Monday, June 28, 2010

Inspiration from another Dream Girl (though I have yet to see that movie)...

Once again, I am reminded of the old saying Daddy would always remind me of... "When you think you're down as far as you can go just look down. You'll see somebody looking back up. Then look up. Up to Jesus. Confess, ask for help, and start climbing."

I didn't even know VH1 did those Behind the Music shows anymore... but I have sat here and watched the entirety of the episode about Jennifer Hudson. I have cried, and I have felt so proud for someone I did not know. Hearing her story, about the tragedy of her family... losing her mom, brother, and nephew at the same time... puts mine into perspective, and reminds me... though losing Daddy hurt (and still does sometimes), there are others who have been through so much more.

The following are the lyrics to "You Pulled my Through" by Jennifer Hudson (I tried to find a you tube video that was decent... but there weren't any, check it out anyway though!) I am amazed that she was able to pull off this performance just months after her family was murdered. I truly admire this lady...

"You Pulled Me Through" sung by: Jennifer Hudson
i was in the darkness
i was out in the cold
seemed nothing could heal this
this hole in my soul
you reached out your arms to me
held out your heart to me
pulled me back from the edge
thought i reached the end.
when i was drowning
when i was so confused
i was in the shadows
lost, nothing left to lose.
you, you, you pulled me through.
you gave my faith back
faith was so hard to find
you gave me my life back
you were my lifeline
the love that you gave me
is love that has saved me
your strength is what made me strong
you held me and i held on
when i was drowning
when i was so confused
you oh you you pulled me through
i was in the shadows lost,
nothing left to lose.
you, you, you pulled me through.
out of the dark into your arms
into the light your love saved my life
when i was drowning
when i was so confused
you, ooh you, you (pulled me through)
(when i was drowning) when i was drowning
i was so confused (when i was confused)
yea you ooh you yea you you pulled me through
(you pulled me through, you) you, you pulled me through

Now I am not sure who the author of this song is thinking of in respect to "you"... but I certainly think that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit (all or one) could be put into that position... I know He is for me. I appreciate that I can be reminded of God's love for me, and what He has done for me and how He has pulled me through by random daily occurances and thoughts. Think about what it is that you are reminded of, and be thankful for it.

Love Y'all,

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I was at home this weekend for the Cole family reunion... it was a nice time of visiting with family. I heard a few stories about Daddy from my great aunts and uncles... and being around all of our family, there was definitely a few times when I wished he had been there.

I have gotten in the habit of reading my bible app on my iPhone every night before bed. (the specific one I read is the Blue Letter Bible As I mentioned, well, forever ago... I am reading through Psalm. I have been reading more and more every week and King David's roller coaster of emotions is so obvious as you read chapter to chapter. Here are a few verses that have really stuck with me:

"You lead me in the path of life, I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight." Psalm 16: 11
This verse is so sweet. So many of King David's words that appeal to me are about following God's path and plans, because that is a theme that is very evident in my life at the moment. I love this verse because it makes me smile. Any joy I have comes from the Lord... He provides the things that I delight in. (To me, the backdrop of this verse should be a beautiful blue sky, green grass, and flowers... I know that's random, but that is what I picture when I read this verse.)

"Indeed you are my lamp, LORD. My God illuminates the darkness around me... The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the LORD's promise is reliable; He is a shield to all who take shelter in him. Indeed, who is God besides the LORD? Who is a protector besides our God? The one true God gives me strength; he removes the obstacles in my way." Psalm 18: 28, 30-32
I think with this verse it is important to remember that God removes obstacles that He wants to move. I truly believe God puts obstacles in our lives so that we will learn from them... so while He guides us, protects us, and strengthens us... He allows us to experience those moments that teach us to depend on Him for those things. We cannot shield, shelter, guide, protect, or strengthen ourselves... it must come from Him. Only when we realize what we cannot do, do we praise Him for what He can do!

