Was it worth it? …..Absolutely

This was originally posted on April 5, 2019, but stories like these are meant to be told and retold. For me, it’s such a great reminder of how lucky I have been to have such a great story to share.

I’ve been avoiding this post like the plague. A few weeks ago when God began churning my heart, I told Him, “Not now”. Yes, like I’ve said before delayed obedience is disobedience and I disobeyed.

I think as I write you will see why I avoided writing. However, the urge is so great within me, I can no longer resist.

As you know my biological father died when I was 7. He died from Melanoma and you can read some of his stories in my blog post, My sweetest sorrow.

Now, we are at another crossroads with cancer. My stepfather, Ned. He was diagnosed 18 months ago with Stage 4 Atypical Non-small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer. It sucks. I’m just not going to sugarcoat anything about it.

A few months back, well technically a few years ago God began to stir this thought and idea about these two men I have had to privilege of calling Dad.

First, you must understand the first to understand the second.

Mack, my dad, had a strong enduring faith in God. He hoped beyond all hope that one day a cure for Melanoma would be discovered. Knowing full well it would not be in his lifetime, he allowed the doctors at Baptist Hospital (Wake Forest) to try new treatments on him. He was their guinea pig. His philosophy and mindset were to aid in the research and help others in the future.

Another thing to understand about my dad is that he never shied away from sharing his faith. He firmly grasped and held tight to his belief in Jesus. He had strong convictions about sharing his faith and the above picture is a treasure straight out of his Bible. He desired to see that no one would perish without knowing Jesus. His chief goal in life.

I believe that through his death his chief goal was reached and realized. When Jesus tells us in John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Bear with me while I explain.

When Mom and Ned began dating Ned wasn’t living out a full life with Christ at the center. He had made a profession of faith but wasn’t living a life reflective of Christ.

As their relationship began to grow so did his love for Jesus. Eventually leading up to his rededication. In perfect Ned style, it was not a haphazard decision, it was done with intent and passion. A decision he will tell you was the best choice he ever made aside from marrying my Mom.

The reality here is that without my dad having died, Ned may have never been able to experience the blessed life that only Jesus can give. If you ask Mack if it was worth dying for he would say, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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That was the original post from September 11, 2017.

When I wrote these words, Ned was still with us and it would only be another six weeks until God would call him Home. Today marks 43 years since my Daddy has been in Heaven. In the past, this particular day has been such a painful hard day, but not today. What’s different?

My attitude. What I’ve realized with both Daddy and Ned was they were willing to embrace the process, to endure the pain to receive the victory. They both knew the earth was their temporary dwelling and they both knew where they were going. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross?

His soul agonized over having to endure the cross. He begged God for another way. When He knew there was no other way, He simply said, ”Not my will but yours” At this point, He embraced the process. He endured the cross. And when he spoke, ”It is finished” is His declaration of victory.

You will never get to the victory of the cross without enduring the pain and you’ll never be able to endure the pain without embracing the process.

I found this devotion in my Dad’s Bible. I wonder if it was something he had before his diagnosis or if he found it later. I don’t know the answer but what I know is that He bravely witnessed for the Lord and many lives were changed…….mine included.

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Fragments. Slivers. Bits, pieces and memories of a seven-year-old child. That’s all I have and yet what a profound and powerful impact they have on me. Your smile. Your strong arms. Your eyes. Your firm but gentle ways. You’ve been gone much longer than you lived but your legacy continues to live. Sometimes I wonder how can this be? How can a man’s life of 36 years continue to have an impact on others 46 years later and especially mine?

I believe that your simple “yes” to God made all the difference. I have no clue at what age you put your faith in Jesus as Lord, what I do know, is that you lived according to His Word.

Did you question the goodness of God when you received the diagnosis of Melanoma at age 30? Did you wonder what in the world God was doing because you had an almost-two-year-old with another child on the way? Did you ask why me? Did you ever get angry?

