Thursday, July 31, 2008
Even so, this glass has been my favorite container for drinking ice water for 28 years. No one else in my family dares to use this glass. For one thing, it has been deemed as mine for all these years. Second, since I am the only one who uses this glass, I do not wash it with every use or even every day. Eeeewwwwwwww! My husband is a little disturbed by this behavior, so he kindly runs it through the dishwasher every now and then, but I usually discover it missing and ask, "Where is my water glass??"
Recently, my mother in law was at our house for a visit and behold, I saw her using my water glass. Yes, MY water glass! I was a little put out and asked her where she had found said water glass when she chose to partake of her beverage from my glass. She kindly responded that it had been in the cabinet. I not so kindly retorted that it must be clean then, lucky for her, as I rarely wash it. (I actually sounded proud of this gross behavior.) She seemed undisturbed by my concern and continued to finish her beverage.
She was leaving to go home the morning of this occurrence and so after she had left, I rummaged through my kitchen, trying to locate my glass and make sure that it would be washed and ready for my next drink of water that day.
I could not find the glass anywhere!
I looked high and low, every possible place - the cabinet, the dishwasher, the bedroom where my mother in law had slept, the bathroom - EVERYWHERE! Even my daughter joined in the search, but we could not find my water glass anywhere. I had to wonder if my husband's mother had taken my water glass. (now that is real paranoia)
That evening, I told my husband, "I think your mom took my water glass!" and explained the scenario from that morning. He was aghast. He could not believe that the glass was gone. The search was on for the second time. We looked again, in all the same places and even a few more. We still could not find the glass. My husband, somewhat bewildered, said to me, "I guess I will have to call my mom and find out what happened to the glass." I, of course, agreed.
We went to bed that night, sad over the loss of the glass that had been in our family for almost thirty years, but even more forlorn at the thought of our dear mother (and mother-in-law) stealing, oops, I mean accidentally taking my favorite water glass out of our home!
The next morning, I woke up and selected a new glass to drink my water and take my vitamins for that day and shook my head in disbelief.
On the way to work, my husband called me on my cell phone with great news! He said, "I found your water glass!" I asked, "WHERE??" and he said...."In the trash!"
What??? In the trash??
My response was, "Your mother threw my water glass IN THE TRASH???"
Need I go on?
I love my mother-in-law. My husband loves his mother, apparently enough to dig through the trash to save her reputation.
Or, I could just look at it that he loves ME enough to dig through the trash to look for my beloved glass.
Imagine my joy when I came home from work that evening and saw this lovely sight...
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
They are coming from me. I sat down this morning to spend some time with God and He overwhelmed me with his presence!
He is so good.
Isn't it wonderful when He does that? When things are just clicking between you and the Father? It is such an awesome thing to know that His love is so perfect, His grace is amazing, His forgiveness is so complete...and then He takes it to the next level and reaches out to embrace with such comfort that His presence is undeniable! Has that ever happened to you? Oh, I so hope so!
Today, I know that I am right with my Lord. I know I don't always walk with Him...you know that too if you read my blog. However, it is my desire to bring glory and honor to Him as I walk through this life. He chose me. He loves me. There is NOTHING that can separate me from His love.
The joy of my relationship with Him is indescribable. His words to me are personal and clear.
The verse that I have on my title page speaks to my heart and my soul today! Psalm 16:11 says:
Oh, thank you, dear God, for fulfilling your promise to me!
Monday, July 28, 2008
So, when I discovered that there were readers to my blog that I did not "invite", I contemplated making it private, after all, these are my private thoughts. After prayer and reasoning things out with a few people, I decided to continue on as originally designed but with the knowledge that friends and family were reading it. Some chaos has come from this decision since healing is sometimes a process. God is a great surgeon and I give Him all the glory for all that He is doing in that process, yet realizing that He is not finished.
The blog titled "Eyes On Heaven" is a my private journal of trying to keep my eyes on God during a difficult time, that I felt like was hell on earth. The poem Gone is about this also.
