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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Mom's Shocking and Sad Revelation

I'd thought I'd heard all of my mom's stories but as we sat at lunch about a year ago, she shared something I'd never heard before. It was a shocking and sad revelation for me. 

My mom and dad eating their wedding cake.

Of course, I knew that my mom, Vivian, was orphaned by the time she was ten. Her dad died when she was seven and her mother died when she was ten. I can't imagine the grief and "lostness" she must have felt. And unfortunately, in those days, rarely was anyone allowed or encouraged to grieve. How sad it must have been for that little girl to have no means to express her sorrow.

I also knew that when her parents were living, mom grew up in Michigan along with her cousin, Eileen, as her best friend. They were together constantly and mom adored Eileen's parents, who only lived a short distance away. Eileen (for whom my middle name is named after) went to the same school as mom. 

I also knew that when mom's mother died, Edna was chosen by the family to raise my mom and her fourteen-year-old brother, Harold. Edna was my mom's aunt--her mother's sister. Everyone knew how Edna came from California to Michigan to pick up Vivian and Harold and take them "home." But Edna had never had children, was a widow, and worked full time. Mom and Harold were on their own. My mom says she never remembered a home-cooked meal. They went out to dinner at the cafeteria every day.

I knew all that, but my mom began to tell me the new part, "When my mom died, before Edna came to get us, Eileen's parents offered to adopt me. I so longed for that. Eileen and I were inseparable. But  they said they couldn't adopt Harold too. He was known as a wild child and they didn't think they could handle him. So the family decided Edna would take both of us, not wanting to separate us. I was devastated. Edna took us to California and I detested California. And I hated Edna. Everything that had meant love and security to me was taken away. All I wanted was to live in Eileen's family."

I listened carefully for I realized I had never heard this information before.

My mom continued, "As soon as I arrived in California, I had a frequent dream that I would leave my Detroit elementary school looking for Eileen's house but I couldn't find it. I would search and search but never find it. That dream haunted me and I would dream that same scenario frequently."

My mom paused with a deep look of longing on her face. Then she said, "But the night I married your dad, I had the dream again, and this time I arrived at Eileen's house. After that night, I never had that dream again. I had found my family and security."

I was in tears hearing this. As she related this story, I could barely contain my sobs. To think of this little girl knowing she missed her opportunity to live with a loving family was beyond my comprehension. And how it must have fueled her dislike for her brother--who she was bound to blame for getting in the way of her desire. 

Somehow I was able to hold back my sobs and say, "Oh, mom, and just wait until you go into heaven and see Jesus."

And my mom replied with an even more intense look of longing, "And my family." 

I could understand afresh the value my mom placed on family. It was the driving passion of her life. For a decade, as a child, she had been denied the family of her dreams and at twenty-one when she married my father, her dream was fulfilled. It explained so much about her motives--and that dream.

As I think of my mom who is now discovering Jesus fully satisfying in heaven, I think of we as Christians who have been adopted into the security of a forever family. We long to be reunited with Jesus for there is a part in all of us that longs for the security that humanity experienced in Eden. Because Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, we all in one way or another, are now living out the desire in our hearts to be returned to paradise and be a part of a perfect family.

How wonderful that heaven includes our perfect family and our adoption in Christ will be completed. We'll no longer need to dream of finding our way home. 

My mom's shocking and sad revelation of the longing within her dream no longer has one whit of importance for her. Jesus in her heavenly home provides the fulfillment of everything important. May we remember that will be true for us also when our own dreams seem unfulfilled here on earth.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

God's Severe Mercies in My Mom's Last Days

Me, Mom, Chuck & Karen
I wonder if sometimes we think God only leads through blessings and smooth paths. I wondered that because of the way God guided our family to bring my mom to my home. It was through a difficult situation. It is what some have called "God's severe mercies."

When my mom needed more time and care than the assisted living facility could give her, we made plans to move her into a Board and Care home. My sister, Karen, and I checked out several places and decided on one that a friend of mine passionately recommended. It seemed perfect. 

