Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A storm is blowing in

The wind has picked up.
The temperature has dropped significantly.
Gray clouds, heavy with rain, cover the sky.
Lightning is flashing in the distance.
I am sitting on my Lanny Love's patio
watching it coming.
And I am not afraid.

Now, I have never been afraid of storms.
Not the kind that produce wind and rain,
thunder and lightning.
But I have grown to fear the other kind of storms.
The life storms.
Even when there is no evidence of one coming on.

I used to tell my Al that I didn't need to worry,
that he worried enough for both of us.
And I always figured worrying wasn't going to change the outcome anyway.
So I didn't.
And I didn't fear much.
But I loved him.
And I feared losing him.
And, I did.
And then I began to worry.
About everything.

After a bit, I fell in love again.
And I feared losing Harlan.
And I did.
And worry was fertilized.

Now, despite my determination not to,
I have fallen in love again.
And I fear losing him.
And I worry.

But worry and fear are not pleasing to God.
So I work at not worrying.
I pray about not worrying.
And I worry.

My Lanny Love is in Kenya,
serving God on a mission trip.
He has been gone five days.
He will be gone another ten.
He will be going through French Customs,
on the way home.
When I learned that,
fear gave way to terror.
It doesn't matter why.
It just did.

As his departure approached,
I became more emotional,
I cried a lot.
I had nightmares.
I dreamed of Al.
And Harlan.
And losing Lanny.

The morning of his departure,
during my devotions,
I begged, pleaded, cajoled, promised, bargained.
I told God I just wanted him to come home,
safe and well.
That's all.
Just bring him home to me.

God, never One to ignore His children,
seemed silent to me that morning.
And my fear increased throughout the day.
My head screamed in pain.
My stomach rolled with nausea.
And I felt very, very alone.

As we said goodbye at the airport,
I had to work not to cry,
not to beg him not to go.
I stayed through security.
I watched as he walked down the hall and out of sight.
And still, I did not leave.

I sat for nearly three hours
waiting for his plane -
delayed because of mechanical issues -
to depart.
I was seated where I could see his gate.
I watched as he walked down the glass gateway.
Watched as he crossed over into the plane.
I watched as the plane pulled away from the gate.
I watched as it taxied,
picked up speed,
lifted off the runway.

Then it happened.
I could almost see it.
God's Hand's lifting the plane into the air.
God, lifting my Lanny Love.
God, in control.
More in love with him that I could ever be.
And at that same moment,
He lifted the fear from my heart.

What a relief the last five days have been!
My Lanny Love will still go through Paris,
French Customs,
on the way home.
There are still mosquitoes carrying malaria in Kenya.
There is still...well, there is still something else.
But the fear is gone.

Praise God!!!

Lord, I will thank You with all my heart;
I will sing to You before the gods.
I will bow down facing your holy Temple,
and I will thank You for Your love and loyalty.
 You have made Your Name and Your Word
greater than anything.
On the day I called You,
You answered me.
You made me strong and brave.
                                ~~ Psalm 138:1-3 NCV ~~ 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


My Lanny Love is leaving for Kenya tomorrow.
He will be gone for 15 days counting the day he leaves
and the day he returns.

Now, I've known since before I even met him
that he would be taking this trip.
But since our relationship became serious
it has bothered me more and more.
Of course there is the expected
"I'll sure miss him while he's gone!"
feeling that is natural when you are away
from someone you love.
But that's not what bothers me.
There is the
"Sure wish I could go with him to minister!"
that is natural for someone who
has spent most of her adult life ministering
in one form or another.
But that's not what bothers me.

I'm scared!



That's what bothers me!

I was nervous,
when he went to Brazil last month.
And I prayed and prayed for him
and the rest of the team.
But this thing I'm experiencing now is different.
It isn't mere nervousness over his traveling out of the country
during these volatile political times.
It isn't simple concern for his safety.
It isn't even your garden variety,
good, old-fashioned fear.
This is terror.
This is unreasonable.
This is a full-blown attack of satan!

