Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reflections on life and death - What will be said at your funeral?

So last night was the funeral service for the 22 year old young woman who passed away from an aneurysm. There were easily 500 at the service - MANY young people who knew this young lady from high school and college - even some of her elementary schoolmates. It just broke my heart.

This young lady had become a Christian as a younger girl and grew up in a Christian family. However, going to a public high school and secular college brought out what we see in many Christian teens today - a straying from the faith through their high school and college years. This young woman was so bubbly and wanted to be friends with everyone (and it seems she succeeded) and became quite the popular girl who partied and enjoyed life with the rest of them. After fainting, her father was driving her to the hospital and she told him that she was sorry that she hadn't been living her life for the Lord and she prayed with her dad for forgiveness. She really DID have a heart for the Lord but as often happens with us, the world pulled her in and she did not spend these years living for Him. Her confession driving to the hospital was not a death bed confession because she was a healthy girl who just fainted. Nothing serious, right? What she didn't know was that she had just over a week left on this earth.

So last night at her service, after some initial Scripture reading and such, there were 3 people who spoke about her - our youth pastor, her cousin and her brother. When her cousin got up, she read letters from different people representing different parts of her life - elementary school friends, high school and college friends, her sorority sisters, the fraternity friends that she had and one more that I can't remember (sorry). The overwhelming sentiment was that J was full of life, the life of the party, always accepted everyone, never had a negative word to say, was always smiling, so fun to be around and made friends with all those she met. Notice something missing? Yeah - I did too. Not one person spoke of her love for Christ. Her youth pastor did. But he was the only one. Even her brother (who I'm not sure if he's saved) said anything about God. So here is this girl who obviously touched many lives because there were well over 500 people at her service (and a good 400 the night before - not sure how many were repeats), and not one word was said about Christ from any of them.

My husband and I were talking on the way home about all of that. I came to the conclusion that I'd rather have 10 people at my funeral who met Christ because of me than 500 who like me because I was fun. I don't want people to say "She was such a lovely woman who was always smiling and was friends with everyone." I want them to say "I met Christ in her and I had to have Him." What am I doing daily that is showing others Christ? What am I saying each day that confirms that I'm a child of God and not a child of myself? What will be said in my eulogy the day that I have my funeral?

It's definitely made me think.

It's also made me pray for every one of those young people who knew J that they come to know Christ as their Savior somehow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Death stinks - but there's hope

There's no question about it - death stinks. My mom used to say that and I always thought it was kind of a weird thing to say but as I get older, and I experience death around me more and more, I fully, 100% agree with her.

Last week, we got notice that a girl who had been in our youth group, and who's parents we know well had an aneurysm and was in having brain surgery. After the surgery, she ended up having a series of strokes and as of Thursday, she was brain dead. They tested her again on Friday and it was positive - she was brain dead. Her wake started this afternoon.

I went up to the church early to help set up and the funeral home directors were there with the young woman's body, a ton of flowers, things from the family, etc. I helped to get things set up, set out tissues, water, cups at the water fountain, made sure the nurseries were open, etc. to ease the time for the family in the only way I could. My love language and my spiritual gift is service - I NEED to do these things to feel like I've done something.

Then the parents came and they spent time with their daughter. It broke my heart to see mom weeping over her daughter and dad holding mom up. After a time, I went in to see them and dad took one look at me and just broke down. How do I comfort a large construction worker who just lost his 22 year old baby daughter? I just hugged him and cried with him. I then went to mom and hugged and cried with her - wishing I could take even half of the agony they're feeling to ease their burden but I can't.

I left for the evening - leaving everything in other's capable hands. I will be there all day tomorrow and my husband asked that I not stay tonight as much as I wanted to. Tonight there will most likely be hundreds come through the doors of the church. This young woman was popular both at high school and college - and is still friends with the vast majority of her elementary school friends. Many lives were touched by her.

