Sunday, July 21, 2013

Knowing You...

kisses for Daddy
I love watching how Gabriel's face lights up when he hears his daddy calling his name.  He gets this absolutely precious smile on his face and bounces up and down in excitement.  He knows his daddy's voice, and he loves to hear it!  

Knott's Berry Farm with Daddy (and Snoopy:)
My dad had a very distinctive voice, too.  Just a few weeks ago marked 6 years ago that he passed away.  I asked that people share their memories of him, and the responses brought such a big smile to my face and comfort to my heart.   One of my best friends wrote about how she would never forget how he would drawl out his Texas accent at the McDonald's drive-thru window when we lived in California.  My cousin commented on how no one could "sing" the school fight song like he could.  Several people commented on his one-of-a-kind laugh, and another friend recalled things he would say as he pestered the tellers at the bank.  Many memories were shared, but they all held something in common--my daddy had a distinctive voice that, once you heard, you just knew it belonged to him.

Daddy and me, senior recital 2000
Today would have been my daddy's 64th birthday.  We didn't get to take him out to lunch for his special day, but I certainly was thinking of him throughout the entire day, and as we had lunch with my brother and his family after church this morning, I couldn't help but wonder, just for a moment, what it would be like to have Daddy there with us to celebrate his special day and to hear all of the kids' sweet little voices sing happy birthday to their pappy.  It breaks my heart that they never got to hear his signature chuckle or listen to one of his stories or jokes... they never got to know him...not at least in the way I had always envisioned my children knowing my daddy.

Lucy = "Bringer of LIGHT"
At dinner this evening, someone asked us why we chose the name that we did for Lucy.  There are a few reasons for this, but one of them is that my dad really loved that name, and on one of our last phone conversations, I remember him saying, "Well, whatever you name her, I'm going to call her Lucy."  So, when he passed away before her birth, we decided our baby girl's name was definitely going to be Lucy, because I wanted her to have the name that her pappy knew her by.

But as much as I grieve over my kids not knowing my daddy, I grieve even more over the thought of if he didn't know Jesus.  I know that in Heaven, we are going to be completely focused on worshipping our Saviour, but in my human eyes, it's very hard for me to imagine Heaven without those I love most dearly here on this Earth.  And as a follower of Jesus--a KNOW-er of Jesus--it is my desire that others will come to know him, too.  One of my all time favorite worship songs is entitled "Knowing You," and when I found out I was getting to play the piano at church this morning, a specific arrangement of that song from an offertory book came to my mind.  As our guest preacher gave his sermon this morning, I knew it was no accident that the Lord had brought that song to the forefront of my mind.  The sermon today was from Matthew 7, and verses 21-23 say this: 

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

There truly is no greater thing in all of this world than to know Jesus, and what a privilege that our Creator not only allows us to know Him so deeply, but He longs for us to know Him!  As much as I long for my kids to have known my Daddy, I long even more for my children to know my Heavenly Daddy; "Oh to know the power of the risen Lord" as the song says.  I know it is ultimately their deicision, but I am committed to guiding them in the ways of the Lord, and I know the most influential way I can do that is by example.  So tonight my prayer is that I will fall more and more in love with my Jesus--to know Him more, so that I can make even Him more known.  I treasure the relationship I was blessed with in my earthly father, but nothing can compare to the relationship that has been ofered to me with my Heavenly Father.  Truly, there is no greater thing...

Thursday, July 4, 2013


So much has happened this past month--Lucy's dance recital, Father's Day, my birthday, Gabriel's birthday, buying our first home, MOVING...I have so much I have wanted to share, but just haven't really been able to pen my thoughts amidst everything going on.  So, stay tuned for some updates (including ADORABLE photos of GP smashing into his first chooclate cupcake at his party!)  For now though, I'll just start with the present...

I'm sitting here typing with red and blue painted nails and sporting my Old Navy flag tee (which is actually from 2011, but oh well;-) and listening to random fireworks going off somewhere nearby our new neighborhood.  As I checked FB throughout the day, I found my newsfeed full of updates regarding the 4th of July, many of them including a note of gratitude for the freedom so many have fought for us to have. And while the majority of my FB friends were posting of various family gatherings and fireworks shows, I was posting of updates of our unpacking process in our new home.  Oddly enough, when I opened up my journal today, it fell upon an entry I penned a few weeks back that had to do with both of those topics: freedom, and packing...

I have always been SO bad about over-packing. 

What if THIS happens, and I need THAT...

I want to be prepared for every situation that could possibly be thrown my way.  I want to feel in control.  Instead, most of the time I just end up feeling annoyed though--annoyed by the mound of stuff I'm having to lug around and dig through.  My baggage weighs me down, slows me down, and it can even bring me down.  (I'll never forget a trip we made to Chicago with the staff and wives at a church we served in.  We were all headed up or down on the escalator, and Steve and his bags  couldn't keep up, so instead, they went down, and they took Steve with them!)

It's safe to say I've experienced some overpacking in my personal life, too.  You try to take control of every little detail, but many times, depsite all of the preparation, the unexpected and unwanted still happens.  So what do you do when you've done everything in your power to control, only to discover that you still really aren't  in control?

You surrender.

Our old home--all packed up...
You remove all of your "weapons" and the things you've been lugging around "just in case," and you let someone else take control.  Someone who was already in control in the first place, whether you admitted to it or not.  And then beautiful things happen...  The arms that were loaded down with baggage are now free to embrace what's in front of them.  The feet that were moving so slowly trying to carry all of that stuff around are now able to run and dance.  The mind that was so busied and cluttered with thoughts of all of the what-ifs is now clear to focus on something, Someone, else.

We so often think of surrender as a form of imprisonment, but it's really the exact opposite--it's freedom.

One of my favorite definitions of surrender is this: To accept defeat.

And I think that's why we don't like it--because it makes us feel weak.  But in reality, that's exactly what we are.  I mean, after carrying around all of that stuff, aren't we tired?  Our pride tells us, Don't give up; you can do it!  But we only grow weaker as we continually realize that we can't do it...and thank the Lord, we don't have to!  In reality, defeat isn't weakness at all; it's recognizing strength in Christ.  It's FREEDOM!  And what's so amazing and unique to admitting our defeat and surrendering to Jesus is that we are able to open up the floodgates of freedom to our souls.

John 8:36 says this:
If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.

The only way we can ever be free from our bondage is by laying it down.  Surrender to Jesus is where freedom is truly found, and for an over-packer like me, oh how thankful I am of that freedom!

(Well, OK, and maybe I will hang on to some lightweight Vera Bradley luggage for fashion's sake ;-)