Are there red letter dates circled on your calendars that are not celebrated as they once were? Birthdays of loved ones who have been called home to heaven are examples of such special – sad days. Celebrating two red letter dates of three good men in the month of August stirs my heart to share stories in remembrance of them.
Since my family knows how much I love calendar-planners, I receive one or two each Christmas. One of my New Year’s Day traditions is circling family members’ and friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, and other special dates on my calendar. When my red pen circles August 18, 6, and 4, my heart beats with eternal love as my mind pictures Tim Spell, James Vann, and Kurt Borum celebrating in paradise.
Are you thinking of someone special you remember in the month of August? Many people choose to stop such celebrations or to celebrate the day their new life began in heaven. I celebrate both birthday dates with happy thoughts of them in heaven and a healing heart filled with precious memories here. Knowing God’s promises are kept and heaven is real help with heartaches that never truly go away – no matter what day – for the ones left behind.
God’s grace and guidance give hope and happiness beyond death. One grieving the loss of a loved one, in time, moves forward or stays stuck with windows of what used to be – unable to be opened. When facing life without your loved one by your side, the enemy taunts at every turn. He has no power to keep us sad, depressed, angry, pitiful, and out of God’s will for our remaining days, unless we allow it. Choosing to trust God’s promise to bind our wounds and heal our hearts comes easier when we have a close relationship with the One who called them Home and will welcome us there when our work here is done.
Making sure we are connected to Christ with hearts in right relationship with Him and people in our lives keeps us prepared for paradise. Moving forward in faith and knowing He is with us every step we take, makes life bearable and blessings brighter every day…with a promise of happiness for eternity with new bodies and whatever heaven will be…!!! When words of what heaven will be like are not possible to pen, staying on the straight and narrow road that leads there ensures experiencing it when our work here is done. Then, we can rest in HIs promise and enjoy preparing for paradise with visions of greater things than sugarplums dancing in our heads.
Remembering James Vann, who would have been 66 years old today, makes my heart beat faster and my love grow greater even though we only celebrated two birthdays together as husband and wife. James came into my life through Tim’s Gift. God worked a miracle in our lives when he opened our hearts to love again. I was swept off my feet by James’ sweet smile, big heart, and deep love for the Lord and loved ones. We often talked of the miracle God gave us and praised Him with happy hearts. Pictures of Sarah, James, Kelly, and Tina still hang on the wall in our guest bedroom. We celebrated our blended family while keeping the memory of Tim and Sarah alive and well within our family circle.
Memories of James color my world with love, laughter, and lessons he taught by example.
Memories of our winter wedding fill my healing heart. James and I knew some would think a church wedding at our age was a little over the top. Negative remarks from folks with good intentions found their way to our ears. In faith, we went forward and had the time of our lives planning for our big day and celebrating with family and friends on Jan. 5, 2013 when we said, “I do”!
James taught me not to be wishy washy; the Bible says not to be swayed to and fro like waves of the sea. I wanted people to be pleased with our plans, avoid hurt feelings, and make everyone happy. How hard is that? After much prayer, we even changed our wedding date when we realized some were not happy. Feeling emotionally drained, James took authority (as the Bible teaches for the man of the house to do)! He told me we were sticking together to trust God with our plans. We would do it our way with great respect for everyone but not let it be spoiled by little foxes in the henhouses. And we did!
I remember thinking how proud I was that my husband to be humbly but boldly took a stand for what was right even when tail feathers could have been ruffled. James always stood up boldly for what was right and good. He taught me to do that even when it is not well received. Instead of allowing the enemy stir up confusion, chaos, frustration, even division among people in our lives, and steal our time and energy trying to make them happy and fix things… we can pray, search our hearts, and trust God to work things out. And He will in His perfect timing. We just have to wait on Him and be of good courage instead of growing weary, taking it back in our hands, and trying to fix things. Do you sway to and fro trying to please people or stand firm in faith with honor for the Lord and those precious people who color your world with love? Being divided on issues and unable to make and stick to decisions can cause havoc in what should be heavenly relationships.
Marriage counseling was our first and favorite part of our wedding planning season. James’ pastor, Rev. Allen Roberts, worked with us for eight wonderful weeks. We sat on the couch in his study, reviewed test results to show our strengths and weaknesses, shared our hearts, and saw the rewards of Christian counseling …even for old timers. Our love and respect for one another and for Pastor Roberts grew stronger, week by week, with a bond time cannot break. We didn’t want the sessions to end. Though, endings come… treasures in our hearts never die! Two things every couple planning to be married should do is pray together over every decision and faithfully attend marriage counseling classes.
Our winter wedding was a dream come true. We enjoyed watching people fill the church from a soundproof room with family members decked out in their finest and drooling over us like happy babies in dry diapers. Celebrations with family and friends can never be erased from red letter day calendars in our hearts.
The cold February red letter day when we watched our wedding video together was one of our favorite and most happy days! I remember with detail James’ famous pancakes for supper, settling in the big chair where many memories were made, squeezing James’ hand and squealing with delight while watching our wedding in awe and appreciation, and thanking God for a second chance to love and the gift of growing old together. Happy days can come every day when we trust, honor, stay true and stick close to the Lord and our loved ones. Keeping unconditional love alive in our hearts keeps memories alive while continuing our writing of classic, Christ filled stories, and knowing our last line will be…and they lived happily ever after!
What red letter dates are circled on your calendars? Celebrate them with joy and gratitude for their presence in your life. Take time to remember those who are in heaven and time with those here – who can easily be taken for granted. Precious memories are gifts we must make and take. We take time to make them and then take them in our hearts wherever we go for as long as we shall live.
Next week, I will share the rest of the story.
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.