The Lord, Limes, and Pie


I made my first truly homemade key lime pie today. Not the kind that comes in a box and you assemble it together, but instead the from scratch, every single aspect of its deliciousness, kind of pie.  One of my kids has been begging for a key lime pie and the other day I bought a bunch of limes on clearance at the grocery store so I looked up a recipe, and I was surprised at how uncomplicated it sounded.  Graham cracker crust, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, some lime zest and 1 cup of juice from freshly squeezed limes.  Easy, right?  Mixing the first two ingredients together was painless enough and then I began cutting and squeezing the pile of limes in front of me. After dissecting a few of them, I was surprised to discover what little amount of juice each lime actually possessed.  After about the 7thlime or so, and having only about half a cup of juice at this point, my hands started to ache from all of the squeezing.  I wasn’t aware that in order to make a key lime pie from freshly squeezed limes you needed about 500 limes or so! As I’m squeezing, and aching, and now stinging from the juice getting under my nail beds, I thought, this is a lot of work, way too much work for one stinkin pie! In the middle of that thought, my conversation with God last night popped into my head as well. Lately, I’ve been telling Him that 7 kids is a lot of work for one woman and that I should be given some leniency in the whole training up my children part of the deal.  I mean, did He think I was Wonder Woman or something?   I just didn’t feel like it would be fair for Him to hold me to the same sort of accountability standards as mothers who have only 2 or 3 kids. The diligence of consistently training them, showing them, guiding them, setting a good example for them, and being patient with them – that was where I thought He could maybe cut me a break occasionally, especially with the patient part of it all which lately has not always been entirely Galatians 5:22 like.   I feel like I’ve been squeezed about as dry as can be with this fruit, a bit like these limes if I do say so myself.   Each child deserves my patience, each child needs my patience, but my goodness, 7 under 10 – it  would try Mother Teresa’s patience on certain days I do believe.   They still like me and want my attention and that can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining at times as they all tell me anything about everything just about all day long. I’ve been told to cherish these moments because a day is coming, very, very soon, where they won’t necessarily want to talk to me so much anymore, and I’m aware that the days are coming when they start to pull away to discover their independence apart from me.  But right now, in these times, I’m struggling to find the balance between enjoying these precious moments and in not feeling like some worn out, squeezed to death gigantic pile of limes.  And then another thought dawned on me, this used up pile of limes made a beautiful, whole, incredibly tasty pie.  Lord, I’ll keep giving you my entirely squeezed up moments as long as you promise to continue making a beautiful, delectable, mouth – watering pie out of them every time. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” Philippians 1:6.
Just Keep Livin!!

My Prayer

Lately I’ve felt such a defined sense of the beginning and endings of our lives here on earth.  Maybe it has to do with my experiences with the deaths of four people close to me – all in the last 2 years.  Each person played a profound role in my life; first my late husband in 2010, then, my maternal grandfather in 2011, and now both of my paternal grandparents in 2012. The brevity of our time here on earth has been heavy on my heart and on my mind for it truly is like a vapor “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” James 4:14. We are here today and gone tomorrow so how do we make our short amount of time significant?   I’ve been asking, “Lord, What is it really all about?  These lives that you bless us with, what are we supposed to do with them?” I believe many would cringe at the words life and blessing even being used in the same sentence to describe their own lives for I think a vast majority feel a kind of mundane existence on a day to day basis.  Not even necessarily a peaceful or contented existence, but a grindful reality where joy comes from a weekend of not working or a lazy Sunday afternoon watching football or a trip to the mall spending well earned money on more things that nobody really needs.  Where is our joy in this life?  What is the purpose of it all? This prayer has been playing over and over in my mind lately, and God has been imprinting it upon my heart, almost as a daily reminder for all of the “Whys” that I ask.    Maybe it can be helpful to you as well as you ask yourself, what is this all about?  Am I content to live in a sort of dull, lifeless, passionless existence or will I ask God, “What would you have ME do?  How can my life bring you glory Lord with whatever time you see fit to grant me breath?”

