Why we're here...

Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

We're honored to be a member of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association...click on their logo to visit them.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Your Dying Spouse 535 - Staying Calm

Oh my Gawd, I'm going to die!

I always wondered how I would react to a terminal illness, to the knowing that my ays were numbered, and that they were gong to get nasty before it all ended.

I wondered if I would be like a rat in a fatal maze, running desperately for an exit, clawing at the walls.

Now I know. Thanks to cancer's gut-punch, now I know.

And I'm OK. I'm not running around like Chicken Little.

The sky's not falling, because I have today.

As things got horrible, my view pulled back from both the future and the past. I don't really have a future, except for the ordinary cycle of days. There are no 'big ideas' that will come to fruition, not now.

And the past is, well, past. I screwed up a lot. But I can't fix that; I can't redeem myself in my eyes, or in the eyes of others.

There is an unexpected grace in this, a liberation from both ambition and regret.

The tomorrows for which I planned, and which I will not see, I hand over to God; perhaps He will make them right, and they will be awaiting me in Heaven.

The yesterdays I would have mourned are likewise given over, and He will hold them as far as the East is from the West.

An I have today, with pain and nausea and incontinence, but it's my today.

So I think I'll watch Dwayne Johnson in Skyscraper, one of the best all-time family action films.

It's a good day.

Music from The Traveling Wilburys, with The End Of The Line.

Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.

Friends are everything. I couldn't have done it.

Marley, the canine waif from Afghanistan, whom WE helped save, has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.


  1. "It's a good day." Indeed......... This is the day, the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it........... Whoda thunk that would be possible in these circumstances? Rest. Savor. BE. Sleep well, friend - into the night... into forever.

    1. Jane, who indeed woulda thunk it? But I'm glad it's true. I so appreciate your being here, and you are in our prayers.

  2. I have never seen that movie with Dwayne Johnson - I'll have to look it up! "The sky's not falling, because I have today." Yes, that what we all have. May we use all the todays He gives us to find contentment and joy! Blessings, love and hugs to you and Barb! xo

    1. Gayl, definitely see 'Skyscraper' - it's well worth it, and has some nice sly humour.

      Thank you so much for your kind and grace-filled words. Blessings, love and hugs back, from both of us (and hugs from Strawberry the Baby Bullmastiff, who does really awesome hugs).

  3. These really touched me: "my view pulled back from both the future and the past" and "There is an unexpected grace in this, a liberation from both ambition and regret." I don't know you. But this raw, true honesty is comforting to me. For my time will come too, should Jesus tarry. He loves you and cares about your feelings and fear. It's so real and true and FACT. I have learned that this year... this caring and loving God. I mean, I've known intellectually. But this year God has shown me. Made it so real to me. My trial is different than yours. I could explain, but i'm not sure it matters. I want to sit near you and tell you how much God loves you. I want to reassure you that just what you said is true: as far as the east is from the west He's removed those screw ups. He knows all about those, and you, and He loves you so much and your precious wife, too. I wish you could write us after you hold the hand of Jesus and tell us all about it. I'm excited for you. Is that weird? It sounds odd to say. But He is able to be trusted- for you and your wife - for each moment. And you're illuminating that truth for us. Thank you.

    1. Emily, thank you for this, from the bottom of my heart. This lovely, lovely comment has such profound wisdom and grace...and it's not weird at all that you're excited for me; I don't usually think about Heaven (I want to do my best and focus on the Now) but sometimes I do get this tingle.

      Having fallen into cancer, I've also fallen into the palm of God's hand, and He carries me with such gentle Love...and also a sense of fun. I laugh more now than I ever did (I have this really good imitation of Woody Woodpecker when I laugh...).

      There is fear, yes, not of death but of the process as it unfolds...I mean, how much more is it gonna hurt?). But I also know I'm not alone, and that I never was, and never will be.

      Thank you so much for being here.

    2. Yeah, the process... that's what scares me too. From this vantage point, it feels like God has gotten you this far, he'll get you the rest of the way.

