Tuesday, March 18, 2014

            IS THE QUESTION, “WHY GOD?” OR “WHY, GOD?”

Anyone who believes in God has someone in their life who guesses at the reason they could believe so firmly in something that can’t be experienced through the five senses.  God is everywhere in my life; He surpasses the senses realm. He is my answer for everything.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8,9; KJV)

God gave us a blue print. He didn’t just put us here on Earth and leave us to our own devices. He gave us His Word, which he placed above his own name.   One of my favorite ministers once said, “Asking ‘Why,’ is like driving down the street looking through the rear view mirror. The past is past. Good or bad. Leave it where it belongs: behind you.”

So, if you were to ask me, “Why God?” I would say, “Because He is my answer for everything.” And, if you were to tell me that you ask, “Why, God?” I would say, “Give it up. Rather than spend your time asking ‘why,”’ask ‘how.’” How can I make the changes I need to make? How can I improve this situation?  How can I help? The answer is because we are His and he has fully equipped us.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Tonight, I have spent over 4 hours reconstructing our resumes. Why? Because a much-loved professor wants to nominate my husband and me for “Alumni of the Year” at the university where we spent 2 years together, unexpectedly. Really – you tell me how two people, 11 ½ years apart in age can attend college together.

It happened in what seemed the worst of circumstances, yet it turned out (as God would plan) to be the best-case for our whole family. My husband graduated from high school in 1962; I graduated in 1974. Yet, we both attended University in 1992 and graduated with Associate Degrees and went onto obtain our Bachelor of Arts in 1996.

We were the “mystery couple.” Many of our fellow-students thought we were having a sordid love affair. He would arrive in the parking lot and wait. I would arrive later in a van – and wait. I would leave the van and get into his car and we would share a few stolen moments of lovely, private conversation. Conversation about our 5 children and how they were when we dropped them off at Day Care or school. Conversation about our classes, our papers, our journals, all required so we could obtain our degrees. Our classmates thought we were having an affair; two people who met in the university parking lot separately and then walked into the school together, holding hands. When my husband posted an Anniversary Greeting in the Valentine's Day University newsletter to “My Wife,” our classmates were appalled!  “You are married?  And you like each other?” We had so much fun with that. Yes, we were married and we not only liked each other but we were still in love after 18 years of marriage, 5 children and losing everything (jobs, home) - back to what some would say, "square one." 

That was a good day. We had so much fun explaining why we were married, with 5 children and in college at the same time all these years later.  That day, we were advisers to our young fellow students who were dating, engaged, wondering…we were free to share our story of love, commitment, family. I hope it made a difference.

Now, 18 years later: two degrees, graduate courses, successful careers, 5 children grown, 2 married, 1 engaged, 1 committed and 3 grandchildren later, our University professor (one of the first ones we met), wants to nominate us as “Alumni of the Year.” Apparently our unique situation and story was not unforgotten. Tonight, I revised our resumes and what a victory it was - is! I can only hope that sometime in May or June, we will gather with our family and friends to celebrate that unforgettable time in our lives. As my former professor said, “Let’s re-tell the story and give it to God.  I think it will be an inspiration!”   So be it, if that is the case. I will be thankful,  Either way, I will be thankful; I am blessed to relive a time in our lives that was extraordinary. In fact, that is what I think my whole life has been!  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Until recently, I have not seen myself as a “structured” person. I truly thought of myself as a person who takes it as it comes, goes with the flow – just lets things unfold.  Guess what? TOTALLY WRONG! I am a micro-manager. I enjoy activity & I make it happen. When my friends were saying, “Too many kids – too much activity,” I was saying, “I know! That’s what I LOVE!” If I don’t have something scheduled, trust me, I will schedule something. If there is nothing on the calendar – I will put something on the calendar. Yet, recently, I cannot plan anything without having to make numerous calls to cancel that plan. And therein lies the problem. I keep making plans and they keep getting canceled. “I’m sorry, I can’t make dinner tonight,” or “I’m sorry, I know I bought tickets, but now, I have to cancel.”

