Tag 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


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.


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


peace beyond understanding

from ann voskamp ~ a holy experience

photo from Ann Voskamp ~ a holy experience

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Shalom – Hebrew for Peace.
A study of Hebrew words reveals meaning beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion.
Shalom is more than just simply peace.
It is complete Peace – contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony.

The Shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.

Experiencing this peace – this Shalom – came this past weekend.  It was more than just the intimate, serene outdoor wedding setting.  Even more than the beautiful sun-filled, blue skies that filled the Austin Hill Country.  Yes, it was even more than friends and family that gathered to share in the Joy of the joining of the oldest son, C and his bride as one in marriage.

This Shalom was the Peace that could only come from fervent prayers asking for the Peace of God that goes beyond my mind and heart’s understanding.  

During the weeks before the wedding, many nights of sleep were interrupted by a bad dream night after night. Only this wasn’t really a dream, it was like a movie replaying in my mind the deep wounds from venomous words and divisive actions at another such wedding scene eight years ago.  There was no Shalom.

Knowing that unlike at the beautiful wedding of daughter K a little more than a year ago, this time the wall of space and people would not be there to protect the Joy my heart desired for this occasion.  With each replaying of this late night “movie,” an overwhelming sense of unrest would stir in my heart because I did not want anything to take the Joy away from this wedding day either.

In the dark of those nights, I would call out in my heart to my Abba Father, Yahweh.  His Peace was always present with me there in the dark, night after night after night.  And peaceful sleep would soon return.

Each morning after, I would wake wondering,
Was this some sort of spiritual attack? 
A portent of possible pending drama? 
Something designed to take the joy from this time?

Sharing these thoughts with my dear friend L, the weeks and days before the wedding found us praying together.  We prayed for Peace that would transcend, that would eclipse, that would go so far beyond what my mind and heart could understand.  We prayed for that Complete Peace, His Shalom.

Last Saturday, the big day had finally arrived!  The venue was absolutely serene.  Despite earlier reports of rain coming in with our first “big” cool front, the weather was beautiful.  Skies were blue and the sun was shining through the shadows of the massive oak trees.  There was even a herd of Longhorns nonchalantly greeting the guests as we drove through the ranch gates.  Was this the peace I had prayed for?  No.

As we were walking up the stone walk towards the early arriving family members and a few other guests, I heard a still, small voice say to me . . .

“The Peace you’ve prayed for is here, He goes before you.”

It was in that moment, I understood.  That movie that had been playing over and over in my head in the nights before had been a reminder to me that in the dark, in those uncertain times of my life, His Shalom, His Complete Peace has never been absent from me. 

Now instead of those anxious thoughts, an overwhelming sense of Peace washed over me – the assurance His Presence walks every step of the way with me.  I have that Peace that surpassed all my understanding.  The Prince of Peace is guarding my mind and my heart!


best friend

w-70

“Friendship is a deep oneness that develops when two people,
speaking the truth in love to one another,
journey together to the same horizon.”
Tim Keller~ The Meaning of Marriage

I was blessed to marry my best friend!!  Divine Appointment definitely brought us here.

What a joy to daily share that deep Oneness with my best friend as he leads us on this journey.  This is our shared adventure as we diligently help each other know, love, serve, and reflect God in deeper and deeper ways.

Our adventure is teaching us what it means to fall in love.

We look at the other person and get a glimpse of what God is creating.

To say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me!

I want to be part of that!  I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to His throne.

And when we get there. . .

I will look at your magnificence and say, “I always knew you could be like this.

I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!
[Keller].


a new thing

Isaiah 43.001

Isn’t it amazing how much power the past seems to have over us?

When my family gets together we typically find ourselves sitting around the table sharing stories, stories from the past. Many of the stories bring smiles, cause infectious laughter, and perhaps even a reflective pause of thinking about and remembering those not with us.  Most of the time those stories from the past are like our favorite robe, you know the one  you grab when you want to really feel warm and comfortable, all wrapped up in such familiarity.  It just feels right.

But sometimes our past takes on a life of its own.  Some of us can get so wrapped up in reliving the events and people in our lives that we carry the past around with us everywhere we go, pouring out the stories whenever we can.  For many the past is filled with stories from a difficult childhood,  an abusive marriage, a string of broken relationships, or financial hardships.  All painful things that one should want to put away, but for some strange reason many hold on tight to the past – no matter how painful it may have been.  It’s like getting stuck in the mud and not being able to move forward.   And sadly, this dwelling on the past keeps us from the Joy of the future.

The problem with carrying the past around with us like our favorite robe is that we are so focused on the past that we’re blinded to what’s right in front of us and around us.  We miss what God has for us, big and small.  We miss how He will turn our deserts into fields of wildflowers, our dry streams into rivers of flowing water.

We can either keep on carrying around that baggage of the past, or we can nail those painful, Joy-stealing stories from the past to the Cross.  It’s a clean sheet of paper every day, filled with a whole heart surrendered to God.

The choice is ours!

What might you need to let go of to move forward to the Joy of the future?

 

 


%d bloggers like this: