Times With Papaw & His Timing

1986! I was ready to go to college for my sophomore year. But I had a serious dilemma. It all really started a year earlier though and I didn’t even know it at the time. It’s all in the past now. I’ve come to grips with it now. But it took a little while. And it broke my heart into tiny little pieces. I think it’s time to just start at the beginning and share the whole experience.

It begins with the relationship that I had with my paternal grandparents. While I never saw them do it I’m quite sure that they hung the moon in the sky every night and the sun in the sky every morning. My Mamaw and Papaw were as close to best friends that a girl could ever hope to have. I grew up spending a LOT of free time at their house. I was the first grandchild. In the end there were only four of us. Two girls and two boys. So we each got as much time as we wanted with them. We did everything together! They were the emergency contacts at my high school. I remember Papaw coming to pick me up when I was sick. We had a great time – just the two of us – even though I was sick. I remember the tickle fights between him, me and my cousin Derick. He liked to take us to the lake and out in the boat. He’d take us out to the edge of the lake and anchor the boat at an angle so Derick and I could get in the water even though we weren’t supposed to. I have a clear picture of him getting the boat ready in the driveway before we would take off to the lake. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from their house on the weekends. Mamaw and I loved to watch TV together. I remember when the Loreal commercial tag line “Because I’m worth it” came out we would laugh and say that line along with them like we were worth a million bucks. Mamaw was the best cook in the world. We had all of our family meals at their house. My mom and my aunts would bring covered dishes but Mamaw cooked most of the meals. She canned everything that could be canned. Papaw used to love picking on her. She’d get so mad at him for it. But I could have stayed there forever – if only time could have stood still.

When it came time for me to go to college in 1985 I chose to go to a college in Nashville. I chose our denomination’s college, Free Will Baptist Bible College. The closer it came to time for me to leave in August, Papaw told me he didn’t want me to go away. I remember feeling like it was a sentimental emotional. Each time I saw him he would give me one of those big Papaw hugs and tell me again that he wanted me to stay closer to home. I tried to get him to understand that the Bible college was where I felt like I needed to be. He told me there were colleges closer to home that I could go to. I remember my family had Mamaw and Papaw up to the house for a “goodbye” dinner at some point right before I left for Nashville. One of my parents took a picture of me between the two of them. I’ve searched for years for that picture but I haven’t been able to find it yet. I’ll explain in a little bit why I want to find it so bad.

But the day came and I left. I spent my first semester at college. I had a great time. I was on my own. I studied. I made friends. I was on the drama team. I dated. It was just the perfect semester. When I came home for the holidays, I had a shocking surprise and not in a good way. During the time that I left for college and had that perfect semester my Papaw was gravely ill. When I came home I found him with an amputated leg and part of his lung gone. What in the world? What happened? The last time I saw him was the night that picture was taken and then I come home and see this with NO WORD as a warning or a hint as to what was going on. Everyone BUT ME knew he was sick. Everyone BUT ME knew he was having surgery right after I left for Nashville. Everyone BUT ME knew that he had a leg amputated. Everyone BUT ME!!!! I’ve had it explained to me a million times. And this was 28 years ago so I have forgiven my family members. But I will never forget it. How do you forget something like that? I want to cry just thinking about it now all these years later.

So that kind of brings me to the point in 1986. My Papaw was on death’s door. I knew that he was nearing the end of his life. I didn’t dare go so far away again a second time. So I applied to a college closer to home and had been accepted. I was one week away from having to go to college. My heart was telling me to go back to Nashville. But my head was saying NO WAY was I leaving him so near death in the hospital. Emotionally I was a wreck. I made some bad decisions during that period of time. I could see the timeline laid out ahead of me. Where would I be at college the following weekend? I had no idea. I decided that I would lay a fleece out before the Lord like Gideon did. On Sunday August 16, 1986 I told the Lord if I was meant to go to Cedarville (the college close to home) to help Papaw make a recovery in the week ahead. But if I was to go back to Nashville to college to let him live through his birthday, August 18, and die the next day. I put all of my faith in the Lord to reveal his will to me through that fleece. The Lord answered me. Papaw lived through his birthday and died at 2:00 a.m. on August 19, 1986. That was my answered prayer. He answered me in about as direct a way as he could. I was able to get back to Nashville in time to start my sophomore year at college.

