Thursday, May 22, 2014

When Your Heart Finds Its Home

How do you know when your heart has found its home? For me, I find it on the shores of the sea. The wind and waves clapping their melody makes my heart skip a beat, and settles it at the same time. A peace washes over me like no other.

Sunrise…My favorite time of day
Some of my most memorable nights have been spent under the stars at the beach…ones I'll never forget.

Memories of time spent at the beach with family and friends through the years are precious to me.

Life is hectic and busy right now, but this past weekend we had an opportunity to slip away for a couple of days to a beach in South Carolina. I took advantage of the quiet time to do some wedding planning, writing, and we also attended the son's wedding of dear and longtime friends.

Life is made of joy and sorrow, busyness and quiet, hope and despair. Through it all there is One who never leaves us, who draws us back to home. He draws us back to being centered in Him and not ourselves.

If I only focused on my struggles and pain, I'd be a mess. He reminds me to trust Him and He will direct my path and give me the desires of my heart. The interesting thing that happens in the process of trusting Him, is He conforms my desires to His will for my life. Either way, my life is better, my heart is better.

Where do you find your heart this week? What place do you find most peaceful? I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments.


Friday, May 9, 2014

I Wonder What Her Dreams Were?

Mother's Day. The day set aside on our calendar to honor the women in our lives who love us like no other. She may, or may not be related, that matters not. The most important thing is that she know how you feel about her.

This is my favorite secular holiday and yet, I have bittersweet memories intertwined with this special day.

Juanita Bailey Goff-my mom 1947
My mom died in December of 1974 and every Mother's Day since that time, there is an ache that doesn't go away. There is an emptiness that she alone could fill.

In the pictures I've shared in this post, we're about the same age. The photo of Mom was taken in 1947. She was about eleven years of age. I was in the fifth grade at Danville Grade School. I was probably ten years old at the time of this picture.

Me - Circa 1969
As I look into the face of the girl who would become my mom, I wonder what her dreams were? What did she want to be when she grew up? Did she love dolls as much as I did? Did she love to play house like I did? Was she as independent as I am? I think I can answer that one…she moved to Washington D.C. upon her high school graduation and worked for the F.B.I.

When I think about her life to come, she had no idea that in ten short years my dad would sweep her off her feet in August and marry her in November. I wonder if she dreamed of a storybook romance? It happened for her.

I wonder if she ever thought about being a mommy? She had the best mom. She was loving, kind, nurturing, humble. She had the most beautiful porcelain skin, soft and supple. And she loved Jesus.

She had no idea, when she was eleven years old, that cancer would invade her body, and shorten her life. But I'm sure she had dreams.

My favorite thing then…my favorite thing now
I do know one of her greatest wishes though.  It's a prayer from her grown-up self.

I was reminded this morning as I was reading from Jesus Calling. This happens all the time. I'll write something, and the next day I get confirmation on what I wrote. It happened again with this post.

My mom's favorite verse was Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." When I read it this morning, I was reminded of her strength and her faith.

My dad told me, after she died, that they prayed together every night before they went to sleep. He said she prayed every night she would live long enough to see me get old enough to take care of my brother and our house. I'm sure it took all the strength God could give her to pray that prayer. What mother wants to leave her children? But she was asking the God she knew to be faithful to her, to give her this request. And He did.

The last few years of her life were difficult. It would have been easier to give up and go on to Jesus. She suffered for us. Her eleven year old self could never have imagined the pain she would eventually go through. We're not meant to know the future.

Circa - 1964
Our lives were different, hers and mine. I've had the joy of watching my children grow up; something she didn't get to experience. I've lived a healthy life, free of pain. I've been able to enjoy lunches with friends, vacations with family, traveling all over the world. I've been to the place she would have loved to go the most, Loretta Lynn's, Butcher Holler. She adored Loretta, had every album she ever made, and I knew every word of every song, still do to this day.

Her granddaughter, and namesake, Bailey, has been swept off her feet by her prince charming. We're planning a wedding together; something my mom and I didn't get to do.

But, I can't complain because I've been taught more through her death about the faithfulness of God. I've never understood why she had to die so young, but I finally stopped asking "why." Some things in life are a mystery and we're to accept them based on the sovereignty of God.

I'm there now. It was time to let go.

I'm thankful for glimpses of her in the mirror and in family members. I love pictures. I can be found wrapped up in albums, tears spilling down my cheeks. My children know the drill and I hear an, "Oh Mom, don't cry."

A wedding is coming up…Her legacy lives on in my children because of His faithfulness.

When little girls dream…

Happy Mother's Day