Live on Forever ~ The Afters

They showed us this video at Faithwalkers, and I just had to share it with you all.

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Lioness Arising

lioness

I’m in the process of reading a book titled “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere. Very similar in feel to one of my favorite non-fiction books, “Captivating”, by John & Stasi Eldredge, it takes a deeper look at what makes a woman special, what her role in creation is, and what true femininity looks like through the eyes of God.

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Scripture is so rich with beautiful imagery, and just as C.S. Lewis portrays Jesus as a Great Lion (Aslan), so scripture calls Him “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.

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It also calls Him the Bridegroom, and we, the Bride of Christ. Lisa’s book takes the example given to us in creation of the dynamic of lions and shows us how to be the Lioness to the Lion of Judah. It’s so far been a wonderful read, I’ll be posting a full review of it to Goodreads once I’m finished with it. So far it has given me a fresh look at myself, reminded me that my power in Christ is far greater than I’m allowing it to be.

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As a child, my imagination was completely limitless. When arriving home from work, the very first thing my Dad would do was try to guess what animal I was that moment.

“Are you a horse? A puppy?”

“No Daddy today I’m a LION! RAWR!” 

It was a game I played constantly, changing animals several times a day. My grandmother (father’s side) fondly remembers my pretending to be a golden retriever named Goldy. (I said I had a good imagination, not that I was original.) She played along, and when she saw me climb on the couch, she snatched up a newspaper and declared that dogs are not allowed on the furniture!! She chased me up the stairs with the news paper, I ran (ON ALL FOURS, mind you) and dove under some potted plants to “hide”, laughing hysterically. Imagination has always been a huge part of my mental life. Even to this day I create elaborate stories in my head about people I see, conversations I’ve never had, or places I want to travel. Thus my love of fiction novels.

But this notion of being a mighty lioness, lead by the Almighty Lion of Judah into a mission of eternal importance is not just a fairytale, a childhood game of pretend, or a silly day dream. It’s real. 

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In my own strength, I’m far from fearless. But the more I learn to trust in the leadership of my Heavenly Father, the greater my courage becomes. It’s a thrilling feeling.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pictures I found while searching the web for some quotes to go along with this otherwise short post. I cannot yet recommend the book, as I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I couldn’t stop myself from sharing the those thoughts I’ve had so far. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it.

~TQG

Aslan

Ambulances

Ever since November 22, 2014 I have had an emotional reaction to seeing ambulances running lights and siren to or from an incident. I’ve always made it a point to pray for police officers when I see them running code or stopping a car, having family members and friends in law enforcement makes you more sensitive to the dangers of their job. And I’ve always made a point to pray for the people I see involved in car accidents along the road, but it hasn’t been until now how important ambulances, EMS, and EMT’s are. My mom wasn’t currently in critical condition when she took her last ride in an ambulance, but that ride marked the last time she traveled anywhere, the last time she sat in a brand new recliner her parents had purchased for her, which had only arrived hours before.

There is something sobering about putting yourself in another persons/family’s shoes. What does that ambulance ride mean for them? I remember looking through the blinds in the computer room of my house, watching them roll my mom, who laughed and joked with them the whole way, out to the ambulance and load her in. I remember a sense of just, complete denial. “This isn’t necessary. She’s being over dramatic. She could have walked out to a car on her own. She’s fine. She’ll be back in no time, she’s getting better.” But as much as my brain tried to convince me that everything was fine, my heart was heavy. I spent the rest of that day alone in the house, listening to the clocks tick, wondering what it would be like to live in a house without her and trying to convince myself that wasn’t going to happen.

And that’s what comes to me every time I see an ambulance. So I take a few moments and pray for them, for the EMT’s, the family. Because I know what it’s like to feel like you’re floating in an ocean of unknown.

I say all this as a reminder, to you, my loyal readers. It’s very easy to get to the point in your life where you just motor along, totally absorbed in your life and your mission and your purpose. Taking time to set all the “you” aside and put yourself in another’s position, pray for them not with pity, but with empathy, is something indescribably valuable. Not only is prayer powerful, and you are no doubt having an impact on their life as they fight the battle of this world, but opening yourself up to another’s struggle helps you better appreciate your own blessings. At least, it has for me.

