Love

Bookmarks and Closing Chapters

img_20160904_153609This week has been bookmarked by marriage celebrations.  Sunday started things off with my niece’s beautiful wedding and today it ends with my own 27th anniversary.  In between these two occasions, I have spent hours observing and quietly honoring the final few pages of my parents 45 year marriage. The timing of these has made it a bittersweet but thoughtful week.
[pullquote]Marriage starts out with a hopeful celebration,  continues with spouses working through cycles of stretching, brokenness, and rebuilding, and closes it’s final chapter, with a sweet whisper of gratitude.[/pullquote]

My niece’s marriage is beginning like my parent’s marriage most likely did, with two people believing that life would be better together and hoping that the joy they found in each other would last a lifetime.  They must have believed that their love would be enough to overcome step children, ex-wives, adopted children, a multitude of past hurts, and a sizable age difference.  Then as they moved through the ordinary years, I’m sure that they encountered, as my husband and I have, the marriage cycle of struggle, brokenness, and rebuilding–all  covered with grace, tears, laughter, hard work, and periods of deep connection and loneliness.  And now as they  finish this final chapter, their love for each other has again been adjusted as they sacrificially love each other with kindness and grace.  Marriage now for them is gentle and sweet and letting go of almost everything else, they find joy in smiles, kind words, touching each other, and their nightly devotions.

My parents have never sat down and shared with me the secret of a long marriage, but I’ve seen them live it.  My dad and mom have encountered good times and bad and through it all they have remained committed to each other because they remained committed to Jesus.  He is the sacred tie that binds them together.  Both of them love Jesus and because of that, they have learned to love each other well.   While I am heartbroken that my dad will not be with us much longer, I am forever grateful for the example of marriage that they placed before me.  Today as I celebrate my marriage, it only seems fitting to recommit myself to Jesus and my husband in their honor.

XOXO,

Summer

 

Faith

Going Out and Coming In

IMG_20160901_173434My dad joined my life before my first birthday.  He was a larger than life character in his Corvette and as the story goes,  I wasn’t so fond of him.  When I would hear his car pull up for a visit, I would crawl as quickly as I could to the front door to try to shut it.  I don’t remember those days of course, but it’s easy to imagine that I probably wasn’t too fond of my dad’s old school, lay down the law ways. Nevertheless, I soon became his 5th child by marriage and his legal child a few years later through adoption.

W.E. Green is the kind of dad that made me feel safe when I was young.  He was strong and had a gregariousness that made people notice and respect him.  He was a manager by profession so he has always known how to run things and make them happen.  As a child I saw him as unbreakable, constant, and generous; and that made me feel loved.

I am grieving over his illness and the thought of him dying today.  Lying quietly with eyes filled with  tears, I began replaying in my mind scenes and stories of our life together–trips in the many motor homes we owned, Winchell’s Donuts and Church on Sundays, the horse races, and everyday snapshots like watching him walk around the neighborhood with our dogs, peeking at him when he takes a deep breath to pray over the thousands of meals we have had together and seeing him in his office with his Marilyn Monroe picture near him and using his pen to pay bills and then placing it in his lifelong pen holder.

Security is the theme that was impressed on my heart by these scenes.  Throughout my life my dad has always made me feel secure.  I never wondered if he would provide for me or if he would be there.  I never wondered if I would be safe or if he would allow me to be placed in danger.  I never wondered if he really knew what to do or was faking it.  Nope, he was and has continued to be a source of security for me and I realized that his secure presence is really what I’m grieving today.

God’s word is a faithful friend in grieving and Psalms 121 is speaking to my hurting heart. It says in verse 7 and 8,  “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”[pullquote] “The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”[/pullquote]  I love that God gently reminds me that ultimately HE is my security from now until I’m with him.  He urges me not to fall into fear.  It’s a sweet way that Jesus is hugging me and whispering, “I’ve got your back.”  But even better is that I know that this verse is also for my dad– who is completely confident in Jesus, who has kept his life and will keep it safe all the way to the throne of God and forever.

Hanging tightly to the promises of God and forever grateful for all of your sweet comments, prayers, and hugs.

XOXO,

Summer

 

 

 

 

Faith

First Things First

Hi!  One of my favorite sayings has become, “Everyone has a story”.  It’s totally true, and it is so much fun hearing about them from all kinds of people.  Well friends, I have a story too and since you are here hanging out on the blog with me, I’ll assume you’d like to hear a piece of mine. CYMERA_20160220_152516

I’ve kinda fallen into writing a little later than most.  Well, that isn’t entirely true.  Writing has always been a part of my life from poetry to passionate pleas to stop human trafficking.  As an adult, I have often woken up with poems in my head or the beginning lines of something I should write.  I thought it was pretty normal, so typically I just ignored the whole thing.  That is, until one day I didn’t.  A beautiful life altering experience was the important inciting incident that unlocked my writing voice.  This incident gave me a new awareness that my voice mattered and that somehow, it held value to others that I had never previously felt.  So now, when I wake up with poems flowing out of my heart, I began to write them down and text them to friends. All kinds of things I am passionate about began to flow out and onto paper and  into the world through social media.

Jesus has used this experience to change and move me as I have never experienced before.  He has cracked open my heart and life in such an unexpected way, and in obedience to him, I try to open it all up for others.  Writing publicly has been terrifying.  It has forced me to be brave, humble, vulnerable, and honest daily.  I am learning to love and embrace it as it forces me to cling to Jesus in a new and deeper way.  Right now, he is calling me to follow him into this blog world and I am excited to be doing just that.   Yesterday he compelled me to encourage others on Facebook, today it’s a new blog — which I dedicate solely to his glory.  Tomorrow?  I can only guess what it will be.  I do know that out of obedience and love,  I will step out right behind wherever he leads.  Exciting and hard and beautiful is what I’m counting on this place he calls me to be.  Will you join me?  Let’s step out and together see where God wants to take us as we learn to love him and one another more and more.

XOXO,

Summer