Sneaker Waves

Posted in Uncategorized on May 6, 2015 by jimheinze

Sneaker waves

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him…

We’ve all been at the beach somewhere and heard about the horrible sneaker waves that exist. If you’ve not heard of them, they are these “surprise attack” waves that will seem to come out of nowhere and BAM! They will seep you off your balance and pull you out to sea to drown! Serious, people have lost their lives to sneaker waves. So much so that some beaches will post signs warning of these waves. So while on the beach you need to be vigilant, awake, and aware of your surroundings. You need to keep your feet safely planted on some solid ground. Parents will keep a close eye on their kids and not let them travel too far away. You just never know.

Our emotions can be like that. We can experience some difficulty in our life and during our struggle to push through or beyond, we can get hit with a sneaker wave of emotion. Most times there isn’t really a definitive reason. Sometimes these bursts of emotion just don’t make sense. They just hit! And if we’re not aware we can be swept out to sea. Only to drown in our sadnesses, in our defeatedness, in an emotional breakdown. We will sometimes just give up and surrender to our circumstances.

While working out in the gym the other day I was on the stair master. It’s kind of mundane making one step after another. I do that for about 25-30 minutes speeding up and slowing down. I have my headset on listening to worship music and just praising God. Well during one of these moments I got hit with a sneaker wave of emotion. All of a sudden and without warning the sadness of missing Linda hit me. I started to tear up and get distracted with memories. I started to get distracted. It’s an easy slippery slope to sink into a little pity party. I thought, no, I’m going to rise above this. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still times that I need to grieve her loss but I’m starting to recognize when that is appropriate and when it is there to draw me away. This wave wanted to drown me. I cried out in my spirit “help me Lord” and I was immediately drawn back into His presence and the worship song came back into my headset.

You see, when these sneaker waves hit us we have a help. When we cry out to the Lord, He hears us and delivers us. His word says that The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

1 Peter 5 tells us that our enemy (the devil) is on the prowl! Seeking to devour! Like a roaring lion (or maybe a sneaker wave)! But Peter tells us to resist him. Stand on firm and solid ground. Be on guard. Be watchful and aware. The Lord will save you.

Beware of the sneaker waves!

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Catch 22

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2015 by jimheinze

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The Catch 22 – Grieving for A Spouse

I reposted a blog awhile ago that seem to sum up my present condition. It also made me think of a book that I read many years ago called Catch 22. I’m not sure everyone will understand what a catch 22 is so I’ll explain. The definition is this: a frustrating situation in which one is trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. In his book titled Catch 22 Joseph Heller wrote: “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.” So, the only way to get out of flying missions was to be crazy. But if you said you wanted out you were sane! And if you were sane you flew missions.

I relate catch 22 to grieving for a spouse because the one who has consistently supported you through difficult and emotional times your marriage is the one who is not here to do it any longer and the fact that they are no longer here is the cause of the difficult and emotion time. It’s a perplexing issue. Who now do I have to share my heart with that can offer the understanding and compassion of my 44 years of sharing my heart? Whom do I now have that has the longevity and experience of dealing with the way that I have handled past difficulties? I remember when Linda and I were first married and life’s anxieties would well up in me and my emotions would explode, she knew what to say. She knew what to do. She could hold me and say the words that would calm me. Even her last months and weeks here with me, she knew how to “bring me back” when I would begin to panic about losing her. So, now she’s gone and so is the one who would normally help me to go through this hard time. Now, please understand that even as I write this blog I’m not doing so out of anger. I’m not angry about my situation or Linda’s leaving. In fact, I’m glad that she is at perfect peace now. Most people have no idea the amount of pain she was in. She handled it in an amazing way. I still talk to her about stuff but her answers are only formed from the past. Kind of a “what would Linda say?”

Even my relationship with Jesus is changed. I’m having to draw much closer to Him than ever before. As I’ve shared in another post, it used to be Jesus, Linda and me. The familiar verses of the bible where Jesus commands Peter to come to Him in the storm by walking on water are more alive to me now than at any other time in my Christian walk. Jesus and Peter. One to one. He is my peace, He is my stability, He is my counselor, He is my confidence. He hears my heart and my cry and says “come”. I will keep my eyes focused on Him and I will walk on the waters of this storm. And when I fall, His mighty hand will reach out and grab me and pull me back up into His presence and I will walk again. His compassion overwhelms me!

