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Isaiah   40: 31
Yet  those  who wait  for  the   Lord
Will  gain  new  strength;
They  will  mount  up  with  wings  like   eagles,
They  will  run  and not  get  tired,
They  will  walk  and  not  become  weary.

 Some people tell me that I am so strong.  I am told how I am admired for holding it all together.  However,  the fact is... I am not holding it all together...God is!
I am among the weakest of the weak.  There are days that I cry and fall into depression.  There are days when I question God over and over again...Why, God why? It is difficult to see spiritual vision with earthly eyes. I have to ask God to pull me higher, above my earthly outlook.  If I can only see through eyes of this world, than I have no hope...only dispair. I cannot explain why God did not intervene in that horrible tragedy on October 12'th, 2000.  I cannot explain why my husband had to be in the cheif's mess at that precise moment in time. I cannot explain why he had to be the only cheif in that room that was killed.  I cannot explain why my three boys are now left without their father. It saddens me when I look at my youngest two boys and know that their father never got to see their first day of school, or to see them play sports, or coach a team.  It saddens me when I think of my teenage son  who lost a stepfahter who has been a wonderful male figure in his life that he needed.  I have no answers, no solutions.  But, I do have peace.  I know that God sees the future that I cannot see.  I know that He has guided me and protected me this far in my life, and that He would not allow something to take place in my life that I cannot bare.  
 While there are no good answers for why my husband had to lose his life, there are many things that God is now using for good.  There are friends and family, even strangers,  who are now looking at their own lives.  People questioning..."If I died tomorrow, would I be ready? Would Jesus take my hand?"  I remember saying to my husband once... "well, I know you would go to Heaven."  He replied..
"I don't know if I would or not."  I said..."well.... I guess you had better find out," and he said..."yea, I guess I had better!"  I said that to him half jokingly, but he was very serious.  It wasn't long after that that he began to draw closer to God.  He began speaking of God more, and telling me that he had been reading his Bible and praying a lot.  My husband always felt that he was going to die young.  He even told me before leaving on his first 6 months cruise with the Cole in 98 that he did not  think he would live much past the age of 35.  He was 35 last April.  I don't know how or why Rich knew this beforehand. I have often wished now that I had taken him seriously. But, naturally, when you love someone you would not want to believe that something like that would be true. I hated it when he would say that.  But, I suppose that God was preparing him for a day that He knew was going to happen.  Some have said to me... "God  had nothing to do with that, that was evil men who did that horrible thing."  They are right!  God did not have anything to do with causing that tragedy! BUT.... God does see the future...the future that we do not see.  He knew what was in the hearts of those evil men.  He knew what they were going to do. And with that  knowledge, He prepared Rich for that day.  Many people like to believe that we get to Heaven by our good deeds,  kind hearts and religious rituals. While all of those things may good and fine, it is not what allows us to enter into Heaven.  It is excepting Christ as our Savior... our Savior from this horrid world we live in; our Savior from an eternal world that will hold far more pain and agony than the one we experience today.  Some people think that if we say... "yea... ok Jesus, I except that you died on the cross for my sins...thanks" we are saved and that's  that.  But, how could that possibly be all that God wants from us?  To except Christ as His son, as our Savior, and then go about our days just as we had before.  God wants us to remember DAILY that Christ died on that cross for our sins. He wants us to be grateful, eternally so.  It is important that we remember the sacrifice Christ made because of His love for US.  We honor my husband and the other 16 who died on the Cole for serving our country and putting their lives in harms way,,, and giving their lives while trying to keep peace in our world.  How can we do this and not remember the sacrifice that Christ made?  Our military service men and women put their lives on the line because of love for our country and for freedom. Christ put His life on the cross, bleeding in agony because of HIS LOVE FOR US.
 You know, a few days after my husband was killed, I had his pictures all laid out on the dresser in the Navy Lodge room that I was staying in.  My uncle had taken the boys out for me, and I was there alone.  I sat there looking at those pictures, and dropped to my knees sobbing.  I slammed my fist down on the dresser, and yelled at God..."WHY???? Why? How could you do this to me? When I have been so faithful to you, and done all that you asked of me? How could you give me the most cruelest pain possible?"  And in the  next instant, an image appeared before my eyes of Christ hanging on that cross, blood dripping down...and His words to God... "Father, why have you forsaken me?"  I had never in my life been able to relate  to that in the way that I did at that moment! I had heard it so many times being preached by many pastors, I had read it over and over in the Bible...but NOW I could RELATE to the pain!  And my pain, was far less than the pain that Christ endured.  God had not forsaken Christ.  God has not forsaken me. It is my own earthly wants and desires that makes me angry that Rich is no longer with us.  We think that we are living our lives for us, that it is all about ourselves, but it has nothing to do with ourselves.  We are here for a purpose. We all have a purpose to fullfill. Some of us die fulfilling that purpose, and some never fulfill what God had wanted for them.  We cannot fulfill that purpose unless we are seeking God's guidance.  And we don't gain that guidance through religious rituals or a seat on a church pew.  It  is all about a personal relationship with God....talking with Him daily, just as we talk to one another.  Without THAT, all the rituals in the world will do us no good.  Even when it seems that God does not hear you, I promise you that He does!  He does hear! When you are standing here on this earth, feeling alone and asking "why am I so unhappy?" ...He hears.  He watches wanting to heal our pain.  All we have to do is talk to Him. Even if we are angry, and are yelling at Him.  He wants that communication. I assure you that God is not intimidated by our anger. And He understands why we are angry. He wants to lead us out of that pain. He loves us, and He does not want us to be in pain.  Even with pain as sorrowful as my boys and I have had to endure, I know that God will pull us up. As much as I may wish I could go back..there is no going back.  The only good that can come from my life will be if I go on...forward. I was sitting in an office one day with a dear friend of mine.  There was a sign on the wall that said:
          Yesterday is History.
          Tomorrow is a Mystery.
          Today is a Gift.....
          That is why it is called the PRESENT.

We both thought that was such a neat way of seeing things.  He pulled it off the wall, and made two copies.  There is a link that says "TIME" at the top of this page.  I hope that everyone will click on that link and print it out. Hang it someplace where you will see it often!  
Remember that none of us are guaranteed to wake tomorrow.
Live every day like it is the last!
Seek God, and ask Him to draw you nearer to Him.
Fulfill your purpose on earth!
Ask Him to use you...  to show you why you are here in the first place.
We scurry about in this world like little ants, thinking that we are in control,
when in fact.... we are not.
Don't just scurry about aimlessly with your daily routine.
Seek a precise and direct path, one that is guided by God;
one that makes you feel you "belong;"
one that shows you your purpose for being here.
Seek God.....
don't just exist.....

God bless you!
Love in Christ,
Sharla Chachere' Costelow

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