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The Unfolding Seasons of Life; Birth, Death…and Renewal

Come…Walk Through the Valley with Me

JESUS My Lord and Savior

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© All Rights Reserved 2010 -Anastasia Diamond

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. -Psalm 23:4

Come; walk through the valley

…and fear no evil.

Fear is such a powerful four-letter word. However, the accepted acronym for FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real, which really takes the biting teeth out of the word.

Do you have false expectations appearing real?  Most of us are afraid of something. Fear of heights, the dark, commitment, abandonment, failure, needles, intimacy, crowds, flying, falling, dogs, driving, snakes, spiders, clowns, thunder, change, public speaking; the list goes on and on – fear of the unknown…

Ah, yes – the greatest fear…of the grandest unknown: Death and dying.

In these days of astounding medical and technological advances, the fear of death still plagues the depth of the human soul. Perhaps, even more now than ever before. While the world population is rapidly aging…society promotes youth, vitality, strength, beauty, health and vigor. While baby-boomers are fighting for 60 to be the new 30…society encourages us to hide the frail and dying from view; progressively training us to warehouse our sick, elderly, and terminally ill loved ones.

Death comes in all sizes, shapes, styles, colors, ages and stages. Death is the guaranteed equal opportunity end to all life.

Those, who in years past, were honored and cared for by family, friends, ministers and neighbors…have lost much of that personal care and contact. With their daily care often given over to overworked, under appreciated nursing staff or care providers…more often than not…family, friends, ministers and neighbors are now visitors in a foreign and sterile world of white sheets and rules.

Society tells us our loved ones are better off dying in hospitals and retirement homes, than at home. Well, these places certainly do have their value, time and purpose…and provide necessary medical treatment and care when needed. However, ideally, when death is imminent, those who are dying should be surrounded by familiar and gentle things…and people.

Caring for a loved one at home is an opportunity to face your fears of death. I realize my proposal is at times impossible, difficult at best, and that life adjustments must always be made to accommodate the dying at home. But, I none-the-less urge you to bring them home if you can!

The death process is as much a natural and expected part of living as birth. One takes a breath in…the other is letting it go. The pre-death experience often includes a pending-death awareness that heralds life’s waning and ending much in the way birth pangs announce an impending new life.

I have witnessed the resplendent echo of my children’s and grandchildren’s first cries…as well as the awe and tenuous gasps of my loved one’s last breaths.

Though we celebrate one, and mourn the other…both are equal in their beauty and spiritual significance.

The struggle is similar; one is letting go of the familiar cocoon of the womb to enter earthly life. The other is letting go of the familiar earthly life to step into life eternal.

Approaching death awareness is an awe-inspiring piece of the pre-death process.

Travelers on this road often express a need to prepare for a journey; they know they are going somewhere. They may talk of driving, taking a bus, a plane, a train…needing to go. Those who have become ‘bed-ridden’ may attempt to get up in their quest to get where they are going. They may describe their destination, with awe and joy. They may talk about seeing others who have already passed over, who they may or may not know. They may ignore your presence; preferring to talk with ‘others’ who are present.

They may even tell us the date or time of their own death.  As they approach death awareness, they may actually control the circumstances and time of their death; delaying the final moments until a request is met, a promise fulfilled, a fear dismissed, or reconciliation accomplished.

What an honor to be present and partake in these pieces of spiritually precious moments at the end of a life’s journey.

Education and faith are the keys to dispelling the fear of death…and of those who are dying.

I encourage you to educate yourself, and others. I encourage you to allow God to minister to your heart, and increase your faith in Him and His designed death process. I encourage you to prepare for this excursion into the unknown called death, with at least as much thought and preparation as you gave your last vacation. I encourage you to regain a child-like faith in an Abba Father who loves you into eternity. I encourage you to accept death as a perfectly designed step in the ever unfolding seasons of life.

Death is a journey that we, and all of our loved ones, shall take…

We have all seen or heard of those who complete heroic deeds in war, only to come home to die in an auto accident. Those who live through major drama, trauma and chaos, only to die from a brief and simple illness. Then, there are those who survive, when all around them have perished. And, those who the doctors say are medical miracles who should not have survived.

Being in danger does not mean you will die. It only means you have lived.

There are a limited number of ways any of us can leave this earthly existence:  ‘natural causes’, illness, disease, accident, murder, suicide…or being translated; known as the rapture…when end-time believers will be taken up to meet Jesus.

Interestingly, when asked, most people want to die in their sleep; not consciously knowing what is happening to them. However, those who believe in heaven or the coming rapture, often want to fully experience this journey into eternity.

