PARENTING FROM THE VIEW OF TEENAGER

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When Your Friend is Suffering

 

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.” -John 15:13

 

There are many verses in the Bible that I think about daily. John 15:13 is defiantly one of them. I, personally, take the verse two ways. The first is the literal translation. No one has greater love than the die for their friend. This interpretation is how many people understand it. I like to think of it in a different way. Maybe sometimes there is another way to “lay down your life” for someone. Maybe it means that no man has greater love than to put their friend’s needs far above their own: to sacrifice their own happiness, comfort, fulfillment, etc. in order to care for their friend.  This is what I remember when one of my friends are struggling.

Friendship is such a weird thing. I don’t really remember how I made any friends. I just remember meeting them and then all of the sudden we were friends. When you’re close friends with someone, usually there is a kind of I’m-on-my-way-with-ice cream-and-movies mentality. And most of the time, it’s sincere. However, most people think that when their friends struggle, they’re going to tell you exactly how they feel or just be sad and snuggly, when the reality is that that really isn’t the case. When people struggle, they tend to close-off, become irritable, angry, emotional, sensitive, and difficult. Sometimes they can become hostile, rude, short, or even malicious. People deal with problems in different ways. So that lovey dovey friendship thing becomes much harder.

The number one reason why we bail on each other when times get tough is because we are all so unbelievably self-centered. Even though it isn’t right for our friends to mistreat us when they’re hurting, if you’re a true friend you will put your own feelings aside to care for your friend.

The First step to truly helping your friend is to identify the “cries for help”. You have to notice the little changes in their personality that suggests that something isn’t right (See paragraph two). It’s completely unnatural for people to broadcast when their hurting… usually smh.

Step two is to NEVER TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Never assume that you’re being attacked because those little personality changes are almost always offensive. Come on, you should know your friends well enough that you’d know they wouldn’t snap at you for no reason. It’s common sense. As soon as you start taking their behavior personally, you become completely useless to their recovery.

Step three is to  pray for them. Prayer is a Christian’s greatest weapon, and so many of us either forget about it or underestimate it. Prayer is a direct line to Jesus. Anytime, anywhere. Pray and pray and pray. A lot of the time, that’s all you can do.

Step four is to LISTEN. If your friend trusts you enough to confide in you, then listen! I love the saying ,”People need to stop listening to reply, and start listening to understand”. This is so true. Don’t give unsolicited advise. It’s annoying and unnecessary. If they ask for your advice, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, shut up and let them vent. Sometimes people need to just talk it out.

Step five is to just be there. Be an anchor to your friend. Sometimes they don’t need any special treatment, they just need for you to be there for them while they deal with things themselves.

Finally, step six. Pray some more.

It’s not gonna be fun for you, but just think of how you would want to be treated if you were suffering. I always try to treat people with the same compassion I would have if they were having the worst day of their life. Maybe you can be that ray of hope in someone’s life; that one person who has patience, or says the nice thing, or does that one little thing that changes everything.

It will be rewarding in the end. Just tough it out. Be Jesus to those around you.

I have a friend right now who I know is suffering in silence. I know that I’m probably the only one who will stick around for long enough to help them. It’s pretty funny how terribly this person has treated me. After LOTS of prayer, I understood that I needed to be their lighthouse. No matter how badly this person treats me, I know that they need someone to pray over every step they take, all throughout the day. They need someone to pray for spiritual and emotional healing. I’ve seen this person at their best, and I’ve seen their potential. I know that it is a God-calling because there is no possible way that I’d put up with them unless it was God’s plan. But I’m happy to do it. Its easy because all I have to do is pray all the time, not take anything personally, be there for them, and pray some more.

When Jesus gives you a heart of compassion, treating your friends this way goes from being a chore to being a privilege. I’m thankful for every minute of it, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out when they finally let Jesus take control.

So next time you notice one of your friends suffering, think about this stuff. But also remember that it comes from the brain of a twenty year-old… So use your own wisdom.

 

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” -Proverbs 27:9

 

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25

 

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” – 1 Peter 4:8-10

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” -John 12:14

 

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Be Thankful When God Corrects You

I have had an unbelievably blessed life. I had beyond a happy childhood, and now I get to be in college and enjoy the independence with my family as a safety net. God has blessed me with a comically functional family who I depend on, and I thank Him for that every day. I look back on the twenty years of life I’ve had so far, and I’m thankful for every single moment.

My parents are Sunday school teachers. I come from a family of strong believers. My entire family are deeply rooted in the Christian faith, and for that I am so grateful. I really try hard to be the best ambassador for Christ that I can be. I know that for many reasons, I’m under a microscope. I know people watch. I have very strong convictions and I’ve always been good at sticking to them. But my feet are still able to stumble.

