Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Concerning Zacchaeus...

Confession...

Each year, I try to read the whole Bible in the calendar year (Jan. 1-Dec. 31), and for the last several years, I've succeeded. This year I did not; when that clock struck 2016, I still had nine days on my reading plan left. And you know what? Thanks to the encouraging words of a friend's blog post (read here if you want), I decided that I would just keep reading it into the new year until I had completed it. (Which I did on the 2nd, woohoo! Check one goal for the new year off already.) ;)

Anyway, one of the last things I read about in this plan was the meeting up of Jesus and Zacchaeus, and for some reason, it struck a new chord with me. I think that must be one of THE FIRST Bible stories you actually remember in Sunday school (sing the song with me, anyone?), and honestly I've probably heard a sermon or four preached on it over the years, and yet...and YET, this year, this time, this reading, I got something fresh. I honestly LOVE that about the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Sure, there is nothing new under the sun, but I'm a person, and persons can be dense, and therefore we are only revealed to in bites we can handle for that season, and then more when we're ready in future seasons. That's one of the best things about reading my Bible every year - what actually keeps me going back - there's so much packed into those 66 books that you really do read something new every time you go through it.

In John 19, Jesus is making hs way through Jericho, and there are massive crowds who have gathered to see him. Enter Zacchaeus - a rich and crooked tax collector, but he wants to see Jesus too, and he's a little guy and darn it, just can't see over the crowd. He climbs a tree to get a glimpse, and wouldn't you know it? Jesus, being awesome, spots him. And then, being even more awesome, mentions that he needs to get down because He, Jesus, was going to his house to be a guest. Ummm, sure okay Jesus, on my way! (That's me, trying to play it cool and casually scramble down the tree, but instead falling because I'm completely freaking out...)

Okay, here is what I want to point out, these Scriptures have literally been replaying in my head for the last several days, and it's John 19:6-10: "Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated poeple on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."

Zacchaeus was a sinner, end of story. He was a tax collector, who cheated people. He had become very rich doing this, and was probably living a fairly comfortable life. And yet, even in his state of sin he knew he needed to see Jesus. He probably didn't know why, but something in the very core of his being said "I'm getting there, no matter what it takes." I absolutely love the part where it says he took Jesus into his house with excitement and joy. And then in his spending time with Jesus, repented of his sin and started figuring out how to change in practical ways. He knew he was in the wrong, yet he was eager to spend time with the Lord, and this time spent brought about the life change he desperately needed.

Many times we feel like we need to have everything straightened up before we "welcome Jesus in," and then when we do it's like a terse, sit-on-the-uncomfortable-couch-and-sip-tea-that-neither-of-us-likes kind of meeting. That is so not what He intends! He says "Come as you are," and considering He knows exactly how we are, I think He really means it! How much sweeter would time spent with the Lord be if we didn't care as much about the "state of things" in our life but rather welcomed Him in with joy and excitement, and welcomed the necessary adjustments in our lives that His Word demands? So. much. sweeter.

Now let's roll back the reel a bit and talk about this story from one other angle - Jesus. He knew Zacchaeus was a sinner, but he wanted to stay with him anyway. Others scoffed and mocked at how he could lower himself to dining with such a terrible individual, but Jesus didn't see the sin, he saw the heart desperate for what was really needed for change: truth in love. And although there might have been some intense conversation over his need for salvation, all we see is that His presence brought the change.

Randy Alcorn says, "When people hear truth spoken graciously, many are drawn to it because of the moral vacuum they feel. Hearts long for truth-even hearts that reject it." ("The Grace and Truth Paradox")

Yup.

What gets me about this story is that I see so much of what I need to be in both parties. I want to always be desperate to meet with Jesus, regardless of how "well" I'm doing spiritually. I want to feel the conviction, not condemnation, with a heart ready for change, growth, progress. I want to always be humble enough to remember and recognize that I'm in sinner in need of a Savior, and that will never change. On the other side of the pendulum, I have to stop and wonder how often I am willing to spend time with those who others wouldn't. To put life situations aside and just fellowship with someone. The reality is I need Jesus as desperately as they do; the real question at hand is am I willing to be the vessel that brings Jesus to them? Am I bringing truth in grace that opens the door for change? Or am I bringing a fluffy religion that adds an extra lock to an already closed door? Dear lord I hope it's the first.

