Category Archives: Jesus

A Daughter’s Reflections

holding Mom's hand

I thank God every time I remember you
Philippians 1:3

That day came too early, too unexpectedly.  Afterall, we had such big plans.  Plans to be able to spend more time together, enjoying the sunsets, the wildflowers, the grandchildren, getting pedicures, savoring a lingering cup of coffee.  More time together – Mother and Daughter, best friends for life.  I can remember saying, “Momma, just give me one more week, and you’ve got me for good.”  School would be over, and not just for the three short months of summer!

Mom, that day came. Too early.  At least according to my calendar.  But my heart knows that God’s calendar is far, far better than the one I keep.  So with tears in my eyes that day, I told you to “let go of this life and grab the hand of Jesus.”  The tears were sadness for what I knew I would miss, but also for the Joy that I knew you would experience as you finished The Race and looked into the eyes of Jesus!

A Daughter’s Reflections – spoken at Mom’s Life Celebration on June 18, 2015

As I look around this room, a smile burns deep in my heart. I see the faces of those who called my sweet Momma – “my sweet, sweet Lady” – “Mom” – “Granna” – “my sister, Dot” – and “Dot” to her many friends and acquaintances. And then there are those of you who didn’t actually have the opportunity to know Momma personally, but you “knew” her because of the outpouring of love on her family.   You join us here today, as we gather together as Family – Daddy, Stan, Craig, Cody, Kelly, Adam, Laura, Annabelle, Dylan and Riley – each of us a reflection of her special love for us, individually and collectively. But most importantly, we know that her outpouring of love on us was rooted in the deep overflow of love in her heart for Jesus.

Growing up, the most important thing Mom impressed upon me was to love God, love others as He loves us, and the rest will fall in place. These weren’t just words shared, they were words she lived.

Over the last few days, so many of you have shared such happy memories of Mom with the family and me, just as we’ve also had time to share, to laugh, and to cry together. All of these are reminders of this precious lady who loved Jesus and made sure I knew, my children knew, and their children knew it through her words shared, her continual prayers for each of us, and most importantly through the way she loved us. Her desire was that anyone, everyone she met could see His Love on her face and in her smile.

Life wasn’t always an easy road for Mom or for those of us close to her heart, but she was confident that no matter the circumstances, it was NEVER a road none of us ever need to walk alone. I can still hear her saying to me (as she did so many times throughout the years!), “Honey, God’s got this one! He’s in control.”   She knew this, believed it, and walked it. And it was with that assurance, she covered each of us in her prayers every single day. It was well with her soul.

A dear friend reminded me that great love brings great grief. So today, even though my heart is heavy with the deep sadness of no longer having my Mom to talk with, to laugh with, to pray with, or to simply share the wonders of life, – in my grief I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for my Momma who helped shape my life – through her encouragement, her wise counsel (rarely given unless asked for), her laugh and sense of humor, her genuine unconditional love, and each of those prayers she covered me with daily. Each of these is a bountiful blessing in my life and the lives of each in our family.   Her well-lived life continues to bring gratefulness – gratefulness for the threads her life woven into the tapestry of my life, and the lives of the many others blessed to know and be acquainted with her. Each thread she has woven into our tapestries, help us hold on to her memory and for each of us to become more like Him.

My heart is full of gratefulness for the peace given by Jesus through the sweet memories we each will carry forward from today until the day we too can experience the joy of seeing the face of Jesus!

I thank God every time I remember you – Momma!
(Philippians 1:3)


hold my hand

child-holding-fathers-hand

 He knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
Daniel 2:22


Fear according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

fear

noun

: an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger : a feeling of being afraid

: a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful


Some fears can be healthy, protecting me from something that could be potentially dangerous.  But other fears cause me to think and react irrationally, becoming imprisoned by whatever it is that is causing me such an adversion.  This kind of fear can even keep me from obeying God, from hearing the Spirit speak to me, from feeling His pricking at my heart.

Instead of running or hiding from this emotion called fear, I need to go to the words spoken in Daniel 2:22.  There is no mystery with God and he’s never surprised or caught off guard.  He never wonders how in the world is He going to deal with this thing.   I need to remember, I am not alone here.

God is with me here in this moment of darkness, this hour of adversity, this season of not knowing why.  It is not darkness to Him because He is Light.  He is in complete charge of the mysteries of my life, those things that cause me to feel fear.  He holds me, my fears, my mysteries in His hand.  And because He does, I do not need to run, or hide.  I rest in Him, my Abba Father.


