Thursday, March 1, 2018

After the Storm

I have written and rewritten this, as if my words bear weight to anyone but me. I know they don’t, but I write them anyway. It was 16 months ago today that we were thrust into this new life. I couldn’t have imagined 16 months ago what even breathing would feel like today. The devastation was just too huge. 

In the period of little more than 2 years we had lost my mom, we had lost Matt, my daughter-in-law’s beloved brother, we had lost my dad, and then my husband of 30 years, had walked away. There was more to come, and my heart ached in a way I could not find words for. It ached from my very core. It ached for my children too, because they had also suffered the same losses. I’m sure anyone who might read this has at one time or another, felt this same, unspeakable ache.

I remember in the wee hours of the night crying out to God to change it, to rewrite the story so there wasn’t so much pain involved. My sinful heart just wanted ease, a quick fix for the brokenness. 

God didn’t fix any of this the way I imagined He would, the way I begged Him to. Loved ones were with Him, of that I was sure, but life still felt shattered, and He didn’t bring my husband home. However, He took my heart in His very capable hands and He anchored Himself into my very soul. A week before this had all happened, the message at church had been, “In Storms, Anchors Don’t Move”.  It struck me profoundly, because I knew we’d been in a storm for awhile. I naively believed I was seeing blue skies on the horizon, but it turned out we were just sitting in the eye of the storm, that illusion of peace before you’re tossed into the other side with all of its fury. God was preparing my heart, teaching me that He has been my anchor all along, and He would be with me through this current storm too. I needed to learn to rest in that. 

He says over and over in His Word, “Trust Me, believe Me, I Am Faithful.” As I began to give Him this pain of deep loss, of feeling betrayed (and oh my, He understands betrayal better than anyone, because we have all betrayed Him!), He took the mess in my heart and replaced it with Himself, with His peace, with His joy, with His contentment, with Him alone. He healed my heart. I cannot begin to explain how He did it, I only know that He did. There is no One who will ever care for our hearts like God. There is no One who will ever sacrifice Himself for us like Jesus His Son, and there is no Spirit but His Holy Spirit Who will ever fill our heart with all that it needs or longs for. 

What changed my life was coming face to face with the truth of God’s amazing Word and His gracious love in spite of my wretched sin. Yes, I knew it already. I believed it already. This is the Word and Truth I grew up with and memorized and believed since childhood. Yet, really applying it in the deep  crevices of my heart came only after the deepest pain I had ever experienced. His amazing love will never disappoint. 

To those who have told me that I am strong through this, I feel I must correct that. I am not strong. I am the weakest of the weak. That is the truth of it. But I know the true source of strength in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. My beloved Savior goes before me, as He does for you too, and it is to Him that I want to always remain surrendered. Each breath is a precious gift from Him, and He holds everyday of my future, and the future of my loved ones and your loved ones in His very gracious hands. We are His...and that is enough.

“Trust in the Lord In all your ways and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight”. Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, September 29, 2017


I was told that my grandmother started buying Christmas gifts for her grandchildren in January. She didn't have much money, and she was a widow, so she worked by ironing clothes for people, and she would buy things on sale when she found them.  She died in October, the year I turned 7, and in her things were some gifts she'd bought for the family for the upcoming Christmas.

Mine was a mustard seed. 

Do you remember those? People usually wore them on a necklace. My dad gave it to me and said his mom bought it for my charm bracelet. It was supposed to be my Christmas present that year. The silver hoop is still there on my bracelet, but the little crystal globe with the mustard seed inside it, fell out long ago. I remember being sad when I realized it was missing, I was a teenager at the time, and it was a connection to my grandmother, and also to her faith. 

Faith, a different "F" word. One that asks us to trust. To believe. I have struggled with it in my life. Maybe you have too. For awhile, I struggled with it a lot, yet the more I did, the more God found ways to teach me to rest in Him.

On those days when my struggle was the greatest, He would draw me to rest in the words in the Bible on faith and trust, and the promise of the One who is leading. He knew I would struggle with the decisions and heartaches of life. The little ones and the big ones, and He said, "Trust Me, put your faith in Me, I will not forsake you, and I will lead you on the right path."

Most of all, He'd remind me that He loves all of us and that He gave His Son for our sins. There is nothing greater I can rest in than that.

As I'm growing older....okay, let's be honest here...growing old, I'm learning that the purpose of my life is to point the ones I love towards God's faithfulness. Not my own faith, because it's weak and at times, wishy washy, but His faithfulness, which is never ending. His faithfulness never changes. It never gets weak or wishy washy, and if there is one lesson I'd want my children and grandchildren to know, it is that God is always faithful, ALWAYS! Trust in Him.

