Lessons from Mom: God is so Good

KSCN0014

Mom’s last trip to the hospital was the Friday after Christmas my Junior year of college.  She was in and out of coherency for a couple of days and visiting was limited.  Once she was more stable and coherent, the singing began.  Our friend, Betsy Brown, would bring her guitar with her and we would “have church” in her hospital room.

One of the most significant experiences of my life happened in that room.  I was sitting with Mom when Dad came back in the room with Aunt Barbara Tolar.  When Dad walked in, Mom said she wanted to sing. Mom always did like singing, though she couldn’t carry a tune.  She always said she made a joyful noise.

Dad asked her what she wanted to sing.  She responded, “God is so good.”  I can still see her struggling to sit up in bed, knowing she was dying, so she could sing “God is so good.”  I remember thinking God is very real and He must love us very much because that kind of faith cannot exist apart from a loving God.

I have shared this story numerous times because of the impact it had and continues to have on me. This is the legacy of faith I carry.

Lessons from Mom: A Testimony

KSCN0035

Mom had a bad fall during my sophomore year of high school.  She fell on her car keys and they went almost completely through her hand. We were blessed to have some great mission doctors that took great care of her. As she began the healing process, Uncle Jack (one of our mission doctors) told her that the best therapy would be piano, so she took up piano lessons.

A couple of years later, Mom played “Little Drummer Boy” at our annual Mission Meeting. Following her song, she shared testimony of God’s healing. Our mission family and others had prayed for complete healing of that hand. God healed the damage from the fall, but He also healed the arthritis in that hand that had been a problem well before the fall. He did completely heal the hand.  Now, every Christmas, when I hear that song, I am reminded of her testimony that summer.

Lessons from Mom: The Rock of our Salvation

About a month before Christmas, I had some time on my hand.  I was missing Mom and thinking about the fact that in just a few years, I will have lived without her as long as I lived with her. I decided to record some of the memories/lessons I learned.  I share these because they continue to impact my life and maybe they will speak to someone else.

Mom loved the outdoors.  She loved horseback riding, sports of almost any kind, gardening, hiking and climbing Gog and Magog (pictured in the header).  I don’t remember when Mom first took me climbing Gog and Magog, but I know that, as I got older, this was one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Mom would take a group of us and we’d take a backpack with sandwiches and have lunch on top. Mom and Aunt Sandy Achenbach would often carry real coffee mugs (as opposed to plastic that wouldn’t break if dropped) along with a thermos of coffee.  They’d sit on a ledge about half way up and enjoy their coffee with a view.

One of my favorite memories is a conversation I overheard after mom had led a volunteer missions group from the U.S. up and back down. She was telling one of the volunteers that she loved climbing up and around those big granite rocks because it reminded her of the Rock of our salvation. She jumped around on those rocks like a mountain goat, sure-footed, because she knew the granite was solid and not going anywhere. In the same way, she was sure of her salvation.

I am so grateful God gave me the opportunity to overhear that conversation. I don’t remember the day, the year, or how old I was, but I remember the lesson and it will stay with me forever. “On Christ, the solid rock, I stand.”

God’s Gifts of Joy 2012: Cruise/Contract

Early in November, I applied for a contract job that I thought would be right up my alley.  I interviewed within a week with the staffing agency.  A couple of weeks went by and the client asked to interview me by phone. I thought I had a pretty good shot.

In the meantime, Dad decided he would go on a cruise for Thanksgiving and invited me to go with him.  While I wanted to go on the cruise, I had to wait and see what happened with the job. A week later, I found out that I didn’t get the job, so I planned on going with Dad. We had a great time.  It was nice to get away from the job search for a few days and relax.

We arrived in port early on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving and I decided to check my messages while we were waiting to get off the ship.  I have five messages from the staffing agency! The person they had placed was unable to continue and they wanted to know if I was still interested and if I could start Monday. I called Sunday, got my paperwork filled out and started Tuesday!

This was one of those great, unexpected gifts from God.  He managed to work it out so that I got to go on the cruise AND get the job. That’s something only He could have orchestrated.

