Friday, October 29, 2010

That's Not Fair!

Even though we know that life is not fair, there is something within us that is convinced that certain things ought to be just. The one who follows Christ is to be committed to justice for others. Micah 6:8 tells us, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
However, despite our efforts, we live in a fallen world. Sometimes we have a hand in making something unfair for someone else. Sometimes we are the ones who are handed the “unfair” card. When we think of the sweet psalmist of Israel, David, we can see he walked into an “unfair” situation with a significant person in his life.

David was in a tough spot from the beginning in his relationship with King Saul.

Transition in governments are more typically problematic than not. It was hard for Saul to accept that a young king from an unexpected source was anointed King from Israel’s revered and respected prophet, Samuel. And although David was anointed, he was not at liberty to exercise his authority until the current king was removed from power. As a “man after God’s own heart”, David knew this transition of power was “God’s deal” to accomplish – not his. Author Thomas Rodgers related, “Being anointed king and becoming king were two different things.” Although David had the right to the throne an ungodly man sat in power and would do so for the next fifteen years! There was intense rivalry between the two, “but David patiently waited for God to work out His program so that he could sit on the throne with honor”. Saul tried hunting down David and attempted to kill him. David dealt with these overwhelming circumstances by trusting in God, acting in bold faith and being incredibly patient. David had a very mature understanding of God’s heart in the area of authority. Even though the man that occupied the office of king was an ungodly man, David would neither demean nor trivialize the office in any way. What typified David’s nature in his relationship with Saul was patience and outrageous (from a human stand point) trust in the sovereignty of God. David’s conscience was tender and it was important to him to do the right thing.

Saul’s attitude toward David was characterized by jealousy and insecurity. Conversely, David’s attitude toward Saul was characterized by a gracious, forgiving spirit and a magnetic sense of security that was anchored in his relationship with God.

Although life was not fair for the fifteen years for David from the time he was anointed King until he was officially honored as king, David’s character was honed and refined by the “unfair” process. As in the case with much adversity, the time in which he had to bear under the weight of injustice proved to be a time that sweetened his spirit and forged him into that man that was “after God’s own heart.”

Are you in a situation that is just not fair? Take courage. God is still working. God is sovereign and makes possible that the oven or your adversity will form in you a gentleness and sweetness that makes people want to be around you, because you are becoming “Christlike.”

“For He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Book of Hope

We meet together on Sunday mornings. For some getting up early on the one day they have to sleep in is a sacrifice. A couple of them come even through they suffer chronic physical pain due to injury and a mysterious illness that promises a headache every day - for years. Two are from military backgrounds and one works through the night, then comes. One has a Ph.d. Some have young children and complicated schedules. A couple are staff members with many responsibilities. Yet they come faithfully for one reason - to be trained to help others by immersing themselves in a year long study of the Bible - the book of hope. Through the Bible we find hope for overcoming significant and massive problems in life. A small list would be self-belittlement, self-exaltation, self-pity, envy, jealousy, greed, preoccupations with self, anger, bitterness, the need to forgive, communication, troubled marriages, difficult parent-child relationships, depression, fear, worry, and anxiety, among others. We learn the sufficiency of this amazing book to address our deepest issues. We find that by studying it's content and taking to heart it's lessons we don't become merely educated or informed. No, there is a greater hope - that of transformation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Love Motive

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal." I Corinthians 13:1 NLT

Knowledge and talent separate from love are annoying. A person impressed with themselves comes across like a discordant violin or as the Scriptures say - a "noisy"..."clanging" sound. It is the opposite of pleasant. We wince inwardly when they start talking.

"If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing." I Corinthians 13:2 NLT

The person of faith - possessing all spiritual giftedness, yet lacking in love adds up to someone who has no value for the cause of Christ. All of these gifts - insight, prophecy, knowledge and faith mean nothing unless we expend them for the uplifting and faith-building of others.

"If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing." I Corinthians 13:3 NLT

God's chief concern is not our sacrifice - He wants our obedience (I Samuel 15:22). This is the true test of our love for God.

We can work ourselves into the state of burn out, but if we do, we've missed the boat. What the Lord puts before us to do we are to perform from an attitude of love. The needs will never let up. Does God appreciate a good work ethic? Absolutely! (II Thessalonians 3:10) But 'hard work' is not the acid test. The acid test is love.

