As I always tell people, I’m a transparent person. This isn’t always appreciated by people, however, and it’s taken me a long time to realize it’s better to share how I feel and what I’m struggling with rather than stuffing them deep down and pretending I’m fine when I’m not. Now that I’m honest and open, people have come to me, thanking me and sharing with me that they are struggling as well but they don’t feel like they can address what they’re going through with the people in their lives.

SO! Be forewarned, this will be a transparent post.

I was doing dishes the other night…yes, I know how to do dishes, I hide them in the oven just like my mom taught me when I was 5 and my grandparents were coming by and she didn’t have enough time to wash them. :o)

ANYWAY…(ADD rears its ugly head)…I was thinking about the changes that have occurred in our lives over the past year and a half. Changes that we didn’t want. Changes we would have BEGGED to be removed from us.  Sadly, these were changes that we had to face.

We lost Jeff’s dad to cancer. David was a wonderful man; kind, thoughtful, always there when you called for him…even if it was at 3 am, in the winter, and you had a flat tire and you didn’t want to call your husband to get the kids out of bed…David was ALWAYS here for us. Without fail.  I can’t think of a single time he said no to anything I asked of him.

So we had that change. Then our daughter decided she didn’t want to be in our home anymore. She didn’t want our rules. She wanted to do as she pleased and she didn’t want any consequences to her actions. So she left. Not in the best of ways. Some of you may know the devastation an event like this causes a parent.

I don’t do well with change. ANY type of change.  I NEVER have. Why?  I think it started when my grandparents sold their home to my mom and dad and moved to Florida. I was devastated and I don’t think I ever got over that completely. I loved my Papaw something fierce and he felt the same about me. My mom said I had him wrapped around my pinky. I did, but I only used that power to have him push me on my tricycle when I didn’t feel like pedaling. TRUE STORY!  Well…there may have been another time…I did ask him to get me grapes when I was sick once. I wouldn’t eat when I’d get sick and it always upset him. He’d actually cry because he wanted me to eat so bad. It had something to do with I didn’t eat enough as a baby or something like that. So he’d beg me to eat and he’d name things that were in the fridge or he’d tell me to just name something that sounded good and he’d go get it if they didn’t have it. I tested it once and only once, and he did it. He went and got me grapes. I ate them. I hadn’t connected the dots but I was telling that story to Whit and she said, “OH!!! THAT’S why you do that!” I stared at her blankly. She said, ” Mama, when we’re sick and we won’t eat, you do the same thing to us. If we don’t have it, you go out and get it. Your Papaw taught you that!” The funny thing? Although they moved to Florida, he made sure to never miss a big event in my life. When I made it to summer state finals in swimming, he and Mamaw came so they could come to the event at the Nat. He picked me up for practice, every morning, for 2 weeks and then sat in the bleachers for 2 hours and watched me swim. After every practice, I told him he didn’t need to stay but he’d give the same answer every time, “Mandi, I love to watch you.” And watch me he did.  He never brought a newspaper, never left the bleachers, he just watched me. Every time I stopped for the next set, I’d look up and his eyes were on me. When I got the scholarship to Germany, he made sure he and Mamaw were there to see me off. He slipped me a $50 and said, “Don’t tell Mamaw Sweetpea.” and then Mamaw slipped me a $50 and said, “Don’t tell Papaw.” He and Mamaw even drove to Orlando when they found out I was going to be there with a friend of mine visiting Walt Disney World to surprise me and just so we could spend a few hours together. They waited at the hotel but they decided to head back before it got too dark but they slipped a note under the door to our hotel room.

He passed away when I was a month away from turning 20. It felt like my soul was being ripped in two. I’ve described him as my umbrella in the storm and I can’t talk or write about him without crying. (don’t worry, they’re tears of happy memories and just wishing I could have had more time) He was a gentle soul who loved his family and he only raised his voice to me once. Why? A boy, who was a lot older than me, was talking to me and Papaw hollered at me to get my butt up to the house. Then I was told I wasn’t supposed to talk to boys.  If he had his way, I’d never talk to boys, EVER!! :o)  He and my husband are so very similar. Both are very patient, very rarely raise their voices, and love deeply.