My prayer in all of this pain is that many, MANY come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Souls saved will ease the pain of losing this dear young woman. We know we will see her again yet there are many who will not ever see her in this life or the next. We mourn in a different way than the world because we have hope. We know the Savior and that we have eternal life after this life. But so many who will come tonight do not know Jesus. So my prayer is that they will meet Him tonight and tomorrow in a way that will secure THEIR future with the King.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A GREAT video on dating

Hubby is going to no longer be leading our college ministry at church as of about the end of May or the beginning of June so he asked everyone what they wanted to cover before he left. One of the topics was dating and so he started looking around for some additional resources to use. We've been enjoying listening to Mark Driscoll recently from Mars Hill Church in Seattle and in looking over there, he saw that Mark did a sermon on dating (much of his church is young and 50% is single, so it's a great topic for his church - for those who are single and for those who are dating and having children - we're in the having children dating at this time in our lives so it was good to listen to for us even though we've been married 24 years). While he was gone at the college group, I stayed home and watched the video myself and I have to say, it's one of the best discussions on dating I've seen. He speaks of 4 different styles of finding a spouse - arranged marriage, courtship, non-Christian dating and Christian dating.

Now, Mark Driscoll is a bit edgy but theologically, he's really sound. He used to be known as the "cursing pastor" because of his language in his messages but he's since been called out on that, repented and no longer speaks in such a way. He's very respectful, very Biblical and very straight-forward.

If you have an hour to watch this (yep - his messages are a full hour long), or if you can work it out to watch it in increments, I'd highly recommend watching this if you have children who will be dating, have teens who are looking to date, have older children who are looking to date or are dating or if you're a single person. I appreciated watching it even just as a Christian woman to be able to have more insight into dating so I can be an older woman teaching younger women.

So, here's the link to the message. If you do end up watching it, let me know what you think. Oh - if you have teens who are of dating age, I'd highly recommend they watch it with you. Hubby said it brought up LOTS of discussion - especially from 2 of the teens who are not in healthy dating relationships. :)

Mark Driscoll "Dating"
(Oh - the "religion saves" is in reference to a series of sermons Mark is doing called "Religion Saves - and nine other misconceptions"

Just saw - here's the outline of the sermon:
Dating Notes

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chocolate bunnies

My kids are just breaking into their chocolate bunnies and my 16 year old reminded me of this from last year. I just had to post it again.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Power of the Cross

I was working today on putting together the graphics for our special music on Sunday and I found this Youtube with a similar idea. While it's not mine, I'm actually using a number of the same graphics that will go along with our live choir singing the song and at the third and forth verses, we will have 3 girls dance with streamers and a cloth cross. I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

If any of you lacks wisdom

Well, I only have one wisdom tooth left. I had the two bottoms removed when I was a teen just before I got my braces and the tops came in and I've been using them as molars ever since. A couple of months ago, my top left wisdom tooth broke a bit thanks to a filling coming out but it didn't bother me so I didn't do anything about it (I HATE going to the dentist and would rather have my kidney removed). Well, the tooth broke a bit more and it was apparent I needed to go in so off I went 2 weeks ago. The dentist took one look at the x-ray and said "You're going to see the oral surgeon!" and I knew that meant it was coming out. GULP!!

Yesterday was the day. I was nervous but it went SO well. He numbed me up fast, and from the time that he first went into my mouth with the tools after I was numb to when he got the tooth out, it had to have been about 30 seconds. A little crunchy noise as he loosened the tooth then a pop as it came out. That puppy had BIG roots! Turns out those big roots went into my sinus even! YIKES! So now I have just one wisdom tooth left - that he said will have to come out sometime in the future. Bleck. But I'm doing great - no pain at all! I just feel a little pressure there and every once in a while a little throbbing but nothing that I even have to take Motrin for. :D Woo-hoo!! I was so scared about it but it turned out to be nothing. The ONLY issue is that I need to be careful about eating the next few days. I had soup last night and I snuck some Chinese food (I was starving) and we'll see what I do today. But I'm so happy that I'm doing alright. Whew!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sorry - And Spring is Here!

Sorry I've not been posting but things have been crazy busy here! I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday the same number of hours I work in two weeks. Then I had DD16 home from school sick with a super high fever (and discovered FINALLY last night that it's coxsackie) and I've been running my dad around after coming home from his knee replacement. Fun life!

Just an announcement though - spring is officially here. The landscapers are doing the spring clean up as I type this. Yes, we have landscapers. We have an acre of grass and my husband is allergic to all of it. LOL I do enough with homeschooling, working part time and such that we've budgeted to pay someone to do our property. We almost couldn't swing it this year but so far, so good. We're certainly not living high on the hog, and my house needs lots of work but outside will look nice. LOL I AM grateful for them.