You tell me he is my dad
And I don’t know what that means.
I guess daddies live somewhere else,
Not with you and me?
I like his smiles
And the cute puzzle he brought
He just came to visit?
I ponder that thought.
I’m a few years older now
And Christmas time is here.
Grandma brings some extra presents
Says “they’re from daddy, dear”.
But why didn’t HE bring them?
Where does he live?
He didn’t come to visit?
With presents HE should give?
Grandma says nice things about him
That he loves me very much
Mom says he doesn’t
That he’s hiding behind a crutch
But why can’t I see that love?
If it’s really true.
Won’t he come to visit me?
It makes me feel so blue.
I’m getting bigger now
Making good grades in school
Not understanding something’s missing
And that a missing daddy’s not cool.
Eighth grade graduation is here
A time to move to a NEW school
Surely he will come to this
Mom says he is a fool
He doesn’t come – it makes me sad
And I hope the mean words are wrong
A daddy surely loves his little girl
And wants to be there all along?
I’m growing up, a young lady now
Some bitterness is creeping in
He left us with no support?
I ponder again and again.
He’s missed my birthdays and my straight A’s
He didn’t see me ride my bike
And now I’m starting high school
Something I’m sure I won’t like
It would be nice to see him
To tell him all these things
A part of me still is hoping
One day he will see
That his little girl has grown up
He’s missed so much of her life
I want him to tell me he’s sorry
He didn’t keep mom for a wife
Sorry that we had to live –
Mom struggling every day
To provide the basic necessities
That’s what I want him to say
Graduation day is here!
Honors and scholarships given
Surely he’ll walk in that door
And see the life I’ve been living
Alas he doesn’t show
Mom’s stories must be right
My daddy doesn’t love me
I accept it- but not quite.
I’m getting married!
My special day has arrived!
Will he give me away?
No! My brothers are at my side!
The years are passing quickly
Although I don’t realize
That all along my daddy,
WANTED to be by my side.
You see he struggled daily
Against the demon that ruled his life
He worked and worked to free himself
From the addiction and all the strife
He’d pull out the picture
Of his little girl and boys
He’d feel like a failure
He’d missed so much joy!
He’d vowed to be strong
To start over the next day
But that demon kept calling him back
To the life that was not okay.
At last he became free
Of the burden that held him down!
Would his children ever love him?
That thought brought tears and a frown.
She heard a knock on the door
This man she hardly knew
Sat at her kitchen table
Bearing his soul to her too
He cried and said “I’m sorry,
I love you so much”.
She said “I can’t love you,
You’ve always chosen your crutch”.
He left and nothing was resolved
His heart breaking and hers mad
How can he just show up?
To start something we never had?
Years went by- his health was failing
She had a baby boy
And now she understood
A parent’s pure joy!
She still didn’t understand
The hold the crutch had on dad
But God showed her she must forgive
Even though her life had been bad
Because her Heavenly Father had forgiven her
For all the wrongs she had committed
He accepted her just like she was
And given her new life she was living
She stood at his hospital bed
Praying she would have the chance
To tell him “I forgive you -
Let’s start this life’s dance”.
And God gave her just that
A gift of three good years
In which she told her daddy “I love you”
Watching as it brought tears
A life of memories
And lessons learned
From heartache and sadness
And love that was spurned
God did all the healing
And rightfully so
For he is the healer
That makes our heart grow
Her advice to all the hearts,
That are breaking inside …
Turn to your Heavenly Father
He can make things right.
And whether the demon still holds him
Or he’s free from every hold
Forgive your earthly father
Our Heavenly Father says to do so.Read More
Be still…be still now. Stop the “tomorrow I have to, and in two weeks there’s this thing that’s got to be done.” And “I should have…but I didn’t.” Oh the thoughts that whirl over and over – never letting your mind rest; the busyness that goes on in your brain 24 – 7. The weariness of planning, planning, planning; yet never getting all goals met. STOP! Seek ME – Be Still – and KNOW ME!
