BE STILL AND TRUST CHRIST

THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU

It was nineteen years ago when I hit rock bottom and needed Christ to pull me out of a pit of doubt. With many questions in my heart about God’s goodness, my faith began growing strong again as my family prayed for me and friends encouraged me not to lose hope.

In March of 1997 while we were at church, a friend of ours approached Michael and shared a Scripture with us. He told us to read Exodus 14:14. I wrote the words in my journal: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

From that dark season in my life, I began a quest to really understand what it means to be still and trust God.

Through my journey and over two decades of discovering how to trust Christ, my prayers changed from pitiful petitions to a confidence in the God of the universe to guide me and fight for me. I learned to be still and listen for God’s voice in my heart.

It was in the listening and stillness that I began to hear the voice of God guiding me and leading me to the abundant life that Christ promises (John 10:10).

In my younger years, my own stubbornness and inability to discern God’s voice led to so much heartache in my life. It was not God’s fault. It was my own responsibility for not seeking to know and hear God better.

John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He guides those who will listen for His voice.

Once I began hearing God clearly in my spirit, everything in my life turned around. With my renewed faith, I began praying bold prayers not only for myself, but for my loved ones and for the entire world.

It’s obvious this world is in great need of Christ’s healing power. The recent tragedies in Orlando, Germany, Turkey, and the horrific things that have been happening right here in my community are heartbreaking. However, I refuse to let these tragedies deflate my faith.

Are you in the midst of a painful battle? My heart is filled with compassion for you and I have been praying passionately for the prayer requests that have been flooding my inbox.

No matter what you are facing today, it’s not too big for God. Be still and let Christ do the fighting for you. Place your faith in the One who has the power to heal and restore.

Father,

I am in awe of Your goodness. Thank You for Your healing love. Please strengthen all those who are in the midst of hard battles. Let them be still and trust You to fight for them. Let them know You are a good Father and You have good plans for their lives. Strengthen them today and let them feel Your presence strongly while they wait for a miracle to unfold. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Will you come to the altar and release your problems to Jesus?

 

MARRIAGE IS A GIFT FROM GOD

Marriage is a Gift

Marriage can grow more beautiful every day or it can be a source of pain in our lives. It’s really all up to us. It depends on whether or not we choose forgiveness moment by moment.

When Michael and I got married three decades ago, we could have never dreamed of how deep our love would grow. Occasionally, we will have an argument, but now we forgive instantly rather than let an offense take root inside us.

My marriage to Michael is living proof that Christ can empower us to walk in forgiveness toward each other even in the midst of the worst circumstances. Sometimes a separation is necessary as it was for me in 2002, but any marriage can be saved if it is covered in persistent prayer (Luke 11: 9-10).

Marriage is a gift from God that thrives beautifully when it is Christ-centered.

I wrote an article in 2012 with ten tips for a passionate marriage and shared it on my blog in 2015. I submitted it to the Unveiled Wife website three years ago and they recently posted it. The article has not been updated, so it says I have been married twenty-eight years. However, I have actually been married thirty-one years.

I pray that you will be blessed by reading the ways Christ restored the passion in my marriage.

Vow Renewal 1

Ten Ways to Have a Passionate Marriage

After a tumultuous season in our marriage and a brief separation, my husband and I decided to do whatever it took to get our lives back on track.

We met when I was an eighteen-year-old student and got married when I was nineteen.

Over a decade later we had two children, piles of debt from several failed businesses, and the stress had taken a toll on our relationship. Our marriage hit rock bottom.

Then after a season of brokenness, the healing of our rocky relationship began. Through prayer, forgiveness, and the love of Christ, our marriage not only survived—it was gloriously restored.

To celebrate what God had done for us, in 2010, we renewed our vows and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

It’s now better than it’s ever been, twenty-eight years after we said, “I do.”

Marriage is a gift from God that is supposed to be a beautiful mirror image of the love between Christ and His church. It’s a covenant that is meant to last our entire lives.

How do we keep the passion alive throughout our lifetimes? Is it possible to be deeply in love after two or three decades of being together? Absolutely.

