the Judge will see you now…

November 14, 2015

Judges can make all the difference.

A post shared by Jenifer Matthews (@3here1there) on

we were there for good reason.  Filing to obtain guardianship of our now ‘adult’ son, who will need to be in someone’s care for all of his life.    .. .. ..  all. of. his. life.   we were there asking to be given that responsibility, an action that would even be applauded by some. and still I felt sick.  judged. . …. guilty.

up until this moment of my life, I had never been in a courtroom.  my run-ins with the law consisted mainly of speeding tickets and a handful of ‘you better just get yourself home’  from back when I was a know it all teenager.  I understood that we would be in a courtroom for this hearing.  all the other sets of eyes, shuffling papers, law enforcement officers, metal detectors, clerks, lawyers and nervous looking people was what I was not ready for.  I was not ready to stand up in front of all these other people and the judge and explain why we were there, EVEN THOUGH OUR REASON WAS NOT A BAD REASON!  we were not guilty of anything.  ANYTHING.  and still I felt my temperature rising with every little tick tock of the courtroom clock.  and still I felt my heart beating faster than it should be.  and still I could see the tiniest of shaking in the lawyer drawn up documents I was holding onto with anxious hands.  even having the steadfast love of my life and all around solid guy right beside me smiling encouragingly did precious little to regulate my breathing or heartrate. . … …. … .. …. ….. then all at once, our case was called and we were standing before the judge at the front of the courtroom, swearing to tell the truth.  …  and it went RAPIDLY down hill from there.

with not even a twinge of a smile or welcoming attitude or concern for a couple of very nervous parents trying to do the right thing, the judge began dissecting our, what I had thought to be very well in line, paperwork.  ‘where is your lawyer?!’ was asked repeatedly in a tone that gained aggravation with each repetition.  of course we were completely caught off guard and unaware of how it was that we managed to be making this judge so upset.  we had THOUGHT we had this in the bag.  we had THOUGHT this would be very simple.  we had THOUGHT we just needed to show up mainly as a formality.  we THOUGHT we had done everything right. .. … .. in fact, we had been counseled as such.  professionally.  and we completely trusted in that counsel right up unto the moment the judge sent us out of her courtroom, with red hot tears running down my face, Brian’s confusion and the words you better get your ‘things’ in order  before you come back in here, and I expect you back in here as soon as I attend to the next case.  at this point, I was shaking, crying, confused, embarrassed, angry and Brian was looking at me with absolute loss for words or direction in his eyes.

…. . . .. … .. . ….. .. . ….. .

skip ahead a couple weeks, Brian and I are back in courtroom.  a new lawyer by our side, and the whole process is painless.  of course there was a lot of work that went on between the two court dates.  A.LOT.  phone calls, frustrations, certified signatures, lawyers office meetings, tears, worries, case workers… prayers.  But the thing that I can not correctly give words to is the emotion of sitting at the desk with our confident and well versed in guardianship trials lawyer…  all the correct paperwork neatly organized in her hands.  The judge was kind.  He knew her and all ready knew we had everything in order, because of her.  He smiled at us and thanked us for taking on this role and for being caring parents to our disabled child.  the whole thing took 5 minutes and we were happily strolling out of court and off to lunch.

this mess of words and emotions and ‘how do I say this?’ and ‘how do I share this?’ has been in and out of my thoughts for months.  then last week at church we sang, ‘Before the throne of God above’, and it all came back fresh.  you can see the parable within my small life experience right?  the difference the lawyer makes?  the difference the One who is representing you  makes?  the difference in who are you going to trust with your very life when you are before the Judge?

with all the news and sights and clips and posts about Paris surrounding me, I thought of this life lesson again… the value of it.  the need for it.  the need to say it out loud.  one day, and we have no idea of when that day will be, we will all stand before the Judge, before the throne of God.  and you may THINK you have a good case.  you may THINK you’ve done nothing wrong so there isn’t anything to be worried about.  you may THINK the person, or thing, or ability, or health, or wealth, or might that you are trusting in will be enough.  and then the Judge starts in to question… and it will either fall apart very quickly or you will see His smile as he looks on His son, Jesus, who is advocating for you, pleading for you, interceding on your behalf…

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

Romans 8:34 Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

  . …. . …. .. . . .. ….. there are only two ways to leave that courtroom.  guilty or covered by Christ.  as our world seems to turn more unstable, with mass shootings being common place, terrorist attacks on the rise, beheadings … . . . … it would be wise to have this matter settled.  it would be wise to know the One representing you is completely confident and capable, the ONLY one capable of defending you. ‘the Judge will see you now’ could be a very frightening thing to hear if you are unprepared or trusting in anything other than Jesus as your advocate. .. .. .. . Trust in Him.

it’s your funeral…

February 2, 2014

sometimes death comes slowly… the lingering illness, the hospice, the disease.  other times it comes quickly, unexpectedly … the heart attack, the accident, the just. stops. breathing.  but this is sure for all of us.  death comes.  we will all die.  we will all lose someone very special and important to us … the mom, the husband, the baby boy. … … …  here’s the thing, we can relieve some of the sting, some of the pain by talking about it a little now.  now.  before it has to be decided without you.

is there a special song you want played?  you know… that one that sums it all up for you.

are there special people who you think should be your pall bearers?

who will deliver your eulogy?  what will your eulogy say?  what do you want it to say?  what is the one thing that you would want to tell everyone when you have all the attention for one last time?

where will you be buried?  cremated?

do you want to have the prayer service the night before or just the funeral or both?

how bout those picture slide shows?  seems like those are pretty popular.  will you do that?  what pictures?  how long?

… … …. …..  .. …… …. …. …

I am not trying to be dark or depressing.  I am just being honest.  maybe you don’t have any specific requests.  it would be reassuring to the ones you love if they even know that.  if you trust them with all the details, let them know.  the conversation doesn’t have to be so awful.  in fact, brian and I were just talking about who we should ask to be pall bearers at our funerals, and we laughed and laughed talking of all the possibilities.  maybe you just talk about little bits here and there.  maybe you just type up a couple of things and let someone know there is a ‘file’ with your funeral plans on it, just in case.

a neighbor and good friend died almost a year ago from cancer.  she knew it was coming.  she had a remarkable faith, which took away the fear of death for her, and gave her the courage to talk about it.  she wrote her eulogy, looked up the number to the paper she wanted it in, wrote something meaningful to be read to everyone, decided some plans and requested a nice sit down meal for afterwards.  and even though she knew death was coming, it still came quicker than she had hoped.  having all of those things done, made it so much easier for her husband to handle the funeral part of it all.  she was making it easier for him and her son even in her death.  she inspired me to get things a little more in order for myself.

you might even want to think about your kids.  I know that is awful.  the unthinkable. .. .. I also know it happens.  I had to pick the songs for my own sweet boy. and I know other people who have had to pick the verses that seem appropriate for their own small ones… cancer comes…  stop signs get missed…  sometimes… …. I believe . … .. God just calls our sweet little loves home, for reasons we may not know on this earth.

maybe you don’t want to talk about it because you are unsure of what will happen to you .. … your loved ones ….  this seems like all the more reason to spend some time thinking about it now.  because as sure as I know death will come, I know that Christ all ready came.  He came and paid the price, your ransom, your loved ones ransom, that we can be with him in paradise forever.

think about it.  talk about it.

..  ….. .. . … …… .. ….

I just hope in asking you to think about it, to talk about it, your loved ones will have a bit more time and space to grieve more fully when the time comes, rather than trying to figure out all the details in that moment.  after all, it is your funeral.

play this one for me.