Breakfast for Dinner…

Yep. We are having breakfast for dinner tonight! I am currently frying up leftover baked potatoes and thinking of my first dad. As I shared in A Tale of Three Fathers, my biological father died when I was thirteen and home fried potatoes always makes me think of him.

When I was little, he would wake me up early on the weekends to help him cook breakfast, especially if there were leftover baked potatoes in the fridge. Oh what a memory! I would sit on the counter while he cooked on an electric skillet and we would talk and laugh, just the two of us. Boy, what I would give to be sitting on the counter right now talking with him!

We have a Father in heaven who longs to wake us up early too. He beckons us to sit on the counter, just the two of us, and talk and laugh while He is busy orchestrating life around us.

I encourage you to get up early tomorrow and spend some time with your Father. There is so much to discuss, so much to learn, so much to share and He loves you so much! Seek Him fervantly every day!

Excuse me while I get back to frying potatoes. Have a great weekend!

Be hopeful!

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:35 NIV

My Father’s Eyes

Jesus in our Eyes by stasiabv on DeviantArt

We attended a birthday party on Saturday, where I found myself surrounded by the most gorgeous women. The weather was beautiful, allowing us to sit pool-side under a gazebo. The faces around me were no less radiant than our surroundings. I allowed myself to take it all in, enjoy the easy conversation, abundant laughter, delicious food and found myself thankful beyond measure.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see ourselves through each other’s eyes? I found each friend breath taking! I could sit back and take in the whole picture. I wasn’t zeroed in on the flaws in each lady. No ma’am. I was focused on the value of each person and their unique design. Plus, we all had one thing in common: we all have a deep relationship with Christ. I have prayed with these beauties, cried with them, studied God’s Word with them and laughed with them. You see, I had the inside scoop and the essence of their nature became the beauty in their faces.

Then, this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks. God, our Father, sees us in our fullness. Our flaws are covered by his Son’s blood. He has prayed with me, cried with me, studied His Word with me and laughed with me. The essence of His nature has become the beauty in my face. There is nothing that I can do that will make Him love me any more or less. There is nothing that I can do to make Him see me any more or less beautiful than I am. Right now. In this season.

Father, help me see myself and others through Your eyes. To borrow some lyrics from Amy Grant:

She’s got her Father’s eyes, her Father’s eyes
Eyes that find the good in things
When good is not around
Eyes that find the source of help
When help just can’t be found
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain
Knowin’ what you’re going through, and feeling it the same
Just like my Father’s eyes.

Be joyful!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13‭-‬18 NIV

A Broken Arm..

When I was two years old, I broke my arm in a tragic tricycle accident. Well, I guess saying it was tragic might be a bit dramatic; especially since I was riding my trike in circles on our porch when I simply fell over, landing just right to break my arm. Mind you, this was under the watchful eye of my mother, who fact checked this story for me. 😉

I grew up on the west coast of Florida which meant that we were fortunate to visit Disney World frequently. Shortly after my tragic injury, we went to the Magic Kingdom for the day. My little arm was in a cast and I received quite a bit of attention. Many people inquired about my arm and several Disney characters showed concern (including Mickey Mouse himself). About halfway through our day, my dad informed me that we were going to the Hall of Presidents. I asked him what they were going to do there. He told me that a bunch of men were going to talk with us. I responded dramatically, “are they going to ask me what I did to my arm?” You see, my new found “celebrity status” was simply too exhausting for this precocious two year old. Not to mention, I had my own goal, which was to ride the Tea Cups. This goal did not involve a bunch of old presidents talking, thank you very much.

How many times in life do we allow the demands of people around us to leave us exhausted? How often do we get completely put out by questions, even if they come from genuine concern? How often do we become so focused on our own goals that we find ouselves unwilling to bend along the way? Better yet, how often do we make unnecessary assumptions because we are locked in, with laser focus, on our own wants and needs?

Our Father finds us when we are broken, exhausted, and completely put out with the demands of life. He scoops us up, places us on His lap and listens to our dramatic cries. He knows that the path to the tea cup ride is full of twists, turns and distractions. Yet, He will guide our steps, heal our wounds, and give us fresh perspective if we will simply allow Him to reign.

