Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rose and the Storm

Well, the storm has passed. It was "unprecedented" for this area. It was big. It was scary. There were many warnings, and trips to the grocery store showed the evidence of this as shelves were emptied as people began to prepare to stay indoors for up to a week. Fortunately the storm actually turned and went around us. We had some high winds and lots of rain, but kept our electricity through out the storm as well as a dry basement. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors and our favorite vacation spots, did not fare as well. The Jersey and Delaware shores were devastated and those cities were flooded. It's unbelievable and even sickening to look at the pictures of what the storm did to those well-known and loved cities. Some lost their lives. Very sad.

It was very difficult to go through such a major event without Todd. He was my protection, and I always felt so safe when he was here (especially when he came home from work during a snow storm or other dangerous situations). It was so good to have him here. It was so safe. This storm made me feel so alone and so fearful, despite having our six children all here and knowing that I had a Heavenly Father who was watching over us and protecting us. God was VERY good to us. I am amazed and humbled by His protection and care for us and our home through the "Super Storm Sandy."

Today I noticed the rose. Todd had given me this rose bush before he died, because he used to give me roses all the time. He wanted to be sure "he" kept giving them to me even though he was not here physically. Every time they bloom, I think of his love and care for me and our family. I love him so much! After the storm, I noticed a rose in bloom, intact, healthy, looking beautiful. Thank you, Todd. Thank you, Father in heaven.

....such a beautiful reminder that Todd was with us in spirit through the storm, and that God, our loving Heavenly Father, was here protecting and caring for me like no human being could ever do!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Believers in Jesus Christ and Politics

In less than two weeks Americans will be voting for who they would like to be their next President. This is only the second time I have faced this decision without Todd by my side. We voted every time the polls were open, and we made it a point to bring our children and show them what it was like. We made those afternoons or evenings into a fun, family night. I will never forget walking to the fire station as a family to vote, and then waiting with Todd late into the night to see the outcome. We would talk, and we almost always agreed about our thoughts on politics and politicians and the media. We were a team. It was just part of life.

That all changed, as you probably know, and 4 years ago I faced the election for our President alone. I felt confused. I did my best to keep up with the latest news on the candidates and even watched the debates. I listened to other believers in Jesus Christ, and found myself listening and following their example. I did what they did and thought what they thought. And I missed Todd. A lot.

This year, as the election was drawing closer, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to stay away from the media (although I did watch the debates), stay away from political conversations at church, and just be alone. After all, I am alone. I prayed to my Heavenly Father a lot. I still am. I don't know what to think anymore, and as my children are now older and asking questions, I find myself confused and missing Todd more than ever.

Recently I re-connected on face book (big mistake) and began reading my friends' thoughts on politics. At first I was alarmed at the disrespect I heard for the President of the United States. I knew that was wrong, but these were believers! So I began questioning their thoughts. I responded to a friend's thoughts, against all reasoning not to do so, bringing up Scripture and some of the questions my children have been asking me, as well as my own thoughts on the matter. Well, I was apparently very wrong. I was mistaken. I was "ignorant" of the facts. I was told I needed to vote for someone who I don't want to vote a Christian. It was my duty to do so.

Now if any of you know me well, you will know that I don't like to be told to do something that I don't want to do. I tend to have a slightly rebellious streak, but very slightly. :) My first thought was to ask Todd, but I can't do that. So then I asked my Father, which obviously is not the same at all. I longed to hear His Voice speaking back to me, and I remembered that He communicates to us through the Bible, so I went to the Scriptures. I prayed a lot, read a lot, got confused, and now I'm not sure what I believe any more.

I was always told Christians have a responsibility to be involved in politics, yet I can not find anywhere in the Bible where God tells me to get involved. I realize there was no democracy like we have in the United States in Biblical times; however, there certainly are examples and teachings from Jesus and Paul about our involvement in government. We are to be respectful. We are to obey. We are to be servants. God established government for our protection. No where, however, can I find a command to "speak out" and vote just for the sake of voting another person out of office.

I understand our freedoms, but then again, I don't really understand them. Are these God-given rights truly given to us by God? God never told us we had the right to life, liberty, nor the pursuit of happiness...these are all given to us by a piece of paper that MAN wrote, not God. In fact, God told us we would have persecution and difficulties if we chose to follow Him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am confused. I want to stand before the Lord one day, and have Him greet me with a smile and "well done." Why are we here? We are here to tell others the gospel. We are here to share our salvation with the lost world. Nothing else matters!!

Yes, I continue to pray for America, for our President and leaders, and hope and ask for God's blessing on this land. I love America! I am, however, not sure how followers of Jesus Christ should be reacting in 2012 at the polls. I pray we continue to spread the Good News, no matter what is in our future as a nation. May God, the Creator of it all, be our number one priority, and obeying His Words to "Go and tell every nation..." about Jesus!

I wonder what Todd's thoughts on all of this are he looks down from heaven and knows the "whole picture." Life is short. I want my life to count for eternity!

...please feel free to respond with comments, but know that this was written from my heart, in search of Truth. These words are not intended to cause strife or debate, especially among believers. Just so confused...