Archive for December, 2008

Washed in the blood or just in the water?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Caleb walks around singing some country song that goes something like this…

“Her mama wants to know if I’m washed in the blood or just in the water…”

I’ve never heard the song but I like that mama, whoever she is. I’m not completely familiar with all denominations but I do know that baptism is common in most all, either a sprinkling or a complete dunk as we baptists practice. Either way, the question is relevant. When you were baptized, were you washed in the blood or did you just get wet? In order to be a believer we must allow our sins to be washed by the blood of Jesus – that’s what saves us. Not the water, the blood. I like the old hymn…

Are you washed in the blood?

In the soul cleansing blood of the lamb?

Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

And then there’s the chorus, “Oh the blood of Jesus! It washes white as snow.”

That’s a good question to answer this last day of 2008. Hope wants to know if you’ve been washed in the blood or just in the water! Where do you stand with the Lord as you bring in the new year of 2009? Maybe you’ve not been washed in the blood or the water. There’s no greater time than the present to make that decision!

“…the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Clay and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary tomorrow, New Year’s Day. What a fast, fun, packed-an-awful-lot-into 10 years this has been. God has richly blessed me with a wonderful husband and I still find myself amazed at why He chose to do so. We don’t have any big plans in the immediate future as Clay is very busy on a project at work. We hope to celebrate in a big way sometime in mid to late 2009. I’m sure I’ll keep you posted on that! I pray each of you have a blessed and safe New Year.

Hope

 

Best friends forever…

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

There is no replacement or substitute for best friends. My best friend since birth that I’ve spoken of before in my updates, Lisa Winchester, just called to catch up on our Christmas activities. We talk via email a couple of times a week or more and by phone about once a month. It matters not how often or how seldom, when we do talk it is as if we’ve seen each other every day our entire lives. We just click. There is no uncomfortable silence, no loss for words, no rambling to fill in spaces, there is just comfortable, easy conversation. We don’t skip a beat. My dad shared with me not long before he passed away something that his close buddy, Charleston Smith, had said to him not long before Charleston passed away. Dad was driving Charleston to one of his doctor’s appointments and Charleston laid his thin, frail hand on Daddy’s leg and said, “Preacher, if you can go through life and say that you’ve had one true friend, you’ve accomplished something. You are that friend.” I’ll be able to say that about Lisa when we come to the end of this life. She and I have been through more stuff than we care to recount. But through it all we’ve stayed faithful to each other. As she was hanging up just a few minutes ago, she said, “I’m going to meet a friend for lunch. I wish you lived closer so it would be you I was meeting.” I stayed all tough on the phone but when I clicked End on my cell phone I teared up. It’s been almost 16 months since I’ve seen Lisa. She lives in Franklin, NC which is only a couple of hours away but both of our lives are packed with extracurricular activities with our kids, church, extended families, etc.

I’ve quoted my dear friend, Glenn Robinson, several times through this Christmas season. “Chasing what matters.” I pray I’m chasing what matters! I look around my house that has always been spotless, eat-off-the-floor-should-you-choose-to shiny clean, everything in its place, and I see several doggie toys spread in the living room, a dog crate and dog bowl in the laundry room, flash light at the back door for taking Jax out after dark, a UNC leash hanging on the hinge of the back door (that’s Caleb’s idea of being cute), and I say to myself, “I hope this means I’m chasing what matters.” Caleb and Clay seem to think I am.

As Lisa and I said our “I love you and miss you” goodbyes, I said to myself, “I sure do miss that girl. I sure hope I’m chasing what matters!” The verse of scripture that comes to my mind is…

“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 The Message).

Here it is in King James Version, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

I pray each of you have a BFF (Best Friends Forever). Make spending time with them a priority this coming year, whether that time be in person or just staying in touch. We need each other in order to stay sharp. The more time we spend with those close friends, the shinier we’ll be!

Hope

 

Why me, Lord?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

The Psalmist David said in chapter 8, (I’m going to paraphrase here) “Lord, when I look around at Your creation, when I consider the vast ocean, the numerous stars and the moon that You set in place, the work of Your fingers in the beauty of the heavens, I can’t help but wonder why You spend any time thinking of me. Who am I that You would be mindful of when You are in total charge, full control of it all? Why me, Lord?” An old gospel song says, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known?” I think the songwriter got his thoughts from Psalm 8. If you read on in this chapter you find that not only does He have us on His mind at all times but He crowns us with glory and honor! Allow this good news to encourage you and give you the confidence you need to walk as a child of the King today!

