Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Daddy

My Daddy was always an enigma to me. As a very young child, my only memories of him are of him carrying me in his arms through the snow to his old blue Chevy pick-up. It's strange but I never realized until I was much older how safe I felt when Daddy carried me. Snows would come that would be knee-deep on him. Daddy would scoop us up, one by one, and carry us to the pick-up. Then, he would help Momma cross the yard to the drive. I don't remember the coming home part, just the leaving.

As a little girl, I don't really have memories of anything special he did with me or for me, just that he was always there. He was up and about the house when I got up and he was sitting in his favorite chair in the living room watching TV when I went to bed at night. He was at the breakfast table when we ate breakfast. He was out at work at lunch time. He was home and in the house by supper time every night. He sat at the head of our table and he thanked the Lord for our food. He never tucked us in at night, just sat in his chair and watched TV. But he was always there.

Daddy wasn't the type of 'hands-on' Dad that some Dads are. He didn't spend a lot of time with us, other than when we were out working together as a family on the farm, or when we were going to church, or when we were sitting in our living room watching TV. But, when you think about it, after all of that, where was there any time for anything else? He drove us around the country on vacation every summer. Momma planned where to go and Daddy took us there.

As a youth, he was even more of a detached Dad than when I was a child. He always said it was Mommas job to raise the girls and he would raise the boys! The only problem with that was, there was no boys! I realize now that he was detached because he didn't have the first idea of what to do with or for a teen aged daughter. There had only been boys in his family, and here he was living in a house full of females! He never commented much on what I wore, where I went or who I went there with. But, he was always there.

When I was 15, I met the man I would later marry. On the first Saturday that he came to my house to spend the afternoon, he parked his car in our drive, leaving his keys in the ignition. We were sitting in our living room talking and listening to music when we heard his car engine start up. Minutes later, we saw his car backing out of our drive, with Daddy at the wheel! He didn't ask or tell, he just got in the car, started the engine and took off! Terry didn't know quite what to think! Daddy was driving off down the road, gunning the engine and having the time of his life! Needless to say, Terry took his keys from then on!

Daddy was never the type to say 'I love you', but I never doubted that he did. On my wedding day, as we prepared to walk down the aisle, he patted my hand and said "I love you, Sis". My knees almost buckled from beneath me! Tears began to stream down my face. I could barely whisper "I love you too, Daddy". I will never forget that moment or the all engrossing feeling of love and acceptance I felt when I heard Daddy tell me he loved me. I thought I could be no happier than I already was; I was wrong because that simple phrase had multiplied my happiness exponentially! As always, Daddy was there.

Over the years as I grew older and hopefully wiser, I grew to love and appreciate Daddy more with every passing year. And Daddy found it easier and easier to tell me he loved me. The family grew and Daddy's ability to love and show love grew. He became a wonderful Papaw to my sister's children, laughing and playing and teasing them whenever they were around. Then, the great-grandchildren came along and he became Papaw Mac. He LOVES those babies! To see him now as a mature man in his mid 70's laughing with those babies and just basking in their presence is one of the greatest joys of my life. Through the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Daddy has always been there.

A couple of years ago, Momma became terminally ill with renal failure. As always, Daddy was there. He took care of Momma and took on responsibilities I had never seen him attempt before. He did laundry; he cleaned some in the house; he cooked some. He waited on Momma so patiently and lovingly. Every time I was with them, I couldn't help but think "Yep, Daddy's here". And he was, never complaining even though he himself was sick. Always giving his everything to Momma. When it came time for Momma to say goodbye and cross over, Daddy wanted to be there so badly, but Momma left before we could get there. But, in his heart, Daddy was there; as always, Daddy was there.

Now, I look at Daddy and he's getting older and weaker, and yes sicker too. Yet, every time we're together as a family, no matter how sick he is, Daddy is there. Sometimes, Daddy feels like the only constant thing in my life. And yet I know that the time is coming when I will have to say goodbye to Daddy to. I sometimes wonder what life will be like when Daddy's not there anymore. It's something too hard for me to consider for very long because Daddy has always been there. And, in my heart and his, I know Daddy will always be here for me. His love, though so difficult to express for many years, remains constant and true. And, when he departs and goes home to be with Jesus, that will love remain constant in my heart. Because there, Daddy will always be.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


A very dear friend walked into a hospital room yesterday and did one of the most difficult things I can imagine; she said goodbye to her husband. When I heard the news, I felt so cold and empty inside. They have known for some time he was a very sick man. He had a bad heart and needed a heart transplant. They knew, but you're never really expecting death and you're certainly never really prepared for it.