Most people say they are not afraid to die, they just don’t want a lingering death, or one preceded by extreme pain or disfigurement. Most people who have not accepted the promise of heaven are fearful of death…and prefer a life lingering on earth indefinitely, to a death with an uncertain destination.

Those who have a hope in life after death are usually less fearful…more ready and willing to consciously take that step into eternity. They trust, through faith, that to be absent from the body…is to be present with the Lord.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

-2 Corinthians 5:8

Let us honor death as a natural part of  living. Let us not turn away from opportunities to draw closer to accepting God’s purposes in life…and in death.

I urge you to reach out and touch the face of your fear of death.

Your life and the life of those you love and care for will be forever changed, blessed and enriched when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death…and fear no evil.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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Lean on JESUS

JESUS My Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved -Anastasia Diamond

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When life is challenging (that’s every day)…lean on Jesus

When time stops on rewind, and hard memories replay…lean on Jesus

When resources are scarce, or finally run out…lean on Jesus

When hope turns to hopeless…lean on Jesus

When promises crack, and are broken…lean on Jesus

When sad songs are the melody of your life…lean on Jesus

When prayer feels impossible…lean on Jesus

When sorrow engulfs you…lean on Jesus

When tears overflow, and will not stop…lean on Jesus

When truth is made false, and lies become truth…lean on Jesus

When home is a place where there is no peace…lean on Jesus

When faith is only a distant concept…lean on Jesus

When disappointed in people, places and things…lean on Jesus

When grief is your constant companion…lean on Jesus

When friends cannot be found..lean on Jesus

When defeat is an option, and you want to give up…lean on Jesus

When loss overwhelms you…lean on Jesus

When love isn’t lovely, but tainted or worn…lean on Jesus

When abandoned, alone and forsaken…lean on Jesus

When comfort from others, leaves you still wanting…lean on Jesus

When joy is elusive…lean on Jesus

When sleep doesn’t come, in the middle of the night…lean on Jesus

When words have wounded, and cannot be taken back…lean on Jesus

When anger and rage spew like an erupting volcano…lean on Jesus

When addiction is your secret companion, destroying you life…lean on Jesus

When confusion reigns, clouding your thinking…lean on Jesus

When death is knocking on the door of your life…lean on Jesus

When evil, and false gods beckon you…lean on Jesus

When laughter depends on bad jokes, or hurtful pokes…lean on Jesus

When justice is unjust to the innocent…lean on Jesus

When suicide feels like the only way out…lean on Jesus

When family are not supportive, or far, far away…lean on Jesus

When change is unwanted, but inevitable…lean on Jesus

When envy is deep, deep green…lean on Jesus

When peace isn’t perfect…lean on Jesus

When pleasure is an empty and bottomless pit…lean on Jesus

When trouble surrounds you…lean on Jesus

When sin consumes you…lean on Jesus

When goodness, mercy and grace are foreign to you…lean on Jesus

When marriage vows break…lean on Jesus

When pain burns in every fiber of your being…lean on Jesus

When thoughts take you to dangerous places…lean on Jesus

When burdens are heavy…lean on Jesus

When communication crumbles…lean on Jesus

When wisdom departs, or wise men act foolishly…lean on Jesus

When bitterness is turning your heart to stone…lean on Jesus

When children or parents disappoint…lean on Jesus

When guidance is poor or lacking, and your path is diverted…lean on Jesus

When illness invades your body, mind, or spirit…lean on Jesus

When fear cancels all logic…lean on Jesus

When God feels like a stranger who just doesn’t care…lean on Jesus

When doubt fills your every thought…lean on Jesus

When actions cause negative consequences…lean on Jesus

When heaven feels far beyond your reach…lean on Jesus

When plans shrivel and die…lean on Jesus

When forgiveness isn’t easy, or doesn’t come at all…lean on Jesus

When you shatter and break, gather all the pieces at the foot of His cross…and lean on Jesus.

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/            Bookmark and Share

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JESUS my Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved Anastasia Diamond

https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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My Beautiful Mother…on Her Wedding Day

I miss you mother…I miss you today

It has been an entire life time since I held you as you took your last breaths. My life has been forever tempered by your life…and your death.

How could I have known then, how much I would still miss you and love you now…after all these years?

Ours was a difficult relationship that ended much too soon. You were a hot-headed forty-eight, and I was a hot-headed sixteen. We clashed…and clashed often. Indeed, we argued that night so long ago, when you died of a coronary thrombosis.

Though we were different in so many ways then, I have grown to appreciate so much about who you were, and your day-to-day struggles to survive. We may have been more alike than different after all.

From a hindsight, 20/20 perspective, I eventually came to appreciate and acknowledge that we had a lot in common. We probably would have become friends…had you lived until I grew out of my rebellious years.

