my weekend

As children and even as adults, we look to our fathers for not only love but support, validation, security, and acceptance. I know as a young women I needed to hear words from my dad like “You are beautiful” and “I love you.” But that isn’t the way my life has turned out and those are not the words this young teenage girl heard. The words I remember from my dad were “I’m leaving.”

This weekend I chose to attend the visitation of my father. He passed away last week at the age of 68 from multiple, serious strokes. I wasn’t sure what I would do when he died. Would I go to his funeral? Maybe I would not go and have my own moment of silence? Well, I chose to go. Not out of obligation but for myself.

Attending his visitation was like being a part of the funeral of a stranger or someone I only knew from a distant memory. And coming away actually provided much clarity for me. I feel a sense of closure and peace that I had not before. A burden of my life has been lifted and a stain wiped clean. I realized that although my earthly dad may be gone my Heavenly Father is alive. He is active and present in my life. He is good and always for me.

About 45 minutes from the location of my father’s services is the cemetery where my mother was buried almost exactly one year ago. The anniversary of her death is January 27th. I  ended my weekend by remembering not what was void in my life but by celebrating what was present. A loving mother. A gift of God. As God would have it, the sun was shining right on her even in the cold, barrenness of this winter season. It was an appropriate picture of this season of my life.

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the end of the chapter

I have always said I lost my dad years ago but yesterday I lost my dad for the last time. I grieved his loss in my life many years ago. Honestly, I’m kinda numb right now. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel losing both my parents in less than 12 months. Even though I have not spoken to my dad in years, let alone seen him in probably 9 years he is my father and raised me until I was 14 when he left (there’s a lot more to that story).

This is really the end of probably the most life-altering, painful and disappointing chapter of my life. My father’s abandonment has effected me in ways I never anticipated. And just now I am realizing for the first time that when my kids get married or graduate from college that there will be no one from my side of the family there. When Bryan and I are sitting together as the groom’s family or bride’s family….I won’t have one of my parents there to support me or celebrate with. I. Am. It.

God, however, has continued to love me as a good Father and reached out to me in unexpected ways. I am so grateful for His amazing, redemptive grace to me, his daughter.

So thus ends this chapter.

May you rest in peace dad.

every season…a declaration

I need a lot of permission.

Permission to go.

Permission to stop.

Permission to strive or cease.

Permission to be or not to be.

It comes with the territory of being uber-responsible. It’s a curse really!

My challenge is living in the real freedom of Christ for which I have been given. How do I live in freedom from sin, from the demands of this world and freedom from myself? The Bible says it way better than I can…..

Romans 7:23-25(nlt)

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.  Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

God has already created a way for me to live in His freedom. It’s Jesus. Not Jesus and my striving. Jesus alone.

This all goes back to permission. I am learning to give myself permission to stop the striving. Cease the doing and the urge to always GO….to always be producing or creating something. I have decided to give myself permission to stop striving and permission to live in the gift of the freedom that has already been given to me on the cross. The freedom of THIS moment. I declare it!

I am in a new season of life. This year I have lost my mother, one of my best friends. For a while I lost my health. I have lost a job working with a team I dearly cared for and now I am in a another kind of loss. A loss of security, a sense of home and comfort and even love. I know God is allowing this season for His purposes and I can already see it. Yet, it still is difficult and the pain is real.

I intend to embrace each season for it’s intended purpose. Right now, the purposes for many of the losses of 2012 have yet to be revealed. They may never be known. But God is still God and He is still good. I will continue to trust Him. I declare it!

God continues to use the Matt Maher song Hold Us Together in my life this year to remind me of His goodness. The bridge says….

This is the first day of the rest of your life. 

Even in the dark you can still the light. 

It’s gonna be alright. 

God’s mercies are new every morning.

His light is always brighter than the darkness.

He is good.

He has already made a way for freedom.

And it really is gonna be alright.

I declare it!

Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

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God is the author of every season.

bearing fruit

I think I’ve known for almost 2 years that God has been nudging me to start writing down all these thoughts that have been in my head. However, I am utterly terrified and fearful at my core of sharing my thoughts for the judgment of all the free world.

If you don’t know me, I am the blessed mom of two talented teens and wife to the most handsome and wonderful husband God has ever created. Yes, I know everyone says that but I MEAN it!

I wanted to call my blog ‘Every Season’ based on Psalm One. It is six short yet powerful verses…

Psalm 1:1-6

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked 

or stand in the way that sinners take 

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,    

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,    

which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—    

whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!    

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,    

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,    

but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

This is a passage God has been using in my life for many years now. I will likely refer to it on many occasions but to sum it up I want to start with this….

What would it look like if EVERY SEASON of my life and your life yielded fruit for God?

I don’t want to look back on my life and say “Wow, that was a great season of life!”. I want to be able to say that EVERY SEASON was a season of purpose, fulfillment, love, and growth no matter what it was…spring, summer, fall and even winter.

To make this personal, right now I am in a season of stepping back. Slowing down. I have transitioned from a challenging role at my prior job to this new season of being a stay at home mom again with my daughter. She is my primary focus as we are managing her demanding training schedule. I am embracing this time to connect with her and taking the opportunity to engage my physical health more intentionally as well as my spiritual health. God is showing me the gift of every season and its purpose.

Many times since our new transition I have felt the losses. Many times I have grieved. I still do. Today I am embracing what is present is each season. New life. New beginnings. Endings. Healing. Rest.  I have learned that in my resting that the world has continued to spin on its axis and God did not need me to run things. I am taking the time to be intentional to listen to my soul. To listen to what it needs. God knew my soul’s needs before I did and so he allowed me this moment in this time to just BE. He slowed the world down. He stripped my world back and said “since you’ve got some time now let’s just be together.”

So can I ask you….what is it that keeps you from embracing every season that God brings into your life? Fear? Sadness? Selfishness? Need for security? Control? Greed? God’s word says that when we plant ourselves by His Word our leaves will not wither and we will prosper in all we do. That is a picture I can be inspired by. Do you ever feel withered? Don’t let the relentless pursuit of busyness keep you from the life God has for you. Find the space today to allow your soul to listen to God. He intends for EVERY SEASON of your life to be prosperous and bear fruit for him.