Ever since the passing of my mother over a week ago, I have been trying to focus on what are the most important things which might occupy the bucket list for my father who is seeing the world different without his life companion. Naturally, when you think of the movie THE BUCKET LIST we can all remember Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman joining forces to travel the globe, see the world, experience life and throw "caution to the wind" on values and more. There were both good and bad lessons from this movie.
Even the mention of the "bucket list" almost gives everyone a "pass" to do something they have never done, to allow themselves to even "sin" if they want to, with no ramifications. After all, He does forgive all right? Yes, but this kind of spirit and attitude is so very dangerous. When I saw the movie about someone's last moments here on earth, I didn't focus on the wishes of the two main characters but got more lost in my own world, my own desires and even dreams.
So it was pretty easy for me to ask Dad, "Hey what are your dreams for your future and what would you really love to do above all else? Now that your life is a new normal, lets talk about travel, world impact and more?" My father listened intently about all of the things he was dreaming, had dreamed and wanted to share with me, his only son. His response was not what I expected.
Dad said, "Ok I know what I want to do first, are you ready?" My father had a sheepish grin on his face, but I knew he was going to say something big and I wanted to try and make it happen. How could I do this? Needless to say I was somewhat nervous. Sure I knew it might cost us, but it might even be worth it to see my father smile again. If I had to go to the bank, I even considered taking out a small loan based on the size of the dream.
Let me give you my personal bucket list son, he said.
I would like to go to the public golf course here in Oklahoma City, Hefner Golf Club and have breakfast with just you and me. Its something I've always wanted to do.
Can you let that sink in for just a moment...
My father didn't mention some international destination, meeting a celebrity or even seeing one of the great wonders of the world, but a simple meal at a public golf place I attended as a child. Why would he have this on his list and what was so special about breakfast, normally the most inexpensive meal of the day?
Do you have any other ideas Dad? I asked somewhat confused.
"I sure do son as I have been thinking about this and they all get bigger...."
I would like to go about an hour from here to Byars Oklahoma again with you, just like we did last year to visit the McAfee graves, see where my mother's family was, the Griffin family and then hang out around my birthplace and find some cousins to have barbecue. Byars is located in South Central Oklahoma and is a town of less than five hundred. There are more cows than people there.
Dad then told me his really big idea. Then I would like to drive to Wisconsin and see my cousin Glen, because I haven't seen him and we grew up together. Wouldn't it be great to be with him again?
Plus, I have dreams of going to lunch with my friends, being with the Wright Brothers and going fishing, going to go feed the animals, being with small children and even taking Michael and Lauren to the airport when they travel, just like I do with you! Doesn't that sound great? He could not have been more purposeful and sincere.
Treasures which my father had been "laying up" were all about being with our family, spending time with my sons for meals, talking to relatives, close friends he missed and going to places where his heart would be found. Everything I had imagined thinking about my Dad's bucket list was a reverent, sacred and holy connecting point of personal love.
Tears rolled down my face as he talked about it because we reflected on how much we would have loved to have had mother come with us.
He wanted to hear our girls sing in the backyard in Franklin, Tennessee. He wanted to be with our family. Never in my life have I been more proud to be a son of this great man. He reminded me why living in a kleenex box of a house with people you love is more important than any home on earth. It didn't matter some exotic destination, fancy car or anything else people see as treasures, there was something out there...greater.
His bucket list was to talk to his grandchildren about the Lord and share with them about the "world's greatest preacher" Reverend Jack Thompson. He wants to spend time with all of them.
He reminded me that every person on the planet should have one preacher who is the "Worlds greatest preacher" to them. Deep within me, my heart smiled and I remembered why pastors mean so much to my life, it was because of my father's legacy, respect and admiration for men and women who share God's love with others.
Guess what....my bucket list changed today.
Being with my Dad allowed me to see things differently. God is the same way, when you spend time with Him, you become a better person.
Truly, I became a better man after the pancakes Dad and I shared this morning and the greasy sausage. As we sat at the table, I saw an old and dear friend walk by, Herb Bradshaw who came over and he talked about spending time with his grandchild and how special it was. He was sharing another childhood dream. We talked about church and the memories we had at Council Road and what sweet moments we all shared together. Priceless moments!
