Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It's Not Over Until . . .

We met in the hallway,
like we have so many times before.
And, like every time before,
this time when we met,
I looked down on her.

a giant of a girl at 5 feet 9 inches tall,
and her,
a teeny, tiny, elderly lady,
probably not more than 4 feet 4 inches tall.

It was obvious,
by the look on her face,
she was struggling today -
struggling to breathe deep,
struggling to place one foot in front of the other,
struggling to move and not hurt at the same time.

The pain radiated from her face,
so did a smile.

"How are you doing today?" I asked as I gave her a hug.

"Oh, I'm doin'. You know me. I'm not about to stop doin'."

And, she was right.
I did know her and I knew this to be true.

At almost 90 years of age,
she is still doin' whatever God might be calling her to do.
And mostly what God has been calling her to do
is play the piano,
and play the piano she does!

She plays for an elderly choir.
She plays for a weekly devotional service at an area nursing home.
She plays whenever and however she can.

And, I thought about me,
and what God had called me to do,
and how so many times,
I am tempted to stop doing -
especially here,
especially now,
especially in this season of overwhelming grief.

How I am quick to think about giving in -
especially when I am
struggling to breathe deep,
struggling to place one foot in front of the other,
struggling to move and not hurt at the same time.

But, before I could think another thought,
this giant of a woman on the inside,
looked right up at me and said,
"If you give in, it's over."

With the words still fresh and hanging in the air,
she headed on down the hall.

But me,
I stayed right there,
letting the words she had just spoken
reach out and
take hold of me,
and shake me.

If you give in, it's over.


And, I thought about my husband, and how life for him on this earth is now over.

Not to live anymore.
Not to give into or take from.
Not to struggle through, yes, but not to delight in, either.
Not to do anymore "doin'" in.

And, I thought about me.

How the grief,
and the missing him,
and the lonely of being alone without
his smile,
his laugh,
his embrace,
his scent,
his prayers,
his words of encouragement,
his everything,
has tried to
push me right over into over.

And, if I gave in . . .
if I gave in to the sorrow,
if I gave in to the grief,
if I gave in to the missing him,
if I gave in to the weight and the pull of it all,
it would be over for me, too.

And, I realized,
in His kindness
and in His "not about to stop doin'" love for me,
had used this moment of looking down
to draw my eyes up.

Up to Him,
up to His outstretched (always outstretched) hand,
so that He, himself,
could pull me right back into my own doin'.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
~Galatians 6:9

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
~Hebrews 12:1-3

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:14

what I had failed to remember,
and what I needed to never, ever forget was this:

It's not about the size of the fighter in the fight,
it's about the size of the fight in the fighter.

I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.
~Ephesians 1:19-21

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.
~Romans 8:11

It was more than obvious
God had chosen to use this lady,
this precious little woman of giant faith,
to look down on me in love
and lift me back up.

As I watched her walk into a room,
closing the door behind her,
I thought of Paul,
who, knowing his over was quickly approaching,
held his pen high and wrote these words:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
~2 Timothy 4:7

"Me, too, Lord." I said as I stood in the hall.
"May it be true of me, too, Lord."

Fight on for God. Hold tightly to the eternal life that God has given you and that you have confessed with such a ringing confession before many witnesses.
~1 Timothy 6:12

Lovingly and prayerfully dedicated to Joanna H.
This is how we,
you and me together,
 are going to get through this.


  1. Thanks so much!! As I was reading the devotional this morning the tears were flowing. All your devotionals hit home with me as I lost my lover,husband, and best friend suddenly six weeks ago. Yes, the only way you and I can make it through the most difficult time in our lives is to let God see us through and to always stay connected to Him. He is our life support when we are missing our husbands so terribly much. Thanks for your encouraging devotionals and praying for you! With love and sympathy, Joanna Horner

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  3. What eternal wisdom that dear little lady shared with you.
    God knows the depths of your grief............thankfully...........and He will never leave you nor forsake you. As you keep on keeping on, one foot in front of the other, may you know His mighty inner strengthening,and the deep embrace of the Comforter.
    You are not alone...many of us pray for God's sustaining power to be at work within you, as you grieve.
    The Lord Himself is your husband now, and He is one who adores and cherishes you and cheers you on.


Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.