Monday, April 30, 2012

Not An Accident

Yesterday I shared a journal entry Mom had written about being created in the image of God - for God and by God.  The next day, she continued the thought.  On December 17, 2002 she wrote:

Your Are Not An Accident

God made me so He could love me.  He prescribed every detail of my body...race, color of skin, hair, and every other feature.  God chose my parents - He knew that those two individuals possessed exactly the right genetic makeup to create the custom me He had in mind.  They had the DNA God wanted.  Knowing that God uniquely created me, I will accept my personality and physical appearance and move on to discovering His purpose for my being here today.  My plan is to address Christmas cards, write and mail a Christmas letter to our church family and send our kids and grandkids suggestions for a Time Capsule.  Perhaps I can write words of encouragement on these mailings.

God is my Creator.  I was in His care even before I was born!  Isaiah 44:2 "...He who made you, who formed you in the womb...will help you."

Again, I have typed this out exactly as Mom wrote it.  As I read what she wrote about her parents it caused me to think of my parents.  What wonderful DNA God prepared for me!  What could God possibly want to use me for and why is it taking me so long to figure this all out?

When I read the line that said "perhaps I can write words of encouragement" I chuckled.  Mom wrote words of encouragement to so many people over the years!  Her notes and cards always had a positive thought.  Even when she gave books or bookmarks to me or my kids she would write a note of encouragement on them. 

I am so blessed to have her for a Mom!  I have so much to live up to with my own kids and grandkids as I struggle to follow in her footsteps!  Lord, help me to hear Your voice!

Isaiah 44:2-4 (The Message)

God who made you has something to say to you;
   the God who formed you in the womb wants to help you.
Don't be afraid, dear servant Jacob,
   Jeshurun, the one I chose.
For I will pour water on the thirsty ground
   and send streams coursing through the parched earth.
I will pour my Spirit into your descendants
   and my blessing on your children.
They shall sprout like grass on the prairie,
   like willows alongside creeks.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Year

This past week marked one year since Mom & Dad were stabbed to death in their modest home on a quiet street in Springfield, MO.  I traveled there to attend a briefing with the sheriff and do some press conferences with my brother and Aunt Sis.  There still have been no arrests made despite all the tireless work on the part of the detectives.  Please keep praying for justice as well as for the detectives who have sacrificed so much in their pursuit of justice.  I have a great deal of respect for these men!

Today I just happened to pick up one of Dad's little notebooks (he always had one in his shirt pocket).  This note he had written just popped out at me: The heart of worship is surrender.  The more you grow in Christ, the more you'll love His body and want to sacrifice for it.

The notebook is from late December 2007.  It was the only thing he had written on this page and nothing before it or after it had any connection.  Was it just a random thought he had while waiting somewhere?  I know that Dad would willingly have surrendered his life if it would help further the body of Christ.

This notebook was lying right on top of a journal of Mom's which I picked up and opened to this writing by her.  It was titled

It All Starts With God

The biggest change that I recognized in my life after I totally surrendered to God at age 19 was that now I had a purpose for living - life had been meaningless before.  Today, recognizing that my days for living here on earth are few now, I want to really focus on what matters most - spend less time on the unimportant.
"I was born BY God's purpose and FOR God's purpose."
It is difficult to keep the "mind set".
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
I was created by Him and for Him.
Colossians 1:16b (King James) "...all things were created by Him and for Him."

This was dated December 16, 2002.  I typed this out exactly as Mom had written it.  It's in one of her "fancy" journals (not just a plain notebook) so I know she took great care in how she wrote it in her beautiful handwriting.  The fact that she would say that she needs to spend less time on the unimportant really struck me.  Mom did so little for herself and certainly did not live her life frivolously!

It really causes me to pause and consider my life and how I spend my time.  Am I sacrificing myself for the body of Christ?  Do I really live as though my life belonged to God?  That I was created by Him and for Him?  I have a very long way to go in my walk with the Lord! 

Colossians 1:15-18 (The Message)

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who to mourn?

