There is Always a Silver Lining. . . .

There is always a silver lining, right?

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To me the silver linings are the blessings which the Lord gives us in exchange for the sadness, heartaches and concerns we experience in this fallen world.

Sometimes we make bad choices and experience consequences for those sins, other times we experience pain because of someone we love and their choices, and sometimes the heartache is just the result of this fallen world.

 

Below is a list of heartaches I have exchanged for the beauty of Hope given from the Lord.

Hope after my mom’s terminal diagnosis………..a closer relationship with my Dad.

Hope after being fired and run out of town…………God helped the church stand up and heal from people who were controlling it and were not listening to Him.

Hope after being a coach of a basketball team who never won a game all session long………..leading in character rather than competitiveness.

Hope after more debt than I ever imagined…………..paying it off one payment at a time.

Hope after my husband had an affair……………I am valuable and important to God, something I had totally forgotten.

Hope after leaving one job for another that was worse………….allowing God to help me discover how He created me and how that relates to my work.

Hope after a saddle pulmonary embolism (blood clot)……………realization that God saved me, (He was the only one who could have) He has more for me to do here on earth.

Hope after divorce……………God blessed me with a husband who loves and cherishes me,  He also made me a (step) mom.

Hope after letting go of a business I loved…………finding coaching and a new way to minister to others.

 

There are many more complete statements I could share with you as I am sure you have a long list yourself.

BUT There are also others statements which I have not heard the Lord reveal the part after the ……s. yet.

Hope after infertility……………………..

Hope after miscarriage………………

Hope after watching my dad disappear with Alzheimer’s disease……….

 

I know God is faithful.  I will be able to complete these statements someday because He Loves Me.  As I walk with Him, I become more like Him, and I can see these things through His eyes.  The silver linings. . . .

What silver linings have you seen in your life’s pain?


 to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.   Isaiah 61:3

Alzheimer’s, No Lord, Not Again

The nightmare is starting over again.

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Mom’s diagnosis

At 16 I overheard a conversation on the phone, some of you will remember what it was like to have one phone line into the house and 3 extensions.  You could pick up a phone and someone else might be on the line, at which time you usually, hang up.

That day I overheard my dad telling his sister that the doctor had diagnosis my mom with Alzheimer’s disease.  I hung up quickly but the truth was out.  The results were in.  What did that mean for our family?

I did some research and learned of the awful journey we were in for.  Of course as a teenager I had limited understanding of all that was to come but one thing was for sure. my mom was dying.

12 years, more heart ache than imagined, later my mom passed away leaving my dad lost and grieving.  I feel he has never really recovered from missing her or learned to imagine life without her, much less live it.

Dad’s fears

So 8 years later when he told me he was worried that something was wrong with his memory.  I assured him, we don’t know what normal aging looks like since my grandparents had all died young and we had watched my mom pass at 65.

Just go to the doctor, I’m sure he will say that you are fine.

The diagnosis

That was not what happened.  A diagnosis of Mind Cognitive Impairment was the results of his testing.  The big problem is the majority of the time this disease progresses into Alzheimer’s.  This is what happened within a few short years.  The first time we heard the doctor use that word I felt like I could not breathe.

My struggle with God

God this CANNOT be!  NOT DAD!  Not Dad too!  I can’t do this.  I can’t watch this amazing, strong, caring, encouraging, intelligent man, my dad; disappear in front of my eyes.  Please NO!

You gave me a life 4 hours from him.  How can I care for him from here?

Giving up to His will

“I have a plan my child,” came the still calming voice of my Lord.  He laid on my heart that I was just where He put me and so was my sister.  My sister and her family live 2 miles away from the home I grew up in and the home in which my dad still lives.

To be honest with you I have never been OK with what is happening to my dad but I do know that my Lord is good and He is trustworthy.

My heart breaks watching my dad disappear before my eyes but my love for him doesn’t change.  God has given me the amazing opportunity to keep the life he blessed me with in Belle Plaine and still be able to help take care of my dad.

No God has not healed dad and with all my heart I wish that he would but through all the things the Lord has walked with me through, I know beyond any doubt that pushing into His love, we will be OK.  It is not what I want for me or my family but it is in God’s hands and He is more capable than any of us.  Resting in His love and trusting His Faithfulness is the only way to walk with my family down this path again.

I just recently ran across this verse and plan to memorize it in order to help with this stage of the journey with dad.  I hope it blesses you too.

