Lessons From My Mom

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

~ Proverbs 31:25-26

 

On Mothers Day as I begin to think of all that I have learned from my mom, I’m not sure where to start, she has taught me so much over the last thirty-five years. She is one of the strongest, most loving and self-sacrificing women I know. She has continually exemplified  to me and our family the characteristics of a Proverbs 31 Woman.

A short list of what I have learned from her:

  1. Commitment to the Lord: I can remember waking up in middle school and high school walking into the kitchen and finding breakfast already made and my mom sitting at the table reading God’s Word, day in and day out. Mom you live a life that shows that your faith is alive and active not merely something you profess on a Sunday, thank you.
  2. Unconditional Love: Through all of life ups and downs, you continue to be a fountain of love that over flows to all those around you. Mom I have learned how to love those around me by watching you, thank you.
  3. Putting Others First: Anyone who meets or is around my mom any length of time, you will see that there is a genuine love, concern and care for those around her. She continually puts everyone’s needs and wants before her own. Mom I seek to serve those around me because of the example you have lived out in front of me day in and day out, thank you.
  4. Proverbs 31 Women: The standard of a Godly women is so often contributed to the list in Proverbs 31, women are told to seek to live up to this standard, men are encouraged to look for a women who shows these characteristics. Mom I never have to wonder what a Godly women, wife and mom looks like or is supposed to look like, I simply have to look at you. Thank you for the example you have lived out in front of us.

Mom, for these few of the many more reasons it is a blessing to be able to call you mom. Thank you for all that you do, the Lord has used you to help form us and shape us into who we are today because of your example. Thank you! Happy Mothers Day!


The impression that a praying mother leaves upon her children is life-long.

~ D.L. Moody

My Dr. PawPaw

IMG_6055

 

A joyful heart is good medicine,

~ Proverbs 17:22(a)

 

 

 

 

Recently I was asked who are the greatest men in your life that have influenced you, historically, biblically, and current? Over the past few years I have taken time to introduce you to two men that have made a huge impact on my life (PawPaw & my Dad); today I would like to introduce another man in my life that the Lord has used to impact me and teach me tremendously over the years.

This man is my Dr. PawPaw! Appropriately named, and not because as the oldest grandchild it was me that named him, but he is a doctor but more importantly a PawPaw! Sometimes we would see our grandparents at the same time, so “Dr. PawPaw” helped us call them apart! He is one of the most loving and joyful man I have ever been around, and when you ask anyone who knows him or who he has ever operated on they will tell you the same thing. Over the years since he joined our family in 1992 when he married my Nana, I have watched him, admired him and learned a lot from him. Here is a short list of ways he has impacted me and taught me:

  1. Be Joyful – Dr. PawPaw is the most joyful person I know, and this isn’t an understatement. He is always whistling and singing everywhere he goes. If he is taking out the trash for my Nana, he is making up a song “taking out the trash today just for Doris Bay! ” I have had endless songs made up on the spot about me and whatever we were doing, and the family wasn’t the only one, when people here who my PawPaw is they always say, I saw him when I broke my _______ and he was always singing songs about me!  Every time I see him, he will have a new story or joke to share, even if it is at my Nana’s expense that gets him in trouble! I think his favorite joke when someone tells him hi that he doesn’t recognize is: “who is that? Well I’m glad they don’t have a limp!” (he is an Orthopedic Surgeon)  He has taught me to be joyful no matter the circumstances and to spread that joy to others.
  2. Be Humble – My Dr. PawPaw while being a doctor for most of his life he has had the opportunity to do a lot in the surrounding area for the local hospitals and local community, and if you didn’t know any of that and met him he would come across as an average Joe. I’ve never seen him look down on those around him or to think too highly of himself, and never wants any recognition for anything he has done. He has taught me to be humble in everything I do.
  3. Love Others Well – My Dr. PawPaw, loves people, a lot! Its part of what makes him a great doctor and a great PawPaw. He just genuinely loves people. Multiple friends have come with me over to his house so he could examine a knee or an ankle and he didn’t mind checking them out; and he will always later ask me how they are doing. Anything he can do for you he will. I remember when him and my Nana first got married, all of us grandkids wanted McDonald’s for lunch, he said ok took down our orders jumped in his car backed out of the driveway and pulled right back in got out and said, “Where’s McDonald’s?” He simply wanted to take care of his grandkids and was set on doing it until he realized he had no idea where McDonald’s was. He has taught me to not always ask questions as to how or why, but to simply love those around you.
  4. Work Hard – One final thing for this short list of things I have learned from my Dr. PawPaw is to work hard. My Dr. PawPaw is now 92 and just retired two years ago (you read that right). In a day in age where everyone wants to make it to 65 be able to retire and not have to work, he worked until he was 90! Because he loved what he was doing, he loves people and helping people out. And when he is not in the office he is always working on some project around the house, fixing something or building something. He has shown me and taught me that no matter what you do, to work hard at it and enjoy it.

