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Archive for the ‘heaven’ Category

I drive my boys nuts telling them stories they’ve heard and heard – and I thought, well, I want to tell this story again. I want somebody to hear it – because it meant so much to me to live it. That’s what friends do! Right? Listen to the same story over and over because they know their friend needed to tell it, needed to be reminded. Wrapping you in a big, heart-felt thank you for listening (reading) it again – if you’ve heard (read) it before.

socks45

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”
(Luke 22:42)

Jesus let go . . . to do His Father’s work

He let go so that the Father, whose arms were open wide, could wrap them around more of His children.

Jesus opened his arms wide on the cross, to suffer a mother’s terrifying, heart-wrenching nightmare, so a world of me’s could find their way into the wide open embrace of His father.

Jesus let go . . . for me

“Love your neighbor as I have loved you,” (John 13:34)

Loving our neighbors somehow seems a little distant. Maybe because neighbors today do not know your mama, your granddaddy, your great-aunt Ruby. There’s no history, no connection . . . no real-time cause to create a love effect.

. . . but it’s a choice – this loving. Chose to live it this way; Love people like you love your children: fiercely, uncompromisingly, self-sacrificingly.

I hold my children, encircled in the love of my heart, wrapping that love around them like hugging arms. Yeah, sometimes that love might feel like a vice-grip to them. Maybe I’ll learn to love more gently, but I need to love them the best I can – and in the loving of them, I need to stretch this heart, to let others inside, wrapping that love around them like God does, like Jesus did, arms wide open, ready, waiting.

Letting go means loving more, like being broken in Him makes us whole.

Are you ready, willing to give that father love or mother love, or even daughter/son love to those outside your home, both those easy and uneasy to love?

5 sons. 1 daughter-in-law. 1 husband. 1 scardy cat. That makes 8 different ways for me to communicate. 8 different schedules. 8 different moods. 8 different needs. 8 different responses.  There are 5 love languages that need mastering and 7 Spiritual Gifts to interpret.

Prayer for 8. Dinner for 6. Clean socks for 5.

I can get absorbed in my family. In my reactions to my family. Into the mysteries of my family. My. My. My. My.

 “If anyone would come after me, they must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24)

Yes, sometimes, I need to let go of my to embrace His . . .His children, His love, His spirit, His word, His Fatherness, His schedule.

Letting Go of my to be His laborer

Today, in the grocery store with my cart  filled with Mama Rosa’s cheese pizzas for my littlest guy, I hummed, focused on feeding the my’s in my life. Shrieking noises wafted over the aisles. My cart and I continued on. High-pitched squeals moved closer, not happy squeals – out-of-control squeals. Chicken to make soup for my biggest teen. Futile mother shouts encroached. Salsa for my Joyful one, mechanical pencils for my fire-and-power son. Running feet closed in, noise moving  passionately invading my reverie. Pelegrino for my thirst.

As I was just reaching for enchilada sauce, a little boy appeared with the shrieking voice. You know the kind of sound – the sound a little 4 year old makes when he thinks he is playing a game of tag and keeps slipping from your touch, evading. At least, I think he was 4.

Racing down the aisle, weaving between customers, he stopped in front of  my cart. Grabbing hold, he stepped to stand on the end, just like my boys did when they were little, wanting to ride. But he was not my boy.

I could just see the headlines, “Boy flips cart, critically injured.” Or maybe, “Woman accused of imminent child-theft” all because he was suddenly wanting to ride my cart.

Treading carefully – because he wasn’t mine to scold, I told him he needed to step off the cart. He did. I kept looking for his mother, expecting her to call him. Nothing. In a quandary, I calmly pushed the cart forward.  He decided to go with me like he was my boy.

“You need to go back to your mom. You shouldn’t be here with me,” I suggested.

“Do you think I’m going to hell?” he asked, making eye contact, stopped still in front of me.

My world stopped. Letting Go of my concerns, I looked at him squarely in the eye. Wanting to say so much, wanting to say it so right, but only having grocery-store aisle time. I finally said, looking back at him straight in the eye, “You can go to heaven if you want to.”

“Can I go home with you?” he asked. If my spirit had arms, which in this case, I think it did, well those spirit arms pulled him into my heart, into the circle of my family. Prayer for 9 now. Still 5 pairs of socks for matching, but prayer for 9.

That little boy, standing in front of my cart, in sudden stillness, revealed his brokenness, revealed a cry to be made whole – at little years old.

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19: 13-14)

His mother and grandmother came around the corner then. He took off, lots of noise, lots of energy followed by lots of parental hollering.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24)

Letting go of my thoughts, my reverie, my concerns, my challenges. I prayed. That God would send laborers across this little boy’s path. That his eyes would be opened to the truth – that he is a child of God. That heaven is his for the asking. That angels would encamp about him and protect him. That healthy boundaries would be set for him. No matter how much little boys balk at having healthy boundaries set, they cry out for someone to love them enough to set them.

Letting go of my

To wrap God’s love around His

All because Jesus let go first for me.

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“Some people in my class think heaven is probably on an un-discovered planet called Planet X,” my 5th grade explained during some refreshingly awesome mom-son time.

“Really!” I responded, as I drove down the interstate.

“If God is so big that He can hold the universe in the palm of His hand, then a planet would not even be able to hold His heavenly throne.”

A footstool for His little toe? Not!

