Saturday, November 24, 2012

Five years

Five years ago today I was holding my daughter while she died.  
I don't want to remember.
I don't want to forget.
It felt like I was in labor. 
Hours and hours of painful waiting.
Holding her in our bed.
My other children coming in to say goodbye.
Kissing her over and over.
Whispering love in her ear.
Crying out to God.
"I can't do this!"
Not believing that it was really happening.
Waiting for a miracle.
Waiting for death.
When it finally came there was sweet release.
It is finished.
Birthed from this life to the next.
For her
For me
Learning to live without a part of myself was hard.
Is hard.
Do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  
What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
Today I wait with hope.
I press on with perseverance.
I laugh.
I love.
I live.

And I remember.

(2Corinthians 4:18)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blank pages

Wow.  I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted.  My mom asked me why I hadn't written and I paused and said, "Well, I guess it's because I didn't have anything to say."
The only reason I got on the website today was because I was having people over this morning.
I was having people over so I needed to dust.
Because I was dusting, I put things away.
When I put something on the shelf with the photo albums I saw that the Christmas Memories book was crooked.
When I took it out to straighten it, I opened it up.
When I opened it up I was struck by the fact that 2008, 2009, and 2010 are blank.  Empty.  After someone dies, the holidays become something to get through--not something to remember.
So today I am looking back through my blog entries trying to find something to remember...

Merry Christmas from the Salamys!
The presents have all been unwrapped. Breakfast is in the oven. Audra is playing with her new hamster. Jacob is putting together his guitar stand. Will is playing his electronic drums. Richard is looking for a missing piece to something. All is well.
Yesterday we delivered pumpkin bread to the neighbors. We found out that the husband two doors down is dying. His wife came to our house later to thank us for the card and the verse we had written on it..."May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him." (Rom.15:13) I wrote the same verse on every card, but she was the one who needed to hear that yesterday.
Last night after church we met our friends the Webbs at the hospital to deliver presents to the kids on the 10th floor. There was a six year old girl who reminded us of Anna. I helped pick out her gifts because I knew the kinds of things a six year old girl would like. There was a boy who was just diagnosed and admitted yesterday---Christmas Eve---single mom----cancer----can you imagine? 
I am so thankful for the peace in our home today because I know how precious it is. I hope you have a blessed day and MAY THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE AS YOU TRUST IN HIM.
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, but it's not always.  I have friends who are celebrating without their loved ones for the first time.  I have friends who may be celebrating their last Christmas with their child.  I have a friend whose father passed away last night.  I have friends who are separated from their husbands.  Maybe Christmas is hard for you too.  Maybe you need to be reminded of the hope that we have because of Christmas.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning." (Psalm 130:5-6)

I read words in Revelation this week that filled me with hope and encouraged me to keep pressing on...
"Only hold on to what you have until I come." (Rev 2:25)
"See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name...(Rev. 3:8)
"I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have..." (v.11)

As I join the throngs in their Christmas buying frenzy, I aknowledge that I cannot hold on to anything I own.  I cannot hold on to the people I love.  The ONLY thing I can hold on to is the truth that I believe.  I put my hope in His word and I press on to the open door before me THAT NO ONE CAN SHUT!
Hold on.
He is coming soon.
Come quickly Lord Jesus. 

What are you hoping to find underneath the tree this Christmas?  Much more exciting that the gifts you will receive next week, is what the Bible says is in store for those who overcome.  So don't get discouraged by your circumstances today. And don't place your hope in the things of this world. 
"I hope I get an ipad for Christmas." 
"I hope I get married." 
"I hope I have kids." 
"I hope I get better." 
"I hope I get that job." 
"I hope I'll be rich." 
All of those hopes are fleeting and fading.  Timothy Jones says that "We cannot live rightly until we aim past life.  Eternity provides the only goal that makes ultimate sense of our lives."
So make it your goal to overcome.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)
He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (v.11)
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (v.17)
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations... I will also give him  the morning star. (v.26,28)
He who overcomes dressed in white.  I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (3:5)
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God.  Never again will he leave it.  I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God...and I will also write on him my new name. (v.12)
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (v.21)
I may or may not get what I want for Christmas.  I may or may not get what I want in this lifetime. 

But someday....
I will eat from the tree of life.
I will not hurt again.
I  will eat the bread of angels.
I will have a new name chosen by my creator.
I will have authority over the nations.
I will have the morning star.
I will be dressed in white.
I will be acknowledged before God and angels.
I will be a pillar in the temple of God and serve in his presence.

WOW!  I don't understand all of that.  It is beyond what I can imagine.   But I do know that I have something greater in store for me than the new winter coat and the Ginger Peach tea that I asked for. 
And you have something greater in store for you too. 
Keep going! 
Don't quit! 
Press on!

I may not remember any of the presents I received  or what we had for Christmas dinner or any of the parties we attended.  But there are things I learned during those years of grief that I hope I never forget.
I want to remember to press on when I feel like giving up.
I want to remember to reach out to those who are worse off than I am.
I want to remember to not get upset over things that don't matter.
I want to remember to be thankful.

Those blank pages in our memory book mean that there is room for new memories.