He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. - Colossians 1:15-16

Friday, May 30, 2008

“So, what are you doing on Saturday?”


“So, what are you doing on Saturday?”, Chris asked.


Trust me...if I had known what was following that question...I’d have wrapped up my answer right quick and said, “Not much, why...what did you want to do?”


But instead I was blissfully ignorant as to what Chris wanted to do. So I droned on and on that I needed to go to Washington Mutual to take proof that my mother had died...and get their help wrapping up her affairs. While it’s been one month since she died...there are still a lot of details to work out.


But Chris waited patiently until I stopped talking. I’m not even sure what happened next...if I asked him what he wanted to do...or if he just said it. I guess I should have suspected something because this was the second day in a row that Chris asked about Saturday.


Chris volunteered, “Well...I had something in mind that I’d like us to do.”


I’m thinking maybe it’s the hot air balloon ride that he talked about recently. Maybe he’s made arrangements for us to go out to celebrate our third month anniversary. Three months...but I keep looking at the calendar and I’m certain...it must be three years...or has it been ten or twenty years? Surely we can’t have only known each other for only three months now could we?


“I’d like for us to go shopping for an engagement ring.” When Chris saw the quizzical look on my face...he realized he needed to explain further. “Susan Harriett Bunts, will you be my bride?”


Holy smokes...this is something I’ve been waiting for, for my entire life. Something I’ve dreamed about...but never really let myself believe would happen...just in case God had a different plan. But those words had actually been spoken...and not on some movie screen...and it wasn’t someone recounting their wonderful engagement story. But instead Chris Wachtel was actually proposing to me! Holy Mackanole!!! Imagine that. Wow God...You truly are the best Matchmaker. Wow!


I’m sure my jaw dropped open and just plain stayed there. That is in between the “Wows” and the “Are you’re serious?” Finally when I realized...that Chris wasn’t just yanking my chain...I figured that I’d better seal the deal with an emphatic, “Yes”! “Yes Chris, I’d love to marry you. I love you so much!”


I’m not sure how many times I said “Wow” or how many times I asked if Chris if he was serious before I realized...this is the real deal. This man...whom I have come to love so deeply in so short a time...has actually asked me to marry him. And I said, “Yes!”


I cautioned Chris that this is going to be for life...till death do us part. He’s got two options to get out of our marriage...death or the rapture. I feel like I’ve won the lottery...got the grand prize. I reminded Chris that my flaws far out weigh any good attributes...but that didn’t seem to act as a deterrent. Instead he felt the same certitude that I do about him. This is the right thing and the right time.


We are so excited to see what God is going to do in and through us. We both want to have God at the center of our relationship and use it to bring Him praise, glory and honor.


Chris and I are very much aware of what a miracle God has already done in bringing us together. Two broken people...so unworthy. Unworthy of God, His salvation and unworthy of each other and the love we have for one another. But we serve a big God. One who is bigger still. Our problems, flaws, hurts, pain and the baggage that we will both bring to our marriage...are out shadowed by our God.


To the many people who I shamelessly and repeatedly asked to pray that God would bring me a husband...I thank you. You are many...because while I was ready to accept God’s will...I didn’t want to get to heaven only to find out that I didn’t have it because I didn’t ask for it.


To Michael Paddison...the man that God used to bring Chris and me together...we are eternally grateful. Thank goodness that you had eyes to see that which we could not see. You were right.


While we don’t have a date set yet...and the details we will need to work out are plentiful...I don’t want to miss the marriage because of the engagement period or wedding. I am so looking forward to our marriage Chris and the road we will take to get there...and the path God will lead us on.


Chris...you are the love of my life. I don’t want to miss one day without you.


Thank You Jesus!


FiancĂ©e, engaged, married, wedding, wife...those are some words I never expected to hear associated with me. Thank you Chris for making my life long dream come true. I’m glad that dream is coming true with you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Concurrently Providential


When I see you,
I can perfectly see God’s presence in my life.


His mercy and grace,
Poured out in abundance to one so undeserving.


His sovereign plan,
That brought us together...in His perfect timing.


How He spent a lifetime,
Fitting us and forming two broken pieces for one another.


Yet...He left surprises,
In which we can delight and discover as we grow together.


I see His providence,
Because He went before me and prepared me for you.


I can testify to His concurrence,
As He worked a “good bad” in order to bring me to you.


Before you...He brought men into my life,
That made me desire...even long for a good man who loves the Lord.