Why is it so hard? Have I ever really ever done this? Quieted my mind? To practically empty it of all the pressures of this life and rest there – for just a moment – or a little while. In His presence – So He can be felt – So I can KNOW He is God. And as I attempt this excrcise – I begin to glimpse what it’s like – to feel peace. How long has it been since that has happened? Forgive me God for leaving you out! For rushing into my days with all of MY plans – going through the motions - never STOPPING – many days, not even PAUSNG.
So this day – I invite you in more clearly – I shut out the words – the plans - the ever pressing things that overcome my thoughts – that make me wonder, doubt and yes, worry. Lord I shut them out and all there is, is You… And it’s in this place that I ask for only YOU – no requests – Only your presence only your acceptance – only what YOU intend for me to have – all else falls away – all else is unimportant. You first – and what you have for me comes after that – And this is peace – that passes all understanding. It’s what I’ve longed for – How good and pleasant it is! I want to stay here, even though my day is calling me – I want to linger here; just for a while; because this is where I KNOW you.
The past week has been one of many emotions. My brother went to be with the Lord, leaving many to grieve his passing. God used this time to bring families together and to give an opportunity to share the gospel. When asked to speak at the funeral, I wasn't sure I could do that, but with God's help, it all came together in such a beautiful way that was truly God's working. I have found that when your spirit is willing and you open up to HIS spirit - much is done in His name! Here is the message I shared at his funeral.
We have come here today to celebrate and remember the life of Rex Laughlin, my brother. He was a loving dad to Rex and Max. How he loved you guys! He never had a conversation with anyone that he didn’t use the words “my boys”. You were his world. He was a dad to Eric, Wendy and Missy and loved them so much. He was a loving brother, a cousin you could have fun with, and a friend that you could talk to about anything.
He had a heart as big as Texas, a willingness to give of himself to others, and an ability to make people laugh. He wanted to be around people and when you met him – most people liked him. He worked hard, played hard and loved much – you might say he went “wide open” most of his days. He had the ability to express himself with intense emotion that affected us all– if he was happy and joking, you were probably smiling and laughing. If he was going through a hard time – you found yourself drawn in and totally understood and sympathized right along with him. People were drawn to Rex – they wanted to be around him. And Rex could easily have lived a couple of generations ago – as he loved the simple things in life and appreciated them. He would have been happy with no electricity, no running water; using kerosene lamps and walking to the spring to fill up buckets.
Rex could sing, play a harmonica, a banjo and a guitar. He loved “trading” – going to the barn sales, and growing a garden. Did you know that he could whittle small objects creating intricate details on them – like a car or caboose of a train? Did you know that he could write poetry and songs?
I listened and watched last night as folks came by the droves to pay their respects, and my heart was full as I watched people of all ages - young children, couples, buddies, coworkers, and neighbors share what Rex meant to them. I heard things like
· “It will take 4 people to replace him at work”
· “He was like a brother”
· “Rex was real – you don’t find people like that these days”
· “He comforted me when I was going through a very hard time”
· A sweet little lady said “He loved flowers and wanted some seeds from those in my yard” (tears streaming down her face)
· “He loved people”
· “He was a good neighbor”
· “He loved children and would not want them mistreated”
· One man said – “you know, he would stop by just to visit – and didn’t want anything at all – just to talk. People don’t do that anymore”
· “I learned a lot from him”
· “He loved his boys – they were most important to him”
Rex was all about having fun with his boys, spending time with them – creating memories that will be with them always. Memories like stringing popcorn to put on the Christmas tree, and making hand-made ornaments for that tree. He made sure they had birthday gifts, something for Christmas, and candy at Easter, even when funds were very limited. He always made sure they had a bicycle – boys need a bicycle. He took them fishing, on drives down country roads in Hardin County at the old home place on Carmickle hill, and had cookouts outside in an open fire that they built. You see – Rex never experienced any of this with his own dad – so he made a huge effort to build those relationships with Rex and Max; because folks – Love for your child means spending quality time with them. He taught them to respect their elders and to be giving. I remember last Christmas – He took his old pickup truck – hooked Christmas lights up all over the outside – wired to the battery – and drove down the back roads – him and the boys – delivering large sticks of peppermint candy to people along the way; teaching Rex and Max that the act of giving was important. Yes, Rex and Max will have many memories like that – and I encourage you all to get them to tell you about them – because that is how those memories will stay alive.
