True Freedom

One year ago on the 4th of July I sat at the foot of my aunt's bed. She was dying. Tears streamed down my face as she talked about her freedom. At the time we didn't know it, but she only had one more week to live on this earth. 

Today I celebrate freedom. It's the freedom my aunt talked about as she took her last breath. A freedom that would not change. Not matter what laws passed or how unstable the world felt, this freedom would never shake, it would never be taken away. It would never disappoint.

Her words were slow and focused. Her eyes looked at me, hoping I could grasp the most important words she could ever say, "A life with Christ is a life well-lived."

And she is right. No matter how this world crumbles. No matter what devastation there is in our lifetime, the freedom of Christ will always stand. There is no country, no flag, no law that could ever be more powerful than the freedom I have in Christ. As I live and as I die may I speak the same freedom my aunt did: "A life with Christ is a life well-lived."

Our help does indeed come from Him, our sufferings connect us with Jesus as we know Him in them, we do experience both the tribulation in this world and the cheer of His overcoming it, and we hang on to the proof that His love for us is not in our circumstances—it is at the cross of Christ. When no one else can be there—He is!
— Carolyn Koch (Aunt Carolyn)

Life and Joy

This month has been mixed with sorrow and joy. A lot of tears and laughter. I have realized that it is hard for me to write when I am in the middle of processing difficult things. My blog has taken a little pause as I am getting used to new adjustments with my children and grieving the end of my grandma's life. I would love to write more but my heart is too heavy...for now, some pictures of life and joy.

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A Visit With Grandma

These last few weeks I have been thanking God for giving us more time on this earth with one of my favorite people. One moment I was on the phone with my mom, the next I was throwing clothes into a suitcase to give my Grandma a kiss on the forehead. As we drove for seven hours, I prayed that it wasn't goodbye, but just a really good visit.

When life's fragility becomes a reality, memories tucked deep into my mind find their way into my thoughts. I remember road tips with grandma. I would spend the night with her and Esther, her long time buddy from Pasadena. We would watch old movies together. Whenever a love scene came on, they would throw a knitted blanket over my head and tell me to wait until it was over. I said "Ok," and then carefully moved the blanket to make a hole and see what all the passion was about. They both thought I was perfect, so they never once thought I would peak.

The next morning my grandma would wake me while it was still dark to get ready for our long drive. We were going to visit my aunt and cousins. I would get dressed, splash water on my face, and sit down to eggs and toast. Grandma always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. She always insisted on making us eggs.

Once we got on the road she would put on her favorite music. Usually it was Celine Dion, the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack, or the Phantom of the Opera. Our first stop was the Denny's at the bottom of the Grapevine. She would let me order whatever I wanted. Being one of five kids, going out to a restaurant was a big deal. And being the amazing grandma she is, she always told me to order a hot chocolate. 

I began to cry as I thought about all the precious memories I have with my grandma. They are such a sweet part of my life. When we arrived at the hospital we hugged and kissed all the family that was surrounding her. I kissed her and told her I loved her, then I watched my children kiss her. And I was so overjoyed to watch her meet Bjorn, her 21st great-grandchild.

We are praising God for my grandma's recovery from her heart attack and open-heart surgery. She is determined to walk on the beach this summer with all of her family alongside her. There are more memories to be made! We love you grandma!

To the beach!


© 2014 Natalie Falls