And now the time has come to create a new journal, eliminating another part of my life from Liz's Letters. Liz's Letters is the blog used to keep my friends and family current with my life, family, and what God is doing in my life. Also included are friends that I have met through other blog communities and I am enjoying all of these relationships. So, a new set of letters, to the friend who I have referred to on this blog...the one who has given up...is under construction -Letters To A Friend. It will be the outlet to process the hurt of that poorly ended relationship - and Liz's Letter's will move on.
My final post regarding the pain of this friendship comes to mind as I ran across this Psalm in my time with God recently.
Psalm 55 (in part)
And I hurt, like David in the Psalm that I read this morning. His words describe the betrayal of a friend as unbearable. It has felt unbearable for me. When I discovered the lies, I telephoned over and over...maybe 120 times in one day, desperately trying to make sense of what I discovered, not wanting to believe the friend whom I considered my close companion, who I had ministered alongside for many years, would betray me so. She probably feels the same about me as I expressed my hurt and anger through words I hoped would hurt her with the same hurt that she had hurt me.
Calling out to God, in my distress...He hears me. He protects me. He teaches me.
And I trust Him.What I do know is that I am forgiven by God. What I do know is that I will choose to not live with hatred or lack of reconciliation. My amends to her is to honor her request - to not contact her, but I do not agree and I have many unanswered questions. I have no way to tell her this as she has cut off all contact.
So, for the record, for anyone who reads this and to eliminate any confusion (thanks, Adam, for letting me know) this is the entire story of what happened.
My love for her remains as steadfast as the day we became friends. I will continue to pray for her, that God will bless her, her marriage, her children, and her ministry.
Get ready for Liz's Letter's, as it was designed, as it was meant to be...a letter to you, my friends, to share with you the beauty of God, the way He loves faithfully, the way He brings new and exciting opportunities, the questions that He challenges me with and the ones that He answers.
Friday, July 25, 2008
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!
God does the same with us. In the same way that Fred and I keep close watch over the bird family in our yard, in the same way that the mommy and daddy cardinal hover and chirp and feed these babies, our loving Father cares so much more for you and me!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Funny, the same old book fit the description perfectly. It had to be purchased.
God does have a sense of humor, doesn't He?
Determination is what He has as He gently pushes me back into places that will hurt, but I know they will help me heal. This particular book was one that I did with several different ladies at different times, in that "old" life. My personal desire would be to not use this book ever again. Memories will be like a flood of things to work through, many of which center around deceit, gossip, and slander. God started something good in that but the evil one has won a few battles as he has damaged reputations and relationships.
But all of those negative things are so overpowered by the wonderful work of God in my life, and in the life of my friend.
My friend had never been in a Christian bookstore before! That was fun stuff...she couldn't believe all the cool things. Her excitement was contagious. She bought her very first Bible and that was really cool. She did not know the difference in the Old Testament and New Testament, she was unfamiliar with the books, chapters, and verses. All of the training that I received in that "old" life was exactly what I needed. I was so prepared, so happy, and so thrilled to help her. I heard about her prayer the night before, asking for Jesus to be her "everything." She talked about how the Holy Spirit brought songs and thoughts and then peace to her mind and heart. And she doesn't even know who the Holy Spirit is exactly!
It has been sad and scary at times to walk the path that I have been on. But God is really moving. He has moved some people and things out of the way so that He can do what He needs to do. He continues to make things clearer and clearer as He and I walk together on this journey.
I love helping people find out how wonderful it is to choose to walk with Him. For some reason, that I will never fully understand, God has given me the gift of sharing my heart...sometimes the hardest parts to share, but I share them anyway, if it will bring Him glory and help someone else understand the depth of His love. If He can love me...if He can change me...If He can give this grumpy, hard hearted woman a heart that bleeds for Him...He can do anything! And it thrills me to see the light come on for another person and make the choice to follow after Him. If He uses me even a little, I am so excited that I can barely stand it.
God can have His way with me, in all things, and in all situations. Lysa TerKeurst expressed what I feel the best when she encouraged me with the words on a comment she made on my blog. She said, "I love doing what I feel is exactly what God made me to do. I'm not perfect but God knew that when He called me. And He still chose to use me."
