My Oma

Nothing is quite comparable to the sinking feeling associated with hearing the grievous news of a loved one who has passed away. The unexpected words can compose a sense of shock and even disbelief. I got such words on the night of Tuesday, March 5th, 2018. God bless my older brother for being the one burdened to bear that message. No doubt that couldn’t have been easy.

My Oma (Oma is German for grandma, if you didn’t know) is whom the bad news was about.

My Oma is an unbelievably, amazing person.

Perpetually upbeat.

Vibrantly energetic.

Effortlessly nurturing.

The list goes on and on with so many great attributes to describe her. To say she’ll be missed is highly obvious and an understatement.

I will be flying out to California to be with my Dad’s side of the family to celebrate her memorial. It is truly bittersweet to see my family under these circumstances, and it thoroughly reminds me that being engaged with family is something that should be of high priority for us all. You never know when the abrupt interruption of such a message will be behind a ringing phone.

My Oma was a major part of my childhood. I have so many memories of her and the house she lived in in Long Beach. She ran a daycare for decades out of that house, so I’m sure there are multiple adults of my age that probably could share in the memory of it. I remember my Oma watching me and my brothers out of the kitchen window jumping off the elevated front porch. Seeing her smile through that window is unforgettable.

I remember my dad, uncle Dave, and aunt Heidi working up some elaborate scheme every year just to scare the wits out of my brothers and I, and the year my Oma decided to get in on it. She took a shot to the leg with my dad’s paintball gun to really sell the story.

I remember going for walks around the block with her. One time, when it was just me and her walking, my dad pulled up next to us and was pretending to be a stranger and she humorously leaned in the window and flipped him the bird. As a kid I was astonished, but now as an adult I can’t help but laugh because she would only ever do that in a humorous manner.

I remember her taking my older brother and I to get breakfast at McDonald’s early on Saturday mornings.

It’s been decades, but I can see the memories as vividly now as the moment they were stitched into the fabric of my mind back then.

My most recent memory of her was when she came to my wife and I’s wedding. It’s not necessarily as fond as the others because I sensed she was lonely. It was after the wedding procession and pictures were being taken. There was a moment I saw her by herself leaned up against the balcony rail, taking in the scenery. I could tell she missed her late husband. (She actually endured the passing of two husbands in her lifetime.) I think that was the first time I saw an emotion other than happiness exuding from my Oma. I will remember that moment forever.

She touched many lives in life, but has far beyond established her legacy in her passing. She will be greatly missed and the wonderful memories I have of my beloved Oma will forever be in my heart.

I love you, Oma.

Contentment vs. Complacency

Over the past couple years my wife and I have had a conversation about our future and the plans God has for us almost on a weekly basis. As devout Christians we strongly rely on the leading of our Heavenly Father to guide us into the next chapter of our lives.

Our most recent conversation regarding this topic was short and sweet because it was bedtime and we both were very tired from hosting our son’s fifth birthday party. Within the short talk the “c” word came up– content. I’ll be the first to confess that even in my very blessed life I have found myself dis-content. However, in the present time, I finally can say I know what it means to be content.

To keep a long story short, finding myself on the content side of life, what I ultimately mean is I am just grateful to know and be known by God, and that’s it. I am satisfied in having nothing more than just the knowledge of that. I believe that is exactly where God wants me. Ergo, I am content.

That hasn’t always been the case for me though. Not necessarily because I wasn’t content, but more so because I confused contentment with complacency. This is a horrible mistake I believe a lot of Christians, and even people in general, make.

I’ll define each term according to Merriam-Webster dictionary:


Contentment- (in verb form):

1. to appease the desires of.

2. to limit oneself in requirements, desires, or actions.

Complacency- (adjective form from the root “complacent”.):

1. marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.

3. unconcerned.


These terms don’t seem to have a major difference. It may just be my opinion, but they are only different based on the relative attitude of an individual. Ergo, their definitions can be established upon the motive of the individual.

Content people are okay with where they are in life, not necessarily because they want to stay there, but because they have accepted their current circumstances as temporary and a steppingstone to the next level of their life. They desire to move forward but the action thereof is restricted for some reason or another.

Complacent people are okay with where they are in life, but certainly do not have a desire to move forward. They would be okay with never taking another step forward as long as they live. They are ignorantly comfortable in the circumstances.

Here’s the conundrum— many people believe they may be content when in fact they are complacent. But I believe what’s worse is the opposite; when someone believes they are complacent but really are merely content. Often, (I’m speaking based on personal experience) those kind of individuals will try to force things to happen for themselves. Referring back to faith, for those who know and trust in The Lord, forcing things to happen is very counterproductive and can lead to greater dissatisfaction and ultimately counteract the benefits of being content.

Scripture is always helpful in referencing the importance of something. Let’s look at what Paul has to say on the topic.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, so we cannot take anything out of it. But having food and clothing, with these things we shall be content.”

1 Timothy 6:6-8

“I am not saying this because I am in need—for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment—both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need. I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.”

‭‭-Philippians‬ ‭4:11-13‬ ‭TLV‬‬

These are just a couple examples. Even though Paul is primarily referring to material things in regards to contentment, it should be understood that it’s because of where his heart is at. He lets nothing sway him from the peace and stability of knowing The Lord and being known by Him.

Be encouraged if you find yourself in a place of contentment. Trust that it’s where God wants you and that even though you may feel stagnant, having the motive in your heart to press forward is good. God sees that. Don’t worry and be okay with staying put for awhile. Don’t let anything sway you from knowing that God has great plans for you and wants to prosper you in the right timing.

Shalom!

-From Death To Life

Every second counts

This will be a short post…

Every once in awhile I’ll get a quick word from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they’re unexpected and seemingly random, but knowing that God does not do anything at random, I always trust that there is great significance to the blip of communication.

Just now, I felt the Holy Spirit communicate to me that, “Every second counts”. Receiving that message from anyone else but The Lord can prove to be ultra-redundant. But obviously when spoken by The Creator of earth and sky it immediately becomes a phrase to meditate on.

Every second counts

Let that sink in…

The all powerful, omnipotent, omniscient God who resides outside the realms of space and time just emphasized the astronomical amount of value He puts on one of the smallest measurements of time!

So what value does that put on a minute; hour; day; week; month; year and so on?

Lord, let that seed you just planted in me be rooted deeply in my heart, never to be removed. If you value every second, I want to value every second!! – Amen

From Death To Life