily

This week we are going to close out the God Chicks by learning about the Whatever-It-Takes Chick.  It’s a great, friendly finale, however getting there may be a bit rocky.  We will learn how to soar above our circumstances…

The resource we’ve been studying, lo these many weeks, is Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  If you’ve missed these phenomenal chicks, you can find out more by clicking on The Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, The Champion Chick, The Friend Chick and The Party Chick

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We’re going to learn three tips on how to be a Whatever-It-Takes Chick:

#1: “ A Whatever-It-Takes Chick takes care of what she has been given, stewarding it well so that her capacity will be increased.”  Jesus taught us this in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-28.  His desire is for us to be good stewards of what He gives us.

The Life Application Bible says, “God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities and He expects us to invest them wisely until he returns.  We are responsible to use well what God has given us.  The issue is not how much we have, but how well we use what we have.”

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Holly continues, “If we are committed to being whatever-it-takes chicks,…then we must spend time with people who help enlarge us.” (Grow our faith.) “Who are you spending time with?  Who are you having coffee with?”

She warns us about spending too much time with negative people.  (We talked about that in “What Kind of Friend Are You?  Faithful or Flaky?”…)  She encourages us to seek out mentor types.  People who are committed to doing, to loving more, forgiving more, giving more, THAT’s who we need to be meeting at Starbucks, walking with, eating lunch with, shopping with (oops…maybe shopping is a stretch, but I couldn’t resist. “Retail therapy”…)

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#2:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks must be great at handling pressure.”  There’s where our title, soaring above, vs. sinking under circumstances comes in. And here’s where two amazing real-life Whatever-It-Takes Chicks enter…

Both of these gals were extremely devoted wives and caregivers to their husbands, both of whom battled cancer valiantly. Those of us who are friends with Kathy and Joe Daniels, and Gwen and Mike Paten, still remember shuddering at the shocking news of their diagnoses.

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As friends observing from various distances, some from afar, some up close, we witnessed the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  Kathy and Gwen were Jesus in the flesh to their husbands.  They were Jesus in the flesh to their friends.  While many times we were speechless, their words soothed us. (Why is it when we attempt to comfort the bereaved, many times they end up comforting us?!!!  Sigh…)

Onlookers were blessed.  Young moms were encouraged.  The entire Ohio State football team where Joe coached was ministered to.  Nurses, doctors, janitors, and people beyond family members saw firsthand what “walkin’ the talk” looked like in Louisville, Kentucky and Columbus, Ohio.

By God’s grace and His outstretched arms, Kathy’s and Gwen’s faith never waivered.  Doubt wasn’t danced with. If we, as friends, doubted or feared, Kathy and Gwen would reassure us.

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#3:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks don’t look for what is the least they can do.  No, they GO THE EXTRA MILE.”

Two years ago, Lifeway’s Deeper Still Conference came to town. It featured three top-notch Bible study teachers and authors: Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. Several gals volunteered on the prayer team for the conference. Gwen was one of them.

The afternoon of opening night I got a phone call. My friend Jane said, “Are you sitting down?” To which I replied, “No…I’m getting dressed, putting on make-up, and drinking tea simultaneously.” Jane did not laugh at my pityful-poor-multi-tasking humor. She paused… “Well, sit down.”

I sat.

I can’t recall how the rest unfolded. I just remembered crumpling up in a chair and wondering how in the world we’d all pull it together to attend this conference.

Her words went something like this: “Docs have told Gwen that Mike may live two more weeks.” Keep in mind he was only diagnosed two weeks prior to this very day.

Somehow we made it to the conference. And there, on the front row, with her “prayer apron” on, was our Gwennie. Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.

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Equally mind-blowing, upon Joe’s death, Kathy rose to speak at his funeral. She made sure the entire audience knew who Joe’s friend was who carried him and their family thru’ his journey.

She said, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Joe’s friend, Jesus Christ.” She also presented the Gospel, glorifying God in the most amazing way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire church.  Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.

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They both were a picture of Job when he said  “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b)

Like my friends Gwen and Kathy, Holly Wagner says the Whatever-It-Takes-Chick “doesn’t buckle under pressure. She lets the pressure propel her to the next level.

Soaring ABOVE her circumstances, not SINKING under them.

Holly closes with a final challenge: “Just be faithful to be the God Chick in your corner of the earth. And the truth is, it’s actually not just about you. Your actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone…and it just goes on and on.”

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She pleads, “Don’t hide behind fear or anger or a lack of confidence. The just-b-u chick, the princess chick, the warrior chick, the champion chick, the friend chick, and the whatever-it-takes chick ALL reside in you…You were put on the plant for ‘such a time as this.’ C’mon, you can do it!”