Those words bring joy and hope to my heart. God made me for Him. His plan for me has sometimes been very clear. I sadly, sometimes, have allowed ugliness to cloud His plan, but my heart sings as the sun is starting to shine, and the path is bright with His light! I am not perfect, but He still chooses to use me.
So be it. I am His.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
My file cabinet was full of things that reminded me of my "old life". I found old Bible Study and Women's Retreat material that takes me back to a place that I have buried for the last three years. Due to something that happened after the worship service today...yet again, God beckons me to use my ability to communicate what He has done in my life to assist Him in bringing other's to Him. I have tried to pretend that this is not where He wants me as the pain of my experiences, my sin, and feelings of unworthiness make me want to set this part of my life aside for as long as possible. But God won't let me. A special friend, on the verge of accepting Him, searching and in need of one on one discipleship tugs at my heart. She has asked me for weeks, "What do I do next?" and I wait to see if someone else will answer her...but God keeps putting her in front of me. My answer to Him is "Oh, God...are you sure?"
This afternoon...in my attempt to ignore what God has challenged of me...He will not let me go. He wants me to remember. He wants me to learn and grow from what I experienced. I resist. I feel I cannot. I know He must be with me in order to move from where I am at this moment.
The words He brought to me, as I cleaned out the old paperwork, as I tried to bury my past experiences were words of encouragement, from one who hurt me.
In a letter written to me from the person who was closer to me than anyone, the friend I have loved like a sister, and out of that love, I have let her go. She wrote these words to me at a time when I had experienced something horrible and hurtful and discouraging. She wrote:
So, I say all this to say, if you were not my very best, closest fiend, if I had handled many situations with more honesty, integrity and Godliness, You would not be so frustrated now. To be extremely honest, I will 99% of the time, plead a situation so darn good that I will come out as best as I can even in being wrong...at other people's cost...I do know that that stinks,...
Liz, I love you. God loves you. Jesus Christ who rose from the dead who died for you, loves you. He knew that this day would happen, like a crisis of belief, and He knows how you will respond and react because of who He is in your life and what He's done in your life and wants to continue to do.
You are being challenged right now to go deeper, deeper with God, with relationships, you were getting bored with the old stuff anyway, right?
You are my soulmate, my sister, my friend. You are a joy. Love you with all my heart. "
Words, written some time ago, coming back seemingly to haunt me, but God used to remind me of Him, His plan for me.
Thank you, dear friend, for words that still speak to my heart, that address the exact moment that I am facing today.
I know that He is using all things for His good and His glory. He reminds me, today, of how He loves me, how He has gifted me, and that nothing, nothing in life with Him is happenstance.
God reminds me of who I am through the words also given to me by this same friend:
You are the friend that
I love to be around
I love with ALL my heart
comforts me in deepest darkest nights
brings a smile to my face
shows me myself, good and bad, pretty and ugly
puts up with me
pulls me up by whatever you can grab
is patient with me
is beautiful inside and out
is respected among her peers and co-workers
is a great friend to many
is my pride and joy
is a gardening expert
is a cooking expert
is a great mom
is a great daughter
is caring (really)
is sensitive, even when you won't admit it
is the best friend anyone could have
is a blessing
These are the word I will hang on to. This is the friendship that I remember.
This is who I am in Christ.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Yesterday, my husband and I engaged in our normal post work day conversation and he said to me, "When will it end?" My response was, "When will what end?" He went on to tell me of a coworker who was killed in an accident yesterday during the morning. And a different colleague had also experienced the death of a nephew in an accident. It seems that suddenly, death is all around us.
When will the next person be called out of life on earth?
Fred's father is very ill with cancer. I have a dear friend at work who is battling cancer. My son's girlfriend's father is in the same fight. Another friend has a father in ICU, near death, and not a believer. Those are the one's who have a condition that could take their life. Any of us could be in an accident of some sort.
