Grieving with Hope

Recently the Lord taught me a new lesson on how to live out the Scripture, “Mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15.

After one of our small group Bible studies, a dear saint with failing health came up to me, held both my hands, looked directly into my eyes through her misty ones, and said, “When you get to heaven find my husband, John. He loved words, especially the Word of God, as you do. You remind me of him.”

“How long has there been an empty chair at your table?”

“It seems like forever. Six years. He’d have gotten you in a corner and picked your brain.
You’re so full of the Spirit you bubble over.”

Still gripping my hands, Lynn told me that she doesn’t hear the lessons as clearly as she used to. I volunteered to send her additional review material. She asked if I’d send copies of our studies so she can share them with her daughter and a friend.

She lifted herself onto her tiptoes, hugged me and said,“God sent you here just for me.”

As she left, I silently cried out,“Lord, teach me to love with passion as Lynn does.” I determined to add her to my prayer list, to try to call her weekly, and send her encouraging notes.

“Dear Father of all comfort, I praise you for the renewal to ‘grieve with those who grieve.’ She’s lonely, hurting, and desperately grieving from the loss of her beloved John. You’ve reassured me that ‘You are familiar with all our ways’ and your holy Presence is a present help’”.

Please teach Lynn, my wife, and all of us who know you how to wait patiently for the reality of ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. No more death, no more mourning or crying for the old life has passed away’. Amen.” Rev 21:4

A Conference to Remember

Last week my wife and I had the privilege of attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference at Lake Yale in central Florida. What an exciting adventure from the moment we registered on Wednesday afternoon and picked up our room key until we left on Sunday afternoon after lunch.

The time was filled with speakers, appointments with publishers and critique personnel, continuing classes and workshops. I learned so much from them as I had opportunities to talk about my writing – haiku, memoir, devotionals, and Bible studies for small groups. Outstanding!

But the most rewarding experience was spending time with Christian people who have the same love for our Lord and want to share it through their love of writing.

Marti Pieper, chaplain for the conference, critiqued my memoir, Naked with Clothes On. Diane Matthews critiqued my devotionals and also taught 3 days of 2-hour classes honing our skills in devotional writing.

More about it next week. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you if you have ever attended a Christian Writers Conference, or any other Christian Conference. It’s a time of getting to know fellow believers who are also on life’s spiritual journey. What a time we are having on this earth, and we only see through a glass darkly until we are eternally with the Lord.

I am asking the Lord to help me improve my writing skills so that they can “Spur one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

NOTE THE NAME CHANGE: The blog name has been changed from Umbilical to Guardedhearts.