Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dad's ONE REQUEST

I love the way Carlisle draws. It is so expressive and so healing.

Her pictures are always of people. Her family. And she ALWAYS draws heaven, or someone from heaven, in her picture. This is the picture she drew in church during Dad's funeral. 'C' stands for Carlisle. 'P' stands for Punkin. My favorite...their shirts with initials on them and the CP 'Carlisle Punkin' in the middle.
(I get emails and messages everyday from friends and strangers asking if you can pass along the blog to friends and family who need to hear Dad's story of redemption and Christ's love. Yes yes yes. Please do. All glory to God.)
Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'

Before...
And after...



The way I KNOW that I am behind...


I visit my BFF's blog, and notice, in her link list, beside my name...the last time I blogged was 3 weeks ago. BFF's are good for alot of things, reminding me that I need to blog is reason #234.
Seems the summer is HERE. We are in the process of finishing up ev-er-y-thing. The girls had their incredibly, perfectly sweet dance recital. I got my summer fun highlights. The pool opened up. My Monday night Perspectives Biblestudy ended tonight. School is over this week.

But back to the blogging.

It's not that I have nothing to say.

Opposite. I have so much to say that I have deer in headlights...how do I get these feelings out? So I blog.
...I have SO many things circling in my head and heart.
In life.
In grief.


Right after Dad died, Brian scooped me up and took me to Charleston for a long weekend. Just the two of us.
We were in Charleston for the entire weekend, just us. We called it our 'love-cation'. He thought we could use some time away to rejuvenate, to spend time together, to reconnect.

That Saturday, Brian googled downtown churches. Next he looked up 'community churches'. He typed in 'new church downtown Charleston'. Found one. Start up church.The website says, we model the church after the churches in the book of Acts. Perfect.

It's like the church my sister goes to in Charlotte. It doesn't have an actual location. So they rent a space and set it all up. It's held in a school.

We arrived early. Not getting three little girls dressed, ready and hair done. Whew. Simplicity. Simplicity. I just brushed my own hair. Actually I didn't even brush mine. I threw it in a side pony tail.

So with the extra time, we drove around the Citadel, Brian's alma mater. The cadets had graduated the day before. So it was deserted. And beautiful. As always.

When we got back to the church, we were still early.

We slipped down to the front of the small auditorium. Early to church. Oh my gosh. Brian's dream day.

It started. The music was awesome. We sang songs we knew, and some new ones too.
'How Deep the Father's Love'

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the s
coffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplishe
d
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

As we were singing, my thoughts, of course, wandered to my Dad. I thought how amazing God was for saving him, especially after a long life of not being faithful to the Lord. I thought how God is in the business of CHANGING LIVES. Exchanging really. Our broken down, sinful lives for new lives in Christ.

We are all saved by His Grace. His goodness. It matters none whether you are 22 or 102. It simply takes willingness to surrender all.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.


My thoughts stay on Dad. Saved. Amazing.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.

Now Dad is there. In HEAVEN. Spending ETERNITY with Jesus. Singing 'Holy holy holy.'

The bible actually says this about those in heaven:
'Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come." ' Revelation 4:8

A few weeks before he died, Dad had a request.

ONE REQUEST.

He unabashedly asked. Each of us. Brother Andy, sister and I... To help him with his request.

He never asked for ANYTHING... before or after this one request. It was his hearts desire.

LITERALLY. His DYING request.

It wasn't a big request.

What does a dying man wish for?

Money? A vacation? New clothes?

Well of course not.

That's silly. Of. course. not.

And in all actuality, are we not all dying? We don't think of ourselves in the category of 'those who are dying.' Yet we are.

'No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.' Matthew 24:36

We focus on the temporal. We try not to, but we do. Human nature….sin nature.

Dad wanted ONE thing.

He wanted his entire family to gather around him. Lay our hands on him and PRAY. PRAY FOR A PHYSICAL HEALING.

So, we as a family simply had to make it happen. And we did.

There were 11 people in that hospital room that day. From all over the United States. Texas, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina.

