death Tag



10 Oct 2013 Posted by Jillian in Blog, Drawing Near to God, Motherhood, Quest for Contentment

(I wrote this on paper 3 weeks ago, but did not get a chance to type it out) I am sitting here ready to board an airplane.  My husband and kids are at home.  I am traveling solo, so I have a little “quiet” time, and I am reflecting on this verse:   “Yet I am always with you; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And the earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:23-26).   I am not afraid of flying.  I am pretty sure I have boarded an airplane every year (sometimes several times a year) since 1980.  Let’s just say, I have been on a lot of airplanes.   Now that I am a wife and a mom, if I fly without my husband and kids, flying feels a lot more vulnerable than it did as a kid.  I am still not afraid of flying, but I have found a tiny fear of dying, and for some irrational reason, getting on an airplane feels like walking into a potentially life-threatening scenario.  It is completely irrational.  I know that.  I know that the statistics point to the fact that I have a greater likelihood of dying in a car crash than an airplane crash.  I do not think about dying every time I get in a car – probably because I do that more often.  Let’s just call the fear irrational and move on.  This blog post really is not about flying, it is about dying.   Due to the fact that I am traveling alone and I soon have to get some tests done to see if I might have to battle the scary “C” word (cancer), I have been doing a lot of pondering about how I feel toward God if “all the days ordained for me (that were) written in his book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139), were a smaller amount of days than I think or would like.   Aside from the normal…

Death and Destiny

24 May 2013 Posted by Jillian in Becoming More Like Jesus, Blog, Drawing Near to God, Infertility, Quest for Contentment

As you know, if you read my previous blog, we have spent the past week mourning the loss of a dearly loved family member.  As we process and grieve, we have naturally had a multitude of thoughts and feelings flood through.  What IS heaven really like?  What will it feel like when my soul leaves this earthly body?  What is grandpa experiencing RIGHT NOW?  What will it be like for Grandma to adjust to a new normal after spending well over 60 years sharing this earthly space with her loved one?  How does God determine who gets to live for a long time on earth and who only gets a short time?   Somewhere amidst all of the questions and wonderings, in popped a verse:  “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).   Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.   For years (long before I came into the picture) the house of Grandma and Grandpa was a house of feasting.  Up until a few years ago, they had their entire family (3 children + their spouses, plus all grandchildren and eventually their great-grandkids) over for all of the major holidays.  They selflessly cooked a large, delicious meal and fed everyone.  The house of feasting is great and full of memories.  I can testify to that fact.  Yet, God says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning.”  Why is that?   Here is what I have come up with:  When we are feasting, we are focused on and delighting in the material world, a world that will eventually fade away.  When we are mourning, we are mindful of a world (or realm) beyond the one in which we are living.  THAT world is the ultimate destiny of every person.   It is tough to be mindful of the unseen when there are so many things to be seen in front of our face.  Distraction is a powerful tool of the enemy.  Therefore, we must be intentional about remembering our ultimate destiny, and we must be equally intentional about living…

Faithful Servant – John Izenbaard

16 May 2013 Posted by Jillian in Becoming More Like Jesus, Blog, Drawing Near to God, Trust

The world lost one of the most admirable men I have ever known today, and heaven welcomed a saint.  His name was John Izenbaard.  There is no irony in the fact that he died planting flowers, with a shovel in his hand.  If ever there was a man who touched more lives and planted more seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven, it was Grandpa.  He left the lives of people he touched more beautiful than before they encountered him.   He worked at the same hardware store, nestled in the heart of the city of Kalamazoo for 75 years and 2 weeks.  He started on his 16th birthday.  Yes, he worked there for that long.  He was at work this morning.  He sought no recognition for his (I’m sure world-record breaking) loyalty and dedication.  He faithfully served, giving of his expertise, fixing anything and everything that was brought his way.   I have known him for the past 14 years and his loss feels like losing my own grandpa.  I loved him dearly and admired him greatly.  One of the greatest things I admired about him was that he genuinely loved Jesus and unabashedly spoke of God’s faithfulness.  I remember talking with him one time when he was in the hospital about a year ago.  He was fighting pneumonia and was in good spirits as he was recovering.  He said that the doctors had asked him about what lengths he would like them to go if he needed to be revived.  He said something to the effect of “Don’t bother.  I know where I am going and I am not afraid.”  I had all I could do to hold it together that day in the hospital as he said this.  I believed him 100% and wondered if I had the same unwavering hope as he.  I saw his strength and his solid faith and I was inspired, but the thought of this world being without him was heart-breaking to put it lightly.   Death, and its finality and unknown territory, is difficult for anyone to face.  We all have to face it at some point and no one is ever ready.  Sometime after telling my daughter, Alliyah, that Great-Grandpa had gone to be with Jesus,…

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