Heaven

The Parties of Heaven (part 1)

I enjoy thinking about and imagining the parties in Heaven. “Look on Zion, the city of our festivals.” (Is. 33:20). There is one happening today — a birthday party for my sweet sister-in-law, who went to be with the Lord this past August. Today, her daughter posted on Facebook that this is the first birthday in many years that she’ll be celebrating with her parents and grandparents. I wonder how many generations will join in — I can imagine her talking with a great-great-great grandmother, perhaps, and noticing family resemblances. Maybe some of her favorite heroes of the Bible will show up. I was thinking of all of this, and I asked Jesus to please take pictures for us! He might have shown me one right then, because I could clearly picture my sister-in-law, her face glowing with joy,health, and the golden candlelight of the cake in front of her. Her mouth was open with laughter at something someone had just said. I could tell it was one of those belly-laughs that only come when something strikes you particularly funny, and you are among people that make you feel completely comfortable. 

It was wonderful thinking about the reality of where she is now. Of course we should at least occasionally remember how brief our lives are here on earth so that we live each day fully, but I like when that leads to thinking more about the permanent Home we are heading for (if we are at peace with God through Christ). We are Citizens of Heaven, and “foreigners and strangers” here (Heb. 11:13). Have you ever felt the reality of that? Some may think it strange to spend much time thinking about Heaven. But isn’t it stranger to be spending a majority of the time thinking about the place where we’ll be spending the very least amount of our eternal existence? 

The Bible gives us many glimpses of what it will be like there. And the fun part of imagining from those starting points is knowing that it will be even better than the best that we can possibly imagine. Once I am there, I hope to be involved with designing invitations to some of the parties and festivals. More thoughts on that to come. 

Anxiety (or, pursuing Peace) · prayer · Uncategorized

Too Many Details

I used to think I was a “detail person.” But over time, I realized that pretty much applies only to my artwork, and even in that details can overwhelm me. That’s why I prefer painting a close-up of an object rather than a landscape. I know a lot of amazing people who do so many things and handle so many details with energy and confidence. I’m just not one of those people. And I’m ok with that, until the schedules, needs, and expectations of my family, others and myself go beyond a certain point. My brain goes haywire and I turn into a rather unpleasant person.

Life can be overwhelming. Besides the necessary things of daily life, and the unplanned surprises (pleasant or unpleasant), we are more or less under the influence of our culture, which pressures us to be busy, to have more, volunteer more, have a clean house, a mown lawn with no dandelions, make more money, be more social, be doing all the time. Some people thrive on lots of activity (you go, you extrovert energizer bunnies! I admire you!). But some of us are drained by it all, overwhelmed by all the details of life. We require more simplicity, peace, and quiet in order to function well.

Even though we haven’t read it yet, my husband and I often talk about the basic principle of this book: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson. Some of us do just fine with 1/4” margin all around their “page.” Some of us do better with one or two words on the page and a whole lot of white space (yes, give me that!). But no one does well with zero margin, words to the very edge of the page in every direction — everyone needs some space to deal with the unexpected, whether it’s a friend (or stranger) that needs help, or a tree falls on your house during a storm. And everyone needs some time to process life and not to hide behind a busy schedule.

Each detail of life carries a bit of weight. The more anxiety or worry attached to it, the heavier it is. I’m continually learning to “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). Some time ago, during worship at our church, I had a vague mental picture of Jesus smiling at me. It looked like there was something in His hand. I was mostly wondering if I was just making this picture up in my head, but also felt I should ask, “What is that in Your hand?” So I asked, and added, “By the way, I don’t have enough faith today to even hear your answer.” At that exact moment, our worship leader prayed, “Thank You that You hold the details of our lives in the palm of your hand.”

Heaven

Wish You Didn’t Have to Go

My “little boy” will soon be graduating and going off to college. My affectionate boy who has never stopped giving me hugs, even in front of his friends, even when he was in middle school. My sweet, thoughtful boy who loves to sit down and have deep talks about any subject, who is a friend to everyone. I have been trying to process all the last things in the past months — last musical, senior prom, last choral concert — and it seems appropriate that I came across these thoughts from my journal from when the boys were 10 and 6 years old:

Thinking about how quickly my little boys are growing up, and the magic of childhood slowly evaporating. I feel a deep sadness that only another mother might really understand. Crying over this sense of loss…they are slipping through my fingers and things will never be the same again.

But somehow…and I cannot imagine at all how…God will make even this right. When the four of us are all together in Heaven, everything will be all right. Better than all right. Whatever is precious that has been lost here on earth will be more than restored. There, I will have no cause for these heavy tears, no matter how much I think back on this. I trust my creative God to think of a way to restore and redeem anything and everything.

There is something about childhood magic, pure innocence, simple joys, and sweet, deep parent-child relationships that echoes Heaven. I think at least part of this sadness is really a longing for Home.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:4  I love the thought of God taking the time to wipe every tear from my eyes. Knowing how He likes to get to the root of issues and heal the depths, I believe the wiping of each tear we have ever shed will include healing the depth of each hurt that caused those tears. I’m thinking this will take quite a bit of quality time with the Father to discuss and heal each tear from the past! Sounds good to me. Imagine, then, being free from every thought that now makes you angry, cringe, cry, regret, ashamed, guilty, or deeply sad. I believe that this process can begin even now, and has for me; but will be completed and perfected in Heaven.