Lord, use me today.  Everything within me I give to you for your use and for your glory.  Use my life, every single aspect of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the pains, the deep scars, the beautiful circumstances, my actions, my inactions, my words and thoughts, my obedience, or lack of obedience – May it ALL be used for your glory and to further your kingdom.  Use my past, use my present and use my future to further ignite the ultimate cause –grace heaped upon grace reaching to the farthest corners of this planet and within the darkest crevices of the human soul.   Use the fight in me always for good and never for evil; and use my strength to serve as a battle shield against the firing darts of the evil one. May I never look at life with purely earthly eyes but always allow me the ability to see beyond the here and now and to grasp the big picture even if I don’t understand it in the moment.  Wring my cells, my heart, my mind, my soul, completely empty of everything that can be used, every single drop of talent or ability, it is yours Lord.   May I always give you all the glory until I breathe my last and you call me home, and I leave behind only a pile of nothingness in the spiritual realm as your heavenly angels escort me to your presence.  And last but not least, may I hear the words that every servant of the most High God yearns to hear one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done”. To Him be the glory and the honor and the power forever and ever, Amen.
Just keep livin!!

Who will be my husband in Heaven?

 

We lay my 92 year old Grandfather to rest tomorrow morning. My grandmother passed away one month ago and he was recently overheard sharing with a nurse about his desire to go to Heaven and be with the love of his life. A few weeks later he was granted his wish. They were truly an example of a Godly marriage. 
For 62 years they raised four boys together, pastored several churches, and supported and prayed for eighteen grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.  Together they modeled the fruits of the spirit towards anyone who was privileged to know them.  In remembering their final days, I’ve  often wondered whether or not we’ll be reunited in Heaven with our spouses someday.  Although I do believe we’ll be reunited with them as individuals, I don’t believe we’ll hold the same spousal relationship there as we do here on earth.  
First, from a human perspective, there is some jealousy that arises when I think of my current husband being reunited with his first wife in Heaven while I remain on earth, alone and missing him. Secondly, who would actually be my husband when we all made it there together?  Would I have to pick who I wanted to spend eternity with? Current husband Ryan or late husband Jason? Would they duke it out for my hand in marriage?  Or would neither one of them want me at that point?  The whole situation could get a bit awkward.  Although it’s a romantic thought for some, for others of us, in situations similar to mine, it’s a pretty horrific thought!  It seems like the perfect scenario to incur anger, jealousy, and bitterness – not traits I imagine being present in Heaven. 
I looked to the  Bible for wisdom and  read,
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  Luke 20:34-36 ,
The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question,  saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh.  After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.  But Jesus answered them, You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matt 22:23
The key verse here is when Jesus speaks saying, “You are wrong…For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”  The verse in Luke also reiterates how those who are resurrected from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  Matthew 22:30
A few things stand out to me about these verses. In both verses our resurrected bodies are compared to being like and equal to the angels.  In neither verse do we hear that we become angels as so many people would like to believe when their loved one dies.  How often do we as a society say something like, “Oh she’s an angel looking over you” or “You’ll always have an angel watching you from Heaven.”  These verses clearly state that this is not the case.  Our new bodies will resemble something like the angels, and perhaps this was the clearest example Christ could portray for our frail human minds to understand and comprehend. 
Secondly, I find it interesting that Luke states that when a person is resurrected from the dead, they are neither married nor given in marriage anymore, because they cannot die anymore. What is it about the fact that because we cannot die anymore that leads to the lack of a need for marriage in Heaven?  Christ compared a Biblical marriage as one where the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her Ephesians 5:25. This is what is portrayed Biblically as the premise for a Godly, loving marriage here on earth, one in which the husband lays down his life for his bride, dies to himself and his own selfish ambitions, sacrifices for her, and loves her and in return, the wife, like the church of Christ, seeks to honor, respect, love, cherish and obey her spouse out of the love that he pours out upon her, She does him [husband] good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12. It is this dying to ourselves concept that we see portrayed in this example of marriage. 
Therefore, if we have been resurrected with Christ in Heaven there is no longer the need for the earthly example of marriage.  Instead, we will all have perfected what the true marriage relationship was ultimately meant to showcase; Christ and his bride, together forever in holy matrimony, Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:7-9 
Marriage is no longer required in Heaven because the institution will be fulfilled completely through Christ and his relationship with the church.  So it really doesn’t matter who will be my husband in Heaven.  I will be so filled with the love of Christ as my bridegroom and part of the resurrected church, the most beautiful bride ever, that I will have no need for spousal love; for Christ’s love will fill every aspect of that love that earthly need just as I believe wholeheartedly that both of my grandparents are experiencing right now.
Just keep livin!!