The first few weeks of school, I went through a bit of a rebellious phase. I didn’t do anything crazy, don’t worry, but I was definitely surprised at how easy it was to stray from my convictions. I didn’t have the integrity to get back in line, so I prayed a very dangerous prayer. I prayed that God would do whatever it took to get me back on track, and He did. Not long after I started praying this, I hit rock bottom out of nowhere. It was the most emotional distress I have ever experienced. I’m not an emotional person, but all of the sudden I was at the lowest point of my life. All I could do was cry out to Jesus. I got my Bible and soaked in the words. I started binge watching my church’s sermons online (I watched a whole years worth of sermons in a week), I spent all day, every day talking to Jesus.

I knew that God was using my pain to answer my prayer. I turned all of my focus to Jesus and took refuge in Him. After a week or so, I was better than I was before. Jesus answered my prayer. I am far away from temptation and closer to the Lord than I have ever been. I am so thankful for that week of hell because that is exactly what I needed to get back on track.

If you have Jesus in your life, have faith that He loves you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'” When you’re struggling, look to see how God can use it to help you and bring Him glory. Be thankful for the trials. God uses our suffering to make us better.

Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciplines those who He loves, and punishes each one He accepts as His child.”

 


Dangerous Prayers

When you’re a Christian and you’re growing in your faith, you encounter the phenomenon of “Dangerous Prayers”. Faith is such a difficult concept to grasp- the fact that you can put all of your trust in someone who you can’t see, touch, or hear is a wonder that we’ll never truly understand.

Once you have some understanding about how important prayer and faith is, you start to think about the concept of dangerous prayers. God listens to us when we pray, and he always answers them with either “Yes” “No” or “Wait”. I’ve reached the point in my life where I’ve started to pray about things, fully knowing that God’s answer could very well be detrimental, even tragic.

For example, I’ve wanted to be a performer ever since I was a child. The older I got, the more I saw celebrities ruining their lives. So I’ve started faithfully praying that God will never let me taste success or fame if it means I’ll lose my faith. My relationship with Him is so much more important that any earthy thing. I pray that God will take the beauty He’s blessed me with away before it interferes with my relationship with Him, or my ability to be a lighthouse to others. I tell God that His will is far more important than my happiness.  When it comes to romantic relationships, I pray that God will make his plan and the right path abundantly clear, and that if it ends badly, that my heart will take the full blow of pain instead of his.

I’ve been praying prayers like this for a while, and you’d better believe that God has answered them. In 2014, I prayed that God would do whatever it took to drastically strengthen my relationship with Him. A few weeks later, I came down with Lyme disease that caused the most miserable year of my life, and continues to plague me. But out of it, my relationship with Him has been unbreakable. I didn’t regret the prayer- I knew what I was asking. I continue to be thankful for that experience solely because of the spiritual strength it’s given me, even though it’s weakened my physical body.

I prayed that God would do whatever it took to make sure I constantly have to lean on him. I’ve developed a debilitating anxiety disorder that, without any warning, will leave me unable to get off the floor or catch my breath. As painful and difficult as it is, I’m constantly talking to Jesus; thanking Him for all of the moment when I feel fine. I appreciate things more, and I’m able to connect with people who struggle with the same thing. And when I’m in the middle of a horrific panic attack, I get to cry out to Jesus. During these moments, I’m at the lowest I can be, but there’s a peace in knowing that Jesus is your comfort.

If you’re going to pray prayers like these, be prepared for challenges. Be prepared for tragedy and pain; but also be prepared for reward. I’m so thankful for every challenge I’ve encountered because I would never be so close to Jesus if I hadn’t been through it.

 

lyme-lacy


“Madison Dye Is Freaking Awesome…” -Madison Dye

My cousin tho… lol My cousin Madison is with me right now. Every year we have what’s called “Tutu Camp”(Tutu is what we call our grandmother); where she and I get together with Tutu for a few days and do fun stuff.

My favorite thing about Madison is that she is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Her brother, Hunter, is the same way. Every time we get together she comes out with the funniest things. We’ve been buds our whole lives and I love that we can still get together and have as much fun as we did when we were kids.

In all the time that we’ve known each other, we’ve never argued or gotten on each other’s nerves. We really get along great.

Tonight, we watched two scary movies. Her dialogue was the best part of both movies. “You need to skirt!” “What??? What is she doing?” “Oh no no no no..” etc.

There’s nothing really deep about this post. its just to tell you guys that I have an awesome cousin. Go ahead. Be jealous. madison and me


The World Doesn’t Stop When You’re Hurting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this post. Every few minutes I have to stop to catch my breath. I hate crying, but right now I can’t help it. These last two weeks have been just one thing after another. I know very well that there are so many people who are hurting more than I am right now. People will try to make me feel better by comparing my pain to someone else’s. I guess they hope that by putting it in perspective I’ll see how things could be worse.

That’s stupid. Pain is pain.

