Wise Words

[This post is actually a devotional I wrote for our Women’s Ministry at church. We have been doing a series on the Proverbs 31 woman. Just wanted to share….]

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31-26

Oh to be described as someone who speaks with wisdom! I think of all the qualities the Proverbs 31 woman possesses; this one touches my heart the most. No one could argue that our ideal woman was purposeful, resourceful, a hard-worker, brave, and a helper for her husband, but what good would all of those qualities be if she did not guard her words? Or if she had a harsh spirit?

Wisdom guided all of her tasks, and it also guided her tongue.

Our ideal example of Biblical womanhood demonstrates the importance of guarding our words. It is so easy to speak out in anger, frustration, and embarrassment. It is so easy to give voice to our thoughts the moment they enter our consciousness. We can post, tweet, call, text, and whisper our displeasure over anything—anytime. Yet, the question we first must ask ourselves is, should we?

What if we paused for a moment and asked ourselves the following questions before speaking:

Is what I am about to say going to point others to Jesus or away from Him?
Am I speaking from my hurt, or from God’s heart?

Our ideal Biblical example is one of purposefulness in speech, in word, and in action. Can’t you see her pausing before opening her mouth to speak? Pausing for a moment to pray. Pausing for a moment to breathe in God’s grace so that she doesn’t pour out her wrath.

Sometimes we will be called to stand up and speak out for truth, to speak out against injustice. But we must do so with wisdom and kindness. Otherwise, we will just add more noise into an already noisy world.

But how do we do this? How do we speak with wisdom and kindness in a world that is all about speaking first, speaking loudly, and speaking personal opinions?

The answer, of course, is found in God’s Word (the source of true wisdom).
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.” James 2:17

God will supply our need for wisdom. He supplies it through His Word, through other believers, and through the Holy Spirit. The more tightly we cling to God’s Word, the more tightly we will cling to our words before we let them leave our mouth. We will be able to measure our words against His Words.

Speaking with wisdom requires us to first fill our hearts and minds with the wisdom God alone can provide. Then it requires us to pause a moment before we speak and ask ourselves, are the words I am going to speak, and the way I am going to speak them, pleasing to God?

Then when God does call us to speak, we will be ready. Armed with His Words. Ready to speak with wisdom and kindness. Ready to point others to Jesus. Ready to shine His light brightly into a dark world.

 

A Prayer and A Song

I find myself praying for many people today. Many hurting hearts and broken souls. After having so many praying for my family over the past few weeks, it is an honor to pray for others today. As I have been praying, I keep finding myself singing the song, “Lord, I Need You.” So I thought I would go ahead and post a prayer and a song here today. 

If you are hurting and in need of a touch from the LORD today, this is for you….

Lord, so many are hurting today. So many are confused, broken, tired, grieving, alone, and fearful. Yahweh, we need You. Your people need You. This country needs You. This world needs You.

Father, we see the evidence of sin all around—Marriages lay crumbled, families torn apart, orphans sit waiting, wars rage on, prejudice runs rampant, violence escalates, loved ones die.

God, where is our victory? Where is our hope? Where is love?

“Wait,” the pages of Your Word say. “Wait on the LORD and trust in My Name. Victory has been won—paid for, finished. Wait on the LORD. One day all will be right. Right now, I AM with you.”

So God today we wait. Your people wait for You. Help us wait. Help us trust. Help us breathe in Your presence. Let us feel You with us. We need Your strength. We need Your help. We need You.

Lord, please envelop Your hurting children in Your powerful and loving arms. Surround us with your goodness. Wrap us in Your grace. Give us direction. Give us wisdom. Grant us comfort.

Savior, we are calling out to You. Spirit, turn our hearts and minds toward the Father.

God, we cannot do this without You. We need You right this hour. We need You right this moment.

Lord, we need You….

Don’t Worry Be Happy

My son has recently discovered the old classic “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. Don’t you love it when your kids find “your” music entertaining!

He has been blasting the laid back mantra of Mr. McFerrin all throughout our house. And when a music device is not within reach, he loudly whistles the tune.