Yet...He has given even more,
Deep blue eyes and warm smile...that melt my heart.


Chris...until “That Day”...and beyond,
May He continually, concurrently, providentially work His sovereign plan in us!


By Susan Bunts
May 21, 2008

Dedicated to Chris...the one I love

This poem was inspired by a sermon by Pastor Philip De Courcy that taught us about the sovereignty of God through His providence and concurrence in our lives. That sermon was providentially timed and has caused me to reflect and appreciate even more what God is doing in Chris and my life...and in our relationship.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Hard Work


“Relationships are really hard work!” he said.
Indeed they are,
But I’m glad to be doing that work with you.


When we step back...we clearly see,
God’s hand in bringing us together.
It’s very evident…plain for all to see.


As perfectly as He fitted us for one another,
We are being challenged,
By some of the differences we see.


He is the Potter…we are the clay,
We are continually being remolded,
Made into what He would have us be.


He’s bringing together,
A man and a woman,
With personalities that had nearly 50 years to set.


That “bringing together” is bound to hurt.
But thankfully,
It’s with someone I trust and respect.


May I never cease to marvel,
Even be amazed,
At how God has brought us together.


May we trust Him!
Eagerly anticipate what He is going to do,
With two souls yielded to the skillful Potter’s hands.


By Susan Bunts
May 19, 2008


Dedicated to Chris Wachtel...the one I love.


Both Chris and I marvel at how God has brought us together. We shake our heads in amazement that it’s only been two and a half months since we started dating. God turbo charged our relationship through the sickness and death of my mother...just a little over a month into our relationship. God used those circumstances to reveal Chris’ character...his emotional and spiritual maturity.


I’ve been speculating and teasing Chris that one day we are going to have our first argument. He tells me I’m a worry wart and it will be fine. Recently we both concluded that relationships are very hard work. But even with the work....it’s worth it.


It’s quite interesting bringing two people together that have been alone for close to 50 years. There’s the men/women difference and the personality differences. But I’ve got to say...while challenging...it sure helps when the person that’s meeting those challenges with me is someone whom I respect and trust. It’s a whole different ball game when it’s with a man who love the Lord and seeks to do God’s will before his own. Now that’s not only someone I can trust...but love.


I’m not the only one who’s happy Chris has come along. My kitty Rudy...loves Chris and is certain God brought Chris just for him.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brighton...Thank You!


I thank you for coming today...to celebrate the life of my mother, Gayle Lorenat.

I am here today to thank the nurses and staff of Brighton Gardens and to testify of the grace, goodness and mercy of the Lord...even in death. Especially in death.


Alzheimer’s was not a road that my mother Gayle ever wanted to go down. Her sister Joyce died from Alzheimer’s following a prolonged battle. My mother saw it first hand. Up close and personal and knew it well. It was her single greatest fear. I didn’t want to go down that road either.


But God frequently has a different plan and directs our steps onto a path much different than that which we would have chosen for ourselves. Thus began our journey with Alzheimer’s six years ago. It was a long time coming...but Gayle’s death was sudden.


As Gayle’s health rapidly declined and her death was immanent I felt as if we both had a divine appointment with death. One of us would be getting on that train and one of us would remain. As I sat by her bedside, prayed and I asked God what He wanted to teach me in these circumstances.


What I learned...was that God may take me into to the fire...but He is right there with me. Though the flames may burn hot and threaten to consume me...He’s standing there with me. He won’t leave me there, but instead He is faithful to bring me through.


I am so grateful that when my mother Gayle was facing death...we could turn to the One who conquered death. Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...I will fear no evil. Why? Because Thou art with me. I don’t have to be afraid or alone...because God is with me. He will never leave, nor forsake me.


I learned that when I recognize my circumstances are far beyond me...and I come to the end of myself, I can surrender to God. It’s there in the surrender and dependence upon God that I find His peace.


I’m glad that my mother and I didn’t have to walk down that path alone. God also brought others to help us along the way. Some of those people are sitting here today. To the nurses and staff of Brighton Gardens...I offer my humble and heartfelt thanks. Thank you for caring for our mother during the most vulnerable time of her life. God used you to love her and care for her.


The day my mother died, I talked to my brother to share the news that she had passed away. When he spoke he was remembering how bright and accomplished Gayle was...all that she had achieved in her life. It seemed so odd...to hear that. Everything that he mentioned was pre-Alzheimer’s....her intellect, her educational and vocational accomplishments...her family, her health and pride in keeping herself fit. All of it came to naught. Just about everything that she had or had achieved had been taken from her by this ugly disease called Alzheimer’s.


