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Mother’s Day 2013

Caulk Family 1998I am a mom of five children, with one in Heaven, Jamie. Being a mother been the most exciting, trying and challenging role I have ever played.

Motherhood has been my source of my greatest joy and my deepest sorrow. I chose Real Estate as my career when my youngest Allyssa started kindergarten. I chose that career so I could schedule time for the children. Before I went into real estate I was able to stay home and be a full-time mom. That was confirmed by a Real Estate Agent. I loved every minute of that.

The days of raising my children (who were in every activity known to man) were hectic. Sometimes Mike and I would literally hand the keys off to one another as we headed out the door. Back in those days we only had one car a mini-van. One year in the Spring, Matt and Jamie were playing soccer and baseball. It was awful, so I declared that “next year you all are both going to do ONE spring sport.” But the next year came along and I forgot until two weeks into the season…ugh.

Christa and Allyssa played violin, piano and danced. Then in high school they both did cheerleading.

The photo attached is one the photographer did for us when Christa was graduating from Saline High School.

She is a Senior cheerleading, Matthew was a Jr playing football at Saline High School, Jamie was a Freshman playing football for the Ann Arbor Jr. Wolverines, Andrew-David was playing freshman Jr. Wolverine football, Allyssa was cheerleading at Jr. Wolverine football, Mike was Coaching the Jr. Wolverines and wel…l I was a taxi cab drive and equipment manager. You know washing all the clothes, making sure they were all laid out and ready for practice.

Looking back it makes me tired to think about it all.

But, gosh did we have fun!

There is a God and You are Not Him

All of my kids are close. That is something I prayed for from the time they were born. My brother and I fought a lot as kids and weren’t close. We are close now and I am grateful for that, but not when we were younger so I really wanted my kids to grow up and be friends.

Have you heard the saying, “There is a God, and you are not Him”.  

If I was God, I would not have taken Jamie to heaven before Mike and I. We would have gladly taken his place, but I am not God and this was His choice and timing.

Daniel 4:35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?

Isaiah 46:10 “Only I can tell you the future before it happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.

God is Sovereign, He rules and can do as He pleases. We have a opportunity to trust His wisdom even in the midst of our suffering. He allows things in our lives that we do not understand and can not explain, so we learn to trust in His plan.

Our Home

The cottage at devils lake Today, we were planning to go to our lake cottage after church to rake leaves, and get all the deck furniture out. But it is too cold today, 45 degree’s.

When the kids asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day I said, “go the cottage.”

I grew up in Paducah, Ky and even though I haven’t lived there in 37 year, I still say when I am going for a visit, “I am going home for a visit.”

When I have traveled to real estate conferences and it is time to leave, I say “I’m ready to go home”. Home being the same house in Saline we have lived in since we built it in 1990.

The lake cottage is not home. It is a cute little cottage where we have had a ton of fun since we bought it in 2001. We have great family memories there, (oh if those walls could talk).

Earth is not our home

When we have been traveling and it is time to leave we say, “I am going home.” When I think of home, I think of a cocoon where I can relax, unwind, find peace, a place of warmth where we can be ourselves.

Someday the home that we all long for will be that place we call Heaven.

2 Cor. 5:1-8 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

I am hoping that you know a bit about our family. Happy Mother’s Day to all my mom friends who have children here and in heaven.

New Heaven and New Earth

April 21, 2013 — 8 Comments

New Heaven and New Earth

In Revelation 21:1 John says he saw a new heaven and a new earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Grand Canyon Tuesday, I am going to a Real Estate conference in Las Vegas and one of the highlights of my trip is going to be a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

I’ve never been to Vegas or the Grand Canyon.

Now truth be told I am “a little” nervous about flying.

I have a good friend in Idaho that insists it will be the “highlight of my trip.” Last week he gave me an opportunity to back out…but I really want to see the Grand Canyon so I did not take him up on that opportunity.

At the last-minute my daughter Christa decided to come and she is also taking the Grand Canyon tour. My son, Matthew who is a Realtor in Nashville is flying in later that day for the conference.

Since knowing I was going to the Grand Canyon, I have been thinking about Scriptures on the New Heavens and the New Earth. Author Randy Alcorn,  book on Heaven has been my life saver since the death’s of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.”

In the book Heaven, Randy says,

Some Bible teachers think that the Earth will be completely destroyed and a different earth will be made from scratch. But the Bible teaches us that while the Earth will be destroyed for a while, it will be restored. God will make the same old earth into the “New Earth,” which will be better than it ever was!

Think about the Flood that happened during the time of Noah. Although the earth seemed “destroyed,” it really wasn’t. It continued to exist.

