Life with a capital L: a small group resource & my blessing

God has been at work in my life. For a second time, God sent me Matt Heard’s message to live life with a capital L.

Twelve days after my Mama stepped into heaven, I reviewed life with a capital L. This book helped me glean the richness of the journey Mama was taking as she lifted one foot toward heaven and eventually, the other, reaching her destiny and true Life with a capital L.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Mama’s Life in heaven.

I am so glad that Heard created a small group participants’ guide and DVD. The guide can be used in 4, 6, or 12-week sessions with the DVD and the book.

Heard uses every-day examples to illustrate Biblical concepts. For example, he describes the difference between a bucket and a pipe: if you pour water into a bucket, the water stays in the bucket and will eventually become stagnant; however, if you pour water into a pipe, the water flows through the pipe, much like when a Christian serves as a conduit for God’s love, showering it on others, and as a result, God pours more love into that Christian to give the love away.

What’s in the guide

In the participant’s guide, Heard provides the facilitator with tips on how to lead the group. The participant’s guide includes:

  1. Warm-up questions (before the video).
  2. Video reaction prompts.
  3. Word studies (to go deeper in the Bible).
  4. Group discussion questions.
  5. Closing prayer prompts.
  6. After session reflections.
  7. Resolutions (prompts for prayer, reflection and action throughout the week).

Personal reflection

Daddy’s journey to heaven was 15 years before Mama’s. She missed him so much. Often, she would ask me why she was still living. I told her that God wasn’t finished with her, yet, that God had something else for her to do.

I wondered why she had to go through the last few weeks of her life. I know now. In those last few weeks of pain, there were glimpses of heaven. She served as a conduit for God’s grace and love to spill out onto her caregivers and onto her children. She didn’t know the reason for those weeks, nor did I. I’m sure she knows now. I know now.

One caregiver said that she had not seen such peace in a hospice patient. Her conclusion: “She must have her spiritual house in order.”

Without a word, in dying, Mama pointed people to Jesus; Mama lived life with a capital L in her dying.

Final resolution

Matt Heard’s final resolution sums up Life:

I will keep in mind that my ultimate redemption is graciously secured and that Christ will get me home.

I will pay attention to today’s heaven moments – whether physical aches, unfulfilled longings, encounters with beauty, broken experiences, or opportunities to obey – and will hope for the day when Life with a capital L will no longer be diluted by a fallen body and fallen world.

I miss our morning calls, Mama. They were Life.
I miss you, Mama.

My tears are filled with your Life, glimpses of heaven.
I’ll see you in heaven, Mama.

Matt Heard’s message is important. Please share this message.

Make it Yours!

Above all, make it your resolution this week to ask God to show you the
path to living Life with a capital L.
My prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You, again, for Matt Heard and the message You have given him. Bless him as he seeks Your face, Your guidance, and Your future messages. Guide us towards a deeper Life with You. We want to be used by You. We love you, Lord.

More Information

Author Bio

I unexpectedly received a copy of the Participant’s Guide and DVD of life with a capital L: Embracing your God-given humanity from Multnomah Books.

Jesus wept

gravestone

 

 

 

 

“Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”

Jesus wept.

So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” John 11:34-36

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus knew that his beloved friend, Lazarus, was sick. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus to come to them. But He stayed two days longer where He was, and then walked to Bethany.

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days.

Jesus wept.

Why was He weeping? He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.

He had told His disciples that the outcome would be

… for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4

Why am I crying?

Mama’s in heaven.

There’s no pain in heaven.

Daddy’s in heaven.

Mama met her mother; Mama’s biological mother died giving her birth.

I’m happy she’s in heaven.

Why am I crying?

I’m crying for her suffering.

I’m crying for my family.

I’m crying for her caregivers.

I’m crying for myself.

I’ll miss her.

Why did Jesus weep?

I know that death is the result of sin.

I know that Jesus came to pay the price of our sins, death on the cross.

I know that Jesus is fully man and fully God.

I know that Jesus is compassionate and loves the world.

I know that Jesus loved Lazarus.

I know that Jesus loves Mama.

I know that Jesus loves me.

I know that God wept.

My prayer

Jesus, I don’t understand these emotions. I am happy that Mama is in heaven; yet, I’m weeping. Thank You for including this small verse in Your Word. Jesus, I love You.

How are you honoring your body?

Mama's flowers

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here. Genesis 50:24-25

We buried Mama yesterday. She traveled from The Woodlands near Houston, Texas to Tulsa, Oklahoma and was buried with Daddy. Most of the family traveled from Texas. I traveled from California.

I considered not going. I rationalized that she wasn’t there, just her body.

… absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

I prayed for wisdom. Joseph came to mind, and I read Genesis 50.

Mary’s anointing the feet of Jesus with the costly perfume of nard and Jesus’ response came to mind.

Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. John 12:7

The body is important to God. In the story of creation, “God said,” and the light was created, the waters were separated, and vegetation sprouted.

But God “formed” and “breathed into” man.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

God “fashioned” the woman.

The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Genesis 2:22

There’s something special about the body, even when the spirit has left it. The body is God’s “poem,” His cherished handiwork. We honor the body in many ways. We decorate the body with clothes and jewels. We workout to shape it into today’s idea of beauty, and we use makeup to paint it.

