Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Bus Project

Six months ago my husband sat me down and said he had something to "run by me." Hesitant I sat and listened while he explained to me his desire to sell our second car. My first thought was "this is crazy-the car is payed off already!" I mean, who doesn't want a second car around for the "just in case" times? He went on and on about how he wanted to take the bus (and we don't live in a city where people take public transportation-most people have their own cars and just drive). If he took the bus to and from work we would not need his car. We could save money by not paying insurance, the money from selling the car, and the random repairs that come up, not to mention gas money(which is basically a wash b/c he would have to actually by a bus pass). He answered every question I threw at him. I could see how excited this idea made him so I said "alright, but first you have to take the bus and try it out before we just up and sell the car." 

So he did. He's been taking the bus to work and back now for 3 weeks and really enjoying it. And here are a few of the changes I've seen come of it, changes for the better:

1) We now walk together the 8 blocks to and from the bus stop to drop him off. When I add in an extra loop down a side street I can log one mile in the morning and one in the afternoon-score! Exercise without trying!

2) More family time. Before he had to leave earlier because he had to park far away and take a shuttle to his department. Now we get about an extra 15-20 minutes at home each morning before walking out the door because the bus drops him off RIGHT outside his department. 

3) More awareness of the community-after a few days of standing out waiting for the bus after work Nathan noticed that there was no bench or cover. He's looking into contacting the city to see about getting something out there for the people waiting to sit on and be sheltered under while they wait. If the city does not provide it he will ask his employer-something as simple as a bench could go a long way.

4) Less stuff to worry about. Honestly I'm now looking forward to selling the car to have one less thing to worry about and maintain. 

5) Nathan has more time to "decompress" on the way home, since he isn't driving. That means by the time he sees us he is ready to transition into the "daddy!!!!" mode easier.

Those are just some of the benefits in the first few weeks. Will it always be easy? No, I'm sure the winter months will be challenging to get to and from the bus stop, but I'm confident we can figure that out as it comes. What really sealed the deal was when Pope Francis put out his latest encyclical entitled "Laudato Si’"or "Care for our common home." Read it online free here. There is even a small section on public transportation ( I knew I had officially lost this argument when I saw that!)

So for now-we are set to try and sell Nathan's car. Hoping to sell it in the next month or so. I'll keep you posted on the bus project!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Love as strong as Death

Nathan and I just celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary last month. I took some time to look back through our wedding album. That's when I saw this-

The wedding cake. I looked closer at what I already knew-the words on the cake. They had been taken from Song of Songs and say "Set me as a seal on your heart, set me as a seal on your soul." Then the bottom layer "For love is strong as death," also from Song of Songs 8:6. DEATH-who puts the word death on their wedding cake?I had to stand back and chuckle because duh-we do. 

When Caleb died God released a calling on our lives to minister to other families who have experienced the death of their children. At first people told me I was just doing it for "now" and eventually, when we had living kids, I would leave it behind. But we didn't, and maybe some look at what we do as dragging our feet in the past and not moving on-but that's not the case. God has called me to this field of death, much like the prophet Ezekiel:

"The hand of the Lord came upon me and He led me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the plain, which was now filled with bones. He made me walk among them in every direction so that I saw how many there were on the surface of the plain. How dry they were!" Ezekiel 37:1-2

Looking back on our wedding cake I realize that this calling, this ministry, was written on our hearts from the beginning. This is my own personal revelation- but I truly believe that all of us sit down with God before we are born. He gives us a mission and we sign off on it. It's our job to figure out what that mission is. And how do we do it? By getting to know the Father, the one who gave us the mission in the first place. Ever since Caleb died and the new "mission" came to me in prayer, I had a sense that I had said yes to it long ago. Like some part of my heart or soul knew, just knew, that my first child would die. 

Looking back now I can see how the Lord put a love of death (weird!) in my heart. I have always been drawn to cemeteries. I love the stories you can gather there just by reading the headstones. I love the peace and stillness of the cemetery-the way it helps put our lives in perspective because we see the end-that there really will be an end one day. I have always been drawn to death, so much so that we thought we should put it on our wedding cake!

Love as strong as death- those words mean so much more now, six years later. 
At Caleb's funeral. I'll never get over how small that casket was.

Our love has been stronger than death. It will always be stronger than death because we have the love of Christ, the one who conquered death. Looking back over my life I can see how God was always forming me for this ministry of death. He was always preparing me, shaping me, guiding me. 

I'd like to leave you with a prayer that I keep tucked in my Bible about mission (not sure who wrote it originally?):

God has created me to do Him some definite service,
He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

I have my mission-I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught, I shall do good, I shall do His work.

I shall be a preacher of Truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore, my God, I will put myself without reserve into your hands. What have I in Heaven, and apart from you what do I want upon Earth?

My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the God of my heart.