Monday, August 13, 2012

One year

 It's been a year since Dad went Home. I can't believe it. The past couple of weeks memories have been flooding back with stark clarity. Some of them have been pretty painful to relive. Most of them, however, have been of sweet times spent with him. Being at the beach this week has brought back a rush of memories of family vacations. He loved to have fun.  I miss his quick smile and silly sense of humor. I miss his quiet words of wisdom and willingness to listen. His tender heart and generous spirit. I miss his hugs. He gave his family the gift of unconditional love. He took time to get to know our hearts and encouraged our dreams. He always pointed us to the One who loves perfectly and encouraged us to pursue Him above all else.
 My heart is heavy but I have been overwhelmed with thankfulness for the special man I got to call my Dad, though for far too short a time.
  I miss him with every breath. I would give anything to be wrapped in a bear hug and see that smile. But I wouldn't wish him back for anything. He is finally at rest. Finally at Home. He is with Jesus. Face to Face.
  I love you Daddy. Happy one year in heaven.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


  Are you really gone? I know you are because there is this terrible ache in my heart...but somehow this doesn't even seem real...keep thinking you're coming back will give me a big hug, tell me how much you've missed me, tease me about my curls that day and we will have a long talk. I found myself thinking about how much you love this time of year...this beautiful October sky and the crispness in the air...The Holidays and how much you loved the festivities. I found some flowers from the last "birthday bouquet" you gave me... I know you often doubted what you contributed to this gave those around you so much but above all,  you have left a legacy of love. You loved and valued all those around you. You were a faithful man, a source of stability in this world of so many changes. You made those you came in contact with feel special and cared about. You pointed them to the love of the Father by simply caring, listening and serving.
  I get angry when I think of what you endured. The unfairness of it all. And then  I think of your sweet face. Your calm acceptance of your trial. Your unwavering assurance in the strength of your Creator and His love for you and your family. Your conviction that even when you couldn't see it, He was working and would continue to work for our good and His glory. Oh, how I wish I had your faith right now, Daddy...Thank you for all you gave us...thank you for inspiring me to dream...and to make my dreams happen. To live my life for find fulfillment in Him.Thank for inspiring me to write, to laugh, to have fun...Thank you for treating me like a princess...Thank you for loving me unconditionally...thank you for pointing us to Jesus...I love and miss you Daddy...more than I can say...forever and always...

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Someone brought my attention to this prayer they found online...It pretty much sums up my heart lately.

"Lord, undo me"

I don’t really worship these days
I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
Or prayers or actions
or with anything
I am full of all the right moves
I am full of all the right words
I am full of all the right religion
But it is all just illusion
I am really
Too religious
Too realistic
and well really just to lazy
to worship you anymore
I have lost my first love
I have lost the joy of your presence
But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory
Father I need to see you again
Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
To fall down at your feet
To come face to face with your
I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
and me for who I am
I want to be undone
I want to know me for who I really am
I want to see the depths of my heart
And know that you are the only way
You are the only truth
You are the only life
I want to see me and understand
What it really must have taken for you to
Love me
Care for me
See me
Speak to me
Want me
Communicate with me
Die for me
Die for me
Die for me
Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
And my sin
Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
Lord, undo my heart
break down these walls that I love so much
No, wait don’t,
I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
But I can’t live this way anymore
I can’t stand here in this half-life
this going through the motions life
this not really alive life
Father, I need you so come in and do what you must
Cut out the tumor on my heart
Break down the walls that I love
Lord let me come undone
Undo my heart
let me worship you again
*Blake Williams

