Encouragement for the days ahead

This past Friday, we celebrated the life of my PawPaw, LS Hollinger.  The service was so special and sentimental.  Today, I just want to thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.  They have been the perfect source of comfort during this hard time.  Below, I have included more pictures and some of the verses that were read during his funeral and graveside services.  I hope that you will find just as much encouragement from them as my family and I have and will continue to find through them in the days to come.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to

comfort those who are in any affliction,

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings,

so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“So we are always of good courage.

We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body

and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

2 Corinthians 5:6-9

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his,

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Psalm 100


Freely love and be loved while free from expectations

Yesterday, “the Girls,” Danny Fat Cat, and myself were playing in the backyard.  We were playing one of my new but favorite games called, “Photo-shoot with Sissy’s camera.”  This is how the game works: Lacey (the white dog) and Chloe (the dog with the long bangs) would run around the yard and away from me and my camera with the scary flash.

While watching them like a hawk, determined to snap a good picture, I became so frustrated!  Lacey wanted to smell the lens and turn her head away from the flash.  Chloe’s hair was all in her eyes, and she just wanted to smell for bugs that she couldn’t see.  Danny just wanted me to scratch behind his whiskers.  They wouldn’t do exactly what I wanted them to do.  Why?  Because I was trying to make them be something that they weren’t.

So I gave up trying to make them do what I wanted them to do.  I simply took pictures of them being exactly who they were–dirty dogs in need of a haircut and a cat that just wanted to love and be loved–and you know what?   I realized that while being free from my own desires and expectations for them, I was free to love them even more!

How often do we do this people?  We have expectations for them and whenever they don’t fulfill those or whenever they don’t act as we want them to, we become disappointed or frustrated with them.  Speaking for myself, I do this all the time!  In our minds, we have an idea of what is best for someone, and we think that loving them means getting them to do what we believe is best.

Praise God that He loves us just as we are!  God sees that we, too, are often dirty and in need of a haircut like Miss Chloe, but this doesn’t make him love us any less.  Instead, I believe that when we live fully as the child that He created us to be, He loves us even more!

God’s love comes free of expectations, free of repayment, free of stipulations.  We freely and abundantly receive God’s love simply because we are His children, and He loves us more than we could ever imagine!

Are your paws dirty and in need of washing?  Come to your loving Father, and He will wash you clean as white as snow because He profoundly loves you.