Category Archives: Friendship

Happiest of New Year’s to You!

Hope, Joy, Peace, Love – These are the four Sundays of ADVENT that we just celebrated.

Over the years our family has lit the candles and tried different devotionals. The past five years we have been at a church that lights the candles each Sunday and the sermon will often focus on that week’s word.

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Wikipedia says- “Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. “Since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time.” The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

So even though the word means “coming” it involves “expectant waiting”. I now realize this expectant waiting seems to be part of everyday life, not just the for weeks before Christmas.

This hoping for good times to arrive, for the storms of life to settle. Yet it often seems that just when one storm is settling that another is brewing on the horizon. Such is life.

2016 was a good year for me. Looking in from the outside one might not think so as 2016 has brought my share of storms and I’ve had to learn to wait as never before. I’ve been brought to a place of letting go, of surrendering and riding out the storms and that’s what’s been good.

I see a subtle change in me, one that involves more Hope, more Joy, more Peace, and more Love. I have better perspective and more emotional well being. I realize this life is much like the weather, as much as we try to predict it, as each day dawns we really don’t know what it holds.

So for 2017 I’d like to embrace what each day holds and live in the advent way where I have Jesus ruling my heart daily and I am being “alert for his Second Coming.” I want to be anticipating his return for us with hope and joy, peace and love.

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I think this will give me a needed perspective when my prediction of life is “clear and sunny skies” and the day proves to be “drizzling with drama”.

Hopeful that 2017 brings you personal growth, that you might find Joy in the simple things, that you would worry less and have more Peace and Love others the way you desire to be loved. Happy New Year. ❤️

Are You a Nester or a Wanderer?

Are you a nester or a wanderer? This journey of trying to sell our home and move has been rough on me, for I am a nester. Like a bird, gathering items from my travels, I bring them home with the sole intent to line the nest with them. I think I am married to a wanderer. He loves to travel and if possible drags (oops, invites) me along. I’m pretty agreeable as long as I have a firm date to return to the nest.

nest

Last night my wanderer challenged me that I need to stop looking at possible new homes until our current home is firmly in escrow. He thinks it is making me anxious. The idea of having no idea where our next nest is doesn’t bother him at all. He has faith that God will provide. I do too! However, I don’t seem to be able to relax like he does. I lay there in bed beside him and prayed, “Lord help me understand what he is trying to tell me.”

I knew that looking at houses didn’t make me anxious, in fact it actually helps me relax somewhat – “Oh this could be my new nest!” “We could afford this little nest!” What was my wanderer trying to get across to me? I wasn’t getting it. He knows me better than anyone on this earth. Then my silent prayer was answered and I understood. I have been reverting to my childhood ways….

When I was a child and Christmas season came, my mother wrapped beautiful gifts and arranged them perfectly under the tree. It looked like a magazine. Daily I would sneak in there and lift each one carefully out and analyze it. I would turn it and listen, gently shake. What was it? Did I ask for it? Could it be such and such that cost so much? What if it was that thing I didn’t really want?

gift

When I went to bed last night I thought, (spoiler alert – this  might offend some) “Is God like Santa Claus?”. Does my heavenly father have a good gift for me and can I trust him to bring me what I need and want? A new nest to enjoy and keep ready for when my wanderer returns from his sales trips? Do I need to tell Him what I need or want, like writing a letter to Santa?

We raised our children without writing lists to Santa, but rather writing lists of how they would give to others. We never had wrapped gifts under the tree but rather the nativity, to help them focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The gifts were there under the tree when they awakened on Christmas morning.

We were trying to encourage their focus. I think that is what my husband was trying to help me with when he was talking to me last night. My focus. Quit shaking and analyzing the real estate market. Quit trying to figure out where my new nest is. I hadn’t even wanted that nest, but maybe this is it! Quit being scared my new nest is something I didn’t want or need.

This morning one of my favorite songs, “Good, Good Father” came on and it was a lovely confirmation to me.

Oh and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you can provide
’cause you know just what we need before we say a word

You’re a good good father-
It’s who you are, It’s who you are, It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you- It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am.

So like an old fashioned Klein Family Christmas, I am going to focus on the now and the gifts He has given me today…my life, full with family and friends and His love and grace….and Watson.

And when that gift of a new nest comes, I’m going to just love it! I know I will, because He’s a good, good Father, it’s who He is.

 

 

 

 

Letters to Eisley #4

Dear Eisley,

I feel like if you were here life would be settled, steadfast. With you gone, I feel shaky all over and unsure of myself. I think I am doing okay and then I hear sadness in the voices of those that love you or watch another gut-wrenching story on the news and I get so overwhelmed. I used to shut down or smother the feelings with food. As I have tried to stop doing that the feelings hurt so much. The smallest thing can be a trigger. Oh Eisley if I could just hold you over my shoulder and hear you let out a burp and say “Good job!” like I have always done with your cousins, I think life would be okay.

