Heidi disappeared in April of 94’ and the months that followed that year were difficult. At the time I thought they were the most challenging months I would have to endure, this isn’t necessarily true yet that is a whole other blog. Today I would like to share a memory about persevering. When you lose a loved one to death, you celebrate their life with calling hours, a funeral or memorial service and their burial. Yet when you “lose” a loved one to abduction or kidnapping…it is hard to “celebrate” their life and proceed with one’s life as it was before. Services of closure are even more difficult if not impossible.
Another challenge is the celebration of holidays. Easter will forever be the hardest one to celebrate yet during that first year following her disappearance, Christmas proved to be another test of faith and strength in this journey. With Heidi still missing my parents had no intentions of decorating or putting up a tree. I understood their pain and not wanting to celebrate but couldn’t accept it, if that makes sense. I didn’t like the idea of my parents sitting in the dark through the holiday season and especially on Christmas Eve while the majority of the community would have houses, lawns and trees aglow with lights and decorations.
I had a choice to make. I could respect my parent’s wishes or rebel in hopes of restoring some joy to their hearts during this joyous time of year. My husband joined me as purchased a small 4-foot live Christmas tree. We decided it could be transplanted in the Spring in honor of Heidi ~ a way to inspire some Christmas spirit in my parent’s hearts while honoring and remembering Heidi at the same time. They accepted the tree and lit it with orange lights to match the orange ribbons signifying our hope for Heidi, hope she would be found and returned home. I won’t lie and say it was a joyous Christmas and we sang carols while stringing the strand of lights or baked cookies as laughed and remembered Christmases of the past. Truth be told… all that was done is we put up the tree with lights. Nothing more.
The tree was given to help my parents through the holiday and remember Heidi but instead the tree ended up being a gift to me. My parents could have said “No, we said we didn’t want a tree. Take it away.” But they didn’t. Was it the loss and despair in my eyes that softened their hearts to accepting this tree? Was it the chance that if Heidi was to walk through the door on Christmas morning, they wanted a tree in the house? Or did they simply do it for the daughter left behind…struggling to help and encourage them so I wouldn’t feel slighted? Regardless of why, we had a tree.
When Christmas was through the tree was moved to the basement, out of sight. During the spring of 95’ we planted that tree as a family. It was a sad looking tree as Dad pulled it from the basement. Dad contemplated not planting it because it didn’t appear to have any life left in it but I think he planted in out of fear…fear I would have a temper tantrum for not planting the tree we bought him. During those first months and years I think we did more out of concern for each other than we did to ease our own hurts or meet our own needs. If the tree didn’t get planted, oh well. At least they had a tree on Christmas.
As my Dad and I walked the property this week and visited with each other we happened along this “sad and pitiful” Christmas tree. We talked about our memories of its arrival at the Allen homestead and Dad’s willingness to plant a dying tree out of love for me. As you can see in the photograph, the tree not only survived, it is thriving taller than the wires and phone poles. The tree was gifted as a sign of hope, light and remembrance that first Christmas. In the spring, it appeared to be dead yet with some nurturing, soil and sunlight ~ it thrived and survived. Thank goodness we had enough faith to plant it.
Seventeen years later…both the tree and my faith have grown. We need to allow God to work through others to nourish, inspire, motivate, uplift and love on us so we thrive and survive. Your life trials and tribulations may be similar, the same or completely different than mine yet this philosophy will apply. Are you ready to thrive and survive? I am!
Last week a friend blessed me with a beautiful glass tea pot with infuser, gift set! I loved it immediately yet hadn’t the time to take it out of the box and enjoy a cup. Oh my goodness…next to a cup a tea at Elaine W. Miller’s home for writer’s group a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed the best cup of tea I’ve had ever. Yes I’m going with ever! The gift set came with six “flowering tea” flavors. My first pot was a green tea with fresh jasmine – it taste as wonderful as it smells, not to mention the beautiful flower in view through the glass exterior of tea pot. While my husband and daughter enjoyed some D & D (daddy and daughter) time, I enjoyed a cup of tea and a little quiet time.
Have you ever been blessed unexpectedly, for no apparent reason? This teapot is one example in my life. Initially I was blessed to know my friend cared so much that she used her hostess credits on me instead of herself. As I enjoy the hot tea a bigger yet simpler blessing occurred to me. Each time I steep my tea and watch it flower I will be reminded of the love, care and compassion wrapped in my friend. God continues to bless and overwhelm me…this time with tea!
The word “steep” means to allow dry ingredients like coffee or tea to soak in a liquid until that liquid takes on its flavor. As I allow a second pot of tea to steep and the aroma fills my office my thoughts drift to the similarities of steeping our tea, to steeping our lives. In Tuesday’s blog I encouraged you to absorb Living Water into your life. Today, I encourage you to absorb Jesus into your heart so your life will have a new or renewed aroma. God’s Word tells us we are to “…spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere…” not just in public but in our homes too! Especially our homes…
2 Corinthians 2:14 – 15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives
In Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us
To spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ
Among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
With each future pot of tea I will be reminded of God’s provision and blessings in my life. It will also serve as a reminder to spread the aroma of Christ in my daily life ~ at home, work and play. I will also say a prayer for the person who blessed me with this teapot of inspiration, hope and revelation! Have a great day everyone!
One of the ladies I met through the memoir writing class sent an email to share of a great writing workshop being offered at the college. Thankfully I was on vacation and able to go. Authors Ira Wood and Marge Piercy conducted a workshop on memoir and autobiographical writing at SUNY Oswego campus at the new student center. I registered for the workshop, contacted Amy and made arrangements for my daughter ~ everything was set.
After a brief visit to the parking office for our temporary pass, we journeyed to the campus center. We found parking in the lot next to the student center, which we were VERY thankful for. I remember having to leave an hour before class “back in the day” to make sure I could find a parking space in the minimal parking for commuters. The Lord left enough spots open so we wouldn’t have to walk a great distance. Thank you! We reminisced at the changes throughout the college with the current renovations, new roads, blocked roads and the beautiful student center we would spend the next few hours in. Once out of the car we had to navigate from the parking lot to the student center using the “Pedestrian Detour”! Oh my goodness…as one of the directionally challenged, this could be an exciting day.