The idea of mom moving into my home wasn't a consideration because her physical needs were more than I could handle (because of my past back surgery).

So we made plans. The morning of the move, my sister and caregivers somehow got mom into Karen's car even though mom was having a particularly bad morning. She couldn't seem to become alert. That happened sometimes but didn't last this long. We knew she would rally after a while.

I stayed behind in mom's room guiding the movers about what to pack. Then I headed over to the Board and Care home, excited that mom would receive such great care.

When I arrived, Karen was in tears and the B & C home owner was angry. The owner feared mom was going to die right then and wanted to call 911. But our mom was in hospice and we had chosen this home because they took hospice patients. We were clueless why the owner was so upset and no assurances we gave seemed to help. She continued to insist we needed to move mom at least by the next day. In the meantime, the moving van had arrived and sat in the street awaiting directions. 

I had called my husband, Larry, who is a retired policeman, because I thought he could help us negotiate a solution. We still hoped to work with the owner to allow mom to move in. But when she definitely said mom couldn't stay, we became desperate to find a facility or home where we could move her. 

Then Larry spoke up and said, "Well, there is another option we haven't considered. Have mom move into our home." We all burst into tears, even the hospice nurse who was trying to help us locate a facility. As we considered that option, the nurse offered a solution for my inability to care for her. We could hire care givers to come in.

The problem was resolved. Larry and the movers headed to our home to get my mom's room ready. Other needed decisions were made and after a few hours mom was nestled safely in my guest room. At one point she exclaimed, "A dream come true" and thanked us repeatedly for welcoming her into our home.

That began the last twelve days of our mom's life. I can't imagine her not being in our home for that time. It was such a joy to have those last days with her and then to be with her as she joined Jesus in heaven. 

As you read my first sentences above, do you think it's surprising that God leads through difficult circumstances? Or does it seem like  His guidance should only come through "straight paths" and clear direction? Give me your ideas. Maybe you even have a story to tell.

Friday, October 17, 2014

God's Mercies At My Mother's Heavenly Entrance

Vivian Grace  Dauer, Collard, Daugherty, about 19 years old

My precious mom, Vivian, entered glory and was welcomed by Jesus this past Tuesday, October 14th, 2014. It was such a blessed event. We sensed God's merciful hand all over it. 

On Monday, the hospice nurse said it could take another week or 10 days. Yet when my sister, Karen, who lived three hours away, was seeking God that day whether to come to my house, she opened her email and saw one of the subjects for an email that said, "Hours left." Although it was an ad for a product being on sale for only a few more hours, she knew God was leading. She quickly got ready and headed to my house, where we had moved mom in eleven days before.

By the next morning, mom's condition had deteriorated a little but didn't seem critical. She was still unresponsive but many of the symptoms of imminent death weren't there. So right before Karen and I went out for our normal morning walk when she's visiting, I told mom, "Mom, we'll be back from our walk in a little bit. Larry is here to care for you. But if you want to head to heaven, we are ready. You don't need to take care of us anymore. We love you."

As Karen and I walked, we prayed that God would graciously take her soon and easily. And our request was that we would be beside her at her earthly exit. Our concern over the years since she had been diagnosed with COPD had been that that disease would bring a difficult death. Plus, she had an aortic heart valve problem that seemed like it should have caused her death years ago. We always knew God wanted her to live because He had kept her alive regardless of her many diseases and illnesses.

We arrived back at my house and went to mom's room. Her breathing seemed about the same. But thirty seconds later, as we stood at her bedside, another breath didn't come. Her face drained of color and her body gave a little jerk. Karen and I looked at each other, and exclaimed, "She waited until we got back!!!!" We cried as we held her hands.

Then we began rejoicing!!!! God had mercifully answered our prayers "yes!" She hadn't suffered from a difficult death like COPD and we had been there to say goodbye. Plus, her death was peaceful as we rejoiced over her, knowing she was in Jesus' arms. 

