Image Vs. Substance

In Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he says, “Saul was all about image, but David was all about substance.”  He’s referring to the fact that David danced when the Ark of the Covenant entered Jerusalem while Michal, Saul’s daughter, felt contempt for him (Bible: 2 Samuel 6).  Batterson goes on to explain that Michal was the daughter of a man who was “kingly” where David didn’t worry about looking regal as he celebrated his excitement about God.

This comparison between Saul and David struck a chord deep within me.

I have someone extremely close to me who accuses me of projecting a certain image even when it isn’t the truth.  To tell the truth, I strive very hard NOT to do this, though some Sundays my smile might be strained as I fight against Satan’s desire to make me crumble under my past bad decisions.

I asked on Facebook recently if I was a complainer.  The answer ran the gamut as I expected since different people know me from different times or for different lengths of time.
But one answer made me feel good – that I was real.  I strive to be real.  It helps that I’m a preacher’s kid whose life has been told from the pulpit for the last 35 years.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been used as an illustration in a sermon because I lost count years ago.
Honestly, it’s only bothered me a few times.  It made me live a transparent life and I believe that is something that God has called me to.

I’m not a natural parent – I’ve covered this before.  I don’t need anyone jumping to convince me otherwise.  Just this morning, I came home from the bus stop to Jeff and Joe playing Sequence for Kids.  Jeff needed to go to work, so he tagged me in.  This was SO HARD for me and he laughed many times as he finished getting ready and listened to me trying to teach Joe the rules of the game.  I do not “play” with kids easily.  I love kids and can teach them with no problem – I’ve gotten some wonderful words of encouragement and love from my preschool students from last year and this year.  I can read books and teach Bible lessons and push swings, but I don’t PLAY well with kids.  I don’t imagine easily or enjoy being outside all that much.  I do love reading to my kids and watching movies with them.  I do my best, but I’m not the most natural at this game.
I’m not a fantastic wife… Catch Jeff in a moment he’s willing to be honest about me.
I am not cuddly.  I am barely affectionate. I am snippy. I am tired. I am consistently overwhelmed, yet can’t show a good reason why.  I’m not a very good housekeeper, so it isn’t chores that are wearing me out.
I love to sit and read side by side or watch movies (though I rarely want to watch something he’s picked and tend to whine about it).  I love to go places and travel and really love to experience things with him.
But I don’t fill the role of wife the way I thought I would OR how I promised to him I would.

I’m a Christian, but I’m not great at recruiting others…
Just this afternoon I came home to find rescue vehicles outside my house for the neighbor across the street.  Based on the number of vehicles and actual police cars, I deduced that this was not going to end with them reviving him from a diabetic episode.  His wife arrived and her sister-in-law rushed to meet her as they dissolved into tears.
He’s gone and all I can think is that I’m not sure I ever shared Jesus with him.  And will I be able to share Jesus with his wife as I tell her I’m sorry for her loss and take food and try to meet needs that might be there.
We’ve lived across the street from each other for ages.  They used to see the church van parked here.  There is no doubt that they know my family was a Christian family.  They might even know so much as the fact that my daddy is a preacher.  But never once have I asked them to come to church with me.  Why not?

I’ll be asking her how I can meet her needs.  I think our church as a grief group – I’m going to check and give her information if so.  I need to not just tell her I’m praying for her, but to actively talk about my faith with my neighbors – the people that I meet when I’m walking down the street.  I see these people every day and while I’m sure they’ve seen the PRAY stickers on my car, I need to be sure I witness.

As a young high schooler, we watched a movie at camp about teens who died in a car accident.  They were standing outside of Heaven’s gate and one of the teens who was going to Hell asked a teen who was (potentially) going to Heaven why she had never told him what he was missing out on.  It scared me out of my mind, but not enough to carry that fear for others…
My friends know I’m a Christian.  Heck, this political season has brought that out more than any other time in my life.  I’ve spoken my beliefs in many ways on social media – not wanting to judge anyone, but not wanting anyone to perish… but I don’t think I’ve mentioned Jesus to my own neighbors.

