During the last five months, beginning with the death of my father at the end of July, I have lost five precious people from my life — either family members or personal friends. During that time, my life has read like the obituary column of a newspaper. It goes without saying that I am sad and discouraged beyond words, and the celebration of this Christmas season has been seriously clouded by these events.

I am comforted to some degree by the assurance that every one of these people has moved on into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing them as well as I did, I have no doubts about their faith and their personal relationship to Jesus. So I am certain that they are rejoicing and reaping well-deserved rewards. And, without a doubt, Heaven is richer.

But the simple truth is that my life is poorer. The community in which they lived is poorer. The whole world is poorer. There is no substitute for any one of those loving individuals in the lives of the people who were close to them. 

Now, I will not live my days in overt grief over my losses, and I will continue to love and serve the Lord with the joy that only He can give. But in the midst of that effort, I will be constantly aware that there are too many lights missing from my life, there are too many voices of love and blessing that I no longer hear, and there are too many smiles of comfort and appreciation that I no longer see. And I am sad.

So it is with the greatest of efforts that I must force my own soul to keep its focus on His star. And it is my prayer that any of my readers who have also suffered intolerable losses of any kind this past year will make the effort to do the same. The Word of God says that God has set eternity in man’s heart. And in the face of so much earthly loss, it is of paramount importance that we focus on eternity and on the One who has no beginning and no end, and who loves us with an everlasting love.






7 thoughts on “Focus

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your Dad, and all your losses.. this must truly be the hardest time you’ve ever known right now. God Bless you for bringing MY focus back to HIS Star.. and what a bright, loving star it is. You bring encouragement and hope to me, and always have from the first time we conversed online here… and I read one of your wonderfully well written books, ( Set Free to Love, I think it was called) I really should read another one.. and I will soon, I can just never seem to find enough time to be still long enough lately.
    I am praying for you, and also know that you will continue beaming on through the misty whiteouts of others like me, as a beacon in the night.. like a little glimmering flicker of light …from His star.
    I am so sorry again, about your Dad… Mine passed away 8 years ago.. and of course it seems like just yesterday. I can tell you, that for me anyway.. it gets better, easier to deal with, even though, as its only been a few months for you.. and I was catching myself reaching for the phone to call my Dad at times.. even 3 years after he was gone.. But, thank God.. like you and yours.. I KNOW where He is now.. and I know He’s in a much better place..
    God Bless you
    Keep the light shining..

    1. Thank you so much for these kinds words, Paul. And, as you say, we can rejoice in the knowledge that our loved ones knew Jesus and are having a ball with Him now.

      I think that feeling of wanting to run and tell them something stays with you, no matter how long. My mother passed about 30 years ago, and I still have that thought once in a while. And, to be quite honest, I’d give almost everything I own right now to have just 30 minutes with her. She was so wise and kind and gracious, and she always advised me well.

      But I’m eternally grateful that the Lord gave me such godly, strong, loving parents, and I often realize that I feel empowered by what they have bequeathed to me from their natures. So I’m not without comfort.

      I think what I’ve experienced this year, though is something different from any other situation I’ve experienced. As I said, I’ve experienced losing my mom, and I lost my husband quite a few years ago, and others along the way. But the events happened at separate times. I think this string of losses within so short a period of time is what has hit me so hard. And it isn’t that I sit around feeling depressed or that I can’t enjoy celebrating the holidays. It’s more that, in the midst of doing the right things, I still am constantly aware of the empty place in my life and the sadness that accompanies that emptiness. But God has never left me to deal with loss alone in the past, and He certainly won’t leave me now.

      And thanks to Him, friends like you give comfort and strength as well. I appreciate your taking the time to write this note.

      And, yes, when you eventually get some more time to read, click on one of those other book covers on my home page. “Everything’s Jake,” is a short novella about a girl auto mechanic who discovers that engine oil, surprisingly, makes a pretty good ‘love potion.’ (Wide grin here.) And “A Quiver Full of Arrows” is the story of a single man who loves the Lord and eventually wants marriage and kids, but has yet to find them. Then he suddenly finds himself facing four children who desperately need love and a home, and his whole world gets turned upside down as a result.

      Wishing you and your family a blessed new year!

  2. Sandra – Just read your note/blog and felt that oh-so-familiar twinge of emotional pain as I read though familiar thoughts that have crossed my mind as well within the past several years. This time of year is especially difficult. I remember as a child, hearing people say how sad they were at this time of year and thinking, “how could anyone be sad at Christmas time?” but now, I am wiser (at least I would like to think so) and can relate to that general statement. The thing that keeps me hopeful, the thing that gives me peace, the ONLY thing that I know that I can count on is God’s word of our being re-united once again and that (I love this part) there will be NO TEARS. Its hard to imagine no tears, ever again, but He has promised it, so, therefore it shall be… and I think one ordinary moment there in Heaven will be better than a lifetime of our most celebrated, glorious moments here on earth. I have to constantly fight seasonal depression every year but I get through it – only with the grace of my Heavenly Father. If I didn’t have Him – I would be lost and never have any peace. If I could give my children, grandchildren, and all of my family/friends one gift, it would be the grace and peace that Jesus offers and yes, its true, its free for the taking, not all of them have chosen to take it from Him – so that remains my one, true, wish – that these scales that cover their eyes fall, and that they can truly someday SEE, really see…… just exactly what it is that they are here for, and that is for Him and His purpose. I plan on going into this next year with a different plan, and attititude… I would love to catch up with you soon. I would like to join your group (if it still meets on a regular basis…. plus, just to talk and see how you are doing, etc. etc. in general. I just looked up and saw this, and I am sorry – didn’t mean to write a book here (lol) I guess I just wanted to say that your post was one that many people can relate to on a personal level and its one that is often not spoke of, because many people are afraid of drudging up ones that are gone, in fear of bringing back up the pain that losing a loved one can cause. Personally, I think think that is how healing comes…. bringing up good memories, words, and stories of the ones who have already gone can do the ones who are still here coping. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (considering your losses) and that I will pray for continued peace in your heart that I know only Jesus can offer.

    Talk to you soon – Melody

    1. Thank you so much, Melody. You are a sweet gal, and I know those words are from you heart. Don’t ever feel bad about writing a lot. It could be that there are many people out there who need to hear just one particular sentence, so all of those sentences are needed.

  3. Sandra, 1988 was a year like that for us. We lost my husband’s dad on Fathers’ Day, then my own dad in September. In between, I had to have emergency surgery which we thought was covered by two different insurance companies, but instead was covered by neither. It was financially devastating to us as well as trying to deal with the incredibly crushing grief. I know very well the feeling that the world has been weakened by the loss of these good people. Even if others didn’t know them, the examples they set and their contributions to the collective integrity of humanity will be missed. The only thing left for us to do is to pick up the baton and run with it in the direction they mapped out for us. God bless you.

    1. What you say is so true that the contribution of others can be extremely important to people who may never actually know them. Loss of even one God-created soul from this earth diminishes it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am so sorry to read of all these losses. I lost my father 4 years ago and I’ve never got over it because I barely knew him. I hope that with time your pain becomes bearable.

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