My Dr. PawPaw continues to teach me on what it looks like to be a man, husband and grandpa. To be joyful, humble, love well and work hard in all that you do. And for that I am thankful!

Look for the Open Door

locked-doors-2And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.

~ Acts 16:6

 

It happens in every horror movie ever created, someone or a group of people are being chased by the villain and somehow they manage to find a locked door; now everyone watching it screams for them to run, while they sit there and knock and kick and try to force open the door (this always ends badly). And its a movie, we know its going to happen, we can even predict it, continuing to run and seeking an open door just makes sense to us watching in the comfort of a movie theater or on our couch. But what do we do in life when God shows us a locked door? Do we sit there and bang on it, kick it, try to force it open; or do we move on and walk through the doors He has opened in our lives?

There are times in our lives when God may currently have a door in our lives closed, the desire may not necessarily be a bad thing, just that at that time the Lord has other doors open.

Why spend all our time fighting a closed-door? 

In this passage in Acts Paul desires to go to Asia to spread the Gospel, this is a good and right desire, but at the time the Spirit says no. Paul, one of the greatest missionaries to ever live doesn’t try to fight it, he doesn’t go to Asia anyways (perhaps he learned from reading Jonah to be obedient); he continues his journey until the Lord gives him a vision of a man in Macedonia, urging him to come. He is obedient and goes, and the church of the Philippians is born. Again we see in Romans 15, that Paul has had a great desire to travel to Rome but up until this time had not been able to come because the Lord continued to open up doors for him to preach the Gospel in places where it had never been preached before.

Simply looking at Paul’s life we see a life of obedience, a life that faithfully walked through the open the doors the Lord laid out for him, this is why at the end of his life he could boldly proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).” Why? He had lived a life of obedience and faithfulness.

I see this playing out in my life and in those around me over and over, sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the locked door that we miss out on the open ones. I recently was discussing this with a friend who was asking me about my singleness, and how I was handling it. The truth is, yes there is a desire to be married and a desire for a family one day, but at this time it is a door the Lord currently has closed in my life, but in His graciousness He has opened many others (ministry opportunities, home group, speaking opportunities, volunteering with student ministry, etc.).

More than marriage, I want to be found faithful and obedient! 

The ultimate goal for man (men and women) is not to have a good marriage and family, but to glorify God in our lives and to make much of Him, and that means in our singleness and in our marriages. We seek marriage not to “complete” us, but because it is a good desire and to have a marriage that honors and glorifies the Lord as a living example of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

My concern is I see so many people who have gifts and talents for the Body, the Church, yet they aren’t using them because they are so focused on that one locked door the Lord has for them in this season. Look up and see all the doors the Lord currently has open for you. Be obedient! Be faithful! He’s a good Father, trust Him.

Do I look for that open door to marriage and a family? Yes! But when I find it locked, I want to focus on the open doors and not the locked ones.

Fellas – We should be looking for Godly women to form Godly friendships with in hopes that they will blossom into something more. But only Christ will satisfy, don’t stop your pursuit of Him fighting locked doors. Be obedient and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

Ladies – I know, you are waiting for that guy to man up and ask you out (sometimes guys are slow) but don’t stare at the locked door wondering when it will open. Be obedient, and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

And when the door of marriage opens, faithfully walk through it as you have all the other open doors the Lord has opened in your life.


‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

~ Jesus


Related Posts: 

Constant Voice of Encouragement

IMG_456519113-2“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”

~ Ephesians 6:4

My all time favorite movie, Gladiator, begins with this epic battle scene, in which we see Maximus riding a horse before his men who are about to enter the battle yelling out,  “Hold the Line! Stay with me!” A reminder to them to stay steady, trust their training, trust their plan, don’t waiver or give up. As I thought about writing something for Fathers Day, this scene popped into my head, you see in my life my dad has played the role of Maximus, always reminding me to “hold the line!”