Second, lesser thought for you along similar lines… I’ve been going on long walks lately, about 2.5 miles. Last time I did this, about half way through, I realized that I was walking along staring at the ground. For good reason, the route I take is quite rocky and uneven in places, and I don’t like twisted ankles. But, when I realized this and looked up, took in the scene around me and looked ahead instead of right where I was, I instantly felt better. Like, emotionally and physically felt a lot better. As it turns out, looking down slightly constricts your air ways, so you feel very slightly light headed if you’re doing something strenuous and looking down the whole time (oops). Seeing the light of the sun and the wind in the trees always makes me a happier person in general. I’m way too tired at the moment to make some great life lesson out of this about not getting caught up in the struggles of the day. Instead, just, look around at how beautiful everything is when you walk and… y’know.. Breathe.. normally… It helps, I promise!

I think I’ll head towards the bed now. heh…

~TQG

This is where the title goes if you’ve thought of one

Yesterday would have been my mom’s 48th birthday. Nearly three months since she went home, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Or maybe it does. It feels like it’s been forever, but at the same time, it still feels fresh, like it was only yesterday.

I find myself being hit with things sometimes quite suddenly… Not long ago I went with a friend of mine to David’s Bridal to pick up her wedding dress. While we were there she saw a thermos that said “Mother of The Bride”, and exclaimed “Oh! I love that! Definitely getting one of those for mom!” Moments like that just ache. I found myself looking around at all the dresses that night, seeing glowing young brides trying them on and their mom’s giving them advice, “Hmm.. I like that one, but I liked the lace better on the other one.” and thinking to myself “I don’t even know if I’ll ever be able to do this without crying…” My mom’s opinion on those things means more to me than anyones. My mom’s opinion on men, her approval, means so much to me.

Yesterday I decided to change my name on Twitter and Instagram, so instead of having my first and last name, it has just the first and middle. Because my mom’s name, Elizabeth, is also my middle name. I’ve always liked it, but in honor of her I’m sporting it even more proudly. Moriah means “The Lord is my Teacher” and Elizabeth means “Pledged to God”. I think that’s a pretty powerful combination.

The Lord is my Teacher,  I am pledged to Him.

Since November, I’ve definitely noticed changes in myself. Good changes, I’d say. Improvements. Ignoring the grief driven first month of eating whatever was in front of me, I’ve made my health a top priority. Doing some form of exercise almost daily and eating much more purposefully than I was previously. I’ve gotten more relaxed around people, become more outgoing, and a little bit better about answering my phone when it rings (It’s a serious problem, haha). I’m less concerned about peoples opinions and I (mostly) stopped hiding from people with cameras, mainly because I wish there had been more pictures of mom. She never liked having pictures taken, so there aren’t many recent ones of her. I’ve also made it a point to do at least one social thing a week. As in spend time with people on purpose not just go to starbucks and sit near people. (Guilty of calling that social time… yup.) Which has helped me immensely, because time around coworkers needs to be counterbalanced with time around those who encourage me with their speech and actions.

I’m trying (still) to find a place to take vocal lessons, but I’m coming up empty on that. Also looking into yoga classes (a pastime I miss terribly, one of my favorite forms of exercise) and still exploring the realm of college classes, trying to decide what to spend my precious few moneys on (I’m aware that moneys is not a word). At 21 I’ve pretty much given up on finding a “career” that I want to pursue, I will argue with anyone who claims that it’s somehow an incomplete view of life to just want to be a wife and mother. Not saying I won’t work, just that what kind of work I do is irrelevant to my dreams. I do love children’s ministry, but in all honesty, I’ve known far too many youth ministers (including my parents) to think for even a moment that you can earn a living that way. It’s a fabulous thing to do, whether you volunteer or do it part-time, but it’s not a career you can live on, in my experience. I’m hoping eventually I can arrange my work schedule in a way that will allow me to do that on the side, because that would really make my heart happy. Kids are such bright stars of life.

Anyway, I’ve been off work today, and gotten almost nothing done except catch up on some missed sleep, wash a few dishes and talk to my dog. He got stung by something yesterday, his ear is very swollen and painful… I keep telling him he’s kind of a dork for managing to get stung by something in 30 degree weather. But he doesn’t seem to understand… Then again, I don’t think clearly when I’m on benadryl either so I can’t really blame him.

Until next time!

~TQG

 

“…groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8)

I have a board on Pinterest that I add to whenever I’m really struggling with missing my mom. Because sometimes I can find words in a pin that I can’t find in my heart, because there are pains too deep for words. If you’re interested in checking it out (warning, it’s probably kinda depressing) here’s the link.

I’m comforted by the fact that even when I have no words to express how I feel, God hears my hearts cry.

