This season I’m thankful for God’s perfect timing

We are two days away from Thanksgiving and over two months since my last post. This has been a rough year. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I would like. There has been so much going on and so many thoughts and feelings that I’ve wanted to write down, but when I sit at the computer they seem too personal and private to share with the whole world. I actually did sit down one day and write a long post about how the boys have been dealing with the grieving process since Grandpa died. I got all the way to the end and then hit save instead of publish.

Emotions run high and low and, although I know Grandma would never tell me to censor the words I use here, I didn’t want to be responsible for more low emotions. So I write out long posts in my head and save them for a day when everything isn’t as close to the surface. It’s not that we will ever be “over” Grandpa’s death, but someday November will come and we won’t just sit around for days crying. You see, November 14th was Grandpa’s birthday, and yesterday Grandma and Grandpa would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

If all of that doesn’t make me emotional enough, I got some extremely disappointing and confusing news yesterday. We were in the middle of something big. It felt so right and like God had led us to this place in this time and all of the many, many pieces were falling into place at just the right moments. It was so close we could feel it. And it felt so right and we could all imagine just exactly how it was going to be. And then yesterday we got the news that it probably, most likely is not going to happen.

It was one of those punch you in the stomach, can’t believe what you’ve just been told, what do we do now, moments. And, yes, there is a very, VERY slim chance that all the pieces line back up and our plan continues, but that is just so very unlikely at this point.

And it just leaves us all confused. What do we do now? What we were moving towards had been prayed over day after day after day, by not just those directly involved but others who prayed that God would show us the right way. And we all prayed that if we were moving in the wrong direction that God would stop us and not let us get there. But if we were moving in the wrong direction, why did God let us get so far? Why did he answer the first, second, third, fourth steps with yes just to give us a no about 6 hours before the last step?

And with all these things adding up, it’s hard to remember to be thankful for what we do have. And then I remember that God has perfect timing. And for reasons that I can’t see today, these things were supposed to happen in this order at this time. I can even trace the decisions and steps made back to when Grandpa first got sick, if not before. There is a big plan and smaller plans happening all around us that we can not see, and that we may never see.

I believe that someday (hopefully in the near future but maybe not), I will understand why we took the steps that we have taken and why we were stopped in this spot at this time.

This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazing family, a fantastic husband that I can not imagine life without, 2crazylittleboys that bring me such overwhelming joy, a God that loves me so much He was willing to die for me, a roof over my head and food on my table. I have a warm bed to sleep in. I have been blessed with so much.

And this week as we work to make sense of what’s happened, I’m going to remember to be thankful for my God who stopped us from making a decision that could have harmed us all. Instead of focusing of what could have been and what I wanted, I’m going to remember that this is what we prayed for. Apparently we were on the wrong path, and now we are waiting for God to point us the in the next direction we should go.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. May God bless you with fun and food and family (and football!).

Memories To Be Treasured

I am patriotic. I love my God, my family and my country. And although there are some days when things happening make it hard to recognize my country, I still love it. I am extremely proud of our military men and women who give themselves every day to keep us safe and free. And maybe I’m a little bias, but there is this one soldier that I believe is the best.

One week after Grandpa died, my brother graduated from the army’s flight school. He officially flies helicopters for the United States Army. And to say that I am proud of him is a complete understatement of my feelings. We are all so proud of the things my brother is doing.

Throughout the summer as Grandpa’s health was declining and my brother’s graduation was approaching, as a family we started discussing what would need to happen so my parents could be at the graduation. It was an important milestone in his military career and important to everyone that my parents be there. Had life turned out differently, my grandparents would have been planning on being at the graduation as well.

My mom had been at every graduation ceremony since my brother enlisted. We were there when he graduated from boot camp. We were there when he deployed to Iraq. There was no way she was going to miss this one.

It was so hard as we were figuring out who would stay where and who would do what to help with Grandpa. And then in God’s infinite wisdom and timing, Grandpa died one week before the graduation and just days before mom and dad would have left to be at the ceremony.