Through the years this has played out in various different ways, most recently as I went through a season in my life where I found myself unemployed for several months, my dad was the constant in my life reminding me daily that everything we face and go through is all prep work. Whatever we face the Lord is teaching us something and preparing us for something in the future. My dad would also constantly tell me this season is rough, but learn what the Lord is trying to teach you, or you may have to go through it again.

I have learned so much from him, here are a few things I am thankful for this Fathers Day:

  • How to be a Man of God – My dad is one of the most Godly men I know, and I have seen over 33 years that this isn’t an act, the man you see at church, work or where ever is the same man I saw at home. I have seen him spend time on his knees before the Lord, I have seen him bypass lesser things to spend time in God’s Word preparing to preach.
  • How to be a Godly Husband and Father – When I read in the Word of God what the Lord would call a man to be as a husband and father and examine my dad’s life, it lines up.
  • How to Work Hard – My dad is one of the hardest workers I know. Between working at a refinery, being a pastor and also having lawn care business, he is always going and working, and willing to help anyone out who may need it.
  • How to Set Priorities – In a day in age when we are all being pulled in a million different directions, and priorities are always changing, I have seen my dad set the Lord as priority over everything in our families life and that has remained constant. Sometimes that meant driving over an hour to church on Sundays and Wednesdays (even if a school night) and never missing. Sometimes that meant if I was playing in a sport and practice or a game was scheduled on Wednesday or Sunday that I was going to miss, and this wouldn’t be discussed. All these years later I don’t remember missing practice or games, but I remember that the Lord was priority over all in our families house, and for that I am thankful.
  • How to Faithfully Love and Shepherd a Flock – For a majority of my life my dad has played some role in ministry, as my youth pastor and for the past 11 years as a pastor. And in this I have seen him faithfully love the flock the Lord has placed before him. I have seen him weep over them, pray over them, proclaim the truth to them. To be bold and take stands because that’s what the Word would call him to do; and to spend time alone with the Lord to be refueled to pour himself out all over again. And in this he has also taught me that we are all a small part of the Lord’s greater flock. To remember this and pray for those of other churches and celebrate what the Lord is doing in their midst as well as ours.

Through the ups and downs of life, my dad has always been that constant voice of encouragement to me, always pointing me towards Christ, and for that I am thankful. Happy Fathers Day!


Dad, I have learned so much about my Heavenly Father, simply by watching you. Thank you! 

PawPaw, You Gave Me More Than You Know

photo 2

 

Rudolph Elizondo Sr. (1921-2015) 


Today, my PawPaw went home to be with the Lord, after 93 long fruitful and faithful years. Although sad, we rejoice! We rejoice because although his earthly tent has passed, he has been clothed in a heavenly one that will never perish (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints
~ Psalm 116:15

I’m thankful for him!

I’m thankful for his legacy he has left us. The above picture is how I will always remember him, reading the Word spending time with His Savior.

I’m thankful for the way he taught us to love each other and the Lord.

I’m thankful for for the time we got with him and how up until the last day he was aware of us and knew us.

I’m thankful that in an age when marriage isn’t viewed as highly as it ought to be, that him and my MawMaw set the example for our family by being married for 72 years! (thats not a typo)

I’m thankful for his loving smile and how he always wanted the family to have fun and love each other.

And I’m thankful that I got to see him one more time two weeks ago.


Two weeks ago me and my sisters made our way back home to Bridge City for my nieces 1st birthday and our first stop, as it has been the past few years, was to see my PawPaw. When I saw him, I knew it was close, I knew the Lord would soon be calling him home. I’m so thankful the Lord allowed me one more weekend to see him. He was frail and weak, but sat there holding my sisters hand smiling, telling stories, asking how MawMaw was doing and telling us how much he loved us and how great it was to see us.  Two days later as we were making our way back home we went to see him and he had a gift for my sisters, two small  stuffed easter bunnies. One of my aunts had bought them for him to give away and he immediately knew who would get them, my sisters, his granddaughters, the “Two Most Beautiful Girls in the World,” as he called them, and was always ready to argue if you didn’t agree. He told me he was sorry he didn’t have anything for me, but lovingly joked that I was just the girls driver, bringing them to see their PawPaw. As we were leaving I hugged him told him I loved him, he smiled and again told me sorry he didn’t have anything for me but that I knew that he loved me; and I told him he had already given me more than enough.