This might sound weird to you but sometimes I feel guilty for mourning the loss of one of my parents.  The other day I was really missing my Mom and started to cry just knowing I could not call her just to chat as we often would.  I then began to feel guilty that I was just missing Mom at that moment.  Why wasn't I missing Dad in the same way.  The converse of that has been true as well.

There have been many times my heart has just ached at the loss of my Dad and then I'll feel that I am not giving Mom her full respect.  So how do you pay due honor and homage to both?  How do I grieve both of them at the same time?  Why do I sometimes feel this way when I just happen to be thinking about one of them more than the other?

Truly if anyone has the answer, I would love to hear it!  Next Wednesday will mark one year since they were killed.  Some days I feel it is no easier now than it was that first week.  What would I do without my God who strengthens me? 

Joshua 1:5-9 (The Message)

All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


One week from today will mark 1 year since Mom & Dad were murdered.  No arrests have been made but I know detectives are working relentlessly on the case.  My brother Dave, Aunt Sis and I will meet with the sheriff next Wednesday.  That meeting will be followed by yet another press conference.

I am grateful that the press has kept this case before the public in Springfield, MO but it discouraging that we still have no closure.  I have found myself feeling quite anxious about the upcoming meeting.  I've had some crazy dreams off and on for the past month.  I know God is working in this tragic event but I wish I could see into the future and know the outcome.  It would certainly make trust a whole lot easier!

I have been reading through the Bible this year and just finished the book of Job.  By God's standards and by Satan's, Job was a good man who loved the Lord.  Yet he still suffered great losses and illness.  When Job questioned God, God's basic reply was who are you to question Me, the Creator of the universe?  It does help if I keep things in perspective!

Job 42:1-6 (The Message)

Job answered God: "I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything.
   Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, 'Who is this muddying the water,
   ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?'
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
   made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, 'Listen, and let me do the talking.
   Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.'
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
   now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I'm sorry—forgive me. I'll never do that again, I promise!
   I'll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Awesome Big Brother, Doug

I know I have not written for a long while.  It's not because I have not wanted to but rather I just felt that I could not bring myself to write.  It dawned on me tonight as I listened to a Spirit filled Christian speaker that I really should write about my brother, Doug.  I said, okay, God.  I can do that.  So here I am writing again.

Doug's birthday was two weeks ago.  I am so grateful to have him as my oldest brother.  I do not say that just to point out that he is old (since all my brothers and I are only a year apart that is nothing now that we are all in our 50's!) but rather to give you an idea of our relationship.

There is a home movie that shows us all dressed up in our Easter best.  I was about 4 or 5 so Doug would have been about 7 or 8.  Doug was quite busy trying to get all of us lined up and looking proper.  Once he felt we were ship shape, he popped into the line with us and beamed toward Dad and the camera.  

That was Doug and typical of the oldest child.  Always trying to keep us in line.  What a job he had, too!  I know we were not an easy bunch to keep straight.  David was so mischievous and Stephen would often follow whatever Dave suggested.  Of course, I was a perfect angel.  Ha!

Doug was wonderful student.  He set the bar high for all of us to follow!  He played the piano well and practiced diligently.  Since I was the only other one to take piano that set a wonderful example for me!  I remember once when Doug was in high school (I think he was junior).  He was playing in the jazz band during a basketball game.  A man sitting by me in the bleachers said, "What is that kid doing in the band?  He should be playing basketball!"  Of course, Doug was tall but it actually made me mad.  Just because he was tall it certainly did not mean that his musical talents should be set aside to play ball.  I always regretted that I did not say anything to that man. 

Today, Doug is married to a very sweet, godly woman.  He is a proud and loving father to four extremely gifted children.  His oldest child is about to graduate with her Doctorate!  Needless to say, I am very proud of my brother.  I know Mom and Dad were proud of him, too.

He was such a rock through the ordeal of Mom and Dad's death.  He made many trips from his home in Texas to help with all the work that had to be done.  I do not know what we would have done without him.

Thank you, Doug, for always being there for me when it counts the most!  I know I do not say it enough but I do love you!

Proverbs 17:17 (New Living Translation)

A friend is always loyal,
    and a brother is born to help in time of need.