I take such pride in being able to make the statement that is the title of this blog post. Especially in a time where parents are taken for granted. Let me explain:
The way my Dad became my Dad is not the same story as most, but similar to many. I’ve known him my entire life, but he did not become my “Step Dad” (I HATE that phrase.) until I was 14 when after many prayers on my part he married my Mom. I’ve been estranged from my biological father since I was about 3, and while I had an amazing Grandpa who helped my Mom raise me until he passed away when I was 11… I never had someone to call “Dad”.
Naturally, having a new authority figure during my teen years was quite a challenge. Dean, my Dad, had only had sons and was not used to the emotions that come out of teenage girls. I had been without a father figure for a few years, and didn’t know how to react to him some times. We did, however, eventually find our niche and have realized the blessing we are to each other. Through the years we have had our ups and downs. But, I never realized just how much I loved him until this year.
Dean has scoliosis and many other problems with his back. In the past year and a half, he has had 3 back surgeries and will soon have another. With this last surgery we nearly lost him though.
Early one morning in April of this year, he was put under anesthesia. The neurosurgeon told my Mom it would be about 3 hours. The surgery, however, lasted 18 hours. Yes, you read that right. 18 hours. Everything went wrong, they were not equipped, things were worse than expected, and they had to cut deeper and further than planned. He was laying on his stomach the entire time. When we finally saw him, he didn’t look at all like the man who WALKED into the hospital. He was extremely swollen, had a breathing tube down his throat, and wires/tubes going in and out of him over most of his body. We had planned that we’d be taking him home, but now he was in the ICU in critical condition.
The next day they informed us that he was experiencing renal failure. They took out the breathing tube, but still had to stay on oxygen. Gradually over the next few days he made less and less sense. His kidneys were getting worse. We became very concerned and began to prepare for the worst. I was almost 30 weeks pregnant when he went in the hospital. I would sit next to his bed and cry. Would he know his new granddaughter that he was so excited for? Would he ever be able to hold his other grandchildren again? I cried at the thought of never taking him home. My best friend had lost her Dad just a few weeks before, and as much as I hated seeing her pain and anguish, I did not want to experience that. I was determined a miracle had to happen, but at times my faith would slack. How could anyone recover from this?
That Tuesday, Diania and I set up a prayer vigil. We all gathered outside his window and prayed. All over we had people praying at exactly the same time as we had made it a Facebook event and got the news out by word of mouth also. Right then, he woke up, was lucid, and from there he very slowly recovered.God had answered our prayers!
After more than a month in the hospital, he finally came home. He is still unable to walk without a walker and has other issues, but he is on the road to what I have faith will be a FULL recovery. Tonight he is “on tour” with his country gospel band, The Tomes Brothers, as they minister in Illinois. God gave us a miracle!
I knew I loved my Dad, I just never knew how much. He has taught me so much over time about God, life, cars, and many other things. Every day I praise God, my Heavenly Father, that He did not take my Dad here on earth from me, and that Dean is still able to minister through song and teaching to so many others. Hallelujah!
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade…”
What does this mean exactly? Basically, to take something sour & bitter and turn it into something sweet. A negative into a positive. As Christians, we deal with this on a different level as we are to spread God’s love to a dying world.
In every day situations, this may be easy to do. But what about when the unthinkable happens? Something so traumatic, that finding the pros is completely impossible when there are so many cons lined up against you? It becomes difficult to find the good with the bad, and to show love and be positive to others when we feel so full of hurt/anger/sadness and negativity.
I’ll be the first to say, this is not my favorite subject to write about. It has taken me a long time to learn this lesson myself. But when God says “write”, by golly, you better write.
So, from here we will begin a Tuesday series. I hope you’ll follow along and read what the Lord has told me to write and be blessed.
I come to you today just as I am.
My hands I raise to you and ask for them to be blessed.
Only you know, Lord, all that I do with my hands. I prepare meals, fix toys, break up fights, assume the role of doctor, nurse, teacher, and maid. While keeping them clean while being a mom may be difficult, as long as they are clean in your eyes, I’ll be happy.
Help me to understand what it means to be content in whatever state I am. Not wishing for things to be different, like others, or the way they used to be. But instead, seeing that in the present you have blessed me.
Help me draw closer to you, even though I have so little time. Show me how to turn the little moments into big ones, and let me thrive on your love.
Teach me how to raise my children the way you would raise them. In fact, raise them through me instead. I only want the best for my kids, and the best would be you, God.
Thank you for all of your many blessings. I love you so much.
The Sticky Mom
In my life, I have moved approximately 47 times. Yes, you read that right: 47!
No, I wasn’t a military kid. And though my Grandpa was a pastor and I lived in his home, from the time I was born until the time he died he was pastoring the same church. In fact, the majority of my childhood was in the same home from the age of 6 until 14 and I attended the same elementary school for all 7 years. Life has just “happened” and as a result, I’ve moved. A lot.