I was to see brightly colored signs directing us from the parking lot through one of the buildings, to bring us out on the other side. We obeyed and followed the detour signs. While transitioning through the brightly painted hallway was the sign above, “Pedestrian Corridor”. These two words together triggered my sillier side and I started saying them together using different voices until I found the one I liked. Amy was just laughing and when I saw this sign yet again, I said with a victorious voice, “That is a blog photo if I ever saw one!” Proof we traveled through the “Pedestrian Corridor” (of course said with my silly, sci-fi voice) and lived to tell about it.” We laughed and laughed, we hoped to learn a lot at the workshop but if not, we knew we were going to have fun!
Two hours of learning, a working lunch and the return trip through the P.C. made for a fun and educational day. Some of the information was a review from our memoir writing course, thanks to Bob Comenole!! He’ll be teaching more writing courses through the River’s End bookstore – be sure to check their site or visit the store. http://www.riversendbookstore.com. I also learned a tidbit of new information.
I added a couple books to my wish list too:
1) So You Want to Write (2nd Edition): How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Memoir by Marge Piercy and Ira Wood (Aug 1, 2005)
2) The International Directory of Little Magazines & Small Presses by Dustbooks
God has called me to write for Him and I have decided to obey and be the best writer I can be. This requires attending writer’s workshops, conferences, writer’s groups and classes. I’m thankful for God’s provision – for the free workshop at SUNY Oswego, affordable courses near home and writer’s groups open to new people. I’m also thankful for Him the connections he makes with other local writers, we didn’t know were there. Other closet writers…it is time to let the world know! We’re writers!
Isaiah 58:11 (NLT)
The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
For many of us the rain has been continuous and generous in its blessing to us. The puddles have turned into lakes and lawns into ponds. Ducks are confused and swimming in the neighbor’s lawn instead of the creek raging next to our home. Yet without all this water our wells would not remain at full capacity all summer and the grass wouldn't be the bright green we are accustomed to through the scorching month of August.
While the rain might be a nuisance today...it will be a blessing in the months to come. Flowers will grow and blossom. Lawns will need to be mowed. Sprinklers will moisten the laughing children at the park. Beaches will overflow with families taking an afternoon to enjoy each other's company. Most importantly...Jesus is our living water!
My daughter captured this beautiful shot last week (So talented!) and I told her, "Ah...I know exactly how this relates to our Christian lives and see a blog in the near future." This beautiful holly bush hasn’t quite awakened this spring but that is okay. In its proper time, it will be one of the most beautiful bushes along my father’s property line. Do you remember the blog about the daffodils? They had moved the rocks of life out of their way to continue growing and being an inspiration for us all, in spite of the rocks surrounding them?
Take a closer look at this holly bush. It isn’t only surrounded by water but under the water, an array of beautiful smooth stones. Just like the daffodil, this holly bush is one of God’s creation and will thrive and survive…surrounded by Jesus, its living water. It didn’t let the rocks stop it or throw the rocks out of its path. The rocks in our life make us the people we are today. We can’t hide them or throw them in a pile out back, eventually those rocks return. Instead of piling the rocks of life up, let Jesus smooth those rocks into beautiful stones. When surrounded by the smooth and colorful exterior of these stones we can remember how far we come.
Instead of focusing on the rocks, let Jesus smooth them into the stones that have made you the beautiful and special individual God intended! Each of us has the opportunity to absorb God’s love, forgiveness and hope into our lives…we only need to let our roots go and start the process. He will smooth the stones, if we let him. Have a great day!
With the exhaustion of Easter celebration and traveling behind me I awoke a little easier this morning. I hit the snooze yet didn’t need to wait for the alarm to rouse me from my sleep again. After hitting the snooze I noticed a little light creeping in from behind the blinds so I opened my eyes up more and watched a little I Love Lucy until the snooze went off. That show cracks me up, she is a card!
Once my feet hit the floor I started the day with a new perspective and a few declarations: I won’t let the past ruin a new day. I won’t beat myself up too bad for being human. I won’t let other people’s poor choices or planning dictate how my day will go. I will enjoy every day. I will love my family and friends. I will choose to smile and give all my cares to God…His shoulders are bigger! Thank goodness!
I met with my new writing partner, Aimee yesterday evening. The original plan was to cop-a-squat at the park but the rain altered the plans, I think it worked out just as well though. We enjoyed a fancy dinner at McDonald’s with our girls and then they disappeared to the play land, only to be seen for a refill of fluids. We worked for over two hours – swapping chapters, discussing areas we were wrestling with and our future as “authors” versus writers. It was a GREAT and productive afternoon!
With the homework done, bellies full and it nearly bed time we snuggled in to our jammies, enjoyed a little time together looking at “Writer’s” apparel. I had this brainstorm yesterday while at school. I emailed my parents during lunch and requested a “I’d rather be writing!” t-shirt or tank to wear secretly under my school clothes. (not a secret anymore) By the time I arrived home from school, met with Aimee and logged into my email to respond to emails and blogs – my parents had found a couple sites.
Oh my goodness – the clothing with writing sayings were fabulous! My favorite site was http://www.cafepress.com You can search their products by interest, so I typed in “writer” and oh my!! It was fabulous! We spent nearly an hour looking at all the different sayings and items. I started to compile a list of my favorites, lol. There was one “I’m writing…go ask your father” – my daughter laughed so hard and said she was getting me that one for my birthday this summer. They had the “I’d rather be writing!” logo that started this trek. Another one “When I’m writing, I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do” quoted from Logan Pearsall Smith. One of the last items we looked at before going to bed, a writer’s prayer tile coaster with a beautiful acronym for writer that details the joy in writing through and with God’s help.
I’m off to school. I’m blessed…I truly LOVE my job! I spend my days working with children and preparing them for the next grade and life while secretly writing the next chapter of my book in my head while walking in the halls! Life is good…thank goodness I have more good days than bad! Have a great day everyone!
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you enjoyed your weekend and celebrating Easter yesterday. It was a beautiful day. I stayed up into the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning putting the finishing touches on my next chapter so I can send it to my wonderful author friends helping me. The alarm woke me by 6 a.m. Oh my gosh…what was I thinking? LOL While still feeling accomplished for the writing I completed, with my eyes barely open I trudged to the kitchen and turned on the coffee. While the coffee started to brew and the aroma of caffeine opened my eyes I started pulling the ingredients to make cheddar cheese home fries for our church breakfast.