Rex did a lot of good things for people and you all have told me “he was a good man”. But there was a time in Rex’s life that he realized – he was not good – that he was a sinful man and that he needed God. You see – we can do all kinds of good things – but good things won’t get us to heaven. If heaven was based upon doing certain things – we would all fail – because we mess up- make mistakes- we are human and we are sinful. A man in the Bible called Paul once said “I know that nothing good lives in me – that is in my sinful nature, for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out (Romans 7:18). A few years ago Rex gave me something that I would like to share with you today – it is a poem he wrote and this tells me where Rex is now.
“Grew up in a time of sorrow and pain
The sadness the madness nearly drove me insane
Dropped to my knees and all of that changed
No more sorrow or sadness – everything’s ok
No false witness here –no I’m not ashamed
When I called out to God – He wrote down my name
I said, “Dear Lord –take away these evil things”
He touched me with His love and took away my pain
When I came to the Lord – what a blessed change
I had nothing to lose and everything to gain
Now what’s in my heart – words can’t explain
No more sorrow or sadness – everything’s ok
As I walk and talk with Jesus Oh how I pray
That I may help some lost soul, along the way
I know without a doubt when I’ve lived out my days
I’m going home with Jesus and give God my praise
And there’ll be no sorrow or sadness
Oh what a day
No sorrow or sadness
What a blessed day
Rex shared his heart in these verses. Rex became a changed man – why? Because he first realized that he had sin in his life and that he needed God. He called out to God, asked for forgiveness, and accepted Jesus. The Bible says in John 14:6 – it is Jesus speaking:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You see- doing good things doesn’t get us heaven and eternal life. The only way to God is through Jesus Christ.
God’s word also tells us “if anyone is in Christ – he is a new creature –the old has passed away- behold all things are new”. Rex talked about that when he said he dropped to his knees and everything changed. The question is – are you a new creature? Has Jesus changed YOUR life? Have you called out to him to ‘take the evil away’? This would be Rex’s desire – remember his words? As I walk and talk with Jesus Oh how I pray That I may help some lost soul, along the way. I believe he was praying for all of you in that prayer.
I don’t know the date Rex wrote this poem –but he talked about this past Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in the lines:
I know without a doubt when I’ve lived out my days I’m going home with Jesus and give God my praise. I know where Rex is now – home with Jesus. John 14:2 says
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
Heaven is a real place – Jesus is there – and Rex is there. In Rex’s words he is ‘giving God his praise’. And in heaven, a person lives forever! As much as Rex loved all of you – I know that he would love for you to be there one day too!
Our time on this earth may not last a long time; we all thought Rex would be with us for many years; but God has called him home.
Be comforted in knowing that Rex’s body doesn’t hurt any more – his knees don’t hurt – he doesn’t have high blood pressure – no chest pains. He has a new body and he is spending eternity with the one who created him and then re-created him –through Christ.
Hold on to those memories – cherish them. Bring them to mind again and again. They are precious! But don’t leave out this memory – that Rex wrote a poem about how God changed his life and made him new, and now he lives forever with Jesus.
If you have questions about that – please talk to me later – I would love to talk about it with you.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I memorized these verses as a teenager. I was reading them the other day again and realized that all these verses hinge on my Lord being my shepherd, and my allowing Him to lead me. Here is what this verses mean to me when I look at them in that regard.
God, you are my shepherd, so why do I try to lead? I keep forgetting that you are to lead me. I get in the way of your leading, God. Please forgive me.
Your word says that since you are my shepherd I shall not be in want. When I allow you to lead – I will be satisfied.
When I allow you to lead, I will know to “lie down” in the right place – you would never lead me to the wrong place, and any place you lead will be “green” – it will be good for me.
When I let you lead me I need to be still; that taking time to stop is what allows me to be restored, as I spend that quiet time with you!
When I allow you to lead – you guide my paths; you show me the right path that I would never be ashamed to be on, for it is the path that brings glory to you. Give me the wisdom to step out of the way God, and follow you in the paths you want me to go.