The majority of those moves have been in the last 16 years. Many times I find myself wishing I never had to move again, but such is the life of being a renter and not a home owner. I long for home, to put it simply. But where and what is “home”?
Could it be where you grew up? Just a place you store your “stuff”? Is it where your family resides, or the opposite, as far away from them as possible? Is it a brick and mortar building, on wheels, or non existent all together?
During a very dark time in my life, I lived in my van. (Before you even ask, no, it wasn’t down by the river.) While enduring that circumstance, I realized very quickly how often people take the little things for granted. I learned then that “home” does not have to be something tangible. So I know that is not what I’m looking for. (On a side note, no, in my count of 47 I am not including every time I drove my van from one place to another. Oh, c’mon, go ahead and laugh. You know you want to. I do!)
The Bible tells us this:
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
There is an old saying, “Home is where the heart is”. If we’re layin’ up our treasures in that home above… and that is where our heart is… Looks like Heaven is “Home”.
I don’t know about you, but home is looking better every day. Being as homesick as I am, I’m going to do everything I can to reach my destination. How about you?
Okay, before we continue, let’s get this out of the way:
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Sunday School Sunday School
(Women:) The Men (Men:) The Women
(Girls:) The Boys (Boys:) The Girls
E’erybody Oughta Go To Sunday School
Now that this song is nicely implanted in your head from your childhood, we may continue with your regularly scheduled blog post. I’d continue the song on and sing about e’erybody backin’ the preacher, but that is a command that needs more than a few paragraphs. Another time, another place…
It seems these days a lot of people who are Christians do not see the importance of church attendance. They’ve either been hurt, don’t have the time to find a good church where they feel they fit in, or they’ve simply fallen out of the habit/not ever learned to establish the habit. Many do not feel it is required, or even biblical. However, it is:
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:19-25 NKJV
There is a reason this command was given. When we attend church we are strengthened in many ways. To name a few:
Life circumstances happen. Illness, jobs, family events, etc. It can all get in the way. God understands that when it is truly impossible. But when we are able, we should do our best to be there. A sermon on TV is great, but not the same. Reading a pastor’s blog is encouraging, but not the same. Putting on some worship music and praising in the living room is refreshing, but not the same. There is no substitute for any of the gifts God has given us. You can’t replicate the best. Just try that recipe for IHOP pancakes or a Disneyland Mint Julep you find online. Nothing like the real thing!
And hey, if it wasn’t so fabulous, would there be people in anti-Christian countries fighting for that right? Risking their lives by attending a church service hidden in someone’s home every chance they can? I think not… (That was my version of my Grandma’s “There are children starving in China, Ethiopia, and right down the street” lecture when I refused to finish my healthy dinner…)
Bottom line: Church is good, and good for you. God commands it for a good reason, just as he does everything else. I’m going to admit that I’m not in service as often as I would like, but when I do go… Life is better. Plain and simple. I challenge you: Go for just a few weeks. See how you feel. I bet you won’t want to stop!
Originally written by Angie on January 21, 2010
This morning I woke up in a “mood”. I felt sensitive and vulnerable.
I know that some are affected this way by the weather, but I don’t believe that was the cause of my outlook. In fact, I’m feeling down that our rainy days are coming to an end soon. I love stormy weather, and this week has just been great for me in that sense. I find myself dreading Saturday when it is forecasted to be partly sunny by afternoon.
I started off just annoyed to be awake. I think we all have a day like that from time to time, right? I didn’t sleep well last night, and the fact that today was already here just really flat out ticked me off. Then I checked my email and something that I wouldn’t normally think twice about made me want to cry. In general I was feeling down and discouraged, feeling as though doom and gloom were on the horizon. As I went on with my morning, I just kept thinking “I don’t want today to be like this!” I most certainly didn’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s bad attitude with my negativity, either.
When I was a little girl and a teenager, if I was feeling down, my Grandma would tell me: “Why should you be sad? We have Jesus! Read your Bible for a little while and I’m sure you’ll feel better.” Grandma was also known for her love of Pollyanna and looking on the bright side.
I figured I’d give it a try this morning. I mean, I read my Bible on a regular basis, but what could it hurt to just stop and read and expect something to cheer me up?
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Now how does that not make you feel better, huh? Makes it hard to have a negative outlook, I’ll say that much…
We’ve all been there. Had a need, want, or wish that we prayed for fervently. Begging God to just let this one thing go our way. Only to find that God didn’t agree, and just flat out said “NO!”
Naturally, sometimes as humans we become upset. We don’t understand WHY God would ever not grant us the wishes of our heart. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” we ask, assuming that God couldn’t possibly know our side of it.
