Once Again

Once again God is patiently and gently teaching me through my children. It happened again early this morning.

And it humbles me.

And it makes me want to cry.

And it shows me how deep is His love for me.

And it makes me want to be better in my relationship with Him.

Then on the drive in to work, He brought the words of a David Crowder song to me:

“He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, And I realize just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.”

And I know the teaching isn’t over.

And I know I’m so stubborn to learn.

And I know all the more how much I need Him.

 

 

“The” Call

This Father’s Day weekend my mind has been going back to “the” call. You all know “the” call. The one we hope to never get, but it’s inevitable that one day we all will.

Through the years I have received many calls that my dad was in the hospital, again. And every single time he defied medical odds. He was amazing. Best known in our big, extended family as “Papa”, he was the well-loved and wise patriarch of the family.

But this time, I somehow knew that this was “the” call. Every time before, my mom would call to let us know that dad was in the hospital, and when I said that I would be right there, she always said that there was no need. She just wanted to let us know what was going on.

But this time, she didn’t protest. I remember the car ride to the hospital with my sister. We talked about what we thought we would find when we got there. We wondered if they were keeping him alive until we all could get there. I remember walking down the hallway and seeing my mom. I remember that in this most awful time for her, she had to tell her daughters that the love of her life had already left this earth. I remember my brother getting off the elevator and watching him receive the news. Then, as we had many times before, we walked down the hospital corridor to my dad’s room.

But this time, it would be our last. It would also be the last time the five of us would physically be in the same room together. Ever. We cried and said our good-byes. But how do you say good-bye to someone who is no longer there? No matter how well prepared we were for this moment, it. was. hard. How do you start the day as five, and end the day as four? Eventually, it was time to leave and make the familiar drive back to my mother’s house.

But this time, there was much business to attend to. I remember his watch being taken off his arm. He never went anywhere without two things- his watch and his pocket knife. I remember my mom trying to locate the library book he brought to the hospital so it could be returned without penalty. It’s funny the things that need to be done in times like this that you never would think of. So many phone calls to make and receive, so many crazy details to attend to. In the midst of everything, there were also many prayers said, like so many times before.

But this time, the prayers weren’t for dad’s healing; for he was already eternally healed and in the presence of our most Holy God. This time the prayers were for our healing. Healing of the sadness we had because we already missed him so much. Prayers for our mom, who was suddenly very alone even though people were all around her. Prayers for the entire family who had to find the way to continue on.

This would not be the only time I would receive “the” call. A few years later “the” call would come again about my mom. And to my surprise, that call put my entire life in a tail spin. And once again, it. was hard.

So, now I am on the other side of “the” call. And even though I wouldn’t want my parents to leave heaven to satisfy my selfish desire of one more day with them, I miss them. And even though I know that I will one day see them again, I miss them. And even though I am so very thankful that I had the privilege of being their daughter, I miss them.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s All About Relationship

I absolutely love the relationship that my children and I have grown into. I know I’m a bit biased, but they are such great people! One of the things that keeps our relationship strong is the many different ways we communicate. We talk in person, we talk on the phone, we text, we message each other on Facebook… It’s almost a daily thing.

But what if my children treated me the way I treat God?

What if they only talked to me when they wanted something? What if they didn’t talk to me at all? How about if they told others about me, but didn’t actually communicate with me?

What if they kept me at arm’s length? What if they said that they knew enough about me and that our relationship didn’t need to go any further than that?

Oh, we would still have a relationship. But it would definitely not be the same.

A New Chapter

My youngest just got her driver’s license and bought her first car, all on her own, and I am so excited for her! Trust me, I have been waiting many years for this. I am not the least bit sad for the days when I had to rush multiple kids to multiple places, and they all had to be at their destinations at the same time. And I do not miss frantically cooking dinner and eating in the car. But something happened today that I didn’t expect, at all.