My Dad lay in the middle of the hospital bed. My Mom, his three children, his two siblings, his niece and nephew, and two pastors were there. The pastor anointed his head with oil. And we PRAYED. The kind of prayer where the Holy Spirit descends and the presence of the Lord is there. THERE. If you've experienced it, you know.

We don't remember days. We remember moments.
Those moments, in that hospital room, are now a gift from God. Right up there beside my wedding day and the birth of those four little girls.

God chose to answer our prayer that day in the way that He saw fit. He saved his SOUL. Not his health. His SOUL.

I wonder what it felt like to be my Dad. He knew some about the bible, but was no scholar. How did it feel to walk up to those gates of heaven and be welcomed in, like a King?


This I know for sure: Ressurection is real. Eternal Life is more powerful than death. Light pierces the dark. Christ has overcome the world. I have witnessed His goodness.
Do I cry? Sometimes. With my girls staring at me wide-doe-eyed...yes. Carlisle asked me to read a book. Innocent enough. It just so happened to be the book that Dad bought and gave her in 2006, when she was like 10 seconds old. I think he probably brought it to the hospital the first time she and he met...moments after she was born. It's called 'I Already Know I Love You.'
I read recently that grief interupts EVERY aspect of your life in ways you wouldn't expect. TRUE.

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness.
It is a sign of being human.

Here's the email I sent to my aerobics friends last night...

My Aerobics Friends and Supporters,

The death of my Dad has put a lot of things in perspective for me.

The main one is, I want a break. A break from obligations and schedules.

Perhaps it's the fact that I have just been through the process of watching my Dad die, from cancer, for the last 5 months and I am raw.

or

Maybe it's simple. I've never just-taken a break from teaching aerobics. Never.

In the last 8 years of teaching at McLeod, I've taught a total of....you ready for this?....over 2000 classes.

For 36 months of that, I was pregnant with our 4 girls. We buried one of them and I returned to teaching 2 weeks later. I broke my foot teaching a Saturday class and returned 3 weeks
later, I had Mono, and each time I had a baby, I returned to teaching when they were 5 weeks-old....and now most recently, I buried my Dad....I have never just 'taken a break'.

It's time.

And it's just for the summer.

I want to be with my Hunk of Burning Love, my girls (ages 1, 3 & 5), my Mom, my sister. I want to lay on the beach, have spend-the-night parties, do mission work, stay in jammies all day, travel, TAKE aerobics classes (on the 1st row....or 2nd row, or BACK row!), read my bible, and rejuvenate! :)

I need this.
My plan is to be sunshine-summer-girl for June, July and August. And, return to teaching in September.

I appreciate y'all. YOU ARE MY JOB SECURITY! :) Cebie is organizing all of the classes and instructors, see the summer schedule for more details.
So, watch out. I'll be rested and ready to kick some bootys! Right after Labor Day.

Of course, I'll be assessable. I'll be blogging and on Facebook, friend me, if you haven't already. Info below.

I love you guys,
Jennie
Grief is the cost of loving someone. Here's an understatement... Not sure how to say just how much I loved him. Boy, I sure did love him. Period.
I don't forget that he has died. But I do pick up my phone to call him, only to realize that I can't. Dad was my go-to guy. If something BIG happened, I'd call. Bounce it off him. Think it through. Feel understood. Feel loved. Hang up and feel connected. To the situation. To him... I just can't do that anymore. And that makes ABSOLUTELY NO since to me.


What was my Dad to me?

• my
encourager
• my source of many laughs

• my hair rubber
• my run-ideas-past him guy
• my mood lightener
• my INCREDIBLE dance partner• the one who I am SO similar to
• the arms that embrace and comfort me
• my mechanic and fix-it guy
• the one who ALWAYS cheers me on
You, friends and blog readers are so precious for emailing such encouragement. These are uncharted territories for me. Every bit of it is hard. I am loving my Father and letting him go and holding on tight. It is a feeling of such helplessness and overpowering love. Keep praying. I am too. And I will try to blog more often, so that these posts won't be 2 miles long.


Lastly, from the backseat, one day last week, I hear this...
Ev: 'Mommy. You're my baby.'

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