Discovering our spiritual gifts, developing our spiritual gifts - using our spiritual gifts has absolutely no value unless these things are done with a focus, mindset and attitude of love.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cancer, Depression and Hope

As reported in the Humboldt Beacon on July 15, 2010:
North Coast Group Offers Hope for Cancer Victims Dealing with Depression

The Relay for Life, took place Saturday, July 10th at the College of the Redwoods stadium raised awareness for cancer and for good reason. The American Cancer Society tells us that in this next year approximately 569,490 Americans are expected to die from this disease. While the survival rate has improved significantly with the advances in early diagnosis and treatment, the war to fight cancer continues. The National Cancer Institute tells us that 15-25% of cancer patients experience depression, making their personal fight with their disease even more challenging. A local group to support and encourage cancer victims points out that if you or a loved one has cancer and are experiencing depression, you are not alone, and there is hope.

Depression itself is so prevalent in our culture, but is often unspoken in social circles. There are some stigmas and myths associated with depression. Now, everyone experiences some depression sometime, that is normal, but it is not normal to stay depressed. Having cancer can trigger depression. What does depression look like? Authors Harold G. Koenig, M.D. and David Bieble, D. Min. in New Light on Depression give us a picture. There is difficulty in relationships. People with whom one normally interacts with may feel some awkwardness with a cancer diagnosis. One may not know what exactly to say, so they withdraw, leaving the person with cancer wondering why they are not being supported when they need it the most. Normalcy in social relationships can be altered as the cancer patient may have to leave the workplace, or not feel well enough to attend regular social functions. A sense of loneliness can develop. There may be irritability or anger. The cancer patient may fear death or be dismayed at the interruption of life’s plans. There may be some strong feelings about the changes in body image and self-esteem. Changes in social role and lifestyle may be forced upon the cancer patient. There may be money and legal concerns that add insult to injury.

In addition, there can be problems in sleeping. Depressed people have a lot on their minds, even the fear of losing one’s mind. There can be a complex of new physical ailments, loss of energy, diminished sexual drive, impaired memory and thinking, and a change in eating habits. If the dietary nutrients are absent in the depressed person’s diet, then that too can add to the downward spiral of depression. A depressed person often struggles with feelings of worthlessness.

Jan Dravecky, wife of baseball star and cancer victim Dave Dravecky, fell into the pit of depression as a result of exhaustion, pressures and multiple stressors over an extended period of time. Even though the Dravecky’s had launched a ministry to help other cancer victims, Jan’s determination to stay strong worked against her as she denied the signs of depression that her doctor saw developing.

Clinical depression is a physical condition to which the cancer patient can be susceptible. Depression affects the whole person and responds to a “whole person” approach to treatment. The four areas of one’s humanity - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual addresses depression at all levels.

Steps to overcoming depression start with telling somebody. Having at least one friend – an intimate friend who knows us and loves us is an important part of mental and spiritual health. There is a release in just sharing that burden, and once it is spoken it doesn’t seem quite as dark.

Do see a medical doctor. If there are physical reasons for the depression one needs to address the physical aspects of this condition. A medical doctor can help make decisions about the treatment that is best. If there are questions, seek a second opinion. As depression is unique for each person, the treatment may be unique as well. But there is help available. Do see a medical doctor.

Speak with a counselor and consider joining a support group. Author Carol Lessor Baldwin writes, “We are social beings. We have spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical needs that can be met only within the context of our relationships…Our need to be loved, to be affirmed, to be valued, and to be a part of a group are met in relationships to other people. Relationships are vital to our emotional and psychological well-being.”

Local residents Mary Lou Fisher and Becky Johnson, both who are fighting their own personal battles with cancer, lead a cancer support group through the Hydesville Community Church. Fisher relates, “we share together the often difficult process of coping with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We are not a group of experts who offer advice on the treatment of cancer. We are a group of people who are eager to listen, to share honestly our own struggles, fears and joys. We have the freedom to rejoice together and to weep together. We will support one another spiritually and emotionally on our journey with cancer so that we can live each day to its fullest”.

