Thursday, November 25, 2010

They that wait...

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

With the Christmas season approaching, it brings back many good memories of a season in my life. The year was 2001 and my husband and I were waiting for my son, his wife and the two grandbabies to come home for a visit. In anticipation of them coming I had already set up the pre-lit tree and had taken the ornaments out of the garage. In my mind I could just see them arriving with the children to a homey house already decorated for Christmas. I was looking for a reprieve from the stress of taking care of my dear husband whose health was rapidly declining. To me decorating the tree and having everything in place when they arrived, would have been a spark of joy over the recent events that had taken place in our lives. But one night as I went into the living room preparing to decorate the tree, my husband said to me in a gentle voice “Let’s wait until they get here.” He went on to say that he knew that was hard for me, because he knew how I liked everything “just right”, but could I please just wait until the children arrived. I have to admit, it was hard to pass the living room over the next few days and see that bare tree standing in the bow window. Once I snuck in and just as I was picking up an ornament my husband’s voice came from behind me and said “Rooooooni”. We both had to laugh, because he KNEW me too well and had caught me red-handed!

Sometimes to wait is such a hard thing to do, and yet in this life God asks us to wait many times. I believe that waiting is a time to learn to trust Him even more. Sometimes it takes going through the process many times before we get to point where we can settle in and rest in Him knowing that He has it all under control and that it will somehow all work out. Our “Waiting” training as I call it, usually begins with small situations and in time you graduate to larger issues. But as you learn to release those things that you have no control over and many things that you DO have influence over…that is when your “waiting” season doesn’t seem so long.

That Christmas of 2001 was indeed a learning time for me. A little thing like waiting to decorate the tree instead of forwarding on with MY PLANS has served to change my life.
You see, after my son and his family arrived, my husband asked them that night to help us decorate the tree. And that night with Christmas music playing in the background, the tree lit, and the grandbabies crawling around and chattering, we all decorated the tree together. It was a scene to behold as my son twirled his wife around to the music and our oldest grandchild placed an ornament on the tree that was made by his father many years before. At one point I went over to my husband that was reclining in a chair, I took his hand and we just smiled at each other. He knew that in my smile I was saying “thank you for asking me to wait”.

You see…my plans, if I had carried them out would NEVER have produced the scene that my husband and I were enjoying at that precious moment. And to make it more precious it was the last Christmas of us all being together, that very next month on January 29, 2002, my husband went home to be with the Lord.
When God ask us to wait, we have to remember that it is for our own good. And the results that He gives are so much better than anything we can ever plan. This holiday season, may we all learn to seek God’s best for our lives. It is good to make plans, but let us seek His plans for our lives. And if it means we have to wait a while for things to happen, just remember, our strength WILL be renewed, we will NOT be weary, and we will be blessed by the One who loves us the most.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who will separate us?

“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still."
— Corrie ten Boom

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

A friend requested prayer for their family member that had to be hospitalized for a mental condition. While many with compassion rushed to let her know that they are indeed praying and believing God for restoration. One well meaning soul decided to question the decision to hospitalize and even offer suggestions as to maybe what they thought would be a better way to handle the situation. While I know that this person meant no malice, STILL it was not the time to question these people that were in the midst of suffering through this trial. They had asked for prayer and we should honor just that.

God is a BIG God! How many times have we sang songs about it…and yet sometimes we put Him in a box and think surely He could not work in a particular situation. All the time thinking that we have a better solution as to setting up the “atmosphere” where God can do HIS work better.

I remember when talking to a person about my husband’s illness and death, she said “Maybe there was some secret sin in his life that no one knew about, maybe that is why he was not healed.” I don’t know about the theology of that, but I do know that my husband loved the Lord and confessed everything in his life that he thought was not pleasing to God, trust me, he did. For many months what this person said troubled me, that along with the severe early stages of grief truly was a trying time for me. But after spending time with the Lord, He helped me to realize that He, the God of my husband was big enough to take care of any situation in his life and that He is Sovereign and cannot be separated from a person such as my husband, who not only loved God but served Him.