Ann Voskamp’s entry to her blog this week is entitled  “Why You Are Where You Are: For Such a Time as Now” .  Exactly what we’ve been talking about, including the most amazing story. Check it out: www.aholyexperience.com. See the June 18th entry. May we all be encouraged.

Let’s pray:

Lord, you know the wimps we tend to be (!!!). May you equip us to go the extra mile. To soar above our circumstances. To trust you relentlessly. To QUIT WORRYING. To shine the light of Christ onto others. To recognize those in need. I praise you for strong Christian women, God Chicks, if you will, who touch our lives, bringing us along behind them. Keep pursuing us! Amen and amen.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to two of the most amazing Whatever-It-Takes Chicks I know: Gwen Paten and Kathy Daniels. Mike patiently endured cancer thirty-three days. Joe patiently endured cancer five and a half years. Gwen and Kathy burned the midnight oil and were exemplary wives and caregivers. We rejoice that Mike and Joe are in Heaven with the Lord. We rejoice in the witness that Gwen and Kathy are still giving to God’s goodness. They are living out Romans 8:28 which tells us: “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Thanks, girls. God is smiling on you both for your steadfast faith. May He hold you tightly and continue to comfort you.)

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Throwing a Surprise Party is No Piece of Cake…

Ahhh, the web of lies we weave… If you’ve ever thrown a surprise party for that special someone, you know you begin with just one teensy-weensy white lie, which leads to another, and another, quickly mushrooming-n-multiplying until you have no idea WHO you told what.

My friend Michelle and I miraculously pulled off a colossal surprise party for our husbands, Mark and John.  At the time, lo these many years ago, they were turning the big 4-0.

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We were blessed with generous friends who offered their company’s facility for the venue.  We created “mock” invitations which invited ourselves to a black tie pre-Derby party.  We feigned excitement over dressing up for the party while our husbands groaned over donning tuxes.

The “real” invitations asked our friends to come to a surprise party for Mark and John and the dress code was casual.  The guys fell for it, hook-line-and-sinker.  Thus the birthday boys stood out just a tad in their tuxedos! The surprise party was a success and as they say, “a good time was had by all”…

John Tux

Everybody loves a good party.  We all know someone, who even in regular settings, is the “life of the party”.  Just off the top of my head I can name three of my friends who I seek out on a regular basis simply to soak in their life-of-the-party-positive-attitudes.

For the past several weeks, we’ve learned about all kinds of “chicks” from Holly Wagner and her fun book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman. (If you’ve missed the earlier ones, you can click on these to learn more:  Just-B-U, Princess, Warrior, Champion, and Friend) Holly’s encouraging style shows us God created us to be ALL of these kinds of chicks.

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This week we’ll learn three tips on how to be a Party Chick.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  Holly encourages us in this chapter to love life.  She reminds us, “Jesus told His followers that He came to bring life…not death or destruction…but life.

The word Jesus used for ‘life’ is the Greek word zoe.  This word implies more than the breathe-in, breathe-out kind of life…meaning abundant, overflowing, rich, and plentiful life!”

 Tip #1:  Party Chicks live life with passion“We should be celebrating the life we have been given…not just trudging thru’ the days…”  Sigh.  I know this.  But, some days I just don’t feel like it. You?

I don’t want to walk the dog. I don’t want to iron. (Oh, we may just spend some time on that “hot” subject down the road….) I don’t want to straighten my desk.  (Do NOT ask my husband about “our” desk!) And I really, really, REALLY don’t want to cook!

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Holly doesn’t let up on us, she digs deeper…. “We are given the moment called now. And this moment will not come againWe are to live each moment.  Time then becomes our responsibility.  We are given now only once.”

 “What are you doing with your now moment?”  Truthfully, I wanted to leave that little question out, but…  we’re in this together!   Let’s pray that the Lord will open our eyes to live in the now moment, as in right now.

Tip #2 – Party Chicks are joyful.  They choose “happy” in the midst of their circumstances.  I know, this is tough too.  Believe it or not, an overwhelming amount of research has proven that if you’ll just count your blessings, listing a few each day, your attitude, your health, and your relationships will all improve.

