Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sharing tragedy.

Well, I managed to do as I said I would. I listened to my mom's favorite song. I spent a few minutes off and on throughout my day thinking of her and how I miss her. Then I wrapped Christmas presents and listened to Christmas music. I watched football and then went to a birthday party. I smiled, I laughed and I had fun. I never mentioned to anyone the significance of this date.

After returning home I received a text message from my dearest friend. A friend who visited my mom in the hospital just days before she died. A friend who listened to me when I needed to cry and relieve my sorrows. She was sending me the awful news that her own mother had committed suicide this evening. As soon as I read her message a flood of tears and pain overwhelmed me. Our mothers died on the same day? I called her, I tried to comfort her, but how can I really do that? There are no words that can ease the pain of the loss of someone you love, and to lose them in this manner is nearly unbearable.

I don't care how strong you are, or how spiritual you are, some things will knock the wind out of you. I will never understand this situation, but I know that comfort comes from God alone. Amy and I will always love each other for the things that we have in common, the fun that we share and encouragement that we get from one another. And now this...we will share the day that we lost our mothers. We now have hearts that are broken in the exact same place, and a date on the calendar that will hold the memory of loss and sadness.

Amy will get through this, because she belongs to God. We both belong to God and His joy is our strength. His word tells us that He is close to the brokenhearted. Dear Lord, please comfort Amy and her entire family. Let the supernatural healing and strength of your precious Holy Spirit lift them from tragedy to triumph. In Jesus name...amen.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moving on....

Tomorrow will mark three years since my mom passed away. I've been thinking about her a lot the last few weeks. In fact, in the last several days, I have been wishing that I could pick up the phone and call her. We used to spend many hours every week on the phone. She loved to talk and because she was mostly house bound, it was a way for her to be social.

As the years have passed, I have marked several important days in my life without her. She missed Steven graduating from college. I've celebrated birthdays without her, I've celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas Days without her. And most recently, I watched my daughter walk down the aisle to become a married woman without my mom by my side.

This year, I will do my best not to dwell on the anniversary of the death of my mom. I will do my best to go about my day as usual, even though I will think of her and that horrible day. My mom was fun loving and never one to wallow in self pity. I never knew her to speak of the anniversary of the death of her dad, or any other person that she loved. She just wasn't that kind of person. She lived for the moment and she didn't dwell on loss. In this area, I need to be a little more like her.

Her favorite song was the Rascal Flats song, Life Is A Highway, it was actually the ring tone on her phone. :) I'll probably listen to that song tomorrow, I might even have a little cry. Then I will go about my day...just what she would want me to do.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Unconditional Love

Tonight, as I was tidying up my bedroom, I was sort of watching TV out of the corner of my eye, and caught a story about a blind dog and his "seeing eye companion". It seems a pair of Great Dane's in England were in need of new home, and the local news ran the story that one was blind and the other stayed close by his side leading him and helping to keep him safe. They showed video of the dogs walking and running together. They looked at content as I've ever seen a dog. The pose that stuck me most was of the blind dog leaning against the chest of the dog that was not blind. It was such a sweet fact, it made me cry.

As I watched this story my mind instantly flashed back to an elderly couple that lived in the nursing home where my grandfather lived before he died. The man seemed to be in very good health. He walked well, seemed to have a very sharp mind and was as kind a man as I've ever seen. The only physical problem was that he was legally blind. He could see well enough to walk around the nursing home, but he said he only saw shadows and could not read or drive. His wife however, was in much worse condition suffering from alzhiemers. She didn't talk much, she seemed scared most of the time. She needed help with feeding and dressing and just about everything else. The husband would sit ever so patiently, feeding her everyday and wiping her mouth. He would hold her hand and tell her she was "doing great". He was so affectionate with her that you couldn't help but pay attention to them. He told me one time that she had been an excellent wife. He said she had taken such good care of him and their family and now it was his turn to help her. The love he had for her was written all over his face, and with every bite of food he gave her and every pat on the hand, you could sense his devotion to his bride.