I thought of her as she stood so alone, althought she had her children by her side. Yet, she must have felt so alone. The man she had spent so much of her life loving and sharing with was gone. How do you come to terms with that? What switch lies within us that we are supposed to be able to accept that change in our lives? My heart hurts for her but there are no words I can say that will ease her suffering. There is no deed I can perform that will make her pain easier to bear. I search my mind trying to think of something I can do for her that will be meaningful.

At this point, my mind settles and I think "Well, I guess the only thing I can do is pray. So, I'll just pray and I'll ask others I know to pray too". That seemed like enough, I felt better. Then, I read an email that a friend posted to a forum of which I am a member. I read the post and my heart was broken and I was convicted of my sinfulness and pridefulness.

The post was a reprint of a devotional and the gist of that devotional was too pertinent for me to ignore. It said we are often guilty of thinking 'I can't do anything else so I'll just pray'. How in the world did these people know my thoughts?! How could this dear lady who posted the devotional know what I was going through and thinking? Then, I realized it wasn't the writer or the poster, it was the Author of life. He knew me and He knew what I needed at that appointed time.

The devotional went on to remind me that we are never 'just' praying. Prayer is not our last resource or deed of consolation. It should be our first thought when we know someone is in need or suffering. Afterall, it is our direct link with the Lord of the universe; an always open connection between me and the Lord of my life, the Saviour of my soul. What better offering have I to bring to anyone than to give them access to the throne of Grace through my prayers? Can any word or deed compare with the opportunity to cast our cares at the feet of Jesus? Indeed, they cannot.

So, I can offer access to the throne of Grace, but do I? How many times do we glibly say "I'll pray for you " without ever giving that individual or their needs another thought? I have to confess that I have been guilty of doing that very thing. It's not something I'm proud of, but I have done so. Now, I try to make a habit of never saying that to someone unless I fully intend to do so. If I cannot write the request down, I make a mental note to do so as soon as possible and whisper an immediate prayer for that need and for the Lord to help me remember to write it down later.

This simple action has impoved my prayer life so much, it is immeasurable. I pray without guilt or confusion. I pray with specific requests, not just blankets that cover the whole range. After praying, I feel satisfied that I have fulfilled my promise to those who have respected me and trusted me enough to request my prayers.

Think about that for a moment. When you request prayer from someone, don't you have expectations that that person will be inteceding for you? Aren't you placing your trust in that person? Do you ask just anyone to pray for you, or do you ask those people for which you have gained some amount of respect and/or admiration?

When I think of the reasons behind my decisions to ask someone to pray for me, it encourages me to know that others respect my Christian walk enough to believe I have influence when I offer my prayers before the Lord. After all, I wouldn't ask someone to pray for me if I didn't believe that person was a Christian who had sway with the Lord.

I take my prayer life much more seriously now. I am more aware of the responsibility I have when others request that I remember them in my prayers. I take that responsiblity to heart and I bear their burdens before the Lord and ask for His intercession on their behalf. The benefits to me are more than words can measure or express. The end result is not pride or boastfulness, but a more humble walk before the Lord. I want to be worthy and ready to go before Him at any time with every request. I don't want to have to 'clean out from under my own doorstep' before I can take my requests to Him.

Prayer is a precious gift to us from our Lord. It is a unique opportunity to meet with Him at any time, in any place, on any day, about any need. Can any other religion truthfully say they offer that same kind of access to their idol gods? I think not. And yet, our God, the Creator of the universe, the Giver of life offers His children that unique opportunity. What an awesome God we serve!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wanna Talk?

My thoughts are in a thousand different directions, not yet ready to settle in one place, on one subject. That's a rough place to be when you need to write. No direction takes precedence and no thought seems higher than the other. A jumble of nothingness rambles in your head. There's not a lot to say about nothingness. Or, perhaps there is.

Some friends and I were just discussing earlier in the day how our lives seem so busy. We ruminated about how it seems that men, well our men anyway, have an easier time of just doing nothing than do most women. Why is that do you suppose? I mean, my dear husband can sit in the rocker on the front porch for hours doing nothing, saying nothing. Just sitting there, staring out across the lawn. Other ladies commented that their men could do the same. Just sit alone in a room in a chair and do nothing, think of nothing. How do they do that?