Another facet to battling the depression that can result from a cancer diagnosis is to consider one’s thought life.
When we aren’t feeling well physically we can get in the habit of focusing on the negative. Some ways to strengthen one’s resolve include: making a “thankful” list,. release the bitterness, make a choice to forgive, and determine to hold fast to hope. Love the people in your life and receive their love for you. Get involved with the needs of others. There is nothing like immersing oneself in the needs of others to put into perspective one’s own problems.

The following resources on depression and cancer were used in this article and more information may be obtained by contacting the American Cancer Society ( and Relay for Life ( Book resources: New Light on Depression by David Bieble, D. Min & Harold G. Koenig, MD, The Overload Syndrome, Richard A. Swenson, M.D., Margins, Richard A. Swenson M. D. and A Joy I’d Never Known by Jan Dravecky. For the local cancer support group led by Mary Lou Fisher and Becky Johnson call Hydesville Community Church at 768-3767.

Friday, July 9, 2010


"And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you." I Corinthians 7:22b-24

In our mobile society the thought to pick up and leave a locale,a job, a church, is pretty common. It is an option for many reasons and as an American in this day and age, we pick up and move a lot.

In Christian service in our desire to serve the Lord, whether as a volunteer or a paid vocation the thought of moving is an option as well. We can sometimes think, "will our service be more effective somewhere else? Will our lives be better and would some of the problems we face be solved by leaving?

Yes and no.

God plainly told some of His children to leave.

"The Lord has said to Abram, 'Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and to to the land that I will show you.'" Genesis 12:1

"One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Dedicate Barnabus and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.' So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way." Acts 13:2-3

However in I Corinthians 7:22b-24 we are finding the Apostle Paul imploring the Corinthians to stay - "remain as you were when God first called you."

Again, in the city of Iconium where Paul and Barnabus were preaching a division came about. It is recorded that some people there poisoned the minds of others against Paul and Barnabus. That turn of events might cause many to leave their current situation. One might think that their time of effective service was over in that place because of these false accusations. How did Paul and Barnabus respond?

"But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord." Acts 14:3a

Although Paul and Barnabus eventually had to leave (a mob attacked them), until the circumstances became crystal clear that they should leave, they chose to stay. They stayed even while under adversity and continued to serve the Lord.

Child of God, if you are wondering whether to stay or leave your current situation and your desire is to serve the Lord, know that God is able to make Himself very clear on this matter.

The important part in all of this is to be actively serving the Lord - giving Him service from one's whole heart. Unless God is very clear about a move or a calling, stay. Stay and serve the Lord where you are with all of your heart..."remain as you were when God first called you."

Pure Ministry

"When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness - timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust God not in human wisdom but in the power of God." I Corinthians 2:1-5

The Apostle Paul was an impressive man - well educated, passionate about ministry and responsible for the establishing of many churches.

But Paul knew his success did not come from himself. From his conversion on he was able to focus on this important truth: It's all about Jesus.

I'm sure Paul could have used "lofty words and impressive wisdom" if he chose - but he deliberately decided to focus on Christ alone. He purposely relied on the power of God knowing that human wisdom does not change people's hearts. Only the power of God is able to perform this true miracle.

Paul evidently didn't come with an aire of authority to this group of believers. He didn't use any means that the worldly person would to impress others. Rather it was Paul's goal to point people to Jesus Christ and not himself. That is pure ministry.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Refining Faith

Job 1

The recognition: Have you noticed my servant Job?
The taunt and the challenge: Job has good reason to fear God...take away everything...he will surely curse you to your face
The permission: All right, you may test him.
The disasters: All his livestock (wealth) and his children were killed.
The grief: Job stood up and tore his robe in grief - he expressed his grief.
The worship: Job's response to grief was worship.

"I came naked from my mother's womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had, and the
Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord."

"In all of this Job did not sin by blaming God." Job 1:22

Job's loss was monumental. His life would never be the same. His love for his children and concern of their spiritual welfare was a 'regular practice.' Something that is a regular practice defines our lives. It shows what is most important to us. Job was hit - targeted by Satan in an area that was most precious to him - the lives of and his relationship with his children.