If we want to talk about getting what we deserve, I’d have to coward back. But God is so good and ever mindful of li’l ole me. Why me, Lord? I don’t know, but I’ll take all He has for me!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Hope

Allow Me Dear Jesus To Walk On

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Oh Father as we approach the close of this year and the beginning of another, You challenge me this morning through the words of Oswald Chambers. Each of us has a new opportunity at the beginning of this year to once again choose our response to You. We can choose to either go on with You as a true disciple or we can choose to desert You when the road and Your teachings become difficult. The scripture referenced was from John chapter 6, verse 66 and says, “From that time many of His disciples, went back, and walked no more with Him.” Oh Father, how sobering is that – Jesus’ own disciples.

Previously in the chapter, Jesus had fed the five thousand. He had walked on the water. As He went about His daily life, He was showing to the world the reality of who You were in His life. Jesus spoke truth. Everywhere He went, He spoke truth. Sometimes, many times, that truth was not easy to swallow. It made no sense from a human standpoint.
Jesus told them that He was the “true bread from heaven.” “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’ Then they asked him, “what must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent.”
That is a pretty profound statement Father! – “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” Believe you, Father – that is what You desire from us – You desire for us to just believe You.
The disciples went on to ask him, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe You? What will You do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Sir, they said, “from now on give us this bread.”
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” 26-35
And after Jesus had spoken truth about Himself being the bread of life, the scripture says in v.41 that the Jews began to grumble and in v. 52 they began to argue sharply among themselves. In v. 60 the scripture says, “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Jesus went on to tell them that there was no way they could accept his teaching if it were not revealed by God Himself to them.
And then Father, the saddest part of the chapter occurs in v. 66 when it says, “From this time many of the disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Jesus looked straight at the twelve disciples and asked them, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”
There was no one or no other place to find the true bread of life apart from Jesus Christ Himself. Where would they have gone? Where do we go? There is nowhere else to go except to the bread of Life Himself. 
Oh Father, You challenge me through the exhortation of Chambers when he says, “When God gives a vision by His Spirit through his word of what He wants, and your mind and soul thrill to it, if you do not walk in the light of that vision, you will sink into servitude to a point of view which Our Lord never had. Disobedience in mind to the heavenly vision will make you a slave to points of view that are alien to Jesus Christ. Do not look at someone else and say – Well, if he can have those views and prosper, why cannot I? You have to walk in the light of the vision that has been given to you and not compare yourself with others or judge them, that is between them and God.”
You are revealing truth to each of us all the time. Chambers says, ‘You can never be the same after the unveiling of a truth. That moment marks you for going on as a more true disciple of Jesus Christ OR for going back as a deserter.”
Oh Jesus, You are calling me and each of us to walk on with You in the path and vision You have placed before us. At the beginning of this new year, we will make a decision to be a Disciple or to be a deserter. Oh Father, I desire to believe You and be a true follower. And Father, when I come to places in my life where those truths You are writing on my heart become difficult to swallow, will You, by the sweet presence of your Holy Spirit within me, shed light and truth upon my heart so that I may walk in obedience to You. In the strong name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
 

How Great is our God!!

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Bless Your Name, Lord!  Bless Your Name!  Oh Father, You are so great and You are so mighty and we have not begun to scratch the surface of who You are!  And even more amazing is the reality that You are just waiting to show us Your bigness and Your greatness! You want us to know You! You want us to know how big You are!  And You know what Lord?  I want to know how big You are!  I want to know how big my God is!!  Why would I not want to know the vastness of the God I love and serve and have given my life to? Oh Father, I want to know the grandeur of who You are!

Oh Father, only as I continue to gaze upon Your glory and Your grace can I possibly have any perspective on my life and my circumstances on this earth! But oh Father, when I glance at my circumstances in relationship to the God I serve and love, everything comes into clear view!  Your purposes, Your eternal plans, the desires of Your heart that You want to accomplish to achieve the bigger picture that only You can see, gives me great hope and great perspective!!

