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Monday, August 8, 2011

Thank You...

     Paul... For thirty-seven years, you have given me unconditional love.  Your constant flirtation keeps me feeling young at heart and your desire to have me near you after all these years is precious to me.  Like my Father, you do it all and take care of everything.  I know I don’t tell you enough how much comfort that brings me.  You make me feel protected, beautiful, and safe.  You are more than a gift to me; you are, in fact, the greatest example of a redeemed life that I have ever known.  I continue to fill with love for you as I watch you Father our grown children and Papa our grandsons.  I can’t wait for the next season of my life with you.  I stand in faith that someday soon I will be beside you in Israel and hold your hand as we walk where Jesus walked.  I can already see your tears of joy.  I thank God for giving you to me as my husband, and I love you from the deepest place in my heart.  

   ReAnnon, Garrett, Michael, Chandler, Jude and Reed...  Because of you, I know the deepest joy, the sweetest laughter, and the most precious love.  Seeing you happy and hearing you laugh simply fills me.  You are the reason I have been on my knees before the Lord more times than I can count.  Sometimes in praise and sometimes in prayer, but either way, you will always be the deepest cries of this mother’s heart.  Because of God’s love for me, and the love He placed in me for you, I am now a worshipper and a Psalmist and I know how to battle for you and I know of the power in the gift of prayer.  In mothering you, I fail and sin, but because of it, I continue to come back to the place where I must stand. The truth of God’s word.  Being a mother brings me closer to the heart of my Father in heaven and builds my reliance on Him.  Through our trials, I have grown in desire to understand the burden of sin and sacrifice of love that Jesus carried to the cross.  Because of it, I am in communion with the Holy Spirit helper who gives me strength and I know all things beautiful and lovely come from God.  Because of my Father’s love, I can love you with the grace of a transformed and redeemed heart.  God made us a family for His purpose, so I pray that each one of our lives bring glory to God. It is what we were created for.  I pray that we would persevere through our trials in faith with joy knowing that Jesus suffered for us more than we will ever know.  May you be filled with His peace as it surpasses your own understanding, be overwhelmed with the love of your heavenly Father, know the power of the Holy Spirit alive in your life, and never cease to be filled with awe at the Glory of our God.  I love you!

     Dad...Growing up I felt safe and protected because of you.  Every day of my life, you put on a suit, went to work, and at the same time every evening, you came home.  You taught me trust.  You fixed what was broken, took care of all our things, and always took the time to play. You taught me how to hit a baseball, throw a basketball, and ride a bike.  It was not until many years later that I learned not all fathers and husbands did these things.  You gave me a childhood full of soft green grass where I laid and dreamed.  I will always love the smell and feel of grass under my feet because of you.  You sat beside me while I poked tomato worms, called me when you found a praying mantis, and collected jars for my fireflies.  You taught me about boxing and I loved it because of you.  I still think about the banter between Howard Cosell and Mohamed Ali sometimes.  You taught me how to laugh, and took the scary out of thunderstorms. You made them fun.  I love you.     

     Mom...You were my example. I know what a Mother's heart is and what it does because of you. You gave me something precious that I was able to give to my own children. Things of childhood go deep in me because your were my Mom. I love fabric stores because of the time I spent in them with you.  I watched you pin patterns and transform cloth into the most beautiful things I hade ever seen.  I watched you make yourself beautiful and noticed how Dad looked at you when you did. 
     You were like Jackie Kennedy but prettier and I wanted to be stylish, glamorous, and just like you.  
     I love to sing because of you. My childhood was full of music. I remember album after album of singers and songs and the joy from that.  The other day I just burst out singing a song for Jude.  It seemed to come out of nowhere, but there it was. "And the Red Red Robin goes bop bop boppin' along.” Jude wanted me to sing it over and over.   A day or so later, ReAnnon  “googled” the words she had remembered and it had come from a 1960’s “Sing along with Mitch Miller” album.  With those words I was flooded with memories. Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Barbara Streisand, Peter, Paul, and Mary, The Sound of Music.”  This was such a gift.
     And I do not remember a single night that you didn’t make dinner for the six of us.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, pot-roast, meatloaf, creamed corn.  All of these still comfort my soul, and I remember the expensive jars of maraschino cherries that you would  bring home just for me when you had a little extra money for groceries.  No one but you could have given me these things, so from your Mother’s heart to mine and back…  I love you!
Peggy...before God ever put any of this this on my heart, the words you once spoke gave me courage when the time came to step out in faith and try.  Your editing made sense of some jumbled messes, and your gift giving, prayers, and encouragement lift my spirit and make me smile.  We have worshiped God together in a park in Beijing China on Easter Sunday, laughed along roads in New England while taking in God's glory of fall, and we have prayed in a tiny house in Sera Azul Mexico with floors of dirt.  You just “get me”, and your friendship is a precious gift.  You bless my life.