I believe examples like this are a way for us to examine what unconditional love really looks like. It looks like a dog leading his best buddy, a blind dog, on a walk. It looks like an elderly man feeding his wife and telling her how wonderful she's doing. It looks like a wounded soldier falling in to the arms of his awaiting family. It looks like a mother holding a child in her arms who has done something wrong, and needs forgiveness. It looks like a savior giving his life for the worst of the worst and never considering saving himself.

The good news is, the two dogs in the story found a new home and they were kept together. It's very unlikely that the blind dog could have survived on his own after being cared for so well by his devoted companion. In my own life, I can honestly say that there would be no way for me to survive without the unconditional love of God. He has lead me when I could not see which way to go. He has kept me when my mind was full of fear an doubt. He has given me purpose and most importantly, unconditional love. I want to experience the wholeness of God's love and I want to show the wholeness of God's love. Someday, when Bo and I are old (older), I hope that you find us sitting together, holding hands and knowing that we will never be alone as long as the other is alive. In the mean time, my goal is to take notice of these wonderful examples unconditional love, and to take notice of the unconditional love I have been given.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time to set the clocks back!

Wow, what an exhausting, but rewarding week we have had. Kayleigh and Gabe got the keys to their house, and we started working on it Wednesday. It needed a lot of work and some TLC or HGTV or something! Anyway, after many hours and a many sore looks great! I was so proud of how Kayleigh went in there and worked on it and made it so cute. She did a great job of taking what she had, and using it to make her little rental house a home.

I know she is looking forward to the wedding, but looking forward even more to beginning her new life. Life on her own with her new husband; life as an independent adult. I also want her to move on with her life and become a responsible adult, a young woman who loves God and puts His ways before hers. I want her to become the wife that God intends for her to be; bringing glory to God in the way she handles her household and the way she takes care of her husband and family. (The proverbial Proverbs 31 woman..pun intended) But I must admit, there is a little part of me that would like to turn the clock back 20 years this weekend, instead of just one hour, as the calendar has told us to do.

When my children were young I used to think how nice it would be when they could dress themselves, feed themselves and get themselves ready for school, then I looked forward to the day when they could drive themselves to and from all of their activities. Then I started looking forward to the day when they would make their own money and not be dependent on us.'s time to let my little girl turn loose and let her leave the nest to stretch her wings and make her way to the new life she is so anxious to begin. I will continue to pray for her and for Gabe daily, that God will protect them and prosper them and give them peace and wisdom. That he will bring people in to their lives that encourage them and make them better people, and I pray that they become leaders among their friends. That they help others, that they minister to hurting people, that their house is a house of prayer and praise to God for his goodness and mercy. I will pray that they have confidence in God's promises to them and that they are humble enough to ask for forgiveness when they make a mistake. I pray that they raise their family in the ways of God and that they find His favor and mercy in every area of their lives.

I can't turn the clock back 20 years, but I can trust God to make the next 20 years beautiful in ways that I can only dream of. No longer looking forward to the day when this or that happens, but living in the here and now and enjoying the blessings and trials that make this a wonderful life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just what I needed.

I find that when I try to do God's job, I work myself in to a frenzy. There's nothing more exhausting than several sleepless nights, several worrisome days, and a nagging feeling that you're not making any progress. Well...why do I do it then?

I read a quote from Joyce Meyer one time that went something like this: Worry is like rocking in a rocking chair. It keeps you busy, but you don't get anywhere. That seems to be the theme of my week so far. But....

Just when I started to believe that God was not listening to my heart's cry, He comes through with a word that is loud and clear. I guess, if I had been looking in the right places, I may have found his voice several days ago, and saved myself a lot and time and turmoil. But...

Just when I needed to hear it most...God said "Let go". What a relief! He CAN handle the things that I can't. He CAN take care of those I love. He makes a way where there seems to be none, He parts the sea just when the enemy appears to be closing in.

Thank you Lord...for all those things you do...that are just what I need.

Luke 12:29-31 (New Living Translation)
“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Love is....