I have learned through my journey (and still learning) that God can work through any situation. I am reminded of the words of Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian woman, who lost most of her family and along with her sister was imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Even after seeing the horror and darkness in that concentration camp she was STILL able to say that “There is not pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” Even in the midst of darkness He is STILL there. So who are we to question whether or not He will work in what we may think is not an Ideal set up! Shame on us! Our job is to pray and believe, we can reach so many hurting people that way.

God’s love is so big that we cannot even imagine it! So deep that we cannot even phantom, so wide that we cannot measure! He is a Just God and His mercy endures forever!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bloom Where You're Planted

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” Philippians 4:11-13

I am sure we have all heard “Bloom where you’re planted”. Well to me this morning it related to my Mums on my front porch that I was watering at the time. They are so pretty in full bloom, in spite of the conditions…cold outside…restrained and contained in a pot, dry and without water (sorry…I did water them though), they get no real attention like my houseplants…and yet there they were this morning just blooming away.

It reminded me of us, sometimes we may not have the ideal situations: don’t like our jobs, don’t get along with relatives or associates, your money may be funny, age is creeping up on you, etc. There are a million and one reasons to feel that this is not your season to “bloom”. But take a tip from Mr. (or Ms.) Mum, “Yeah it’s cold outside, I wish my roots weren’t so bound up like this and on top of that my owner forgot to water me and I’m awfully thirsty right now, BUT GOD has given me THIS day to be here and I’m going to fulfill to the best of my ability the purpose that He has ordained me be!” (Use your imagination, of course a Mum can’t talk but I’m just sayin’) But the results…pretty flowers that I delight in.

We can be a delight for others and please God at the same time, by appreciating the season we may be in. It may not be perfect or even comfortable, but we’re here, He knows all about it, so make the best of it. It takes so much more energy and strength to complain and whine than it does to “shine”. Okay… I just made a catchy phrase”Don’t WHINE…SHINE.” That’s my motto for today…that’s right TODAY,God knows I'm a work in process, I take only one day at a time remember? Work with me here…LOL

This is your season no matter the state you find yourself in. And you will be there until the next season comes around and there will be other seasons…but bloom now, shine now and give God the glory!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"And he came to himself..."

One night while watching a documentary on MSNBC, it was about the DC Snipers. In October 2002, a man and 16 year old boy went on a shooting rampage that ended in the death of 10 people and wounding several innocent people.

The case worker of the young boy involved, spoke of how he had such a bad case of "lost identity" that he could not understand his accountability for the deaths of the people he had killed. He would say things like "I did what my father told me to do" and that he would do anything that he asked of him. He had lost all sense of who he really was. His sociopath state of mind was so merged with the older man, that every technique they tried to "seperate" the boy from the older man failed. That is until this determined case worker who was of Carribean descent as the boy, went back to his hometown in the Islands and tape recorded the boy's relatives. She asked his relatives to record their memories of the boy when he lived at home. The cousins, Aunts and Uncles begin to record their precious memories of what the boy was like growing up. Then one Aunt begin to sing what was the boy's favorite hymn "Great is thy Faithfulness"and did not stop until she had sung every verse.

The case worker took this tape back to the prison and played it for the boy. And this boy, who never showed any emotion of any kind, as he listened to the tape of these people who really loved him remind him of who he really was, his continence began to soften. Then the tape got to the part of his Aunt singing with her carribean accent "Great is Thy Faithfulness, Oh God my Father..." By the second verse he began singing along and by the end he wept for the first time in God only knows when.

After this session, this young man began to understand the magnitude of what he had done; that he must be accountable for the taking of innocent lives and all the pain and suffering he had caused. His case worker said "It was as if something BROKE within the boy and for the first time he remembered who he really was". He was also finally able to to say of the older man who was executed on November 2009, "I feel sorry for him because he went to his death not being sorry for what we had done.

When I think of this young man, that will spend the rest of his life in prison rightfully so for what he has done, I am reminded of the "the Lost Son" of Luke 15. Here was a man that did his thing so to speak in the world and when he had no place else to go, the Bible says on the 17 verse " And then he came to himself..."and he returned home to his father. The rest of the parable says his father took him in.