Real treasures are with people we love. Even this morning I had prayed for an unspoken prayer request of someone I love in our family and God was gracious in answering this prayer. Moments like these reminded me of all the treasures in life, including Dad's bucket list. I don't know what you have listed for your dreams and it certainly isn't bad to dream of something great, wonderful and even magnificent. However, the best dreams and best times can happen when you have breakfast with someone you love.
God is waiting to talk to you, when you invest in Him you will be a better person, you will see your destination differently and you will walk with Him more closely.
I love you,
Driving from Atlanta to Macon Georgia this morning Head Coach Bob Hoffman of the Mercer Bears and I were talking about life, about basketball, about mourning, music, communication and a variety of things. It had been a long week, one of the worst of my life. In fact on a one to ten with ten being best, I had been at a one. Yesterday morning, I shared with the Division I basketball team, my real pain from the previous week and I thanked them for their prayers. Overall my communication was not good, in fact it was abysmal.
However, today seemed just different as we drove along, the cherry blossoms were out full blossom in white, we listened to some Chicago and other soft rock easy listening bands on the way to practice and it was finally a sunny pretty day outside instead of the gloomy rain I had grown so accustomed to seeing. The white blossoms were glistening and we talked about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree and also why would Macon have a cherry blossom festival and it turns out, there are more cherry blossoms in Georgia. Nature was talking to me quite loudly and then, I remembered something Coach had taught me about "talking", so I asked him a question.
"Bob, why is communication so important to you on the basketball court and what coach taught you about this?" He said he had played by "talking on the court" and it was something that was just a part of who he was. I remembered his assistant coach from Brooklyn New York, Spencer saying, "I haven't heard a word out of you guys today at practice, it was like having a meal where nobody talks at all, why aren't you talking?" The coaches really push people to talk, why?
Many people in life close themselves off when crisis happens, they want to put on the headphones, text message or email, but they stop talking to others. Why? As a culture we are removing the language of communication from life and this is very dangerous in every part of our lives. Even during team meals, the coach doesn't take away their phones, but his rules are simple, "When you eat together, you don't go to your phones at all, you talk to your team mates.". Bob wants them to talk on the floor and off the floor. Wish I had learned this lesson with my family. I'm so very guilty of getting to inundated with the computer on my hip, my cell phone.
Our team talks a lot about the visual language of film, about communication and while we focus on making sure the text and the sub text are correct, there are many more elements worth considering. Whatever medium we use to communicate, no matter how digital and interpersonal it is, can be a weapon of bad just like good. However, nothing beats face to face communication.
Communication is not just something to talk about, its even more essential to success. We are to communicate with each other, with God, with ourselves and at times listen, but not always. There is a tendency to be quiet, put up walls, not clear our heads, not think in ways we should when we clear our minds so we can "hear" even the most inner of voices.
You don't have to talk, you can just keep it to yourself. Talking really can't help that much anyway, so just be silent and don't tell anyone you have a problem. Its probably best to just keep things a secret. In fact, let's just don't communicate and not hurt anyone so its best to just be quiet, it will be better in the long run, right? WRONG!!!
These are lies of the enemy designed to make each of us feel a false sense of security. These rules of life engagements are nothing but scrap metal that has no usage except to take up space and there is no Dolorian flying car like in BACK TO THE FUTURE that will feed scrap metal and help you fly. Nope, its the opposite, the silence is deafening.
When you blog, people give you their opinions often and some may even say... Try not to write so much and you don't have to talk so long. I am not sure its that easy to know how much is too much. The line is just too gray. You should write what is on your heart, you should share what God places in your mind in my opinion, but the length is always a question. If there is a reason for sharing, its not because of who you are, its because of who HE is inside of each one of us and what is He wanting to say. Have you ever thought about taking your experiences and writing them down? I had not at all, until people around and close to me said, "You should do this, you should write down your feelings".
Earlier this week, Papa Joe Dean had a great talk with me about why we communicate and thinking out loud on a paper. I shared with him how my speech teachers in middle school and high school Barbara Berard and Kerry Robertson and Charlotte Meredith had taught me so much about public critique, being tough and learning as a young man. It was easy to see the importance of publicly being criticized when you are in acting/directing so you can hone your craft and refine your art. Yes, its a little embarrassing at times too. I got used to this and saw that even when you are pushed harder in a public forum, it just makes you better in the long run.
Is it painful? Yes, its so much easier to not open up, but in the long run sharing can be freedom and being open with your life can help you change, move others to thinking new ways and stretch you. My father in law helped me see things new again when we spoke.