The day after Grandpa died, my mom, grandma, aunt and I were all sitting around Grandma’s table talking about the coming days’ and it was brought up that Grandma should go with my parents to the graduation. There was some back and forth, but why wouldn’t she go? Well, one night there was a military ball. Not to worry, my brother said that if it was too late to get Grandma a meal at the ball that he would gladly give her his. She didn’t want to go alone? No problem. My brother got her a date. Maybe my brother wouldn’t want her there? Are you kidding? He had her a date and a meal before she had said the final yes that she would go.

I’m so glad that she went. I’m glad that she got to be there. And I know that Grandpa would have wanted her to go and be there with my brother.

What happened over the next few days says so much about the military and how they truly are a family. When my brother went in to pay for Grandma’s meal for the ball, as he had for our parents, he was told not to worry about it. His unit had paid for it. And although there were other grandparents at the graduation, our grandma was the only one the unit had purchased a bouquet of flowers for.

And when my brother said he needed an escort for his grandma to the ball, he had no problems finding one.

grandma and date

Grandma was asked to help my sister-in-law pin my brothers wings on his uniform.

grandma pinning justin

grandma kissing justin

after pinning

And if you look in the background of those last three pictures, you will notice that all the commanding officers were watching my brother and Grandma. I love the smiles on the commanding officers’ faces. You can tell that it meant something to them as it did to us.

On more than one occasion, people came up to Grandma and told her how sorry they were for her loss. It was obvious that they knew how important Grandpa was to my brother and how important my brother is to them.

everyone heli

The memories made that week are some that will never be forgotten and always be treasured. The honor, respect, love and compassion given, not because of anything we did, but because of how much Grandpa meant to my brother is something that even those of us who weren’t able to be there will remember.

I’m Sad But I’m Good

Yesterday was a good but hard day. Yesterday we buried Grandpa’s earthly body. There was laughter and tears and the joy of knowing exactly where Grandpa is now and that we will see him again someday.

It was a small graveside service with family. If I would have been the one making decisions, it wasn’t what I would have picked, but Grandpa and Grandma had made the decisions years ago. And it was perfect.  Because Grandpa was a veteran, Grandma was presented with the veteran’s flag in the most touching moment by my brother in his army uniform. It was so moving, and I know how proud Grandpa was of what my brother is giving to his country, the country that Grandpa loved and prayed for every day.

There was a time of sharing, and I wish you all could have heard it. Most of the people who shared were family by love, not blood. Grandpa’s sons-in-law and grandsons-in-law spoke of the way he loved them as if they were born into the family and the way he touched their lives. What a fitting tribute to Grandpa. To him it didn’t matter if you were family by blood or family by love, he loved you the same. Grandpa’s life truly was a life of love.

We are loved by a lot of people, so over and over I get asked (or my husband gets asked) how we are doing. And I wondered if people believe the answer we give. I’m okay. Yes, it’s hard. And yes, I miss Grandpa fiercely. There are tears. On Saturday, I was talking about upcoming stuff and said, “Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa” and then I stopped and realized what I had said. Those times are extra hard. The whole month of November will be hard as Grandpa’s birthday and Grandma and Grandpa’s 60th wedding anniversary passes. But today? Today I am good.

I’m in a strange place right now. As people hear that my grandpa died, I get told they are sorry, but I don’t think they understand. He was more that my grandpa. He was my friend. He was my advisor. As a child, I spent a lot of time with him. It was more than an average granddaughter-grandpa relationship. It wasn’t just once a month that I was with him or just holidays. Grandma and Grandpa were with us a lot growing up.

And it was even more so as an adult. I think that’s unusual for other families. You become an adult and have all this other stuff going on and see your grandparents less than you did as a child. It wasn’t like that for me. For a while, I was with them every week Monday through Friday and then we went to the same church on Sundays. I didn’t lose a grandparent. I lost one of my best friends this week.

