Saturday, July 30, 2011

Goodbye

The funeral begins today at 2 p.m.  I can't sleep for the second night in a row.  It's all surreal still.   It's hard to believe Meme is gone.  I know she lived a full and happy life, but I'm still sad.  I miss her.  She was dynamite and spice as long as I have known her, and watching her fade away slowly this week has been really hard.  I'm happy that she is with Jesus now.  I still hate death.

Sunday night was the last conversation we had where she was able to respond back much at all.  It went like this.  I bent down to tell her my visit had come to an end.  She called me her little princess and moved my hair out of my face to comfort me as I silently shed tears that were long overdue.  She traced my arm with her hand until it touched my face and brushed through my curls.  We both knew it was goodbye.  I could see it in her eyes.  She squeezed my hand before letting go.  I kissed her forehead and said a prayer over her before walking away.  Neither of us had dry eyes.  Goodbyes are never easy or adequate.

Tonight, I started looking through photos I have of her from our wedding until now.  Here a few favorites I thought you would enjoy seeing as we celebrate her life today and grieve over her death.

July 8, 2006- My Wedding Day
2008- Celebrating Abby's Imminent Arrival
Spring 2009- Dedicating Abby 
Easter 2009- Abby and Meme's "quality time"
Thanksgiving 2009
Spring 2010
Summer 2010
Fall 2010
Fall 2010
Spring 2010- Our Most Recent Abby/Meme Photo

We love and miss you Meme.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Difficult Day

Abby and Meme this May

Today has been a tough day.  It started off incredible.  Abby was at Gaga and Pap's (my parents') house, so Bryan and I got to sleep in late (for us).  We began thrift shopping for barstools until we got a phone call that Meme (my dad's mom) had taken a turn for the worse.  We immediately stopped what we were doing and headed towards the assisted living facility where she was staying.

Nothing prepared me for how much she has aged in only a week's time.  It was so hard seeing her frame fragile and weak gasping for air.  She has been fighting kidney cancer, and we knew the tumor was growing.  She lived 92 years... more than most people get.  It's still not easy.

Death is so hard to comprehend though we all push against it.  It's hard for me to understand that another person that has always been a constant in my life will no longer be here.  Feeling the pain of grief begin again today has been too much.  I hate to see people I love suffer.  A slow death is hard on everyone.

Abby came up to me tonight worried because I was teary, and asked if I was sad over Meme being sick.  When I told her I was, she said I need to play "animal farm" with her, so I would be happy again.  I had to smile.  I often wish life was that simple again.

Tonight, I don't grieve as someone who has no hope.  Yes, life does seem futile and hopeless sometimes.  I'd be lying if I said it doesn't.  Even when my emotions give way to despair and sadness, I can stand firm knowing that Jesus is my constant.  Nothing in this life is guaranteed except for Him.  In Jesus, I find comfort and hope for tomorrow.  Even when this life ends, the best is yet to come.

"For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end." Psalm 40:18


"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, "Look God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people.  God Himself will be with them.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:1-4

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reaching the Unchurched

Summer is almost over, and I have had the incredibly blessing of participating in three different Bible school outreaches.  I have talked to a lot of people in and out of the church, and here are some things I have learned from listening to others' stories.

1) Religion turns people off to the Gospel.  Many people who are unchurched think the Gospel is not a big deal, because they can't past all of the rules tacked onto their heads the minute they walk through church doors.  They know their tattoos will be frowned on.  They know they are a single mom with kids.  They know they are divorced.  They know their lives are messy.  It makes me sad.  The Church is supposed to be the body of Christ- not a self-righteous possy that beats up broken and lost people. 

2) Churches that are active and making a difference in their communities are attractive to unchurched people.  Most of us in the South have been part of dysfunctional churches where pew warmers are the norm.  Many of us have scars from nasty church fights within, and some of us leave to escape the pain.  When the unchurched see a church that is actually doing something, they get to see a glimpse of the Gospel.  They wonder... maybe this place is different?  Maybe there is something here that matters?

3) The environment your church creates every time you meet is HUGE.  I've visited quite a few churches during this transition period, and let me tell you, how the church feels when you walk through the doors matters a lot!  It doesn't take a visitor long to figure out whether or not they are welcome, whether or not they are being looked up and down for wearing the wrong or the right thing, or whether or not the people in this room actually care about each other.  The churches that are growing are the churches where people feel loved and safe.

I don't know about you, but I want to be part of a church that matters.  I want to be part of a church that takes Jesus into the darkest places in our community and to the ends of the earth.  I want to be part of a church that embraces sinners and leads them to Jesus for healing and new life.  I hate religion.  I want to experience the freedom that Christ has purchased for us.  I want to see unchurched people try out church again and realize that God is not dead.  Jesus is alive and powerfully working through His body to redeem and make a treasured people for His name's sake.  Brother and sisters, let's repent if necessary and commit together to do church well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

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