 

What NOT to say to a woman married to a former widower

Due to the accessibility of new thoughts, ideas and people that the internet has welcomed into our lives over the past twenty years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with numerous women like myself who have also married former widowers.  The general feeling amongst this group is that they are sick of being treated a certain way because they married a former widower and are now finding a way to voice their frustrations by connecting with similar women through online forums. These women are,  consciously or unconsciously, often viewed as being involved in a default marriage because there was a previous wife, and if she had not died then they would have never been chosen as a wife. In fact, this is the only group of women (I think), who are expected to not only sit by silently and listen to people repeatedly talk about another woman who their husband was intimate with, but they are also expected to sit quietly with a supportive, loving smile at all times. This role can and often is the most emotionally taxing role a woman will ever be called upon to participate in.

I’m sure the same could be said for a man who marries a widow; however, since men generally are not as emotionally charged as a woman can be – generalization here folks – they are not affected quite like a woman is when she finds herself in this new relationship. 

Rita, an online friend of mine who I connected with via one of these online forums for women who married former widowers, wrote this list which made many of us in the group nod our heads in adamant agreement.  This list, although humorous in nature, details the dos and don’ts for speaking to a woman married to a former widower.  This list isn’t written to condemn those who have muttered the words in ignorance nor is it meant to point a finger at the silent pain that many of these comments can cause, it is merely presented here, with her permission, to educate the public on what is acceptable to say and what is really not acceptable to say. Honestly, I have probably been guilty of muttering one or two of these sayings in the past to an unsuspecting woman who married a widower.

General rule of thumb, we are not the late wife. Do not compare us positively or negatively to her. She did not have to live up to constant comparisons to another woman, and we shouldn’t have to either.  We are not seeking to be her in any way, we are comfortable women in our own skin and with our own unique qualities and personalities, and if it wouldn’t be appropriate to say in a divorce situation, it’s probably not appropriate to say in a late spouse situation either. 

Here’s the list. 

10 things NOT to say to a Former Widower’s Wife.

1. I am so happy that He has someone to take care of him now.  Right, because that is the reason I married my Husband, to fulfill the endless chore list left unfinished by the Late Wife.

2. She was his Soul Mate. *sigh*- Generally this word just makes me shudder. But, how insensitive to assume that God would prematurely take away the one true love that he handpicked for a person, and leave them alone to live out their life of grief and sadness for the rest of their days.

3. I don’t think he’ll ever get over losing her, or love anyone else like he did her – Right. He married me for sex and companionship. The Real Love dies with his previous partner.

4. It’s so sad she won’t ever know her “real” Mother. – It is sad that her first Mom passed away without getting to know her daughter. But, what a blessing that God gave her another Mother to raise her in the land of the living.

5. He sure moved on quickly, were you guys cheating on the late wife?? – What an insult to my Husband, and what an insult to me. Just because we haven’t moved on your time line, or what you think is appropriate does not mean we were acting morally inappropriate. Everyone handles grief differently, and some people just take longer to move forward than others.

6. She was a SAINT! – Yes, as is everyone once they die.

7. At least you don’t have to deal with an Ex Wife. – Oh yes, because that is just SO much easier than dealing with a Saint, etched perfectly and forever in the hearts and minds of everyone you know and love.

8. Oh, her furniture looks so nice in your house! – Sorry, but this is our furniture in our house.

9. She is watching over Him, always. – Really? Well, hopefully not in the bedroom, because that would be awkward for her.

10. She is waiting for him in Heaven! – Okay, great! That should be so fun, when we all get to meet up and play ring around the rosy together! The Husband, and Sister Wives!

And a few bonus ones –

His Wife likes it when…. – Actually, I am his wife. And I don’t like that at all.
“She would be so happy for you” –probably not, I can’t imagine any wife being thrilled with me being with her husband.
Thanks for your input Rita!