As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Up-Hill


     Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
          Yes, to the very end.
    Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
          From morn to night, my friend.
          ~ Christina Rossetti

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As bloggers, we often share the pretty parts of our lives. Beautiful children and grandchildren. Happy family gatherings. Pretty food. Freshly painted and spruced up rooms. Cheerful holiday decorations. Joyful occasions. Victories. 

When I show you those "pretty" things, they are real and they are true. I am so very blessed. 

But also real and also true is the fact that life is hard

"The road wind(s) up-hill."

Twenty-two years ago today, I delivered a stillborn baby, a little girl whom we named Kara Joy. Two days before, I had gone for a routine sonogram at 19 weeks of pregnancy and we were stunned to learn that our baby had no heartbeat. (There had been a normal heartbeat at my prenatal appointment a few weeks earlier.)

It rocked my world, and left me with a raw, jagged wound. Yes, I rested in my Savior, knowing that God is only always good, but my mother-heart ached for many years.

Life is hard. 

As we ran an errand together this week, I said to Kati, "This has been a hard year so far."

It has. 

Among our circle, since the year began there has been illness . . . yucky-but-relatively-quick viruses, and also long term serious illness. There have been muddled situations. Hurt feelings. Discouragement. A friend lost her job suddenly. Someone we love has come to the end of himself battling addiction; everyone in his family is affected. Another friend lost his father. Another friend has seen her husband's health decline even further, stretching their family's time and resources precariously thin.

Life is hard. 

At the beginning of this week, we had to say good-bye to our sweet boy kitty, Puss. He had lost quite a bit of weight over the winter. It turns out he had (among other things) FIV. He battled one infection after another and then took a turn for the worse over the weekend.

Oh, I know that Puss is an animal and I am not equating the loss of a pet with the pain of human loss or suffering or addiction. But, if you are an animal lover, you know that there is heartache when a beloved fur baby passes. It hurts.

Yes, life is hard. 

Please don't think that this is a sob story. I do not tell you these things so that you will feel sorry for me. Your own heartache, your loss, your struggles may be much greater than mine. I only tell you to acknowledge we are all on that up-hill road.

But, if we belong to Jesus, we are not without hope!

I certainly don't pretend to know the "why" of all my struggles, much less yours. But might I suggest that a part of the answer is so that we don't get too comfortable here? That our hearts might be kept longing for a better place?

"Heaven is not here, it's There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Even as we walk the road that winds up-hill, we can know that He is with us. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"

We do not walk the road alone.

Let us live as those whose hearts are longing for Heaven, for the road will wind up-hill to the very end.

24 comments:

  1. Oh my beautiful friend! I'm sorry. I didn't know about Kara Joy. Heartbreak, indeed.

    Some years seem to carry much difficulty in them, and I think you are right about it keeping us looking to heaven. Elisabeth Elliot's quote is so true! We would be content here.

    I love you friend, and I'm lifting you up before the throne of grace!

    Thank you for your openness and sharing your heart.

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  2. Yes, I agree, this is a beautiful post. I love both quotes. Sometimes that road is a suffering road. Sorry for the loss of your sweet Kara Joy. I can't imagine that kind of loss. Maranatha...

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  3. Oh Cheryl, my heart is with you at the loss of your baby. How do we ever go on another day without the love of our Savior? Each of us as we write about the beautiful things in our lives, knows there is that uphill struggle in this journey of life. Thank you as always for sharing your beautiful spirit that clearly shines to all that know you. ♥

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  4. Dear Cheryl - I am a new reader to your blog and have never commented before. But I wanted to respond to this post and let you know I will say a prayer for you and your family today and to thank God for the life - even though so brief - of your precious daughter. Her sweet soul is doing good even all these years after entering Heaven by reminding us of His love and mercy. Blessings to you today -
    Teresa

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    1. Teresa, I do not see an email for you, but I thank you for your kind and gentle words.

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  5. It's good to be "real" and not project (intentionally or otherwise) that life is always "peachy keen"! Just this morning we were talking about the fact that God IS good. All the time. But sometimes we don't see it in the "now". Only when looking back can we begin to sort it out and possibly see the "good" that came out of it.

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  6. Awww, Cheryl, those little bundles of fur become family and hearts break to say goodbye. Comfort in the loss of Puss. (I seem to have so many blogging friends who have lost precious kitties in recent weeks.)

    I can not imagine the loss of a child. John lost a son when the baby was four months of age on April 1 many years ago. He thought of it for years as the cruelest joke. The Lord helped him to change his thinking. I know that you have worked through this loss and know that Kara Joy has been safely home with God all along. Still, on these anniversaries especially, the memories come back again as they always did for John. He was always particularly somber on April 1 and I would know where his thoughts were. Do you do special things to honor Kara's memory? I think writing about her today is a wonderful way to do so.

