Happy Birthday DAD!

Today is my dad’s birthday! I am so thankful for my dad!

I’ve been thinking about the many things I have learned from my dad. As I started jotting them down, I realized that every single one that I immediately thought of is a Biblical principle.

Of course, this isn’t everything that my dad taught me, but these are the things that popped into my head.

  • Be in God’s Word daily – “Sin will keep you from God’s Word, or God’s Word will keep you from sin.” {Psalm 119:97}

  • Memorize Scripture {Psalm 1; 119}.
  • Work hard, knowing that you are accountable to God {Col. 3:23-24}.
  • Don’t be ashamed of Jesus Christ {Romans 1:16; Psalm 119:46}.
  • Never gossip or slander {James 3:8-10; Lev. 19:16; Prov. 16:28}.
  • Always honor your dad and mom {Eph. 6:2; Exodus 20:12}.
  • Don’t make fun of people {Mark 12:31}.
  • Ask for forgiveness. No matter how immediate or postponed {Col. 3:13}.
  • It’s better to be a fool in the things of the world and be wise in the things of God {Rom. 16:19}.

  • Pray about everything – the big things and the small things {1 Thess. 5:17}.
  • Never grow cold in your passion for Christ {Rev. 3:16}.
  • Believe God for big things {Matthew 8:8}.
  • Be quick to turn off the television or walk out of a movie if it dishonors Christ {Psalm 101:3, 119:60}.
  • Share your faith. All the time {Acts 4:20}.
  • Be wise with the money God has entrusted to you {Matthew 25:14-30}.
  • Don’t compromise your conscience, “It’s a slippery slope…” {1 Corinthians 10:23}.
  • Pray on the way to church {James 5:16}.
  • Know your spiritual gifts and use them {Matthew 25:14-30, 1 Peter 4:10}.
  • Tithe. “God always gives back…” {Malachi 3:10}.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you {Galatians 5:16}.
  • Know that no matter what happens, God is in control {Psalm 103:19}.
Thank you dad for all the things you have taught me, not just by teaching, but by example! Happy Birthday!
your only daughter

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. ~ Hebrews 13:7

A Wake Up

“GraceAnna, wake up!” Grant’s words seemed faint and far off. I opened my eyes for a moment to see him standing over me trying to wake me up. It was early. And in my mind, too early to be getting up.

AudreyKate was still asleep, which meant I should still be asleep.

A few minutes later I heard his voice again. “GraceAnna, I just put on a pot of coffee, get up!

This time I sat up in bed and watched Grant walk out of the bedroom. I quickly got dressed and came downstairs for a cup of coffee.

“I thought we could spend some time together in the Word on the beach before the day gets going.” Grant explained.

We had discussed this plan the night before. The plan had actually included getting up to watch the sunrise. The sun had already been up for an hour by the time Grant woke me up. We had both missed that.

I always want to get up early to spend time with my husband, but the getting up part is always difficult for me. Especially on mornings when AudreyKate has had a couple middle-of-the-night feedings.

I heard AudreyKate wake up while we sipped our coffee. We put her in the covered stroller, grabbed our Bibles and headed out to the beach.

It was mainly empty, except for a few early morning runners who were out. Like always, it was beautiful. The hues on the beach always seem to be more vibrant in the morning. We plopped down in the foldable chairs we brought with us and started reading.

My time in God’s Word was so refreshing. And I realized as I sat out there that I needed it so much more than I needed sleep.

I looked over at Grant. He was engrossed in a book called, “Heroes” by Iain Murray that I gave him for Father’s Day.

“Hey,” I said. “Thanks for waking me up.”

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” – Heb. 3:13


His Uniform

It’s dark outside, but I can see Grant’s shadow in our bedroom as he buttons his Marine Corps camouflage uniform. It’s 3am. He kisses me good-bye and I watch him walk out the door. Before I drift back to sleep, I think about how much I don’t like his uniform.


Gross! I say to myself as I pull Grant’s camouflage out of the dirty hamper and transfer it as quickly as possible to the washer. I think about the fact that he has probably run more miles wearing this uniform in two days than I’ll probably run all week.


The dryer beeps. I haven’t seen Grant in three days. I pull one of his camouflage uniforms out of the dryer and hold it close. I feel the cool metal of his Lt bars on my cheek and remember the time when I watched him walk away from me in this uniform. We had only been married a few months when he left on a deployment. I will never forget the moment when we had to say good-bye. I waved through my blur of tears until I couldn’t see him any longer. I think about how happy I am that tonight he is coming home.


I hear the car door slam. I look out the kitchen window and see Grant’s huge smile under his camouflage cover as he walks up to the back door. I love camouflage. 