Maybe there were times when you questioned God but I believe most of the time you just completely believed in the sovereignty of Almighty God and you knew for certain that He had all things held together. You knew that your healing would ultimately come from God. He would perform an earthly miracle or He would heal you in Heaven.

Do you know why I believe this? Because I think held fast to Psalm 23. You knew for certain that you were safe in the arms of your Shepherd. You knew that He would take you to green pastures and lead you beside the still waters, even amid pain and agony. You knew he would lead you in paths of righteousness by allowing you opportunity after opportunity to share your faith, for His name’s sake. You knew and realized that death was only a shadow and shadows cannot hurt you. It was just passing through to eternal life with Jesus. He was there all the while protecting you and comforting you. You knew the table He prepared was bountiful and plentiful even though the enemy tried to steal your joy; you continued to be joyful despite the pain. Your cup continued to overflow. And you could believe this because of the goodness and mercy following you all the days of your life. God blessed you with an amazing family, great parents, siblings, and friends. God’s mercy allowed you six additional years from the onset of the diagnosis allowing you to witness the birth of your third child, the only son. And for 46 years you have dwelt in the house of the Lord and you will continue to be there forever.

Year after year it never ceases to amaze me at how much your life continues to impact mine. Thank you for being faithful to the Lord. Thank you for saying “yes” to His call. Thank you for holding fast to His Word.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Good News!!!

Right now with so much negativity being spread, I want to share a little good news. As you all know, Amy’s track season was cut short due to Covid-19. The day she received the official news of her season being canceled, she was heartbroken; but she wasn’t dismayed. She knew that she ended her indoor season on a high note and was satisfied.

During one of our conversations I told her, “Amy, I just don’t feel like you’re done. I can’t explain it other than to say I just believe that you’ll get to have your final season.”

She agreed that she felt the same way; although, we didn’t know how things would play out.

She she learned she still had eligibility for a Spring season, she decided that she wanted to drop her name in the NCAA Transfer Portal and see if she would get any offers.

Offers came in immediately and she was elated to know that her stats were good enough for offers. She had several options on the table but one was the best.

On Tuesday of this week, she signed with Charleston Southern for a full scholarship for the 2020-2021 season. She will be pursuing her Masters in Human Resources.

What Covid threatened to take away, God gave back in abundance. It’s a great reminder of a promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Good News!!!

Right now with so much negativity being spread, I want to share a little good news. As you all know, Amy’s track season was cut short due to Covid-19. The day she received the official news of her season being canceled, she was heartbroken; but she wasn’t dismayed. She knew that she ended her indoor season on a high note and was satisfied.

During one of our conversations I told her, “Amy, I just don’t feel like you’re done. I can’t explain it other than to say I just believe that you’ll get to have your final season.”

She agreed that she felt the same way; although, we didn’t know how things would play out.

She she learned she still had eligibility for a Spring season, she decided that she wanted to drop her name in the NCAA Transfer Portal and see if she would get any offers.

Offers came in immediately and she was elated to know that her stats were good enough for offers. She had several options on the table but one was the best.

On Tuesday of this week, she signed with Charleston Southern for a full scholarship for the 2020-2021 season. She will be pursuing her Masters in Human Resources.

What Covid threatened to take away, God gave back in abundance. It’s a great reminder of a promise found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Memorial Day…A time to remember

will never forget my first visit to Arlington National Cemetery. I was about 10 years old. Mom and Ned took us to Washington, DC for a summer vacation. Glancing around all I could see were tombstones for what seemed miles. At that point, I didn’t realize the magnitude of what I was seeing; but I do remember being overcome with emotion at the sight of all of the graves.

When I was 13 my grandparents took me back for a visit to D.C. as we watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I was overcome with emotion. I understood by that time that their sacrifice meant freedom for me. I understood that they willingly chose to fight for our freedom and willingly sacrificed their lives.