Oh, I know that my recent history
explains why he is using this trip as his tool.
I have lost a lot in the last several years.
It's been hard!
And some of my losses are associated with foreign soil.
So it's understandable that this
is an emotionally charged situation for me,
but it is not okay to display such a lack of
in my Creator,
                              my Protector.
My Lanny Love's Creator,
                                                         his Protector!

I've grown tremendously in my spiritual life
as a result of my losses!
And that has really ticked satan off!
And so, he is using my Lanny Love,
a wonderful gift from God,
as a tool to separate me from The Father.
He has attempted to use him,
our love for one another,
in several ways to try to separate us from God.
He has used other people.
He has used our late spouses.
He has used our naturally growing desires.
And he is using my fear of yet another loss.


So I come to you, my dear readers,
confessing publicly to you and to God,
that I am afraid.
I covet your prayers for my Lanny Love's safety.
And I covet your prayers for my spirit.

Fear not, for I am with you; 
be not dismayed, for I am your God; 
I will strengthen you, I will help you, 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
                                                                                      Isaiah 41:10 ESV 

Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
                                                                                      Phillipians 4:6-7 ESV

For God gave us a spirit not of fear 
but of power and love and self-control.
                                                                              2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Be strong and courageous. 
Do not fear or be in dread of them, 
for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. 
He will not leave you or forsake you.
                                                                                   Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV 

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 
                                                                       Psalm 34:4 ESV 

Have I not commanded you? 
Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be frightened, 
and do not be dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
                                                                 Joshua 1:9 ESV

Sunday, July 12, 2015


One of the strange things about grief
is the suddenness of onset
and the things that trigger it.
You'll be going along,
doing well,
and suddenly, WHAM!
Blindsides happen unexpectedly.
They don't happen on significant dates,
because one expects some sorrow on those days.
Blindsides happen unexpectedly,
out of nowhere.
Both my Lanny Love and I
were blindsided today.

His came first.
Someone he and his Judy knew several years ago
was at church today.
They didn't know Judy had died,
from a distance,
mistook me for her.
So, nearly two years later,
he had to say it again.
That's really hard!

Then tonight,
while singing at a retirement home,
I noticed a sweet little lady resident
whom Al and I had known.
When I went over to visit with her,
she made several comments about
my and Al's relationship.
And there they were.
Sudden tears.

But in the midst of the tears,
What a blessing to be in a relationship
with someone who understands!
Someone who has been there,
who, sadly, is still there sometimes,
Someone to share, not just the joys of the now
and a future with,
but someone with whom to share the hurts of today,
and yesterday.

Before my blindside,
I told him what a joy and honor it is
to love and be loved by him.
After, when we were talking about our experiences,
I found myself thinking how much more true
that statement was than I realized even a few short hours earlier.

So, the sorrow and the joy
are mingled tonight.
What a blessing God has given!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

All men are pigs - a different twist

I have talked about men being pigs in the past.
I've told stories and I'm going to tell a couple recent ones.
Then, I'm going to twist my perspective.

Recently, I picked up a client at a car dealership.
On the drive back to the branch,
as always,
we chatted about the circumstances
that brought him to need a car rental.
Turns out he was retired and traveling
when his car broke down.
His accent told me he was from the northeast (Boston).
He told me he now called Florida home -
when he was not traveling.
We talked about some of the places he had been,
some of the things he had done.
He has lived an interesting life.

In the 10 minutes it took to get from the dealership
to the branch,
he felt he knew me well enough
to invite me to spend the weekend
with him in Santa Fe.
I disagreed.

A week later,
when he returned his vehiicle,
it fell to me to return him to the dealership.
It seems that in the ensuing week,
he had decided that I was classier than a weekend getaway
and invited me to go on a Caribean cruise with him.
At his expense, of course,
and explained that I wouldn't even have to pack,
he would buy me anything I wanted or needed as we traveled.
I did not thank him.
I simply said "No!"

During that same week,
another man came in and tried to convince me
of the benefits of menage a troi.
I cut him off after the second sentence.

