Reflections On Our Mom

About a month ago, my healthy 59 year old mom went into the hospital for chest pains. What was initially diagnosed as pneumonia, quickly became known as pulmonary fibrosis, and she died from it three weeks later.

Today we had her Celebration of Life service, and it was so very sad and so very good. Though I couldn’t help my steady flow of tears, I was so incredibly proud of my parents and my siblings. God was glorified and Mom was honored-and I couldn’t be more proud. Here’s what us kids had to say 🙂 IMG_3234.JPG

David:

Our mother died on August 1st 3:30 p.m. during her life she was a fairly unique individual whom we love very much she had the odd habit of watching the same thing on TV over and over again one of her favorite things to watch was the Christmas carol I don’t know how considering she could barely keep track of the remotes but somehow she got the VCR to play that darn cassette over and over again without having to ever get out of her bed soon as it reached the end it would rewind itself and start over again

The movie is about a man named Ebenezer Scrooge he’s rejected by family goes through  the loss of loved ones lose his people’s respect  friends  and what’s important and only by taking a personal inventory and scrutinizing his life and the way he lives does he realize his mistakes  he sees the horrible harmful things others have done to him he sees the horrible harmful things he has done to others he sees how others choose to live how they have overcome their own adversities and he is forced to see what is life could end up being

Our mother was a wonderful person despite all of her faults she experience loss of loved ones rejection by family she battled addiction struggled in her own personal hookups and doubts with God and faith but she found salvation she became as good a wife as good a woman as to be found anywhere and it could be said she truly understood the blessings of God not just in church on Sunday but everywhere and all year long the final words of actor Alastair Sim as Scrooge are I don’t deserve to be so happy, then with raucous laughter and joyous tears he exclaims I just can’t help it

Our mother died on August 1st at 3:30 p.m. and in heaven she will now know uncontrollable joy and eternal laughter and she just can’t help it.

Betty: 

Hi, I’m Betty- the middle child-please don’t hold that against me.

Mom, was wonderful in so many ways. She was strong. She was selfless. She was humble. She took us on walks and talked through things with us, she helped us with homework, she did countless crafts with us (some of us were worst than others), she was mom. A mom who cleaned up bloody knees after we crashed learning how to roller blade. She was a mom who volunteered in our schools and brought in snacks and taught us how to do chores and how to decorate. She took us on vacations, and shuttled us to soccer games volleyball practice and shows. She cared about who we were friends with. As we grew she talked with us about sexuality (often times a LITTLE too explicitly), and about the value of education and being a life-long learner. She invited us into her work world and vice versa showing us the value of loving every human being and of hard work. She taught us about finances, and wise decision making, and the importance of being responsible for my own emotions. She believed in us-and thought that we could do anything we put our minds too. We know that she loved us deeply. And I know I can speak for all of us when I say, we are extremely thankful for her.

As many of you know, and as David alluded to, Mom also had some really hard things in life.  But here’s the beautiful, wonderful things about her life and legacy. She fought and she won and by the power of God her life ended with SUCH GRACE. She fought through the mental illness of depression and anxiety. She fought through the addiction of alcoholism. She fought for faith and for family and for relationships. It was not easy. And transformation did not come overnight. It took a long time-but I will forever remember Mom’s legacy as one of perseverance and victory.

The song of Mom’s life ended beautifully. The melodies she and God wrote the last few weeks, months, and years were among the most beautiful of her entire life. Mom’s story is a reminder that you are never too far, and it is never too late to grasp a hold of God’s loving hand. And when you do—thought it isn’t easy-oh my goodness is it good.

I am heartbroken that mom is gone. I hate that she won’t see my wedding day, and I’ll never be able to laugh at her over FaceTime for being distracted by the filters. I hate that dad’s alone, and that there is no one to defend David now when we all gang up on him at family functions.

But even with the heavy sadness, I have peace knowing that she ended with a grace that makes me so incredibly proud to be called her daughter, and right now-even as we meet here today- she is in heaven, and happier and more fulfilled than we can even begin to imagine. And that is a reason to celebrate.

Glenda:

As we gathered around Mom’s bed to say our final goodbyes we all cried a lot. It was so sad to see her like that and to know that going forward she would not be here.  We sang and cried and prayed and then the nurse asked each of to tell her about mom and before long in true Pompell fashion we all started laughing.  I can almost hear mom saying “Cry just a little bit for me, maybe a few tears but then be happy” So that’s what we did. And while we miss her greatly there are so many awesome and fun things to remember about her….