These last couple months were the same even when they were different. Before Grandpa got sick, I saw him once a week, like clockwork every Wednesday I was over there with the boys. And that meant not only did I get all that time, my boys got it, too. They are going to have all these amazing memories of the times they spent with Grandpa that seem (at least to me) unusual for great-grandsons/great-grandparents. As a whole family, we are extremely close but these relationships seem even closer than that.

These past few months I had the pleasure of getting to be there a lot. I got to do the little things for Grandpa like make sure the bird feeders were full and that there was corn out for the deer. I got to sit at the table and drink coffee with him. I got to be there as he was shooting BB guns from the patio with hands that would shake and him still do a better job than the rest of us. I got the privilege of sitting quietly while he napped and just listening in case he needed something.

As I just read back over my words, I realized this wasn’t what I was going to write today, but apparently it’s what I needed to say. I guess what I want you to know today is that I am sad but I’m good, too. And when you think of me and that my grandpa died this week, take that average granddaughter-grandpa relationship you think of and multiple it by 10 and you’ll almost understand the relationship I had with an amazing man.

Yesterday Jesus Won

One of the greatest men I've ever had the pleasure of loving

One of the greatest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of loving

Yesterday my grandpa’s battle with brain cancer came to an end. Grandpa didn’t lose and cancer didn’t win. Yesterday Jesus won.

Yesterday morning, Jesus sent an army of angels and took Grandpa home to be with Him.

Grandpa was one of the two most influential men in my life. And the only thing he loved more than Grandma and the rest of his family was his God, the Lord and Savior of his life. Yesterday, Grandpa got to see Him. And it is good.

We are grieving. We do cry. But even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. (John 11:35) Even knowing that one day Lazarus would be with Him eternally, and knowing that He would raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept. Jesus mourned. And in the same way we are mourning and hurting.

There is no doubt in anyone mind where my grandpa is spending eternity. And there will be no pain, no tears, no cancer. It is so good.

Right after I got the phone call yesterday morning, God put a verse on my heart. Psalms 118:24 “Today is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It gave me such peace. Yes, I still hurt and yes I still cried. But it was the day the Lord had made and we did rejoice and be glad in it.

I think about the time God gave us. He gave us so much time that some people don’t get. We all got those last memories and times to say good-bye, to tell Grandpa that we loved him. And some of them weren’t the memories we were wanting to make this summer, but they were good in their own right.

Monday was the last time I saw him. And we got to make some great memories. Although Grandpa could only sit in his chair out on the patio, he watched as Cameron completed the last project on Grandpa’s list of things that needed to be done. And when we were ready to leave, he told us that he loved us and then asked the boys to tell their dad he said hello. Even at the end, he remembered us all and loved us.

There are going to be many tears and moments of great sadness. But even in those times, we know this is good. Because today, the cancer is defeated. Grandpa’s mind is sharp, and he is spending today with Jesus. And it is good.

Last Sunday at church, the message was about David, having a heart of a champion and about leaving behind a legacy of honoring God. Let me tell you, Grandpa had a heart of a champion and what a legacy he leaves behind. It’s a legacy of loving Jesus with all his heart, of loving his wife and his family, of hard work and compassion, of selflessness and generosity. And over the next few days as we get ready to put Grandpa’s body to rest and tell stories of his life, we will remember that legacy he leaves behind.

His favorite verse was Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” That was how Grandpa lived his life and how those of us left behind will honor his memory.

For those of you who know me personally, there will not be a viewing or funeral. Grandpa requested a private, family only graveside service. Thank you for understanding that we will be respecting his wish.

I didn’t want to talk about this

I didn’t want to talk about this. I think I’m like most people. We don’t like to talk about abortion. It makes people uncomfortable.

Abortion is heartbreaking. I know people who have had an abortion. It changed them. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t wish they could do things differently. Maybe that’s not the cases for everyone. Maybe there are people who feel great about the choice they made. I don’t understand it. But maybe those people are out there.