Then, this last week,
I picked up a man who spent the entire drive
telling me how beautiful I was
and how fat his wife was.
To his credit, when he came back a week later,
he apologized since he felt he might have made me uncomfortable.
Ya think?
He then spoiled his apology by reiterating that I was beautiful
and that if I ever needed a friend, to give him a call.
Yeah, friends like that, I don't need.

But these men -
and others like them -
made me think.
I couldn't figure it out.
I hadn't invited the comments.
I wasn't dressed seductively.
I hadn't made leading remarks.
I am careful not to send out "signals".
So why did these men
feel it was appropriate to proposition me,
a stranger they had just met.
I had to know.
So, after the second incident above,
I went back to my branch and asked my co-workers,
all male,
if women really do commonly have trysts with strangers.
Turns out we do.

I find myself quite taken aback.
I know that there are "those" women out there.
But despite our loosened sexual morals,
I just assumed that the vast majority of women
must at least feel like they are in a romantic relationship
before having sex with a man.
And, I still believe that is true.
However, it appears to take much less
for a "relationship" to develop for most women that it does for me.
And "okay" is a frequent enough answer
that men don't hesitate to ask.
It's worth a shot.

I find myself thinking that
not only are all men pigs,
so are women!
And it makes me sad.

I believe that men and women alike have fallen victim
to the lies that satan has set forth,
made the norm.
That purity is antiquated.
That abstinence is not a reasonable expectation.
And the result is that we have become cheap.
We give the most precious gift we have to offer our spouses
to anyone willing to take it.
By the time we find Mr/Mrs Right,
the gift is used and worn,
completely valueless.
As a result, we no longer cherish and honor one another.

A woman needs to feel special,
She wants to be treated like a queen.
But a queen who has moved out of her castle
and into a mud hut
will be treated like the beggar she has become.

A man needs to feel honored
If he is just another sexual partner in a long line,
he does not feel any of those things.
Nor does he feel she is special if she is just one more conquest.

Even if the two marry,
the loss of "only you"
affects the relationship.
I believe with all my heart
that our modern sexual freedom
is the root cause of the high divorce rate.

I want someone to care enough to wait for me.
I want him to protect my reputation.
I want him to protect my spiritual condition.
I want to care enough about him to wait for him.
I want to protect his reputation.
I want to protect his spiritual condition.
I want us to be willing to struggle against our base insticts.
I want us to respect God and each other enough to not be sexually casual.
I want it to be a special, wonderful gift when I give myself to my husband
and he to me.
I want my wedding night to be the fulfillment of our longing,
not just another night.
I think that, really, most women -
and men -
want that too.
They want special.

I know it's hard!
Believe me, I know it's hard!
But God created us and set up His rules
and guidelines to protect us from ourselves.
When did we lose the desire to serve Him more than ourselves?
When did we lose the self-respect that kept us aware
we were worth more than a one night stand?
When did all men -
and women -
become pigs?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Going steady

July 3, 1971.
He asked me to go steady and I said yes.
He tied a leather strap with three little colored beads
around my neck and it was official.
I was his girl! 
That leather strap did not come off for nearly five years,
until the morning of our wedding.

We had been a couple already for several weeks.
But there was something about it being official,
about the public, visible proof, that was special.
It moved us from
"Yeah, I like him/her..." 
"He's/she's mine and I'm proud that we've chosen each other!" 
It was somehow even more significant
than our engagement because four years later,
no one needed the ring on my finger to know we would marry soon.
We always,
every single year even after our marriage, 
always celebrated our going steady anniversary.
It was a very, very special day.

One of the strange things I have discovered about widow grief is that,
very often,
the days leading up to a significant date or a holiday
are worse than the actual day itself and I have struggled
in the days leading up to today,
this third going steady anniversary since his death,
even more than I did the first two.
Perhaps because this year is different.
For the first time since I was 14,
I am someone else's girl on this day.
And it accentuates my loss.

Al will always be my first love. 
He will always be a part of me.
But, after 44 years,
I'm no longer going steady with him.
And, despite my joy in my new relationship,
that really hurts.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~