To Everything There Is a Season

June 24, 2013

Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

One week from today, I will be starting a different phase in my life. I will be hitting the “pause” button on full-time ministry and doing a different form of ministry for a year.

This past winter, many things changed in our family. Rick and I have said for years that we have been blessed to have all four of our parents alive and relatively healthy. This changed in November, when the heath of my dad, my mom and my mother-in-law changed within a very short period of time. After my dad’s death, we had discussions with the Deaton side and the Vielhuber side about how to maintain the safety and health of our parents. Our parents would like to remain in their homes as long as possible and we want to assist with this and keep them safe.

After being in the nursing home for much of the winter, Rick’s mom is home. While Rick is there several days a week, my sister-in-laws have helped out tremendously and hired help has helped close the gaps, we have decided for me to spend more time in Rock Springs. I will have the opportunity to help my mother-in-law, assist and provide reprieve for my father-in-law and be more available. I hope to help with our grandchildren more, especially the three that live just down the road from my in-laws. Leaving my full-time job will also make me more available to help with my mom.

Rick and I feel that the season for me to step-back from full-time ministry is appropriate. Ministry for the next year will just be different. Along with caregiving, I hope to write more, maybe publish something, discover a hobby or two, get those long-awaited projects started and maybe even finished. I may actually see my husband most every day of the week, something Rick and I have rarely had during our nearly 13 years of marriage.

We have committed to doing this for a year. At this point, I have no idea what life will entail a year from now. I have made arrangements so I can re-enter pastoral ministry. In the meantime, Rick and I want to honor my calling and realize for this next season, my calling is just a bit different.

There are many different seasons of our lives. I feel like I have gone through several already in my live. This next season will be one of new opportunities to learn, grow, be challenged and explore my relationship with God and others in a different way. I am thankful that I have people around me who are supporting and understanding of this season change. For this, thanks be to

Almighty God – we watch the seasons of the year change annually. Sometimes, our lives are the same and we encounter different opportunities. When a potential season change arises in our lives, may we discover through your guidance, wisdom of discerning people and prayerful consideration what direction you desire for us to take. When we encounter a new season, may we be reminded that we never journey alone, for you are always with us. 

Blessings –

Dianne

When a Phone Call Changes Everything

June 3, 2013

1 Corinthians 15:54b-57

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” The sting of death is sin , and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

One phone call can change everything.

Saturday, Rick and I were having a lovely day. I’d gone to Madison early and ran at the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure.” Rick visited a man from church just moved to a local nursing home and got mulch for the flower beds. With both of us home, we worked outside. I cleaned out the rest of the flower beds so the mulch could go down. Rick finished planting the garden.

I officiated at a wedding late afternoon and stepped inside for a few minutes to check the time. By chance, I checked my cell phone. There were two missed calls, from Vielhuber family members. The second missed call was Rick’s mom. She left a message saying our 61-year-old brother-in-law had passed away.

Dan was a farmer. With his son, Andy, they ran crop land and did some custom farming. Dan raised bees for about 50 years and enjoyed helping others learn the art of raising bees. The last few years, he had also had an apple orchard. Dan got stuck in a wet field on Saturday. A neighbor stopped to help him. When the tractor was unstuck, Dan got out and said he needed to catch his breath. Shortly after this, he went down. Despite being in the country, the ambulance crew arrived very quickly. They performed CPR and took him to the hospital. But Dan slipped away and received his eternal reward.

Rick’s sister Judy was in Milwaukee visiting her daughter and family. Rick and I got ourselves together and headed north. I was caught up in trying to find our nephew Andy and figuring out the absolute latest time I could leave to get to Spring Green for the wedding. As I was driving, a few miles from the farm, Rick reached over, took my hand and began to pray. He thanked God for the beautiful day and Dan’s life. He asked God to give us the words when there really are no words and that our presence would be enough. Winding through the Baraboo bluff, it was my husband who remembered to pray and ended up being the pastor to me.

On Friday, I had a graveside service where I spoke about the preciousness of life; of how quickly life can change and how if we only knew that today would be our last day with a loved one, we might do things just a bit different. I have spoken these words at many funerals and graveside services. I’ve experienced this through the loss of Rick’s son, our grandson, my Dad and other people whom I’ve loved. Yet, I felt like I was rediscovering this once again on Saturday, when one phone called changed everything.

Dan was a wonderful example of a person who lived the Christian life and lived what he believed. He was a very giving man. There are going to be so many people who turned to Dan for advice and knowledge that will miss him, including our family. He took time to teach others.

Take a minute. Chat aimlessly with your loved ones today. Let them know your true feelings. Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear. Tell them “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” and “I forgive you.” Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike. For if that phone call ever comes, you’ll be so glad that you did.

Thank you for this beautiful day, for your presence all around us. Thank you for bringing into our lives people who are so meaningful for us. Thank you for how they teach us, help us and model the Christian life for us. When something happens and our lives are forever changed, may your presence be enough. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne