I found myself sitting on the floor next to the front door one day last week going through a stack of photos. I was hoping to find a suitable picture to add to the blog post I had written earlier in the day. The photos were from a box that our daughter had complied from various family snapshots from the middle to late 1990’s. As I glanced at the prints I began to recollect the many vacations, family outings, holidays, school events and extended family gatherings that the pictures documented.
With a sudden tearing up and an emotional jolt, I also thought about how that time seemed to be when my wife Piper was in the midst of her prime years! That thought brought with it a wide range of emotions in me. I went from sadness to anger and everywhere in-between within a very short period of time.
I’ve been able to keep pretty good control over my physical emotions during this extremely difficult period of time that began with her initial brain scans in Oklahoma back in 2007, but on that day, it was like everything hit the fan at once… and the only thing I could utter was “WHY?”
But before condemnation could overtake me with concerns over the few negative things that were said about our family as we struggled to get a handle on Piper’s health needs, I suddenly had the revelation of how out of touch those comments really were as the Lord showed all the positive things that my lovely wife has accomplished in her life. And I saw in an instant what the Lord was trying to get me to understand. He was leading me into the place of peace so that I could dwell on the dreams, plans and desires that were accomplished instead of what might not be. I realized that our relationship with God and with each other enabled Piper to pursue and realize the majority of her deepest desires and dreams.
Piper always wanted a big family that could grow up in a Christian home filled with love and encouragement. One where the siblings could grow up with strong loving relationships with minimal squabbling and maximum care for each other. She was diligently aware of the atmosphere in our home throughout the years. She was quick to encourage and even quicker to lift up unified praise.
One of her greatest dreams was to homeschool our kids and she was undaunted in pursuing this desire, even when society and extended family looked at her like she was from outer space when she gleamingly talked about it. She went out of her way to research the process and then seek and find the best resources for our kids… even when finances where tight.
She was relentless in staying up to date on the best curriculums available (which were rather limited when we first began in the early 1980’s) and in preparing and developing her own particular style of hands-on teaching in bringing the best experience to our kids that she could develop. She turned just about EVERY activity at home, at church, at the store and on vacation into a fun-filled, practical learning experience.
I’ve written on many occasions how Piper was adamantly committed to her personal walk with the Lord. It wasn’t just something she did… it was who she was! There was no way you could separate the two. When you squeezed her (which I’ve done a lot...), the love of Jesus always came out! I remember her praying and confessing one day years ago, that we would always live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood… and we always have!
She liked cars and enjoyed driving ones with wide tires and chrome rims… and you know… except for an old Mazda that a fellow student gave to us while attending Bible School in Oklahoma… every car that she called hers over the 48 years of our relationship has met that heart desire.
She enjoyed being in ministry leadership and has done so in every church we’ve attended and/or served and in doing so has touched the hearts and lives of multiple generations of children and youth. We’ve got to travel around the country attending various ministry training seminars and conventions and have attended the meetings of many well-known evangelists and Bible teachers.
We’ve also been able to take our kids out to the mountains and seaside in order to experience the pleasures of God’s handiwork first hand through camping and later RV vacations that the kids still talk about today.
I think one of the biggest things that my wife can write on her life’s resume, is that the word “CAN’T” was NOT a part of our regularly used vocabulary! As we learned to take our place in life in relationship to the ever-increasing knowledge of who the Word of God says we are in Christ, we learned to “plunge into the promises” of God and “come up strong, ready for God.” (Romans 4:20 MSG)
Our relationship with each other in communion with our ever-increasing and growing personal relationship with Papa God has always allowed Piper to be all that she has desired to be. I can remember watching conversations between her and other Mom’s at meetings for our Homeschool group when they were discussing the possibilities of some new project or event for the students and see the incredulous look on the other Mom’s faces when Piper would simply, with a big smile on her face, reply to their words of impossibility with a hearty… “Why not? We can do that!”
I can honestly say that I have never tried to hold her back… Okay… maybe one time when she wanted to get a bright, fire-engine red Suburban, and I thought that all that red was too much! You have to understand that she had been praying for a Suburban for years and I felt it was too big!
But as usual, her prayers won over and the Lord broke through my thick head and showed me that with four kids, a trailer and Piper’s desire to take all the kids in the neighborhood to church with us… that the Suburban was the only vehicle that would work for us! So, when the Lord made a financial way for us to get one we did… with the one compromise… a green truck over the red!
So… like I said early on… The successes of Piper’s life up to now have FAR exceeded the “What could be” in the future. Piper and I have always strived to focus on God’s abilities and not our own. She has lived her life to please the Lord and in doing so been a fantastic blessing to me, our kids and just about everyone else that her life has touched.
So… looking back to the other day… I really have NOTHING to feel sad or angry about. My sweet wife has lived a good life. She has had the pleasure of accomplishing almost everything that is dear to her heart… and who knows what the future has to offer. She may continue on to accomplish many more activities that originate in her heart’s desire and are fulfilled through prayer, praise and determination… or move on to her greatest heart’s desire and go home to be with the One she has faithfully served every single moment of her life since walking that church aisle at eight years of age… to accept Him as her personal Savior and Lord.
Therefore… Instead of getting angry or sad… I choose to REJOICE for I've had a part in that wonderful life! Isn’t God good!
Have a great week ahead, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to do for Papa God with my life today?”