"May He grant your heart's desire; may He bring all you plans to pass. Then we will shout for joy over your victory; we will rejoice in the name of our God! May the LORD grant all of your requests." Psalm 20: 4-5
I like this verse, it's very positive and reassuring... and it makes me smile. However, when reading this verse, we have to remeber the whole, "Thy will be done," part of the Lord's prayer. I also think it is important to consider what we ask Him for. How many times have we prayed for things, and those prayers have not been answered... but we are better because of that? Now, I can't say that I am a better person because my prayer was not answered in regard to Daddy, I honestly don't have the heart to admit that... but I can say I am a better Christian because of it. I have had to learn to depend on Him in the weakest moments of my life. I have had to learn that it is okay to be mad at the Lord, as long as you come back to Him... because He's my daddy too... and He loves me no matter how far I may stray. I have learned to look at things from a different perspective, and I pray that my perspective may help others so that they may rejoice in His name.

"O Lord, the king rejoices in the strength you give; he takes great delight in the deliverance you provide." - Psalm 21: 1
I love that King David recognizes where his strength and deliverance comes from. He was one of the most powerful men in the world... yet he knew he could not to it alone. If King David can recognize that... I certainly should be able to.

"Who is allowed to ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may go up to His holy swelling place? The one whose deeds are blameless and whose motives are pure, who does not lie, or make promises with no intention of keeping them." Psalm 24: 3-4
We are all unworthy... so unworthy. Thank you Lord for your grace.

"O Lord, I come before you in prayer. My God, I trust in you. Please so not let me be humiliated; do not let my enemies triumphantly rejoice over me!... Make me understand your ways, O Lord! Teach me your paths! Guide me into your truth and teach me. For you are the God who delivers me; on you I rely all day long." Psalm 25: 1-2, 4-5
I so desire to live out this verse!!! At a time in my life when I am seeking His will for the next step in my life... I want this verse SO bad. But... it doesn't say He will show that path to me... but teach me. Makes it a little more difficult, but He never said His path would be easy, but we can rely on Him and His deliverance.

" Even if my father and mother abandoned me, the Lord would take me in. Teach me how you want me to live, lead me along a level path because of those who wait to ambush me... Where would I be if I did not believe I would experience the Lord's favor in the land of the living? Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident! Rely on the Lord!" Psalm 27: 10-11, 13-14
Can you imagine life with out His love?? I surely don't want too... there are so many people who live this way every day though... but we, as Christians can rest assured of His hope in this crazy world in which we live. Though there are temptations at every corner, and we live in a world that often perceives Christians in a non enlightened way... but, we are in His favor, and can rely on Him.

"The Lord deserves praise, for he has heard my plea for mercy! The Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude. The Lord strengthens his people; he protects and delivers his chosen king. Deliver your people! Empower a nation to belongs to you! Care for them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms at all times." Psalm 28: 6-9
I feel like this verse is where we need to be in America.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like our country is taking up residence in the proverbial handbasket... This verse is most definitely a prayer for our nation... That we will trust Him, that He will strengthen out nation, and that the Lord will empower us and care for us, and guide us back to Him!!
So, ponder all this... and let me know what you think!
Love y'all,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What a difference a day makes...

Here's a facebook note I wrote today... I think it will suffice for my blog entry on this day:

A year ago today my life drastically changed... but so did my daddy's. I have lived without my earthly father for a year, but his has lived with his Heavenly father for a year... just imagine the lessons learned for the both of us. Here are a few of mine:

A year ago... I was really really mad at God. Today, I constantly thank him for the people who He has brought in and out of my life.

A year ago... I couldn't go to church because I could not honestly worship... I was mad, I was bitter, and I felt like God had taken away the person I was closest to in the world. Today, I understand that Daddy did not belong to me but to the Lord... and God wanted him back.

A year ago... my heart hurt, physically. I felt sorrow like I had never known. Today, my goal is to rejoice daily and recognize the hand of the Lord in my life... no matter what happens.

A year ago... I wondered why. Today, I wonder, well... why not. Better for a family of faith to lose a loved one knowing where they are going rather than a family without faith and hope in God.

A year ago... I knew my dad had made an impact on me... but didn't know the impact he had on others. After 700+ people came to his wake and continue to share memories with me today... I know he had a vast impact on a lot of people, and I'm grateful to have been one of them.

