All Fish are Bigger in Heaven

I like to write post about awesome people in my life, and I’ve found that there is one person whom I’ve neglected to mention. This is someone who radically altered my life, in ways that one will never forget. However I’ve also fought writing about this person because in the physical, they’re no longer with me. This person is my amazing grandfather, who I lost 8 years ago.

My grandfather was a very remarkable man. When he married my grandmother she had already had my dad, and was content and didn’t want anymore children. My grandfather had been married previously and had two children from that marriage, but really wanted another child. However my dad was 11 and my grandmother really wanted to enjoy marriage, and not having to raise another baby. However that would change just six years from that day! My dad and my mom had me a young age, and my amazing grandparents took over raising me for that reason along with others. I was the baby my grandfather always wanted, and he adored me with all he had! I couldn’t be more appreciative of he and my grandmother. My grandfather loved me, and he didn’t have to. I was of no blood relation to him, but he loved me more than any other human being on this earth.

grandpa11 My grandparents adored me!

Growing up I always knew I was loved and cherished by my grandfather. We would go fishing, to the movies, play music, and everything. He was what I knew a father was, and he loved me just as if I was his own child.

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I can never deny his affection for me. He guided me through the twelve years I had him in my life. He taught me about honesty, kindness, love, respect, and most importantly The Lord. My grandfather was 15 when he married his first wife. At this time in the world if you were married or had children you had to leave school, and were often turned away from church. From this experience my grandfather had an awful taste in his mouth about The Lord, and all His “riches”. My grandfather hated christianity, and faith entirely. But when his father passed away he left books on faith, and his own bible for him to keep. My grandfather loved reading and it’s totally something I’ve inherited from him. From these books and my grandfathers experiences in life he chose to give it another try. My grandfather was raised Mormon and chose to return to that theology. He embraced it and saw it as true, and it was something that he taught me. I had my doubts but I believed in the core value of it all, and that was the love for Christ and what He did for us on the cross. This is what my grandfather taught me, to love Jesus.

Soon after we began attending church again, my grandfather and grandmother began taking these trips to Charlottesville, Virginia. I never knew what they were for, but then one day my grandparents sat me down, and explained it all to me. My grandfather had been diagnosed with liver cancer, and had been put on the transplant list. I became very bitter, and hid my emotions inside. I really just pushed it all away, and acted like it wasn’t true. The last person I ever wanted to lose in my life was my grandfather, so to even fathom it was just unthinkable.

During this time I made it very clear that when the transplant came I didn’t want to go to the hospital, and I was very selfish about it. I fought off any thought that I could lose my grandfather, and I became a huge brat during the whole thing, and very much depressed. I didn’t have very many friends to begin with so it wasn’t hard to stay away from people. I would just sit with my grandfather for hours when he wasn’t working. We would do a lot more hanging out, and be active together. I knew he was scared, but my grandfather was also super content with his faith, and trust in The Lord. He knew where he was going. However I didn’t, I wasn’t fully sold or content with the idea of Jesus, and eternal life, so the idea of losing him did not sit well with me. I fought it every step of the way, and never let it hit me.

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But eventually that day did come. On July 4th, 2005 my grandfather was taken to the hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was away at the time and had no idea that he had been taken to the hospital. When I was finally told I didn’t know what to do or how to react. Eventually my grandmother picked me up from the friends house where I was staying and we went to see my grandfather. It was so unreal, the man who was always my hero, and stronghold was laying in a hotel bed in bed, and unable to do anything on his own. My grandmother told me that I needed to be strong, however, I don’t know how strong a 12 year old can really be when the only man she’s ever known as a dad is laying on what could be his death bed. So I tried to hold it together, but I couldn’t. I cried profusely every time I saw him. I didn’t know how to handle it, or take it in, and every time I was told that what I was doing wouldn’t help. I didn’t have a ton of support. I can’t blame my grandmother though, the only man who had ever loved her was on that table. The man who called her, “Hun” and loved her could have fallen through and we’d both be left alone. Neither one of us knew how to support each other.

After 13 long and painful days my grandfather lost his battle with cancer. It was a day I’ll never forget. I lost the man that taught me about life, and loved me like no other. I felt true and unspeakable pain that day. Having to watch as they folded the flag to give to my grandmother, lowering his casket into the ground, walking away knowing that on this Earth I’d never see him again. That is true pain, and true fear, and something I hoped to never experience again.

