A Joyful Life

Yesterday morning I wrote about Psalm 139 and how all of our days are numbered, planned by God before even one comes to be. I often share those thoughts with friends who have lost babies, and so I thought I should write it down for others. Little did I know that a few hours later I would hear the news that it was the last day for my friend Heidi.

HeidiI knew Heidi from Bible study where she was a small group leader – my small group leader in the beginning. But her faith was contagious and she shared it with everyone, so her small group was becoming large. We split into two groups and my sister Cathy became my leader. Cathy and Heidi were good friends, which is mostly how I knew Heidi.

Heidi was a joyful, compassionate woman who lived her life loving the Lord. She was often at the front door of Bible study to greet people with a smile and a hug saying “I’m glad you’re here, friend!” And often tell me “I’ve been praying for you.” Although she said this to many people, it was genuine. I think she prayed for the whole town! Everyone counted her a friend. What a blessing her friendship was!

We call her death unexpected – and it was to us. She leaves behind a husband and four young children. But her death wasn’t unexpected to the Lord. I remember writing about Psalm 139 yesterday and how easy it was. Its easy to write something, but it takes faith to live it. Some might call Heidi’s death tragic, a life cut short. As unfair as it feels to us, its not tragic to Heidi. You can be sure that she is rejoicing with the Lord in heaven.

Heidi’s life impacted many people. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of people who will be in heaven some day, having accepted Jesus as their Savior because of Heidi’s testimony. We will all certainly miss her – her leadership, her example of faith, her compassion for others, and her joy for the Lord.

Heavenly Father, may You comfort us as we mourn and miss Heidi. May You surround her family with Your love and give them Your peace that passes all understanding. Thank You for being near to the brokenhearted. May You remind us every morning that today is a gift from You. May Your light shine through us to reach a dark world with Your unfailing love.

Never Early Never Late

If  you have ever tried to meet up with me for lunch, you would know the title of this post doesn’t describe me. I am often late… at least now I can blame Jack, right?

In the early days of our marriage, Jeff would yell to me “We’re leaving in five minutes for church!” Which was approximately five minutes after I woke up. Thankfully I’ve had lots of practice getting ready in a short amount of time (basically because I’ve done this my whole life). Then I’d get downstairs, Jeff would be standing at the back door, and I’d proceed to fill a water bottle, and/or make a chai, and grab a granola bar. Jeff still doesn’t understand why I always have at least one beverage with me. What can I say? I like to stay hydrated. And, I’d like to point out, that he often steals a sip from my water bottle.

While “never early, never late” doesn’t describe me, although I’m getting better, it does describe God. A lesson I learned most tangibly after having Caleb.

“All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before even one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

All of Caleb’s days – 19 weeks 3 days – were planned by God before Caleb was even conceived. It’s easy in our human nature to say Caleb was born too soon and died too soon. No matter how old our loved ones are, we would be likely to say they died too soon. Before our hearts were ready to say goodbye.

Knowing that Caleb’s days had been planned by God has always comforted me. There’s nothing I could have done to prolong his life. His premature birth wasn’t a surprise to God. It was His plan.

Your child, teenager, mother, grandpa didn’t die too soon. They had lived every day God has given them. Although we can question and wonder why God would allow children to die, we know that heaven is way better than earth. Our hearts may hurt and long for them, but they are experiencing more joy than we can imagine.

I wonder how many days God has planned for me. And for you. Every day really is a gift from Him. May you find peace, comfort, and joy knowing that the God who created you has planned your days and loves you more than you can imagine.

Caleb Chun - Feb 24, 2011

Caleb Chun – Feb 24, 2011

Leaning On God

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Over the last two years I’ve stood at Caleb’s grave, leaning against this tree many times. I’ve cried because I miss him. I’ve prayed because God promises comfort and peace. I’ve smiled remembering how cute his little face was and how small his feet were. I’ve read the Bible to find hope and strength.

One month after Caleb was born I stood at his grave and read the story where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. I told God I believe He could do it, so please Lord raise Caleb from the dead? Then I stood there wondering how it would happen, looking for the ground to shake and Caleb to crawl out. But Caleb wasn’t raised that day.

Today, Caleb’s second birthday, I drove out to his grave. Jack was fighting taking a nap this afternoon but he is powerless against napping in the car. So I put Jack in the car and drove out to Caleb’s grave. As I drove I asked God to speak to me. Give me something insightful, comforting, peace-giving today.

I saw a flower and note from Grammy and Granddad. I had nothing to lay at his grave since I left with Jack in a bit of a hurry, so I wrote “we love you” in the snow. As I stood there leaning against my tree, I prayed, cried, and read Scripture. The last verse of Psalm 33 is on Caleb’s headstone so I read the Psalm.

“For the word of The Lord is right and true. He is faithful in all He does.” (v4)

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.” (v20-22)

We wait in hope that one day we will see Caleb again in heaven. We rejoice in The Lord for giving us Caleb as our first precious boy. We trust The Lord. We look to Him as our help and shield to comfort us along this journey. As I wrote about yesterday, the sadness hasn’t really gone away. It comes and goes depending on the day. But there’s purpose in it.

Because of Caleb I have real faith. I’ve learned to depend on God to get me through each day. I’ve read the Bible not out of duty, but because it is life-giving. My worship is more true, understanding that God gives and takes away, but still I bless His name.

What God reminded me today is that He is all I need. I know God, but I’d really like to have Caleb here. I am all you need. Though I don’t always live it, I know it in my head. And for today, that’s enough.

Happy birthday Caleb! We love you always!

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