Untethered!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2015 by jimheinze

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A couple of months ago Pastor Jeff and I were talking and I was trying to explain my emotional condition. I was struggling with a good definition as to what I was feeling, when he came up with the word “untethered”. Wow! That described my state completely. Untethered! No restraint. Disconnected. What a weird feeling. I imagined a space walker and the feeling of security when tethered to the space craft. Because without that tethering one would drift. What a sinking feeling in your gut! In our marriage, Linda and I were tethered. We were tethered physically. We were together all the time. We enjoyed each others company. Pretty much since that day I met her in high school. We were tethered in marriage. We were tethered raising our three kids. And her last couple of years with our many weekly trips to Kaiser. Joined at the hip if you will. We were tethered spiritually as well. Both of us in ministry serving the Lord together. Fifteen years of ministry in the U.K. Serving together at New Hope.

But now? Life seems at times untethered. My companion isn’t next to me. As one friend said it’s like my whole right side of my body is missing. It’s a very strange feeling. I know I am tethered in other areas though. My children, my church, my friends, and most importantly, my God. His word says, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” and “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. I am tethered to Christ and that gives me hope.

Every once in a while I get that “drifting” feeling. That untetheredness.  But I will lift my eyes and see just where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord.

Loneliness

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2015 by jimheinze

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I guess loneliness is the hardest thing for me right now. It’s been 7 months since Linda left and I’m still not used to it. I know, you say, it will take time. While I understand that in my intellect, my emotions still refuse to agree. I find myself carrying on! More to the point, pressing on.  I go to the store for groceries. I still have to clean the house. Laundry has to be done. The yard needs care. Life goes on and things still need to get done. Nothing stops to wait. Time does not stop or stand still.  When I say loneliness I’m not talking about needing a companion. I had one. I had a “until death do us part” one. And death parted us. Way sooner than I would ever have imagined but it did. I’m not talking about finding a friend. I had one. Since high school we did everything together as friends. She was my best friend forever! Now she’s gone. So when I say loneliness I’m saying that I miss being with her. I miss doing things together. I miss going on trips and even grocery shopping together. I’d give anything to make another trip to Costco with her. It’s that loneliness. I something wander around the house remembering her being in her office on the computer (picture above) or sitting on the couch playing Candy Land on her iPad. I miss the discussions on scripture and what the Lord is doing at New Hope. I miss seeing her in the kitchen whipping up some incredible meal with the most simple of ingredients. As I drive by Kaiser Hospital, I remember the many chemo trips and blood draws. I look up at the top floor and remember her in the ICU and how happy she was to come home from that horrible infection. Only to pass away a week later. While I still have friends, family and church to talk with and visit, it isn’t the same. At some point, everyone goes their way and I go mine. And that’s the way it must be. I get that. I’m certainly not angry about that. Nor am I looking for pity. I’m just lonely. No one can “fix” it. It has to happen. I have to go through this. There is no other way. So I press on.

A good friend suggest to me last week that I am depressed. No, he didn’t suggest it, he said that I am depressed. I disagree. While I may have some times of depression (who doesn’t), I am not depressed. I am hopeful. Hopeful that my walk with Christ will continue to be strengthened. Hopeful that God will have His way in my life and ministry as a worship leader and pastor. Hopeful that as I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me. Hopeful that when it’s my time to stand before Him I will hear “well done good and faithful servant”.

Linda once taught that we continue to look for our Garden of Eden here. Well, she said, it isn’t here, it’s in His presence. Here there are thorns, weeds, and corruption. I remind myself that that is where I’m headed. Some day my loneliness will be healed.

Am I going crazy?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2015 by jimheinze

I guess if you were to follow me around for the day, or perhaps get some kind of a glimpse into my brain, you might think so. You see, I spend a lot of my alone time talking to Linda. While I’m driving, or just sitting here in my living room. I talk to her when I go to bed every night. I tell her just how much I love her and miss her. I tell her how much is wish she was here with me.  I don’t know what she hears, or if she even hears me. We like to think we know, but I also know that there is a lot of hypothetical stuff out there about those who have left this world and what they know or don’t know, or experience. But with all that aside, I still talk to her. But she never talks back or answers my questions. I only have what she said before she left. “You’ll be okay” was her  usual response to my despair of losing her. I guess I will be okay. In fact, I know I will. I talk to her while I’m shopping at Walmart for toothpaste. When I see the deodorant that she would buy. Or the Slim Fast Low Carb drink that we would always hope was in stock. I drive by Union Bank and remember going through the drive through and hear her telling my the deposit amount to punch in on the keyboard. I ask her “do we need to pull in”? No reply so I drive on by. After all,  I talked with her for forty seven years! Come on, that’s a long time! And now, she’s silent. It’s a one sided conversation. It feels weird. It is weird. I’d give anything to sit on the couch and converse again with her. Or have her in the car next to me to do our weekly shopping at Trader Joe’s.  But that’s not going to happen. So, follow me around if you wish. Think me crazy if you must. But I’ll keep on talking to the love of my life. Am I going crazy? I don’t think so.  2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I will continue to trust in God’s faithfulness. He is my hope. Oh, and I talk to God all the time too.  Love ya babe.