Like she loved dessert! So much so that she more often than not ordered it as her main meal! She love to take naps any time of the day and anywhere! She loved coffee, especially coffee with her daughters! She loved Stargate, Star trek and LOTR. So much so that she named her dog Arwen…whom she also loved. She loved to eyeore. She loved pepsi maxx (never ever coke) she loved watching the christmas carol over and over again. She loved her sisters and the time she spent with them. She loved her church and Jesus.  She loved our dad and how he loved her! She loved us kids and all her grandkids and spending time with each of us. And she especially loved it when we would take a nap with her!

If you ever spent anytime with Mom you know that she had a quirky and dark sense of humor. Sometimes she would tell jokes that only she would get but her laugh was so contagious that she then had us all laughing! I will definitely miss her laugh! She was sweet and thoughtful and when I think about how she loved each of us kids it was different in that she was able to see the differences in the three of us and love us the way we needed to be loved.  One of the last gifts she gave was to say thank you for something. When I told her she didn’t have to get me anything she said “i know but i also know that gifts is one of your love languages.”

When I was 15 or 16 mom spent several months reading Pride and Prejudice with me. Each of us taking turns and reading it allowed to each other! It is still my favorite book and that is my all time favorite memory of me and her. Mom claimed a children’s book for each of us that she felt represented our relationship. Our book was I’ll love you forever. It’s a tear jerker! But it is so true to life! Life wasn’t always perfect. We had our ups and downs…I was a teenager once upon a time! And we both did things over the years to make each other angry and we made decisions that the other one didn’t agree with.  But at the end of the day I knew that I was her daughter and she was my mom and I never doubted her love for me!  And the last paragraph of that book has never been more true “ I’ll love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living my mama you’ll be”

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Our little favor:
Mom's Favor.jpg

A Peek Into My Dating Life

I have had the joy of dating an awesome stud for the last 4 months or so. As I have wrote about before, I think dating can be difficult. I’ve learned a lot from mistakes in the past, and though not perfect, this dating relationship has been so peace-saturated and God honoring.

What is making it that way? 

Well I’m glad you asked, because I’ve thought of 3 primary reasons why dating has been such a blessing. 

  1. We want God’s will more than we want each other.
    • I’m a stubborn women. I think I know what is best for me. But I’ve learned the hard way that many times, I don’t actually have a clue. I’ve learned to pray with a sincere heart, “Thy will be done”. My boyfriend and I realize that God is sovereign and has a plan for both of our lives. He has a spouse for each of us who will best sanctify and love us, and if that is one another -praise the Lord! But if that is someone else-then that is what we want for each other. Because we know our Father knows BEST, and we can trust Him with our future.
  2. We concentrate on the 3 H’s.
    • In my phone, my boyfriend’s middle name is  “HHH”. Those three h’s in the middle stand for Happiness, Holiness, and Humor. Those are the three things we decided we wanted our dating relationship to be all about. Those are the three things we want to infuse into each other’s lives. If God keeps us together-what a great foundation for the future! And if God moves us apart-what great things to have added into our lives even for just a season!
  3. We’re serious about purity.
    • Mark my words, one day, I will write a book about this. But for now, I’ll just say that this victory has been one of sweetest blessings of my life. For those of you, like me, who have fought and lost battles with purity in the past, the joy that comes in honoring God in this way far outweighs any joys that came from the worldly pleasures of not honoring Him. And it definitely changes a relationship!

Dating this guy blesses me in other ways too. From feeling like (somehow!) I am the most beautiful girl on the planet, to being able to trust his character, leadership, and wisdom in taking things slow-to morning deliveries of bacon and roses-I’m super thankful to be his girlfriend-for however long God sees fit. And since God’s word tells me that “every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above”(James 1:17)- I know that my response to this needs to be praise and worship! God is the giver of this good gift-and it causes me to gush over, not my boyfriend but, the Good Giver.

But I can’t write this without also saying that all of this is not always easy. It doesn’t come NATURALLY. Numbers 1,2, and 3 go against my human nature in so many ways! There are days I’m frustrated, and days I struggle to remember that God’s will is best. There are days I want to concentrate only on my happiness-and not his happiness and certainly not either of our holinesses. There are moments I don’t want to be serious about purity and moments I complain to God about gifts I think I deserve that I don’t have instead of thanking Him for the ones I do have. That’s why being in prayer and in the Word is so important. I can’t date well on my own! I need to be dependent on God!