Was it in Alzheimer’s that she found that which is of lasting importance and can never be taken away?


Pre Alzheimer’s...my mom was never an affection person. She never said I love you...nor gave hugs and kisses. I’m not sure if that was because she was part of a generation that was more private...or if she bore scars passed down by her family.


It wasn’t until Alzheimer’s that my mother learned to be affectionate. She wasn’t embarrassed about how she looked if she gave someone a hug or a kiss or what they might say if she held their hand. It was in Alzheimer’s that she learned to say, “I love you”.


I learned don’t wait to say I love you. Don’t wait until someone is dying or leaving to share the most wonderful thing in the world...love. We don’t know when the last opportunity to express our love will come. Don’t wait! Don’t miss it...because it may not come around again.


God granted my mother a relatively cheery disposition. Even when she was willful and uncooperative....she did so with a smile on her face. It was that smiling defiant face that greeted my sister Denise and me in the emergency room when Gayle decided to escape to Las Vegas.


It was in Gayle’s dying days that I began to see how God had used this woman...who had lost everything in her life...to touch people’s lives. With her cheery and funny character...and her openly affectionate ways....she touched people. Perhaps it was in Alzheimer’s that Gayle accomplished the most important thing....because she touched people in her happiness and with love.


When I talked to my brother, he said he wouldn’t be able to come to see Gayle. He loved her too much and that it would nearly kill him to see her like this. That it would be too hard. Indeed it was too hard. Guess what...it should be. But when we obey God...it's all right...it becomes a new kind of normal.


I had to ask myself...do I let something that is too hard or hurtful keep me from doing the right thing?


“Love suffers long and is kind; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”


I need to examine myself in light of God’s word. Is my love longsuffering? Does my love endure all things? Does my love fail? Is my love other centered...or self centered? When my love fails...I’m acting on my own strength, power and wisdom. Instead I can turn to God....and watch Him enable me to act with a love towards others...even when it’s hard and it hurts.


It’s from the depths of my heart that I thank the people that work at Brighton Gardens for what you did for my mom. For being there for her, caring for and loving her.


Thank you Denise for finding Brighton. Thank you for being there...especially during our frequent flyer emergency room visits. Pete...Travis...Reed and Alyssa...thank you for your family’s help each time we had to get Gayle moved. Thank you Gregg for helping oversee Gayle’s finances.


Thank you Kindred’s audio ministry and prayer ministry and congregation...for being a rock of support. Thank you to those of you who came to see my mom. For being willing to come see Gayle in her last days...to ensure that she heard about Jesus.


I thank you God...for being with Gayle and me as we walked a difficult road. Thank you for never leaving, nor forsaking us...and for Your merciful, gracious provisions along the way.


Thank you Chris for being a rock of support during this time...and pointing me back to the Rock Who is higher than I. Thank you for praying with us, crying with us and laughing with us. Thanks for putting up with a sometimes crazy woman.


The last words that I whispered to my mother when I left late Monday night were, “Yes Jesus!” Those are some good last words. Great words...great because I know that salvation is found in no other name, in heaven and earth than Jesus Christ our Lord. It’s in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross....that I can have a hope that I may one day see my mother Gayle again. Hope because I know that our sin debt was paid in full...and is applied to all who call upon the name of the Lord. Yes Jesus!


I pray that you too have that peace, hope and assurance that is found in Jesus Christ. Yes Jesus...today is the day of salvation.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Gayle Merriam Johnson Bunts Lorenat




A commemorative video celebrating the life of my mother, Gayle Merriam Johnson Bunts Lorenat. Gayle passed away on April 29, 2008.

While I write about many things, words evaded me when my mother died. For woman who hated to have her picture taken...she would have been mortified to think that her picture is on the web for all to see. I love looking at her pictures...especially the ones from her childhood and from when she served in the Army as a WAC and from the early days of her marriage to my dad Frank. The last pictures were taken while she lived at Brighton Gardens and they are of a very different Gayle. In the last picture Gayle is embraced by two men, both named Chris, as she danced. They worked with Gayle in the Rem Unit for Alzheimer's patients. The man on right is the person who with Gayle when she passed away just minutes before I arrived.

Gayle was born on October 23, 1921 and was 86 years old when she died on April 29, 2008.