      Up with a sick kiddo tonight- and the last two nights. Antibiotics seem to be doing nothing. Will go in to dr. tomorrow again.

      But back to the first paragraph, aand the second paragraph and the previous comment I made about my situation ...That's the thing: the whole pain thing. Really living it. The reality of it. That's where I hate cliche comments and pat Bible answers. Because God REALLY DOES care. But those Bible verses are true. It's just that I want practical, action, fix-it answers. God can do those. God does those (slowly it seems!). God isn't just talk. But we really do have to go through actual pain. How do I reconcile that? My kid is writhing in pain every 30 min. I've done the practical: took him to dr, diagnosed with strep, taking prescription, adding in tylenol aand ibuprofen. But here we are: middle of the night, so not feeling well, not practical to go to the ER. Will show up at the dr office at opening at 8. But until then? Pain. Crying. Fussing. Squirming. Yelling out.

      I guess the answer is that it's part of the human experience? God could fix it...He could fix a lot of things - everything. Why doesn't He? I'm not questioning Him. I'm one of His biggest fans. I'm just trying to figure out why you and my sweet child have to feel this? Is it simply to walk through it and to recognize that He walks it with us? To seek and find Him in the pain? I'm trying to think what I've learned biblically that answers it for me. What do you think? I saw a thing online today that said something about Job....he didn't see the reason but he saw Jesus and that was enough. Maybe that's the answer.

    3. He wants our full reliance on Him. I know that is true. That's part of our trials. Strip away self reliance- which i'm good at. Or used to be. Maybe better stated that i'm slowly learning not to be.

      To add to earlier: ...im good at knowing the truth for other people. (Which sometimes I think is practical because you can be too close to a situation to see sometimes.) Sometimes it's a lack of heart/deep care because that person just isn't my dear love and i'm not fully empathizing. But I want that answer I give people to come from my heart of love but more so from His heart of love. He's really not a distant jerk to allow whatever situation. But here's the possible whys. Here's the practical relief from your pain.

      Nights without sleep make child not only delirious one. Maybe your thoughts on the suffering have clearer understanding.

      Deeper with Him we go, friend.

    4. Emily, first and foremost, prayers for your child. I so hope he's better tonight!

      Why the pain? I think we'll never now until we're in God's presence, but my take on it is something like this -

      We live in a world in which we have free will, to choose God...or not. And it stands to reason that the world, itself, operates with a sort of analogous 'free will', made manifest in the randomness of some events.

      God could deflect or guide those, but it would be working against His own directive, because we wouldn't be making a choice for Him in faith; it would be a choice based on what we saw Him do for us, and that seems like a direct contradiction of the free will that is both blessing and curse.

      I think He wants to shield us from the ba things, but He wants even more to let us choose Him, and so really be WITH Him. Rather like a parent who wants to keep a child safe from bad decisions, but who knows that facing those decisions is a vital part of becoming an adult.

      Does that make sense?

      Praying for you!

    5. Yes, makes sense and I concur.

      This verse comes to mind. Job 13:15a...Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...

      "Benson Commentary:
      Job 13:15. Though he slay me — But though God should yet more and more increase my torments, so that I could bear them no longer, but should perceive myself to be at the point of death, without any hope of recovery; yet will I trust in him — Or, more exactly according to the Hebrew text, Shall I not trust in him? Shall I despair? No; I will not, I know he is a just, a faithful, and merciful God; and he knows that my heart is upright before him, and that I am no hypocrite. But I will maintain mine own ways — Though I trust in him, yet I will humbly expostulate the matter with him. Hebrew, I will argue, prove, or demonstrate my ways; that is, I will make a free and full confession of the whole course of my life, and I will boldly, though submissively, assert my own integrity, which he also, I doubt not, will acknowledge. And, what I have done amiss, I will as freely confess, and make supplication to my Judge for the pardon of it. Before him — Hebrew, אל פניו, el panaiv, before his face, in his presence, or before his tribunal, for I desire no other judge but him."

    6. Thank YOU for your prayers. Kiddo got a shot of penicillin and 4 other meds. Sick pup. Thankful for your kindness in prayer.