I have a friend who experienced the suicide of someone she knows this week. This same friend is estranged from a parent and also from a former "best" friend. (we have this in common) She is working on forgiveness. Her father has been abusive and her friend betrayed her; neither have asked for forgiveness but her desire is to do so anyway. Wow, can I ever relate! She does not want something to happen (as in death) before forgiveness takes place as it is not appealing to contemplate having to forgive over a corpse.
Everywhere around me I am reminded that the only moment I have is right now. I am happy to have been reminded that if only and what if are phrases that I will take out of my vocabulary.
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today. ~James Dean
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The time we spent celebrating and remembering Jason's life was well thought out and encouraging. First and foremost, Jason's life as a child of God was celebrated. Photographs, airplanes, and favorite things were there to represent who he was and what was important to him during his time on earth. Amy, his sister-in-law, and his three siblings gave testimony to how they will remember Jason and his jovial, loving personality.
My husband, my daughter, and myself (Aaron sat with Jason's family) were seated in, what I now realize, the prime prayer position. We were beside the family and as friends and family filed toward the front of the auditorium to pay their respects, we were able to clearly see the countenance of Christi, her parents, and Jason's parents as they greeted every visitor. It was not planned that a receiving line be formed, but as people approached, the desire to comfort won out. Christi, and the family, stood to accept condolences. What I witnessed was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was obvious that the time was healing and encouraging to the family, Christi, in particular. I was in awe by her love and authenticity.
As each person came through the line, Christi's attention was unwavering. She listened to every word. She cried and or laughed and hugged as each individual need was revealed. She even comforted others. Nearly one thousand exchanges, she stood strong.
The scene reminded me of Jesus and his love that never tires. The many times he must have greeted thousands in one day without tiring, individually addressing all of their needs. And how God is so gracious to treat us each that way now.
Never in a million years would I choose Jason's life to have ended so suddenly and tragically. But, as a result, lives are changed for the good somewhere along the way.
I am grateful to have known him and been inspired by him. And the recent events have caused me to not want to waste a single minute with my husband, with my children, with my family or with my friends. I have wasted too much already and don't want to waste anymore. As I ponder these things, I evaluate the health of my own relationships. I am grateful that my husband and I always kiss each other good bye and say, "I love you." I do the same with my children and my parents. Most of my friends know how special they are to me and how much I appreciate them. There is one relationship, that should one of us die today, it would not be where I would want it to be, but I know I have tried. I apologized for my mistakes and asked for reconciliation. I am sad that it was refused, that she has chosen to cut me out of her life. (See blog Eyes on Heaven for subscribers) But God will use even that for me to grow and love others with more passion and compassion than before. I am blessed by what I learned from her and the friendship that we had while we had it.
God gives opportunity to turn everything around, especially our attitudes. I am here today and I choose to make the most of it. His name is Wonderful!
Monday, July 14, 2008
The last few days, God's word to me has been consistent...totally and one hundred percent consistent. Everywhere I turn, every meditation I read, and even the message at the service on Sunday (Amazing...check out the podcast when it is up...dated July 13) was about living in the present. My mind has been so preoccupied (even though I have been fighting it with great but tiring strength) with the IF ONLY's of the past and the WHAT IF's of the future that I have neglected today. Over and over, I am reminded that if I am walking in the past or in the future, than I am not walking with God because He is right here, right now.
Two amazing things happened today.
One might seem small to you, but I will share it anyway because it was BIG to me. I recently listened to the new Steven Curtis Chapman song, Miracle of the Moment. It made such an impression on me, ministering to my heart where I am right now that I made it my "theme song" on MySpace. (some of you know what I am talking about) I have been thinking and thinking about the words to this song, taking the words to heart, pondering them, trying to live them out as I have gone through some very difficult days. So, today I was emailing back and forth a little through out the day with my good friend, Susan. She found herself listening to Steven Curtis Chapman (I did not tell her ANYTHING about this song in my life) and she felt compelled to send me the lyrics and the scripture verses that are represented in this song. Her message to me said:
Miracle of the Moment written by Steven Curtis Chapman and Matt Bronleewe
Psalm 118:24, Matthew 6:33, 34 (MSG), Philippians 4:6,7
These followers of Jesus the Christ that are home now can be a wake up call to each of us.
