Friday, May 19, 2017

All Together Lovely

We welcomed home our son from his second seven-month deployment this week. I will not even try to describe the emotions with words for words are not needed – our first hug, captured by a photographer, says it all.

At the first sighting of his ship the tears began pouring out. Then there was a somewhat long pause in the tears as we waited for his ship to actually dock and for them to debark.  It’s a slow process, friends.

Once we spotted him walking toward us, the tears poured out again.

They were tears of relief.
They were tears of pure happiness.
They were tears of praise.

Another deployment is behind us – four deployments are now behind us. Praise God neither my husband nor our son has another deployment looming before them.

For the first time since June 2016, our family would spend two full days together.

Of course, throughout our son’s deployment we prayed for his (their) safe return. As the months became weeks and the weeks became days, I found myself praying more earnestly for God to fill me with courage to speak His truth to our boys once we were finally together.

Truthfully, I prayed not only for that but for a “perfect” two days together.

I prayed for us to be a light – to point our boys and the women in their lives to Him. I prayed for our words to be praiseworthy and uplifting. I prayed for our conversations to be filled with love and joy.
I prayed for our conversations to reflect patience, kindness, and gentleness. I prayed for those conversations to be open and to simply overflow with goodness. I prayed for everything to be perfect!

I am sure it will not surprise you to hear our time together fell short of perfection. Go figure, right?

That is not to say we were not a light, or our words were not praiseworthy and uplifting. And certainly there were many moments where the fruits of the Spirit were displayed. At least I hope so.

But when I climbed into bed those two nights, I wrestled with questions like: What could I have done better? What could I have said differently? What should I have said that I didn’t say? What should I have done that I didn’t do? In what way(s) did I contribute to our time together being less than perfect?

After almost twenty-seven years of parenting our boys, I am still a work in progress on parenting and loving them well. I know we will never arrive at a state of perfection this side of heaven. Regardless of this knowledge, there’s a continual plea to God to help me parent and love them better.

Please, don’t let me (or us) be the one(s) to cause them to stumble.

Oh how I pray for God to help me to love them so well they would see and experience His love.

I know I can often be too hard on myself. I am frequently guilty of believing the “you messed up again” lies from the enemy. I know our children are aware of how much they are loved by us, whether or not we parent and love well all the time. But the deepest desire of my heart is for them to know how much they are loved by God.

Therefore, I will never stop praying for the things I pray. I think I shall stop praying for perfection though.

Instead, I will trust our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness, everlasting, ever-present and never-failing God (Isaiah 9:6-7) to carry out His work in me to completion.

And I will praise Him for the grace upon grace He pours out on me every single day when I don’t do this parenting and loving thing well because there surely are plenty of days when I do not.

Most of all, I will keep looking to Jesus and I will love Him most so I will love our children best.


By the way, the two days our family spent together were in so many ways all together lovely.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

God's Perfect Timing

I cannot get this clip from the movie “Independence Day” out of my mind as I begin this post. Click for Video: (I initially embedded the video but it would be an odd opening look for a new post after almost a year of not writing.)

Now mind you, most of you reading are likely girls (women is probably more true), nor am I ready to declare “I’m back.”  

Yet, I’m back for at least today. We will wait to see what God has planned for the days to come.

I wrote my last post in July 2016. Shortly after my husband returned home for what we are unable to claim as home on a permanent basis (he’s still a soldier) but we are hopeful he will remain stateside for an extended period of time. Home for a minimum of two years is my prayer.

Our Navy son will soon receive a homecoming celebration with his second 7-month deployment close to the end. I realized recently this is the first time in four years (4 deployments in 4 years) I have one coming home and the other is not already scheduled to leave. Would you join me in a shout-out of praise before we move on?

Praise the Lord! He is good ALWAYS.

Thanks for that.

What has been up with the whole writing thing for me? Oh, I don’t know. There were many reasons why I needed to step away. One, my husband was home… need I say more?

It took me by surprise to watch a writing break move to more of a personal declaration that I am no longer a writer. I changed my blog site to private. I did the same with my blog Facebook page. And I used the Facebook “On This Day” feature to delete any blog related memory. Delete. Delete. Delete. That season is over.

I use the “On This Day” feature to eliminate another season from my timeline too. We will save this story for another time, maybe.

Truth be told, I had no issues with the season of writing coming to an end. Gradually, I stopped writing blog posts in my head. Do others find that exhausting? Oh, how my brain needed a rest.

Quick side note: I keep trying to avoid the word “that” because it’s considered a weak, overused and frequently not needed word but (another word claimed to be used too often) trying to avoid that word gets exhausting too. Not sure why I shared THAT with you. Moving on…

Can I switch gears and share something lovely with you? Would you read this blog post first?

Last month I had my first official gathering of women around our Old Oak Table. It was so much more than I dreamed it would be. The gathering was done in God’s timing, in God’s way and with God’s courage and strength. I cooked too. If you know me well you know I do NOT cook. I made turkey tacos which I say counts as cooking. It doesn’t need to be complicated to be called cooking.

I have no adequate words to describe the awesomeness and perfect timing of the evening.

Friends, I think THAT is all I have to say for now.

I got work to do, our youngest son to move (he will only be slightly over an hour away from us but geez the change will be hard) and our eldest son to welcome home. Life keeps moving. God keeps stretching and growing me (and us). There are many stories I could share with you of Him showing His faithfulness over and over again.  And maybe I will, in time.

In the last post I wrote (all the way back on July 1, 2016) I shared with you a new go-to quote (new way back in July 2016):

“May I forget less and remember more that God will show Himself faithful.”

I am remembering more. For that I say, thank you, Lord.

If you are reading this, thank you! If you are one of the sweet writing friends I have made along the way, I have no right to expect you to read for I feel as though I have deserted our friendship along the way. I am sorry. You remain a blessing to me from God no matter where our relationship stands.
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