Moving forward into 2016, these are some of the things on my heart. I want to be desperate for my Savior, and I want to be walking with Him so closely that my life bears the results of grace and truth, and people around me see Him and learn to know Him personally as well.

I think it's going to be a pretty great year, and I hope that you'll join me in rejoicing in times to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

He Did...and He WILL

Well, as usual I'd love to promise that this will be a short post, but let's be honest - they rarely are. I'm a wordy girl, what can I say? Someone told me that it's for a reason and to just go with it, so you're welcome. :)


Anyway, this morning I was reading my bible and a passage really struck a chord within me. While this isn't an infrequent occurrence, I don't usually share. Today I felt compelled to.


"...We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us."
       - 1 Corinthians 1:8-10


Over that last several years, I've walked through some very difficult times. The pressure, stress, and pain seemed almost suffocating, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed nonexistent. I'm just now realizing that big chunks of time from that period I was sort of floating through, because they're just now coming back to me. HOWEVER, God was ever present. All knowing. All powerful. And through it all I learned to rely on Him and Him alone.


Hard times - financial or relationship difficulties, depression, illness, whether your own or that of someone dear to you - well, they really suck. No mincing words there. They do. And it's okay if you feel overwhelmed, because they can be pretty overwhelming, and everyone feels that way. You're not alone.


You're. Not. Alone.


Today, if you're struggling through circumstances, or maybe facing some future uncertainties that are plaguing you with fear and you just don't feel like you can breathe or hold on much longer, you CAN. I promise. Hold on to Jesus. If you don't know Him, find someone who does. Talk to them, have them pray for you. God has rescued and will continue to rescue! He's the same yesterday, today, and forever and in Him you can find new life, strength, peace, hope, comfort, and confidence.


You don't have to do it all. Stop relying on yourself to solve everything or handle it all on your own, and rely on God. (And yes, I'm preaching to myself here, even now.)


Hopefully someone reads this and finds hope, and the peaceful reminder of Someone who loves them. Be blessed, and keep smiling at things to come, because through the storm comes an indescribable beauty.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Come Running

I don't know where to begin. First of all, can I just say that it's been WAY too long since I sat down to write? I realize that it's my fault, but admitting it is the first step, right? ;) Anyway, since it has been such a long time, this is kind of like starting all over again, and frankly, I'm a little nervous. So here I go anyway.

I've preached it for a long time, and really have believed it to the best of my capacity each time, that God doesn't do anything by mistake or coincidence. I do believe that He orchestrates everything. That isn't to say (or open up dialog to say) that He orchestrates disasters or death by man's hand at all, but that He isn't unaware of what is going on and He isn't absent from it if we reach out to Him. That is what the Bible says is true, that is what I've always believed to be true, and that is what I've found proven to be true in my own life. To put it as simply as a wordy girl like myself can: If you come running to Father God, you WILL find Him there.

I find it ironic that the same spring that my father was diagnosed with cancer, God gave me the idea and title for this blog, 'Laughing at My Future.' In reality, I think it was preparation for what was to come. I spent time poring over the Word, and really arming myself with the strengthening reminders of His love, His mercy, His strength, His power, and so on and so forth. Then I headed into what felt like living hell on earth. And yet...YET...here I stand, on the other side of it (or close to it, in some respects), feet firmly on the ground, heart still trusting God completely, and that deep joy still inside me.

When my daddy - my HERO - passed away, I felt like my world crashed. Exploded. Might possibly be over. But instead of giving into the fear, depression, insanity (not exaggerating), etc that I was tempted to many times, I went running back to God, throwing myself into His arms in prayer, through the Word, through counseling times with trusted leaders and friends, and time and time again, I felt that indescribable peace, and the promise of a future and a hope, that deeply rooted joy of the Lord, and I felt my sanity and strength return.

I know this sounds like rambling, but it's not. Well, maybe it is. I guess what I'm trying to say is if there is anyone out there today, RIGHT NOW, that feels that desperation, like they're drowning or just out of or losing control of their life, you have a life line waiting for you to grab hold of, no matter where you are or what is going on. Father God is there. He loves you. He's there for you, to bring you through whatever darkness or valley you're in to the other side. To bring you victory and rejoicing.

