Happy Father’s Day, Dad

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I was always closest to my father.  We thought alike. We accepted the world openly, looking at the heart and life circumstances instead of the outward appearance.  We tended to problem solve in a similar fashion.

As I learned about my heavenly Father’s love, it was easy to understand how God was always available to handle our situations, loved unconditionally, forgave wrongs, supplied every need, and comforted and calmed during trouble.  This also described my earthly father.  He was not a perfect man, but he was to me.  I have never found anyone who compared.

As a minister, he was more available than those fathers who worked typical 8 hour days.  We often entered his office, played quietly near his desk, or just peeked our head in to see what he was doing.  Often, he was knelt in prayer. As a minister, he was available to the entire church.  We took few family vacations .  It seemed that some situation always interfered. Some church members took liberties with his kindness, waking up the entire household at 2 am asking my father to pray for them to go to sleep. Although his children complained, he never did.  I am trying to be more like him.

The photo on the right is my favorite of the two of us, a visit to the Dickerson Park Zoo while he was attending Bible college.  That monkey cage is still there and I think of him each time I walk by.  It is the little things that you remember when your parents pass.

Dad singing “Here she is. Miss America” most mornings as I came to the breakfast table, half asleep, donning foam pink rollers.

The rub of his morning beard on my cheek.

His patience.

His unconditional love.

His gift of time.

His deep, undying love of God.

His faith, especially in times of trouble.

His work ethic, which he instilled into his children.

His faithfulness to his relationship with our mother.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I miss you terribly and look forward to seeing you again someday.  You are forever close to my heart!

 

 

 

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A Promise For The Future

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When Life Is A Pain In The Back

Since the start of the month, I have been struggling with back pain.  I foolishly moved a table in my classroom several inches.  This brought on wrenching back pain which over the counter medication brought little to no relief.  I could not recline and all nights were spent wide awake or cat napping while in a seated position on the couch. It has been a rough couple of weeks.

I went to my chiropractor who has been telling me I have scoliosis.  He placed me twice under an electrical stimulus and did adjustments. The final visit he did no adjustments, but accepted payment as if he did.  I was not happy, feeling much worse, especially the following morning.  My friend, Terry, suggested her chiropractor, who is also a holistic,  natural doctor.  I visited him the following day.

He is unlike any doctor I have ever visited.  His methods are simple, yet thorough,  wanting to know all areas of your life.  Since moving, I have lost 15 pounds, my blood pressure has risen to stage one hypertension level, and the only difference is that the divorce will be final in a couple of days, moving to a new residence, and physical pain. That is all that is needed.  (As I write, that is a lot to adjust to in a quick two months.)

This new doctor wanted to hear the physical abuse details of my first marriage, the emotional pain of my brief second marriage, the details of “the table” injury, and how I was sleeping, moving, and existing.  I had heard the word kind used over and over to describe this man, a perfect adjective.  Maybe him wanting to know about me was not only to inform him, but to allow me to release and share layers of pain that have not quite healed.

He placed me on the table to be adjusted.  When he finished, my back was straight, my pain had decreased from 10+ to about 3, and he wanted to see me again in about a week.  He encouraged me to find the positive in every situation, even when it seems 100% negative.  At this moment, he believes my BP issues are due to pain and stress.  While being monitored, he believes it will decrease.  (Meanwhile, I have added additional chia and flax to my diet.)

Life is sometimes a royal pain in the back.  How do we react?  Because we are emotional creatures, the stages of grief must be walked through.  It is not easy on any level.

God has this way of bringing people into our lives to assist us in our darkest time.  Those people, willing to help, willing to encourage, willing to just listen, give me the greatest and most valued gift of all gifts.  Their time.  Time has value, and how we spend it impacts the lives of those with which we share.

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Leaving Egypt

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I’m leaving Egypt.   Not literally, but figuratively.  I thought my residence was the Promised Land, but I crossed over the border into Egypt without my knowledge.