I will never stop sharing the story of my restored marriage. It’s a story of redemption that I hope will encourage other married couples to never give up.

A few years ago, a friend told me about a great idea she had for putting together a “Happy Marriage Recipe Booklet” for a bride-to-be she knew. My friend asked me to contribute my own special recipe for a great marriage.

After a few days of praying and searching my heart for the best marriage tips, I came up with a top ten list that has contributed to my thriving marriage.

To read the entire article, click the link below.

10 Ways To Have A Passionate Marriage

JESUS RESTORES AND GIVES NEW LIFE

Jesus Gives New Life

It was a clear, February day and I was making valentine cards. As a young girl, I didn’t have a care in the world. I was safe in the comfort of my home with my mom close by in the kitchen.

That’s the last thing I remember before I heard my mother’s panicked voice hollering out: “It’s a fire!”

I looked up and saw the kitchen curtains engulfed in flames. My mom tried putting the fire out, but her main concern was my safety. We ran outside to get away from the smoke. A gentleman who had seen the smoke from the Post Office next door ran over to our house, grabbed a hose, busted a window, and extinguished the fire.

Later that day, we went back inside to assess the damage. In a matter of minutes, the flames had completely destroyed our kitchen and the smoke had damaged most of our house.

We never stayed in that house another day. We packed up our salvageable items and moved in with my grandparents. During the next few months, we waited for a beautiful, new home to be built.

My life had been turned upside down by the rampant flames that raged through my house on that winter day. It was difficult to have my life so shaken up, but knowing a beautiful home was being built for us helped to ease the difficulties. I remember visiting the new home and seeing the progress that was being made.

I was elated the day I first saw my completed bedroom with brand new carpet I picked out myself. It was breathtaking—nothing like my young heart had ever experienced. After losing my old home and the things I had been attached to, the new home was sweetness to my soul. It was amazing.

The new life offered by Christ reminds me of the new home I moved into after the fire. Before I fully surrendered myself to Christ’s plans for me, fiery trials swept through my life and destroyed many things that were important to me.

After surrendering everything to Jesus, He rebuilt my life and turned the pain of my past into a beautiful display of splendor. During the hardships, I remember wondering if I would ever have beauty in my life again. The stress of many problems all seemed impossible to repair.

As I wrestled to believe, my faith won and things began turning around for me. Christ restored all the broken things in my life. His love healed my marriage and turned all the trials into triumphant victories. Most important of all, Christ filled my heart with never-ending peace.

When we believe things are hopeless, then we will have a hopeless life. When we teeter on the fence of disbelief, we miss out on miracles the Bible promises we will see.

Whenever a doubtful thought taunts us, we can meditate on the Scriptures that bring life to a weary soul. Doubt cannot penetrate a heart that is fixated on the truth of God’s Word.

Are you struggling to believe God for good things in your life? Do you believe God can turn things around in America?

Jesus is the Restorer. Just as a builder builds a new house, Christ builds a new life out of broken pieces. He makes beautiful things.

Things begin changing when we step away from fear, leave doubt behind, and begin believing that Christ is the author of beauty.

Choose faith, pray, and watch as He rebuilds and recreates the beautiful life He longs to give all His children.

Father,

Thank You for being the giver of new life and new beginnings. Let all the believers in this nation surrender everything to You. Let us join together and pray until we see change and beauty arise in America. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit every day and let us go out and share the good news of the gospel of grace to a world in need. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”

Acts 5:20

“We were buried in baptism as Christ was buried in death. As Christ was raised from the dead by the great power of God, so we will have new life also.”

Romans 6:4

RESTING IN THE STEADINESS OF CHRIST’S LOVE

Jesus Never Changes

Look at the beautiful sky,” I said enthusiastically. I was in awe as I was telling my husband to look behind us and see the beauty of the sunset. Michael and I were walking at a park near our house where we often see the sun going down in the evenings.

