“Blessed be the Lord!
For He has heard the voice of my supplications.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in Him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
Phil and I met in high school and double-dated initially, then married after I graduated from college (Phil said I moved up into the front seat).
I have a life-time of memories with Phil—adopting our first little girl and celebrating the dual event of her adoption being finalized the day our second little girl was born, finding a 1941 Studebaker in the driveway as a surprise Mother’s Day gift that I didn’t even know I wanted, two trips to Turkey because I wanted to celebrate my significant birthdays out of the country, the beautiful water-color painting of a sunrise Phil surprised me with and the touching note on the back: “You light up my life.”
Phil died just a little over a year after we got the definitive medical diagnosis that he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, for which there is no cure. We were blessed in that not too much changed in that last year, and he was able to continue much of his routine and our life together, including celebrating fifty-six years of marriage, until two weeks before his death. My constant prayer during that year was that he wouldn’t suffer.
God answered that prayer beautifully.
God worked in another wonderful way. Five months before he died, Phil decided WE needed a cat. Phil picked out a tiny kitten from the quartet of rescue kitties our daughter was hand feeding. I got naming rights, and William James In-Trouble became a part of our lives.
As I type this, William James In-Trouble is pushing things off the snack bar counter and trying to walk on the keyboard to let me know he’s hungry! He surely doesn’t replace Phil, but he does put up with my constant chatter and keeps me laughing (mostly) by living up to his name. The dining room table is covered with aluminum foil and the squirt bottle is always handy to keep him from where he doesn’t belong…neither very effective.
Shortly after Phil died, I found a Bible verse on yellow sticky alongside my daily prayer journal. I don’t remember ever before actually finding the passage in my Bible. But there it was, in my own handwriting:
Blessed be the Lord! For He has heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. – Psalm 28:6-7.
And, this morning, opposite today’s journal entry, is a yellow sticky with that same verse.
God has brought me through mourning and sadness, and in this journey, there have been countless blessings and daily unbelievable moments of joy!
Blessed be the Lord! Bonnie Schlichting