How great is our God? I watched in adoration of You as Louie Giglio uncovered bits of the universe tonight in a DVD. Oh Father, my prayer for Michael as he leaves tomorrow for the other side of the world is that You would give him a higher view of who You are. Oh Father, I want his appetite to be so whetted for You and the things that burn in Your heart and I am praying that this trip will be a catalyst to do just that! I desperately desire for my sons to know the greatness of their God! Hannah’s desire was that all would know “How great is our God!”

I desire for my sons to live big – not big measured by this world’s standards but big measured by the heart of an eternal God! Could there be a greater prayer for our children than to know their God? Not know about Him, but know Him personally. Paul said in Philippians that his “determined purpose was to know Him.”  The purpose of Paul’s life was to know his God. That should be the purpose of each of our lives – to know our God in all His fullness! As much as I can know You on this earth, that is what I desire!

I believe You, Lord! I believe Your promise when You tell me that You are working all things together for my good and for Your glory. I believe You when You tell me that “no eye has seen and no ear has heard what God has promised for those who love Him.” I believe Your promise that tells me “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of Your heart.”  You see, Lord, only You really know my heart! Only You know what my heart really desires! You made my heart and You are the only one who can fill my heart!

Oh Jesus, thank You for reminding me again this evening of Your greatness and Your majesty! Who am I, Lord that You would even think of me down on this little earth on which we live? But Lord, You are thinking of me, aren’t You? Every single minute of every single hour of every single day, You are thinking of me! And I bless Your name!  You are showing me Yourself and I stand amazed!

Oh Father, I want to stand amazed every day! Allow me to anticipate being amazed by You – every day! I must be looking for You, Lord! And I am!

Give me Your perspective Lord as You challenged me again so beautifully in the 40th chapter of Isaiah.

 “Who has measured the waters in 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? Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?”

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Life your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Oh Father, I love that! And I am going to stand right here on that promise. I claim it Lord! I am weak, I have no strength but Father Your word tells me that Your strength is  perfected in my weakness! I believe that as I hope in You, You will continue to renew and renew and renew and renew my strength. I am going to wait on You, Lord! And I just happen to believe that strength is going to rise as I wait upon You!  Bless Your name! Thank You for blessing my heart and my life this night! In the name of Jesus I ask and pray, with thanksgiving, Amen!!

Many Folks are hurting, Jesus – Minister to their hearts!

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Oh Dear Jesus, there are a lot of hurting people, aren’t there? There are a lot of people with very deep hurt and very deep pain and we don’t have to go very far from where we are to see and find them. And their hurt and pain comes in every form you can imagine. You awaken me with some of them on my heart and mind early this morning. Precious folks, dear folks, folks who never asked to be in the places they find themselves. Many who have sought You their entire lives and love You. They know You in a very deep and real ways because of the pain they have encountered and continue to encounter.

I suppose You bring them so vividly to my mind this morning because when Mickey came to bed very late last night, he said quietly to me, “Do you think we will always feel incomplete at Christmas?” It broke my heart. My precious husband, Lord – I don’t want him to hurt. He is a giant of a man. He has known many disappointments, pain and hurt throughout his lifetime. He loved his baby girl with a passion and he was so proud of her. After he had gone to sleep, my mind went to Dr. Neely’s statement that I read recently regarding his son, Eric. “There will always be an empty seat at our table.” You know, Lord, there will always be an empty seat at our table and every time we sit down we will, in varying degrees, feel Hannah’s absence. There will always be a part of us that is incomplete on this earth. Thank You, Jesus, that by Your grace and mercy You understand that and we can confess that to You. And thank You Lord that we also know that life is so much more than what we are seeing and experiencing on this present earth.

Oh Jesus, I think of friends that are going through very difficult physical situations with their children – having to watch them suffer. Oh Father, You can identify with watching a child suffer as no one else. Oh Jesus strengthen them for the journey You have chosen for them – one day at a time. Give them glimpses of You every where they turn. Allow them to look for You and see You in every circumstance.  Seeing You at work, Father, watching You hand makes those very, very difficult places more palatable. We just have to see You and know that You are at work beyond what we are seeing with our eyes.

I think of children whose parents have just walked out on them and they are experiencing this Christmas season with one less parent. Life was more about the parent than it was about You or their families and so with self on the throne of their lives – they just walked out. And after they walk out, they have no thought that many people will feel the effects of their decision daily for the rest of their lives. Oh Jesus, be the Father to the Fatherless and the mother to the motherless. Oh Jesus, stop us when we live with only our present pleasures in the forefront of our minds. Strengthen those single mothers and fathers, dear Jesus as only You can.

