Sunday, November 12, 2017

Life is Unfair, but God is ALWAYS Faithful

It's been nearly 5 years since I last posted here.  5 years ago I was grieving the loss of my precious Grana.  I don't even feel like I've recovered from that, and now here I am trying to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and figure out how to live without my mom.  I know I need a place to record my feelings, thoughts, and healing throughout this journey.  I've been avoiding it because it's hard work to reflect and take captive ugly thoughts and to carry on.  Up until now, the simple act deliberate choice of living has taken all the energy I have.  God has reminded me countless numbers of times that He's not finished with me yet.  He's given me breath to breathe at this very moment because He still has more for me to do.  To be honest, I've been mad at Him for that.  I don't want to figure out life without mom.  We talked everyday, multiple times a day, and I never went more than a day or two without seeing her.  Even as an adult, she took care of her girls.  She made it her mission to take care of and serve all of her family.  To say that I feel lost without her would be a huge understatement.  Life has felt empty and grey and foggy and sad and lonely and hopeless.  Even the moments of happiness have included sadness.  She was the heartbeat of my family, God's greatest gift to each of us.  It seems to unfair that He took her.

I've been asking myself when I'll stop whining about that.  I know that God is sovereign and that His ways are always higher than mine.  His plans and His timing are perfect.  I know that to core of my being, but it's still so hard to understand or wrap my head and heart around.  Sometimes I've felt like a spoiled toddler.  Stomping my foot on the ground, saying, "No! I won't do this without her!  It's not fair!  I shouldn't have to!"  No, life certainly isn't fair.  Everyone can attest to that.
  BUT, God is always faithful.  God is always there
Loving me unconditionally.
  Holding me up when I can't stand.
  Walking with me one step at a time. 
 He loves me when I'm mad at Him. 
 He loves me when I question Him. 
 He loves me when I struggle to trust Him. 
 He still speaks to me, even when I've distanced myself from Him.

I'll never forget the words he so plainly spoke to my heart in August.  It was the second week of the Daniel Fast and finding the will to live was a daily struggle.  The oppression of the enemy was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before.  The hectic, busyness of the school day was a gift because it left me no time to think about little else.  But, when I got home the darkness settled in.  I remember one night in particular.  I came home after school and sat down in my oversized chair just to take off my shoes.   I have no idea how long I been there, but when I finally "came to" I was sitting in total darkness.  The sun had gone down, no lights were on, no TV was on, everything was black.  A perfect reflection of what I felt  on the inside.  Before I got up to get ready for bed I saw the sign on my wall that Mom had got for me.  It said, "The best is yet to come."  It was mocking me.  She was the very best part of my life.  How in the world would anything be good again, never the less be the best ever?  No, I was convinced any good in my life was over and done with.   Then, as I went in to wash my face, in front of my bathroom mirror, I heard God speak to my heart.  It wasn't an audible voice or anything like that, but it was clear.  He said, "I came so you could have life ABUNDANTLY.  I am the reason the best is still yet to come."  In that moment, peace flooded my heart and I had an assurance deep down inside that things would one day be ok.  They'll be different, but there will still be good.


John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

One Little Word - 2012


I haven't really ever participated in finding "one little word" for the year before.  I had a hard time finding just the right one that I could stick with/work on the entire year.  After  December, this word was an easy one to choose for a couple of reasons.

1.  I always thought I knew how wonderful my Grana was and how many lives she touched on a daily basis, but I didn't really have a clue.  In her death we heard countless stories of how she impacted the lives of so many people.  It only feels right that we, or me in this case, carry on where she left off.  I want to find ways to encourage others, help carry their burdens and remind them of the way God loves them.  In doing this I can honor the legacy my Grana leaves behind.

2.  I have been on the receiving end of timely encouragement from such sweet friends.  Whether it was encouraging me in my quest to get healthy by working out or eating right or encouraging me in my job or comforting me in the loss of my Grana, I've been blessed to have many friends come beside me and speak life over me in the form of encouragement.  I know how much that meant and want to encourage others in the same way.

3.  The root word of encourage is COURAGE.  There are a few areas of my life right now where I'm having to fight being held captive by fear.  I'm calling that out!  I want to be fearless and live in the freedom of Christ Jesus in all areas of my life.

So, that's my word for 2012.  As always, may my quest bring glory to HIM!