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

When I think of all the things that love is...I realize I've been a lot more of what love ISN'T, than what love IS. In fact, as I look over the list, I think the only one that I can truly say that I don't have a problem with is the rejoicing over an injustice. Sadly, the rest of them have been a challenge for me. Sometimes I am challenged by them daily. Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love. Oh boy, I need both!!

Today happens to be my birthday, and birthday's are usually a time for looking back and of course, looking forward. I have a lot to look forward to this year and I believe that God is preparing me for more wonderful things to come. I seem to hear Him whisper in my ear, "love me more, love people more, and watch what great and awesome things I will do". My birthday prayer this evening has been the same prayer I heard my Grandpa Burns pray a couple of years ago. "Help me Lord, to love you more and to love people the way you love them". I'm ready to be changed from the inside love Him more...from the inside out. I'm ready to be more like Him, to love like Him, to walk and talk like Him.

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Same Name

For unto us a child is born....and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them....let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole....for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4: 8-12

There's a new show on TV called "Same Name". The concept is that an ordinary person switches lives for a couple of days, with a celebrity of the same name. It was pretty entertaining to watch Mike Tyson, a white, middle-classed nurse, from Michigan, switch lives with the boxer, Mike Tyson. Not one person in Michigan mistook the real Mike Tyson for the nurse that worked in their clinic. I've heard people say "it doesn't matter which god you choose, as long as you're a good person, you will go to heaven. I'm sorry...but that is incorrect. I know in whom I have other name can save other name can heal other name can make me whole....only Jesus.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Made new...made whole.

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. Acts 4:10

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,“Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5

Transformation is an amazing thing. I've watched plenty of those shows on television where a decorator takes an ugly room in someone's house and completely changes it. I've watched the shows about people who loose hundreds of pounds and houses that get extreme makeovers, but a transformation of the heart is truly the most amazing of all transformations. Jesus can create in us a new heart; a heart full of love and a life filled with purpose. He repairs brokenness and trades our sorrows for his joy. How? We simply need to ask, and then my prayer today is for Jesus to transform make me make me whole.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flooded with light

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18

The neat thing about light, is that even a tiny bit of light can shatter the darkness. The neat thing about confidence, is that it chases away insecurity and fear. As my heart is flooded with light, a rush of confidence drives away my fear and doubt. I am swept away in light...and in His love.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen. Galations 1:4 (NLT)

God, our father, devised a plan for my rescue. How could you not feel special when you realize and except the fact that Jesus came with a mission to rescue you! To rescue all mankind....from ourselves (our sins) and from the world in which we live. A world that disappoints, distracts and destroys. But thanks be to God for a way of escape. I've been rescued!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Trouble with WEEDS!

I walked through my back yard a few days ago and thought to myself, as I often have, why are the weeds growing so well when it's hot and dry, but nothing else is?  It seems that weeds flourish when the rest of yard is suffering terribly from heat and drought.  Since entering the heat wave of 2011, I dread the thought of mowing or tending to the yard, or even being outside for that matter. With the sight of the weeds standing so tall and proud in my back yard, I started think about how, even in my life, it seems that the weeds always grow so much better than the fruit, especially when I let my spirit become dry and thirsty.

It takes some tending to grow spiritual fruit., just like it takes some tending to keep the weeds away.  Paul wrote that the things he should do, he didn't do.  And the things he didn't want to do were always present with him, even though he hated them. (Romans 7)  After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, one of the curses they now had to endure got it...WEEDS! (Genesis 3: 17-19) And just as the weeds grow so rapidly, with no tending, and no water, we can become overwhelmed by weeds that destroy our joy, peace and even our very walk with God.  Jesus spoke about the seeds that were planted among thorns (or weeds) that grew up and choked the tender plants.  He told of a farmer who planted seed and an enemy came and sowed weeds among his crop.  (Matthew 13) 

Our enemy is walking about, seeking whom he may devour.  To be sure we aren't devoured, we must tend to our spiritual back yards.  I've heard the saying, "not in my back yard"!  As Christians, we often have to take a stand and resist the devil, so that the weeds of discouragement, bitterness, doubt and unforgiveness, to name a few, do not overtake us.  The best way to destroy the weeds is to be cleansed and renewed with the water of The Word....the Living Water.  Oh how refreshing it is when rain finally comes after a long, hot, dry spell and the same is true when we dive in to the Word of God for a time of refreshing and renewal. 