The splendor in the sky reminded me of the steadfastness of the Lord. I love how the patterns in the earth are tangible signs of God’s never-changing character. Every single day the sun rises and then the sun sets during the latter part of the day. Every day the earth rotates and the cycle repeats itself again and again. This alone is enough evidence that God is a good Father—our provider and comforter.

In this world that seems to be falling apart, we can count on Christ for stability.

In a time that’s filled with uncertainties, we can rest in the steadiness of Christ’s love. Jesus never changes. He is the same today and always.

Lord,

Thank You for never changing. No matter what is happening in our lives we can always count on You to be there to listen, to comfort, and to love us without limits. Your love melts stress away. Your love turns sadness into joy. Your love is simply marvelous. Help us spread Your love to those who are mourning. Please, Lord, be with the people in France today in the midst of their pain. Heal and protect the people who are hurting. Surround them with Your presence and be their never-ending source of comfort. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8

Photo Credit: My husband captured the picture during one of our walks.

A MOTHER’S PRAYER IS POWERFUL

A Mother's Prayer is Powerful

My mothering instincts kicked into high gear and a flood of concern rushed into my mind when I heard the ring of the phone after midnight. I was thinking: What if something is wrong with my daughter?

Christa was seventeen at the time and in Mexico on a mission trip for the purpose of constructing a house for a homeless family. She and a large group of students were camping in tents in an open field area.

I grabbed my phone as quickly as possible and heard my daughter’s sullen voice on the other end of the line.

“Mommy, I’m afraid I have a bad virus. I feel very nauseous. Everyone is asleep, and I don’t know what to do.”

There were chaperones sleeping in other tents, but understandably she was apprehensive about searching in the dark for one of the adults.

As a protective mother, I felt helpless while I listened to my daughter. In the midst of trying to push away my fearful thoughts, I accepted that the power of prayer was our only option.

“Let me get your daddy. He and I will pray for you.”

I encouraged Christa as calmly as I knew how. After awakening Michael, he and I prayed for healing for our daughter. In that moment, I felt peace wash over me.

Even though Christa was still feeling very sick, I mustered up enough faith to assure her that she would be okay and said, “Goodbye; I love you and I’ll be praying.”

After laying the phone down, I was tempted to let fear consume me, but there was truly no other choice than to trust Christ completely. I could not transport myself thousands of miles instantaneously to take care of my sick daughter. The situation was out of my control.

I could either fret or choose to believe God’s promises in the Bible. Christ promised if we believe that we have received it, it will be ours (Mark 11:24).

After my conversation with Christa, I struggled in the beginning to completely shake my worries, but eventually I let go and released my daughter to the Lord. During the following days, I tried to call Christa’s cell phone multiple times to check on her, but I never could reach her.

Eight days later, Michael and I excitedly hurried to the airport to pick up our daughter. In the baggage claim area, I looked intently for Christa’s face in the crowd. My heart was overjoyed when I saw my daughter’s beaming smile. I knew the moment I saw her glowing face, the Lord had heard our prayers and healed her.

As I stood there in awe, I asked, “Why didn’t you answer my calls?”  She replied, “There was no cell phone reception other than the night I was sick.”

Then I remembered that her youth leader had told us previously there would be no cell phone reception where they were staying.

I couldn’t deny God’s supernatural intervention. Already knowing the answer, I asked, “Did you get well after we prayed?”

“The nausea went away about ten minutes after we prayed together. I never felt sick again the entire trip.” Christa was radiating joy as she shared the testimony of God’s faithfulness.

 

Christa

 

Not only had God touched my daughter’s sick body—He had enabled her to get in touch with me in a place where cell phone reception is usually impossible.

Sometimes there are predicaments that only Jesus has the power to change. When we release our children to God through faith-filled prayer, miracles begin to happen.

Is your child in a situation that’s out of your control? If you’re struggling to release your children’s problems to the Lord, remember that with faith as small as a mustard seed, we can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible (Matthew 17: 20).

As a mother falls to her knees, crying out desperately for a divine intervention, Christ comes to the rescue. A mother’s heart aches when her child aches and the heavens are shaken with her love. The power of a mother’s fervent prayer moves the heart of God to do what only He can do.