One last thing. My daddy passed away on a Saturday night. The next morning, although so much of me didn't want to, my family went to church. I don't remember a whole lot of that day, but I remember with vivid clarity a few things, one of which was the song that my friend played at the end of the worship service. I remember being in the midst of everyone, and just bawling my eyes out because of the pain of the loss, but also the sweetness of God's presence. I remember the confusion over what had happened, but also the peace that He knew and was there to hold my hand through the days to come, just as he had every other day prior. The song was "Song of Solomon," by Martin Smith. To this day, I usually can't hear it played live without losing it, but I don't consider that a bad thing. It's a beautiful depiction of how when going through valleys, darkness, or trials, one needs God, to come running to Him, to be held by Him. It ministers to me every time I hear it, and I've attached the link in hopes that it speaks to someone else today.

Be blessed, be filled with the joy of the Lord, and know that He loves you and has a future and a HOPE for you as well. All you have to do is come running to Him.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Having it All Doesn't Look Like I Thought it Would...

This afternoon I laid my girls down for their naps and was straightening the house and felt the Lord download something into me with such force that in all truth I had to sit down and pray right then and there. And now I am here, to share it with you, in hopes that you will find it as encouraging as I did.

Our oldest daughter, Olivia, just turned 5 this summer. She is bright, beautiful, sweet, and loves life in general, finding no greater joy than in the happiness of those around her, and in the Lord. Lately, she has hit some pretty big milestones, one of them being voluntary assistance around the house. She likes to set the table, help put away the dishes, make the beds, fold the towels when they come out of the dryer, all these things and many more. Being 5, her joy and willingness to do this is still more on her terms and timing than ours, but we're learning to work with it, and 'take advantage' of and encourage her in it when presented.

This being said, my home is starting to look a bit different than the pottery barn catalog picture I'd prefer it to resemble after a day of cleaning. Here is where I got hit today. The girls spent part of the morning folding the towels, but I hadn't gotten a chance to put them away yet, so after laying them all down, it was my first 'to-do' on the list. Let me tell you, every part of me looked at them and wanted to refold them. Not because I didn't appreciate the time and effort that had been put into them at all, but because my knee-jerk reaction to things is to 'fix' them to fit into my little control freakish preferences and appearances. I started to do just that, justifying my actions by telling myself how much nicer they'd all fit into our limited linen closet space, and things like that. But I was WRONG. Just as I picked up a stack to 'fix,' I really felt the Lord ask me what the point of having my daughter help was if I was just going to show her that her efforts weren't good enough?

OUCH. But, very true. How often do we encourage our little ones to help, but then tell them that it wasn't help enough? When they're older, there is a definite refining of skill that should come, but at this age, no way. Either I want to train my daughter to joyfully serve the members of her household or I don't. Either I will teach her that even the slightest efforts can be greatly appreciated or I won't. They are so tender, so impressionable, so fragile at this age, and they're hanging on every word of discouragement or affirmation that we give them.

When I had Olivia, right then I knew that my goal now was to aim toward being that Proverbs 31 wife not only for my {and my husband's} sake, but for hers as well. Because she would be watching me, learning from me - learning to serve joyfully or begrudgingly - or not at all. Then God gave us 2 more daughters and that desire only increased. I want my daughters to learn to be women who serve and care for their households willingly and JOYFULLY, and that starts here, now.

With a changed heart, I now peer into my linen closet rejoicing over folded towels that don't look like they came from a hotel housekeeping closet, but rather were pridefully presented by the hands of my tender-hearted 5 year old little girl who was beaming at the opportunity to help, and I beam just as brightly with pride. I look at their beds, made by my daughter, at the blankets laying nicely, but not tucked in, and rather than wish I could just get in there and 'fix' them, I also notice the loving way she arranged her dolls and lovies, and her sisters as well. Already taking so much pride in her efforts, already so willing to serve - who am I to discard that as nothing? As a mom, it is EVERYTHING.

Sometimes 'having it all' doesn't look like we thought it would, sometimes we have to look a bit harder and with adjusted vision to see that we've really arrived at one of those moments. But the peace and joy that comes with such a realization is so incredible, amazing, and motivating. I know there are so many things to come - lessons to learn and trials to face - but in this moment, right here and now, I feel like I have it all, and it feels awesome.

Until next time, I'll still be laughing,
Crystle

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Legacy of a Father...From a Daughter

Right now it is just after one in the morning, making us officially an hour into Father's Day. And just a few hours ago, it had been officially been 6 weeks since my father, my daddy, left us and went to be with our Heavenly Father. 6 of the shortest, as well as longest, weeks of my life. To be honest, it's a lot to deal with sometimes, even now. And yet, as I sit here in this moment, I'm not overcome with tears and grief, but rather with peace; even more so, with a certain thankfulness in my heart that cannot be explained, and definitely cannot be removed.

