Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Letter to My Graduating Son

Our eldest officially graduates on Thursday. As commencement draws near, I've been thinking about the last thirteen years of his life as he progressed through kindergarten up until now. Taking a cue from Sher Bailey, I used the opportunity to collect those thoughts and write them down to share with him at a dinner celebrating the graduating seniors from our church. With his permission, I am sharing it with you. 

Dear Son,

You graduate this week. Wow! What a milestone. I almost have no words to describe the amazing and incredible feelings we have, so I will simply say we are so proud we of you and this moment in your life.

Did you ever think it would arrive this soon? I know your Dad and I sure didn't. It truly seems only yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital, placing you in your crib, and staring at one another with a “What do we do with him now?” look upon our faces. This time in our lives, watching you graduate from high school, has crept up and surprised us with its rapidity!

Son, we know you are going to surpass any expectation of succeeding, because you've always been a great success. You set goals and achieve each of them. Some have taken more steps than others, and some needed a step back before moving forward again; however, you learned from any errors and met your goals. Though you probably feel you already have life firmly figured out right now, I want to give you a few tips before you embark on your college journey.

Go to class. Even though we know there will be days you don't want to drag yourself out of bed, get up and go. We've invested in you and your future. You're preparing for your future. Going to class will assure you are ready when your future becomes your present. 

Your Dad has worked hard to give you a stable home and encouraging environment. He is such a good example of what a Dad should be, and he's the only other person I know who loves you as much as I love you. Be sure to call him, not text, to say 'Hello' and 'Thanks, Pop!' every once in awhile.

When you get homesick, get a low grade, or get your heart broken, you might think you should leave school behind and just come home. Except for overnight or a weekend, don't do it. You're not meant to go backwards. Put one foot in front of the other, and keep looking ahead. Life is a journey that only goes in a forward-moving direction.

Our relationship is going to change. You've entered a new and exciting era of your life. You're learning to fly, and I'm learning to let you go. It's going to be a challenge for both of us, and we'll probably make a few mistakes along the way. Just remember, I always have the best intentions. PS...my advice is pretty spot-on most of the time!

Read your Bible. Your great-Grandma told you Bible stands for Basic Information Before Leaving Earth. She was right. It is and will always be your Life-Line.

Hold on to your beliefs, Son. You are leaving a place where most everyone who surrounds you believes the same things you do. You are going to find those beliefs challenged as you find your place in the world. Remember who you are, and Whose you are. You are a child of the Most High God; a living, breathing miracle created in His image for His Glory. When life is going in a direction you didn't plan, cling to this.

We're always here if you need us. You can call us day or night, even if it's just 'cause you want to hear our voices. And come home every once in awhile so your Momma can hug your neck!

Son, we cannot wait to see where God takes you on your life journey! And no matter what...

We will always love you. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Patience and a Tub of Cool Whip

Image Source
Has anyone ever told you we shouldn't pray for patience? Well, yeah, I forgot that today as I was shopping for groceries.

I don't know about you, but going to the grocery is the least of my favorite weekly tasks. I have three teenagers, two of them boys, who are bottomless pits. We can quickly go through some food!

The shopping went easily enough. I scanned my list, dropped items into my cart, and ticked off tally-marks to stay within budget. (Sidenote:  I only take cash with me to the grocery. It's a fantastic way to keep Oreos out of the cart!

I was finished fairly fast with all the aisles, and came upon a long line with only one cashier. Inwardly sighing, I resolved to simply wait with patience.  I'm working on living out this verse, Ephesians 4:2 and have trouble remembering and following it! 

After a few minutes, another cashier opened her station and motioned over the next-in-line customer. She pushed her cart, brimming with groceries, to form the new line. Slowly, one-at-a-time, she pulls each item from the cart onto the conveyor. At this point, I'm having an inner-discussion going something like this: 

"Deep breath, Larri. You're not in any hurry today. 
You have nowhere to go except home to unload these groceries.
You're not on a deadline.
Maybe this lady is just enjoying being out and about around people." 

followed up with:

"Lord, please help me keep my patience in check."

God must have had His ear right ready to hear that prayer. In the next moment, as I have forced a pleasant look upon my face, the lady turns her focus past the next-in-line, and eyeballs me. She shouts in a very thick drawl, "Could you grab me some Cool Whip?"

I was a bit taken aback, mostly because I was still praying for patience.
I managed to squeak, "Beg pardon?"

She smiled and persisted, "You know...Cool Whip. The frozen whipped cream in the tub?" 

The cashier sort of had a look of horror on her face at the audacity. Pointing, she meekly said to me, "It's just over there next to the ice cream."

Finally, my brain engaged with the rest of me, and I said, "Sure! Be right back."

I scurried back to the frozen section, pulled out a tub of Cool Whip, and handed it up the line. The lady hollered back, "Thanks, hon!"

And I just laughed all the way home, thanking God for the giggle.
I prayed for patience...and He gave me a right nice test of it. 

How has your patience been tested this week?
How did you respond in that moment?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book of Jude, verse 25

(New American Standard Bible)

to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
be glory, majesty, dominion and authority,
before all time and now and forever. Amen.

(New Living Translation)
All glory to him who alone is God, 
our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time,
and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

We reached the last verse in the book of Jude. He finishes with an incredible description of our Creator and His Son. There are many words to digest in this meaty verse. Here's what stands out to me.

You may want to dig in and draw your own conclusions
by reading some commentaries at Biblegateway.com or BlueLetterBible.org.

  • to the only God our Savior - Jude uses the word μόνος mónos here, which translates He who alone is God, though when traced back to the root word, μένω ménō, we find a primary verb which means:  to stay (in a given state, relation or expectancy). It also means to abide, to be held, remain, kept continually.  While I couldn't find an exact reference to this particular verse, θεός theós when translated means God, the Creator and owner of all things; as well as referring to the supreme being who owns and sustains all things. σωτήρ sōtḗr, the author of our salvation through Jesus Christ, is from the primary σώζω sṓzō which means to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to rescue. 
  • be glory, majesty, dominion and authority - δόξα dóxa, or glory, is the kingly majesty which belongs to Him who is the supreme ruler. Majesty is μεγαλωσύνη megalōsýnē in Greek. We have to trace its roots a bit to fully understand this word. μέγας mégas the root of majesty translates to great, predicated of rank, as of persons, eminent for ability, virture, authority, power and of things which overstep the province of a created being. κράτος krátos is the Greek word for dominion. It translates as power, might, mighty in power. ἐξουσία exousía, is authority. Jude used this word as the power of Him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed.
  • before all time and now and forever - I think this phrase is self-explanatory. The words in Greek translate the same into English. God: He Is, He Was, He Always Will Be. 

This is a lot to take in, isn't it? Let's re-write so we might fully understand what Jude is telling us. 

To He, Who alone is God,
the Creator and owner of all things,
the Author of Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ,
be the kingly majesty which belongs to Him,
Who is the supreme ruler, great, mighty in power,
and Whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed,
before all time and now and forever.  

Are you beginning to see He is quite indescribable? We can give all the illustrious words and accolades, yet we cannot fully describe Him. You know what I love best about this verse? The "AMEN" at the end. Amen means so be it, or it is Truth. You can firmly believe all these descriptions are truly Who He Is.

This Awesome God...He so loves you.


What stood out most to you in this verse?