Category Archives: Memories

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)


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


in her Momma’s arms

sleeping AB

I sit quietly in awe. Quietly watching this precious little one nestled snugly in her momma’s arms.  Their breathing is in harmonic motion, in and out . . . in and out . . .a quiet, a peaceful rhythm.

Her momma gently whispers words of love over her as she has her tucked safely close. In her mother’s arms she is safe, protected, nurtured.  Momma’s arms hold her close to her beating heart, that heart that was the familiar sound this little one heard day in and day out while her mother carried her for nine months.   And now out in this world, this world that is so filled with chaos, her momma continues to hold her close, to cover her with mother wings.  A stronghold of love.

I sit watching, pondering in awe. Pondering meditatively.

As I see my very own little girl embrace her own little girl, my heart is full.  My heart is full of love for this new little one who has been  remarkably and wonderfully made.  My heart is full of love for the one who was remarkably and wonderfully knitted together inside my own body.

But most of all, my heart is full of reminders of the One who covers me in His arms, who holds me close in the midst of the chaos.

I am reminded of the times my life has been crumbling to pieces around me, troubles were crashing into me right and left, life seem to be imploding.  I was alone, or at least that is what the enemy wanted me to believe.

Clinging to Psalm 46, He pulls me in to cover me with His Love, to be my stronghold against all that is clamoring to tear me apart.  He is always there to whisper His words of Love into my heart.  Pulling me close, the chaos turns into peace.

I can hear His heartbeat because He created me to be His.

God is my refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore I will not fear,
Though the earth should give way,
And though the mountains fall into the heart
of the sea.
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Psalm 46:1-3

So as things of this world are vying to pull me away, to create disharmony, when I have to hold it together, even when I don’t feel like it . . . it is here, here with my God, my Creator, that I find solace, my stronghold.  It is here, I can let it go.  I cling to His arms and hear His tender heart calling me close.  It’s here in the magnificent, or the insignificant, in the joyous moments, or the disappointing times, the uplifting, or the casting down, the contentment, or the perplexities and uncertainties that I rest secure. Resting secure in the harmonic motion of His peace and His grace.

Rest in His arms, just like that precious little one in her Momma’s arms.  Rest no matter what the world throws your way. Find His peace in the chaos.


how to let go of regret [reblog]

The Kids

I love how God sends me words of encouragement exactly when He knows I need it!  Today is the birthday of one of my three and as any Mama would do, I was mulling over some things in my heart and head today, reflecting on some precious memories and the word REGRET was trying its level best to take over.  So when I was reading through some emails and posts . . . the word REGRET jumped right off the screen.
Call it coincidence . . . I don’t!

So thankful to Robin Dance for sharing some links today . . .

How to Let Go of Regret [reblogged from Life on the Wild Side ~ Shelly Wildman]

I see you, mama. The one with Regret written all over your face and on your sagging shoulders and in your sad eyes. The one whose hopes and dreams consist of words you wish you had said, deeds you wish you had done, or those you wish you could undo.

“If only” has become your mantra.

I see you and I know you because I am you.

Seems, sometimes, like Regret is a mother’s best friend.

We walk with it, chew on it, and let it weigh us down. None of us are immune.

I’ve certainly had my share of regrets over the years—things I wish I had done; things I wish I had said. More often, though, things I wish I had not said. The words, they do poison.

In the past few weeks I have spoken to two friends—both amazing mothers—who are filled with regret over children who are not currently living in the way these parents have raised them. One child has rejected the faith with which they were raised; the other is on the brink of making some important decisions about how to live.

In both conversations, I noticed that both of my friends expressed serious regret about their parenting.

Maybe you’ve felt this, too.

Here’s the thing, mamas: we are not made to regret. And I think our regrets come from our forgetfulness about three important things.

  1. We forget that we are ultimately not in control.

In other words, we give ourselves way too much blame (or credit!) for the way our kids turn out. As much as we’d like to make the way easy for our kids, we have to remember that some kids very simply will not learn from our mistakes. They may not even learn from their own. We can give our children the tools (whether that be an education, a faith heritage, a stable family—whatever it is) that can make paving the way a bit easier, but it’s up to them to use them.

Don’t blame yourself if your child rejects the tools you have given him or her. Just be faithful every day.

  1. We forget that we are forgiven, just as much as our children are.

Forgiveness is a powerful arsenal in our parenting strategy, and we must remember to also practice it on ourselves.

