I’m Remembering Tim Today

In January 2019, our brother Tim died from brain cancer. He had been declared free from lung cancer only a few short months earlier; so we were shocked he ended up in the hospital in October 2018 with brain cancer from cells that migrated from his lungs. We watched him slowly disintegrate. He was a victim of paranoid-schizophrenia already, and the confusion caused by his brain cancer accelerated that fear that he was always being watched, followed, threatened. It was a sad thing to watch. By Christmas 2018 it was apparent that he was quickly declining in health and mental capabilities. He was living with our sister, Judy, at the time; he was so afraid of everything that she cancelled all her travel plans for that season and stayed home with him.

In early January 2019, Tim entered the hospital. He was so confused and in pain that he actually felt it best for him to be there. We sisters took turns staying with him in the hospital. We watched his confusion grow daily, we did what we could to comfort him . . . and we cried.

The day Tim went into Hospice care, two of us who had stayed with him the night before were on either side of his bed weeping. He had spent the night picking at something in the air above him and muttering to himself. That morning he was so distraught that he cried out, “Y’all, please help me.” I cry now thinking about it. It was an awful time for us all. As we stood by his bed sobbing, two women walked in. We thought they were nurses. We told them what was happening. Turns out, they were Hospice care workers whom the hospital had called to come over and speak with us.

Tim went to Hospice that day. He was somewhat lucid for a couple of days, and then he began to sleep a lot more, occasionally crying out for help. Tim wanted to live; we wanted him to live. We cried a whole lot as we stood by his bed and watched as his bodily functions began to cease and he stopped eating. When I sat beside him the day before he died and stared into his blank, fixed eyes, I knew he was really no longer with us. And I wept to see him going, knowing that even though we wanted him to live here on earth with us, that would not be.

Tim died the next night. We had all settled down to rest a bit. Dave and I were in one of the waiting rooms lying on the couches when my sister texted a 911 to me. I was up and running, getting to Tim just seconds before he breathed his last here on earth and stepped into eternity. Strangely, I didn’t cry that night. I had done my weeping while he was alive, grieving over all the experiences and life we would no longer celebrate together here on earth. Now he was gone, and I knew he was free from the pain, the disease, the confusion, the sadness of this earth. So, I celebrated his homegoing, hard as it was to see him leave.

Tim was a late-in-life believer In Jesus Christ. But the years that he had been serving Christ, his family and the world around him saw a different man—well, actually they saw the man he really was once he dropped the façade of being a tough, can’t-touch-me kind of guy. He comforted cancer patients as he would go for his own treatments. He bought us thoughtful gifts and cards that we will cherish forever. He laughed a whole lot, a big infectious laugh that we all enjoyed. He loved to play jokes on folks. He loved his family and enjoyed any time we were able to get together. He also learned and practiced forgiveness as much as his paranoid mind would allow.

I thought of all this—especially the grieving I did—as I read 2 Samuel 12:15-23. David grieved the illness of his son. He wore sackcloth and lay on the floor, refusing to eat; all the while praying for his son to live. Once he knew that his child had died, he got up and bathed, worshipped God, and moved forward with his life. He did not forget his son; he simply realized he would not have his son with him on earth any longer. He explained this to the people around him: “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, but the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Precious little brother Tim. Someday we will see you again, in heaven. In the meantime, we always love you and will never forget your life with us on earth.

(P.S. I sure hope that you and mama aren’t giving the angels too much mischief. Hehe)


The Finished Product

I was following a crafting group. It took over my Facebook feed and threw up at least 50 posts a day. That was okay, but what really helped me decide to stop following them is this comment on almost every single post: “I made this; I know it’s not perfect; what do you think? positive comments only.” I don’t know why, but something about seeing that insecurity over and over just finally got to me.

We crafters truly are an insecure bunch. Honestly, there’s not a piece of work I do that ever completely satisfies me. I may be happy with the design and the size, but as the creator of the article, I see the flaws and mistakes I made. I see where I missed that stitch. I see that uneven corner. I see it all. I’ve gotten into a project by dozens of rows and completely ripped the whole thing out and started over, sometimes with a totally different pattern in mind. You see the finished project; I see the finished project with the flaws. And I ALWAYS pray that it is liked by the person to whom it is gifted, because it’s made it with good intentions, patience, and much love.

