De-Stress

19 12 2011

My wife wrote this today and I felt that it needed to be shared.

 

Cold, cold commercial Christmas.  Abyss of anxiety.  Dark, deep, all-the-way-to-the-bone anxiety.
Pushing me down, down, down to the bottom of this sea of stress.  I’m drowning.
Chest pains, quick breathing, light-headed.  My inner-most being is consumed with fear.
Warmth of Christmas, where are you?  Joy of Christmas, where are you?

I’ve been drowning in anxiety for many weeks.  This is not like me… at all.  This is the opposite of me.  I’m the “tomorrow will be better” kind of girl.  I’m the “we are overcomers” kind of girl.  This is serious.  This is not something that a day at the spa, a night out with the girls, or a good sermon can help.  Not something spending time with my beautiful children, decorating the tree, or looking at pretty Christmas lights can help. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I experienced this level of anxiety.  It’s confusing.  Just knowing that I am at this level of stress adds more stress to the heavy load.  I don’t know what to do with it.  I am silent.  We are intended to reach out to others when we need help, but sometimes the fog is too thick.  Sometimes my pride is too strong.  The fog lasts days, weeks.  Then, just when I’ve given up on ever feeling peace again…

A voice.  “Selah… Pause…. Rest.”
In spite of the craziness, a schedule that’s too busy, and voices of discouragement in what is deemed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”  Selah.
That kind of deep, reflective rest and warmth.  It’s what a mother feels right after giving birth while holding her sleeping newborn in her arms.  Selah.
Exhausted from a traumatic experience, but filled with deep, warm contentment and peace.  Selah.
I believe even Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt that (and she gave birth in a stable, for crying out loud).  Selah.
It’s exactly what I needed.  Pause.  Rest.  Reflect.  Selah.

So, I take a deeeeep breath in and, with it, accept the warmth and relief and rest of Christ(mas) into my heart.  My Selah.  It’s not too late.

Today I participate in nothing that is commercial Christmas.  Not the exchanging of a gift.  Not the online shopping for that one last item.  Not the mailing of a Christmas card.  Not one little self-inflicted stressful holiday thing.  As the warmth of Christmas (which is God’s love) fills me from my tiniest toe all the way up until I’m overflowing, the only things that I will do are acts of kindness… a pause to compliment, the sweet rest of a gentle hug, reflection in sharing in joy and sadness with others.  Today, I will allow others to experience true Christmas through me.  Selah.

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8 Years Have Passed

23 11 2011

Eight years have passed since my dad passed away.  Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day 2011 will be eight years. To say he is missed would be a gross understatement. 

I went back and found the notes for what I said at his funeral in 2003: 

 

Thank you to all of you from our family.  Your presence here has made this day, as inevitable as it may have seemed, much more bearable

 And your support over the last few days, months and years has allowed us to make it to this point much better off than we would have been without you.

As I look out at you today, I see faces of people whose lives were not just touched, but whose lives were eternally impacted by the life of my daddy.

Some of you knew him as friend,

Some of you knew him as pastor,

Some of you knew him as coworker,

But four of us got to know him as daddy. 

I wish the whole world would have known him.  I was on the inside looking out, so I got to see him in ways that none of you did.  And I can still stand up here today and say that he was the greatest Christian I have known.  To actually be a Christian is to manifest the qualities and spirit of Jesus Christ Himself.

In Matthew’s writing

Matthew 22:35-40

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 The manifestation of the fulfillment of these two commandments was evident in everything that “Daddy” did.

 The song writer said “He looked beyond my faults.”  In the past few days I have heard numerous accounts of people who would say,

“When no one loved me, your daddy loved me.”

 He had the ability to see past the stench of the drunk, or the image of the addict, and glimpse what God could do with that life.  He exemplified godliness in every aspect of his life.

Some people are taught how to live for God.  Some people pretend that they live for God.

Some people have God branded in their soul.

That was daddy.

 There was never any variance.  There was never any shadow of turning from his walk with God.  He lived what he believed, which is why so many of you loved him.  He never hesitated to share with you the truth of the saving power of Jesus Christ and it was so easy to accept, because he lived it.

Romans 10:14-15

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

He said every man is a preacher; the difference is what you are preaching.

He preached the gospel.  He was changed overnight by the power of the Holy Spirit.  His life was a transformation from the old man to the new.  Those of you who knew him before that blessed day in March of 1973 know that he was a different man from that day on.

