Legacy by Trish

Legacy in part by definition means, “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor” (Merriam-Webster). This word has special meaning to me as the month of November is honored in my heart being it is the birth month of my mother and one year since her transition to heaven.

This time last year she was dealing with a variety of ailments in her physical body, but something supernatural happened during what would be her final days on earth.  She was being healed in such a beautiful way in more than just her physical body.

You see, my mother longed for healing not only in her physical state but in those areas not seen where life had hurt her. In what was revealed to us by the doctors as her “last days” I saw my mom receive healing in every area of her life and there was such peace. God granted us such precious times together as we prayed, sang and read scripture knowing she was one step closer to meeting her Heavenly Father.

My mom was by no means perfect. She had many flaws and imperfections. Yet through it all, she had a steadfast faith and she pressed through whatever she was facing. Isn’t that the story of us all? Who on this earth is perfect? Yet in all of these imperfections and cracks in our life, we can allow His light to shine through us and His strength to be made perfect in our weakness.

As I ponder today almost one year later since last seeing her, since saying my last “I love you” to her, I think of one word, legacy. I don’t consider what mistakes she made or what she didn’t have. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for who she was to me and what she left behind as a legacy.

By society’s standards my mom was not rich yet she had true wealth. You see even as an adult when I would go home to visit my mom, I would wake up in the early morning to see her reading her Word. Each day she would go to her church for the daily Bible Reading and she would end her night singing worship songs to God. This was not done out of religion or routine but a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. My mom left to me something far greater than all the money in the world; she gave me Jesus.

She gave me a foundation of faith and example of “never quit”. Anyone who knew my mom could quickly identify how strong she was, right, wrong or indifferent, she would not be moved from what she felt in her heart to be right. I saw my mom press past what would have caused others to give up.  She gave me strength.

From the time I was little she would tell me how beautiful I was and she would tell me I was capable of doing anything I set my heart to do. Being biracial in a predominately white community she taught me to treasure who I was and embrace what made me different. She told me I could achieve absolutely anything!  She gave me confidence.

When I was disappointed or hurt, she would remind me that God was always there. Somehow through the phone from miles away she would make everything better just by listening and praying with me. She gave me comfort.

Her smile was so big and her laugh contagious. One of our favorite things to do during the past few years was watch “Golden Girls” together. I’m not sure which was more entertaining, the show itself, or hearing my mom laugh at episodes I know she had seen many times before. Summer nights were spent on her patio playing games. She would relish in the fact she could destroy me at the game “Boggle.” I loved seeing her laugh! She gave me joy.

Her cooking and baking was by far the best I’ve ever had. As a young girl she would make me help her in the kitchen and each time I dreaded it because it was her passion and not mine. As I got older I learned to value these lessons in the kitchen because over the years I knew it would be a time I would one day treasure. I’d like to say she gave me her kitchen skills but no.  However, she gave me memories.

She fought for me, stood in the gap and prayed for me. She wiped my tears and held my hand too many times for me to count. She sang to me, motivated me and bore the responsibility of both mom and dad. She defended me, protected me and nurtured me. She taught me, disciplined me and inspired me. All of this to say, she gave me love.

So, I will in turn do my best to give to others the good I have learned from her. I will treasure the memories and forever be grateful for what I have inherited from her.  Jesus, strength, confidence, comfort, joy, memories and love…LEGACY.

 

Photo Credit:  Omar Galarza  Photography 2016

Thankful Heart by Sonya

 

As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, God has given me prospective on a lot of things and showing me all the things I am to be thankful for and to have a thankful heart. If I’m being real, this last month I was tested a lot in my faith because it seemed like nothing was going right. In two weeks time, my computer, my phone and my refrigerator stopped working. That wasn’t that bad but to find out all three of my daughters had head lice and dealing with that for two weeks was a toll. But to top it off was finding out my youngest daughter needed to have elbow surgery and my husband has Barrett’s esophagus. These things overwhelmed me as a mom to take care of my whole family and be strong in my faith. I wanted to just cry a lot of the times because I felt like I wasn’t getting a break from life. Have you ever felt like that in your life where everything around you was not going right? I fell to my knees and prayed and, with the Holy Spirit as my guide, He changed how I was looking at life. God showed me to look to Him and His Grace and not our circumstances. I love how 2 Corinthians 4: 15-18, “And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving and God will receive more and more glory.” This why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we cans see right now; we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”  The joys from above and all of who God is will last forever, which spoke right to my heart as I went through these troubles. Yes these troubles are short lived and it kept my eyes off the joy of the Lord and all He has done. God had to show me His glory by opening my eyes to all the things I do have and the good gifts God has given me. We are rich when we look to everything we have to be thankful for. I realized I have a daughter that is still healthy and doesn’t have a serious sickness or disease, and I have a husband that is strong in his faith and doesn’t have cancer. I realize life could be a lot worse and I am thankful for what I have and truly thank God for all His blessings. This Thanksgiving, hold tight to what God has given you and thank Him for it because we don’t know how long we are here. I am thankful I have my family to celebrate Thanksgiving with because I have dear friends that don’t have a daughter or mom to celebrate with this year. Give God the glory in all things especially when we go through hard times and when life can get messy. Having a heart of Thanksgiving puts our eyes off of ourselves.  I am so thankful God has shown me that through my troubles and prayer He will open my eyes to Him as well! I love you ladies and I am so thankful for each of you!