I've been wondering for the last couple of weeks about this first Father's Day without my daddy - how it would feel, how I would do. And of course it will be different a bit I'm sure, as I go to bed, wake up, and actually start the day. But for now, I'm good, and I'm glad.

I had a minor breakdown in Target the other day, while looking through the Father's Day cards. My sister and I were picking them up and putting them down, reading the funny ones, and looking for the right one to give someone in our life who has been like a second father to us - both in our own daddy's living as well as his passing, and then I saw it - "Happy Father's Day Papa!" It was a card meant to be from grandchildren, and it recognized 'Papa' as being the nut who started the family tree. The wording of the card sounded so much like my daughters' own conversations, and the term for grandpa being the one they had landed on at some point years ago...that was all I took. I had to put the card down and walk away. So many thoughts and emotions, pain and loss, memories and the disappointment that there wouldn't be any more to be made - all these rolling through my heart and mind at once - but then came the quiet, "be still" command to my heart from my Father God, and the peace came rushing in.

With that peace came the importance of that card's message. "You're the nut that started us all!" Something to that effect, anyway. And it's true, my family has the imprint of my daddy on us, something that will never change. It shows in the men my brothers are growing up to be, it will show in how they raise their children, and also - and this is where I'm focusing on tonight - it shows in where my sister and I have our standards in regards to relationships.

When a son grows up, his relationship with his father is vital. The validation that helps him become a man can only come from a man. He learns how to be a leader, a husband, a provider, and so on. This is a relationship that is reflected on frequently, and I'm glad. However, it is not really a process or perspective I can really dwell on, and so I choose not to try.

What I can talk about, and what I have been meditating on, and what has calmed my heart so much this week leading up to Father's Day, is the relationship a daughter has with her father, with her daddy. For this, too, is essential to her future. At least it was to mine. After all, it was because of what I saw in my daddy that drew me to the man I married - the man who would eventually be the daddy of three little girls of his own.

My daddy was my HERO. I had him on a pedestal from day one to my memory, and probably before. Although there were disappointments here and there for silly, material things, he never let me down when it mattered most. I grew up knowing a father who would work to the bone to support his family, doing whatever job he needed to. He would be exhausted, and sometimes days off were few and far between, but he never said no to tickle fights, playing basketball with his klutzy, asthmatic daughter, or simply rocking in a recliner together before bedtime. I was so blessed to never know anything but love. Yes, there was often discipline {REALLY often in my case at times} involved, but in that correction I also felt love and protection. As I grew into my teenage years I had a very open relationship with my dad, because I trusted him, and he never took advantage of that to manipulate me into obedience. In those conversations there still came the correction, the discipline, and sometimes the expressions of disappointment, but again it was always brought around full circle to love, protection, and the encouragement not just that I could, but that I WOULD do better. In my relationship with my dad is where I learned a lot of confidence in who God was forming me to be, and the gift package He had designed uniquely for me. In my relationship with my daddy is where I learned how a man ought to be a father to his children. God's law/standard first, ruled gently but firmly, in love, and always as much fun as possible.

I grew up watching very closely my dad being a husband to my mom. As a child/preteen I would look for the 'signs of trouble' at times, as a lot of my friends' parents split up during those years. If there were ever any in my parents' relationship I never saw them. Again, very blessed I know, I honestly can't remember a time where my parents ever fought in front of us. Not that I was naive enough to think that they didn't argue - because let's face it, when "the look" is given followed by the FIRM shutting of a door and mildly raised voices all happens in a short amount of time, you know there is some discussing going on. :) But he was always kind in his words to her, never threatening, never mean or cruel, never degrading. I never once doubted my dad's love for my mom. She was his best friend, his wife, his partner for life.

In fact - and this was a lesson that I remember as plainly as it was yesterday, it was that impacting - one time my brother and I got caught in the act of 'pitting' one parent against the other, and boy did my daddy get upset at that one. I can still feel the emotion and uncertainty of waiting on the couch, ready for whatever consequences were to come, and my dad - my big, 6'4" father - coming into the family room. There were words, punishments, etc, and then he said something I'll never forget when the subject came round to going behind one parent to ask the other, and putting them in that position.

