Chris Klicka's Journal
Written Dec 18, 2010 12:03am
THE FINALITY OF DEATH
When my husband Chris passed away last year our family was in Colorado Springs for a national homeschool leadership conference. Surrounded by many local friends as well as extended family and hundreds of friends who had come to the national conference, we were so grateful for the amazing support network the Lord gave us the last few weeks of Chris’s life. Their love, and care and prayers, along with the prayers of thousands around the country are a big part of what God used to bring comfort to Chris and us his last days with our family.
Chris knew that he was going to receive a great reward, to be with his Savior, Jesus Christ for eternity. He knew that soon he would have no more pain, no more MS and no more sin. His longing and the assurance that he would finally be with the Lover of his soul enabled him to sing songs of great joy just a week before his death. With Chris, the children and I, plus dear friends gathered around, it felt a little like we were transported to heavenly realms as together we sang songs like, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “Holy, Holy, Holy” to our Father.
DEATH IS INESCAPABLE
Even still, Chris’s imminent departure from those he loved most, me and the children, brought such a weight of sadness to him and to us. Like a dark, stormy rain cloud, it came and hovered over us, refusing to depart. This is because no matter how much we know that the glories of heaven await us, death is still death. There is no escaping the pain of the most significant and the most final expression of living in a fallen world, death itself. It goes against all God created us to be, yet because of sin it is inevitably the final chapter of our life on earth.
Death is not a good thing, no matter how you look at it. God can and certainly does use death to bring about good things, but death itself is ugly. It is the most unnatural event experienced by us, eternal beings that we are. Not one of us can escape death, and very, very few of us get to avoid the ache of losing someone we love.
A FINAL RESTING PLACE
While we were in Colorado knowing we had very few days left with Chris, my dear friend Beth Raley was back at home researching cemeteries. We decided to choose one very near HSLDA. The Union Cemetery dates back to 1855 functioning as a public burial place. Because of its proximity to the time of the Civil War, both a Confederate monument and a Union chapel are located on these grounds.
Beth found a beautiful spot near some family burial sites in the cemetery, including George Carter of Oatlands Plantation just south of Leesburg. I liked the history and location of the cemetery, and knew that if we ever moved, it would be closer to HSLDA and our church, so Union Cemetery seemed the perfect place to bury Chris.
I’ve been by the site several times in the last year, and my daughter Bethany, who lives much closer to the cemetery than me has gone a few times and has lovingly put flowers or potted plants on Chris’s burial site. Yet, for over a year there has been no headstone.
SEARCHING FOR A MONUMENT
It took me several months earlier this year to find a company that could make a monument I thought Chris most would appreciate. I knew his lifelong love for sharing the glories of Jesus Christ meant that Chris would never want a monument that would draw attention to him in any way.
His passion for the gospel was so great that even after his death I knew Chris would still want to proclaim the greatness of His Savior, so I set out to find a monument that would declare Jesus in a prominent way. Seeing a few high crosses erected at Union Cemetery, I felt this was the most natural type of monument to get for Chris’s burial plot, and so after much searching I found High Cross Monuments in Texas. They specialize in designing and creating beautifully crafted and inscribed tall Celtic crosses. I wanted a more simple affordable design, but I also wanted it to be seen by people visiting the cemetery, like the beacon of a lighthouse on a dark night.
I chose a six-foot-high Celtic cross with an endless rope design on it, symbolizing the eternal love of Christ for those He died on the cross. My desire is that some would stop by and read the inscription the Lord gave me:
Come, ye weary and laden with sin,
Believe in Christ, find life in Him!
I know Chris himself would love to see folks stop by and sit on the bench, perhaps rest a bit, maybe even think about the words and their own life. I plan to place a laminate copy of his testimony at the gravesite for any and all who might be interested in reading it that perhaps some might find comfort, hope, and especially eternal life in our beloved Savior.