What is it about being a female that makes us need to have our minds occupied with something? I once went deer hunting with my husband. Bless his heart, he was young and in love and just wanted to share his passion with me. He didn't know any better! We set off for the woods behind my parents house on our little farm. It was a lovely, brisk afternoon and I was all bundled up and looking forward to this walk in the woods with my honey. How exciting! A chance to commune with nature and be alone with my sweetie at the same time. What could be better, right? Well, I was in for an education, but so was he.

We walked into the woods, he carring his trusty rifle over his shoulder and me carrying........well, me. I was having a great time! After walking for a few feet into the woods, I decided it was much too quiet. We needed conversation. So, I asked a question. I don't remember what the question was, just something about hunting deer, I'm sure. As soon as sound came out of my lips, he shot this stare at me that told me in no uncertain terms, I had done something terribly wrong. Well, I didn't know and I needed to know, so I asked another question. He walked on, not saying a word. Now, tell me, when you speak to someone, don't you expect a response? So, I walked on and caught up with him and asked yet another question.

For the next several minutes, we walked through the woods, me asking questions, he not answering or saying a word. Now I'm beginning to think he just has no social skills, that's all. Maybe his Momma didn't teach him the finer points of socializing, such as when you are asked a question, the proper response is to either answer the question or simply respond by telling the individual that you prefer not to answer the question. Okay, so he's a bit socially inept, I can correct that! So, I stop dead in my tracks and I decided to get his attention the only way I know. I take his hand and move closer to him, I stand upon my tippy toes and pull my face closer to his. I breathe shallowly and look deeply into his eyes. He lowers he head to mine, thinking I'm going to kiss him. I pull closer to him and......stick my tongue in his ear!

Okay, so I've got his attention now! He jerks away from me and says with a sort of exasperated grunt "Why'd you do that"?! I giggled and laughed and made some silly remark and he was suddenly angry with me! I was fully taken aback. We did these silly things with each other all the time, why was he so upset now? I told him I was sorry and promised not to do it again. He walked on and so I followed. Just down the path, I tried a new venture. I commented on how quiet the woods were and how lovely. NOTHING, I mean not a peep from him! We walk on. I say something to the effect of when do we start hunting the deer. He stops and looks at me and says "That's what we're trying to do right now if you would please just be quiet"!

Well, I didn't know what to say. Oops, think that might have been the problem all along! I said "So, this is deer hunting? I thought we had to like climb a tree or something like that? I haven't even seen a deer." He looked at me and said "No, and you're not going to see one as long as you're making so much noise." I looked at him and I know I must have looked like an idiot but I said innocently "So, you mean we can't talk to each other"? He just looked at me and shook his head. He finally said "No punkin, we can't talk to each other". Well, I didn't know what I was supposed to do then if I couldn't talk? What's the point of walking in the woods together if you can't talk to each other? Made no sense to me then, makes no sense to me now.

Well, we walked back out of the woods, he a bit frustrated because I talked so much. I was more than a little aggravated because he had led me on this wild goose chase and then wouldn't even talk to me! We walked on to the house and peeled off some of our clothes and went in. We sat in silence for a while and then I just couldn't take anymore. I told him I didn't like deer hunting and I didn't want to go anymore. He told me not to worry, I wouldn't get invited again! I asked him why he wanted me to go with him if we couldn't talk to each other. He said because he wanted me to share his love for deer hunting. Hummmmm. He said we could share the experience and it would help us grow together. Hummmm. He said nothing cleared his head and made him think better than a long afternoon of deer hunting. Hummmmm.

By this time, all I'm thinking is "Why"? I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I told him I didn't understand the whole concept of trapsing off to the woods together, walking along together all afternoon, never saying a word to each other, and then thinking that was going to help us grow together. How? I told him I had to be able to talk to someone if I was gonna share time with them. That's how I get close to someone, I talk to them. We share with each other. He says no, that's not how men do it. They walk through the woods together, split up and go their own way to hunt, meet up after the hunt and they've now become closer. HUH?

Well, needless to say, we didn't go hunting again, ever. But, I think we both learned something that day. He learned that I HAVE to talk in order to exist and I learned that everything my Momma had always said about men was absolutely true!!!! They can be wonderful friends, lovers, providers, protectors, and a whole host of other things; but if you ever need to talk, find a girlfriend!