At 17, nothing could have prepared me for the raw emotion that would surface. I had seen and read about it in books but until you stand on the D Day Beaches and visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial that honors American soldiers who died in WWII. The impact and realization that these men and women belonged to someone caused me to fall to my knees and weep. For the first time, I felt the overarching magnitude of sacrifice. Families were altered forever because their loved ones were not coming home.

Normandy, France 1986

In March of 1994, I visited Pearl Harbor National Memorial and the USS Arizona. Again the sheer magnitude of lives lost in battle overwhelmed me. However, in 2008, Terry and I took a trip back to D.C. He had never been. Not only did we visit the Arlington National Cemetery, we also visited the Vietnam Memorial Wall. On this wall more than 58,000 men and women’s names are listed, a sobering realization that war, whether declared or not, is not for the faint of heart. In his book, A Rumor of War, Phillip Caputo sums it up like this, “There was so much human suffering in these scenes that I could not respond to it.”

USS Arizona Memorial 1994

Today is our day to reflect and remember. Reflect on our history, from the past to the present, we have men and women whose lives have been lost because “Freedom is not free.”

It’s Your Graduation Day

Dear Amy,

Today is your graduation from college day! Wow! You made it. You overcame some great obstacles and you finished well, both on the field and in the classroom. I know this is not the Pomp and Circumstance we were hoping for, but it doesn’t make us any less proud of your accomplishments and the way you held together through some very adverse situations throughout your college years. You have endured well.

I will never forget about four weeks into your Freshman year, I was feeling pretty low. I was missing you. Maybe not missing you as much as the activity that always surrounded you. I had been asking God for quite some time to grow our relationship to a deeper level. That day, you called me and you were homesick and tired. The 5:00 AM practices were not exactly what you bargained for. The class load was heavy. Being away from home for the first time was hard for you. You cried, and Amy rarely cries. I almost cried with you. But instead, I encouraged you to keep on. I told you that it would get easier. And you actually believed me, maybe for the first time in your life. It did get easier. You found your rhythm.

You didn’t come home after your Freshman year, you stayed, worked a job, and worked out with your coach. You wanted to improve and that was the only way you knew it would happen. You were dedicated, not only for yourself but for your team.

Your Sophomore year, you moved into an apartment. Apartment life was much better than dorm life for you. You made tons of new friends. You also lost your biggest fan in October of your Sophomore year, your Papaw. Instead of allowing a shadow of despair to overtake you, you used his influence and his life to propel you to do better. You loved social life but you didn’t falter in your classwork or on the field. You performed well and you were part of the Southern Conference Women’s Championship Team. Again, you decided to remain throughout the summer and work with your coach, continuing to improve your skills and strength.

At the start of your Junior year, you were pumped. You were excited, not only for the school to start but you were ready for track season. You had worked hard and diligently. You were where you wanted to be athletically. However, a wrench was thrown into your plans and you learned very quickly that things aren’t always what they’re supposed to be. Your coach resigned and went to another team. You were devastated. But instead of quitting, you endured. You struggled a bit during the indoor season but you had no coach. Finally, during the outdoor season, a new coach was hired. You performed well. I know you wanted better finishes but considering the circumstances, you put your best foot forward and you encouraged your teammates to do the same.

During the summer you again remained in Cullowhee to work with your coach…..but one day, you thought it was a good idea to be funny and try to cannonball dive into 2 1/2’ of water. It didn’t turn out funny or to be a good idea at all. But we did see God’s hand of protection over you. The injury you suffered was only minor compared to what it could’ve been.

This injury put a halt to things for about a month. It afforded you some downtime which was much needed and gave you lots of time with your Mawmaw. She spoiled you and took great care of you. She loved every minute and I didn’t hear any complaints from you either. It also gave you perspective on life and how quickly things can change. It only took a split-second decision, didn’t it?

You recovered from your concussion. You returned to Cullowhee and resumed your practice schedule. Then classes began and you were back in the groove once more. One final rodeo: The Senior Year.