A year ago... I didn't always say I love you to the people I love. Today, I try to make sure to express my feelings to people, because if I don't say it... they won't necessarily know. I LOVE Y'ALL!!!

A year ago... I didn't know if I would be able to do life without Daddy. Today, I know that I can... with the help of God, remembering the lessons I learned from Daddy, and with the support of the wonderful people in my life.

Rather than dwell on the loss of Daddy, I choose to celebrate his life. There are still tears, but they come less often as I remember the life rather than the loss more and more every day. I cannot express my thanks to those of you who have lifted my family and I up in prayer this past year... I appreciate it more than you know and will forever be thankful. Those prayers have truly helped us survive this last year. If you have any special memories of Daddy, post them here in this note so we can all share them...

Love y'all,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Whatever is...

I'm already starting the cycle of thinking about what I was doing this time last year... and that was something I was really hoping would not come to mind... but I guess it is inevitable. So I said a quick prayer... Lord, if those thoughts are going to come to me, please let me have peace within those thoughts.

So using the handy bible shaker app on my iPhone, I searched for verses of peace. Here are a few I read that I'm hoping will guide me through this weekend...

Philippians 4:4-9
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
John 16:33
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Romans 5: 1-5
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Dear Lord, please help me to enjoy the memories and learn from the sorrows... to spend time making memories rather than dwelling on losses... and to find peace and learn lessons from the trials and sufferings. Thank you for the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to share the lessons every day.

Love y'all,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Psalm 16

I read through a few chapters of Psalm last night... the first few I read were very angry... Evidently King David was upset with some folks and wanted the wrath of God to get them... then I got to chapter 16 and the tone totally changed. Take a look at what he has to say here... the very last verse of the chapter made me stop and think of the sheer awesomeness of the meaning...

Psalm 16
A psalm of David.

1 Keep me safe, O God,
for I have come to you for refuge.

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”

3 The godly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!

4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.

5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.

6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!

7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.

10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.

11 You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.

I think that the first 3 verses are pieces knowledge we need to remember daily: He is our refuge. He provides EVERYTHING we have. And we should be thankful for all those "heroes" in our lives that we spend time with and that make us better people.

Verse 8 is incredibly comforting...

Verse 9 is a constant goal... for though I my heart is glad and does rejoice, I am not always in a constant sense of joy... for example, I know that in the next few days there will be bouts of sadness and yearning... but my goal is in the moments of sadness, to think of memories of joy.

Verse 11... I mean WOW! I think it is interesting that I read this verse last night before going to bed... then had a dream in which I was having a conversation with Daddy. It was as if I was interviewing him about his time in Heaven. I know I asked a lot, but I can only remember two of the questions I asked: 1) What is your job in Heaven?, and 2) What does your mansion look like? ... I don't remember the answers, but I do remember the smile on his face... he was happy to be there... and I should be happy that he is... so I think that by recognizing the truth of verse 11, I can reach the goal of verse 10.

I love these truths that are shown to me by the Lord... Lord, please keep them coming, and have patience with me that I'll learn the lessons.

Love Y'all,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

He leadeth me... does He lead you?

I have had this old hymn in my head all morning... Luckily no one is in my office because I have been singing it as well... I actually looked up the verses because as I started thinking about them their truth rings out. How blessed we are to be led by our Creator throughout any situation, whether calm or tumultuous, He has our hand and He leads us through life!! Death is not defeat, it is Victory in the Lord and when dark days come... even in a place like Eden, He's still in charge. What comfort are there in these blessed words...

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful foll’wer I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes ’mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.
Think about these words and how they apply to you... for me... He's leading me through this week... I've been dreading making it to the year mark since daddy's death because sometimes it seems like an accurate count and somedays it doesn't... but passing June 20th on the calendar definitely makes it real. I'm not quite sure what emotions are going to come up... but I'm sure they will, but I know where I'm calm or upset (whether the waters are still or troubled), He's here with me. Keep us in your prayers friends... for you are in mine.
Love Y'all,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why Me?

I think this is a selfish question that has been asked a lot by me and other members of my family this year... and I'll be the first to say that those words have passed my lips on several occasions. So here are some thoughts I wrote down regarding this question today...

Why Me?

Well, why not?

