Words from my precious Mother-in-laws funeral…She was there…

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My sister-in-law asked for me to share scripture at my mother-in-law’s funeral.  I typed it into Word press as I pieced together what God was putting on my heart to say.   This blog was started almost 5 years ago out of the grief of my father and it continues to provide tremendous healing as God helps me type through life’s journey.   Our Mother is and will be so deeply missed.

 

Proverbs 31 is the first scripture that came to mind when Lisa asked me to read scripture today.  God’s word eloquently describes a woman of virtue and noble character.  Jody fits so well into this scripture.

 

Proverbs 31:10-3110 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

There are so many memories and examples that can be shared about Jody.  Her love and care for her husband, children and grandchildren.  How she was always making something special from stained glass, barbie doll clothes, to crochet baby blankets.   She welcomed me as her own daughter into the Lucas family.  For the sake of time I  narrowed down to one special memory and lesson learned from Jody.

When Mike and I bought our first home the entire house needed paint and all the carpet ripped out.  It was disgusting.  She had a day that she could come and help me with painting.  She was the expert trim painter extraordinaire with her very special brush. (there are a few stories of her painting capabilities out there)   She chose the hardest room to work on with a deep, dark, dried mustard color with the carpet to  match no less.   She worked so hard and we shared several stories and giggles as the day went on.  My dad was also a painter and used tape.  Jody taught me the art of no tape just keep your wet rag handy.  Now my own painting is a combo of their teaching tips. As the time she had to help came to an end she kept apologizing that she did not get much done and felt like she didn’t help much.  She was 66 years old at this time and was a tremendous help.  The thing is looking back I really can’t remember how much she got done or even how “perfect” it was.  What I remember is that she was there.   Jody was there for all of us, helping, caring, and cheering what ever the need was she was there.  A true life lesson her life has taught me is that what is important is that we are THERE for our family, friends, and people in need.  The details aren’t so much important as our presence.

Parenting in so many ways, especially a parent like Jody, reflects that same kind of love our Heavenly Father has shown to each and everyone of us.  Despite our imperfections, despite our sin God sent His own Son Jesus into the world to give his very life for us.  AS parents we aren’t always happy with our children’s choices.  There are some pretty funny stories of times Jody wasn’t happy with her kids behavior, but she was there still loving and guiding. God desires nothing more than to welcome us all into His family  through His Son Jesus no matter who we are or what we have done.  He wants to be there for every single one of us.  Through the happy times and the sad times in our lives.  Most importantly He longs to welcome us one day into our heavenly home with him.

A mother’s love is a beautiful picture of sacrifice doing all that she can for her beautiful babies.  Jody’s love for her children was the very core of who she was.

I will close with a final scripture about the love of Jesus for us.

Romans 8:34-39

34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is Not Our Home

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Just recently Mike and I attended more Foster parent training focused on trauma.  The trainer had us all participate in an exercise to help us to better understand the loss that children in care have endured.  She gave us each five blank index cards and instructed the class to write one thing that is important to us on each card.  Some wrote individual names I grouped my people which might have been cheating a bit.  As I began to write God was my first card.  Next I wrote husband, kids, extended family, and then friends.   Not one material thing popped in my head as to what is truly important to me.   So for the next step our trainer asked us to give up one card and lay it upside down on the table in front of us.   As much as I love my friends that was the card I gave up.   Then the next part of this exercise I watched as the trainer went around to each person and took all but one card.   Everyone reacted with “aww you are mean!!”, there were a lot of sighs, gasps, and sad faces.  As I watched this process I just kept saying/praying “Just please don’t take my God!!”.

Guess what card I had left?  Yes it was my God card.  I think I was the only one smiling in the bunch.  The reason for the smile was that it is God who has given me everyone and everything in my life.  Without God the creator my sweet husband, precious children, all family members and friends would not have ever been.  I would not be.  They are His to give and His to take.  Everything on this earth is His.  No matter what I do or how hard I work to earn something.  It is God’s.

This point is driving home even deeper with me as our country and our world continues to be hit by natural disasters and wars.  Right now so many people in the great state of Texas have lost family, livelihoods, and homes.   We do not know from one second to the next what turns our life journey will make.  We are to love and cherish all that has been given in the time that we have been given.  Each moment is a gift of God’s.

So that brings us to this next step in our journey of Foster care.  We now have our home on the market.  As we have stepped into stories and lives of two children so far in our journey the reality of how much of me these kids need has really hit hard.   As I have evaluated the hours I work and our finances God placed the question on my heart.  “What are you really working for?”  I can spend my life making very little impact on this world keeping my own little world maintained.  Or I can work less maintaining my own little world and spend more time making a greater impact in the world we live in.   Life is about people and relationships.  In my fast paced job there is very little forever impact made.  To provide love and safety to a broken young person and their family that can last forever.   People need our time, our love, our encouragement, our hugs, our smiles, our true heart felt concern and help.  People do not have changed lives for the better by me having a nice home.  So we press on looking forward to the great things God is going to do.  We press on as God plans for our life path to cross the life path of others.  I pray God will use us to bring Him glory and point the world to His love and true healing He gives us through Jesus!!

Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

Do you Want a Women’s March With a Guaranteed Impact?

