From My Heart

From My Heart

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Memories of My Grandmother

Today marks the seven year anniversary of the day my grandmother went to meet Jesus. She was known as Mom to all of us, and she and my grandfather, Pa, left behind a beautiful legacy.

On February 13, 2005 I got a call from my grandfather. He had taken my grandmother to the hospital and said that we all needed to come quickly. I called my parents and we all went. When we got there the doctors told us that her cancer was back and she might live 3 days but they really didn't expect her to make it through the night. For the next nine days I spent every day getting up early and taking my mom to the hospital and coming home late at night. During these nine days I learned some things that are very precious to me now.

At some point during those nine days my grandfather told me that they would have been married for 55 years in just a few more months. I watched him love on my grandmother's almost lifeless body and realized that even after 55 years of life together and being in their 70's it was still possible to be deeply in love with each other. My grandfather said to me a few weeks before he passed that he missed and loved Mom so much still, that was after she had been gone for six years.

When I was pregnant with Grace, we made the decision not to find out what we were having. I wanted a boy so badly and convinced myself that was what we were having (boy was I surprised!). Before I had her my grandmother gave me a gift one day, it was a box full of baby quilts that she had made. They were ALL pink except one. I laughed and told her I hated that I wouldn't get to use any of them except the red, yellow and blue one. She smiled and giggled also!! This is one of my favorite memories of her! :) She loved Grace!! Anytime we were with them no one else got to hold Grace and Grace was perfectly content to sit in her lap, even when she was able to run around and play she still stayed right there with Mom.

When I was a freshman in High School my grandmother was diagnosed with bone cancer. The doctors said she might live for 3 to 6 months. I remember praying, asking God to just let her live long enough to meet my children. Her cancer went into remission and she lived for nine more years. Grace turned two a month before she went into the hospital for the last time. During the last nine days of her life God reminded me of my prayer and even though she didn't meet JC and Hartly God did answer my prayer. Grace still remembers Mom and still sleeps with a stuffed pig that Mom gave her. The day before she passed we got approval from the nurses to bring Grace in to see Mom, even though she was unconscious, I felt the need for Grace to say goodbye to her. When we brought Grace into the room Mom opened her eyes, looked at Grace, smiled and shut her eyes for the last time.

As a child and even as a teenager I would go and spend many weekends and some weeks during the summer with my grandparents. I still have many fond memories of going to their house and  spending Christmas together. Every Christmas Mom would buy herself a gift, wrap it and put it under the tree. It was always the kids job to pass out the presents and I still remember laughing when I would get the present that said To: Mom, From: Mom. I do not remember a Christmas without one of these presents! Since I have my own kids now I, too, buy myself a gift every year, wrap it and address it To: Mom, From: Mom and stick it under our tree!!

I am thankful for the memories that I have of my grandparents but more importantly I am thankful for the legacy of love, kindness, unselfishness, and faith in God that they both passed down to me and that I will, in return, pass down to my own kids and grand kids. I know that they are in heaven singing with a choir of angels and I look forward to the day when I will see them once again!!

Mom and Grace, December 2003


Pa and Mom
This is one of my favorite pictures of them together!!
 God bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blessings

I must say that I do not like to live in this region when the dirt blows!!!  I have said many times if I was on the beach or in a beach house the wind could blow all day long every day while I sit and watch the waves crashing into the shore but then I have to wonder if I did live in that environment would I wish to live somewhere else?!  Most likely I would still complain about the wind or something or someone else.  That's just how we are, right?

I have been wondering the last few days if there is more to life than I wish and I want.  God did not intend for us to be unsatisfied with the blessings He gives us.  Umm, I think I just called the wind a blessing!?  But maybe in some God-given way it is.  Maybe He is preparing the parched ground for something that we do not know about and the only way to do that is to make the wind blow at 60+ mph so that it can receive what He gives.  I believe we go through circumstances so that we will come out on the other side stronger and better equipped for our future.  I believe God wants what is best for us and there are times He has to clean out our closets in order to show us the treasures that are hidden inside ourselves.  I believe that God calls us not to be comfortable with life but to be uncomfortable so that we will know that need for Him.  I also believe that He wants us to be satisfied where ever we are and with what ever we have.  I am always saying when this happens or what if this or that, I do not believe that is where God wants my thoughts to be!   God wants my thoughts to be here and now, in the present, focused wholly on Him and the many, many, many blessings He has bestowed on me!