There was so much anticipation leading into October. Practice was going well. You were feeling more confident than you had in over a year. Then the unthinkable, your new coach announces that he is leaving to take a new coaching position. You were not quite as devastated the second time as the first time; but again, you had no time to prepare for this blow. A new coach was hired more quickly but you as well as your teammates still felt very alone. But again, you persevered and continued to practice and try to better yourself and encouraged your teammates to do the same.

Then on January 2, in a moment, a blink of an eye, you saw your life pass before you. The wreck happened so quickly you didn’t even know how to respond. By the time I arrived, you were shaking and in shock. When you put your head on my shoulders and cried like a baby, while I held you in my arms, through your sobs you kept repeating, “Mommy, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” The accident wasn’t your fault but sadly the only witness, who knew the accident wasn’t your fault, fled the scene, and didn’t leave his name. I calmed you down and told you, “Amy, you don’t need to worry about this. It will all be okay. You are alive and not hurt and that’s all that really matters. Right now, the only thing you need to worry about is finishing well in track and finishing well in school. That’s your job right now.” You agreed. Again, we saw God’s mighty hand of protection covering you.

On February 29, 2020, at the Southern Conference Indoor Championships, you took the bull by the horns and you finished in 3rd overall in the Shot Put. Not only did you finish in 3rd but you also had the best throw of your college career. You endured. You finished well.

A week later you would leave for Spring Break, only to learn that once you returned from Cancun you would have another week of Spring Break and then all of your classes would go online. Then the following week, the biggest blow, all spring sports would be canceled. It felt cruel and hard. Again, this is just not how things should be.

You didn’t allow the announcement to unravel you, instead, you put more effort into finishing well in the classroom. On Wednesday, you turned in your final paper. You completed your studies at WCU with excellence. You finished well. You endured. You persevered with grace and dignity.

Life is sure to throw some more adversities your way; however, I want you to remember that God will always see you through. His grace has brought you safe thus far and His grace will lead you home.

Today is your Graduation Day and it might not look the way it should but let it always be a reminder that in life things don’t alway work out the way we envision them; but in the end remember what C.S. Lewis says, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” And always remember that your Daddy and I are proud of you and your accomplishments; but we are most proud of the character that is developing in you.

Happy, happy Graduation Day!

I love you,

Mom

Photos by: Sarah Scoggins Siak

Remember and Celebrate

It seems perfectly fitting that today, Palm Sunday, while Christians around the world are commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I am finding cause to celebrate your triumphal entry to Heaven.

Forty-four years ago today, Jesus finished your place and called you home. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3. Jesus unbound you and set you free.

Your bindings were not literal chains but those of a physical nature. For almost four years leading up to your death, your body suffered greatly. Cancer raged. While the chemotherapy gave you time, it also depleted you of your strength. Then forty-nine days or more before you took your final breath, your chains became your hospital bed. The tumor resting on your spine was inoperable and caused paralysis from the waist down.

While the cancer and chemotherapy were taking its toll on your physical body and binding it up, nothing could contain the Spirit of God that welled up in your soul. You understood what Paul said in Philippians 1:21. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” You knew the end of your story was going to turn out well but you also knew for what time God gave you was a great responsibility to live your life worthy of your calling. And you did! You understood what most of us fail to even understand now, what really matters: Loving God with all of your heart and loving others. You loved others enough to share with them the Good News of Christ because you wanted them to experience the same peace and joy that you had been given.

Daddy, can I tell you something? Your life is still making a difference. The prayers you prayed are still being worked out. Your legacy continues. How do I know? Because your life continues to make a difference in my life and it leads me to desire greater wisdom and knowledge of Jesus and a greater love for people. I found this in your Bible and I am convinced it’s a prayer that you prayed for all of your children. God, answered your prayer, He allowed your actions to shine and He did remember you

And so today, as we enter into Holy Week by remembering Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. I will remember and celebrate your triumphant entry into the arms of Jesus!

