The One About My Daddy

The One About My Daddy

Posted by on February 21, 2023 in Daddy, Introspection | Comments Off on The One About My Daddy

My Daddy was a singer. He led hymns from the pulpit while the piano or organ was playing nearly every Sunday morning of my growing up years. I can still hear his strong tenor voice in my head when we sing a hymn that he loved.

Every once in awhile, he would sing a solo. I would see the sheet music for “One Day at a Time” and know that it was solo Sunday. I’m not sure how many times I heard him sing this song in my nineteen years at home, but it was often.

I’m only human, I’m just a womanHelp me believe in what I could beAnd all that I amShow me the stairway, I have to climbLord for my sake, teach me to takeOne day at a time
One day at a time sweet JesusThat’s all I’m asking of YouJust give me the strengthTo do everyday what I have to doYesterday’s gone sweet JesusAnd tomorrow may never be mineLord help me today, show me the wayOne day at a time
My Daddy was an alcoholic. And so, these words that he would sing carried the same emotions that the songwriter experienced. In a Google search I found that the writer, Marijohn Wilkin, wrote this during a particularly difficult time in her life. She could not admit that she was an alcoholic. It makes sense that my Daddy resonated so deeply with her words.
By the time I came around, he had been sober for many years. Miraculously saved by Jesus. After ten years of being drunk every day, he was at the end of his rope. He was having hallucinations and had attempted suicide. His mother had made the difficult decision to have him committed. The night before this was to happen, he stumbled upon a Billy Graham crusade on television. He remembers only one thing from that message- If you want your life changed, give it to Jesus and he’ll change it for you. He definitely wanted his life changed. So he prayed.
He never had a drink again. (He didn’t go to the institution either!).
I grew up hearing his stories. He would talk about being a wretch, a worm of a man and I would always secretly shake my head. Not my Daddy! He’s a prince among men. I didn’t get it. As I’ve grown and seen the heartbreak of addiction in others, I’ve begun to understand it a little bit more.
But I still didn’t grasp the ravages of alcoholism until I read Matthew Perry’s new memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. It is unsurprisingly well written, but shockingly honest and raw and heartbreaking. In his own words, his battle with alcoholism and drug addiction should have killed him. Again and again.
But somewhere along the way, he encountered God. Now he considers himself to be a seeker, because he is certain that God is real, but he isn’t sure that he has found him. He talks about the holes in his life and the extremes he went to in an attempt to fill them. He couldn’t accept love, because he believed that he could never be enough.
He talks about living life one day at a time and the parallels between his story and my Dad’s were clear. But the difference is also clear. Matthew Perry believes in God. Lance Mills was transformed by Jesus.
Only Jesus can fill the holes that we all have in our lives. Only Jesus can make us understand that we were never meant to be “enough”. He is the one who makes us worthy. He is everything! And when we understand this, we don’t need anything else. All of the holes are filled.
My Daddy’s favorite song to sing near the end of his life was “Give Me Jesus”. He knew the devastation of alcoholism. And he knew the hope of Jesus.
And so, my response to reading Perry’s memoir is to sincerely pray for this man to know Jesus. The One who fills our holes; the One who is more than enough.

Make Much of God

Posted by on September 21, 2022 in Devotional | Comments Off on Make Much of God

When the days are bleak with no hint of sun,

make much of God.

His mercies are new every morning.

When you feel like you can’t carry on,

make much of God.

He will carry you through.

When you feel overwhelmed, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders,

make much of God.

He will give you rest.

When you feel the heavy cloud of anxiety or depression hovering over you,

make much of God.

He gives peace that passes understanding.

When you are confused about who you are and the questions of “why?” threaten to drag you under,

make much of God.

He loves you lavishly.

When you can’t get over how sweet God has been to you,

make much of God.

He will give you the desires of  your heart.

When the blessings in your life are too many to count,

make much of God.

He will do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine.

When your heart is overflowing with happiness as you see God’s plan unfold,

make much of God.

He has plans to prosper you.

When you see God’s goodness all around you,

make much of God.

He crowns the year with his goodness.

I am convinced that we get stuck in patterns of pain, hurt, confusion and disappointment when we make much of our circumstances and by so doing, diminish God’s promises and make less of him. But what if we made much of God in whatever circumstances we faced? Wouldn’t we be more cognizant of his promises if we did this? Wouldn’t the cares of this world have less power over us if we truly trusted in God? Wouldn’t we be quicker to give all the glory to God when things are going well?

I think we would. Please test my theory for yourself!

Promises of God taken from the following scriptures: Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 23, Matthew 11:28-30, Philippians 4:6, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 37:4, Ephesians 3:20, Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 65:11.

When the Waves Crash All Around Me

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I was at the doctor’s office the other day, a recurring theme of late. I have had some health issues that seem to be the result of lousy genetics. My parents passed on an incredible legacy of faith to me for which I am eternally grateful, but cancer and heart issues are rampant in my family history (to be clear, my current issues are not serious!). As I was talking with my doctor about all of it, I pointed out the picture on the wall, one of my all time favorites of a man standing on a lighthouse with waves crashing all around him. If I could describe my life for the past several years, this would be it.

I can’t determine the waves that crash around me. Sometimes they feel relentless and out of control. Yet I have felt safe and secure through it all, because my hope is not in controlling the waves or positioning myself so that they can’t crash over me. Instead, my hope is outside of myself, in the Creator of the waves and the One who is in control of all of it.

I have learned in a deeper way what it means to depend on the Lord. I don’t know how I would have been able to stand up amidst the trials and difficulties without Him. He has proven to be my Rock and my Refuge, my Sustainer and my Salvation.

What waves are crashing over you today? Do you have a hope outside of yourself, a steady and secure foundation? One of the greatest lies is that we are meant to handle life on our own. We try so hard, yet inevitably fail, because we were never meant to walk alone. Trusting in the Lord is the single best decision that I make every single day. He has never failed me!

It was no mistake that the picture was on the wall, just as it was no mistake that I heard the song by Ryan Stevenson “In the Eye of the Storm” later the same day. That song was my theme song during the last season of struggle that ended with a church split and my Mom’s passing. God has ways of reminding us that He sees us and He is with us.

I know for sure that the waves will continue to crash, but I also know the One who will hold me fast.

Things I Will Always Say Yes To

Ice cream on a hot day (who am I kidding? Yes to ice cream always!)

Hugs, snuggles, holding hands

One more chapter

Coffee with friends

Adventure, travel, exploring

Taking another picture

Singing loudly, quietly, in harmony

S’mores at a campfire

Listening to my husband play guitar

Trying something new

Catching fireflies

Star gazing

Watching my kids dance, sing, play soccer, long board, paddle board, kayak, swim. Whatever delights them, I will always say yes!

Walks in the freshly fallen snow

Hikes to waterfalls

Pizza

Reading books fireside

Church, devotions, Bible study

Jesus

I used this writing prompt- Things I Will Always Say Yes To- with my littles yesterday and their responses were magical. I am deliberately walking through the grief of the past couple years this week, trying to make sense of the heartbreak and the loss. There is deep sorrow for me in this and so I’m finding that I must couple it with simple joys; playing Yahtzee with my family, talking on the phone with my sister and my daughter, going out with friends, walks with my dog, coffee and scripture reading.

If you too are walking through a season of grief, I would encourage you to try writing out the things you will always say yes to. I hope you find the joy in this simple exercise and that you are reminded of all the good in your life in the midst of the hard.

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