He was exemplary in his ministerial ethics.  He never wanted to hear anything bad about anyone.  One of his favorite things to say was, “I don’t want to hear it.” He never wanted to know anything bad about anyone.  We all have things that are not perfect in our lives, but chose not to know if.  If he did know it he chose not to see it.

There are so many things that we could say today, but men greater then me will tell you what they can.  Thank you all for your love and appreciation.  May the memory of Daddy live in your life and may his love for God give you the strength to see the will of God come to fruition in your lives

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts.  I love my dad more today than I ever have.  I will be blessed to have a very Happy Thanksgiving.





Don’t Cry For Me

21 07 2011

Today, my daddy would have been 64 years old. His life was cut too short for me. But I know that he believed that his life was the perfect amount of time. He believed that in his life he had reached all could reach and told all he could tell and done all he could do. I am reminded of the song that Nancy Kilgore from Life Church sang at his funeral in 2003:

Don’t Cry

Here we are again
That old familiar place
where the winds will blow
No one ever knows the time nor place

(chorus)
Don’t Cry For me
Don’t shed a tear
The time I shared with you will always be
And when I’m gone, please carry on
Don’t Cry for me

No one is the blame,
my death was meant to be
Don’t carry guilt nor shame
The reason why I came soon you’ll see

(chorus)

Don’t cry when life is not the joy it should be
With life comes pain
Soon time will end this course appointed
and you will be rewarded
and all the world will see

Don’t Cry For Me
Don’t shed a tear
The time I shared with you will always be
And when I’m gone
Life still carries on
Don’t cry for me
We’ll always be
don’t cry for me

I miss you daddy. I’ll see you on the other side.





My Mother: Celebrate Recovery

11 07 2011

This past weekend I was honored to attend the Celebrate Recovery class at Life Church in Houston to hear my mother give her life changing testimony. I did not feel like the only people that should hear or know her story were the people at that meeting so I am posting it here. These are my mother’s speaking notes:

Hi! I’m Charlotte and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with trust.
The process of writing this has been a blessing to me and I hope I can say something that will bless you.
My mom taught me a love for Jesus. My dad was proud and harbored a lot of feelings about God that I found difficult to understand. He had hardened his heart toward the things of God and that was obvious in some of his behavior. Things like jealousy, envy and an incessant worrier to name a few. I knew he loved me, but I could not comprehend why he did not love Jesus.
The house I lived in growing up was directly behind the church I attended. Our property practically joined the church property. Oftentimes, our yard was used as an overflow for church functions, like Vacation Bible School. I did everything I could to be involved in my church as a child. I remember walking through our backyard to go to church and gazing at the stars when coming home after a service and marveling at the greatness of God. I wanted to know more about this God who hung the stars in the sky. And little by little I was learning more about Him. Around eight years old I attended Vacation Bible School. Each morning we would start our day by quoting Psalm 24:7, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”
I didn’t realize it then, but looking back now, I know that I was lifting up my heart and opening it wide for the King of Glory to come in and I felt His presence. Around 9 years old I was baptized and I had never felt so clean in all of my life. God was very real to my heart.
While these great things were happening, evil was still present in my life. I witnessed my brother being physically abused and I, myself, though I’ve never said this in a public setting, was molested as a child, by a neighbor.
As a teen, God was speaking to me and I dreamed one night that God was pointing at my house saying He wanted me to be involved in His Kingdom and while I was having the dream lightning struck the stove in our kitchen. The next morning I recommitted my life to the Lord because that’s what you did in the church I attended, when you felt God dealing with you. The pastor’s wife told me that morning that someday I would be a pastor’s wife, but soon I began to wonder and doubt her words. I also speculated on how many times it would be acceptable for me to walk the aisle and recommit my life to the Lord. I knew I wanted more and that I needed more. I was told I would marry a preacher and as a young teenager I prayed that I would. However, in the midst of my wayward ways I was drifting further and further from the heartbeat of a young girl in love with Jesus. At this point, I began dating guys who were not Christians. I became involved with drugs and the political unrest of the sixties and early seventies. Yet God was true to me even when I was losing my own way. Even though I was losing sight of Him, He had not lost sight of me.
I fell in love with a guy who my dad said wasn’t worth the bullet it would take to shoot him. Later after we were married my dad would tell the story that when he asked my future husband how he planned to take care of me financially my fiancé replied, “She’s going to work.” (I’m not sure that this conversation ever really happened, but it’s the story my dad stuck to.)
My husband had several friends who died of drug overdoses. He had friends whose wives were prostitutes and sometimes it was solely to support their husband’s drug habits. Those were our friends; the people we hung out with and were closest to. Yet God spared us from becoming too deeply involved in illicit drugs and sex. My involvement in all of this was because I just wanted to be with my husband. He was a great salesman and I believed and trusted him and gave no real consideration to the consequences for the way we were living our life. We were co-dependent and in denial. We were fortunate not to have criminal records during this time in our lives. On this road of destruction we were traveling, our marriage was destined for failure. My husband loved me but he knew that within himself he did not have the power to be a man who was true to his wife or to the man he wanted to be.
Paul spoke of this problem several times in the Bible. Scriptures such as: Romans 3:10-12, where it says:
“10There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless.”
These scripture describe the state we found ourselves in – far from God and full of deadly things. But there was still a part of our hearts that wanted to do the right thing. And for me I just loved my husband so wherever he led I followed even if deep in my heart and mind I knew better.
My husband’s life was truly an example of the scripture in Romans 7:21-25 that says: “21 Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Wanting deliverance from sin more than he wanted to sin, my husband earnestly and desperately began to seek God. He prayed one night in our yard and said, “I don’t even know for sure if there is a God, but if you are “real” please reveal yourself to me.” That prayer put him on a spiritual journey that I was able to hitch a ride on. God began to manifest himself to him. Blinders were removed from his eyes. The chains that had him bound no longer had the hold they once did. Everywhere and in everything around him he was seeing God. My husband was reading the Bible and wanted to know what I thought about the scriptures. I was able to say that even though I knew I wasn’t living a life that Jesus wanted for me I could say with certainty that God was real and the God of the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. Soon on the request of a friend, who was a new Christian, my husband and I attended church together for the first time. Because God had been working on him for days, by the time we made it to church my husband was ready to humbly ask God to remove all his shortcomings. Just like in Step 7, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.
A miraculous change took place in my husband. Before he turned his life over to God every other word from his mouth was a cuss word. After that night, he stopped cussing. He smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and he never smoked another one. All drug use stopped. (He did want to celebrate by having a beer, but I explained that I didn’t think that’s how God wanted us to celebrate.) It was a powerful transformation in both of our lives!
My sarcastic daddy said of my husband, “He went from a devil to an angel overnight.” And this time my daddy was so right. As for me, my husband would tell people that when I became a Christian it was just confirmation of the sweet angel I had always been. I think that’s what he truly believed about me.
In our hearts we knew that someday my husband would become a preacher, especially since he was preaching anyway, everyday to anyone that would listen. Those who knew him did listen due to the powerful change they all could see in his life. We started our family and we had a beautiful life full of heaven on earth and that’s the TRUTH. Fifteen years after becoming a Christian my husband was called to preach. Somewhere along the line I recalled the words I heard as a child from my pastor’s wife and I couldn’t help but be amazed that God answered the prayers that came from a young heart desiring to do whatever I could for God and the prophecy of my pastor’s wife who said that someday I would marry a preacher. Jesus was present and working all the time even when I did not acknowledge it. He had never left me alone!
After 25 years of marriage, four beautiful children, and starting a church in the city of Katy, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. The doctor said it could possibly be from years of smoking in his formative years – from eleven years old until he was twenty-five. After years of treatment and lots of prayers, God decided to take him home.