We both did a little dance and then hugged. Larry checked her eyes just to make sure and we all hugged again. We tried to picture what she was seeing but we knew it couldn't possibly equal her new reality. What a privilege and joy to be on "this side" as she entered "the other side."

I'll write again in my next post about God's mercies in the other ways He worked. Thank you for your prayers for our family as we know we will miss her.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Give-Away: "Healed, Healthy and Whole"

I'm pleased to be able to feature the new book, Healed Healthy and Whole by Marion Pyle and to welcome a guest post from her. She would like to send the winner of a drawing an autographed copy of her book. You can put a comment on this blog post or write me: Kathyspeak AT aol DOT com. I will draw the winner on September 29th.

Here is Marion's story:

Grateful Warriors
How We Beat Cancer against All Odds
by Marion M. Pyle
Sometimes in life, a trial can hit so ferociously it brings you to your knees. Your normal little world is instantly hurled upside down and you’re left gasping for breath.

This was my story in March 2012, when my husband, Russell, the love of my life, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was so malevolent chemotherapy treatments were not even an option. Suddenly, despite years of living a healthy lifestyle, we found ourselves facing a savage giant with a lust for killing. We’d been ambushed, and the shock left us feeling out of control and helpless.

But, not for long.

As a believer of 27 years and a woman of prayer, I fell on my face before the Lord like the Shunamite woman in 2 Kings who gripped the prophet Elisha’s feet pleading for the life of her dying son. We reached out to our community of faith and got referrals to excellent doctors and therapists. We mobilized several prayer sessions with groups ranging from 5 to 50 people. We pored over Scriptures, memorized and prayed back to God those promises the Holy Spirit made jump off the page and into our hearts. We did a rigorous spiritual inventory to cleanse unresolved issues and emotional wounds. We had our church elders anoint Russell with oil and pray over him.

As we labored—and we labored hard—God led us to the world of integrative therapies: Therapies that treat the whole person--- body, mind and spirit—and not just the tumor; approaches that are non invasive, non toxic and don't get you sick to get you well; treatments that use food as medicine and repair the immune system so disease cannot find a foothold.

For ten months, we experienced hope and despair, advances and set backs, breakthroughs and let downs. But in January 2013, against all odds, Russell was declared cancer free, his bladder remains intact and he is, once again, a healthy and vigorous man.

The American Cancer Society tells us that in our lifetime, 1 in 3 people will get cancer and 1,500 Americans die from it every day. This does not have to be the case! With the right lifestyle choices, we can reduce our risk for cancer by up to 70 percent. Comprehensive, integrative therapies can also reverse even advanced stages of cancer and restore people to a health and wellness.

This is why I wrote my book: Healed, Healthy and Whole, How We Beat Cancer with Integrative Therapies and Essential Healing Strategies. (www.healedhealthyandwhole.com)

In the beginning of our journey, we knew little about alternative treatments. Now, we’re committed to helping others also find physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. In that spirit, my book is an offering to all who are searching. I pray it not only provides the hope, guidance and resources you need, but that one day you and your loved one are also able to say, “I am healed, healthy and whole.” To God be the glory.

You can connect with Marion at:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When God Seems Lost

It's our final day visiting our seven-year-old grandson and he loves to create "worlds" on some computer game. Don't ask me about it; I don't have a clue. What kids can do these days! But he said something this morning that intrigued me.

As Raf began asking me to watch him play his video game, he mentioned, "I'm making a new world."

Grandpa (my husband) asked, "What happened to that other world you were making yesterday?"

Raf replied, "I got lost in it. So I'm making a new one."

We all chuckled thinking of how the creator got lost in his own creation.

I immediately thought, "I'm so glad God Almighty doesn't get lost in the world He created."

