I know that you come here to for recipe inspiration, but truthfully I have not been into food the last few days. You see on the night of Thanksgiving I said good bye to two of my dear friends who went home to the Lord.
My friend and neighbor Mary has been battling cancer and though she passed on Friday, I had said good bye to her on Thursday night. I am so blessed to have known her. Mary was a fun loving person, and even to the end she was having fun. She loved the Lord and would tell everyone. I remember when I went to visit her at work one day, and told her that Billy was being promoted from radio to TV and that he was a little nervous. Well she took out a piece of paper and wrote down her prayer for Billy and put it in her prayer box. Mary didn’t have a little prayer box; no, she had a giant prayer box, and I don’t doubt that she prayed for most of the people that came through her door. She didn’t judge, she loved and was so genuine you just couldn’t help but love her in return.
Mary’s adoring husband Mark and super cool sister Sandy were able to attend to her needs so that she could stay at home. Their home was always full of visitors and while they would pray for Mary, she would also pray for them. Sometimes she would be tired and close her eyes just listening to the chatter, but she would tell us that she was so at peace. Her home was filled with joy and peace in a time that could have been filled with angst and worry. I am so grateful that I got to be a witness to that.
I also said good bye to my kitty, Herbie. When I came home from Mary’s that night he still hadn’t come home. I was calling him and I found him across the road, he had been hit by a car, he was already gone. Billy and I haven’t been able to have kids yet, so all that love we have in our hearts goes to our cats, they are our babies. Needless to say, my heart is broken. Herbie came with the house; the previous owners left him behind. He was such a love bug. He would climb up in my lap and knead my belly for a few minutes, give a couple of good head butts, and then he would snuggle in the crook of my arm like a baby. He would just gaze into my eyes with so much love while I rubbed his cheek. We would sit like that most evenings. I had tried for months to make him an indoor cat, but he was depressed, so Billy and I had determined that it was better for him to be happy and allowed him to go out again. He would almost always come in before dark and I, like a mother felt content when I knew that all my kitties were home and safe. Our home feels quite gloomy and empty and we miss our Herbie so.
I have been thinking about my two friends and how I miss them, but that my experience with their passing is so different.
I was able to prepare myself for Mary to go and while I miss her and am so sad for her loved ones, I have peace knowing that she is in heaven. I just know that she is singing, dancing, and clowning around.
While Herbie was taken so suddenly and I don’t exactly know God’s plan for animals. Is Herbie in Kitty heaven, or is he just gone? This has been such a burden on me. I have been searching for answers and while I haven’t read anything in the Bible specifically about animals in heaven, God is beginning to giving me solace.
Here’s the thing, if I am so burdened by the uncertainty of my cat’s eternal life, how much more will I burdened over the eternal life of my loved ones. I like to think that nothing will happen, or that I will be able to prepare for it; that there is still plenty of time for them to know Jesus. This past week has shown me, that they or I could be gone in the blink of an eye. I now know the urgency of letting them know what I didn’t always know, but what I now know to be true.
I used to believe that I was a good person and that I would go to heaven, because I wasn’t a thief or a murderer; heck I was a whole lot better than a lot of people. Ezekiel 33 tells us that the righteousness of a righteous man will not be remembered if he commits a sin; he shall surely perish. The wickedness of a wicked man will be forgotten if he repents and does not sin again; he will surely live.
Does that seem just? Here’s what God says: Ezekiel 33:20 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ …I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
Judge, judgment… what terrifying words. I hate the thought of being judged (by anyone). If I were to be judged what would the verdict be? What would my fate be? I probably sin every day, even though I have repented from what I consider my “wicked” ways I have not totally stopped sinning.
God does not want to judge us. Most of y'all know this: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
No judgment? Is it really that easy? It wasn’t for me.
When I first started going to church, I felt unworthy, I felt judged, and I felt like everyone could see that I didn’t belong. I felt like I needed to clean myself up before the Lord could accept me.
Do you know the next verse: John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved.”
I finally realized (I’m very stubborn) that God didn’t want to judge me and didn’t want me to feel judged. He wanted me to feel worthy and loved, if I would just accept it. I had to allow Jesus to clean me up. Let me tell you that He’s a better cleaner than I’ll ever be, Jesus cleaned up things that I didn’t even know needed cleaning.
I am so grateful that I am able to feel fulfilled in my life, and have peace and joy, even in the storm. I’m also grateful that I have confidence of where I will be in my eternal life; and that if I were to go tomorrow my family can have peace in knowing that I will be in heaven.
My hope is that I can have the peace and confidence in knowing that all of my loved ones will all be there with me. If you have this same hope please share what you know with your loved ones while you can. If you are unsure about your own salvation then please pray that you may know for sure, and that you won’t be judged.