Tuesday, June 26, 2012

...For They Will Be Comforted Amen!

Hi Friends~

I know I said I would take a few days to recover from our big trip to my FIL's 90th Birthday,  Wow, did I need it, plus it has been pouring and tornado warnings just about every day. That really takes it's toll on my body.  While up north Dave and I walked around a bit of Washington D.C.  We took the metro (a train that goes underground)  And, we really were focused on seeing the rather new Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument.  It was amazingly huge.  It had quotes of his, around him on walls, and the statue of the man looked as if he was saying "Don't mess with me." It was wonderful to see people of all colors sitting and standing and just remembering and being hopeful.

We also saw, by accident, the WWII monument.  It was majestic, and beautiful, it had large fountains in the center, and a huge piece of marble cut in a rectangle around the fountain, to represent each state in a circle around it.  It had the engraved name of each state on it, as well as a beautiful metal wreath attached to it.  At the entrance, you walk through this entrance and there are 3 enormous, metal eagles with ribbon above us.  It was such a grand monument.  So beautiful...so sad, and so happy that we are past that.  I want to take a trip into the city to see a different monument every time we go up to see Dad...about every 3 months.

This past weekend, Dave and I drove 3 hours each way to visit our 3 grand-sons and their parents, of course.  It was such a wonderful visit, and the children were so well behaved, even after being cooped up in the house for what must have seemed like forever to them.  I started writing this at 3:30am this morning to try to avoid the stormy lightning which means "lights out" here in Central Florida. 

Speaking of Central Florida, are any of you going to the "STAMPfest" in Orlando this weekend? I am so excited to go with my mother.  I would really like to meet any of you.  :)  My email is on the side bar...let me know if you will be there. Perhaps we could meet.

I hope you have read the last post.  It was written by Pastor Larry Libby for the Discipleship Journal from November/December 2003.  As you may know, we have been reading and sharing about the Beatitudes.  He had some fabulous insights for the first half of the Scripture: "Blessed are those who MOURN."  Well, today we will be finishing up Matthew 5:4 (at least for now.)  We will be focusing on the second half of this Verse...God's promises..."For They Will Be COMFORTED."  Again, I will be sharing excerpts of the article that deal with this section.  (If you have any thoughts or anything that you have learned about this Verse, please share it in the comment section.  It is a place to exchange knowledge...I'm sure we would all want to read what you say...we are here to encourage each other also, so if you have a prayer need, please don't hesitate to let us know.)  I suggest everyone read the comments from the last post, there were wonderful truths to read about dealing with grief.  A winner of the He IS Able Blog Card Set will be chosen on Thursday...maybe even more than one!  So, please be sure to leave a comment, before midnight on Tuesday next week.


This is what Pastor Libby finished the first part with:
"I am in distress, my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;  my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak."
(Psalm 31-9-10 Written by David.)
For now, there are other days.  Days when the storm parts, when the clouds become sheer, and I glimpse another time, another land, another place.  Through tears, I see comfort. On up ahead.  It will come.

For now, there is mourning.  I am sad for the loss of my companion and best friend.  I grieve for the years we might have shared had God spared her.  I grieve for my children, who must navigate the rest of life without their mother who loved them.  I struggle with the loneliness, the heaviness, and the days when the bottom seems to drop out of life altogether.

BUT, it will not always be so.  COMFORT WAITS AHEAD.  I have seen it through the clouds.  I have glimpsed it on the edge of the storm.
A mountain of white.
A sky of blue.
A land golden with morning light.
I am heading in that direction.  One day I will leave this climate zone for that one.  I will see Jesus, and I will see Laura.

Is my comfort, then, all future?  IS there nothing today?

There is and it is this:  Through the worst year of my life, the darkest 12 months I can imagine. I have found the best of friends.  At one time, friends were a pleasant accessory to life, a nice diversion.  Now, I need them desperately, and my brothers and sisters in Jesus have walked steadfastly by my side.