We know the Bible says our bodies will die, but God will bring the same bodies back to life in a much better condition. In the same way, the Earth will die, but God will bring it back in a much better condition. That will be the New Earth.

You could compare the Earth’s future changes to that of a caterpillar. As you know, major changes happen to a caterpillar after it goes into a chrysalis. It comes out a new creature—a butterfly. It hasn’t stopped existing. It’s the same, yet transformed. And it’s a real, lasting transformation. Though transformer action figures can be changed back and forth, the butterfly can’t be changed back to a caterpillar (nor would it want to be). Likewise, the New Earth will never change back to the old Earth.

Intermediate Heaven

Our loved one’s are waiting for us and enjoying life in heaven, the place they go when they die, before Jesus comes back and establishes His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Theologians called the place we go when we die the “intermediate heaven”. In the intermediate Heaven, we wait for Christ’s return to earth, our bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth. 

There was a huge gap for me understanding this before I started to really study and pray about what the Bible said about heaven. Regrettably, I had never heard a sermon on heaven, just a few scripture’s on heaven at funerals and grave-sites services.

When Jamie died, and then Lillian I was obsessed about learning more about where they were, what they were doing, and yet I was also confused.

Jamie Caulk & Lillian Caulk benchAbsent from the body, present with the Lord

1Cor. 5:8 

  • Paul tells us that when Christians die, we go immediately to be with God.
  • To be “absent from the body-present with the Lord.” (This is the scripture we had put on the Park Bench at Millpond Park in Saline, Michigan that many of our friends had built-in honor of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.” 
  • Philippians l:23 Paul tells us when we depart from this life, we are with Christ.

Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

How could this be, I wondered.

Jamie and Lillian gravesite Their bodies are lying in Oakwood Cemetery in Saline… yet they are Today with Jesus…yet God is going to come back… and the dead in Christ will rise first…meet the Lord in the air…and we will all live together on a New Resurrected earth.

This earth will not be destroyed the way we think it is, but it will be a “new” earth.

Similar to when God called Noah into the Ark and the earth was destroyed by the flood waters. Yet when the rain stopped the earth was still the same earth yet different.

Someday, all those who love God will live together on the new earth, without the curse, without sin.

There will be no more sickness,sadness, tears or pain.

We will not be jealous of one another or envious, but live with love and kindness with our families and friends forever.

Most importantly we will know God, face to face. Just like those gone before us do now.

Life on earth is short, that’s one reason why I’m going to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday.

Photos of Grand Canyon via Creative Commons

Nankoweap in Grand Canyon

Heaven…seeing our loved one’s again someday

Christa Jamie Allyssa Caulk God placed us in families. There is a bond in families that surpasses most other human relationships.

When someone you love departs from this earth, your heart cries out to know if you will see them again someday?

St. Augustine said,“We have not lost our dear ones who have departed from this life, but have merely sent them ahead of us, so we also shall depart and shall come to life where they will be more than ever dear as they will be better known to us, and where we shall love them without fear of parting.”

Scriptures

2 Samuel 12:23   David was speaking about his lost son, he said, “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Matthew 8:11  “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

This scripture speaks of knowing the individual identities of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is a continuity between this life on earth and our new life in heaven. We will continue to be intimately involved with our loved one’s in heaven and recognizable.

Luke 16:19-31  This is the story of Lazarus and the rich young ruler. You can click the link and read the story but the point I am making is  seeing our loved ones in heaven someday. Lazarus remembered his family and wanted Abraham to warn them. He was talking to Abraham in heaven with Lazarus at his side.

Jamie Caulk

Christa and Matthew, Jamie’s older sister and brother made this video last year for Jamie’s birthday. They did a great job of using Jamie’s own words at the end.

 

It is hard to wait sometimes but we live with the assuredly that we will see our loved one’s who have gone before us in heaven someday. 

Faith in the Goodness of God

At some point in everyone’s life, tragedies or unexpected hardships happen to us or to those we love and care about. They can occur via the death of a loved one, a divorce, a pet dies, or loss of your own health. Will we still have faith in the goodness of God during those trials?

After the event happens, grief will come and it will affect you in your body, soul and spirit. I’ve lost my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles but nothing came close to loosing a child. The pain is so intense, and unlike anything you will ever experience.

People say to you, “I can’t imagine.”

That is true, you can’t.

Only a person who has gone through their own loss of a child can grasp it.

Jamie and Lilly Bear Because I have a relationship with God, I immediately went to Him for help in my overwhelming sadness.

I did not ask God WHY Jamie died.

