Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
'Cause life is a war fought with tears
But You are the strength I hold onto now
I'm calling for You
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Today's the third. There is nothing pleasant about this day. Not at all.
On this day exactly two years ago, in the early evening...my mom got a phone call. It was my cousin Vanessa telling her that my aunt and uncle died in a multiple-car accident because an 18-wheeler driver decided not to stop...
Before August 3rd, 2009, I didn't know anything about death, dying, the shock that accompanies death, or the grief process.
Before August 3rd, 2009, I hadn't gone through anything so tragic so fast...
Before August 3rd, 2009, I had never seen people absolutely, completely, utterly broken.
But after this day, two years ago today...
I remember falling on my kitchen floor after I got the news because I did not have the strength to stand up anymore.
I remember grabbing my big brother by the arm as he grabbed mine because we literally HAD TO hold each other up.
I remember my former youth pastor Kimberly driving me to Vanessa's and my silent prayer that our faith would not falter because of this...
I remember seeing Alicia and Shelby, doing the only thing I wanted to do...and hugging them tightly.
I remember laying down on the grass in Vanessa and Ryan's front yard because I could not breathe anymore in the house.
I remember looking up at the sky and wondering what was going on...and why Aunt Kim and Uncle Anthony weren't around.
I remember the next morning, after a terrible, restless night...going downstairs and not having anything to say, and not being able to feel anything...
I remember my mom coming in from a walk, telling us that she had asked God that morning how in the world the sun was still shining...
I remember that Friday morning, at the funeral, being doubled over in my seat during the slide show, seeing their smiling faces in every picture.
On my part, the grief is not nearly as bad today. I do not cry every time I remember them anymore. I do not silently scream out to God, asking Him why...now every now and then, I ask Him calmly why they just couldn't have stayed a little bit longer...I imagine what things would be like if they were still here...
God is on His throne. He knows. He knows just as much as He did on that day, two years ago.
I promised her the weekend before that I would come visit her more often.......
Sometimes, I look at people who go out to lunch and go hang out over at their aunt and uncles'...and I remember that's the way it's supposed to be...
There is a reason, and I am thankful I will see them again soon and very soon. But in the meantime, to the beautiful, caring woman and the godly, redneck teddy bear man that I had the privilege of spending so much of my childhood with...
I love you both. And I miss you with my whole heart. I'll cry enough for all of us at Shelby's wedding on Friday. Wish you were here, but know you are in a pain-free, worry-less, beautiful place with your Creator.
Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-who has sent His Spirit to be our Comforter and Guide, who has never left us or forsaken us, and has never been less than perfect. Praise God that He does not get tired of our complaining and our anger and bitterness in grief, and that He promises to carry us to completion. And praise Him for the lives of my precious aunt and uncle.
YOUR LOVE NEVER FAILS, NEVER GIVES UP, NEVER RUNS OUT ON ME!
Monday, July 25, 2011
I got the amazing and so completely UNDESERVED opportunity to go to Valparaiso, Chile on a week-long mission trip about three weeks ago. I have never had a huge desire to visit other countries (I always thought that my brother's wanderer's spirit was ginormous enough for both of us!) but I knew this would a rare opportunity.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Something the Lord has been showing me all summer long after putting it on my heart during the last few months of the school year is GRACE. I have always thought "Grace" was a great name for a daughter because to me, the best definition of grace is God giving you something you don't deserve.
Think about it...a boss may have grace on you when you make a mistake. I know my bosses do in the 2 1/2 years I've been a waitress...I've made a lot of mistakes, but they've been very forgiving! People often associate "graceful" with "elegant," perhaps to describe a person. Grace is a beautiful thing. People beg for grace to be extended to them. The Methodist church says there's 3 types of it: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.
I have a hard time believing that people love me. I am super hard on myself and so unforgiving when I mess up. I am always trying to buy and earn peoples' love...even people who I should know will always love me, like God and my mom and people who have been in my life unfailingly.
But, God gets me every time.
One of my favorite things about Him is that He loves me when I don't love myself. On the nights where I have nothing to offer Him but my tears, He takes them and turns them into healing and growth. When I am so ashamed and don't want to talk to anyone, don't even want to speak the circumstance or what I've done aloud...the Lord lovingly comes in, smooths my ruffled feathers, and reminds me time and time again that I don't have to be anything on my own. My competency comes from Him (2 Corinthians 3:5).
THIS is what gets me. I don't have to be anything on my own. It sounds so trivial, so dumb...to have been a Christian for 9 1/2 years, to have gone to church and lived in a Christian home for 19 1/2 years, to even work in a church and still struggle with the constant striving that is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY!
But it's hard for me to peel away all the layers of being obsessed with perfection, my constant thought that I have to hold everything together, that I have to be the one to hold it all together, the huge lie that I don't need anyone's help-be it God or anyone else.
Every time, God grabs my heart and reminds me again that I am His. Jesus paid the price. I don't have to live a life filled with religious practices and legalism. I am called to follow Him and to live the best life I can in order to bring people to His Name.
I am not called to be perfect.
May I extend grace to myself and to others just as the Lord has extended so very much of His awesome grace to me.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
(Jesus said to Peter)... 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Here, Jesus is trying to get Peter to mature, to grow up, to open his ears to what Jesus was about to reveal to Him, and what does Peter say?
"Well if that's how I'm gonna die, how is John gonna go?"
Then Jesus says, "Peter...honey, worry about yourself. You are responsible for you and how YOU follow me."
This cracks me UP!!! Here is three men who are probably in their thirties... And Peter looks to "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and totally misses the point that Jesus was trying to make. I laugh because I babysit and work with kids a lot and I see this so often. Sometimes I just have to tell the tattletale to take care of themselves and not to pay attention to what the other kids are doing. But how often do we do this?
I'm a girl, obviously. I play the comparison game. I wish I could look like a certain person. I wonder if people would treat me differently if I had a better personality or better looks or have more intelligence or common sense or people skills... I think girls do this so much that it just becomes natural. It's automatic thinking.
But I think we do it spiritually, too. We say: well, God is doing a lot in their life, so I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Why didn't He call ME to this certain ministry? Why does everyone and their mother know exactly their purpose in this life while it feels like I just have light for this one step that I'm on?
It doesn't matter. You are responsible for YOU. Jesus, our heavenly babysitter and children's ministry volunteer, cares about what YOU do for Him, how YOU react to His call, and what YOU do with what He gives to YOU.
It's not all about you. But you need to quit worrying about what everyone else is called to, is doing with their life, and what they look like. There's a purpose in it all, and He always redeems it. :) It's between you and the Lord.