These Hands

These hands have held, been held, worked, wiped tears, patted backs, rubbed headaches away… these hands have been folded in prayer, they’ve reached out to another, twiddled, anxiously moved, covered a mouth filled with laughter, rubbed a back to console.

These hands have written down feelings, held the hand of a dying loved one, held a newborn child straight from the womb. These hands have raised to God in worship, stretched wide in desperation, lifted heavy loads, disciplined out of love, made mistakes, and begged for forgiveness. These hands have loved and lost and hurt and been hurt.

These hands will continue to make a difference here and now and forever. These are hands of mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, wives, cousins, aunts, nieces, a grandmother, a widow, sinners, redeemed women, saved by grace through faith daughters of The King. These are mine and Momma’s hands.

To The Little Girl

To the little girl in the photo:

Life will give you many twists and turns. The ride will sometimes be smooth and other times will be bumpy. You will face things that you never expected. You’ll learn that not everyone is who they appear. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll scream. You’ll stand up and stand firm. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You’ll be shown mercy. Lots of it. God will be the one constant. He will be the only ONE who will never let you down. He’s the only ONE capable of that for anyone. You will face fears and you’ll face things that some will never know about. You’ll love big. You will be blessed so much. God will give you so many gifts. Life will reveal things that you never imagined. You will realize again and again that you are never the ONE that is in control. You will have moments of frustration. You will experience depression and anxiety. You will think it’s a secret to keep. You will speak up and be transparent. You will realize that life throws the twists and turns and that sometimes you will struggle. You’ll speak up and be bold. You will share pieces of your testimony at the right times. The times that God leads you to do so. You’ll share your struggles because you know the things you experience can help someone else. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll soar. You’ll fly. You will struggle with the deep thoughts and you’ll keep sharing. This is why you are here. Little girl. You keep going. Keep striving. Keep leaning. Keep standing. Your FATHER is always by your side.

Love,

Me

Time Doesn’t Stop For Anyone

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15 ESV)

When I knew my Daddy was definitely dying, (I believe he had coded 2 or 3 times by this point) as we all surrounded him in the hospital, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Zippity Doo Dah” in his left ear. (He used to sing the last one loudly around the house when I was a little girl) .. Softly, as I rubbed his hair and gave him kisses and cried, because I wanted to comfort him and for him to not be afraid; because he was always my comforter. Even though rationally I knew that Daddy was already being held by Jesus.

After the 4th code blue, we knew we had to let him go. He was already gone. Shock was among the emotions I first felt, and denial and anger and overwhelming grief and heart ache.

Heart Ache. Literal aching.

Losing my hero and the first man I ever loved was a change that I wasn’t ready to make and would have never been ready to make. I learned some things about myself while watching my Daddy die. I learned that when choosing fight or flight mode in an awful tragedy that I stand and fight.. Like my daddy. That when someone I love most is in danger that I will stand and fight.

I learned that by God’s grace I can face loss and not be alone. That GOD truly supplies all of my needs. I learned that grief cannot be stopped at a certain time no matter what anyone says or what I’ve ever said to anyone about not staying stuck in a phase of grief. There are no time limits.. Every loss is different.

My daddy and I shared a special bond, and at age 40 I was still Daddy’s little girl. I felt like part of my heart went to heaven with him. Only someone who has had the exact relationship as I did with my Daddy or a similar one will understand.

My mother’s loss is different than mine. My brothers and sister and the children each are experiencing their own loss. Every person who’s life was touched by a loss experiences their own grief. Grief is different for everyone.

When it was over, I asked “is that it? Is he gone?” Just like that.. Everything changed. One breath to the next.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I knew he was gone was: “what happens when your Daddy dies and you were Daddy’s little girl? Are you still Daddy’s little girl?”

And the answer to that is: “ABSOLUTELY”

Whatever any of us were before in relation to any loss, doesn’t get deleted like a file on a computer just because they no longer walk on this earth with us.

I say all of this to share with you that time doesn’t stop for anyone. You think you will have tomorrow to handle things or to say hello or to go visit. You think that because yesterday you had tomorrow that today you will too. Think again. Nobody is promised tomorrow.

But even though I never went more than a week without seeing my Daddy, I still wish I had visited more. Like one of my brother’s said: “no matter what, we would always want one more time.” One more visit, one more hug, one more “I Love You.”

It’s been 3 weeks, and if you see my family and we are smiling or laughing, it’s not because we are over it. No, we smile because we know Daddy is with Jesus. We smile because God is providing strength and peace because of HIS love and grace and mercy. Undeserved.. But freely given.

My family and I are truly grateful for the love shown to us by so many friends and family members. We are so rich in family and friends. Gifts from God. That peace.. That strength.. Gifts from God.