Your Grammie just realized I having some form of panic attacks. They are not stress induced…I take it so easy it feels ridiculous. They are feelings induced…these smothered stuffed feelings are coming out of I don’t know where and they choke me, they get bottled up in my chest and it is so physically painful, I think I am having a heart attack, and the pain scares me. The pain makes me miss your great-grandmother, my mama, the one you were given her middle name – Hope. She was so good to me when I was hurting. She took care of me Please tell her thanks for me and that I really do miss her and I’m sorry about Debbie, that there’s nothing I can do. I tried so hard, she knows I tried, she saw that I tried.

I’m scared I realize. I’m scared that our family will never be okay again.  Sometimes I just want to die and go with you. When I was in the ER, I thought about you and if it wasn’t for your pops I would have gladly gone. Maybe this is why I want to now move to Auburn, maybe in reality I just want everything tidy for Pops so I can join you. But I don’t think Jesus will let me yet. There’s been too much pain for this family, your pops, your mama and daddy, your aunties and uncles and your cousins. We all are hurting without you. We feel broken and shaky and unstable. Okay baby girl, Grammie is making a concerted choice not to swear in my letter to you, but let me just tell you it is the pits without you and it’s really scary.

But then there are good days and we smile, like on last Sunday there was a party at the Vaughan’s (Oh you would have LOVED being held by Jeanne) for our 40th anniversary and everything was so nice, and just the right people we needed to not feel overwhelmed…. Aaron and Cacey, Your mama and daddy, Jeanne and Bob, my friend-in-law Jennifer and hubby Jim, my friend-in-law Christine and hubby Johnny, Pastor Greg and Laura, Pastor Lorin and Starla and your Auntie Sheri. That was a run on sentence baby girl, but I don’t care, because this really is written just for you and for me. You don’t judge your Grammie’s grammar. I don’t have to be perfect.

And you know what Eisley? You didn’t have to be perfect either. We would have gladly welcomed you and made you a part of this imperfect family had God allowed you to live longer. And I’m sobbing baby girl because your Grammie is so sad for so many reasons, losing you being just the tip of the iceberg. So much loss in this world baby girl. And God made me sensitive so it hurts really bad to see little refugee Syrian boys like 3 year old Aylan washed up dead from the sea.

For years Pastor Dave told me thick skin, tender heart. It seems everything is tender about me, Eisley Hope. I will no longer compare myself to others and tell myself I should be doing better. I will just be who I am, hurting how I am. I will work on letting these (&%#^*#! feelings out of me (That’s how you swear in the presence of a little one my love). I’ve had a lot of loss these past years and there’s a lot of feelings I have been stuffing that I guess need to come out.

So let me turn my thoughts to you. I’d like to think of your cleft palate healed with the tiniest of tiniest scars so we can remember His healing in your new body. I’d like to think that he has allowed your unique extra fingers and heart shaped big toes to remain because we loved your uniqueness. I’d like to think that you helped welcome Aylan into heaven and you are showing him the ropes. I’d like to think that Ted is playing grandpa with you and telling you stories of your mama when she would visit his family in New York.

I see sunshine and flowers when I think of you. Blue skies and mountains and lots of green….oh the drought here has made most people quit watering and there isn’t much green. I would think there would be water in heaven, maybe a beautiful rippling stream that you can stick your toes in and giggle. Tell Aylan that the water is safe there!

I’m hoping you get to read these. I believe anything is possible with our God. If you do then you will get to know me a little better until I come. Tender everything and missing you, but one day reunited face to face.

Love you my sweet Eisley,

Grammie

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Update in Romania #2

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks.

Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.

That is the way your God, who conceived you in love,

working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

 The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:3-4 msg

Yesterday in the afternoon I waded through a mess of emotions, having a hard time. I really missed my mother and was grieving. I was sad over the brokenness of the relationship with my sister. Even though I had this lovely room and family here in Romania, I felt a little scared and lonely. I wanted my bed in Weimar, California, United States of America. My daughter, Marie, allowed me to verbalize my feelings and listened. She lovingly parented the parent.

Marie and me compressed

You see I was the child who grew up playing alone in my room and I was content to do so. It was very safe and everything was the same schedule. It was comfortable.

I watch my little granddaughters and marvel at how uniquely they are created. BTW, if anyone reading this compares their children to others, please recognize this is harmful. Relish their uniqueness in how their Creator made them. I wish I had known this truth when I was raising our children, rather than thinking there was one standard to strive for instead of embracing their differences.

Mercy and Addy are night and day; it is so fun to watch. Their personalities remind me so much of raising Aaron and Marie, yet they are their own little unique persons. Much of our time here will be ministering to them…Reminding them of their extended family across the ocean…Loving them.