Before I continue with my story, I want you to know a little bit more about my husband so you can understand the pain I’ve endured from losing this great man. He always made me feel cherished and loved. As a father, I do not remember him disciplining our children while angry at them. He was the one who after my daddy died would ask me every day if I had called my mom to check on her. (Let me remind you he was considered the worthless son-in-law at one time.) One night my mom fell and my husband said, “Okay, that’s it, you have to go get your mom so she can live with us.” So I took care of my mom in our home and with my husband’s support for the next three years until she died.
I cannot begin to tell you the beautiful positive way that my husband viewed life. He refused to entertain negativity in his life. He didn’t want to fill his mind with anything but what Paul talked about in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” He practiced this every day after he became a Christian.
Doing this served him well, especially since he spent three years of his life unable to eat food. He survived on a feeding tube. He could not eat yet he would wait on our table and bring us our food and fill our drink glasses. Can you imagine? I still struggle to understand God’s greatness that dwelt within my husband. During all those years he had practiced his entire Christian life to think on good, godly things. When he was dying it was an intense struggle for him because he loved us so much and didn’t want to leave us.
Maybe you’re thinking she has certainly spent a lot of time dwelling on her husband’s testimony, what about hers.
So, let me tell you a little more about me. I would like to think that I did a good job as a mother and a wife. I supported my husband and loved my home and my children. Sometimes I must admit I was distracted from concentrating on developing my love relationship with Jesus because life was coming at us very fast and it was very good. Occasionally, I would pray and cry out to the Lord when I felt like I was in a crisis but I cannot say I developed the relationship with the Lord that I should have. I was dependent on my husband for many things – provision, counsel, communication, financial and spiritual direction and security to name a few. When I lost him I lost my identity. Some people only knew me as Skippy’s wife and that was okay. I was happy with my role but with his passing I had to ask myself, “Who am I?” I also worried and was afraid that if I earnestly prayed to the Lord; He may see fit to have me suffer, too.
My husband passed away in 2003 and it has taken me a long time to get the point where I can say beyond any doubt that I trust God completely. For many months after Skippy’s death if I felt the presence of the Lord in my heart I was glad about it but I would reason that it was because of my husband’s love for Jesus that Jesus was still allowing me to feel His love for me. In my mind I thought I was trusting God but when I truly starting examining my heart I realized I had doubt and fear. How could I completely trust this God who allowed this tragedy to happen to me? I will tell you some of the things I have realized through the pain of losing someone as memorable and as loving as my husband. I know that I had more sweetness and joy in my years of marriage than some people ever get to experience. I realize that’s what makes the loss greater. Maybe had he been different I wouldn’t feel the intensity of this loss as much as I do. None of this is in any way a pity party, but I hope that it can bless someone if you know a little about what I have learned about Jesus in the last few years.
First of all, I find it helpful if I see in my mind’s eye an image, an illustration of sorts. When the days were the darkest for me and my kids I would envision a rocky mountainside and in the mountain was a crevice between the rocks and I would see myself in the cleft of that Rock. (Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.) It was a place Jesus had just for me.
But restoration and peace did not truly come to me until I started studying the Bible in the light of the fact that God loves me for who I am. Now I can say with confidence that I do trust Jesus.
Life is short and eternity is forever and I want to make heaven my home. I know I am a product of ——
My history<>>my destiny
I know that death is not the end for any of us and, that for my husband, it is a door that opened and brought him to the next level of his life and it will do the same for us someday.
So, what was God doing for me all of those years? He was keeping me and loving me and leading me.
What was I doing for Him? That would be a better question. I have solemnly examined my life and Jesus has been my constant in a world that has been ever changing for me. I have seen Him as a strong, golden cord running through the timeline of my life and I am thankful I have been witness to it and that I can recognize Him.
I have learned I cannot view God from the perspective of the trial, or situation I find myself in. An example would be looking at a painting and when you are very close all you can see is one small part of the picture. As you back up you are able to see more and as you continue to move further away you see more and more of the painting. I will never see the entire picture of why death is a part of this earthly experience, but I know I will see and understand someday.
To begin recovery from my fear and doubt I had to realize I was not God and that His ways are far beyond my ways. Just like in Step 1, “I had to admit I was spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3
I challenge you to look at your life in the light of the gospel of Jesus and think about all the times that Jesus was trying to get in and love you and lead you and all the times that He has. I have done this and I am amazed. I know the love God has focused on my life is an everlasting love. From that love He has pursued me my entire life. He has drawn me with Golden Cords of Love. He did this even when I was not His friend but His enemy. His love is greater and deeper and wider than I can imagine.
My struggles are not over but I have a greater understanding and greater love and appreciation today for the Lord than I think I may have had my entire life. During the waking hours I find I busy myself with my job and other responsibilities but subconsciously worry does enter into my mind. Several weeks ago I had a dream that I was going very fast and that I was about to fly off an overpass and I asked myself why didn’t I slow down and now I was going to die. Then the car eased to a stop and I woke up. Jesus spoke to my heart and said, “Have I ever let you crash? I am here to take care of you.” So when I think I have myself under control these thoughts of fear and doubt try to creep back, so I know it is a daily work. A work that requires that I study the Bible, pray and truly reflect on my thoughts. Celebrate Recovery is assisting me in this “good work” and I want to be successful. I have a God who I know believes in me and loves me. The leadership of this church has so wisely given me the liberty to seek God and grow in my walk with Him. My prayer tonight is that each one of us can allow ourselves to acknowledge the God who is alive and working in and around us and that we can allow Him to do the work in us that He died to establish.
“If we repent and turn to the Lord, we have hope because He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he doesn’t want to send calamity.” Joel 2:13
Also in Acts 3:19-20, we find that He has already made the provision for us by sending us Jesus. The scripture tells us to “repent that our sins may be wiped out and that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord.”
His blessings are ours to have. My journey is not complete and He is still writing my story. I want to claim what Jesus has for me and walk with Him and see His grace abound in my life and in yours.

