don't give up.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Never give up is what my family's motto has always been. Never give up is what my mom and dad always used to tell me.

When I was in middle school, I remember that I decided to play volleyball. I'm not sure why, because no one in our family was particularly skilled at this sport and I certainly wasn't. All my friends were playing so I decided to as well. One day, my dad was trying to practice "bumping" the ball back and forth and I sucked SO bad. Gosh, I was terrible. My Dad was getting visibly frustrated. I remember thinking, "Oh great. I knew I was bad. I knew it." Coming from a family of 3 brothers who are all exceptionally skilled at baseball, I was so ashamed to be so bad at something that should be easy for me! It has a ball! I have hand-eye coordination! Why wasn't this working!? But my Dad would NOT let me give up. When I started to cry because I felt so terrible, he told me, "Kam, you're going to get better. Keep practicing. Never give up!!"

I was thinking about that today because I have been in a serious funk. It's caused me to have a storm of thoughts and emotions constantly bombarding my mind and making me feel like crap. "Never Give Up!" But what if I want to? What if I feel there are no other options? What if it hurts so much to keep going and to not give up?

There are things that I wish I could talk to my Dad about. I wish he could talk to me about my questions. I wish he was here and could tell me how he got through the pain he went through and the bankruptcy and the heartache. I wish he could tell me to never give up, one more time.

It doesn't haunt me consistently like it used to, to think about my Dad. I picture my mind is like a fortified castle. When a thought penetrates my mind's outer walls about my Dad, I assess the threat. Is it a good thought? A good memory? Will this memory cause me pain? Will I cry and will my heart ache? Most of the time, I don't let the thought get too far. I don't let it really sink in. Because there are 16 other people around me and I can't cry to them and tell them I don't know why my Dad isn't here anymore. I don't know why. But sometimes, I do let the thoughts get through the outer walls and they do crush me for a time. It's okay, I know, but it hurts so badly and I don't like it. I hate that people don't have the words. I understand, but it sucks. I hate that I don't know why my Dad wasn't healed when I asked Jesus persistently.

I don't know how to explain the feelings I feel when I really think about how there are so many things I don't understand. I have asked Jesus . He reminds me that He's good. That it's His character to heal and it's His character to save and it's His character to bind up the wounds. I know that He's still good. I'm so thankful that my Dad showed me a glimpse of the Father heart of God.

Tonight, I imagine my Abba Father. He's holding my hand. He's telling me not to give up. He's telling me that it's okay to have funky seasons that don't feel right. He's telling me to keep going. Patience and waiting are refining me. He's telling me that I'm becoming more beautiful even though I don't think so. Anxiety will not win. Don't give up on the fight. You're not alone.

the last time I saw him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the last time I saw my dad was the day before he died. I was home for almost a week in round rock. driving back and forth from my parent's house to the Christopher House in east austin. I really hated that place. seemed like a place that people went and didn't leave. at this point, my dad couldn't talk really. it's so hard to remember. i've been trying to go back in my mind lately to remember things that are so painful that it hurts. but I feel like it's necessary and it helps to write out.

dad was in so much pain. I can't even imagine. when I get a migraine and feel like I'm going to just collapse in pain, I think about the pain my dad lived through for almost 4 years. it literally makes my heart break. not necessary to dwell on. moving on.

dad was in the Christopher House for a little less than a week. it's basically a hospice place. he barely ate anything. I can't even remember if he did. he was so frail. so so thin. I can't remember why, but they said that dad could go home. I think he was sick and had gotten better. we thought, at least I thought, that he was on the mend. when we got home, he wouldn't eat but he drank coke. I got to feed him coke and it gave me so much joy because he wouldn't ever drink it while he was sick.

the night I left, I was reading God of the Impossible by Susan Peters (really recommend), to my dad. there is a part in the book that has healing scriptures and I just kept reading them to my dad. after that, I asked dad if I could worship with him. I sang mainly since he couldn't. he was laughing at my voice I think :) I remember I didn't want to leave that night but felt like I should to be home in waco. I don't know why. an emotional break I suppose. I left thursday night. he died in the night on friday.

I never thought he would die from that crappy disease. I really believed he wouldn't. when my mom called me in the middle of the night, I just ached. the worst pain in the world is getting that call in the middle of the night. packing for a funeral. packing clothes that your dad will never see again.

it's so hard to think about the painful parts of my dad's death. really most of them are painful because I miss him so much. but I think that right now is the first time that I realized that the last moments I had with my dad, were in worship. in church the other day, the pastor was saying that everyone remembers the last words that you have with a person you loved that has died. I don't remember the last words my dad ever physically spoke to me. but I do remember that our last moments together were worshipping Jesus. I hope that I can leave a legacy like that.

I miss him so much. no one will ever replace my daddy. now he's doing exactly what he probably left earth doing. his last breath here on earth was his first breath with Jesus and eternal life and freedom from pain.

I love you daddy and I miss you so incredibly much.
you're little girl forever,

dearest lauren.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

dear lauren,

working with you is probably the best thing ever. there is just something about doing something hard and good along with a bestest friend. I think it's pretty cool we get to do that. 

I remember when we used to share stories of teaching before we worked together and they never seemed real to either of us. now it feels like we both live in what we are saying. 

I think you are the best teacher in the whole world. I know what you're thinking right now, YES YOU ARE! you cry when your littles cry, you ache when they ache, and you love them like Jesus. you teach them things that are essential. you teach them things that are funny. how do I know? because I have some of them in my class now :) you pour out your life to the kindergartners in your class. and I am forever grateful for that. 

sometimes you leave me notes in my classroom like little verses or encouraging words. you must know that is my love language or something ;) you're really good at that. loving people where they're at and how they need it. I see it every day. 

I guess the thing I'm so grateful for is that I get to see you every day. that's pretty special in this stage of life. it's just so nice that I can come cry to you or laugh with you at any point during the day. you get me. 

today someone pointed out how we have stayed friends since we met at the school we now work at. when they pointed that out, millions of memories flooded my mind: your old lakehouse, sharing groceries in college, being in each other's weddings, sitting next to each other on the first day of 6th grade, sharing clothes, trips together, and sleepovers. probably my most meaningful memory of you that came to mind also breaks my heart. I'm sure you know. it's when you came to the christopher house the week before dad died and just sat with us. you were so sweet to dad, even though he couldn't talk. it makes me cry to think about your incredible heart. I don't want to bring up something sad, but I think that moment really made a mark on me. I'm just so thankful for you laur. 

being friends with you has brought be closer to Jesus. being friends with you has changed my life. you have never given up on me even though I am absolutely crazy or emotional or yelling or jealous or selfish or rude or not caring. thanks for showing me a love I still don't fully understand. thanks for being a friendship that lasts. you are such a treasure. 


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