My heart was broken and it still is when I sit down and think this all the way through. But I try to remember all the good times. It seems to mend the broken pieces. Twenty Seven years ago today the Lord took the best Papaw a girl could ever ask for. I hope he’s been enjoying him up there. One day I’m gonna join him again and we can continue all of our fun times. And he’s be walking on two legs again and have two complete lungs to laugh with.

I discovered why the Lord was sending me back to Nashville. I had begun a relationship with a guy the second half of my freshman year. While feelings were building for this guy in Nashville, my concern and emotions for my Papaw overshadowed the potential boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. But in some way, where I would go to college my sophomore year would determine the future of this relationship and I am convinced this is part of what God was working out during this experience with my Papaw. As it turned out, I married this guy – now 26 years later, we still reminisce about grandparents.

The whole family together for Christmas

The whole family together for Christmas – 1985




Our First Acceptance

As if I’m not having a hard enough time with the kids growing up already, Michael received his acceptance letter to Tennessee Tech University yesterday. lt is his first choice and so far is the only application he has sent in. He has been accepted into the Mechanical Engineering program. I’m so very proud but nowhere near as proud as HE is! I’ve never seen him smile so big. Last night before going out with his friends he said “the senioritis is gonna be awful”. Indeed it will be. It will be difficult to get him to focus on school work for the next six and a half months. He is so ready to be finished with school and to get on with his life as an adult. He is going to be an awesome adult. He’ll be the one on TTU campus who will love soaking up every new fact about engineering. He’ll be the one who loves going to work every day to engineer something (can you tell I don’t know a whole lot about engineering – HA).

So we are one down and one to go. Not sure what is in store for Lauren. But I am working on taking my hands off and agreeing to letting God control her future. That’s so hard for me. It’s a conscious decision every day to not lay things out for her and tell her what to do in order to get “there”. I realize I’ve spent most of her life making things easy for her. BIG mistake on my part. After 16 1/2 years of controlling things it’s hard to learn how to let go and let God have the job. I realize He hasn’t needed my help at all over all these years. I’ve probably gotten in His way more than I’ve helped. But it’s never too late to let go and let God have the control.

All I See Is Two Black Holes

I’m worried! Ok I’m more than worried – I’m scare to death! God is really doing a number of my faith ability. I know in my heart that I need to just let go and stop letting it consume me. God has seen us through so much in the last 24 years. I know in my logical mind that He will see us through this and provide for our every need. I HATE worry! It’s completely useless. It serves no positive purpose. Most of the time I able NOT to worry. Most of the time I am able to trust God. But the one area I’m having a hard time doing that in is COLLEGE. The numbers don’t add up. I think I’m most concerned about it because we had a plan. We had it all figured out. And our plan has fallen through. The plan was for me to go back to work about now and work through college using my income to pay for two college tuitions at once for four years. Well, fibro has negated that plan. Right now when I look ahead I can see my kids enjoying their senior year of high school. I can see them walking the stage and graduating. But when I get to the part where they move into their college dorms all I see are two black holes. I just don’t see how that is gonna happen.

So when thinking about what to share for Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday this week it seemed obvious that the only thing to pour our is my worry and fear about how we are ever gonna come up with the money to pay for EIGHT years of college in FOUR years. How does that happen? It makes no sense to me. I know from past experience that God is gonna take care of it. I know that He doesn’t see two big black holes. I know He sees the college bills stamped PAID IN FULL. But all I see in my heart is PAST DUE! He has NEVER (and I do mean NEVER) let us down. He’s never let any of the four of us down. We have battled along and stuck together and come out holding hands on the other side. But this time I feel like a failure. I feel like this is all my fault because I can’t do my part. I can’t hold up my end of the bargain. I feel like I am holding us back because my part of the plan flopped. That’s what I feel in my heart. My heart feels bruised and broken. My heart feels like the black hole because that’s what worry does to you. I’ve never felt this unsure about the future. What a huge lesson God is trying to teach me! Will I pass it or will I fail?