Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Thoughts

First of all, I want to say that I have the best husband and father to my children that anyone could ever hope to have.  He has walked with me down paths we didn't know we would take and he has been and Is my rock.  He is a wonderful father to both of my children and is a great example of what unconditional love means.  He is a wonderful father-in-law and he is an amazing "Pops" to a very special little girl.  I love him with all my heart and more than any words could ever say.  And there is no one on this earth I would rather "do life" life with.

But at the same time, Father's Day is always a day of mixed emotions for me.  I lost my dad when I was 12 and in 6th grade to cancer.  It was November of 1973, almost 40 years ago and to this day, I still miss him terribly.  Obviously over time it gets easier, but there are times when I am reminded of how much I truly miss him.  I missed him the day I got married; I missed him when my children were born and during the years they were growing up because he would have been the most amazing "Papa".  I missed him when Eisley was born because she would have just melted his heart.  I miss him during lots of times.  But Father's Day always makes miss him more and stirs up lots of feelings.  It makes me remember all the things I loved about him, but it always stirs up feelings of sadness for the time I missed with him.  It reminds me of the hole that's still in my heart.  And if I'm truly honest, there is even a little bit of bitterness there.  Bitterness because I didn't get enough time with him.  Bitterness because there are people who have had their dad for many, many years and yet they still complain about them and take them for granted.

But it also makes me mindful of others and the situations they have or didn't have with their fathers.  I'm mindful of those men who have not been able to have children for whatever reason but who would have made wonderful fathers.  I'm mindful of those children, who have fathers on paper but have never had a father in their life.  And it makes me grateful that I had one of those father's even if wasn't for as long as I would have liked.  I am mindful of those men who have children they want to be a father to but circumstances have not made that possible.  And I am especially mindful of those men who have children they have lost through death.  No parent should ever outlive their children and so on Father's Day, those men hold a special place in my heart.

One thing I have learned over the years is this... I may have lost my earthly father, but I still have a heavenly father who is there to share in my joys, to listen whenever I need to talk and he walks beside me no matter what struggle is going on in or around my life.  And He is there no matter what I may face in this world.  And because of Him, I know I will one day see my earthly father again.  Because of Him, I know that even though I am missing my dad here on earth, He is passing out hugs and kisses and being a dad to those children who have gone before their parents.  He is being a papa and giving piggy back rides and horsey rides on his knee to all of those precious babies that went way too soon.

If you are missing your earthly dad, you are not alone.  And I know that sometimes the sadness can be overwhelming.  But there is a father who wants to be there for you.  He wants to dry your tears.  he wants to hold you in His embrace.  Most of all He just wants to love you.  And no matter what happens in life He will always be there.

So whether you are a father, a grandfather or one of their children, don't waste a moment of the time God gives you with them.  There are no guarantees about tomorrow.  But there is a guarantee that no matter what happens, your heavenly father will be right be your side.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Finding Treasures that Shape our Thoughts and Actions

I'm sure I have mentioned many times how grateful and how blessed I am to be a part of the ministry team at Highland Oaks Church of Christ.  I know that I work for a church, but I also know that it is a rare thing for even church staffs to spend time on a regular basis in prayer and God's word together.  I am very blessed to be a part of such a group.  And even more blessed to be a part of a group who enjoys getting together and spending time with God and each other.

This week during out prayer time, Pat, our lead minister, gave us a prayer to read over and think about.  We often go through a process called Lectio Divina to help us focus on the words of the reading and what God is trying to tell us through it.  This week we read the following prayer by "Jacob Boehme".

Give me, dear Lord, a pure heart
and a wise mind, that I may
carry out my work according to your will.
Save me from all false desires, from pride,
greed, envy and anger, and let me 
accept joyfully every task you set before me.
Let me seek to serve the poor, the sad and those unable to work.
Help me to discern honestly 
my own gifts that I may do the things
of which I am capable, and happily 
and humbly leave the rest to others.
Above all, remind me constantly that
I have nothing except what you give me,
and can do nothing except
what you enable me to do.

As I read through that on Monday certain phrases stuck out for me.  Now, only 2 days later there are others that are staring me in the face. When we read the bible regularly, certain things we have read a million times can mean something totally different to us every time we read it.  It depends on what is going on in our life at that moment.  This prayer does the same thing for me. There are so many treasures in this prayer.  So many things to help slow our minds down and to help us focus on the things that matter.  Things that can direct us personally and things that can help us to see the world and those around us through the eyes of Jesus and not through the eyes of man.

I wonder what it would look like if we all prayed this prayer everyday.  If we prayed this prayer everyday anticipating and even expecting for God to meet us in this prayer.  I wonder what we would look like to the world and to those around us.  I wonder if our actions would change.  I wonder if we would begin to truly see what is going on all around us.  I wonder what our churches would begin to look like if all the members of churches were praying this prayer.  Would we look and smell different?  We would look and smell more like Jesus?  Would the things that break the heart of Jesus begin to break our hearts in ways we didn't even know were possible?  Would we begin to serve others and do things we never thought we would or even could do... things we didn't even think we were cable of doing?

I can't speak for other people, other churches, my own church, even my own family.  But I can speak for me.  I am challenging myself to pray this prayer daily.  To let the words sink in every day and to allow God to use the words to shape me and to mold me into who He wants me to be.  To train my eyes to see what He sees.  To train my heart to feel what He feels. He is God, and I am not.  But He can do things through me than I cannot even imagine and I want my heart to be open to receive whatever He wants to do with me.

Yet  you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8