Our Life is Our Legacy

fullsizeoutput_5b6a

A godly woman is beyond average because she keeps her word. She honors her vows. She exhibits great faith. She overcomes great obstacles. And she affects her family, her community, even the world. ~ Elizabeth George

 

Recently I sat through the most endearing, beautiful, and honoring memorial for a long-time friend, Lewis Clark, Sr. I listened with rapt attention while his sons, grandsons, friends and pastor stood and shared the life of this amazing man. All the while I struggled to make out their faces through the blur of tears. I’ve never been to a memorial as beautiful as this one.

Some of the constant themes of Lewis’s life-legacy were how he taught men to be men, how to worship, how to grow in faith, and how to love their wives. Such endearing words were spoken of him that afternoon. He would have been humbled to hear them. While I sat in the service I thought of his widow, Patsy. It occurred to me that in the same way Lewis taught men to be men, Patsy mentored women. I am grateful she is still with us and I want to take the time to share what she means to me.

I met Patsy during one of the lowest times in my life when my first husband walked out on our three-month-old daughter and me for another woman. He never looked back. The only time he saw our baby daughter was when his mother kept her and invited him to dinner. I can’t begin to express the emotional traffic jam that went on in my head. Rejection – was I not good enough for his love? Did he care what happened to our daughter? Fear – I dropped out of college to marry him. I’ve jokingly said I got a M.R.S. degree. Now it had been ripped from me. How was I supposed to support our daughter and myself? At that time there was no such thing as the Internet. To go back to college meant I had to attend classes. My parents worked and I had no money for childcare. Add to that anger and a terrible self-image.

But even worse, back in those days, as far as most Christians were concerned a divorcee was considered tainted. I felt doomed to living my life alone. Honestly, one could have received forgiveness for murder easier than divorce. Well-meaning people told me, “God will be your husband,” and “God will be a father to your daughter.” I was only twenty-one. This didn’t comfort me—at all! I needed God with skin on. Needless to say, I felt like an outcast even in the Christian community.

Until Patsy.

She created a ministry for women and invited me to join. I was so lonely and I gratefully accepted. There was no condemnation in her sweet expression. Her touch was healing. Her hand was an extension of Christ to me. She was Christ’s love with skin on.

That poor woman listened to me for countless hours as I mentally processed all that had happened to me. I always called her as the sun set because that was the loneliest time of day. I guess because it was the time my husband used to come home. She always picked up the phone. I said the same thing over and over and over and to her credit, she listened patiently. She would say to me, “Linda, you can’t unscramble eggs. Jesus knows that your heart is bowed before him.” What comfort I found in her words.

 Later, Neal Apple came into my life. He loved me with the love of Christ. He adopted my daughter and we were blessed with four more children. I continued on in the women’s group where Patsy taught the ladies how to pray, how to worship, how to be Godly women and how to love our husbands.  As time went on she saw potential in me and mentored me to teach. In fact it is Patsy who set me on the path I follow today as a speaker for an international ministry. And it is she who inspired me to be a mentor to others.
When my soul was darkest, she was a light. I did heal. I did forgive. She was Jesus with skin for me. Patsy is faithful to the legacy God entrusted to her care. Today I want to honor my dear friend while we are still on this earth together.
I love you Patsy!
Advertisements

Drop the “S”

download-9 2.jpg

People love that you’re human and that we’re frail and we face the same situations. Honesty tends to communicate with people better than standing up there like you have an ‘S’ on your chest. ~ TobyMac

This quote really resonated with me the other day while looking for my daily quote to put on my personal Facebook page. I scrolled past it several times, but something inside me kept urging me to go back to it. It reminded me of a time when I was having coffee with a friend. She was telling me her troubles with her teenaged son. I felt her pain and shared with her how my own son had been involved in the same thing. I’ll never forget her expression. She said, “Your son?” She had a totally different impression of our family. When I was genuine and didn’t pretend I was supermom, the whole atmosphere changed. My friend relaxed and our conversation went deep and was healing.

Someone today needs to take that fake S off their chest and be real. Connect with others on the same level. Share your experiences and how you overcame.

Some of you need to take that fake S off your chests and let others help you. Accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness.

We need each other. We are all woven together in the fabric of humanity. Allow the beautiful pattern to emerge

Then Breaks the Dawn

imgres-1.jpg

No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again and bring the dawn.
~ Maya Angelou

The last few weeks have been tough, haven’t they? The violence, hate, anger, bitterness, and murder has been relentless, making us wonder, will it ever end? Is there an answer?

