Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forever 21....not 18 anymore

I woke up this morning to the vision and sound of my Dad laughing and smiling. I found myself smiling from ear to ear! What a wonderful feeling in my heart!

He must be having a wonderful time in Heaven. Sitting at the feet of God. And basking in His Glory. And the conversations he must be having. I would love to be there to see his face and hear him speaking to all the prophets and saints. And just to see the joy he has every time he is standing next to Jesus.

I remember when I was really little. I used to get really excited when I heard the the church bells ring in the evening. I knew that my Dad would be walking up the alley soon. I would prepare to run and greet him. I can't help but remember the smell of the news paper (that all the kids in the neighborhood would fight to carry for him) and the sweat from his cheek as he bent down to hug me. I wonder if Dad feels this way as he sees the face of God.

Last night my Mom, Christian and I were sitting in the living room. Kathleen Ann came home from the mall and had a Forever 21 bag with her. We told my Mom that this was a Christian store. Christian showed her the bottom of the bag. John 3:16! And then he said they call it Forever 21 because Revelations 21 is all about Heaven. He then said, "I made that up."

So, here I am today. Sitting down with my cup of coffee and getting ready to have time with God. And I decided to read Revelation 21. The New Jerusalem. Christian has more wisdom than he knows!

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. ”He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

What an amazing picture! I praise God for allowing me to hear my Dad's laughter and see his fabulous smile. My heart is joyful. I know that he is sitting with his Heavenly Father and he too has a heart full of joy. God's promises are FOREVER!! And He promises that there will be no more suffering, no tears, no mourning, and no death. The order will be restored! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for the rest of my days here on earth. And I am looking forward to the New Jerusalem.

My kids are going to love this.......I am now Forever 21. I have been 18 long enough.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Love...... I learned it by watching you

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:12-17

The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult to say the least. I have spent many nights reflecting on how my Dad and Mom loved. They both have a gift. As the weeks have gone by, I have encountered more and more people who were touched by their love. 

My Mom and Dad together have taught me the art of AMORE love. I praise God for giving me parents that were not perfect. But through their imperfections they developed their perfect love for each other. I praise God for allowing them to triumph over many tribulations in their journey together as husband and wife. I watched as each of them took turns forgiving each other for being human. And I smile when I think of how they loved each other even when they got on each others nerves. They were best friends! 1 Peter 4:8 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins."

The world is different for me. I can't even imagine how different it is for my beautiful Mom. To have your best friend at your side 24/7 one day. And then wake up the next day and he is no longer there. I pray that God comfort her when she is in dark places. And that He places a song in her heart. In a few days, she will be celebrating her wedding anniversary. It will be the first without Dad by her side. I am not sure what to expect. What is my place? How do I help to get her through this day? Could we all just sleep through it? I know that we will triumph through this tribulation. We had two really impeccable teachers.

There is hope. I know that my Dad's love will live forever in my heart. And in the hearts of the many people who were touch by this dynamic duo. Ecclesiastes 4: 9 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up" I don't think my Dad would have been the man that he was without my Mom by his side. And I don't think my Mom would have learned to be the woman she is without my Dad at her side. I see my Mom has a mission in life. She has the gift of making people feel like they are family. And I know that she will continue to feel the warmth of my Dad's love for her in her heart. And wherever she goes in this next phase of her adventure, God will give her the strength she needs. She is an amazing woman. And I am blessed to call her Mom. I look forward to learning more and more from her with each new day. Love.......I learned it by watching the godly example of this wonderful duo.

Psalm 118:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the LORD say:“His love endures forever.” In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.  They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns;in the name of the LORD I cut them off.  I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my song;he has become my salvation.  Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!  The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”  I will not die but live,and will proclaim what the LORD has done.  The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.  Open for me the gates of righteousness;I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.  This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.  I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.  The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day the LORD has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.  O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.  The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.  You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Month Later...........He will wipe every tear from their eyes.....

So I am still sitting in the palm of God's hand. I am reflecting on the past month. Life is so different. 31 days ago my Dad went into the hospital with what I was hoping to be an infection. And now my earthly Dad is sitting in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I miss his voice, smile, and his warm embrace.

God is faithful. And His plan is so very different from our plan. And I am comforted with the reality that it is by His grace and his grace alone that I am able to get through each second of the day. 1Corinthians 15:10. "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect."

We spent the entire day at the Abington Hospital on December 30th. The surgery took 7 hours and was a success. Dr. Nussbaum came out and told us that Daddy did better than expected. They removed most of the organs from the left quadrant. And believed that he would be cancer free. Dr. Nussbaum said that we had a long road ahead of us. But he was confident that Daddy would be going home in 2 weeks. We were all thrilled and Dr Nussbaum suggested that we all go home , rest and come back in the morning.