"I love you, and you're my kids, and nothing will ever change that. But one day, you'll grow up, move out, get married, and have families and lives of your own. Your mother and I, however, we're in this for life. She is my wife, my partner. After you're gone, she will still be here, doing life with me. Don't ever make me choose her over you like that again, because I can almost guarantee you, it's going to be her."

This rattled me to my core. Actually, at first I was kind of put out. But then, even though I was pretty young, I realized just how important this was - just how amazing a gift this was. The security imparted to me at that moment was indescribable, as was the picture of what a godly husband should be like. In my relationship with my father, I learned who I needed to marry - not necessarily the exact person, but the kind of man he would need to be.

I've heard it said over and over that girls wind up with guys that are just like their dad - usually in a negative context. For me, that was absolutely true. My daddy showed me not how to be a man, but what to look for in a man - more importantly, what to PRAY for. He showed me that a husband should be a best friend, married to his wife not his job, providing financially yes, but more importantly leading spiritually and making sure there is life and fun in the house as well. He showed me that a husband and a wife only work successfully when they are a team, with the husband leading and the wife being in agreement. He showed me that God needed to be the center focus of both of them in order for this team thing to be successful. My daddy showed me what a daddy should be, how he should teach his children right from wrong, correct them when necessary, and encourage them constantly. He showed me that a daddy can be a parent and a friend, as long as the latter relationship was secondary. All this and more, my daddy showed me not through numerous wise teachings - although we had many late night conversations that I will always treasure - but simply through his living this out. By being, he showed me how to be.

And so today, on Father's Day, I am missing my daddy terribly. Most of that aching, however, is in that I never told him thank you for teaching me all of this. Because if he hadn't, I wouldn't have married Andrew - my best friend, my partner, my leader, and an AMAZING daddy to our daughters. My dad said at our wedding reception that if it had been his choice of who I'd marry, it would have been Andrew. To me, that was the greatest form of encouragement and blessing on my marriage I could have ever received. Now almost 8 years later, I can see why he said that. Life isn't perfect, and neither are we. We have our ups and downs in dealing with things, and we are human. But this Father's Day I am at peace in many ways because I get to help my daughters celebrate the day with their daddy, who is a better man than he knows.

And this, is the legacy of a father, from his daughter's perspective. I pray that it encourages all who read it.

Until next time, I'll still be laughing,
Crystle

 My daddy and me. 

 Highschool Graduation

 Father-Daughter Dance

 The toast. :)

 Our whole family, March this year.

My amazing husband and daughters, our little family. I am truly blessed. <3

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Letter to my Daddy

As the clock stuck twelve tonight and the date became the 4th of June, so came with it the one month mark since my father, my hero, my daddy, finished his battle with cancer and went to be with The Lord. I still, most of the time, cannot believe it's really true. Some days I feel like I'm really moving on, moving forward, healing somewhat. Other days I'm a wreck. Every last thing reminds me of him and I can hardly function because of how much I miss him. I'm so grateful for the undercurrent of peace that is constantly flowing in my life - the one that rushes in behind the waves of grief and helps to calm and soothe my aching heart. I know that God has a plan, and my faith in Him is unwavering, but I am still hurting, plain and simple. And so, one month later, I offer you a piece of my heart. I hope that soon, the ravings and musings you read on this blog will be filled with hilarity that I really do get to experience every day with my amazing family, but for now I must also be genuine, and right now I genuinely need to pour my heart out once more. 

Daddy,
I'm so ready for my heart to stop hurting this badly. Maybe then I can sleep soundly once more. I miss you Daddy, so much it's hard to breathe. I can't believe it's been a month since you looked me in the eye, and without words communicated everything and not enough all at once. I'm proud to be your daughter, to be raising your granddaughters, but it hurts that you're not here to see me do it, to have a hand in it, to have to have the conversations with them that I do about you, because you're the one I would usually get advice from on how to handle it. I've come to a place where I can have a 'conversation' with you in my head, Lord knows we've had enough of them over the years that I can usually guess what you'll say, or at least the easy way in which you would recommend assessing and processing the situation at hand. But what about those times when I don't know what you'd say? What then? What about those times when I just need to crawl into your lap and cry, like I have so many times, even as an adult? 