The honor I was not giving to the body, and particularly to Mama’s body, was that the Holy Spirit had considered her body His temple. Yes, I had acknowledged that many times … read the Scripture and interpreted it to mean that we should take care of our bodies and avoid joining them in immorality.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

When God formed and fashioned the bodies of man and woman, He breathed His life into these temples that would house the Holy Spirit. Our God of artistry and love created them in His image, something to honor and cherish.

The Holy Spirit’s temple! Not St. Peter’s Basilica. Not Cathedral Notre Dame. The Christian’s body.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Mama’s spirit is in heaven now, and her body is in the earth waiting for the trumpet of God to sound. I know that her new body will reflect God’s artistry and love.

My Prayer

Father, thank You for creating our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. Thank You for giving significance to every part of our lives. You took such care in creating bodies with the senses that could give pleasure and richness to this earthly life. Thank You for Your gentle lessons and guidance. I am glad that You have given honor to our earthly bodies and that You have new bodies for us.

How are you honoring your body?

Mama, see you in heaven

Mama

 

 

Clara Viola Nistetter

August 26, 1925 to November 2 , 2014

Absent from the body, but present with the Lord.

 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Mama,

Throughout the years, you and Daddy dwelt in the shelter of the Lord. You encountered troubled times and sought refuge under God’s sheltering wings. His faithfulness shielded you. Though evil surrounded you at times, you rested in the LORD. He gave His angels charge over you, and they guarded all your ways.

Because you loved God and called upon His name, you were secure. You called upon the LORD, and He answered you. In time of trouble, He rescued you and honored you.

With a long life, God satisfied you and let you see His salvation.

Thank you for living out Psalm 91.

I love you and I’ll miss you, but I’ll meet you in heaven in God’s timing.
Karen

Smiling toward heaven and eternity

Jordan River Mama’s about to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land … Heaven with all the Glory of the Lord

About a year ago, I took a six-week course to become a volunteer in the No One Dies Alone program. If patients have no one to be with them while they are actively dying, volunteers who have received the training and are available sit with the patient, pray with the patient, read to the patient, talk with the patient if the patient is able, and hold the patient’s hand if wanted.

I have a folder in my car ready at a moment’s notice with guidelines and instructions, the book Urgent Whispers, tips, Scripture, and paper and pen. I’ve also prepared a playlist of iTunes hymns and praise music just for the time I might need it.

Little did I know that God was preparing me to sit with Mama as she prepared to look into the face of Jesus.

I’ve read Urgent Whispers; I’ve held her hand; I’ve whispered Scriptures describing heaven to her; I’ve kissed her, I’ve rubbed her head, and I’ve played the hymns and praise music for her.

I had planned to minister to the dying. I had planned to minister to Mama.

Yet, I did not anticipate the blessings I would receive from her as she lifted one foot high toward heaven with her tiptoes on earth.

Sitting with Mama caused me to reflect upon her legacy. Her family is her life. While I wasn’t always there for her, she was always there for me.

Mama and Daddy taught me the value of their commitment to each other … until death did they part … 53 years after they wed.

Always a lady, she taught me the power of image and reputation. She did not instruct me. She showed me through her life. Even in assisted living, she has been known for the lady that she is.

God is central to her purpose. Her family recognizes it; her friends see it, and the staff in her assisted living facility understand it.

Streams of health care providers have been through her doors to kiss her, tell her they love her, and tell her “Goodbye.”

Mama lived her talk: “Patience, Pluck, and Perseverance.”

Patience in waiting upon the Lord to take her home.

Pluck in choosing a path of relationship building.

Perseverance in stepping out in strength and dignity even in pain.

 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. Proverbs 31:25

Mama, you have blessed many beyond measure, and you are smiling at a future filled with the Glory of the Lord and rewards unimagined. Enjoy eternity. I’ll join you in God’s timing.

My prayer:

Father, thank You for the hope that you have given the world, and thank You that Mama has walked this world with strength and dignity. Thank You that she is smiling at the future. May we all walk this world with strength and dignity as we smile at the future.

 

Waiting to enter the joy of the Lord

White Rose

For You are the God of my salvation. For You I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5

Mama is waiting on the Lord.

She’s waiting for Jesus to say “Come.”

Come to heaven.

Come to the joy of the Lord.

Come and be healed.

Come, I’ll wipe your tears away.

Come and see My glory.

Come.

Mama has served the Lord for almost a century; she has taken what Jesus gave her and multiplied it into a fragrant garden. She is still bestowing lavendar grace, lily-white goodness,  rose-petal joy, and bird-of-paradise Good News to her family, her neighbors, her friends, and her caregivers.

Her smile exudes God’s grace and love.

When the waiting is complete, Mama will behold Jesus’ face and say:

“Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.” Matthew 25:21

Jesus will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”

I look forward to seeing what Mama has in store for her when she enters that joy.

My prayer:

Thank You Lord for the privilege of knowing Mama intimately. I entrust her to You. Show her Your glory, and escort her to the dwelling place that You have prepared especially for her.