Sunday, October 15, 2017

He IS on our side!

A new day! Another opportunity to live, breathe, and make a positive mark on this earth! What a Blessing! 
If the Lord had not been on my side, working in my life, protecting, directing, defending, forgiving, chastising, etc. etc. me, where would I be? I may not have had armies of enemies chasing after to kill me like the Israelites did in Psalms 124, but there were times when my circumstances felt like it would have been easier if it was the seemed that way to me at the time anyway. But God's faithfulness has always brought me through!
Surgeries (including brain), deaths, disappointments, betrayals, hurts, rejections, when I look back I can see His Hands carrying me. Even when I may have felt that He was not there, I can see now how He actually was.
Someone once said that when you are taking a test in school the teacher/instructor does not walk around talking to you, but sits or stand quietly in the room watching over you, never leaving the room. In our lives when we have gone through trials, He has never left us, He has always been there, whether we feel like He was or not. The faithfulness of God, I cannot explain it, cannot put it into words, all I know is that He has been and always will be there. 
The cold January morning when I walked out of the hospital after leaving my husband's body, I did not know what would be the next step, but when the cold air blew across my face and I leaned my back against the brick entrance of the hospital, it was as if the Lord whispered to me, "I AM with you"...and He has kept His promise. He has NEVER left me nor forsaken me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Today if you feel that you have no one to depend upon, or you are broken and on Him. He really is on your side, He really wants to be your defender, your protector, to show you real love. Receive Him and together we can say "Our help is in the name of the Lord! Who made heaven and earth! 
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters, would have gone over our soul.
Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalms 124

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Truth will set you free

Saw a young man in a parking lot the other day, using the foulest language you ever heard talking on his phone with his pants hanging down to his knees, ALL of his white underwear was showing. I didn't know what was more offensive, his language or his exposed derrière. While some may say "Well that's the style and you know how these young people are.", my spirit was grieved, so grieved until I turned to him and said "Come ON man...come ON now." He knew what I meant because he gave me eye contact and pulled up his pants. He kept them up until he entered the store and saw a young girl that he flirted with and then dropped his pants again to impress her (which she was... as she giggled and videoed him with her phone as he walked away).
Unfortunately we have gotten so used to seeing this kind of display we think nothing of it. We see bad behavior in our youth and we make excuses, we see even bad habits in small children and we ignore it as if it will go away. We see bad behavior in adults and say "Well that's just how they are." or worst "I just love them and let God do the rest." But isn't love about being honest and truthful? God help us...
Let me just say, I am a lover of people...period. Those that really know me, know that I am. I know that God looks at the hearts of men and not the outside. I know that what we wear puts no barrier on the fact that the Lord can and will reach out to whomsoever will call on Him. I know that we should not judge a person by what they wear or how they may act because we may not know their life story. These things I know...but somewhere, somehow the ball has been dropped y'all. Somehow teaching our children respect for themselves and others is disappearing. Somehow people that we have placed in leadership in every area of social, religious and political status are no longer accountable to God or us for their bad behavior and lifestyle decisions that do not line up with the integrity of the position. 
It is seemingly out of control and yet I know that God does not see this happening and stands wringing His hands as if hopeless. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and He ALWAYS has a solution. I believe He has given us that begins with us. There is a time to be silent, I even wrote about that once. But also there is a time to speak...not from the rooftops necessarily, but we can begin with those we love, those who come across our paths in life. Being transparent is one of the hardest things to do ESPECIALLY to those closest to you, but to truly love is being transparent and openly honest. Acceptance is not always the key to showing love. Even when we come to the Lord, yes, He accepts us as we are, but He loves us so much He helps us not to remain the same as we follow Him. We do not have the power to "change" anyone, but if we have the Truth and Knowledge of God's Word, the Bible, then we will be accountable for not speaking and sharing it with the ones we claim to love and care about.