I think that one of the hardest things about suffering (regardless of the severity) is that the world doesn’t stop when you suffer.

My heart hurts.

Its times like this when I truly wonder how people go through life without relying on Jesus. I have no idea what I would do without Him. Even though it feels like my whole world just caved in on me, I know that Jesus is right here reminding me that this is only temporary.

Because of Jesus, even though my heart is in pieces, I can trust that He will pick them up and put me back together; making me even better than I was before.

It’s very much like the ancient Japanese art (kintsugi) where potters take a broken bowl, and put it back together, filling the cracks with gold. Doing this, the bowl becomes much more valuable. Gold

That’s what Jesus does when our hearts break. He puts us back together, making us better.

Jesus could so easily remind me that He was betrayed by His best friends, tortured, and crucified, pretty much all in the same day, but He doesn’t. To Him, my pain is nothing. But He’s still here to comfort me. He tells my heart that I can always cry out to Him, no matter how small of a problem.

You’ve probably seen those videos of toddlers crying over random things like chairs not moving, or toy cars not being red. I imagine that’s how Jesus see’s are pain. But instead of making fun of us, He comforts us. I think that’s amazing.

I find my peace in knowing that even though the world keeps moving, Jesus is keeping me together. I’m in so much pain right now: physically, mentally, and emotionally. But I don’t have to explain my pain to Him, like I do with everyone else. He knows exactly what I’m going through. He knows my suffering.

I’m not angry at Him for making me go through this. Not at all. How can I be angry? If anything, I’m thankful. I get to cry out to the One who formed the universe, knowing that He hears me. I get to know that I’m not suffering in silence.

 

doggo

Dutchess Oct. 23, 2004 – June 16, 2016


Purity

When you grow up in the church, you hear about purity a lot; especially when it comes to marriage. Now, that’s just to give a glimpse into what this post is about. Now, you can skip to the next paragraph because I’m going to fill this one up with words due to the fact that the first bunch of words shows up on my Facebook post  and this one is going to be more grown-up than my other posts, so I blah blah blah blah blah, I think that’s about enough.

Anyway, when you think about purity before marriage, what do you think about? That’s right, sex. Most people think that staying pure before marriage means just not having sex, but I like to believe that it’s much more than that. You can do quite a bit of dirty stuff without actually going all the way. That’s what I think is miscommunicated all too often.

I’ve been in a relationship with only one person in my life. He and I have been dating for over two years, and we have set up some strict boundaries. He and I are about as pure as they come, and we are perfectly happy that way. We kiss and snuggle and hug, just like any other couple, but that’s about as far as we go. It is possible to stay pure. He and I plan to get married in the next couple of years, and we will continue to be set in our convictions.

Now, do we judge those who don’t follow our same ideas? No. Not everyone goes about their relationships the way we do. But if you really think about it, what is the point of dating? It’s to figure out with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

My parents are funny about PDA (Public displays of affection). I know this is kinda off topic, but it’s my blog, so just roll with it. My parents let my boyfriend and me hold hands, and let him wrap his arm around me in front of them, but that’s about it. So in public we try to abide by that same guideline. The reason for that is because no one wants to see that gross lovey dovey couple. My boyfriend and I are very careful to set a good example for younger people, and also to not be a distraction. He’s not as excited as I am about it, but he humors me.

He and I have taken “staying pure” to a whole other level, but we know that it’s worth it. I picked a guy who loves me enough to put his physical desires aside and honor my wishes. He respects me enough to wait for all that mess. He’s content with just hanging out and watching Netflix (without the chill), or playing video games. We talk and enjoy each other’s company. He’s my best friend. I guess this goes along with my dating post from a while back. In the end, it’s about respecting yourself, respecting your partner, and respecting God’s word and what He says about relationships and what they’re supposed to be.


Tobias Jones (aka. Evan King)

Tobias Jones is the name that I’ve given my little brother, Evan, for when he acts like a legalistic, independent Baptist, hell fire pastor. Evan is my constant entertainment. We say that his favorite hobby is monitoring my various outfits. He doesn’t like it when I wear polka-dots, or strips, let alone form-fitting or revealing clothes. It’s thoroughly entertaining. Sometimes I like to put on outfits that I wouldn’t dare wearing in public, just to get a reaction out of him. He also has other rules for me, such as how (and how not) to eat a banana. He’s a character.

He’s like this because he’s a guy, and he knows how other guys think. He’s protecting me from my own obliviousness. Even though it can be a bit annoying, I know that he only does it because he loves me.

We always joke that we hope he doesn’t have any daughters. Fortunately for Evan, I naturally dress pretty modestly, so he doesn’t have to work too hard. Dad did a good job with training my brothers to be like modern-day knights. Evan always talks about women respectfully, and makes sure that I carry myself in a way where people will want to talk about me with respect.