Happy Birthday Week!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2015 by jimheinze

IMG_0445A few years ago Linda and I started celebrating our “birthday week” instead of just one day, we would celebrate the whole entire week! It was fun. She would plan a small get a way or a day trip to Half Moon Bay or Lake Tahoe. We would start on Sunday after church. What usually happened was that we would get together with family one day during the week and friends at different times in the week. We would often, just the two of us, go out to a local restaurant and celebrate as well. Over the last couple of years we started going to Zocalo’s here in Mid Town Sacramento. That became Linda’s favorite restaurant. I passed by there a couple of months ago and it was difficult. I can hear her saying, “this is my birthday week” even now. It was just one year ago that we were there to celebrate her 62nd birthday. I would always let them know that it was her birthday (to her embarrassment) and they would bring out a dessert with a sparkler on it. Toward the end of the week she would announce that her birthday week was ending and I would share that mine would be here in July. We would always look forward to our birthday weeks. Happy birthday week babe! I love you.

Broken

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2015 by jimheinze

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It’s been six months since Linda’s passing into glory. In some ways it’s been a blur and in other ways time has crept at snail’s pace. My life is changing constantly as I continue to press on. I miss her with every waking moment of time. I was talking with a long time friend a while ago, who brought to my attention that they felt that I may not like them any longer. That our friendship was strained and maybe over. My friend said that they felt like they lost two friends when Linda passed. While I certainly never intended for that to happen, I was blessed that they brought that to my attention. I told my friend that I a broken man. I think that was the first time I was able to say those words. While I’ve been honest in sharing that I’ve been hurting and healing at the same time, it was strange as I heard those words coming from my mouth. I’m broken. I believe that when I said that, God started healing me even deeper. I’m now trying to figure out, I told my friend, who I am. I’m different now. I’m changed forever.

There are three times of my life where I believe my personality has been majorly changed. The first time is when Linda and I were married. I left my family and started my life with her. Who I was in our new marriage was being redefined and of course that was true for her as well. We were learning to live together in marriage and mesh our personalities. It wasn’t always successful! We struggled and sometimes fought. But little by little we began to build our “married” personality. And all the while keeping our own pieces of personality. Fast forward eight years. The second time of personality change is when we came to the saving knowledge of Christ. Both of us surrendered our hearts and lives in commitment to serve Jesus. God then began a work of changing us. Once again our personalities began to develop not only in relationship to each other but in relationship to Christ. We still kept the bits and pieces of our old selves but allowed them to be changed and redefined. We set a course to serve God together and we did. We ministered as a team for around 30 years. While our relationship wasn’t perfect it was good. Really good. We grew together spiritually and emotionally. Yes, we were connected and intertwined. At Linda’s celebration people mentioned that it was always Jim ‘n Linda.  Then six months ago things changed again. Linda was gone. No longer by my side. No longer growing together. Our personalities no longer melding together in life. She is gone and I’m still here. I’m still here and yes, broken. As I told my friend, I’m now trying to figure out just who I am. Who am I? Linda and I were so close and “grafted” together that I’m somewhat lost. I’m sure my personality will change yet again for the third time. God will continue to work in me to make me who He wants me to be. He will continue to heal me, fix me and basically put me back together again.

I know I’m not alone in this journey. I have the greatest support from my family and my church family and friends. I’m surrounded by people who I know love me and want to help me come through this. My pain often creeps up on me at the oddest of moments. Sometimes sadness sweeps over me at an unusual moment. I may say something through my pain or sadness that may not sound like the old Jim. For that I apologize in advance and ask for grace. In one since, the old Jim is gone. He went with Linda. The new Jim is here being worked on and changed, redefining just who I am. But right now, I’m broken. I will get through this but I’m sure I will always limp. At least until that day when I’m reunited with my love of 47 years and that brokenness is completely healed.