Is it not better for a family of faith to lose a loved one rather than a family who has no hope for life after the grave. One time Daddy told me that when God gets ready to bring someone home, He does... because we are His and He wants us. So while all of us are still here on earth, God wanted my Daddy back... in an odd way that kind of makes me proud, which is definitely an emtion I have yet to feel during this grieving process. He was not taken as a martyr - but I believe he was taken with a message... there is no doubt in my mind that Daddy was at peace and excited about leaving his earthly home for his heavenly one. He loved us, but he loved God more - and I can peacefully accept that... because I know how much he loved me.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Phillipians 1:21)

This is going to be a hard week for us (my family)... A year ago today, Daddy was doing well and had finished his chemo... but little did we know at that time that he will have passed away within a week. The 20th marks the one year mark since he died... a lot of emotions are brought up with "milestones" like this.... so please pray for strength for us this week. Shane is out of town with students till Saturday night, and mom may be coming to Birmingham for the weekend... I'm not sure yet. I already know I won't be able to handle church next week so I am planning to stay home... Father's day is going to be a really rough day for me, not just because I lost my dad... but because he died the day before Father's day. Anyway, prayers would be appreciated.

Love Y'all,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pictures and Wisdom from the Weekend.

Mom and her horse, Miss Happy Trails

Pawpaw Cole and his cute cake... this is him smiling!

Pawpaw sitting on the gallery
Pretty flowers at my grandparents house... (notice the bug!!)

This past Friday was my grandfather's 88th birthday. I drove home to cook dinner for everyone (with the help of Shane and my cousin Vanessa), and also invited people to come by and visit Pawpaw throughout the day. It was a busy day, but we all really enjoyed it, and most of all, Pawpaw enjoyed it... I am so thankful to have him in my life. Frankly, anyone who knows him should be. He is such an amazing person who has a heart to serve others and to help others, and I know that he has impacted so many other people with his big heart. I'm praying we have many more years with Pawpaw... but I know that the last year has been really hard on his health and his heart... he really misses Daddy. We had a tearful moment on the gallery (what he calls his front porch) when he said that "I can't look anywhere on this place (our property) and not see something he did." He was crying, I was crying... and the reality is so true. Daddy did so much to contribute to our family, our land, and our community - we will do well to remember his contributions and celebrate them... I think that helps (me, at least) to make us smile more than cry...

Encouragement: This weekend mom competed in a horse show in Hattiesburg. It was at this show last year that Daddy came and told her that he had been diagnosed with Leukemia. I know that she had some emotional moments over the weekend.... but she also had a very successful weekend. She won curcuit champion in two of her three events, and it was so wonderful to see all the other people congratulating and encouraging her. Being around that reminded me of how important encouragement is. I'm sure some of those people knew the emotional significance of this show for mom, but I doubt they all did... and their words, smiles, and pats on the back encouraged her at a time she needed it. That's a sweet reminder to always encourage others, because you never know what they are going through on any particular day.

Turtles: One of the most impactful moments of my weekend began with a laugh and ended with a deep thought. I was driving to the horse show and saw a van pulled over on the side of a busy road. There was a man waiting for traffic to pass on the edge of the road, and as the other lane cleared, he ran to the middle of the road to pick up a little turtle and take it to the other side of the road. At first I laughed at the fact that this guy ran out in traffic, but then I really began to think of his actions... and I literally said out loud: "I want to be the guy that moves the turtle!" Now let me explain... think about those times in your life where your facing trials and don't know how long they will last (traffic and the road) ... how awesome would it be if someone just picked you up and moved you to the other side of that trial and uncertainty. Of course we should look to the Lord to help us through things... but I also believe that each of us can help others out in our own ways... whatever your gifts and talents are... use them to help others across the road.

So many of y'all have helped me on those days I felt like the turtle, and I am so thankful for that. Remember this verse as you meet people... live out this verse as much as possibly.
"I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ." Romans 15:29
Imagine what an impact you can have on any person or situation when approaching it with the full measure of Christ! Always remember the power that you have as a Christian... I know there are days we all forget and we get discouraged, but it is those days that the rest of us need to step in to take others to the opposite side of the road.
Love Y'all,