You’ve heard the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.”  Or better said by John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” That has been my life since November. Every time I make a commitment it gets squashed. Appointments by the doctor, by the hospital, by surgery, by physical therapy, by the visiting nurse (whom we thank God for daily!), don’t happen. The scheduled luncheon, or WORK? “So sorry, I can’t make it.” Work is something that I KNOW has to be a scheduled event; yet, lately – even that has been put on hold.  It has happened enough times that I have finally said, “So, God, what are You trying to teach me?”  Some things have to be scheduled!

The lesson, His lesson is:  ‘Go ahead, make your plans. Schedule yourself crazy from sun up to sun down and then, watch Me, let Me, teach you how to be flexible.’  I have canceled events for almost one month. Everything from political dinners, to lunch with the girls, to WORK (which really isn’t an option – yet somehow, that too, is flexible).

What I’ve learned in the last month is that: if I don’t have family/friends scheduled to come over – they come anyway. If I don’t have lunch or dinner planned – it happens anyway. If I don’t have a scheduled worship time – God makes sure that I get it. Via phone call, via mail, via email, via a visit – it happens. God continues to bring people into my life to let me know that He is watching out for us. “It’s OK; it’s going to be OK!”  You will get through this. Go ahead – make your plans; figure out the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘but maybes’ – then, watch Me. I will plan it better, and you WILL be blessed. Let it go. I am here.

My best laid plans have been surpassed by family bringing dinner, delivering Girl Scout cookies (when I’m trying to figure out how to pick them up); by co-workers telling me to “Let it go, I’ll open the office;” by visitors dropping by (I didn’t plan that – how did you know?), by my husband saying, “It’s OK – let’s just sit here and visit.”  And I didn’t do a thing. I just relaxed.

Guess my NO PLAN was A PLAN. Thanks, God!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

When I was a little girl, I spent more time than usual in a hospital. My dad spent 3 months in the hospital after a terrible accident. I was Florence Nightingale.  For Christmas that year, I got a navy blue nurses cape, a medical kit (complete with candy pills), and a hat. I could not wait to get to the hospital and “treat” my dad. He was such a good sport. The nurses would take me on rounds with them visiting patients, going to the Pharmacy, the Lab. It was a fit. They loved me. I loved them. I just wanted to bring a smile to the face of someone who didn’t want to be there.  And I could!
In the last 4 months, my husband has had 3 surgeries. I am his Florence Nightingale. I am his nurse.  I love to anticipate his needs and deliver before he has a chance to ask. “How did you know?” he’ll say. I just do – I feel it. I don’t want him to have to ask. He is already in a humbled state. To have to ask is even more difficult, so I spare him. God tells me – I deliver. And then we smile.
The surprising thing is that when I was a little girl, the hospital was a place of healing.  A place of peace. We would go home at night knowing that our Dad was in the best care. My mother slept peacefully. The hospital was the cleanest, most efficiently run, safest place to be. And now in 2014, the temptation, is for it to be a place to fear. New strains of viruses that do not respond to antibiotics; nurses working 12 hour shifts for 3 days at a time (2 of them were pregnant); the fact that I would not sleep unless I was in my husband’s room on a cushioned cot that was much slimmer than I was uncomfortable (and that is being kind).  I knew if I was there his ‘button’ would be answered; the beeping IV machine would be silenced (because I did it and then called the nurse), everyone was ‘on their toes,’ because “the wife is here.” So be it. It was a small price to pay and the reward was (besides the achy joints) a grateful husband. 
Nurses, like teachers, do not make nearly enough. How do you compensate someone who is there in a heartbeat, giving reassurance, medicine, water, a blanket, food, a good word? How do you compensate someone who spends more time with your children than you? There isn’t enough money in the world.
I changed my mind. I decided that the hospital would once again be my friend. I noticed the pains taken to make it sterile, clean, peaceful, homey, safe. I decided to be thankful.
It is more than a profession; it is a calling. The answer is:  the compensation is more than dollars. It is going home after your long shift (or day in the classroom), bone tired but knowing that you gave it your all. My husband and I could tell the difference between the ones who met their calling and the ones who had chosen a career. It’s in the heart. The smile. The warm eyes. The extra mile. It is what pushed me all day today to do “one more thing.” Meet that need. It is what God has taught me my whole life. And the compensation is a satisfied soul. The acknowledgment that you made a difference. You are appreciated. And if not by the paycheck, by your Heavenly Father. “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

My needs are met.  I am thankful.  My husband is home.