Evan is actually really funny. Some of my favorite quotes in my diary are Evan quotes. I’ll give some examples later.

In fact, Evan is sitting next to me in  my bed, showing me funny youtube videos. He just showed me part of a video where this kid is freaking out because the fan base ruined the Sonic franchise. When I asked him about it he said, “It’s literally a fourteen minute video, and I watched all of it…” Freaking. Hysterical.

All in all, this is just a post about my little brother. There’s not really a moral to it. I guess you could find on if you looked for it.

Here are some “Tobias Jones” quotes:

Evan King Quotes:

“You have a Bill Clinton on your phone”

“You burped, and I must’ve gotten the whole thing in one whiff.”

“I’m trying to pick up a quarter with the stickiness of my big toe.”

“He has half as much diabetes.”

“Are you trying to poke my ham?”

“What kind of cheese is that? Why aren’t you using American?”

“Don’t wear tight pants, Lacy.”

“You’re breathing in my ear like your praying for me or something.”

“Butts butts butts poopy poopy poopy.”

“Why is that yummy to you? That can’t be delish.”

“Joel Osteen is the smiley antichrist.”

“Give me the remote, because your pause game is not strong.”

“I feel like the super villainwho talked too much and ruined his plan.”

“I was learning math, and I was crying while I was doing it.”

And so many more…


Phases

I have absolutely nothing to write about. It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything. I figured, since this is a blog, I could write about my life, but who really wants to know? Ever since I came off of my ADHD medicine when school ended, the smallest task has been a challenge, but I’m managing. This morning, before Sunday School started, dad told me to sit in the chair next to him because I was being “hyper”. It’s not uncommon for me to be a bit spazy on Sunday mornings due to the fact that I’m always exhausted and hyper at the exact same uncomfortable moment. I usually wander the halls of the church before everything starts to both get out my energy and stay awake.

Ah, now I know what I’ll write about. Today’s topic will be on Phases. Right now, I have two very obvious slits in my left eyebrow. It looks pretty ghetto, I’m aware, but it’s my thing right now. I keep reassuring my parents that it’s a phase and it’ll be over soon.

I’ve gone through different phases in my life: Goth, girly, tomboy, athletic, etc. The one thing they all had in common was that they were phases

 

Phase: (Noun) a distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of something’s development.

 

The phase I’m in now, like all of the others, will pass. I’m nineteen years old now, and even though I’m rock solid in my faith and my convictions, I’m trying to figure out who I am and how to “Adult”. Hang in there people, it will be over soon.

There are plenty of things in my life that will probably never change. I will probably always have ADHD, always hate ladybugs, always enjoy chick fil a’s Polynesian sauce, etc. That’s one think I love so much about being a Christian. God’s love isn’t a phase. I can always count on it being there. I’m very sporadic and impulsive, but God isn’t. His love is something I can always count on.

My parents always make sure to remind me of that.

I might write more about this later, but right now, I have a Kit Kat that is calling me from across the room.


It’s Not About Me

The Makings of a Prima Donna:

I am the middle child, the only girl, and my love language is quality time; so you can bet that I get a lot of attention. I’m the only girl on my dad’s side of the family, and there’s one other girl on my mom’s side. I’ve never had to fight for attention.

On top of the attention I get at home, I’ve grown up on the stage. By the end of my senior year, I will have been in thirty-one stage productions. As a kid, I would sing for anyone and everyone. I have grown up in the spotlight.

This being said, my parents have had to figure out a way to let me thrive in the spotlight without becoming a diva. It’s a delicate thing to handle. If they lifted me up too much, I would get arrogant; but if they didn’t praise enough, I would think I wasn’t good enough. How does one handle this? I’ll tell you.

Who is the Real Star?

My family has never shied away from reminding me of my talents. They’ve always been very supportive. However, the never let me forget who the real star is. My parents would remind me by asking these questions:

  • Who gave you your talent?
  • Who should you perform for?
  • Who deserves the glory?
  • Who can take your talents away?
  • Who is the real star?

The answer to all of these questions is Jesus.

My parents have never once allowed me to take the credit for a performance. They have always gushed over all of my performances, but they never let me take the credit. This, I think, is the greatest service they have ever done for me.

On My Own, I’m Nothing:

I have never thought of myself as superior to anyone else. People shine their lights in different ways; mine just happens to be a very public way. I’m not any better than anyone else.

I’ve never once thought that I got to where I am by my own talents. I know that any success I have is solely by the Grace of God. I’ll work hard to try to succeed, but I know that I won’t get anywhere unless it’s His plan. I also know that any talents I have can be taken away. Talents aren’t a right; they’re a privilege. I constantly pray that I won’t forget the only reason why I perform, which is to glorify God. I pray that I don’t get caught up in my own ego, and that God gives me the patience and the self-control to be able to shine His light when I’m off the stage even more so than when I’m on it.