All of us at some point had or will have that moment when we will come to ourselves and remember who our true Father is. Sometimes even as a Christian we can become so sidetracked with the lies of this world as to who we really are. The lies that are whispered in our heads tells us that we are weak, we can't go on, give up, this is too hard, we can't make it and on and on! But when we allow the Lord to help us "come to ourselves", His Holy Spirit will remind of who we really are; we are more than conquerors, the joy of the Lord is our strength, we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength, for His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses!

Today if you have some how "lost" your identity, cry out to Him to show you the way back to Him and He will remind you of who you really are.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Not so random acts of kindness...

"But the fruit if the Spirit of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, KINDNESS, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Galations 5:22-23

Someone came up with that phrase a few years ago, about people "...doing random acts of kindness." While I do appreciate the effort and sentiment into getting people to take notice to others needs and doing something about it. I scratch my head when it comes to the "random" part. The word "random" means -"occurring without definite aim, reason or pattern; without uniformity; to do something haphazardly." -Webster Dicitonary

Haphazardly? hmmm Well I guess it worked for some people, I mean I've seen numerous commercials on TV of one person helping someone across the street and then that person returns a purse to someone who has dropped it and it goes on and on in a chain reaction. But does it really work that easily? There are plenty of people that will see an act of kindness and it does not affect them at all...that is until THEY are the ones that needed an act of kindness and didn't receive it! Come on! If we are honest all of us surely knows someone that is NEVER kind to people and yet they expect to always be on the receiving end of that same kindness. Sad but true.

Sometimes I think that those of us that call ourselves Christians forget that kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit. In other words kindness is something that should not be just "randomly" done by us, but should be a way of life. Now before you go thinking that I'm pointing a finger at you...just remember as the saying goes, that the remaining four fingers are directed at me! I will be the first to raise my hand as guilty when it comes to not being kind all the time. But I WILL say that it is very high on my "to do" list and I do shoot for it every day. You hear that Lord? (smile)

If we could see the eternal value of just being kind to each other and to those that we come in contact with everyday, I am convinced that we would humbly take the task very seriously.

When my late husband was ill and on oxygen 24 hours a day, I cannot tell you how much kindness meant to us. When we would have to go in a public place with his oxygen tank in tow, when from amongst the stares (though innocent) someone would step forward and ask if we needed a hand or give up their seat for him to sit down; it was a blessing directly from God Himself.

Kindness has lasting consequences, I STILL remember back in 1994 when I was hospitalized for a brain aneurysm. It was several days after the surgery and I was on a gurney waiting in the hall for them to take me to have a post op test done. As I waited, all around me I could hear the conversations of the staff, it ran the gamut of what they would have for lunch to how soon they wanted to get off work. I was only clad in my hospital gown and a sheet and began to get very cold. I was still recuperating from the surgery and did not want to move around a lot to get someone's attention to ask for a blanket, so I just laid there, shaking from the cold. I remember talking to God and saying I sure wish I could have a blanket as I laid there waiting... and just as if I had said it out loud a person came to me, and looking down on me with such gentleness and kindness, asked me if I wanted a blanket. I nodded my head and within seconds felt the weight and warmth of the blanket they placed on me. Let me tell you at that moment just that act of kindness towards me meant more than you will ever know and remains with me 16 years later. God bless that person!

It always brings tears to my eyes when someone is kind to me (I'm still working on a self esteem issue and feel I don't deserve it, but I'm getting better (smile)). Kindness is a powerful act, I believe that is what attracted the people to Jesus as He walked this earth. Besides the fact that He was God in the flesh and He could do miracles...I still believe that it was the kindness in His eyes, His patience with the children, the sick, the ones that no one else wanted to be around and actually everyone, even the ones that hated Him. His kindness drew them in so that they had to either accept Him or reject Him for who He was. And I do not believe that His kindness came any easier than ours would. But He showed us that though it may not be easy to be kind, it is necessary. Because in doing so, we are the ones that are truly blessed with eternal consequences.