As difficult as it can be, the key to remember is that God is all knowing. He sees the big picture, not just the here and now like we see it. Of course he wants the best for us! But just as our children think cookies make a good meal, we know better. He doesn’t want us to settle for less.
When I was young, and I mean YOUNG, there was something I prayed for. I could NOT understand why God was not giving me what I wanted. Surely He knew the dream I had from the time I was a tot, why wouldn’t He just give it to me? I’ll tell you why: because it was not His will. He had something so much better in store for me. I didn’t understand it at the time, but boy do I now! And let me just say Thank You LORD for not giving in to my stupidity! 😉
It does not always go this way. Sometimes the reason our prayers go unanswered is not clear. It is not for us to know while we are here on earth, but as the old song says “We’ll understand it better by and by…” In the mean time, thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough to say “no” instead of spoiling us. For were it not for the “nos”, we wouldn’t be thankful when He says, “YES!”
If you’re old enough, you may remember this commercial from the 90’s, where the kid from Last Action Hero and Heartland (I think that was the name of it…) goes into Circuit City because he bought a Walkman one week and it was advertised at a better price the next.
“Last week I bought this… and today I saw this…”
Words forever implemented into the brain of a child of the 90’s…
When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we never have to worry about this. See, our souls are purchased with blood. There are no “sales”, “bids”, “rebates”, “coupons”, “economy versions”, or “upgrades”. The price of our soul does not change. What we were then, that is what we are today, and that is what we’ll be in the future: It is the same. Our value does not deteriorate like may things do in this day and age. We are still the most valuable to God!
Sometimes, when you are like me and have a past, it is easy to think, “Well, yeah, I can do good. But not near as good as Sis. So-and-so, they’ve never done anything wrong so obviously they are closer to God.” THIS IS NOT TRUE! Remember how the Bible says that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy? This is a PERFECT example. Don’t let him win!
You are valuable to God. Irreplaceable, as a matter of fact. You can do just as much for him now as any one else. Pray about it and seek God about what he wants you to do and then do it. You have a testimony and there are people out there who need your encouragement. Whether it’s going on the mission field, helping out at your church, or leading you children just follow the call of Jesus. You’ll be so glad you did!
Okay ladies, how has your week been so far?
Remember my challenge I sent out to all of you on Monday? I won’t lie, it’s been tough to follow through with. I have not made a single pot of coffee (which means it’s a miracle anyone in this family survived) or pampered myself to more than the expected shower… which was SUCH a blessing, especially when I have a 2 month old. I did, however, relax while holding the baby, sipping a Diet Coke and thanking God for his many blessings. I took time with my children when they just wanted to bang on their musical instruments to sing to the Lord. Hey, at least it was beautiful to Him and us. I’m sure it wasn’t to anyone else. 😉 As I fed the baby in the middle of the night I sneaked in a quick reading of a few scriptures. I prayed as I walked the floor, as I did dishes, as I fell asleep, and while I woke and readied myself for the day. (I should note, readying myself for the day only involves changing my clothes, brushing my teeth, and washing my face. Gross, I know. But hey, in a month it’ll all be different. The joys of mothering an infant with GERD. I love it though.) I also prayed a LOT while re-potty training my 3 year old, but I digress…
But what about you? Did you try? I did. Not as great as I would like, but I still tried. And you know, that’s okay. We’re going to have good days, bad days, and everything in between. But I’d still like to know how you did! Please share!
Now, with the weekend coming up, I want you to make a point to spend one on one time with your husband if you are blessed to have one. Talk, look each other in the eye, and enjoy time with each other. Actually listen to what he has to say. Don’t fold laundry while you talk, don’t check your facebook or twitter. Focus on him. Just one hour, I know time can be strained, but make time. You’ll feel so much better. As you are talking, thank God that you are blessed with someone, as many women are not.
Continue to strive for those Sticky Handed Moments!
Coming up Monday: The Prayer of The Sticky Handed
I have a close friend, Crystal, who strives to keep her home clean. I often wish I had it as together as she does. Her home is in a central location for a few of us to meet up for gatherings and play dates, during which she can often be heard proclaiming, “HAND CHECK!” at which point all of the kids line up and she inspects their hands for cleanliness. When done, she helps the messy hands get cleaned up and sends them all back to playing. We often tease her for it, but in reality, it is a genius idea.
From time to time we have things on our hands that we are not so proud of. Things that shouldn’t be there. Other times, everything on our hands are good things to have, but something is missing.
As moms, we are all guilty of this. We get so busy with the kids that we compromise, allowing things in our lives that shouldn’t be there. We also take short cuts, not doing exactly what God tells us to do. Ask yourself, and examine your hands: Do you need to wash them? Do you need to put something on them? Good hand care is important! Spending time in the word, giving attention to our husbands and children as we should, and making sure to pray and thank God for his many blessings are just a few.