Most of you don’t know that I absolutely love to listen to music in the car. Loud. Um…very loud. It makes driving so much fun and traffic is no big deal because that just means I can listen to more music. Anyways, I came across some music that I hadn’t listened to in awhile. On my way home from work I turned the music on and was having the best time! Then it came on. That song. The song that my daughter and I used to belt out together in the car. So, I turned it up and commenced the singing. Well…it happened. Out of nowhere the floodgates opened. This took me by surprise. You see, I have always been a mom who has needed her space. I don’t have a problem whatsoever with my children growing up and moving out of the house. As a matter of fact, I greatly encourage it! But this right of passage that my daughter is going through signifies the closing of a chapter in my life. All of those car rides. Done. All of the duets, laughter, tears, heartfelt conversations, anger, frustration and even silence that could be experienced nowhere else but in the car. Done.

It also signifies the slow shutting of the “motherhood door.” I know that even when they grow up and move away, my children will still need me. But I am now entering a phase of my life that I have both looked forward to for a long time and am also sad to see that most of my job as a mom is done. You see, I have had different jobs over the years, but being a mom has been my chosen career. I have loved it with all my heart. Even the not-so-good parts. This is so cliche, but as long as some of those days seemed, it has gone by all too fast.

In this next year, every member of my family will be entering a new chapter of life. Everyone. All at once. It is all so very good. It is all so very right. I am looking forward to finally having some time for myself. But turning around and waving goodbye to all those years of raising children will be one of the hardest things I have ever done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Weekend

This weekend I am thankful for those who sacrificed their life for me. They may have never met me, but they did it any way. I am thankful for those that came before; their great sacrifice made a way in this country for me.

This weekend my heart goes out to the children who sacrificed their parents, for the wives who learned all too soon what their vows really meant, and for grieving parents whose dreams for their son or daughter would never be.

This weekend I am remembering those who answered the calling from the red, white and blue, and paid the ultimate price.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”                  John 15:13

 

 

 

 

 

The Struggle is Real

If I haven’t been transparent enough already, I’m really going to be transparent now. Here goes…I struggle in my faith on a daily basis. Sometimes on an hourly basis. And I can’t help but believe that some of you are in the same boat.

I know that I belong to God and I love Him with my whole heart, but it is hard. It is hard to go against my natural, sinful self. It is hard to want to keep moving forward in my relationship with God, yet I get in my own way time and time again. I have been following God for almost 40 years and have known of Him my whole life. Yes, I had times early on in my faith where I had been the prodigal, but I always came back to Him.

I recently heard an interview with Mike Weaver, from the group Big Daddy Weave, and he said something that stopped me dead in my tracks. “His love is not based on my ability to get it right for Him.” Oh man! I know this! I really do! And I so needed to hear it. No matter how much I fail Him, God still loves me. Nothing I do, or don’t do, changes His love for me.

There are also so many times that I read my Bible, and I get nothing. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times that I learn so much. But my pastor said something this morning that also stopped me. I am paraphrasing here, but he basically said that you aren’t going to get great revelations every time you read the Bible. That was so freeing for me to hear. He did go on to say that reading the Bible day by day will make your spiritual life stronger and down the road you will have greater understanding (again, I’m paraphrasing). So, it’s okay that the heavens don’t part and the angels don’t sing when I am reading God’s Word. It’s all right that I don’t have deep theological thoughts whenever I open my Bible. What is important is that I keep on reading, that I keep on learning and that I keep on growing and moving forward–even if it is inch by inch.

I have learned that it is okay to struggle. This means that I am growing in faith and am not stagnate. The struggle means that I am not content to stay in my sin. The struggle means that I am gaining a deeper understanding of grace.

 

Giddy On Up!!

I am thrilled to be part of a team to introduce the book ,Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson, to you! Sophie is a brilliant writer who can have you cracking up one minute and then hit you with some much needed Truth. She is one of the influences for starting this blog.