Yet I have to admit, sometimes it feels like He's lost--even in the world He created. When my faith is weak or my trust is overwhelmed with doubt, I wonder if I have to find Him because he is wandering around lost. Does He know what He's doing?

For instance, next week I'm scheduled to leave to speak in China and be gone for two weeks. Over the last week my 88-year-old mom's health has deteriorated to the point that we don't know what the future holds. My brother and sister and I are a great team but they live at a distance and it's sacrificial for them to come take over (my mom lives near me). 

When in a moment of doubt I wonder if God got His schedule confused about how He had lead me, it feels like God is lost. Only meditating on God's omniscience--how He knows everything--and isn't forgetful has kept me relaxed. I don't know what God is doing behind the scene but He's not lost. He knows exactly what He's doing and,,,

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands. (Psalm 138:8 NASB)

Does it seem like God is lost right now? Or that He is cureless? I understand. But I'm so glad He's not only not lost but He knows exactly what He's doing, even if the plan isn't clear. I'm banking on that right now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Robin Williams' Suicide: I Can Relate

I know a lot has been said about the devastation of the suicide of Robin Williams. Any of us who are fans of his talented work have grieved knowing that we will not enjoy his talent again. A few days after the announcement, I overheard in the grocery story, a woman commenting to her friend, "I just don't understand how anyone could take their own life."

I didn't hear all the conversation but I was tempted to become a part of it. Because I almost took my own life. I wanted to express to the woman that anyone, if they are hopeless enough might consider suicide as the only possibility for relieving the pain. And of course, suicide is Satan's wicked tool for all sorts of destruction to that person and those who love him or her. 

I can only give credit to God for saving my life from that destruction. It was many years ago now--about 38 years, in fact--and I hated my life, was deeply depressed, and took my depression and anger out on my toddler daughter. I was a Christian yet my prayers for relief seemed unheard. I was praying for an instantaneous deliverance of my anger; it wasn't until later that I realized God would answer that prayer but through a process of growth.

But my despair in the meantime brought me to the point that one day as Larry left for work being a policeman, he said, "I have to leave my off-duty service revolver today; it's in the dresser drawer. Make sure Darcy doesn't get a hold of it." Thankfully, there was little danger of that since the drawer was far too high for a two-year-old.

Larry had no idea of the degree of my problem. He was seldom home and that was one of many sources of my anger. My hopelessness was largely fueled by that rocky relationship and how I feared I would kill our toddler in my next rage. I'd already choked her and was completely out of control. My tortured thoughts became, "If I don't kill myself, I'm going to kill Darcy. Better I'm gone than she."

So that day after I mistreated her again, I remembered the gun in the dresser and pulled open the drawer door. The gun seemed to glint at me, as if beckoning me to use it. It seemed to offer peace from the pain and safety for our daughter. 

But then one thought entered my mind, "What will people think of Jesus if they hear Kathy Miller has taken her life?"

That thought stopped me that day because even though I didn't care about my reputation, I did care about Jesus' reputation. The gun no longer glinted and I closed the dresser drawer. 

In time, God delivered me little by little from my anger, brought peace within our home by me becoming a calm mother, healed the relationship between Larry and I, and opened doors for sharing my story which began my ministry.

I don't know what compelled Robin Williams to take his life. I don't know why I responded to the Holy Spirit's leading, but I do know how someone can take their own life. At the time, even though suicide is the most selfish thing you can do, someone can easily be persuaded that it's actually the only way and the best way for everyone. 

How like our Enemy! 

Yes, I can relate to the helplessness, despair and depression that can cause a suicide. But I also know that there is always hope and help with God. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's the Meaning of "A Reed Swayed by the Wind?"

First of all, congratulations to Jeanie,who is the winner of Uprooting Anger. Thank you to everyone who submitted your name into the drawing. 

Jeanie: Please send me your email address and mailing address privately to Kathyspeak AT aol DOT com. I will pass it along to Kay so that she can send you your autographed copy. Please also let us know who you want the book autographed to. 