Well, this is where my rambling brain ended at today. Who know where it'll take me tomorrow!!! Isn't it wonderful the way the Lord made us so different as males and females, but so complimentary? The parts of me that are lacking are completed by him and the parts of him that need help are completed by me. Apart we lack something, but together we are a complete whole, perfectly fit together by a Creator who planned it just that way. When I need something more than just chatter, he will talk to me and comfort or reassure me. When he needs someone to listen, I can be quiet and hold him close, reassuring him of my love and devotion only to him. Thank you dear Heavenly Father, for making us fit together in a way that will honor You and edify us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My New Friend

I met a new friend today. She is 22, has a 2 year old daughter and is married to a wonderful man (her description!). She has faith that impresses me. She has courage the inspires me. She has an outlook on life that encourages me. She has end stage liver disease and is dying.

Can you remember what struggles you faced when you were 22? I had been married for 5 years, had just built a new house, was estatically happy with my life and everything about it. I worked alongside my husband running an automotive parts retail business. I was deeply involved in my church and going every minute of every day that I wasn't sleeping, which was very little. (At that time in my life, I didn't see the necessity of sleep. Thought it was only a waste of time!) I had a beautiful little 3 year old nephew that we were spoiling rotten and had just welcomed a precious little niece into our world. Life couldn't have been any better for us.

Yet, I found things to complain about. I wished for a newer car, cause I didn't like mine anymore. I wished I had done things differently in our newly built home, cause I didn't like the way some things had turned out. I complained about our job because working for the public can be demanding on your personal time. We didn't vacation enough. I wanted new furniture. I needed a hot tub on my patio. I wanted to hire a gardner to do the landscaping in our yard so it would look nice and impress all our neighbors. I want, I need, can we have, let's get this, our neighbors have that, etc., etc. etc. I was 22 and full of youthful ideas and too ungrateful for what I already had.

My new friend is 22, mothering a precious child and caring for a loving husband, giving so much more than she is getting or even asking for, a stalwart of hope and support for everyone around her, and she is dying.

Fast forward and now I'm nearly 51. I have health problems, my husband has end stage liver disease and he is dying. He's 54. I have trouble with handling the stress. I vassilate between complete acceptance and complete disbelief. My faith is so weak on some days that I have trouble even talking to the Lord. I'm so overwhelmed by it all that I get angry and hostile toward complete strangers.

And, then there's my new friend; 22 and dying and still being an inspiration to all around her. How adolescent I am in my spiritual development! Thank you Lord Jesus, for bringing this precious young woman into my life. Thank you for showing me how much I have to learn about you and how little I already know. Thank you most of all for giving me the chance to do better.

But, that's what you're all about, isn't it Lord? Opening my life in a way so as to expose my sin and making a path for me to correct that sin. How many times have I wandered around in complete darkness when You are the Light and were there waiting for me to turn to You? You, who will forgive my failures and reignite in me a desire to walk holy and humbly with You. You, who loves me with an unphantomable love that has no beginning or ending.

I can be at my soul's deepest moment of sorrow and You send someone or something to remind me of Your love and Your desire to be a friend to me. You are an awesome and wonderful Lord! You alone are worthy of my praise and devotion!

Dear Lord Jesus, please help me be worthy of You.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Distressing News

Today I learned some very distressing news. I learned that a couple I have known for years, and who have been so special to me in my spiritual development, have seperated. They were married before us and have children and grandchildren. All very precious people whom we have loved for so very long and whom we still love. People who loved the Lord Jesus and served Him humbly. I just cannot understand what is going on here. What happens in a couple's life that they can walk away from each other after so many years and so many memories together? I feel so disappointed and let down, yet I know that the failure was not in my Lord, rather it is in the hearts of those who disobey Him. Please pray for this precious family. I know each one is hurting in their own way. I cannot believe that either partner is truly happy at this point. I don't know the particulars, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that they realize their sinfulness and confess their sin before the Lord and each other. I know the Lord can and will mend their marriage if only they will allow Him to do so. They have precious children and grandchildren who need their family to be whole again. As I understand it, it is he who left her and has moved across country and discontinued all contact with his family. I pray he will come to realize that he cannot outrun the conviction of the Holy Spirit and he must return to his family if he ever expects to have peace again. Please pray especially for her as I am sure she is devastated by this. Satan is alive and well and attacking Christians more powerfully than ever before. He knows his days are numbered and he's trying to make the most of what time he has left. We need to strengthen our spiritual armor so that we may be able to stand against him. Our God is able and can do exceedingly above anything that we can ask. Our only limitation in this warfare with Satan is our lack of faith. As Christians, we must be diligent about our walk with God and about keeping ourselves prepared for battle at any and every given moment in time. Please pray with me for restoration of this family and the marriage of these two lovely people. God is able, I pray they are willing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Am I Welcome At Your House?