I think we as humans are so guilty of getting caught up in the things of the world and we forget the things of the Kingdom.  Man oh man I am SO guilty of this!!  I let my anger and frustrations get the best of me too often.  I forget that God loves and forgives me so that I will love and forgive others.  Who exactly do I think I am to look at someone and judge them, whether it be because they used foul language or they have on dirty clothes or their hair is fixed crazy or they do things different than me.  We went to the Rock and Worship Roadshow this past weekend and there were some teenagers sitting in the row in front of us, they began to make fun of someone, that was a few rows down, that was fully and completely worshipping God in their own way.  These kids went so far as to pull out their phone and video this man's worship to the Lord.  This act completely broke me!!!  I have begun to question myself, wondering how many times has that been me!  I cannot remember any exact times when I have pulled out my phone and snapped a pic or video but maybe I have posted gripes on facebook or twitter or even grumbled under my breath or went home and told my husband or another friend about an incident whether it be griping or making fun, I know there have been far too many, and I saw the need to repent of my awful judgements.  It makes me question why we, as human beings, feel the need to put others down, and not only do we feel the need but often times we get satisfaction from doing it!  Is it because I am not satisfied with something in my own life?  Is it because I am feeling low about myself that I feel the need to put someone else down in order to make me feel better?  Is it because I am feeling superior to someone else and I need to feed my own ego?  Why can we not acknowledge the immense blessings that our gracious, heavenly Father has bestowed upon us and be content with just that?  That is what I want to strive for in my life.  I pray that God will make me aware of my blessings and also content with them, and make the worldly things obsolete, that I will see good in each and every person and situation, no matter what kind of mood I am in!!  I am far from this but it is an obtainable goal through Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior!!!  (And thankfully, I get a fresh start each time I fail!! ;))

I pray you recognize more of your blessings today and less of the worldly speed bumps and that you are content with what God blesses you with!!!

God Bless,
Denissa

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 12, 1999

On Friday, February 12, 1999 my life was changed forever.

I was a senior in High School. That night, like most Friday nights, I was with Cody. It was almost time for my curfew so I started home. We lived about 10 miles out in the country. I was almost out of town when I came upon a one car wreck. It had just happened, maybe a couple minutes before I got there. There was someone on a phone outside of the pickup, I assumed they were calling 911. There was a pickup that was sideways in an old building. Most of the pickup was covered with ruble from the building collapsing on top of it. I couldn't tell very much about the pickup because it was damaged and, like I said, covered up, but there was one very distinguishing part of the paint job on the pickup that I immediately noticed. The pickup belonged to a very close friend of mine and my brother, I'm talking brother close!! His name was Jeremy, we called him JC, he was 19.

Panic set in almost immediately! I knew that my real brother, Clint, was supposed to be with him that night. I didn't know whether to stop or to go home and tell my parents, no I did not have a cell phone, I also knew that there was no way they could be alive. I decided to go home and tell my parents because they needed to know so that they could call JC's parents and we could get to the hospital. I do not remember driving home, all I remember is crying so hard the entire way home that I could not even see. God must have encamped His angels around my car that night. When I got home I remember that I couldn't get my key in the door to unlock it, my parents were already in bed, my two nephews were there, and when I finally got the door open I burst in the house screaming hysterically, I couldn't even talk, my parents were trying to calm me down so that they could understand what I was saying. When I finally could talk the first thing I yelled was ""WHERE'S CLINT?', then all I could say was "JC, JC HAD A WRECK!!!". I vaguely remember begging them to call JC's parents and my dad calling someone, not sure who, to find out what happened. I remember them saying Clint had a change of plans and didn't go with JC that night and then they rushed out the door to the hospital. I stayed home with my nephews. At the time I was so upset that I didn't get to go to the hospital but now I realize that it was probably better that I didn't. I cried the entire night and I held the phone in my hand waiting for it to ring. I begged God to spare JC's life. I'm not sure exactly what time it was when the phone rang early that next morning, Saturday, Feb. 13th, maybe around 7? It was my best friend, Tiffany. I don't remember much of our conversation, really all I remember is hearing her say "Ness, he didn't make it". At this point the entire night seemed like a dream. I remember collapsing to the floor and screaming like I had never screamed in my life, I don't even know if I ever hung the phone up. The next thing I knew my parents were coming in the house and all I remember is them telling me they tried to get home before I found out from someone else.

The next few days are very hazy. I remember sitting at a friends house listening to JC's parents, my family, some other families and his closest friends planning his funeral. I felt like I wanted to die. I was so angry and hurt and hopeless and devastated. That was the longest and worst weekend of my entire life!!! I believe now that the fact that God had a plan for my life is the only reason I did not curl up and die because for the first time in my life I felt like I did not deserve to live. JC was a good person, he was tenderhearted, he was caring, he was respectful, he loved to do things for others, he was a hard worker, he loved life, he wanted to live life to the fullest. He was a cowboy who loved his horse. He loved his family and friends unconditionally. I thought if God could take such a good person from this world who were you and I to still be here!!! I hated people I didn't even know, just because they were alive and JC wasn't!!! During this season I was not a good person.