Lord, help me to be good ground for your work, your word and a bearer of good fruit!

Matthew 13:22-23 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Friday, July 8, 2011

Obsessed with Life

These were the words on the card at the memorial visitation of Jeremy Fischer: "Jeremy loved life here on earth.  Because he had a personal relationship with Christ, his life is not over.  He has a new life-not of this earth but in Heaven with his Savior."    Jeremy was 18 years old when he and two friends set out for a 4th of July party this past Monday.  As so many young people have done, they were speeding and the end result was a tragic accident and all three boys died.  Life for the families of these boys will never be the same; their children are gone.  The Fischer family has decided to trust God to make sense of this horrible event and to use this opportunity to tell other young people about how they too can have a relationship with Jesus.  Standing there, beside that casket tonight, my mind went back to some of the other young people that have touched my life. Young people whose lives seemed far too short.

Joyce M. Saylor, was my husband's mother.  She died of cancer at the age of 19.  My husband was only a year old when she died and he has no memory of her.  I have always wondered what kind of mother in law and grandmother she would have been.  My own mother and Joyce were friends in high school.  I remember my mom saying that she would never have believed that she would be the mother in law to the precious baby boy the Joyce left behind.  This was a tragic event in the Saylor family, but they too chose to trust in the Lord and not to rely on their own understanding.  Her parents raised my husband, and they were wonderful grandparents to our children.  We lost them in 2003 and 2004.  I know there must have been a joyous reunion when they were finally able to hold their dear daughter again after 40 years of separation.

John Stump came in to our lives as a near homeless 17 year old, who needed a family and some stability in his life.  My sister and her husband, who was John's cousin, took him in and he became part of our family. He lived one street over from us and John became close to my kids.  I had the opportunity on several occasions to witness to John and we had many conversations about forgiveness and moving on with life.  He had been let down by a mother who was more interested in her boyfriends than her own children, and a dad who was more interested in drugs than his own children. John moved in with his aunt as soon as he graduated but we saw him occasionally and still considered him family.  I remember the day I heard the words come out of John's mouth, "I have testicular cancer".  I cried all day, I couldn't believe that a boy who had been let down by so many people, was now going to be fighting for his life.  Over the next 2 years we watched as he had many ups and downs, then he left us.  At the funeral my brother in law took me aside and said that John told him that it was because of our family that he had come to know the Lord.  He had prayed with a pastor before he died and gave his heart to Jesus.  

In contrast to these lives cut so tragically short, I recently said my final goodbyes to my precious grandfather.  He lived a very long and full life and set a wonderful example of faith and dedication for his family to follow.  As I took this picture this evening, my mind raced back to a dark stormy evening when I was 15 years old.  I was spending the night with my grandparents and I had been upset and crying most of the evening because a boy had broken my heart.  I remember my grandfather sitting with me at the kitchen table and asking me if I was ok.  Then he began to cry also and he said "Pam, my family means everything to me, I hate to see you so upset".  My Papaw was one of the most tenderhearted men I have ever known. 

The old saying is that our lives should not be measured by the date of our birth and death, but by the dash in between.  The dash in between Jeremy Fischer, Joyce Saylor and John Stump's birth and death is certainly not as long as that of Roscoe Burns, but the things that happened during their lives are no more or less important because of the length of their days.  I realize with the loss of so many family members in the last 12 years, I could become obsessed with death.  I like to believe that rather than being obsessed with death, I have used these things to try to become obsessed with life, instead.  None of us knows the number of days we will have until it is our time to leave this earth.  The dash on our headstone should be filled with love and laughter, family and friends.  It should be filled with helping others, leading people to Christ, cherishing the simple things that God has given us to enjoy.  It should be filled with all of the things that make us happy.  I like to believe that in enduring so many deaths, I have come to cherish the simple and beautiful things in life.  Bees buzzing in the flower bed, the sun streaming through the front window every morning, the sound of the piano being played in my house, lightening bugs, and puppies with their butts stuck up the air as they dig under the shed.  Old black and white pictures of relatives, the joy of watching a child open a birthday gift, the smell of a fragrant candle burning in the house or a freshly brewed pot of coffee.  These are just some of the things that make my day a little happier. I want to be so obsessed with life that I never fail to stop and admire the handiwork of God as I see a beautiful sunset.  The vivid colors of fall, the new life of spring; all of these things are much sweeter when you realize that they are part of the dash in between.