I identify with the author. My cold heart scares me. But probably less than it should. I am doubting the core of my faith, and the very character of my Father. Like Thomas, half of my heart refuses to believe until I have proof I can touch and see. The other part wants deperately to live according to the truth I have always known and believed. The classic war of Spirit and Flesh wages within me and I am terrified of the outcome.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I do not like it. Not a bit. I am a creature of habit, and when the things I am accustomed to are suddenly changed I do not handle it well. By God's grace I am trying  to make progress in this. I am trying to learn to "roll with"  various inconveniences. I thought I was making a little headway...until major, painful "changes" occurred that made me stop (more often than I would care to admit) and wonder if life was a big Divine joke. Seriously. I wish I had more faith. I wish I could believe with my whole heart in what I know in my head. Trust eludes me these days (or maybe it's vice-versa). I find myself wanting to curl up into a ball (literally and metaphorically) and just not feel.
   Some days I think a little more clearly--I know without a doubt Who is holding us, Who has been holding us and I have a peace that comes only from Him. More often than not, however, I am simply numb. Maybe it is part of the "grieving" process. I wonder at my ability to move with normalcy through each day. In fact, it concerns me. And sometimes, when the pain is so sharp, I question whether God really cares, and if our lives really matter in the grand scheme of things. Forgive me if I sound melodramatic. I hate that pain causes me to doubt the character of God. To question His love. I suppose I thought I was beyond asking these questions. Obviously, my rather sheltered world has been rudely awakened.
 Which brings me back to the subject of change. In the sixth chapter of John, Jesus is teaching the people.  We are told his teachings are "hard".  They are foreign.They are not what the people are accustomed to hearing. They would require a change. Unfortunately most of the people aren't willing to risk Jesus. After all, their is at least  well-defined. What Jesus is saying is just a little abstract.  It doesn't seem very safe. They want a God who specializes in giving them what they want and no challenging our hearts, thank you very much! So when it gets uncomfortable, they bail.

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 

       John 6:67-68

Lately, my mind comes back  to Peter's words: "To whom shall we go?" It's either fish or cut bait. Sure, this life isn't pleasant,and more often than not, it pretty much sucks. Yet He loves us. He always has. We are the ones who reject. Yes, he allows pain but it is because he wants us close to Him. We were created for that, and to show His glory. Often, that means dying to what we want and the way we think things should go. However, there is unimaginable freedom when we are "slaves" to Christ.
Though I haven't physically spent years running away from Christ, I have "walked away" in my mind, just like the "other disciples". Frankly, it is a dark place. I don't like where I would end up. Though I've  seen so very little in my lifetime I have seen enough to know it simply isn't it worth it to wander. No, "He isn't safe, but He's good." (Lewis).
 I can trust that though there will  be days that I doubt, get angry and want to just give up that He won't give up on me. He passionately pursues His children and longs that they know the depths of His love for them. His love is not human. It is completely "other".  So, by His grace I hope I continue to say with Peter:
"You have the words of real life, eternal life. We've already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God." (The MSG)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today has been bittersweet. The circumstances that Dad is enduring break my heart and I wish that he could have felt like celebrating father's day. Because if anyone ever deserved a day to be celebrated, it is him.The day has been sweet because my mind has been filled with memories of good times with Dad and a profound appreciation for the man that he is.
He and Mom married very young and he probably didn't see himself down the road as the Father to eight children . But he learned. He really parented. Sure, he made mistakes. He's human. But his love never wavers. It doesn't matter what we do, say, or the way we act. We can always count on our Dad's love.  Sounds trite, perhaps, but he has always been there for us. He has always been present. He has that rare skill of listening--really listening--to what a person is saying. His advice is wise and his standard is the word of God. He has the ability to diffuse a situation and bring peace to conflict:; a quality that is much needed in a house full of kids =)
 Some people might think that with "so many" kids, one might be tempted to play favorites. Not so with Daddy. He has an acute understanding of what each one of his kids needs and makes each one of us feel special and appreciated. Daddy-daughter dates are a prime example of the kind of tender-hearted and thoughtful man he is.Some girls might mind if their Dad gives them a hug in "public" or puts his arm around them, but I never did. I was always proud to be seen with my Daddy.  Every birthday that i can remember, he has gotten each of his girls a bouquet of flowers and a special note just for her. Sometimes if a slow song would come on the radio he would just dance around the room with us. He made us feel like princesses.  He has special nicknames for each one of us, and though they are "silly" , they are just an example of my Dad's sense of humor. His dry sense of humor and good natured teasing keep us laughing. His character "voices" while reading aloud to us when we were little or his "horsing around" with his boys are treasured memories.
 He is fiercely protective of his kids (to which all of his daughters, in particular, can attest). His primary concern, however, has always been for our hearts. He wants us to fulfill our dreams and pursue our passions, yes, but he is more concerned with our fulfilling what our Creator designed us to accomplish. he recognized the true source of love and joy and leads us to our heavenly Father. Some of the most precious times I can remember were sitting together as a family reading the Bible and praying in the evenings. Often, deep discussions would result which kept us up long past our intended bedtime when we were little (sometimes intentional, sometimes not =)  There is not a more comforting sound to me than my Daddy's voice.
 His generous heart is evident in all that he does. His steady personality and constant love are a rock. I have never doubted his love and have always known that I could go to him with any particular matter and have him listen with understanding, love and wisdom with no ulterior motive of his own. That is a rare and precious quality in a world where everyone has an agenda.
 These are just a few of the things that I love about my Daddy. Though I know at times he feels as if he has accomplished very little of real importance, He has given his children a beautiful gift.  He has brought us up to desire to fulfill our individual purposes for God and to live solely for His glory. Has has encouraged our hearts and built us up. And He has pointed us to the love of our heavenly Father through his own unconditional, faithful love. 
  'thanks' doesn't even cut it, Daddy. I love you with all my heart. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Holding On

