Random Thoughts Of My Bride
by Donald Mehl 4/25/2013 / Death
Although unknown to most of you, my dear wife for almost fifty years was called Home by her Savior and Lord on Friday, March 1, 2013 after enduring serious illness for the past five years. Carol was ready to meet Him, and waited expectantly to hear Him call her name. In heaven she will suffer no more pain. Heart disease, diabetes, and all the other related ailments will be things of the past and remembered no more. There will be no more hospitals, walkers, or wheel chairs, either. The sick will be healed, the lame will leap for joy, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the trials of this world will be gone forever. Today, she is safe and well in the arms of Jesus.
I penned the following random thoughts during the early morning hours of the days following her Home-going. In a way, it was a beginning of healing for me a healing that will likely take a long time. My emotional wound will eventually heal, but the scar will remain. My total healing, however, will come from the Lord. Oh, where would I be without Him in my life!
I am sharing my thoughts in the event that you or someone you know who might have recently experienced the pain and heartache of losing a loved one. Perhaps by reading them, it will bring a glimmer of hope and assurance into your life, and the knowledge that you are not alone. May God bless you!
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RANDOM THOUGHTS OF MY BRIDE
When we lose someone we love dearly, it can feel as if our heart and soul has been ripped apart and shredded, then, blown away like confetti in a wind storm. For me, that is especially true when the loved one was my wife and best friend who stood beside me for almost 50 years through good times and bad, through thick and thin, through sickness and health, and through times of sadness and joy.
But wait! Carol is not lost! Oh, although I cannot touch her, I cannot see her smiling face, and I cannot hear her voice, I know exactly where she is. She is safe in the arms of Jesus!
There she will suffer no more pain. Heart disease, diabetes, and all the other related ailments will be things of the past and remembered no more. There will be no more hospitals, walkers, and wheel chairs, either. The sick will be healed, the lame will leap for joy, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the trials of this world will be gone forever.
It was Carol's appointed time to leave us for a little while. God had called her name. As a born-again believer she went on down the path ahead of us to meet her Savior and Lord. She was not only ready, but was anxious to meet Him. That is a journey we all must take one day. Are you ready to do that? Do you know Him? You must be very sure. I know that I am ready - and soon I will see her again!
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Through all of Carol's life trials our prayer has always been, "We trust in You, O Lord...for our times are in Your hand." (Psalm 31:14)
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We are told in Scripture that we must run the race that is set before us. However, we know our journey will not always be smooth. The road we travel will have bumps, twists and turns along the way. When we keep the faith and look to the Lord for His leading to carry us over the rough spots, we will meet at the finish line - with victory in Jesus.
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Our awesome God is in control! It is only with His permission that we are allowed to take our next breath. We must realize that we are all just a lump of clay in the Master Potter's hands that He will shape and mold into His perfect plan for our lives.
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One day we will walk hand in hand with Jesus - our Savior, Lord and Master. We will talk and laugh with Him as we stroll together down the streets of pure gold. Our special mansion will be ready and waiting for us too. A massive celebration of continuous praise and worship will be there for us to join in with them. What a day that will be!
Until then, all of us must be thankful for each new morning, and thank God for allowing us to be a part of it so we can live our days for His honor and glory. Each day we must count our many blessings He so richly pours out on each one of us. Tomorrow is not certain, but eternity is and we must know where we will spend it!
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I have much faith in the Lord and was always trying to provide encouragement to Carol, but in my quiet times, in a quiet place when I was alone with my thoughts, I felt so sad for her and my tears would flow. When I was on my knees in submission to Him, seeking His face in prayer, and looking to Him for peace, comfort and strength, He always told me to wait on Him for He will never leave us. He told me we are safe in the palm of His hand, He cares for us, and to only trust Him, for He is in control and that His Will must be done.
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Heaven is a very real place. It is a place to look forward to, a place to contemplate and prepare for. It is a place where we will be more alive than we are today. The Master Creator is there, preparing a special place in heaven just for us.
In John 14:1-4,6 (NKJV), Jesus gave this promise to us: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
One day soon our mansion will be completed and Jesus will call my name and yours. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Are you prepared to meet Him on that day?
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One of the latter verses of the gospel hymn, "Amazing Grace", was penned as follows:
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise,
Than when we'd first begun.