Thankfully, God is not insecure about His finished product (and He doesn’t make mistakes). He sees our lives from beginning to end. He sees our flaws borne from a sinful nature, and sometimes He rips into our lives to change the pattern (or allows it to happen), to make a “purer” person. It hurts, and changes can be time-consuming. But ultimately, God knows what the final “product” will look like. If we allow our Father, who works His will in our lives with patience and perfect love, to make the adjustments needed, one day we will stand before Him a perfect, finished life. And we will get to hear Him say, “Well, done.”

It’s all about Him, y’all. May the work He does in my life cause me to show the world HIS workmanship.

4am Thoughts

In the early morning hours, my mind flips the wake-up switch and is immediately flooded with all sorts of random thought and concerns. At the top of the chain most mornings are thoughts of my family and the things that concern them. How will those bills get paid? Are they living wisely and carefully? Are they doing things the way “I” feel they should be done?

I mull these thoughts around for a while, considering solutions to their problems and how I must address the situations. Sounds self-centered, doesn’t it? I mean, after all, who do I think I am? I certainly don’t have all the answers. And as I’ve learned from experience, I am by no means their savior.

Their Savior. Ah, that’s where this all needs to be headed. Push my ego, my “wisdom,”–my way– to the side and give it to the Savior, the One who can truly guide them through their situations.

See, my problem is that I want to see immediate results for my family members. I want them to have what they need when they need it. As I’ve learned in my own life, that doesn’t always happen. So, I just have to leave it with Father God. He always knows best and always does best, even when the results are slower in coming than I’d desire.

The family depends on Dave and me for many things. We provide for some of them a stability that they don’t always experience in extended family circumstances. In some instances, we are the only real family some of them have, due to losses and estrangements. So, we help with daily routine events, we babysit, we provide shelter, we provide funds when absolutely needed. We’ve always been available to all our family; I believe they assume we always will be. Often Dave and I look at each other and ask the question, “What will they do if something happens to us?”

God gave me a clear thought this morning, and I want Him to get the glory for the message.

Our goal must be to teach them how to go on.

We must not always be available–though that sounds selfish to me, somehow. I mean, who doesn’t want to be needed? Who doesn’t want to feel necessary to someone? There’s a fine line that must be drawn between meeting needs and co-dependence, and if I’m honest, I’m still looking for it.

The answer is to help them know they are strong enough and independent enough to move forward and make decisions that don’t have to involve us. (They may think that now and are just too kind to say so.)

The answer is to point them to the God who loves them and will help them make those important decisions for their lives.

The answer is to tell them about the Savior so that their lives will be full of meaning, to know that whatever they do with their lives it must bring glory to Him. We must not take away from the glory they give to God by always being the answer to their every need.

They must learn to go on without us someday, and we must teach them now how to do that. Of course, in some instances, it may be that Dave and I are the answer God gives them to meet an immediate need. But we can’t be their every answer. Our responsibility is to point them to God, who is always the answer.

Ramblings. What do you expect at 4am?

Busy, Busy Life

Life has been moving fast and forward for the Wood family.

  • In July, Dave and I were gifted with our first great-grandchild, by our first-born grandchild.
  • Dave got a great report from his doctor; his PSA levels were super low, indicating that the cancer is still gone. To God be the glory!!
  • Our church is back in full swing now, and I’m back to teaching a weekly adult class (I love it!).
  • Our women’s ministry is planning for a fall women’s retreat (y’all come!); I am preparing my thoughts, as I will be one of the speakers at the event.
  • I’m trying to work on my book–some parts of the story are harder to write than others. The goal is to tell the story truthfully, and with balance. Pray for me. Honesty, for sure; God’s presence, always; bitterness, no.
  • Projects around the house; getting accomplished slowly. We retired folks don’t rush much these days.
  • Lots of crafting/sewing projects in process. Christmas is coming,  you know. And this is so much more fun than the house projects, so . . .
  • I am now the proud owner of hearing aids, mostly to address the hearing challenges that come from really loud tinnitus. They are helping a bit, but nothing totally gets rid of the ringing. *sigh*
  • I will soon be having cataract surgery on BOTH eyes. (Heavens! When did I get so old?)

Other stuff added to the mix makes for a full life. How about  you? How is God filling your life these days?

Bible verse for the day: “So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” -Galatians 6:10

Let’s do good to all people. Have a good day, folks!