I am not a "Fuddy-duddy", one who criticizes the young, nor am I a Debbie Downer, one who puts a damper or negativity on "fun"...but I am a follower of Christ whose deepest desire is to see true change in the hearts of men, women and children; that we would all know our worth to God. When we know our worth, then we will respect ourselves and others; we will willingly live lives of accountability to God and those around us.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Be still...

"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act..." Psalms 37
There is something about listening and watching the rain that draws me to wait and listen for God's voice in my heart. Amazing how He already knows what's in our hearts, but there is something special about
being quiet and letting it all just pour out to Him and in turn waiting to "hear His response...
I have been in the book of Psalms for over 15 years, ever since my husband's passing. The comfort, peace and joy the Psalms have given me is so encouraging. It is not the only book that I read but the Psalms are my "go to" just about everyday. 
When I came across this verse this morning, it confirmed to me that as much as I want to see things happen in my time, sometimes we need to just BE STILL and wait for God to act in HIS time. Yes, there are times when we must step out in faith and just do it! But in our hearts we know when it is time to just stop trying to make things happen in our own strength and just trust and wait on God to act in His own timing.
I had a wonderful earthly father and I have special memories about him. When he came home from work, he always had a treat for me, gum from the gum ball machine, books he salvaged at the paper mill where he worked, a package of salted peanuts, even LP records of classical music that he was able to save from refuse at his job. Even when he was at work, we, his children were on his mind, and he brought us things that he knew we liked and would give us delight and even encourage us (we all love classical music). How much more does our Heavenly Father have us on His "mind" at all times. He knows what delights us and encourages us in this old crazy world.
I waited on my Dad everyday to come home from work with anticipation, because I knew that he would be faithful in not only coming home to us, but would bring with him something good 
Our heavenly Father can be trusted as we wait on Him...not only to come to us when we call, but to bring with Him in His time something "good". 

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Work In Progress

"...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
Apostle Paul wrote this to the Philippians but I believe it for myself as well. I am a work in progress. Though the transition from my old sin nature to the new birth in Christ through the acceptance of the sacrifice He made on Calvary for my sins, happened many years ago, I am still a work in progress and I thank God for His mercy and patience. 
I was so reminded of that several days ago when I walked in on a not so nice conversation that someone was having about me. They were embarrassed and so was I to have caught them in the "act". Everyday my full intention is to have a good one, but we know that does not always happen and after hearing those remarks, my day was beginning to go down hill.
It is funny how quickly we can sometimes switch from jolly good nature to "I'm gonna get you for that!" Scary huh? Well in all honesty, after hearing those remarks, I admit I went into offense and pity party mode. Thoughts of how I could retaliate began to come into mind and really to put it into plain terms, I thought, "Honey you should have NEVER said that because now it is ON up in here, up in here!" 😕 Basically that old sin nature started to rise...for real y'all. 😒 But let me tell you how faithful God is! Just a soon as I finished planning my retaliation in my mind, the Holy Spirit was like "Are you done? NOW, isn't this the same person that shared with you some time ago that they have never read their Bible in all their years?" To that question reminder, I said "yes". Then the Spirit of the Lord said to my heart (in spite of my ugliness) "Then YOU be the Bible that she has never read!, YOU show her what I am all about, YOU be my Love, my forgiveness. YOU be what she has not read about Me."
O...K...well you know what happened. My feelings that were so quick to change from light to dark, thank God had not reached my heart nor my desire to be what God wants me to be. I am a work in progress, that is not an excuse, but a confession that I. NEED. JESUS! I need Him to remind me of who I am and whom I represent.
So, what did I do with the situation? I loved on her, my attitude changed and I admit at first it was a real act of faith 'Cause honey I sure did not feel it! lol But once I began to act on what I knew was right, the feelings soon came. I forgave in my heart and mind and showed it in my actions. I'm sure there will be more but hopefully fewer times that I deal with things like this, but I have the assurance that the work that the Lord has started in me, He WILL complete it. Oh how He loves us so! 
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Friday, September 29, 2017