With all the happiness being crooned this weekend by my son, along with the appearance of lady with an infectious laugh wearing a Chewbacca mask in my newsfeed (thank you Candace), I started to realize something that has been a little lacking in my life recently -JOY!

We could all use a little more joy in our lives, don’t you think?

Obviously, we can’t erase our problems with a catchy chorus or a hysterical Star Wars mask – wouldn’t that be nice!! But we can have something even better – We can have joy, true joy, dwelling in us. We can have joy no matter what our circumstances.

When we give our lives to Jesus, He puts His joy in us! That is a beautiful reality that we seem to forgot far to  easily.

We may not always be happy, but we can always be joyful.

Happiness is dependent on external circumstances, but joy comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the most joyful people I know are those who have endured some of life’s hardest challenges. Their joy defies their circumstances. They truly believe that God is bigger than whatever trial they are facing. They look at life through the filter of Joy, instead of allowing life to filter their joy.

I don’t want to lose my joy in the midst life’s trials. And I don’t want to be a sour-faced complaining worry-wart.

Instead, I want to smile at the realization that I am a child of God, and that He has it all under control.

I want to put on a silly mask and indulge in a good ol’ fashion belly laugh (or laugh hysterically at those who do! 😉 )

And I want to ask God to overflow my heart with His joy so that I can pour that joy out on others.

Anyone can be happy when things are going well, but to be joyful in an upside down world gone mad…takes a supernatural power.

Let’s boldly ask God to fill us with His power so we can share His joy today!

Much love and laughter,
Jen

Don't Worry

Just Breathe

Yesterday I found myself feeling overwhelmed with certain situations that are beyond my control. Many things are changing in my life and the lives of those I love. Things over which I have no control.

One change, even two, would be do-able, but these are many different changes. Together they feel like a thousand pressure points on my heart and mind—like static constantly buzzing in my head.

I sit down trying to steady my breathing. When I get stressed I start to over-breathe which creates a lovely crescendo of unpleasant effects. As I sat in my favorite chair with my eyes closed, I started to focus on my breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in calm. Breathe out stress.

Breathe in God’s will.
Breathe out my own.
Breathe in grace.
Breathe out praise.
Breathe in His presence.
Breathe out my fear.

While my spiritually focused breathing exercise did not cure every problem in my life, it certainly helped to ground me in God’s strength and in His will.

So many people I know are in a season of trial and suffering. In fact, I think just by being a Christian living on planet earth you are in a season of trial and suffering right now. It is so easy to get overwhelmed. It is so easy to give into despair and worry. Anxiety builds, tensions rise and hope dwindles. Yet, that is exactly where satan wants us right?

The devil wants us to be rocking ourselves in the corner. He wants us to blast others on social media and destroy our witness for God’s kingdom. He wants us to be ruled by our anger, our fear and our despair. He wants us incapacitated so that we can’t fight him. So that we won’t put on God’s armor and stand up to him. So that we won’t shine the true light of Jesus in this ever darkening world.

Today, I will stand on the promises of God and I will breathe in His strength. Then I will lift up my shield of faith and I will prepare for battle. And then when the battle grows long and my breathing grows fast I will stop once again and I will simply breathe.

Breathe in God’s will.
Breathe out my own.
Breathe in His grace.
Breathe out His praise.
Breathe in His presence.
Breathe out my fears.

Maybe today you just need to breathe.
Just breathe……

Breathing with you,
Jen

Breathe

Just Let Go

Many times throughout the week of my dad’s surgery, God revealed Himself in such sweet ways.

Moments when I felt too weak and scared to pray, a friend would text that they were praying at that very moment.

When my mom, my aunt, and I felt like we would scream from the monotony of sitting for 8 hours in a waiting room, an old friend would walk in to sit with us.

When new and scary information was given, my Bible study ladies would email prayers to me.

When anxiety would grip my heart and turn my hands cold, I would feel a slight buzz in my right ear reminding me of the word Peace.