You bring to mind a precious husband with 3 children whose wife came to live with You earlier this year. This is their first Christmas without Mom in the house. Oh Jesus, wrap them up in Your great big arms – let them know You and feel Your presence in a powerful way. Oh Jesus, make trophies of Your grace out of those precious children. Turn their hearts toward You. Keep any root of bitterness from springing up in their lives. Let them cling hard to You, Jesus.

I also think of another mother who is pondering if this perhaps could be her last Christmas on this earth with her children. These are really heavy things, Lord. And then there is the other spouse who is dealing with their own questions amid this current storm. Oh Jesus, teach us to live in the present day with our eyes firmly focused on Your face. Let us “glance at our circumstances and gaze upon You,” Lord.

And Father, I think of a precious wife whose husband came to live with You just a few months ago and she is spending her first Christmas without him. They didn’t have any children. I saw her last night, Lord. And as I hugged her, she told me that Christmas had been harder than she thought it would be. Comfort her, Dear Jesus. Thank You that You enabled her to be at a gathering last night with people who loved her. It is very difficult to go out after a difficult and intense storm – you feel very vulnerable.

Thank You Father, for continuing to bring healing to our hearts and thank You that will continue to do so every day for the rest of our lives. On Friday evening I had a conversation with a precious mother whose 43 year old son died very suddenly without warning six months ago. She told me about a co-worker this week that told her that it had been six months and she just needed to move on with life. Oh Jesus, how hard we can be on other people when we don’t stop to ponder the shoes they are walking in. Tender us, Lord, through our own pain.

And Father, teach us, as the body of Christ, how to minister to those with deep hurt and deep pain. May we never get so comfortable sitting in our pews that we forget that life is very difficult for many people and they desperately need our prayers, our support, and our encouragement. Many times that can be done with just a kind word. Help us look beyond ourselves and our situations to those who are hurting with situations more difficult than our own.

And Dear Jesus, this morning allow my three men to get a fresh glimpse of You as they go in their camo outfits and orange hats to sit in Your creation. Speak life and truth over their lives as they sit in quietness and gaze at Your creation. They are so handsome, Lord, and look so cute in their digs. Raise them up as “oaks of righteousness – a planting of the Lord, for the display of Your glory!” Isaiah 61:3.  In the strong name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

He restores my soul…

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Today’s Psalm is chapter 23. As I read it I was struck by verse 3. My Dad loved to restore old, worn out furniture. He could take a piece of furniture that I wouldn’t spend the gas it would take to get it to the dump, and he would strip it, sand it down, refinish it and present it looking more elagant than it had looked brand new. He restored its beauty and made it worth more than its original value.

That’s what our Heavenly Father does for us. We come to Him spent, worn slam out, scratched and scarred from the trials of this life, feeling completely worthless, and with the blood of His Son He strips us of our guilt and shame, sands down the rough places and restores us to a life of beauty and great worth. He makes us more beautiful than we were originally.

“He restores my soul…” (Psalm 23:3).

I plan to post tomorrow but should I get wrapped up in festivities, I pray each of you have a blessed and Jesus-is-the-Reason Christmas! I love you much!

Hope

Don’t take your eyes off the road…

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

I stay on Caleb to keep his eyes on the road and not be texting while he’s driving. Not that any of you with teenage children can relate. So I’ve given him the typical lecture of keeping his eyes peeled (that’s my Mom’s phrase – not sure it fits but I’ve heard it all my life) on all traffic so that he knows when someone is turning in front of him or stopping suddenly (bow up in front of him is another one of Mom’s phrases), etc. In the blink of an eye circumstances and situations can change and you find yourself in an accident so quickly you can do nothing about it.

I came across this verse in The Message over the weekend…

“…not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road” (Psalm 119:17).

So this same principle applies to our spiritual ride. We have to keep our eyes on the road using the Bible for a road map, not looking down for even a second, not being distracted by other things that vie for our attention. We must not take our eyes off His road for even a minute for if we do, we will run head on into more trouble than we want to contend with! Stay focused on your journey, keeping your eyes on the road and you’ll find that you will arrive at the destination the Lord intends for you.

