Today I did something I did not want to do, it something I dreaded because in one since it makes me face the hard reality that, there but for the grace of God goes I. In some ways I now feel guilty that I have, what they will now not. But it is what we do. As we pulled into the parking lot tears began to run down my face as I saw line after line of cars parked of people who had come to do the same as I, I knew, this is what we do, we do it because we are all in this army, we are all in the same battle and when one hurts we all hurt, when one is in pain we all are in pain, because that is what we do, I don’t have to know them well to know that if I were in the same situation I would want those who I call friends whether distant, acquaintances, or good, I would want them with me, and as line after line of the cars lined up and we all got out to do what we do, our solemn and respectful demeanor told it all. As I looked around to see there were others who are warriors like me, in this battle that came to do the same because that is what we do, we support each other, we come along side each other when others are in need. I don’t have to have been to their house or even know this person we have come to honor today I only have to know that his parents are in the same war I serve in, it is a war against the evil one and although we have not traveled the same path, our paths are the same, my heart breaks over what their heart breaks over, and my heart rejoices over what theirs rejoices for, because that is what we do. And when we entered the church it was plain to see there were many other soldiers in this war like me, who had come to do the same as me, because this is what we do. In war you never leave a soldier behind, you never abandon your comrades. No matter the cost, no matter the price. Because that is what we do. I am proud to be in this army of warriors who come along side our broken, wounded and just wore out. Because this is what we do. The commander today reminded us in Ecclesiastics 7:2 that this is all of our destiny (unless The Lord should return first) then he asked us one thing, What will they say about you? As I pondered what my answer would be I have to say it is ……………… I hope they remember, This is what I do!
I am a firm believer in helping others in this walk of life. I believe we are all on this journey together and as I walk my path of faith, I need to look back and hold out my hand to encourage someone who may be behind me. In the same way, I believe there are others further along on this journey who reach back to me and pull (and, let’s face it, sometimes they DRAG) me along!
Because of that I am compelled today to write about this whole empty-nest thing that my husband and I are experiencing. Granted, we still have our 17-year-old (gulp – can’t believe he is that old!) son at home. But, for this week we have been empty-nesters. You see, our son has been at camp for two weeks and during that time we moved our daughter back to Kansas City to attend college. So, for the past week we have been practicing empty-nesting.
I have to say, it is quite different than what I expected. My overall view of it is that, while I have gained an almost-perfectly-clean house for the first time in 29 years, it is WAY too quiet! I have to honestly say, as much as I ranted and raved about keeping the house clean when the kids were at home. I would give it all up to hear them laughing in the other room or break out in song while driving down the road.
There have been some specific disadvantages to our daughter’s absence, that I didn’t feel the effect of when our oldest son moved out over 10 years ago. (Yes, there is 10 years difference between our first 2 children) While lamenting to my husband over the fact that our daughter was leaving, he responded to me, “What am I, chopped liver? I will still be here.” To which I replied, “Are you going to go shopping with me, paint my nails, and dye my hair for me?” To which he promptly retorted, “Nope, not me!”
There have been some other disadvantages of her leaving as well:
1. She took HER clothes out of MY closet! How rude! I thought possession was 9/10 of the law!
2. She took the good fingernail polish with her! The fact that it was HER fingernail polish to begin with is beside the point! Couldn’t she have left me a parting gift? (Smile!)
3. She is/was my right hand in almost everything I did. And now that she is an adult, I can say with full confidence, we are “BFF’s – BEST FRIENDS FOREVER! Therefore, I miss her terribly!
Yet, with all the changes – and my selfish reasons for missing my daughter – I am so thankful to hear the joy in her voice when she calls; to know the excitement she feels when returning to the comfort of what she calls home. I draw peace from the fact that she has a huge support system with our church family back in KC and I am confident that, as much as I love her, there is a Heavenly Father who loves her more than I do, and He is watching over her.
Oh, I know the next few years will hold many changes for me and for our family but there is one thing that will remain the same: the steadfast love of God. He is faithful, and He will never leave us. I know that I can call on Him whenever I have a problem and He will always be there.