Thank you, God. Thank you, Susan. On a day, in a season where I struggle so much to let go and let God, at a time when I wonder if I am lovable and worthy of friends, He gives me this.
Then, I get a phone call from another good friend, desiring Ladies Night she says..."Girl Bonding Time". And in this conversation, I was given the opportunity to share the prayer of accepting Christ. Praise God! Praise God! He is so good! Draw her to YOU, Lord.
Oh how He loves you and me! No matter what I have done, it is not too much for Him to stop loving me, to stop using me, to stop forgiving me, and to stop caring for me! It is not about what I do, but about what He does and He does everything at exactly the right time when we are walking with Him.
Today, I will love the people He puts in my life. I will see the miracle of THIS moment and will not waste it. I will keep loving with all my heart so that His wonderful mercy, love, and glory will shine everlasting in my life.
Watch the video here
"Reporting: Carol Cavazos FORT WORTH (CBS 11 News) ―
Friends of a man killed in a fiery crash in Fort Worth Friday talked about the loss of their friend.
Jason Powell was driving his Nissan on Highway 820 near Blue Mound Road when traffic slowed because of construction.
The driver of a cement truck, whom witnesses say did not slow down, ran into Powell's Nissan. An 18-wheeler then crashed into them, creating an explosion seen more than a mile away.
Powell was killed instantly. The drivers of the trucks survived.
Powell attended the First Baptist Church of Coppell. A memorial service will be held there Tuesday.
As his family prepare for his burial, his pastor spoke about his faith and life.
Friends say he also loved flying. He was a pilot for American Eagle and most recently FracTech Airlines, a company that services the oil industry.
He was married five years and had a five-month-old baby boy.
Marc Farnell knew Powell 13 years. Farnell was his youth pastor. Powell's sudden death has shaken them, but not their faith. "Though this circumstance was not good, there's a strong belief and understanding that there will be good that comes out of this circumstance," said Farnell. "Clearly the good for Jason is that he is at home in Heaven today."
Powell would have celebrated his 26th birthday on Sunday. His friends made a tribute to him on MySpace.com and Fackbook.com, but it's Powell who may have left them the greatest tribute. On his own page, before he died, he told everyone how much he loved them.
"There are no guarantees in life to live our life on purpose, and that purpose to please God," said Farnell. "
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Such an awful emotion, but so much a part of life. And I have had enough experience with it to know exactly how it feels for me to grieve.
When I was in middle school, I lost my grandmother and great grandmother in a tragic, fatal tornado. When I was an older teenager, I lost my brother to suicide. The shock was horrible and that caused the grief to seem unbearable. Then my Grandaddy died of a stroke. Three years ago, I lost my mom's husband as a result of a horrible motorcycle accident. He was like a father to me and I grieved a lot. None of these deaths were expected, and some of them so gruesome it made it impossible to think about.
My mom described grief to me, "It feels like you are going to go crazy and it feels like you are going to die."
Totally, I agree.
But I won't. (go crazy or die)
Recently, one of my best friends told me to no longer contact her. When other friends and family ask how I am doing with this, my answer has been, "I wake up every morning feeling like someone has died." I am familiar enough with how that feels to know that the loss of this very special friendship, even knowing some of what went wrong, it still feels like death. It is.
But this past weekend, when I have woken in the morning, I know somebody died and it feels horrible. I am watching my son grieve a man who had become close to him, a friend, and member of the family. I am watching a twenty-six year old woman become a widow and a young infant lose a father. My son's sweet girlfriend, Amy, grieves for a man she loved like a brother and also grieves for the huge loss in her sister's life. And our sweet friends, neighbors, and extended family through our children's serious relationship, grieve the loss of a fabulous son-in-law. This young man was a regular visitor in our home, and he had become very dear to us in the three years that we knew him.
We have all wept, screamed, laughed, and moaned in our grief. And as painful as it is, as much as we want it to go away, it is part of what needs to be done in order to heal.