As I write this while sitting at half court in Hawkins Arena during the Bears practice, I realize athletes have the same conditioning and public forum issues as acting majors. If you are an athlete, you are constantly being critiqued for your performance. You can either get mad, or get better based on what others say, or ignore them. The facts are simple. What you do is public and everyone has the chance to give you advice being an arm chair quarterback with your life. We learn to be open with our thoughts, but it doesn't always come natural.
So the Bears take the court again, but many of these athletes are not used to talking much in life on and off the court, and they can symbolically for our discussion represent the children of Israel. They were not used to talking either, only complaining. There were many quarterbacks, many who disagreed, many who had ideas of how the strategy should be played out, but then, there was also Moses, a flawed man who was trying to do the will of God. Not the Moses of the recent movie Exodus Gods and Kings.
These men were running hard in front of me, pushing and doing everything the coach said, unlike the children of Israel. They are awesome athletes, High School All Americans, they have pride, they are also men with private thoughts so when a Coach yells at them to talk, whether they are on the bench or not, its a serious situation, in fact, its life. Jordan Strawberry, Darryl Strawberry's son was on the stationary bike riding, but as he rode the practice ensued and he was just watching. To the coach, this was not good enough so he was corrected to say something. He was being pushed by a coach who cared "EVERYONE" was involved and in the game.
In our drive to Macon, I was under conviction hearing Coach share in our "small talk". I had not been communicating at all to so many people, for so many reasons last week during the loss of my mother. I had shut out the world. Oh sure I had rational reasons for all my decisions, but the problem is that it was not "holy decisions" but "me-oriented" bias which plagued my heart. In fact, I had failed in how I handled my Mother's passing on so many levels and was inundated with painful thoughts which prohibited me from being everything I needed to be for Him and especially to others. It was so much easier to lock up emotionally and maybe even spiritually, sit on my own stationary bike and watch the game from the sidelines. What was I thinking? I was way worse than Jordan had been at practice.
I am not sure where you are in life. Are you on the sidelines or maybe on a stationary bike going nowhere and just watching the game as it goes by? Are you complaining about your life and building up walls to not talk? Are you thinking about ways you can keep secrets and are you undermining your own ability to grow spiritually by NOT communicating? Stop it. Don't go there.
Get involved in your local church, talk to God, get in a small group, start helping a ministry, give of your time to people to who are in pain. Don't make your life all about you, stop to consider others. Stop focusing just on yourself and remember, riding a stationary bike and not communicating doesn't get you very far, so don't be a whiner like the children of Israel were. Life is short, way too short to blow it and we only have one chance. When you go through the crisis, don't throw in the towel, don't stop talking, in fact, talk more.
Change your stars, change your future and start talking. Don't believe in the lie of Henry David Thoreau and isolate yourself because every moment counts, every one. God is waiting to talk to you so when is the last time you all had an appointment? Reading the 40 DAYS OF LENT has been good for me with You Version for my Bible App because it continues to remind me God is waiting to speak....
Thank you Mercer Bears for the life lessons and Coach Hoffman, thank YOU for loving people enough to push them and make them better. Its unique because this Monday night only forty teams are still left playing in the NCAA Division I and as you play in the CBI tournament in your second post-season game you will be reminding us to talk to each other, both on and off the court. Thank you for your prayers and know I love you men, I love a team whose focus is on sharing with one another, during the hard times and the good times.
I love you all very much,
Can you believe how much power there is in holding hands...in personal touch? I'm truly amazed at how touching people can change everything in your life and sometimes even in their lives. Many of you are going through horrible and dramatic times in your life as this is being written. You have lost someone close, you have a fear which is gripping your heart, a job is now gone and you are sick without anyone knowing. Some of you have family members or friends in crisis and you are wondering what can you do and I believe the answer is....touch them.
I truly believe touching takes the God power inside which we possess by knowing Christ and it can be transferred through touching someone else physically. This does not mean touching by "touching base" in a text or email. This is not about touching someone by an emotional phone call or some digital transfer, this is about the true power of touch through your hands. The power of holding hands can be an incredible experience under the right circumstances in the right motive. Why is this so important? I don't know the answer, but I want to focus on this subject for a moment to illuminate a truth.