“Be Their Mallory”…

“Be their Mallory…” is a phrase I hear quite often. My mom says this to remind me that I have the opportunity to impact the lives of those who are younger than me by giving them my attention and loving on them.

To be someone’s Mallory- to look past popularity, influence, age, success, etc. to show a younger, less fortunate, or impressionable person the love of Christ by showing kindness, love, patience, and humility; paying attention to them, letting them feel loved and special, and disregarding your own comfort or feelings in order to make an impact on their life; seizing the opportunity to make someone else feel loved and cared about; using personal success, popularity, influence, age, etc. as a tool to build up someone else.

The phrase, “Be their Mallory” Or, “You are her/his Mallory” refers to the girl who impacted my life when I was a kid. Her name was Mallory. We did CYT Atlanta when I was in elementary school and she was in high school. We were in The Chronicles of Narnia, where she played the White Witch and I played a chorus member in her entourage, and Seussical the Musical, where she played The Sour Kangaroo and I was a Cadet Chorus member.

I was a weird kid, y’all. I was painfully awkward. I said weird things, I did weird things; if I met the me from back then, now, I wouldn’t like me at all. I was really, really weird. But I enjoyed every moment of every rehearsal. The older kids, for the most part, were very nice to me, despite my behavior. Some of the other girls who were always nice were Rachel Walls, Katie Pruitt, Megan Hoag, and another girl whose name I can’t remember. These girls were very nice. They were sweet, when they could’ve easily been awful to me. But Mallory is who I will always remember.

The others were all very sweet, but I knew that they were just trying to be nice. Mallory always looked genuinely happy to see me. I really felt like she liked me. In CYT we would have little bags that you could put notes or gifts into, and she would send me one or two little messages that said, “I love you, girly!” or “You’re doing great!” or something like that. I don’t remember her doing anything other giving me hugs, giving me attention, and sending those little messages. But that was more than enough to have the biggest impact anyone has ever had on my life, outside of my family. It was such a big deal to me that an eighteen year-old, popular, star like her would give a third-grader nobody like me. I was confident and had plenty of friends, but there was just something about being noticed by someone like her that made me feel special. I just remember how loved she made me feel.

Of course, the way she treated me made a huge impact on my life back then, but the real impact hit several years later when I became a teenager. I started to have an understanding of how the older kids felt when I was a kid. And then I realized how incredibly annoying I was back then. Not only was I weird and awkward, I was hyper, impulsive, and irritating. I was that kid. I was probably such a pain to be around, but that’s what makes it so amazing.

Not only did Mallory go out of her way to be kind and loving, she had the patience and compassion do so despite my behavior.  The problem with being nice to impressionable little kids, is that they follow you around… everywhere. They don’t have that social sensor that tells them when they need to leave a big kid alone. I remember following her around everywhere. I always wanted to be around her because she treated me so well. I adored her. And she never once lost patience with me. I never in a million years would’ve guessed that I was probably driving her crazy. She showed me the love of Christ rather or not she wanted to.

She didn’t have to treat me the way she did. She could’ve been mean, or just ignored me, but she didn’t. She chose use her popular, star-status to make girls like me feel like a million bucks. It never even occurred to me that she treated anyone else the way she treated me. She was probably just as nice to every other girl, but it felt like I was the only one who she paid attention to.

She graduated from high school when I was in fourth grade and I haven’t seen her since. I’ve looked for her on all of the social media sites, but I haven’t found her. She will probably never know how much she means to me, or the depth of the impact she made on my life.

When I realized the sacrifice she made in order to treat me with the love of Christ, I knew that it would be my goal and my privilege to do the same thing for as many people as I could. Because of Mallory, I know how much of an influence I can have on a kid’s life because of her influence in mine. I know how it made me feel, so I know it could make someone else feel.

Now, I am the age Mallory was when she touched my life. I look at these kids who are at the age I was and I see people who can grow up to carry on the cycle that started with Mallory. I do my best to make them feel loved, in hopes that one day they’ll do the same for the next generation. It can be very hard to be patient sometimes. Kids can be really annoying, and it’s worse when they won’t leave you alone. It can be very frustrating. But anytime I start to lose patience, I think of how many times Mallory was patient with me. If she could do it with me, I can do it with them.

I am so thankful that I have the understanding of what us teenagers can do. My goal throughout my high school/middle school experience has been to be someone’s “Mallory”; to make them feel as loved as I did.

Mallory’s influence is one of the main things that have kept my ego in check. I look at success and popularity as an opportunity to make a bigger impact, instead of it being a personal goal. I know that any popularity and success God allows me to have is a privilege; a tool that I can use to show Jesus to those around me by my actions and words. With it, comes the privilege and responsibility of using it to shine the Light of Christ and bring Him the glory. It has nothing to do with me.