Girls at mall

And that doesn’t seem very “big”. Will they even remember we came? I read this verse yesterday which helped me wade through my emotions and come out victoriously rested in Christ –

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

The amazing part to me is realizing how my God has been doing this for Danny and me – working behind the scenes, quietly and unobtrusively helping us along the way. Special family situations, my mother’s passing into eternity, the accident…He has been there holding us quietly the whole time. And now we are in Romania and He calls us to do the same.

Romania sky

So you probably won’t be reading about the amazing things we are doing over here. It looks like we won’t get to help the Orphanage workers take the kids to the ocean. I’m hopeful to visit the baby hospital weekly, and I don’t know when that will start. I’m actually glad it hasn’t started, I still hurt from the accident. So I hang laundry on my balcony and pray over the city.

I’ve realized the things we will be doing won’t seem so amazing, however they are changing me. I’m not in my safe Weimar bedroom with my little schedule anymore. I’m across the world learning how to rest in His grace and the amazing work He is doing.

Jesus says this in the last verse in Matthew 6 – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Pray with us that we can give our entire attention to what God is doing right now here in Romania, and not get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

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I want to be like this amazing Romanian tree – firmly rooted, but always growing…

My Friend Jean

This last Sunday, my husband and I had the privilege of visiting with a long-time friend, Jean and her husband Chuck. She is nine years older than me. We met years ago when we were attending the same church. Years later she came to work for my husband and kept the men on the straight and narrow. They lovingly called her “Mean-Jean”.

She was a woman I always looked up to…I still do.

Jean and Chuck

We knew that recently she’d been through some rough times physically, but when we heard she’d entered hospice at home we were clueless and shocked. So we finally “got together” like we always kept saying we would do. It was a sweet time of reminiscing.

Even though she is weak, her faith is strong. She calmly acknowledged that she knows her days are numbered by her God.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

She stated she has no fear.

I actually have hoped and prayed that I might respond in a similar manner when my time comes.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

That’s what I saw…a beautiful trust in her loving Heavenly Father…and that peace that speaks louder than any street preacher on a corner.

We prayed together…for strength for Jean and Chuck. She is weak and coming to the end of those numbered days. Soon she will be in the presence of her Savior. She is wise enough to not accuse Him of wrongdoing.

Mean Jean…I actually never remember a minute that she was ever mean!

Factual yes, honest, yes…but never mean.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,

for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21:4-5a

Please join me in praying for our beloved Jean!

 

Depression, Mental Illness and the Christian

If you have ever had a headache (pain in your brain) and taken a Tylenol or Advil for relief; then I appeal to you to humbly consider reading this entire post.

Having suffered from chronic fibromyalgia pain for almost 20 years, it is a challenge living in this broken world and yet living a victorious, grateful Christian life.

Over the years there have been subtle accusations of being a hypochondriac, lazy and the idea that fibromyalgia is a pretend auto-immune disease. Just because we don’t understand the “why” doesn’t make something less real. Chronic pain has been a major tool the Lord has used in my life to humble me, make me compassionate and also to teach me how to pray. I am now thankful for this “thorn in my flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) http://bible.us/59/2co.12.7-10.esv

I have been fortunate to have a humble doctor to treat me. He knows that the human body is fearfully and incredibly formed. (Psalm 139) http://bible.us/59/psa.139.13-16.esv

Consequently, he knows that even though he is a very knowledgeable doctor that there is much unknown to him, so he is willing to think out of the box. He is compassionate.

There has been a division within the Christian church with whether “mental Illness” does truly exist. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Rick and Kay Warren suffered the tragic loss of their youngest son, Matthew to suicide. Rick said Matthew had struggled with mental illness for most of his life.

Matthew Warren

What do we know about the mind? Can it become ill? Can it be born with deficits? Do you believe there are Migraines and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

  • The mind is what separates us from other living animals, as we have been created in God’s image with the ability to feel, love, choose, etc. (Daniel 4:16) http://bible.us/59/dan.4.16.esv
  • We know the mind / brain is an organ that is our body’s central control system and we see that eventually it can fail and become diseased like the rest of the body.
  • When we receive salvation something supernatural happens that affects our minds. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) http://bible.us/59/ezk.36.26-27.esv
  • We know the mind is closely tied to other parts of our body. (Prov.15:13) http://bible.us/59/pro.15.13.esv

The Bible talks about a “double-minded man”, “being out of your mind”, “puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind” and also “people who are depraved in mind”.

It also talks about demonic attacks on the mind. In Luke 8:35 – Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

Just as I am commanded to give thanks in all things http://bible.us/59/1th.5.18.esv including chronic physical /emotional pain…we are also commanded throughout the scripture to set our minds on the Lord.

