death

Aunty Fay

 

aunty-fay

Aunty Fay with my little sister Abby as a baby in 2008.

My Aunty Fay (Mum’s aunty) died last week. Her funeral is today.

She really loved Jesus.

The past four years, she was here in body but not in mind – dementia.

So when I heard the news, I was relieved she is now in heaven with her Saviour she loved so much.

And the thought stuck with me – she’s there! She’ll never struggle again. All her worries are left behind. Her earthly mission is complete, and now she’ll celebrate forever.

It really makes you realise how life is short, and we only have a limited time to fulfill our purpose here.

In heaven, everything’s taken care of. Our time on earth is the only time we can glorify God by obeying him, even when it’s hard.

Boy, I want to have purpose.

It’s so easy to get distracted by work, friends, building my house, writing my book, just constructing what I hope will be a ‘successful’ adult life.

I find it easy to get discouraged, to let things worry me, to fixate on the things that aren’t going the way I want.

But in heaven, I’ll see God. I won’t need to believe, because I’ll see.

This time on earth is my one chance to HAVE FAITH, even when things aren’t looking hopeful. It’s my chance to be OBEDIENT when it’s easier not to be. It’s my chance to STAY FOCUSSED ON MY PURPOSE – GLORIFYING GOD, when I can’t see Him in front of me.

So please help me with that, God.

How the Realness of Heaven Affects the Reality of Now

What will heaven be like?

Copyright Creationswap. Image by Michael Andrews of Cut Bank, MT, and Jason Rutel.

I have always hated discussing Revelations with my Christian friends.

I’ve been in the ‘as long as I get to heaven I don’t care about the details’ camp for years. Going into any more detail always raised questions and arguments and unpleasantness. But the past three weeks of Bible study have changed all that.

After going through Craig Groeschel’s ‘The End’ series, our group of twenty-somethings asked a bucket load of questions about what we do in heaven, how the end times will work, what happens when we die and more. We got honest answers from older members of our church, and the discussion has shifted my view on Revelations. It’s no longer weird and unfathomable—it’s a mind-blowing reinforcement of how much God loves us.

Three of the main points I took away from the study were that:

1. In heaven we will be in relationship with God;

2. We will glorify God;

3. We will have responsibilities or even ‘rule’; and,

4. Our actions on earth affect stuff in heaven (I think).

Now don’t ask me anything too specific about these points, because I don’t know exactly how it will work. But for me, these points are a big departure from most people’s childhood heavenly imaginings of an eternal church choir.

Let’s start with the first point; eternal relationship with God. I found this one hard to picture, but Craig Groeschel said something that helped. He said to picture your favourite moments in life. For me, I think of our Sunday afternoon family lunches at my uncles’ houses. I spent so many hours as a teenager eating BBQ chicken and chips at their homes, laughing at the family banter and listening to story after story.

Now, take that favourite moment, multiply it by a million and you’re still nowhere near to how good heaven will be. 

My puny brain cannot comprehend an eternity of relationship—if I’m honest, it sounds boring. But an eternity of Sunday lunches with my family and God? Now you’re talking!

For the second point—glorifying God—I picture a big concert. But I wonder if glorifying God isn’t just limited to singing? What if it’s also tied in with point three; heavenly responsibilities?

I have no idea if I’m way off base here, but when the Bible says we will ‘rule’, I picture a mix of Narnia and heavenly jobs. And if there’s jobs, that means there could be a possibility that I’ll be a heavenly writer.

YAY!!!

When I write, it feels like I’ve tapped into some trickle of a heavenly drug that says, ‘This is what you were born to do’. Even though I get plagued by insecurities about it all the time, I still know these fingers were made to type. So the image of heaven as the ultimate realisation of writing for God’s glory is a super exciting thought.

And this now leads me to point number 4—what we do on earth affects what responsibilities we are given in heaven.

Now, this is not something I’m certain about. But our study this week suggested it was a possibility. And I like the thought, because life on earth often feels so insignificant. I work so hard on my writing,  but there’s a chance no one will ever see it. And even if they do, will it impact them enough to be worth the pain of writing it? And just the effort of life in general; grocery shopping, going to work, ugh—what’s the point?

But this would indicate that the Christian life isn’t just the sinner’s prayer, and then a long wait for heaven. What we do now counts; it has meaning and purpose. My attitude matters and has flow-on effects, whether I’m grocery shopping, working, writing or doing whatever. I like to think that our lives have more significance than just the here and now.

But more important than any of my self-focused dreams of a fun heaven is the underlying theme beneath these four points; God loves us A LOT.

He’s not some superhero who rescues people and then disappears from their lives. He’s going to an amazing amount of effort to prepare a home for us to live with Him. It blows my mind that He not only agreed to spend eternity with us tiny little people, but He’s looking forward to it! The feeling I get from Revelations is that He can’t wait!

Wow. Just wow. You’re awesome, God.

Big Surprise

I was nervous when I submitted my latest guest blog post for Angela D Meyer’s website—until I received an email that blew me away.

Angela D Meyer

To backtrack, when I was trying to decide what to write, I noticed that Angela’s guidelines allowed short stories. My mind jumped to a story I wrote a few months ago, Nightmare. I thought it was the one most likely to connect to her demographic of readers.

The next morning, when I sat down to look at the story and decide whether to use it, I had an overwhelming feeling that the story was too strange. People don’t read short stories very often, and this one was different to the other stories I’d written so I wasn’t too sure about it.

But I looked at my other ideas for a blog post, and I just wasn’t feeling it. I flicked open my Bible on a whim, wondering if a verse would hit me in the face. The page landed on Isaiah 55:9 (NIV); “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

I figured that was pretty obvious. I might not think that people would connect with the story, but maybe God had other ideas. I sent it off to Angela, letting her know that if she didn’t like it I could do something else.

The story tells the experience of a young mother in hospital, waiting to hear if her infant son, Josiah, will live or die. It addresses the topic of where God is when we’re in pain.

I got this email back from Angela:

“Just read your short story. I love it. Very powerful. I have had 2 miscarriages and one of the babies we named Josiah. The emotions that threaten to pull you down can be overpowering. I am sure this story will be relatable to many women who have lost babies. Have you experienced this yourself? The emotions you voiced hit the mark.”

Wow. I was stunned. What a co-incidence! And I almost didn’t send it!

For the record, thankfully I have not experienced a miscarriage. I am not a mother, but I do have a six year-old sister, and my worst case scenario is something happening to her or another member of my family. I wrote the story out of a desire to better comprehend God’s attitude toward human suffering.

So, it looks like even though I wasn’t too sure about what I was doing, God knew better than me what was going on!

If you’d like to check out my guest post—and the rest of Angela’s site— click here.

Nightmare

What use is God when we’re in pain?

It’s a tough issue.

I wrote this short story, Nightmare, as a reminder to myself of God’s character.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.” Hebrews 4:15

Nightmare

It’s not your usual cheery Christmas fare, but hopefully it’s still good. 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!