Summertime

August 2, 2013
by Naomi Carpenter

Summer bursts with wonder as flowers bloom and gardens abound with goodness. Children bicycle for the first time, and barbecues tease our senses. Like a hug from heaven, warm and gentle sunshine breezes wash away life's doldrums.

One of my favourite memories of summer included sharing a birthday with my father, July 12th. No matter where he was or what his work schedule entailed, we spent that day together. Some of my happiest moments were sharing cake and home-churned ice cream with my family.

In 1989, everything changed for me. Summertime became a bag of mixed emotions. Cancer reared its ugly head, claiming my father at the tender age of 46. From then on, I never felt like celebrating my birthdays.

Years passed, and I gave birth to Samantha. My premature baby girl lived only hours and was buried two days later on July 12th. Once again, sadness and longing for my loved ones filled my birthday.

Over time, I learned that things happen in life, including death, so I thought that I had recovered from grief.

Then my good friend was diagnosed with cancer; she lost her battle on July 5th, 2011, at just 36 years of age. Grieving grabbed me once more. I began to resent summertime, and think of it only as a time of loss and sorrow.

I have always thought that I was a good Christian. I believed in God, in heaven, and in His mercy. I held steadfast in my belief that all things that happen in life do happen for a reason, according to His will, in His time, and in His way. So why was I holding onto resentment and anger?

Psalm 22:24 – For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. (NIV)

I should have been rejoicing that I would see my loved ones again one day in the kingdom of heaven. However, sometimes, even "good Christians" need a reminder.

Last summer, I was in Canada, and my husband was in the United Kingdom at the time. On July 10th, he sent me a beautiful bouquet of orchids with a note which said, "For your special days, in loving memory of those whom you've lost and in celebration of the years of life you have been gifted. I am honoured and blessed to be able to share them with you and promise we will make happy memories every chance we get."

A reminder indeed! I had not been thinking about my own cancer scare and how by God's grace and mercy, I had overcome it. I hadn't recalled that my other two children, both born pre-term, were now thriving, healthy teenagers. I hadn't remembered to thank Him for all of the wonderful blessings that I had taken for granted.

Psalm 30:5b – Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (NIV)

Now I remember to waken each day and thank God for giving it to me. This year, I have planted a rose tree in my front garden in memory of my lost loved ones and in honour of God for allowing me to live.

When we remember all that God has done for us, then we naturally want to do something positive to express our gratitude. What we choose to do will likely be as individual as each of us. It may be as simple as waking each day and thanking Him for it, or it might be the simple act of planting something.

Prayer: Thank You, Father God, for allowing us to experience loss so that we can appreciate the life that You have given to us. Thank You, Father, for giving us the sunshine and the rain. By Your blessing, we can grow food to supply us with bountiful tables. Thank You, Father, for giving us friends and family to share our lives, until such time that we may share Your home in heaven. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Thought: God allows loss so that we can appreciate His gift of life more.

About the author:

Naomi Carpenter <nswessel74@gmail.com>
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart Naomi.


    What a beautiful devotional; thank you.


    Thank you for opening your heart and sharing this with us. We truly are blessed.


    Thank you for sharing your heart ache, and also your consolation with us. You blessed my day with this devotional. Blessings.


    Thank you Naomi for this very timely devotion. I needed to hear/read these words. And may God continue to bless you. Thank you for sharing.


    Hello Naomi:
    Thank you so much for today’s devotional; I needed this reminder.
    Blessings.


    Naomi – Thanks for sharing your life experiences with us: of the reality of losing our loved ones.
    Being thankful for the positive occurrences allow us to be overcomers. God bless you.
    (California, USA)


    Dear Naomi,
    What a beautiful, heartfelt devotional. Although you have had your share of sorrows, the Lord is using your testimony to encourage others. Psalm 30:5 is a great verse to remember when we’re going through difficult times. Thank you for sharing this message of hope and faith.
    Blessings.


    Thank-you Naomi for sharing this lovely devotional. God called my beloved husband “home” this spring and your message is so apropos to overcoming grief. And yes, there is still much to be thankful for. May our dear Lord continue to bless you and yours as you all continue to journey through this life and with His guidance.


    Thank you for sharing your “moments” of grief and then in the end, learning to be thankful for the little things in life that we usually take so much for granted. We all go through times of sorrow and grief, anxiety and doubt, but that doesn’t mean we are less than God intended us to be. We learn daily and will continue to learn until we are called to our eternal home. May God grant you the peace that goes beyond human understanding.


    Thank you Naomi for a wonderfully encouraging testimony of God’s love and care through your days of of suffering and for the grace that brought you to your present thankfulness to Him. God in his mercy grant the same for us.
    Today happens to be our anniversary – over 50 years. We are both very well, save for the upcoming revision of my hip replacement. May your and our lives continue to be a living testimony of God’s grace and provision.
    Blessings.


    Dear Naomi,
    Thank you so much for today’s devotion. Though my Dad was blessed with many more years than your father (he was 94) I too lost my father after a short week after a cancer diagnosis. He died very recently. We buried him on my birthday. I have yet to let all my grieving out. But I am comforted in the words of my father as he was admitted to the hospital a few days before his death. “We have God.”
    I hope I come to celebrate Dad’s life on my next birthday and not grieve every year as a reminder. Thank you for reminding me to remember my blessings of my husband, adult children and our infant grandchild, including all my church family, friends and those who knew and loved my dad also.
    (Prince Edward Island, Canada)


    Thank you Naomi. I, too, needed that reminder today of all days.
    (Quebec Canada)


    Dear Madam,
    I have been blessed and inspired by your write up.
    Our thoughts are not His thoughts neither are our ways.
    But through it all, he promises the very best for our lives.
    Lets encourage all those around us and ourselves to strife to make it to heaven where we shall all meet again happily ever after, stay blessed.


    Dear Naomi,
    “For your special days, in loving memory of those whom you’ve lost and in celebration of the years of life you have been gifted. I am honoured and blessed to be able to share them with you and promise we will make happy memories every chance we get.”
    What a blessing!
    The Lord is gracious and loving: He, like the loving husband, gives much more than we can ask or think.
    God loves you, forgives you in Christ’s sacrifice, saves you by faith in him forever and eternally.
    Keep writing.

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