My mother is the most amazing woman I know.





Happy Memorial Day

30 05 2011

Today, I am thankful for the legacy of my family.

My Father’s father, Raymond J. Daigle served in the 101st Airborne Division and helped liberate Europe from tyranny. He was dropped behind enemy lines during the D-Day invasion and lived to tell about it. Raymond is one of the few members of the 101st who was at the Battle of the Bulge and is still alive. Thank you, Paw Paw Daigle for your service.

My Mother’s Father, Arthur C. Dixon served in the South Pacific. In his words, he spent time on the island of Tonga eating coconuts. I am sure he did much more. Arthur has been gone for several years now, but he would have been 100 years old this year. Thank you, Paw Paw Dixon for your service.

My Father served in the Air National Guard, and I am very thankful that he did not have to go to Vietnam.

My wife’s Father served as a Drill Instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps.

My Brother-in-law, Clay Martin was a medic in the Army at the time of the first Persian Gulf War.

I am thankful to all of my family and friends who have served and are serving. I am grateful for your service and pray continued safety and protection upon those that are serving.

God Bless You, and may God continue to bless the Untied States of America.





It’s Been A While

28 05 2011

Today, I break my blogging silence. I do so as today is a culmination of events that is bittersweet. In September of 2008 I was hired to manage a team of IT Professionals at one of the larger Managed IT Services accounts for my company. I did not know that I would be managing one of the greatest people that I have ever met.

When Brian came told me that he had found a job and was moving back to the land of his roots (New England), I was sad for me and happy for him. On November 1, 2010 Brian started his new job. Brian’s family stayed behind in the Houston area to sell their home. Today, the entire Wagner family journeys home to New England.

So, Brian, Thank you for everything. Thank you for helping me become a better manager. Thank you for helping me with my dream and then not judging me as I let that dream die. Thank you for the friendship your family showed us. May God bless you and your family. And I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity in their life to meet someone like you.

BWag you rock.





The Day After

8 12 2010


It was a day that began just like any other. People were going about their daily business. Many were still asleep. Many were just getting up. It was just another day, but what started out as just another day turned out to be

“A day that will live in infamy”

The surprise was complete. The attacking planes came in two waves; the first hit its targets at 7:53 AM, the second at 8:55. By 9:55 it was all over. By 1:00 PM the carriers that launched the planes from 274 miles off the coast of Oahu were heading back to Japan. Behind them they left chaos, 2,403 dead, 188 destroyed planes and a crippled Pacific Fleet that included 8 damaged or destroyed battleships.

In one stroke the Japanese action silenced the debate that had divided Americans ever since the German defeat of France left England alone in the fight against the Nazi terror. Word of the attack reached President Roosevelt as he lunched in his oval study on that fateful Sunday afternoon.
Later, Winston Churchill called to tell him that the Japanese had also attacked British colonies in Southeast Asia and that Britain would declare war.

Roosevelt responded that he would go before Congress the following day to ask for a declaration of war against Japan.

Winston Churchill wrote: “To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all!
Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.”

69 years ago yesterday was “a day that will live in infamy.”

But, 69 years ago today,

69 years ago today the sun rose again.
69 years ago today a new day dawned.
69 years ago today war was declared upon the enemy.

Sometimes it takes something major for us to make a declaration. What do you need to declare today? What declarations will help you break free from the battles in your heart and mind?

It’s a new day. Greet it with expectancy and make up your mind that as difficult as yesterday may have been today is going to be better.


Remember, that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. The pain and fear of the night is displaced by the rays of a new morning.

It may never be the way it was, but because you have faced the worst the enemy has to offer and withstood it through the night greater things are ahead today.

69 years ago today was the day after a day that will live in infamy. What will today be the day after for you?