All men are destined to die once. For authentic believers, that death leads to eternal life. That’s where my hope lies.. That’s where my comfort rests. You, too, can have that hope and peace and assurance as well, if you don’t already. It comes from trusting in Jesus and following HIM.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, (Hebrews 9:27a ESV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Until Next Time,

~ Heather

A NEW OLD RULE

On the way home from church this past Sunday, Mother’s day I might add :), our kids had to sit right beside each other on the way home. Not the best idea…siblings are going to aggravate each other..that is just a fact of life friends. Isn’t there an unspoken rule that your kids have to get along on Mother’s day and your birthday?? 🙂

Well, I spoke up…rather quickly..before I had thought out exactly how I wanted to word it…”Ok..we are NOT going to talk to each other like this..I have a NEW rule..(silence…)..and the NEW rule is…” What’s the new rule Momma, asks our youngest? “Hang on, stick to the OLD one while I try to put into words what the NEW one is…(laughing).”

Here is what I told them: From now on before you speak to each other or act..I want you(and me and Daddy) to think, “Is what I am about to say or do going to bring God glory(make Him proud of me) or is it going to make Him ashamed of me?”

Now, does this mean that because I said this, that now every time before we act or speak that we are perfect in our words and deeds? Only in a fairytale world! When you mess up, that is a perfect time to teach your children the importance of confessing and repenting. Yes, kids are going to fuss..and so are parents. Yes, this is a rule we have taught our children since they were little…but, it never hurts to remind them and yourself of how we should treat one another. Especially within the family.

Your home should be a place where there is love and peace and acceptance. There is enough negative that we receive from the outside world. What if though..we all practiced this NEW rule..not just in our homes with our family..but with EVERYONE. See, that is the intention that I had when telling our children this NEW rule. It isn’t really NEW… It goes along with what Scripture tells us: Love your neighbor as yourself..and bridle or control your tongue.(this is not quoted scripture..just referring to scripture)

Our words and our actions relate to being an effective witness for Christ. Our words and behavior reflect what we truly believe in our hearts.

Words are extremely powerful! Our words can heal or they can tear down. Words can lift somebody up or bring them down. Words can be restrained and controlled or they can run wild. Our relationship with Christ Jesus is reflected through our words. (tone, choice of words, self-control) Do your words reflect Jesus or do they reflect you?

Proverbs 13:3 (NIV) ~ He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

Proverbs 15:28 (NIV) ~ The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

Luke 6:45 (NIV) ~ The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.

Our actions reflect what we truly believe. Many people claim to know God…our behavior will speak volumes about our beliefs. We all make mistakes, and we all sin, it is our attitude about those things that reflect our beliefs though. If you truly know God..those things that keep you separated from Him will convict you..and make you sad and want to repent and change.

Titus 1:16a (NIV) ~ They claim to know God, but their actions deny Him.

If you don’t really know God, don’t let shame or pride keep you from knowing Him. He loves you…he loves me…thank goodness He doesn’t want “perfect people”. If you do know God as your Savior and Redeemer but you know your actions and words haven’t reflected that, it is time to give in and give it all to God. There is freedom in letting Jesus take control.

Thanks for letting me share with you what God has put on my heart to share. I wish for you all the freedom that comes from letting go and letting GOD!

UNTIL NEXT TIME! 🙂

Sisters..best friends one day..

THANK YOU

  I have really been thinking over the past few days about all that my Savior Jesus has done for me. Especially with today being Good Friday. Let me begin with a little bit of history about my relationship with Christ. No, this is not my entire testimony. 🙂

   I was brought up in a Christian home. My parents were active members in church. My Momma played the organ at church..Daddy was a choir director, sound booth guy :)..they both were youth leaders for several years. There are so many other areas that they served in at church..I know I am leaving a lot out.  Sorry Momma and Daddy!  They made sure we were up and at ’em on Sunday mornings..even when I didn’t “want” to get up and go. 🙂 I am so thankful for the Christian environment that my parents provided! I now realize that not everybody was as fortunate. Does this mean our family was perfect? No..of course not..we had our share of difficulties.  The thing is though, we had God to lean on during those times.

   I accepted Christ at a very young elementary school age at Camp Tygart. Another thing that my parents made available to me..church camp. Now..let’s get something clear though, I called my Momma to come rescue me from camp. Let’s just say I didn’t love the amenities 🙂 and I was homesick. I remember sneaking to use the pay phone. Remember those?  Momma came and got me too. 

   I could write a book on this subject..but what I am trying to get across to you is this: You have a choice in how you influence your family. You have a choice in what you want your family to be exposed to and experience. No matter what your background is or where you came from, you still have the choice right now.

   I am so thankful and grateful that my parents exposed me to God at a young age. I am so thankful that they set good examples for me. You have the chance right now..this very moment..no matter what mistakes you have made(nobody is perfect), to be a good Christian example to your kids. If you don’t have kids of your own..what about nephews and nieces, cousins, family members, friends, students..etc. ? There is somebody that you effect. No matter the “problems” that all families face (mine included), with God on your side you can overcome!

   Thank you to my Momma and Daddy and to all of my past Sunday School teachers, those that took time to help at Bible school and church camp! Thank you for giving to the Lord..I am a life that was changed. Thank you Jesus for loving me even though I am so unworthy.

   I pray you all enjoy your Easter weekend..and take time to reflect on what it really is about. I pray you all are blessed!

   Colossians 3:23-24 ~ And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

   Enjoy this song..it is an old one that I just love:  thank_you_for_giving_to_the_lord_ray_boltz__

   UNTIL NEXT TIME! 🙂