2015

design

Another year has come to a close.  In closing this chapter, the reflections of this past year are full of many blessings.  Blessings from wonderous new beginnings, new joys in the journey, steps toward dreams coming to fruition . . .  all of which draw us closer to God.  And this year has also been marked with disappointments, hurts, confusions, rejections . . .  these too have been blessings which draw us closer to God.  I put these high moments and these low moments in the vault of past Grace.  Knowing that each of these events are part of His plan to grow me, to teach me, to use me.

So as this new year begins today, as this next chapter opens up clean before me, I want to come with a teachable spirit.  I look forward to the future with faith and confidence that future Grace goes before me.  

My prayer for this new year is to not walk clinging to old ways, but to walk each day seeking His face with an open mind and an open heart.

Lord, I need You!! Renew my mind, continue to change my life. By testing, give me discernment what is good and acceptable and perfect…Give me Your will. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


broken

broken ornament

Invariably, it happens every year. A wagging tail brushes a limb of the tree, or a little hand reaches out in curiosity, or sometimes it’s just a mystery – it just happens.  All followed by the familiar sound of crashing glass on the floor crying out, “broken.”

My first inclination is to quickly sweep up the pieces and toss the broken Christmas ornament into the trash.  But this time while carefully picking up the broken fragments, those jagged, sharp pieces, I am reminded how Jesus meets me in my brokenness.  And unlike how the world views brokenness, my Savior doesn’t quickly sweep me away and nonchalantly toss me into the trash heap.  He meets me there, in the middle of the mess of my brokenness. When I come to the end of myself, He meets me there in the brokenness.

Through adversity, in the disappointments, in the failures – I see my weakness, my need to depend on Him. And when I come to the end of myself, I do not see these as shortcomings, but am reminded that God works best through me when I am broken.   

So in this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, I stop to reflect on the cradle, the cross, and the crown.

I’m not in a hurry to sweep away my brokenness because I know it is there He meets me.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 

 

 


light

CIty Centre

Lights are glimmering everywhere I look.  The twinkling lights on a tree, the blinking decorations on buildings, the warm, soft glow of candles.  Lights are beckoning me to remember that the Christmas season is all about light . . . His Light.  

I find myself thinking about the time when there was no light.  The earth was without form and there was no light, just darkness that covered the void of existence.  And then God spoke four simple, but all-powerful, Almighty words . . .

“Let there be light “

And there was light.  And it was good.

My mind marvels at this.  From the very beginning of creation, His light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.  And throughout scripture Light beckons man.

So at this time of celebration of the birth of a little baby called Jesus, the light that is on my mind is the guiding light that beckoned the simple shepherds and the credentialed wise men to the Savior.  This little baby who was born in a lowly, dark manger came to be Light to this dark world.

“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

Yes, lights are glimmering everywhere.  Around every corner there are lights blinking and twinkling, gleaming in bright colors or shimmering like icicles.  Lights flickering from the glow of candles or warm fires burning.  The lights beckon us to get lost in the glow of the hustle and the bustle.  

But let’s not miss the Light of the World, whose birth we celebrate.
Without His Light, we walk in darkness – no matter how bright the lights of the world seem to shine around us.  

I want to be a light for Him.

G for the Gores!

 


no blurred lines

 

Glassing for elk

Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne

Hebrews 12:2

Do I spend my day, questioning whether there is really a plan He has for me?
or
Do I expect it, seeking it with intention and focus?

Do I stumble around trying to see my life carrying a broad beam flashlight of self-reliance to find my own path?

or

Am I guided with laser focus, the intense energy provided the Holy Spirit steering me to follow God’s perfect plan?

Do I question that He has a plan for me?

or

Do I joyfully expect it, hungry for Him to build me into the one He desires for me to be?

Is my daily prayer . . . USE ME? 

 


the One who’s leading

Oswald Chambers - Faith (2).001

Therefore we do not give up.
Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


dirty dishes

sink full of dishes

The other day we were having a conversation around here about our “Martha” moms.

We had just spent the weekend with my folks and other family members celebrating a cousin’s wedding. [side note: a fun time, lots of catching up on family and friends].  One of the ground rules we have laid down when visiting the folks is we aren’t there as “guests,” expecting to be waited on, but we’re there to help out whenever and however is needed.  This is a really hard rule for my mom to accept.  She is definitely a Martha – continually busy with details, being sure everyone’s needs are met, each one is comfortable, and all are enjoying themselves.  All the while, she has missed out on much of the fellowship.