DEATH IS SO VERY FINAL
Grieving the loss of a spouse, a best friend, a child, a parent is a bizarre and unpredictable process. It’s been over a year now and I find that just when I think I’m doing pretty well I’m all teary-eyed over some aspect of Chris’s absence. Death is not good, no matter how much time has passed. I love to think of Chris rejoicing in heaven, but feeling his loss is just as real today in some ways as it was a year ago.
Just two days ago, I got a call from the local monument company I hired to set Chris’s headstone after it was finished being made and shipped to the cemetery. They just wanted to let me know that the cross had been set in place. As I thanked them and hung up the phone, I started bawling. Somehow knowing there is a headstone in place at Chris’s burial site makes his death seem so utterly, absolutely final. Why did it seem in some strange and very small way that he wasn’t really gone?
THE END OF DEATH
“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality; then will come about the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.” I Corinthians 15:54
Chris’s monument, a picture of certain death drives home the reality that death is both inescapable and final. In this life, I will never see his big smile, feel his once-strong hands, or hear his loud, heartfelt praises to the Lord. For these and so many other losses, I do and will continue to grieve. And so will all you who have lost one you love very much.
There is a finality of death, however, that should cause us to burst out in joyful song. Christ’s sinless death and resurrection on our behalf brought about the end of death. I love the line in Matt Maher’s Christ is Risen which says, “Christ has risen from the dead, trampling over death by death.”
Hope in Christ reassures us of the finality of death: “Death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55) In other words, for those who have died to sin and have risen with Christ, earthly death does NOT have the final say. For His followers, death in this life gives way to glorious and eternal life in the next.
Apart from the redemptive work of Christ for my sin death makes no absolute sense. Because of it, I no longer need to fear it. I don’t have to spend my life trying to avoid it. God has all my days numbered, and I know for certain that I will be here to the very last day God wants me here. I also know just as certainly that I will see not only Chris again, but countless others who in this life were precious to me and who love the same Redeemer I love.
THE PERPETUITY OF DEATH
Sadly, for those who are not in Christ, the finality of death gives way to eternal separation and pain and suffering. There is nothing to look forward to in this kind of death. That one’s earthly death leads to an eternal death without hope or joy, devoid of life and the Giver of life Himself.
I have attended the funerals of those who have died in this life who I’m fairly certain were convinced they had no need for God, no need for the shed blood of His Son, Jesus, to cover their sin. The grief experienced for these people is of the acutest kind. All hope is gone forever; there is no second chance. O, may God grant mercy that many, many may hear the gospel and believe!
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” ~John 5:24
MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL
This Christmas is our first one at home without Chris, and I am feeling my inadequacies as a single parent intensely! I have had such a discouraging last few weeks and it has taken a great deal of courage (which I don’t think I have right now) to keep on keeping on. I am leaning heavily on the Lord, and I know HIs grace is there for me each day, but it doesn't mean I don't feel completely incapable of getting through a particular situation or day. I have been listening to Christmas carols all day and singing the gospel OUTLOUD!
I think my favorite Christmas carol is “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.” In researching this carol for my homeschool choir’s Christmas program this past Wednesday, I discovered that the tune first appeared in a German manuscript as early as 1400, with words possibly dating back as far as 1540. Originally titled, “In Dulci Jubilo” (“to the house of God we’ll go”), this carol has been celebrated as one of the best loved carols of all times. Here are the words in case you’ve never really pondered them. I’m singing this song a lot this season myself; what a celebration of life in Christ they are!
GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN, REJOICE!
Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow
And He is in the manger now
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye hear of endless bliss
Jesus Christ was born for this
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save
Christ was born to save
Rejoicing with great joy, and grateful for your prayers,
Written Dec 9, 2010 12:13am
Last year this time, our family was on a journey down a road we had never traveled before. It would have been much more unsettling and scary had the kids and I not all been in a semi-state of shock and numbness. I had lost my husband of over 25 years, my best friend, a wonderful godly man and father. I'm so thankful for the days the children and I had together with Chris at the end...so grateful we could say, "Thank you," "I love you," "I will miss you," and "Goodbye for now, but we will see you again soon." Even still, over a year later, I wish we’d had more time.
