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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.

A Living Hope

April 28, 2013 — 3 Comments

A Living Hope

new earth Last week, I wrote on the New Heaven and the New Earth. Having a glimpse of the new heaven and the new earth is all about hope.

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. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,and God himself will be with them as their God and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (the old order of things)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And 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 from the spring of the water of life without payment.The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:1-7

Notice the new Jerusalem is coming down out of heaven from God. Heaven comes down and transforms the earth. We will have new bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed, we will not be disembodied spirits floating around in heaven and earth. Jesus ate fish after he was resurrected. He was not a ghost.

A Living Hope vs Mental Assent

The difference in mental assent vs true belief is where the rubber hits the road. You can say you believe something but only when that belief is challenged through suffering do you know if you are giving mental assent or true belief.

In the Bible we see Jesus called the firstfruits. The term firstfruits is an agricultural term that refers to the first fruit coming in from the harvest of the crops. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he was the firstfruit (installment) of things to come. There are many references to firstfruits in the bible.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:20-24

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John was writing to Christians living at the time who were suffering for their faith in a resurrected Jesus. They were suffering more than most of us will ever experience. John gave them HOPE by his words so they could hold hope in the midst of their suffering. When the lions were tearing them apart, when they were beheaded, they accepted their suffering and died with peace. Because of John’s message to them of a future hope, the early Christian’s death sowed the seed of Christianity to spread far and wide.

Hope in the future

heavensThe way we live our lives now is completely controlled by how we view the future. This was true for the early Christians and it is true for us now.

Ever since Jamie’s death, many people have said to my family and I in different ways, “your faith…your example…are amazing, I don’t know how are you doing it?”

Christian friends said our faith in the midst of suffering was encouraging them in their own faith journey.

We got through those days, and continue to get through those days, because we have a living hope. A hope that allows us to look squarely in the face of our loss on earth, knowing that we will see them again, we will spend eternity together on the new earth.

Hope is the future. The future is bright.

As a family we now live, completely controlled by our view of the future.

  • Do you believe in a new heaven and new earth?
  • What is your hope?
  • What are you living for?
  • Is your life counting?

Perhaps you asking, how do I do this?

First you must believe in the crucifixion of Jesus and all that was accomplished on his death on the cross. Then you must believe in the power of the resurrection of Jesus and what that means for your future. He is the firstfruits of many (us) to come. Life on the present earth is just a foretaste of what is to come when you walk in a relationship with God.

Let’s face it some type of suffering comes to everyone on your journey through life.  It could be the loss of your loved one, a divorce, a job failure, alienated from your family…really anything.  Yet, we can live a completely transformed life on earth, a foretaste because we know we are destined to see God and our loved ones face to face again someday.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. I Thessalonians 4:13-14

That is our living hope, and it can be yours today.

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.”


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)