The other day I sat in my car at the gas station and across the isle a woman sat in her car with her two small children. She was crying almost uncontrollably , tears streaming down her face as she mouthed over and over again "Oh my God! Oh my God!" I looked away at first not wanting to stare, but my heart drew me back to her, sitting there, her children playing innocently in the back seat as she wept her heart out over God only knows. And then I remembered my times of despair, of pain and what it felt like. So taking the risk of being cursed out or told to mind my own business, I spoke out to her over the isle and asked if she was okay. She nodded her head but still with tears pouring out of her eyes. I then said to her " Miss, hang in there, it will be alright, take care of yourself." With that said she spoke back over to me with tears still streaming down her face "God bless you mam...God bless you!" I may never see this woman again on this earth, but as my sister and I prayed for her later, I hope that some how she knew that in her despair, in her time of pain and sadness, in this world that does not seem to care, there was someone crazy enough to shout out over the isle at a gas station to see if she was alright, and that just as I saw her, God could see her too.

Don't let your acts of kindness be just "random", be ready at all times to reach out and be kind to someone, because in doing so you will be so blessed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Memories...

" To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to break down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance..."

Summer memories...I was just thinking about them today; seeing that we are smack in the middle of the season. Funny how when it's Winter, we usually yearn for the warmer season and vice versa. With the tempatures reaching triple figures recently, I looked back on our snowed in days and thought "It really wasn't so bad with 12 inches of snow outside". (Don't think I felt that way back then though.)

Seasons come and season go, it's all God ordained, we can't stop them, so we all might as well settle in and enjoy the best of each one. So it is with life. There are seasons in each life and sometimes I have been guilty of not appreciating each one. It was with this frame of mind that I begin to think about past summers in my life.

As a child, summers were hot and humid in the small South Carolina town that I grew up in. But each summer was filled with lots of fun. My father and his brother built houses right across the street from one another. So my cousins and I had the advantage of never having to look for someone to play with. Our summers were filled with playing dodge ball, jump rope and hopscotch in the hot sun And the family picnics at Campbell's pond were the highlights of the season. Seems like food just taste better under that large shed at the pond. The delicacies that my Mom and Auntie pulled out of those picinic baskets make my mouth water even now.

And then there were the summer seasons with my late husband. We worked hard and looked forward to our yearly vacations. Most of the time we journeyed south to our hometown. We would start the week before packing and deciding what we would take. We would pack the car the night before so that when we woke up early the next morning there would not be anything to do but get dressed and climb into the car. We would arise before dawn to head to the nearest Dunkin Donuts to get REAL coffee and crullers. Neither of us drank caffeine, so this treat of having REAL coffee was to stimulate us to stay awake and alert for the long drive. But let me tell you, that caffeine not only kept us awake but it stimulated us to talk a mile a minute about subjects we didn't even know we knew about! Everything from A to Z, nothing was left out. The caffeine had us talking and laughing so much, a passerby would have thought we were on speed or something! And it was really funny when we jabbered so much until we would lose our train of thought and had to start a whole new subject! What could have been a boring 10 hour road trip, turned out to be the most fun, hilarious and dare I say talkative adventure of our summer! Funny! We looked forward to our summer trip and caffeine "fix".

I appreciate those times now more than ever. Loved ones have gone on and are dearly missed. Those past summer seasons are now echoes that resound in my heart when I think about how God has blessed me to have such wonderful memories. We can never bring back those seasons in our lives, but we can appreciate each one as they come, because one day those seasons will just be sweet memories to treasure...treasure them now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Because you always came back for me..."

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders…”
Luke 15:3-5

“Because you always came back for me…” those are the words that caused tears to well up in my eyes in the middle of Pathmark Supermarket.

I ran into a friend I had not seen in a while, and in the course of our conversation and standing among the peppers and cucumbers in the fresh vegetable section, she began to tell me about a student of hers. This woman has been in education for many, many years, has seen and experienced a lot. She has taught and helped many from all backgrounds, but when this little guy was put in her charge she knew that it was an unusual case. This little guy though he had the ability to speak, had not spoken the entire time he was in that particular school. Further investigation showed lots of bad issues at home and non-physical abuse. So this little fellow had simply just “shut down” from life.

This woman loves children and teaching, so she was determined not to give up and let this little guy fall through the cracks of the system. She was not willing to let him be labeled for something that he was not. So each day even though he would not speak, she would talk to him and tell him how she knew he was really smart and how eventually he would speak to her. This went on for quite a while with no positive results. She would meet with him and do all the talking while he just sat there, unresponsive to any attempts to reach him. With little to no encouragement from others, she still persevered and continued her meetings with him.