Get to know His Voice

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand." John 10:27-28
There are so many voices in the world today. Social media can be very overwhelming and confusing if you read all the different opinions, thoughts and statements. Sometimes those outcries change so frequently it is hard to believe that the same person who spoke so vehemently against individuals or events on one day is the same one who post scriptures and memes about God's love and justice on the next day. Go figure. 
I don't know about you, but I have to be careful because sometimes my emotions can be highly affected by what I "hear". Things happening in the world can be very unsettling and while I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I believe that it may just get worse. That is why it is so very important that we hear the right things and most of all Who we listen to. Studies have shown that at a very early age, (some say maybe even right after birth) infants are aware of and can distinguish their mother's (and father's) voice. Some doctors encourage parents to sing and talk to their babies while in the womb, believing that the earlier they hear your voice the easier it will be to bond. 
When we surrender our lives to Christ, we become aware of a difference in how we want to live our lives, it then becomes our responsibility to discipline ourselves to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading, by reading the Bible and spending time in His Presence. Sure God is Omnipresent, but we need times when WE CHOOSE to be with Him. The good news is that there is no special time of day nor special place where you can only quiet yourself to spend time with Him. Any time or place that you choose to spend with Him is SPECIAL.
In any relationship, the more time that you spend with a person, the more you learn their ways, interests and hopefully their character. So it is with the One whom we make the Lord of our lives, the more we desire to know Him and spend time talking to and reading about Him, the more we can decipher His voice from that of the world. The days ahead may seem uncertain and the road rocky, but if we know His voice, He will lead us through those hard places and never astray. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

He cares for you...

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." I Peter 5:6-7
"You don't have to carry that for me, I'll manage!" That is my typical response when someone will try to help and assist me when I am trying to carry a large package. What may seem to be self sufficiency and independence, I have found in my case to be...pride.
Over the years I have gotten so used to doing things myself and doing it in my timing of necessity, that I believed that only I can do it and get it done right. I inwardly question the ability of the one asking to assist me, after all, I've been doing this for so long now, and basically I don't trust someone else to take care of it the way I would want it...pride wouldn't you say?
But I am learning that it is such a relief to relax and receive that assistance...
When I travel, I always say that I'm not going to pack much, but I always do, so when that airport shuttle driver asks to carry my luggage, you betcha I hand it over. When I arrive at my destination airport and my son takes my baggage, you betcha I don't fight over it and when we get to the house and my precious grandson says "Meemaw, I will carry that for you" (he's such a gentleman) you betcha I hand it all over to him! And I tell you, what a relief it is to not have to carry all that baggage myself. I can relax and know that it is all being taken care of. I am learning that it is okay to release and trust and receive. May sound crazy to some but the physical response can sometimes align with the spiritual...
In life, we carry our "baggage" around for various reasons. We may have been carrying it for so long until we don't even realize it until an issue/event causes it to raise it's ugly head and it all comes tumbling out. Things that happened in our childhood and adulthood that causes dysfunction and deter us from being all that God wants us to be can become that baggage that weigh us down and keeps us from living a full life; or we think that since we have been carrying it for so long that we can not trust anyone to carry it for us, after all we have learned how to manage it all this time...and all with a smile. hmmmm
It's time, it's time to let it go. Give that baggage over to the only One that is fit and able to carry it. Jesus knows what it is like to share your burdens. When He carried the Cross and at one point fell under the burden, and when they called on Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21) to assist, Jesus did not refuse. His destination was to bear the sins of the World on the Cross, that was His goal, and Simon gave Him the help He needed to get there.
What are you carrying? Let the Lord help you to get to your goal. Only you know what is weighing you down and making you just barely getting through life each day. Don't let pride stop you from being all that God wants you to be. Relax, release, trust and receive. Turn that "baggage" over to Him because He cares for you. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Let Him Carry Your Burdens

Repost from May 7, 2008


Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
"God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"?
Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts.. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind.
Isaiah 40:27-31 (The Message)

I am really tired today. It is manifesting as physical tiredness, but I believe that it is stress related. I am still in the learning process on how to completely turn things over to the Lord. And though I have come a long way, at times I find myself reverting back to my old way: Carrying the burden on MY shoulders. I mean we are clearly not made to carry issues and problems. I once watched a medical documentary on TV and they explained that the human body has recourse or remedy for every ailment except stress. We have antibodies, good bacteria, clotting and our immune system just to name a few ways God made our bodies to handle any invasion to our health. However when it comes to stress the body has no way of handling it, so what happens is the human body begin to “break down” in order to try and handle the stress. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” indeed.