I remember that for last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays the kids and I really love, we just didn't want to be at home. The words to a song from Les Miserables come to mind to describe a little of what I didn't want to experience:
There´s a grief that can´t be spoken
There´s a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables…
We didn’t want to put up a Christmas tree and lights and stockings without our daddy/husband there, so we all took to the road and spent Thanksgiving with my daughter Bethany, my son-in-law Ben, my daughter Megan, her then fiancé Brendan, and his family in Chattanooga. After Thanksgiving we spent a few days at Ben and Bethany’s little home in Lauderdale, MS, packed in like sardines, eight of us with their two cats but loving every minute of it!
Following that, we saw good friends, Traci Garrett and her kids in Atlanta for a quick overnight in a tall downtown hotel with mega-story indoor elevator rides, pizza delivered to the indoor pool where the kids had fun swimming, and a late night movie for the boys (while Traci and me spent some time catching up). Her Chris and my Chris were good friends, and they used to kid each other about having the best Traci/Tracy. Our time was too short, but we were all thankful for every minute.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Jesse couldn’t spend the next three and a half weeks on the road with us; he had a part-time job to get back to (I think he also said that being in the car with us for several days on the road would drive him crazy!) So after dropping him off at the Atlanta airport, we head down to Florida for a few days at a beach house in St. Augustine, a place I’d always wanted to visit but never had. I enjoyed hearing ocean waves rolling onto the shore and seagulls crying overhead.
The kids and I climbed up a lighthouse for a spectacular view of the Florida coast and heard cannons fire from the wall of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the US. We even got to celebrate British Night Watch and watch the Grande Illumination, an impressive recreation of a moment in the British period of St. Augustine’s history.
Making our way south we drove on to Orlando, where a dear family in our church very generously let us use their timeshare for a week. Chris’s parents flew in shortly thereafter, and we all stayed in a couple of adjoining condos where we could go swimming, or walk by the lake, eat ice cream, play putt-putt, or venture out for a day at Disney.
It had been 35 years since Chris’s parents had been to Orlando, when they took their then teenage son Chris. It was indeed a sweet time together, not only getting to celebrate John’s very special golden birthday (he turned 12 on 12/12/09) at a nearby Thai restaurant (yep, that’s what he picked for his birthday dinner!), but also to celebrate Grandpa George’s birthday, and spend a really delightful day at Epcot Center with Ben and Bethany (who were on their way to a wedding in St. Augustine, Florida) after seeing us for two days.
At Epcot, we enjoyed a holiday program with full orchestra and choir, narrated by Abigail Breslin and featuring “real” Christmas music, traditional carols we all grew up with. I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed as I listened to some of my favorite songs about the birth of my Savior while sitting with my arms around my kids. Later on in the day, to counter the insanity of visiting a Disney theme park in December packed in with thousands of others, Ben and John started racing Grandpa and Grandma around in the wheelchairs we had rented for them so they didn’t have to walk so much in a day. Oh, how good it felt to act silly and laugh hilariously for a little bit!
LONGING FOR “HOME”
Even though my heart was wildly fluctuating between real joy and deep, deep sorrow, I felt very much carried in the arms of the Lord through this time. I know it was because so many hundreds of people were praying for us; so many hands were reaching out with hugs and help, with smiles and Kleenex. The whole month of December was very much a miracle of God’s great kindness and magnanimous love. How the Lord longs to bring comfort to His people in the midst of anguish, sickness and trial!
With a great deal of excitement and fun behind us, however, I was yearning for a sense of home and some quiet that seemed virtually impossible to find. I’m what you would call a friendly introvert. I love people; I love to help others and encourage others “with the comfort with which God has comforted” me. I equally love, however, to be alone. This is when I recharge—when I regain a biblical focus more often than not; when I create, and when I most consistently hear from the Lord. And I don’t think I’d been alone since Chris died.
