Happy birthday, Dad!

What would I say if my dad were standing before me?

Many things have happened since you went to heaven nearly two years ago. The ups and downs. The good and bad and somewhere in between. I would have shared everything with you. You would have laughed and cried. You would have rejoiced. And other things would have saddened you, as they have us.

But I have seen God’s hand.

During the difficulties I have seen Him working His perfect plan for our lives. I have seen His faithfulness and steadfast love. Answers have come in the stillness of the night. Ways have been made when there was none. Truth has been our footing when all hope seemed lost.

God has seen us through it all.

That’s what you wanted for us, to see God through it. To see His goodness and grace. To not run from Him. To not be bitter.

Sometimes it’s hard, though. I have accused God of being unfair. Sometimes it feels as if I’m standing out in a downpour with no roof to run. I raise my skimpy umbrella only to see the panels have all been torn. I stand helpless, drenched and questioning God’s reasons.

But then my mind drifts back to the hospital when you asked us not blame God.

And the only cure for bitterness is thankfulness. To see the blessings even at their smallest.

I’m thankful for a God who gave His Son for me. A God who doesn’t give up on me. A God who still has a plan for me. A God who has prepared a place for me. A God who loves me. A God who may have taken you from our presence but placed you in His.

I’m thankful for what He’s given me. The grace for each moment. The air for each breath. A bed for every night. A kiss from my husband. A cry or giggle from each child. A hug from my mom. An engine that starts. A sunrise each morning. Food for my plate.

My dad—who had “everything taken from him”—wanted us not to be bitter at God.

And so, on your second heavenly birthday, I want you to know, I remember. I’m trying to keep my eyes on God no matter how difficult the journey. I’m trying to see the blessings, big or small. To not allow bitterness to steal my joy, cloud my judgment or discourage my hope.

Even today—on your birthday—as I have another test done to confirm what the doctors already know…Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. Bless the Lord, O my soul. (Bless the Lord, O My Soul/10,000 Reasons)

Happy heavenly birthday, dad! I love you and I still miss you.

A Crown of Glory

No one wants to look older than they really are. No one. Let’s face it—the world tells us gray hair is a sign of old age. It’s not associated with being young and beautiful. And we go to great extremes to stop this unavoidable path.

I was only twenty-two when I spotted my first white hair. Yes, white! No gradual grays for me. I was horrified. Continue reading “A Crown of Glory”

A Girl Dreams

A girl begins to dream and plan her wedding from very young. She wears a long skirt and drapes a lacey curtain over her face, imagining a wedding gown and veil.

The flowers are everywhere. The sparkling white lights. Walking down the aisle in a gorgeous gown as everyone gazes upon her beauty. Standing beside her soulmate, her best friend, her Prince Charming. How magical and beautiful her big day will be.

And then there is reality. Continue reading “A Girl Dreams”

Show Up and Let God

We tend to approach life’s challenges like battles. They are intimidating or possibly they don’t seem worth fighting so we’re tempted to completely avoid the battle. Or perhaps we fight—bringing our best efforts and weapons—only to fall short. We blame ourselves for not having prepared enough. We retreat—licking our battle wounds—as we ask ourselves what we did wrong and how we can come out on top next time.

But some of our greatest battles aren’t won through blood, sweat and tears. They aren’t won by overpowering or outnumbering the enemy. And they aren’t won by our strategic attack. Continue reading “Show Up and Let God”