Still Sitting Like He’s Waiting

Posted in Uncategorized on February 14, 2018 by jimheinze

I often wonder just how long he will sit there. Mr. Frog sits patiently on the shelf in the closet. Alone and often ignored. A reminder of the past. He came into our lives in the early 80’s. I don’t remember the exact date but he’s been here for a long long time. I bought him when I saw him sitting in the store while shopping for a Valentines Day card those many years ago. Somehow he’s been able to avoid the trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army that so many before and after him have made. Somehow he has remained steadfast and maybe even a little faithful. I know Mr. Frog made her smile so perhaps that’s the only answer to his longevity. But anyway, here he is, sitting through another Valentines Day. I see him pretty much every day but today he caught my attention as if to say “hey! I made her smile once”. For that I’m grateful and will keep him around a bit longer. Enjoy your stay Mr. Frog. You remind me of some pretty great times. Oh, and happy Valentines Day.IMG_7292

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UK Ministry Trip

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2017 by jimheinze

jhm-uk-001After fifteen years of being away I will be making a ministry trip to England. Linda and I first traveled there in October of 1987. We were excited to see what the Lord was going to do and just how He was going to use us. We had no idea that for the next fifteen years we would be making fifteen trips across the Atlantic. We were able to minister to many in churches, outreaches, prisons, and hospitals. We also made many new friends some of who remain great friends to this day. For those many years God gave me a mission to encourage and edify (build up) the church and share the good news of Jesus. This, both Linda and I did, through sharing God’s word and through my songs. We traveled the length and width of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. We visited way too many churches to number. It is still encouraging to get an email or Facebook message from some of the many great people we met. We were blessed.

As it turns out, through a series of Facebook messaging and encouragement from a new friend, and much prayer, I will be making a return trip next month. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a little apprehensive about this trip. I will, of course, be making it without my longtime faithful partner and sidekick Linda. I also realize that times are different and I’ve changed over these years. My mind is filled with “what will I say”, “what will I sing”? What will my friends be expecting? The same Jim Heinze that was there fifteen or twenty years ago? Many of my friends have suggested that God is going to do a “new thing” through me. I honestly have no idea what that is at this point. I do know this. I have nothing to prove to anyone, no reputation to make, and no one to impress. I feel somewhat like the Apostle Paul when he said “And this was the way it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I didn’t come with fancy words or human wisdom. I preached to you the truth about God’s love.” God’s love is, after all, all I have to give. If these last two and a half years have taught me anything they’ve taught me that His love remains faithful and that He is good. No matter what circumstances dictate, no matter what our present condition is, His love never fails. It’s by His grace alone that I’m still standing and standing I am.

Merry Christmas

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2016 by jimheinze

It’s a well known fact, to those close to me, that I’m a bit of a humbug during the Christmas season. Don’t get me wrong, I am more that excited that Jesus came to earth as God’s provision for my sin. I genuinely celebrate that each time I transgress and ask for forgiveness. God is amazing and well worthy of our praise. His plan to redeem fallen man is beyond human imagination. For God to become flesh and not only dwell with His creation but to come as a servant is sometimes incomprehensible. Yet, as we celebrate His coming, I find myself buried in the traditions of the season. It’s a personal thing for me. For some reason it always has been. Yet I totally understand the desire to celebrate with song and ceremony. I married such a one. Linda loved the Christmas season. She loved decorating the house. Buying the perfect gift for each one on her list. Every Christmas season the bins would come down from the loft in the shed and all the years of accumulated items would be dedicatedly placed and replaced throughout the house. Christmas stockings would be hung on the mantle. Poinsettias strategically found their place. Candles, bells, wreaths set free for another couple of weeks until going back into their proper bins and being placed back into the shed for another year. I admit, I could get quite frustrated during those 2 to 3 weeks. Do you really need all the bins this year I would ask? Her response was a positively declared yes! So I would reluctantly pound in a nail on the wall for another Christmas creation to hang. Then came that day. Usually a day or two after New Years celebration that Christmas disappeared as quickly as it came. The house, looking a little bear, now was back to it’s normal uncluttered status. Well, all of this is to say, I miss it. Not necessarily the “stuff” it’s still in the bins in the shed. I miss her excitement and the joy that she experienced each year at this time. I’d give anything to see her smiling face as she decided what goes where. Yes, as much as I grumbled, I miss it.