I didn’t want to talk about this. However, with all the Planned Parenthood videos that have come out and then the first political debate, I feel the need to share my feelings. I thought about linking to the PP videos, but I just couldn’t. I can’t watch them. Although, if you are pro-choice, I do believe you should watch them. You should know what you are standing for. I’m standing firmly against and watching them would scar me.

And this post isn’t even about those videos.

This is about the question from last nights GOP debate that has so many people upset. Megyn Kelly asked Scott Walker if he would really let a woman die than have an abortion.

I’ve heard a lot of men talk about this question, but I’ve never heard an answer from a woman, from a mother. I’ve heard a lot of men say they would pick their wife in this situation every time.

The question bothered me, too. But not that it was asked. And not even his answer.

As a mother let me answer this question. Every time, every day of the week, if the choice was between me and my baby, I pick the baby every single time. Yes, I know I have young children that need a mother. Yes, I know how hard it would be for my husband. Yes, I know. Yes, it would be a tearful, heartbreaking decision, but it would also be an easy one.

No, I don’t ever want to leave my little boys without a mother. However, I know that God gives every life FOR A REASON, and if God would give me a baby, I know that the baby would be for a reason, that baby would have a purpose. I pick the baby over myself every time.

I don’t know a mother that would pick herself over her child. Born or unborn, the child comes first to the mother.

I find this heartbreaking. I can remember being 4, 5, 6 months pregnant with my boys. I can remember how much I loved them then and how hard we worked to get them, all we had to go through to get them. And I can sit here and cry thinking about what I would have done if the doctors would have said it was me or them.

I had high risk pregnancies. It’s actually possible that this could have happened to me. I was closely monitored because it could have been me or them. And for the record, I would pick them every time.

I believe every life is from God, and every life has a purpose. If it came down to me or the baby I was carrying, I would (do) believe I had served my purpose and that child is going to do great things for the Kingdom of Heaven.

If I am willing to die to keep my already born children alive, how could I do anything short of sacrificing myself for the one I’m carrying inside?

Yesterday was nothing short of divine intervention


I’ve been thinking about God’s timing a lot recently, about how all things work as a part of His divine plan that we just cannot understand on this side of Heaven. Yesterday was an interesting day, to say the least. And without God’s amazing timing it could have worked out so differently than it did.

Depending on how you look at it, yesterday I saved the life of a baby or almost killed a baby. Without God’s amazing timing, that baby would have died yesterday afternoon. I guess I should start at the beginning.

Because of everything going on with the family right now, my weekly schedule has changed quite a bit. I used to go to my mom’s on Wednesdays, but I’ve started going on Thursdays the past couple of weeks. On our way there, I knew I was going to have to stop at the local grocery store, and I considered stopping on my way there rather than on my way home. In the end, I decided just to stop on my way home.

We spend the afternoon together and I ended up getting a slightly later start home than I wanted. While shopping, the boys dragged their feet and basically just made me crazy as I was just wanting to get home. We finally got up to the checkout, and as the cashier started to ring me up, I realized that I had forgotten the one thing my husband had asked me to pick up. I wasn’t going back through the store.

As I loaded the boys and groceries into the truck, I considered texting my husband to see if he really needed what I had forgotten. Then I remembered that the small town we were in had just opened a Dollar General and I could get the forgotten items there. It was the complete opposite direction I had planned on going, but I decided to run over there anyway. We drove around the block and pulled out on the main road.

Heading west, the sun was shining down on us, and it was a little hard to see. A car a little ways ahead of me swerved to go around something. I wondered if it was a bicycle. No, that’s to small to be a bike. Is there a dog in the road?

As I got closer, the object became more clear. IT WAS A BABY WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LANE!

I slammed on my brakes, turned on my flashers and put the truck in park in the middle of the road. There were a couple of cars behind me and I was scared to death that they would swerve around me and hit the baby. I opened my door as fast as I could, hollering to the boys that they were not to move, and motioned to the car behind me to stop. I ran up to this little girl who couldn’t have been much more than a year old toddling down the road.

