I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Season” Write for five minutes; unedited.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”–Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Growing up on the prairies of North Dakota, I have always loved living in an area of the world where we experience four distinct seasons. I love in the spring watching new animals and new life come to fruition. In the summer, it is my joy to watch farmers especially my family tend and care for the land. In later summer/early fall, I love watching the grain, sunflowers, corn fields come even more to life. Then as Fall gives way watching as those fields are harvested. Then in the winter months, everything is covered in white as the snow covers the ground. This year, it is unseasonably warm and there is like no snow on the ground. It was 40 degrees yesterday!
Each of these seasons has their role in caring and stewarding for the land just like our lives have different seasons too. Seasons of life and death; seasons of joy and sorrow, seasons of war and peace. This week has been a week of death; a season of death that came way too early. My seminary friend Laura lost her battle with cancer earlier this week. My heart breaks for her daughters who have now lost both parents to cancer. It just doesn’t seem fair. In fact, it rather sucks!
Laura was an incredible woman who always turned to Christ even in the last moments of her life. * She continued to teach even until those last moments. “Be gentle with yourselves while you are grieving and tell those that you love that you love them and know that you are loved.” Those words from her are a reminder of this season of waiting and trusting in Emmanuel who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”
So during this season of Advent, may we take time to dwell and wait for the birth of Emmanuel “God with us” who promises to never leave us or forsake us. May we tell those that we love that we love them and treasure the time we share together. May we simply remember the true reason for this season..”For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send God’s Son into the world to condemn the world, but to give eternal life.”
*This is where my five minutes stopped.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the e-book Letters to Grief by Kate Motaung. Kate’s book is a book of essays about grief that will bless all because we all experience grief throughout our lifetimes. To celebrate the one year anniversary, Kate is hosting a special link-up of Letters to Grief. Little did she know that this week has been all about grief for me and so many of my friends.
There are people who God places in our lives that leave such a lasting imprint. It is almost impossible to remember a time when you did not know that individual. Their light seems to always shine a little bit brighter than the rest of our lights. And my friends, today that light is a little bit dimmer. My dear friend Laura completed her baptismal journey yesterday and is now reunited with her beloved, Rod.
Laura also always exuded joy. Some of my favorite memories were watching Laura and a few of our other friends (Sally, Sandy, etc) cheer on our “Running Reformers” city league basketball team. Those cheers always brought a smile to my face. Laura was all about the hokey pokey. In fact, every time I hear it now I will smile and think of this beloved friend. “Because that’s what it’s all about!”
A few years ago, our friend Julia ran in honor of Laura and sarcoma research during the Fargo Marathon. Now I am no runner, but I was so delighted to stand on the sidelines donning my “Team Koppy” t-shirt and cheering on Julia and Laura.
Laura is a soul who touched many lives especially her beloved daughters. Today, Laura is free of all that ails her. And I reluctantly put down her mat at Jesus’ feet, but I put it down knowing she is free of pain and reunited with her dearly beloved husband, Rod. I also am reminded of Laura’s own wise pastoral words that are bringing me some comfort today: “Be patient with yourselves while you are grieving and tell the people you love that you love them and know that you are loved.”
So now as I lay down my mat, I see all the others around me reluctantly laying down their mats too. Laura touched more lives than I think she will ever know or could imagine. The impact of love for Laura is seen in the tears, Facebook posts, and sighs too deep for words that express the impact of love she has had on each and every one of us.
Laura, my friend, you are so dearly loved!
I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Dwell.” Write for five minutes; unedited.
“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
Dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. These words make me think of my friend Laura, and Andrew and all of those who have lived their lives sharing God’s love with the world. I am so thankful that my friend Laura has dwelt here in this place all of her days and will continue to dwell there until she takes her last breath and God asks us to lay Laura’s mat at his feet.
But as I am reminded of those who dwell in the house of the Lord, I also think of those places that I do not want to dwell either. I do not want to dwell on the news that only seems to be bad news. I would much rather dwell in those joy-filled happy spaces. I do not want to dwell on the evil in the world. There is so much I do not want to dwell on.
