Category Archives: Relationships

Grandpa’s Shoes

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shoesMy mom took this picture in a photography class 17 years ago. Shoes of my dad’s, my daughter’s.

She has spent her life following in Grandpa’s footsteps. From her first steps, where he went, she went. As she grew, he kept special hats and shirts for her, just like his. In fact, they were his… so she could be his buddy. Doing projects. Doing stuff.

And how he loved those footsteps following him. She is bigger now, obviously. Her steps are slowed with teenage pacing when she visits. No longer running after him with every step he makes.

Physically that is… Her heart still follows Grandpa. Every move, thought, joke. She takes it in, loving him.

Adoring everything about her Grandpa. And when her footsteps take her into adulthood, even if they are miles from him, the influence will carry her. She’ll remember the ways of Grandpa.

The way they built together, one step of love after another.

Who Will Fill My Lap?

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Who will fill my empty lap? Around 5 years ago I became acutely aware of how fast childhood was going for my girls. I sensed the days of my lap having children in it were passing, almost imperceptibly. The heartache I knew would follow those days stalked me.

It is a difficult season to have your children outgrow your physical body. To push away as they mature, becoming young adults, yet needing to be able to jump back in when life got tough was, is, natural.

Mentally I get it.

But the longing stays. My body still aches with remembrance of the cuddles of my children.

There are new things now, exciting, fascinating dynamics in our mother/child relationships. These current experiences are wonderful too, in a different way. I enjoy their developing personalities, the strength of the wings that are starting to lift them away.

But my body remembers what my mind can forget. The precious feel of a child in your arms, the smell of their hair, the feel of grubby little fingers holding your cheeks, the “i yuv you” lingo. My physical longing is my reminder to pray thankful words to God. For the chance. For the good days, and with some distance, even for the difficult ones.

Who will fill my empty lap?

My wings are also gaining maturity. I will fly into a new season along with my children. Not after them, although I pray they’ll always be in sight, but into the winds of change God has in mind for this woman.

My lap empties and my wings begin to spread.

And for now, I will stretch those around my children as far as I can reach, for as long as I am able. And I will sneak sniffs of their freshly washed hair, and remember…the years of a full lap.

Don’t Wait For Death To Celebrate Lives

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1 Corinthians 15:55

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

Yesterday marked the passing of my friend’s father.  He was a wonderful man, generous of heart . Ken Harrell not only loved his own family, but any human that needed a hand. He was that kind of man. I have been friends with his daughter for almost 30 years, and there was a time in my youth where he stepped in to fill a gap for me. All through my adult life when I went home to visit, he would eagerly round me in for a hug when our paths crossed.

I am heavy-hearted today, 2,066 miles away from my home roots. Unable to help my friend with the new reality of her grief. Unable to even attend the funeral. But I will pray, not for Ken…for he knew where he was going. I will pray for his family, left behind in the wake of his absence. That they will grow closer to the only true source of comfort in this life. Ken has sailed on, his path was set for Jesus.

I tell you this story to urge you not to wait to show people you love them.

The irony of death, to me, is the gathering of the departed’s loved ones.

Why, I muse with sorrow, do we often wait until death to celebrate someone’s life?

I would rather be together with my loved ones now, while I am alive to rejoice at our relationship. Come now, while I can hold you in my arms and laugh with you.

Life doesn’t always work out like we hope. Today, on a very serious note, I urge you to make that call. Book that ticket if you are at all able. Write that note. Celebrate life with the living, too often we postpone that joy. Looking at the impossibilities that seemingly block the way.

Love, as a verb, an action word. Not smooshed under the guise of good intention.

Use Those Tiny Photo Index Prints

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Photos are returned to us with sheets of tiny shots, miniscule memories  we are unsure how to utilize.  Wanting to create a scrapbook layout about unexpected turns in life led to this idea. Cut out the ones that are most meaningful over a span of years, as far as you can gather up. Few dreams turned out as planned, but it turns out experience is a rich teacher.

This could be turned into a beautiful home wall art project. Try it, post what you come up with. I love sharing ideas with you…share with me how you use them.

