Words circled around our table the other night, as we celebrated my husband, ones of affirmation and admiration. It was beautiful to be apart of and another reminder of grace. Each of our children know their father, like really know him. He takes the time to be known and gives space in the day to get to know each of them. And it is in the knowing and being known that they receive his love and trust each day. Maybe this lasting picture is what was in my mind today, as I heard the lyrics to a song that said, “live like you know who your Father is.” Could it be that here in lies the problem and solution? Maybe so many of the problems, the evil that we are seeing in our world, could be abandoned if we only knew our Father. Living with the knowledge and then experiencing the Father’s love, changes everything. How many do not know and live accordingly? This is what breaks my heart and causes tears to fall at times. Because I know that we humans can sometimes cause so much damage by not reflecting His love. Who would want to be in relationship with an angry, strict, rule making, no grace and mercy, score keeping God? What if we stepped up our relationships and lived like we know who our Father is and bore His resemblance? We just might change the world. Because this I know for certain, a well loved child shines bright in the darkness and people start asking questions. And we know the answer…we know who our Father is.
I can feel it in my chest again, this feeling of upcoming separation. It causes my mind to not fully engage because I am occupied. It has been wonderful having our oldest a short drive away, but that will soon end. A year long adventure awaits and we are thrilled, but a conflict remains. Is this one prepared? Absolutely! This child lives loved, not perfectly mind you. None of us do, but for that there is grace. And this same giver of grace will meet each of us too. He offers comfort, joy, strength and peace too. I have a feeling this mama is going to need all He wants to give in abundance. Already feeling more excited now than when I started writing. Sometimes just telling the truth does wonders.
Today we are celebrating my husband turning another year older. Aging is an unstoppable fact, but the way we grow older is up to us. It is what we do with the time we are given everyday that adds up to a life well lived. Will another year be spent on others or self? Because I get a front row seat, I can say with all honesty, this man lives for others. His kindness, wisdom, grace, patience and love come from above. The One he relies on has not failed him yet, even when I have my doubts. Faith is not always our natural response, but he helps direct our family in looking to our Creator in all things. The gift he is giving to our children, giving them a trustworthy example, will be rewarded. He is stewarding well what he has been given. How do you just celebrate this kind of man for just one day?
Happy Birthday, Damon! I love you.
One of our kids is hiking today and sent an incredible picture. I asked if she would take a picture of a valley too, perhaps because not all of life is spent on the mountain top. The longer we live, the more time it seems we spend walking through the valley. Since scripture says that multitudes are in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14), not yet receiving Jesus as King, then why would we be so quick to leave? What makes the valley exciting is having gotten here with the awareness of His presence, within the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). Many deaths actually, but we learn the deep truth that He is God and we are not. There is nothing like death and loss to aid in the process of our “king of the mountain” syndrome is there? While death does cast a shadow indefinitely, He offers gifts in the valley that are incredibly strengthening, joyful even. And having known the valley, it can make the mountain top experiences that much more precious. Let’s keep walking friends.
The other night I was invited to join some sweet ladies for an incredible concert! A mix of colors filled the arena and we worshiped the One true God. We were united by the One we sang too and perhaps glimpsed an idea of heaven. It was beautiful and made me want more times like these, not the division we get so accustomed. I wish you would have been with us. Maybe you would have gotten a lump in your throat too at the sight.
One of the songs we sang really encouraged me. See if it does you as you read the words. “I’ll never be more loved than I am right now. Wasn’t holding you up, so there’s nothing I can do to let you down. It doesn’t take a trophy to make you proud, I’ll never be more loved than I am right now.” All the pressure off to try and earn His love. All the striving to be good enough, gone. Simply believe and receive. Only our God could take a mix of cultures and blend us into a family that He dearly loves. And maybe when we put aside our differences and worship, we make Him smile and look more like the kids He designed us to be.
Not too long ago a door was opened and I walked through it. For a few hours a week, you can find me at my favorite clothing store as a sales associate. Meeting new people and listening to their stories, as we put together outfits or finding a great fitting pair of jeans, is a dream. If they leave better off than they arrived, I have done a good job, whether they buy something or not. Everyone I work with is younger than me and I absolutely love it! The generations behind us could really use encouragement, I am finding out, and they genuinely receive all you can give. Actually, everyone can use a kind word these days. When I get to go to work, I am thankful for this fun opportunity to encounter many people that normally would not have crossed my path. And you never know how God might use us in the new places He leads us, but I am excited to see!