I don’t want to project an IMAGE.
I want to project the SUBSTANCE of God in Me.

What about you?  Do you follow Christ?  What about when it means you don’t agree with your friends or connections on social media?  What about when it makes you unpopular or brings about ridicule?
Don’t get me wrong – I believe that we should love all people – whether we agree with them or not – but are you sharing with those you love what the Bible says?  You can do that in love.  They don’t have to agree or even walk away from what the Bible says is sin.
We all know that every person who shares Biblical views is a hypocrite because we ALL SIN…
But are you projecting the SUBSTANCE of God in YOU???
Am I???

I want to conform to Christ instead of this World.  Pray for me, will ya?
Pray that I will be more worried about the substance of my life – to my husband, to my children, to my family, to my friends and to total strangers – than the image.

The road to Heaven in narrow and I want the line to get in to be long and full of people who have seen God’s evidence alive in me.

Sorry for the ramble today… pretty sure this was all over the place, but it was too much in my head and I needed to get it out.

Please pray for Joan Bailey.  She’s the wife of the man across the street who passed away this morning. Pray that I’ll be able to meet needs for her and that I’ll find a way to share the love of God in her grief.

Thanks, friends.

And for those of you who love me enough to read my thoughts even when you don’t agree with them – if you’re local to Richmond and want to come check out the church I attend, TELL ME!  I’ll give you directions and details.
If you’re not local to Richmond – I’ll help you find a church where you are.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Hello, God… is THIS what you mean?

I have the best intentions.

In September 2015 I spoke as a breakout speaker at Oak Hill Camp’s Ladies Day. My topic – Being in God’s Word daily.  Guess with what I’ve struggled with since that day…

In September 2016, I spoke again at the same event on the topic of Following your Godly Passion.  At that time I had a PLAN all laid out for the next few years.  I was excited – on fire – to get back to what I started college as a sweet 18 year old for… teaching middle or high school.
The plan in September was that by right now, I’d have my license to teach Middle School Math.  I’d be using Fridays to sub in the middle school math classes in Henrico.  My goal – to be in the classroom as a full-time teacher in September 2017.

Then, an amazing chance came up… something that I would never have said I felt “called to”, but I really did.  Maybe it was that I had such amazing cheerleaders cheering me on to apply for the opportunity.  Maybe I just loved the idea of the place I’d be working at…
Either way, that didn’t pan out.  It evidently wasn’t in God’s plan.

BUT, what was in God’s plan was a conversation that my husband and I had over the Christmas Holiday about IF that plan didn’t come to fruition, I still would not be going back to work full-time this Fall.  I felt such peace and even more excitement with that decision!  I get to stay at North Run teaching 3- and 4-year-old littles about colors and numbers and letters and shapes and JESUS.  AND I get to be HOME for Joe’s first year of elementary school.  That’s one thing I discovered in December that I really wanted.  I don’t want to miss going to the zoo as a chaperone. I don’t want to miss out on any way I can actually help at their school that I can’t do now because he’s not a student (due to insurance liability there are very few opportunities to help during the school day with a little one in tow).

I’ll get to go on their school’s sub list and sub there on Fridays as needed.  What a blessing!

So, I still sit here and wonder what God’s plan is for me…
I’m 39 and I’m still not 100% sure…
One tiny decision at a time feels right, when there are moments that I just want a timeline laid out for me.
Just once, I’d like to say something publicly to a group of women and not have it come back to bite me… I’m still in God’s Word, but that “regular time” thing doesn’t work out each day.  Really – I used to get up every day at 5:15 to do my Bible Study homework and I can barely drag myself out of bed to get Ella up and ready for school right now… or for the past year plus.
My Godly Passion… I was SURE I had that figured out, but I’m discovering that maybe God wants my passion focused on my kids and how I can best serve them and teach them for the time being.  Ella asked this weekend to start a daily devotion time.

