Peace is a journey...

Today marks four years when Doug entered heaven. How can that be? Time moves so fast. 

I was recounting the journey to a friend today (thank you Jan.) n the last week of Doug’s life we prayed for peace and calm. I was not at peace...not one bit! I dare say I was probably a bit angry! Seeing the suffering that took place was unbearable! 

I get so emotional when I hear songs that talk about approaching the throne of God like “And Can it Be” because my mind tries to imagine what that experience was like for Doug. Music is so powerful.

Four years is a long time but it also seems like yesterday.

I wish every day that Doug didn’t have to leave this temporary home so soon. He is missed by everyone who loved him. He was a very special man!

Peace is a journey and I take one day at a time. Some days are just hard and some are filled with wonderful memories that make me smile. 

Thank you for being on this journey with me, reading my ramblings and for the encouraging words that you have shared with me. It means more than you know. 

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Christmas Mug Sister Exchange

My friend Lily, picked 20 women that she cares about and intentionally prayed for each week. A sisterhood, if you will. 

She thought - who doesn’t love to receive packages at their door for Christmas. So she prayed for each of us and paired us up. We would receive a coffee mug from someone and also send a little love and encouragement. A simple connection between sisters. 

So this morning while enjoying my cup of coffee, I prayed for Lily who arranged this simple gift exchange. A person who loves Jesus and who prays for her friends. I prayed for Jenny Alarcón, my sister who I was paired up with and pray for. I also prayed for Alexa Ponceano who sent me this beautiful mug. 

We don’t really know each other but we belong to the family of God so that makes us sisters. 

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3‭ MSG‬‬

#christmasmugsisterexchange2017

 

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Another year...another anniversary

Here we are. Another year has passed. Let’s be honest, this year has flown by! Year after year time moves at warp speed.

January 19 was the day my brother was born.  I wish that I was throwing a big party for him. Making him his favorite foods. Celebrating him!

The last birthday we celebrated was four years ago. He went off chemo that month because it wasn’t doing it’s job. It’s one job was to shrink the tumor instead it was sucking the life out of Doug. 

Doug relied on his faith and in the journey that God had for him. I think we knew what that journey may look like we but prayed fervently that a miracle would take place. 

So here I am, four years later still trying to understand why. Why Doug? Why our family? I guess I won’t know this side of heaven. 

Today will always be your day! You would be 47 years old today. I will always celebrate you and what you meant to me. Today you celebrate in heaven and I can’t even imagine!

I will love you always! Happy birthday kid! 

The Journey

We just spent 10 days at the beautiful Salvation Army's Camp Hoblitzelle in Texas.

 📸: laurajdake

📸: laurajdake

The Bible leaders for the week were Captains Andy & Abby Miller. Our theme was, The Journey. 

We have to own that the journey is not your own.
Captain Andy Miller III

God has a marvelous path or journey for our lives. Life happens and sometimes we get detoured from the path He has planned for us but He is with us guiding us. We have to listen to His voice. Many times we listen to our heart because it makes us feel good at the time. Captains Miller said this, Our hearts lean toward sin. Following your heart has lead couples to adultery and has led people right out of the church. We need to have a pure heart. 

The theme verse was found in Philippians. I love the translation they used. The Voice. The creator of the universe, the God who knew me at the very existence of my being, the God who created me, created a journey for me. Nothing comes as a surprise to Him. I love capturing images with my camera. I think telling a story with images comes so much easier to me than writing words on a page but I love how this translation paints this image. God, the creator, will not stop in mid-design but He is constantly perfecting me. 

I thank God for the opportunities he has provided for me. I'm grateful for the friends and family I have that keep me accountable.

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you,
will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you...
Philippians 1:6 The Voice

 

 

Hosanna

I see the king of glory

Coming on the clouds with fire

The whole earth shakes

 

I see his love and mercy

Washing over all our sin

The people sing

 

Hosanna

Hosanna

Hosanna in the highest 

I see a generation

Rising up to take their place

With selfless faith

With selfless faith

I see a near revival

Stirring as we pray and seek

We're on our knees

 

Heal my heart and make it clean

Open up my eyes to the things unseen

Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours

Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause

As I walk from earth into eternity

 

Hosanna in the highest

Hillsong United Lyrics

 tsamtk.org

tsamtk.org

Three Year Anniversary

As I lay my head down tonight (Friday night), my mind is consumed with thoughts and memories of three years ago. We laughed. We cried. He struggled. It is almost paralyzingly. I went to bed hoping that he would make it through the night and a few hours later Doug entered heaven. I miss him so much! But I am confident that he lives in heaven with God The Father. I can't even imagine. 

I am reminded of these beautiful words:

 

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;

To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

 

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

 

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

 

I looked up into the sky through the trees while I was walking around the dog park this morning. I want to believe that the clear skies and sunshine are sign from heaven that all is well.  

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Clean

We are in the Lenten season. This season is a very emotional time for me. Easter has been that way for me for a long time. It's emotional because of the sacrifice of God's own Son...for me! Me, who has not fully trusted Him enough or loved Him enough or lived a life worthy of His love...He still did it for me. I fail Him constantly and He loves and he pursues me.

This time of year is a difficult time for me personally when it comes to loss. Three years ago this week our dog, Osa died. Our "fur baby" that we loved for almost 16 years who loved us unconditionally. Three years ago this April my brother went to be with the Lord. Time goes on but the places that Doug filled in my life are still empty. One year ago my beloved grandmother met Jesus. A God she served for almost 99 years.That is a lot of loss but there is a hope! God prepared a place for us. That is the comforting part of the loss. I know they are in heaven. 

A few weeks ago my friends daughter (who I love very much) sang a solo in church. I wasn't there that weekend and as my husband and I were driving home, we replayed the FaceBook video. I couldn't see the video through the tears. First, because this young lady was singing out. Not holding back. Her voice was clear and beautiful. Second was because of the lyric. 

There's nothing too dirty
that You can't make worthy
You wash me in mercy
I am clean.
Clean, Natalie Grant

These are powerful words. I am valued by God. He washes me in mercy and gives me the gift of grace. The God of the universe who created me, loves me more than I can comprehend. 

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Today is your birthday. Your earthly birthday. The day God chose for you to be gifted to us. We had 43 years celebrating you! Loving you in a very tangible way. With a hug. A kiss. Laughter that was so contagious! A passionate, opinionated, caring individual. God chose 43 years was all that we would have. He didn't want to wait any longer. He wanted you home and so now you celebrate your second birthday in heaven with Him and the people who we love that have also gone on to heaven.

There are days that seem still so unreal that you aren't here. I can't call you to hear your voice. To tell you how much I love you! To tell you that you are the best baby brother a sister could ever have. You are missed more than I have words to express but I have memories that will never be taken away from me. Even near the end, I can recall things that you said and did that make me laugh out loud. I love Doug! Forever in my heart!