I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.  John 11: 25-26

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Just Shall Live By Faith

Feeling a little troubled in my spirit this evening, I began to get ready for bed and pray that God would lead me to a scripture this evening that would ease my mind.  Lying next to my bed, on the nightstand, was my Bible and it was open to the book of Nahum.  Nahum?  Who reads Nahum?  Anyway, this is my "Spirit Filled Life Bible for Women" and it has lots of little side stories and encouraging words from mighty women of God.  I started to reading through a couple of the stories as I turned the pages and then something caught my eye:

Habakkuk 2: 2-4  “ Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. 4 “ Behold the proud,  His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith."

Here's the Pam translation. Write the vision! Make it plain and expect it to happen!  It may take a while, but it will come to pass! Don't be proud and take matters in to your own hands...LIVE BY FAITH!

I read those words in my Bible, then I prayed, "Ok, Lord, I got it.  You Are reassuring me that all the things I have been waiting on are surely going to happen and you're reminding me to live by faith."  After this I started feeling a bit better and decided to flip through the New Testament and see if there was something else that I should study before calling it a night.  I turned to the book of Galations (I love Galations) and my eyes fell instantly to the top corner of the page where I had underlined Galations 3:11 "But no one is justified by the law in the sight of God. For the just shall live by faith."  So...what is God trying to tell me?  Have I missed something along the way?  I thought I understood this the first time; the just shall live by faith!  

Maybe the question I should be pondering is am I truly living by faith if I am worrying and troubled.  God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound why should I worry?  I think the answer must be that I am one of the proud.  No, not "proud" as in boastful and full of myself. But the kind of person that thinks I should be able to handle every I begin to have the conversation in my head that starts something like this: "why hasn't this happened there something wrong with me or someone else...maybe I should say something..maybe I should do something...maybe I should just let it be known that I am waiting on/expecting (insert need) to happen? Maybe...what if....I don't know if I should...I can't possibly just sit here and wait for....I have to do something. Worry, worry more, repeat as necessary. 

I believe that God is telling me to trust in the work HE has already done, and is going to do.  I can not fix every problem or right every wrong.  I can not make people behave the way I think they should. I can not change circumstances that are beyond my control.  Do I have enough trust in God to live by faith? 

Well, tonight I have decided to start where this evening began; I am writing the vision and making it plain. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Precious Memories

Today was a hard day for the Burns family.  We sat by the bedside of our wonderful Papaw Burns as he took his final breaths on Earth.  The day was filled with tears and memories of what a great man he was.  So dedicated to God and family and church. As I watched him slip away, I couldn't help but remember with fondness how fun he was when I was a child.  Always laughing and telling jokes and simply enjoying life.  He was quite the character, but time and age had stolen his zest for life. He seemed homesick for a place he had never seen, but had prepared for his entire life. 

One of his favorite songs was Beulah fact, I will be singing that song at his funeral; a request he made many years ago.These pictures were taken at his 92nd birthday.  I will never forget this day, not because we had a great time, or because he got a special gift. The most precious memory I have of this day is the prayer he prayed before we ate the birthday dinner.

 He gave thanks for God's mercy and love and for the family he had been blessed with.  Then he prayed a very eloquent prayer asking God to help him to love people more and to love them the way He loves them, and believe me, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. At the end of his prayer he said the words I had heard him pray hundreds of times in my life...."and we'll never fail to give you all the praise...amen".