At times like these, when I feel crazy out of control in my emotions, I remember the old testament days of grieving. They cried out loud, they tore their clothes, they wore sack cloth because they were already so miserable, and they put ashes on their bodies. Yes, yes, and yes, Lord. Thank you for helping me know I am feeling normal with those examples. I am not ashamed of my swollen eyes, the loud cries that I make as I feel the pain of grief. And I mourn with those who mourn - with the family of Jason as they do the same.
Oh yes, grief is a part of life. My heart is heavy tonight as we prepare for the next two days, the visitation and the burial and the Memorial Celebration. Jason was a blessed child of God and his Father was eager to have him home. We will celebrate his life with us.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
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. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
My mom's post on grief
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Some of you have asked about photos...here are some out of the 191 photos that were taken during our time on the East Coast.
The trip was perfect - everything I wanted, all we expected. Our hearts were prepared for the work to be done and the fun to be had. Hello to real friends. Hello to memories, old and new. Good-bye to friends and a home for a season.
Thanks to the loved one's who are along for the long haul.
I love you.
Near the home my friend, Sandra, was so graciously offered me during our stay.
Next year, maybe?
Ladies Night out on the town. More time for talking, relaxing, and just hanging out.
We had an absolutely exquisite meal at the Flying Fish, owned by another friend of mines' brother. It was a perfect night.
(Fred and I had tried this restaurant our last anniversary celebration in Nags Head...highly recommend it)
We enjoyed a wonderful meal out. Fred and I had gone to this restaurant to celebrate our anniversary so we knew it was good.
Rebecca and Katie
(this is the night we did surgery on Rebecca's toe with Jim Beam whiskey! She looks great, huh?)
And Lorie! I miss this gal something fierce. She, Tina and I stayed up this night until after
1:00 a.m....just like old times.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Even though I loved the years that we lived on the East Coast and I found parts of me that I would not have known otherwise, there is something absolutely wonderful about coming back to where I start. Even though Texas is not my home, it is close enough to have quickly found it's place as "home" for me. We live less than five hours from our family and less than a mile from the best friends that Fred and I have ever had.
This past weekend is another celebration of being HOME!
My mother-in-law and her husband drove down to spend the July 4th weekend with us. GW is a musician and a traveling one at that. He came with the setup to entertain us at an old fashioned Independence Day celebration.
The entire family drove out to some friends house in Gainesville, TX for a fun filled day! Rebecca brought along her boyfriend, Robert. Also, our friends, Dan and Lori, all their kids, plus some, joined along. The family that we went to spend time with own a great deal of country property, plus their own "pub" (he has a brewery of his very own) along with many different places to catch some fish! Other friends and family were there and the party began!
We fished, danced, sang, ate, drank, and watched more fireworks than should be legal.
Rebecca caught her first fish (she caught two!) and also experienced shopping at an old fashioned fireworks stand. The kids had hundreds of dollars worth of firecrackers and fireworks. They ran, yelled, had roman candle wars, burns, and all the smoke and fire that they could handle. The memories of my childhood, enjoying similar celebrations flooded my mind and I was grateful that my children would have the same memories for themselves.
We had such a blast that we decided that this would become an annual event. The fishing was fun, the food was fabulous, the fireworks were ferocious and the friends and family were fantastic.
Freedom and fun. Memory making. Time spent together. A good old fashioned celebration with young and old, family and friends, new and established.
Enjoy the photos that have left a lasting impression on my heart and hopefully in the hearts of the others who were there.
Rebecca and Robert
The first catch of the day!
It looks like Lori doesn't like baiting her own hook either!
GW taking a break
Fred and his mom. "Are those fire ants???", she asks!
Texas scenery on the pond.
When you catch them, you have to learn how to clean them! Rebecca was a trooper!
Then you have to fry 'em up! Dan and Tim did great!
Waiting to eat'um!
Just about ready. (left to right) Cheryl, Dorothy, Kim, Jane, Fred, GW, Etta, Lisa
Safety coach...with Steven and Tyler...setting up for the fireworks fun.
More safe fun. Tiffany, Danny, Robert and Kyle in the front.Steven and Rebecca - catching up on things.