And while riding in the car feeling the weight of guilt over having to leave my dad, my eight year daughter handed me her “boogie board” with lyrics to a song she had just made up:

Jesus has it,
Jesus has got it.
He will help you in all your worries.
Let go of your fears,
let go of your worries.
Let go, let go, let go of your worries.

When you’re afraid, I’ll hold Your hand.
And with My power I’ll be with you till the end.
Oh, oh, oh
Your life, I hold in My hands.

So grateful today that Jesus does indeed have this entire situation in His hands and under His control. So thankful that His power is sustaining us. And so glad that as I hold more tightly to His hands I can begin to let go of my fear and worry.

Nothing about this is easy. I feel exhausted. (I think they call it stress fatigue.) My heart breaks for those who have been in a season of trial far longer than two weeks. Those whose loved ones are no longer here. Those whose suffering continues. Those who receive no answers.

Pain is painful (there’s a duh statement!) But it is true! There is nothing pleasant about pain. But there is still goodness to be found. Because in our pain, in our weakness-He is strong. He is sufficient. He is good. And He is God.

I long to reach through this screen and embrace every hurting aching heart today. While that is just a dream for me, it is a reality for Jesus. He stretches His arms to you. He turns His face to you. He draws close to you.

Run into His arms. Let Him hold you. Cry out to Him. Allow your tears to fall, knowing one day soon He will wipe them from your eyes. Cling to Him. Give it to Him. And trust that He’s got it.

Jesus has it,
Jesus has got it.
He will help you in all your worries.
Let go of your fears,
let go of your worries.
Let go, let go, let go of your worries.

When you’re afraid, I’ll hold Your hand.
And with My power I’ll be with you till the end.
Oh, oh, oh
Your life, I hold in My hands.

(If only I could write music to go with her lyrics!!!)

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Where We Are Now

Oh how I wish we could go back in time to when my dad was healthy. Back to the days of ignorant bliss. Back to the days when we didn’t know about coronary artery disease, quadruple bypass surgeries, or post-op complications.

But this is where we are now.

Oh how I wish we could jump ahead in time to the day when he will feel healthy again. I hold those illusive future days out like some kind of golden carrot—willing him to just keep moving so that he will eventually be able to grab the carrot. I pray for him to feel stronger and pain-free. I long for the books to be right when they say life will feel more normal within 4-6 weeks.

But this is where we are now.

How I wish I could be in two places at once and be able to remain by his side.

But this is where we are now—separated during this difficult time.

I was able to be with him the night before surgery. I was surprised at how good he looked—albeit he was attached to an IV which was giving him a steady stream of nitroglycerin. We visited, we laughed, we hugged.

I was with him the morning of surgery. We cried, we shared nervous laughter, we prayed.

I was with him three hours after an 8 hour surgery. I shook from the shock of seeing him hooked up to an array of tubes and IV’s. He mouthed “I love you,” the ventilator inhibiting any speech. He looked so vulnerable. I felt so scared.

I was with him the day after surgery. We were all relieved that the breathing tube was able to come out—16 hours later than they had wanted it to. He looked broken and battered. I felt nervous and anxious—is this normal? will he fully recover? was this really the only option?

I was with him two days after surgery. That was one of the worst days of my life. We were told he would look much better. We were assured he would feel much better. We were given expectations. We were set up—to fall. We walked in and had to catch the breath that immediately left us. He was sitting in a chair with what looked like a jet-fighter mask covering his face. He was having oxygen forced into his lungs to combat the fluid that was trying to take residence there. But his eyes….his eyes were not right. I know his eyes. I have seen his eyes twinkle with laughter, fill with tears, sparkle with mischief. But the eyes I saw that day held just an empty void inside them. He did not seem to recognize us—or if he did, he was far too exhausted to acknowledge us. Paralyzing fear gripped my heart. What has happened? He is supposed to be better, stronger! The nurse explained that he had not slept more than four hours since surgery. He assured us that what we were seeing was not a stroke but extreme dangerous exhaustion. He had to sleep. He just had to. We sat with him, trying to hold it together. Wanting to run, yet needing to stay. My mom, aunt and I sat around him silently praying, pleading with God to lift us from this nightmare—to life him from this nightmare.
We were told we needed to leave. But instead of upward motion, my knees propelled me downward. I knelt before the man who years earlier had escorted me before the Throne. I prayed for sleep to overtake his body. I pleaded with the Giver of true rest to grant precious sleep to my daddy. Tears slipped from my eyes as I begged God to bring life back to the eyes I have loved for so long.

