Monday, June 13, 2011

Landmarks That Last

I don't know who taught Hansel and Gretel, maybe they used their own ingenuity, but throwing down breadcrumbs was probably not the brightest idea. I know they were small children, but maybe with some instruction there would have been a different ending to the story.

It will be Father's Day this weekend.

I realize that mothers play a pivotal role in the lives of their children that cannot be duplicated.

So do fathers.

There are things we should learn from our fathers that we can learn from no one else. Things such as work ethic, honesty, firmness and loyalty.

I know plenty of people that have not had that role in their lives and turned out fine, let me say that from the outset. I also know of people who have had wonderful fathers and turned out, well, less than fine.

That is beside the point I want to make today.

Proverbs 22:28 says, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."

We use landmarks for directions, especially in the South.

"Turn left by the tree shaped like a Y and look for the house with the big rock in the front yard."

I honestly cannot tell you turn on this street and then on this street. I give directions based on things that I see. That is how I know I am on the right path.

Our children need landmarks in their lives. They need to know they are headed in the right directions or they need a point of reference to get them back on the right track.

They need to see, as fathers that you have set "landmarks" in your lives that will stand the test of time. Not bread crumbs that may be gone as soon as they are spotted by a hungry bird.

They need something they can put their trust in, something they can rely on to always be there, be constant.

I was choosing a picture to represent my Daddy for my facebook profile to honor him for Father's Day. I have several on my profile, but the one I chose was of a day he set a very distinct landmark in his life.

It is the day he was Baptized in the wonderful Name of Jesus for the Remission of his sins and also the day he was filled with the Holy Ghost.

That landmark is solid, built on the Word of God. It will stand the test of time.

My Daddy was an honorable man, he was a strong man, and he was a leader to our family.

But he still had to follow the plan of God. By doing so he was saying, "I have redirected my path. This is the starting point for a new way of life."

And through the Word I know that if he ever lost his way on this new path he could easily find that landmark, a place of repentance.

Did you know, fathers, that everyday you make choices that affect you, AND your children. The way you chose to conduct yourself, to live your life bleeds over into those most precious to you.

Are you on a path that you would want them to follow? If you were gone tomorrow, would the landmarks you have set up in your life be able to stand the test of time?

Thank You today for my earthly father. He was a good man and I am blessed to have been his child. But I also thank You for allowing him to recognize that he WAS a man, and he needed YOU in his life. I am clinging to that promise that as long as I continue to run this race, following the right path, one glorious day I will see Your face. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Grief Becomes Your Enemy

I may have to roll up my sleeves on this one....It's going to take some work.

I would say that I met grief a little over a year ago now with the death of my father.

But that's not exactly true.

I think I was first introduced to grief many years before that as I watched my vibrant, successful parents become enthralled in health battles that they simply lacked the strength to fight.

I cannot count the times over the years I have backed out of their driveway sobbing because the grief of losing them even before they were gone was so overwhelming.

I do not believe for a moment that I am the only person on the face of the earth who has lived with grief as a constant companion. I also will not be so arrogant as to say my grief far surpasses anyone else's.

But the whole deal is, it's my grief.

It's that grief that has allowed me to remember wonderful things, to laugh, to smile, and to feel that love that I know that my parents had for me.

And in that sense grief became my friend.

It helped me on the road to healing, helped me to look at the positives in such a painful situation.

At some point, though, everything changed.

It has been that grief that has me wide eyed into the night, that haunts my dreams and colors my happiness.

That grief that allowed me to begin each day with the knowledge that I had lost but I had also gained had turned on me becoming a vicious enemy instead of a tender friend.

And there reached a point when I realized what had happened to me because of this great, consuming grief.

I realized I was broken.

I was a broken person. I may have looked ok on the outside, and I went through the motions of living, but there was something so wrong.

I lost my ability to feel the things I was supposed to feel anymore without the color of grief staining everything like the sun trying to shine pure through a stain glassed window. I could see the brightness, but it was discolored through my pain.

And I thought about David facing the loss of his son, on the floor, crying with sackcloth and ashes.

Until they told him that his son was gone.

Then he cleaned himself up, he ate.....he went on with his life.

It became time for me to pick myself up and go on.

It became time for me to put the long night of weeping behind me and realize it was morning, and time for some joy.

That thing that I thought was my friend to help me through a difficult time became my enemy that wanted to remove any happiness from my life, remove any laughter.

Without me even realizing what had taken place I had allowed this grief to almost render my vessel useless in its brokenness.

Oh maybe I wasn't broken in two, but there was such a crack in my life that even when I would go to church and get filled back up it would all run straight back out.

Here is the wonderful part.

One day I got back on that potter's wheel and God took my brokenness and He REMADE me. All of those imperfections that made me unusable were folded back into the clay in His hands and they have made me an even better vessel, one that has many more uses.

That enemy that wanted to destroy me played a part in making me stronger than I have ever been, opened up a whole new ministry for me and gave me more determination than I ever thought I could have.

I have MORE to go to Heaven for now, because someday I can dance on streets of Gold with my Daddy and he will have BOTH legs, and I can worship beside my Mama and her body will be whole again.

And all the pain, all the grief, all the loss will be worth it because there will be someone else there that has been touched through my circumstances.

No, I'm not the only one who has lost. But, no one else has gained what I have gained.

I know my grief will reappear as long as I am in this earthly vessel. But that's OK.

I have another friend Who is bigger by far than anything that comes up against me. And He is willing to fight for me when I am too weak to fight for myself.

He is my family, my closest Friend. My Life, My Love, My All.

*Thanks to Bro. Marc Wood for obeying God tonight. I began the blog before church, and I knew when I left it up that it was meant for me to finish after. What a blessing tonight was for me.*

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Have A History.....

Once upon a time the pieces of two lives converged to make one and through that life there began a family.

Centuries have passed but what began way back when continues on. And laying beneath markers across this soil and beyond are what remains of the life's that made me who I am.

And for the most part I don't even know their names. Not that the names have the most significant draw of my imagination, no, it is the countless stories those lives possessed that I may never hear.

Yet, they are my history.

Denise and I stopped at a Revolutionary War Cemetery recently. Many of the graves had stories written right on them, though some we're too worn to understand. But each life and death had meaning to someone all those years ago.

In the midst of the cemetery stood a brick fence with an iron gate. Inside that fence was Mary.

Beloved Mary.

Daughter, wife, mother.

Loved and lost too soon.

And that grief that drove her husband to erect a monument there for her extolling her virtues spoke to my heart.

The story it told was of love. Great love.

I am in the middle of writing my history. And through the choices I make stories will be told of my time here on earth.

Or not.

I have the opportunity to leave a legacy that generations will remember or just leave.

Forgotten till someone stumbles upon my grave and wonders who I was.

I want to make every day count. I want to be remembered for my faith, my prayers, my love.

I want my history to inspire someone else to go as far as God will take them, to follow His lead even when it is not the popular way, because I want my history to reflect it is the best way to live.

There may be things in my past I regret, but never do I regret my walk with Him.

I have a history. And tomorrow I have the chance to add to it again. I chose to give tomorrow to Him.