“We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair...Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.”
I also longed for the comfort and familiarity some longtime friends were eager to share with us. So for the next two plus weeks, we stayed with Bob and Tina Farewell and their family near Orlando. Bob had been with us in Colorado Springs for a whole month through the time of Chris’s home going, and been about the best friend Chris could have the end of his life. How Bob and Tina knew just what we needed escapes me, but they surely did, both in Colorado Springs last October and in Florida last December.
Upon arriving, my kids immediately reconnected with the Farewell kids and started planning their adventures. Tina led me to their loft apartment over the barn, simply but comfortably decorated. With some healthy snacks on hand, a soft throw to wrap up in, sunlight pouring in from several windows and a couple of very special books of one of our mutually-much-loved authors, Lilias Trotter placed on the coffee table, I felt like I had been escorted into my own personal haven of rest.
Tina doesn’t know this, but after she left me to get settled in, I just broke down and cried, this little abode was that comforting to my tired body and soul. I probably could have slept for two days straight if I wouldn’t have felt so guilty doing it!
Our time with them was a perfectly balanced mixture of rest, and fun, and family tradition as we helped to decorate their tree, cooked meals together, attended a lovely Christmas Eve service, and devoured delicious lemon/cottage cheese pancakes on Christmas morning. More than any particular thing we did with our dear friends, however, was the sense of being family what we most cherished. They let us just be ourselves, yet we never felt like we were anything else than their own cousins, or sisters and brothers. I think the Lord knew we needed that more than anything else so soon after Chris’s death.
How greatly God lavished His love on us through them and so many other friends and family along our Christmas journey last year!
“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
And now Christmas is upon us once more. Only this time we’re not on the road; we’re at home. For sure, we’ve put up the decorations (some my kids specifically remember from when they were toddlers!), and the kids have strung the lights outside. The stockings are all hung, including a new one with a comical reindeer on it for Indy, our Irish terrier and the baby of the family. The tree will go up as soon as we decide where to put it (I want it in the living room where we’ve always had it; the kids want it in the family room).
Yet, there’s a part of me that wants to “skip” Christmas again, at least Christmas at home. It’s our first one here without Chris. The closer it gets to December 25, the heavier my heart. I’m surprised to find myself feeling very alone, even though the kids are all here, in the house or in the vicinity. Just last week I helped Megan move back to this area where she’s gotten a job transfer and will be attending our sister church in Gaithersburg, MD. It is so good to have her near again!
I’m busy getting ready for a big Christmas concert next week with my 40-member homeschool choir, and am helping lead a church choir for our church’s Christmas Eve service. I’ve got plenty to do this season, I love being with my kids, and I am blessed to be serving others.
This being alone without Chris however, isn’t easy. I was startled to wake up the other morning, tears streaming down my face, apparently brought on while I was sleeping and dreaming about Chris. I suppose the busyness of this time of year isn’t helping that need-to-be-alone-to-recharge-time happen for me either. I think I’m missing that quiet little Farewell retreat center in Florida right about now.
THINKING BACK 2,000 YEARS
As I read the Christmas story again, I can’t help but think of Mary and Joseph and the difficult journey they had to make in order to be ready to bring forth their Son in the place and in the way God had called them to, as part of the many prophecies He gave us about Jesus’ birth. Even before they set out on that long, arduous trek, Mary was probably already bone-tired. They had no assurance they would find a comfortable place to lay their heads once they got to Bethlehem, let alone find one anywhere along the way.
Didn’t they too, feel very much alone as they had to leave their familiar surroundings, their friends and neighbors, perhaps even some of their close family, to make the journey to Bethlehem? And once they got to the busy town and faced dozens, if not hundreds of other sojourners who like them crowded the streets, would not Mary have longed for a place of quiet and rest just hours before her baby Boy was born?
