***Originally posted April 2, 2009. Reposting this week as these memories are always on my mind during Holy Week, no matter when it occurs.***

April 2nd is a special day for me. It is a day that is permanently ingrained in my memory bank. This day resounds with triumph and victory and great rejoicing. April 2nd, 1980, is the day my father died. Yes, you heard me right. It is a day filled with joy and excitement. You see, my father was a Christian. In fact, he had dedicated his life to ministry and he was a pastor until his dying breath. So, April 2nd was the best day of his life, because he finally attained his earthly goal - meeting his Lord Jesus Christ. What a celebration there had to be in heaven that day!

I was twelve years old when my father died. I have never had a great memory of things in the past, but I do have a few "snapshots" of moments that I always can picture in my mind.

The day my parents told me dad had a brain tumor.
The day we learned that it had returned three years later.
Sitting at lunch with Aunt Ruth's black mascara streaming down her cheeks as the prognosis became apparant.
Being woke up in the middle of the night to head to Grandma's house so dad could go to Mayo Clinic.
Being home alone with dad when he started to choke.
Snuggling with him in his chair when he was home.

But, these are the ones that really made an impact:

Dad had gone blind, but if you placed an open bible in his hands, he would "read" it by reciting verses from memory - long, lengthy passages. He knew and had memorized his bible! He truly thought he was reading, and found great comfort and joy in doing so. Within those words were the truths of hope and everlasting life. All he needed was within his grasp.

Dad had lost all ability to speak toward the end of his illness. One night, we gathered around him to pray together before bed as we usually did. (He was able to be cared for at home). That night, miraculously, he said the Lord's Prayer with us and raised his hands and gave the blessing. What a gift that was for that was the night he died. We had been blessed with one last memory, and what a powerful one it was.

Our God is a good and gracious God. You see, dad was once asked, if he could pick and choose when he was going to die, what would he pick? He always said that he would like to die during Holy Week, so he could celebrate Easter in heaven.

My dad died the Tuesday of Holy Week, and his Celebration of Life was the day before Easter. What a celebration of Easter he had that year! God is amazing, and rewards those faithful to him. He gives us the desires of our heart, and draws us to him. I just can't imagine the joy on my dad's face to greet Jesus for the first time, be healed of all his pain, and know that we would all be reunited again, as fellow believers in Christ.

So, this is a special day for me as well. This day causes me to reflect on my memories of my father, but, more importantly, it challenges me to have a faith that is firmly rooted in God's word, in God's promises, and in God's faithfulness. My father was a witness to me, even in his death. However, this day would have an entirely different feel, and be one of intense despair and sadness, if we had not all been granted the GIFT of eternal life with Christ Jesus, due to his death and resurrection. The lifelong plan of salvation has been fulfilled through Jesus. As the song In Christ Alone reflects:

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Will you join me today in rejoicing in this great and awesome gift that we have received? If you have not embraced this free gift of salvation, do it now. Ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart. Now is the time - This Easter season, grasp the joy and peace you can only find in Him.
We made it to the end of another week. Not a major accomplishment as it is going to come one way or another...but, if you look back at how many things transpired over the past 5 days, I am always amazed. School completed, laundry in check, meals created, bible read, work, presentations, computer time, well, you get the picture.

My husband and I have had the wonderful privilege of teaching Living by the Book for our adult Sunday School class since last September. It has been such a journey of growth, discovery, inspiration, and now, application. We are in the part of the study in which we are working on ways to apply the biblical truths in our lives. This part is the most exciting, and certainly, the most challenging. Dare I say, it is also frightening. We know the Lord has some changes on the horizon for us - we are trying to be open to them, despite where they may lead. Will they be life changing? I have no idea...we are simply trying to spend time "listening" to his direction and being obedient.

One of the people in our class had a wonderful insight this past week. She asked if we had been persecuted this past week for our faith. While that may seem like a weird question, the application part of it is that if we were not, it may be because we have not stepped out of our comfort zone and shared the Lord as we are instructed to do. In the same breath, we should look at whether we have grown in our Christian walk over the past week, month, and years. Are you further along today than yesterday? Great thoughts to ponder...which is what I often do. My problem is taking it beyond pondering to put into action. I pray for strength and courage to do so.

My kids are growing up so fast. TJ has all but mastered her bike riding, so with a bit more practice, she'll be riding like her brothers. Problem is, this mom is in no shape to be running after her as she learns!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend, so I'm off to put some things into place to be able to relax and unwind a bit. I pray that Palm Sunday will be one of reflection and anticipation of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
Labels: 1 comments | edit post
Well, sort of. I make no promises. ;) I can't believe I haven't posted since January. Life has flown by. I literally have no time in my day to blog, but would love to carve some back in, if possible. I miss writing, miss the conversations, miss the creative outlet.

I could bore you to tears with what has been going on, but it basically can be summarized in one word - life. Life is going on...and I'm trying to stay on the ride! Late December and early January hit me hard with the realization that I needed to really change some things with how we were schooling. I felt like my oldest child wasn't really doing the work up to his potential, so the freedom I had given him was reigned in a bit, which essentially means that I need to have my hand in his subjects more than I had. My second child, who is also doing 6th grade work, is keeping up pretty well, but I want it to still be fun for him. Vocab and advanced Earth Science make him work, which is good because everything comes easy for him. So, we're working on study skills and slowing down a bit with vocab (I don't even know some of these words, and I fancy myself a bit of a wordsmith!). Finally, Miss TJ is plugging away at a first and second grade combination, so there is plenty of hands on time for her. So, what I am trying to say is that my hands-on teacher time has increased dramatically since Christmas due to some schooling changes, so my daytime hours are completely filled with school. While I still love teaching my kiddos, I feel more time invested than ever before, and it is oozing into other areas, leaving little room for extras. :)

Anyway, I have so much to write, but I make no promises as to when I will do so. I admire my fellow blogging friends who are able to get something down each day. I'd love to do the same, but we'll just take it one day at a time.

To close for today, in honor of my niece, I am posting a few pictures of her...She reminds me here and there how long it has been since I've posted something - so, surprise, Martha! You are a beautiful girl, inside and out. You are so special to me! Thanks for your patience!

Have a great day!