Where I found her, there were a couple of houses on both sides of the road but no people anywhere. I wasn’t even sure what house she belonged in. A buggy stopped as I reached and picked up the little girl, and a man ran up and started hollering for her parents. I asked if the closest house was hers, but he didn’t know. I carried her up towards the house as another little girl, around five years old, came running up from around the back of the house. The front door opened and her mom came out.

I was so sick and shook up all I could say was, “She was in the road.” I handed the baby over and the woman just stood there looking at me. “She was in the road.” As I started to head back to the truck, the woman said that the child had just been in the yard and thank you.

I got back into my truck and the boys told me how nice it was that I saved that baby. I was just sick. I wanted to throw up. I was shaking.

How amazing is God’s timing? If I had gone over to Mom’s a day earlier like I used to do, I wouldn’t have even been in that county yesterday. If I had gone to the store before going to Mom’s, I wouldn’t have been in that town. If I hadn’t forgotten something, I wouldn’t have been on that road. If that first car hadn’t swerved, I may not have seen her. (Why didn’t they stop?!)

Everything that happened led up to me being in that place at that time.

The next time that something doesn’t seem to go according to your plan, or you forget something at the store and have to make an extra stop, remember this story. Maybe the reasons won’t be as obvious as they were yesterday but know that it’s all a part of His plan.

What happened yesterday was nothing sort of divine intervention. I was at that place at that moment because that was right where God needed me to be.

A Day With Grandpa

Yesterday was a really hard day. The boys and I went to see Grandpa for the first time since his diagnosis, and the first time the boys had seen him since he first got sick.

I have been talking to the boys about Grandpa John being sick. It’s hard to find the words to explain what is going on to them. I told them that he was sick. I told them he probably wouldn’t be getting better. I told them he wouldn’t be the same as he was the last time that they saw him. That he had a funny haircut and a bed in his living room. That he was in a wheel chair instead of his normal kitchen table chair. I told them that he wouldn’t be able to take them on a tractor ride or a walk to look for turtles. I told them they would have to give him soft hugs instead of the big, hard hugs that Connor loves to give that will knock a person down.

I asked if they had any questions. Connor told me that he had a question about animals. So I asked if they had any questions about Grandpa John. They had important questions like, “Why doesn’t Grandma fix Grandpa John’s funny haircut?” We covered what was going on the best that I could in one sitting. Connor told me that he need to just sit next to Grandpa John while he was sick.

We got to Grandpa’s just as the Hospice nurse was getting there. The boys became instantly shy, but we still got to see grandpa. And he behaved like he always did and asked Connor if he could run over Connor’s foot with his wheelchair to see if it would hurt.

We sent the boys out to play while the nurse was there, but eventually we did get to visit. I sat at the table with Grandpa. It was good. It was hard. It’s times like these that you just want to fix everything but there is no way to fix it. We laughed. These times are hard, but we aren’t just going to sit around and cry the whole time. Even though these aren’t the memories we wanted to be making, but we are going to make the best memories we can in the time we have.

Eventually Grandpa had to lie down and take a nap. And as he napped in the hospital bed in the living room, Connor sat quietly in the recliner next to him, reading his book and keeping watch. Grandpa woke to adjust and told us that he couldn’t find the light. We asked what light he was looking for and he replied, “The light of glory.” Oh, Grandpa, don’t worry. You’ll find it when it’s time.

Before we left, we all gathered around the bed, with Connor holding one of Grandpa’s hands and Cameron hold the other, and prayed together. We prayed for healing because our God is a God of miracles. Grandpa asked the boys if they know Jesus. (They do.) The most important thing to him right now is knowing that all of his family knows and loves Jesus. And then Grandpa gave both of the boys a dollar.

It was hard. It was good. It was emotional.

