Good Grief

Good Grief

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The hours after and Day Before

 I  have always loved Holy Week.  Now, after last year, this week has taken on a whole new meaning. The days remembering Jesus' ride into Jerusalem, the day He shared the Passover with his disciples, the night in the Garden of Gethsemane, His beating and finally the crucifixion should make a Christian very uncomfortable.  They do me, realizing exactly what He endured for me.  For some reason today I woke up with something on my heart that has never occurred to me.  I watched a little of Passion of the Christ last night and have been watching my favorite, Jesus of Nazareth.  When I woke up this morning I couldn't help but think of those that watched all of this unwind in front of their eyes.  I can hardly stand the thought of what if I had  been there to watch it all unfold.  I watched for the 3rd time in horror how they depicted Jesus brutal abuse and the crucifixion during Passion of the Christ.  I can't help but hurt and cry every time I see it.  For some reason this year the thoughts of being there watching it is almost unbearable.  My thoughts carry me to the hours of the crucifixion watching Jesus cry out, " Eli, Eli, Lama Sabacthani?" "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?"   Knowing full well, that I too, would have been having my doubts, wondering why He couldn't save himself, wondering why He let it get this far, if He was, indeed, the Son of God.  Also, thinking He continues to cry out to His Father while being crucified and questioning all of that.  Then I think of what I would have felt had I watched Him take His last breath.  After witnessing death last year I can honestly say that its something you don't forget, not that Shane's death was anywhere near the brutalness of Jesus.  However, seeing someone you love take their last breath is something that is embedded in your mind.
I can only imagine how the Mary's and his followers felt... helpless.  I know I did watching Shane.  Knowing full well what the outcome was but not being able to do anything to stop or make things better for the one enduring the suffering.  I can only imagine, as a mother, the strength Mary had to keep from climbing up on the cross to hold her Son as she watched Him leave her. 

Then I think of all of those that had doubted and accused Jesus.  I can only imagine how they felt experiencing the veil of the temple being torn from top to bottom and experiencing the earth quake
and watching tombs open, and Saints raised.  All the while realizing, that when a common man dies, these things do not happen.  I can almost feel their embarrassment and their shame, almost like when you are told something is going to happen and you totally dismiss it.  The feeling of wishing you had believed and knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to change things now. I think of how Mary Magdalene must have felt when she went to tell the disciples what Jesus had told to share with them after seeing Him, how they probably looked at her like she was a little bit crazy. Almost like some of the looks I receive when I tell people the story of Shane's last 10, they want to believe it but its hard too when you were not there.  Finally, knowing how His 12 must have felt when He finally appeared to them.  Imagine the embarrassment and guilt they must have felt by not believing that everything He had been telling them was true.  I can just hear John saying while hitting his hand to his forehead 3 times..."stupid stupid man I am, He told me that this would happen and I sooooo thought He was crazy, even though I watched Him perform so many miracles, raise people from the dead and I still didn't believe Him."  I chuckle a little when I think of the men walking to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13), how they must have felt when realizing this man that they were talking and walking with and discussing was Jesus Himself.  One of those duhhhhh moments. 
All brings me back to present day.  Jesus has put it all out there for us all to either believe in Him or deny Him.  As I think of all these feelings all of those probably felt watching the crucifixion and the hours after, or should have felt, I think of those that continually deny who He is today.  I can not even imagine what those will be feeling when He comes back and some are left behind.  Then, it will be too late to hit their head 3 times and say, "Dang, I should have believed and accepted Him when I had the chance.  Now I will have eternity in Hell to beat myself up for not believing in Him." 

My sister recently sent me an article by Max Lucado and his thoughts on the realness of hell, you can read it here...  She said she thought I would enjoy the end of the article where Lucado compared the death experiences of a believer and a non-believer and how she thought of Shane's final 10.  He said that the unbeliever was an atheist and wanted no mention of Jesus even on her deathbed.  He mentions how at the end of her life she was heard by her family while barely conscious and talking to someone only she could see, "You don't know me? You don't know me?" she asked. Was she talking to Jesus?  Maybe she was wishing she had paid attention to Matthew 7:23 "I never knew you; depart from me."  Then I think of Shane and his total belief in Jesus Christ and how he unashamedly proclaimed his love for Him and how, during final 10, saw peace, eagerness and willingness to enter in to Heaven's door.  Shane never had to ask, "You don't know me?" when he came face to face with Jesus.

So today, the hours after Good Friday and the hours before Resurrection Sunday, I pray that those that question and deny who HE is, will come to know Him and I pray that I can show someone Who HE is through something I say or do.   It will be me who is ashamed and wishing I had done differently if I don't share the Good News that HE LIVES!!!!  Praying that all of us that do believe in Him are remembering in what he endured for you on the Cross and will be rejoicing in knowing that HE LIVES, indeed.  Hallelujah and Amen!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons Learned & Still Learning