However in the almost 8 years since then my life has taken turns I never thought it would. I have found myself in ruts that I never thought I’d be in, and felt pain like no other, however, I’ve also felt true joy, and satisfaction in this life. I found God, I am finding his plan for my life every day. I know my grandfather smiles when God lets him see me. For that I try to smile as much as possible, laugh whenever it’s an option, and never regret a single day I had with him. My grandfather is forever the best friend I could ever have. There are still days when I cry and just sit by myself. I wish he was here, watching me grow up, walking me down the aisle, and doing a father, daughter dance, anything and everything. I wish he was here. But I know that through God’s faithfulness, sovereignty, love, and ultimately grace, and redemption, that my grandfather is being restored, and is being made into perfect unity with God. I can not wait to see him again, and hug him, and him kiss my forehead, and I get to hold his pinky because my hand wasn’t big enough! I can’t wait to cast a line with him in heaven, because I know then that life will be restored.

After his death I would write him note and keep them just incase God let’s him read them. This is one that I wrote a little over a year ago, but I feel that it’s the most heartfelt one.

“I miss you so much today Grandpa! I miss you playing the guitar and me singing along with you. i hope you smile every time God lets you hear me sing or play the guitar. I’m in college and I can’t help but think of how things would be if you were still here. I love this picture because I just can’t help but smile when I see the way you look at me here. You always saw me as your miracle, and reminded me of that everyday. You are the greatest grandpa that I could of ever asked for. You were the dad I always wanted and I wish you could be here to see all I’ve become. I hope you know your prayers were answered. Maybe not quite the way you hoped, but they were answered. I found God and have the greatest and deepest relationship with him that I could ever ask for! I thank him so often for the gift of me getting to really know what a Father is and that he gave me an incredible Dad in you! I love you so much and just miss you so much today. No matter what you’ll always be my best friend.”

I know that God is faithful and sovereign, and for that I have hope that I will see my grandfather again, and for that I cannot wait!

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In writing this I can’t say that tears weren’t shed, but I know that in those tears there will come a day that there will be no more, and all things will be made new, and perfect. I trust in Him to work out all the details, and that one day my grandpa and I will be reunited, on the brighter side of everything.

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“I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on. And there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes, still I will praise you, yes I will praise you.”

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Here in Your Presence

Recently I took a trip to the amazing Panama City Beach, Florida for CRU’s National Evangelism conference. It was my second time in PCB and to say I loved it would be an understatement! This trip was vastly different then last year, and that’s due to some intense growth, grace, and development in my life! The Lord has really been working with me on giving myself grace, and understanding that even if it’s just one person that I impact in my lifetime, that’s all that matters!

One thing I also learned about last week was the beauty of the Holy Spirit. It is such a key part of the Trinity, because it is the piece that Christ left with us when He ascended into Heaven. My discipler from summer project, Julie Allen, once asked me if I would rather have Jesus in the flesh as my discipler, or the Holy Sprirt. My initial reaction was of course Jesus in the flesh, really, what could get better than that? Jesus, right there, teaching me, and guiding me through life, it would be awesome! But then Julie gave me this analogy. If Adele was my voice teacher, would I ever really be able to sing just like her? No, I wouldn’t because she would just be teaching me, I would never be able to sing just like her. But, what if Adele could sing through me? Then, and only then could I sing just like her, because it would be her pipes singing through me. Once Julie gave me this amazing analogy I immediately changed my answer! Why wouldn’t I want the Holy Spirit? He would work through me to spread the good news, and share this love with others, He’s got it all handled!

It was from this awesome lesson that I remembered that the Holy Spirit is often treated like the red headed step child of the Trinity. He is so often neglected when we pray, and submit ourselves to the work of the Lord, and that’s just ridiculous, He’s the one doing the work through us! He deserves that praise, adoration, supplication, thanksgiving, and confession. He can work through all of those, if we only give Him the chance.

I’ve recently come across a song called, “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture. This song is incredible! The chorus reads, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come flood this place, and fill the atmosphere. Your Glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence Lord.” These lyrics not only acknowledge the Holy Spirit that leads them but also invites Him into their time, and ask for His presence to shake the ground, and make a profound entrance. it’s truly beautiful. For that I feel it’s truly necessary, and true to acknowledge Him, and bring Him into your life for it is Him who runs through you, to make us Holy, and Blameless before the Lord!
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” -Jesus (John 14:25-26)

“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” -Acts 1:1-5

Jesus leaves us with the Holy Spirit so we can continue to do His work here on the Earth, not to treated as a red headed step child. So we should approach Him, love Him, and adore Him! Jesus wouldn’t have given Him to us if we didn’t need Him! So go and pray to Him, and allow Him to rest in your life, only great things can happen!