Thank you first for allowing me to share a personal testimony for a bit revealing the power of just hands. When in the middle of our family's crisis, being found to be handicapped unable to walk without stumbling from the strokes which had been suffered, two awesome people of prayer came to our home touched my neck, brain and my hands with a healing power I will never forget. Through this physical exchange, prayers and the Word of God, true and lasting healing was experienced in my life. A personal testimony of God's goodness came because of a transfer of a physical touch combined with God's perfect timing. What if they had not come, held my hands and believed? I would still be in a chair.
This does not mean when you touch someone there is immediate healing in your life or anything physical will change, but it does mean change WILL take place. God is on His throne and no matter what you are facing, I believe when you touch someone God has a plan in this. The danger is not believing in the power of touch and not acting in faith so you remain in a compromised condition. Wouldn't it be worth it, to just try, to believe and walk in faith? I think so.
Jesus knew the power of touch and so many times was called in His ministry to use the power of touch to raise the dead, heal the sick, transform the leper's body and more. He knew even when a woman reached out to Him when he was walking in a crowd by saying, "WHO TOUCHED ME?" Yet it was his garment and the belief of a woman whose faith completely healed her. Touch can happen coming from different people at different times.
When my mother lived the last day of her life a few days ago on March 12, 2015 I arrived at the Hospice Hospital at around 6 am after a call from my Dad about 5:15 am. He knew I was an early riser and so we connected. Having the early morning shift always gave others a chance to go home and sleep, plus the private time with Mother was special for me because there would be no visitors. This day was different because it was now regulated to visitation for immediate family only. Upon arriving and helping Dad get to the car, I just wanted to hold my mother's hand so nestling next to her bed, reaching to feel the warmth of her hand in my hand gave me comfort. Six hours later my "shift" was up and how thankful it was to have felt her hand in mine for this time. She had been in the same state for six days. I was so thankful my sister, both of my sons and Terri had gone up to be with my father for the next shift.
Did you know Michael found IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL and played it on the IPAD and they saw a glisten of a tear in her eye as she breathed her last breath. What a beautiful way to transfer to a heavenly home, having a gathering of a few loved ones close by. Pastors, dear friends and relatives were so very near in the coming minutes to pray, to consider the life which had been lived so well by this saint. Through everything, our mother had went to be with Him and this morning would be one of the most powerful mornings of my existence.
What I remember most, was the feeling of her hands. Even in the last hours, the warmth, the transfer of power, the gentleness and the goodness of our mother's hand are forever embedded into fond memories. Memories which will last forever until the day comes when face to face, hand in hand we will all walk again in a new way, through a new path, in a new place we have been promised together as a family.
Christ used His hands to build things because he grew up as a carpenter. He made things, created things, was a helper, prepared food, worked with his mother in their home and later used the same hands to share His power with the world. He gave his hands to his brothers, He extended hands to the fishermen, He shared hands with the disciples He recruited and then finally He willingly opened His hands for the nails to be driven in so others would be able to follow Him, in a sacrifice so unimaginable only God could have orchestrated this phonemail bridge of hope.
Even when Thomas did not believe He was risen, He used hands reached out to say, "Feel them Thomas and know it was all true and I am alive.". Think about the power of His hands...even in yours right now.
He reminds us that He is standing here, using His hands to knock on our heart's doorway and wants an invitation to come in to our lives. He welcomes us openly with hands of love to guide us to His heavenly home. His hands are the only thing which in Heaven are imperfect, because they bear the mark of the very presence of what would be sin, which is now blotted out in His perfect world. The sin is gone in Heaven and only beauty exists and these same hands welcomed my Mom's home-going just three days ago can bring hope to darkness. Our mark may represent the holes in His hands, but they are met with joy.
There is power in holding hands. Hold hands with those you love, this in need and are hurting. Reach out to those in despair with your hands and stop thinking about yourself, but others with your lives. Its so each to make every decision based on what you want, what you believe you need and why you are so important. Its easy to think of ourselves too highly and feel we are owed something "inside of our hands". Join me in focusing on His hands and use yours to transfer His power to others.
When we were little, our hands were built to "take" as they reached out wanting...asking...receiving. God knew these hands would need to be surrendered, they would need to give instead of take and they held power in them to heal, to do things with His hands which could change the world. This power always came from Him, we just forget He gave this to us so because we get distracted or busy. Let His hands change your hands today. No matter what kind of pain you are in, (I am in a lot of pain from our family's loss), I can tell you that His hands are reaching out, hands of grace, of power and love.