With cheddar home fries in the crock pot and warm coffee in my hands I looked around me. Ugh…I should be dancing and celebrating for Christ is risen yet all I saw was my messy house, piles of dishes and clutter. I felt like the daffodil above, while bright and cheerful generally, the darkness and ick of life felt as if it was covering me. I had a decision to make – either crawl back in bed and feel sorry for myself or get busy and change my outlook. So…I picked up a little, placed white powder bunny paw prints on the carpet, kitchen table, couch and stools to leave a path for my daughter when she awoke to find her Easter basket. As I stamped each paw print, the Lord began to remove the blah so I could see the joy before me.
We had a busy day planned. Ed picked up his Mom so she could join us for our resurrection Worship service and church breakfast. Others had planned to join us but they didn’t make it. I left breakfast early so I could get home and put the homemade rolls in the oven so they would still be warm when we arrived for dinner at my sister-in-law’s house. A wonderful visit with my mother-in-law while the rolls cooked as I made sure everything was ready to be packed in the car, once it was decided which we were driving. Ed and Mary stayed to fellowship a bit longer since it didn’t take four people to put rolls in the oven and joined us as I was pulling the rolls from the oven. The house smelled great! After brushing a garlic, dill, parsley & butter mixture atop the nicely browned rolls ~ one was sampled to be sure they were suitable for serving. My mother-in-law said they were delicious and it was a good thing she checked.
Things were looking up, or so I thought. Some of the family didn’t know the way to Ed’s sister’s so they were going to follow us, fifty minutes late, they arrived. I must admit to the world ~ I’m a complete crank when things don’t go as planned. I get cranky when I’m sleep deprived and as joyous as Easter is…the day in itself has the potential to bring out the worst in me. Instead of shining for Jesus yesterday afternoon I was the polar opposite. I couldn’t get over myself or seem to push the dark cloud smothering me. What was my problem? I made poor choices in response to family. I was a bad reflection of Jesus, no I wasn’t reflecting Jesus…this was the problem.
Once back in Oswego County we stopped so I could finally see my parents and wish them a happy Easter. Had this been my problem all day? We visited and then the (grown up) boys started playing some golf on the gaming system. Mary and I decided to walk home and enjoy the beautiful weather…it was refreshing and invigorating! As we walked home and visited she asked, “Mom, what happened today that set you off? You’re not usually like that?” Ouch…more reflection of Jesus and very bad example for my daughter. I was honest with her, “I don’t know. There was no excuse for my behavior and I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me.” She smiled and said “Mom, I’m not upset with you, just worried. You don’t normally let people get to you.”
Long story short…each day is what we make it. I had a choice the moment my feet hit the floor. I could choose to enjoy the beautiful day, celebrating Jesus and His resurrection or I could mope around the house feeling sorry for myself and missing my sister. The saddest part is I meshed the two together…it started with celebration and praise, transitioned into the crank who should have been in bed and the day concluded with a humbled Lisa asking the Lord to forgive her.
Instead of worrying about the hash browns, the company or traveling – I should have been on my knees thanking God for sending Jesus to suffer and die for my sins. I should have been lost in prayer (communication) with God – expressing my thanks for all He has done and blessed me with in my life. I should have opened up my Bible and filled myself with Him because I know in my own strength I am nothing more than the dirty daffodil BUT with Jesus I am the brightly colored dancing daffodil!
Life is a choice…I choose to shine and dance!
Psalm 30:10-12 NIV
Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me;
LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
Today's photo was taken at my Great-Aunt Judy's house one Easter. A tradition we had in our family was to see who could create the best Easter bonnet using items already in the house. My mom was the queen and always had the best bonnet. One year she wore champagne glasses, cheese and crackers on her head. Mom mom is in the red dress standing behind the most beautiful me sporting the rainbow sweatshirt and kilt. My Gram is in the center, yes the one preaching to us all to "Live for the living!" with my sister Heidi with the easter egg as her bonnet and my cousin Shawnacy.
Easter is a time to celebrate! Turn off your computer and join your family as we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead and the smell of delicious food wafting throughout the house. Fellowship and family...I plan to enjoy both today!
Celebrating Easter 2011...
We will start our Easter celebration with our church family, God's family as we worship at 8:30 a.m. at Community Alliance Church (4175 State Route 104) with breakfast to follow at 9:30 a.m.. There is another worship service at 10:30 a.m. I encourage you to put on your Easter bonnet, whether it be store bought or homemade like ours and attend an Easter Worship Service this morning. It will be a better day...always helps to remember why we celebrate!
We spent Saturday afternoon and evening with my parents. A delicious dinner, buggy rides and hope...through the eyes of a child. Check out my daughter's art work below.
Happy Easter! Today's YouTube selection is one metioned earlier in the week. Enjoy!
Heidi and I weren’t baptized as babies, yet were still youth when we "chose" to be baptized. Thankfully, my parents wanted us to make our own decision about God, faith and baptism. I attended youth group at the Methodist church for a couple years. I went to the Congregational church with one of my friends sometimes but the majority of the time was spent within the Catholic church with my Gram and Aunt. Heidi and I decided to be baptized the same year, another blessing from God.
I believe I was in 8th grade at the time. Today's photo shows us on the day of our baptism with our beloved aunts and Unc, our Godparents. It was a proud day. Years later as I realized the beauty and gift of a relationship with Jesus, I decided to be baptized again. This time I was baptized via full immersion, the same day as my daughter. Each of us making the decision and letting Pastor know. Double baptism…double blessing, first with my sister and then with my daughter.
Today’s journal entry was written the day after my baptism as an adult, and accepting Christ as my Savior. Tomorrow is Easter…have you invited Jesus in to your heart?
