Monday, September 15, 2014

A Little Flying Away with a Little Humor from God

A Little Flying Away with a Little Humor from God

 I heard some great preaching about flying away yesterday.  It won't be long 'til we all fly away.  I loved the scriptures Bro. Billy shared.  Isaiah 60:8, "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?" 

The things going on in the world today are absolutely ridiculous.  It's very frightening.  To be honest, I  try my best not to think about all the crazy things going on.  It panics me, and then I feel like I need to take another anxiety pill, haha.  So I just try to focus on my own little world.  This probably isn't a very mature take on life, nor is it realistic, but I'm just being honest.  I know this:  I'm ready to fly away whenever that time comes.  And it's kinda scary thinking of the day Jesus will come back, if He comes before I die- not because I'm unsure of my faith- but because I just don't know how it's all going to go down.  It's going to be wild!  Just the unknown of it unsettles me. I just have to remind myself, He's got the whole world in His hands.  He's got this.    Bro. Billy shared another set of verses that paints a perfect picture of God being in control of ALL of this and how He's going to do some awesome stuff, " For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  These verses are so perfect to me in this time of utter chaos here on earth.  It's going to be simply majestic. 

So anyways...thinking back to yesterday- Bro. Billy introduced his sermon before we started singing and told us it was titled something like "I'll Fly Away."  I got to thinking- that's the last song my daddy ever heard me play.  I invited him to church one Father's Day night a few years ago, and I played that for offertory and sang a song for him.  Sweet memories. 
 Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

I'll fly away, fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
And in the midst of all the serious thoughts and grown-up problems we all deal with, I love the glimpses God shows me that He has a sense of humor.  I love that.  I love laughing, and I love being happy.  I like to find humor in life, to find something to make me laugh everyday. I actively search for funny things going on around me.  And then I share it with a ton of people to try to make them laugh, too, because I believe laughter can change the world.  Laughter and Jesus, that is.  :-)  Well, today I obviously lost sight of trying to find humor in my day because I just wasn't in a real delightful mood.  God obviously took note of this.  He decided to remind me that a day without laughter is a day wasted.  Anyone who knows me knows that this dog of mine and I have issues.  Sometimes major issues.  But today, God used her to put some humor in my day.  I came home to see her face in the window, waiting patiently for someone to play with.  Obviously at some point in the day, she got a little bored.  When I saw her running towards me, all I could do was laugh and laugh.  She literally had my brassiere on.  Seriously.  It was awesome.  And if this is too much for you, get a sense of humor.  For real. :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 "Why should I be discouraged and why should the shadows fall?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant Friend is He,
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."
It's been a while since I've blogged, and I think to be honest, I just needed a break- a break from this heavy, load-bearing journey.  The journey of losing a parent.  It's. So. Incredibly. Hard.  So sometimes, I think a break is needed.  For survival.  For sanity. For growth.  But today is a different story.  I'm taking a time-out from my time-out.  I'm going to spend some time remembering, reflecting, and may even do some rejoicing. So here goes.  I think I'm going to just write a letter to my dad.
Hey Dad!  Today's your day!  (Okay, well it's really tomorrow, but I'm celebrating a little early.  You know I get too excited and always jump ahead of myself, ha!)  Happy birthday, Dad!  This is your second birthday in Heaven.  I can't imagine the celebration that you are having.  I know you are having the time of your life.  I know it's beyond your expectations and that you are so happy and so FREE!  You know, this Sunday, I played "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" just for you.  I was singing it as I played, imagining you with Jesus, Dad, singing these words- "I sing because I'm happy!  I sing because I'm free!  His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me!" 
Oh, Dad, I miss you so much.  We all do.  While I wish you were here so badly, I can't be selfish.  I know that you are home.  You are right where God wants you to be, in His time.  I've struggled a lot the past year and a half since you've been gone.  It's been hard.  I've dealt with major sadness and such huge amounts of worry. I've let the worry consume me at times. A bunch of times. I'm so used to calling you and telling you all of my problems and worries, and you listening, showing your concern, and being there for me.  It's hard not to have you.  It's so hard.  But while I've gone through this hard, terrible process, I've also been learning to release control over these worries and problems and let God have them.  That's so hard, too, and I struggle with it, but I know that is what you would want me to do.  And I know it's something you struggled with, too, but you showed me by the way you lived your life that even though it's hard, letting Jesus have them is the only way to survive and to shine for Him.  I love that I discovered this in your Bible tonight. 
"Every time Satan causes me to stumble and fall.  Every time I am tempted and sin.  Jesus shows satan the wounds and tells him that I belong to Him!  Never will I be useless for I belong to the risen Savior."
This world is so crazy, Dad.  The sicknesses, the cruelty, the turmoil, the ungodliness of the is heartbreaking.  And it's stressful. It's scary thinking that Cohen will grow up in this world. But while I'm here, Dad, I'm going to keep trying to shine.  Sometimes I lose my focus and I get distracted, but shine, I must.  This world needs light.  And Dad, "Never will I be useless- for I belong to the Savior!"  What a gift you were to us.  And what a gift you still are.  You are living on in us every day, Dad.  You inspire me to be a better Christian.  Your faith moves me.  I can't wait until we are all together in Heaven.  What a wonderful day that will be.
I was looking at one of your cards that you gave me tonight...