PawPaw, You Gave Me More Than You Know


 

Here is what I have learned from my PawPaw (reposted from a previous post):

Life Lessons from My PawPaw

I would like to introduce you to my PawPaw, a man who I am blessed to have in my life and is always a joy to be around. Over the past few weeks with all the holidays I was able to spend a lot of time with him and my MawMaw at their house near my parents. Times like this are times I cherish and am so thankful for to sit with and talk with them and a lot of the time simply sit there and listen, listen to stories of how they met, listen to them joke with each other, or listen to the latest news that my MawMaw just read in the National Enquirer (she loves these stories).  These times are precious cause I know I won’t always have them, my PawPaw is 92 and although his goal is to catch Moses at 120 years old, (a joke he has had for the past 10 plus years and one I’m starting to think may actually happen) he is slowing down some along with my MawMaw who is 90. As I spent time with them over the last month and began to think of their legacy in our family and what I have learned from them over the years. This is not an exhausted list by any means, just a few of my first thoughts as I have dwelled on this.

  1. The Importance of Faith – The picture above is how I found my PawPaw one day I stopped by to say hi. He was sitting on his spot on the couch doing what he has done nearly everyday for the past 30 years, reading his Bible, as my MawMaw took a nap. He came to know the Lord while in his 60’s as the Lord saw fit to use my dad to lead him to the Lord. And since that day my PawPaw has forever been changed, after spending the first 60 years of his life trying to be good enough, the Lord opened his eyes to His love and grace. My PawPaw was worn his Bible out since then, and every time I go by there he tells me about what he read that day. One of the highlights of our time together over Christmas break, was sitting there with my 92-year-old PawPaw sat there and told me a list of answered prayers the Lord had answered this month for him, how some people may not believe in Christ, but he knows that when he prays to Him that the Lord answers him. On Christmas he told us, “This family is built on love and joy. Love for Christ and love for others.”
  2. The Importance of the Individual – This may be one of the biggest things I have noticed about my PawPaw, and that is he makes everyone feel important and as if you are the only one he is talking to. If you were to come with me and my family to meet them, he would talk to you directly and include you in everything. You would leave feeling like you are part of the family and not just some stranger who was tagging alone. And he has been this way it seems like his whole life, he was a car salesman most of his life, and even today we run into people who when they hear my dad’s name (he is a junior) they ask if his dad sold cars because they bought a car from him and remember how he helped them and how he got them into the car they wanted. I’ve purchased two vehicles in my life and couldn’t tell you the names of the salesman I dealt with.
  3. The Importance of Being a Witness – Any opportunity my PawPaw gets to point to Christ he takes it. Recently when at the doctor about to be released to go home, all the doctors and all the nurses were in his room (see point above, people are drawn to him) and they were asking him about being married for 71 years and whats the secret, his answer short, simple and powerful, “Jesus Christ.” Even at 92, and no longer able to be out and about he is still being a witness to anyone and everyone he may come in contact with, whether family member, doctor, nurse, or home health nurse that comes to check on him, he will tell you the main thing in his life and the secret to his joy is Christ.
  4. The Importance of a Never Changing Joy – My PawPaw is 92, and rides a scooter to get around in the house and has to basically sit on the couch all day long watching a TV he may or may not hear that well, but you would never know it. He is always joyful, regardless of the circumstances, and happy to see you. Never once can I recall him every complaining about his or my MawMaw’s circumstances. Through hospital trips, losing a home to a hurricane, having your car taken from you, zero complaints. Always joyful, always joking around, always thanking the Lord for what he has.
  5. The Importance of Family – My Grandparents have been married 71 years and are still in love. In an age where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, my Grandparents have made it through, most people would be happy to live for 71 years and they have been married 71. It’s an amazing thing to see and witness and one that the world is astonished by, leading to questions as mentioned above, “How?” And the answer is always the same, “Jesus Christ,” Christ has sustained them. My MawMaw recently told my dad that no matter what family is family, they will make mistakes but the Lord tells us that whoever is without sin to throw the first stones, so no matter what you love your family cause that’s what the Lord has told us to do. And they have loved us all well, through ups and downs their love has remained constant.

This is just some of the many things that I have noticed in my PawPaw and MawMaw’s lives, and a small part of the legacy they are leaving our family. I am incredibly grateful for all that the Lord has used them to show me about living out His Word, and loving others. I cherish the moments the Lord continues to allow me to sit with them and just talk and listen. These times are precious and whether I get a few more years of these opportunities, or they make it to Moses and I get another 25+ years with them, these are the things I will hold onto.


“This family is built on love and joy. Love for Christ and love for others.”