But he (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.         For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”                 Matthew 16:23

I have days that I do this well (setting my mind on the things of God) and days that I don’t do so well. All Christians have this challenge. I suspect Matthew Warren did too.

Thirty years ago before blood bank testing, a close male friend named Richard had a blood transfusion because of surgery complications. He never was well afterward. He contracted two types of Hepatitis along with the new strange HIV virus. How did the church respond? Poorly, like a child might respond.

They didn’t want to believe that God in His sovereignty would allow such heartache to one of His own, even in this broken world. So they concluded the only thing that made sense to them…Richard had to have been a hidden homosexual, probably never was a real Christian. They slandered my friend. I believe it was rooted in fear and self-protection, but it was still very wrong.

Do I believe in the power of Jesus to set people free from illness? Absolutely. Do I believe in the power of Jesus to heal me from fibromyalgia? Absolutely.  However in this broken world, often healing doesn’t come and most of the time sickness makes no sense.

On Richard’s deathbed he quoted Job 13:15 to my husband, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” http://bible.us/59/job.13.15.esv    It made no sense to him, but he knew his Lord.

Let’s not be so arrogant that we think we understand it all. Right now we see in a mirror dimly (we don’t have the whole picture), but one day when the perfect one (Jesus) returns, we shall see face to face! Let’s give up our childish ways….let’s love.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

http://bible.us/59/1co.13.8-13.esv

Also See:Shedding Light on Depression and Thoughts of Suicide by Randy Alcorn http://www.epm.org/connect/quarterly/2013/Feb/7/eternal-perspectives-spring-2013/

 

 

My Rose Blooming in the Desert

friends

The past couple years have taught me so much about relationships. In the midst of pain and struggle the Lord allowed a lost friendship to be rekindled. This was like a rose blooming in the desert.  Dr. Karen Purvis says, “Everyone desires to be heard and accepted”. I believe this is true.

This friend is someone who loves me unconditionally. It is a picture of the love of Jesus.

I call this friend my “face to face” friend as I can live honestly with her, without fear of rejection. Together we are reading a book called, “Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t”. I’ve only read the first third of the book, but things are fitting together in my head…like missing puzzle pieces. Years of confusion are fading away and I can see much clearer now.

This book helps us acknowledge unhealthy traits in a relationship. No one is perfect, that’s for sure! However, if the person is defensive when approached with a problem then this is a red flag. The authors believe unsafe  people fall into one of three categories;

  • “Abandoners” (People who can start a relationship but who can’t finish it)
  • “Critics” (People who take a parental role with everyone they know)
  • “Irresponsibles” (People who don’t take care of themselves or others).

I am grateful that in my sanctification process I’ve been moving out of the role of critic friend. I confess it’s easy to fall back, but generally it’s less and less! I now clearly see specific people who often hurt or manipulate me falling into one of these three categories, along with the red flag of defensiveness. What’s a good friend to do?

In pondering this, I was reminded of Mark Driscoll’s book “Real Marriage” where he talks about different kinds of friendships. He describes three types:

  • “Face to Face” an emotionally intimate relationship
  • “Side to Side” a relationship where you work together towards a common goal
  • “Back to Back” a relationship where you are headed different directions, most likely opposed to one another

This book made me realize I am either “Face to Face” or “Back to Back” in my relationships. Consequently I try to have an intimate relationship with an unsafe person and I am left feeling vulnerable; often hurt and / or manipulated. I often was left with the feeling that I had done something wrong in the friendship and drowning in false guilt.

I love most of these people dearly and I don’t want to turn my back on them. What’s a good friend to do? We need to realize that an “unsafe” person isn’t necessarily a bad person. Most of them are in the process of growing and changing. Those who follow Jesus have the encouraging promise of the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power. I’m purposing to extend grace and love to these people in my life.

I want to walk “Side by Side” with these struggling friends or family members. It can be very good, just not very deep. Just because they are incapable of meeting my desire to be heard and accepted does not mean I turn my back on them.  I can love unconditionally. It is a picture of the love of Jesus.

However I do recognize their limitations at this point. Most of the time these limitations have little to do with me and I don’t need to take it personal. I can protect my heart, and walking “Side by Side” accomplishes that. This actually empowers me to limit my interaction with them and to interact positively. It is much more emotionally healthy and a heck of a lot less frustrating.

I’ve always told my kids, “We don’t have to tell everyone what color underwear we are wearing!” I realize now that what I was really saying is, “Not everyone is a face- to-face friend!”

Healthy, realistic relationships are what helps us be a good friend to all sorts of people.

King Solomon declares in Proverbs 18:24 – “A person who has friends may be harmed by them, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

I am grateful for my rekindled friendship, my rose blooming during my desert time.

Thank you for hearing me and accepting me and loving me unconditionally.

You are a picture of the love of Jesus.