So although it’s not always easy-dating is a blessing. Whether we’re together for 6 more months, or 60 more years-it doesn’t matter. God knows best and He is trustworthy! Our Father will lead in His perfect way in His perfect timing. Man, being a Christian is the best! We know that ALL things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). So we depend on God and date in peace, joy, and confidence-knowing that everything is (and will be) exactly as it should be! 

chandler

keller

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What I Learned from Dating Around…for the Perfect Church

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I moved back in April, and thusly was on a quest to find the “right church for me”. With a history of solid churches in my background and a Bachelors in Bible, I was ready to joyfully overanalyze every church I visited until finding the one that fit me! 🙂

I researched churches online and asked locals about their church of choice. I knew that I needed to be full of both discernment and grace. I needed to make sure I could submit theologically to their leadership, and that I could be discipled and have the opportunity to disciple through the church–but I can’t be TOO picky. I know that I’d never find a perfect church, and if I did-i shouldn’t join it, because I’d ruin it!

And so I began church dating.

At least that’s what it felt like.

“Oh Betty, you would LOVE _______. He is just AMAZING! His family is the best, and he is super musical-just like you! You guys could do it together”

“Betty-you should totally meet up with _______! He has such a great heart; you would be really good for him. ”

Etc. etc. 😉

So I would visit a church (the first date), and often walk away with a heavy heart. I was confused, because the churches were GREAT-I just “wasn’t feeling it”. Why didn’t I want to go on a second date? Was it because he talked about himself the whole time? Or  because he didn’t tip the waitress? Or because I feel like, though he’s a godly guy, he is clearly still stuck in the 90’s, and brother has no sense of humor? Are these okay reasons not to go back? I hated not being plugged in to a local body of believers, and I know many of them would have been good choices to “date”-I just had no peace.

There was one church I visited, Keystone, that was nearly perfect at first. I loved their gospel centeredness. I appreciated their worship service and their song choices really stirred my affections for Christ. They had a great heart for missions and for youth and for prayer. It seemed like a second date was definitely a possibility! But then I became really discouraged about the sermon (we simply weren’t in Scripture as much as I think we should be), and so after the last song, I hightailed it outta there fast and decided that was a big NO for me thanks.

I continued searching for a church.

However, I couldn’t get Keystone out of my head.

Two weeks ago I was at a picnic in the park that Keystone hosted. I watched their church serve their community. They went above and beyond to bless and interact with people, and I got to know some families from the church.

And there I realized, I’ve been church hopping/hunting/dating ALL wrong.

The problem with my thinking was that I went to churches seeking to “experience” the church, and not seeking to be PART of the church. I didn’t view the church as the body of believers I would be shaped by, I viewed the church by the sermon’s depth or the musicians focus or the bulletin’s contents (though all important things). I went home that night and spent hours on their website again-listening to more sermons and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict me of pride, and encourage me deeply with what I was hearing.

Once I visited Keystone again with a heart desiring to be part of the body-my experience changed completely. I didn’t just come and go without striving to be involved. I came a little early, met people, stayed a little late and connected again. I was so blessed by the people I spoke to. I realized that this Bride of Christ is where I want to go to grow in my love for the Lord and partner in the spread of the Gospel.

So, if you ever find yourself church hopping/hunting/dating- just remember to clothe yourself in prayer, and don’t just go expecting to be impressed. Go with a heart that wants to learn, worship, and serve alongside of this community and seek to discover if this is where God will make that happen!

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Also, because I love laughing:

A Single Believer’s Guide to Attending Weddings

I love weddings.

The beauty.

The joy.

The tears.

The message.

The speeches.

The creativity

The eating.

The dancing.

 

But for some of us who are not on the precipice of marital bliss, weddings can be…well…painful.

 

For the single mom who regrets her wedding day.

For the guy whose girl just left him.

For the girl who guys never fall for.

For the recently widowed.

For the girl who “wasn’t enough” to marry.

For the guy who was too late in asking her.

 

What do these people do as wedding invite after invite flood their mailbox? How do they prepare themselves for walking into yet another celebration feeling alone? How do they look forward to:

 

Sitting alone at the ceremony

Sitting out during the “couple dances”.