I have so many precious memories of my Papaw.  I will hold them in my heart as long as I live. I never hear this song anymore, but it seems so appropriate as I reflect on the happier days I spent with my grandpa.  He was certainly one of kind...I will miss him.




Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Visit to the Cemetery

Yes, I visited Rose Hill Cemetery today.  Well, I actually went there to walk and take some pictures.  I love walking in the cemetery. It's so peaceful and beautiful and I don't think of it as a scary place at all.  My aunt Jean is buried there and my Grandma Burns. I stopped by their graves and paused in my walked to reflect on the memories I have of them.  They were both wonderful women and they are dearly loved and missed by many of us.

I guess the important thing here is that I was only visiting....but someday I will have a resting place just like my grandmother and my aunt.  I have given a little bit of thought as to where I might like to be buried, but I don't give it much thought.  I just assume that my last day on earth will not come for many more years. But it's important to remember that none of us are promised tomorrow.   We are here on Earth for an appointed number of days and then we will go to our eternal home. 

We were told on Sunday that my Grandpa Burns is in the final stages of his life.  Hospice aids and nurses are sitting with him round the clock and we have all been dropping by the nursing home to hold his hand and let him know we love him and are there for him.  I have watched the Grandpa that I love slip away over the last couple of years, but the Grandpa of my youth is still hiding there behind his beautiful blue eyes.  On Sunday as I leaned over his bed, he stared right in to my eyes for what felt like several minutes.  Then he reached over and held my chin in his hand.  I winked at him and he winked back and grinned.  There he Papap, as I used to call him, looking me in the eyes, holding my chin and letting me know that he knew I was there.  I know that he is ready to go as he has been a devoted Christian for nearly all of his 93 years, but my heart is aching at the thought of saying that final goodbye.

It probably won't be many more days till I will visit Rose Hill Cemetery to lay the body of my Grandpa to rest beside his wife of 60 years, b ut today was a visit of another sort; to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness, to reflect on loved ones, and to capture a picture or two.

Monday, June 6, 2011


For several weeks now I have had a restless feeling.  Nothing is wrong, but something's just not quite right.  I just can't seem to be satisfied, but I don't know why.  Then today I came across a beautiful prayer by St. Augustine.  Now, I must admit, I do not have the foggiest idea of who St. Augustine is, but I very much love the prayer he is known for.  This is it:

Let us pray (in silence) that we may grow in union with the One who fulfills our heart's desire.
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you; so lead us by your Spirit that in this life we may live to your glory and in the life to come enjoy you for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

To add to the revelation I received today, I remembered (and have been meditating on) Pastor Doug's message at church yesterday about being silent in the presence of God...and listening for the still small voice.  He referenced 1 Kings 19:11-13, a wonderful passage that I have read many times and thought how profound to know that in all the chaos that surrounded Elijah, the still small voice of God was still there.

Could it be that my restlessness has been the still small voice of God drawing me to be in His presence? To sit quietly before Him and soak in the beauty of His holiness?  Last night and today, I have purposefully made myself sit in the quiet for a few moments here and there.  Just the thought of resting in the perfect peace of God is enough to make my heart relax and enjoy the quiet moment.  I remember, even as a child, I felt a need to pray and be close to God.  It was a little scary as a child to think of being in the presence of the Almighty God.  Now days it's a much different experience.  It's like a tall glass of ice water after being out in the heat.  It's like putting my feet up after a long exhausting day.  It truly feels like perfect rest, for a restless heart.

Thank you Lord for whispering in my hear and tugging on my heart.  I pray that I will always be able to hear the still small voice of God leading me to a place of rest.
Psalm 23:2  ....He leads me beside still waters...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wrong side of the tracks

As I was coming home from work the other day, traffic was at a dead stop on By Pass 4.  Nothing unusual about that at 5 in the evening, but this time I was stopped close to the little Butler Regional Airport.  It was a beautiful clear day and as I looked over at the airport, I could see Tylersville Rd winding uphill around it, then I could see Tuley Rd and "the knob".