When I allow you to lead me – I will never fear death; even when it is near, or the evil that may surround me. If you are leading me – you are always with me! You correct me when I need it and you comfort like no one else can.
You love me so much that even in the midst of my enemies, I’m dining with you! Because of your love, I feel special, and am blessed so that I can’t contain it all.
When I allow you to lead Lord, anything that happens to me is good- just because you are leading and I am following, and this happens every day of my life.
And I know for sure that I will be with you one day – when you lead me on to heaven to spend eternity with you.
Ephesians 4:22 says we are to “… lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit”. Verse 24 says we are to “…put on the new self, which is in the likeness of God”. Some of the “old clothes” we wear are immorality, impurity, greed, anger, malice, slander, and abusive speech”. Many more could be listed here.
As I think more deeply about these things, I realize that we like to make excuses about why we wear these “old clothes”. The main excuse we use is our circumstances. We think, “I am angry, or I talk the way I talk because my circumstance is causing me to be this way. How convicted I was as I read this scripture today! God impressed upon my heart, that if the first thing I think about, when I get up in the morning, is my circumstance, and the last thing I think about at the end of the day is my circumstance, then I am grieving the Holy Spirit. I am, in effect, telling God that HE doesn’t have the priority in my life – my circumstance does. I am totally forgetting that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). When my circumstance consumes my thinking, I am paralyzed and unable to be what God wants me to be; in my family, in my relationships at work, and in my Christian service to Him. I am indeed looking like “the old self”.
I asked God today to help me put on the “new self”; “a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other” (Col. 3:12-13). Verse 14 of this chapter tells me to put on love. THESE are the clothes I am to wear! When I put on these “new clothes” daily, I am much more able to view my circumstances with the right perspective. How freeing this is! The old clothes become quite heavy and if we wear them long enough, they soon define us. I am thankful I don’t have to wear the “old clothes”; thankful that I can live each day focusing on Jesus and what He did for me; thankful that HE is the one I can put my focus on daily; no matter the circumstance. Thankful too, that when I slip and put the "old clothes" back on, all I have to do is run to Him, say I am sorry, and He forgives me.
Maybe your circumstance is a health issue that is wearing you down, a relationship that has been struggling, or some other stress that is robbing you of your joy. Maybe you are like me and need to be reminded once in a while that you belong to a Savior that gave you “new clothes” to wear. Put them on daily, and watch what God will do!
I remember getting a new dress about once a year on my
birthday, from my Grandmother. She
always wanted a picture of me in my birthday dress. Girls like something new – it makes them feel
special, and people tell us we are pretty.
Years have passed since those days and I still feel pretty when I get something new to wear, but I must say a person needs to be cautious about putting a huge emphasis on what the “outside” looks like. Society tells us this is hugely important, but if we look at Galatians 1:10-11, we can get some insight from Apostle Paul. The church in Galatia was turning to other gospels, not the gospel that Paul was preaching; it was the poplar thing to do. Paul is telling them he is not trying to win a popularity contest, but only giving the message God wants him to give. He says:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ”.
And in 1 Samuel 16:7 when Jesse brought his sons before Samuel and one was to be chosen as the anointed one:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
In a time when fashion is constantly in front of us as we turn on the TV, open a magazine, or walk in a department store, let us remember to put fashion into perspective and not make it our priority, realizing we have an audience of one – our God. He loves us with or without makeup, with Guess jeans or old faded out, no-name jeans; whether we carry a Coach purse or one from Walmart. He loves us when we are ugly and deep in our sin – so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for us. When HE is our audience, and we realize it, HIS applause is the only one we we will hear!
What does it mean to trust? - “to rely upon or place confidence in someone or something”
What or who do you put your trust in?
Maybe your trust is in someone you care about – that they will always be there for you – help you when you need help. Is it in our job – that it will always be there –to provide the income you need? What about your vehicle - do you trust that it will get you where you need to go? Could it be that you are a person who trusts in yourself, leaning on your own intuition and sense of direction. All of these things are good, but they can all fail us at times.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
This verse puts things in the proper perspective. Trust in God first – and HE will direct your path.
How do I do that? Pray to Him and read His word - HE won't let you down.