Granted, she had her Joseph, while I am missing my Chris. Yet, I have my Jesus, the lover of my soul. It was, if even only in small part, because Mary and Joseph were willing to obey God their Father and make the wearying trip with no assurance of rest in sight, and no comfort except what they had in each other, that I, as the object of Christ’s love can enjoy the full benefits of His inheritance. I can make this journey, though tiring and lonely, humanly speaking, with Jesus, who has forgiven all my sin, has brought me to life and has made me new.
In Him, God my Father has bestowed on me great and precious promises, the best of which is yet to come. Merry Christmas to you all!
“For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling…..so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God.” ~II Cor 4:7-5:5, excerpts
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL ON CHRIS'S BOOK, POWER PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS!
Though Christmas is almost upon us, you may be looking for a last minute gift for a special loved one or friend who's going through a difficult season right now. Might I recommend Chris's last book, Power Perfected in Weakness, The Journal of Christopher J. Klicka? I've received dozens of letters and notes from folks who have received great encouragement from Chris's testimony of God's great faithfulness and love in the midst of his greatly debilitating MS.
I'd like to make copies of this book available at a 20% discount ($11.96 + $2.99 shipping), or through the end of this year, two for $20.10, plus $4.99 shipping. To order your copy in time for Christmas, send your Paypal payment by Dec. 19th, to: FreshGrace.email@example.com. Your purchase will help me buy some last minute gifts for my family! Thank you!
May the Lord Jesus be the joy in your Christmas celebration!
Grateful for your friendship, your prayers and your care in Him,
Written Nov 9, 2010 12:40pm
POURING OUT COMPLAINTS…A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!” ~Psalm 102:1-2
There are so many things I love about my Lord. One of them is how He is intimately acquainted with us as His children. As a mother who wants to please God in how I raise my children and because of my deep love for them, I try to study my children. I try to notice the little signals they give me that indicate they need to talk or get something off their chest, or just need some space to process a word of instruction or correction I just gave them. Sometimes, they give me a hint they could really use a little encouragement, and sometimes they just come right out and say, “Mom, can I have a hug?”
Like my children, I sometimes “hint” around to the Lord that I need to get something off my chest with Him or I just cry out, “Lord, I need a ‘hug’”. And God my Father (the perfect parent—unlike me, with my many imperfections as a mother), comes, and in a way that I know is very real puts His arms around me. Though I cannot see Him, He helps me to know that He indeed is just quietly, patiently listening to me as I pour out my heart to Him.
IS COMPLAINING ALWAYS WRONG?
The psalmist says in Psalm 142:2, “I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.” I have always thought complaining was something that we shouldn’t do as Christians. After all, Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without grumbling or arguing…” The context however, for this kind of grumbling is in how we do what God asks of us and in how we relate to each other. The kind of complaining we do with one another is often the result or expression of not getting what we want or our pride that thinks we deserve better than how we’re being treated.
It is difficult to complain to one another in a way that brings glory to God. I’m not actually sure it can be done! We are sinners rubbing shoulders with other sinners, and our complaining to one another, if not directed at a person, can be so entwined with wrong motives or bad theology (like, “Please feel sorry for me!” or, “Don’t you think God made a mistake here?”) that it not only does NOT bring glory to God, but it can seriously tempt another believer to jump in the sin pit with us. I’ve seen this play out in our family countless times; I’m raising a guilty hand right now!
I have done this same kind of complaining as well with the Lord. I have many times complained to Him about my circumstances in a way that is motivated by the same reasons. I think I deserve better than what I’m getting and am essentially complaining that He is doing something wrong because my circumstances look or feel bad.
This kind of complaining is clearly sin, but we have a patient Father, one who loves to remind us of His lavish love, which He poured out on us when He sent Christ to ransom us from the power of sin and death by His own death on the cross for us. When I find myself questioning God, I ask Him to not only forgive me, but to also help me remember that He alone IS God and that all His ways are perfect.