I was with him three days after surgery. That day started much as the day before. Defeat taunted me. Fear gripped me. Anger beat a steady rhythm in my heart. He was confused. He was not hearing well. He was trapped in a realm where pain dances with pain-killers. I sat in a chair, but I’ve never wanted to run more in my life. This is not my daddy! I don’t want to see him like this! I started to rise, but my mom began speaking to him. About normal everyday things. “What in the world is she talking about that for?” I was confused and angry, but I felt glued to my chair. Minutes ticked by and she continued to talk to him. As she talked it was as if a light was turned on in his eyes. A slow dawning awoke his features and he listened. Within an hour he was sitting up, eating his first few bites of food in five days. His eyes, still dulled from the trauma of surgery, began to twinkle. We talked, we laughed, we listened. I witnessed my daddy emerge from the cocoon he had been in. I was elated.

I was with him the day he moved from ICU to a step down floor. I held my breath as he walked 75 feet—a marathon to someone whose chest had just been cut open. I cringed as he got into bed, seeing the pain on his face caused by that simple, yet horribly difficult, task.

And I was with him for a few hours the next day. But this time I would not be coming back to say goodnight. I had to fly back home. I have never felt so torn in my life. My kids needed me home. I had been away from them longer than I ever had before. They were concerned about Granddaddy and they knew I needed to be there, but they missed me and longed for me to be home.

“Go,” both my parents told me. “We have to figure this out on our own. There’s really not that much you can do.”
Go? With dad looking like this?
Go? Knowing that he has a tremendously long road ahead of him?
Go? Knowing my mom has an autoimmune disorder and might have a flare-up?
What kind of daughter just goes? Pain seared my heart. I had held it together for days. I had prayed when others couldn’t. I had stayed calm so others could fall apart. But now the tears fell. I was powerless to stop them. “Daddy, I can’t leave you.”

“Go, baby. I want you to go home to your babies.”

I sobbed. Tears fell onto my dad’s forehead. I wanted to crawl in bed with him like I did when I was a little girl. I wanted him to tell me everything was going to be ok. I wanted….oh, I wanted….”Promise you will be ok?” I managed to ask through my tears.

“I promise,” was his reply.

“Go,” this command did not come from my earthly father. This word was spoken by my heavenly One.

“Lord, I can’t. You ask too much.”

“I AM with him. Go.

My will bowed to His. I kissed my daddy’s forehead, squeezed his hand. And did the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do….I left. My mom was right outside the door to hold me. I had tried to be so strong for her, but now she gave her strength to me.

We cried, she prayed, I calmed.

Then I got on a plane and flew hundreds of miles away from my daddy.
Away from being able to physically help.
Away from the two people who carried me through so many hard times.
Away.

This is where we are now.

And the only thing that keeps me moving today, is that God is where we are. He is with my parents and He is with me. His arms are holding us. His strength is filling us. His peace is covering us. And He is far more able to help my dad right now than I am.

Yet, my heart still aches and longs to be in two places at once. So if you figure out how to do that, please let me know!

Much love,
Jen

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When God Speaks to Your Heart

The sobs wouldn’t stop. Couldn’t stop.

Fear of the unknown was too much, too powerful to stop. What if…..what if…..what if?

My body shook from tears held in far too long. I was set to get on a plane in two hours, and I couldn’t stop shaking. What was I going to see? What was going to happen? God, it’s just too much!

My son emailed me, “Mom, are you leaving today? Is Granddaddy’s surgery tomorrow?”

My tears dripped onto my screen as I emailed him back, “Yes baby. I am leaving today. The surgery is 6:30am tomorrow. I will call you tonight. I love you.”

