The Joy of Coming Home – 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

Do the emotional videos of soldiers returning from their deployments and greeting their children tug at your heart like they do mine? I’m a glutton for happy endings.

The little girl screams, “Daddy!” and in seconds she is launching into his arms. I have watched dozens of stories like this, wiping tears from my face in wonder at a family’s joy.

They make me think of the ultimate reunion we can experience for ourselves, when Jesus comes to take us home.

Many years ago I watched my Grandma Kocher rub a dot of hair dressing in her hands and spread it through her long, thin hair. She pressed the side combs in behind her ears, making her hair puff slightly. She proceeded to braid it all the way down to her elbows, wind it into a bun, and pin it at the back of her head.

I could never figure out how those skinny hairpins could make her braids stay put all day.

For as long as I can remember, she never wore her hair another way, except when she was working in the strawberry fields or stirring jam over a hot cookstove. That kind of labor warranted she cover it with a knotted scarf, tucking the corners at her forehead.

After enjoying Grandma’s steaming chicken and dumplings and a bowl of her home-canned peaches, and yes, warm jam on freshly baked bread, we patted our stomachs and moved to the living room. One of the stories I could anticipate hearing was about how she received comfort regarding the future of her children.

She started her story by explaining it was more real than a daydream, that it certainly had to have been a vision. She slid her glasses up the bridge of her nose, lowered her cheek into the palm of her hand, and looked past us to re-play what she’d seen.

Grandma had worked hard to support her family during Grandpa’s illness and death. Two of their sons were fighting in WWII, and there were still children at home to raise. She worried about them as they reached adulthood and left home, going their separate ways.

One day, while Grandma was praying, she saw herself leaving her mortal life and rising up to heaven. She felt incredible joy and anticipation about her coming arrival, but then remembered her children. She wasn’t sure they would all join her there.

She always stopped her story at this point to explain that she didn’t know if Jesus told her to look below her, or she just did it. Maybe she thought it remarkable that she could take her eyes off her incredible destination. At any rate, she felt compelled to look down.

With her eyes sparkling, she pointed to the floor around her feet and said, “. . . and there were my children all around me, going up with me.”

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 ESV

The person who posted the soldier reunion video warned that it was a tearjerker. I’d already watched it a couple times, but it touched me to the core again. All I could think of was how I will greet my heavenly Father when I see him in heaven. Like her, I just might let loose with an exuberant “Daddy!”

Kathy Sheldon Davis

Note: the artwork in this post is a commissioned piece created by my son, Joshua Davis, which depicts our family camping trips when you’ll find me in my old red jacket. I’m not planning to wear it when I meet Jesus, but, as Grandma would say, we shall see about that.

My interview on the Story Night podcast is live!

Yes, the podcast is live! Listen to my life story as told in my unpublished book, Memoir of a Living Doll, for which I placed as a finalist for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award.

I want to encourage you to take the next step in opening up your life of faith, like I did.

Start sharing the things you’ve been through and what you learned along the way, and you’ll open up new ideas, generate a clearer perspective, and even prompt a course change in you – or in someone else.

That’s why I shared part of my story in this interview.


“Kathy, a guest author at CalvaryMac’s Christian Writing Group, shares her story in a unique way . . . by describing the dolls she owned throughout her life and what God taught her in each season. 

“The lessons prepared her for everything from a trip to India to a calling to foster care.” – Jessica Campbell, Women’s Ministry Director at CalvaryMac Church

Love is . . . a Labor – 2 Samuel 24:21-24

We’re celebrating Dad’s birthday today.

I’m engaged in a labor of love, and I knew before I started that it would mean a lot of discomfort on my part. Since my vintage stand mixer retired itself because of its own age-related issues, I’m mixing the batter manually, taking lots of breaks to stretch the arthritic joints in my neck and low back.

I plod through the handwritten recipe. It has been more than a decade since I baked something from scratch. Well, except for a couple pans of cinnamon rolls which I’m not proud of.

Mom made this cake for many of Dad’s birthdays, likely as many as half, before she stopped baking. Her banana cake recipe was his favorite, and he especially appreciated the extra walnut bits she folded into the batter.

In the book of 2nd Samuel there’s a story about the king of Israel wanting a man’s threshing floor in order to build an altar to the Lord. However, the man, Araunah, tried to give it to him free of charge.

“Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Here are the oxen for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

2 Samuel 24:21-24

Dad didn’t expect, or even request, a home-baked birthday cake today. I chose to make him one because I love him. I’m thankful God blessed me with an earthly father who held me in his arms as a newborn and played silly games with me as a child. Who worked extra jobs to provide us a good home, struggled through his frustration in parenting a teen, and mourned his loss as he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day.

Yes, he labored and suffered for me because of love. And today I’m working through my pain to bake him a cake.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

May your Christmas be filled with joy and gratitude for the sacrificial gift that our Father in heaven gave to us when he sent Jesus, his dearly loved Son. Merry Christmas!