It seems as though his 'testing' was uniquely crafted to try to hurt his faith the most. Job's relationship with his children was intricately woven into his faith fabric. It was his regular practice to interceed for them. He knew their frailty - where they could fall spiritually. That kind of knowledge comes from familiarity. He was their father and understood his children's weaknesses. They were on Job's heart continually.

Because Job was truly a blameless man with complete integrity - as God knew he was - Job's response to tragedy was an expression of worship and trust in the sovereignty and goodness of God. He offered praise at the worst time in his life.

What can we learn? Our testing may well be uniquely crafted to try to hurt our faith the most. God in His goodness would not allow this testing if He did not consider our character of such a nature that it could be refined through the process. One doesn't put junk metal through the refining process for silver or gold. It would have no value in the end.

The most God-honoring and healthy response for us to the personal tragedies in our lives is that of worship. To give God praise in the worst times of our lives lifts us beyond our circumstances.

Lord, thank you for considering our character and faith of such quality that they could be refined. Thank you that our faith is that precious to you. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

In Honor of Those in "Vintage Years"

"I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go. Jesus said this to let him (Peter) know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, "Follow me." John 21:18-19

As I age and as my loved ones age I realize some of the toughest passages to climb come near to the summit. It's later in life that we deal with our bodies breaking down. We lose more friends and relatives to death. Our independence is given up little by little - as we must become more dependent on others.

But to the one who has placed their trust and faith in Christ and has determined to follow Him, the journey also becomes sweeter.

Some of my loved ones up in years are at the "Vintage" time in life. Life has mellowed and sweetened them. There is incredible wisdom and depth to their counsel. The wrestling with ego has been set aside and they are able to revel in the building up of others.

At the edge of eternity the important things in life have come into sharp focus. They know what is important and what is not.

There is generosity, good humor, perspective and loving admonition if we are willing to listen.

Most of the greatest heroes of my life are up in years. They deserve such honor. Thank you Lord for the years you have given them - and the treasure that is ours by spending time with them. Amen.

Fellowship of Suffering

"Standing near the cross were Jesus' mother, and his mother's sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, "Dear woman, here is your son." And He said to this disciple, "Here is your mother." And from then on this disciple took her into his home." John 19:25-27

John, three Mary's and Mary's sister stood at the foot of the cross. There is a fellowship in suffering. I cannot imagine the shared agony of this small group of people as they watched and heard the suffering and death of Jesus. Others had betrayed Jesus and fled in fear. Others no doubt watched from the shadows from a distance - fearful to be associated with Christ. But John, Jesus' mother, his aunt and two other Mary's were right there - not leaving His side in His worst hours. John took care of that which was on Jesus' heart - to watch over and provide for His mother.

"Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance" (vs. 1) "Mary was standing outside the tomb crying as she wept, she stooped and looked in." (vs. 11) "Dear woman why are you crying? Jesus asked her. (vs. 15a) "Mary!" Jesus said. She turned to Him and cried out "Rabboni!" (which is Hebrew for teacher)" (vs. 16)

Mary Magdalene - one who was at the foot of the cross was the one whom Jesus chose to reveal Himself first after He had risen from the dead.

We feel a strong kinship with those who walk with us during a time of suffering. It may not be the words they say, nor a particular action but that they are there.

Being there in presence - being there in non-judgmental support - being there in tender-hearted mercy and compassion...

Like John, the three Mary's and Mary's sister, our fellowship of suffering as we surround one who is hurting has great significance. It may be a physical injury or illness - it may be a wound from the battles of life. But our non-judgmental tender-hearted support means much.

Truth Spoken with Potency

"Jesus replied, "If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I'm speaking the truth, why are you beating me?" John 18:23

Jesus spoke truth. While the character of Jesus is absolutely loving and kind, He spoke the truth with potency. Truth by its nature can't be just hinted at and expected to reveal itself fully. There are times when truth must be boldly stated to be genuine to its nature.

Jesus speaking the truth with potency is not contradictory to His lovingkindness and His grace-filled and merciful nature. Love has a soft side but it is also tenacious and tough. Love propelled Jesus through the torture of the crucifixion.

In John 18 Jesus would in short order be sentenced to death. It wasn't the time for gentle soft-spoken words. It was appropriate for truth to be spoken with potency.

Sometimes our hearts need to hear that clear direct potent word from the Lord - because we are so prone to distraction.