So that’s what’s next.
Getting myself refocused on my time alone with God (oh, mercy, 5:15 is early… but any other time of the day I’m not alone and once the kids are in bed we’re lucky if I’m awake long enough to use the restroom and brush my teeth).
Getting Ella up 10 minutes early to do a devotion with me – just us as often as Joe will sleep that extra 10 minutes.

Prayers are always appreciated, friends.  I often fail after I declare something… I’d like to NOT fail at pointing my kids to Jesus.

As for that job I didn’t get – someone got it and is rocking it.
I’m enjoying getting to see them take the reins and make it their own.

My Word (and an update)

I’ve shared a couple of my older posts this weekend – one about being content and one about myself as a mother.  I promise, I’m not getting down on myself unnecessarily or lamenting my failures.

We all have failures, don’t we?  And one of the best things to do on occasion is to look at ourselves clearly and make the changes that need to be made.  This could be hairstyle, weight, wardrobe, or a real change with our behavior and attitude.

One of my biggest shortfalls is that I react to my kids and husband very, very quickly – and not usually in a good (healthy) way.  I expect the kids’ room to be clean, but I have a stack of boxes with some clothes on top of them in my own room.  When I walk into their room and it’s a wreck, I loose it.  When I’m not in a touchy-feely mood (that mood is rare for me), I snap if someone touches me “too much.”  When my kids start yelling at each other, I yell at them.  I react in anger quite often and that needs to change.

I read a poem? concept? something about pausing before you react to the world and people around you.  Over the course of the last two weeks with my kids at home and the last week with my husband home I’ve discovered that I do not incorporate the pause at home very well – with the people who matter the most to me.

So that’s my word for 2017 – PAUSE 

I’m going to work on pausing before reacting to my kids & husband – and let it bleed over into the rest of my world, though I already pause better there.

And an update:
My last post announced that I had something big going on.  Well, that something big didn’t come to be, but it did help me redefine some priorities.

God loves it when I make plans and especially when I make big public declarations of those plans.

I taught a break out session at this past Fall’s Women’s Retreat with Oak Hill Camp.  My topic was Godly Passion.  I had just finished going through some meetings about going back to work full-time teaching middle school math and I was PUMPED about all the opportunities there and fulfilling a plan I made 15 years ago and never got to follow through.

Then, a really cool part-time job was coming open at my church.  I’d be getting paid to work for God – something I’ve done in the past and regretted walking away from.  I was so sure I’d get it, too.  I had several big time cheerleaders behind me on the position I was seeking and I really did feel like it was a sure thing.  I starting putting things into place to make it work and told a few people it would affect.
I even talked to Jeff about wanting it to be my goal instead of teaching full time.  I want to have a more flexible schedule next year when Joe is in kindergarten.  I want to be his room mom and go on field trips – something my current job and the job I was seeking would allow.

It didn’t happen.  I didn’t get the job, but will support the person who did in every way I can.  Church folks reading this – please know that I’m not disappointed.  I just know God has something else in mind.

Maybe he wants me to go through with teaching full-time, so he didn’t want me to take this path into something that would prevent that for more than a couple years while I get Joe settled into elementary school. I do miss working with teens full time & miss my sarcasm landing instead of soaring over the heads of my 3 & 4 year olds.

So, tomorrow I go back to the preschool I’ve come to love and DREAD leaving if that day ever comes.  I’ll work at North Run for the rest of my working days if I can make it work.  Honestly, while I never saw myself working with preschoolers, I love it more than I ever thought I would and would miss it.
I’ll continue in my volunteer positions at church (something that would’ve had to go if I’d gotten the job) and love the people and kids I work with in those.
I’ll keep my ears & heart open to God’s leading in the next couple of years to see where He’s really leading me.

Over and over again I hear the song, “Thy Will”.  Melanie Savage sang it in church a few months ago.  I’d heard it before, but really paying attention to the words when she sang it made it become a focus when it comes on.   Funnily, it played on the way TO and FROM church yesterday – the day the new position started with someone else in it.
Obviously, God is telling me that HIS WILL is at work and I need not fear or worry.
I know he sees me.
I know he hears me.
His plans are for me.
Goodness he has in store.