I recently read the most beautiful definition of grace: “Grace says, ‘There you are, I’ve been waiting for you and you’re welcome here. All of you. You are beloved.’”

Mama, you are beloved—all of you—whether or not you’ve messed up. Or your kid has. Or your husband has. It doesn’t matter. Grace is here, waiting for you.

Mama, forgive yourself because God already has. Don’t let the regret that you’re feeling limit you from the power of forgiveness and grace in your life, which will move you ahead to do the next right thing.

  1. We forget that the story isn’t finished yet.

I’ve known parents of some seriously messed up kids. Some have let regrets stop them from doing what they should be doing—whether that is acting with tough love or gently loving them back home. But some parents I’ve known have simply said, “My son’s (or daughter’s) story is not yet finished. God has not given up on this child, and neither will I.” They have prayed continuously for their child. They have opened the door to their home. They have shown, in very practical terms, what the love of Jesus means.

Mama, your story is not yet finished—thank goodness for that, right?!—and neither is your child’s. Our stories continue to grow and to change and to mold us into the people we are today, and that’s true for our kids as well. If you have regrets, remember that your child’s story is still being written and that the way he or she is living today is not the end of the story.

Even more important, remember that God has not walked away from your child, He still loves them, and He will never give up fighting for them.

So mama? For the sake of your family (and your sanity) will you give up your regrets? Don’t dwell on those things that are over and done. Realize that, ultimately, you are not in control. Move ahead with grace and forgiveness.

And thank God that the story is not finished yet.

Thanking God for allowing me the precious opportunity and blessing of being a mama . . . and yes, thanking Him that He is not finished with our story yet!


stay alert

Picture1

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

It happens when I least expect it.

The room is filled with smiles and laughter as friends come together. Each one brings uniqueness to the mix. Lively chatter is flowing around. Yet, there’s something unsure looming in the air. And then it happens.

Or maybe it is a smaller gathering, just a few people around. Someone says something that strikes a chord, uses a similar tone, or a personality quirk continually surfaces. And then it happens.

Or maybe it’s in a personal conversation. A friend or a loved one is sharing a hurtful experience, asking for wise counsel. And then it happens.

What happened . . . ?

Minutes before, my heart was full of joy, and then I seem to be swallowed up by a torrent of hurt, painful reminders, a raging sea of confused emotions. Sometimes anger seems to well up and simmer inside me.  And when I see this happening in my life, I ask, how do these things happen to me?

So I pray.

On the surface, I’m sure these thoughts seem silly to others, and yes, at times, even ridiculous to me. I ask, am I allowing these outside coincidences to inflict such emotion in me?

And so I pray. I pray and I wait. I go to the One who knows my heart. I go to One who knows me better than I know myself.

In that place, I am reminded there is someone else who waits. Someone else lying in wait, hiding around the corner, prowling around looking for those places in my heart where there has been hurt and rejection. My great enemy, the devil, is waiting. Waiting for the chance to swoop in and hijack my emotions. He is looking for any opportunity to trip me up, to cause me to stumble, to fall back into the emotional wreck of the past.

The enemy scouts around like a roaring lion, prowling, looking for the perfect opportunity

  • To resurface hurts caused by another through the personality of someone who crosses my path.
  • To remind me of past mistakes.
  • To rub me wrong causing division or discontent.

holding back nothing to get into my mind and my heart.

So I pray to be alert, asking for supernatural protection of those places when I see those red flags, detection of the enemy.

Alert. I can only be alert when I daily pour myself into the Truth that I am loved and adored and pursued by The One who loves me. I must trust Him to be the cushion, to be the distance, to be His Perfect Love in my heart.

So when the enemy comes with rejection or hurts or disappointments {which I know are going to come}, my heart and my mind will be less vulnerable to the sea of offense.

 


jigsaw puzzles

jigsaw_puzzle

When puzzle pieces go missing. I want to understand. I want to see how all these pieces can be put back together.

But the real wisdom is not the ability to find how all the puzzle gets back together.  Real wisdom is trusting God, even when life doesn’t make sense.~Joni Earekson Tada

One of my favorite things growing up was working jigsaw puzzles.  The more pieces, the better.   I remember taking my saved up allowance money, going to one of the neighborhood stores that sold toys, and buying the puzzle box filled with hundreds, yes even a thousand pieces.   Oh, I could hardly wait to get home so we could open up the box and dump out all the pieces.  When it was puzzle time, Mom would set up a card table in the corner of the den, so Dad and I could spend hours at a time, working the puzzle.