Now for this post's content:

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by "A reed swayed by the wind"? I certainly have. Remember the story we've been examining where Jesus is defending John the Baptist? Here's Matthew 11:7:

As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (NASB)

Commentators offer several ideas of what Jesus meant:
It could refer to John's manner of speaking. Did he gesture with his hands in such a way that it reminded people of reeds? Or maybe he used his body in a way that  resembled reeds or weeds in a breeze?

Remember how we talked in our last post about how Jesus suggested the crowds only went to see him for the entertainment? Could it be that John's physical techniques was unique, entertaining or mesmerizing? 

Another possibility, commentators wonder, is whether "like a reed" refers to John appearing to be "unstable" or "inconsistent." Like a patch of reeds being blown about like the wind, you couldn't be sure of what John would do or say. The thrill was wondering if he would come up with something surprising or worthy of repetition.

I can just picture and hear it now. One person telling another, "Hey, have you seen that new preacher yet? You know, John the Baptist?"

"No, I haven't seen him yet. I've been meaning to head out there, but you know how going into the wilderness is. Such a pain."

"You haven't? Well, I have—several times! Well, let me tell you, you gotta see him. It's quite the show. I'm one of his disciples now!" (Said with pride).

"Really? That sounds impressive. I'll be sure to go on my day off."

Interestingly, one commentator believes the phrase, "a reed shaken in the wind" is actually a phrase used to indicate the complete opposite. A person described like that is actually consistent and firm, not wavering in what he said or did. 

Commentator Gill writes, "The Jews use this comparison of a man to a reed, in a sense just the reverse, and make it to signify constancy, and not inconstancy, as well as tenderness, in opposition to roughness, severity, and stubbornness." (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.)

As for the reed itself, there are a few possibilities of reeds known to be available during that time. Maybe Jesus and the crowd were in close proximity to a pond, lake, or body of water with a kind of reed. I often think Jesus refers to the area around Him and His listeners more often than we realize. 

As for the reed itself, there are several possibilities. One kind of known reed in the area is described by J. Macgragor who penned a book in 1869:

"There is first a lateral trunk, lying on the water and half-submerged. This is sometimes as thick as a man's body, and from its lower side hang innumerable string-like roots from three to five feet long, and of a deep purple colour .... These pendent roots... retard much of the surface-current where the papyrus grows. On the upper surface of the trunks the stems grow alternately in oblique rows; their thickness at the junction is often four inches, and their height fifteen feet, gracefully tapering until at the top is a little round knob, with long, thin brown, wire-like hairs eighteen inches long, which rise and then, recurving, hang about it in a thyrsus-shaped head." 

He also says, "The whole jungle of papyrus was floating upon the water, and so the waves raised by the breeze were rocking the green curtain to and fro." 

There was also "a most curious hissing, grinding, bustling sound, that was heard like waves upon a shingly beach" as "the papyrus stems were rubbing against each other as they nodded out and in."

(The Rob Roy on the Jordan, Nile, Red Sea & Gennesareth, &c. : a canoe cruise in Palestine and Egypt, and the waters of Damascus). 

If that was the kind of reed Jesus referred to, then maybe John's voice sounded like those reeds rubbing against each other. 

Pulpit Commentary has this opinion:

"It is, however, much more probable that the reed referred to was "the Arundo donax, a very tall cane, growing twelve feet high, with a magnificent panicle of blossom at the top, and so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat under a gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It grows especially on the western side of the Dead Sea." (Natural History of the Bible).

I personally find these ideas fascinating and I hope you do too.

But regardless of what reed or sound Jesus is referring to, the most important thing is that Jesus wanted to impress upon the people to examine their motives. If we're going to church or some event just to get a thrill, or for any other impure motive (visiting with friends or wanting to be seen as good?) then we need to change our heart. We will indeed be held accountable for what we hear and the actions we take. It's a hard message to hear but a good reminder.