Merry Christmas to all my friends! May the joy of the Lord fill your hearts during this season. Love your family and friends. Remember that Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season. God has come to us!IMG_1099

Who Am I?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1, 2016 by jimheinze

IMG_1057Most of you know that these last two years have been the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. It’s really hard to describe what’s been going on “inside” me. Most of the time I have no idea how to fully express it. Realistically it’s hard to just change and get on after loosing someone you love and that’s been with you for 46 years. During those years our personalities melded together. It was difficult to define who was Linda and who was Jim. We became so intertwined that her personality was mine and my personality was her! We were together from the time we were teenagers so our “growing up” period was done together. Now, I’ve had to try to figure out just who I am. Who I am without Linda. Sure, she’ll always, in one since, be a part of who I am today but as I go on, I’m going to develop who I am without her. This is, as you can understand, a most difficult process. I know that God is working in me as well. He’s working to show me who He is and what He can do in me without Linda. The road is rough. I thank my friends that have stuck with me through this time. I know that I probably haven’t been the easiest person to get along with at times but you hung in there with me. I am grateful. I will continue to develop as I pursue the Lord. Thank you for your prayers and patience. You mean a lot to me and God has been showing me what real compassion and friendship looks like. Life in community is God’s plan for us all. Love one another and encourage one another every day. 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2015 by jimheinze

Christmas #2Christmas in Hawaii

I spent the first Christmas of my marriage to Linda on a ship stationed at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. It was a lonely weird time. We were married on November 29th and December 10th I shipped out. I remember standing on the deck of the ship on Christmas eve looking out over the harbor. The lights reflecting off the water and the stars and moon shining in the sky. By the time our second Christmas came around she had moved to Hawaii and joined me. We were able to celebrate together in our small apartment in Waikiki. From that Christmas on we were together every year for Christmas. Now I readily admit that I’m not a huge Christmas fan but I got so much joy watching her put together our family Christmases over the forty four years of our marriage. It was her time of the year. She loved shopping for just the perfect gift for each of our children. I usually complained about how much everything cost or how many gifts we were buying that year but always acquiesced to her joy. Some years she would go all out in decorating our home and some years (to my relief) she would decide to be minimal. 

Last year was my first Christmas without her. I honestly didn’t even want to get the decorations from the shed loft. I just wanted it to pass. I’d get together with my kids and family and somehow get through it. But I decided to go ahead and decorate and celebrate. I admit it was a minimalist Christmas as far as decorations go. We celebrated and enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast and later on that day started a new tradition.  We had our Duck and Chuck dinner. (Smoked chuck roast and Chinese bbq’d duck bought from the Asian market) God blessed us with a joyous day of celebration. 

I guess that I was expecting this year to be a just a little easier. This would be our second Christmas without her. But in many ways this one has been even harder. Maybe it’s because I was prepared for the first one to be hard and this one easier. But it hasn’t proved to be any easier. I don’t know now if it will ever be “easier”. I guess you just figure out how to make it the best it can be and move on. But I do know it will be good. We will gather together as a family and have our Christmas breakfast and again, some duck and chuck later in the day. We will enjoy each other’s love and company. We will laugh, cry, and enjoy watching Ivan James get excited.  But we will all miss her. It was her time of the year. 

God is healing us. He is making us stronger as a family. We are learning to function with a huge hole in our hearts. But that’s what He does. He makes us strong in our weakness. He brings us joy in our brokenness. He heals our afflictions. He is the mighty Prince of Peace, the wonderful Counselor, the everlasting Savior. He tells us in His word that His grace is sufficient and I believe Him.Merry Christmas!