The following morning we headed back to the hospital. I stopped at the nurses station and asked for them to stamp my parking pass so I could purchase a 2 week pass. I told the nurse that we had a miracle happen. My heart was excited. I was bracing myself for what I was about to see. And headed toward Dad's new residence for the next two weeks. And he looked amazing. A true miracle! God blessed us with another day! Our hopes were high. He couldn't speak to us because there was a tube in his mouth. So I ran and got a pad a paper and a marker. His first question......"Who won the game?" "We did!!" we exclaimed. We hung around for a little while. It was beautiful to see him smile. A gift actually. He signed I love you all! He was getting tired so I said I was going to leave. He held my hand tight. And I waited for him to fall asleep and kissed him on the head and went home. This was the last time I would see my dad awake.

I got home took a quick nap and planned to go to the hospital and bring in the New Year with my Mom and Dad. Dropped Christian off at his friends for a New Year's Eve celebration. Called my sister Maria to see if they needed me to pick up food or coffee. Stopped at Starbucks grabbed a large coffee. And headed back to the hospital.

As I drove toward Abington, God put on my heart to be still and be quiet. So I turned down radio and had quiet time with the Lord. I was getting closer to the hospital and I had these words on my heart, "I was there for his first breath and you need to know that I will be there with him at his last breath." I stopped being still and smiled. I began praising God for giving me my Dad for another day. I was joyful and singing about how I was going to have my Dad for another few months or even years!

I arrived at the Hospital. Headed to the room. And as I got off the elevator I saw my Mom and my Sister Maria. Maria told me to sit down. My Mom began to tell me that when the nurses went to turn my Dad, his heart rate bottomed out. What? How can this be? I started to pace. Christina and Christopher had started to head back to Virginia to celebrate their christmas with the girls. Mom had to call them and tell them to turn around. My Nephew, George, stood up at gave me a "tea pot" hug. And we waited for word. The doctor came out and said they were able to get his heart to start beating on its own. But things were not looking good. I called Greg, Kathleen Ann, Alyssa, and my Aunt Jane. Sent a message for everyone to pray, pray, pray. Greg called Sarah and Duane. And he and Kath ran to get Christian. Regis called Christian and kept me from going out of my mind. And Mom, Maria and George contacted everyone else to get them to come back to the hospital. As we waited for the rest of the family, we were called into the "conference room". Thomas, Grace, George, Mom, Maria, Alyssa, Regis, Dale, myself and the Doctor (Maria asked the clergy man to please get out...he was adding stress) we all sat crying and holding hands listening to what the doctor had to say. I felt my heart break. I was confused. We all were confused. Everyone arrived and emotions were high. I paced the floors going from person to person making sure they were "okay" if you could be okay in a situation like this. We went back to the room and spent Daddy's last hours here on earth together as a family. Mom decided that it was time to turn all the machines off. They removed the tubes from his mouth. And we gathered around him and sang songs of praise and a few family favorites to send him off (Grandma's feather bed....Christina lol). Aunt Jane and Aunt MaryEllen and Mom sang a few Irish tunes. But the best was ...."soon and very soon he is going to see the King......" And it was quick. Each of us took turns whispering in his ear. Our Hero went home to be with the Lord on December 31st 2010 at 10pm. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room as he took his final breath on earth. We laid hands on him. Kissed him goodbye. I couldn't leave him. Not yet, I wasn't ready to let him go. I needed to touch him, hold his hand and really soak it all in. Maria and I for a split second lost our minds. We were going to steal his socks. Yes we thought about it. But Maria, had the voice of reason and suggested that we let him keep them. I waited in the room until his flesh turned yellow. Took a deep breath and left the room.

Revelation 21:4"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

We left the hospital and went to a restaurant across the street. And celebrated Joseph Marion Mallon's arrival into the kingdom of heaven. The last brick was laid. Hope you enjoyed that filet mignon and the grand feast that was prepared for you Dad!

Isaiah 25: 1-9
O LORD, you are my God, I will extol you and praise your name; For you have fulfilled your wonderful plans of old, faithful and true. For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; The castle of the insolent is a city no more, nor ever to be rebuilt. Therefore a strong people will honor you, fierce nations will fear you. For you are a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in distress; Shelter from the rain, shade from the heat. As with the cold rain, as with the desert heat, even so you quell the uproar of the wanton. On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, The web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; The reproach of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. On that day it will be said: "Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"

I am in the vapor. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanish away". James 4:14 I miss my Dad. But I know that one day we will be reunited.

Soon and very soon

We are going to see the King
Soon and very soon
We are going to see the King
Soon and very soon
We are going to see the King
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We're going to see the king

No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King
No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King
No more cryin there,
We are going to see the King
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We're going to see the King

Should there be any rivers we must cross
Should there be any mountains we must climb
God will supplt all the strength that we need
Give us strength till we reach the other side.

We have come from every nation, God has already signed our name. Jesus took his blood and he washed my sins.. he washed them all away. Yet there are those of us who have laid down our lives but we all shall meet again on the other side... soon and very soon.

We're going to see the King!