I'm trying so hard to keep my chin up, to walk through the grief but not drown in sorrow. I'm so SO thankful that you taught me to turn to the Word and worship during hard times, for they are my constant source of comfort, but even so, I wish you were here, to counsel without passing judgement, to love without strings attached, to remind me Who we lean on, because to be honest, at times it's hard to remember. I know you're healed, but I can't lie and say that I'm 100% comforted in the way which the healing came, because I'm not. But it's not my will, and it wasn't your will, but Gods will be done, and I meant it every step of the way, and still do now

Thank you for raising me in the house of God, so that I am constantly surrounded by a cloud of support and open arms, thank you for teaching me how to admit both to myself and to God when I feel like I'm failing, so that He can hold me up, and show me the things I need to do, reminding me that He never leaves me. Thank you for being such an amazing example of a father, teaching me wise and patient, loving and firm parenting. Because of you and mom I know that not only do I have the ability to help guide my daughters in the right directions, but also that I can be their parent first, and eventually their friend as well, because that's what you were (and mom is) to me. 

I could honestly ramble on forever, because that's how much I miss you, and that's how long you're gone for.  I just want to know when this raw pain ends. I will never forget you. When I'm working in the kitchen and my daughters are asking me when they get to help, I'll apply the same rules you did for me when I was the little underfoot wanting so badly to help cook with you. When I'm working on my next book I'll think of how hard you pushed me to finish my first book, and how amazing the feeling of accomplishment was, especially sharing it with you, because you had finished your first book too. It will hurt to not be able to show you everything else I'm going to write, but you better believe I'm determined to see it through because I promised you I would, and you promised you believed I could. Every time I get up to lead worship I will think of you and miss you, wishing you were there on bass, but I will be thankful you worked with me through so many things to get me to the point where that dream was realized - you knew it was my dream long before I did. 

What can I say? How can I encapsulate everything I'm feeling into a small letter? I can't. I'm sure of that. But this helps to ease the pain a little bit. 
I miss you so so so much Daddy, love, 
Your Boo Bear

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Who's going to talk me down?

My children didn't nap today. Not in the "we just got too busy so it didn't happen" sort of way, but in the bold-faced, toddler-defiant sort of way. And it happens sometimes, to anyone who has a toddler, but today it hurt. A lot.

Because a year ago, I was having the same sort of day, my older two (then a year younger) were giving me a good, hard time during the day and then refusing to nap and going CRAZY and I was at my wits end, texting my mom and not sure what to do because as a pregnant, newly "at-home" mom, this was foreign to me. And my daddy called me, to "talk me down from the ledge" and reassure me that even the best parents have hard days. I cried and cried but he was so soothing and loving that I knew it was going to be okay, and even if my schedule didn't run perfectly for that one day it didn't mean I was going on the list of bad moms.

Last Saturday, my daddy passed away, ending a 14-month very long, very hard, very valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. He departed a warrior, and although it was so very hard to have him go, I was so proud of him just the same. He left in a cloud of peace, among his very best friends and most of his family, and just that fact alone has helped so much in dealing with the pain of the loss.

Until today, when my children didn't nap. When they wouldn't listen. When I needed my daddy to talk me off the ledge once more, but I knew he couldn't do that anymore.

I've been trying to figure out how to put into words this loss. I told a friend a few days ago that I'm sort of afraid to because turning the emotions on and typing them out scares me as I'm afraid they won't stop. My heart is broken. I miss my daddy. He was my hero, my protector, my comforter, my confidant, and even, to an extent, my best friend. He could make things seem right and okay even when they weren't. Situations like these. You can't just put this kind of thing into words, but I am, over the next few days, months, years, going to try, because I know he would want me to. "You don't stop life for life." is what he told us last year when his diagnosis came.

Life will go on, and take me with it. Only I can choose whether I'm being dragged along or keeping the cadence myself. Through God I hope to do the latter. He has sustained me over the last year, even more so over the last week, and I know He can and will take this brokenness and emptiness and recreate it to be something even more beautiful and amazing than I can imagine. While I don't look forward to the coming waves of realization of the loss, I do look forward to the works God is doing through it, for all glory goes to Him, and will go to Him. Healing will come with time, and thank God for the amazing support He has given me by way of family and friends. I could not do it without Him and them.

I have had good days, and not-so-good days. And today, with my children not napping, I miss my daddy.

In my weakness, God is faithful, and He is strong, and I will lean on Him to get me through this.
And doing so, I'll still be laughing,

Crystle