Summer has ended and with it comes a new season to embrace. I love fall. It’s always slow coming to Louisiana. I try to urge it on by pulling out the fall decorations, checking the temperatures each day, anticipating the pumpkin bread and hot chocolate we’ll share around the fire pit, and pulling out my favorite sweater when it finally cools off in October!
As I wait, I think back over the events of summer. I’m filled with gratitude for the faith lessons God has woven into my story. Since I last blogged much has happened. My youngest daughter spent the month of June with us - a rare and unexpected treat before her move to New York. My oldest daughter, son-n-law and grand daughter came in for Father’s Day weekend and we were all together to celebrate. They were able to see their father lead worship at our new church, another amazing blessing.
Each Sunday as I hear my husband play the piano and lead worship and I join my voice with the chorale to sing praises, I’m grateful that God has provided a place of ministry, a home to praise Him and serve the body of Christ with our gifts.
Faith lessons - Sometimes God has other plans and they are better that what you had asked for.
We prayed and prayed that our daughter would find an affordable apartment and roommates for June in NYC. She didn’t, but we got to spend precious days together instead.
We thought that perhaps our days of leading worship in a church were over, but the Lord had a new season of ministry planned for us.
I spent much of May and June in severe pain in my back. I’m grateful that after 2 months of therapy I can finally walk without pain. My how we take for granted the simple daily tasks we do until suddenly we can’t!
My back healed just in time to move my daughter to NYC the first week of July. I’m grateful that the Lord provided her with sweet Christian roommates and a safe place to live. We worked hard all week moving, unpacking, cleaning and making a home for these four young musicians who are braving the Big Apple and following their dreams. As we set up her room I reflected on a blog I had written last spring as we drove home from one of our last college visits with our youngest daughter. I wrote about all the lessons I hoped she had learned. Lessons I prayed I had modeled. Lessons to prepare my sweet daughter for life on her own. I decided to make her Soulcare cards to hang in her new little room in her apartment. I started that process and prayed over each one I made, hoping that they would be a reminder in the days ahead of truth and wisdom for her life’s journey.
As we hung the Soulcare cards in her room on a frame I found, I was filled with gratitude that I have been given the privilege to be a mom in this life, the privilege to invest and love two daughters so deeply.
And it is a privilege as well to let them go and find their wings to fly.
We worked hard all week and rewarded ourselves with a few Broadway shows at the end. Such fun to laugh together. One of the shows we saw was, “Something Rotten” which was nominated for 10 Tony awards. It was written by two men we had worked with in our church ministry years ago during their high school days. They were a brief part of our story of working with young musicians through the years. You never know what the Lord has planned for the lives that He weaves into yours. What joy!
And again, I was filled with gratitude - for a home for my child, a husband who loves the city of New York and keeps me brave in it, for years of music ministry, and for the joy that a night at the theater can bring.
All too soon the time came for us to leave Mary Elizabeth and fly home. Before we left I walked through her apartment and that it would be a haven of the Father's love and light. Then we gathered all together and prayed with her roommate. It was a sacred moment.
As we were standing in the line at the airport to check our bags, a woman who looked to be at least 80 came in behind us struggling with a giant suitcase. It was much too heavy for a woman her age to be handling. I offered to help and engaged her in conversation and asked where she was headed. She said she had lived in NY for 50 years and was going to visit her daughters in Miami. “They don’t want me to live with them,” she said, “ so I just go for visits. I live with my 60 year old son and when I leave he doesn’t eat what I have left. I hate for it to go to waste. I know what it is to have nothing, so I bring it with me. I remember those days. And I hate to arrive with nothing to offer when I visit my daughters.”
I pondered her words, looked at that giant suitcase and wondered what was in it, hoped it wasn’t perishable and didn’t get lost! But, as we left toward our gate and boarded our plane, I thanked God for the reminder to be grateful for the abundance of what we have. Jesus had given me a sacred moment in LaGuardia airport.
I have never known what it is to have nothing.
Then I began to get excited about our last summer trip for the season. My birthday falls toward the end of August and for many years (about eight I think) we have spent the days around my birthday traveling to move our daughters in and out of college dorms and apartments. But this year, all the moving was done and for my 60th birthday I had requested that everyone gather together to celebrate in the mountains. I love the mountains!
And so we spent a week together - family flew in and drove the distance to soak in God’s beauty and blessing in our lives. We simply relaxed and enjoyed each other, ate way too much wonderful food, and took in the spectacular mountains of North Carolina. God blessed us with cool temperatures. We even had several fires in the outdoor fireplace at the home we rented.... in August!!!
And I am so grateful - for family, for the sacrifices they made to be with me, for the grace and love poured into my life through them all these many years. I’m grateful for majestic mountains, rainbows and waterfalls, dinners on the deck, pedicures with my girls, laughter and tears, quiet times in God’s presence, grand baby hugs, and memories to cherish for a lifetime.
We ended our summer on labor day weekend with a gathering at our home of some special friends....just a sampling of the many who have prayed for us over this last year.
As we gathered in a circle and held hands to pray before dinner together, I thanked God for them, for their love, for their prayers during one of the most difficult years of our lives. A year ago last September, my heart was heavy, our life was in total upheaval. We couldn’t imagine what lay ahead, but the Lord knew.
He had a plan for the story of our lives, for our future together and in ministry. And, yes, there have been hard days, uncertain days, days when tears fell and I thought my heart might break,
but there have also been deep friendships, laughter, music, provision, new beginnings and adventures, and lessons in trust, resting in His faithfulness, and discovering the sacred moments in our days.
It’s been a summer and a year of blessings, some hidden that we had to look for through sorrow and some just ready to embrace and enjoy.
What faith lessons has the Lord taught you this past summer season?
Sometimes it’s good to take a moment to reflect back before you move forward. As I read over this blog before posting, I realize that the making of the Soulcare cards for my daughter were as much for me as for her. We all need to tend to our souls, to the truths found in God's Word, and the wisdom learned from the faith lessons the Lord weaves into our daily lives. The creative process helped me to make a sacred space to soak in what the Father is doing in my own life and has brought me to a place of deep gratitude and hope.
What blessings have you experienced?
Take a moment and thank Him with a heart of gratitude.
A new season is coming!
Ask the Father to give you a grateful and expectant heart.
Make space for the sacred in the everyday moments of your life.
What will be your story?
His grace....it pours out everyday.
His love....it’s lavish and abundant.
Look for it and take the time to treasure it.
With a grateful heart,
If you're interested - here is the link to the original "Soulcare" blog from 3/8/2015
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9/14/2015 01:31:05 pm
Thanks for sharing! This year has been quite a hard one for you guys. God is good. I am so glad you have a great church and so so glad the Ken is directing Mary Poppins for CYT Baton Rouge!
9/14/2015 08:27:08 pm
Thanks Michele! Yes, He is good!
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