June 5th, 2006 Daily Reflection Entry
Thank you God for yesterday…it was a day like no other. I believe that baptism with submersion is different and more powerful than “an outward sign of an attitude change” as stated in Matthew or by Pastor Rick. I am not saying either are wrong but the feeling is more than an outward sign, it is a great work within. Baptism, at least for me was more inward than outward. The fear of the physical act of being dunked was erased once I plugged my nose and grabbed my right wrist. Once I closed my eyes, I heard Pastor say “I now baptize you in the name of …” and the next thing I know is that I am standing upright and people are helping me to get out of the water. In Matthew 28:20, God said He is with me always, Amen. He was in me in a way in which I have difficulty explaining or may never be able to explain.
Wow…Amazing…Peace…Godly! The verse in Acts 1:5 says that John baptized with the water and later God would baptize with the Holy Spirit. I believe this all occurs at the same time, it is the inner belief and prayerful heart that welcomes both the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Spirit into the baptized person’s life. The Pastor doing the “dunking”, although important, is not as important as the Pastor leading the church…the church family… and myself to the community of Jesus Christ. It was the words, actions and visuals over the past couple years that have allowed God to enter into the empty spot within myself. I have never had a faith in anyone or anything as I do in the Lord Jesus Christ! I have that today…my baptism on June 4, 2006 took away the darkness, the sin, the trouble, the heartache and replaced it with a feeling of peace and understanding. Knowing that God loves me enough to die for me and knowing my church family was there to join me in this celebration. Wow!
Although I know it was only moments, if not seconds under the water, it felt like an eternity of peace and wonder. I was submerged in the living water of Jesus Christ… He was absorbed into me from the outside while my inward belief and love worked its way out, to share with the world. As the two met, the inward love escaping to share with the world and God’s living water was soaking into my pores from the outside in, the church saw water thrown from the baptismal tub. But this was not just water escaping from the tub, it was the sin, doubt, pain and lack of faith that the Lord removed from within me during my baptism. God is good…all the time and everywhere! Amen.
Revelations 22:17 says - “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who heard say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” Wow…I was thirsty and I let Him come. Thank you Jesus for having so much to offer. Revelations 22 ends with “The Grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Thank you Lord for loving me so much you died for my sins…thank you for replacing a lost faith with a new found love, yearning and hope for the future….a faith stronger and deeper because of your love and even stronger by my baptism in You, the living water. You are Good! Thank you!
With the Hogan and Searles families planning a summer get-away, you know it would be fun. A family of teachers counting down the days until summer vacation led to some fabulous fun at Sylvan Beach. My Gram and her sisters used to rent a house along the water for a couple weeks. We were lucky enough to go for an entire week while our parents worked. It was great! I tried to find pictures of us at the beach, chillin at the house or on Uncle Pete’s boat – but couldn’t find any. L I know they exist but I couldn’t locate them.
I did find pictures though of a weekend excursion to Sylvan Beach when Heidi and I were older. To relive our childhood memories I treated Heidi and her friend to a weekend in Sylvan Beach. We went to the beach, crossed the bridge to Verona (which wasn’t allowed when we were there as kids, lol) and spent countless dollars at the park playing games and riding the rides. We laughed and enjoyed reliving our youth (because we were so old, lol). The biggest joke of the weekend was “I remember the beach being bigger?” or “Wasn’t the park larger?” I guess we had grown up. We didn’t stay at the “family rental” but we did walk down to see if it was still there. It was. Instead we stayed at a hotel in Verona (because it was cheaper) and went to Sylvan Beach for the day.
Many years with my aunts and uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles and cousins. Sporatic memories of Sylvan Beach: Uncle Pete and Aunt Ellen docking the boat and taking us for rides, getting tokens and money from everyone (now I know it was to keep us away and quiet longer), my sweet sixteen party, picking our bedroom for the week, deciding who would sleep with who when the aunts and uncles arrived, doing the locomotion with Melanie, playing cards (even though we weren’t old enough – as long as we promised not to tell), burying Aunt Kay in the sand, Aunt Ellen’s bag of “fun sheets” (aka – left over dittos from school) and all the junk food, and most importantly…freedom.
Unlike today, we were allowed to go to the park for the day as long as we stayed together. We weren’t allowed to swim but we could ride the rides, play the games and walk around making googly eyes at the teens working to our hearts content. We checked in for more coins and food, only to escape again to roam about. Safety in numbers…or you would think.
We had a lot of fun…making memories!
The winter winds have returned with swirling white flakes to glisten the damp ground, flower gardens and freshly planted vegetables. Instead of t-shirts and bike rides we are forced to layer ourselves in sweatshirts and winter coats. I find this to be an example of God's sense of humor. It's April 21st and most upstate New Yorkers are craving sunshine and warmth for their Easter egg hunts and festivities. Not so...but think about it as Good Friday approaches tomorrow. Were the disciples and Jesus celebrating and planning their gardens today and tomorrow? No...it was a dark and sad day.
Easter is only a few days away and the smell of a fresh spring breeze circling throughout my house is desired yet if I must suffer through a few more days of darkness and cold, I CAN do it. Jesus was preparing for the suffering and seperation He would experience tomorrow...do you believe this? I encourage you to continue planning, preparing and celebrating with visiting family yet instead of grumbling about the cold and wind - pause and think about the discomfort our Savior experienced on our behalf this weekend.
I know Sunday is coming so I've placed a lilac and lavendar scentsy on to circulate the aroma of spring and joy. The blinds and curtains were opened and dusted off so the sunlight could radiate (and highlight the silk webs of our non-paying tenants of the winter) on the walls, carpeting (dogs are loving it) and the furntire. There wasn't a lot of sunlight but enough to know something better is coming. In addition to some lilac and lavendar...homemade cin. rolls and coffee with a friend yesterday reminded me of God's provision in life. I'm never alone!
Each day we have a choice to live with joy and hope or be overcome with the trials and tribulations of life. True confession now: As the weekend started I prayed and asked God how I would be able to write anything worth reading this week. I was struggling to come up with words of hope or inspiration for you. I enjoyed rummaging through the photo albums with my Dad yet I couldn't formulate the words to accompany them. I prayed again. Lord, you created this website so I could reach more people and share of your love, hope and strength yet I'm not sure I have the strength this week. Help me. Amen. No sooner than saying the word, Amen...God answered.
The Lord reminded me that prior to blogging and working on my book revisions I have written many journal entries, in response to different events and simply to write. "Use these..." It only took a moment and I found a few to share so you could see how my heart has healed and my faith has grown over the past few years. One of my friends commented on my writing too. I didn't know what to write but God reminded me, I already had it. I pray you've enjoyed them and found some encouragement.
