Month: October 2015
Honor Your Father and Mother
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother.
Daddy was not the perfect father. Oh, he loved us and we were his sunshine. He parented in the manner he thought best at the time just as most parents do. His father treated his eleven children harshly and that’s what Daddy knew. We knew when Daddy spoke we obeyed because we feared the consequences. All four of us grew up dealing with emotional struggles. He caused deep wounds by his words, but especially to two of my sisters.
Growing up my sisters and I awoke to Daddy singing the chorus to You Are My Sunshine. That was his song to his babies. Singing us awake, singing us to the table, singing us to dress, Daddy had a song for just about anything. He grew up being sung to by his mom who also taught him to play the piano, to dance and to sing.
His mom wrote music, choreographed it and traveled the Vaudeville circuit with Daddy and his sister Florence performing. Later he sang in churches and at revivals. After returning from World War II RCA offered him a recording contract. He turned it down. He told the record company that God called him to preach and pastor. Daddy walked away from the glitz and glamour of musical fame to the grit and grind of ministering from the pulpit and homes. He wanted to honor his Heavenly Father with the gifts he felt God entrusted to him. He wanted to preach and not perform.
Daddy continued teaching us to sing four-part harmony and arranged for us to perform. We sang in churches, fairs, fundraisers, competitions and around the piano just for fun. We sang hymns. We sang jingles. We sang country ballads. We sang Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Doris Day and the Lennon Sisters. No matter the venue we included in our repertoire the chorus to You Are My Sunshine.
He spent the last few years of his life in a nursing facility. While there he desired to live his life continuing to honoring God. The first few years there he sat in his doorway greeting each person entering or leaving. Some chatted with him, some asked him to pray with them or some to sing with them. He took each hand in his and affirmed each one. Bedridden his last two years he would sing You Are My Sunshine with different staff members, harmonizing with his beautiful tenor and slowing the last note, holding it and fading the “away.”
My sisters and I spent those last two years, a week or two at time staying in town so he would see one of us each day. We desired to honor our father and pour out the love of God on him. We watched baseball or football with him, read to him, or sat with him while he napped. But before leaving him we sang hymns or old ballads harmonizing and concluding with You Are My Sunshine. As he grew weaker he reached to hug each of us often and repeated, “Sorry.”
Daddy died October 19, 2014. Prior to him leaving us my sisters and I stood around his bed holding hands and singing in four-part harmony Amazing Grace and the Doxology. We each went to him, again told him we forgave him and we loved him. Soon after we crooned You Are My Sunshine he went “away” gazing into the shining face of the Son standing at the right hand of God. I imagine him singing hallelujah’s with the angels.
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)
A few days ago I shared an article about Big Daddy Weave and their new song, “My Story”. I told you I was going to share my story, so Lord, help me. Here it is. I accepted Jesus as My Savior when I was 12, at Camp Gilead in Polk City, Fl. My life was forever changed! I have faced many challenges in my life, but God has strengthened and sustained me through each and every one of them. As a result my relationship with Him keeps growing stronger. I constantly saw God’s hand guiding me through tough high school years and hectic college years. One of His greatest blessings was meeting the Love of My Life, My Soulmate, the one that I know without a shadow of a doubt that God meant for me to share the entire rest of my days with- Matt Bell!!!❤
My biggest challenge in my life, marriage, and family came after we had our first child. I thought I just had postpartum depression but it never went away. The negative and devastating thoughts, emotions, anxiety, and fear that became an everyday part of my life was so very crippling and overwhelming. All of that in addition to the normal adjustments to being a new Mom and the all the changes and challenges it brings in marriage. I was left with little energy to enjoy the life I know God wanted me to have. I can’t even begin to imagine how all of this weighed on Matt, but God is faithful! Matt has always been right by my side, encouraging, praying, and holding me through times when I know he must have felt so helpless and bewildered as to what he should do to help me. That kind of love and support can ONLY come from God who has put a love so deep and strong in our lives, first for Him and then for each other!
I didn’t want to be around people, always in a bad mood, couldn’t control my emotions, crying uncontrollably. The devil would feed me lie after lie and I would believe all of it. The mind is truly a battlefield and I rely on God and His Word to combat those damaging lies like how can anyone love me, I’m a terrible mom and wife, I’ll never measure up to anything, I’m unattractive to my husband , and on and on. I used to want to bang my head into a brick wall a dozen times to try to get the thoughts to go away! Many times I thought of getting in my vehicle and leaving my family because The devil was trying to convince me that they would be better off without me! But I would immediately pray- I knew this was NOT what God would want me to do and in my heart I really didn’t want to leave those I love. I would go through cycles of trusting God for a while then shaking my fists at Him and crying asking Him why He allowed this to happen to me. As our family grew, I continued to struggle , but I was always thankful for Matt and our children.
Over the years I continued to serve God and He gave me the persistence to never give up and to continue to seek Him even though I didn’t understand. Eventually, I came to the place a few years ago, where I refused to allow Satan to defeat me. Through Christ I am more than a conqueror and I knew that God still had a plan for my life. You see, since I am child of God the devil knew he couldn’t have my soul so he wanted to render me useless for God’s Kingdom, but SATAN FAILED!!! You see, what the devil meant for evil, God is using for His glory. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 it says that we have this treasure in jars of clay that this all surpassing power is from GOD and NOT us! We are broken and damaged human beings but even though we are weak, as a Christ follower HIS POWER is IN US! More than anything, I want to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for my life by encouraging others and showing them CHRIST is the ONLY way to find real love, joy, peace, and eternal life.
God is helping me get out of my comfort zone and be obedient to Him in many different areas of my life. He’s been guiding me to use the talents He’s given me to make a difference for His Kingdom. Do I still struggle with my issues? Pretty much everyday of my life- many times it’s in my thoughts. Other times I get overwhelmed with anxiety or feel like I’m going to burst into tears at the worst possible times and even though I still fail Him many times each day, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about my past! I probably wouldn’t have the depth of the relationship I have with Him right now and I probably wouldn’t be serving Him the way I am now if it were not for my depression and anxiety. It keeps me constantly on my knees, admitting I need Him every second, every minute, every hour of every single day! Some may call me pathetic or weak, but that’s ok-I love being a Jesus Freak! Now I’ve told you my story… “You heard Hope that wouldn’t let go…love that never gave up….VICTORY over the enemy” and sooo much more… ALL by the grace and glory of God! “To tell you my story is to TELL of HIM! This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long! #IAMNOTASHAMED!!!!!!