Once we were on the road, I asked the boys if they had any questions after seeing Grandpa John. They wanted to know why he gave them a dollar, and I told them it was because Grandpa John loves them. The only other question came from Cameron. He wanted to know why Grandpa John wanted to hold his hand to pray. “That’s not how you pray.” Then Cameron folded his hands and showed me that with folded hands is the right way to pray. I had to explain that there is no right way to pray and that sometimes people like to hold hands to pray.

Both boys put their dollars in safe places. Cameron slept with his by the bed with his hearing aids “because it’s a special dollar from Grandpa John.” They may not understand everything that is going on, but they do understand that something is different. That this time is different. And special. They are making memories, too.

It’s hard and we are all just taking it one day at a time. I’m trying so hard to find that fine line between absolutely believing that God could heal Grandpa and understanding that He probably won’t.

The God of All Comfort

This morning I was up with the sun, which is extremely unusual. I laid in bed and watch the sun begin to peek through the skylight in our bedroom. I wanted to be asleep, but the more I tried to fall asleep the less restful it became so I finally just gave in and got up.

I spent the sunrise out on the deck with my coffee and my bible and my God. I needed comfort and strength, and I know God knows what I need so I decided I’d just open my bible and read whatever I opened on. I found myself at the beginning of 2 Corinthians. And do you know what that book of the bible starts out talking about?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

In those two verses, Paul uses the word comfort five times. He describes God as the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. How true is that? All of my comfort comes from my God.

He knows what I need and provides it for me. He knows every tear I have cried and all the ones I’ve held in. He knows when I am broken-hearted and hurts with me. He knows. And He gives me mercy and comfort.

I know that no matter what happens today, one day there will be no sickness and no pain and no more tears. One day, those who love Jesus will be together again with Him, and there will be no heartache and no tears. There will only be joy. One day it won’t matter how broken our bodies become on this earth because one day they will all be healed.

And while I may have tears today, knowing all this does give me comfort. All that we are going through right now is just a small blip in the big plan of God that leads us to Him. And His plan is so good.

And while we are just a small part in His big plan, I know that God cares that we are hurting right now. He feels our pain and knows our sorrows. He loves us more than anyone ever could, more than any of us can imagine. He wipes every tear from my face and holds me in His arms and lets me know that, in the end, everything will be good.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

God Uses All Things For Good, Even When It Sucks.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been going through some hard stuff. My grandpa hadn’t been feeling quite right so he went to see the doctor. They put him on some medications and a couple of days later we were admitting him to the hospital. He was hallucinating and hearing voices inside his head.

After a few days in the hospital, it was decided that all of his problems were side effects from the medications that he had been on. They took him on the medicine, and he appeared to be doing better. Yes, he was still struggling with seeing things that weren’t there, but he was having good days, too. We all believed that once the medications had worked their way completely through his system that he would be well, again.

The next week he and my grandma (and parents and aunt and uncle and friends) all went on a cruise to Alaska together. Everyone was nervous but it was decided that they would go. And like at home, there were good times and bad. And in the end everyone was glad they had gone.

On the way home from Alaska, grandpa took a turn for the worse. And a couple of days after they were home, he struggled to control his left arm and leg and fell. We had to call the ambulance, and he was rushed to the hospital. Once there they began treating him as if he had a stroke. None of us believed it was a stroke. We argued with the doctors. We pushed for more tests and other diagnosis. Finally we pushed on the right doctor.

They did several more tests and determined that grandpa had not had a stroke. They found he had an abscess on his brain, so basically just a really bad infection. They started him on antibiotics for it and began to talk about surgery to drain it. They didn’t know if any permanent damage had been done, but we were all just so thankful to know what was wrong and that they had a plan to get him better.

I think that relief may have lasted 48 hours, maybe. Two days ago, the doctors took grandpa into surgery. We prayed, and asked others to pray, and waited. Grandpa came through the surgery great, but they did not drain the infection. Because, you see, it turns out it wasn’t an abscess after all. It is glioblastoma multiforme, a fast acting, incurable, cancerous tumor.