Why She Throws

Many times people ask, “How did Amy get involved in throwing?” It’s a fair question because it’s not a typical sport. To be honest, until Amy got interested and started competing, the sport didn’t interest me at all.

Amy has been involved in recreational and competitive sports since the age of five. She played soccer, basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Terry coached her in basketball from kindergarten through sixth grade. He often joked and said, “I could teach that girl to play football.” It’s true. She probably could’ve held her own with the proper protection. She was rough and tough.

In 8th grade, she was playing in the conference volleyball championship and she strained her back, or so we thought. Of course, her being the tough girl she was not about to come out of the game. She continued to play. It was obvious she was in pain but all athletes play with pain from time to time. She was no exception.

The first thing we did when we arrived home that evening was put on ice her back. (Side note: all of my kids will tell you that “ice” is Terry’s answer to everything.) She was a little sore the next morning but didn’t moan too much. I gave her some ibuprofen and took her to school. We kept icing and using ibuprofen for a few days and she wasn’t grumbling or in substantial pain. Basketball practice was already well underway and they were getting ready to begin their season. She and her friend Kasey were the two starting guards. All was moving along as planned.

They played their first two games and Amy performed well. She complained a little with her back but nothing major until one evening when Terry and I picked her up from practice. She quietly got in the car and immediately I knew something was wrong but didn’t ask. I turned around to look at her and saw big goose egg tears streaming from her face and she said, “It’s my back.” Amy doesn’t cry. This was serious.

We were very fortunate to get her with Dr. Maxwell an Orthopedic Spine Specialist, within a few days. After x-rays and examining her, he identified her injury spondylolysis. He told us these are common injuries seen in gymnasts but that hers was sustained from hyperextending her back while hitting the volleyball.

When asked if she could play volleyball again he said, “First of all, let me ask you a question. If you have a metal coat hanger and bend it back and forth numerous times, what happens?”

“It breaks,” she replied.

The room grew silent and still. After giving us time to pause and reflect on what we had just heard, Dr. Maxwell continued. “Yes, and if you were my daughter, and I have a daughter who played volleyball, I would tell her that it is not a good idea to continue. It’s entirely up to you and your parents. However, for the next six weeks, you cannot participate in any sports and that includes basketball and we will have to wait and see about track season. When I do release you, you are going to have to be very careful and if it hurts, you have to stop what you’re doing. ”

Ouch! It was a huge blow. This was not part of her plans. The wind had just been knocked out of her sails.

At the end of six weeks, he released her and she was able to play in the last few games of the season. Immediately after basketball, track practice began. Fortunately, running didn’t irritate her back too much. Then one day came home one day and announced that Coach Bond asked her to try thwoimg shot put because of her arm strength and length. It didn’t irritate her back either and she discovered she was pretty good at it. She taught herself to shuffle and throw.

During the summer she also started taking lessons and playing tennis again. Sometimes certain motions would irritate her back and so she would just stop and try it a different way.

After tennis season her Freshman year, she tried out for basketball and made the team. The day before team practice was due to start she said, “Daddy, would you be disappointed if I didn’t play basketball? You’ve always told us that we give 100% to everything we do. And you’ve always said that if we start, we don’t quit. Yarborough’s are not quitters! I don’t think I can give my best because my heart isn’t in it. I feel like I’m doing basketball more for you than me. My heart is in tennis and track and I really want to work on those two things.”

Terry said, “No, I am not disappointed. I would rather you tell me now. I’ve never pressured you into playing any sport. I’ve always supported whatever you’ve chosen to do.”

The choice was made and she didn’t play basketball. She did exactly what she set out to do. She improved in both tennis and track, specifically her throwing. By her senior year, she improved enough to win the state title in the discus and 2nd place in the shot put her senior year. More importantly, she received an invitation to WCU as a “preferred walk-on” and is now a scholarship athlete.

