By the Light of the Tree

Each morning I meet with my Maker. I try to open His word and see what nuggets he has for me. The latest study encourages me to do our PART. Praise God for who he is, Admit my sins and feelings, Request from God what I need, and Thank God for what He is doing. (Jaunita Purcell) During my special time in the morning, when it is just me, the fire, the tree, the animals, and my Maker, I strive for a cheerful heart. But I have to be honest, some days I have to work at it.

By the light of the tree, my first thought is always my children. I reminisce about past Christmas’s. I smile at recent memories of finding and decorating the tree with all of my children. Then my mind wanders to the future. I wonder what it will hold? I wonder how many more family Christmas’s will be held in the house on the mountain? I wonder how many more I will have with my soul mate here on earth?

It occurs to me that nobody knows. You don’t have to be facing a terminal illness to have those thoughts and concerns. That’s why we are called to live in the moment and also reminded by our Maker, not to worry about tomorrow. However, sometimes being told not to worry is like asking water not to be wet. It is just going to happen.

So here is what is on my heart, and what I disclose to God by the light of the tree:

I pray for quality time. I pray that what time my husband has left, is time that he remembers his family. I pray that we can keep him home, and that his pain will be manageable. I acknowledge his diagnosis and have accepted it. I pray that when the time comes, that the Lord will take him quietly and gently, and that I will be with him. I want that to be my last gift to my husband.

I pray for my oldest and his family who are headed to Japan on Monday. They will be there for three years. I pray for the unity of their little family and that their marriage will be strengthened. I pray that the example that they portray to their children will make a lasting impression. I pray for their safety and that they find faithful support and friends who are “like them, or someone they want to be like.” I pray that when the time comes, they will be able to afford to come home to help pay tribute to their father. I am thankful for Face Time and opportunities to see our grandchildren and text to their tablets. Nothing brings us more joy than to receive silly emjois from our little people.

I pray for my middle child who lives and teaches in Arkansas. I pray for her safety and financial well-being. It isn’t easy living alone and 1600 miles away, especially when your father is ill. I pray that she continues to thrive in the school system, and that she finds a church family that can support her when she isn’t able to be home. I am so thankful for Christian co-workers who have been good influences on her, and I pray that in the Lord’s timing, he reveal her soul mate. She has a huge heart, and a kind spirit and I just know that somewhere He is preparing the heart of a very special young man. I pray that the community wrap their arms around our precious girl and make her feel supported, comforted, and cared for in the difficult days ahead. I’m so thankful that she lives in the Bible Belt.

I pray for my baby girl and her family. She is giving of her time selflessly to help care for her father, and I am so appreciative. She is gentle and tender, knowing just when to spend time with him and when to give him some independence. It is a very difficult job working with moods and abilities that are ever-changing. My prayer for her little family is to find their own independence with a home nearby, along with financial security. I pray that we can be actively involved in our grandchildren’s lives because they are such a joy to us. I pray that when the time comes, that my daughter will keep her head and do exactly what she needs to do, and that the final moments won’t leave a lasting negative impact in her mind.

Then I think about me. I wonder what life will be like “after”. I think about how hard I am working to make myself healthy and strong for the marathon that is upcoming. It is challenging to train for a race that you know nothing about: what will be expected or how long it will last. However, I am determined to be physically, spiritually, and mentally ready when the time comes, so that I can be everything my children need me to be. It’s tricky now, but it will be challenging then. I wonder where I will go? Although I love the house on the mountain, it was God’s gift to my husband. He knew that my husband would need the distraction and more projects than he knew what to do with. It will be too much for me. So my plan at the moment is to find an efficient condo or rental that is big enough for company, but small enough for me to manage easily. I want very few responsibilities, to live nearby so that I can commute easily to the farm, school, and church, and close to the ocean because that is where I will feel my husband’s sweet spirit the strongest.

By the light of the tree, my mind wanders to my aging parents, my siblings, my friends and coworkers whom I adore. I lay their needs at the foot of the cross and ask God for his loving guidance as I enter the mission field each day. I thank him for the blessings, and meeting our basic needs, as well as an active prefrontal cortex that keeps me from sticking my foot in my mouth during long meetings that aren’t on the top of my priority list. I aim to do my PART by praising God, admitting my sins and feelings, requesting from God what I need, and thanking God for what He is doing.

One day, one minute, and one second at a time, my prayer is that by God’s grace, we all get through this marathon with as few scars as absolutely necessary.

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