Heaven... What images come to mind? White, clouds, fog, boring? That is kind of how Pastor Rick Warren talked about heaven in an introduction to his sermon about a month ago. It's interesting that this is how Hollywood has portrayed it in most movies and television shows, but as Rick was saying, does it even make sense that that would be true? Isn't our God the one who created color in the first place? This concept totally blew my mind, and I started visualizing heaven as more of a scene you might see from "What Dreams May Come."
Being a makeup artist and fashionista, I just know Elaine is appreciating all of the beauty in color up there in heaven. It is definitely not "boring".
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:23
This was a focus verse during his sermon. It made me think about all the ways Elaine was faithful to the Gospel in loving people, people who were in the margins, and didn't necessarily feel like they fit in. People who needed to know someone cared about them, people who were struggling. Even the brides she worked with who were going through their own personal struggles. I just know that this was part of the "few things" that Elaine was faithful with here on earth. Can you imagine what she is in charge of now in Heaven? It truly brings a smile to my face when I think about this idea. She is not just up in heaven sitting there, but participating in a great plan God has for her, and she is able to share in the master's happiness. I don't think in this earthly lifetime I can truly understand what that exactly looks like for her, but I have a sense of peace and joy about it that surpasses all earthly understanding.
I hope this previous section of my post can make those of you who were close to Elaine smile. Know that she truly is in a better place and is joyfully resting in our Father's arms :) !
So my sister is in town with my three nephews, in age order oldest to youngest, Daniel, Andrew, and Joshua. We had a fun week of going to Disneyland and DCA and although pretty tiring for us adults, the boys really enjoyed it. Today was more low key and I went with my sister, Joshua, and Daniel to the beach.
I decided to take the boogey board out and try to catch some waves with it. Mind you, I don't think I have done that in at least 15 years! At first the water was pretty cold, but I just kind of jumped right in and it was really nice after a while. I kind of just sat there for a little while mediating on the waves, noticing the frequency, size, and power of each one that passed.
It got me thinking about my situation. The storm that started it all was a horrific hurricane that left destruction in its very wake. Not only had I lost the relationship with my spouse, but many other facets of my life were changed very drastically and in unpredictable ways. And after a lot of the destruction had passed, there has been sort of a calm, but there are still always going to be waves that will continue to come into my life.
I decided to see what I recalled about my childhood and trying to catch waves and I was able to do a decent enough job at it. I remember in particular a wave I caught, and I rode it all the way to the shore, where I was met by my youngest nephew Joshua, who was smiling and laughing with me as I passed by him as I was hitting the shore. It made me think, the waves that come, I need to really embrace and try to ride as much as possible, even if it's terrifying and uncertain. The boogey board is the strength that I am only finding in God, strength that is not from me, but is something I must continually lean on. And if I ride those waves to the end, there will be relationships full of joy and laughter that I will be able to experience that I would otherwise miss out on.
My oldest nephew Daniel came out to join me later that day and I offered to let him use the boogey board, I was glad to see he had a change of heart and really wanted to participate and have some more fun (he had wanted to leave earlier). As I passed the boogey board to him, it made me think about how we as Christians do have a role in sharing the strength that we have found in God, and not just keeping it for ourselves. We are called to minister to people, and I believe helping people discover a strength found in God is definitely part of it.
Someone who I shared my blog with recently asked me if I had gone back to read through all of my posts at once, to really take a look at how I was grieving. I had not done so, so one morning I decided to do that. A common thread that really jumped out to me was how much I was leaning on the strength of God, even in the darkest moments of this year. Although I may have not felt that I was relying on God at times, reading back, it was very evident that I was in fact leaning on His strength in what I was going through and what I was sharing about my journey.
I will continue to be hopeful about how all of this is having an impact on everyone for the better, even in ways that I may never hear about. I would ask for continued prayers for me and my family, and for Elaine's family, and for the hope of what is to come in each of our lives. I am excited and faithful, that God does definitely has my good in mind for my future, I need to continue to be faithful and trust in this, no matter the waves that come my way.
And also, I want to go to the beach more often ;-)