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.

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”

I am a Servant

It’s human nature to question God’s will, especially when it seems to oppose our own or happen not as we expected. Why did you take my job? Why is my life so difficult? Why did you take my loved one? Why is my marriage so difficult? Why do I have to deal with this hater at my school? Why can’t I have a family? Why does my child struggle so? Why can’t I find a spouse?

Mary was a virgin, betrothed to Joseph. God sent His angel Gabriel to tell Mary, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.”  She had everything to lose in obeying God’s will: her reputation, her marriage, her family, her wants and hopes.

Yet, her response was not, “Eh…I don’t know, God. It’s going to look like I cheated on Joseph. And I’m not sure I can raise the Son of God.” No. Instead, Continue reading “I am a Servant”

The Perfect Gift

I cannot wait to give our boys their presents on Christmas morning! To see the huge smiles on their faces as they rip open the paper and get a first peek. As parents, it gives us great pleasure to bless our children with gifts. The love and joy we experience as humans is pretty grand, but imagine how our Heavenly Father must feel to bless us with good gifts from above? The unexplainable delight as He showers us with His blessings.

Have you ever given a gift only to see the person look unaffected upon receiving it? Has someone ever told you they didn’t like your gift? How hurtful and disappointing. Maybe their gift was an afterthought, quickly found on the shelf as you exited a store, or perhaps you thought it was the perfect gift – carefully wrapped with appreciation and tied with a bow of love.

As much as we’d like to brag about our ability to give perfect gifts, there is none like the one God gave. His was the Perfect Gift. It was the greatest ever given. His might not be the latest iPhone or a smart TV. It’s not a sleek Ferrari or a mansion on a hilltop. It’s not even our deepest desire. Continue reading “The Perfect Gift”