When He speaks in this manner, it is never out of anything but love - for love to be real has to be truthful. Sometimes the truth hurts - but those wounds are the kind that can heal and make us stronger.

When I married I was very shy, soft spoken and found it painfully difficult to confront anything. My husband, a great communicator, encouraged me to come out of my shell and learn to articulate my thoughts and emotions. Even as I wrote, he would point out my passive voice and say - "take off your gloves!" Come out and say it. He wanted to see my communication blossom from dancing around a tough subject to someone who could state an issue with potency and clarity. God orchestrated such an influence in my life, for some day as a counselor there would be times I would have to do so.

Jesus always spoke the truth with potency with absolute perfect love that was willing to sacrifice all for our eternal salvation. Truth spoken with that level of love changed the world.

When Dreams Die

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels - a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me." John 12:24-26 (New Living Translation)

Jesus was talking about his death and resurrection. The thought occurs to me this morning however - how about when God allows a dream to die - a dream for good, God-honoring purposes? It is devastating when the dream dies. Perhaps it was a dream for a loved one - the once good relationship has ended. Perhaps it was a dream for the potential we saw in someone and they made choices that ensures that the dream exactly as it was will never come to pass. Maybe it was a dream for a ministry. Our prayers seemed right in line with what we thought was the will of God. When that dream dies it can throw the child of God for a loop.

But, we serve a God of resurrection.

Jesus can make that which is dead come back to life and multiply. We learn to give our dreams up into His hands and trust His sovereignty knowing He is able to do far above what we think or imagine. God is able to give us new dreams - of things we never considered possible. God is able to resurrect hope and faith and multiply the death of that initial dream into many dreams for the future.

There were several times in Joseph's life that looked like his dreams had hit a dead end road. Yet, it came to pass that God preserved multitudes of people in part through what Joseph learned through the death of his dreams. And the ultimate answer to his many years of prayers, some spoken from a pit and some whispered in prison, were far beyond what Joseph ever could have imagined.

God raised Joseph up, and His plans for us are for good, as well.

Courage and Assurance

"My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God's grace for you. Stand firm in this grace." I Peter 5:12b (New Living Translation)

The Apostle Peter in writing to "God's chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia."

He knew they were going through some hard times so near the end of his letter he states the purpose of his letter - encouragement and assurance. Interesting that part of "encourage" is the word "courage."

When we encourage someone we want to inspire courage to face their life circumstances.
And Peter wants to assure his readers that what they were experiencing "was truly part of God's grace for them."

In the middle of a situation where the obedient child of God finds himself or herself suffering, it is of great comfort to know that this one has not been forgotten by God and not out of the realm of His grace. His grace covers and enfolds the suffering believer. The child of God can look forward to restoration, support, strength, and a solid foundation in life.

What's the suffering believer to do in the middle of the fiery trial when the winds of adversity blow so hard that one can hardly see or imagine the next step to take?

Stand - stand firm in God's grace. Remember God's proven love for you demonstrated on the cross. Hold fast to Him. He will never never leave us or forsake us.

The Patina of Restoration

In times of suffering sometimes the greatest fear is that we just won't be able to cope with the situation. We really can't imagine the magnitude of what life has handed us nor conceive that we have the ability to bear up under life's load.

Here's a wonderful promise from God's Word:

"So after you have suffered a little while He will restore, support and strengthen you and He will place you on a firm foundation." I Peter 5:10b

One of God's promises for the one who has placed their complete trust and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ is:
Restoration - being made complete, repaired, made functional again - polished and shined to an original (or perhaps better than original) state.

I love antiques. I'm reminded that something that is restored afterward looks even better than it was originally - it is in great working order, every detail has been meticulously attended to, but there is also an added wonderful patina of age that makes the piece even more lovely than its original state. Somehow in being restored after it has been used and worn, it is better than before. There is a richness, a depth, a deep beauty.

