There is a parable that tells of two godly old men who planted olive trees so that someday they could have olives to eat and have a supply of oil. As the first one planted his tree, he prayed: “Lord, it needs rain, that its tender roots may drink and swell. Please send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” he prayed again, “my tree needs warmth; please send sunshine.” And the Lord sent sunshine.” “Now send frost, Lord, to make its fibers tough.” And, behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost.
But one evening it died. The next day he went to see his friend and found his tree growing well.
“I prayed for rain and sun and frost,” he said, “and my tree died.”
Then his friend said, “I entrusted my tree to God. God made it, He knows better than I what it needs. So I make no conditions, but simply pray, “Lord, send what it needs. Storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost, as Thou knowest what is best’; and behold, it grows well!”
So whatever God permits to come into your life, easy experiences or hard ones, joy or sorrow, you can be sure that God is permitting it so you can grow up in favor with God and with man.
The dictionary defines the term mother-in-law as – the mother of your spouse – a relative by marriage. I have never been able to use that term with my wife’s mother, she has and always will be my mom. I could write pages upon pages about mom. How she raised 4 girls into incredible women of God, her love for her husband of 58 years, how she turned a wayward boy into a man, how she instilled love, worship, family, integrity….did I mention love?, into every child, grandchild and great grandchild in her family. I could write about how she cared for the love of her life until last June when he lost his battle with cancer. How she found out only weeks later that she too had cancer and was told she had 3 months. I could write about how she fought, prayed, loved, and held tight to her faith that in the end God has a plan. I could write about the joy, the laughter, the guidance and the love she shared with all that were blessed enough to know her. I could, I could write and write and write, but I won’t, not now. Now I will share what my son (again I don’t like the term in-law, he is my son) wrote and asked me to read at mom’s funeral last week.
Keep love in your heart….. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.-Oscar Wilde
Daughter, Sister, Mother, Aunt, Grandmother, Great Grandmother…… This is the natural progression of a Woman. It is an inevitable progression of life. But what do those titles mean? What makes you a Mother or a Grandmother? What defines you after your days have passed? What defines your legacy? Your legacy is no more than a tiny footprint in the fabric of time. Legacy is a term most often associated with men of great achievements; men of war, power, or great intellect. They leave something lasting for the people of the world. But what of the smaller footprints in the sand? Are they less important, less meaningful? What happens when the small foot prints branch off into tiny ones, and then divide again? These are the footprints of every woman that has strode side by side with her husband, best friend and partner. Their lives so intertwined that often the tracks are indistinguishable from one another.
There is a common quote we hear….. “Behind every great man there is a great women”; unfortunately this is terribly inaccurate. As any couple can profess there are many times there is a single set of tracks to follow. Those are the instances that a woman must step forward and carry her partner through a moment of weakness. The only time she may falter or fall behind are deviations she must take in order to look after her own daughters, or grandchildren. She is the mother, she must not let harm befall her flock. She is the torchbearer, a rallying point, a light in the darkness for her offspring. This is no easy task as any matriarch can attest to, all throughout the cycle of life it is the matriarch that is the binding glue that holds the family group together. While the men fight their fights, harvest their crops, and dream of glory the mother is left holding the end of each delicate string, weaving them into a family tapestry.
Mom was the matriarch of her pride, a proud family. Every person sitting here today has been shadowed by her tracks in the sand. She was the driving force behind a much loved patriarch. Often times she was the quiet force without the mane; but when needed a fierce protector of her family or the gentle guiding hand for a daughter or grandchild. We know that there was nothing in her life more important than her pride,….. her family. No one knows a mother’s love like her own offspring, and each one of those cubs have grown and guide a pride of their own. Sometimes the love is shadowed in a harsh hard or a hard lesson. But inside you know that the matriarch is doing her best to guide you to the path in the sand so you may leave your own prints, branching off ever more; but forever alongside your husband, partner and best friend, as she did.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God upon every remembrance of you. ~Philippians 1:2-3
May God Bless each and every one of you, Jay
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
One day at the circus a man was passing the elephants when he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures where being held by only a single rope tied to their leg and the other end to a small wooden peg in the ground. It was obvious the elephants could easily break the rope or pull the peg out of the ground and walk away, but for some reason they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these magnificently strong animals just stood there and made no attempt to break way.
“Well”, the trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use a similar size rope to tie them. At that age it is enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to think they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was completely amazed. The elephants could break free at any time, but because they thought they could not, they didn’t even try. They were stuck right there. This powerful, gigantic creature had limited it’s present abilities by holding on to it’s limitations of the past.
How many of us go through life limiting our abilities based on failures of the past?
I can either choose to stay fully bound up in my past, continue to blame everyone and everything , throw pity parties or I can choose to rise up and make a fresh start with the Lord by choosing to fully surrender my entire life into His hands. I then need to work with Him to get my past fully cleaned up so that I can start to fully live in the present again and move towards the destiny that He has already planned out for my life.
Right now, right here, it’s time for me to let go and move forward.
Are you there God? It’s me Jay.
I’ve had it, I’m done, I surrender.
I hereby give up my need to do it my way, and I’m asking for help.
Help me be clear, and of service.
Help me show up and share my gifts.
And please. . .
Help me get out of my own way.
I want to shine so bright that even you God, have got to wear shades.
I know what I’m here to do.
Help me do it.