Saturday, August 10, 2019

Letter to My Future Husband

As I was going through some boxes, I came across the journal I started at the end of 2016. Well, I was supposed to start it then...that's when God told me too. I was so afraid to communicate out loud that my heart still desired to be married. I didn't want to be "that" girl at church who continually was waiting for her husband. Instead, I purchased a few  really cute journals with the title, "Letters to My Future Husband" for some of my other single friends.  Within 2 months, one of those friends was engaged to be married. I'm not sure why I didn't purchase one for me at that point and start writing immediately!

Instead, I took out one of my plain journals and started writing. I was so uncomfortable, but so full of faith at the same time. So far there are three entries. The first two entries were in early 2017. The third entry was May of this year, a day after my Dad's birthday. I had forgotten I wrote it, but remembered what a powerful week that was for me. In the midst of missing my Dad, I believe God gave me a gift of breathing life into some dry bones. Since this last week seems to have had a theme of vulnerability for so many in my life, I'm sharing one of the letter's here.

Dear Future Husband,

Two years have passed since I started writing to you…well, one year and 5 months to be exact! But who’s counting? #Me

A lot has happened this past year and it’s not a surprise to me that writing to you was not at the top of the list. You have definitely been on my mind, no doubt! I have wondered where you are and when you’re going to get here, but have been learning new levels of trusting God’s timing. You will be right on time and I believe you are closer than I know.

This week, I had a moment that seemed to ignite something in me that made me think of you and reminded me of my letters to you. I believe I am in preparation for you, and as that time nears, I am realizing more and more the sting of you not meeting my Dad. Perhaps it’s strong today because his birthday was yesterday. Perhaps it’s the realization that I will walk down the aisle of my friend’s wedding in a few weeks…a trip down the aisle that I imagined would be with my Dad the next time I took it. I had to take a minute to grieve that moment.

I am certain you would have loved him. And I am equally sure that he would have loved you. He only ever really wanted a man who would cherish me. Not just take care of me, but love me for who I am. I believe you will have some of the characteristics of my Dad. You will be smart. You will be wise. You will probably have the gift of negotiation, but not in that bully/intimidating way. You will be able to take control of a room or situation without anyone feeling attacked or discouraged. You will be an encourager. You will recognize the underdog and the forgotten and make sure they feel uplifted and seen. You will be generous with your time and resources. You will love family, even if you didn’t come from the best one. You will be filled with dreams and passionate about life. You will know how to close a deal for the benefit of all involved. I won’t have to chase you because you know a good thing when you see it, and you will let me know how you feel about me. Your words will have a weight to them unlike I've ever experienced in my life. I'll trust that you want the best for me, and that you see the best in me when I can't.

You would have loved him!

You might not get to meet him in this world, but you will get to know him by knowing me…and isn’t that every good Father’s desire?

Thank you for understanding that I may have moments of still dealing with this loss. He left a void in my life and the life of my family for sure, but I don’t expect you to fill that void.

I just look forward to introducing you to the other man who changed my life.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Divine Anointing

You know those times in your life that seem to start just like any other day? But then there’s a moment you feel that has marked you for life? I am excited to say I’ve had a few of those this month. One of them happened a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to give a 7-minute teaching on Divine Anointing at our all staff meeting. Most people who know me know I don’t really like speaking in front of groups. It’s not that I don’t think I have a lot of good things to say, I’m just not always able to get my thoughts out of my mouth. I guess that’s why I’ve always loved to write…sometimes the thoughts come so fast and from so many directions, writing gives me a way to organize them before spitting them out.

I have to say, speaking in front of groups really took a turn last year when I gave a eulogy at my Dad’s celebration of life. Because my Dad died suddenly, I didn’t get to say goodbye. In fact, he died 2 days after Father’s Day, and I never even gave him his Father’s Day card. I had to write out his goodbye and put it in his casket. Yet another moment where I had to write all the things I wish I had been able to get out of my mouth. But as I stood in front of the 100+ guests the day we celebrated his life, I felt an empowering of the Holy Spirit like I had never had before. I was able to say goodbye, and show a side of my Dad that brought him honor and made me proud to be his daughter.

