A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance.

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“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As a child, I spent countless hours at our family’s country house, ‘La Morita’. We would travel there every weekend with relatives and friends. The adults would play cards, dominoes or bingo in the evenings after a tasty home-made meal. All of the children would laugh often when sharing stories at the hammocks zone, play Marco Polo at the pool, ride horses in town or hike the mountains at sunrise.

I certainly miss ‘La Morita’. Those memorable times were filled with joy. I don’t remember experiencing any sadness then. Our families were united, loved one another, and were energized by fellowship, outdoor activities and mesmerized by the beauty of nature.

As I grew older, I soon realized life was not ‘picture perfect’. There are moments filled with contentment and other times filled with great distress, anger, emotional pain, grief and/or sorrow.

God promised to be right there with us thru it all – the fun, the boring, the best, the ugly and the worst times.

The Lord is our Refuge. He will never leave us nor forsake us. That is His promise.

When dad passed away, mom relocated back to our home country in South America. Since then, I have only seen her once. We don’t get to walk at the local park nor shop at ‘Sawgrass Mills’ Shopping Center anymore. It has been over two years since I last had a meal with mom at the table. I miss her voice, enthusiasm and most importantly her presence. I wish I could sit with you right now and share the details of my next trip to Florida. The truth is I may never be able to visit mom again and this is a reality I have recently come to terms with. I am in a season of loss, grief and sorrow indeed. It is time to weep, mourn and embrace the loss of mom’s current living situation, geographical distance and deteriorating health conditions.

Are you grieving at this moment, my friend? Are you reminiscing on ‘how’ your past circumstances are quite different than todays? Perhaps, you are facing an ‘unexpected’ loss and you are quite overwhelmed with the intensity and impact of the sudden challenge.

Do not be dismayed or broken-hearted, my friend.

We are in a season of grief but His mercies are new every morning. Today is filled with opportunities for us to briefly reminisce about the past then spend the rest of the time counting our blessings. We have been blessed for all the countless memories and unforgettable moments with our loved ones. They have left their ‘forever’ fingerprints on our minds, hearts and souls. My heart rejoices every time I think of mom.

Let us not dwell on the emotional distress or pain of our recent past. Let us acknowledge our loss, lament and journal our painful thoughts until we are comforted by His promises. Our Lord listens to our melancholic cries and painful thoughts and He comforts our shattered hearts over time.

We will dance once again as soon as our hearts are healed and restored.

Lord, there are so many seasons in our lives and some are difficult to process and get thru. I know we may be in the midst of a tough season. As we lament our losses, we know you are comforting us with your faithfulness, morning mercies and compassion … You hear all of our cries and wipe our tears away. You heal our brokenness and bind our deep wounds. You are our only Hope and Refuge. Turn the gaze of our hearts towards the beauty of all of your promises and fill our hearts with never-ending Hope.

Lord, I’m willing to embrace the new season in life. Spring is here! Flowers are blooming. I want to rejoice once again. Jesus, hold my hand and come with me and waltz together at the dance floor.

In Jesus’ name we boldly pray, Amen.

“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,” Psalm‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm‬ ‭147:3‬ ‭NIV

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm‬ ‭9:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NIV

Photo courtesy: Jared Weiss @ Splasher

There is time for Everything

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In the book of Ecclesiastes, the truth reminds us of…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

It’s time to mourn indeed.

Hidden Bay

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For over fifteen years, my folks lived across this Bay with a panoramic view of North Miami and Aventura.

Mom was vivacious for countless years.

Mom exercised regularly at a Gym and walked daily to a local park, cooked ‘arroz con leche’ often, traveled to Venezuela at least twice a year, played cards with girlfriends, was diligent in taking care of dad and was determined  to overcome her Alzheimers.

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“It’s a new day under the sun”,

I reminded myself as I drank coffee quietly near the pool and momentarily reflected how our lives have forever changed in less than sixteen months.

When dad captured his last breath of fresh air, and waltzed right into the presence of our Lord, family dynamics forever changed.

Mom’s health has deteriorated since then.

Mom gets easily fatigue today. She sleeps often throughout the day, is unable to recollect new information, gets confused at times, is reluctant to wear her dentures, needs supervision, is unable to drive a vehicle, isolates herself, suffers from bodily aches and pains, and disengages from the world often.

The bellyaching fact is mom will never remember how many days  we recently embraced together.

As I hugged and kissed mom, I grasped how our lives will never be the same.

When I approached the counter of Delta airlines, my heart was filled with affliction and sorrow.

Because the Lord is near the broken-hearted, He comforted me as I headed towards the gate, D2.

The Lord reminded me of an inevitable reality,

“In old age, your body no longer serves you so well. Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen. The shades are pulled down on the world. You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt. The hum of the household fades away. You are wakened now by bird-song. Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past. Even a stroll down the road has its terrors. Your hair turns apple-blossom white, Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body. Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest…”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:3-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It’s a new day under the sun, indeed.

The Lord will never leave me nor forsake my beloved mom.

Our lives may have changed. Nevertheless, mom’s unconditional love will always prevail in my heart, and her fingerprints will forever dwell in my soul.

For: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion. Click the image below to purchase:

How Great is Our God

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8, 10-11‬ ‭NIV

 

Balancing Work and Rest!

Ecclesiastes 4:8 NIV

“There was a man all alone;

he had neither son nor brother.

There was no end to his toil,

yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.

‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked,

‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’

This too is meaningless-

a miserable business!”

Empty Boxes. Empty Soul.

How often do I check on-line, compare prices and even read all of the reviews?

Quite often!

It’s the most convenient and expeditious way to shop now a days. Internet access is priceless.

Free shipping and discount notices are enticing.

I’m well acquainted with reputable, on-line shops, take delight in purchasing trendy gifts, totes and fashionable accessories, and even get elated by book releases of an author.

“I need this”, I often tell myself.

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There have been plenty of empty boxes at the end of the day!

An empty soul…

“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Material possessions have never fulfilled the passion of my soul and never will.

After the shopping cart is submitted and items are delivered, the shopping experience ‘pronto’ fades away.

Quick pleasures are temporary and meaningless!

The quest for material possessions will never satisfy anyone’s soul.

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Our souls are sculptured by God’s unfailing love and compassion. When we are embraced in His arms alone, our souls will then be exhaustively satisfied.

When tempted to visit another web site, “Have I spent quality time with my Creator? Have I prayed for God’s wisdom and direction?”

If the temptation is irresistible, stop and pray.

Perhaps, wait a day or two.

I bet our perspective changes once we surrender our cravings and desires.

We may never have multiple, empty boxes at the end of the day to be recycled ever again.