If you need more encouragement as a praying mother, you can get a FREE download of the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook today through July 13th.

 

 

OUR UTTER DEPENDENCE ON GOD

Lord, We Need You

A couple of days ago while I was praying in the quiet of the morning, I pondered the needs of my loved ones and the problems in the world at large. As I was lifting up my petitions to the Lord in prayer, my mind shifted to the lack of rain in our area. I remembered the dried-up field of crops I saw the day before while driving through North Georgia. It had been weeks since it rained at my house.

My unenthusiastic prayers for rain in the previous days had gone unanswered, but fervor rose up in my spirit and I began to beg the Lord for abundant rain.

Lord, we need rain so badly. Please, please let it rain today.

Something had shifted in my mind while I was praying. I truly believed it would rain that day. About thirty minutes later—while I was lying still and praying—a big boom of thunder seemed to come out of nowhere. I jumped up to look out the window and saw that it was pouring rain.

I was in awe and rejoicing in my soul over what had happened. To the skeptic, it would appear to be a coincidence, but to a person of faith it was an answered prayer.

I have experienced countless answered prayers, but this was a phenomenon I don’t ever remember experiencing. God was encouraging me in an extraordinary way by bringing rain in the midst of my prayer time.

I was reminded of what Christ said about prayer and faith (Matthew 21:21-22).

“Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

In those moments, I thought about the fact that we need God for the very breath we breathe and for the food that sustains us. If we have no rain, things begin to die and there is no life.

In our human strength, it’s easy to believe we can sail through life without true dependence on our Creator. The moment we realize we are utterly dependent on God, we begin to pray big prayers and see His power working in our lives in the most amazing ways.

Father,

Thank You for caring about every single detail in our lives. Thank You for sending rain when we need it. Thank You for hearing our prayers and answering them in miraculous ways. Teach us to depend on You more every day. Let us trust You with every ounce of our being. Let us walk in faith every moment of every day. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.”

Leviticus 26:4

 “You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.”

 Psalm 68:9   

Photo Credit: My husband captured the picture of my hydrangea flowers shortly after the beautiful rain came on Tuesday morning.

 

A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

God Bless America

I walked into the voting area and the tension was so thick that it felt tangible. The faces I saw were covered with distress and anxiety.

Patience is running out as people face the reality of what is happening in America.

Jesus is our only hope. I have complete faith in Christ to restore our nation to a strong, vibrant country. He restored my life beyond my highest expectations. I expect him to restore the United States. However, before the Lord restored my life, he tested my faith. I believe we are headed for a season of testing. I trust that in the end our nation will come forth as pure gold and bring the hope of Christ to a hurting world.

Father,

Thank You for Your amazing grace and love. We come to You and humbly ask that You keep Your hand on this nation. We are sorry for leaving You out of our decision making so many times. We realize that our country is in danger and we need You desperately to intervene. May we turn away from all that draws us away from Your love and return to You wholeheartedly. Let us rend our hearts and know that You are merciful, compassionate, and abounding in love. I believe it is Your desire to see this nation thrive and be restored. Let us rise up and be the nation that You always dreamed we would be. Raise our country into a mighty nation and let us be a bright light to a dark world. We ask You to appoint the person who is best suited to lead America. We trust You, Lord, to do great and mighty things in this nation. Let us live for You purposefully and passionately. We ask You to protect us from calamity. We love You and place our hope in You. Please bless our country and let us be a blessing to all the earth. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:13

 “He knows the way that I take when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 

 “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3

Happy 4th of July! Have a safe and fun day. :)

This post has been updated from a piece I wrote in 2012.

LOVING AS CHRIST LOVES

Love One Another

My heart is deeply saddened for the people in Orlando who lost their loved ones in such a tragic way. It’s hard to fathom a senseless act of terror on the lives of beautiful people.

On the day I heard the devastating news, my mind was far from being focused on the haters in the world. I tend to stay focused on the good in people. With compassion, I pondered the tragedy and wondered why the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was targeted. A conversation with my family jolted me into the reality of a world where some people hate other people because of lifestyle choices and other differences.