That's a small picture of the hope we have in God's restoring process of our souls. Life sometimes beats on us. We brave the elements and get weathered. Some rust starts to form. We don't work as well as we should. Under the firm but gentle hand of the Master Restorer our lives are attended to and shined as never before. We are restored for useful service and in the process become beautiful in a way something brand new can. Restored.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Student's Inspiring Outlook on Life Celebrated

His name is Jalen Thayer and he is 14. "Life can throw everything and all sorts of things at you." Jalen Said. Indeed, life has thrown Jalen some curveballs. He said, "I thank God and hope everything will be okay, and I'm sure it will be. If it doesn't turn out then I am in God's hands and it is his decision." Here is a link to an article about this inspiring young man.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Sweetness of God's Word

Psalm 19 is a psalm that proclaims the sweetness of God’s Word even describing it as “sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (vs. 12).

In this Psalm of David’s we find his personal life story as relating to how much the Word of God has meant to his life. In church language it’s called a testimony.

There are so many descriptions of what the Bible is, and for me the phrase that resonates in my life is that it is the “book of hope.” When considering my own struggles, issues and life problems (we all have them, don’t we?) it has been in my quiet communion with the Lord, reading His Word that has invariably brought me through. It is in seeing again and again that God loves me, has a plan for my life, has significant purpose in the things I go through and promises for me to act upon that renews my sense of hope. Artist that I am, I am prone by creative temperament to the ups and downs of intense emotions that can color my sense of optimism for the future. The Word of God has been a constant source of equilibrium in my life. My focus on my problems are lifted to a sense of relief that God has not forgotten me or has allowed something in my life that would be an agent of destruction with no way out. The precious things I have learned about God in these times have given me courage for the day and hope for all of my tomorrows, as many as the Lord chooses to give me on earth. Yes, I can concur with King David that in my life God’s Word is sweeter than honey, and if I may, sweeter than chocolate, peppermint, coconut, and all the other favorite flavors that define sweetness to me. The Bible is delicious to my soul. Yum.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grief's Journey

I'm reading through a great little book by H. Norman Wright called Experiencing Grief. I'm very familiar with it - having read it before and offering it to many. But in the weeks after losing my Dad I'm reading, pondering and praying through the book yet again. There's a quote I especially appreciated today. "I cry from time to time, and often find myself swallowing this strange lump in my throat. But I am learning not to apologize for my tears since they are God's gracious gift to me to express my loss, and a sign that I am indeed recovering. As I continue to feel, God continues to heal."

Though I have had moments of intense sadness because I miss my Dad, my most overwhelming emotion is gratefulness. He imprinted my life in so many ways. I am so thankful for my Dad. I walked all over the house today looking at cards he had sent, seeing his handwriting in books he had given me, and looking over his handywork in things he had made which we display proudly in our home. I was blessed. I still am.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For Dad

I’m dedicating I.N.S.P.I.R.E. to the memory of my Dad, John Farris, who passed away this past week on February 22, 2010. My Dad inspired me. He always believed in me and was a great encourager in my life. Every area of I.N.S.P.I.R.E. makes me think of my Dad. Education was very important to my father. He was a lifetime learner. At the age of 90 he still read three major newspapers each day. When we discussed I.N.S.P.I.R.E. this past November (photo) he expressed to me how important he thought the skills of writing and public speaking were for people to develop. We talked about my work in counseling, and he asked meaningful questions about showing people compassion in hearing and responding to their problems in life. My Dad encouraged my art from an early age. I spent many happy hours in his workshop, drawing on pieces of wood. If he needed that wood to build something, he would not paint over the drawing or sand it off. He would put a coat of clear finish over it and just use it on the bottom of a piece of furniture where it was preserved. He treasured the things we made. He had a love of music and encouraged his children (six of us) to play musical instruments in school. From his efforts the beginning sounds of piano, clarinet, cello, accordion, recorder, guitar and two violins were heard in our home. I played violin, and then the guitar for many years. It was enough to give me a great appreciation for those who can play music well. Dad was a believer in physical fitness and rode his bicycle on 100 mile rides into his 70’s. We were big on walking in our family, and he took us on mountain hikes in the nearby mountains. I think he would have enjoyed watching the run/walk event. The following week after this picture was taken, my Father sent me a check of support for I.N.S.P.I.R.E. There will be an additional award in art given out at the Gala Celebration in his honor. Thank you Daddy for inspiring me. I hope I can pass it on to others. Until I see you again in heaven, I will miss you more than words can express.
Your loving daughter, Penny
John 14:1-3