But first, I PAUSE…

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=1JM9ECNU

There is a Post Coming

I have so much to share – so much to say… but I can’t right now.

Which kills me!!!!

I’m an OPEN BOOK and right now, I’m keeping some things very close to my heart.

It will all come out within this month, but until I get some answers to my prayers, I can’t post what is making my head spin here.

Here is what I will share today – God is working in my something mighty.

I don’t know exactly what it is yet… but He’s at work and I could use your prayers about it.

Have you ever been here?  The place where you can feel God tugging at you, but you’re not exactly sure what direction he’s pulling you?  It’s scary and exciting and can only mean that I’m tuned into him.  I just wish he’d light the path he wants me to take with neon.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

God, I am seeking your will with ALL my heart.  I am calling to you and praying to you for answers and guidance… and a neon pathway.

I don’t want to be a people pleaser – I want to be a God pleaser.  Starting right now.

That post that I’m writing, but can’t publish yet?  Pray that answers will be neon clear to me post haste.

Thanks.

I Am Not Afraid…

“The reason why we look so crazy as Christians, is because we see a world that the rest don’t see. We see a God-bathed world in which we are perfectly safe. So safe, so set free from fear that we can even love our enemies without thought of the consequences.”
– Skye Jethani

My friend, Chris, just posted this quote on Facebook and it floored me.

I’ve been told more than once, that my optimistic view of life is annoying.  Though I don’t actually see myself as an optimist.  I’m definitely a pessimist (though those who called me annoying are).  I’m actually very much a realist.  I see a problem and try to work to resolve it.  I don’t leave it be figuring that it will just work itself out or even that God will work that problem out for me.

I’m a realist, but I’m a realist who sees everything through God’s eyes – or at least I attempt to.  That doesn’t absolve me of responsibility.  I’m definitely at the root of many of my problems.  If my kids veg in front of the TV all day – that my fault.  I can’t blame their insane behavior on anyone buy my own self for allowing them to veg instead of going to do something active – like play in a park (which we will be doing shortly).

When everything is crashing around me, I have a very steady God to hold on to through my storm.  Our sermon at Fairmount this past week focused on God being our ROCK!  It is that concept that has allowed me to face divorce at 22 when I didn’t believe it was God’s will.  It is that concept that keeps my head above water when I look in the mirror and see the parts of me I don’t like – the mom who yells even though she doesn’t want to; the wife who isn’t affectionate; the daughter who doesn’t call as often as she should; the friend who doesn’t “show up” when another friend is in real need.

There are so many things that we face that are dead scary – the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, a marriage crumbling…  And some things that are exciting scary – like the fact that I’m going to meet with the math supervisor for Henrico County Schools this Friday to see what’s next for me in getting into the classroom in the next couple years.

BUT GOD… If you are are follower of Christ – a Christian not just in name, but in action – then every scary thing isn’t a desolate place where you are alone.  GOD is with you.

God was with me in high school when I watched a friend die from a vicious cancer that ate him to pieces and took his life.

God was with me when I laid on a floor, brokenhearted, at 19 years old wishing that the boy I loved more than my own salvation (totally dangerous territory) would just love me in return.

God was with me when I rebounded (i.e rushed like a roaring freight train) into a marriage to a man who was everything I’d ever prayed for, yet couldn’t let go of his own perfection to see that marriage is HARD and we were both at fault for our issues so he walked away and took every penny.

God was with me when I made decisions out of His will that will affect my life every day for the rest of my life – decisions that I pray daily that he will take control of the results and help walk me through the consequences, good and bad.

God was with me when I found out I was pregnant earlier in my marriage than we’d planned and that pregnancy derailed all my plans for my future.

God was with me as I looked into the face of that beautiful child and promised her that I’d let her down over and over, but that I’d teach her about our forgiving, loving God who would keep me afloat with every parenting failure.