And I have found my Savior as never before.  I used to pray politely, using all the right phrases.  Now I cry out like a lost and lonely child.  I have prayed on my face.  I have reached for the hem of His garment.  I have held my arms aloft in the darkness of the night, needing the firm grasp of His hand.
I never used to pray that way.  I never used to to hope that way.  Now I do.
In the middle of the storm, I have found those who walk with me.  When the storm parts, if only for a moment, I have seen comfort shimmering on the horizon...Not so far away."
I hope everyone learned at least one thing about grief.  I learned quite a bit.  And, I really like this Pastor's writing style.  This was all taken directly from the magazine, Discipleship Journal.  I just love how much information they squeeze into one issue.  Next week, we will fine some very interesting information on the Beatitude "Blessed are the MEEK, for they will INHERIT the earth."  (Matthew 5:5)

I am kind of grieving in the future right now.  My son will be going to an Air Force base in England very soon...for 2 years...and then 3 years minimum to go somewhere after that.  That is a very long time for this Mom to go with only 2 visits. He'll come home once, and hopefully, we will go up there once.  I am grieving what we will be missing out on.  He's getting sad about it, also. He won't even share his new current mailing address.  He told me he'd better get used to not getting birthday or Hanukkah or Christmas or Thanksgiving cards...I told him the mail will reach him.  He just doesn't want to think of what he is missing out on.  But, he will have so much to do there.  The 22 year old (past) Traci is envious of the opportunities he will have there.
I can't wait to read your comments about grieving and being comforted. If you are grieving about ANYTHING, please...open your heart, share your pain with us...you don't have to use names. We would love to help carry your burden. Most of us think of grieving as a death. It could be a divorce, a job lost, a child going off to college...leaving you with an empty nest...even a pet passing causes grief. We are here for you! And, believe me, we get so much encouragement and ideas from you...it is a two-way street.
So sorry this post rambled on.  I had a lot to share.  I will be here Thursday, and hope you will be here also!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Blessed are Those Who MOURN...

Hi Friends~

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend, and are beginning your week off with some quiet time with the Lord, and fun activities...maybe making some cards? This is a HUGE card making week for me.  My Mom's birthday, my FIL's birthday, one of my step-son's birthday, 3 Father's Day Cards (Dad, FIL, and my husband).  Whew!  Let's hope I can get them all made!  We are going up north to visit Dave's family.  It is his father's 90th birthday on Saturday!  And, then Father's Day will be wonderful with all of the Dads there.  Anyhoo...I will be taking a few days off. 

I wish that you would all subscribe to this blog.  It is on the top of the right side column.  You put your email in...and whenever I am able to post...you get a notice in your email.  I can't see your email. Since I am disabled, and hurt so much so often, it is a good idea, because that way if I miss a post, and decide to write it when I am feeling good...on a day that isn't my usual post day--Tuesday and Thursday.  You would be notified when I do write.  Please think about it.  It really is innocent.  No awards. It just keeps you from missing cards and posts.


Today I wanted to share a writing from Pastor Larry Libby.  He wrote it in the series on the Beatitudes in the November/December 2003 issue. of Discipleship Journal. 
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."  (Matthew 5:4)
He wrote about how his wife had gone to be with the Lord only a year before writing this piece.  He remembered those words in the Beatitudes and seemed angry.  He asked, "Yet where is the blessedness of mourning?  Where is the comfort?"  He continued in the following excerpts:
What I hear in Jesus' words these days is ssomething like this:  "If you are filled with grief today, don't give in to black despair.  Cling to My promise:  It will be better.  The worst is here now, having its day.  But the better is coming.  Comfort is coming.  I tell you it is almost here."
As temporary residents of a fallen world, we mourn for many reasons.  We grieve over missed opportunities, broken dreams, unfulfilled desires, personal failures, dashed expectations, and difficult curcumstances.  We weep over lost health, lost innocence, annd lost security.  Disappointment and sorow are as much a part of our planet's atmosphere as nitrogen and oxygen.
But Jesus, who is in a position to know, says it won't always be so.  He says comfort is coming.  I can hold on to that assurance.  And, I do, as best I can.  I may not be able to explain it, but I cling to His Words and wait on Him.
Sometimes in his car on this one area he can see so clearly.  He can see the tiniest details on the mountain tops.  Other times there will be terrible storms where he can't even see the mountains.  He continues:  Some days that has been the way with my sorrow, too.  The storm closes in, obscuring all.  I can't see more than a few feet.  I mourn.
With David, I whipser my pain into gathering darkness:
"I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.  My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;  my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak."
(Psalm 31:9-10)

I think we will stop here...on the first part of this Scripture...