Best case scenario, God heals grandpa. I truly believe this is an option. With treatment, the doctors say he had about 14 months. Without treatment, the doctors are saying less than 6 months. Even with treatment, grandpa will continue to struggle with the use of his left side and continue to have problems with hallucinations.

grandma and grandpa

My heart is just broken. I cry until there seem to be no tears left and then I’ll think of something and find out that there were tears left after all.

I’m not ready for this. I haven’t heard all his stories. And then I look at my little boys who adore their Grandpa John and I know they haven’t heard enough of his stories. Or taken enough tractor rides or walks or gotten into nearly enough trouble with him.

And then to go with all the other crappy emotions I’m feeling these days, I feel guilty and selfish. If it’s this hard for me, then how hard is it for my mom? He’s her dad. How is my grandma coping? They’ve been married for over 50 years. And it’ll probably piss them both off when they read that.

There are things I know that help, or will help over the coming months. My grandpa and my God are tight. They are on really good terms, and there is no doubt where my grandpa will be spending eternity. And it’s so much better than anywhere on Earth.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I know God is using this for His good. But boy does it suck. And we may never know what good God is using this for, but I know He is. I know He has a big plan that I can not understand.

walking by water

I know that God will use all that we are going through, no matter the outcome for His good. I know that everything will work out according to His plan. I know that, in the end, we will all be together again. And there will be no pain, no sickness, no hurt, and no tears.

But today, even knowing all that, doesn’t make my heart hurt any less.


A Quest for a Church

In my last post, I wrote about wanting to be on fire again, to feel that passion about going to church that I felt as a teen. I’ve been feeling this way for a while and trying to figure out what to do about it. As I thought over the past few month, maybe even the last year, I realized how lukewarm I felt about, not my faith or my God, but about attending church. It also occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one in my home feeling this way.

We have missed way more church services than we attending. No one was excited about going on Sundays to the point where most weeks we didn’t even bother to get out of bed or dressed until it was too late to make it on time.

I’ve been “regularly” attending the same church since I was 14 years old. If you asked me where I go to church, it’s the one I would have named. But it’s not working for us anymore. Something has to change. And I have prayed to feel differently to the point where I am starting to believe that God has answered that prayer with a firm “NO.” It’s time to do something different.

I did a Google search for churches in our town and found that there are over 80 churches here. Wow. I’m pretty sure we should be able to find a church that works for all of us with that many to try. Right away we can rule out all of the catholic churches, any that speak a language other than English, and a couple of denominations that we know we disagree with their doctrine. I figure that leaves us with about 40 churches IN OUR TOWN!

We started our search on Palm Sunday. I had such high hopes for it. I really enjoyed the service and the boys loved the children’s service. However, there were some really big downsides. As a visitor, I felt so out-of-place trying to figure out how to get the boys signed in. When I walked up to the “Welcome Center” and asked how to sign the boys into the children’s church, they acted like it was the strangest thing they had ever been asked.

We finally got the boys signed up and settled and headed into the service. I liked the service, but with a guest speaker they passed the offering plate twice. This is one of the biggest ways to get us to never come back. The second issue was that the closing song actually turned out to be five songs making the service last over an hour and a half. At one point my husband had finally had enough and actually walked out. We crossed this church off our list of possibilities and moved on.

For Easter Sunday, we attended our regular church. My thoughts on this were that for Easter I didn’t want to take a chance on a service where I wouldn’t know what to expect and that I might not enjoy. Plus, since it was Easter, I assumed they would be having communion. Well, you know what they say about assuming.

The service was enjoyable, but instead of communion it was a baptism service. I normally love a baptismal service, but on Easter I really needed communion. It just reinforced my feelings on needing a new church.

Over the week following Easter, as we talked about what church we would try that week, I continually said I wanted to go somewhere that I knew I could have communion. I grew up in a Church of Christ, so I knew that they do communion every Sunday. There are three of them in our town. I started Googling them to find starting times and addresses. One is a teeny tiny church, and we were concerned that because we weren’t members of that church that they might not let us take communion. One was a United Church of Christ so I wasn’t sure if they have communion every week. The third doesn’t actually have “Church of Christ” in its name so we couldn’t figure out which church it was.