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As I watch all forms of media explode over the women’s march I keep hearing many different reasons for marching.  There doesn’t seem to be one specific right that all women are standing united on. Nor have any women’s rights in America been taken away. It is an assumption of  what might happen that has been  fed by mainstream media.  It is not my place to judge each motivation behind the march only God can see into individuals hearts.  This blog is not being written to agree or disagree with this movement.  I will say there have been some things I have seen with this march that have completely embarrassed me as a women and for my young girls.

I can’t seem to stop thinking about women, the brokenness of this world, what the true needs are,  where true change needs to happen, and the rights we do have as human beings.   As my mind is racing and praying about this issue a true world changing vision of a march has flooded my mind.

Do you want to make a lasting impact?  Do you want to do something truly inspirational? Do you TRULY want to help women?

1.First you could provide encouragement to all the women in your life.  Build them up.  Tell them they are beautiful, special, smart, and strong.

2.If you have any young girls in your life be a part of building their self esteem.  Help them realize that they can work hard and succeed.  They can choose the career they want as long as they work hard.  Nothing is free and we all have to work hard.  When the young girl in your life fails encourage her to pick herself up and try again.  Failure makes us stronger and helps us learn from our mistakes.  By speaking hope into a young girl’s life you may very well prevent the next young mother who chooses her drug addiction over her children.  You may prevent the next domestic violence victim. Help elevate a young girls self esteem and teach her how a woman should be treated.  She can then avoid or escape abusive relationships because she knows she deserves better.

3. Be a mentor and support system to a single mother.  March down to local shelters and build up mothers who have lost everything. Women that just need opportunities to provide for their family.  Provide childcare, education, provide jobs, do laundry, what ever the need is SEE IT and take care of it.

4. March down to children’s homes and DCFS offices and learn what you can do to help in the world of foster care.  You could be the one caring adult to completely alter the course of an abandoned little girl for the good.

5. March to the nursing homes and hold hands with women who have lived long and hard.  Hold the hand of a widowed women.

6. Help women who have been widowed or abandoned of all ages.  Mow their lawns, make home repairs, and again provide child care to help her rest.

7. March to a children’s hospital and friend a mother whose child is dying of cancer or kept on life sustaining machines while waiting for a heart transplant.  Be there for a woman who has lost a child.

8. March to the magazines and medias that make women a sex object.  Who make false images of what beauty is.  The medias telling us we have to be a size zero with big breasts, have round butts, and big puffy lips to be truly beautiful.

9. Provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on to the woman who desperately desires to have a child and hasn’t gotten pregnant.

10.Stop judging each other.  Women are the worst at cutting other women down.   The march might be keeping our mouth closed if we are going to gossip or cut down another.

11.If you don’t want to be a sex object then be careful what you wear, where you go, and what you do.  Respect yourself and you will get much more respect.

We are women of all colors, shapes and sizes.  Women with all kinds of talents. God created women with a specific purpose and plan.  We are amazing nurturers.  We have specific qualities that God gave us with a perfect purpose and plan.   March to a bible and read about very significant women God has used to fulfill his plan you will be amazed.

We are beautiful and valuable.  Lets encourage each other and march where it matters most.  March to the places we can make a lasting difference.  Rights of humanity don’t rest on a president’s shoulders.  Rights of humanity depend on human beings making a difference one life at a time.

 

 

What is Behind the Sirens?

How often do we ignore the sirens of first responder vehicles?   How often are we completely annoyed in having to pull off the road to let these vehicles pass?  How often do we think of the reason and the lives behind the sirens?   Some topics are more difficult to write about than others.  It is definitely a defense mechanism of my own to try to forget and ignore what might make me melt into a blubbering mess.  After all my children need a strong mother, my patients and coworkers need a happy hard worker, our church needs happy faces and strong singing voices leading worship and teaching, etc…  There often is very little time to grieve and be alone in one’s thoughts in such a fast paced world that never stops.

About a month ago as I was driving to my mother’s home I passed an ambulance with its sirens and lights blaring.  The significance was that it passed me on the same road and in the same section of the road that the ambulance that carried my father had passed me.  As I pulled over to the side of the road in the same spot I had on March 11th my heart jumped to my throat in the same way it had on that dreaded day.  On the day my father passed I happened to be on the phone with a life long friend who has had more than her fair share of life’s pain. She had returned my call after I left a voicemail asking her for prayer.   As the ambulance passed I remember crying out “That’s my dad in there!”

The day my dad went to heaven as the ambulance passed my vehicle the sirens signified a change in life for my family.  As a medical worker there has always been significance in the sirens to me, but it is always deeper when they represent change in one’s own life.  When a medical helicopter is coming or going from the hospital there is a family in pain, when an ambulance, police car, or a fire truck has sirens blaring there is a family in pain.

Why do I feel led to write this today?  I never really know why God puts certain topics and verses on my heart.  We live in a hurting world that seems to show less and less love and compassion.  Maybe it is a reminder for myself and anyone who reads to pray.  Pray when we see an emergency vehicle, pray for the first responders, pray for the families that evil is directly impacting across our world, pray for God’s peace, pray for God’s wisdom, and pray for a troubled world to seek Jesus.  The day my dad died it hurt for us here and changed our way of life especially my mother’s.  It was a day of victory as well.  You see because he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior he is in heaven today.   I pray for our world to know that hope and to know the One that is truly the answer to every problem and trouble.  Jesus is the answer for the world.

1 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”