Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Season of Loss

It is hard to believe that I have not blogged for ten months!! So much has happened since our return from Brazil that life has been a bit consuming! I have missed writing about our lives, for to me writing is therapy! I have much to share but will try to catch everyone up in a couple of different entries starting with "A Season of Loss". I will begin with the following verse in Matthew 6:19:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

As mentioned in our previous blog, my mother in law was fighting for her life last February. She lost her fight and went home to be with the Lord on February 25, 2010. How thankful we were to have had one last Christmas with her. Her passing has left a void in our lives, but we are incredibly grateful that she is no longer suffering. Her legacy lives on in her two amazing sons and her six grandchildren.

Losing Barbara was just the beginning of personal loss for our family. We have known nine people who have died since our return from Brazil. One of those people was a dear Brazilian friend of ours, Danihlo. We mentioned Danihlo in past blogs. He was instrumental in the success of our time living in Brazil. He was invaluable to our family and especially to Marko as he pursued business in Brazil. We feel the sting of his death and our hearts go out to his wife, Claudia, and their son, Daninhlo.

Physical death has been only one type of loss in our lives. We have experienced losses of lesser magnitudes including loss of our company, assets, finances, and material items. Though these pale in comparison to the loss of human life, they each require their own form of grief. So, I guess you could say this has been a year of grieving for Marko and I. Not only have we said goodbye to many dear people, we have also said goodbye to our company, Lifestyle Homes, and all of the people, successes, and purpose that went along with it.

This has been a year of letting go of the past with its successes and failures and embracing the uncertainty of our future. It has been a year of searching our hearts and digging deep within our souls in order to find the strength to begin again. Our strength comes not from ourselves but from the Spirit of God living in us.

With all of these losses and the continued pressures from a deteriorating economy, we hold on to the fact that as Christians, our treasures are in heaven! Where are your treasures today? I believe this is a time to take inventory of our lives and consider that which we can take hold of. I still struggle to let go of our past life. I will admit that I miss having financial stability. I do not, however, want to miss out on what the Lord is showing me during this time and I do not want to miss what he has for my future. So, I hold on to his promise in Romans 8:28: "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Just as Winter turns to Spring and hard ground gives birth to life, so one season of life turns into another. Our time in Brazil came to an end in December and we have begun a new season of life back in the United States.

The season we left was one of growth and life changing experiences. We left behind a community that we fell in love with and some lifetime relationships. On our departing day we had several people stop by to say goodbye. It was a very emotional time and I have included photos from that day. I was especially touched by our young friend, Tamaris. Tamaris is a fourteen year old girl who spent a lot of time with our family. She was very shy and I had no idea how much our family meant to her until the day we left. She gave me a beautiful photo of herself with a very nice message on the back telling me how much she loved our family. She was sobbing as she hugged me goodbye and my heart broke as I watched her walk dejectedly down the street towards her home in the favelas. I know we will see Tamaris again, and if there comes a day when she wants to come live with us in the U.S. we would welcome her with open arms.

We surprised our friends and family, not telling anyone we were coming home. It was incredible to just show up at their doors and see the shock on their faces. We were home for Christmas which turned out to be more of a blessing than we even knew....considering it might have been our last Christmas with Grandma Barbara, who is currently in the hospital fighting for her life.

The season that we came home to has been very difficult. Not only are we facing the prospect of losing our beloved Barbara, but we are also dealing with the struggles associated with shutting down our once successful construction company. It seems that we are in an altogether changing season of our lives. As we approach middle age (assuming being 41 and 43 is considered middle age), we realize more than ever how fragile life is. Not only is life fleeting, but our circumstances can be fleeting as well. There is nothing in our lives on earth that we can hold onto forever. Like the vision Isaiah had in verse 40:7 in the old testiment, so are our lives: "The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are the grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." In this season of loss we stand on the biblical truth that not only does the word of God stand forever, but our hope is in an eternal God who loves us and has our best interest in mind.

Romans 8:28 says the following: "We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Even when our future appears bleak, we can believe in these words from the Author of Salvation!

The Lord has put some specific things on our heart regarding Brazil. We know Brazil will be a part of our future-but more on that later!