More pictures, memories and hope to come through the weekend. Today's photo shows Heidi sleeping in MY bed...hmm...what was wrong with her's? I couldn't keep her out of my room, as with most sisters. Today...I am thankful for memories of "sharing" my bedroom and youth with Heidi. I continue to pray Heidi will be found and closure in the case will be brought to the forefront. Heidi deserves peace and justice!
Don't let the reappearance of winter get you down...Sunday's coming!
“Talking Trees” – Written - Spring 2007
A tender wind blows against the face at 5:30 in the morning, as the sun rises and God’s creations explode with beauty and energy. Listen to the wind as it blows between the bare branches, guiding the breeze around the obstacles of nature. Maneuvering around tree branches, rocks, cliffs and one’s tent. A tent stationed atop the cliff, overlooking beautiful Lake Ontario. Tall and majestic trees are strategically arranged, providing protection from strong winds while still allowing the breeze to sneak in and touch one’s heart and soul. Man didn’t plan this serene escape yet is lucky enough to spend time here, igniting and inspiring their inner being.
Arms outstretched to the sky, eyes closed and welcoming the touch from God to guide one through the day. Feeling the warmth of the newly rising sun while chilled by the early morning breeze blowing against the body. The leaves rustle with movement, creating soft whispers in the air. Although alone in the moment, the whispers remind one that we are never alone. God’s love and creation are always surrounding and touching us; we need only slow long enough to enjoy the company. As the leaves whisper and dance, one single leaf lets go. Leaving its safety and security. Leaving the security and comfort of living, of life, high up on the branch. It chooses to sacrifice its life in order to touch another, in order to save another.
Standing with the eyes shut, wondering if anyone recognizes, if anyone hears, if anyone sees and especially… if anyone cares. With arms lifted to the one true God, one prays for a sign from the Lord. The arms are getting tired yet you are able to hold them high, waiting for that one touch from above that answers all your questions. As the sun rises, and the wind blows, tears begin to fall from the eyes. Unsure of the reason yet relieved for the release, the Lord has heard. It will be okay. You are not alone. One more prayer, “Lord you have touched my heart and released the doubt and frustration while replacing it with a feeling of warmth and love. Lord, if only you could wrap your arms around me and touch me with the magnitude of your power, love and compassion.”
The trees are talking, cracking their limbs to one another in the breeze. The leaves begin to dance quicker and more determined. The Lord IS here, watching and listening. They stop talking, stop dancing and watch. One of their sisters has let go and is going to answer the prayer from below. As the leaf falls, the wind strengthens, allowing all to share in the excitement and dance, dancing even louder. The single leaf falls, slowly, knowing it is going to be the Lord’s messenger today. Choosing to give up life in order to save another. All of a sudden, the breeze stops. Stillness surrounds the one in prayer. Arms still uplifted, tears still falling with hopes of the Lord answering a prayer.
The only sound is that of the waves brushing along the rocky shore. The sun is higher now, the breeze has stopped and the leaf dances above in glory. For not only is the one in need chosen but so was she. Created and chosen by the same and given the honor of sacrificing her life to save another. Her eyes are opening, slowly, to enjoy the majesty of the yellows, oranges and reds illuminating the lake as the Lord says “Good Morning”. One more time, the prayer is said but this time aloud for all to hear, “Lord you have touched my heart and released the doubt and frustration while replacing it with a feeling of warmth and love. Lord, if only you could wrap your arms around me and touch me with the magnitude of your power, love and compassion.” Just then, it happens. She notices one leaf dancing in the air before her eyes, almost as if dancing from one spectrum to the other and enjoying the beauty of the sunrise as much as she. Can it be?
A prayer answered…As the leaf dances it way over near the one in prayer, it gently lands on the left palm. Landing only slightly to crush the skin and then rising to dance a circle around the chosen one. It brushes each cheek, ever so lightly, as if drying the tears, and then finally landing on the right palm. “Could it be? The Lord was with me all the time? Thank You Jesus!” The leaf settles into the snug warmness of the hand as each finger slowly and gently closes upon her, keeping her safe. Once the fist is closed completely, the trees begin to talk and the leaves begin to dance. Standing tall atop the cliff, with hope and determination for the future. The Lord not only heard, but, answered personally, this leaf is proof. As the breeze increases, it brings the chosen one to their needs in thanksgiving. She holds the leaf close to her heart and listens to the trees talking and the leaves dancing. The sun has risen and the day has began, began anew. She looks one last time above and thanks the Lord for taking time to remind her of his beauty and love for each individual creation here on earth. Brushing the dirt from her knees and wiping the tears from her eyes, she turns to face a new day. As the breeze whirls about her, touching her skin, she is reminded she isn’t alone. She never was. All it took was one leaf to make a difference, sacrificing its life to save hers.
We had a lot of fun together – she didn’t fit in the baby seat so she had to get in the cart! LOL There are pictures of my with a dog bone in my mouth and begging like a dog. The laughter echoed throughout the grocery store! I miss her!
I've posted the entire writing in today's post to save you from having to look back.
August 22, 2009
While sitting at the Dempster Grove Camp Ground for their final meeting this evening the The Master’s Touch Chorale was closing their performance with the songs the “Angels Looked Down” by J. Paul Williams and Craig Curry and the “Easter Song” by Anne Hetting; att. Mark Hayes. The “Angels Looked Down” gave me goose bumps when I read it in the program yet when they started to sing, I was silenced in my spirit. I felt as if the Lord was singing directly to me through the group. As I listened to the words being sung and the beautiful music I felt the Lord pressing me to both think and write. The thought He placed on my heart and fingers is this – Heidi was kidnapped on the most precious and important days in church history. Awestruck with the revelation! Only God could do this!