“Fear not: for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” – Isaiah 43:1-3

I'm clinging to this truth lately. Admittedly, my grip is weak some days. Most days. It's agonizing to watch the strong, comforting, tender, intelligent, hardworking man I am privileged to call my Daddy lie in a hospital bed, losing the battle with the cruel enemy we call cancer. It is unfair. It isn't right. He had so much to see and do. I wanted a lot more years with him. He didn't deserve this sudden blow. I can't imagine what he is feeling. He wants desperately to live, but it seems as if he realizes he doesn't have a lot of time left. All we can do is spend each day loving him, letting him know he is not alone through this. 

I'm not giving up hope for healing. I believe our God is Healer and Restorer and could change this with a single word. However, as Dad gets weaker, it seems as if God's answer this time might very well be a "no". I pray that Dad has some good weeks and months left with us. I pray that he can enjoy his family pain-free and alert. It appears as if the answer to that prayer might be a "no", as well. 

The heartache doesn't go away. Sometimes when recalling a memory, looking at a picture or imagining special days and occasions without Daddy,  the pain comes so suddenly it takes my breath. I know there will be more of those days. It is only by God's grace that I'm not a useless mess most of the time lately. He has consistently "shown up"  through this. He has given my amazing brother(who not only has handled the logistical matters, but has been there for us to fall apart on), the stamina and compassion to get through this and bring untold comfort to Daddy. He has been in the countless words, phone calls and hugs from people all around us--some, who barely know us. He promised to never leave us through the pain, and He hasn't. He won't.

But the pain is still pain. We still question why it has to be this way. This cancer, though it seems like the enemy, is only the symptom of the real issue. This world is marred by sin and the death--spiritual and physical. We know we have hope through the one who overcame sin and death once, for all. We know because Daddy put his trust in Christ long ago, that this is not the end for him. It is a joyful beginning. 

But oh, how hopeless it feels. 


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Victory is won

"It's justice and mercy the old dichotomies,
All along the front lines of my heart in both doubt and belief
The sinner and saint, the old arch enemies,
All at war, in me"

 To me, this song epitomizes the eternal struggle of man upon this earth. "Born depraved, yet created for the Divine", we struggle between the desires of our flesh and those of our Creator.

I am acutely aware of my tendency to choose the former. I would rather trust my own wisdom than listen to my Father. I would rather choose the "instant gratification" of what I want rather than wait for what my Creator has for me. I would rather reason away, justify and make excuses rather than going with that "still, small voice" that tells me the truth. My Father paid the ultimate sacrifice to bring me into the truth of his Love, yet I would rather live in darkness, self-pity and hopelessness.

I believe that somehow, since life is so hard for me, I have the right to act just as selfishly as I want. I am a hypocrite at best--I speak great words, act holy and then in the hard, raw moments do whatever I want to do.

faith is not faith until there is a reason to trust.

Lately, that song, "Manifesto, has been running around inside my head.

"We believe in the one true God, We believe in Father Spirit Son,We believe that good has won
We are free He died and lives again,We will be a people free from sin,We will be free a kingdom with no end"

When life gets tough, we need to get back to basics. God is God. We are not. He loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and eternally. He will work everything to His glory and our good. He will never forsake us. We have a hope that transcends physical circumstances. He is making all things new. We will one day be forever free of the battle within us and be restored to perfect fellowship with the Lover of our souls, as we were always meant to exist.

Because He has experienced our every pain and loss and separation we will find comfort in Him. Until we are with Him, He will hold our aching hearts.