Finally one day after months, she came in to their meeting with her usual cheerful “Hello!” But this time instead of getting a sullen stare, she heard “Hello”. At first she said she thought she was hearing things, but when she repeated her greeting and he responded again she was overjoyed! She grabbed him and hugged him tight and through her tears she asked him why he decided to speak to her today. And he responded in a soft voice, “Because you always came back for me.”

Isn’t that like all of us, at some point in our lives we are looking for someone just to not give up on us, for someone to care? We may not all have major issues like this little boy, but we all have some kind of issues and I’ll be the first to raise my hand. And we all just need someone to care enough to not throw us to the side to be trampled upon and forgotten.

I’m so glad that Jesus didn’t forget about me, that He came back time after time to knock on the door of my heart. There were times that I rejected Him, even cursed Him (yes I did). And yet He kept coming back until His love wore down every excuse I had for not receiving Him. He knew me better than myself and He knew the plans He had for me (Jeremiah. 29:11)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

What a wonderful honor it is to be a mother, to think that God would entrust us to carry and give birth to His creations. And what an honor it was to have my mother. I miss her...even though I had her for almost 77 years, to me it was still not enough time. Not enough time to hug her, to share with her during our Saturday morning phone talks, to laugh with her. But I believe that she was ready to go home, home to be with the Lord and with my Dad that had passed a little over a year before. So when I begin to get sad I have to remind myself that she and my Dad are "Together forever in the presence of the Lord", which is engraved in their shared memorial headstone.

It's ashame that we don't realize sometimes totally how blessed we are to have a good mother until we actually become one ourselves. Because then we can see and experience the sacrifices, the pain and most importantly the joy that our mothers went through for us. How many times have I heard mothers say "there is no pain like childbirth pain" and yet that pain becomes just a memory when you see the look of love in their eyes for their children. And if it meant going through it again to bring another child in the world, they would do it.

Unfortunatly in today's society some people see motherhood as an inconvenience, hence the high abortion rate. But on the other hand you have women that will go to any lengths to have a baby, some well into their forties.

With the desire to be a mother, no matter how much money it takes, or how many painful procedures they have to endure, woman have forged ahead and will not stop until absolutely every option has been tried. And there are women that will adopt a baby no matter the race, color or physical disablity, because of that desire to nurture, to be a mother.

It is truly a blessing to be a mother and to have had a wonderful, loving mother. She instilled in me so many good things that I will treasure forever. I looked in the mirror a while ago and thought "I'm becoming my mother!" As I get older, I have more of her gestures and mannerisms, even talk like her. While there are comedians that make a joke about this, I count it an honor. I thank God that SHE thought it an honor to be a mother and presevered, despite my teenage shenanigans, to fulfill that role. So that I would have the tools I needed to be a good wife and mother. She fulfilled her purpose here on earth and I pray that I will someday do the same. Thanks Mom

P.S. To all you mothers out there that feel sometimes like you haven't done your best and sometimes feel like you want to just throw in the towel, remember none of us are perfect. God has given you this privelege, so pick up that torch and keep on running. Even if tears and snot are flying, run on! God WILL help you to be a good mother.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Help

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber."

Psalms 121:1-3

Some days all you need to know is that He is keeping is one of those days for me. I am thankful for the assurance.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Comforter

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Pretty, yellow tulips, yes that’s what I want! The color of the flowers matched the bright sunny Easter day! After making my purchase I proceeded to drive to the cemetery. A place I used to dread going, but now that my husband’s memorial is there, I see the visit in a much different light. It is a time to meditate and tell God all about what I’m feeling. I don’t visit that often and have learned to only go when I feel the need.

After arranging the sunny yellow tulips in a container and placing it at my husband’s headstone, I begin to talk to my Father. It is a very intimate relationship I have with Him, He knows all about me and my shortcomings, how I miss the mark sometimes, how I fail and disappoint Him. And yet, I still feel free to come to Him and share openly how I feel…and He listens patiently. He is not shocked or surprised when I tell Him I am angry or frustrated. He does not reject me because I am not what we would consider “perfect”. He knows my hurts, my needs and He listens patiently.