Knowing About Jesus vs. Knowing Jesus

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I have been learning to know Jesus for about 15 years now. It seems to be a common misconception that knowing about Him = knowing Him. This is opposite of what Jesus tells us in His word. Studying the Bible, it becomes clear that He desires a relationship with us. A friendship is what He offers. How do we build relationships with friends? By spending time with them, asking questions, sharing your hearts. That is available to us. All of us.

It doesn’t matter what we have done or who we think we are. Our backgrounds is irrelevant. They do not impress Jesus. He just wants whatever we have to offer, even if it is broken, ugly, or miniscule. As the relationship grows, our faith strengthens. It is an amazing experience. Defining. He is waiting for you. Wooing you. Yesterday He wooed me to Him on a sleepy, painful morning. Color is a gift to me, and He knows it.

“So glad you are up Christa…come sit with me.”

Psalms 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift my soul.

I read Joanna Weaver’s words today in Having a Mary Heart In A Martha World. She shares, “Jesus goes out of his way to prepare my heart to listen and learn. He waits for the moment I’m most ready to obey. And while I can still refuse him at any time, his rebuke is gentle. It woos me at the same time it disarms me, making me willing and open and ready to change.”

He is calling us to stop learning about him and start relating to Him. Today. It is the best investment of time we can make. The world will demand we do its tasks, but the quiet moments are where we build up our spiritual muscles. We relax, with our friend Jesus, and learn that our worship meets his wooing. In that connection, dynamic living is sparked.

A Simple Doxology

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Do you know what a doxology is? It is popularly sung as an old hymn, you might recognize the lyrics.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow Praise Him all creatures here below Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

The Bible says a doxology is simply a prayer of praise to God.  There are days when I want to praise but my mental acuity is flatlining. Days where I try again and again to stop, focus, and praise him.

And it just doesn’t work.

Not that anything is wrong, per se. We all have these days, where we just keep starting to sit down for some quiet time. And realize we are staring out the window. We read one line of our devotional, and then “put peas on the grocery list” pops into our head. The invasive nature of our surrounding life appears to trump our ability to be still. To focus on praise.

Isn’t it amazing that we don’t have to come up with clever hymns? That God isn’t impressed just with our intense prayer sessions, but is, according to His very nature, pleased with our meager attempts? Because sometimes meager is the best we can do. If you, like me, are stuck humbly (and let’s admit it, somewhat ashamed?) of offering the leanest of praise times…don’t stop trying.

My doxology today is simply, “God, thank you. Please keep calling me.”

It doesn’t feel like enough. Too good to be true. Maybe that is part of the lesson, that we do not have to be enough. Give enough. Focus enough. We just have to come.

Psalm 27:8 (NLT)

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”     And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Who’s That Girl?

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She is foreign to me, yet someone I remember.  I know we share the same name, birthdate, life. She is me, before.

Before I became everything I didn’t know I wanted to be.

This girl, 16 years old, is between the ages of my own children now. The day is well-remembered; my Aunt Kim dabbled in photography and took me to do a photo shoot.  This girl had dreams of fashion design and travel. Modeling and acting. She didn’t dream of marriage and children. She wanted to escape her childhood and be an adult. And, she worked hard towards that goal.

Those efforts, naturally, came at a high cost. Adulthood was nothing she dreamed of, really. There was a period of rebellion with a steep price tag.

Fast forward, and I see her now. I feel for her as though she were my child. Her dreams are not my own. Not anymore. I am as far from those dreams as East to West. And glad for it. I am a stay at home mother. I homeschool. I am a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I invest daily in my marriage (which, by the way, the boy she dated turned out to be the man of her dreams).

Nothing I could have even imagined to be, is my reality. I am a better woman for it.

My husband knew this girl. He loved her and he still does. Now he respects her deeply.We have forged out a life, uniquely ours. It has challenges. Abundant rewards.

And the thing that girl really did want the most. ..Inner peace?  Freedom? A rich life filled with things that matter? Oh, how those things are fulfilled!

She wanted to make a difference, and so do I. That is a dream that we still share, living a life that matters.

Do you remember who you were? What do you think of the adult you turned out to be?

2 Corinthians 5:17

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!