Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A New Beginning-Be Comforted

  • “Loss is life’s Long Non-Negotiable side: It is a time when we learn, unconditionally, that we are powerless over things we thought we had a grip on. But it doesn’t stop there, because every ending brings a new beginning”
    Stephanie Ericcson (used without permission)

    I was comforted to read this on a bookmark of the late Ryan Peralto, CD, former JLP Minister of Government in Kingston, Jamaica. “Every ending brings a new beginning” spells hope for me. I am in a strange place right now as I deal with the loss of my baby sister. She will be remembered always with a smile, and I will try to not wallow in too much sadness. It hurts so much and in such a strange way that words cannot aptly describe what I’m feeling. Nevertheless, I am fully aware that her death served some wonderful purposes, and these can be the “new beginning” for many of us. This, my dear Readers, is cause for celebration and hope!

    1. Families we haven’t seen in years came together, and in the midst of our grief, we found reason to laugh, to talk, to catch up on lost years.
    2. Every night since March 2, neighbors and friends gather at the house to sit and comfort the family, play dominos, eat, and drink (don’t ask what they drank?).
    3. A community came together (never mind the ulterior motives for some) the Wednesday before the funeral, for the “grave digging”. This was truly a festive affair. We served over 250 plates of a full course meal and others still complained that they didn’t get fed. A small business owner came with his ice cream motor cycle and made some good money selling ice cream! We had a wonderful gathering and I was impressed to see the effect my sister had on this community where she spent her 35 years of existence.
    4. The wake was held on Friday, and I was again intrigued by the number of people who left their warm beds to come and stand for three to four hours just to show their support and love for our family (and to get something to eat). [In the midst of this excitement, my Aunt was discharged from the hospital. She is incapacitated and no longer has the ability to recognize her family. Yet, she will open her eyes and look around as if searching. It was sad to see her in that state, but I was elated that she was out of the hospital and in the company of family who loves her and will do the best for her.]
    5. The funeral on Saturday was also well attended. The little church on the hill was bursting in its seams. Over two hundred people were in attendance. The Member of Parliament for the area, together with his wife and son, took time out of his busy schedule to be in attendance. The Priest knew my sister well and spoke highly of her. The message was from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and if you have lost a loved one and still struggling to deal with it, I hope you will be comforted by these words:

    “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

    I cannot sorrow as one who has no hope. I will be comforted by the words of the Apostle Paul, and I pray that you will be too. I look forward with earnest anticipation to the coming of Christ. My sister has finished her course and has moved on. My prayer is that her loss will be a new beginning for all my people who are still alive as they come to know and to serve the one true God. Be prayerful, persistent, and patient. Be full of hope, dear Readers, even in the midst of our sorrows.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Righteous Will Not Be Forsaken

Over the last couple months, we have been hearing of much doom and gloom with our economic situation. For some of us, we are actually experiencing doom and gloom in our personal lives. I see the increases in prices when I go to the store (and you have to look closely as you never see a sign that says, “Price Increase” “Pay More”). In all this, I am confident that “ye which began a good work, will perfect it to the end”. Sunday’s sermon was on Psalm 37, where David spoke about being young and old and not see the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. It was especially encouraging for me to be reminded that God has been good, and He will take care of me, my children, and my children’s children. Read the Psalm again, and I pray you will be encouraged as well.

Let us hold on to hope. Let us trust God to “be faithful in all that He promised”. “Great is His faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies we see, all that we have needed His hands have provided. Great is His Faithfulness, God unto us”. [Read Lamentations Chapter 3 and be blessed.]

I remember growing up and, especially during the summer months, there was literally nothing in the house to eat for days. We had used up all our credit at the corner store, and so was left to grace of God. We would get up, have a cup of something hot sweetened with sugar, and then prayerfully pray that someone would come through the door with some money or we would go a-hunting for food that grows on trees - and God usually provides. We were hungry, but not for long! We learnt to appreciate and to not waste what we have when we are blessed by God. And that is such a great lesson for us to learn. Appreciate and not waste!! We need to teach that to our children (and learn it ourselves for some of us) and exercise greater control in an effort to minimize waste, as we trust God to provide our needs.

As I remind us of the hope that we already possess in a God who is faithful, let us nurture that hope in all of us by offering a prayer, calling, visiting, lending a helping hand, sharing useful information on ways to save, to live stress free, and to encourage.

Be hopeful dear Readers, and share the love!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Comfort From Reading

“Reading broadens the mind” is a quote I truly cherish and believe. As a child from the rural (country) parts of the tiny island in the Caribbean Sea, my summers were spent at the Library, traveling to different places all over the world. It was absolutely fabulous and I did learn a lot about varied cultures.

Today, I still make time to read. Over the last couple months, I became a good friend of amazon.com; but now, with budgetary constraints, I am best friend with the public library. [They will even deliver your books at no charge!].

For those of us who has a passion for reading, we can find comfort in the written word. The Bible is the ultimate source of comforting words, read these three scriptures, and let me know how you feel when done:

  • “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalms 118:6)

  • “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, 7)
On a personal note, although I might be crying fountains of water, I still know and believe that my God is the God of all comfort. I know He will comfort me in ALL my tribulation!

To those of us who do not have a great passion for reading, technology has made it so that the Bible and most other books are on some audio media (cassette, CD, DVD, video, and others). You can listen to someone else read to you at home, or in the car! What a blessing!!

I encourage us to travel the world and be encouraged by reading at least one book a week!!

Be hopeful!!

I told you about my Aunt who suffered two strokes. Well, today, she suffered another and is entirely unresponsive. We are praying for strength and wisdom to deal with what this may bring. God is ABLE….. and I do believe that to the very core of my being!!

My baby sister was hospitalized tonight and also not doing well. She has heart and kidney ailments. Again, we pray for strength and wisdom recognizing that God is ABLE….I am hopeful, no matter the outcome.

Thanks for your prayers