And you wrote, "Life just wouldn't be the same without you.  I love you so very much.  I know this is an exciting time in your life..." Well, Dad, right back at you.  Life isn't the same without you.  And I love you so, so, so, so much.  Oh, to be able to tell you again, and to wrap my arms around you one more time...But I know this is such an incredibly exciting time in your life.  The best time. 

 Goodnight, Dad.  Your baby girl loves you!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Today's God Wink- June 8

Summer time.  A season of renewal. A time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. A time to rejoice.  It's what this girl has needed.   I seriously NEED this time.  My family needs it.  I need it to remind myself who I am, Whose I am, and what truly matters. I aim to reclaim and redirect.  So many re's...  But thankful for chances to start over.  Thankful for second, third, fourth chances. 
We started off with a bang- a spontaneous beach trip.  Literally last minute!  I love living like this- Impulsive should be my middle name! Usually, it gets me in trouble, but this time, we reaped the benefits.  It was such a fun, beautiful trip.  Exhausting, but wonderful.  Time spent with my mom, grandma, and sister-in-law, and the kids will be treasured forever.  I was especially delighted that my grandma got to come with us.  My grandma, of whom I have so much of her in me, who has taken me on countless journeys, making unforgettable memories- oh, how I love her.

I can't wait to watch the rest of the summer unfold, making more memories and spending time with my family.  We are so blessed.  But of course, I can't help but think as I do all of these fun, exciting things, that I don't have my dad to share it with.  I often think of him,  wishing I could call him to tell him about our fun days, or see his sweet smile one more time. 
We had an amazing group come sing at our church this morning- Adams Call.  The woman sang  "In the Shelter of His Arms," and it was breathtaking.  It was what I needed after thinking about my dad lately. 
The words:


When my soul was disturbed with sorrow
When my heart was burdened with sin
Jesus opened His arms of mercy
And tenderly took me in

There are storms that we all encounter
Do not fear they will do you no harm
In the Lord you will find protection
In the shelter of His arms

There is peace in the time of trouble
There is peace in the midst of a storm
There is peace though the world be raging
In the shelter of His arms.
I'm so thankful for the shelter of His arms.  Today, for the first time, I took one of my dad's Bible's to church with me.  I probably shouldn't do it, because reading what he has written within the pages really stirs me up sometimes, but nonetheless, today I brought it.  So tonight, Bro. Billy opened with a verse and some thoughts about grieving the death of a loved one.  He quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:!3, " But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."   God speaks, always.  It never ceases to amaze me.  I went to mark this verse in my dad's Bible, and I came across this:

