Monday, November 30, 2015


With Christmas comes memories. Some are happy, & well… some are painful. As we decorate our tree, memories of Christmas Past seem to flow. Christmas is a mark of how life has changed. We watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" &  realize the vast differences in our broken world from then to now.

We measure change by the Christmas we remember as a child, the Christmas we celebrated with our children, & the Christmas we celebrate now. Memories of loved ones lost always come to mind. In some cases we miss them. Sometimes we just remember…Some of us have voids while others have stockings overflowing. It just is what it is (not to sound cliche).

It helps me tremendously to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I love (as much as anybody) to get caught up in Santa Claus. In fact, I cherish those moments from my childhood, as a parent, & now as Grandma. But… as this world crumbles around us, & we become more terrified with each new day, I need more than sleigh bells. I need to be reassured that we have a God whose will is going to happen in spite of human interference.

Heartache will continue. Terrorism has become a part of life. Loved ones suffer with illness. Relationships fail us. People are losing jobs. Mental illness is running rampant. The homeless continue to be homeless. Immigrants continue to flee their unbearable lives. The unexpected has a way of slapping us in the face & saying, "Ready or not, here I am, now what are you going to do?"

Here is what I am going to do… I am going to cling to my faith in Christ because He is my HOPE. When I'm slapped in the face, I will seek Him to guide me. I am going to hold onto the people that God has put in my life. I want to walk my journey with grace & dignity whatever my circumstances. That is my prayer. Sometimes I fail.

In the short term, I am going to enjoy each Christmas moment that comes my way… the music, the lights, the movies, my beautiful Nativity, friendship, gifts, precious Grandchildren, my Girls, snow, bell ringing,  a few sweets now & then, & my memories, my precious Christmas memories...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Sometimes things happen that quite unexpectedly take you back. Last evening, I entered a funeral home to pay respects to a family who lost their young adult son. The line was out the door. As I waited patiently to hug the family & pay my last respects to Daniel, I couldn't help but think back to the years he attended The ROCK.

As I stood in the funeral home, I saw his best friends. I saw how grieved these young men were. They were no longer the boys who attended my youth group. I was no longer a youth leader. No, they were young men now, & their hearts were raw. They were broken. I couldn't help but wonder what had transpired over the last 5 or 6 years in their lives. I'd lost track of many of them.

Last evening, I stood there. It was surreal. Their tears were real. The look of anguish in their eyes was real. Yet, the whole thing seemed surreal. It just wasn't supposed to happen this way. No… a young man wasn't supposed to die. He had a family that loved him, a family that needed him. He had a family that had hopes & expectations for their son. This couldn't be undone. No matter how much we prayed, we could not undo this unbearable situation.

As time passed, I could no longer hold my resolve. I believe it was the sight of a beautiful teenage girl who attended The ROCK with her parents. She was just a little mite back then. I remember her dressed as Cinderella one Halloween. I looked at her. Flashbacks ran through my head. I hugger her. Her hair was so shiny & soft. Her youth so beautiful. She had recently gotten her braces off.

As I hugged her, I was frantic. I wanted to whisper all the things I could think of in her ear to keep her safe. I wanted her to know her worth. I wanted to tell her she was beautiful. I wanted to protect her from the evils in this world. My heart cried. My eyes cried. This world is too painful. Things happen that are undoable. Young people do things without realizing the cost.

As we reached the parents, I wanted them to know that the love they poured into their son was something we all knew. We share their heartache, but only they could know such depth. Their son will always hold a special place in our hearts. He will long be remembered for his loyalty, how he protected his younger sister, his sense of humor, his love for others. He will be missed. Their love was not in vain.