 

Photo Credit:ID 54731608 © Mimagephotography | Dreamstime

All Day Long by Bombi

I don’t know if it’s something the world tells us or we tell ourselves, or if it’s just an issue of inflated ego, but the idea of having enemies kind of stinks. There is some idea that if you’re positive and friendly enough then everyone will find you likeable. However it’s evident that no matter who you are, you’ll have enemies. You can be Mother Teresa, a bouncing cute little baby, or the savior of the world, and still you will have those who dislike you and want to see you lose.

Maybe the thought of that doesn’t move you. If that’s true, that’s awesome. But given a few different circumstances and when you find yourself a bit desperate for a win, well that idea isn’t very fun.

Recently I read Psalms 25. I always get surprised by David’s way of being in tune with his feelings and his faith in such a relevant way. I’m thankful to know that this king, this ancestor of Jesus Christ, this “man after God’s own heart,” struggled too and decided to write it down so that we can read it and be encouraged by it.  I’m thankful that I’m not the only one that lives day-by-day needing God’s grace, needing His mercy, and seeking His hope.

When David says, “my hope is in you all day long,” I realize that he must have needed to hang onto God minute by minute. Not half a day, not just in the morning, but he was holding onto God’s hope all day long.  I hope this encourages you like it does me. To know the same struggles King David had is the same that we have today, and the same God that gave him hope thousands of years ago is still giving it out today. Not just once a day, but all day long.

Psalm 25[a] Of David.

1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

2 I trust in you;

do not let me be put to shame,

nor let my enemies triumph over me.

3 No one who hopes in you

will ever be put to shame,

but shame will come on those

who are treacherous without cause.

4 Show me your ways, Lord,

teach me your paths.

5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long.

Photo Credit:ID 59303363 © Ligorosi | Dreamstime

How to Sleep Through A Storm by Bombi

I come from earthquake country. Having said that, I’ve never witnessed anything over a little tremor with walls shaking. So this year, when I found myself prepping for a possible category 5 hurricane, I didn’t really know what to expect feelings-wise.

As the storm approached and the noise of the wind grew louder, I grew more concerned. I lay in my bed thinking that anything can happen. At one point I was actually picturing the worst. I’m not much of an anxious person when it comes to weather, but this time it was different. My heart started to race a bit, my thoughts raced faster. I didn’t want to utter a word to anyone, why make my family worry, why put negativity out there? I spent the days and moments leading up to the storm prepping and feeling quite confident that everything would just blow over and all would be good. But when we were in the middle of it, my thoughts changed.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take the angst I was feeling, God brought to my memory the time the disciples were in a boat in the middle of their storm. (Matthew 8:23-27) The waves were sweeping over the boat. Things were getting bad and where was Jesus? He was asleep. The disciples ended up waking him up frantically asking him to save them. What did he do? He rebuked both them and the waves.

It was at that memory I thought, “If Jesus could speak peace to the storm and sleep fine, then so can I.” With that, I relaxed enough to fall asleep.

Now I know that there have been and will be storms of all sorts throughout my life. I can take heart in this true story knowing that, even though Jesus is with me, I’m still human, I still get afraid. Even though my faith falters, I can call on him to save me, and he will.  When he calms my storms I remember that he knows hands on what it feels like to be in the middle of one. He knows how to speak to the wind and the waves to make it obey. If He can speak to the storms, then so can you and I.

Peace, be still. (Mark 4:39)

 

Photo Credit:ID 38387870 © Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime