Friday, October 19, 2012

My Grandmother, grandparents.. a true love story..

My Grandmother Emily June ( Markins ) Haymen lived almost two months longer than her husband. Even though she had Alzheimer's, it appears her soul couldn't live on this earth without her soul mate. Grandma would died Monday October 14th 2012 of a massive stroke. She is joined in heaven by her husband, sister, daughter ( my mom ) and parents as well as many family members.

Once quoted in the local paper my grandparents were asked what was the key to being married for seventy something years. Their answer? Three simple rules. Number one, keep God in the center, number two never go to bed upset at each other, and number three always learn to laugh. I am sure there were many other ":rules" that Grandma and Grandpa learned to live by, but those are pretty simple. This was a true love story. Every couple has a song that means something to them and this was theirs.

Til there was you
There were bells on the hill, But I never heard
them ringing, No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you.There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging,No, I never saw
them at all Till there was you. And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses, They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew.
There was love all around But I never heard it singing
No,I never heard it at all Till there was you!
There was love all around But I never heard it singing
No I never heard it at all Till there was you

June and Cliff Haymen fell in love and were married on June 29th 1940 in Ohio. My Grandfather served in the Army in the 789th Division. My Grandfather is a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. Soon after returning home they would start a family raising two girls.Grandma worked for Roseville Pottery along side my Grandfather. Their life journey would see them move to Illinois so that their two daughters could go to school at what was then Olivet Nazarene College.Grandpa graduated at the top of his class in business school while grandma worked and was eventually head of the printing department for the Olivet Nazarene University. Grandpa would work his way from security guard to assistant registrar at Olivet. Their two girls would graduate and becomes teachers in one of the local school districts. They also would marry and the family would grow to four grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.That is something to speak of. Amongst this family many traditions were set. Most notably would be Christmas even and Christmas day. On Christmas eve the the family would get together for old family home movies, snacks, and horse racing prizes taped at a fair. Christmas day was spent having Christmas together as a family. In the center of all of this was God. What is amazing is that all have remained in the church and kept Christ as their base. What a heritage to leave behind for your family.

As I sit here today, I recall the last blog I wrote. My Grandmother had not yet died or even had a stroke.But I talked about my family issues that were going on and how I really didn't understand. I was telling a friend today that I moved to Ohio and it feels like I have dropped off the face of the planet to my dad and sister. In fact some of the family that is here in Ohio, rarely speak to us. I may never get the answers that I am seeking. I choose not to take a role in this matter that would cause even more conflict. I took that role before and it never helped. My mistake obviously. I choose this time to let whatever dust that has been stirred up to settle. Then maybe this situation will be more clear. But what I have learned is that being a peacemaker in all situations is best. A friend reminded me today of Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God. I want to remain a child of God. I don't ever want to stray from that again. I can't say that having a spiritual life is easy. I know that God brought us here and what we thought were the reasons, turned out to be our reasons not his.But I do know that our kids and marriage have made big time leaps and bounds to what God intended. There are up's and down's and there are days where the devil digs in and reminds you of the past. Another friend once told me, when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. Mainly when those thoughts come I pray and ask the Lord to capture them for me. A tool and application I still use quite often. So at the end of it all I choose peace.

My grandparents had unconditional love for each other. We call it agape love. I am learning daily what it is to love this way. The things that I used to get hung up and would stop me, no longer do. I have said before that when you choose to love someone, you make that choice. While love is a feeling, it is also a choice and it is always changing, growing, shaping, finding new areas, and getting stronger. Raising a family in these days is difficult, There are so many challenges that a family faces. The divorce rate and family break rate is startling compared to simpler times. The one constant, is God. My grandparents kept Christ at the center and blanketed their life with prayer. Think about it, 72 years of a prayer blanket. God was with them through everything they faced. They made that choice to love God, to serve God, and to keep God where he belonged. That is a choice that my wife and I have made as well. 

A great example has been set on how to raise a family and keep the family together as it grows. No one said it would be easy. No one said that things never change. No one said that there wouldn't be challenges. But someone said keeping God at the center of it all means peace after the storm, means longevity, means being blessed, means reward in heaven, means having a love story that never ends even after death do you part. I am not talking about the reunion in heaven. I am talking about the love story of generations of family to follow the heritage that was left. This is one Father, husband, and friend who has grasped onto it. Will I be perfect in trying to carry that heritage that was handed down? Of course not and I would be kidding myself if I thought for one second I would be. But... what I do know is this. I want to hand down the same heritage, legacy, and love story to my kids, to their kids, and their kids to follow. God is the ever lasting one. If we keep God in the heritage/love story handed down, it will also last forever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It starts here...