Yet as Thanksgiving draws near and Advent is soon upon us, I find myself in a place that I want to dwell. Advent is my most favorite time of the year! I love waiting and watching for this precious Christ child to come. I love sitting and dwelling in this space…this deep breathe of fresh air that reminds me of what comes in this infant; this unlikely son born to an unlikely women in a dirty stable in Bethlehem. This one who comes simply as the light in the midst of the darkness. This one who is Emmanuel–“God with us!”
Jesus asks us
I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today’s prompt is “Weary.” Write for five minutes; unedited.
Sometimes the word prompt hits me straight in the gut and heart, this week is one of those weeks were the word describes exactly how I have been feeling this week.
I am weary, friends! I am weary of so many around me being diagnosed with cancer. I am weary after October and Write 31 Days. I am weary of the world around me; full of such darkness and pain. I am just simply weary.
This week has been especially weary for myself and so many who love my friend Laura especially her daughters. Laura and I met at Wartburg Theological Seminary. She was one of the senior class presidents when I began at WTS. From day one, she was one of the most welcoming and gracious people in my life. She blessed my life in so many ways and I am so thankful to have been touched by her love and friendship.
Laura lost her husband Rod to cancer 11 years ago this month. And Laura has been battling sarcoma cancer for the last several years. Rod and Laura have two daughters. Last Friday, Laura was taken to the emergency room where they found a 4 cm mass on her brain. Yesterday they updated her Care pages and shared how the cancer has spread. As a family, Laura’s daughters and the rest of her family made the decision to move her into hospice care. Laura transitioned to hospice care today. And my friends, my heart continues to be weary…weary for Laura and Rod’s daughters who will lose two parents to cancer. My heart is weary…weary from shedding tears for this dear friend. My heart is breaking and it just doesn’t seem fair.
*And I know my friend, her family and all those who have been touched by her love and friendship and more are weary too. I know we cannot make sense of any of this right now. We, Laura’s mat-carriers are weary, but we will continue to pray for her. I also am reminded of Jesus’ own words “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest!”
I know that rest will come soon. But for now, I am clinging to the promises of hope found in the birth of our Savior who comes as light in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of sadness and so much more. As we soon prepare for Advent and the coming of this holy child, I find myself quietly singing these words from the song “O Holy Night”; “A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born; O night, O Holy night, O night divine.”
God knows that we are weary and sent God’s son into the world for each and every one of us. And for that we can trust in God’s love for each of us and know that in due time….
Our weary world rejoices! (Rejoices that pain and crying and death will be no more)
*This is where my five minutes ended. As you can tell, this word prompt hit home for me this week.
It’s been an incredible day today! Why, you may ask? Today has been a day of prayer. Now, of course, I work in a church so yes, I do spend most of my days already in prayer. But today was a little different..today was about lifting up TeamKoppy and sarcoma research, today was about doing something for a friend who is battling sarcoma at this very moment, today was about continuing to carry the mat for her.
Another friend Julia ran in honor of Laura and for Sarcoma research. I cheered Julia on from the sidelines. It was the least I could do as she ran today. I’m no runner but I wanted to help in some way. I wanted to be part of the journey with her and wanted to lift both of them in prayer. So I got up before 7 am on a Saturday (which is unique for this single young lady) but I was up before my alarm even went off. The Holy Spirit knew how important this was to me; to be their on the sidelines cheering as loud as I could.
I drove to Broadway and found my spot along the route. I walked up and down Broadway until the first runners came through. And then I watched and waited for Team Koppy to run by me. After she ran by, I stayed and watched and saw many other friends (some Running Reformers, some college friends, one of my confirmation youth) run by me and so I cheered them on too. I did all of this while praying hard for Laura, for all who have been affected by cancer. I left the race and headed home.
My best friend came up for the day. However my praying didn’t stop. Joni and I decided to spend some time out at the mall. We both found some great stuff. However while Joni was trying on clothes, I found myself checking my phone for Fb, Instagram and Twitter updates. I also found myself sitting and just simply waiting. And while I waited I found myself praying, praying, and praying.My friend and I went and had supper and then came home to watch a movie. And again I found myself still praying! 🙂
She just left so I thought I’d update my blog. Today has been an incredible, prayerful, love-filled day; full of prayers for Team Koppy, prayers for Laura, and prayers for the many who are battling sarcoma and other cancers. Like I said earlier, I am not a runner AT ALL but I wanted to do something and today that something was cheering on Team Koppy. Today that something was doing something I can do; PRAYING!!!