Friday, November 28, 2008

Renee wrote this in Dec 1999


"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised." Hebrews 11:39 NIV

It always amazes me how many believers are hesitant to claim God's promises because they're afraid they'll be disappointed. Perhaps they feel that if they don't expect too much from God, they can avoid the pain of being let down. I've heard it said that real faith is spelled "R-I-S-K". I think there's a lot of truth in that. It takes a lot of courage to trust God to come through for us when our senses aren't giving us any support. But that's exactly what the Lord expects from us. If you look at the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, you see that God approves of those who put their faith in His promises, whether or not they come to pass. The verse above confirms this. And so does Hebrews 11:13: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance." The Scriptures reveal that God holds in high esteem those who live by faith and continue to hold on to God's promises, even through long periods of waiting. The fact is, if we really want to please God and reap the rewards He has in store for us, we're going to have to risk putting our faith and trust in Him, even when it looks like the odds are against us. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

The first verse of Hebrews gives us a Biblical definition of faith: "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." And the next verse reveals that it's this kind of faith that God esteems: "This is what the ancients were commended for." (Hebrews 11:1-2) The words "sure" and "certain" make it clear that faith is a confidence in God and His Word, even when we don't see any tangible evidence to justify that faith. And the verse that follows reveals why our believing in what we don't see isn't just "pie in the sky:" "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." (Hebrews 11:3) The Creator of the universe isn't the least bit hindered when our circumstances look "impossible". Making something out of nothing is what our God does best.

Now you need to ask yourself how serious you are about pleasing God. If you're really serious, you aren't going to be able to avoid taking risks with your faith. Yes, you're going to experience some disappointments you might have escaped. But I guarantee you this--you're going to witness some miracles in your life that you would have missed otherwise. Hebrews 11:33 tells us that "through faith" some of God's people "gained what was promised." The bottom line is this--whether or not we receive all the promises we believe God for isn't the issue; the issue is whether or not we are living by faith, trusting God with all our hearts in every circumstance every day of our lives. When we do, along with God's hearty approval, we'll have a peace and joy in our hearts that will enable us to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. Today, my heartfelt prayer for you is that you'll dare to believe!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nine months

What takes 9 months?
Grieving. Yesterday was a shitshit day. So was today. Woke up at 4pm. Could not sleep. Could not perform. Could not make decisions.

from GriefShare
Grief Lasts Longer Than Expected

Grief's unexpected turns will throw you again and again. You may feel that for every step forward, you take at least one step back. The grieving process generally takes longer than you ever imagined.
Please don't rush this process. Remember, what you are feeling is not only normal; it is necessary. "It's been seven years, and I'm still going through it," says Dr. Larry Crabb, whose brother died in a plane crash. "I don't know if it's a very holy thing to admit, but when someone says, 'Well, it's been a week, a month, a year--Larry, for you it's been seven years. Get a grip. Where's your faith in Christ, for goodness' sake?' I get really angry.
"Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache. Until I get home to heaven, there's going to be an ache that won't quit. The grieving process for me is not so much a matter of getting rid of the pain, but not being controlled by the pain."
We read in the Psalms that David grew weary with the process of grief and cried out to the Lord. Then he left the timing in God's hands.
"Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love" (Psalm 6:2-4).
"I am weary with my sighing; Every night I make my bed swim, I dissolve my couch with my tears. My eye has wasted away with grief" (Psalm 6:6-7 NASB).
Heavenly God, I cannot even begin to put my grief in a time frame. Thank you that I don't have to. Comfort me and support me as I lean on You. Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On a Church Sign

From James and Roxanne: Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Memorial Service for Barb (Bastien) Friesen 62

Emmanuel Mennonite
Wife of Martha's cousin Ron, Mother of 3 married sons and grandmother.
Born in Wales, grew up in Kenora, she was a petite dynamic lady, a nurse and a committed Christian who prayed faithfully for us and Renee. We will miss her.