I bet His eyelash would be longer than our universe.

His eyeball – bigger than our sun.

The world needs to stop downsizing God

Stop Shrink-wrapping His Biggness

Trying to turn him into a mini-man

God is BIG

Do you really want to mess with that?

Turn your back on that?

Stick Him on a little ol’ un-discovered planet?

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:12)

 

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About 11 years ago, my son, the Fire and the Power of the Holy Spirit, survived a cord-prolapse, crash c-section.  The last thing I heard before they knocked me out was, “I don’t have a heart beat.” Coming to, I was terrified – would my son be dead or alive.  Laying on my side in intense pain, with my eyes closed, I heard my father in law talking to someone, teasing about my snoring.  Then I heard those precious sounds only a newborn makes.  I knew everything was o.k.

Today, my father in law is in a hospice facility.  He’s snoring a lot. I wish I could say something to make everything o.k. However, that’s his gift, not mine.

My sons are part of an amazing group of young men: 12 grandsons who adore their papaw. Coming up behind them is a group of great-grandchildren who are in the Candy-and-Coke Store Fan Club group.  It’s a pretty special, select group. The benefits?  Unconditional love, hugs, trips to the Candy and Coke Store, front-row fans at any activity, a front door always open, a sit-down-let’s talk about life attitude, and tremendous generosity of spirit – like a vacation a few years ago when my husband and I -very out of shape tried to play tennis with him.  Three days of grueling play left us hobbling.  We were so grateful when he cried off due to a sore muscle, but I bet he just knew we couldn’t take it any more.

The birth of my second son found papaw hand-cuffed to anything, oh, about the level of couch legs, bench legs, table legs.  After about 48 hours, he probably wished he’d never bought those hand-cuffs for the new big brother.  However, he just loved making those boys smile.

I remember one of my nephews crying when he was about 4 years old.  He’d spent the weekend at Nanny and Papaws.  He hugged so tight to Papaw when  it was time to leave, sobbing into his shoulder. He’s feeling the same way today, and he’s all grown up.

We’ve prayed for healing. Daily. My boys have seen each other healed through prayer, so they faithfully joined in. 

The other day, the littlest one asked what was wrong with Papaw.  I guess he realized this wasn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill cold or flu.  I explained cancer: “You know when you watch Star Wars and the bad guys send drones into the land they want to take over?  Well, the bad guy is cancer, and they go into parts of the body, kind of like a planet in the universe.  When they take that over, they go to other parts of the body – like other planets.”

Being the Star Wars fan, he understood.

Last week, though, I had to move into phase two.  Phase 1 – you pray for healing.  Phase 2 – when you realize God has other plans – going-home plans. Then, it’s time to help that person go to the other side – cross over into heaven.

Peter Marshall, the famous United States chaplain, made even more famous in the movie, “A Man Named Peter,” describes dying the following way: “It’s like going to sleep in your mother’s bed and waking up the next morning only to find yourself in your own bed.”

Every person who lives for Jesus spends their entire life traveling to the gates of heaven.  Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton explain it perfectly, “When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears.”

Of course, the getting there can be kind of tough. . . on everybody.  We all want one more hug, one more joke, one more political debate, one more chance to say how much he meant to us.  But then, he always knew we loved him.  Telling him would just embarrass him.  He always said, “Words mean NOTHIN’.  Your actions are shouting so loud I can’t hear your words.” I guess he and Obama could have had a debate on “Words… just Words.”

The little guys and I were talking about what Papaw’d do in heaven.  Yep, play tennis. Yep, hug those babies he didn’t get to hug down here. He’ll walk with that Papaw-spring in his step. He won’t debate politics, though. We decided that there wouldn’t be political debate in heaven. But I can see him grabbing an orange or an apple and peeling, just like I’ve seen him do a thousand times.

I remember my oldest son’s middle school basketball coach was arrested for smoking marijuana on some backwoods backroad.  He really like this coach and tried to give him an ethics break, “His mom died.  He was just coping with his grief.”

I just looked him straight in the eye and said, “I hope that when it’s my time to go to heaven, that you will celebrate my life instead of going to some backwoods backroad and drowning your sorrows in drugs.”

Crossing over is an odd time – it’s kind of like blue cheese and honey. The sweet and the pungent – but when mixed together, it’s just right.  Now is the time of great loss, but also the celebration of a life well lived and well-loved. The sweet and the pungent!

Some dear friends from when we lived here before bought the Candy and Coke Store a few years back.  They called Nanny the other day and told her, “If Papaw can’t come to the Candy and Coke Store, the Candy and Coke store will come to him.”

I bet Heaven feels like Papaw taking you to the Candy and Coke Store.

Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton did an excellent job singing about what it’s like when we get where we’re going.  It’s great to sing about our own little selves going. It’s just tough when the life of the party, the heart of the family, the world’s greatest father in law, dad, husband and Papaw head there before we get to.

I wish he wasn’t leaving the party so early!

When I Get Where I’m Going

by Melvern Rutherford Ii, George G. Iii Teren

 

When I get where I’m going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I’m gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

(Chorus:)
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I’ll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Don’t cry for me down here.

I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he’ll match me step for step,
and I’ll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I’ll hug his neck.

(Chorus)

So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can’t answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I’m going,
and I see my Maker’s face.
I’ll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
Hallelujah!
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I’m going.
Yeah when I get where I’m going.

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