Then, in 2006, my mom and dad sold the home my grandparents built and I was devastated. It was the only stable home environment I’d had for my entire life. It was like watching a piece of me being taken away…being amputated.  I always thought that, well, I may not have him physically, but I can always walk into my childhood home, close my eyes, and see him, see the laughter I had with him and I wasn’t going to be able to do that anymore. Strangers were going to be living in a home that I’d loved for 31 years.


As I was doing those dishes, I started thinking about that and I thought, WHY does it HAVE to be awful??

So, I felt God nudging me to look at change from a different perspective.  Maybe, when we don’t like change, we don’t like it because we focus on the NEGATIVE impact it has on us instead of realizing the POSITIVE impact it has on others.

My Wonderful Father-in-Law, David, went home to Jesus and the cancer isn’t hurting him any longer. POSITIVE: He’s healed!  I KNOW that FAR outweighs the negative impact it’s had on me. I’ll never stop missing him, but I KNOW where he is and I KNOW I’ll see him again soon.

My Papaw and Mamaw moved to Florida so they could retire and not feel the cold in their joints anymore. (now that I have arthritis issues, I get it!)  He also wanted a place to enjoy his retirement. He got to play golf every day if he wanted. He even made a hole in one and called me to tell me about it.  I understood only ONE thing about golf which was; when you use Papaw’s golf clubs, tees, and golf balls, you have to pick up ALL the golf balls and put EVERYTHING back where you found it. So when he told me that, I said, “Papaw isn’t that the point? You’re SUPPOSED to get a hole in one EVERY time!” He just laughed and laughed at that one. He explained that wasn’t the case and that they were calling him, “Earl the Pearl” at the clubhouse. POSITIVE: They ENJOYED their retirement! They loved the weather, the amenities of the community they moved to and they were happy! I missed him like crazy but he made sure to be here for all the big things in my life.

When Papaw passed away from cancer, the POSITIVE was that he was no longer hurting. I don’t know about his faith but I have to believe that a man like he was, he HAD to have had the Spirit of The Lord in him. I truly believe I’ll see him again.

My mom and dad selling the home. I HATED it! I cried for weeks. I went and helped them get it ready to sell but then I’d go home and cry. But when I was doing my dishes I thought the POSITIVE was that my mom probably felt like she finally had her “own” home.  I can understand that and I am so happy that my mom has that. She deserves that. She’s an amazing woman who’s done amazing things and she’s never asked for much for herself.  This is a POSITIVE!

I’m still trying to figure out the positive with the other situation in our lives but I know, when it’s the Lord’s timing, it will be revealed. Until then, I’m going to try and remember to look at change from the aspect of what POSITIVE effect will it have on someone else’s life even though it may appear to have a negative effect on mine.

However, the biggest changes in any Christian’s walk with Jesus are when God removes things in our lives, in our hearts, that don’t reflect who He is. He must remove this junk because, in order for HIM to INCREASE, we must decrease. In fact, God’s Word tells us this.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

We must change.  For me, it always comes back to one thing; I need to have a progressive spirit.  A spirit that desires God. A spirit that desires Jesus to shine through me. A spirit that seeks the things of God and not the things of the world.

Do you feel that way? Do you think about change? If not, let me encourage you to think about it. Pray about it. Desire it.  Then, when others see the difference in you, share WHY you’re different and, most importantly, WHO changed y0u. Share WHO removed your negatives and replaced them with positives. Share WHO helped you change your viewpoint.

Just be ready. When you allow God in, REALLY let Him in to work inside you, the changes won’t be easy. They’ll probably even hurt. You might lose loved ones because of your faith but please, stay the course. Following in Jesus’ path should be our focus. There’s an old hymn that I love and the chorus says,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,                                                       Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.




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