And don’t forget, sometimes we need to approach the throne with child-like abandon and let Him know we need help finding that tea cup ride. I have a feeling He knows the way!

Be joyful!

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 NIV

A Game of Fetch…

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Photo creds to my beautiful daughter!

My daughter and I took the angel dog to the beach Wednesday afternoon. He loves to go to the beach for so many reasons. He loves to ride in the truck. He loves to dig for shells. And he loves to play a good game of fetch with any size driftwood we find on the shore.

Wednesday was no exception. My daughter found a great piece of wood and launched it down the beach. Angel dog would go running for it, ears flopping and tail curled up. He brought it back to his mom every time. His “sister” would grab it and launch it again and again. Each time angel dog would find his way back to me. You see the angel dog likes to stay close to his mom.

My daughter finally plopped down next to me too and we chatted while watching two huge pelicans catch and eat fish. I could remember my own mom and I spending many an afternoon, in Florida where I grew up, soaking up the sun at the beach and talking about life.

There is just something about the ease and beauty of the beach: waves crashing, sea gulls calling, and the blissful feeling of the sun warming your body. Life is good at the beach. As I watched my daughter and the angel dog play, I thought about how small they seemed nestled next to the vastness of the ocean. And how I loved having them both close to me.

Our Father who art in heaven filled the vastness between Him and us with a Cross, which allows us to plop down next to Him and take in the beauty of His creation, while chatting about life. His Son warms our bodies and He fills our hearts with His Holy Spirit. He loves to watch us play along the shore and delights when we seek Him out, especially after life takes us on a run. And just like me, He loves to have His children close, under His mighty protection.

Take time this weekend to spend some time with your Father, soak up His Son and let His Holy Spirit move you. And don’t forget that after a good game of fetch, it is always best to return to Him. Stay close, for He is a good, good Father.

Be joyful!

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

He Knows Your Name…

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My daughter turned eight shortly after my husband and I got married. I was very fortunate in that she was truly longing for a mom. She made the transition very smoothly. One of my own regrets with my second father was that I never made the transition to calling him dad. I wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to call me mom pretty quickly. So, Memorial Day weekend, about six months after we were married, I asked her if she would like to try calling me mom. I told her that it might feel strange at first; but that eventually it would get easier. She eagerly agreed to give it a go! And a go she did!

I vividly remember that we went to the beach that weekend as a family. My daughter is a lover of the water, sand and anything slimy. So, she never lacks for energy at the beach. I truly believe that she called me mom 1000 times in the span of 2-3 hours. Mom, look at this cool shell. Mom watch me swim. Mom, check out this sand castle. Mom, look at me. Mom! Mom! Mom! It came so naturally to her. But, my learning curve was longer.

We went to Walmart that same weekend, jus the two of us this time. And I remember standing on an aisle and hearing a child asking her mom a question, over and over again, saying mom every time. This mom was apparently distracted. I thought to myself, ‘for goodness sake, answer that poor child so she will quit saying your name’. It was then that I realized that I was the mom. And my daughter was the child asking me the question. Oh my goodness, I was the mom.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that our Father knows our name? Better yet, isn’t awesome to think that He hears us every time we call him by His name? He delights in relationship with us. He wants to see the sand castle. He wants to watch us twirl on the beach. He longs to see us play in the waves. The Creator of the Universe knew you before He put you in your mother’s womb. He knows every hair on your head, He delights in every step you take and He collects every tear that you cry.

Thanks to Jesus, your name will appear in the Book of Life if you make Him your Lord and Savior. You will inherit eternal life. We are redeemed, children of God. Isn’t it amazing to think that the Enemy sees your Father’s name written on your forehead? (Revelation 12:4) You are sealed by the blood of Christ and the enemy has lost.

Yes, indeed, your Father knows your name. And my daughter knows mine! But more importantly, she knows the powerful name of Jesus! And I pray that she calls on that name over and over again. You too, my friends!

