Declaring the Death of Death

Declaring the Death of Death

[guestpost]This weekend we laid my wonderful husband Al Tanksley to rest. Although my heart is broken, my spirit is determined to carry on the legacy that he left behind, and worked so hard to prepare me for. These are some words that I shared at his going-home service. Next week the regular blog post schedule will resume.[/guestpost]

Al TanksleyIt’s OK to rage against death. And I do! This is not the way it was supposed to be. God did not create us to live a few years – or even many years – on this planet, and then to die. We were created for eternity. We were created to live forever! Death is an imposter. The Bible calls death “the last enemy to be destroyed.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)

As good as this life may get, it’s never enough. It doesn’t matter how many years you live, how much money or things or success you have – or don’t have. It doesn’t even matter how many people you have around you. It’s never enough. It never can be enough. Because we were created for more. Al Tanksley was created for more. You and I were created for more. And right now Al is finally experiencing that “more.”

And we will have that more in eternity. I know that heaven is real. When people say, “I’m sorry you lost your husband” I want to say, “No, I haven’t lost him. I know exactly where he is!”

Yes, we are separated for now, but not forever.

This is not my husband. Al Tanksley is not in this box! This may be his body, his shell, but this is not him!

Paul said, “If only in this life we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) We can grieve. I will grieve for a time. That’s as it should be. But I know that this is not the end. For Al, it is the beginning! As Buddy (the preacher) charged us at our wedding just seven too-short years ago, Al and I were given a mission. And that mission is only partially completed. And now, it’s up to me to continue that mission, and I’m committed to doing so.

Death, you may think you have won. Yes, the wounds you have inflicted are deep. And we will mourn as we nurse those wounds somewhat. But in truth you have lost again! While to human eyes you may seem to have won this battle, you have already lost the war. And every life you take – temporarily – such as Al Tanksley’s, is but another nail in your own coffin. Death, you will be destroyed! And Al Tanksley, along with me and all the rest of us who trust in Jesus, will live forever.

Now, “Where, O death, is thy sting? Where, O grave, is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

As the gospel preacher said, “It may be Friday. But Sunday’s coming!”

Honey, I love you! And I’ll be looking for you next to the Jesus that we both love. You are, and always will be, the wind beneath my wings!

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

P.S. For those who wish to make a gift in Al’s memory, you can do so here.

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Keys to Finding Life After Infertility

Keys to Finding Life After Infertility

Woman AloneYou’ve spent months – no, YEARS – trying to have a baby. You’ve tracked your cycles, had sex on demand, and subjected your body to things any sane person would never do. It may feel as though you saw your doctor more than your best friend. You may have spent thousands of dollars on treatments, only to be disappointed again and again. The time has finally come to contemplate Life After Infertility.

You’re wrung out. Tired. Angry at your body, and perhaps your husband. Perhaps feeling guilty for waiting as long as you did to try and get pregnant. Perhaps feeling grief over the loss of one or more pregnancies that began but ended far too soon. Perhaps feeling guilty at what you believe you did that may have caused your infertility. Your friends are taking their kids to soccer practice and Sunday School, while you wonder whether you’ll ever be able to attend a child’s birthday party without crying.

So what do you do now?

There’s no one answer for everyone. But after helping many, many couples struggling with infertility, here are a few things I know that can help make the next phase of your life meaningful.

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The Ministry of Presence: Being There

The Ministry of Presence: Being There

Ministry of PresenceSometimes you can tell somebody what they need to know. That feels good. Sometimes you can fix things for them. That often feels even better. Sometimes you can even help them grow strong enough to fix it themselves. That feels best of all.

But sometimes there’s no fixing it. Nothing you do, or they do, will make things any better. In those times the best you can offer is you. It’s being there – the ministry of presence.

As a physician I’ve developed a style of relating to patients that helps them feel comfortable and reassured. But I didn’t fully appreciate how powerful that kind of relationship can be until I experienced it from the other side. Some time ago my husband was in the hospital, and we were both understandably anxious. Several new doctors quickly became involved in his care. But everything changed the moment his regular doctor walked into the room. My husband was getting the same treatment, but the presence of Dr. Pohl made us feel comparatively confident and safe about everything that was going on.

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7 Things to Do If You’re Sad

7 Things to Do If You’re Sad

Have you ever cried so hard and so long you thought it would never end? Or have you become so used to your sadness that you can’t imagine ever having a moment of happiness again? If you’re sad there are things you can do.

I know what that feels like. I’ve been there. Over a period of four years I experienced long periods of time when all I could do was cry. I’d curl up in a little ball on the floor of my bedroom and cry. When I couldn’t sleep because I was crying so much I’d walk the streets at night, crying for hours. At work the next day I’d struggle to see through eyes that were sore and swollen.

That was twenty years ago now. Thankfully God brought me healing in some wonderful ways. People who know me now cannot imagine that I was ever such a distressed young woman. Today I’m happy 90% of the time. I love life!

Perhaps you’re feeling sad because you’ve missed out on some things in life you really needed and wanted. Perhaps you’re sad because someone (or many people) abused and misused you, and you feel worth no more than a puddle on the floor. Perhaps you’ve lost someone close to you and you’re finding it difficult to build a new life without them. Or perhaps you don’t know why, but you’re just sad.

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How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

You’re single, with no good prospects in sight. You’re lonely, and you want to do things God’s way. You long for someone to love, and to love you. So why isn’t God coming through with a spouse for you? Can He heal your lonely heart?

You’re married, but unhappy. Your spouse is more interested in work than in you. You’ve tried to talk to him/her, but the response is cold. Your heart is lonely. You know you shouldn’t look outside your marriage for love, but it’s sure tempting.

You’re somewhere in the world doing God’s work. You know this is where God sent you, but you’re mostly alone. Working for Him is meaningful, but your loneliness is wearing on you. Couldn’t God bring you someone to share the burden?

On Valentine’s Day there’s so much talk about relationships and love and romance. But I think it’s mostly a time for those who are lonely to lament their marital status (whatever it is) and dream of things they wish they could have.

You’ve heard people talk about God meeting your heart’s needs, and intellectually you believe He can. But you’re lonely. Right now you want a God with “skin on.” You want the hugs, the conversation, the closeness, maybe the sex. It’s hard to see how Someone “out there” can really do anything to meet the lonely needs in your soul.

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