I have struggled for over fifteen years to understand why God allowed my sister to be kidnapped and on Easter of all days. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus the day my sister disappeared. I didn’t have a relationship with Him for a good majority of the time following her disappearance. Yet, the best thing that has happened through this experience is I was humbled at the feet of Jesus. I took all my pain, anger and blame and gave it to God. It was quite the temper tantrum and our amazing Father opened His arms and wrapped them around me. I took to Him all my bitterness and He replaced it with hope and love, and His ever so rapid growing seed of Faith in Jesus. Although life took a tragic detour on April 3, 1994 – God used this bump in my spiritual road to show me the Truth. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to have my sister here with me, because I miss her so much I find myself daydreaming of the day I see her again but the reality of my life is this – my sister WAS abducted and my life will be forever changed!
Change doesn’t always have to be bad. Losing a loved one to abduction is TERRIBLE but God is bigger than any tragedy we will suffer here on earth. As the choir sang “Angels Looked Down” I closed my eyes and felt God holding me and talking to me – He told me to remember He looked down with his Heavenly angels on Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. Similarly, He was looking down on Heidi when she was abducted and murdered. While sitting in the tabernacle and listening to the angels sing – God sang a hope and peace into my heart. He sat there holding me and comforting me throughout the song. Simply loving me and reminding me – He always has a plan and it isn’t mine to understand. Only God could be providing the much needed comfort with a tap of truth. I’ve blamed God for leaving Heidi alone to such tragedy when we couldn’t help her. God never left her – He was with her through it all, holding her like He was holding me tonight. The abduction being on Easter wasn’t a mistake or a punishment. It is a blessing – a blessing much disguised.
I opened my eyes and there were smiles abound yet I didn’t feel like smiling. Instead I wanted to fall on my knees with a bowed head and thank God for sitting with me. I wanted to humble myself before God, just as Jesus had done so many years before. Instead I sat with eyes closed continuing to praise God for all He has done, is doing and hopes to do in my life. I apologized for not seeing the beauty in the day of her disappearance. I’m not saying it was a great or even good day in my life. Please don’t misunderstand me – I love my sister and miss her every day. The point I am trying to express is this – If God is gracious enough to share the day of His Son’s resurrection with my sister, then I should be thankful. I am thankful for a God that loved my sister enough to share this most precious and special day with her and with me. It is because Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead – that I am reborn and walking with hope for tomorrow.
As I listened, I prayed to stay focused and calm. God hadn’t come to upset me but to help me and answer questions that plague my heart. The choir transitioned to the second to last song, “Easter Song”. The words to this song instantly brought tears to my eyes as God continued to bless me. The song speaks of hearing the “bells ringing” and “singing Christ is risen from the dead.” Each time a bell sounded my heart jumped. I felt as if Jesus was healing a burden I didn’t know was still there when the next verse I heard sung about the bells giving me healing “right now”. God will reveal and heal. The same angels that looked down on Jesus were surrounding us to share Jesus power and love for us. We need only recognize this need and invite Him in into our hearts and lives. It is one of the best things that have happened to me since my sister disappeared – new life. God restored me and healed me again this evening. The song ended with some “He is risen” and “Hallelujahs” and I will end the same way.
God knows our hurts, fears and desires. I’ve prayed and wondered if I would see my sister in heaven some day. It sometimes causes my heart to break at the thought of not having eternity with her yet tonight God replaced those feelings with peace and hope. God didn’t leave His Son to die alone and He didn’t leave Heidi alone. Jesus prayed to God, “Why” and then let God’s will be done. I believe God spoke to me tonight as He held me in His arms. He used the words of the songs and the angelic voices singing to speak. He whispered in my ear. Jesus died as the sacrifice for us – God was there for Heidi and He gave me the hope tonight of Heidi calling to Him, “Jesus save me!” He is faithful – thank you Jesus – Hallelujah!”
As much as I enjoy laughing, some days are more difficult than others. Thankfully I’m generally happy and enjoy life yet sometimes I just want to stay in bed, under the covers and watch television all day. Yet I’ve learned, this doesn’t help or make me feel better. Laughing on the other hand…always makes me feel better. Check out the laugh on Heidi’s face in this picture…Life is good…living for the living and honoring those that have gone before me.
August 22, 2009 Part 2 of 3 (If you missed yesterday’s post – you will want to read that first, this is the continuation)
“Change doesn’t always have to be bad. Losing a loved one to abduction is TERRIBLE but God is bigger than any tragedy we will suffer here on earth. As the choir sang “Angels Looked Down” I closed my eyes and felt God holding me and talking to me – He told me to remember He looked down with his Heavenly angels on Jesus on the day of his crucifixion. Similarly, He was looking down on Heidi when she was abducted and murdered. While sitting in the tabernacle and listening to the angels sing – God sang a hope and peace into my heart. He sat there holding me and comforting me throughout the song. Simply loving me and reminding me – He always has a plan and it isn’t mine to understand. Only God could be providing the much needed comfort with a tap of truth. I’ve blamed God for leaving Heidi alone to such tragedy when we couldn’t help her. God never left her – He was with her through it all, holding her like He was holding me tonight. The abduction being on Easter wasn’t a mistake or a punishment. It is a blessing – a blessing much disguised.
I opened my eyes and there were smiles abound yet I didn’t feel like smiling. Instead I wanted to fall on my knees with a bowed head and thank God for sitting with me. I wanted to humble myself before God, just as Jesus had done so many years before. Instead I sat with eyes closed continuing to praise God for all He has done, is doing and hopes to do in my life. I apologized for not seeing the beauty in the day of her disappearance. I’m not saying it was a great or even good day in my life. Please don’t misunderstand me – I love my sister and miss her every day. The point I am trying to express is this – If God is gracious enough to share the day of His Son’s resurrection with my sister, then I should be thankful. I am thankful for a God that loved my sister enough to share this most precious and special day with her and with me. It is because Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead – that I am reborn and walking with hope for tomorrow.”
The conclusion of this writing will be in tomorrow’s blog – be sure to finish the story. J
Another matching outfit you might say but notice the red beret upon my head. My personality is starting to show through. “You can make me where the same outfit but I’ll find a way to be different!” I can even remember the mini-fit I had with my mom because I wanted to wear to the hat and she wanted us to be the same. I believe there was a compromise – one with the hat and one without. I looked so miserable in the one without the hat, this is the one shared. My Gram said, “Let her be, it is just a hat.” Go Gram!