Be joyful!

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 NIV

A Tale of Three Fathers…

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When I was 13 years old, my biological father died of esophageal cancer. He was an amazing man, with an infectious personality. He loved to laugh; he loved his family; he loved to tell a good joke; he loved fishing; he loved oysters; he loved the beach and he loved God. He was the kind of person that people were drawn to and wanted to be around. I was blessed to have him. I know that I had more of an earthly father in those 13 years than some people experience in a lifetime.

Here is the amazing part. I now have a second father who is equally remarkable. He has been my father since I was 16. (The poor man has been putting up with me for 29 years. I think he deserves a medal!) He loves to laugh; he loves to cook; he loves to travel; he loves to read; he loves his family; he loves to garden, and he loves God. He, too, is the kind of man that people want to be around. I currently have more of an earthly father than some people experience in a lifetime.

There were several years when I resisted loving my second father. I was so afraid that he would try and take the place of my first father. What I didn’t realize was that he just wanted a place in my heart. And God made our hearts big enough for all kinds of love. We simply have to put fear aside.

Now, are you ready for the UNBELIEVABLE part? My Father in heaven orchestrated all of this to His Glory. You see, He knew that one day I would have a daughter. And He knew that cancer would have touched her life too. And that the loss of a parent was part of her story. He knew that my love and respect for my second father would grow to new heights as I, too, navigated being a second mom. God knew that I would understand a little more the capacity of His heart and the kindness of His nature. He knew that I would encounter grace in ways that only He can orchestrate in our lives. And how God can weave brokenness into beauty in ways we will never fully understand.

I have the extraordinary privelege of having three amazing fathers. Except I think I may have muddied the order here. God is my first Father and He blessed me with two more. I am one lucky gal!

Be joyful!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11  (American King James Version)

 

The Story of Us…

I have to admit that I met my husband on-line, on Christian Mingle to be exact. I signed up for a one month membership and decided that I would give it a try during the month of June in 2009. I was coming out of a time of major healing in my life. I will write more about that some other time. But, it is important to point out that I was in a good place. I was working for a church full-time that I loved in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. For the first time in a long time, I was within a two hour drive to my parents summer home at that time. (They have since moved to that home year round.)

One of my areas of responsibility at the church was the youth group. I had taken a small group of high school girls to my parents house for a weekend retreat near the end of June.  One of the exercises that we did that weekend was to write down an area of our lives that we were going to release to God. Truly let Him have control over it. Hand it over and not look back. I had purchased a gold box for each girl to place their entry in and we made our way down to the Greenbrier river which runs behind my parents house. We each took a moment to write and then we placed it in the gold box. I encouraged the girls to keep the box as a reminder that God was now in complete control of this part of their lives.

The area of my life that I wrote about that day went something like this. ” Father, I am satisfied in my life. I place my love life in your hands. I am surrounded by children in my current role at the church and I am satisfied. So, if it is not in your Will for me to be a mom. That is okay too. I give both areas to you.”

A couple of days later, a profile popped up on Christian Mingle and something about it made me take a look. It was a profile for a man in Texas (I had visited Texas only once before when I helped with a National Youth Gathering). He wrote about losing his wife to cancer a couple of years earlier. And he wrote about his seven year old daughter with such tenderness. I remember vividly that he said that he knew that God had someone special in mind for him and his daughter. But, until God placed that woman in his life, he would continue to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair with those tiny hair bands. He had me. Hook. Line. Sinker. I winked at him and we married exactly six months later to that day. My heart desire for a Godly husband and to be a mom was fulfilled in the “wink” of an eye.

Some times we have to truly give up before God can do His best work, which requires us to let go with both hands, not hold a piece of it back. We can’t keep one hand on it, so that we can grab it back as quickly as we give it up. Faith in our Father means being content right where He has you and trusting that He is faithful and will fulfill His promises in your life. It is unbridled trust that His timing is perfect and His will is better. And when He comes through with the blessing, you then grab a hold of it with both hands and thank Him every day for it!

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 NIV

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