Tag Archives: love

Some Thoughts

DSC_0655It’s difficult for me to string two thoughts together right now, let alone write them down. But, I’ll try.

Last summer, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. This turn of events brought about lots of traveling to and from my parents’ house (a five-hour drive to Northern California) for my siblings and me. We tried to help and encourage as best we could. Many, many prayers were expressed for her. Mom suffered through chemo, hospital stays, 2 strokes and anxiety attacks.

On February 13 mom was admitted to the hospital with trouble breathing. She was treated there for two weeks and then transferred to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. Our goal was for her to get strong enough so that she could come home to Dad. Instead, she became weaker and more sick.

On March 17 my dad and brother called to say that Mom had taken a turn for the worse and that my sister and I should probably make our way up north to see her. My sister, brother-in-law, my aunt and I arrived at the rehab facility about nine o’clock that evening. We spent the next several hours sitting with Mom, praying for her, stroking her head and telling her how much she was loved. At about three that next morning, March 18, we escorted our Mom into the loving arms of her Savior. I have no doubt Jesus was waiting for her on the other side.

Here are some things I am thankful for:

Up until the last few days, Mom was not in pain.
I do not work so I was free to spend time with Mom and Dad over the last few months.
My Dad was able to take care of her. He cooked, cleaned, grocery shopped and gave Mom her meds. Amazing man.
We were able to have her with us at Thanksgiving (the biggest holiday of the year for our family).
My sister, brother and I were able to help and serve Mom while she was sick.
Mom had many amazing doctors and nurses who showed her mercy and kindness.
I have become much more empathetic toward people who have gone through similar circumstances.
Mom was surrounded by loved ones when she passed away. She did not die alone.
God has shown Himself faithful in a million different ways.
God’s Word is true.
My mom is with Jesus and I will see her again someday.
Mom was dearly loved by so many who have expressed to me what she meant to them.

There’s so much to think through and process regarding my  mom’s illness and passing. One thing I know to be true, I need an eternal perspective to see all of this correctly. I am leaning heavily on the Everlasting Arms. God is faithful, and I know that my Redeemer lives.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints. Psalm 116:15

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Pleasures Pure

by Terrie van Baarsel


Rain-1686 (Photo credit: pomranka)

I want to go where hearts are beating
Where time is short and life is fleeting
Where laughter dares and cheeks are ruddy
And children sing and boots are muddy
From delightful rousing romps through rain
That end in warmth of hearth again.

I long to rid my heart of worry
Take my time and never hurry
Stroll through orchards born of earth
Grown from seeds of truest mirth
Pluck ripe fruit and bite right in
And let sweet juice run down my chin.

I want to drink of love’s new wine
So deep and rich in taste, divine!
Then toast the hues of morning sun
And never being weary, run
‘Long winding paths through forest glades
‘Til shadows fall and sunlight fades.

Oh to dance in autumn leaves
Await the bite of winter’s freeze
And riding emerald springtime swells
Recall a child’s lost summer spells
Her mirrored dreams of salt and spray
Bright sea-kissed skies o’er holidays!

And yet, just to share a cup of tea
And gaze into the eyes of thee
Sing this moment’s carefree song
To trust ’tis here where I belong
Desiring naught but ties that bind
Secure and free at the same time.

One Great Love

Author: Bagande

Image via Wikipedia

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9

Today is Valentine’s Day.

May you enjoy the relationship you may have with your special someone. May you look to your family and friends with an increased measure of tender-hearted loving-kindness. Celebrate the richness of love in this life, every good and perfect gift coming down from the Father of lights. 

But remember that the symbols we choose to express our love for one another this day, although sweet enough in their own right, will soon fade away. The box of chocolates sits empty, the bouquet of flowers withers and dies.

Those of us who belong to Christ do well to remember a greater love. God’s love that never wavers nor fades. God’s love, based neither on sentimentalities nor conditions put upon our behavior, is a love built upon the bedrock of grace and the solid rock of the Gospel. God’s love is more immense and more profound than we could ever imagine. He loved us before the foundation of the world. His love is for us. His love redeems us. His love empowers us. For us a gracious and merciful miracle of love. 

We know a love that flows from the Sovereign hand of the One true God who works every circumstance that He allows into our lives for good. Because He loved us, He sent His Son to die so that we might be forgiven our sins (and, oh how easy the words, “forgiven our sins” slip off the tongue and so often without contemplating the tremendous price paid for such a love as this!) For God so loved the world!

For us who believe, a Valentine’s Day message divine in scope and measured out in eternity. In Christ, a transforming, conforming, metamorphosing love.

Proclaim today, not only the blessing of love we enjoy between each other, but a love that trumps all other loves, the love of the Father toward us for the sake of His beloved Son.

This, our One Great Love. 

