Friday, January 2, 2009

Looking Back on 2008



Looking back: 2008

There’s a reason why the rear view mirror is only a very small portion of the size of my windshield. The rear view mirror is best used for a quick glance to see what's happening behind me. Looking back at 2008 should also only be a quick look back in the past. My rear view mirror does little to help me navigate the road before me. Every second my eyes are off the road ahead, is another chance I can get offtrack. The past is past. It’s behind me, I need to let it stay there.


The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ has made that possible for me, in spite of all that has happened in 2008 to me and mine. God is opening some new doors of opportunity for me. I need to focus my attention and my energies on the road ahead. No matter how much I am tempted, I refuse to try to drive down the highway of destiny, with my eyes in the rear view mirror. I'm keeping my eyes fixed, fastened and specifically on Jesus Christ. I cannot count on men, friends or anyone else like I can count on Jesus. He will never leave or forsake me and He never gives up on me.

Starting in the fall of 2007 my husband of 40+ years was diagnosed with viral pneumonia that just wouldn't seem to respond fully to medications. Early Good Friday morning of 2008, he had trouble keeping his balance. He was with friends at a horse show several hours away and they drove at breakneck speed to get home to check into the hospital. In a moment our world crashed. He had lung cancer that had spread to his brain. Neither he nor I ever smoked and this seemed impossible to us. It turned out that the pneumonia hid the underlying lung cancer all those months.
As I walked into the hospital the thoughts that filled my mind were that God would be merciful in all that was to come. That seemed puzzling to me, but I held onto it throughout the hard 30 days left of John's life. Spiritually John and I had not been in step for about 20 years. When hard times hit us I ran to the feet of Jesus and my relationship with the Lord became the focus of my life. John did not understand what had happened to me. He was a church going, baptized good fellow. He never tried to discourage or stop anything I felt God was calling me to do, but he didn't have the same zeal for the Lord that I did. But in a moment of that diagnosis he wanted to know all he could about the Lord. We had hope of 5+ years because John had been in such vigorous health throughout his life. Those 30 days; the good ones and the bad ones, had John calling on me to read to him from the Bible. He would comment on God's graciousness and he longingly looked at me often, "I'm sorry, Kay, I'm afraid it took this for me to be willing to give all to the Lord." I told him that might be, but the main point of living is "see" and "hear" Him.

Unfortunately one of the experimental drugs had an extreme reaction and it took John quickly. I recall thinking back on that word: Mercy. I prayed to God on how I could see this disease and death as merciful. In the days of living on the oncology floor I came to know the patients and their families. My husband was a handsome man that was always very careful in his appearance. He worked out nearly every day. I realized the long-term fight for life as a recovering cancer patient would be extremely difficult for him. Being a physician also has its issues when he became the patient. Many of the hospital employees were his patients and I would see the extreme sadness as they saw him so critically ill. Yes....it was the profound mercy of God that his was a short illness. Now, he is perfectly at peace and I so look forward to seeing him one day.

Now, I have the responsibility to live. I write a blog titled "Thrive Christians" because as I reinvent myself as a single widow I feel an intense responsibility not to waste a single moment of precious life. I saw all those wonderful patients on that floor valiantly fighting to live. When sorrow or disappointment pulls on me; I make the conscious decision to live with the best in me for all of those patients and my husband who fought with all they had.

Looking in a rear view mirror has some merit if it is only for a glance, but in driving it is hazardous to drive with your focus being on what is in the rear view mirror. The windshield is vastly bigger than the small rear view mirror because best driving comes by looking ahead. I sense that thriving as a Christian also needs the saint to be keenly aware of the present and what's ahead.

I come to the end of 2008 and say that this year has shown me the mercy, goodness and grace of God Himself. This past week I looked back for too long and had many regrets that brought me to tears. We talk much of God's grace, mercy and love, but I honestly believe we talk more than we believe. My prayer for all of us believers is that we will pray daily for God to help our unbelief. I'm looking forward with joyful expectation of what God has in store for me and all His children in 2009.
This post has been written as part of a group writing project of the great folks at Red Letter Believers: http://redletterbelievers.blogspot.com/ . Check out the contribution of other writers. 2008 has been a year many of us will never forget. I imagine the essays will be quite profound.
Happy New Year to all and to me that means a year focused on Jesus Christ above all else.

8 comments:

Red Letter Believers said...

Kay

thanks for joining in. I added your link to the RLB post!

David

Laura Capell said...

Just beautiful...and very brave. Sharing so much about the challenges you faced in 2008 I'm sure is going to bless someone walking out that very same thing.
Here's to a much diminished rear view mirror and a greatly expanded "front windshield" for 2009.
Love you so!!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Dear, dear Kay,

I do think that this is the most wonderful and most powerful post that you have written! The way you have accepted God's will in your life is exemplary for us all!