As my husband and I were revisiting various moments of the weekend, we both were reminded how our moms were continually busying themselves, overseeing everyone’s needs, making sure that all was running exactly to their perceptions of what needed to be taken care of. During this conversation, I found myself wanting to make a critical statement about how it bothers me that Mom has a hard time of “letting go,” sitting back and enjoying the time together.

And then I had one of those “reality-check” moments as I caught my own reflection in the shine I was earnestly seeking as I feverishly polished my countertops.

What was that Voice saying to me . . .  “And what about you, my daughter?”  

Ok. I admit it.  I can be a bit of a perfectionist.  I’ve always worked to ensure that everything is in its place. Always wanting to prove myself, to be the absolute best.

That Voice took me immediately back to a story I know so very well.  A story I’ve heard told over and over many times in this life of mine.  Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Every time I’ve heard this so familiar story told and retold, taught about, preached on – my heart has always leaned towards, “Oh I can see me being Mary.”  After all, imagine having such an honored guest in your home.  Who wouldn’t want to just drop everything, put it all aside, and sit at the feet to hear such great Truth?  

But the glimpse I caught in the reflection of the bright, shiny granite countertops . . . in that mirror, I see myself being more like Martha than I care to be.  So what is the difference between these two girls?  Both loved Jesus for sure.

Mary put everything on hold.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. – just to spend some precious moments with Jesus.

Martha was more concerned with her “to-do” list – you know the one that never seems to end.
Martha was complaining and even feeling resentful about this situation.
Martha was feeling left-out and unappreciated by those around her.
Martha was more anxious about being “perfect” for Jesus than spending time and enjoying with Him.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea of being responsible, taking care of the household needs and the needs of those in our home – be them guests or family.  In fact, Jesus didn’t tell Martha to just “walk away from all her duties,” but He was simply getting to her to recognize the need . . .  her need . . . her priorities were not in the right place.  

That’s what I heard . . .  in all things my relationship with Him should come first.  Before my marriage, my family, my job, my ambitions, my dreams.  And yes, just like Martha – even my household chores.

Taking a few moments today to breathe in and breathe out – listening to His Voice.

The dishes can wait.


flowers of Peace

photo from AnnVoskamp

photo from AnnVoskamp

Let Me infuse My Peace into your innermost being. As you sit quietly in the Light of My Presence, you can sense Peace growing within you. This is not something that you accomplish through self-discipline and willpower; it is opening yourself to receive My blessing.

In this age of independence, people find it hard to acknowledge their neediness. However, I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weaknesses were glaringly evident. Through the aridity of those desert marches, I have drawn you closer and closer to Myself. You have discovered flowers of Peace blossoming in the most desolate places.You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work. You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts.

~Jesus Calling

Even as a little girl, I’ve had a penchant for flowers, all kinds of flowers.  From little flowers growing wild, clusters of Ligustrum flowers attracting the honey bees, roses growing in my mother’s garden, verbenas used for Barbie doll bouquets, I loved the beauty of flowers.  From the flowering weeds collected by the hand of my young baseball player given to Mom in the stands,  to the broken off magnolia bloom brought in by the toothless grin of the little blonde-headed daughter, and the Mason jar full of Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush gathered by the oldest on a walk with Granddaddy, to the store-bought bouquets and gifted flowers randomly given by teenagers – all are precious memories, gifts given from the hearts.  In looking back, I now see these as little joys divinely given to me in a desert season of life.

So when reading today’s devotion from Jesus Calling, I am deeply reminded of how His Peace has infused my life.  I’m reminded of how when I am weak, He is strong.  When life seemed bleak and lonely, I have never been alone. Even in times of financial despair, on the brink of losing everything, He never let me fall.  The enemy continually whispered the lies of there is no hope, there is no way out. Even though the thread was mighty thin, He always provided just enough in the hard times.

 I am so very thankful for these times of difficulty, as I learn to lean in and trust.  I’ve learned to not run away and hide in the desert, but to look for Him in the most desolate places.

In times of desolation, He has given me flowers of Peace.

And today, flowers – whether randomly given by my sweet man or simply seen along my way – are my way of counting gifts of Joy and Peace and Thanksgiving!

Reminders that He is the gift of all gifts.

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters will never fail.  
Isaiah 58:11


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