God’s Gifts of Joy 2012: The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch

One year ago today, I worshiped at The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch for the first time. Dad had visited several times and told me about it.  I was looking for a church in my community with solid biblical teaching.  What a gift it has been to find this and so much more. Here are some of the things I love most:

  • Prayer. Each week, in the service, they set aside time in the service where people can submit requests to be prayed for during the week. A prayer room is available  where people can go either to pray quietly or have someone pray for them. Each week, a prayer story from a church member is included in the program.  I love seeing how God answers prayers in different ways.
  • Teaching. The teaching is shared among the pastors and I love all of them. They spend an entire year in one book. I wasn’t sure initially if I’d like that, but have absolutely loved it.  This year, we spent the year in Genesis. I have a much better understanding of the book of Genesis than I did before.
  • Worship. I love John and the Worship Team.
  • Missions. I love the work the church is doing in the community and around the world

I am so grateful for Pastor Jerry, the rest of the staff, and the church.

God’s Gifts of Joy 2012: Friends

Pastor Jerry preached an amazing message this morning on the gift of time and giving our presence in our relationships with others.  I was reminded of the gift of presence that my friends have given this year. I am so grateful for lunches with Bonnie and Pat, dinners with Life Group, walking with Margaret, ice cream with Julie and Jamie, Home Tours, Smashburger, and The Container Store with Tanya and so many much more.

I am particularly grateful for Jamie this year. She has listened to me vent, rejoice, brainstorm and so much more. She is the first one to remind me of my own testimony of God’s faithfulness in my life when I get discouraged. She has gotten me out of the house and the trenches of the job search when I have needed it.  Thank you to Jamie and all of my friends who are precious gifts to me.

God’s Gifts of Joy 2012: Unglued Study

This Fall, my friend Tanya, invited me to join some of the other ladies in our Life Group that were planning on participating in a Tuesday Night study called Unglued.  It is a women’s study by Lysa TerKeurst on dealing with our raw emotions. If Tanya hadn’t  invited me, I’m not sure I would have gone.  I’m so glad I did.  I got to be with some amazing women and was challenged in my spiritual walk.  I identified that when I come unglued, I tend to stuff things down and build barriers against people who have caused hurt, and was able to deal with some very raw emotions.  I learned so much from Lysa and from the ladies in my group.  I understand myself a little more and can make steps toward doing things differently with God’s grace.  This study, and spending time with those women was an unexpected gift of joy this year.

Gifts of Joy 2012: Alison

2012-05-16 21.37.16

Early in the year, I got an email from my High School classmate, Alison, who lives up North.  She was going to be in Fort Worth for a conference in May and wondered if I might be able to drive up for a get together. At the time, I wasn’t sure what my job situation would be, so I asked her to touch base closer to May.  As it happened, I didn’t have a job yet, so I made the drive. We were able to have dinner together one night.  It had been years since the last time we had seen each other and it was so good to catch up. Dinner with Alison was one of the highlights of my year.

God’s Gifts of Joy 2012: Life Group

Several years ago, I stole an idea from a colleague and wrote a blog post that listed all of the gifts of joy that God had given me throughout the year.  This year, I thought I’d do something a little different and share a little more in-depth about a few specific gifts over the course of the next several days,

Life Group: February 8th, I started going to a Wednesday night Life Group at my new church. Everyone was gracious taking the time to introduce themselves and include me in conversation.  I loved the group right from the start and it didn’t take long for me to feel right at home.  This group has been one of the greatest gifts God gave me this year.  I am constantly challenged to grow in my faith as we discuss the sermon from Sunday. They have encouraged me and prayed for a job for me throughout this year. I thank God every time I think of these men and women with whom I get to walk this faith journey.

Favorite Apps: Flipboard

I’ve been using Flipboard for about a year.  It is one of my favorite apps on both Iphone and Ipad.  You can use it to connect to your social media networks and view the information like a magazine. It is particularly nice when people post multiple pictures to Facebook because you can view it much like you would view an old photo album and can flip through them with ease.

I use it to read my Google Reader subscriptions as well. I can flip through articles easily and even share them quickly on Twitter. It makes  scrolling through Twitter more interesting because if there is a link, it pulls the article up as well making it easy to determine if it is something you might want to read.

If you consume a lot of information via Google Reader and your social networks, this is an app I highly recommend.