Will I ever run out of tears? I picture my man-child trying not to cry at school. He is terrified of the what-ifs too. He is terrified of me flying. He’s old enough to know that there are no guarantees in this life and he is scared. I want to be here to hold him and his sister just as much as I want to be there to hold my dad.

“God, it hurts. My heart hurts. I just can’t. I can’t. I’m not strong enough. I can’t lose him. I can’t leave them. Daddy, it’s just too much.” I feel as if I will never stop crying, powerless against the tide of fear.

Peace.

How can the sound of a word come from inside your ear? How can you hear a word spoken to your heart? My head turned toward my right. Did I imagine that? The sobs stopped instantly.

Peace my child.

There! Again, yet this time the word came from somewhere deeper inside my heart. My body stilled. My tears stopped. My breathing returned to normal. Instantly my storm was stilled. Instantly.

Look up.

Fully expecting to see Jesus Himself sitting on my bed, I was amused to find a teddy bear staring at me. I laughed out loud, “Not quite what I was expecting Lord.”

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But God knew what He was doing. My dad gave me that bear when I was 12 years old. That bear has seen me through many hard times. And today that bear served as a reminder that I have a God who can see me through anything. He gives more comfort than a stuffed animal. And He gives more strength than I can imagine.

And He can still calm a storm with one simple word.

I will be posting this the morning of my daddy’s surgery, in order to remind myself to keep my eyes fixed on the Giver of real Peace. The One who can calm a fearful heart with just one word:

Peace.

Peace

Much love from this Daddy’s girl,
Jen

Praying for a Math Test?

This blog is dedicated to my pursuit of seeing glimpses of God’s glory in the midst of my mundane. Recently, however, my days have felt less than mundane. Mundane routine tasks have been replaced with anxious thoughts, suffocating fears and methodic planning (see Daddy’s Girl for the reason why).

Yet, even in these chaotic days, God has still allowed me to see glimpses of His hand at work. Glimpses of His breathtaking beauty. Glimpses of His unfathomable love. Glimpses of His unending grace.

One of these glimpses came Friday afternoon in the parking lot of my kids school. I was waiting for my son to finish taking a math test. Actually, he was retaking a test. He had not done well at all on the first attempt. And his gracious teacher had offered a retake. Don’t you love grace when it involves math!

My son has been suffering from middle school boy syndrome and pre-summer fatigue. It is a battle to keep him engaged at school. He’s always been a great student and his studies have come easy to him. But seventh grade is harder. And with mere weeks left in school, it is hard for him to stay focused.

Yet while I see his lower grades as a symptom of the aforementioned diagnosis, he sees them as proof that he’s just not smart anymore. “I’m just not good at math anymore,” he told me following the test. “I was in elementary school, but not anymore.”

I wanted to lecture. I wanted to point out the obvious, but by the grace of God, I simply offered him a challenge. “You work as hard as you can this week studying, really studying, and then retake the test. I bet you will do much better. You can’t say you aren’t good at something that you don’t even try for. Try and then we will talk. But until you try, I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”

So he studied all week, really studied.

I sat in my car that Friday afternoon and prayed for him.

Friday afternoon – The day after I found out my dad needs triple bypass surgery. Four days after I had been praying about big things with my book. Ten days after I had been praying for a precious mom of small children who was having surgery to remove breast cancer.

Suddenly, I felt foolish. Should I be praying for a math test? A math test. Not life and death stuff. Not life changing stuff. A math test!

I felt foolish. “Lord, is it ok to pray for a math test?”

Irrational thoughts started to swarm my mind, “What if God doesn’t answer a bigger prayer because He’s busy answering my math test prayer? Maybe I’ve asked too much of Him recently…maybe I’m being too selfish with my prayers. Maybe I should just stop praying for awhile, surely God’s sick of hearing from me….”

“Pray without ceasing.”
“Ask, Seek, Knock.”
“Present your requests to God.”

Oh, the precious whisper of the Holy Spirit! The life-giving sound of truth attaching to your heart.

I smiled at the gentle whisper of the Savior who cares about what we care about – who loves those we love more than we ever could.

And I prayed. For a math test. And for the boy taking the math test. I prayed out loud in my car, big heaven bending prayers – for a math test.