Ps 91 was the Psalm her pastor read to her hours before she passed away. God is portrayed as a mother bird. Barb loved birds. God was with her protecting her with His comfort.

She found Mennonite peace values resonated strongly with her. She cared deeply for her patients at the mental hospital. She loved to read. She was grateful to God. It pained her that cancer would rob her of the joy of growing old with Ron. She wanted so much to live. But she accepted her illness with the hopoe of the Resurrection.

Today we remember Barb. May God bring healing to our lives. Comfort and hope.

Barb's expressions of faith:
Lord, you have always given food, peace, light, timing; today I believe.

Barb asked us to sing "Children of the Heavenly Father"

Barb and her Prayer group were friends for 30 years. Barb loved parties. She knew how to make a good cup tea.

Philipine friend and Barb had so much in common. New to the community in 77 they got to know and appreciate each other. Barb was there for her when her husband had an accident.

Today is the celebration of Barb's life. She taught us how to live. We pray God's love will surround you.

In nursing, Barb went beyond the call of duty. She was never negative. She was always really there for people. Always willing to put in extra work. Always priorized other people's pain.

Sometimes I have been sad or mad with the cracks in life but light has come.

Walking with grief - Do not hurry as you walk with grief.

Circle me me Lord, keep light near, darkness far
peace in, discord out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Candlelight Memorial Service

November 21, 2008 - Annual Candlelight Memorial Service, 7:30pm, Fort Garry United Church 800 Point Road off Pembina at 1st light south of Jubilee underpass
TCF invites all bereaved parents, siblings and extended family members and friends to join us in remembering our children, a bright flame to us in life and in death. Candles will be provided and can be taken home to light in remembrance over the holidays.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Devastating Loss - Get over it already!?

Dear Friends and Family:
Would you would like to know how we feel? Nine months ago we suffered two devastating losses. We are grieving the loss of Renee, and it will take years to recover from that loss. We also experienced devastating pain when our business partners decided to vote us out of our partnership at a time when we were most in need of support. The pain of rejection and betrayal is almost unbearable. That pain continues to be exacerbated by them. Compounded grief compounds the pain. Excruciating pain paralyzes the mind.
We cry from time to time. We don't apologize for our tears since they are not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. They are God's gift to help us express the extent of our loss, and they are part of our recovery.
At times you may see me as angry for no apparent reason. Sometimes I'm not sure why. All I know is that my emotions are intense because of my grief. If I don't make sense to you, please be forgiving and patient with me. If I repeat myself again and again, please accept this as normal.
More than anything else we need your understanding and patient presence. You don't have to know what to say, or even say anything if you don't know how to respond. Your presence and a touch or hug lets us know you care. Please don't wait for us to call you since we are sometimes too tired or tearful to do so.
If we tend to withdraw from you, please don't let us do that. We need you to reach out to us for months to come. But please understand when we don't want to be part of events that cause us to relive the pain. We may need space to grieve and heal for some time.
Pray for us that we would see the meaning of our losses some day and that we would know God's comfort and love. It does help to let us know you are praying for us.
If you have experienced a similar loss, please feel free to share it with us. It will help rather than cause us to feel worse. And don't stop sharing yourself if we cry. It's all right, and any tears you express as we talk are all right too.
These losses are so painful, and right now they feel like the worst thing that could ever happen to us. But I hope we will eventually recover. We cling to that hope, even though we don't always feel like it. I know we will not always feel like we do now. Laughter and joy will emerge again someday.
Thank you for caring about us. Thank you for listening and praying. Your concern comforts us and is a gift for which we will always be thankful.