I search high and low for Grant’s bald eagle and globe pin that goes on his dress blues. I cannot believe I lost it. I finally check at the cleaners and I find it in the parking lot. It’s smashed and cracked and now I’ll have to get a new one fast. I let out a frustrated sigh.


It won’t be long before my husband won’t be wearing his uniform anymore. I won’t have to watch him walk out the door in the middle of the night. I won’t be washing his forest green and desert storm camis anymore. I won’t have to say good-bye through tears and watch him leave for months at a time.
But that uniform that I have come to often disdain, I will miss.

I’ll miss it because my heart won’t be able to skip a beat when I see a mess of camouflage walk in the back door.

And when the Colors play,  I won’t get to see him standing tall in his dress blues.

But one thing for sure, uniform or not, he will always be standing tall.

Man of Honor

I can still remember that morning pretty clearly.

I was riding with my dad in our family’s old green station wagon. It was just the two of us and we had just finished a daddy/daughter breakfast date at McDonald’s. I had ordered the sausage biscuit and my dad ordered the hotcakes like always.

I was five or six years old.

On our way to the church office after breakfast we sang songs like, “Old MacDonald” and “This is the Day” together. I loved to sing.

After singing, I remember my dad explaining to me why Jesus died on the cross. He told me that Jesus died because I was a sinner and my sin deserved to be punished.

He told me that Jesus took my “spanking” by dying for me.

It wasn’t the first time that my dad had told me about Jesus. From as early as I can remember my parents were talking to me about God.

All I knew was that I wanted to know Jesus. I wanted Him to be my friend. My dad told me that Jesus wanted to be my friend too and that’s why He came to earth and died.

All I had to do was believe in Jesus.

I did.

I don’t know why that particular memory of us driving to the church office is seared in my mind.  Maybe it’s because we ate at McDonald’s, maybe it’s because we were singing, but I think it’s probably because God was working in my heart through the words of my dad.

Driving with my dad to the church office was something that my brothers and I did a lot since we were the pastor’s kids.

I never resented being a pastor’s kid. I embraced it.

But it wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was really hard.

I remember one day getting really upset because someone said something mean about my dad. I was hurt and I wanted to defend him.

I went to my dad and told them what they had said and I fully expected him to get upset, but he didn’t.

He didn’t even say anything mean about the person who said it. Instead he said something nice.

I was so surprised. “Dad, how can you keep on going when people say stuff like that?” I asked. I knew that if someone said something like that about me, I would just quit.

I’ll never forget my dad’s answer. He said, “GraceAnna, if I were in ministry simply to please people, I would have quit a long time ago. I’m in ministry to please God.”

His response shifted my perspective off of others and onto Christ.

I let my frustration go, and instead looked to Christ.

The word “honor” is not a word that I use very often. But when I think of my dad, I think of this word.

To honor someone is to go beyond respect and to bend over backwards to show respect for other people.

My dad showed me what the word honor meant that day. And he showed it to me so many more times, and he still shows me what it means today.

I’m thankful for my dad on this father’s day for so many things. But when I think of what I’m thankful for most, it’s that He has always pointed me to Christ.

And he has sought to live His life so that others would see Christ.

Thank you dad for introducing me to my perfect Heavenly Father.

I love you. Happy Father’s Day.

Hymns for a Kid’s Heart

My mom used to rock my brothers and me to sleep every night singing hymns. My Grandma did too. I have lots of verses of hymns memorized that I sing to AudreyKate every night. I wish I knew more.

A couple years ago I picked up a book called, “Hymns for a Kid’s Heart” from my church bookstore in N.C. I thought I would save it for my kids one day.

However, I pulled it out yesterday because my nephews spent the night. We used it for our morning devotions. Yesterday we learned about Martin Luther and the hymn he wrote, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” Today we read about Reginald Heber and the hymn he wrote, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” My nephew Luke loved saying “Reginald, Reginald…” over and over again.

Each hymn and story about the author is also accompanied by a Bible verse. Each “lesson” is packed with theological truths that can lead from conversation to conversation. Just this morning we talked about seraphim, what the word “holy” means and how important it is to thank God for everything.

And there is an awesome CD that accompanies the book, so we were able to listen to the hymns sung by children.

I found out there are more books in the series. I know I’ll be purchasing them for future little Castleberries.

The Face of God

I was cleaning out the trunk of my car this morning and I found this sermon on a CD. Grant’s mom sent it to me when Grant and I were dating. Grant gave this sermon in the summer of 2004, when he was just barely 20 years old!
I listened to it this morning and smiled because I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time I heard it. I am so thankful to be married to a man who tells me so often that he just loves God’s Word so much. I am praying for God to raise up more young men who desire to be pastors and teachers of His Word. And if we are ever blessed with sons, I pray that they would have a heart and love for God’s Word.

I especially love his armadillo story ๐Ÿ™‚