Guest Post

Guest Post: Taste and See

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Please welcome my dear friend Missy to the blog. She graciously agreed to share some of her story with us, and I know you will be blessed. Missy writes from her heart and heartache. She’s been through a lot, but she’s still standing. The reason Missy stands is because her feet are on The Rock.

Missy and I go way back. Like all the way back to college. We met at our tiny Christian college in Southern California a few years ago. It’s more than a few years, but in my mind we are still eighteen years old. I can’t recall the exact moment we met, I just know we were instant friends. When our dorm rooms were next to each other with connecting patios, the doors were usually left open so we could go back and forth freely.

We went off to Florida for the summer with our amazing friend Wendy. We were camp counselors and it was all Missy’s idea. Turned out to be a great idea and a fantastic summer with lifelong memories. It was a priority to be at each others weddings, all three of us, in spite of living thousands of miles apart. It’s that type of friendship. The kind you cherish. The kind you get once in a lifetime.

Missy has a contagious faith and a contagious laugh too. If you spent a few minutes with her you’d love her instantly. So my heart was broken when I got the news that she lost her beloved son Justin. He was twenty; a few months shy of turning twenty-one. There are no words to comfort a friend when the pain is unimaginable. I continue to pray for her and watch in awe as she walks out her faith while grieving. She’s a true inspiration.

It is my honor to have Missy contribute to my little corner of the world. Give her some love and leave a comment.

 

Taste and See

by Missy Linkletter

It was Sunday evening on July 9, 2017; Justin asked me if we could sit down and talk, just the two of us.

Plain and simple, Justin wanted a motorcycle, and I was 100% against it. We’d been having a friendly but serious debate for several months on the matter. He’d gone as far as obtaining his motorcycle license, and as far as I knew, he was on the hunt for the perfect ride. Regardless of my opinion, he was 20 years old, and it was his decision.

We sat down together in our front living room, he took a deep breath and looking into my eyes, he said, “Mama, you know how you are worried about my well-being if I drive a motorcycle? Well, in the same way, I am worried about you and your health.”

My eyes immediately filled with tears as he continued. “I am willing to forgo buying a motorcycle if you are willing to get healthy. I will get up extra early and go to the gym with you, I will cheer you on…” I looked into his bright green eyes, now with tears streaming down my cheeks and choked out, “Yes, I agree!”.

I told him I was proud of him and thanked him for saying hard things to me, his mama. The next morning, I hit the ground running and embarked on a new healthy lifestyle.

Unbeknownst to me, it would be the last Sunday we’d have with Justin on this side of eternity. The following Saturday, only six days later, we lost our dear boy.

Today, as I write, it’s been 112 Sunday’s since that pivotal conversation. The aftershock of losing him still ripples through our family daily. At times, I have felt as though I were eating the dust of the ground, the ache runs deep.

Through it all, I am awestruck and filled to the brim by the tender care of the Lord. I have considered what life would be like for me today had He not prompted Justin to have such a conversation with me. I am reasonably sure I would have indulged in the immediate comfort which food once provided me. Today, I am learning to sit in the ache and wait for the Lord’s healing balm.

Lasting change does not happen overnight; old patterns and habits don’t simply disappear. For me, it’s one minute at a time, once choice at a time, and a constant reminder of the grace upon grace which God provides.

King David wrote, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 I have tasted of His goodness in my deepest heartache. I have known no greater joy than being understood by the Lord my God. He is the perfect refuge for my broken heart.

Dear Christian, I don’t know what trial you are facing today, but I am confident of this, God is for you. He longs to be gracious toward you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. (Isaiah 30:18). He will not leave you alone in your trial; draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

Do not lose heart, dear one. Since God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Check out Missy’s blog.

https://missylinkletter.com/

 

 

Image by Felix Wolf from Pixabay

 

Bible, Faith, Family, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

I love you Dad!

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When I was a little girl, the thought never crossed my mind that my parents were ever once children themselves, let alone babies. In my child mind, parents are just grown ups, and they had never been anything else. This sweet picture is proof that parents were once babies. That’s my dad as a baby. I have no idea how old he was. Leo John Whitney was born on May 29, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of three boys; a surprise baby for my middle aged grandparents. They already had sons who were 17 and 13 by the time my father arrived in the Whitney household. Lee was the precious youngest. My uncle Mack, the middle son, would tell me stories of “the prince”, my dad.

Lee grew up in Braddock, Pennsylvania. A borough in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. His father, Michael, sold Chesterfield cigarettes and Ann, his mother, took care of the home and children. My dad was doted on and dearly loved. Some, my uncles, may even say he was spoiled. I would have to agree with that argument. My dad was raised Catholic, and went to parochial school all the way through high school. While in college he met my mom, and they married in 1963. He graduated from Penn State in 1965. Shortly afterwards, my parents decided to move out west to California. They got jobs and began to get settled in the Golden State. The Vietnam War was in full swing. My dad received his draft card and decided to join the Marines. Oorah!

