Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When You Need an Anchor

As many people I love are going through a time of suffering, mourning, and loss, I am reminded once again that there is ONE who does not change.  There is ONE who is True.  There is ONE TRUE GOD. There is ONE Jesus. He is the only ONE in whom we hope.  All other things in which or whom I put my trust seem so very dim in the light of Jesus Christ.  It is true...

in the midst of pain and suffering, the anchor of hope in Jesus Christ holds.  

When I was a little girl, my grandma was ever so important to me.  She took me church, taught me to bake bread, how to garden.  She had a lot of time to spend with me, and she always included me in what she was doing. As I watched her grow older, I would plead with God not to take her from me.
I didn't know how I could go on without her.

There was no sign that Grandma's time on earth was so so near. But unbeknownst to me, God began to prepare my heart-a gift for sure. Two weeks before my grandma fell ill, someone gave me a book on Heaven.  One week before she died, someone gave me a cd on Heaven.  After reading the book and listening to the cd over a period of weeks,  I got the call while leaving the West End Fair that grandma had fallen and she wasn't well.

I don't remember a lot of the details between the call and grandma's final day on earth.

It was August 10, 2007, when she took her last breath. I stood in the room of the cardiac unit of Geisinger Hospital with my two aunts.  The end of life on earth for my grandma was but minutes away.  I had watched the numbers that counted my grandma's heartbeats, descending on the screen, over a period of an hour.  Like a countdown clock, the numbers served as a  visual reminder that time on earth is but a breath in light of eternity.  As the numbers started dropping more rapidly, trying desperately to love my grandma and not think of myself in the moment, I fed her with word pictures of what was coming, of Heaven.  I tried my best to love her and serve her, as she had done much of my life.

I began speaking to her of Heaven.  What else do you talk about in these moments?  But how does one describe a place she's never been...

I reminded her of her infant daughter she would see once again, of no more pain, of seeing Jesus face to face.  I remember searching every crevice of my brain for description that might tell of how wonderful Heaven would be.

Finally the screen on the monitor beside grandma's bed was still.  I remember looking at my aunt, begging her to tell me I was wrong.  I knew my grandma had passed from this earth, but in a surreal moment, I wanted everything to rewind.  Just a few more moments.  A few more minutes.  Time is a gift.  But I would learn in the next few moments what my dear friend quoted today, "to surrender to the Creator's control is not onerous or burdensome.  To the contrary, that is the place where stress, struggle, and strain, give way to blessing, abundance, and peace."

I didn't want my aunts to have to tell the family, so I told them I would be the one to go to the waiting room to deliver the news.  I made it about 10 steps out of my grandma's room and the pain of loss and various emotions hit me.  I literally dropped me to my knees.  I remember a young nurse stooping down by my side, gently asking if I was okay and a man, another nurse?  or doctor? coming to the other side of me.  It felt like time stopped.  It seemed as though they picked me up, and I felt like I half-walked, was half carried, and half floated to another area.  They walked me past the waiting room to a sanctioned off hall.  I told them I was okay.  They left.

I remember for a brief moment thinking, "What do I do now?"  I did the only thing I knew to do.  I turned my eyes upon Jesus.  I looked to God for some type of direction.  This looking to God, turning from self trust and preservation-a surrendering of one's thoughts and desires-does indeed bring a deep peace.  Peace, beyond understanding, flooded my soul.  My grandparents' voices filled my mind, and it was as if I could hear them lovingly calling my name, "Angie, Angie...oooh, come on now", just like they did when I was a little girl.

I didn't know what the next few days or years would like without my grandma, but I knew it would be okay. There was enough light for the step I was on.  I was learning to surrender my thoughts, my hopes, my desires, to a loving God, a loving Creator, a loving Father and Trust Him.
I was learning in these moments that God's grace truly is sufficient.  He is faithful.  He is ever present. He alone is my comforter, my protector, my Savior. I was learning...

in the midst of pain and suffering, the anchor of hope in Jesus Christ holds.

This song comes back so many times when I don't understand what's going in me and around me.  

Remembering to surrender today, trusting the only Worthy One.

Father, we look to you for wisdom.  For hope.  For peace.  Help us Father, to surrender to what we can't see and Trust You and love you and know you more.