And you know what? God showed off His power in a bigger way than I could have ever asked for! My son got an 100% on his do-over test! He’s never gotten a 100% on a math test ever!

Isn’t that just like God though? The Bible tells us that He delights in bringing glory to His Name. This prayer wasn’t really about a math test. This experience wasn’t really about a grade (although my son is really happy with his grade!)

No, that afternoon was all about a good and generous Father teaching his hurting confused daughter what it means to really pray. What it means to have faith. What it means to trust God with the big things and the small.

He is a great God and I could not imagine walking through this life without Him!

So today I will get on a plane and fly to my daddy’s side. I will hug him and pray with him before his surgery. I will sit with my mom and my aunt and wait for word from the surgeon. I will sit with him in the days after the surgery and pray for his healing and peace. I will exchange prayers for small stuff for prayers for big stuff. But no matter what, I will continue to hold the hand of the One who is more than capable of answering them all.

Much love from this Daddy’s girl,

Jen

Dale Carnegie

Today’s Thoughts: My Dad, Abraham, and a Skinny Tree

Wouldn’t it be nice if we got to pick the trials we went through? And if we could somehow veto a particular trial….Although, if that were the case I would veto all of them! I am trial adverse, yet I realize the good that can come from trials. Nothing grows your faith like trials (just ask James!). But sometimes there a lot of ground to walk before you can see the good produced from a trial. And that ground is often treacherous, brutal, and full of deep pits.

I definitely would not have picked this trial (see Daddy’s Girl), yet here we are-facing an unknown outcome and a long recovery. This is hard. I have told God several times over the last 24 hours that it is too hard. I can’t do it. I can’t be strong. I just can’t.

But thankfully He can!

I find myself thinking a lot about Abraham. I keep picturing him walking up the mountain with his son, his only son. I keep wondering how he was able to make that journey, knowing that each step took him closer to losing his son. I find myself staring into the pages of my Bible as if looking for the tears that were surely streaming down his face at the thought of losing his son, his only son.

Surely Abraham had moments of thinking “this is too much to ask. I can’t do this Lord.”

Yet, he could and he did. How? Why?

Obedience. Worship. Trust.

Abraham obeyed God. In fact, he feared not obeying God. Abraham knew that God had promised to make from him a great nation, and yet he only had Isaac with which to bring that promise to being. Abraham had seen God provide over and over. He had witnessed firsthand the miracles of God. Abraham knew God kept His Word. Abraham had a relationship with God and he delighted in obeying the God he loved and who loved him.

Abraham worshiped God. Abraham told his servants that he and Isaac were going to worship God together. Wow! He was facing having to surrender what he loved most in the world into the hands of God, and he viewed it as worship. Abraham was willing to give up what he loved, what he depended on, to the One who had given it to him in the first place. He viewed the sacrifice and surrender as worship.

Abraham trusted God. He had heard God speak and had seen Him move. Abraham surely trusted God more than his own understanding. He did not know how God was still going to honor His promise, but he trusted that God would do so.

So as I sit here in the chair my dad always claims when he is visiting, I keep thinking about Abraham and Isaac. I find myself trying to open my hands in obedience. Trying to surrender my will in worship. And trying to trust in His plan more than my own understanding.

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The view of my daddy’s chair from my knees in prayer

Oh how I petition the throne of Heaven on behalf of my daddy. I have discovered the meaning of “pray continually” as my prayers becomes as constant as breathing. I pray for healing, for peace, for many healthy years ahead, for strength. I keep gazing up reminding myself that God is good even when circumstances aren’t.

I read messages of love for a man who has no idea what he means to so many. A humble man who just loves others without thought to the impact he has had on their lives.

And as I sit in my daddy’s chair, I watch a tree outside our window. A tree that always makes us smile. We’ve often thought of cutting it down because it offers very little shade, is very tall, and seems rather pointless. Until today. Today I see the tree with new eyes.

