Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Journey

On March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday, we began a journey.  It was not a planned journey, one of wondrous sites, cool breezes, beautiful beaches, luscious forests, magnificent mountains and such, yet a journey all the same.

Easter Sunday, was a beautiful brisk morning, brimming with plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Heavenly Father.  First church with the family followed by . . . a trip to the emergency room!  Wait that wasn’t in the plans, something had gone wrong, terribly wrong. 

During the worship service our precious Dad collapsed.  We knew he hadn’t been feeling up to par, but we had no clue how ill he was.  A rapid trip to the ER, followed by a week of testing, poking, prodding and praying, then more testing, poking, prodding, and praying, and just as his patience was running out, the doctors came to inform us that our precious Dad had, among other things, cancer.

This week we will officially be two months out since being told of our precious Dad’s diagnosis.  Two months into a journey that was not planned, yet a journey all the same.  We have had some good and bad days, happy and sad times, time to share and time to love on one another.  We have spent time with family and friends, old and new, shared our thoughts, hopes and prayers, talked of the days ahead and reminisced on the times gone by and we have spent time in silence knowing that words were lacking and unnecessary.  Final goodbyes had been said, arrangements made, and we had prayed and asked . . .  asked for Dad’s final desire, the desire of his heart to be fulfilled before leaving this world – to see Tim’s face.  Tim has been deployed and was scheduled for R&R at the end of this month.  (you see, for days I had heard “you have not because you ask not”, we asked, believed and we stood in agreement)  But by Mother’s Day it didn’t look like our precious Dad’s final desire would come to fruition and then. . . WOW (just like our precious Heavenly Father) . . . we hit the ultimate “RALLY” period, you know that time when you would think that the diagnosis must have been terribly wrong, a bad joke! 

Our precious Dad, you know that Dad that was not sick and dying, that Dad that joked, laughed, sang from the bottom of his heart, never missed a church service, running to and fro, talking on the phone, watching his ball games, and actually breathing without difficulty had been restored.  By Memorial Day, we knew that our precious Dad’s final desire would come to pass. 

On May 28, 2013, Tim landed on American soil, and our “Rally” period ended the same day. We know that our Heavenly Father has given our precious Dad his heart’s desire for he will see Tim’s face tomorrow.  And then Dad’s journey will continue.  It is a planned journey, one of wondrous sites, cool breezes, crystal clear waters, brilliant lights, streets of gold, gates of Pearl, walls of jasper, loved ones who have gone on before, our sweet Momma and our Heavenly Father, a journey to the Promised Land, the place he longs to be.  What a journey it will be.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As a creation of our Heavenly Father, a daughter of the King, and a child of God, I believe we, you and I, are created in the image of our Father God, and we are also an extension of the Father and His personality.  He created us to be uniquely different, whereby no two of us are exactly the same.  It is amazing that He knew us before we even were, He knit us together in our mother’s womb and He loves us, unconditionally.  With that being said, anyone who knows me, knows that I was created with a strong driven personality, an intense desire for learning, a sense for correctness, a protective spirit, a nurturing nature,  an innate ability to be proactive and have an extremely active spirit of discernment in regard to the rights and wrongs of this life, among other things.  Kind of a Joan-of-Arc, meets Wendy (Peter Pan girl), with a little Saint Jude (patron saint of lost causes) thrown in.  Yet, I must admit, there are times when I tend not to be the brightest bulb in the package, if you know what I mean!

I do admit that I have been more than a little helter-skelter, slightly over-whelmed, extremely absent minded, running on auto-pilot, with the attention span of an goldfish (looked it up and yep it’s only 3 seconds) as of late.  However, this past week our precious Dad had a few days of rallying (which allowed breathing room) and on Sunday we were able to attend church.  During the course of the message our Go-Getter preacher pointed out that the enemy would steal/distract or whatever else he could to keep us from the Father.  (ultimate bulb flashing-aww-haa moment!)

First response from me:  Anger! Certainly not at  Go-Getter, but at the devil for his lies.  One of Satan’s lies is to make us think he has more influence in our lives than he has a right to if we belong to the Father.  We walk with the Father, not the devil.  To walk with God the Father is to be aware of His presence and to take great joy in wanting to please Him, to bless Him in response to His goodness toward us.  Walking with the Father means to stay conscious of His presence in our daily life, to keep Him in our thoughts and heart.  It means that He’s on our mind throughout the day and that He will never leave or forsake us.  He is our constant companion, our best friend, our comfort and joy.

Of course I know all of this, yet I was pretty amazed at how slyly the enemy came in and distracted me, again! So enemy - you have been put on notice - this week I will not be helter-skelter, slightly over-whelmed, extremely absent minded, running on auto-pilot and having the attention span of a goldfish.  This week you will not keep me distracted, pre-occupied, exhausted, or too busy because you have been officially evicted from my life.  Now slither on!

This week, I will be the creation, daughter and child my Heavenly Father created me to be.  For I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I am and whose I am.  I have destiny on my life, I have been called for a purpose, and I will be the brightest bulb in the package!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You Turn My Mourning Into Dancing

As I sit here thinking on this past weekend, at how exhausting and emotional, yet all the while loving and honoring of our precious Dad, I am in awe of the man, husband, father, grand and great grandfather, son and brother he is.  Coming together to say our good byes, holding fast to one another while having to let go of our precious Dad/Pop has brought out the very best in this family. 