Out of My Control:

You’d think that, as a performer, I wouldn’t like the idea that I’ll only perform as well as God allows me. I do all of the warm-ups and exercises I need to get ready to perform; but even if I do everything perfectly, if it’s in God’s plan that I fail, nothing I can do will stop that from happening.

I believe that everything that happens has a purpose. Every little thing is a piece of God’s puzzle. So it gives me great comfort to know that He is in control of everything. I do the prep work, but in the end it’s all up to God. If perform and I fail by my standards, I have peace in knowing that I did exactly as well as God intended. That goes along with one of the questions at the top: “Who should you perform for?” My audience could be a room with four people or an auditorium with hundreds; but, either way, I perform for an audience of one. And that one Person is the only one who matters. He is the one who gave me my abilities in the first place.

If I have to sing with a cold, I do my best despite the cold, but with peace in knowing that God has a plan, and His plan is perfect. So if that means I bring the house down, than God will make it happen. I will only do as well as God allows. He gives me the talent, and He will use it in any way that He sees fit.

 It’s  a Privilege, Not a Right:

My parents have done a great job with teaching me about humility. They love what I can do, but they make sure I remember that I am just a piece of God’s puzzle. Any time they have affirmed what I can do, they redirect the glory to God and remind me that He is the one who allows me to do what I can do. Regardless of who you are, your talents or special abilities aren’t a right, they’re a privilege- a very special privilege.

Unfortunately, we-as sinful creatures- forget that all of the glory belongs to Jesus Christ. A great example of this is my love for a vocalist named David Phelps. I love David Phelps. I border-line idolize him. It’s a problem, really. David Phelps is to me what Justin Bieber is to adolescent girls. If I go to a Gaither Vocal Band concert and listen to David Phelps sing He’s Alive, it is so easy to let the powerful lyrics that carry the world’s greatest message slip past me and focus all of my attention on the near perfection of David Phelps. That’s like getting a letter in the mail and putting all of the attention on the envelope. David Phelps is successful and freakishly talented, but he’s still just a piece of God’s puzzle.

Humility Smothers Jealously:

I’m very thankful that I’ve never really struggled with jealousy. Nothing is more toxic to a person than jealously. Jealousy has been the cause of many awful events throughout history such as Cain killing Abel, and Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. Jealousy can cause people to do terrible things.

In the performance world, jealousy is pretty much inevitable. If you’re not jealous, someone else is. Acting arrogant in front of someone who is jealous of you would be like spraying WD-40 on a lit match; it acts as an accelerant. However, humility smothers jealousy.

A great example of this is my relationship with a lady named Beverly Pruitt. Bev and I are both in the adult choir at First Redeemer Church. She is relatively new to the choir. I met Bev during a rehearsal for a praise team special. She was super sweet, so I liked her right off the bat. When it was time to start practicing for the Christmas Spectacular, I practiced and practiced and practiced this one song that I was going to audition for. Long story short, I bombed the audition… like badly. I didn’t get any solos, and Bev got the one I wanted so badly. Bev came out of nowhere. All of the sudden she started getting lots of solos, and quickly became a favorite. It probably would’ve hard for me to not feel a hint of jealousy, since I’d been in the chior for longer and then she popped in out of nowhere and became the favorite. In the performing world, someone like her, who becomes so successful basically overnight, can easily step on other peoples toes. But her attitude made it impossible for me (and everyone else) to feel anything other than joy for her success. She is beautiful and talented and popular, and everybody absolutely loves her. She is probably the most liked person in the whole choir. If you were to talk to Bev, you would feel like you were talking to your biggest fan. I’ve never met anyone like her. Everyone knows how talented and popular she is, but you’ll find no trace of an ego in her. She’s so sweet and down to earth that it’s impossible not to love her. When you leave a conversation with Bev, you feel better about yourself because she treats you like she’s honored to be talking to you. It’s crazy. Because of her genuine humility, everyone adores her. Everyone wants her to succeed. She shines the light of Christ everywhere she goes, and spreads the love of Jesus in everything she does. I’ve learned a lot from Bev. She is a perfect example of how important humility is.

“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” –Proverbs 29:23


Pop

Pop died a year ago today. I remember it like it was yesterday.52fd31e9ca16b48427b774c9

I keep a diary. For the past two years, I’ve documented every day of my life in a diary. I call them, “The Dear Mom Diaries” because instead of “Dear Diary” I write, “Dear Mom”. I started The Dear Mom Diaries as a way to communicate with my mom. I address each entry to my mom because each entry is meant to be a letter to her. The way it works is that my parents are allowed to read any of my diaries at any time for any reason. That’s why I write them. They can see how I’m feeling, what I’ve been up to, and things like that. Right now, I’m on diary #14 and in two years I have written 2,516 pages of diary entries. Because I keep a diary, and diligently write about each day, I have those seven, heart-breaking weeks carefully documented on 348 pages (two full diaries) it took from the day Pop was diagnosed to the day of his funeral. I read some of those pages today for the first time since I wrote them.