To Know Her Was To Love Her

 My precious Grana woke up in heaven on Christmas Eve.  She is walking the streets of gold with Jesus, two husbands, a daughter, a brother, and her mom and dad.  Her body has been made perfect and is now able to keep up with her feisty spirit.
She was blessed to live 94 long, healthy years.  She was such a gift to so many people.  To try and describe who she was, the life she lived, and the impact she had on others is impossible.  It's really best put to say "to know her was to love her".
 For 35 years I had the privilege of learning from her, receiving her wisdom and advice, watching her love people, and living a life walking with the Lord. 
 From the time I was little until I was through college, I'd spend a week with her in the summer.  We both liked to stay up late, and every year she'd sit on my bed, scratch my back and tell me stories of my Gramps and Mom and Aunt Debbie when they were growing up.
 Every morning she'd fix breakfast and then we'd go out on the deck.  She'd carry out her coffee and bible and we'd "start the day off right." 
 In every situation she praised God and found the positive in all things.  She was never one to dwell on the negative.
 Grana lived life thinking of others.  She went out of her way to serve and meet the needs of those around her, all in the name of Jesus.  She carried their burdens as if they were own.  She never met a stranger and called everyone she met her friend.
 She taught us that being present and living in the moment was most important.  Housework and chores could wait.  People and relationships were to be treasured.
 She spent her life investing in eternal things like her relationship with Jesus, family, and friends.
 Grana loved to play cards, games, travel, fish, shop, and volunteer.  I remember wondering if she ever got tired because she could outlast me!
 She was not held captive by fear, but embraced life and truly lived each day.
 Mom and Kevin spoke at her funeral and did a beautiful job of putting into words what we were all feeling.  Here is what Kevin read on that day:

It is hard to put into words the impact that My Grandmother has had on my life.  In a world where the term hero is thrown around so loosely it often feels cheesy to use it for real. But in the case of my grandmother no other word will do. She was and will always remain my hero. I had the ultimate privilege to watch her live a remarkable life that was full of life, love and its own share of hardships.

I could tell story after story of how she has impacted my life and my family, how she brought tremendous joy to our lives just by simply knowing her and the countless lessons I have learned by watching her live life.

She taught me that family could exist beyond the branches of a family tree. Someone once said: The Bond that links true family is not one only of blood, but respect and joy in each other’s life. Grana understood that philosophy. She treated people like family and welcomed them to participate in her life.

She showed me that we could always find the positive in every situation,  and showed me how to trust  that God is always in control, even when we feel no one is.  She taught me to never allow room for bitterness.

She showed me that Gods love seems even greater in time of loss and that his peace is real. She was a lady who knew death and loss very well. She could have responded in very different ways to the loss she endured, but she trusted God and leaned heavily on his love and peace during those times. She is a tremendous example of how we should all face death.

I watched her live in the joy of her salvation my entire life. I know that there were very few days if any that she didn’t live in the peace that only comes from a faith rooted in the salvation from Jesus Christ. I am confident it was never far from her mind everyday. Her biggest desire was for all of her family and friends to share in that same faith and to actively live in the joys and peace that can only come through Christ.

She showed me that life is too short to not live it to its fullest. She is a lady that loved and lived life with an energy that at times seemed unnatural for her age, but I am confident it kept her young. She showed me that it was possible for a lady to out fish a man and love to fish just as much as any man. (I am still praying my wife will have that desire someday)

To sum up my Grana’s life I would say she loved life and she lived it well. She didn’t live her life only in the 4 walls of her home, but she lived her life by sharing her love, laughter and sometimes sassiness with her friends and family.

To my Grana,  I would say Thank you and well done. You will be missed greatly, but we celebrate your life. There will be tears, but our joys and memories far outweigh our sadness. Thank you for your love and for how you taught us to live life. 

I've missed her terribly today and caught myself going to the phone to call and talk to her, making sure she was taking care of herself in this bitter cold.  Death certainly has a sting, and it's hard to think that life goes on when someone so important has left this world, but it's not the end.  I will see her again. For now, I will rest in the peace that she's living in total peace and happiness, resting in the fullness of Jesus.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 4

I'm thankful for my church!!  I'm thankful for the way God has used it to stretch, grow, strengthen, and deepen my relationship with Him.  I'm thankful that the pastors unashamedly speak the truth.  I treasure what I've learned within those walls, and the way it's changed my life outside of those walls.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 3

Today I'm cleaning house, and I'm thankful I have a house to clean!  Years ago, after the divorce, I was so uncertain about my financial future.  There didn't seem to be any way I could stay here alone.  In fact, on paper it didn't work.  But, God has provided for me in ways I never would have imagined.  Nine years later, my house payment is a third less!!  I can live here cheaper than I can live in an apartment.  That's only by God's grace!  There's not a day I come home and don't thank God for the gift of my home.  I'm so thankful that I can live here happily, with no painful memories of the past.  Finally, I'm thankful for the extra bedrooms that I pray over and believe will one day be filled with children.     

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 2

I'm thankful for my job!  After 12 years, I'm still passionate about what I do.  It still fulfills me.  I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned while being a teacher.  I'm thankful for the opportunities I have to share God's love with my students.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful ~ Day 1

I'm so incredibly thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ!  Sinful and undeserving, He loved me enough to take my place on the cross.  His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and goodness know no bounds.  I cannot imagine my life without Him!!  Everything good thing I have comes from Him!!