    7. Emily, thank you for bringing Job 13:15 and the commentary...it's the perfect addition to this post! I'm really, really grateful to you for taking the time.

      We'll keep you guys in our prayers. I'm sorry your little is so sick; it's so hard to witness, I know.

      If you could keep us updated, we'd be grateful.

    8. I don't know anything about the Benson Commentary, to be honest, but it seemed the insight and explanation were profound and likely accurate, relatable anyway.

      I am 100% against suicide: physician assisted or otherwise. That said, I remember my dad talking after my grandfather died and how much pain and suffering my grandfather had been through. I don't remember the exact words dad said, but it was something about if he could have helped him end it he would have. I was surprised, shocked really, but I think when you watch someone suffer so much, physician assisted suicide may cross the mind. My point is, after watching my child suffer (as relative as that term definitely is) this week; "watching" you, Andrew; & others (like Kara Tippetts and the the girl Kara wrote urging not to choose phys. asst. suicide), how do we convince, or attempt to convince, others that the awful pain is worth going through?

      I personally believe that God has a plan and a purpose. Anything that comes to us goes through His hands first. He's in control and has control of everything. It's all out of deep, unfathomable, pure love. It's meant to draw us nearer to Him. It's temporary. Here's the bare bones of it: the only way I can frame it is to know Jesus. And for others to know Him too. He makes all.the.difference.

      Thanks for caring: our kiddo is coming through the woods. Eating, playing, and smiling yesterday. And sleep for both of us.

      His suffering this week is a drop in the bucket compared to yours, please know I realize that. I really appreciate your communication and biblical understanding/perspective of your suffering. Your hardest pain and suffering comments really makes me think and review what I believe about suffering, helping those suffering, God's role in it, my response to it, preparation for it, and present suffering in relation to eternity.

    9. Emily, first and foremost, I'm just delighted that your little is on the mend! That's wonderful news!

      I've been advised to consider assisted suicide; it's legal in New Mexico, and my doctor wouldn't hesitate in guiding me through the hoops.

      I'll never do it; first, making my loved ones watch me take the fatal doe, that's more than I can stomach. I've done some pretty rough things in my life - I worked as a mercenary - but never something like that.

      But more to the point, I have to ride this out, without an escape and without pain medication, to bring back a witness that while Hell may be in session, there is still grace, and that grace is all the more profound and vibrant when watered by tears of anguish.

      Not my anguish; God's. However much I may hurt, He is hurting more...for ME...and the one thing He can't do is deliver me, because that would obviate His purpose for my life.

      I can see that clearly now, though before it was hazy. I'm not one for statistics, but was recently pressed to look up the blog stats and found that there were close to a quarter of a million hits.

      If that isn't a definition and statement of purpose, I don't know what is.

      This Jesus we serve loves us so. You are a powerful witness, Sir.
      When we are weak, He is strong. Your witness is an encouragement to me in the hard we have going on here at our home this past year. Thank you.

      "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

      Thanks for your kindness and witness, my brother in Christ.

    11. Emily, thank you so much, and the all-caps gave me a big smile!

      I'm just so glad that I can be here for you and yours, through this medium. There's no higher honour than to serve, and no greater gift than friendship.

      You made my day, and underscored my value...and I am grateful beyond words, Emily. Truly.

  4. This makes me think of you, Andrew.

    If I had but one year to live,
    One year to help, one year to give,
    One year to love, one year to bless,
    One year of better things to stress,
    One year to sing, one year to smile,
    To brighten Earth a little while,
    I think that I would spend each day
    In just the very self-same way
    That I do now. For from afar
    The call may come to cross the bar
    At any time, and I must be
    Prepared to meet eternity.
    So if I have a year to live,
    A pleasant smile, a helping hand,
    A mind that tries to understand
    A fellow-creature when in need,
    'Tis one with me - I take no heed,
    But try to live each day He sends
    To serve my gracious Master's ends.
    ~by Mary Davis Reed

    It's on the wall of my classroom.
    Annie in Texas