365 Days

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2015 by jimheinze

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365 days. I see now that there is nothing magical about a year. Maybe there was just a little hope that after a year the pain of Linda’s leaving was be greatly reduced. But alas, it’s just a number. After all, we were together for roughly 17,000 days! Sure time has gone on and life with it. I probably don’t think of her every waking moment, just most. God has been doing an amazing work in my heart over this year. First, I can’t believe how fast this year has passed. How can time stand still and yet continue to move so quickly? I’ve grown less selfish about having Linda here with me and more happy for her. After all, when we gave our lives to Christ in 1977 our greatest desire was to someday be completely immersed in His presence. Now she is there and I await my day. God’s mercy covers me like a huge blanket. I am grateful for the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Having said all that I miss her dearly. It’s been a year since I’ve felt her skin, stroked her hair, and kissed her lips. It’s been a year since we’ve just sat on the couch sharing life and talking about what God is doing in our lives. It’s been a year since we shared our excitement over what the Lord is doing at New Hope, our church. It’s been a year since we jumped in the car and took off for one of our day trips or overnighters to Lake Tahoe or the bay area. It’s been a year since we went out for dinner and experienced a great burger together or our favorite pizza from BJ’s Restaurant, or that amazing burrito from Garibaldi’s. It’s been a year since we’ve dreamed together about our children and grand children. She loved them so much. Even praying daily during her illness for Ivan James’ arrival that sadly she missed.

I do believe God has more things for me to do as I follow Jesus. Some have said “great” things. I don’t know just how great those things could be because together we already did so many wonderful things. When I look back and see the lives touched through our ministry to the U.K. I am humbled and amazed. But I do trust that His way is perfect and good. My way is always filled with uncertainty. So, I’ll continue to pursue another year. A year loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength according to the scriptures. Who knows, maybe in another year I’ll see things even more clearly. I do know that for the rest of my days here I will love and miss her in a painful way. But my family, church family, and friends will stand with me and give me great comfort. And he alone will be my healer.

Proverbs 3:4-6  So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight

Family Camp

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2015 by jimheinze

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New Hope Family Camp

First of all, I was kind of dreading family camp this year. This has been a tough year as you can understand. This year has been filled with “firsts” without Linda. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Years with no kiss, first Valentines Day with no special valentine, first birthday celebration for Linda without her being here, first Mother’s day, first Father’s day and now first Family Camp. All of these dates are unavoidable except family camp. I could have skipped it this year. I did think about it. Honestly, I could have just stayed home and gone to church. I could have kept it simple. But I chose to press through and go. I chose to surround myself with some of my friends and let God continue to heal me. I left Monday afternoon and after a couple of hours arrived at Richardson Camp Lake Tahoe. This year we were camping at a different part of the camp grounds. At first I was disappointed but later I appreciated that it wasn’t “Linda’s and my” place. It became “my” place. However, Tuesday morning I fought a battle to just leave and come home. I was assaulted with the fact that I would be up there all week with her! My heart started to ache. Then, after some prayer (talking with God), I realized that if I came home I would just sit on the couch and watch the food channel and miss being at family camp. So again, I pressed on. 

I asked the Lord to strengthen me. To give me courage to face the week. Well, He did. My week was incredible. I was loved on by everyone there at family camp. Some fixed me meals, some made me coffee, some stood with me silently when my emotions got the best of me. I was included in family time, ice cream time, games, and campfire fellowship. Yes, I do not like smores! I met a new friend who’s wife left him for glory a couple of years ago. He lives in Lake Tahoe and we enjoyed a coffee and encouraging each other. I got to know some of my church family even greater. I think it’s sometimes easy to feel excluded. People don’t really do it on purpose. They’re just moving on in life. Sometimes it was up to me to press in. I don’t think anyone minded. In fact I was invited over and over again to come join in! 

The week finished with a wonderful time of worship at our “outdoor” service. Raphael gave a great challenge and delivered a powerful sermon on Romans 8:1-2.  I couldn’t help reading ahead to Romans 8:28 where we’re reminded that “all things work together for the good to those who love Christ”. Yes, even a scary week of family camp! I missed Linda tremendously. The long drive up and back was hard. We often went to Lake Tahoe for one of our quick getaways. This year has zoomed by and it felt like just yesterday that we were there at family camp together. Being there and being flooded by those memories of last year made me cry and smile. I will press on to the next “first thing” (my birthday later this month). I smile more now knowing that she is in the presence of the one she loved even more than me!  See you soon babe!