May the Lord touch your life with love so powerfully, you will FEEL the strength of His hope. The nail scarred hands won't ever have to feel that kind of pain again, because the battle is won and there is victory, even when you don't see it in front of you. Give yourself a coupon if you are hurting to feel the pain and remember, His hands know every single pain you know and more and He loves you so much, He gave Himself for you.
Holding Your Hand Now
As a child, I used to love to watch the television series Columbo because at the end of almost every episode, the private investigator would say he had just one last or final question left to ask. This was a huge turning point which would always be the cliffhanger of the case. After the last question, the entire case would somehow be solved. It was always the most important question to, because it would unlock a whole lot of issues solving the puzzle. When you think about life, there is a puzzle which demands a final question and a final answer. So here it is...for us.
What will you do with Jesus and would you believe in Him?
The final question climaxes an entire lifetime of experiences and embodies the most important question I ever discussed with my Mother just last week before her strokes. Today, she is in the Hospice Hospital in Oklahoma City in her final hours and she somehow knew this was sooner than later. She wanted to make sure the final question was asked to her family and to her friends who meant the very most to her.
With tears in her eyes she implored me passionately when she said, "Kevin be sure and ask my family, the children, the grandchildren and those close to us if they really know Jesus and have a relationship with Jesus and will they believe in Him?" Wow, what a huge question and what an important one too. There is no other question more important than this one. Even as my mother is in her last breaths, she continues to want to know this.
A few hours ago I called one of her childhood friends to share about Mother's current status and pending transition from this earth and I shared with the final question with as much kindness and sincerity as possible. This issue had haunted our Mother about this dear friend for over 70 years more than any other question. She wasn't for sure she knew Christ, so I had the honor of asking her. It was so good to know my Mom would want her to be completely informed so she could process, pray and consider the ramifications. Everything else dwarfs in comparison to this issue even now.
Being involved in the VERITAS 300, a member of our production's V team or involved in our film ventures, I don't want anyone to assume anything regarding the answer to the most important question. So the FINAL QUESTION is being asked of you now. Here it is everyone...
Do you have a real relationship with Jesus? If you were to leave this earth, would you go to heaven and live forever? You can know the answer too. Its the most important relationship you will ever have and my Mom would want me to ask you this.
So if your answer is YES, I DO KNOW CHRIST I want you to know how thankful I am for you. If your answer is I AM NOT SURE, would you please email us this week. I want to be accessible to talk with you about this important issue and would be happy to call you personally. If you have a friend or family member you are wanting to ask this question to, please refer this blog and give them our email at email@example.com so we can write or even call them.
The "one thing" that Jack Palance talked about when he played in CITY SLICKERS with Billy Crystal was the reason why you were born and even created, your purpose. I believe the answer is found in a relationship with Christ. We thank you for being a vital part of our V team. May the Lord bless you in every way and His love continue to guide your path.
I love you,
Would you pray for my mother? She needs your prayers right now and like so many who suffer illness, we must always rally when things are dark. Its a difficult season for our family and we are asking for prayer, once agin. On January 8 a prayer request went out to the world via Facebook when I had suffered a stroke. The apostolic prayer covering required to help keep me alive was engaged.
Our Rabbi, Curt Landry began to pray, our Franklin pastor Clint Thomas showed up at the hospital, our Oklahoma City pastor Chris Beall interceded at Life Church and great men and women of faith went to their knees. I received videos from my home church Council Road Baptist from Rick Thompson a great man of faith who also was praying for my healing. Wendell Estep contacted our family from my sending church, First Baptist Church Columbia, South Carolina expressing deepest prayers, children, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins all flooded our lives with loving prayers.
Where would we be without prayer? The chain reaction of dear friends were so beautifully overwhelming, the tears would not be small because of real love being poured out. People began praying and everyone has heard me say, only through the amalgamation of collective prayers did the Lord transform my life.
Two days earlier, I had a birthday and went to breakfast with Lynn, Dave and Millicent Gillogly. These great people of faith all rallied at my "goal" of one day seeing Montana again. Carman had called me and told me, "Get a goal Kevin and you can focus your dream on something beautiful and a hope". I had picked as my goal when I was in the hospital to want to one day see Yellowstone again and Cooke City, a place where Dave had a mountain home. This was a place I would go for healing.