When I’m tempted to put something or someone above Him, God is faithful to show me where I’ve strayed, as He recently revealed to me regarding the house I so wanted to purchase two months ago. In every way, this home would have been perfect for what I believe God is calling us to in this new season of life. The timing, however, wasn’t right for us, which means this house wasn’t the best thing for me.
Jeff Purswell, one of the pastors from Covenant Life, our sister church in Gaithersburg, MD, shared in his sermon Sunday at our church something one of his young children said, “God, please give me (some kind of toy); I promise I won’t worship it!” Well, I’ve done the same thing myself, “God, if You give me this (fill in the blank), I know I won’t worship it!” I think perhaps I liked this home (location, features, the barn, etc.) more than I should have, and the Lord in His wisdom and love for me said, “No”.
When Chris’s health was going downhill the last several years of his life he was tempted to forget God’s goodness many times. He also cried out to the Lord, “Father, give me my legs back (or hand, or strength, etc.), and I will glorify you for healing and restoring me!” God, in His perfect wisdom and plan told Chris no. Sometimes He would give him relief; sometimes He would reverse some of the symptoms for a short period of time. Eventually, in His sovereignty and lovingkindness though, He called Chris home.
Just over a week ago one of my dearest friends lost her son-in-law to a bomb explosion in Afghanistan where he was serving our country. He was getting ready to come home from the war and instead, God called him home to heaven. Her anguish for her daughter is acute; I have cried many times myself thinking about her situation and what it would be like if I lost my son-in-law who I love very much and what my own precious daughter would be experiencing.
IS THERE A GODLY WAY TO COMPLAIN?
When bad things like this happen, is there ever a way to “pour out our complaint” to the Lord that isn’t sinful and can bring glory to Him? I believe there is. I think the key is how we are thinking about God, how we view our circumstances, and where we are putting our trust.
God used Jeff Purswell’s sermon yesterday entitled, ‘Strength for the Weary’ (www.gracecommunity.ws/node/7444), to help me think more succinctly about this topic. After hearing Jeff’s definition, I realized I have been in a season of varying degrees of weariness for some time now (several years). It’s more than tiredness; tiredness is something you can remedy by sleep, rest, vacation, eating or sleeping better, exercise, etc. Weariness is the kind of tiredness that is often accompanied by discouragement or despondency, feeling alone in your situation, or that the very difficult one you’re in is never going to end.
Believers are certainly not immune to having periods of weariness. The psalms are filled with David’s prayers to God for help in times of emotional and physical distress, and Paul himself has a whole list of circumstances that make me weary just reading it! (Try looking up II Corinthians 11:24-28)
Isaiah, however, gives the weary an honest picture of their neediness and shares the wonderful truth that God gives strength to them that are weary if we wait for Him:
“ ‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~Isaiah 40:25-31
What did I learn from this passage in Isaiah about my weariness?
MY WEARINESS IS:
1. Real— I must not deny what is happening, what I’m feeling, how my weariness is affecting my heart or vice versa.
2. Common to man— Even believers experience weariness through a multitude of experiences. It is not indicative necessarily, that I have done something wrong; I get weary because I live in a fallen world; no man is exempt from this.
3. No surprise to God— My way is not hidden to the Lord. He named 10 billion trillion stars. He intimately knows what I am going through and He is fully sovereign! He is outside time and space, and is ceaselessly at work caring for His creation and caring for me.
4. A distinctive of my fallen humanity— God’s ways are inscrutable; His wisdom and power are eternal and limitless. I may not understand His ways; in fact, I can’t understand His ways. He is God and He is perfect. My interpretations of Him and what is happening in my life are flawed, especially when I am discouraged and weary.
5. Something God loves to respond to— He loves to strengthen the weak. He loves to give me everything I need. I will continue to grow weary and faint. At our strongest, we are weak! Yet, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever! He loves to be all I need as I wait for Him.