I liken these events that keep popping up to a game my kids used to play called Whack a Mole. The object was to whack the mole on the head with a stick each time one of them popped up. The problem was knowing when and where they’d appear. It was a hard game. This is a hard, new, reality of our lives. One we will not outlast, but . . .

We can bring the dawn in our corner of our world. What do you want in life? Peace? Compassion? Love? Then be that on Facebook, in your blogs, on Twitter. I’m not saying put your head in the sand, BUT I am saying that we have a choice: be a part of the problem or part of the solution.

Face it, no one listens to our opinions on Facebook except for those who agree with us. And those who don’t get angrier and angrier. So, let it go. No one is going to change their mind by our negative posts or tweets or blogs.

Be a part of the solution. Be what you want to see. Bring the dawn.

When Life Comes Full Circle ~Thoughts on Memorial Day

 

I know the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember our fallen servicemen and women, but today I can’t stop thinking about my father, Mose Carroll Lowe, who served in the Korean War. He came home safely, thank goodness. And yet he still died too young at age 36.

The reason for my musings is while he fought for the freedom of South Korea, little did he know he was fighting for what would one day be his family.

17973675_10158458148605543_1043779496496138830_o

My son, Rob, married Bea, whose parents were from Korea and who later came to live in the United States. Rob and Bea have blessed me with three precious grandchildren. My daddy’s blood runs in their veins. While my father served there he developed a deep friendship with a Korean soldier, and I know he would have been so proud to be the grandfather of children with a Korean heritage. Dad passed away when I was twelve. He never got to meet them. And yet, he still lives on in them.

IMG_1587

Isn’t it beautiful how life comes in full circle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What My Older Self Would Tell My Younger Self

images-1

Do a self-evaluation often. Things will happen in your life, giving rise to harmful emotions, which will have the potential of destroying relationships, causing you to make bad decisions, and could be harmful to your health. Evaluate the things causing you stress, making you angry, or offending you and ask yourself, will this really matter to me this time next year or will I be kicking up dust about something else?

It is not important that everyone agrees with you! If you feel the need to argue, then you, yourself, are not convinced. Peace and confidence comes from a made-up mind. You know where you stand and the opinion of others does not shake you.

Focus your mind and energy on things that really matter. To do this you must know you. What is your core value? What is it that you would miss the most if you lost it? Imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back, what might you have done that would make you feel most fulfilled? What memories would bring you joy?

Make a list of these things and then do the things on your list. Don’t waste your time debating about things, which, in the end, make no positive impact on your life. Be very careful about politics. Be water. Reflect on all opinions. Give grace to those who have points of view different from yours. Go with your core value.

Regret can be good if it is a turning point in your life. Regret is unbearable if at the end of your life it is your constant companion whispering “If only.” “I wish I had . . .”  Life is fragile as fine crystal, but we treat it as if it were tempered steel, careless and without thought when we drop it. When you are young you think you have all the time in the world, but age doesn’t matter in the game of life. Death takes all at every stage. What would you regret if someone you know was suddenly taken from you? What are you putting off that you know you should do?

Fix it now! Do it now!

In the end, I pray you will be rich. Not necessarily with things, but with what you have done to help others. Be like a dandelion seed head. When someone blows on you, spread seeds of inspiration.

As the saying goes, we cannot take things with us, but the things we have done for others will take root and flower. And that is what really matters.

What Christmas Means to Me

Wisdom from Dr. Suess

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Soul In Winter

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Autumn is a season of harvest. It is also a time to plant. The problem is, unlike planting in the spring where we are rewarded with tiny first leaves within a couple of weeks, fall planting is delayed gratification. The daffodils and tulips snuggle in their earthen beds all winter until the warmth of March wakes them up. It is worth the wait.

This brings to mind how gratitude is like those bulbs.

 All too often I find my soul in winter. Life is full of problems, heartaches, and disappointments. And then there always seems to be that irritating person whose goal in life is to make me miserable. It is so easy to be negative. If I’m not careful, this becomes my reality.

But there is a solution.

I practice gratitude. In a way it is like planting a bulb. I may not feel different, but gratitude does its magic in my winter soul. One day I find I am different. I’m not angry at the irritating person. My vision is clear and I consider the reasons this person is that way. I’m able to reflect on the heartaches and disappointments and see them as growth steps. Problems? There will always be problems. How I think about them determines their affect on me.

What do you have to be grateful for? You may be asking yourself that question this very minute. I think of the most basic things I would hate to do without. While in Honduras I saw people draw their drinking water from scum-covered ponds. They also bathed in that water. I came home grateful for the warm baths I took in drinking quality water.

If you find your soul in winter, all is cold, bleak, and gray. Plant some seeds of gratitude. Spring is just around the corner.