Welcome Home!

This morning when I opened my facebook, I saw a picture of my friend’s parents when they were much younger. The news was both heartbreaking and joy making. Nita Hargrave had gone home to her heavenly father and to those who had reached heaven before her, including her husband.

My heart aches for her children and grandchildren who will miss her dearly. But my heart also rejoices for them — because they have the privilege and joy of knowing she loved God and them with all of her heart.

I met the Hargrave family when I was a young 17-year-old college student. I roomed with their daughter, Debby, for many of my young adult years. I do not think they will ever know the full impact they had on my life.

Watching the Hargrave family interact was a whole new experience for me. The first time I shared a dinner with them, it was sheer chaos, with lots of teasing, laughter, and love. Seeing Don and Nita hugging their kids, laughing and joking with them, and telling them “I love you,” made me envious for what they had.  The richness of their faith, the willingness to embrace others, the wise counsel from Nita–all of it made me a better person and showed me an example I had never seen before.

Nita had no qualms about making me a part of the family during my young adult years, even including me in their family vacation to Branson one year. I learned so much being around them. Just watching the way they incorporated their faith into every day life and their joy in knowing Jesus, gave me an example that impacted my life.

I grew up in a tight knit family and knew I was loved, but there were no prayers together, no hugs and no “I love you” until well into my adulthood. While my mother taught me good values and work ethics, I had no role model for a godly mother who was totally in love with Jesus. Nita gave me one.

Nita taught our “Christian Womanhood” class (and yes, there was such a thing back in the early 70s), but more than that she cared for the women on the campus of our college. Her kindness and caring (and sometimes gentle chastising) made an impact on the lives of everyone who interacted with her. She loved Jesus and she was never shy about proclaiming him in her words. But she mostly proclaimed him in her deeds. And for that I am most grateful.

So welcome to your reward, Nita! I can only imagine your homecoming and seeing you hugging the Savior you served so long.

And for Dave, Kay, Debby, Dan and Doug–keep on holding out the light of truth, so richly taught to you by your Mom and Dad. Blessings on you during the days ahead.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:45 (ESV)

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A Defining Day

On May 16, 1981, I woke up with a great sense of excitement and a little bit of apprehension. It was cloudy and rainy, but I did not let that dampen my anticipation of the day. In some ways it seemed like I had waited a lifetime for this day, but in others it seemed wonderfully new.

As I showered and  dressed, I realized that my whole life was about to change. No longer would my decisions impact only me, they would impact us. No longer would I be able to take off and go somewhere without a thought for telling someone where I was going. No longer would I eat toaster pastries for supper and consider that a meal.

A little voice inside my head said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” No. Wait. Continue reading “A Defining Day”

The Holidays Are Coming

holiday_stress_shutterstock_62603809I love the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorites. For many people the holidays are a joyous time to be around family and friends, however, for some individuals it is a time of stress and turmoil. For the perfectionist, unrealistic expectations of the perfect house, perfect gifts, and perfect entertainments can take a toll. For the lonely and those who have recently lost loved ones, the holidays can accentuate their very aloneness. For others, the thought of being with certain family members makes them cringe. The reasons for holiday stress are many and varied, but most of us experience it to some degree.

One of the hardest things I have learned is to Let Go of Unreasonable Expectations. Here are some expectations that contribute to stress during the holidays. Continue reading “The Holidays Are Coming”

Welcome Home

October  27 is a bittersweet day for me. It is a day that leaves me kind of weepy, sad, and nostalgic all at the same time. It is also a day that reminds me of the joy of having Christ as my Savior and the hope of heaven. Eight years ago today my husband of 28 years woke up in a glorious new place, and sometimes I envy him for getting to experience what I long for someday. Then five years later to the day, and almost to the same minute, my Mom silently drew her last breath and was welcomed into heaven.

Tom & LindaI miss them both, and selfishly, I would love to still have them here by my side. But the reality is that life goes on without them. I have had bad days and good days, but the good ones outnumber the bad ones. I have learned I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I have grown a little wiser and I have learned some lessons about life.

Here are some of the lessons I learned: Continue reading “Welcome Home”

Surviving Transition

ChangeTransitions. We all have them. Some transitions fill us with expectation and excitement, others fill us with dread and uncertainty.  Some transitions are of our own making, others are sometimes forced upon us.  But there is no doubt, good or bad, we all need to learn how to adjust to transition in our lives.  It is especially difficult to make a smooth transition when change comes our way, not through our own choosing, but through circumstances–sometimes beyond our control or understanding. Continue reading “Surviving Transition”

The Man on the Honor Flight

10686785_10203126098255503_2263128286258544606_nToday is a very special day for a very special man. My brother-in-law, Steve, will be boarding a plane for an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. If you are not familiar with an honor flight, these flights take a veteran to Washington DC, where they can see memorials honoring those who have gone before. What Steve will see today includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and The Vietnam Wall, both of which will be moving experiences for him. This blog is a letter to a man who is not only my brother-in-law, but also a brother to me.

Dear Steve, Little did we know how big a part of our lives you would be when Sharron brought you home for the first time. I remember looking up and seeing all 6’4″ of you and being amazed at how tall you were. What I have discovered since then is that not only are you tall in height, you are tall in spirit. We have shared a lot of memories through the years. Continue reading “The Man on the Honor Flight”

Begging Isn’t Enough – Do Something

Ever since Target enlightened the public on their stance on the use of restrooms by transgender individuals, Christians have been in an uproar. While I understand their concerns, I am also concerned about their handling of the issue.  Quite frankly, transgenders have been using the restrooms they identify with for years. And before you start lambasting me and assuming I absolutely approve of this, please remember that kindness and mercy is far better in our dealing with non-Christians than hate and destructive rhetoric. Continue reading “Begging Isn’t Enough – Do Something”

The Ants Go Marching

As an older woman whose children have all reached adulthood and live on their own, I am often reminded of how difficult it is being a Mom. As I read some of my younger friend’s Facebook posts, I wish I could make their journey easier, but in all honesty, even the best of parents experience their times of frustration and agony. I was far from a perfect Mom and there were days when I just wanted to throw in the towel or lock myself in the bathroom and throw a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming like a toddler (oh wait, I really did that!). Continue reading “The Ants Go Marching”