 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)

I know that there are some who don’t understand why I’m not angry at God for taking my mom. And I’ll be honest, sometimes do get angry, but I always spend extra time talking to God when I am, and He always soothes my heart. I prayed for my mom’s healing, and God healed her permanently. She will never shed another tear, never again will she struggle to breathe. She’s been healed beyond my wildest dreams, and I will get to see her again. And though she’s not right here where I can talk to her and see her anymore, I know she’s still praying for me. Constantly going to the Father on my behalf. And I know she’s watching me try my hardest to be the “woman of the house”, and she’s proud of me.

What hurts the most is knowing that she won’t be at my wedding. She won’t be able to babysit my children, they won’t have the benefit of having her as their grandma. So many people that I know never got to meet her, and that really bothers me. She was so important, such a huge part of my life, that I feel like you can’t really know or understand me unless you’ve met her.

The night she died, I spent almost the entire night sitting on my couch in the dark, across the room from one of my close friends who knew her well. I just sat and alternated between crying so hard I couldn’t breath, and being totally numb. And sometimes I could hear her crying too, and that meant more than anything to me. Because you can’t cry over someone you didn’t love. I needed the company of someone who needed to cry too.

And I always will. Any friends I have who knew and loved my mom have become limited edition. More valuable than they can understand. All people are special and irreplaceable, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t help but want to protect those few that can not only understand my pain, but remind me of the memories that keep her alive in my heart. Anyone can say “I know that must be hard, and I’m here for you”, but only a few can end it with “you remember that time she said____”. There is something so healing about smiling when your heart aches. Letting a memory give your heart a hug when it feels like it’s falling apart.

Anyway, that’s my thought(s) for the time being. I know I’m not the only one struggling with loss, I hope that God uses posts like this to help others going through the same thing. Please, feel free to drop me a comment if God used something I’ve written to comfort your heart. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

~TQG

Delight Yourself In The Lord

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

~Psalm 37:3-7

Today the church service I usually go to got canceled because of a church event, and I wasn’t feeling particularly social, at least not social enough to go to a church event, so my dad and I watched this service from Liberty University instead.

Such an encouraging message, exactly what I needed to hear today. Highly recommended. In a time when I’ve felt like I’m barely surviving work, this message reminded me that I don’t have to be serving as a missionary in some foreign country to glorify God. I am a missionary every time my fingers touch my keyboard, every time my feet leave my front yard, and especially when I clock in at Petsmart. And that is something I desperately needed to be refreshed on. “Trust in the Lord and do good”, it’s not complicated. Trust God, live in a way that honors Him. It’s not about how many people you lead to Christ or how many enemies of the faith you win arguments with, it’s about the way you live. The thing God wants from us more than anything is our love, and when we love Him, our lives will reflect His glory in a way that attracts people. It opens the door to tell people why you’re so different from the world around you. Doesn’t mean they will necessarily drop what they’re doing and follow Jesus, but they certainly won’t forget the light they saw in you. Maybe they’ll ignore it, or maybe they’ll seek out the same light for themselves one day, but that’s between them and God, you planted the seed. I don’t know about you, but that is exciting to me. 🙂

Anyway, it feels like an eternity since I’ve been really encouraged, so I just had to share it. I hope this message encourages you too.

~TQG

Jumping In

Starting back to work this evening with a sneeze. Or two. Or ten. Was kept awake much of last night with a cold, and broke out the cold meds this morning. Lots of vitamin C, zinc, cranberry juice, coffee, and water. And so far I have emptied and repurposed one box of tissue. They make great mini trash cans once they’re empty! … I’ll go to work smelling like vaporizing chest rub rather than perfume… Sadly…

These last few days have been a huge struggle. I miss my mom. It all feels so unreal, like a bad dream. The grief roller coaster is rough, laughing one minute and feeling like your chest is about to crack open from sadness the next. Stress of the unknown is constantly knocking at our door as we try and figure out how to manage bill payment. There are 11 different medical bills all needing paid. Eleven. And not little bills either. And on top of that, electric, water, internet, mortgage (why is there a T in that word??) and phone bills. All of this I knew existed before, but never had to sit down and look at the numbers… I’m glad I’m learning it now, but it’s still a lot to take in.

Literally just now I’m getting a text from my manager asking if I can come in early… *sighs* Thus begins my jump off the cliff of real life.

Just The Beginning

And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures…had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

~C. S. Lewis

Last Goodbye

I love you, Mom. I don’t know how I’m going to do this without you and your gorgeous laugh, your knowing gaze and your corny humor. I wish I had said I love you one more time, given you one more hug. Friday night was the last time I really laughed with you, when I told you I’d seen a cute male nurse and you said you’d give him my number and tell him he had to go through you first. I’m holding tight to that one last really good memory.

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