March 9, 2015 | My Jottings
Early last fall I received a scripture passage from a dear friend named Janet. She kindly reads my blog now and then, and came along side Michael and me in prayer in such a faithful way it made a real difference in our lives.
When I opened one of Janet’s emails in September, the grief I was experiencing over Michael’s care being more than I could adequately handle at home was almost paralyzing. I missed him so much, even though I was able to see him two-three days a week. I missed his wonderful, rich presence even though he was seriously ill. I grieved over how much distress I felt I was causing him, not caring for him at home anymore, and placing him into the hands of others at the veterans home an hour north of us. Even though Michael daily indicated how good the food was, how kind the people, how plentiful and generous the activities, how beautiful the surroundings, how comfortable the bed, we knew home was what he longed for. Only someone who has walked this path fully knows the deep sorrow and despair that relentlessly intrude as your most attentive, unwanted companions.
(This photo was taken on a cruise to Canada and New England in 2003, a year before Michael’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s)
Here is the scripture passage from Isaiah that Janet sent to me that day. I wept when I read it last fall, and I read it again last night from the new perspective of Michael’s recent move to heaven, and cried again. I’m daring to believe that even though Isaiah was writing to another group of people way back then, his words are still for me today, and that the Lord, through Janet, wants me to take in their truth, help and comfort today.
“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.
“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
If anyone stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”
* * * * * *
There are so many little details in this passage that grabbed my heart; Michael’s love for agates, my birth stone being a sapphire, my desire for all of my children and grandchildren to have God’s deep peace. And the whole shame thing? That thing so many of us are afflicted with since childhood for one reason or another, or for no reason at all, which of course is the work of the enemy of our souls as well….it seems that God wants to strike a death blow to shame too. That’s enough good news and beauty about our heavenly Father to praise Him all day.
Today I am thinking of how God is my husband now, and He’s doing some building with agates and sapphires and other stones Michael would love. And how He’s not angry with me and will protect me and establish me and help me to serve him, even though I feel pretty unable these days.
This is the passage I will be reading again and again as I try to learn to live without my husband on this earthly sod.
Friends, thank you so much for stopping by here. I pray God’s presence, comfort and beauty will invade your week…