Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Just Be His Daugther

In February I took care of my Dad for 5 nights and four days as he was preparing to take his final breath on earth. 

Despite the atypical relationship we had, it was an honor to care for him. His unresponsiveness did not deter me from having coffee with him, talking his ear off, or reading him the Bible.  

I have witnessed the transition from life to death before. It is complex, exhausting, and brings with it a dichotomy of feelings. 

The last 12 hours were the absolute hardest. I will spare you the details.

In those hours, I began to get angry. I started questioning G-d. 

I could not understand the purpose. I struggled to see G-d in the midst of that night.

While this side of heaven I may not grasp the purpose of those hours for my Dad, but I was given some clarity on the purpose for me. There were 4 words that I needed to hear. 

Having friends on the other side of the world has benefits. One of those friends reminded me that my night was his day if I needed to talk. 

In those last hours I needed to talk. 

My friend shared with me that when his father was sick, he was told that his job was to be his father's son. He gave me the same advice his Rabbi gave him, just be his daughter. 

In that moment those words helped me shift from being less caregiver to being more daughter. I was able to quit worrying so much about my Dad's vital signs or lack thereof and just wait. 

There were many other words shared between us that helped me get through that dark night, however, the bigger impact of those four little words, just be his daughter, came a few months later.

In April while walking with a friend, I realized that those four words may have been meant for that earthly moment, but G-d was using those words now to tell me to just be His daughter. 

Throughout March and April my brother and I read Not Forsaken by Louie Giglio. A book that I had started in 2019 but never finished. A book all about G-d being our Father. 

Being His daughter means I have His spiritual DNA. As Louie Giglio puts it, "This spiritual DNA brings new dimensions of structure for your character, for your coping mechanisms, for your patterned responses, new building blocks for your very soul."

Without those last 12 hours, I may not have heard the words, just be his daughter.

Those released me to be my biological Dad's daughter in his final hours on earth. 

They have grown and deepened the love and appreciation I have for the Dad that raised me. 

They have allowed me to operate less from my natural DNA and more from my spiritual DNA. 

I know life is hard. I know many of us wake up with heavy hearts. 

We don't have to live from that heavy place.

Just Be His Daughter. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

New Year, New Word. Better Late Than Never.

My list of one word for the year ideas has sat in the notes section of my phone mostly untouched since the middle of January. I was late picking my word last year and now even later this year. I have not had confirmation for any of the words. In the past the Lord has confirmed the word loud and clear. The thought of not picking one has crossed my mind numerous times. After all, it is almost the end of February. 

However, while the Lord is not being loud and clear confirming a word, He is being quietly persistent that I am to pick a word for 2021.  

I have learned over the last 7 years that picking a word gives me an anchor. Jesus is my permanent anchor, but these yearly words have proven to be temporary anchors that assist in minimizing my drift from the permanent One and things that matter to me.

Currently, my heart, soul, and mind feel tossed by the waves. I know I can't escape the winds and currents of this life that cause the tide to swell around me, so having an anchor gives me some stability and helps my heart, soul, and mind feel less tossed. 

My goals matter. What I want to accomplish matters. Growth and change matter. My mental, physical, and spiritual health matter. Having a word anchors me in how I want to do the things that matter. It helps me focus when the things that matter are hard and the circumstances of life threaten to pull me under. It keeps me from drowning, even if I feel like I am. It keeps me from being lost, even if I can't quite find my way. It gives me breath, even if I feel like I can’t breathe.  

2021 has already given me plenty of waves. I not only didn’t have my temporary anchor in word form, but I have questioned where the permanent One has been. I know that the permanent One, Jesus, does not move. It is me. I drift. I try to control. I hold onto things I need to let go of and miss things I need to grasp. I look to false anchors to get me by. 

In the last few years I have dealt with and continue to deal with various personal things. I have faced things that I should have faced sooner. Recently, I experienced a loss that I will have to process and grieve in the months to come.

Several times over the last year it has been suggested to me that I let things go. Even in the midst of experiencing the loss I heard similar words. I have been experiencing physiological, emotional, mental, and spiritual symptoms of the stress, circumstances, and emotions I have not been letting go of.

So, in 2021, I aim to look not only to my permanent anchor, Jesus, but also to the anchor of my one word.

Release.

I need to release things that I can't control. 
I have to release stress that I tend to internalize and carry physically.
I need to release the words that are inside my heart and soul waiting to be written. 
I need to release emotions and feelings. 
I need to release my hold on things, so I can hold better things. 
I need to release stress by working out. 
I need to release anxiety by doing activities that fill my cup, my heart, and my soul. 
I need to release the breaths I have been holding. 
I need to release lies I have grabbed onto and grasp the truth.
I need to release my will for His will. 

As was suggested to me, I need to let things go. This list is just a handful of things I need to let go of and release. I don't go into a year with a word that I don't need to work on. It is a word that grows me and challenges me each year and makes me better for having spent the year with it.

Honestly, this might be my hardest one word yet. 

But, I am ready to release. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Other Snippets from Israel

Snippets from Israel

I pride myself in being OCD. However, I would like to take a moment and teach you a few lessons about traveling to Israel.

1) Always check all airplane pockets for personal belongings. If you fail to do so, you may leave your reading device in said pocket. 

2) Always check your hair styling device for a specific tag telling you not to use an adapter/converter for international outlets. If you fail to do so, you may end up blowing your beloved hair styling device and therefore lose electricity in you room while getting ready for Shabbat. 