Ten thousand years - just imagine! But, when compared to eternity, ten thousand years are not even a blink of an eye. Eternity will have just begun. It is simply impossible for me to wrap my human brain around that concept.
And then, to boggle the mind even further, the next ten million years will be as a single drop of water in an ocean that extends forever with no boundaries, nor measurable depth.
Throughout those endless years there will be no more death or sorrow, no more sickness, no more tears or pain, and no one will ever grow weary. Also, there will be no hospitals, or walkers, or canes, or wheelchairs. There will be no more Alzheimer's, or dementia, or strokes, or heart disease, or cancer.
Most important of all, however, is that Jesus will be there, and believers will at long last be Home with Him.
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Almost 50 years ago Carol and I made a promise to each other in the presence of a church full of witnesses and Almighty God that we would love, cherish, honor, protect, and care for one another as long we had life and breath. Oh, there were bumps along the way with twists and turns in our path, but with God leading us every step of the way, we did just that with everything that was within us. Now that 50 years have almost past by, the memories linger on and will never be erased from my mind. Would I do it all over again? Yes in a heartbeat!
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I believe that today Carol is strolling hand in hand with Jesus along the streets of pure gold. I believe they are chatting, singing and laughing as they linger beside the flowing River of Life with its Living Water sparkling like liquid diamonds. She is with her Savior and Lord forever. Since Carol is with the Lord, and the Lord is with me, then, she is not far away. One day soon I will join them there. I can't wait!
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In the final weeks before Carol was called Home to be with the Lord, we both sensed that the end was near. We would spend as much time together as possible, sitting hand in hand at her bedside with tears flowing, often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, just praying, sharing our inner feelings, re-living our memories, and comforting one another. It was during those times that I could picture in my mind's eye God-sent angels positioned on each side of her bed with wings wide-spread and touching wingtip to wingtip forming a shield of protection over us. Carol and I had an unbreakable bond between us, but our bond with our Lord and Savior was even greater. He promised to be with us until the end - and He was.
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Carol was my beloved bride and best friend for almost fifty years. She stood close by me through good times and bad, through sickness and health, and through times of sadness and joy. Now she has gone away. But, I know exactly where she is. She is safe in the arms of Jesus!
Carol went on down the path ahead of us to be with her Savior and Lord. Until we meet again, the roses will never fade and the memories will linger on in my heart.
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I shared the following during Carol's memorial service:
"On behalf of my family and myself, I want to take a moment to thank everyone for being here, for your prayers, for your support, and for your kind words. We appreciate all of you."
"Not long ago Carol told me she wished she could be a little mouse in a corner during her memorial service. She wanted to hear the Pastor's message, enjoy the music, and greet everyone who is here. Well, there probably aren't any mice in this Chapel, but I know she is here in our hearts and thoughts today. Carol would be very pleased."
"If it were possible, I believe that Carol would be shouting a final plea from within heaven's gates to all in this Chapel who would hear her. She would warn that this is real stuff, it is serious stuff, and that one day everyone must stand before God to give account. It won't be about who we are, or what we've done, or whether we've been a good person. It will be all about Jesus and what we have done with Him. And, it's not whether we simply know about Him, it's whether we truly know Him. There is a huge difference between the two."
"If you are not absolutely sure you are a repentant, blood-bought, heaven-bound child of God, then, you must to do some serious business with Him today. You must receive His free gift of salvation by faith alone before it is too late."
"And, as Carol knows very well - there is no promise of a tomorrow for anyone."
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I am not in any big rush to sort through Carol's things since I will need some time to get myself together first. Then, they will eventually be distributed according to her wishes.
I had been Carol's life support every hour of every day for a long time. It seems that I should still be doing something for her, but now the house is quiet. There is a big empty hole that will be there for some time. Even my dog Betsy seems lost, but now she needs me too. Carol was Betsy's best friend.
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My family and friends have now returned to their homes. Except for me and my dog Betsy, who continues to search each room for Carol, the house is empty. It is just the two of us trying to grasp onto something that resembles a normal life. But all has changed, and will never return to the life as we had known it for so many years. All we have left are the memories that fill our hearts.
