This past Sunday was Father’s Day and for those of us still fortunate enough to have our dads, it was a day of good food, funny gifts, and just good times. However life goes on, and in the midst of marketing our book and living our busy lives, the “Voices” have had several reasons to celebrate lately and we are so thankful! Let me share my (Sue’s) blessings first:
Richard and I experienced a busy week of VBS – “Submerged” – at our church and saw many children learn about Jesus’ love for them. The Bible stories, songs, and crafts were wonderful, as was their mission-giving, which topped $1,500 for our Preschool Scholarship fund. I, the director, had to submit to a pie in the face as a reward for their generosity . . . but it was well worth it!
Then, our son married his beautiful fiancé last week and we became instant grandparents! Now we are vacationing at the beach, recharging for my next book appearance in Wytheville, VA, at the Chautauqua Bazaar, June 24-25. Life is good as my heavenly Father has shown His love in many ways recently. He is always with me, in good times and bad. It’s easy to understand His closeness in the good times, but we have to hold onto the reality that when we hurt, grieve, or simply don’t understand during the hard times, He is just as close.
Sue – Voice II
When it comes to celebrating the blessings in our lives, I think about how there is still so much to be grateful for even in the midst of worldwide pain, agony, and degradation. Life itself can be the greatest form of a paradox to me. Right in the thick of brutal murders, natural death, and disasters, there is also a simultaneous steady flow of celebrations such as births, graduations, and marriage.
Thus, my mind ponders on, “How do we look beyond our pain in order to enjoy and appreciate the happy moments that life brings to us on a daily basis whether they belong directly to us or not?” That is why Sue and I wanted to use our voices on this particular blog to offer God another public “shout-out” for all He continues to do with us and through us.
Monday was my mother-in-law’s 88th birthday. Over the weekend, our family had the opportunity to surround her with good food, lots of laughter, praise, and fun. I reflected on how “our” mother is still so full of glee, and the sheer glow of life still reveals itself as she ages. I couldn’t help but also reflect on how so many others didn’t make it to see such a milestone including the many youth that I have had to witness being buried at such a tender age (One God, Two Voices – Ch.VI; p.80). Even after such a thought, I still had to lift up my hands in praise each time I looked at the circle of love encompassing my mother-in- law.
The previous weekend was also full of love, laughter, and fun as we watched our niece exchange her wedding vows at the beautiful Butler Chapel located on the campus of Campbell University in Dunn, NC. The atmosphere was full of God’s glory, peace, and joy as we all recalled how His presence was felt during this sacred ceremony that God has defined and ordained from the beginning of time between one man and one woman. Amen! Afterwards, taking pictures, eating dinner, and dancing at the reception were also enjoyed by many there, including my husband who had the honor of dancing with the bride after giving her away at the ceremony. I was also privileged to light the candle representing the Hester’s side which symbolically joins the bride and groom together as one united family.
One of the greatest moments I experienced was when I watched my husband during the “father-daughter dance.” He first danced with our niece and then he danced with our own daughter. I felt lots of warm tears rolling down both cheeks on my face, but I felt so much joy and peace. How beautiful our niece looked as she rested her head on her uncle – a picture of peace and security. I also felt a sense of serenity and confidence believing that I would also live to see the day when our own daughter would be able to favor her dad in a similar way at her own wedding.
What a time we had during both occasions! Whether it was laughter over how good the wedding and birthday cakes tasted, the smiling faces of our children and grandchildren jumping up and down on the trampoline while we talked between bites of hotdogs, baked beans, and grilled meats during the birthday cook-out, or tears of joy during the wedding ceremony, it all reflected God’s powerful unfailing love.
Just knowing and acknowledging that God is always there with us makes all the difference in every situation whether it is happy or sad.
We cannot forget that in both the good times and bad, God is on the throne and He still reigns.
Deidre- Voice I
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