Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't Forget!

Today marked my last, "last day of class." This is the end of 14 "last day of classes" over the past 7 years and 14 semesters of college and university. My childhood best friend once asked if I was getting "a PhD or something" and the answer, unfortunately, was no. I told her I was spending 2 years at Bible college figuring out what to do with my life and then needed to next 5 years to get ready to do what I figured out!

This morning, I was was sipping my coffee and thinking that now that this long awaited moment had arrived, I needed commemorate it somehow! It seemed appropriate to take a few moments and thank God for all he has provided on this journey that is soon coming to a close. As I started to list a few obvious things that came to mind, God's faithfulness overwhelmed me like a flood. As I listed off one provision after another, I was reminded that He did provide every single thing that I needed over the past 7 years whether it was finances, relationships, comfort, strength, time, rest, endurance or for physical needs, just like He promised he would!

Next, my thoughts wandered to the beginning of this journey. It seemes natural, I guess, when you're near the end of something to think back to how it all started. The summer 2003 was when I was getting ready to head off to Bible school and it was also, ironically enough, (much like the last year) a rocky time for our family. At the end of the summer, we were told that he had been diagnosed with depression. The struggles he had been having for a number of months were finally beginning to make sense. I watched my invincible dad be broken and transparent and at that point in my life, it was the hardest thing I had seen. This morning I was looking through my journal from that time and early in the fall I had written:

"Thank you God that you are bringing my parents through this time... and for taking care of us. I think I'm taking this okay because I know that you are in control."

It seemed odd that I could say almost the exact same words now.

"Thank you God for bringing our family through this time and taking care of us. We will be okay because you are in control."

God showed himself faithful then, he continues to now, and since history tends to be a good indication of the future, I would be willing to bet- or better yet, I know- He will continue to be, whatever storm may come.

I'm such a forgetful person. If I don't make a to-do list, I forget all the things that must be done. If I don't take a list to the grocery store, I always forget at least one thing! If I don't take to remember all that He has done, I risk forgetting just how faithful and good He has been in my life, and that's not a risk I should be willing to take!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time is a Funny Thing

Today is February 17, 2010. It's been 6 months since my dad passed away. It's crazy to think about how much can change in such a short period of time. My tendency is to measure time by the proximity to life-changing events.

At this very time just three years ago, I was months away from my dad walking me down the aisle. Two years ago close to this time, he took Emily to a watch the Phoenix Suns game down in Seattle. He was healthy and probably feeling quite invincible. Only four months later, we were touching down in the Philippines, a trip that was a surprise blessing to our family because of the diagnosis. And just over a year from when we arrived back home from that same trip, my dad passed away. Crazy.

Time is a strange paradox. Though it does seems that so much can change in so little time, what is also interesting to me is how little things can change in a given period of time. My dad had a John Piper book that was always laying around the house. I've never read it but the title always caught my attention as if to challenge and remind me: "Don't Waste Your Life."

When I think back to how much has changed in the last three years, I can't help but also ponder how much or how little my life has changed since then. What have I done in the time God has given me?

Imagine if $1440 were deposited into a bank account at the beginning of each day for you to spend. It is up to your discretion how to spend it but it all must be spent in that day. Any remaining balances cannot be transferred and once it's gone, it's gone. There are no credits, advances or overdrafts. That would mean that in a week we would have $10,080 at our disposal and in one month, $43,200. It would seem as if that great amount of money would be more than enough to cover any kind of expense.

Time is a resource we've been given just like money. We have 1440 minutes in a day, 10,080 minutes in a week and 43,200 minutes in a month to spend at our discretion.

Ultimately, the way we spend our time ends up being the way we spend our life. If you're anything like me, there have been days or weeks that have slipped by at times when it feels as if you have nothing of eternal value to show for it. Time doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down. On the contrary, it seems to only speed up as I've gotten older and the sense of urgency to spend wisely only seems to increase.

My hope is that as time continues to fly by that I can take opportunities to view these milestones as a time to pause and ponder how I'm spending my life. My dad's faith throughout his life, illness and up until his death had a resounding impact on my life. Now the question is, how much have I allowed God to change since then?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Love, Dad

If you read the Teary Traditions post, you may remember the little blooper we shared as a family when we tearily went to watch my dad's very special surprise video message and realized that we in fact, had the wrong DVD.

Well, we finally got all our ducks in a row and since all of us girls were together this last weekend, we sat down to watch it. We were equipped and ready with a full box of kleenex and we situated ourselves where we could easily console one another as the floodgates opened.

Just as quickly as the tape started rolling, the tears started streaming. My dad videotaped this little segment last December 2nd, 2008. He speech was still understandable to the family, but barely audible to the general public. You could see how it was a struggle for him to make out the words but how at the same time, there was an urgency and sense of importance in what he had to say.

He started out talking to Emily- and to her future husband who (bless him whoever he is) will have many layers of brother-in-law to penetrate through one day and, the "dad talk" via DVD.

He had specific words of wisdom for all of his girls and son-in-laws, reminders of his love and appreciation for my mom, reminders of his love for his present and future grandchildren and the admonition for all of us to live out our faith, walk with God and teach our children to do the same. And of course... several reminders of just how much he loved watching us all play basketball and how Emily is going to be the one to go all the way! Surprised?

It was the perfect mix of dad. He filmed this video when he was still in the uncontrollable laughter phase of the disease. He'd be in the middle of a very heart-wrenching sentence and then break out into hysterical laughter. This of course, allowed the very emotional viewers a few brief intermissions from crying in exchange for laughter.

It truly was and will always be a treasure. I'm thankful that he took the time to do this. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to sit down and record a video that you know your loved ones will only watch once you have passed on.

The theme of his message was no surprise as it's the same thing he lived out and encouraged us to do when he was still with us. Now I feel as though he has joined the great cloud of witnesses found in Hebrews 11 and is saying, "Run with perseverance the race marked out for you." I'll be cheering you on.