Fast forward to June 12, 2019. I was feeling really challenged at what to share with the staff about Divine Anointing. I’m not the most Bible read, my speaking voice annoys me, and I usually find myself twitching in some way when I have to share in front of a group. Although I’ve lost 30 pounds, I’m still super self-conscious of my body. I can’t stand up and recite a cohesive thought like the Pastors I’ve sat under through the years. I knew I was going to have to write the entire teaching out, and read it straight from a piece of paper. I knew my glasses would slip down my face, and that I’d try to look up and make eye contact, but most likely, I’d be lucky if I didn’t burst into tears at some point, or pass out.

But for whatever reason, God gave me a word and I spoke it the best I could and the response was one I was not expecting. The response was one that you know you really did speak a word from God. And I’m even uncomfortable typing this, but I’m just so blown away that God speaks to me and I hear Him. I mean…duh…He says that He does speak to us, and that we can distinguish His voice, but I’m so blown away that I actually hear it! And that He would allow me to have a moment to believe that my words can carry His power…I’m so grateful! All these years of feeling less than, unheard, and unseen…and He gave me the moment of recognition that His words coming through my voice have His power?! I truly mean it when I say that even if I never have another experience like this, I have been marked for life by it.

One of my favorite people in the world, one that I respect as a leader, a wife, a mom, and a pastor, pulled me aside after the meeting. It felt like God, through her, took my face in His hands and said, “I see you.” She encouraged me to take the pages I read from and frame them. Do whatever it is I need to do to mark the day for myself. I took her words to heart, because I know how important those “days” are…the days that God manifests Himself into a moment that marks your life forever. It was one of those days.

So as an act of obedience, and of vulnerability, this is me framing that day…but differently than I’ve ever done before. Instead of posting the words, I’m posting the video. The barely audible, cracked voice, eye-glass twitching, looked-up-from-the-pages-maybe-twice video, of how I see Divine Anointing. And it doesn’t really matter who does or does not see it…what matters is that God saw me, He sees me, and He has more for me if I trust Him.

Today’s Forecast:  Shaky voice with a chance of twitching nerves.

Silver Lining: My take on Divine Anointing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

This Time Last Year

One of the most powerful sermons I’ve ever heard is the one my pastor gave on September 4, 2016 – This Time, Next Year. It’s about your life changing one year from today. It’s a great message of hope for what’s to come when life isn’t working out the way you thought it would.

But today I’m really thinking about this time LAST year. It’s a day that I need to look back at for a minute. It marks the day that everything changed in my family forever. From this day forward, there will never be another “first time without Dad.” Nope… this time last year was the last day my Dad would take a breath on Earth.

This time last year, we had just celebrated a beautiful Father’s Day with my family. All my brothers came out, which was a first for at least 6 months. A lot had transpired in early 2018, and I really wasn’t sure how this gathering would turn out. In fact, I almost volunteered to work so I wouldn’t have to be there. I’m so glad I didn’t do that. I was able to not only be present, but see that even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, my family was still my family and a place of joy and laughter. We ate pizza. We played poker. And for whatever reason I felt compelled to take a picture of my Dad and his sons…the last picture that would ever be taken of my Dad.

Two days later, this time last year, I was in the midst of a very busy conference season and a lot of transition at work. My mom called me at 9:30 am to say, “Dad fell!” She was frantic, so I knew it wasn’t just a fall…when she said, “They're working on him now." I knew I needed to get home as soon as my car could get me there. The 40-minute drive was the longest, fastest drive ever. I kept hearing, “He died. He died. He’s gone.” I kept rebuking the thoughts that I was sure were from the pit of hell…only to find out that my brother was on his knees praying for my Dad in his living room after he got the same phone call and was hearing the very same thing. The words, “He’s gone,” were quickly replaced with “Life is but a vapor.” It took a minute for my brain to catch up with what had happened…my Dad was here one night and gone the next morning. It was the most surreal moment of my life.