Best resource to turn your attitude right side up:  Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts –A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  I double-dog-dare you to try it!  Don’t forget she’s coming to Louisville for the North American Christian Convention and will be speaking at the Ladies’ Luncheon, and teaching a workshop on blogging Thursday, July 11th!  (www.gotonacc.org )  You do NOT want to miss the chance to hear her! (For a taste of her Gospel-laced wisdom, click on Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis… and visit her website:  www.aholyexperience.com )

One Thousand Gifts

Philippians 4:8-9 is an excellent challenge for all of us from the apostle Paul:  “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received, or learned from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)

John and I were blessed a few years ago to hear Zig Ziglar speak about the above Scripture.  He used it to warn us about the “G-I-G-O” method.  He said, “If you put garbage into your mind, garbage will come out of your mouth or worse, into your lifestyle…Garbage in, garbage out…”

But… if you make a concerted effort to filter what goes into your mind, thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, THEN look at the promise in that Scripture, “the God of peace WILL be with you.”

Tip #3:  A Party Chick’s words bring life.  Proverbs 18:21a says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…”(NIV)

Holly makes an eye-opening point:  “See the good…Be the encourager…Do NOT be the girl who is a master at life-liposuction…sucking ALL the life out of someone.”  (Think blood-sucking leech!  This goes right back to last week’s post about Healthy or Unhealthy Friendships…)

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Polar opposite from those lovely leeches, let’s camp on encouragement.  It has such a ripple effect.  Holly reminds us, “There is power in encouragement.  It is a gift that can change lives.”

Florence Littauer wrote a beautiful book called, Silver Boxes—The Gift of Encouragement.  It is all about the words we speak and their influence on others.  It is based on Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

 Silver Boxes

Holly teaches, “The word encourage means ‘to put courage in’, and courage means ‘facing danger in spite of fear.’ As we encourage people, we are saying, ‘Keep going! You can do it!’”

To add icing to our party cake, on top of encouraging others, let’s throw in a little laughter.  Proverbs 15:13 in the NCV says, “A happy heart is like good medicine.”  (We talked about the benefits of laughter in the post Get Over the Guilt –Grab a Nap…from Feb. 13..)

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My three friends I mentioned earlier, who are life-of-the-party-positive-attitude girls, ALL love to laugh.  They make laughter seem effortless.  Their outlook on life is contagiously optimistic.

Nicholas De Chamfort said, “The most wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed.”  Let’s all go out and find something or someone who’s funny and be the best Party Chick God has called us to be!  May God be glorified.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my three Party Chick friends, whom you’ve heard me talk about before, and will again soon:  Nancy Aguiar, Jane Chilton and Gwen Paten. They lift my spirit every single time I’m around them and THAT, my friends, is worth a million bucks.)

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What Kind of Friend Are You? Healthy or Unhealthy? (Part 3 of 3)

“Uh, yes… we’d like the Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Strawberries Salad, please, dressing on the side.”  Verdict:  Healthy!

“Uh…and could you please bring us some of your biscuits with those salads?” Verdict:  Unhealthy (but oh-so-fun…)!

Highly amused, our waitress trotted off to retrieve piping hot biscuits with butter, honey, jelly, and more butter to “accompany” our salads.  Surely the salad would counteract the calories of the biscuits???

Country Fresh Biscuits

This meal was part of a recent “banner day” with a long-time friend from Indianapolis.  She’s not just any friend.  She’s a wife, mom, accomplished and published writer, a teacher, a life coach, and an ultra crafty note card maker.  We hadn’t seen each other in WAY too many years.  Allow me to introduce you to Robin Chaddock.

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Good news: Robin’s newly married daughter lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Better news:  Robin was coming to visit!  We snagged a tiny window in our schedules, jumped on  I-65, meeting in the middle, at the Cracker Barrel south of Louisville.

We had lofty ambitions to go antiquing after lunch and to “check on” potential bargains at Zappo’s.  Shocking, after our very long lunch, we only got as far as the rockers on Cracker Barrel’s porch.  With a lovely, warm breeze in our hair, we solved a few of life’s problems.

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Isn’t it fun when you can steal away with a friend?  Even if only for a meal, sometimes it’s the boost we need to navigate the day.  Verdict:  healthy!

This quote is a favorite from a book on friendship (compiled by Snapdragon Editorial Group, Inc.) :  “A true friend is someone who has met your family and is sure you will overcome the law of genetics.”  Smile.  Plain and simple:  Sometimes friends “get” you better than family does.

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Proverbs 18:24 says, “A true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (NRSV)

These past couple of weeks we’ve been learning tips on being a faithful, Mary-like “Friend Chick” (to see previous posts on friends, click on… for Faithful or Flaky or Mary and Martha).

Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks-Living Life as a 21st Century Woman,  has been opening our eyes about the different types of God Chicks we were created to be.  We’ve learned about the Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, and the Champion Chick.

God Chicks

This week, in learning more about being a Friend Chick, we’ll pick up where we left off in a favorite book, Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen.  We met Mary Jensen who is a “Martha” and Nancy Bayless who was most definitely a “Mary”.

