June 18, 2008

Mike and I recently got to take a weekend trip with his parents. I took this picture out of my window once our plane made it above the clouds. Isn't that amazing? I sit in awe every time I see this right below me. From this view, everything is beautiful. All of the imperfections we have tarnished God's creation with just disappear from here, and I feel like Heaven has to be closer than when my feet are on the ground. The clouds seem so big when you are looking up at them, but you can still see through them at the bright blue sky. When you are looking down at them, you realize how small they really are and the view is even more amazing than from the ground. I can remember the very first flight I ever took in my life... the very first time I set foot on a plane... was just two months after my brother, Jeff passed away. When the plane first takes off.... you're going so fast on the run way and you're waiting and waiting to see if it will take off. You know it will, but you're not sure when. Then, at that moment, the wheels are off the ground and you are in the air. There is nothing below your feet but the air. My stomach flipped that first time, and still does at that feeling. Then if you watch out the window, the view gets more and more amazing as you go. The clouds that were above you are suddenly getting closer. Then you realize that they are not thick and dense like you thought, but so airy that you can pass right through them. And finally, you are above them and you get the amazing view in this picture. On that first plane trip, I had my mp3 player set and I was listening to some of my favorite songs. As I was gazing out the window, the song "Remember Me" by Mark Schultz came through my headphones. This song had been sung two months earlier at my brother's funeral. I could not help but think of Jeff's take off from that hospital bed at hospice and lift off into his ascent to Heaven. The night he left this earth is still so vivid in my mind, as I would think it would be for anyone who experiences something like that. My entire family was wrapped around Jeff's bed and there was music playing in the background. The room was full with all of us there. Propped up against the wall were the inflated air mattresses that Kaylee, Josh, and Nathan had been sleeping on at night for the last two months. In that very moment that Jeff took his last breath, those air mattresses tipped over onto Mike and Brian. Someone commented on how Jeff was finally able to run again. It was also said that Jeff got the last practical joke in by knocking over those mattresses on the way out! I'm not sure what really happened, but it made us laugh and still does. I wonder what Jeff's view could have been as he went. And to finally make it to Heaven... wow. The most amazing view I have ever had here does not even compare to the beauty that he sees everyday now.  For me, I will also remember Jeff every time I see those kinds of amazing views. (If you want to hear this song, click on Jeff's update page and make sure the volume is up. It will start to play on its own once it loads.)

When I was little, I could never make it through the night in my own bed. I would crawl into Tommy's bed or most of the time, right in between my mom and dad. I would not tell anyone when I was little the reason for this, except that I was scared. What I was really afraid of was that Jesus would come back and my family would go and I would be left here. I thought if they were close enough for me to touch, I would not be scared to wake up and find them gone. I would lay in my bed every single night and ask Jesus to come into my heart, but I would still be afraid of getting left behind. I can remember having dreams where we were outside my church and the clouds open up and Jesus was dressed like Superman and would come take his church, and there were always a few that did not go. In the eyes of a child, I suppose He looked like that because I thought He would have to in order to fly. One really great thing I can take from my cancer experience is the realization of how truly temporary this life is. My priorities have changed and I have complete peace about God's plan for me. I have recently been having dreams again about when Christ raptures His church. In these dreams I am not left here, but instead, I meet Him. It feels like when we lift off in a plane. In that instant, I can feel nothing under my feet but air and my stomach flips but my heart is so excited because I know I have made it.

The topic of the "rapture" has always been of so much interest to me, as I really believe it should be for everyone. I am sure people have been saying it for years, but I think there is a great possibility that we will be the generation who experiences this. So many, like myself a couple years ago, would not be thinking about eternity. If you're healthy and young, you think you have forever. But the realization that God could just take all of His children home at any second and that something that has nothing to do with anything in our control, except to be ready. Every time I see news stories on the natural disasters that are reaching new records and keep coming and coming, I know that is Biblical. It says those things will happen before He returns. 

For one of the first times in my life, I am excited for that day. However, I can't help but think of the fact that not every one will be ready. I have had those dreams, but the reality will be much different. We not only have to ask Christ to forgive us and be the center of our lives, but we have to be willing to live that out every day. There is a song that says "I'm gonna live like I'm leaving today..." If you knew for certain that you were in fact leaving today, what would you do different? One of my husband, Mike's favorite lines from a song says " Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." I keep saying that I want to do something meaningful with my life. Well, yesterday was my life, today is my life, tomorrow is my life. What am I going to do today that is meaningful for someone? I would encourage you today to think about what you can do to live out each moment that God gives us here to ensure that we all get to live out so many more moments together with Him.

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