Remembering God’s Faithfulness


faithfulness-2

At Tuesday Evening’s Bible Study a special sister-in-Christ gave her testimony. It was a powerful moment as she shared her life and God’s faithfulness through her difficult times.

Hearing her story resurrected memories of how God has been so faithful through my own life. There has been laughter and sorrows, gifts and emptiness, friends and the end of friendships. But through it all there was one constant – my precious Lord. All things lost didn’t matter, because I gained so much more. I gained peace. I felt His love. He took me from the valleys to the mountaintops. My life is full because of Him.

Something prompted me to write down my own testimony. Since becoming a Christian I had never shared it. I’m not sure I’m called to do that now. I think I just needed to write it down to see God’s incredible faithfulness throughout my life. It gave me such joy to remember how good God has been to me. I saw how He changed me; how He took my poor choices and used them for His glory. As I grew in my faith I saw how He prevented me from making other wrong choices and then lavished me with His better gifts. I see how the trials I have experienced shaped me and grew my faith.

Consider making a timeline of your own life, writing down your celebrations and tragedies, then go back and note where God strengthened you and pulled you through, and when He celebrated with you. Remember, with thankfulness His incredible gifts. It’s such a powerful exercise.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

May you feel His indescribable love today.

 

Image: Google Images

Family Memories


1 wedding pic

I wrote this piece a few years ago just before our family celebrated my in-laws 54th Wedding Anniversary. Today we celebrate their 57th Anniversary. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law’s memory and body has failed her, and now she is home-bound. There won’t be an anniversary outing this year, but there will be plenty of love. As you read, consider creating more of your own lasting family memories. They are priceless. 

The Anniversary Dinner (2011)

My Father-In-Law called the other night. He doesn’t usually call to talk to me, but to talk to his son; possibly because of the slight language barrier. My father-in-law is Cuban and although he speaks fluent English, his thick accent makes it hard to understand him sometimes. I have very little in common with my in-laws, and we have butted heads on more than one occasion (politics, childrearing, working moms, etc.)

Monday night was different, however. Gerardo started out by complimenting my cooking (more than usual) and my home, and then he asked me to plan and prepare a very nice anniversary dinner at my home, to include all the children and grandchildren that can be in attendance. My in-laws will be married 54 years this Sunday. So yes, I’m going to jump up and plan something very nice. He asked for an anniversary cake, steaks and whatever special accompaniments I could come up with. He told me to spare no expense. (That’s a major request from a family that celebrates its thriftiness.)

But there was more to the request. There were the unspoken words. Gerardo fears this may be his last anniversary meal with the love of his life. My mother-in-law is just not well. Since their elaborate 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Haydee has suffered 2 major strokes and has other health issues. When I met my future mother-in-law (some 18+ years ago) she was still a vibrant woman, talked a mile a minute and could tell you every detail about her children and grandchildren. She cooked for huge family gatherings, able to feed a small army; a skill she honed because of the duties of being a Pastor’s wife, and raising 5 children. Now her memory is faltering and she can barely warm up prepared food items. He didn’t say it but my father-in-law mourns the changes in his wife and he only wishes to celebrate their life together, possibly this one last time. Heroes come in all sizes. In this case it’s a 79-year-old man planning a special outing for his very best friend – he wants it to be very special.

My children are fortunate; they have had the luxury of knowing both sets of grandparents. I don’t know how long that will last. My father was just diagnosed with cancer. So I’m going to make this evening special.  Children and grandchildren are coming in from out of town to surprise Gerardo and Haydee. The meal is planned. I’m pulling out the good china & wine glasses (when was the last time I did that?), table cloths, linen napkins and the like. I’m grateful I planted flowers on the patio last weekend. Haydee will like that. I have croquet, horseshoes and a lawn chess set to ensure a fun family gathering. I’m charging the batteries to every camera I can find. I’ll probably pick up a few disposable cameras too. After all, it’s not about the food, it’s about family.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Garro, and thank you for the example.

The Anniversary Dinner


My Father-In-Law called the other night. He does not usually call to talk to me, but to talk to his son; possibly because of the slight language barrier. My father-in-law is Cuban and although he speaks fluent English, his thick accent is hard to understand sometimes. I have very little in common with my In-Laws, and we have butted heads on more than one occasion (politics, child-rearing, working moms, etc.)

Monday night was different, however. Gerardo started out by complimenting my cooking (more than usual) and my home, and then he asked me to plan and prepare a very nice anniversary dinner at my home, to include all the children and grandchildren that can be in attendance. My in-laws will be married 54 years this Sunday. So yes, I’m going to jump up and plan something very nice. He asked for an anniversary cake, steaks and whatever special accompaniments I could come up with. He told me to spare no expense. (That’s a major request from a family that celebrates its thriftiness.)