Mary and Nancy had a favorite activity: taking car trips.  In addition to writer’s conferences, they found fun anywhere they went.  As the years rolled by, Mary realized their car trips were taking on a different distinction.

Not having gone to a doctor in fifty years, Nancy was suddenly in need of several doctors.  Recently widowed, with health deteriorating, and now dealing with the “Big C”, Mary  said, “Nancy dealt with age in one primary fashion:  She didn’t talk about it.”

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Why is it we all deny aging, thinking we all will escape it?  Verdict:  Unhealthy!

I love how Mary puts it, “Tho’ the body sags and fails, our dear little souls stay young.”  So  true.  Each year when John and I take our sons to the University of Kentucky, I typically will don one of their backpacks. Magically transported back into time, I think I’m the student….until someone calls me “Mam”…Sigh.

After my Dad had a stroke and we realized he and Mother could no longer function in their home, John and I took them on a tour of an Assisted Living facility nearby.  After the tour, John posed the big question, “Well, how’d you like it?”  Not skipping a beat, Mother said, ”Oh, it’s just a bunch of old people!”

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Back to Mary and Nancy:   Mary and two other close friends, plus family, are learning how to care for their beloved Nancy. Here’s where the topic of this week’s post comes in:  Are your friendships healthy or unhealthy? 

I won’t even attempt to address the mental aspect of friendships…Best resource for such is a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend called  Boundaries—When to Say “Yes”, How to Say “No” to Take Control of Your LifeAdditionally, my friend Jane taught me, “If there’s something that bothers you in a relationship, and it’s still there six months later, MOVE ON…”

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Where I’m wanting us to head is in the physical aspect of healthy or unhealthy friendships.  I’ve had so many friends battling cancer recently.  It’s a scary place to be if you’ve not dealt with it before.  Mary and her friends:

Handled Nancy’s cancer journey with respect,

Aspiring to meet her needs,

Loving her NO MATTER WHAT.

Verdict:  Faithful friends STAY during good health and bad health.

In spite of all the changes, Nancy kept her chin up.  Visitors lined up to glean more wisdom from her. Her three closest friends received a cram course in how to keep their marriages alive.

“Nancy, always on a quest to protect the marriages around her, climbed up on that soapbox without leaving her chair.  Before her illness, she actually worked up an entire seminar on the subject of touching.  ‘Physical contact’ became her signature recommendation for marital staleness or difficulty.”  Verdict:  healthy.

Young couple in love holding hands

Finally, Nancy and Mary’s shared faith became a rock to cling to.  Nancy kept her Bible open to Zephaniah 3:17: 

 “The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with his love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Every phrase had meaning for Nancy.

When asked how her spiritual life was going, Nancy said, “I’m overwhelmed with the Lord’s presence.”  May we ALL be overwhelmed with His presence.

Don’t miss this lesson at the end of the book from Mary:  “I suppose when someone seems so alive, so interested in you, so vested in what matters to you, that you come to pay homage, to mend breaches, to comfort, to console, perhaps to catch one last glimpse before your friend slips into eternity.  Or sometimes you come just to be loved for a few more minutes.” (Can’t tell you any more other than to fetch some Kleenex!)

You also must read about Jerry Jenkins and his wife, Dianna’s visit with Nancy.  It was their wish to be with Nancy just one more time.  Jerry has a special nickname for her.  He mentions it in the forward of the book, and he explains it during the visit.  (Not spoiling that either!)

You’ll be happy to know Jerry read Psalm 91 to Nancy.  They, too, shared a love for God’s Word.  More tears.

Mary gives us the best advice on dying:  “…death is aptly defined as bittersweet.  There’s no denying the sorrow, the loss, but it’s such a sweet privilege to be there.  And when the dying one is anticipating a reunion in heaven, and the face-to-face meeting of her God and Savior, and when you believe it, too, there is little to mourn.”  Verdict:  Healthy!!!

 

White coffin with pink sympathy flowers

 

So does Mary carry on Nancy’s legacy?  Not tellin’, but bet you can guess. You must see how it all unfolds.  Hint:  God is glorified.

May we all take these tips on being a faithful, Mary-like, in-sickness-or-health Friend Chick.  And may we serve up some chocolate so Nancy will smile over us.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Robin Chaddock.  See her fabulous books below….I met her years ago thru’ a divine appointment, thanks to my cousin Bonnie.  Robin has also been a speaker for us at Book Club.  I’m beyond tickled that she has more than one reason now to blow thru’ Louisville!!! God Bless you and your family, Robin!)

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