God was with me when my best friend was in another state facing a cancer trial, then died before I’d bought my ticket to go see her.  God was with me as I faced down that guilt from the failure of “showing up”.

God was with me when I was thinking that I needed some sort of job and he opened a door to a classroom at North Run and invited me to walk through it.

And God will be with me no matter what comes next…

I am not afraid because I’m able to look out into the world and see every person as one that God loves.  If I look at my enemy as a creation of God, how can I spit in their face?

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, let’s talk.  Because being afraid of this world is a hard way to live.  And don’t get me wrong – I know that more bad is in my path and I just can’t see it yet.  I know that Satan will work harder today to get me to fail because I’ve posted about God being my rock and trying to live my life following Jesus.  Again, I see the reality of this world… but my faith in my amazing God allows me to say to Satan, “Bring it on.”  (Whew!  That’s a scary thing to really put out there in a real way!)

I’m not a perfect Christian.  I’ll say that over and over again.  But I have a real hope to attain perfection someday in Heaven and I’d love to share that with you.  Call me a crazy Christian – it’s a label I’ll wear with pride 🙂

Ministering Through My Mess

Here We Go Again (take what?)

I named my blog.

It’s called Ministering Through My Mess.

It’s a line I used back in the Spring when I spoke at my church’s Ladies Salad Banquet and it really stuck with me.

See, I have GREAT intentions on being a blogger that you’ll want to follow.  That you’ll wait anxiously to see what I’m going to share next.  I have a couple blogs that I’ve read faithfully for years, though as the kids get older and no one sleeps on my lap at the computer comfortably while I peruse I don’t even have time to read those.
Anyway, I WANT to be a blogger – the real deal – the person who gets PAID to sit and write what is on my mind.  But to do that, you have to blog regularly (not once a year) and you have to have followers that are total strangers and still suggest you to their friends.  Your posts have to be shared far and wide – enough so to attract sponsors that will pay you to use their products and then write a post promoting them.
I’m so not there…

My world is messy.  The world I live in and my personal world.  I’m a total mess!  I don’t cook well, though I do try and none of us is underfed.  I don’t clean well – I’m not being humble. I’m awful at cleaning and I’m lazy about cleaning so putting those two together is a bit disastrous. (Yet the mess makes me crazy & stressed out so you’d think I’d work on this more.)  My kids are constantly needing me making concentration very difficult.  I’ve already walked away from the computer three times to answer their needs just writing these few paragraphs.

BUT, I believe that God has called me to teach and to share.  I believe that God knows I’m pretty much an open book (He made me, so, duh) and He’s desiring to use that to reach others through me and my mess so that they’ll be drawn to him.  And I love that He’s like that. That He designs us to be who we are, but then expects to use who we are to reflect Him.

I posted an edited picture on Facebook today that was actually two pictures.  Here it is along with what my “caption” is:

Perfection vs Reality 2

Because it’s too important to keep it in focus…
Posting the top picture gives the image of a sister and brother
walking harmoniously down an wooded path.

In reality, little brother wanted NOTHING to do with taking such a sweet picture.
I had to bribe him to do it so that I’d get that sweet picture to cherish for years.

So much of our online personality is edited. Maybe not to impress others
or even to intentionally give a wrong impression.

But who wants to see kids fighting and mom as a sweaty mess?
(Yes, I should’ve taken a selfie for some real reality.)
No one has a perfect life or perfect family and I definitely don’t.

My life is messy, but God wants to use it.

My kids aren’t perfect, but God made them cute and they sure seem perfect when they are asleep (haha).

My marriage isn’t perfect, but God is still at work in it because I invite him there every single day.

So, I’m going to give this writing thing a go again.  Yes, again.
I’m actually going to SCHEDULE time to sit and type my thoughts.
Hopefully you’ll join me for it.