Finally my husband decided that we would just drive the 30-45 minutes to the Church of Christ I grew up in. My parents decided to make the drive with us. It was kind of like going home again. Unlike the church a couple of weeks before, everyone was so friendly. We still knew a handful of people there, and the pastor was the same.

The bulletin scared my husband a bit with all the songs listed but singing out of a hymnal is much different from what he was used to and the songs don’t last nearly as long. The service was very enjoyable, and it was so nice to sit in a service where the pastor wasn’t afraid to talk about the Christian being persecuted around the world or say that abortion is wrong. And towards the end of the service, I could feel my husband tense up next to me when the preacher said he had 45 minutes worth of talking left. But he relaxed as everyone else laughed, and the service ended right at an hour.

There were definitely some downsides. The most obvious being the drive. It is just too far for us to attend regularly. The next would be that even though I want the boys to know the hymns that I grew up with, I have been attended contemporary services for too long to go back to such a traditional service. And the next issue we had is the size. With the six of us attending, we literally increased the attendance by ten percent. So this is just not a feasible option for us at this point.

For our fourth church in four weeks, we decided to try a missionary church that we had been to a couple of times years ago. Again, I Googled to find the starting times. (Do you remember when all churches used to start at 10:30?) Their website said they had a 9:15 and a 10:45 service. We headed out Sunday morning for the 10:45 service. When we got there, the sign at the road showed the service times as the same as we saw online. However, as we walked to the door, there was another sign saying the service times were 9:45 and 11.

We walked in the doors and were overwhelmed with the people and the noise. It was so loud in the entry that my husband and I couldn’t hear anything the other said. I finally spotted the area to sign the boys into the children’s church (since at this church there was no one working the welcome center.). We got them all signed in and were pointed down the hall to where the classrooms were. However, we were not told which classroom we were to take them to.

I finally found the one with a sign saying 5 & 6 year olds. The lights were off, but there were two adults in the room. They told us for the second service all the kids go into the same classroom, the one for the 1 & 2 year olds. I was so confused by everything that had happened up to this point, I said to the woman, “Church starts at 10:45, right?”

She responded with, “10:45 or 11. I don’t know. Don’t worry. You’re not too early.”

Are you kidding? Of course, I wasn’t too early. By this time it was 10:45 and I was wondering if anyone here knew what was going on or if they let you work in the kids area on your first Sunday.

I took the boys across the hall and found a teenager in charge of the room where there was nothing age appropriate for my boys. And while I certainly don’t mind a teenager working with the kids, I did want someone who appeared to care and/or know what was going on. I dropped the boys off and stepped back into the hall where my husband was waiting.

We just stood there a minute dumbfounded wondering what was going on. I noticed a back door with no alarm right behind us. I looked at him and said, “Want me to grab the boys and we’ll sneak out that door?”

We discussed it for a minute. What was the service going to be like if no one knew what was going on? What were the boys going to be doing during the service? Was the service ever going to start? We grabbed the boys and left. If it is this unorganized before hand, we weren’t hanging around to see what the service was going to be like.

For those of you keeping score, this means that in 4 churches in 4 weeks, my husband has walked out of half of them.

So what have we learned over the last four weeks?

1. The church we are looking for needs to be within a 30 minute drive from our house.

2. We want a contemporary service.

3. There must be only one time the offering plate is passed.

4. The service needs to be an hour long.

5. We would like there to be other people there around our age or at least other kids for the boys to make friends.

and most importantly to me at this point

6. The people in charge MUST know what is going on and what time the service starts.


We have laughed that we can attend a different church every Sunday for at least a year, and maybe that’s what we will do. As we’ve all learned, if it’s bad we will just walk out. I’ll keep you guys updated on our Quest for a Church.

What things do you look for in a church? What else should we be looking for?