Wow.  I'm again stunned by God's amazing mercy, to send little gifts like this to me during times that I'm really missing my dad.  I love this.  "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." And then Dad's words...If I should die before I wake... I mean, seriously.  How cool is this?  Right above a passage called "Our Heavenly Dwelling." I'm in awe that I have this priceless gift, this fervent reminder of my dad's unwavering faith. He knew where he was going.  He knew what was important.  And of course, ultimately, finding these words, both from my earthly father and my Heavenly Father, was an undeniable reminder of where my heart should be also. 
Thank you, sweet Daddy, for writing things down that I can cherish forever.  Thank you for giving us the best inheritance ever- the unwavering faith that we know where you are and who you loved.  Thank you for giving us hope. And thank you, my sweet Heavenly Father, for the ultimate book of letters and words of wisdom, for the perfect guidance for this crazy life.  Thank you for this undeniable God wink, as Mrs. Sharon calls them.   

Speaking in the Sweetest Moments

The thunder scared him earlier, and he came running to me. I asked him who was always with us when we're scared. He said,"Jesus, but He's not a mom." haha. It was a perfect opportunity to remind him that Jesus is far greater than mommy could ever be. And there's no doubt that all of this was perfectly orchestrated by Jesus to remind me of the same exact thing. My trust needs to remain in Him, not in anything else. He's far greater than any earthly fear or worry. It's a lot to grasp for a 3 year old. And far too often, it's a lot to grasp for this 32 year old. But I know who holds tomorrow. And I know who holds my hand. I'm thankful for a God who speaks to me in the sweetest moments, in the times just when I need Him most.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Journeying Through


I will not be shaken.
 I'm shaken everyday.
I will run and not grow weary, the race that is set before me.
I stumble over myself, exhausted, coming in last.
To the cross I cling.
Sometimes my grip is far looser than it should be.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
My ground is a tad bit sinking.
He will cover me with his feathers.
I keep sneaking away from His protection, venturing out on my own.
Just shine.
There's a burning light, but is it for Jesus?
More than anything, I don't want to be a fraud.  I don't want to write about my love for Jesus, yet my life reflect otherwise.  I feel like I'm being torn lately- between what is right, what to do, and how to reflect Jesus' love and grace in the midst of it all. 
I'm not perfect; I have lots of flaws.  But I thank God for his mercy and his grace.  For his redemption.  His forgiveness.  For his new chances.  Great is his faithfulness.  Morning by morning new mercies I see. 

 I know God's constantly busy writing the story of our lives.  Actually, I'm pretty sure He already wrote it a long time ago, but regardless, we are living out the story.  But how do we know we are on the right path?  How do we know that the journey we choose is the one He desires for us to travel?  What if it's time to change chapters?
I've prayed so hard lately for God's peace, for a sign that everything is as He wants.  I pray constantly that I live my life for Him. I want my life to be more than just words on a page. But is this part of the plan?  To weather these storms and to experience these situations?  Is it preparing me for something bigger, something more revealing?  Or am I silencing God while He tries to speak to me because I want what I want and that's hard to give up?  How to know the difference.  That is the million dollar question.  I pray that courage will find me.  I pray that I will allow God to speak to me, to show me His desires for me.
 Just be still.  Be still.  And know that He is God.
 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Peace of God Will Guard Our Hearts