When I am done silently emptying myself, it is then that I look up and see the flowers that have been placed on all the other gravesites. As far as I could see there were flowers, crosses and other memorials. Some had left stuffed animals and there were little flags flapping in the wind. And as I began to look around I saw the people; an elderly man placing flowers on a grave of perhaps his wife, a young woman kneeling at a site with her head bowed, a family surrounding a site, heads bowed, a man standing alone at a site looking off into the distance and a man helping an elderly woman, perhaps his mother, to place flowers on a site.

My tears no longer flowed for me and my loss, but they flowed out of compassion for them as the Lord spoke gently to my heart “You are not the only one that mourn”. Oh how my heart went out to them and I began to pray that somehow they would find comfort in the one true God.

When my focus was taken off of me and onto others, then I was able to experience the “Heart of God”. There is not one person that has not suffered some kind of loss and He wants to be our Comforter.

If you have experienced any kind of loss, whether it be a job, a marriage, a childhood or a loved one; please know that He is your Comforter, He wants to meet you at your need. You can talk to Him and He won't be the least shocked or suprised. Tell Him all about your hurt, you needs and He WILL be your Comforter.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

“You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe. I am not afraid of anyone. You protect me, and I have no fears. Brutal people may attack and try to kill me, but they will stumble. Fierce enemies may attack, but they will fall. Armies may surround me, but I won't be afraid; war may break out, but I will trust you.” Psalms 27:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)

I’ve written about this scripture before, but that’s the way God’s Word is; though it never changes, it can give you what I call “Customized encouragement” for what you may be going through at the time.

This time these words remind me that I am not alone, and not unprotected. Living as a widow for the past eight years has been a journey and learning experience. The Holy Spirit has been not only my “tour” guide on this journey, He has also been my teacher. Back at the end of year 2008, I felt like the Lord was encouraging me to seek more “Wisdom and Understanding”; to get to know Him better. And that He would give me more wisdom and understanding by observing simple everyday things. Thus with the help of my son while sitting at his kitchen table in sunny California, the beginning of this blog, and God has been faithful.

So many times we look for revelations through big happenings, when I believe He wants to speak to us in the very simple things of life. And so it was this morning as I was getting ready for work that I noticed water dripping from the breakfast area of my kitchen. ARRRGHHHH! Through some inspections with the help” of my Chihuahua puppy (at one point he grabbed my much needed flashlight and ran); I discovered what the problem was. New rain gutters and downspouts are over due on the back of the house. I knew eventually I would need to replace them, but these things always seem to come as a surprise.

Along with the completion of making arrangements to have the gutters replaced, came a feeling of weariness and self pity. These feelings usually come with the need and sole responsibility to take care of repairs and making life altering decisions. Before you call me a wimp (though I know that was the farthest thing on your mind **wink wink**) let me just add that until my husband passed, I had never lived alone. I went from home with a mom, dad and siblings to college with two roommates, to being married. So this living alone thing was absolutely brand spanking new to me. Over the years I have acclimated somewhat, but when things happen like my morning experience, the “poor me” syndrome rears its ugly head.

Oh yeah I almost forgot the part about the feelings that repair and sales people are trying to get over on me because I’m a woman and a widow (single). And though these feelings can be justifiable; I still cannot let my fear overtake my faith that God is looking out for me. So I am learning to get knowledge and feedback from people that I do trust and from there make the wisest decision that I can…the rest is up to God.

I am not alone… He has my back, front and everything in between. God protects me from all harm and injustice as I trust in Him. The Lord IS my light and my salvation! I will not fear because He is working it out for my good. Thank you Lord for reminding me that I do not walk this journey alone, I have you by my side, and sometimes You even carry me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

God is Happy!

The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

I love this scripture; it speaks of God’s restoration to a people that were in exile and being held captive by a very hostile nation. A people who in no doubt had suffered all that goes along with being taken from your home and held prisoner for years. The writer of this book of the Bible was a prophet who had the undesirable job of telling the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; even it meant bad news…for a season. Zephaniah tells them in no uncertain terms of their rebellion to God, but in verse 17 he begins to tell them that God; who is a God of Justice, is also a God of Mercy. (Micah 7:18 says God does not hold His anger and delights in His mercy)

God’s Mercy restores, and He is glad, rejoices and delights in restoration! God is happy when we are happy, He rejoices when we rejoice! He is not happy when we go through trials or suffer; He is touched by our feelings.