So if we are not made to handle stress then I have GOT to let it go and give it to God! I’m so glad that the Lord has a sense of humor (What am I talking about? He IS humor, He created it!) This is a true story, my son and his family was relocating to the West Coast and along the way several things happened; the RV broke down twice and when they went to the place they had arranged to live, the person changed their mind and they were basically left on the street! The latter problem was conveyed to me on the phone around 11:00 PM Eastern time (that means I was on the East Coast) After hanging up the phone I realized that there was absolutely nothing physically that I could do to help them. Just as I began to feel my self slip into the land of anxiety, the Lord showed me a “picture” in my head of me trying to balance a large U-Haul truck, a car, 2 adults and 2 children on my back! The scene I saw was so hilarious I burst out in laughter and laughed for a good 10 minutes. When I finally got myself together the Lord helped me to see that’s how ridiculous it looks to Him when we are trying to carry issues and problem. The issue with my son and his family worked out just fine, as we prayed and to the best of our ability at the time, turned it over to Him.

So why do I sometime lapse back to trying to carry these things? I dunno…is it a matter of trust? What ever it is I’m tired today I need your strength, so Lord I pray that You will help me to turn it all over to You, only You can carry it. Only You can fix it. Amen

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's been a long time...

It has been a long time since I posted anything on this blog. I am still writing, but posting on Facebook. I have noticed that some of my favorite bloggers have also taken a break, I miss them, but understand. Sometimes you have to regroup and hopefully come back with new and fresh ideas.  I certainly hope this will be the case with my favorite bloggers as well because I enjoy reading them so much!

It has been a busy summer. My grandchildren and son visited in July this year, sadly daughter in law could not make it this time because of business. I always enjoy when they come! Not only do they bring so much joy, but their youthfulness encourages me to enjoy this life that God has blessed me with!  The week was filled with lots of shopping, eating out and movie watching, things that most teenagers love doing and when it was time for them to leave, I did not want to see them go.  I love telling them stories about when they were babies and toddlers, because to me it seems like it was just yesterday. I treasure those "baby" memories, but they only humor me as I tell the same stories over and over again!  LOL

It was also my first summer volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center. It was and is a joy helping those in need along with their babies. Lots of encouragement, love and hugs are needed as well as supplies for babies and children, and because of the wonderful people that donate, we are able to accommodate these precious women.  I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of this organization.

It is so hard now to believe that when I first retired a few years ago, I was concerned that I would get bored!  But now I wonder how did I ever have the time in a day to work full time!  I quickly found out that there is lots to do and take care during the day!  Of course I do get the chance to do lots of
fun things like Thrifting, Antiquing, Reading, going out to lunch and taking care of my plants etc, etc. (just some of the perks about being retired).  So basically , yes it has been a busy summer and I thank the Lord that I am able to enjoy it. I said that I would no longer add to my blue and white collection, but since I am able to shop early in the day, I get best dibs on the best bargains, so there ya go!

All in all it has been a great summer, and the season is not over. There are still plans to enjoy the Annual Parade of Lights on the Delaware River (an evening watching the boats show off their decorative lights), outside concerts and fireworks.  Hope that you have enjoyed your summer as well.

The Lord is still teaching me about myself and life. I am so grateful that He never gives up on me!  The more I get to know Him, the more He teaches me about myself and the more I am able to love others!  It is a good thing to continually grow in the Lord ! Thank You Lord!

"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good." Psalms 52:8-9

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Where does your help come from?

“I just don’t know how we are going to survive?”, “This country is going to be destroyed now!”  “My children are having nightmares because they are so afraid of what’s going to happen!”  