Life Lessons From My PawPaw

photo 2I would like to introduce you to my PawPaw, a man who I am blessed to have in my life and is always a joy to be around. Over the past few weeks with all the holidays I was able to spend a lot of time with him and my MawMaw at their house near my parents. Times like this are times I cherish and am so thankful for to sit with and talk with them and a lot of the time simply sit there and listen, listen to stories of how they met, listen to them joke with each other, or listen to the latest news that my MawMaw just read in the National Enquirer (she loves these stories).  These times are precious cause I know I won’t always have them, my PawPaw is 92 and although his goal is to catch Moses at 120 years old, (a joke he has had for the past 10 plus years and one I’m starting to think may actually happen) he is slowing down some along with my MawMaw who is 90. As I spent time with them over the last month and began to think of their legacy in our family and what I have learned from them over the years. This is not an exhausted list by any means, just a few of my first thoughts as I have dwelled on this.

  1. The Importance of Faith – The picture above is how I found my PawPaw one day I stopped by to say hi. He was sitting on his spot on the couch doing what he has done nearly everyday for the past 30 years, reading his Bible, as my MawMaw took a nap. He came to know the Lord while in his 60’s as the Lord saw fit to use my dad to lead him to the Lord. And since that day my PawPaw has forever been changed, after spending the first 60 years of his life trying to be good enough, the Lord opened his eyes to His love and grace. My PawPaw was worn his Bible out since then, and every time I go by there he tells me about what he read that day. One of the highlights of our time together over Christmas break, was sitting there with my 92-year-old PawPaw sat there and told me a list of answered prayers the Lord had answered this month for him, how some people may not believe in Christ, but he knows that when he prays to Him that the Lord answers him. On Christmas he told us, “This family is built on love and joy. Love for Christ and love for others.”
  2. The Importance of the Individual – This may be one of the biggest things I have noticed about my PawPaw, and that is he makes everyone feel important and as if you are the only one he is talking to. If you were to come with me and my family to meet them, he would talk to you directly and include you in everything. You would leave feeling like you are part of the family and not just some stranger who was tagging alone. And he has been this way it seems like his whole life, he was a car salesman most of his life, and even today we run into people who when they hear my dad’s name (he is a junior) they ask if his dad sold cars because they bought a car from him and remember how he helped them and how he got them into the car they wanted. I’ve purchased two vehicles in my life and couldn’t tell you the names of the salesman I dealt with.
  3. The Importance of Being a Witness – Any opportunity my PawPaw gets to point to Christ he takes it. Recently when at the doctor about to be released to go home, all the doctors and all the nurses were in his room (see point above, people are drawn to him) and they were asking him about being married for 71 years and whats the secret, his answer short, simple and powerful, “Jesus Christ.” Even at 92, and no longer able to be out and about he is still being a witness to anyone and everyone he may come in contact with, whether family member, doctor, nurse, or home health nurse that comes to check on him, he will tell you the main thing in his life and the secret to his joy is Christ.
  4. The Importance of a Never Changing Joy – My PawPaw is 92, and rides a scooter to get around in the house and has to basically sit on the couch all day long watching a TV he may or may not hear that well, but you would never know it. He is always joyful, regardless of the circumstances, and happy to see you. Never once can I recall him every complaining about his or my MawMaw’s circumstances. Through hospital trips, losing a home to a hurricane, having your car taken from you, zero complaints. Always joyful, always joking around, always thanking the Lord for what he has.
  5. The Importance of Family – My Grandparents have been married 71 years and are still in love. In an age where more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, my Grandparents have made it through, most people would be happy to live for 71 years and they have been married 71. It’s an amazing thing to see and witness and one that the world is astonished by, leading to questions as mentioned above, “How?” And the answer is always the same, “Jesus Christ,” Christ has sustained them. My MawMaw recently told my dad that no matter what family is family, they will make mistakes but the Lord tells us that whoever is without sin to throw the first stones, so no matter what you love your family cause that’s what the Lord has told us to do. And they have loved us all well, through ups and downs their love has remained constant.

This is just some of the many things that I have noticed in my PawPaw and MawMaw’s lives, and a small part of the legacy they are leaving our family. I am incredibly grateful for all that the Lord has used them to show me about living out His Word, and loving others. I cherish the moments the Lord continues to allow me to sit with them and just talk and listen. These times are precious and whether I get a few more years of these opportunities, or they make it to Moses and I get another 25+ years with them, these are the things I will hold onto.

photo 1

Married 71 years and still in Love!

 

“This family is built on love and joy. Love for Christ and love for others.”