I did ask God WHY when my granddaughter Lillian died in her sleep one month later.

I knew it was OK to get mad at God.

He could handle it.

In fact, even if I hadn’t said the words…He knew my thoughts and heart. So I cried out to Him with my questions and frustrations. During that time this scripture came alive to me.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 5:1

I already knew God formed us in the womb, I came to see that our days on earth were ordained for us before the beginning of time. 

God in His “purpose and foreknowledge” allowed Jesus to be handed over to the Pontius Pilate and the Sanhedrin. (a Jewish court of Law) They were evil men yet God used them to accomplish His purpose. Paul said, this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. Just like last week I posted on Job and how he had to get permission to take away from Job all that he had. 

Not being a theologian, I am still trying to figure the theology of it all out. I know in my heart God is not surprised by anything that happens to us on earth; so he was not surprised by the death of Jamie and Lillian. Heck, He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, and He knows the exact number of the hairs on our head.

It is a theological puzzle for me.

Yet, God sees all things, and nothing can be hidden from His knowledge—not even the secret intentions of the heart (Psalm 44:21).

Everyone grieves differently I have seen this in my own immediate family, there is not one right way. Everyone is different. The grief I have felt and continue to feel has forced me into a deeper relationship with God. Tragedy or hardships will either confirm your faith or you walk away.

I hope my ramblings have helped you see that God is good all the time even in our sorrows.  God may not always appear good to us, when we are going through a tragedy but in His divine nature He is good.

 Remember the former things, those of long ago;

    I am God, and there is no other;

    I am God, and there is none like me.

I make known the end from the beginning,

    from ancient times, what is still to come.

I say, ‘My purpose will stand,

    and I will do all that I please. (Isaiah 46:9-10)

 

God First Sunday Post, Our Journey

Today is Sunday and time for my God First post. This past week I was asked and have been asked several times since Jamie died, how I have the strength to do what I do. I want to attempt to answer that question about our journey as truthfully as I can.

Why?

Lilly Bear First let me say I have never asked God why He took Jamie home.

Now before you think I am some spiritual giant, I am not.

I will tell you that when Lillian (my youngest daughter Allyssa’s baby) died a month later, I did ask God why?

Not once but many times.

I didn’t understand it, she was so precious and such a joy in our lives in the midst of our grief over Jamie.

I still don’t understand it.

Eventually I quit asking why, and trusted that someday when I arrive in Heaven, I will understand why Lillian’s death was part of God’s plan for our journey on earth.

Trust 

When… not if,  things happen to us along life’s journey there are numerous ways we can respond. Since the passing of Jamie and Lillian I have met far too many mothers that have lost children…from miscarriages to the loss of their teenage and adult children. We grieve and talk together about our children.

Some of them have slipped into the depths of despair. My heart breaks for them and I completely understand their feelings of loss and devastation.

I visit those emotions from time to time, but I try not to live there.

I made a decision fairly early on that I could trust “in” God or I could be mad “at” God by believing He had messed up. Those were my choices.

When the unplanned happens in life’s journey one quickly discovers if their faith is real or make-believe. I always said that I believed everything was under God’s rule and control and nothing happened without His direction or permission. Now I was being forced to either embrace what I said I believed or admit that it was a lie.

Was God in control?

Did God allow Jamie to be hit by a car?

When Jamie arrived at Vanderbilt he was communicating and actually signed the admittance form.  

Five hours later he had a stroke.

Was God there? 

Did He know ?

Was He surprised? 

The Sovereignty of God

In Matthew 10:29 we read, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.”

 

SparrowSparrows are small birds, they are plentiful, you see them everywhere, they are common.

Yet God in His Sovereignty knows when one, little, small, common bird falls to the ground. Later in Luke 12, we hear of sparrows again where Paul says, “you are more valuable than the sparrows and God  reminds us that the very hairs on our head are numbered.

If the love and care of God extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows, and the very hairs on our head are numbered, then how much more did His love and care extend to Jamie and Lillian.

For me I was challenged in my belief that either God sees our whole life from beginning to end or he doesn’t. He is either to be trusted through the journey of hard times, the painful times, the times we don’t understand… or my faith was not true belief but a mental assent to what I had read in the bible.

We do not always understand “why” God allows certain things to happen, but we can be certain that God is not making any mistakes.

This is not a journey I would have chosen, but one God chose for me and my family. This is how I am able to do what I do.

This journey includes writing about Jamie and the legal fiction of brain death.

If our story or journey can help even one family know what happens when they sign the Organ Donor card and help them while in a hospital going through a traumatic situation it is enough.

 

Flickr Photo Credit