These are just a few of the mass hysteria questions and comments that saturated social media last November and on through the winter. It affected me so badly that I had to take a hiatus from Facebook in January, just to minimize all the hysterical and yes nasty comments and memes that were being posted.

The TV and radio news were the same, so that went off too.  Call me a wimp, but to be honest it grieved my soul so much until it affected my health. Heart palpitations, stomach upset, and anxiety, not because I was worried about the future of this country, but because of the arguing, bickering and just plain awful attitude that some people began to exude. Since this affected me so negatively, I wondered and worried what kind of impression this would have on the people of this country and the world, those who may not follow Christ or even believe in God. 

Since we are a country supposedly built on the foundations of our beliefs in God, even have “In God We Trust” printed and stamped on our currency…what was and is all the hysteria about?  What is that saying to a world that so desperately are seeking answers; if we that call ourselves Believers are exemplifying the same hysteria as they may feel?

It seemed that all the degrading and insulting comments made was to prove that the election HAD to come out in their favor…or else. Even among Believers there were some of the most awful things said to each other because they “believed” that their candidate (both sides) was the right one, THEE ONE that would bring about Hope for this country…honestly, there is something quite scary about that premise, but that’s for another post.

Friendships were lost over this past election, but to me the worst was the example that was set and forever engraved in the minds of the very people that we as Believers claim to want to lead to Christ.  If Christ is Peace, Hope, Joy and Salvation to us, then what happened to it during the election? Did God suddenly renege on His Promises in His Word? Because what I saw was anger, arguing and gnashing of teeth (never knew what that meant but when I read it in the Bible, it sounds like a good description of what was going on. Luke 13:28) lol

It was a real eye opener for me, and it really showed the true colors of folks for sure. See I KNOW I’m not perfect, but this I do know, our help is in the Lord. Our help is not in a man. God uses men to bring about His purpose, but our Hope should not be in them. Our help is in the Lord.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”  Psalms 121: 1-2

You can bet your bottom dollar that God is interested in every tiny detail of our lives, so there is no need to panic. He sees the small and the big. He sees all the plans of nations that want to do us harm, and He also sees the anxiety and concerns we have for ourselves and our children. He does not miss anything and He’s got it. He wants us to trust Him and not put our trust in men. 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We as humans will have times of fear, but our confidence should be in the Lord and the only way to have that is to surrender those things which bind us and give them to Him.

Recently talking with a friend who lost a parent and they shared that there was a moment that the thoughts of now being an orphan (in a way) came to mind, that even as an adult, the feeling briefly came;  then I added that in losing a spouse, there are moments of feeling uncovered, unprotected. BUT we both agreed that though the feelings may come, our Hope is in the Lord! HE is our Father, HE is our covering and protection, Glory to His Name!

The most courageous thing that we can do is to be a light for Christ in this world. It is not about arguing and even defending what we believe is right, but it is in standing for WHO is right…the Righteous One. Jesus is the example that we should follow, He did not come with anger and insults, He came with TRUTH. He is Holy and He showed kindness and mercy. 

Have I made the mark…nope and I believe that God will continually be working on me until my time here is done (Philippians 1:6). But that’s just it, I have to surrender each day so that He CAN do the work. It ain’t always easy, but I want to obey and please Him. 

If we say that we are Believers in Christ, then it is not just mere words, but it is our actions. This world is crying out for Truth and those of us that have it, must be the lights to show the Way to the One and the only One that has the answers. 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Giving Honor

‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." Deuteronomy 5:16

I wrote this article back in 2004, it was published in the county newspaper. It still holds true today...

My mother's positive influence in my life has helped me so much in the past years. Through many events and phases in my life I have the blessing of remembering how my mother handled herself through some of the same experiences. Whether it was child rearing as a young mother, parenting a teen, experiencing an empty nest, caregiving for a sick husband and even widowhood; my mother’s example stood as worthy footsteps to follow. She poured into us all that she had and with God’s strength she did it to the best of her ability.