I love what you said about the rear-view mirror.....that it is best used for a quick glance back....too much looking and you can't see the road in front of you. That is such great advice! I know from experience that sometimes we can grieve for the past so much that we miss out on the good in the here and now.

Again....thanks Kay for a great read today!

Marilyn

Robin said...

Kay, thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting too. I am so thankful to God that some of my writting out of my own heart is truely touching others; To God Be All The Glory!!!! I too, love how you talk about the rear view miror. I wrote a post as well, as how I looked back, a little too long. Would you mind at all if I re-posted this on my blog? You describe the looking back, and your paainful experience so beautifully, it is surely a lesson we can all learn from and need reminding of again and again. I know I tend to forget allot of things I learn so quickly. One of my prayers for the New Year is asking God to help me remember things/lessons when I learn them. I don't want to waste time goiing around and around the same things. I also have a blogspot blog for single moms, and will add you to my blog roll. Many of the posts are the same as my wordpress, but the wordpress blog has more older posts from previous blogs. I know it sounds kind of confussing, but we'll see what God will do with it all. Looking forward to getting to read more of your blog in the new year. Your sister in Christ. Robin

sailorcross said...

Hi Kay!!

I read this yesterday, but in the rush of getting my daughter together to go to the airport, I wasn't able to leave a comment.

But, I'm glad I read it before she did leave. Apparently one of her friends was having a problem just the evening before about how her past is affecting her current relationship. This young girl has been honest and up front about her past, and now suddenly with this staring her young man in the face--he is having problems with her past.

I used your example of the rear view mirror--telling my daughter this--and she passed it on to her friend.

The past is past--a quick glance back from time to time so we can always remember God's lessons, grace, faithfulness and mercy to us--and then always look ahead to the hope we have in our future--the hope of Christ!!

Beth

Chris Godfredsen said...

Powerful, powerful stuff. Your witness most certainly brings a smile to our Creator God's face. As 2009 meanders along, may you - may I - keep eyes fixed solely on God in all that comes along.

My first time to your blog, but I will certainly be returning.

Grace and Peace!

Anonymous said...

Kay,
My prayers are with you.

Peggy said...

My precious sister in the Lord Kay,
You do not know me but this testimony and reflection is awesome & aMazing, blessing me with much wisdom, strength, and so much to help me understand how the past is past & I'm called to be free to follow Jesus completely, totally surrendered and not let one day be wasted!

I read your beautiful "sheep" post of hearing the Shepherd but noticed
Neil Anderson's"Who I am in Christ"
saved your blog in a tab to come back and search for more on his book because I knew his book helped me so much when I was struggling with too many losses all at once and felt my life slipping away.
I have not yet found it but found
a treasure much better. Indeed it states WHO YOU ARE in CHRIST & in the power of His Spirit! I am blessed. I pray that these words
helps someone else know the destiny
before them is much greater.

I am so sorry for your great loss but heaven's gain. I know the healing is a long process. Some days better and easier than others.
Always reminders. Always memories.
Always the hand of God guiding you forward...holding on to your hand when you lift it to Him, embracing you when you need His Presence. I will not say I will pray for you but I will pray for you.

Lord, Please hear the words of the heart of my dear sister who cannot look back on 2008 without knowing that YOU alone could lead her through to thrive not merely survive. I ask You to send the Holy Comforter each low moment to take her through the valleys and Your rod to keep her on the path. May you continue to open her eyes to her beautiful words of knowing Your Mercy and mercies. May she hear Your voice alone. May she heed ALL that she hears. May You send the healing balm of Gilead to her heart. May each day bring new healing and wholeness. May each morning she hear from You and realize how Your Mercies are new every morning. Bind up the wounds
and any broken pieces. Proclaim freedom and favor. Comfort her as
she mourns & provide for her as she grieves. Give her the oil of gladness instead of mourning.
Cover her with a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of heaviness!
Continue to lift her up as she lifts You up and use her to help others You send her way. She is strong in You & the power of Your Holy Spirit is upon her. Bless her and her blog to do Your will and make each day more to look forward to of Your Glory. Shower her with Your Grace & Goodness. Let her tears be turned to JOY with no more regrets on what could have been, but what still will be in Your Precious Name Jesus! Thank You, Lord that You are helping all of us to trust You more. Forgive us in any unbelief & help us to have HOPE in Christ in 2009!!! I am honored Lord to know You & her as Your daughter, Your Princess...with a great inheritance ahead of her.
May Your Grace & Peace flow from Your Heavenly Throne to Kay today
Thank You Jesus, Praise You and Glory to the reunion awaiting us in Heaven...with our loved ones.

Happy New Year Kay! I'm one of Beth's friends and read your comment on warmHarte that lead me here.

In Christ's Love,
Peggy

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.