This time last year, I started a journey of learning all about the peace that surpasses all understanding. I knew my friends were praying for me and praying that I'd experience that type of peace. I can’t even explain how I mustered the strength to call people and tell them my Dad had passed away. How did I set up the celebration of life? How did I drive his clothes down to the mortuary? There is no doubt in my mind that God is close to the brokenhearted. His presence was so thick and so real…it was the most beautifully, painful time of my life. I had joined the “club” that everybody does at some point of their lives, but nobody really talks about…and once you do join, you’re so glad there are others who have joined and navigated it before you.

This time last year, I didn’t fully understand the grief of a widow. I’m not sure I fully understand it now, but having witnessed and walked alongside my Mom during it, it has made me love Jesus all the more. He really understood the pain. It’s why He told people to care for the widow and orphans. I kept thinking, “Wow…this is what they mean when they say until death do us part.” But man, marriage doesn’t seem to end because somebody dies. Like I said, it’s been one of the most beautifully, painful times of my life…and listening to the stories of my Mom and Dad told through the eyes of a widow has just made me appreciate marriage all the more. I haven’t experienced marriage yet, but oh how I will see it differently forever. I remember a friend who was navigating a divorce asked me, “Why does it hurt so much?” The only thing I could think to say, “Well…the Bible says it’s two becoming one flesh, so it must feel like flesh being pulled apart.” I’d say I’ve witnessed the same watching my Mom navigate the loss, but it’s different. No one made the choice to go, but he’s not here anymore.

So today I took the day off. I cried a little. I laughed a little. I remembered a lot. I thanked God for all He has done in this last year. All that He has walked alongside me through. My faith and hope in the future couldn’t be any stronger. This morning during my quiet time I heard the words, “You are your Father’s daughter.” I’m not sure I fully knew or understood that this time last year. But today I know I’ve inherited both my earthly father's and my Heavenly Father's strength.

I am so, so grateful.

Today’s Forecast: A lot of memories.

Silver Lining: A lot of memories.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


This past weekend was especially rough. In the process of assisting my Mom in some tasks that she is trying to tie up, I found myself knee deep in my Dad’s emails. Many of them written the last week of his life. Like so much of his life, he was working on helping a family member, he was doing it with everything he had in him, and he was doing it with excellence. There really was no one like my Dad when it came to handling all of life’s “stuff.”

I found myself in tears as I read through emails that didn’t really matter to the world, but they were the last words my Dad would write. The last ideas he would have had. The last thoughts he would have thunk (so not a word…but I’m crying now and trying to laugh through it.) I wondered why I had to be the one to do this. Why did I have to spend most of my nights home, knee deep in responsibilities with a grieving wife and a dog that whines until you pet her? I was having a major pity party.

As I was sorting through this, along with the gazillion other things that needed to be done, the news came on the tv about the “superbloom” that was going on in the California desert. If you know anything about California, you are aware of the fact that we have been in a drought for a few years now. I’m not sure we’ve had substantial rainfall since I was in college…and let’s just say that was many moons ago!

The newscasters explained that because of the lack of rain, there were seeds that laid dormant in the desert for decades just waiting for the sky to open and dump enough rain to wake them up. Well, it happened this year. And after record rainfall, we now have fields and fields of wildflowers in the desert.

The news snapped me out of my funk. I mean, how profound and biblical is that?! Seeds that have laid dormant for DECADES have been WATERED and have BLOOMED in the DESERT!! If there’s one thing I know about God it's that if He does it for the seeds, then He will do it for me too!

So how do you get through the season before the bloom? Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way:

Recognize your seeds are dormant, not dead.

This is temporary. And when you forget that, repeat: This. IS. TEMPORARY! I know temporary doesn’t always make me feel better because temporary could be days, months and sometimes years. But what I loved about the story about the Super Bloom is that a lot of times, in the desert seasons, I could start to think that everything is dead. My dreams. My circumstances. My hopes. To know that even in the desert, seeds could just lay dormant and then one day, suddenly, erupt in the most beautiful of flowers made me take a long, much needed sigh. It made me look forward with great expectation to those things that I can’t see now, but believe are coming anyway …hey, that kinda sounds a lot like faith, huh?