Also – a quick plug for an event I’m taking part in (again).
Oak Hill Christian Service Camp is hosting its second Ladies Day/Women’s Retreat and I’m teaching a break out session.  I’d love for you to come.
It does cost money, but it is money well spent and you’ll be blessed.
You don’t even have to choose my session!  There are four and you only get to pick two.
Pick the two that you think you need the most (class titles and descriptions on the website).  Here, check it out:
Oak Hill Camp Ladies Day

I keep waiting for the sadness to come…

I’ve posted a lot on Facebook lately and suddenly felt like this post deserved to be on my blog.  I’ve missed writing and getting the opportunity to write about my Granny the past 12 days has brought that back to me.  I want to write.

So, the sadness – I keep waiting… and waiting… and waiting…

I had a touch of it yesterday.  We got to Newport News and went in the house the same as always (though through the front door).  Carla was in the back office and I went to talk to her, knowing that we were going to tell Ella that her G.G. died, but not realizing how quickly that moment would come.

When I walked away from her, she asked my mom where G.G. was.  Warren came to get me and I abandoned Carla mid-sentence (hers) and rudely (though understandably) ran through the house to get to my daughter before my mom could tell her.

I made it in time.  Mom had started 11 days before – when Granny fell at Hammricks.  She talked about her hip and the surgery.  By then, I’d picked Ella up out of the rocking chair, sitting down in her place and putting her on my lap, expecting the inevitable.

And it came.  Mom told Ella that G.G. had died and gone to Heaven and Ella started to cry.  Not sobbing, but she turned into me and cried.  And I cried too.  And Warren started as he walked in to sit.  And Aunt Evelyn (E.E. to the kids) did as she walked in.  And I think Aunt Carla did, too…

Ella asked “Why?” and just as mom started to explain as best as she could, Joe realized the piano cover was up and started hitting keys.  Ella sat up, yelled “PIANO!” and jumped out of my lap to go play.  That was it.  Moment over. Tears gone – even mine.

Twenty-six years ago, my grand-Dad died (I write it that way because we just called him “Dad” and that causes great confusion).  I was ten years old and it devastated me.  I was left with horrible separation anxiety.  I couldn’t sleep with my door shut and demanded that my parents’ door be open all night also so that I could sit up and see them there if I needed to.  (Looking back, I’m pretty sure I killed their “romantic” life.  Sorry, dad.)  I got that he was in Heaven, but I found no joy in that thought.  I cried and cried and cried and when I cried in school I told Shirley Hill (the secretary at Trevvett and a dear friend of our family) that my Dad had died.  She panicked and called my Daddy (hence my knowing that I cause confusion).  I was sad in the deepest way.

My grandpa died almost ten years ago.  I had been through his side a lot in his last years of life and I wasn’t there at his final moment.  I sobbed for days.  I sobbed passing Chestnut Grove for a year after his funeral.  I knew he was in Heaven, but his loss hit me like a ton of bricks.

That isn’t happening this time and there is only one reason.

I have found the Holy Spirit in a way that I’ve never let myself find.

To reference one of my daddy’s church posts – I have been CAUGHT by Jesus.

I have loved Jesus since childhood.  A few months ago, I would’ve told you that I’d been caught before.  But my Granny’s illness and death have proved to me that my true capture didn’t happen until recently.

I sat down on the sofa with Aunt Evelyn last night, wanting to be close to our remaining matriarch.  Though not a mother herself, she’s always been our bonus mom and grandmother.  An extra without her own kids to worry over and able to just fuss over us – being part of our Disney trips and Christmases and Birthdays.

We talked about the fact that she’d decided to continue living in the house they own.  That she’s promised to get Life Alert and actually wear it while home alone… especially when she decides to climb ladders into the attic or trim bushes at 6:00 am.  Yes, she’s done both of those things pretty recently.  For 90, she’s feisty and spry.  Trying to explain the word “elderly” to Ella today (thanks, random five minutes of Kid President last night), I told Ella that G.G. had been elderly.  I started to classify Aunt Evelyn in that category and then realized – NOPE! Doesn’t fit.