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As Carol's caregiver, I was her constant life support for the past few years. I was tuned into her every need 24 hours a day, and always listened for her voice calling out to me. Even now in the quiet hours of the night and day, I sometimes imagine hearing her crying out for my help. I rush to the bedside where she once lay, but only to realize once again that she is not with us. Then, the tears flow because I miss her so much. Jesus is taking good care of her now, and one of these days I will join her never to be separated again.
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A house that was once filled with joy and laughter, family and friends, pain and tears, conversation and intimate sharing, can do strange things to the mind after those things are gone. Now, I am finding out that an empty house can be quite noisy with sounds I don't remember hearing before. Sometimes the floors creak, ice trapped on the roof will make crackling noises as it thaws, I hear the furnace fire-up many times each day, and I even hear Betsy's nails softly clicking on the tile floors as she wanders aimlessly from room to room.
I talk randomly and frequently aloud expecting a response, but the only acknowledgement I hear is the echo of my words as they bounce off the walls. Betsy doesn't even listen to me unless the word "treat" is spoken. However, the Lord is listening and will sweep away the loneliness. I hope He will never become tired of hearing my voice.
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Forgive me if this sounds selfish, but with Carol no longer nearby to keep close watch over me, I pray that the Lord might raise a person or persons up to keep track of me in Carol's absence. I will surely need that support as the days pass by. I'm only human with human frailties and missteps - often fumbling and forgetful as I go along life's way. Whether I want to admit it or not, I'm no spring chicken anymore.
With the uncertainties of life, illnesses will happen, accidents might occur suddenly, and any number of other unforeseen situations could arise affecting my emotional or physical well being. Thankfully, I know that the Lord will always care and watch over me all the day and night, but I also desire that people might do that as well.
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I attended the Sunday morning worship service at church two days after Carol's memorial. It was the first time I had been able to be away from home long enough to attend church since early December. It was good - so very good! Oh, how I missed worshiping together with like-minded believers!
The music selections and the message filled my parched soul with renewed assurance that I am His and He is mine in spite of the trials and heartaches we must face in this life. We are never alone with the Lord by our side.
Oh Lord, may the healing begin with You!
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Now the house is empty of voices once heard, and empty of the love and close companionship we once shared together. It even seems as though the evening lights in our home have grown dim. There are moments when dark shadows of overwhelming loneliness begin to force their way into the corners of my mind as the quiet hours of the days and nights slowly pass by.
But, Carol is still present here in many ways. Evidence of her touch and handiwork can be seen throughout the house she loved. Her personal fingerprints are clearly visible in the placement of knick-knacks, groupings of wall-hung pictures, furniture, and so much more. The color schemes and window treatments in each room were carefully chosen by her, and represent her taste in decor. Hand-crafted, framed stitchery work adorns many rooms. Also, everything was well organized by her, and is easily accessible for use. Carol's personality exists everywhere I look.
For all of those things, I am very grateful. May her memory linger on and be seen as long as the Lord allows me to have life and breath.
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There seems to be an invisible veil-like separation between life and death that cannot be penetrated while we are alive. So, what happens when believers die? From the account of Lazarus as recorded in Luke 16, we learn that when he died, angels of the Lord carried his soul to Abraham's bosom (Paradise). That is a good lesson and promise for all.
I believe that immediately after a person draws their last breath on earth, the veil is parted. Then, angels reach through and carry a believer's soul to heaven and into the presence of the Lord. It will all happen in the twinkling of an eye.
As a redeemed, blood-bought, born-again believer, I know that is exactly what Carol experienced at the moment of her death. She instantly entered into heaven a very real place that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no tongue has ever told of its splendor. With her first breath in heaven, Carol's eyes opened wide to see the smiling face of Jesus waiting there for her with open arms. She was ready to meet Him, and was looking forward to that glorious moment when she would be with her Savior and Lord forever.
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As sick as Carol had become during the last few weeks of her life, I was told by her numerous times that she was worried I might not be able to care for myself, by myself, after she was gone. Although I was her constant 24/7 lifeline for several years and was attentive to her every need, she was concerned about me even in the midst of her own pain and suffering.
Over the years Carol taught me well, and I believe that I did a darn good job of caring for her day and night. I put my heart and soul into it. But, unknown to me at the time, perhaps her concerns were justified.
It has now been more than four weeks since Carol was called Home to be with her Savior and Lord. Even though my day-to-day physical survival skills are quite good, I find myself struggling to cope with moments of overwhelming loneliness that emerge during the quiet days and nights. Often times I feel like a lost sheep wandering alone in the wilderness, unable to find its way.