Are we sad?  You bet.  Are we angry?  More often than not.  Do we want to hold on to him?  Of course!  Ask anyone who has had to embark on the journey of losing someone so precious and I am sure they would all agree that emotions run rampant during this period.  Regrets, doubts, fears, and questions - “what if’s”, “how come’s”, “if only’s” and the “why’s”, are a daily occurrence.

On this day, I have been drawn to one of my favorite promises in the Bible – “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.  To the end that my glory may sing praises to You and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” God will turn my mourning into dancing!  He takes away the anguish of being clothed in sadness and replaces it with gladness.  But have you noticed what God doesn’t do – He doesn’t simply stop our mourning and make it disappear.  No, He transforms it into JOY!  He is faithful to turn our sorrow into gladness.  Before my feet hit the ground this morning, His mercies were already new. I can wake up in the morning, no matter my state of mind and dance around for He has clothed me with gladness.  He is faithful, sovereign and in control. 

I rejoice in knowing that it is my precious Dad’s earnest longing to be with the Lord. I am blessed to have a Christian father, who loves the Lord with all his heart, mind and soul and looks forward to being with his God.  And today, “I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my King, nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul” for He has turned my mourning into dancing.

Where Does My Strength Come From?

Today marks the one year anniversary my precious Momma went home to be with her sweet Jesus. Strange, but it seems like only yesterday she transcended this life, leaving her earthly body behind, a mere shell made from the dust of the earth and no longer needed, crossing over Jordan, entering the Gates of Heaven, dancing on the streets of gold, no more sickness or pain, finally at home, meeting her sweet Jesus. What a day of rejoicing that had to have been for her.

As I am sitting here trying to figure out in God years how long she has been gone (because I do that kind of crazy stuff) I suddenly realize how appropriate the phrase “in the MEAN time” really is (my brain multi-tasks, often). Thinking, Momma’s gone and in the MEAN time, we are left here to carry on. Thinking about this past year – packing up Dad, moving him, building a house out of love, settling him in, having a new early bird grandbaby, our son deploying, having a second heart attack, Dad getting sick and in the MEAN time life keeps going on. Yes, so often, time is MEAN. Life is hard. Things fall apart. People let you down. Change is inevitable. Nothing looks like you imagined and you’ve been thrown a proverbial curve ball. Well, that’s where I am . . . and while I don’t necessarily like it - all is well.

Over the past year, people have asked, ”how you can do this?”, “how do you handle everything?”, ”how can you be so strong?”, and “where does our strength come from?. I immediately stop and ponder their questions! (interjecting thought here! I know this might surprise you, but, I am not Super Girl or even Wonder Woman.) All the while knowing in my heart how I “can do and can handle” this – I do this because I am more - so much more than my circumstances. I am a child of the King, a daughter of the Father, part of the Bride of Christ and I have been called out for a purpose.

But the most important question to answer “where my strength comes from” - When the storms of this life rage against me, I ask Him to strengthen me by His Spirit - not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength. His grace is enough; it’s all I need. His strength comes into its own in my weakness. And, I stand on the Word, His Word:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore 

So let the storms of this life rage, come on MEAN time, you don’t bother me, because I am sheltered in the arms of God – God is my strength, God is my song and yes, God is my salvation. This is where my strength comes from.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Saying Good-byes

A year ago today we, my Dad, my sister Brenda and hubby Tony, and I, as a family, were gathered together to share our sweet Mother’s last days here on earth.  We were so blessed to be with her as she said made preparations for her journey home.  Over the next two days, Mom made sure we were ok with her leaving and going to be with “her” Jesus, she asked each of us to promise to take care of one another, did a final roll-call of all the grandchildren and great grandchildren just to make sure they were all well, said her final good-byes to friends and loved ones, we laughed and joked about what she was going to do when she got “home”, we sang praises to God, she shared her memories and talked of days gone by, often slipping into the other realm seeing those who had gone on before (and angels coming to take her home), she loved on us as much as we loved on her, and on the night of May 8th, our sweet Mom said her final “I love you’s”.  I remember clearly on that last night my precious Dad telling “his baby” that it was ok for her to go.  All the while his heart was breaking.  I remember him telling her how much he loved her, and she telling him what a good man he was, and then hearing my precious Dad telling her he would be joining her soon.  At that moment, even in her death, all was right with this world and as it should be.  A short time later our sweet Mother went to be with “her” Jesus, leaving this world with dignity and grace.

Today, we, my sister Brenda, daughter Julie and family, niece Tissa, hubby Doug and I, as a family, are gathered together to share in our precious Dad’s last days here on earth.  We are so blessed to be with him as he makes preparations for his journey home.  Over the remaining days we have with him, Dad will know we are ok with his leaving to go to be with “his” Jesus and “his baby”, our sweet Mom.  He knows we will take care of each other, his grandchildren and great grandchildren are reporting in so that he knows all is well, friends and loved ones are trekking to Clyde to say their final good-byes, we are laughing and joking about what he is going to do when he gets “home”, we are singing praises together, Dad is sharing his memories and talking about days gone by as well as his looking forward to his journey “home”, he is loving on us as much as we are loving on him, and on that night I know he will say his final “I love you’s”.  In that time, we will let our precious Dad know it is ok for him to go.  All the while our hearts will be breaking.  He will know how much he is loved and he can rest assured we will be joining him soon.  And at that very moment, even in his death, all will be right with this world and as it should be.  Then a short time later our precious Dad will be with ‘his” Jesus, leaving this world with dignity and grace.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.     Psalm 116:15