Before  I start with my thoughts I will let everyone know that we did make it through the 1 year anniversary of Shane's passing.  Again, the days up to the day were worse than the actual day itself.  Actually, Sunday, April 3rd was a very GOOD day.  The whole weekend actually was.  Started it off on Friday night with a girl's night out of sorts, a sweet friend came back in to town and we had dinner, we all pretty much got kicked out of the restaurant.  Seems that's what happens when you don't get "out" much.  Saturday was spent doing the baseball thing then out to eat with family & friends.  We camped out in honor of Shane.  Before going to sleep I set my phone to wake me at 2:45.  I thought I would wake up, read the scripture that was read for Shane while he entered Heaven.  The peace that was over me can only be described as the same peace that covered me this time last year.  Not real sure what I thought I would feel at 2:45 a.m. but when I woke up, I was exhausted, I prayed until going back to sleep.  I think God knew that if I opened my bible that it may be just too hard to relive what happened exactly 1 year ago.  So instead, He let me peacefully sleep.  I did however, wake up again at 4 with Shane on my mind.  Ironically, I felt joy knowing Shane had been with his Savior for 1 year.  Knowing he is as busy there as he was here.  I can just imagine how he loves it.  Shane's friend that was with us, that happens to be our neighbor, the one that read the scripture for him last year, decided he too, wanted to be up at that time.  He chose to sit on his front porch with a cup of coffee and spend a little time in John again.  He said it was ironic how our golden rretriever Buddy,  barked at 3:00 a.m. just as he did last year at that time.  I jokingly said he must have a keen sense of the Holy Spirit seeing how He was here last year and obviously here again, watching over me and giving me restful sleep.  Not sure what I thought I would feel waking up on Sunday morning, I did have moments of recollection on what I felt last year, which was hard.  Went to church, lunch, then out to Berry for our own kite flying day.  When we first got there and was looking at how beautiful the day was Jake said, "I think this day was ordered by daddy."  I wholeheartedly agreed.  Shane would have loved a Sunday like that.  Just relaxing with family and friends at one of his favorite places.  We did make it,  but I will say like I say often when someone ask how I am..."Still Sux, Kids are good."  Even after 1 whole year it still really sux.

Now on to lessons learned.  Yesterday, as I was leaving Wal-mart, I saw a man that I have seen before.  He stands on the corner of the parking lot with a sign that reads something like...Have Cancer, need work.  I read the sign before I ever got to him then had to stop  right beside him.  I couldn't even look him in the eye.  When I drove on I was appalled at myself.  Here I was with a car full of groceries with time to spare before picking up Lil' Curl and I drive right by him without even looking at him in the eye.  One of those times when your soul gets all stirred up but you still just trudge on through your day.  My day went on, picking up kids, baseball games, etc and I didn't give it much more thought.  Fast forward to Wednesday morning bible study.  Guess what the chapter was on...MERCY.  While we discussed the real meaning of mercy and how God continually shows us mercy my mind took me back to yesterday.  I dropped the ball on showing that man some mercy.  Me, of all people, that has been showered with mercy galore this past year by the Father and by the body of Christ, drove right by an opportunity to show a little mercy to someone.  Instead of rolling down my window and asking his name to tell him I would willingly pray for him, I sat and judged him (which I found out today is the contrast of mercy.)  I sat and thought all the things most would think...Does he really have cancer?  Why don't he just get a job instead of panhandling on the street?  Is he just wanting his fix for the week? I brought this up this morning and we discussed it, how I shouldn't condemn myself for it, how to know when the Holy Spirit is urging you on and how to know if its me or the Holy Spirit.  With me writing this I  know it still bothers me, not really about this particular man but everyday situations.  How much more mercy could I be showing to others?  One of my favorite lessons that I learned from Shane happened right after he was diagnosed with cancer.  I blogged about it you can read it here
A part that I didn't blog about the girl I mentioned wrote about it here for the Redmond Regional Surviving to Share, she actually won the essay contest see Casie Payne.  Anyway, it was one of those days that Shane showed so much mercy to complete strangers.  When he told me to write a check out to them I was not being as obedient as he was. I was so reluctant thinking about ourselves, thinking about all the bills we were going to have to pay with chemo, meds, doctors and all.  He was steadfast and I could tell he wouldn't be talked out of it.  I remember how he not only showed them mercy by also truth.  Also learned today that one is no good without the other.  You can give mercy all day long but without truth its no good.  I also remember him praying out lout in the parking lot for this sweet girl.  I was amazed at him praying for someone else with the news we had recently received. Casie and her husband will tell you today that they were forever changed by Shane's mercy that day.   I encountered so many times Shane showing mercy to others.  He got it!  He knew that God showered him with mercies new every morning and that he should do the same.  Finally, I am getting it too!  Not to say that I will be always willing, that's still a work in progress.  Hopefully, I can be more like Christ and less like me.  I thought about what Jesus would have done yesterday, He would have looked the gentleman right in the eye, gave him a smile, that I can't wait to encounter, and he would have prayed with him on the spot.  He wouldn't have cared if he REALLY had cancer, if he was needing a fix, or what someone might think by being seen talking to him.  He would have pulled over (or kicked his sandals off) and showed an abundance of mercy.  He would have showed no judgment, no self-righteousness, no embarrassment, just mercy.  Small word with lots of meaning.  I've been looking up some scripture on mercy tonight and Matthew 25:34-45 is fitting.  WOW!! 
Needless to say, I have some work to do. I need to show more mercy as a mom, friend and as a stranger.  To close I was just doing my Papa Stanley (aka Charles Stanley) devotion for the night, even though it was on a completely different subject, it still hit home..."We are His body-His eyes, ears, voice, feet, and hands-pointing others to Him." -Charles Stanley. See, when we show a little mercy we flash a big neon arrow to HIM!!