And that’s how that happened. And you can bet your bottom dollar if someone had told me twenty-two years ago. that my little girl would be a thrower girl, I would’ve laughed in their face and said, “Not my girl”

The reality is that sometimes we may think we know the path we want to take and “we can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Psalm 16:9

Do you need a little red wagon?

When my oldest son, Ryan was about 13 months old and showing no signs of interest in walking, I along with our beloved pediatrician became concerned. Oh, there was no concern for fine motor skills or cognitive development. He was already talking a blue streak. He manipulated objects meticulously with his hands and his eyes always seemed to be studying how things worked. He crawled and could get anywhere he wanted to go. He would pull up and stand but wasn’t really interested in holding your hands to walk and absolutely no interest in walking on his own.

One day during a routine office visit the pediatrician suggested purchasing a little red wagon made by Fisher-Price. (Like the one below( She said it would encourage walking. Also, it would serve as a dual purpose ride-on toy as well.

We made our purchase immediately upon leaving her office. We excitedly gave Ryan his new toy. We attempted for days to encourage him to stand and push the wagon, he rejected our efforts. He wasn’t keen on using it as a ride-on toy either. Oh no, not my Ryan. He was far more interested in the seat. He quickly noticed the seat lifted up. He spent hours lifting and lowering the seat. After a few weeks, he discovered there enough space to hide things under the seat. Often when we were missing items, we would ask Ryan and he would crawl to his wagon, lift the seat and proclaim, “Here!”

Finally, after about a month, he would use the handle and walk a little but if he had somewhere he wanted to go quickly, his knees hit the floor and he crawled. I guess you could say we were making some progress. Just not fast progress. It would be another month before he would officially take his first real steps and walk.

As I think about this story, it reminds me that some things happen immediately and some things take time. Sometimes, we need help and encouragement to take the next step. Sometimes we are like Ryan, satisfied to be crawling when we should be walking. It’s a place called complacency.

Have you been there? Are you there now? I have been and I can tell you that it’s not a good place to be. You don’t flourish when you’re complacent. You know why? Because you’re so satisfied with yourself or the way things are you don’t see a need to change. It’s sometimes referred to as the silent killer.

The Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary defines “complacency” as “a feeling of calm satisfaction with your own abilities or situation that prevents you from trying harder.”

So, how do we combat complacency?

Get a little red wagon and learn to walk. Actually, yes.

Let’s break it apart

  • First, recognize areas of your life that need growth and change. Ryan needed to learn to walk and we had to get something that would promote growth and change. Again, keep in mind that sometimes these things take time. Don’t get discouraged or give up easily if change and growth don’t happen quickly. Winston Churchill says, “There is nothing wrong with change if its in the right direction.
  • Be willing to admit your weaknesses. Everybody has them and sometimes we need help to overcome our weaknesses. Ryan needed the assistance of the little red wagon.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks. In order for Ryan to learn to walk, he had to take the risk to fall. Granted he fell a lot at first and I think this is the scariest part of taking any risk. There may be some failure along the way but is rarely does a reward happen that doesn’t have a risk involved
    Avoid the trap of laziness Ryan became lazy about walking because crawling was easy for him. He could get to everything he needed or wanted. He didn’t realize until he started walking/running that he could move a lot faster. Most often its self-absorption that will keep us in the trap of laziness.

The best way to avoid becoming complacent is to do the following:

Put one foot in front of the other

Disappointments

Have you ever been disappointed? You’ve wanted something for so long and finally, you get it, only it’s not exactly what you expected. However, later on, it becomes crystal clear that the exact thing you wanted wasn’t what you needed and that thing you got was exactly the perfect thing.

“I want a dog”. If I heard it once I heard it a thousand times. “But Daddy, please.”

“Amy, I am not going to get a dog until you get older. I am not raising two babies at once.”

Oh, don’t feel bad for her. She had an ample share of cats. In fact, all of her journal entries in First through Third grades either included a story about one of her cats or her friend, Hannah, and sometimes both. I’m not exaggerating. I read those darn things about two years ago and laughed until I cried.