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The top of the tree moves with the slightest breeze

This skinny tree that blows wildly at the slightest breeze, suddenly stands as a beacon of hope. You see, the top of the tree moves at the whim of the wind. The top of the tree looks unsteady and chaotic. Yet, the bottom of the tree never moves. The bottom of the tree stands firm. It’s roots forbidding the tree to succumb to the frantic movements caused by the wind. The tree will move, the wind will blow, but that tree is firmly rooted and will not fall.

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A well rooted tree

Today, I thank God for my daddy, for Abraham, and for a skinny tree. Winds are blowing, things feel chaotic, my mind is racing, yet God is holding me firm and He will not let me fall.

Much love from this Daddy’s girl,
Jen

Daddy’s Girl

I have always been a daddy’s girl. And proud of it. Growing up I think I viewed my dad as more of a buddy than a parent. A fact that probably drove my poor mom crazy as she often had to play the role of “bad guy” to maintain some sense of order in our home. (Mom I love you!!!)

My dad was the first person to inspire my love of writing. I was a very shy child. Painfully shy. Like hide behind my parents’ legs to avoid talking to people shy. My dad has always been able to communicate well by writing his feelings, so one night he wrote a letter to me and left it in front of the coffee maker. I found the letter the next day and couldn’t wait to write him back. I snuck out of my room that night to leave my letter in front of the coffee maker for him to find the next morning. Thus began our coffee-pot chronicles. We would exchange notes in front of that coffee-pot for years. It was through those letters that I first realized the power of words.

I could easily communicate through writing what was too hard for me to say. Sometimes my feelings were just too big to speak. I would trip over my words, get embarrassed, or simply lose my train of thought. But not when I wrote them. Those coffee-pot letters enabled me to find  my voice.

In addition to letter writing, my dad and I had many games we played. Two of my favorites were “co-pilot to pilot” (where we pretended to be piloting an airplane as we drove around town talking into the air vents), and “I love you the most” (where we would argue over who loved who the most and why…he would always end up playing the “I’ve loved you longer” card..whatever! 😉 )

Just revisiting these memories makes me smile.

Of all the memories I have, the one that brings me the most joy and thankfulness is that it was my daddy who led me to my Savior.

One night many years ago, a shy little girl asked her daddy how God could fit inside her little heart. As only a daddy could, he explained that you don’t swallow God. You simply ask Him to forgive your sin and to live inside your heart.

My daddy helped me pray to receive Jesus’ gift of eternal life, and I am forever grateful.

I sit here today reflecting on my relationship with my daddy as a way to process my fear. Fear of finding out that my dad has to have open heart surgery to fix three major blockages. I truly did not see this news coming. It’s been a hard week in so many ways, yet good in so many others. Life’s like that though isn’t it? Good intermixed with bad.

My dad will be having surgery very soon and I’m not there. That’s hard. Really hard. I am planning to go, but I must wait until we have more details so that I can make arrangements for my people while I’m gone.

Fear is ever present. It threatens to suffocate. The “what-ifs” swirl in my head. I find myself bartering with God, telling Him that I don’t need such and such if it means my dad will be ok. I even start to wonder if I’ve used up all my answered prayer allotments (like God puts a number on how many prayers He’ll answer!).

But then I remember something: I’m a Daddy’s girl. Not just to my daddy, but to The Daddy. I’m God’s girl, and He’s got this.

My heavenly Daddy promises to hold me through life’s storms. My heavenly Daddy promises to strengthen me for whatever lies ahead. My heavenly Daddy promises to never leave me or forsake me. My heavenly Daddy is stronger than my fear. And my heavenly Daddy is big enough to hold my earthly daddy in the palm of His hand.

So as I wait on word about my daddy, I will wait in the arms of my Daddy.

I don’t know what the future holds, but oh how I cling to the hand of the One who knows the future.
The One who has gone before me and stands behind me.
The One who holds me when I feel overwhelmed.
The One who knows my days and my daddy’s days and carries us through each one.

And as I wait in the Father’s arms, I am grateful for the prayers of so many who are generously petitioning the LORD on our behalf.

Thank you for your prayers. And thank you Daddy for my daddy.

Proud to be a Daddy's Girl