If you're not from around here, you wouldn't know what "the knob" means.  Well, it's the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak.  It's the place where hillbillies from Kentucky came to settle and raise their families.  The houses there were some of the last to get indoor plumbing in Butler County and many of them are built on stilts to level them.  It's very hilly and parts of it are run down and neglected. The yards are sometimes full of old cars on jacks and the front porches are sometimes home to old washing machines and back seats of cars.  By the way, the back seat of a car makes a nice front porch lounge chair, in case you were wondering. How do I know so much? Because that's where I was raised.  I am a knobber!  For people who have met me in the last 20 years and don't know my background, this may come as a surprise.  I'm not ashamed of it, quite the contrary.  The knob is part of me and it will forever be "home" in some ways.  I still have relatives, who I love dearly, that live up there. And I feel at home when I visit them.

I sat there in the traffic that day remembering with fondness my childhood on the knob.  We played hopscotch on the driveway, we ran to the corner store to buy candy whenever we had a pop bottle to cash in.  We walked around barefooted most of the time and there were no leashes on our dogs.  In the evenings we sat in the front yard until the lightning bugs came out and then we chased them around and rubbed them on our arms just when their tales would light up.  It was kind of like wearing those flashing tennis shoes, but at the expense of a poor lightning bug. I got my hair pulled or whipped with a switch when I misbehaved, and my friends were banned from the yard when they misbehaved. Now, I've never whipped my kids with a switch or pulled their hair...but it didn't damage me in any way so I'm not complaining.  My parents/grandparents did the best they knew how to do back in those days.  They were poor hill folks from Kentucky who were trying to give their families something more than they had.  They felt comfortable on the knob and they sure had a better life than the one they left behind.  No more coal mining or moonshining for my grandpa.  He was now a member of the UAW and a proud factory worker for the General Motors Corporation. 

It wasn't really apparent to me as a child that I was raised on the "wrong side of the tracks".  I didn't realize it until I was about 13.  I started to realize that a lot of people lived in nicer houses and a lot of people had better clothes and even some of my own family had moved on to nicer neighborhoods.  I admit that when I took driver's ed and they dropped me off at my house, I was a little embarrassed.  My house looked great compared to a lot of the houses on my street.  But there were a few close by that were in really bad shape.  It bothered me a little that some of my school mates might think I was poor or some kind of hillbilly, but I wasn't popular enough for that to hinder my high school career.  It bothered me even more to think that I might actually be vain enough to care what people thought of I blew it off. All these years later, I look back at life on the knob as a good life.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to raise my kids up there, but it wasn't because people were poor.  It was because there was crime and bad influences around.  It was because I didn't want them to be looked down on for where they lived.  I could afford to raise them in a better I did.

This little pause in my trip home from work made me think about how much my life has been transformed in the last 35 years and where I have come from.  None of that compares, however, to the transformation of the heart I have undergone.  I have been made new from the inside out.  I am an heir and a joint heir with Christ, the hope of glory.  I am still the little girl that was raised on the knob, but I am also a daughter of the King of Kings.  He has clothed me with lovingkindness and tender mercies.  He has written my name in the book of life...the book of who's who, you might say.  I am a member of the royal family, and my address once my life on Earth is over is very simple.  You will find me on the right side of the address will be easy to remember. made of pure gold.  Thank you Lord, for claiming me as your own.

 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.  1 John 3:1

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Another Mother's Day has come and gone and I can say that once again I have been filled with mixed emotions.  I find myself remembering the times I had with my mother a lot around this time of year.  It's only natural to think of your mom on Mother's Day. I remember a specific Mother's Day when my mom and her friend Mary came to my house for a cookout.  We had a terrific meal and it was nice to have Mary here.  Her children were...well let's just say absent from her life.  I was glad for her to part of our day and not to spend it alone.  After dinner we went to Walmart and shopped a bit and then mom dropped me back at home.  About an hour later she called and said she would be in the driveway to come out and get something.  I went out and she handed me a small box.  The box contained a pair of diamond earrings she bought for me for Mother's Day.  What a great surprise!