Make sure you continue to water the desert.
Those dormant seeds stay dormant unless they receive the rain. Lots of it. When I think about “watering” my desert season, I think about checking my thoughts and my words. Where do I let my mind go? What thoughts do I actually allow to travel from my brain and come out of my mouth? We all know that death and life is in the power of the tongue, so remember to speak life when you find yourself in the desert. Another great way to make sure you are watering well is to surround yourself with others who will water your desert too. The desert season is not a good place to have naysayers, aka hot wind storms, kicking up and making you feel even more parched. It has been important during the desert season to have friends who check me when I begin to waver from speaking life over myself.

Prepare for the impending bloom.

You gotta believe it’s coming and you gotta prepare for when it does! If there’s one thing I have learned in my desert seasons is that I could either waste my time feeling sorry for myself, or I can use my time to prepare for the harvest on the way. Because guess what…that’s whatthe desert season is for! If I spent my time speaking death over my life, looking forward to nothing and not believing anything is going to change…I’m going to either miss it when it happens, or be so overwhelmed with life that I can’t enjoy the bloom once it’s here. Harvest. IS. Coming! I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I do know I want to be ready for it. And sometimes that’s hard for people like me who are so used to making things happen. Sometimes God just wants me to lay “dormant” for a while, get some things completed, forgive some people, rest and rest some more. At the right time He will make it happen and I know I will fully bloom into all that I am meant to be.

Today’s Forecast:  Rain in the desert. A lot of it.

Silver Lining:  Even in the desert, the more rain, the more flowers.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My Forever Valentine

“When I think about my Dad, I think about how I always had a Valentine. Every year, since I was born, he did something to remind me that I was loved, whether I had a Valentine or not.”

Those were the first words I spoke at my Dad’s celebration of life last July. They are the words I woke up to this morning in my head. The rain was loud outside, but those words were louder as I slowly pulled myself out of bed to walk to the bathroom that would not have the card and some type of small gift sitting on the counter from him.

Somewhere in the piles of boxes that are in our garage and storage, there are pictures of me as a toddler propped up on our fireplace sitting next to a rose for every year I was alive. At some point, it changed to a card expressing his love for me and a small token of his affection. As I got older, it was sometimes an email or text when I no longer lived under the same roof. But when I moved back in a few years ago, the card on my bathroom sink with a $20 bill was there every Valentine’s morning.

It stung for a minute. The pangs of grief were all the way real this morning. And it wasn’t because I didn’t have a Valentine. It’s because I no longer have the man who reminded me every year that I was loved no matter what on this day. As I’ve grown up and grown older, I have become SO aware of what a Father’s love (or lack thereof) can do.

I had been thinking about today for the last week. Every “first” without my Dad has been an interesting thing. The days I thought would really be hard, sometimes aren’t. And sometimes there are days that sneak up on me out of nowhere. But I knew that walk from my bedroom to the bathroom was going to be hard. And maybe today is hard for you for very different reasons than me, but here’s some things I did to help me through the day:

  • Made a Plan: I didn’t act like it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t pretend it wasn’t a big deal. I allowed myself to think about it, cry about it, and process it, even a week before it happened. So much so, I asked for today off, a month ago.

  • Spread the Love: I started asking God a week ago who I could share a little love with. He put people on my heart and I shared love with them the way my Dad taught me to. I left a little note and a small token of my affection letting them know I see them, I feel for them, and that I am believing with them on matters of the heart.

  • Spend some time with God: I took some time to let my Heavenly Father speak to me and comfort me. It’s times like these that Psalm 3:3 becomes so real. I envision my Heavenly Father actually taking my face in His hands and lifting it towards Him, letting me know He is near and He sees the pain.

Today's Forecast: Another Valentine's day without the "one."

Silver Lining: Grateful for the "one" I'll always have in my heart, and the "One" who comforts my heart.