But there was more to the request, the unspoken words. Gerardo fears this may be his last Anniversary meal with the love of his life. My mother-in-law is just not well. Since their elaborate 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Haydee has suffered 2 major strokes and has other health issues. When I met my future Mother-In-Law (some 18+ years ago) she was still a vibrant woman, talked a mile a minute and could tell you every detail about her children and grandchildren. She cooked for huge family gatherings, able to feed a small army; a skill she honed because of the duties of a Pastor’s wife and raising 5 children. Now her memory is faltering and she can barely warm up prepared food items. He didn’t say it, but my Father-in-Law mourns the changes in his wife and he only wishes to celebrate their life together, possibly this one last time. Heroes come in all sizes. In this case it’s a 79-year-old man planning a special outing for his very best friend – he wants it to be very special.

My children are fortunate; they have had the luxury of knowing both sets of grandparents. I don’t know how long that will last. My father was just diagnosed with cancer. So, the meal is planned. I’m pulling out the good china & wine glasses (when was the last time I did that?), table cloths, linen napkins and the like. I’m grateful I planted flowers on the patio last weekend. Haydee will like that. I have croquet, horseshoes and a lawn chess set to ensure a fun family gathering. I’m charging the batteries to every camera I can find. I’ll probably pick up a few disposable cameras too. After all, it’s not about the food, it’s about family.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Garro, and thank you for the example.

JUST A FEW REASONS MY DAD IS WONDERFUL


Happy Father’s Day

He’s more than the “bread winner.” A daddy is someone very special. In a daughter’s eyes her father will always be about 10 feet tall. Here are some of the reasons why my sisters and I love our Dad:

  1. He loves our Mom.
  2. And he told us to listen to her.
  3. He could fix just about anything.
  4. He took so many pictures of us.
  5. And home movies too.
  6. He taught us how to ride a bike.
  7. And to play nice with the other kids.
  8. And share.
  9. To love our siblings and get along with them, no matter what.
  10. And clean our room.
  11. He helped us with our homework, especially math.
  12. He taught us how to drive.
  13. And pump our own gas
  14. And check the oil.
  15. And tire pressure.
  16. And when to get new tires.
  17. How to wash a car at home without going to the carwash
  18. And how to use the items in a tool box.
  19. He took us to the fair.
  20. And ball games.
  21. He taught us to root for our team, no matter how bad they were losing.
  22. He made sure we learned to swim
  23. He taught us how to ice skate.
  24. And how to fly a kite.
  25. He took us fishing.
  26. Taught us how to build a fire.
  27. And pitch a tent.
  28. He held our hand when we had to get stitches.
  29. And told us to be a big girl.
  30. He took us to the library.
  31. Read the paper, not just the funnies.
  32. He taught us to save money
  33. And how to handle a checkbook.
  34. He told us to get a good education.
  35. And find a job we loved.
  36. And always learn something new.
  37. He loves his grandkids.
  38. He told us to keep up with the news.
  39. And vote.
  40. He bought us our first bouquet of roses.
  41. And taught us to dance.
  42. No man was ever going to be good enough for his little girls.
  43. But he loves our husbands anyway.
  44. He always made a big deal of going to see the fireworks.
  45. He taught us how to make a decision, and told us there are consequences to everything.
  46. And when the decision is made, don’t complain.
  47. You can have a good time without spending money.
  48. He took us to drive-in movies.
  49. And special movie premiers.
  50. He took us out for ice cream on summer Saturday nights
  51. Made Mom get her own ice cream instead of “tasting” the kids’ ice cream.
  52. Say Grace before a meal.
  53. Lend a helping hand to a neighbor.
  54. Volunteer for something you believe in.
  55. He took us to Church.
  56. And taught us to place something in the offertory no matter how small.
  57. He taught us to read the Bible
  58. He taught us respect for our elders.
  59. Home-cooking is the way to a man’s heart.
  60. Top it off with dessert.
  61. Taught us how to make ice cream, even “soft serve”
  62. It’s ok to have a glass of wine or a beer.
  63. He took us to see grandparents quite often – the trip was across country.
  64. He took us to Disneyland.
  65. And Disney World
  66. And Sea World.
  67. And The beach.
  68. And the zoo.
  69. And many other places from coast to coast
  70. He put up the Christmas tree
  71. And hung Christmas lights
  72. He made us do our chores.
  73. He made us do things for myself.
  74. He painted my room and furniture for me.
  75. And hung pictures.
  76. It’s ok to stop and ask for directions.
  77. Keep the radio tuned to a good station.
  78. Pay attention to traffic signs.
  79. Call if you are going to be late.
  80. Reminded us to have our house key “in case you are out late”.
  81. Always have a good book to read.
  82. Plan a get-away with your wife at least once a year.
  83. Know what the organization really does before you donate to them.
  84. Visit the gravesite of loved ones when you are in town.
  85. By example he showed us we should have a nice looking yard.
  86. And taught us to use a lawnmower.
  87. And a weed-eater.
  88. To grow a garden
  89. Put up a flag.
  90. And plant some flowers.
  91. He tried to teach us golf.
  92. He played catch and kickball.
  93. He taught us to appreciate music.
  94. And to play an instrument.
  95. Like piano.
  96. Or flute.
  97. But not the drums.
  98. Exercise.
  99. Keep an eye on the clock.
  100. Keep your mind sharp with a puzzle.
  101. And it’s ok to take a nap.

Enjoy your special day Dad. We love you!