God has a Plan

According to Mary C. Neal, M.D. in her book, “7 Lessons From Heaven; How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life,” there are two favorite bible verses that compete for the rank of #1.  One as you might guess is John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…”  The other is Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Mary says, “I find this little fact revealing because it shows what people most want to know and remember about God’s intentions toward us.  In John’s gospel, I learn that God loves me.  In Jeremiah, it’s that God has a plan for me.  Both are exceptionally good news.”

I so agree with her when she later says that these verses are favorites because we humans need to know that we matter to the one who made us.  That we have a future no matter how difficult life gets for us.  We are all struggling hard to live life in a positive way when there are negatives all around us.  We are hurting from the loss of loved ones; struggling with life challenges.

My beloved sister of 54, passed away on February 1st. She had high blood pressure, but was otherwise a healthy, active and adventurous young lady. Her loss breaks my heart.  At her funeral our priest said something I will never forget:  “We can welcome grief, at least be unashamed of our grief, for after all, when we grieve a loss it is because we loved greatly, and we are here on this earth to love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13:  “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Two Sunday’s later I was singing the Gloria in church and I had raised my voice to heaven when I saw in my mind my sister in heaven.  Jesus’s arms were around her and she had the biggest, happiest grin on her face that I have ever seen.  She had struggled with depression here on earth and at one time told my other sister that she couldn’t remember feeling real joy, she wasn’t sure what that felt like.  So seeing her in heaven with such joy on her face, was healing for me.

“So if God does have a plan for me in all this mess, what is it and how can I find it?”

Source: 7 Lessons from Heaven; How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life, by Mary C Neal, MD

LOVE – How is it measured?

Last week I worked only two days out of five – one day was admittedly a vacation day (I spent it cleaning a house that our family wants to rent out).  The other two days I spent taking my dad to doctor appointments.

His regular doctor is telling me that it is time to let dad rest. It is no longer wise to keep encouraging him to walk and exercise each day. If he prefers a wheel chair to his walker, it is time for me to accept it.

She said it more kindly than the way I am saying it. I have a tendency to state things as they are.  Perhaps I could be described as blunt.

What really had me crying in the doctors office however wasn’t necessarily that piece of information. It was when they gave me the depression scale and told me I could help dad with it.  I read it to him and became increasingly upset as he continued to circle the statements as true. Things like, “I feel down much of the time.” The killer for me was when he circled yes to, “I feel like I am letting my family down.”  I said, “Dad, how could you be letting us down? Why would you feel that way?”

And of course like all the other times I ask a question, he either isn’t hearing me, or he cannot answer. My dad is as hard of hearing as any human being can be.  He wears hearing aids that don’t do much. The audio department in the clinic says these are the best kind of hearing aids for my dad, but really, it is amazing what he cannot hear.  Amazing and depressing.

So, the biggest thing that I have gotten from reading, “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke is this:  Life on earth is all about love.  The more we can love others the closer we are to fulfilling our purpose here on earth.

It is easy to love family (for me anyway). And I would imagine that we are meant to make a difference for those that we come in contact with during our every day lives.

But I have seen others love more. I have seen others give so much that I can’t imagine how they have anything left.  How do they do that? How do they find the energy? If I don’t have that kind of energy, is that OK?

Is it possible that I am no different than these others?  That perhaps they cry easily too?  That perhaps they are just as worn out as I am?

Check out Revelation 21:4; “The earth will change. There will be no fear, no hatred, and no hunger or pain. Only love” Quote from page 171 of “Imagine Heaven.”

Ready for your research project?  Google Akiane’s paintings of “The Prince of Peace” and “Father Forgive Me.”  Akiane’s story is in the book, “Imagine Heaven.”

That’s it for now.