This was a question I saw recently attached to a picture of our Lord. You know, when I first saw that, my knee jerk answer was "Of course You are!". I'll bet that, or something similar to that, would be the first thought for most of us. Yet, I have to wonder, if Jesus dropped by one evening to sit and watch TV with us, would He be pleased with what we were watching? If he came to sit and chat, would He be pleased with the topics of discussion? Would we need to tidy up before we would feel comfortable having Him as our guest? Are there books, CDs, DVDs, magazines lying around that we might prefer He not know we owned? What about that Bible laying on the table? Would it need dusting off? Would our ususal attitudes and tones of conversation be suitable to entertain the Lord?

If I'm honest with myself and with all of you, I would have to admit that there are some evenings when I wouldn't want the Lord to drop in on us. We don't have a Playboy on the table and we don't use inappropriate language (well, not usually anyway), but we do often let our tempers get the best of us. Our attitudes are not conducive to encouraging kindness and compassion in each other on some evenings. We excuse ourselves by saying well, we've had a bad day. We're living under extreme circumstances; we've got really stressful lives.

Hummmmmm, I wonder how we would have felt if the Lord Jesus had gotten up off His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane and said "Father, it's just too stressful for me. It's just too much to ask of a person. I mean, I need a vacation here. I'm way too stressed out for you to expect me to go through this tomorrow!"

I am so often guilty of excusing my sin instead of simply confessing it and asking Jesus to forgive me. I think, well I don't do the BIG sins; I'm a pretty good person. Why, I take care of my sick husband; I make sure my MIL is well cared for; I help take care of Daddy; I'm always there for the girls or the kids if they need me; I pray every single day for so many people and so many situations; I spend sometimes hours either on the computer and/or telephone encouraging those whose lives have left them defeated and downtrodden. Well, I'm a virtual saint! I go on and on with my litany to impress the Lord with ALL I DO, yet all of it rolled together for the entirety of my life couldn't compare to just one drop of the blood he shed for me.

What a rank and unthankful sinner am I! And, I could just live there, but for one thing. One day when I was eleven years old, I knelt on my knees in an old-fashioned altar in an old-fashioned church and, with all the sincerity in my eleven year old heart, I confessed my sins to the Lord Jesus, I acknowedged Him as my only hope for salvation and I asked him to come into my heart and take my sins away. And you know what, He did. The heavens didn't open, angels didn't sing; as a matter of fact, everything was pretty normal after I said "Amen". Well, everything but one thing, something deep within me knew that that one drop of His blood had just washed over me and had taken every sin from my cold, stony heart and had replaced that cold, stony heart with a new heart filled with a desire to know God, to love Him and to be as close to Him as I possibly could be.

Sometimes the trials of life make me forget that temporarily. Then, the Lord sends me a gentle reminder that simply says "Diane, remember you're My child. I'm walking with you and carrying you when I need to. I will never leave you; you cannot seperate yourself from Me. I love you with an everlasing Love. My Father sees your sin no more, only that precious drop of My blood." Then, I humble myself before the Throne of Grace and I beg forgivness for my unthankfulness and arrogance. I ask Him to pick me up because I cannot walk here. Then He lifts me up and my soul soars becuase the Lord of the universe holds me and carries me in His loving arms.

I can now invite Jesus as a guest in my home because I've done the tidying up. I've swept the dark corners clean and it is a fit abode for the Saviour of my soul. Until the next time, that is. Then, I'll do the same things over again and, you know what, He will too! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Welcome To My World

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging so who knows what we'll end up with! I will post as often as I can and as often as I feel the need. Please post your comments or suggestions about how I can improve the page and make it more enjoyable to read.

I've gotten to know several ladies who have blogs and have enjoyed reading about their interests and daily lives. I have been told by several that I should write. So, here goes! If it flops, blame those folks who kept saying "Oh, you should write professionally!" or "Why don't you ever publish anything you write?". They are to blame!