About four years ago if anyone asked me about my life I would have told them I felt very blessed. I had a great husband, lived in a beautiful home, had no money worries, my kids all seemed to be pretty much settled with their spouses, and I had 20 beautiful grandchildren. What else could any person ask for from this life?
Then in 2011 my husband started having stomach trouble and we found out it was pancreatic cancer. He went in the hospital in early November, 2011 to have Whipple surgery (removal of all or part of the pancreas) and when they opened him up the doctor saw that his liver had some suspicious spots so he did a biopsy and found the cancer had already metastasized to his liver. He didn't have the Whipple surgery. They closed his incision and told us he had three to six months to live.
I have friends who didn't have any time to say goodbye to their husbands because of an accident or a sudden heart attack and their only wish is that they could have said goodbye. I had four and a half months to say goodbye but it just wasn't enough. It went by so quickly and the days were filled with medical urgency and no emotional fulfillment, only the pain of watching him slowly die.
“Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with 'ashes.”
Our lives can be changed in the twinkling of an eye and if our blessings are counted purely upon the people we love, the money we have in our pocket, and the home we live in, it can all be gone in the twinkling of an eye, then where will our blessing be?
Of this one thing I am sure: For every ending there is a new beginning around the corner. When one door in our life is closed, another one is opened. It may not be what you expected, but God has something waiting for you.
When my step dad passed away a few months ago, I came to live with my mother who has Alzheimer's disease. I have never considered myself a "caregiver." My mother was always the "caregiver" of the family. If someone was sick she was the one who would volunteer to take care of them. I never considered myself a caregiver, but God did.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
I was reluctant to leave the home my husband and I bought together and I thought I could never give it up because it was such a part of him, but I found after I left that it is a relief not to go outside and see the empty dock where his boat was once tied up. It's a relief not to see that grapefruit tree that he jokingly said "I'll never live long enough to see fruit on this tree," and it has had fruit every since he's been gone. I never knew it was a burden to live there, but God did. I didn't know I would feel better to leave, but God did.
Our lives may change in the twinkling of an eye, and it may feel that all we have left is ashes, but God can take our ashes and make something beautiful.
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "the Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."