These are some of my diary entries from those seven weeks.

Entry 1: The Day I Found Out About Pop

Diary #2

Dear Mom,                                              Day 213              1:33am          Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please No…

…I woke up too early. 6:30am. Actually, I did a few things before getting ready for school… After school, Aaron and I drove to drama. He and I were talking about my artificial sugar fast tomorrow… Drama was fun. I got to tap dance some more. The class ends at 7:00pm. I left at 7:05pm because they were going over and I had to go straight to Beauty and the Beast Rehearsal… When I got home, I put on my PJ’s and went to your room. You were in your bed, with your computer in your lap. Something was off with you until you finally said, “Lacy, I had a really rough day.” I knew bad news was headed my way, but I never saw this coming. Tears filled your eyes as you whispered, “Lacy, Pop has cancer.” And you lost it. You and I both cried together. From what you said, it doesn’t look good.

“He has lived a good life, and has a family who adores him.” –You (mom)

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                            Ps. i love you

Lacy

                         

When you keep a diary and write about each day, two things become very important: The first page, and the last page. The first page a fresh start, the last page is like the season finale of a TV show. The last page is the most important. It’s always interesting to go back and compare the first page and the last page of my diaries and see what all has happened. Diary #2 is a 402 paged, leather-bound diary, with sheet music decorating the cover. I started it on July 17, 2013, and finished it on February 6, 2014. That diary tells the story of the best year of my life, so far. It took me 213 days to fill it up. Day 213 was the day I found out about Pop. That last entry set the tone for the rest of the year.

As I read my own words about a man who I’d been so close to and loved so much, I see how strong Pop really was. I never saw him cry or get angry. He wasn’t mad at God, and didn’t to the sweet bliss of denial, like I did. He was at peace. Pop’s attitude is what kept that tragedy from leaving wounds that time wouldn’t be able to heal.

Entry 2: Pop Cracking Jokes in the Hospital

Diary #3

    Dear Mom,                Day 26      1:21am    Tuesday     March 4, 2014

Hospital Visit

…I got glitter everywhere. Daddy left at 6:15am. You were at the hospital all day… Evan and I stopped by. I was only going to stay for about 15 minutes because I had to get to dance, but I had much rather stayed with Pop, so I did. Mr. Nash came by to bring Tutu dinner. He stayed on for a while; it was nice to talk to him. I sat right beside Pop pretty much the whole time. His pain level was at a 6, but he handled it well.

Tutu went home before us. The three nurses who were helping Pop, MJ, Danielle, and Mike were all so nice. You said that Pastor Mike and Pastor Jeff came to visit Pop. That’s really sweet.

While we were with Pop, we Skyped Connor. It was good to talk to him. He comes home Friday. Pop was funny tonight. Much of it was due to the heavy pain medication. Either way, he was funny. Tutu was funny too. We got the “bed” ready for Uncle Mike. He is staying with Pop tonight.

[Talking about the button that gives him more pain meds]

“It’s my own meth lab!” -Pop

“It’s remote cocaine!” –Pop

“Let’s go out on Georgia 400 and take a left!” –Pop

“I’m just looking for something to fix around here.” –Pop

“I got my bed, I got my hotel bathroom, I got my meth lab; I’m all set!” –Pop

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

 

Pop and Tutu lived with us for the four best years of my life. Even when they moved into their own house, they were still only ten minutes away. I am so thankful that my family has been able to have such a close relationship with my grandparents.

Entry 3: Early Easter

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                                                     Day 1     8:50pm          Sunday,                       March 23, 2014

Easter Lunch

I’m at the train station with the family. We are waiting to see Connor off. The train is thirty minutes late. Connor is working on pulling the seven hundred bobby pins out of my hair…

…We had Easter lunch with Tutu, Pop, and the Dyes. It was yummy. It was sad because we were having Easter lunch early to make sure Pop would be there. I don’t think Pop is going to make it to Easter. We all gathered around Pop’s hospital bed and Tutu volunteered to say the blessing. She got one sentence into the prayer and then broke down. But Pop stayed strong. Daddy ended up saying the prayer.

“I’m an adult…” -Connor

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

I’m so grateful for every moment I got to spend with Pop.

Entry 4: The Last Time I Saw Pop

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                         Day 6        5:01pm      Friday,          March 28, 2014

This Hurts

Daddy and I are on the way home from rehearsal. We just passed Montclair. That’s the neighborhood where Pop and Tutu used to live. I didn’t bother me until I saw that stretch of road on which Pop would drive the Gator. Memories of driving and riding the Gator with Pop flooded my mind. It’s hard not to cry. I have so many memories with Pop. I treasure all of them, but it hurts to think about them right now.

