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Caring Without Hugs

Our son died many years ago, long before the isolation of the pandemic.  My family and I were embraced with support in every way.  Embraced with hugs, handshakes--the kind where they shake with their right hand and their left hand squeezes your arm, and all those face-to-face conversations over coffee or lingering lunches where friends shared their empathy with warmth and concern.  They asked how we were doing and wanted to know.

 

 

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Our Christmas Star

By December 21, 2020, you would have to have been living under a rock to have not heard about “The Christmas Star.”  Well, I sort of had.  Been living under a rock, that is.  The rock of living in ICU for a few days.  

 

The convergence of Jupiter and Saturn was on my radar, so to speak, but by the time the day arrived, I had almost forgotten.  Then, a friend asked if I was going to look for “The Christmas Star.”  Yes, I thought. Yes.  I will see it.

 

My teenagers were both home, a lucky by-product of a near-death experience and the pandemic.  We could go see it as a family.  We planned to leave the house around 6:45 p.m. and drive to my husband’s office parking deck--the office he had only visited maybe a dozen times since March, mostly to check his mail.  

 

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Finding the Blessing in the Mourning

Living in Colorado this summer and fall was an experience unlike any I had ever had. In fact, it was a summer and fall unlike any that had happened in Colorado history. In five months, from June to October, Colorado experienced its three biggest forest fires in state history. The fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres. In Northern Colorado, the effects of the fire were suffocating (almost literally). Ash fell like snow, gathering as a thick coating of dust over all outside surfaces, the sky turned orange as smoke transitioned the sun's light into an eerie smog that made the Fort Collins landscape look more like a scene from The Martian. The fires were so big and so close that flames could be seen dancing on top of the foothills just outside of town.

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Breathing Life into Dry Bones

It is part of my job to send an email to all the families and team members who were part of a Legacy Retreat when someone from that retreat passes away. Sometimes I feel like I am sending out one of those death notification emails every day. It is overwhelming at times. There is so much loss. The loss of someone’s husband or wife. The loss of someone’s mom or dad. That person was someone’s daughter, sister/brother, friend co-worker. But, those of us who have served many IoH families have served some families that, even though they may be at the very end of their earthly life, they still have SO MUCH life.

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Waiting Room

 

 

Originally written in September 2010, Kristen’s words hold true a decade later.

 

I just heard Jonny Diaz's "Waiting Room" on the radio for the first time.  With another major surgery approaching and the thought of hours waiting for the results, the lyrics immediately captured my attention:

 

Here in this waiting room yearning for You to say go
And though I’m convinced that a yes would be best
This time You’re telling me no

It's not that I don't have an answer
It's just not the one that I'd like
But through this time Lord I must keep in mind
You're always wiser than I

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What Has Happened to Us

 

 

Good morning everyone!  I’m going to begin our time by reading just 5 words from a Bible verse.  In Philippians 1:12, Paul is writing about something bad that happened to him, and he says, “What has happened to me...”

 

Before we see exactly how Paul continues, what about us?  Has anyone here ever had something bad happen in your life?  If you’ve been living on planet earth in 2020, then the answer is yes.  We’ve all had the bad experience of a pandemic happening to us.   

 

How do we respond to that?  What do we say?  We might say things like "What has happened to me/us…

  • has messed up our plans"
  • has messed up our finances"
  • has stressed our relationships"
  • has messed up our work"
  • has messed up our entertainment"
  • has messed up our sense of control"
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Resources and Relationships

 

 

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Hope That Does Not Disappoint

We are Inheritance of Hope. So, I was pondering: what is hope? If you ask most people about hope, they will tell you about their dreams. I hope to retire with enough money to live comfortably. I hope my kids grow up to be happy and healthy people. We think of hope as a maybe. I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend. We think of the word hope as a synonym for wish or want.   Usually our false pursuit of hope is focused on a pain-free life without any suffering. But here we are, walking very realistically into people’s suffering with terminal illness. So, as we ponder our purpose here, are we offering an Inheritance of “I hope so”? I hope not! That kind of hope is disappointing. So, what is hope for us, who call ourselves Christians?

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Who Cares?

No one was there for me when I needed them! How many times have you heard or said this? When the Apostle Paul was in prison and his friends in Philippi weren’t there for him, you have to wonder if he was tempted to feel this way. If you were in prison, especially for a just cause, I imagine you’d expect your friends to be there for you. It seems like the time you’d need them the most! If they didn’t come through for you, you’d likely feel let down and like they must not have really cared about you. Paul shows us a different way to respond, though.

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The Promises of God

I’m going to start off by telling you about a family we served. This family went on the California retreat in August of 2018. The mama of this family passed away about 6 weeks ago. And a few weeks after she died, the dad texted this:

 

“Isn’t it hard for you to get to know so many people that end up passing away? And after asking you that, we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity it was to come out to Cali and spend time with you and everyone else. I was texting Jon [their volunteer] and told him when I get things settled and in a routine I wanted to volunteer and give back to some families. Jon, Olivia, you, Brian... you will be lifelong friends for us. The experience you provide is priceless.”

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