Each time that I reflected, "How did Mom handle this?" I remembered that she was strong, resilient and determined.
Strong through sorrow, resilient through trials and determined to live her life to the fullest.

My mother did not have an easy childhood, she grew up in a small southern town as the daughter of sharecroppers during the late 1920's and the 1930's. The south was deep in segregation at the time and life for her family was hard in so many ways; and yet with all that she experienced, she never allowed it to deter her from becoming a woman of distinction and character. She married young and became a stellar wife and confidante to my father. It may be understandable to use your negative childhood experiences as an excuse for not living a positive lifestyle as an adult, but my mother used her experiences as a "ladder" to take her higher where her dreams could be fulfilled. Her childhood experiences were hard, but she made a choice as a child to have a better life. By making that choice with God’s help, she nurtured and encouraged us as a family to succeed in life.

She never allowed me nor my siblings to ever feel that we were less in
some way to anyone. She taught us that we could do or be anything that we wanted to be if we tried hard enough and that we, ourselves were the only people that could keep us from achieving our goals.

She encouraged in us good esteem that gave us the ability to be comfortable in the presence of all people, no matter what race, level of wealth, education or social status. We were God's creations and in His eyes there is no special preference.

The love of a mother is a wonderful thing. Throughout history, many mothers have given up their own happiness, careers and even their lives for their children. Whether if it was during the years of slavery in America, the Holocaust in Europe; on every continent and from times past until now, there are stories of women that sacrificed for their children. These were mothers who by the Grace of God were able to gather the strength during great trials to protect and preserve what they believed to be precious and priceless.

Some of you reading this may say, "Well I never knew my real mother." or "I never experienced a mother's love." Well look at it this way, the fact that you are alive to think that thought is proof that you had a mother that loved you enough to give birth to you. The situation surrounding your birth may not have been ideal, but you're here! You couldn't get here by yourself...someone thought enough of you that they carried you inside their body for 9 months, and endured the pain of delivery. There was another option, but they chose not to go that route...and here you are! Praise God!

No matter the circumstances of your conception, your biological mother chose to give you the ultimate Surely that is something to thank God for.

My precious Mom went home to be with the Lord February 2000, and I miss her so much. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. She loved and honored her parents and taught us how to honor our elders and to show respect to all people. On the day of her funeral, so many people came by to give their condolences, people of all races, social and economical strata.There were many tears and stories, but one thing in common, they all said that she was their "Friend". She was always there to listen, to hug, to encourage and to love...she let her light shine!

This year (2004), 4 years after the passing of my beloved mother, I adopted a Mom. I firmly believe that women should have a least one elder and one younger female me it just brings about balance in life. We can both learn from as well as deposit into both friends. It's a win win situation.

This precious elder woman that I adopted lived in a nursing home for many years and seldom had any visitors, because her only daughter lived many states away. My visits to her may have seemed as if I was there to encourage her, when in fact she was the one that encouraged and comforted me.

For about six months we would laugh and talk together and when I would leave the nursing home, I felt somehow that the void of not having my mother was filled. Eventually her daughter made arrangements for her to come and live with her and that season was over, but I will never forget how the Lord put me and my adopted Mom together. I needed a Mother's love and God in His mercy fulfilled that need.

This Mother's Day, if your Mother is alive, cherish and honor her. If you never knew your biological mother, reflect on how blessed you are to have been given the gift of life. If your Mother has passed, remember her love and count yourself as blessed to have had her for the time that you did.

My Mother ran the race and has passed the torch to me, may I be faithful to God's calling to be a light in this dark world, to be a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend that listens, hugs, encourages and love with the love of the Lord. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Letter to my Mom (repost from 2012)

This was a blog post from Mother's Day 2012, I thought it is worth repeating...

Dear Ma,
Well, another Mother’s day has rolled around; this is the 12th one without you.  But your passing from this life to eternity seems like yesterday sometimes. I miss you so much.  And it seems that the older I get, the more I understand you…does that make sense?