12:54am

Right after I stopped writing, we went by Pop and Tutu’s new house. Pop doesn’t look like Pop anymore. He was hallucinating. His words because slurred and he knew it. I saw him, I held his hand, and he used what little strength he had to kiss my hand.

I trust that God has a plan. He could still heal Pop. There’s still some hope; not much, but a little. I’m going to hold on to that little piece of hope for as long as I can.

“I love you.” –Pop

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

That was the last time I saw Pop before he died. It was a happy visit. No tears. Pop was smiling.

Entry 5: Pop is Healed

(Diary #4)

Dear Mom,                    Day 9            Wednesday, April 1, 2014

Finally Home

Pop passed away at about 6:00am. Daddy said that you, Tutu, and Uncle Mike were up all night with him. It doesn’t feel real. None of this feels real. It feels like a bad dream… I saw it coming. Daddy gets this face and tone of voice when he is about to tell us bad news. He told us about Pop, and I zoned out after that. I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel anything. I was focused on getting my socks out of the laundry room.

I went upstairs and sat in front of my mirror. Calen asked me if her outfit was ok. I said yes. It took me a minute before I could tell her. She handled it just like I needed her to. She asked if I was ok, and then asked me what she could do to make today easier. Today is going to be hard. Uninformed adults are going to be asking me how Pop is doing today. The two pages I accidentally skipped a few days ago were just enough for me to write. Leave it to Pop to pass away on April Fools Day.

 

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always; forever and ever your baby I’ll be.

Love,                                                                                               Ps. i love you    

  Lacy

 

When I was younger, our whole family would go to the beach. Pop would wake me up early in the morning to go walk on the beach. I got to have that quality time with Pop, and I loved every minute of it. In 2007 Tutu and Pop took me on a trip to Savannah, GA. Every morning, Pop would wake me up and we would walk down River Street. He would let me pick out candy at the candy stores no matter how early it was. We would walk around for as long as I wanted. I always had so much fun. Pop and my dad have been the only ones who could wake me up early to do something I didn’t have to do. Pop also had this off road thing called the Gator that he would drive around when he worked on his yard. My brothers and I always loved driving it. Pop would take us, one at a time, to drive the Gator around the neighborhood. I was very young when I started driving the Gator. Pop told me that I would aim for all of the low hanging branches so that they’d hit him. When Pop and Tutu lived with us, Pop loved to work in our yard. He made many trips to Lowe’s Hardware store, and I usually went 531d3c6ea689b46173a22371with him. He was always so much fun to be around.

Now that a year has passed, time has begun to heal the wounds. I can think about the memories I have of Pop and smile. I have one of his sweatshirts under my bed folded in a Ziploc bag so that whenever I open it, it still smells like him. I look back at these diary pages and remember the hardest time in my family’s life. But all of the pain we’ve experienced is the price of loving someone as deeply as we loved Pop. 

Pop was such a great grandfather. He was so devoted to us. He was a fantastic husband to Tutu. They were always so adorable to watch together. They were like their own little sitcom. Pop was also a great father. My mom told me so many stories about him. Pop was on the Disaster Relief team and loved it. The men who were with him on those missions wore their yellow Disaster Relief jackets to Pops funeral, and escorted his casket to the hearse. That was my favorite part of the service. There were over 500 people at Pop’s service. He touched so many lives in so many ways. We all miss him so much, but at least we know that we’ll be reunited again one day in heaven.

I started working on lyrics for a song whenever it would hit me too hard. I finished it the day Pop died. I’ve never really shown it to anyone, until now. This is the song I wrote for Pop.

Pop’s Song

 

(Verse 1)

I’m fighting tears;

I’m being Brave;

I’m holding on;

I’m having faith.

I cling to hope,

But still I pray

That this will all

Just go away.

 

(verse 2)

Please can it be

That I’m asleep?

Say nothing’s wrong,

It’s just a dream.

So when I wake,

To my relief,

I’ll see that all’s

As it should be.

 

(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go

 

(Verse 3)

It’s getting hard.

You’re getting worse.

And though you smile,

I know it hurts.

You’re Faith in God;

It keeps us strong,

As we’re all trying

To hold on

 

(Chorus 1)

But I know

You’re in God’s hands

Why should I fear?

He has a plan.

If in the end

He calls you home,

I know I’ll see you when I go

(Verse 4)

Our prayers were heard,

Cause now you’re healed.

No suffering now,

Or pain you feel.

Cause now you’re home,

And home you’ll be,

With Christ for all

Eternity.

 

(Verse 5)

Don’t worry ‘bout

Your lovely bride.

I promise you,

She’ll be alright.

You will be missed;

We all will cry.

But we all know,

It not goodbye.

 

(Chorus 2)

Cause I know

You’re in God’s hands.

And though it hurts,

He has a plan.

And one day when

He calls me home,

I’ll ask him why you had to go

 

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