There's a little piece of my heart that always hurts.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of my dad.  Not a day goes by that I'm not overwhelmed by a deep sadness.  Sometimes the overwhelming sadness only lasts a few seconds, sometimes just a few minutes, but nevertheless, it comes every day.  Every. Single. Day.  And when it comes, I feel like my heart is being squeezed so tight, and it just hurts.  It aches. 
If I had another chance... the things I'd do differently.  Oh boy, would I try to be a better daughter.  I'd be more. It breaks my heart that my time with him is up.  Has been up for over a year.  It breaks my heart that Cohen will never know him.  Even over a year later, I'm still so shocked that I'll never see him again.  I'm not even kidding.  It's surreal to me.   
This year has definitely had its fill of stressful times, and I'm so quick to become wrapped up in anxiety. It's a major weakness for me.  In the back cover of one of my dad's Bibles, he has written, "Anxiety is mark of spiritual insecurity."   Ouch. But so true. I've covered my desk at school with Bible verses, and one of those verses is Philippians 4:6-7, " Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  This is one of my favorite sets of verses.  The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts.  Those words are full of amazing comfort.  As I was reading the verses tonight, I was drawn to the verses below it.  "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you."  I love these verses.  May I set my mind on the pure, the praiseworthy, the lovely.  May I find the good in everything I do, in everyone I encounter. May I dwell on the good, sweet, loving memories of my daddy.   May I give second and third and fourth chances, with a forgiving heart and a loving attitude. May I find the light of Jesus throughout my day.  May my whole life be about Him.  Finding Him throughout my day. Finding Him on good days, and then searching for Him relentlessly on the bad days.  For He is good.  He is right.  He is pure.  He is admirable.  He is lovely.  May I be like Him. And then, through these things, the peace of God will surround me. 
Easy to write about, easy to want to be like this, but hard to do. So, so hard to do.  And I will fail.  But luckily, He is forgiving.  Full of forgiveness. 
Burn bright. Shine. As Cohen is so fond of saying these days, that's our only choice.  Just shine.  I pray that I allow God to make me more like the verses above.  Mold me, create me, help me, and forgive me for falling short over and over again. 
I miss my daddy.  As I wrote the words at the beginning of this, I could feel God tugging at my heartstrings, gently reminding me that although my earthly father is no longer here, He is.  He's here, willing to give me another chance, and another, and another... to do things differently.  To be more. To be more like Him. 
All of me.  He wants all of me. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

To Be Like Noah...

It has been raining for hours.  Nonstop.  Cohen ran to me saying, "Mommy, we need to build an ark like Noah."  :-)  It got me thinking about ole Noah.  Noah, a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time.  And he walked with God. (Gen. 9:1)  I wish those words could be said of me. Noah's faith is astonishing to me.  Hebrews 11:7 states, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."  So Noah was basically just amazing.  He followed God, trusted God, witnessed to the people around him about God, he lived for God.  And he raised his family to follow God as well.  His wife was there helping, along with his sons. 
God invited Noah into the ark.  Genesis 7:1, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation."  And just like God saved Noah from the flood, He saves us today from the darkness of this world.  The Bible starts out in Genesis with an invitation to be saved, and it ends with an invitation to be saved.  Revelation 22:17 says, "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"  And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." 
This invitation is for anyone.  That verse says WHOEVER wishes.  We all need Him.  We need a Savior.  We need Jesus.  And those of us who have Jesus already, we need to be little Noahs in this dark world.  Living for Jesus, walking with God.  Warning the people, just as Noah did.  Doing God's work, in the midst of ridicule and cruelty.
Our world today couldn't be much different than the world that Noah lived in before the flood.  It's full of evil.  We need God to be our refuge.  As I was flipping through my dad's Bible tonight, the verse about God being our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble, was on my mind.  I looked at where the bookmark was in his Bible, and it was on the page of Psalm 16:1.  He had marked a little * next to this verse, "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge."  This is a true story, too.  I had been praying, asking God for a glimpse of my dad today, and He provided.  I love how God works.  I love it.  And I'm so glad He's my refuge.  My hiding place. 
I pray that I will be more like Noah this week.  That I will walk with God more.  That I will be a wife of faith, a mom a faith, a teacher of faith, a friend of faith.  I pray that I will be what God desires me to be.  All of me.
I'm reminded of this old spiritual:
"I want Jesus to walk with me
I want Jesus to walk with me:
All along life's pilgrim journey
I want Jesus to walk with me

In my trials He'll walk with me
In my trials He'll walk with me
All along life's journey
I know that Jesus (Jesus walks with me) will walk with me ."