And in those times when I feel alone and afraid, unsure of what the future holds, I rest in the confidence that I know who holds the future! When I have that desire to be in control and try to figure it all out on my own, it is in those times I must learn to sit back and lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus because He is my rock, my fortress, and the only one on whom I can depend
A friend posted these words on Facebook this week and they are absolutely true. “I know that God always supplies our every need according to his riches in glory. I’m starting to understand that walking with God is just one leap of faith after another. I don’t think it ever gets easier, I just think we learn to trust God more.”
” I’m starting to understand that walking with God is just one leap of faith after another. I don’t think it ever gets easier, I just think we learn to trust God more.” January Lare
”Isn’t that the very basis of our foundation in Christ – “Trust”? We have to trust or there is no foundation for our faith walk. And that is what this life is, whether you are a new mom, empty-nesting mom, or unsure if you will ever be a mom. It all comes down to trust. If we have truly surrendered our heart to Him, it is just one trusting leap of faith after another.
My daughter states there is one phrase that has helped her keep it together through this time of transition for her and it is this: “If your dreams do not scare you, then they are not big enough”
” If your dreams do not scare you then they are not big enough ” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
I hope today, that whatever dream God has put in your heart, it is so big it scares you to death! Because, I know there is a God who is right there beside you, ready to hold your hand and walk with you. He cares for you and wants to see you succeed in everything you do. Sometimes it can get scary, getting to the place where He wants us to be, but we can rest on the fact that He is working “all things for our good !”……..
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NASB
It was the summer of 2013 and I did it! I went wild and crazy maybe it was the fact my daughter had just graduated from High School or my youngest son was about to turn 16 and would start driving on his own soon or maybe it was that my oldest son was about to get married and I was also going to be an instant grandma on the same day, but no I think it was just the fact that I wanted to look my best for the wedding and be as cool as possible since the wedding was outside on a hot summer June day in Oklahoma, But whatever the reason I did it! “Yes, I went and got a spray tan!! I know it was wild for me! (don’t judge) LOL!!
If you have been around me at all, you have probably noticed the numerous scars all over my arms that glow like beaming lights. I have a natural-olive completion, but after a severe case of chickenpox as a child. I was left with light colored scars all over my arms. I usually wear at least three-quarter length sleeves, if not long sleeves year round because if it.
But as I stepped out of the tent and looked into the mirror, after I had been sprayed. My blemishes were all gone! My completion on my arms was perfect!! I almost cried, it was unreal the feeling of an unknown weight I had been carrying on my shoulders was suddenly lifted an overwhelming sense of joy filled me and I was flooded with unexpected emotions. I asked Amy to quickly hand me my glasses so I could assure that they were all gone. As I put my glasses on , just as quickly as they were gone, the blemishes returned. the view through my glasses revealed the truth that they had only been darken a little but it was clear they were still there, and just as quickly as the joy came and the weight was lifted it returned, perhaps even heavier than before. But never the less I will never forget the feeling of that weight being lifted off me, I had not realized how much it bother me until, suddenly I thought I would never have to cover up my scars again.
As my mom celebrated her first birthday in Heaven yesterday, I know she must be feeling that same freedom, from the weight of her sickness and disease as I felt those few seconds in the tanning booth. As she celebrated her birthday with my dad and her mom and many other friends who had went to heaven before her and then even some who have followed her in the short 7 months she has been gone. See, I don’t think it is by accident that I had that experience less than 30 days before my momma took her last breath here on this earth. I believe God wanted me to feel just a bit of the freedom and peace that she feels everyday since being in heaven.
So this one thing I am certain of, there is no way I would want her to come back and carry the weight of her sickness and disease, she no longer feels the shame of being handicapped she is truly, truly free!
Does it make me miss her any less, no but it brings me comfort to know she is ok. In fact she is more than ok, she is perfect! Does it mean I don’t cry, no but as I do, I focus not on my loss but on her gain. I rejoice in the fact I have the assurance that if I continue to follow Christ, I will see her again and I trust that not only I will see her again, but I will be bringing the generations yet to come in our family, to heaven with me. They will follow me there one day, because I too will tell them, like my parents taught me about the love and grace of Jesus and like my parents I will do my best to show them how to follow Christ by not just my words but my actions too. One day there will be a great family reunion in heaven, all because one couple chose one little girl who had nothing to give them and yet they gave her the greatest gift- Jesus
Happy Birthday Momma!