Sitting with all couples or families.

Or perhaps worst-sitting at the “single” table?

If you are a believer, I have 3 encouraging verses to share with you to help you honor God and enjoy the weddings you attend. These have wonderfully changed how I attend weddings and I can honestly say they are a JOY. Though during the wedding/reception the sting of singleness may still arise, its pain doesn’t linger, and I am truly able to rejoice in the day! I hope these help you to attend weddings with gospel rooted happiness, clarity of mind, and focus on others!

  • Pray for selflessness
    1. Romans 12: 15 says to “Rejoice with those who rejoice”. So, as you are tempted to think about your loneliness, your heartache, your etc. etc. etc., remind yourself that this. Is. Not. About. You! Yes, it may hurt, but take your eyes off your own pain and pray for eyes to see and rejoice in the excitement and joy of others. Pray for the ability to put your mourning on a shelf, and for the night, focus solely on praising the Lord for how he provided for this couple. How he blessed this couple. How he led this couple. Because it’s okay that he chose not to do that to you. His timing and his way is perfect, and he is to be praised in the land of plenty, and the land of drought.
  • Look for others to bless
    1. God is a God of comfort, and he desires and commands us to comfort other (2 Corinthians 1). Chances are that in this situation (as well as most situations) if you are slightly uncomfortable, there are others there feeling that exact same way as well. Try and find a person who looks like they need love, and make it your job to encourage them and help them have a joyful experience! By taking your eyes off yourself, and onto someone else in need-both you AND the other person will be blessed.
  • Let their love point you to a bigger Love
    1. In my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT point to focus on during weddings is this one. Ephesians 5:25-33 talks all about how a husband and a wife are simply a PICTURE of Christ and the church. So during the wedding think deeply on what their love tells you about God’s love for his people. Think about your “conversion moment” when you hear about when the couple first fell in love. Think about your “salvation prayer” or when you dedicated your life to Christ as they exchange their vows. As you drive to the reception, reflect on the journey of life God has given you. When you reach the reception, know that when you arrive in Glory, there will be a celebration for the Groom and his Bride that will go above and beyond anything this life has to offer. And as you feast, and dance, and laugh, know that love IS worth celebrating and in Christ you have the most glorious, perfect love ever offered.

So before you apply your waterproof mascara or put that church’s address in your GPS, pray. Pray for someone to bless. Pray for a heart of gratitude and joy. Pray for eyes to see the parallels between husband and wife with Christ and the Church. Pray that your affections for God are strengthened and increased. Pray that you can impact others at the wedding with the love of Christ. And know that when you pray, the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind (Phil. 4:7)-and I guarantee your wedding experience will be better because of it! 🙂

Also, quick shout out to the 2015 weddings I went to that were FULL of worship and joy: Amber & Christopher Gomes, Amy & Blair Fisher- I love the four of you DEEPLY and am SO thankful for your love, example, and friendships! ❤

P.S. Below are some of my favorite quotes about marriage! Enjoy!

"Marriage is two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love & consolation, a haven in a heartless world." Tim Keller:

"The love language of all marriages is self-denial." (Burk Parsons):

John Piper on marriage:

John Piper, Momentary Marriage:

I have this marriage, so blessed.:

Marriage:

Marriage:

And this one..hee hee hee…

When I Doubt His Love

When I doubt his love

When my Love seems far away

When his gentle touch I cannot feel

When my heart, alone it longs

For me his voice to hear

 

I look through our old photographs

Through fondly journaled memories

I meet with friends who love him too

And my heart is warmed

by the fire of our recollections.

 

In those pages, pictures, stories

I remember with a smile

And a sigh of relief

The days I knew He loved me so

Proofs of delight listed miles upon miles

Upon miles upon miles.

 

He has not changed.

 

We are one.

Have I forgotten?

He is closer than my own soul.

Question his love, commitment, intentions?

A more foolish doubt, I’ll never know.

 

What a sweet gift

This love that answers my fears with more Love.

A protective father’s love.

That answers my doubts with more Love.

A faithful king’s love.

That answers my pains with more Love.

A powerful Lord’s love.

 

He steadfastly pursues my affection

He never left my side.

He’s not done a single thing to earn this mistrust

Yet he patiently resides

in my insecure heart.

While I question and miss his presence,

A presence that is more real than my own.

In my once wicked-now perfected- heart that he chooses to call his little home.