Anyway – back to the sadness… I asked her if SHE was upset that I wasn’t more emotional upon seeing her, my mother, and my aunt in her house, but without my grandmother.  She isn’t and that is confirmation for me.  She too is a lifelong follower of Jesus and my love comes from her just as much as it came from my Granny.

So here I am… waiting for the sadness that is sure to come.

Although, friends, I’m not 100% convinced it will.

I KNOW for SURE that I will cry at the service on Saturday where we will celebrate her life (almost 94 years of it!).

I know that I’ll finish singing and speaking and then the floodgates may open (note to husband: please have box of tissues at our seat).

But right now?  I AM JOYFUL!

In my Bible study last week, we spent a day focused on JOY and the difference between Joy and Happiness.  Beth Moore’s son-in-love said this: “Joy is happiness without the moodiness.”  That took my breath away because I can be quite moody and yet I consider myself joyful.  So I’ve been mulling it over.  In our discussion our leader, Bev, reminded us that JOY is a choice we make each day. I want to choice to be joyful each day. And I need, desperately, to lose the moodiness when it comes.

But I don’t feel like I’m making a choice to be joyful about this.  It feels natural and complete. It feels like breathing.

MY GRANDMOTHER IS IN HEAVEN!!!

How on earth do I not rejoice in that?

Please do not get me wrong, I am well-aware that I will have moments of sadness.  I will miss her dearly this weekend when we’re all gathered in “her” house and she’s not among us.

BUT SHE WILL BE IN HEAVEN.

She will not be looking down on us and missing us.

Because she will be with Jesus.

She will not see me make the mistakes I will make as a mother.

Because she will be walking streets paved with gold.

She will not know when I make a bad choice.

Because she will be offering eternal praise to God.

I believe that when I reach Heaven, she will know who I am and will welcome me into worship, but I do not believe that she will be watching over me before I get there.  If she was, it might make her sad and SADNESS IS ONE THING WE DO NOT FEEL IN HEAVEN.

OH, what joy and peace that gives me!!!!

My grandmother will no longer be using a walker.  She will no longer get her words mixed up as she has since her stroke.  She will no longer forget a name.  She will no longer fall.  She will no longer hurt.  She won’t have to worry about what to wear because she’ll be in Heaven’s white garments… truly white after being washed in the blood of the lamb.

Oh, thank you Father above for giving me a grandmother who was a follower of Jesus.

A woman who taught her two daughters to love God above all else.

One of those daughters helped pass that belief on to me.

Oh, how I pray to leave a legacy of faith.

May Ella see my joy in rejoicing that her G.G. has gone to Jesus and know that HEAVEN IS THE HEALING.

I am a lover of songs.  I love music in general, but I love a good song – with lyrics that set my soul on fire.  Song like:

I Can Only Imagine (never gets old! CAN YOU IMAGINE???)

Find Us Faithful (an oldie, but a goodie – May all who come behind us find us faithful)

Desert Song (ALL of my life; In EVERY season; YOU ARE STILL GOD; I have a reason to sing)

Clear the Stage (thank you Dustin and Courtney for introducing me to this song!)

Your Grace Finds Me (first heard at Northside – POWERFUL song!)

Holy Spirit (Kim Walker Smith – look it up!)

Holy Spirit was one I was introduced to this summer at Fairmount.  There are times in my walk with Christ and I question if He’s there.  If I’m allowing him to be close to me.

Friends – over the past 12 days, since my grandmother’s fall, I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A MIGHTY WAY.

I have been caught by Jesus.

I know that I will be sad in my and my family’s loss.  I will see my mama, and my aunt, and my great-aunt cry and I will cry when they do.  I will sit with cousins and extended family and remember past times and childhood games.  I will sit with my brother and remember vacations at Granny & Dad’s and know that those days are long gone.  I will sit with Ella and try to explain over and over that it is okay to be sad and no, GG isn’t going to come back.  I will look at my husband who loves my family ferociously and know that his heart is breaking along with ours.

But over all, I will feel JOY because

MY. GRANNY. IS. WITH. JESUS.