We had my dad’s memorial service this past Saturday and it was a sweet time to remember and honor a life well lived. We were honestly blown away with the amount of support from the many that attended, served and loved our family well. I’m so thankful for my sweet friend, Sarah, that took photos for us – she captured the true emotion of the day and I found myself looking through the large file of candid shots saying, “Wait – THEY were there? I never even saw them?” and “Ahhhh…I’m so happy I got a hug from her!” etc. The day was truly a blur, until I relived it again through photos. What a gift.
As I got to this photo – I was overwhelmed with so many emotions.
Typically (and maybe it’s just a “girl thing”) I look for myself in a photo and then decide, by the way I look, if it’s “good” or not (ridiculous…something I’m working on). But this time, I didn’t even notice or look for “Lori” – instead I thought about how thankful my dad would be to see it…us…his family. He was not a “proud man” – unless he was talking about one of us. He loved well and had a lot of pride in the legacy that he had/was given…ALWAYS offering praise and glory to God for the gift of our family.
I/we have received a lot of wonderful comments about our family the last few weeks/months…and certainly at the service. They were sweet sentiments about our unity during this time and how much love and care was evident as we worked hard, as a team, to love and care for my dad. I realize and am thankful that we are “unique” (please, please do not read “perfect”) – it breaks my heart to hear of other families that can’t be in the same room with each other, don’t communicate at all, or where a funeral would be a war zone of “who got what”, etc.
That’s not, currently, “Us”…but it could be.
Today I’m struggling with some “fear thoughts” (and a little conviction). Here’s why…
A few years ago a well-meaning person “warned” me about how “vocal” I was about my love for Tom…and my family. They warned me that Satan would like nothing more than to see me fall – someone that was so “yahoo marriage”. That conversation bothered me for months, but God has used it in my life – to be mindful of the truth…Satan DOES want to destroy what we are working hard at. (OK…please don’t read that as “So- I’m backing off from talking about my man”. Hello! Have you seen my facebook or been with me? He’s AWESOME…I’m thankful…I’m gonna keep talking!)
A few months ago I started reading an AMAZING book called “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer. It’s all about prayer and has opened my eyes to truly praying differently. I’m actually reading through it with four other women and we meet to discuss and PRAY. And man…We have PRAYED…and we have seen God answer! We have been strategic and specific…and serious.
There is a chapter entitled “Your Family” and when we discussed it (2+ months ago), I underlined almost the entire thing. It starts off like this…
“If I were your enemy, I’d seek to disintegrate your family and destroy every member of it. I’d want to tear away at your trust and unity and turn everyone’s love inward on themselves. I would make sure your family didn’t look anything like it’s supposed to. Because then people would look at your Christian marriage, your Christian kids, and see you’re no different, no stronger than anybody else– that God, underneath it all, really doesn’t change anything.”
The last few weeks we have been under a huge amount of stress…we are tired, we are weary. I’m well aware that we ALL (yes, me) need time to rest and just “be” (my friend/mentor, Claudia, will be happy to see that in print)…but I’m convicted today because I’ve allowed Satan a foothold into my grief. He’s given me opportunities to have ugly/unkind thoughts about others…and I’ve run with it. He’s given me opportunities to be self-focused and “righteous”…and I’ve gone there. He’s caused upset that I could have refused to get involved in…and yet, I’ve joined the party and served extra chips!
Today I’m reminded that I need to get serious in praying for my family again…because with all the “attention” and, (for lack of a better phase), “In the spot light” we have been, Satan is NOT happy and he’s ready to destroy. He would like nothing more than to make us a joke…to have people look back and say, “I knew it was too good to be true….they really didn’t like each other. They’re a bunch of frauds.”
Later in Priscilla’s chapter she says, “So here we go. This is it. Bring your family issues right up to the line here and let’s get some stuff out in the open. Let’s get specific…let’s show him (Satan) the kind of resistance that a steady dose of prayer is able to exact (demand) against his demolition plans.” Today, this afternoon, I’m bringing it…I’ve got my list of where Satan is wanting to cause strife, conflict, confusion and upset…but, here’s the thing – I believe God is more powerful than anything the enemy can throw our way.
People have asked me what they can do to help me…how they can support me well after losing my dad. I’ve typically been answering, “I think we are ok – thanks”…but now I have an answer.
Please, when you think of us, just pray…pray that I (we) would support each other well, that our eyes will be fixed on what is TRUE, that our minds would be free of things that don’t point us to Him…and that grace and love would overflow from us – individually and as a family…together and apart.
Not to “toot our own horn” but – we, TRULY, are an AMAZING family. God does amazing things when you have parents that pray. My parents have always made that a priority (together and individually)…and I’m so thankful for the many, many hours (ohhhh, those high school years especially) my dad prayed over me!
I’m thinking there is nothing I could do that would make him more proud, than to pray for his/our family.
So, back off, enemy. This family….well, we have a FIRM foundation. We had an earthly father who loved Jesus and prayed hard…and we have a HEAVENLY Father who has kicked your “butt” before…and will again!
Oh…and just two more pics, because – “My dad would want me to!”
#lukethomas & #aisleyelizabeth
1 Peter 4:7 & 8: The end of all things is near; therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another.