Sunday, January 29, 2012

It is Well- a very few thoughts and memories of my beloved Grandfather

It’s crazy to think that just a week ago last night I was on the phone with my grandfather.  And a week ago today I skyped with him. He kept joking with me, “you are so beautiful! You must have a big date tonight.”  A week ago tomorrow he told me “love you, love you, love you”. And a week ago Wednesday morning when he could no longer respond to me, I carefully spoke the words “You’re the best grandfather I could ask for. I love you.” over the speaker-phone. That was all I could say before tears completely overtook me. And then on Wednesday evening, in one second, one breath, he moved from present tense into past and future at the very same time. He is no longer here on earth, but this wasn’t his home anyway. His citizenship was in heaven. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Phil 3:20-21. So now he’s where he belongs. Where all who have been washed white in the blood of Christ belong. 
As happy as I am for him to be out of the pain and suffering and temptations of this world, I miss him dreadfully. And I think I always will. 
My grandfather has always been a wonderful part of my life. He accepted Christ as his Savior just months before I was born, so I’ve always known him as a God-fearing, faithful man. He loved family. Twice we spent a week at Disney with him and grandma and the number of times he visited our house I can’t even count. He was with me the day I graduated. I remember seeing his proud face beaming at me as us new graduates walked out of the ceremony. I’ve already cried that he won’t be at my someday (hopefully) wedding. I wanted him there more than almost anyone else. Because at your wedding, you dance with grandpa. That's what you do. Only, I won’t get to. But when that day comes, I’ll probably cry a little and then treasure all my wonderful memories of grandpa and keep those with me the whole day long.
Happy and sad and bittersweet tears keep rolling down my face, so I guess I’ll be done with memory lane for a while...

I just wanted to share one more happy thing that really stuck out to me about the events of his passing. It really was a celebration because he has been called to worship before the throne of our Great God forever and ever. And I am sure he has been told, “well done, good and faithful servant!” but anyways....
My mom mentioned in her speech at his memorial service yesterday that the last song he sang (whispered) with family was “It is Well with my Soul”. It made me cry, because not only had it been the very song to bring me comfort when I first heard that my grandfather’s last days were upon us, but it brought back one of the best memories of my entire life...
Our WHOLE family was rarely all together at the same time, but I will never forget one night when we were staying at Massanutten resort in Virginia, Spring 2006. The trip was in celebration of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We were all together in one of the living rooms- putting it on the cramped side of full. My cousin Joe had his guitar out and we were singing worship songs. I don’t remember who requested or chose It is Well, but I do remember when we sang it that it was the MOST beautiful rendition of the song I had ever heard. Our family is full of musicians, vocal ranges of every kind; people who know what they’re doing. We had full harmonies, echos, everything. It gives me shivers just remembering it. It was positively magical. I remember thinking, can we do it again? Can we pleeeeeease do it again and again and again?
I think that was the last time that our whole family was together like that because every other “whole family” trip was a wedding and someone or another was off on their honeymoon. (someone correct me if i’m wrong)
It is a beautiful memory of my grandfather, and as many have said this week, his faith is now sight. And one day, our faith shall be sight as well.
I’m sharing these memories with you, because I haven’t been with family at all since his passing, only my very little siblings, who don’t quite grasp what’s happened, so I haven’t gotten to talk very much... And I also want you to know how wonderful my grandfather was!

This version of It Is Well doesn't come close to my family's version, but at least you can hear it.


Friday, January 20, 2012

For Nights With Tears

Sometimes tears come from so deep inside of me that words can't even describe the jumble of feelings, emotion and often, memories they wash out.
Those tears, usually accompanied by uncontrollable sobs, visit me every once in a while.

Tonight, I weep with uncertainty. There is much on my heart. Fear of unknown. Struggle to trust in God's perfection.

It's times like these when I think to myself, "how would I survive if I didn't have such as a close companion and friend as my Savior?"

When there is no one to hold me and tell me it's going to be okay, He is here.
When I know it's not going to "be okay", He is here.

I usually sing my prayers to him in between sobs.
something like
"Hide me now, under your wings. Cover me, within your mighty hands"

I usually sing to myself as well,
something like
"Find rest my soul, in Christ alone. Know His power in quietness and trust."

But there are nights when I cannot even eek out a lyric.
Those nights, all I can do is close my eyes and try to breathe deep while listening to my iTunes playlist "for nights with tears".
It's a calming collection of music by Kari Jobe, Christy Nockles, Plumb, Selah, Janais and Meredith Andrews.

the music calms my soul, soothes and strengthens me with truth.

There's just something about being reminded of the safety, compassion, warmth and peace that can be sought in the arms of Jesus through words accompanied by gentle melodies and orchestration.

If tonight's a night with tears for you as well, I'm writing this as much for you as for me. Listen and reflect on our Great God, who has you in His unchanging hand.

He is here for the broken and life to the one who is undone
He is peace to the wounded and hope for the helpless one
He is here, He is here

Be still my soul, be still
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still

When the waves rise against me and the wind tries to draw me away
I will stand on the mountain, safe in Your arms I will sing I will sing

Be still my soul, be still
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still

Hide me now
Under Your wings
Cover me
Within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still and know You are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust

a (very) few other songs-
In Your Arms- Meredith Andrews
My Beloved- Kari Jobe
Be Still My Soul/What A Friend We Have In Jesus- Selah
God Will Take Care Of You- Plumb

Hopefully I'm not too melodramatic tonight. Writing calms me. So here we are with a blogpost from a night with tears.

Just remember, 
"weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" Psalm 30:5


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I love that He loves

I love this song. 

Your love is pure, Your love is precious
Your love is all I need
Your love surrounds me, Your love astounds me
Your love is everything

I run to You when my heart is weak
I cling to You, You're all I seek

It's my heart's desire to be close to You
Here in Your arms I'll find my strength

Everything I want, everything I hope in
Everything my heart cries out for
Everything I want, everything I hope in
Everything my heart cries out for

I love these verses.

 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16

I love that 

I can run into his arms whenever I need to be surrounded by love and compassion. 

Don't forget, you can too. He cares... about EVERYTHING.