Hope

 

Open your eyes and look up…

Friday, December 19th, 2008

There is a lot happening here at the office today! Frank Tiller has been working away this week to get things “finished up” on the remodeling and he’s been joined today by several Carpenters for Christ. It’s noisy and messy but that’s what it takes to get things done. As I read Deb’s journal entry from this morning, I had a little break down. I know one of the men working outside my window was a little concerned. I turned my back to him and for the first time in a long time I hid my face in my tissue and I squalled. Oh, how we miss Hannah! The holidays are all about family and friends and it is a very sentimental time. Caleb made the comment that there is an empty seat every time the family gets together and it will always be empty. As I was having my little crying spell I looked up at the bookends on my credenza and God’s Word once again brought comfort to my heart. The bookends read, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me” (Psalm 138:8). And that is exactly what He did for Hannah. He fulfilled His purpose for her and then He swooped her outta here! So we don’t grieve for Hannah, we grieve for ourselves and the empty seat that will always be empty.

God’s Word is a balm for all wounds. Allow His Word to comfort you today, whatever you’re facing. Here’s my prayer for myself and for each of you. Dear Jesus, this day thrill me with Your Word! Surprise me with little nuggets when I’m broken! Open my eyes and allow me to look up on the shelf and see Your Word in bold letters! Don’t let me miss anything You have to say to me today.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18).

The Message translation reads, “Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.”

This Christmas season is full of miracle-wonders. Open your eyes and look up. Be thrilled by God’s wonders this day!

Hope

Merry Christmas Sweetheart – I miss you!

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Good Morning and Merry Christmas Sweetheart!

I have been in and out of sleep for a couple of hours and usually by this point I wish that I would have just gotten up and gotten into the word with the Lord when I first awakened. Sometimes I will just lay there and think maybe I will go back to sleep. Many times I will think about you and how different things are here without you. I have never had a “vision” or dream about you. Recently, Gail told me she had had a dream about you that was so real – your hair was long and flowing and you were dressed in red. She said you looked beautiful. In my heart I know where you are and I kind of feel like the Lord doesn’t feel like He needs to give me a picture of you or of what you are doing. I think about that verse that talks about believing without seeing. I don’t feel like I have to see you – I believe the Lord and His word and I have a great peace knowing where you are.

This morning just before I got up, however, it was as if you were lying on your sick bed and you motioned for me to come to you. You reached up to me so that I would lean over and give you a hug – the kind we did when you were sick – a gentle hug with deep meaning – a hug that communicated intense feeling. I was telling you how proud I was of you and that I was so sorry that you were having to suffer. And you were telling me the same thing – that you were proud of me and that you were sorry I was having to suffer. There were people all around in the room but it was our moment.  Maybe it was because last night Daddy and I were talking about how much you loved to crawl up in his lap – you never got too big to sit on Daddy’s lap. His was the only one except Uncle Clay and  sometimes Poppy – you were never overly affectionate.

You know recently it just came to me as I was hearing someone talk about you that many people have a little part, a little piece of you – many whose lives have intertwined with your own but I held the biggest part. And I suppose because I held the biggest part of you, I feel your absence in the biggest way as no other – and always will. I suppose that is part of having a mother’s heart, isn’t it?  To have loved deeply is to have lost deeply.  I suppose Mary always felt the physical absence of Jesus more than any other as she pondered all those things in her heart. Certainly she did – the babe in the manger – the God of the universe had nursed at her bosom – no one else held that special, sacred place. His life had intertwined with many and many had a part of him – their own stories – but Mary always held the biggest part of Jesus.

I suppose if I had never had a daughter maybe I wouldn’t miss you so much. There are many folks who don’t have a daughter and I don’t think they ever think about what it would be like to have a daughter or what they are missing because they don’t. But I have . . . and so I think about those “girl” things we would be sharing and doing together if you were here. I miss you Hannah!  I missed you when I putting the lights on the tree early last Sunday morning while the guys slept – not that I really thought you would be helping me but you always loved to have things looking beautiful and always loved to have folks over for a celebration. And I always loved to have those celebration also! The girls would come over and we would have a party! I loved to set a nice table and fix cinnamon rolls and fruit for your breakfast or fancy salads for your lunch.