Dad was a proud Marine. I know this because I heard, “From the halls of Montazuma, To the shores of Tripoli,” every time he drank too much; which was often. As a little girl I loved my dad. I would ask for sips of his beer. I had no clue he was an alcoholic. He would tell me I can be anything I want to be. These “speeches” were done while he was drunk. Again, I didn’t know what “drunk” was, or alcoholism. In my mind, Dad was strong. I would put my arms around his neck and he would dive into the pool. We’d go under the water, and I’d hold on tight. He’d flex his biceps and my sister and I would grab on and he’d lift us up. He was the strongest man I knew.

He loved when we had horses and got us all cowboy hats and boots. Dad rode Tasha, our part Arabian horse. I think he liked playing “cowboy”. I saw him try to get on the horse a few times and fall off. Drunk again. I still had no idea what that was. I watched my dad fall in the pool when he was cleaning it. Drunk.

Dad accepted Jesus Christ as his savior August 1982. I remember watching him get baptized. We got involved in our church. Dad was an usher but still struggled with his demons. We’d stop at the liquor store on the way home from church. Dad was saved, but not set free. He finally went cold turkey in the late ’80’s which was great. The down side was him trying so hard to stay sober on his own; he’d fall off the wagon at times. I never saw him drunk again like when I was growing up. So, praise God for that.

My memories from when I was a little girl are good ones. But, all addictions get worse, and his alcoholism did. By the time I was in  high school his drinking was out of control. I knew what alcoholism was now, but never told a friend. I didn’t know what to do with it. Anger built inside of me. The dad I loved, I now despised. I hated him. I hated alcohol. I hated what it did to our family. It tore us up.

The summer after I graduated high school I heard a sermon at church on forgiveness. I had probably heard many teachings on forgiveness up to that point. That day was different. The words cut to my heart. I knew I needed to forgive my dad. I was 17 and I forgave Dad for all the years of drinking and the pain it caused. I never came up to my dad and said, “I forgive you”. It was done in my heart and Jesus set me free of that burden. I began to see my dad differently. As a person with a past, and problems. Just like me. I loved my dad again, like when I was a little girl. God is so good.

Dad loved the Lord. He was not a perfect man. I am not perfect either. I tell this from my view. My four siblings have their perspectives, and memories. My mom has her memories too. This is my way to honor my dad. My story is one of forgiveness, and the redemptive work Jesus did on the cross and in my dad’s life.

Dad passed away exactly twenty one years ago today, March 30, 1998. After his grim cancer diagnosis, he lived the best life he could. He loved running the Gresham Bike Store, that my parents had bought a couple years prior. He hugged us every time we saw him. He was hugging everyone, my husband,  the mailman, and probably the dry cleaner. Time was short, and Dad knew it.

My dad loved me. At the very end of his life, when he was in the hospital at only 54 years old, I had a sweet moment with him. I came by the hospital to visit him and my cousin Tommy was in the room. I told my dad that I would come back later. He said “No. Stay”. He took my hand and said these words, “This one. She’s special”. There were other words said but I don’t remember them. That was the last coherent conversation we had, before the morphine took over. It was like I got this final blessing from him.

I look forward to seeing my dad again in heaven. I will end with his favorite verse. I Love you Dad!!!

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

(NASB)

 

 

 

 

Faith

Beautiful Yet Brief

Our magnolia tree is in full bloom. Large creamy white magnolia buds and blooms stand among the contrasting shiny green leaves. If you come close enough you can smell their sweet citrus fragrance. These beauties don’t last long though. Maybe two to three days. Then the petals drop to the ground just as quick as they arrived. The life of a magnolia flower is brief much like our life.

When I was a child I had almost no concept of how short life is. In my young mind it felt as though I may live forever. After a few years, and a few life experiences, the reality set in that my life will end on this earth.

If we are fortunate enough to live a good long life we live into our eighties, maybe even nineties. The miraculous few advance into over one hundred years. These numbers all sound large. We sit back and say, “They lived a long life”. In light of eternity those years are small. Almost immeasurable.

The magnolia flower is a stunning picture of our short time here. Birth, and childhood, and growing up, and adult stuff. We go from seeds, to buds, to flowers in full bloom. And it’s all beautiful. The victories, triumphs, joys, rewards, heartaches, pains, losses, hurts,  and wounds. All are part of the beauty. They come together to make us who we are.

James tells us that our lives are a mist. We appear for a little while and then we vanish (James 4:14). James warned those who boast and brag of where they will go tomorrow and what they will do, because they may not see tomorrow (James 4:13-14). Only God knows what tomorrow holds. James continues on to say that there should be no boasting and bragging about what we are going to do; only if it’s God will (James 4:15-16).

It’s  humbling to think of my life as a mist that will vanish. God knows when my life will end. I have no guarantee of tomorrow. I’d like to think I do, but I don’t. I’ve got right now. I choose to follow Him, not lead. This is not easy for me. So many times I have made plans without God in mind. I have boasted and bragged with no mention of the will of my Father. His grace and love always remind me that His plans are better than mine in this beautiful life.

James 4:14 “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (NIV).

Love you all,

Meghan