This past week I have thought and heard the phrase... "It wasn't like this 15 or 20 years ago." There is a lot that has changed in the last 15 years. I can think of a few things. I think often about my family since my grandfather passed away. I have strolled down memory lane quite often. The thing that stands out to me is the older generation ( Grandparents, ants, uncles etc.. ) knew how to keep a family going. It seems like that know how has skipped a generation or there is a huge gap.

I have thought for a while that when my mother passed away that she was the glue that held my family together. When mom went to her heavenly home a lot changed in the family dynamic. The glue just dissipated. Feelings about certain family members came out, things were said, and fights ensued. My family fell a part. A hard grieving process on my fathers account and seems like many times that my mothers death was just five minutes ago. It has been almost nine years since my mom died. I can't imagine what it would feel like to lose the person you loved since you were five. I don't want to imagine or even think what it would feel like to lose my wife. The grieving process is a very selfish process. Some get through it quickly, some slowly, and some just can't let go of the past and never get beyond it. Those people who never get beyond it still live, but may never experience the true happiness of healing the Lord can provide. In my Dad's case it is just right around the corner, but he has never turned it completely. I believe he has taken many quick glances, but my prayer has always been that he would turn the corner. My hope is some day my dad will.

In the last couple of weeks that whole scenario has played out in my mind. My sister and I barely talk. We have apologized as we had a part in things said and actions taken. But that relationship has never truly been restored. More recently for reasons that I don't know that relationship has taken a down turn. I find myself shaking my head wondering what has gone wrong. I have a father who I would like to rely on to bring this family back together as unit, but so far has not wanted to help.

What have I learned from this? My wife, my two sons, and my daughter are most important to me. Keeping this family unit together even beyond my life is what matters most. I do not want them to experience what I have experienced in the recent past. Yes I have made my mistakes and for a time I was a deadbeat father and husband. But the changes in our myself, my wife, and our marriage is showing positive gains in our kids. This is something that I am determined to keep going. I am a person who learns from the past and uses what I have learned to benefit the future. That is the only reason I will look to the past. Living in it will do nothing but harm what I have worked so hard to build the last nine months.

So it starts here and now. I choose to build and continue to build and finish what I have started. The glue that holds this family together is Christ. Christ changed my life, family, and marriage. I will continue to follow the example that Christ set for me. I will hand down that example to my kids and my wife. I can do nothing about my sister or my father. I choose to no longer seek their approval and beg them to love me unconditionally. I have done all I can do and now I hand to God to do the rest. All I can do is pray and ask him to heal this family of mine. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord and all that it entails. My family, my hope, and my life is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Flat or hilly?

Psalm 31:9-16

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,[a]
    and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
    I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
    those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
    I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
    and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your unfailing love.

This past weekend our family took a trip back to Illinois on a whim. Lately we have been a bit homesick for our friends and our church. So at 8:04 pm we packed up an overnight stay of clothes and out the door we went. We pulled into our cousins house at about 2 AM EST. As if you really cared to know the times. It was a great trip in a couple of respects. I am reminded how beautiful Ohio is compared to flat Illinois. But I am also reminded me nothing in life is easy or flat like the land. Life is hilly full of ups and downs much like where we live here in Ohio.

This past week has been stressful to say the least. I think the trip back and hearing our pastor preach on what to do when trouble comes your way and there is no way out. If I remember right, you bear your soul to the Lord, then ask what to do, then trust, and then believe. That was something my wife and I needed to hear to be prepared for this week. I wouldn't say trouble has come our way, more like stress. All the little stresses in life and some decisions have seem to come our way. What do we do? Well in the past a fight would have happened and out the door one of us would have gone. Now that God is in the center of this marriage and family, a solution is sought from the Lord. My wife and I do a pretty good job of telling him our hearts. We wait sometimes patiently and sometimes not so patiently. But we know all in all the past nine months have been full of God things. So why would the little or big answers we need not be a God thing? 

The above scripture has been my prayer this week and was in my devotions today. All the stress is adding up and it feels very much lately like there is no way out. Much like David felt when he wrote this. But the answer is very simple. We should and need to realize that our time is God's and his timing is our timing. All things work together for his good and Glory. So What choice do we have? Sit, tell God our concerns, wait, trust, and do what we are told. 

Where does this play in the spirit of this blog? Look at the past nine months of the blog. Everything is a God thing up to this point. Everything will continue to be a God thing. That will never change in this family.