I am in the middle of a divorce from someone who I thought loved the Lord as I do.  Without any explanation, he ceased communication and a month and a half later, asked for a divorce and our beautiful country home.  During spring break in March, my children and I moved to an apartment in the city.

I invested much love, time, finances, and effort into this relationship , just to be banished from the kingdom for no spoken reason. When I was deceived, I entered Egypt without even realizing that I had crossed the border.  I’m on my way back to the Promised Land.

Where is the Promised Land?  Is it a location?  A state of mind? The Promised Land is where God is located, where He desires us to be.  The Promised Land is not necessarily our apartment, although I do believe God supplied an opening just when we needed it.  The Promised Land is not necessarily our church, yet my children and I returned to the church we attended prior to the marriage.  We were received and welcomed as if we never left, and have continued the excellent Biblical teaching in which we had flourished.  The Promised Land is not necessarily a state of mind, yet to reach the full potential God desires of us, I need to work through the hurt, the disappointment, and the grief of learning that my life was a mirage.

As I grow closer to God, I grow closer to the Promised Land, that place He desires me to dwell.  Sometimes, this means literally packing your belongings and moving to a new location.  Sometimes this may mean moving on from friendships which are enslaving us.  Sometimes this may mean setting aside other things to spend time with God.

One day last week I was in a pity party funk, wanting the beauty of the past, the peace and quiet that came with my former residence, the beautiful hardwood floors, massive kitchen, garden, field flowers, big comfy bed, wildlife, morning coffee on my back porch, just like the children of Israel desired the leeks and garlic of Egypt, that which provided life’s flavor.  For each of us to arrive at where God desires us to be, our Promised Land, we may have to give up something that we love and leave it behind.

Was divorce what God desired in my life? No. Can God use this situation to draw me into a closer relationship with Him, even turn this into a ministry in the future? Absolutely.

You will take this journey alone.  The song “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus,” has a verse which is difficult to hold on to:

“Though none go with me, still I will follow”

For you to leave your Egypt, you will probably have to travel alone.  Are you willing?

So what is the Egypt you need to leave? When are you packing?

 

 

 

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No Peeking

th9HRE6WARHave you ever been in the middle of an exciting novel when the suspense overtook you and you found yourself flipping to the back of the book to find out how the story ends?  I have, a time, or two, or three.

I have caught myself exhibiting these same characteristics in my life, as well. Simply, I have not had the faith and trust in God to lay  in His arms, rest, and know that He has everything in His control.  I am a worrier, a fretter, and want to know the details of a situation, often before they even occur.

It is difficult, as the sole provider for my family, at times, to trust fully in Him who knows all.  I am in your shoes.  Large unexpected bills need paid, life brings poor health to those we love, or we have decisions to make which effect our entire family, all of which can produce anxious hearts, sleepless nights, and unnecessary stress on our mind and body.  I write from experience.

You may say, “This is just how I am. I’m a worrier.”  This does not need to be who you are. God who knows all, sees all, and does all if you are His child, cares about all He created, including you!  Those bills you have to pay, He knows about them. The illness plaguing your loved one, He knows about the healing you are longing for.  The important life decisions you need to make, His wisdom is waiting for you as you ask for it.

One of my favorite Scripture passages is Psalm 91.  Often I will read it, inserting my name into the second and third person pronouns.  This passage centers me, brings me into the reality of God’s hand on my life and circumstance, and brings my Spiritual eyes into focus.
My favorite verses are Psalm 91:14-15.

“Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him;
I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.”

I don’t have the answers, but I know Who does. Let us increase our trust in God who knows all, believe and have faith that God will bring us through our circumstances, and enjoy our story as it unfolds, page by exciting page.

The plot is what makes our story exciting.  Quit trying to peek at the back of your book with worry and stress. As we look back on written chapters, we’ll be able to see how His hand penned our story, if we let Him.

What verses do you rely upon during stressful and unknown situations?  What focuses your mind back on the One who created you?

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