The girls did come this week you know – eight of them. It was such a blessing for me and I think they really enjoyed it also. I invited some that I don’t see as often and it was great listening to them “catch up” with each other. Lauren said she had been avoiding coming to our house – she thought it would be too hard. I told her that I thought it would become easier every time she comes. You know I love being here because your presence is so real and felt here – I never want to “escape” from that but I know it would be different if I was ever able to completely separate myself from you or this home we shared together.  For me, I can’t ever “get away” from you or your presence. I don’t want to. 

The girls all look beautiful – they have all slimmed down just a little – not that they needed to – but college life requires a lot of walking and they are just in good shape and look very healthy.  They chatted as always – sometimes no one was listening except me. I felt like I was sitting in your seat just taking it all in. They ate well and enjoyed their time “catching up.” I loved having them. I hope to make it a tradition – a time for them to stay in touch with each other and have lunch together – and blessing my heart at the same time. I knew I would probably cry after they left and indeed I fell to my knees at the sofa and cried that all too familiar “wail” but it didn’t last too long. It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I wouldn’t trade the time – nor the cry.

Your absence is as real as the obvious absence of your face in our family pictures now. There is a part, a piece of our family missing and no amount of time on this earth will put your face back in the picture. But I have started asking God this week to show me one way every single day that He is continuing to use your life. And every day He has shown me. On Monday a gentleman showed up at the door with a coupon for having a room of carpet cleaned. He wanted to demonstrate the Kirby vacuum cleaner. I told him from the first part of the conversation that I knew for certain that I wasn’t going to buy a Kirby but he told me he would get $50 credit just for showing me. Well, I thought, I would love to have the downstairs carpet cleaned so after I called his company to make sure he was legit, I invited him in. He got more than he bargained for – ha! Are you surprised?

Before the afternoon was over I had a great looking room of carpet, and he had heard all about my daughter, Hannah, and her journey, been asked about where he stood with the Lord, had a bowl of my chicken soup, and had a “Hannah’s Journey” DVD to take home and share with his wife whose 32 year old cousin had been killed in an auto accident. It was a blessing.

And all week long I have had the joy of sharing “A Dove Set Free.” Yesterday I shared it with a mother who has stage 4 cancer. Earlier in the week I shared it with a precious shut in lady who life and prayers continue to challenge me. I shared a copy with a friend who is going to give it to a 7th grade girl whose mother died when she was in the first grade. I suppose it will probably be a book that speaks to those with deep hurts or deep life experiences. Not a book I would ever have chosen to write.

Last night Daddy and I were in American Eagle trying to find some jeans for Andrew for Christmas. I know you would have been helping me with that. A girl named Katie helped us. I was debating about whether my 14 year old son would like those particular jeans and with great confidence she looked at me with a gleam in those big brown eyes, and said, “He will really like those.” At that moment, I heard your voice through hers and it was as if you were giving your approval to those jeans. As soon as she walked away, I teared up and could hardly fight back the tears – it seemed so silly but that is exactly what you would have said. She walked away and I tried to compose myself – all the while Daddy was looking at me trying to figure out why that hit me so hard. We got to the check out and the girl at the register had on a “Hannah’s Hope” Bracelet. That always blesses my heart! So I made my usual comment, “I like your bracelet.” She said, “Thank you.” And then she said something like, “Have you ever heard of Hannah Sobeski?” “Yes,” I said, “she was my daughter.” It is always a bit of a surprised reaction I receive when I say that and she was very kind. She, too, had a little part of you.

After we checked out, I told Daddy I was going back to the girl who had okayed the jeans for me – I just needed to give her a hug. So I walked up and asked her if I could hug her.  You would have been terribly embarrassed.  She hugged me and then in my brokenness I tried to explain to her what a blessing it was for her for affirm those jeans for me and that it reminded me of my daughter Hannah and how she would have responded. I’m not sure if she knew who you were or not but she was very gracious and her eyes welled up with tears. I walked away before I lost it and wondered if she thought I was crazy. It didn’t matter, I don’t care. Perhaps she had a conversation with the “Bracelet” girl later on in the evening. Anyway, it was a little taste of you for me last night shopping – it was bitter-sweet.

Some days, it just hits harder – that is just the way it is. It makes me anticipate the day that we will hug again and you will be strong and whole and so will I. I love you Sweetheart – Merry Christmas! I miss you!