Surely, of all people, we have something to celebrate!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

Meet My Best Friend

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
It’s January, 1985, and I am waiting for my handsome Dutchman and soon to be husband to walk up the ramp at Tom Bradley Terminal, LAX. I lean over the railing as travel-worn passengers make their way to waiting family members and wonder if somehow he missed his flight or decided not to come, but finally here he is…
Next month, on February 16, we will be married for twenty-seven years.
Jaap and I met while I was on short-term missions trip to Amsterdam with a group from a church I was attending at the time. (Who says that short-term missions are not productive!) It was an exhilarating time of life for me. Young in my Christianity. Excited about serving God. First trip to Europe.

Youth With A Mission, Amsterdam. This is where it all started.

The purpose of our trip was to help renovate the Youth With a Mission building in Amsterdam. Lots of sanding, painting, wallpapering, and general clean-up. Rather than riding the bus to the YWAM building each morning, several of us decided to walk the mile or so from the Zeemanshuis (where we were staying). Jaap was part of that group. He and I hit it off right away and had some good talks on the way, and yes, I must admit, I thought he was pretty cute.

Three weeks later, after promising that we would write to each other, I was on a plane back to the United States. To be honest, I didn’t think much would come of it. There were too many complications for an actual relationship as far as I could discern. One main thing being that we only lived a mere continent and ocean apart. But, I was surprised to get a phone call the next morning from my new Dutch friend, “Terrie, I was serious about keeping in contact with you,” he told me.

We did write to each other at least 2 or 3 times per week. And, that was before e-mail. It meant taking a piece of paper, finding a pen, writing words on said piece of paper, inserting it into an addressed and stamped envelope, and walking out to the mailbox knowing that it would take 4 to 5 days (days!) for the letter to reach its destination. We also phoned each other once in a while, but mostly it was the letters.

I returned to Holland about a half-year later as a volunteer for Youth With A Mission. For about six months, I worked in their main office during the week, took part in several of their urban outreach efforts, served coffee in the Samaritan’s Inn (also part of their evangelistic outreach), developed a friendship with one of the “window girls” in the Red Light District (attempting to share the Gospel with her) and as if all of that was not exciting enough, I was able to spend time with my future husband and his family each week-end. Before I returned to the States, Jaap and I decided we would be married.

And so we were, February 16, 1985.

Now, I know this is getting to be a long post, so I am skipping many, many details just to say this:

I thank the Lord for my husband.

I’m thankful that he came to the United States carrying a backpack filled with his worldly possessions to make a life for himself. I’m thankful that he included me in that life. I’m thankful for our marriage and the privilege of raising three children together. I am grateful for a husband who is a man of integrity, a man who thinks before he speaks, a hard-working man, an honest man. I’m thankful for a man who is intelligent and kind, handsome, handy, a romantic, and a man who plays a mean game of Scrabble.

But most of all, I’m thankful that my husband is a man who loves God and loves others and who generously extends much grace to me.

I thought it was impossible that a long-distance relationship like ours would ever work. But here we are, married for almost twenty-seven years! We once figured out that we were actually in the same space and time for only one and a half months before our wedding day. It’s obvious that God knew better than I did.

Jaap and I get up early every day and spend time together reading our Bibles. We pray together each morning, too. (It wasn’t always like that, when the children were little those mornings were few and far between.) Several mornings ago, my husband prayed for me and his prayer expressed each and every concern I had been carrying in my heart.

As I listened to my husband’s petitions to God for his wife, I realized that it was no great mystery how Jaap knew just what to pray. My husband knows me. He listens to me. We share a life together. Two have become one.

Meet my best friend.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

When Nothing is Something

For I am sure that neither death nor life, not angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – Romans 8:38-39

Rest, dearest child of God, in the Father’s love for you.

There is nothing in God’s creation that can separate us from His love. It matters not whether your life holds joy or sorrow, triumph or failure, God’s love is enough. In the midst of spiritual combat and though the forces of evil be determined to wreck you, God’s love holds true. God’s love is near today, for this day belongs to Him. God’s love indwells the future, for He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. The powers that be, fearsome though they may seem, need not deter you; God’s love is more powerful, still. There is nothing so wide, nothing so high, that it lessens the scope of God’s love.

How real is God’s love? It is as real as Calvary. It is as real as the Gospel. And how is it that we are the recipients of such a love as this? It is Christ’s work on the cross that makes it possible. “For God so loved the world…” “…For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved [Jesus] and believed [He] came from God…” “[He]…has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace…” “In this the love of God was manifested…that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “…He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” “…for God is love.”

And should that day arrive when your time on earth is done, death holds no sting or power over you. God’s love finally carries His beloved children from this life and straight into the arms of Jesus.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord and that, dear believer, is quite something indeed!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

(See: John 3:16; 16:27; 2 Thess. 2:16; I John 4:8-10, 16; Rom. 5:8)

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