I passed by a mirror the other day and wow I could see you in me so much…your mannerisms and movements! If I am becoming even a fraction of the woman of grace that you are I am so thankful.  I know, I know…during my turbulent teenage years I wanted to be anything but my mother. But now Ma, I am so thankful that you hung on to me during those times. Me with my smart mouth and “always having to say the last word” self; you hung on to me, even when I’m sure I broke your heart a few times.  Thanks Ma…only a Mother’s love can do that.
I can think of a lot of things I’m sorry for; like the time I missed your 50th wedding Anniversary; and the time after Dad had passed, I should have had more compassion, instead of trying to rush you through your grief. And even the time I never got around to trimming your hair for you on one of my visits. But I know Ma you wouldn’t want me to feel guilty about any of that stuff, because not once  have you EVER made me feel guilty about anything while you were with us on earth. You only showed unconditional love.

You gave birth to me with God’s help on a hot day in July after you discovered my older brother had splattered mud on your clean laundry hanging on the clothes line! (I love when my brother tells me about that day).  And from that day on you have been the most excellent example of what a real woman should be; strong, smart, giving, loving, graceful, a cute dresser and on and on.  You taught me how to be a good wife, even the part about “in sickness and in health”, when I watched how you took care of Dad during his illness.  Who knew that I would be following in similar footsteps?  And you taught me how to be strong and resilient during times of sadness.
You Ma gave me the gift of humor and laughter!  Oh the times we’ve shared laughing so hard that I literally crawled on the floor, because I was laughing so hard I could not get up from the spot where I’d fallen! I still laugh out loud when I think of some of the things we laughed about and your gift of humor has spread from generation to generation.  Thanks Ma!

I won’t be sad this Mother’s Day, because I know you would not want me to be.  You would want me to be happy and enjoy the life God has given me. You always would say to me “Roni, enjoy every second of your life.” And that is what I now say to my son and daughter-in-love, “Enjoy! Enjoy!
Thanks Ma for being a wonderful mother to me, and I pray that somehow God will let you know how much I love and appreciate you.  I miss you like crazy, but know that one day we will see each other again and Oh! What a day that will be.

With much, much love,
Your middle daughter,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Beauty for Ashes

Years ago on one of my trips to the West coast during the Christmas holidays, as a gift, my son and his sweet wife took me on an excursion up the Pacific coast. I’ll never forget the beautiful scenery. At some point as we traveled it was clearly the expanse of the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. We stopped at rest stops and admired the beautiful views. We even stopped along the way to visit the luxuriously opulent Hearst Castle and also saw the elephant seals come up on the beach to rest, it was awesome!

The other surprise of my gift was spending Christmas and several days in a beautiful rented house in walking distance to the beach, in fact you could see and hear the beach from the balcony off the main living area of the house.
It is there that I sat early one morning with Bible in hand and inwardly speaking to the Lord about my life. So many things had changed for me personally as well as my family. We, my son, his wife and I had all been through a series of losses and brokenness that felt like a never-ending avalanche of inner pain . My energy was spent on trying to understand the “whys” and “what ifs” that left me sometimes staggering under the weightiness of sorrow. We loved God and knew He loved us, but in our human frailty I admit, we hung on with a diminishing hope.

There was a stillness in those moments as I sat admiring the view of the ocean and the mountains, smelling the early morning sea breeze, with only the sound of the waves gently crashing against the large rocks on shore. Then in my peripheral vision I saw movement. When I turned my head there stood the most beautiful majestic deer, it was just a stone’s throw away. The deer held its head high and proudly walked even closer and just stood there as if in a pose to make sure that I had full view of his beauty in all its grandeur.
The moments seemed holy, so much that I was afraid to breathe less I dissipate the presence of God that I sensed and felt. I have seen many deer before, but this was different, this was true beauty that I was allowed to witness...

After a few more moments the deer darted off into a wooded area, but I still sat in awe of what I had just experienced. I believe God used those precious moments to speak to my shattered heart that even in the midst of pain and brokenness, God STILL has beauty; and if we trust Him with that pain and brokenness, He can make something beautiful out of it. Even when the ashes of our lives are so thick that we cannot see nor have the strength to search out the beauty, He will help us to gaze upon His beauty and find the strength to go on. We may not know how or when He’s going to do it, but He’s our Father and He WILL.