3) Always be careful using your hands while speaking around the Shabbat table. If you fail to do so, you will spill something on the beautifully laid out table (that could stain), feel terrible and massively embarrassed, and be unsure of how to proceeded. It is awkward, just keep those hands in your lap. For the record though, your new friends will be very gracious. 


Now that your lessons are complete, please enjoy a few pictures with a little commentary.


My 2 favorite colors are green and blue. When visiting one location I had to take a picture by this wall of green while adorned in my blue shirt. I found so much joy in this that a fellow traveler, whom was not in our group, asked to take my picture with the wall as well, because she got a kick out of my excitement. I also said, this confirms G-d loves me






I had to take a selfie with a historic milestone.






My friend Gidon is a passionate teacher and student. And always up for fun. 







I had to take a picture! I heart Hebrew! 






Love the support from Israel of our favorite American teams. 







As see in this group of pictures Israel has many things we
see in America. Even pizza delivery on a motorcycle. 
Israel has a lot of history, but is very modern. 














 Pictured above are friends I made at one of our hotels. They both worked there. And thanks to social media I still keep up with my friend on the left. In the picture on the right there was a dolphin on a bus at the same hotel and I just had to snap a picture. I love dolphins.



This is most of our crazy crew. We had so much fun together. Frequently our fearless leaders were found waiting on us. In this shot we were left wondering where one of them were.


The traveling university.





One of the best gifts I gained from Israel is my friend pictured here. We knew each other before, but we went from casual friends to  sister friends. I am so thankful for her and the gift of her friendship. The Lord knew I needed her.




 
I might not like to fly, but it sure is good for pictures and travel selfies.  



I am so thankful I had the opportunity to travel to Israel. 

One has to spend money to travel, but traveling makes one richer. 















Monday, April 20, 2020

Going Home Day

Thank you so much for going on this journey to Israel with me. I pray it has encouraged you to go and experience it for yourself. Stay tuned for one more post or so to wrap up my Israel trip. 

But, first here is the post about going home.



Our last walk to the wall brought a flood of emotions. This was it. It was ending. Despite the need to pack and the exhaustion from jet lag, I could not say no to one last walk. And when I say the need to pack, I mean the NEED to pack. We were leaving for the airport after breakfast and this is what our room looked it. 




Most of this mess was mine. I am one who thrives on clean and order, but in a hotel that is hard. I want my stuff out and ready to use. (Please make note of the made beds.) Now, you understand my need to pack. But, my need to feel the amazing night air of Israel, to spend time one last moment with my friends, and to pray at the Western Wall was greater. When we got back to our room that night we did pack a little and we got it all done in time to leave the next morning. The emotions that flooded me the night before were stronger as we prepared to go. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to see my family. 

However, as we drove to the airport tears rolled down my cheeks as I leaned my head against the window and stared out. I didn't want to leave. There was so much I didn't see. When would I get to come back? I was leaving a piece of my heart there.

Two years later, I still have a piece of my heart there. G-d placed Israel, her people, and the Hebrew language in my heart long before I said yes to going. He grew those roots deeper as I walked in the air of Israel amidst the history, the deeply rooted faith, and the people. 

Because I experienced this adventure my life will never be the same. When I listen to my pastor talk about places in the Bible, I get it, because I have seen it. I have walked where Jesus walked. I have seen His Jewish roots. When my Jewish friends show pictures or discuss things, I get it because I was there, I walked where our forefathers walked. 

This journey has grown my faith, expanded my knowledge, and left me more in awe of G-d. 
And it continues today.

We don't have to travel the globe to have a moment with the Lord. He will meet us where we are. We don't have to learn Hebrew to have the Bible make an impact on us. Although, I suggest doing both. It is a faith changer. 

But, we do have to love G-d's people and His land. 
 As I write this on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, we have to remember.
We have to stand with them and say never again.

















Sunday, April 19, 2020

Israel Day 10

The bus was coined by a previous group as the rolling university and "professors" Trey and Gidon continued to teach us in the rolling university about various prophecies as we made our to Latrun. Latrun is an Armor Corps Memorial site and museum. In 1948 this area was a place of battle. In 1967 it was captured by Israel.





                               

Gidon served in the IDF. 




Next we visited the Ayalon Institue, a secret ammunition factory set up underground. On the surface it was a laundry service and bakery, but underneath it was a secret ammunition factory. The hidden factory was built in just 21 day. They made 10,000 bullets everyday. Those that worked in the factory had to make sure they were clean before climbing back to the surface of the kibbutz, a communal farm or settlement, that this was located on. They also had to have a way to get "sun" so they created a room with UV lights to use while underground. People thought they were working in fields, so this light helped confirm their cover and met their need for light. It was established in 1945 and manufactured ammunition until 1948. Those that worked underground had to maintain complete secrecy. Not all members of the kibbutz were aware of this hidden factory beneath their feet. This place fascinated me.



        

           



  














Our last stop was Bethlehem. Gidon could not go with us here due to Israelis not being permitted to enter. The area is under Palestinian control. We ate lunch at a place with an incredible wall mural, toured the Church of the Nativity, which is thought to be the birth place of Jesus, as well as explored another church with an incredible piece of wall art that showed the family tree leading up to the call of David. We also visited the Nissan Bros. olive wood store. The wood smelled amazing.





                



This is a picture of a picture of the place thought to be where Jesus was born.



























Our last guest speaker was Ken Spiro, after he spoke a few of us took our last walk to the wall for this trip. This walk brought a flood of emotions, which we will touch more on in tomorrow's post about going home. Here a few sights from our walk.