At first, I would want to just start trying pieces to see if they would match.  But Dad would take his time, carefully examining the pieces for each of the matches.   Sometimes the process was slow and tedious and then other times, the pace would change and the pieces would fall into place.  In learning how to work these puzzles, I relied so many times on my dad’s wisdom to guide me through the process of putting the pieces back together.

He would often say, Our lives are often times like this jigsaw puzzle.  We have circumstances and situations that break us apart.  And we have to trust God to help us put the pieces back together.  We can’t do it on our own.” 

When I ran across the words of Joni Earekson Tada, my mind went back to the special times spent working on those jigsaw puzzles and the spiritual life lessons I took away from the hundreds, or thousands pieces jigsaw puzzles.  And then it went to the times my life has seemed like a jigsaw puzzle.

Many times have I cried out, “I just want all the pieces to go back together. I just want to put it all back together.”  

The problem was one little, tiny word . .  . I” . . . ” I want . . .” 

My life is like those jigsaw puzzles, I have to let go of all the loose puzzle pieces.

Just like as a young girl when I looked to my earthly dad to guide me, to share his wisdom, I have to turn to my Abba Father, my Creator, for His wisdom to help me put the pieces back together.

 In His way, in His time.  It’s not up to me to sort through all the broken apart pieces and tediously put pieces back together.  I can not do it on my own.

I must trust in His Wisdom.  He puts back the pieces – in ways, I couldn’t even see! 

Trusting Him, even when life doesn’t make sense.


“you got this” ~ thank you, Dad

The Hallmark reminder popped up on my computer’s calendar ~ “Father’s Day is today.”  Not that I needed a reminder  … in fact, I don’t need Hallmark to remind me to celebrate my dad!   Each and every day, my dad is one of the very special people in my life that I thank God for allowing to be part of my journey.  My dad is the one who has guided me, pointing me to Him every step of the way from the very beginning.

 

A Father is the seed of your beginning, he is the catalyst of your being, the genesis of your becoming.
~Ann Voskamp

 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalms 103:13

 

What better legacy can a daughter ask for?

Dad, I’ve got it . . .  because our Father has you!

 


every time I remember you

Scanned Image-59

I thank my God every time I remember you. ~ Philippians 1:3

Memories. As I looked at the date on the calendar today, a smile burned deep in my heart. Today would have been my grandmother’s 98th birthday.  To all of her kids she was known as Memi and she was adored by all.  And so today as I look all around me and our home, there are all kinds of physical reminders – from pieces of furniture to collections of antique glassware to handwritten recipes – of this precious lady who loved Jesus with all her heart and made sure her four girls, and their children, and their children knew it.  Life was not always an easy road for her, but she was confident that no matter what her circumstances it was not a road she walked alone. I can still hear her say, “Oh honey, God’s got this one!

So today I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for my grandmother who helped shape my life . . .  through her encouragement, her advice, her sense of humor, her genuine love were such blessings in my life, and her memory continues to bring gratefulness. Gratefulness for the threads her life wove into the tapestry of my life, each one helping to make me who I am today.

Gratefulness for the peace from these sweet memories.

 


never alone

Wide as the Sky.001

A few nights ago my sweet man was working on some video stuff and downloading music.  When I heard this new song, Wide as the Sky, by Matt Redman, my memory took me back a number of years ago . . . to a time that I had buried deep in my heart.  

. . . There was something holding me back from opening up myself to worship . . .  I mean . . .  Real Worship.

I’ve always loved singing [in and out of church], but I would watch vicariously as others would open themselves up to unashamed real worship.  And then one day, it happened.  It was a rare occurrence, the three of us – my middle son, my daughter and me – sitting all together at the late worship service.  Admittedly, I was in the throes of walking through a dark season in my life.

Life was falling apart.

As the 11:11 worship band was playing [sadly I can’t remember what the song was], my eyes were fixed straight ahead.  But to each side of me, I saw the hands of a son and daughter raising up. It was in that moment, I no longer felt the constraints holding me back.

Life was falling apart.  And my hands were reaching up, so my heart could begin to open up.

I did not know where this battle in the dark season would take me.  As alone as I may have felt, I knew I was not walking it alone.

Looking back over the last 10 plus years since that day, I know . .  . Never once did I walk alone.

CLICK TO LISTEN:  NEVER ONCE by Matt Redman


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.


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