As we celebrate “Passover” and “Resurrection Day”, let us remember that Jesus became the sacrificial lamb to be crucified for our sins. That He did not come to just “fix” us, but to redeem us”; and He was the only one that could pay the price. His suffering and death were terrible to look upon, but out of the horrendous ashes of what satan thought he had destroyed, arose God’s beauty of His True love...His love for you and me. Isaiah chapter 61:1 reads:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Jesus in the book of Luke chapter 4 read aloud this portion of scripture in the synagogue and then said “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
He came to do just what He said He would do...He died, He arose and He is alive...
“To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

“Because he lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living Just because He lives” -Bill Gaither

-Veronica Y. Brayboy 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

When It's OK to Unplug...

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

When I tell people that I was up at 5:00 AM cleaning the house or organizing my files they think I'm nuts, but really it is just the habit I developed when my husband and I got up to  prepare for our day at work. There's only one thing wrong with being an early riser with an energy surge though, you get so caught up in doing some things, you manage to be late for others...bad habit that I am working on. Don't judge!

So as usual, I was up around 5:00 AM with tons of energy, it was then that I decided that I was tired of all the cords and wires under my desk.  My son who is a tech wizard, had already told me in a phone conversation that there were certain things that I could remove and did not need any longer, but since I am NOT a tech wizard, I just left all the excess wires and cords connected to my old computer.

Now don't laugh at me, but even though everything functioned wireless, I still thought that "just in case" I had to still be hooked into my old computer...I dunno so don't ask!  Hence all the extra cords and wires, which by the way were using up good storage space on top of and underneath my desk! Okay, I'll just say it, I was AFRAID that if I pulled the wrong cord, that I would forever be thrown into the internet-less abyss, never to be connected to social media and the world again...ummm yeah...

So back to the 5 o'clock surge of energy (without caffeine mind you) ...I decided that's it! The wires have to go. So with flashlight in hand I'm crawling under my desk to see which wires are connected to what and to start eliminating the ones I did not need.  I gotta tell ya, each time I disconnected a cord or wire, I did wince, yep...eyes closed tight, teeth gritted. You cannot imagine my relief when I was able to eliminate several without being disconnected from my source for the internet!

The excess cords and old computer put away, desk cleaned off and organized, I felt so accomplished and actually FREE !  With all the excess stuff removed I had storage for other new things and I didn't even lose my internet source!  HA!

Now here's what I learned...

For so long I was unable to let some things go, now I know that it really was fear. These things had been such a part of my life, relationships and places,even people, that with my type of personality, I felt that if I let go, I could not enjoy having a full life. That if I really let go, I would somehow be disconnected from my Source. You see, by not truly trusting

God's Character of Love and Faithfulness, I felt that I had to stay attached to these things in order to be on His good side. I knew that I wanted to move forward in the Lord, but also felt a sort of allegiance, maybe even dependency on the things I was holding on to...which left me going nowhere.  

Fear, something that God never gave us, can keep us from moving forward in this life that God has given us. Thinking that we are secure by holding on to things that we perceive as good, but are really leaving us "attached" to something we do not need and really is not working for us...that particular season is over.

Letting go is not an easy process, to disconnect can be painful at first, you may wince, close your eyes tight and grit your teeth...but what a relief when with God's help, you begin to see that you really no longer need that connection anymore.

Letting go does not necessarily mean that you hide yourself away and seclude yourself from people, places and things, but it means knowing in your heart who your True Source is...that you are free and free indeed.

Letting go means that you can love with the heart of God, unconditionally and not expecting anything in return. Letting go also means that you free others as you pray with a pure heart for them.

One last thing, letting go means that you make room for all the new things that God wants to do in your life..."Behold I will do a new it will spring forth, shall you not know it?..."  Isaiah 43:19