I have a grimace since my charming disposition and strong will had just been exhibited prior to the camera’s click yet that beautiful little sister is smiling ear to ear once again. Go figure! I believe this was the year our matching outfits started to fade. I was thrilled yet as I’ve looked through the old photo albums – it makes me smile to see all our matching outfits. Corny at the time but bring smiles and memories today.
If we listen…God is talking to us.
August 22, 2009
“While sitting at the Dempster Grove Camp Ground for their final meeting this evening the The Master’s Touch Chorale was closing their performance with the songs the “Angels Looked Down” by J. Paul Williams and Craig Curry and the “Easter Song” by Anne Hetting; att. Mark Hayes. The “Angels Looked Down” gave me goose bumps when I read it in the program yet when they started to sing, I was silenced in my spirit. I felt as if the Lord was singing directly to me through the group. As I listened to the words being sung and the beautiful music I felt the Lord pressing me to both think and write. The thought He placed on my heart and fingers is this – Heidi was kidnapped on the most precious and important days in church history. Awestruck with the revelation! Only God could do this!
I have struggled for over fifteen years to understand why God allowed my sister to be kidnapped and on Easter of all days. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus the day my sister disappeared. I didn’t have a relationship with Him for a good majority of the time following her disappearance. Yet, the best thing that has happened through this experience is I was humbled at the feet of Jesus. I took all my pain, anger and blame and gave it to God. It was quite the temper tantrum and our amazing Father opened His arms and wrapped them around me. I took to Him all my bitterness and He replaced it with hope and love, and His ever so rapid growing seed of Faith in Jesus. Although life took a tragic detour on April 3, 1994 – God used this bump in my spiritual road to show me the Truth. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to have my sister here with me, because I miss her so much I find myself daydreaming of the day I see her again but the reality of my life is this – my sister WAS abducted and my life will be forever changed!...”
Take a moment and ponder these thoughts…the next couple paragraphs will be shared tomorrow. Thanks for reading, praying and sharing! Lisa
Heidi was always more adventurous than I, fearless and motivated. While four years younger than me she exhibited strength far greater than I possessed. I was more timid (and moody, lol) For instance, she took horseback riding lessons. This terrified me! Just being near them I would become nervous. It was probably one of the easiest days to keep me in line for my parents since I was so fearful of getting run over by one of the horses as they entered and exited the arena.
Next to the photo Heidi wrote “NERD!” She thought the clothes/uniform required was nerdy and never understood why she couldn’t ride in blue jeans and a shirt. I agree. It would be both more practical and a lot less expensive. Regardless, Heidi wore the uniform and my parents always found enough funds to support this venture. Today stars an eight day journey to Easter 2011. I have a few more pictures from my gifted album with some more I’m looking to scan today.
I received a beautiful message from a dear friend yesterday and she said “…you were always a good person even when you did not have deep faith…I'm glad the love of God makes you feel stronger but you have ALWAYS been GOOD....” This was such a powerful message and reminder for me. While the book focuses on the journey from Heidi’s kidnapping through today and it effect on me as a sibling, it is important to remember the eighteen years prior to that April day. My friend is right and I have my parents, friends, family and God to thank for that. It is our life experiences, the love from our parents and family, the relationships with our friends and the daily occurrences that build design and develop us into the people we are today. Thankfully I’ve had a solid foundation my entire life so God was the cherry on top of an already “yummy” sundae, called life! Thanks for the reminder…
Gershon Shofman once said, “Reflection is the foundation of any creative work” so instead of spending this week mourning the loss of my sister I choose to celebrate her life and Christ’s resurrection. I hope you will join me as I share more photos of Heidi…the sister, not the missing!
Note: Since I'm on vacation new posts will most likely occur after 8 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. (for you early birds) Early bird hours will resume on April 25th. :)
“…I stood by the fuel pump close to the road yet far from the store - and my parents. I felt so alone watching carloads of people drive by like nothing out of the ordinary was happening. And it wasn’t – in their world. “How can people go to church? Why aren’t they helping to find Heidi? Doesn’t anyone care?”Another car crawled past the store. People craned their necks, staring at all the police cars surrounding the store. My nerves shattered. “Yes I’m Heidi’s sister! Yes I am standing here alone, doing nothing while you drive by. Stop staring! Stop being nosy! Go celebrate Easter with your family! If you really care, stop and keep me company!”
As the morning wore on, the weather changed from rain to snow. I began to lose touch with reality. “Oh my, it is Easter for heaven’s sake. Snow!? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
As the wet snow landed on my cheeks, which were red and damp from crying, the cool precipitation felt almost refreshing.
Self-pity, for being forced to stand in the brisk weather, was replaced by guilt for worrying about myself. “What kind of sister am I? God forgive me, I love her! Heidi is missing and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to stand here alone.”
Ed had joined in the search for Heidi. I didn’t know where he was and I felt overwhelmed, wet and lonely. “God, do you hear me? I’m scared and I don’t want to be alone.”
While leaning against the fuel pump, crying and wallowing in self pity, I felt pressure around my shoulders. Someone was holding me.
I turned and looked into the tear-stained face of my cousin Missy. Finally a family member stood close enough to touch. Yet, still no conversation. No words were necessary…”
From this weekend through next, some more photos and memories from my youth and of my sister. I hope you will join me a throughout the week and especially on Easter. I have a special Easter memory and photo on Easter Sunday to wrap up this new series…”The Road to Healing”.
The coffee finishes and I stand at the kitchen counter, eyes closed and thanking God for this new day. I’m thankful every morning my feet hit the floor with true Hope and Love in my heart. The only sounds are the coffee warming and the gerbils running on their wheel. With hot coffee releasing a hazelnut aroma with each step, I journey to the other room for a time of worship and devotion before I start today’s blog. The power of music and song…
I spent over ten years running. During that time I was convinced I was running to find my sister or to find something to fill the void left from her absence. I had been deceived by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I spent hours, days and years trapped on my own personal gerbil wheel. Instead of planting my feet on the solid ground and foundation…I kept them slightly lifted off the ground running circles of despair, pain and loss. Thankfully…Life changed when I started to attend church, learning about God’s love for me and His ever-amazing grace I realized I wasn’t running with or full of hope. I had been running away from hope.