From the moment I thought about the horrible devastation in Orlando, my strongest prayer has been for the families of the victims to be comforted and lavished in love.

Sadly, during past tragedies, I’ve heard about people who have said and done the cruelest things in the name of Christ. That must grieve the Lord’s heart more than anything else.

Someone who truly knows Christ will walk in love toward all people.

We know by reading the Bible (John 13:34-35) that Christ said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus did not say: Love people when their beliefs and lifestyles are the same as ours. He did not say to love people when they do what we think they should do. He simply said: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Christ has called us to love purely and unconditionally. It is by God’s amazing love and grace that people will be drawn to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our generation is living in an unprecedented time of hatred. Many have turned away from God because they don’t know that His true nature is love. God is love. (1 John 4:8).

It’s heartbreaking to watch someone choose hate over love and commit such a horrid act as the one in Orlando. I find peace and comfort in the one thing I am certain of: Jesus loves us deeply.

Our minds cannot comprehend how deep Christ’s love is. It is perfect. It is indescribable.

His love comforts.

His love heals.

His love redeems.

His love restores.

His love is enough to conquer anything. Evil may be increasing on the earth, but love overpowers it all. As we love one another as Christ loves us, that’s when we will see the world begin to change.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious; slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8

 “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Psalm 103:10

The Scripture verses were taken from the New International Bible.

Father,

I lift up every person who was impacted by the tragedy in Orlando. I know You are filled with compassion for those families. I ask You to comfort them in their sorrows. Fill them with the hope and knowledge of Your eternal love. Keep them in the palm of Your hand and fill the hole in their hearts with Your love and peace. Bring an abundance of beauty to replace the pain. I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

Photo Credit: My husband captured the photo on the beautiful island of Molokai, Hawaii.

LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER

DSC_0370

Michael looks into my eyes and takes my breath away. I have no doubt that our hearts were knitted together long before we met. We were made for each other. Thirty-one years after we said our vows on April 27, 1985, our love is stronger and more beautiful than ever.

During the hard years when the children were young and the stress seemed insurmountable, there were times when I actually felt nothing toward the man I had vowed to love forever. The misunderstandings and the hurts had taken their toll on my heart and it all seemed impossible to repair.

I began to understand why God desires that we pledge our love to each other for the rest of our earthly lives. It takes a lifetime to learn the true meaning of forgiveness and how to love unconditionally.

Through prayer and faith, our relationship was transformed. Christ renewed our love and restored our marriage.

With God, all things are possible (Luke 1:37).

After more than three decades, our love is deeper than I could have ever imagined. Christ’s love is the strength of our marriage. Where there is love, there will be beauty because love never fails.

Real and lasting love grows out of hearts that are knitted closely with God. The purest kind of love is filled with patience and kindness. It is not jealous or self-seeking. It does not remember past offenses. It rejoices with the truth. It never gives up on a person, is always full of faith, and will endure the hardest circumstances and come forth as pure as gold. Love that is built upon the rock of Christ is eternal and lasts forever.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” — 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7(NLT)

This piece has been revised from a previous post. The photo was captured the day we renewed our wedding vows in 2010.

A SMALL TOWN SOUTHERN WOMAN

Mema - 12-25-15

Heaven is rejoicing today over the birthday of my beloved grandmother. Mema was born on April 20, 1920 and she entered her heavenly home in February of this year. Although I miss her, my heart is filled with joy in knowing she’s where she wants to be. She lived a long, beautiful life and finished well.

Mema was the classic example of the woman described in Proverbs 31. Her example to me is a priceless gift. The seeds of her love will grow eternally in my heart and in my spirit.

My dad (Mema’s son) asked me to write the eulogy and share it at the funeral. I was so blessed to stand at the podium and share a few thoughts about Mema’s life. Today, in honor of my grandmother’s birthday I’m sharing the eulogy again.