Finally, Terry told her that when we got a house with a bigger yard she could have her dog. And let me tell you, she didn’t forget.

As soon as we moved to our house with over an acre of property, the begging kicked into overdrive. She was determined to wear him down.

She didn’t and refused to relent because he had a plan. Not really, but let’s just pretend he did.

Christmas was drawing near and Amy started chirping again about a dog.

Oh, I forgot to mention. Amy wanted a big dog. A German Shepherd was her preference but any big dog would do. When she was little and would petition for a dog she would often say, “I want a big dog like Clifford the big red dog!”

Well, it just so happened that Alex, Amy and I ended up at the local pet store in Hendersonville a few days prior to Christmas. We saw and held several breeds of dogs and I took pictures and sent them to Terry.

My favorite was the Bichon. I was particularly fond of this breed because not only were they cute little white balls of puff, resembling cotton, with coal-black noses and big round black eyes but the best part was they were hyper-allergenic and don’t shed! But I also knew Terry would make the final decision. Trust me when I say I pleaded my case to the max for this dog.

I’ve written about how Sammy was chosen. Read Here

Anyway, so Terry picked him out and gave him his name. We took him home on the evening of December 24, 2008. We somehow managed, with the help of Mom, Ned, Ryan and Matthew to keep the dog quiet until Amy and Mom got into bed.

Amy’s room was directly over Ryan and Matthew’s room. They were responsible for his care and keeping him as quiet as they possibly could. The only snafu was locking him in his crate. He whined incessantly until they took him out. Apparently, his cries were loud enough for Amy to hear because she kept tapping my Mom and saying, “Mawmaw, do you hear that? I hear a dog. Don’t you hear it? I’m getting a dog for Christmas!”

Mom said Amy continued to try her best to pry it out of her. Mom had to turn over and pretend to be asleep. I really don’t know how she did it without laughing at Amy’s persistence. This is my very relentless child who doesn’t give in or up easily.

Finally, Amy drifted off to sleep. However, I don’t think Ryan got any sleep and Matthew had very little. Sammy kept them awake.

Christmas morning came. Terry had decided that Sammy would be the last gift of the day. So, we kept him in his crate in the basement and I think the boys put a towel over the crate to dissolve some of the noise.

Finally, after the last present was unwrapped, Terry snuck downstairs and got the puppy. Amy was in the living room and Terry put him down on the other side of the wall and let him walk around.

“See, Mawmaw, I knew I heard a puppy last night. I told you I was getting a puppy.” She picked him up and loved on him a bit but then her disappointment surfaced, “He’s cute but I wanted a German Shepherd!”

Sammy just wasn’t what she expected. She was disappointed. Fortunately, her disappointment didn’t overshadow Christmas Day.

For years, she would mention not getting a big dog and then one day, not too long ago, she said, “You know, I’ve realized that Sammy has been the perfect choice for me and our family.”

Now, let me go back to the original question: have you ever been disappointed? I want to take it a bit further. Have you ever been disappointed because God hasn’t given you what you asked for? Maybe He didn’t come through when you expected but He did come through. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion when you thought and knew you had earned it but eventually, the promotion came. Maybe he didn’t give you the job you wanted but He provided a job. Maybe He didn’t heal your loved one on earth but gave them the ultimate healing in Heaven. I don’t know what has disappointed you. I know there have been many times in my life I’ve been disappointed.

However, what I’ve come to realize is that disappointments are part of life. Life is not a whimsical merry go round and singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire. Life is hard and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it doesn’t feel fair and sometimes it doesn’t feel good. But can I tell you what I’ve learned? Just because He doesn’t answer in the time and the way we think He should does not mean that He is not good. On the contrary, only a good, loving and wise father gives his children what is best for them. In the same way that Terry knew Sammy would be the best fit for the family.

Matthew 7:11. “If you, then, though, you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”