As we sat at breakfast, Millicent said something to me I will never forget. "Kevin, maybe you will never know what God did all of this for, maybe in your lifetime, you will never know the real answer, so just be. Thank God and just be filled with the fact of His love".
This was such an important lesson for me to learn because in the next twenty four hours another life changing incident would wrap my life, all of our lives into a whirlwind only God knew would be coming. This time the vortex would be around the very woman, my last blog was about regarding writing the obituary for my mother, per her request.
March 8 in the afternoon, my mother has suffered a stroke in her front lobe. She is unable to communicate, is confused and thanks to the wise counsel of our doctor, I brought her to Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City where she is under watchful care. Her outcome is very different from everything I experienced as her condition is much worse. Her cancer did come back and we are thankful we have had these additional three miracle filled years. She could not speak yesterday. My father is trying to take all of this the best he can, but he is heartbroken after the 58 years of marriage. We knew something was really wrong when she did not feel well enough for a birthday dinner, but never expected this.
Veritas 300 and friends we need your prayers for Rose Evelyn Fisher. She is a mighty woman of faith and she is the strongest woman I have ever known. Mother has always been a fighter, just like my grandfather and her mother. She has lived a full life and has given more to God through her prayers than many would in many lifetimes. She raised all of us on her knees. Would you pray her pain would subside, she would be filled with love and be as comfortable as possible in these coming hours. Thank you for your prayers. Through our prayers, we are united knowing God can heal in His own perfect way. Healing has many different kinds of appearances and we just want mother to not be suffering. We are and will always pray for ultimate healing in Him.
In this hour, we ask you send your prayer requests to the Veritas Mission Films Facebook Page. We will be praying for your requests as we lift up Grandma Rose. Each of your requests are important as we communicate to our Heavenly father for grace. Each gesture of kindness means the world to us and we thank you in advance for praying for each request with such love and support. We are an online community of people who believe in the power of real healing, we believe in the power of Jesus Christ and in His resurrection.
Scott and Donna Buzzell sent mother some flowers when she got really sick and I am reminded of how something filled with beauty brings smiles to so many. This blog is a flower being sent to you because of your love which continues to bring smiles to us in a time of a darkness. May God richly bless your lives as you learn to see Him for who He is.
Thank you pastors, churches, people of God, friends, family and all those who pray believing. We know the real power of Him and we are always reminded of His steadfast love during storms. Read Psalms 23 aloud again today and may you be reminded of all which is good and holy.
God bless you Mom.
When your mother asks you to write her obituary and to have it ready for when she leaves the earth, something inside you in a surreal way, arrests your heart and fills you with unspeakable emotion. You stop to realize the infinite blessing of family which appears on the outside to be so finite, so complete and yet unresolved. All your teachings, your upbringings come rushing back to your heart, mind and spirit and you just want to scream "No mother", please don't ask me to do this. Except deep inside, you feel a calm before the storm which is ahead of you which rises above all the emotions. This is what grace can feel like, but it is all so new.
You drive away from your parents home with your car and the emotional melting inside you begins to pour from your eyes and your petitions should be loud, yet your power and voice feels strangely silent. With every amount of energy you can muster, you choke through the emotions trying to grasp at the humanity of it all and still, there is a longing which you know can be filled with only the grace of a God who cares. Still, it doesn't stop how you feel does it?
Dad stood by and listened intently to our conversation last night, not saying very much but having a gentle smile which is so much like my father. When I woke up early today on Monday, March 2, I realized my sleep was cut way short as another restless night had been my lot clearly due to a mind which had not stopped based on mother's request. Every word kept coming back to me in my mind, "What do you want me to say and how am I going to do this writing assignment?" Mother had this kind and beautiful smile through it all, but how?
Mother told me she wanted to take the pressure off of Dad in having to do something like writing an obituary and she knew I was somewhat of a writer, so it seemed logical. Earlier last month when the cancer had finally returned after our three years of healing and the prognosis was not good for her health, she told me she wanted one thing, a last wish. She wanted to make sure every single person in her family knew Jesus, had a real relationship with Christ and that one day, we would all be together again. Mother was crying when she said these words and I knew it was real.
