For Diane, With Love – The Other Side

In March of 2015, Diane Van Bommel, a beloved friend and relative, suspected the return of her cancer. Soon after, this was confirmed, and while still hopeful, she started to prepare, not knowing how much time she would have left. She asked me to write a song for her funeral, to celebrate her new life on “the other side”, and to comfort her family and friends with the knowledge that she was safe and not so far away. She passed away on December 26, 2015. It was an honour and a privilege to sing for her. For those who have asked, here is the video, along with the lyrics.

The Other Side                                                  (c) Tina Pumfrey, SOCAN, 2015

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

He measured out my days, He sure did make them full, poured out so many blessings over me

No one’s future can be told, trust in Him, let it unfold,

and thank Him for the love along the way

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And you know, He kept me safe, I never lost my way,

And no matter how lonely the valley, He’ll bring you home

I’m on the other side, no need to cry for me, I’m safe and I’m sound, I’m home

My suffering is done, my forever just begun, and you know that I’m here singin’ praise

In God’s goodness and faithfulness, He never turned His back on me,

I spent my days in His hand

Now I’m singin’ Hallelujah with saints and angels all around

I’m on the other side, yeah, I’m on the other side

And I’m singin’ Amen, Amen, Hallelu – u – jah!

To read Diane’s many words of wisdom, visit http://www.divbblog.wordpress.com and http://www.godgivesblessings.wordpress.com.  Her legacy will live on through her writings.

Weakness As Strength

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“Your weaknesses are the key to the unimaginable bigger future that God has envisioned for you. Your strengths are probably already bearing all the fruit they can. They will continue to bear those good fruits in your life, but at some point they will begin to plateau. Your richer, more abundant future is intimately linked to your weaknesses.” Matthew Kelly

A Song for Sunday–Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful–Steven Curtis Chapman

Today is one of those days when I could be upset at myself because I dropped the ball on something. It’s not anything major, just another case where I can say I’m out of the running for Parent of the Year, again. If I couldn’t laugh these things off, I would have a big pile of remembered mistakes to drag around with me.

Easy enough with the small stuff, but what about the big things? Oh, there have been some of those, too. It brings to mind a quote a friend shared on Facebook recently, although I’m not sure who to attribute it to:

I never met a strong person who had an easy life.

So, yes, there have been some things that definitely helped me to become a stronger person, whether I believe that I asked for those things to come into my life or not. God has helped me pick myself up more than once, helped me move on and reassemble the broken pieces in a new way, even when all I could see at the time was a mess.God helps us to deal with unimaginable situations, and leads us through to the other side even when we don’t know how to get there, or what it’s going to look like when we get there. We just realize, eventually, that we got there, and the mess is behind us. Yes, life gets messy, but it doesn’t mean we’re stuck there forever.

I see you sitting over there with your head in your hands
And the mess life’s made of your best laid plans
You really want to shake your fist
But you don’t know who to blame
Well you can blame yourself or the man upstairs
Or the guy on the screen who says he cares
But all the shame and the blame won’t change a thing
What’s done is done
But grace has just begun

And God’s says
I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only one who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

I don’t know when the next challenge is going to come my way, but I know that something will. The unpredictability of such things is almost predictable:

The journey of the soul is difficult. Life is difficult. It is those who imagine that life is easy or should be easy who end up the unhappiest. It is the friction of life, the ebb and flow of the unexpected, that all work together to help us fulfill our essential purpose and destiny. – Matthew Kelly

So, I know more challenges will come my way. My life, or parts of it, might feel like a giant mess. But, just like before, I know God will get me through it, and turn the mess into something beautiful. Again.

 

A Song for Sunday–My Lighthouse

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My Lighthouse — Rend Collective

I love this upbeat, rousing song with shades of Great Big Sea. I like to keep my phone handy, so I can tag songs that catch my ear–thank you, Shazam! I’ve had a few ups and downs in the last while–who hasn’t?–and it was great just to feel good and positive as I listened.

I’ll admit, the challenges in my life aren’t as big as they have been at times. A couple of examples… the clothes dryer broke down recently, and we had to wait for five days for service. In a house of six people, that’s a long time. In the big picture, though, I know it’s not that big of a deal. There are people who don’t have the things they need, so I should hardly complain that my family’s laundry piled up for a few days. I was also sick for the better part of the last week, and missed three and a half days of work. For one who is rarely ill, that was a long time to spend at home, feeling bored and frustrated, just wanting to get back at it. At the same time, I can’t help but think about the friends I know, of my own age, who are facing much more serious illnesses.

I know that I am not any more special than anyone else. Just because my challenges are relatively minor right now, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to problems. I know it’s a matter of when, not if, a giant storm is going to hit my life. And once I get through that one, at some point, there will be another. Am I going to be prepared? Am I going to be able to get through it?

My Lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise,
You will carry me safe to shore

I know how I got through the previous challenges. Friends and family were there to support me, love me, and tell me that I could recover from the situation. And most of all, faith in a God who loves, forgives, and stays constant has been the foundation. I’ve rebuilt myself, from what felt like the ground up, not once but twice. If life tries to crush me again, I’ll be able to tell myself that I got through it before, and I can do it again.

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

 

 

A Song for Sunday–Do Something

Do Something–Matthew West

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created YOU”

I’d heard this song before, but one day recently, it hit me between the eyes. Five minutes before the start of morning classes, this song came over the school PA system, and it was what I needed to kick-start my attitude and my outlook–not just for the day, but in general. Yes, there are bad things happening in the world, whether far away or in our own homes. Yes, there are discouraging stories on the news every day. But we can’t let that stop us from trying to make a difference in our little corner.

I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

We are all here for a unique purpose. We’ve heard it so many times, but do we believe it? Do we live it? We all have something that makes our light shine, that gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning, that makes us feel alive. I know I need to refocus regularly, because sometimes it’s easy for me to lose sight of the bigger picture. If you haven’t found your purpose yet, pray on it. Think about it. Look for it. When we find that purpose, and let that purpose animate us, we feel better, but we also improve the lives of others around us. When I heard this song, I realized I’d been letting the day-to-day drag me down, wear me out and leach the enthusiasm out of me, not enough to make me really feel down, but just enough that I wasn’t feeling excited about much of anything. I decided that I needed to pick myself up and get back at it. Ten days later, I’m still feeling more motivated, more positive, and more upbeat about what’s ahead. It’s time for me to DO SOMETHING! I love how the video is packed with ideas and actions that anyone can take on. It’s not beyond us to change the world, one little bit at a time.

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to DO SOMETHING!