BLESSED are those who recognize our grief is compounded.
BLESSED are those who allow us to mourn the loss of one dearly loved, without judgement or censure.
BLESSED are those who do not offer the meaningless cliché, "Time Heals", because for a long time the passing of time holds no meaning for us.
BLESSED are those who don't say, "I know just how you feel", but instead say, "I am here for you. I will not tire of your tears or your words of sorrow and regret."
BLESSED are those who have the patience and love to listen to our repetitive obsession with WHY? without offering useless answers or explanations.
BLESSED are those who reaffirm the worth of our deceased beloved by sharing memories of his/her goodness and times of fun, laughter and happiness.
BLESSED are those who lend acceptance to the value of the relationship we shared with the one who died by allowing us to speak of them and 'what might have been'.
BLESSED are those that allow and encourage us to use our loved one's death in a manner that gives our loss and grief meaning and purpose.
BLESSED are those who do not expect us to find "closure", "grief resolution", "recovery" or to "be healed", understanding that these terms define 'grief work in progress' that will take the rest of our life.
BLESSED are community caregivers who direct us bereavement support groups where our anguish is understood, our loss validated and where we are encouraged by the example of others who have traveled this road before us.
BLESSED are long-term survivors who role-model not only can we survive the loss of our child, but, in time, we can thrive… we can regain peace of mind, restored confidence, renewed productivity and a revived zest for living.
Adapted from writings by LaRita Archibald

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This makes me sick

"Actor Evan Handler, says that being a bad cancer patient changed his life. Throughout his leukemia treatment in the mid- and late-1980's, Handler said he was yelled at by doctors, given another patient's IV drugs, and had healthcare workers ignore hygiene protocol during times he was immunosuppressed.
Handler advocates not only leaving doctors who aren't right for you, but writing them a letter telling them why. He urges patients to remain in control, advocate for themselves at all times, or find someone who can do it for you."

We were told to be there for Renee, to be her advocate, and when she needed me the most, I was not there to be her advocate. I was too distracted. How can I ever get over the regret of that?

I so distinctly remember that Thursday morning. I was not able to sleep, so I got up and worked on the computer, doing emails related to the forced buy/sell. Renee knew she had to be at the day hospital at 10am for more of that dangerous chemo, and when she was ready to go, she asked if anyone was coming with her. I was not ready, nor was anyone else, so she went alone. I can still feel those pleading eyes on me, begging me to be there for her.

I keep kicking myself.

She had told us that the doctor wanted to do a scan to see why she was in so much pain. Without me at her side, she had no advocate to make sure that that scan happened. So the scan never happened. It was not till Monday afternoon that they took her down for x-rays. By then it was too late. They admitted her to ICU immediately, but they could not stabilize her. Her lungs were not been working. Her finger oxygen detector said her oxygen level was good. When they did blood gases they found that her co2 levels were way too high and the best medical care in the world could not save her. She went into multiple organ failure and her heart stopped beating 14 hours after that 5:30 am phone call. If there is hell on earth, this is it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Affair Proofing Your Marriage Pastor Delbert
The Brad Pitt of the ancient world lived in the big shot's house. Potiphar's wife wanted sex with him. She grabbed Joseph's cloak and he ran out of the house naked. He ended up in jail charged with attempted rape. What would we do?
God created man and woman and said it is very good. God made everything for us to enjoy.
Outside of marriage sex is destructive.
Heb 13:4 give honour in marriage.
Potiphar's wife had unmet needs - no children. Her emotional drive was unmet. Do not deprive sexual intimacy in a marriage relationship. Potipher was too busy to satisfy his wife. He accused Joseph because the incident created social shame.
Joseph's mother was the youngest wife's son. Joseph grew up with preferantial treatment set to inherit the family empire.
Joseph was deprived in this Egyptian environment. He knew he was responsible to God.
Pornography on the internet is one of the biggest problems today.
2 Tim 2:22 run from lusts.
Do not get emotionally engaged with wrong things. Physical touch can start the sexual drive and take you to places God does not want you to go.
What excuse do you have not to be faithful?
Do not break the covenant of love with God. Jer 31:3 God gave his love to us.
Get back to God - renew your covenant and sign it today.
We get together as a family. When we share in the Lord's table, we are in a covenant relationship as a family of God. This is between God and you.