She is still so very young by all standards of life, she is wise in the eyes of God and she is holy as she approaches her home going with courage, with a resolve because whatever He wants, she wants. Every day, I have been holding her hand since returning to Oklahoma and praying for her. My sisters have gone and tried to clean the house, help with the details and even my in laws have encouraged my return to Oklahoma City for this important season.
When I was watching Lifechurch online this week, I saw a nickname of a viewer called LOSING ALL HOPE and the individual was chronically sad online and was carrying a real spirit of giving up. It made me sad to see this person write what she did because they believed everything was over and there was no hope. Yet, my mother didn't act this way and in fact, she had a peace. She laughed, she told me she knew God was in control but honestly didn't feel good at all. At this moment, I wish Mom had been posting to this person who decided to watch church online as she would have encouraged them, just like she was doing with us.
Have you ever tried to process a circumstance which seemed hopeless? So much of life is about the choices we make and the reasons why we decide to choose one road or another. The reality is that some of our prayers are answered and some are not in the way we want them to be. Our plans are never God's plans, but I have learned sickness, disease are all coming from evil, darkness and the enemy. What the enemy uses for evil, God can still use for good. Its always been this way, but one out of one still dies, as Dad reminded me last night again. We all know there will come a time when we will transition into the afterlife, so can we transition with hope. Each of my own grandparents carried this grace they had received from God. What an incredible legacy we have.
A month ago I was supernaturally healed and when my mother was unable to see me in ICU, I knew how bad it was for her and so we have continued to pray for her healing. I wish she had been healed when I was. It was a month ago God reminded me of the finite nature of longevity in ways I never dreamed possible and guess what, its been an amazing journey and process for so many reasons. My mother has taught me so much about how to approach a life which has been transformed in Him. She has shown me everything about God's grace.
My pastor in Oklahoma City asked me a huge question when we met on a flight to Atlanta this week. "Kevin, why do you think God is allowing you to live and why would he give you a second chance?" There are thoughts about our future which now are more a part of my daily living than have ever existed before. Truthfully, my whole life has been more about me than others and seeing this truth is changing my resolve. Manifesting itself in my heart is a revolution of knowing that what we do here on this earth, matters...it matters a lot. Mother pointed me all along the way to the power of prayer, the reason for living for Him and why did it take me so long to understand this.
Now, lets stop a moment and think about you, your situation, your trial and your heavenly future...
If you were writing your epitaph, your obituary what would you want written? Is it a morbid thing to talk about or is it a statement of what your life is truly fashioned around, focused toward and where you have your eternal hope? I remember in taking Evangelism Explosion at Council Road Baptist Church as a young man, there was a phrase called PS. What was the PS of your life and did it have real meaning? Were you thanking God for all which has happened or not? This is what a writing like this is, a big P.S. and you have the chance to write your own.
Can I share something with you? Writing for my mother is the most difficult thing I have ever done because of the emotions which are part of the process. Sure, I've preached many funerals, buried many relatives and friends but this time, thinking of this...is not the same. My heart is already grieving and I don't want to say goodbye to my Mother. She is a woman who has always encouraged me, has loved me despite my faults and been a connection point to my existence. Even when I was mad at her or disagreed with her, she was there. You have the ability to write in the hearts of those you love, right now, right at this moment, so what are you doing and what are you writing?
Allow me to share about a role you can play to reach out to family. Parents are often emotionally placed in the shelves of our minds, like "Gods" aren't they? We don't think of them as having feelings, but rather they are bell hops for all of our requests. We are harder on them than we ever should be. For some reason we think we are smarter than they are and we get mad when they don't change. We have less patience for them when in debate and often we can allow feelings and emotions to estrange ourselves from them, to the point of real emotional, physical and spiritual damage. So as you write your own future, I want to implore you to begin, if you can, reaching out to your family, your parents, your children, your cousins, everyone.
Some of us have had bad parents who were horrible to us, absent from us, angry and abusive toward us and so we discard these feelings and even them into all of humanity. The reality is, God is our heavenly Father and He loves us, gave us our parents (good and bad), either through step parents, surrogate parents, god parents, teachers, siblings or through other natural and supernatural forces. The impact is all huge and shapes who we are. However, no matter where you are in life, you need them and they need you. There is no fight worth pushing them away.