 


 

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

My roots are deep, His stream of love and encouragement is feeding me, and the fruits are there I just have to stay focused on those things.  I hope that you can find the same faithfulness in your life transitions!

It’s Thanksgiving but part of our family is missing

She was gone and nothing was the same.Thanksgiving

 

Everyone has that special relative that just makes them feel special or that one person who helps you feel you fit in the family.

 Aunt Wilma

My special relative was my Aunt Wilma.  She was my mom’s older sister and I was named after her.  Her given name was Wilma Lorraine.  How did my parents get Rayna then? You ask.

When my mom was young she could not say either name so she called her sister Rainey.  My dad did not love Rainey since it reminded him of a rainy day so they modified it.  Rayna was created.

 

Her character

My Aunt was a warm and caring person who just made me feel special.  She always sent cards in the mail.  As a kid, I loved to go to the mailbox to bring in the mail.  It was so exciting when there was something in there with my name on it.  Most of the time if there was something for me it was from my Aunt Wilma.

She didn’t miss a holiday, even the ones we didn’t celebrate a lot in my family:   Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween.  When I became an aunt I specifically thought to myself I want to be just like Aunt Wilma.

 

Thanksgiving

Even as a kid Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday.  Our home was the gathering place, a place filled with love, laughter, and good food.  I don’t know that there were any specific traditions we followed.  We just spent time enjoying each other, playing games, and eating too much.

 

Illness

Aunt Wilma struggled with cancer on and off for about 10 years.  My mom spent a lot of time being her caregiver during those difficult times.  I was young and never really got how difficult things were for her.  I’m sure that was only possible because she was just as giving through these difficult times as she was during the good times.

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1986.  By the time she was diagnosed things had already gone downhill and her personality was changing.  Three years later my Aunt Wilma died from cancer  By this time mom was not really mom anymore.

 

It just is not the same

By losing both my Aunt Wilma and my mom no longer able to host likes she used to, Thanksgiving changed.  It was not full of family and busyness. The food even changed.

 

Change is not fun but it will bring growth

I had to focus on those family members who were still there and on the new things which could become our new normal.  My Great Aunt Birdie taught me to make her special homemade noodles and  I also took over the tradition of making some of our other favorite holiday dishes.

 

Thanksgiving has never been the same

But the reason for the celebration is always the same.  Staying focused on those who are there with us and the many reasons we are Blessed makes the holiday still one of my favorites!

 


 

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

1 Timothy 4:4 NIV

Seeing Life from the Rear-view Mirror: Letting Go of Mom


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Many times when we are busy living life things are going by our windshield so quickly we can’t see anything much less God’s hand in it all.  I have found that taking time to look at life from the rear-view mirror can make all the difference in the world.

By seeing things from this perspective we can grow in our faith and learn more about God’s character than any other time in our lives.  There are many times when things have been clearer to me through the rear-view mirror.

This post will focus on the transition of life when I had to let my mom go.

When I was 16, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Mom lived 12 years at home with her loving husband and my amazing dad.  Dad always encouraged me to live my life even though they were stuck in this terrible season of their life.  So I graduated from college, married and even moved out of state for a while.

By the time it was time to let go of mom my (now ex) husband and I had moved back to my hometown and even lived with my parents for a while.  My husband was suffering from PTSD and was not doing well.

He had spent 9 months not being able to work.  In fact he had not left our apartment for the last 3 months.

Needless to say experiencing God’s love and grace was not easy day in and day out.  Then one day mid-August I came home from work and he had gotten up that day and had gone and found a job.

I was so thankful and really believed that things were on their way to getting better.  About 6 weeks later things changed but it was not for the better.  It was the beginning of the end of my mom’s life.

My mom passed after having a psychotic break.  She seemed to have gotten stuck in a hallucination.  She lived in a state of a repeated cycle for 6 weeks.

As I experienced this time in my life from the windshield I saw pain, suffering, and an amazing desire to fight to not let her go.

Letting go of those we love is a difficult thing to do.  My mom’s inability to experience peace during this time made letting go as easy I can imagine it ever could be.  I spent many hours praying for both my mom and my dad, not to mention for myself.

The view from the rear-view mirror allows me to see God’s hand of provision in everyday during that period. 

He knew that I would not be able to juggle both the responsibility of my husband’s health and the end of my sweet mom’s life.


 

I always had faith that He was there but looking back it has strengthened my faith in His provision.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:23  (New Living Translation)

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