    Saying a prayer for all the cares that fret...dear friends in troubles ...those are some of the toughest stresses to cope with because often all we can do is pray. But prayer changes things. This you know.

    Sending love and a thought to get out there and enjoy a sunny drive to see the tulips. Are there some there in your corner today? 🌷

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  7. Huge hugs Cheryl!! You have shared some wonderful words today. I love the quote from Elizabeth Elliot. Blessings as the Spring season breathes new life.

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  8. Thank you for your honesty. We all have difficult times and it is only through the Lord that we can get through them, I'm sure. So many blogs project perfection and reality isn't perfect!

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  9. Oh Cheryl I don't think there could ever be a greater pain then that of losing ones child. I am soo sorry your heart had to experience that, and I can only just imagine how hard this has been. Your right too of course....life IS hard. The road is definitely an uphill wind, and we ALL struggle with it way more then is usually mentioned here in blogland. My own health is a daily challenge. Soo many struggle with lack of finances. Relationships are broken and hearts are hurting. But how wonderful is it that we do have our mighty God to lean on and see us through the journey. This is only our temporary home. We do need reminders and I thank you for yours. My heart LONGS for heaven and the reuniting of all our love ones someday. For the peace and the glory we will find there. For the end of the constant struggle or climb. BIG HUGS to you today!

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  10. Such a beautiful reality post. "This world is not our home, we're just a wandering through …" When we thing that way there sure is a different perspective. I am sorry that you lost your Kara Joy. While I'm sure you sometimes contemplate what she's been doing all this time, the pain of her loss never goes away. Thanks for sharing about her.

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  11. Cheryl, prayers for past heartaches and this year's hard! Some years it's good to see a new year coming. God's grace!!!

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    1. Indeed, how could we live without His grace?!

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  12. Dear Cheryl ~ I am so sorry for the loss of your Kara Joy in this life. Also sorry for your loss of your fur baby.

    Life is definitely hard at times, we were not promised a life pain free with no troubles whatsoever.

    Your post was beautifully encouraging in spite of all that you've been through. Thank you for sharing from your heart ~ FlowerLady

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  13. Thank you so much for you honesty!!! I am so sorry for your pain in you loss of your baby girl. Life is so very hard, good, but hard!! ALso we lost a pet last week. It is a loss too. Not equal to a person, but they are part of our family and loved!! Again thank you for you honesty!! tammy

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    1. I am sorry for your loss, Tammy. Yes, pets do become a part of our family and the grief is real! Thanks for your kind comment!

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  14. Thank you for your stories. We have to be honest and real so that Jesus can shine through as the Light of the world!

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  15. Just FYI...a tough thing in our little world happened to a great friend of mine. She lost a daughter in a very tough way. (see March 1 post)

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  16. We need these honest posts, as well as the happier ones. It's been a rough couple of years here, too. Our eldest daughter lost four little heartbeats who are now in Jesus' arms, and there are days when my heart and arms ache for them. I know hers ache, too. Her FIL is now dying of cancer and it's been a long and difficult time. There are more things going on and I won't mention them, but it is good to know that our loving Lord holds all of us in his care.
    May you find comfort in knowing your sweet Kara Joy awaits you in heaven.

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  17. Thank you for your transparency. The internet is a place where we usually present our "best" selves, and although that part of our lives is true, it is not the only part. None of us are perfect and we all struggle. I had a friend at work who follows me on Facebook and reads my blog say to me "I want your life, it seems so perfect". She said this with so much sadness. I assured her my life was far from perfect but I realized by presenting only the best stuff, it made others feel inadequate or lacking.
    Warmly, Gloria

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  18. We have had major heartache this past week and this post was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for your honesty. Thanks also for the quotes. They helped. I understand about your little fur baby. We lost our Snowy just last December. The pain is real. God bless you and your family. You are always an encouragement.

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  19. Dear Cheryl I came over to your blog after visiting Brenda. This is such a touching post. Am so sorry to read about your lost baby and your fur baby as well. I loved the quote by Elizabeth Elliott. How well she would know this life is hard. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Cheryl, You are right. It is an uphill road. This has been a hard year so far for me. My mom passed in Jan. We were blessed to care for her for the past year. Homeschooling took a backseat but my girls learned first hand how to serve when it was hard. After she passed, I ended up with Shingles and now I'm recovering from hernia surgery -- and it's not even May yet... I think all the struggles are good though because it sharply contrasts with the good in life and forces me to appreciate health, life, my family. One thing I have always admired about you is your committment to make sweet memories with your family. All of these times loving on others reminds us that that we do not have to travel the uphill road alone. I'm sorry for your great loss. I'm sure it has played a big role in why you love and invest so much in your family.

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    1. Oh, it has been a very hard year for you. I am so sorry.

      I love what you said about not having to travel the up-hill road alone. I am lifting you in prayer this evening. We are on the road together!

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