"Blessed are those who mourn... We will continue with... for they will be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) next week.

How do you deal with the death of a loved one?  What if they were not Saved at the time?  Had you tried to witness to them?  This is my hardest subject to deal with in life.  When my Jewish Grand-Father died, I was in such deep grief.  I asked several of my Christian friends (from the internet) what to do.  They all told me that He is just; He is fair, Trust in Him, Pull closer to Him.  I found myself a bit angry with God, and I could not face the number of relatives who would die and not go to Heaven.  It was just too big for me to deal with.  It still is, even though I have a much closer relationship with the Lord now.  So, I am asking you...How do you get through these times---especially if they were not yet Saved?  I would love to read your reply in the comment section.  Write as much as you want.  I promise you--it will comfort more people than just myself.  Oh, that was another answer my Christian friends reminded me of--talk with, pray with, cry with, laugh with other Christian friends.  Thank you so much for being here.  I appreciate you so very much.  God bless!
He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two He IS Able Card Set Winners!

Hi Friends,

I apologize for taking so long to write.  We have had so much going on.  It was great to see Josh just last weekend.  Wow, it seems like it was so long.  I miss him so much.

I was supposed to post on Thursday...but spent a couple of days in the hospital instead.  No, not for me.  Dave went to the hospital with chest pains, and it took two days for them to be sure he didn't have or wasn't having a heart attack.  Dave is home now...doing fine.  Even went on a short hike on Sunday.  They aren't sure what is causing the "twinges" as he now calls them.  I wish we had a definite answer of what was happening and what to do.  The cardiologist told him he has a heart that is in such great shape he should be able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound."  I have been recovering.  It took a lot out of me emotionally...and I stayed in the chair in the room all night and days...so it caused me quite a bit of physical pain.  We both feel he had very good, thorough doctors, nurses and techs looking out for him.  So, life goes on.  And, I am so thankful that the Lord spared Dave.  I don't know how I would go on without him.  OK-----

I have a couple of He IS Able Card Sets to give away.  These cards are donated by other card-makers.  We try to have A2 size cards that are mostly blank inside---so the person can leave a message telling about their love for the Lord, or appreciation for how He has acted in his or her life.  The outside of the cards can be decorated in any way, using any materials or techniques.  We prefer to have Scripture on the cover, or Christian symbols.  This helps to further the Great Commission.  Share His Word. 

One of the recipients of the Card Set with 3 cards wrote:
"Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for a while... Just wanted you to know about a website i started ReadYourBiblesChurch.com... It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless!"

Please email me with your mailing address!  I will be stopping by your website soon.  You may leave comments of any type here...including prayer requests.  Please be sure to contact me before next Tuesday at Midnight, or you will lose your cards.  I can only afford to mail these packages within the United States, if you don't live here, please still contact me-there are other ways to get the cards.

The other recipient of the Card Set wrote this:
"Great introduction. I'm really looking forward to the excerpts you will be sharing on each of the Beatitudes! Thank God that Jesus Christ is not only our Teacher but also our Savior - transforming us into what we should be (like Him)! I so appreciate the time you take to research and share such wonderful teachings with us! Have a wonderfully blessed day!"
Congratulations Charlotte Ann!  What a beautiful comment!  We will continue our walk through the Beatitudes on Tuesday.  We will be talking about the Beatitude that reads, "Blessed are those who MOURN, for they will be COMFORTED."  Please send me your address via email again.  This lets me know you are interested in more cards. My email is located on the right side bar.
Please join me on Tuesday so that we can all share our thoughts after reading some of Pastor Larry Libby's thoughts on the Beatitude,  "Blessed are those who MOURN, for they will be COMFORTED."  I am sure there will be many different opinions and stories shared after reading the post.  I look forward to reading your opinion. 
Please leave a comment so that you will be eligible for next week's He IS Able Card Set Give Away!  God Bless!
He IS Able!
Traci S.
p.s.  I have no idea why Blogger is posting part of the writing as a column.  Has anyone run into this problem on your own blog or someone elses?  Thanks for any input.