Many, many years ago, the church I was attending started a woman’s program that matched up women of different ages and in different stages of life into groups of 5 or 6, if I remember correctly. I was the youngest in my group and didn’t know anyone in the group. Now, I may have known their names and where they liked to sit in church, but that was about it. We met on a regular basis in each other’s homes  for Bible Study and encouragement. At that first meeting, I wondered what in the world was I doing there? I mean, one of the ladies was the mother of a close friend! No way was I going to open up to her. But I stuck with it and I am so glad I did. Those women encouraged me as a newly married mess and I gleaned so much wisdom from them. I also think that we all gleaned something in helping each other through life. We kept meeting long after the program was over.

And that is the reason that I am so excited for Giddy Up, Eunice. Sophie addresses the need for generational relationships and friendships among women. And, boy are you about to be blessed! Go to http://GiddyUpEunice.com and you will see all of the great free items you will receive,simply by pre-ordering the book. But hurry up and don’t miss out, because the book comes out at the beginning of June.

 

Acorns and Lunch Bags

A few years ago, sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday, I had four little ones at home while two older ones were at school. On this particular day there were no doctor appointments to go to, no therapy appointments to keep and no social worker visits to prepare for. It was a rare day.

I was searching for something to keep everyone occupied and out of trouble, including myself, when I remembered how much the kids loved hunting Easter eggs. But Easter was no where in sight. Then I stumbled across an idea. I gave each of the kids a brown paper lunch bag and took them out to the front yard. There was a big oak tree out front and the ground was littered with acorns. I told them to find as many acorns as they could and put them in the bag.

You should have seen how much fun they had with something so simple, and really something with no point to it. But none of that mattered to them. Watching the expressions of joy on their faces as they found acorn after acorn taught me about “the fun of the simple” in life.

When they came inside, I emptied their bags and put a lot of the acorns in a decorative glass jar that I had. It wouldn’t fit all of the acorns, but it held enough.

I still have that glass jar, and to this day whenever I look at it I don’t see a jar of acorns. Instead, I see smiling little faces, lit up with excitement over a simple, ordinary day.

 

 

 

 

My Forever Gifts

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. Through the years I always enjoyed planning a special meal to cook for my mom and finding that special gift that could never quite convey the depth of my love for her.

I never considered Mother’s Day to be for me, even after I became a mom.  Now that my mom no longer lives here on earth, it has turned into my day. I don’t like it. Not one bit. I don’t like attention turned towards me–I am a “behind the scenes” kind of person and am very uncomfortable being in the limelight. 

You see, it has been a privilege to be a mom to my kids. They are quite wonderful and are world- changers for sure. Why should I get special recognition for what God gave me?  Each one of my heartbeats (as I like to call them) has been gifted to me for a specific purpose and to teach me specific things. As they grow, my love and appreciation for them increases ever the more. They are my forever gifts.

So, every year my family “fights” me on my wish to not celebrate. And every year they win (heavy sigh). Maybe one day I will give in to all of this. But I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

#ichoosejoy

#ichoosejoy. A simple reminder to myself as well as a goal.

I have been asked what this means and why do I post things on Facebook with this at the end.  Well…it’s all about choosing joy over happiness. Wait a minute–aren’t they the same thing? No. They are not.

Happiness is dependent on your circumstances. Happiness is dependent on your surroundings. Happiness is dependent on other people. While most people don’t think there’s anything wrong with happiness, it is fleeting and happiness can turn to sadness on a moment’s notice.

Joy goes so much deeper. Joy is an attitude of the mind and heart. Joy is a way of life. Joy is an outpouring of your relationship with God. If you look to God, you can have true joy in your life, even in the middle of sad and painful circumstances. God’s joy transcends any earthly circumstance. But, joy is also a choice. I’m not talking about having a “Pollyanna attitude.” I’m not talking about never being sad. I’m talking about choosing to look for joy through God, choosing to ask God for joy,  choosing to be joyful and see the hope that is bigger than any life situation you are in.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phillippians 4:4