A Tribute to Mema

Anyone who knew my grandmother could appreciate that she was a simple Southern woman who greatly loved her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. It was obvious she treasured being a wife, a homemaker, and spending time with her family. I believe her greatest joy came from serving people and she especially loved serving her family. Mema was very generous with her time and her resources.

My grandmother, Ethel, married the love of her life, Alvin Harper, when she was nineteen years old. Her marriage to my grandfather was one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever witnessed. Her loving devotion to her husband for seventy-two years is an inspiring example to me and for all the women who knew her. She stayed committed and loved my grandfather through the good times and hard times, the way God intended for a wife to do.

I asked Mema to tell me her favorite memory from the life she shared with my grandfather. With certainty, she said her favorite memory was raising their kids and having them come back home to visit when they were grown. Her words and the life she lived revealed what she valued most.

She spoiled the whole family with her meals that were made from scratch. I have vivid memories of watching her spend hours preparing the most delicious Southern cooking I’ve ever tasted. Shortly after we would sit down at the dinner table, she would always apologize for not making the food taste good enough. Everyone at the table would chuckle and assure her that the meal was exceptionally good.

I don’t know of anyone who could make a better breakfast than Mema. One of my best memories is waking up to the smell of her homemade biscuits and gravy. As soon as I was awakened, I would see the table filled with a whole variety of amazingly good homemade food.

Hanging out with Mema when I was growing up was one of my favorite things to do. I was blessed to live right next door to her for a number of years. I learned to be a hard worker by watching Mema work so hard to provide good food and create a cozy home for her husband.

I remember the way she went the extra mile for her family and did things like drying beans every summer and called them “leather britches.” She was very gifted at sewing, quilting, and she could do just about anything crafty. She made dolls and stuffed animals for me. She sewed beautiful clothes for me during my grammar school years. She gardened and canned vegetables and made the most amazing jams, jellies, candies, and homemade popcorn balls. I will always remember how Mema wanted to give us candy or some sort of treat when we were leaving her house.

She had a wonderful way of making everyone in the family feel well cared for. The many times I slept over at her house, she would come to the bedroom repeatedly to bring more blankets and make sure I was warm enough. Now, I have a habit of sleeping with layers of thick blankets because of Mema’s love and concern for me when I was a child.

Mema grew older gracefully and developed a great sense of humor. She often made me laugh with her wittiness. She referred to our family as country folks a number of times. She truly was a small town country girl with a charming personality.

I’ll never forget the many little phrases she would say daily. She would get enthused about the simplest things, and with her country accent she would say one of her trademark phrases: “Well, I wish you would look.” “Heavenly days.” “That’s as old as Methuselah.” “Well, I’ll say.” “I’ll swanee.” “I want you to look.”

I will always cherish the memory of her most used and all-time favorite phrase to say: “That beats all I’ve ever seen.”

Her thoughtfulness, kindness, and her desire to serve people carried over into her elderly years. It was just a part of who she was.

After moving to a senior living facility, she would often show concern for her table mates. She wanted to make sure they were okay and had everything they needed.

Mema blessed the lives of many people at her assisted living home. My heart was deeply touched at the large number of staff members who told me how sweet Mema was. Time and time again they said, “Ethel is a sweetheart; she’s my favorite resident.” After she left the Oaks Senior Living Home, the staff openly expressed how much they would miss her. She will be missed, indeed.

My grandmother’s life greatly impacted me and taught me the value of putting God and my family above all else. I’m grateful that she taught me the beauty and fulfillment that comes from being a wife, a mother, and a homemaker.

When I think of Mema’s life, I am reminded of the scriptures in Psalm 91, verses 14-16.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Mema loved the Lord and she honored Him with her life. Christ honored her and satisfied her with a long, blessed life.

I can imagine Mema’s reaction when she stepped into heaven. As Jesus and my grandfather greeted her at the pearly gates, I feel certain that she got her first glance and said with the greatest enthusiasm ever: “That beats all I’ve ever seen!”

I’ll love you forever, Mema.

The photo of my daughter and my grandmother was captured on Christmas, 2015.