Jesus mentions having faith as small as a mustard seed several times in the Bible, and then explains the enormous things that can happen with that tiny amount of faith. I don't think I want to go around moving mountains or uprooting trees (Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:6), but just reading that humbles me and makes me realize how small my faith really is. Yet even then, He gently reminds me in His Word that it is in Him that I need to trust, not in the mountains that can be moved or that remain unmoved, but in Him alone, because this life is really HIS Story anyway.

"For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians's a verse I need to remember daily.

I know I haven't been here in a long time. My life is different now, yet nothing has really changed, because I know my Savior lives and He is always faithful. I hope you know that too.

Many blessings to you,

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lessons on Love

Happy New Year! In 2016, be the one to jump in, feet first!!
Thank you Matt, Laura, and Daddy, for teaching me so much in 2015 about living life to it's fullest, to jumping in, even when it scares you...and reminding me that giving love to others is the only way to really live. You've taken pieces of our hearts to heaven, but I know that we will see you all again.
(The quote above is from my daughter-in-law's brother Matt, 
who went to heaven on August 30th, at the age of 22. He loved others very well!)

Another wonderful quote comes from Lissa Whitlock at

"As we stand at the beginning of a new year, I am continually inspired to live out loud, to get lost in the moment, and surrender the thoughts of what I thought things were supposed to be like and just appreciate life for how it IS. I'm so excited to see what crazy and unexpected memories that this new year will provide. I just want to get lost in life and soak it in.
And most of all I want to live this way with my Lord. I want to relax, let go, TRUST, and then just RUN; run after Jesus, run after joy, run after complete healing, run after love, run after life.
Walk with Jesus. Live in trust. Surrender it all to him. Let's let go of all of our preconceived notions and watch him blow our minds!" 

May you be blessed beyond measure in 2016!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Daddy and the "Big Picture"

My dear, sweet daddy turned 90 on November 2nd. We celebrated it with lots of cake, love and family. He loved it. Then, on November 8th, he woke up in the morning, saying he didn't feel "Quite up to par", took a deep breath, and joined his Savior and my mom in heaven. It was unexpected, but he went quietly and peacefully, just as he lived his life. I will miss him dearly. I was a "Daddy's girl" all of my life. 

So on Monday, we again celebrated my dad. Old friends and loved ones came to remember the life of this quiet, loving man. How blessed we were to have him as the leader of our family for so many years. Here's a photo of some of our family. (That's Jordan, btw, standing in front of my husband, 4th from the left, in the turquoise plaid. Some might remember praying for him after he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan almost 5 years ago. He's doing well!)

"I will think of him as I always knew him; kind, loving thoughtful of everyone but himself, a blessing wherever he went and a strength and comfort to all with whom he came in contact. A constant example of all that a husband, father, and Christian should be." 
(This quote was about the missionary Hudson Taylor, but it fits my dad perfectly).

So I want to tell a little story. Some might call this irony, but stay with me for just a minute. This Fall, for the first time in many years, I signed up to help with junior high girls at my church. It's a very large church, and they paired up leaders. I was thankful that they paired me up with a young woman who had experience, because I felt out of my element. We bonded quickly, though we had only met a few times before. After my dad passed away last week, I called her, and her gentle compassion meant so much.

We couldn't know that 4 days later, her own father would pass away and she would be calling me. This pairing seemed so God ordained, and we marveled that He saw the big picture far in advance of us. However the other night she shared with me that our lives had even more in common than I knew. You see, she told me that she was born on the very day my husband and I were married. Some may think one has nothing to do with the other, and this is just coincidence. I don't see it that way. I am realizing more and more that God sees the "big picture" in ways we can never understand. He doesn't see backward or forward, He just sees aerially, and He says that is enough, that He's got "this", whatever "this" may be. He knew on the day she was born and I was married, that we would someday lose our dads the same week. He knew that we would become friends, though she is young enough to be my daughter. He keeps teaching me that He knows what the future holds and my job is simply to trust. 

As we prepared for both of our dads memorial services this week, I am reminded that ours is a "big picture" God, and I'm so thankful for that, and for a friend named Tammy, who has helped me see that He is so much bigger than my mind can possibly fathom.

 If anyone remembers the post about my mom's passing in August of 2014, they will notice that when I was preparing for her service, I found a very important letter from my grandmother, written to my mom, on the day before my grandmother died, which also "happened" to be my anniversary date, although that time, 30 years earlier. As I am writing this tonight, I am reminded that nothing in our lives is by chance, that God has all of the details worked out, and sometimes He gives a glimpse of just how much attention He pays to even the smallest of details, just to reassure us that His word is true, and heaven is real.

“Life is but a Weaving”
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

I love you Daddy. I know I will see you again!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Tandem Ride With God

A Tandem Ride With God 

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn't know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. 

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I was worried and anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared", He'd lean back and touch my hand. 

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light. 

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus. 

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says... "Pedal." 
(Author unknown) 

photo via google search

Sunday, July 26, 2015