About 2 years ago, I was visiting family on the West coast. On our way home from the beach, I sat in my most favorite spot; in the back seat of the car beside my grandson and granddaughter. It was there where I made up stories and told them in my corny British accent. And where I asked them silly questions and they gave corny answers that made us all laugh. We’d had a great day and as we chattered in the back seat, my then 6 year old granddaughter drew with her crayon a picture for me; it was a picture of her and me holding hands walking on the beach. The sun was shining and she wrote “God is Happy”. I was obviously moved when I saw it and asked her “Why do you say God is happy?” She replied “Because we’re together and that makes God happy.” Wow! Okay I’m full right now just remembering that.

I’ve kept that drawing posted on my refrigerator ever since, not only because my granddaughter drew it for me, but as a reminder that GOD is HAPPY, He desires for good things to happen to me and for me, He is on my side. And when I do go through trials He is right there with me feeling my pain and doing everything He can to get me on the other side of that pain. And when I come out of that time, He rejoices with me, He delights when I am restored!

In this world we were never promised that we would never go through times of trial, but God has promised that not only will He be with us continually, but He will rejoice over us with gladness when we are restored! A lot of folks are going through some tough times right now, some so tough it’s hard to even imagine…and yet God wants to restore us.

Is God happy about the earthquakes, tsunamis and other catastrophes that are going on in the world right now? No! That does not make Him happy; He is still a God of mercy. As we entrust our lives to Him, He has promised that He will protect and keep us during these strange days. He IS in our midst and He rejoices when we rejoice. He is a Father that cares for His people. Those that have given their lives to Him are not orphans, but we are His children, His beloved. And He rejoices over us with singing!

Do you KNOW Him? Until you get to KNOW Him you will never understand His mercy. How do you get to know Him? By simply asking Him to come into your life, then and only then will you understand the Just and Merciful God, who really wants to give us Joy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39

I am a firm believer that God uses ordinary, simple things to speak to us. The prayer of my heart has been that I would know the voice of God when He speaks. And I have learned that He speaks to me through very simple ways, everyday experiences. I mean why He would need to do some gigantic demonstration of nature or send some mystical revelation, when I can understand what He is saying to me through the simple things?

I suppose this desire started when I was a child climbing my favorite tree in the backyard of my South Carolina home. I would climb to the top and look at the sky and birds and “talk” to God. I would tell Him all about myself, as if He didn’t know; and pour my heart out to Him. I always wondered how He would answer me, there was never a question “if” He would answer me, but with my literal child-like faith I only wondered how.

In these days and times I have to go back to that tree in my backyard. Not physically, but in my heart I have to remind myself of how I used to simply pour my heart out to God and trust with child-like faith that He not only listens, but answers in His own way.

This morning I admit I was a little low, February can sometimes remind me of a lot of sad things. And in the process of going about doing my regular routine I needed to make a trip upstairs. I did not want my new puppy to follow, so I block all entrances to the stairway. But not long after getting upstairs, I heard the pitter patters of little paws, the puppy had somehow (and I don’t know how he did it) gotten through all barriers and made it upstairs to me anyway. At first I was angry, but when I saw how happy he was to see and be with me, my anger turned to laughter!

As I grabbed him up and hugged him, I was reminded of the scripture I’ve written above; that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. No matter how we may try to put up barriers of unbelief, pain, rejection, or self pity (which was in my case), God’s Love is still there. For those of us that have pets we know about their unconditional love. You can yell at them and tell them to “Go!”, but they will always welcome you with love every time they see you. Well God’s unconditional love is a trillion gazillion times bigger than that! No matter how we may feel as if He may not love us, because of things we’ve done or failed to do, He still loves us. No matter how high or wide the barrier we may have put up, His love is big enough to penetrate it and welcome us to partake if we want to.

The self pity, anxiety and depression I was feeling was swept away as I held my puppy and remembered with thankfulness of God’s unconditional love.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of His praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. Psalms 66:8-9

“…kept our feet from slipping.” That phrase has taken on a whole new meaning to me now. I know that figuratively/Biblically it means “kept from falling spiritually” but guess what? A few days ago, I experience being kept from actually slipping!