I’m thankful I only spent ten years running and not my whole life. I realized there was “more to this life” thanks to a child and welcomed Jesus in to my heart and life. Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “More to This Life” spoke volumes to me this morning. The first verse was my life, watching people and searching for their hidden joy. The chorus provides the hope needed to continue: “But there’s more to this life than living and dying, more than just trying to make it through the day; more to this life, more than these eyes alone can see, and there’s more than this life alone can be.” I made a choice to jump off my gerbil wheel of pointless and purposeless living and jump in to Jesus’ loving arms waiting to catch me.
I pray you take five minutes today to quiet your heart and listen to God speaking to you through Steven Curtis Chapman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndbma-BQJK8
I wake up each day praying, “God, is this the day Heidi will be recovered? I pray Your will.” I used to demand He bring her home but that required a lot of wasted energy, so I left that wheel of life behind and chose to lay my burden at His feet, not mine. Life is too short.
What are you waiting for? Is life getting the best of you? Don’t let it. I haven’t experienced your pain or loss anymore than I have experienced your joys and celebrations. Our trials and tribulations may be different yet the emotions involved are similar. I want to challenge you jump off the gerbil wheel in to Jesus’ arms – He will catch you and heal the hurts you think can’t be healed.
Then celebrate and enjoy the ride of a lifetime with God…He is bigger and stronger than anything we will phase this side of heaven. Get off the gerbil wheel of life and enjoy the adventure…
“The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVFPjIp6nkk
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
One afternoon as my father cleared away winter’s tornado of fallen branches and debris he took notice of a few trees near the creek bank. Behind my parent’s house runs a smaller creek which houses some of God’s wild life. Each spring beavers return to start building their new home yet this year, they’ve set their goals high. As we set our goals, chose our Scripture verse and “one word” for 2011 it appears, so did the beavers. Set goals, that is. They’ve set them high this year. It is common for Dad to notice the work of beavers along the creek yet what he saw this year, caused him to shut the motor off and peer in amazement at the tasks they set to accomplish.
Generally they target the smaller trees but this year…they aimed wide and tall. Maybe their verse for 2011 is “…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…” from Ephesians 3. Look at the first picture again. Do you see the work of these mighty creatures? Across the creek if you look carefully into the depths of the trees you will notice two trees with beaver markings surrounding their base. Now look up. Do you see how tall these trees are? After a little research I learned the size of the tree targeted depends on the size of the beaver. Hmm…watch out dad.
Now I want you to look at the trees and the beavers a little differently. Consider the verse from Psalm 1. The trees standing erect strive towards the Son each day yet are plagued with constant gnawing and turmoil. When we take our eyes off Jesus and choose a life of sin, we will be gnawed at and brought to our knees. We all have a choice to make. Do we want to strive to be like Jesus with Him in us and with us through every circumstance life might bring? Or do we want to throw in the towel and just let the beavers gnaw at us daily until we fall? The hope is this…as the tree lands swiftly and hard to the ground, no one will be there to catch it or save it. Its life lost. Yet as humans, when we fall to our knees because we can’t stand on our own anymore, God is right there to hold us in his arms and lift us up. We need only ask…
But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction
Another lesson learned while away at retreating was the importance of reflecting God’s love and righteousness to others. An important lesson for life…God has forgiven me so many sins and transgressions so I should show forgiveness. God provides for my needs so I should provide for others. God loves ALL people and so should I. This lesson was revisited Sunday morning during Pastor’s message. I love it when that happens.
As I thought about someone who exemplifies these qualities, I thought of not one individual but an entire group of people reflecting Jesus’ love and provision to others. The Ride for Missing Children (RMC) is one, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) missions. There are five rides in New York State throughout the year. This past April 3rd – some of these riders dedicated their weekly training ride to Heidi in honor of the anniversary of her disappearance.
While I sat at urgent care with my mother – riders were introduced to Heidi Allen and the circumstances of her disappearance. They mounted their bikes and rode in her memory with HOPE for her to be recovered. Prior to mounting their bikes though, they took an extra few minutes from their schedules to call me so we would know there were more than two dozen people riding for Heidi at that moment. As they rode their bicycles as part of their training – I prayed the wind would be on their back and their spirits refreshed. In itself, riding a bicycle is a simple and common task but when you add their mission, heart and dedication to ride for children they’ve never met…it is a priceless gift and reflection of God’s love for our missing children.
I was introduced to the RMC through my cousin Missy a few years ago and it has been a big part in my healing process. I extend a HUGE thank you to each and every person that makes the ride possible from the corporate benefactors to the “future riders” to come. This year there will be a RMC in Syracuse, New York on September 23rd. While applications are closed for the Utica ride, if you would like to raise posters, awareness and meet a group of individuals reflecting God ~ check out the RMC in Syracuse. http://www.rideformissingchildren.org/
You would have all summer to train and be refreshed.
The RMC is an extension of our family…a true blessing!
Today’s photographs were taken by Claudette Ferrone. Thanks Claudette!
While at retreat this past weekend one of the speakers shared a message titled, “Learning to walk with my Father” and the significance in “…how we view God is influenced by our own father…” and the relationship we have with him. I was moved from head to toe as I listened to her share her heart and soul with the other 200+ women in the room. I prayed for her to have the strength to continue and for her message to be shared. I prayed for the women in the room that might be feeling the same as her. I prayed her testimony would be the hope, encouragement and blessing God intended…He knew who needed to hear it and the speaker allowed Him to work through her and the message was delivered powerfully from the heart.
Psalm 68:4-5 (NIV)
Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
Her relationship with her earthly father had been one of absence and disappointment. The relationship with her step-father was distant and one of isolation. Yet when she accepted Jesus and started to truly understand the father-daughter relationship available through Him and with Him…her life and view of the Father was transformed into an all-powerful reality. God is a loving, caring and all-consuming God. She shared many verses to provide hope, security and confirmation of God as the ultimate father.
Her message at first saddened my heart yet her summary left me hopeful for others in her situation. God spoke through her Friday afternoon. During the break I was consumed with thankfulness for the very amazing, loving, protective and “right there” dad I was raised by. With his example it is easy to see these qualities in God…Thanks Dad for always being there and the example of love, grace and mercy you modeled and exemplified in my life, through yours!
In conclusion…“I know that’s right!” (with a knee slap too, of course)
Have a great week everyone!
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323