WEARINESS & POURING OUT OUR COMPLAINTS TO THE LORD
How can I glorify God in my complaining? By admitting my need and God’s sufficiency as I pour out my heart to Him. By acknowledging His sovereignty and goodness in the midst of admitting what I am experiencing and feeling (just look to David’s psalms as an example of what this looks like), I can complain to the Lord in a way that both fully confesses my need, sin, weakness, yet at the same time fully embraces His sovereign rule over my life and all of creation.
To those who are weary—if you are in a place where you know God is sovereign but seriously doubt His goodness, I would encourage you to just talk to your heavenly Father. Be honest in your feelings with Him (He knows them anyway). Tell Him exactly what you are struggling with and that you doubt Him (ie. His love and goodness, or wherever you find disbelief in your heart). Ask Him to help you believe Him. He honors this prayer of humility, and loves to show Himself strong on your behalf if you are in Christ.
Friend, if you are someone who has not come to a place of acknowledging God’s sovereign rule over your life, or have not or are unwilling to yield your life to Him who gave His Son Jesus to redeem you and exchange your sin for His righteousness, it is my prayer for you that God would set you free to know Him! My testimony only has power because of Christ in me. He has brought me out of darkness into His glorious light—how great is His love toward us!
PRAYER REQUESTS & PRAISES
Thank you, dear friends, for continuing to pray for us. I do have some very specific things I want to thank the Lord for, as well as some items I would be very grateful for your prayers for:
1. Megan: God has been sustaining my daughter Megan in amazing and very personal ways since her broken engagement. She has intently pressed into the Lord and His Word these past weeks and God has rewarded her by giving her a keen sense of His presence, love and intimate care for her. How God has heard my prayers for her! I know He will continue to guide her with His eye on her. Please continue to pray, friends, that she would hear His voice and boldly follow Him wherever He leads her. I will share more about her story in another post.
2. Our home: The house is now officially paid off! I hesitated to take this step, but found I needed to free up our expenses to make more monthly income available. It is also reassuring to know that the house is here and is ours, free and clear, regardless of what kind of income I may or may not have in the future.
3. 2011 Conferences: The Lord has kindly given me some opportunities to speak next year at a few state homeschool conventions. I have about nine new workshops and keynotes I am giving and am eager to share them. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to encourage believers in these venues through what God has shown us of His faithfulness these past 15+ years!
1. Ardie Klicka—My mother-in-law Ardie has been ill for a couple of months now and doctors have determined that one of her kidneys is basically non-functioning and must be removed this year. She is having a surgical procedure this Thursday/Friday (Nov. 11-12) to put a shunt in her kidney to drain fluid and help reduce infection until she can have the kidney surgery next month.
She is scheduled to come and see us on the 17th, but is anxious about her four-day window of recovery time from the procedure. Please join me in praying that God would grant her a successful procedure, peace in the Lord, and a clear sense of whether or not she should make the trip down here next week.
2. Robert Maupin—my only living grandparent, who is in his mid-nineties will soon be going home to be with the Lord. My parents have been supervising his care at a nearby nursing facility for over a year now. Please pray for my mom, who knows the Lord, who is soon to lose her daddy.
3. Chris’s books—All three of Chris’s books on homeschooling, Homeschooling: The Right Choice, The Heart of Homeschooling and Homeschool Heroes are officially out of print with Broadman & Holman publishers. They are in the process of reverting the rights over to me and I desire to reprint them. I will be working on revising and updating these books and hopefully putting new covers on them. I would like to self-publish them, but realize all of this is a BIG process!
I would be grateful for your prayers for God to lead me in this endeavor—Chris’s message is still relevant to the homeschool community and his legacy should continue!
4. My blog—I am close to launching my blog, www.tracyklicka.com, and am interviewing candidates to finish building the website so I can archive all the past CaringBridge entries and continue to write from this vehicle. This has been a very long process (over a year now!) and I would like to finish it!
Thank you for your prayers, dear friends…soli Deo gloria,