There were so many times I felt only anger and abandonment when I needed you…and missed you along the way. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I was able to make peace with the ghosts of the past. I completely credit my blood-bought relationship with Jesus for the mental, emotional and spiritual healing and forgiveness in my heart.

Today I know you did the absolutely best you could do…given the times, circumstances, and your family life history.

Thank you dear mother for all you did.

You provided a clean home, with good moral standards in the midst of difficult times. You set a spiritual foundation of attending church and honoring God. You had a ninth grade education, but possessed amazing wisdom and communication skills. You encouraged my inquisitive mind, and taught me to appreciate learning, philosophy, religion, politics, reading, poetry, writing, and art. I still remember some of our interesting kitchen-table conversations and debates.

You expressed your love and creativity with lots of the best freshly baked, yummy delights; pies, cakes and cookies. I am still amazed to this day at how you were able bake like a master pastry chef in that old coal stove!

Tender emotions were difficult for you.

You were not a ‘hugger’ and I do not remember you ever telling me you loved me. However, I will always remember the day you brought me my jacket in the rain.

I never knew the wise medical decision you made in my best interest until a bit over ten years ago when I contacted my childhood cardiologist with some questions. He sent me copies of my very old medical records and letters. I anxiously opened the envelope, and was completely surprised to learn that you probably saved my life well over 50 years ago…when cardiologists recommended I have open-heart surgery…and you said, No!

You were still coping with the loss of my father, just a few years before, who died on the operating table during an open-heart surgery when I was seven. You apparently were not going to take any chances with my life. Thank you mother. I am now 63-years old; I still have the same heart…and never needed surgery.

There are so many ways to express love…yours was a love expressed through wisdom and service to others.

I am now older than you were then…and still missing you. I love you my dear and precious  mother.

Addendum: My mother died June 7, 1963

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All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

You may also want to visit my other prayerful reflections for Mother’s Day which are also on this blog:

https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/mothers-day-reflections-and-prayer/

https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/happy-and-blessed-mothers-day/ Bookmark and Share

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The Magnificent Power God’s Grace, Mercy…and Love

JESUS my Lord and Savior


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©All Rights Reserved-Anastasia Diamond


Your self-esteem gages how you truly think and feel about yourself.


High Self-Esteem…and Self-Importance

It is clearly reflected in all you say and do. We live in a ‘me-first’ society that promotes high self-esteem based on physical appearance, intelligence, education, belongings, religious status, money, and position.


All of this worldly self-focus leads many to a develop a false sense of self-importance…coupled with prideful thoughts, words, and actions that overlook or ignore God’s grace mercy, and love.


Low Self-Esteem…and Self-Focus

At the other end of the ‘me-first’ pride spectrum are those with low self-esteem… those who feel they are never enough.


They are often so inwardly focused on themselves and filled with such self-limiting fear, self-pity, self-loathing and self-consciousness that no matter how good life may be, they are incapable of feeling good about themselves and do not see themselves as worthy of God’s grace, mercy, and love.


The focus is on self…not on God

Either way…Christian or non-Christian…when we possess excessively high or excessively low self-esteem, the prideful focus remains on self – not God. Our self-perception and level of self-centeredness affects every facet of our lives: home, family, relationships, work, and ministry.


Genesis 1:26 tells us that God created us in His image.

That magnitude of that scripture always gets me. Once again…I need  a moment to receive and absorb the depth of that scriptural truth. Does it affect you the same way? We – you and I…are made in the image of our Abba Father – the Creator of the all that is…and all that ever will be. That concept leaves me completely awestruck!


What God thinks about us is what truly matters…

Dear one, no matter what society says, how we think or feel, or what others believe about us, our one true human foundation is built on God’s perception of who we are. We are uniquely endowed, unlike any other creature on earth, with the promise that we are made in God’s image. Our divine heritage is in God’s family, our spiritual DNA is imprinted with His name, His nature, His love, His promises, and His vision for us.


True Self-Esteem…and Who We are in Christ

God demonstrated His love and spiritual plan for each of us on the cross at Calvary over 2,000 years ago. Our heavenly Father proved, overwhelmingly, that He holds each of us in the highest esteem when He offered Himself through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to be our Savior.

It is through receiving Him and His blood sacrifice on the cross that we have eternal value. Only He can reveal to us an understanding that true self-esteem is found through recognizing and proclaiming who we are in Christ. Then, through the purifying process of sanctification, we let go of our me-first esteem, and humbly acknowledge that we are worthy only because His worthiness healed us of our sins, while balancing our self-esteem with His grace, mercy, and love.

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