In the Bible, the scripture says to "Honor your father and mother" and when we don't know them, we can even diminish the roles and be harsh on the replacements. Being too busy to connect with parents is just wrong. Its always the responsibilities of the children to call your parents. Always. Years ago at Promise Keepers I heard a man speak about the role of the child to call his parents every day. We have unlimited phone and texts, so why don't you call your parents today if they are still living? You should. So to honor someone you must connect with them, don't text them, call them and connect if you can. Did you see the Oscars where the actor reminded us all to call our parents, wow I was so impressed someone in secular entertainment so a need more than any show could ever have.
Sometimes, contacting a relative or a parent is really hard. Recently, I was with a new friend from Texas and she shared about how her Mom and Dad no longer want to have anything to do with her. She told me the story of how she decided to go a different political direction and as a result of this, her parents disowned her. I have another friend who is from another religion and because he chose to follow Christ, his parents disowned him and no longer want to talk or share anything anymore. Think how this relationship is compromised due to believing in a new paradigm. We must not judge, we can disagree but this should never impact our love and our connectivity.
My heart goes out to all of those VERITAS 300 prayer warriors who have struggled with the death of their parent. I am more than aware of the pain yours and mine family members have felt in the loss of a precious mom, dad or family member, but now, its more real than it has ever been.
So in the next few moments before I begin writing this obituary for mother based on her request, I wanted to write each of you a spiritual prayer of blessing,and please know this is not my idea, but His.
A PRAYER OF BLESSING - VERITAS 300
There are people who are reading this blog who need a prayer of blessing upon them at this very moment because life has been challenging. They are going through a struggle which is painful beyond words, in many cases very private and yet, it is still existing.
Would you bless them right now in their journey. Please station your angels about them, somehow supernaturally would you embrace love all around their heart, their circumstances and their own realities. Help them see your love in new ways and bless their family, bless their home, bless their work, bless their friends and touch their lives with goodness.
People are needing this hope through your love and we know you have the power to change everything. Our Father Yahweh please minister to their hearts. God write a story in their own lives filled with miracles, overloaded with hope and let love so enrich their lives, all they want to do is share it with others. We know there are many man made religions, but let them see the truth in a real relationship with your son Jesus.
I pray now you would bless each man, each woman, each child with a peace which passes all understanding. We ask you place the full armor of God upon them so they will be able to weather any storm which comes their way.
Finally, Lord I want you to bless them in Yeshua's name bringing eternal life into their lives so in a thousand years, we will celebrate in heaven together with you, as we bow and adore you because you give us hope, in you there is faith and by you, we know your love. Its in your son's precious and holy name we pray, Amen.
May this prayer of blessing reach into your soul as you each and every day realize how valued you are. Every moment counts, every action matters so take time to make each day the best you can. Learn to laugh through the trials and know there is nothing you are facing, He has not faced. I am so very thankful for each of you who have gone through the struggles and I can emulate how grace helped you. Thank you for ministering to me when I needed a spiritual hug and for never giving up.
A BLESSING FOR MY MOTHER
Thank you mother for your courage and its in His name, we pray healing every day. Thank you for your laughter and your joy.
I want you to know Mom, you did everything right.
As a young girl, you stood in the ant bed to prove God could take of you in the playground, and He did. You grew up with four brothers and you were bold in your faith and wanting a Godly man. You saw Dad in church and knew he was the kind of man who would spiritually lead you. You were an awesome mother taking care of your children and all your grandchildren.
You pushed us to know Him to live for Christ and you shared Jesus with our childhood friends. You made us go to church when we wanted to sleep in and you disciplined us when we needed it. You always prayed for your family, loved your family, honored your parents and made peace with everyone.
Your sparkle is my sparkle and your tears are my tears. You loved beyond measure and on a one to ten, you were a twelve. Thank you for every day, for every word and for raising us on your knees.
I look forward to spending ten thousand years with you Mom. Lets make every moment count, ok? There may never be a book written about any of this, a movie made or even a song, but there will be YOU, engraved in our hearts and your legacy of faith will continue for generations. You are the best and your only son loves you with all his heart.
I love you.
PS Mom, I plan to bring you Braums ice cream this week. Wink
Kevin McAfee is a filmmaker who writes for the purpose of inspiring others to make a difference in the world through faith in God and using the visual language of film. His blog shares the hopes of impacting culture, because his heart is in media missions and the church. Below Kevin is seen with Lynn McAfee and Corina Pataki. Below this is Christopher Atkins from BLUE LAGOON and Dr. McAfee.