Here’s the scenario, its 5:00 AM, still dark outside, light snow on the ground. Now add to that a two and a quarter pound puppy in the process of being potty trained and me, a middle aged woman in pajamas, hair in curlers and house slippers (no pun intended) on. Both the dog and I were still a little skittish from a few days before when about 8 deer shot out from between the houses. We heard them first then out they ran down the lawn and across the street, where they stood for a few minutes looking at us as if WE had invaded THEIR territory, the nerve. With this experience in mind we, the dog and I “tip-toed” out that morning looking in every direction. But there was one direction I guess I didn’t look…down at my feet! I know there’s a spiritual lesson in this, but I’ll maybe talk about that later.

As I was encouraging (ahem) the pup to hurry and do his “business”, I took a step and all of a sudden I could feel myself falling. Now the funny thing about falling is that while your body is about to do one thing, your mind is sort of like preparing you for what’s going to happen. So while my feet are slipping, in my mind I am preparing myself to go down, I could even picture it (I know, I know where was my faith), but at the time I was feeling like one of the Three Stooges and asking myself why did I come out in the snow in house shoes that have absolutely no traction on the sole. (There’s another lesson “No traction on your soul” hmmm)

But a funny thing happened, as I was slipping and sliding and preparing to fall, by the way the puppy had gotten far out of range and was just standing there checking out the show. But a funny thing happened; I felt something or better yet someone brace my back. Just as if someone was standing behind me and stepped up to give me support. When this happened I was able to stand straight up and not fall at all!

This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, do I believe it was an Angel, you bet ya I do! And I hope it won’t be the last time one shows up to help me out.

So yes, that scripture has an even deeper meaning to me now. When I thought I was going down, He literally kept my feet from slipping. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

His Plans

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

In a couple of weeks it will be the 8th anniversary of my husband’s passing into Glory and I still miss him like it was yesterday. It has been quite a journey, but I can truly testify that the Lord has been with me every step of the way. Most of the stages of grief have passed, I no longer ask “Why?” or “Only if…” there is no anger or frustration. I no longer walk around in a daze as if I’ve somehow lost my way. The real, physical feeling of having a missing limb or body part has somehow left me. Though I still cry, the raw pain and gaping wound of loss is gone and what remains is indeed a scar, but a scar of the testament of the keeping Grace of God. Just like with a physical wound when it has been healed to leave a scar, you can look at it and remember the pain, but it is only a memory.

I don’t know if there is any truth in the saying that “Time heals all wounds”, but I DO know that God can heal ALL wounds. He has proven Himself to me over and over again; and if for some reason He decides to never prove Himself to me again; I know, that I know He is a Faithful God, I know that He is closer than any brother; I know that He is the comforter and that He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.

In the 29th chapter of Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah is writing a letter to the remaining captives of Babylon. He is encouraging them to “hang in there”. Even though they were kidnapped from their homeland (Jerusalem) and forced to live in a pagan country, Jeremiah encourages them to continue living, to marry, have children, to make homes. He tells them to “keep peace” within their households and in doing so, peace would come to that land. And that even though God had caused their captivity…YES that is what the Word says, GOD caused them to be in captivity; he goes on to give this word in the 11th verse; promising them that God has not forgotten them, that He has plans for them, to give them a hope and a future.
I imagine that it was probably hard for them to believe that God had a plan for them after all they had been through. The same goes for us as we go through trials; we wonder “Lord, are you going to work this out and when?”

Through the trial of losing my spouse right after the loss of other close relatives, there were times in my grief that I wondered and even asked my Father “Do you still have a plan for me?” And He always gave me the assurance that as I trusted Him one moment at a time that in His time, He will reveal my purpose. And in the mean time that I should “keep peace” within my spirit and soul, for in doing so I would bring peace to those that come around me and to just keep breathing…keep LIVING. Living in His Word, His Joy, And His Love!

Can I encourage you today? If you are going through a trial or maybe you are at a season in your life where you are wondering “does God have a specific purpose for me, has he forgotten me in this trial?” Let me assure you that He does and He has not forgotten you. Just keep living in Him; and in His time He will reveal it because He has great plans for you!