My brother, Clint, and I, in recent years, were not very close, but we gained strength from each other in the days and weeks to come, I probably got more from him than he did from me. I realize now, that is one good thing that came out of this. I remember the morning of the funeral going into the sanctuary with Clint and sitting in the pew with his arm around my shoulders, pressing my face into his chest and bawling my eyes out. It was the first time in years that we had shown each other any type of kindness, much less love and it was exactly what I need at that time. For the first time in years we were brother and sister and there was no hate or dislike of any kind between us. I will forever be thankful for that.

Every day for the remainder of that school year as soon as the dismissal bell rang I would get in my car and drive to the cemetery and sit and cry and talk to JC and tell God how angry I was with Him.

This year will be 13 years that JC passed. He enters my thoughts on a weekly basis. We have our own JC and he reminds me so much of both of his namesakes, JC and Clint. I am no longer angry with God, although I don't think I will ever understand why He took JC so soon. I still feel sad around this time of year, infact, Valentine's day is my least favorite holiday, I would just assume pass over the entire month of February altogether!

Cody and I have been trying to have Grace baptized since this summer and it just hasn't worked out but a few weeks ago we talked to our pastor about it and off the top of his head he set the date of her baptism for February 12th. I have been doing Beth Moore's Bible study about James and in the third session she talks about anguish. One thing she says is "anguish and joy can trade places".

For thirteen years I have felt anguish on the days leading up to this dreadful weekend but this year God is giving me a piece of joy on the same date that, 13 years ago, brought deep sadness. For the first time since February 12, 1999 I am looking forward to this day!! God knew this summer when Grace asked Jesus into her life that He would use that to bring me joy on Feb. 12th, and better than that, on Feb. 12, 1999 God knew that on Feb. 12, 2012 my anguish would trade places with joy!!!

I am so thankful for God's love for me and His desire to mend my wounds. How amazing is He!?

God Bless,
Denissa

Jeremy ~ JC

Justice Clint ~ JC



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Way or God's Way???

I am a planner. I like to know when, what and where. I want to know what is going to happen and at what time so that I can be prepared. I am so much of a planner that when I am going to a meeting or having a confrontation with someone I plan out our conversation in my head. I know, call me crazy, but this is a fact about my personality!

I went to a meeting this week with a group of women to plan something. I was not the leader, just an attendee. I had spoke with the leader of the pack prior to the meeting and she had asked me to do something, so being the planner that I am, I had my game plan ready in time for the meeting.

At the meeting we are discussing and planning and throwing ideas around the table. The task I was asked to do finally came up (and I was excited because like I said I already had the WHOLE conversation planned out!) but then the conversation veered off of my path quickly. This was my reaction...WHAT??!! NO!! THAT IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED!!! The rest of the meeting I could not think straight, I was shaking, my heart was pounding and I seriously wanted to throw-up!!! I was asked to something I did not want to do!!

With out going into too much detail, the meeting was about planning a teen girls conference with other churches in Brownfield. I had already told God what I was going to do and how. I told myself that it was what God wanted because I prayed about it and this is what came into my head immediately. Boy did He SMASH my plans into smithereens!!!

This is the conclusion I have come to... I can throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming or I can do what God has called me to do, be faithful to His plan. This was a tough decision, I really wanted to throw a fit like my 2 year old often does, and I will admit I was mad and pouted for almost a day! But now that I have had some time to talk to God, well, actually LISTEN to God I see that His way is the best way. I am not 100% confident that I can do what He is calling me to do but I know as long as I keep my eyes and ears tuned into what He wants then I will some how be able to climb this mountain that has come into my path.

Now that the dust has settled and I can see things a little more clearly I realize I have been in a place of comfort, I get up each day and spend time with my heavenly Father and I daily ask for His guidance and I pray over my husband and kids and others that He lays on my heart, but there is not really anything that has got me out of my comfort zone lately. We need that more often than not. If we never get out of our comfort zone then eventually we will loose the need to seek God's guidance and counsel, we will become self efficient and then when we are blindsided we may forget where to turn. God needs to keep us on our toes, He needs us to need Him!! God is our maker and He knows every fear, He knows when we feel inadequate or unworthy. That is how I was feeling, that is why I did not want to do what I was asked; that is when I heard the sweet whispers of God's majestic voice saying to me "I will make you worthy, trust me beloved!"

We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 NLT
All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 MSG

God Bless,
Denissa