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I am very surprised that Carol was the first to die. With my cancer diagnosis thirteen years ago, and yet another cancer diagnosis of a different type nine years ago, I had always thought that my death would happen first. You see, in spite of surgeries and radiation treatments, I have always believed that cancer is rarely ever totally destroyed, but rather, is only held at bay until it rears its ugly head again in the future. That has not yet happened.
Thankfully, by the grace of God, Carol was spared the pain and heartache she would have suffered had she lost the husband she loved for almost fifty years.
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In my quiet moments as I reflect on our years together, my memories of Carol overwhelm my heart and soul to the point of tears. They seem as real as if they were happening all over again today.
I recall her soft voice giving me comfort and assurance. I picture the love in her eyes and her smiling face everywhere I look. Her sweet scent lingers in my mind like the aroma of fresh red roses. I can feel her gentle touch and her arms surrounding me in a loving embrace. Hardly a day passed by in over 49 years without her sweet kisses and "I love you" coming from her lips.
Oh, the precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul. May the memories never dim and fade away from the depths of my mind.
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A personal message from the author's heart to yours:
As you read the written thoughts that flowed randomly from my mind, you might have sensed two central themes - the unique love that my bride and I had for each other, and our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. The love we shared together would not have been possible without us having a personal relationship with Him during our life. He led our way all the way.
You might ask, "What is that relationship of which you speak? I don't understand. I certainly believe in God and His Son Jesus. I'm a good person and God is love. Isn't that enough?"
In short, the answer is "No". Many people know about Him, but they do not know Him. It is not enough to simply believe in God and claim to love Him, or believe that Jesus existed. Those folks are unable to say with absolute certainty, "I am His, and He is mine." They have never truly met Him at the cross where Christ shed His precious blood, and died as the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God to pay the full price for all of your sins and mine. They have never placed their trust in Him, nor have they believed His promises by repentant faith alone. The Lord is not foremost in their life.
The Bible teaches that because Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and fall into sin in the Garden of Eden, all of humanity was cursed with an inborn sin nature separating us from God. The result of that separation is eternal spiritual death. We are all guilty of sin, and there is absolutely nothing we can do within ourselves to close that separation gap.
It is not His Will that any should perish, but that all would choose to follow Him. In His infinite wisdom, God showed His love toward us by providing a way that we might receive His salvation gift and forgiveness of all sin through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. If we remain throughout this life as un-forgiven sinners, we will die spiritually.
However, when we choose to receive Jesus into our life as our Savior and Lord and repent of our sins, we can know Him, and will have eternal life as He has promised. To receive His gift of salvation freely offered to all, we must be convicted of our lost spiritual condition and our need for the Savior in our life. Then, we must consciously and deliberately reach out to Him by faith alone to receive His full pardon.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If you have a heartfelt desire to follow Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and begin a new life in Him, then, pour out your heart to Him in prayer. You might pray something like this:
"Oh God, help me! I need You in my life. I'm so sorry for the things I've done. I'm sorry I had turned my back on You for so long. I can't go on without You. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for me, in my place, for all my sin. I believe that He rose from the dead and is in heaven today preparing a place for me. Oh God, forgive all my sins. By faith alone I now accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, and confess that He is Lord over all. Come into my heart and life now, today, and help me to live a life that's pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name - Amen!"
When you sincerely pray like that from your heart, then, as He has promised, He will hear your prayer. Your salvation through Christ alone will happen instantly, and will be sealed forever by the Holy Spirit residing within you - providing absolute assurance that you are a blood-bought, heaven-bound child of God and a rightful heir to His kingdom.
You will begin your personal relationship with Him as you desire to become more Christ-like in your life. You will learn to pray and find comfort in His Word. You will walk and talk with Him as you follow His Will for your life. You will lean on Him, serve Him, and give Him the honor and glory. When Jesus is your all-in-all, He will be your strength and shield as well as your Friend forever. Then, God's blessings on your life will truly be beyond measure.
Carol and I received the Lord into our lives many years ago, and we have never regretted a single moment. Only through a Christ-centered life with Him leading the way was it possible for us to enjoy our lives together as God intended for almost 50 years.
Praise God for His amazing grace!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!