But I not only think of my mom, I think of my grandmothers and my dear mother in law, all of whom have gone to heaven.  They were all such a big part of my life and it's hard to believe that my time with them is gone.  This is what has been on my mind most the last few days. I have been thinking about how we just don't realize how important our Mothers are until they are no longer with us.  I miss so many things about my mom and the other wonderful mother figures I had in my life.  I miss their wisdom and patience and their willingness to lend and ear. 

The message at church this morning was on the simplicity of God and that we get so busy with our "schedules" that we never really relax and quietly listen for what God is wanting us to know.  I can identify with busy schedules and feeling like my head is cluttered with all the many things I need to do.  It's very easy to fill my days with this and that and even to waste time.  I don't want to waste my days.  I want to have friends that encourage me and I want to be a blessing to my family.  I want my days to count for something. 

Help me Lord to stop and listen for what you are trying to tell me.   Help me to redeem the time, and to put you, your Word and your people before all of the "schedules" and demands.  Amen

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm singing...I'm in the choir and I'm singing!

I can hardly believe that it's been more than a year since I sang with the worship team at CLC.  Wow, what a year it has been!  This time last year, we were wondering where God would lead us and where our next home church would be.  It was so hard to see the church people we loved scattered to one place or another.  Now I can say that God's plans were to grow us all.  He has given Mike and Leah a wonderful place to call home and they are being used to help Richard and Andrea do what God has called them to do. what am I to do?  Well, this week I will make my debut with the choir!  For nearly 10 years I found my church "identity" in being on the worship team.  I held a microphone and tried to lead the congregation in worship every Sunday morning.  I'm not the best singer in the crowd, but there was always a place for me.  I was always expected to be there early and to be ready to lift the name of Jesus.  The past year I have been a spectator....and it's been nice to sit back and enjoy the wonderful music at CFM.  Now my time has come...I have joined the choir and we will be singing for the Resurrection service on Sunday.  I'm excited and a bit nervous...I hope my voice holds out.  It seems a little weak after not singing much for the past year. 

I think the best thing that has come of taking a break from singing, is that I appreciate it more now.  I appreciate the CFM worship team.  I appreciate their hearts and their commitment to God. And I now realize that my "identity" is not found in singing.  My identity is found when I lift up holy hands and join with the congregation in praise to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He sees me whether I am holding a mic and standing on the platform, or standing in the pews in the midst of the congregation.  I am a matter where I stand.  I am called to proclaim the goodness of God, no matter who knows my name and who doesn't.  I know who I am....I AM HIS!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A refuge for my children

What an eventful couple of weeks we have had around here.  My children have been diving head first in to making big decisions.  Business trips, new jobs, new cars and even an engagement!  WOW!

It's hard to believe that the babies that I once held, are now adults.  It's hard to believe that the toddlers whose hands I held so tightly to keep them from danger, are now fully capable adults.  It's hard to believe the children who came to me with homework problems, are now smarter than I am.  It's hard to believe that the teenagers who kept me busy with activities are now leaving me behind as they create lives of their own.

It's times like this when I ask myself if I've done enough...if I've done too much.  I know that as they were growing up, I trusted God to help me raise them.  We publicly dedicated them both to the Lord when they were babies as a sign of our total dependence on God to help us care for the gift he had blessed us with.  I have spent countless hours caring for my children...and now I must trust Him that He will keep them as they begin their adult lives. 

I came across this scripture today that seemed to sum up my complete confidence in God and His plan for my children. Proverbs 14:26 Those who fear the LORD are secure; he will be a place of refuge for their children.

I have raised my children in the reverential awe of God; in the fear of the Lord.  I have trusted Him to be the perfect teacher when I have failed.  As our lives and roles change, I will also trust Him to be their refuge. 

Thank you Lord for being a helper, a friend and a refuge for my children. Amen.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring forward!

I always carry on about how much I love fall, and I do.  I love the colors, the smells, the relief of cool crisp air after a hot humid summer. I love bonfires and pumpkin patches.  I love just about everything about fall.  But after the beauty of fall fades, then comes a long hard winter.  This year has been especially hard.  Very cold, lots of snow and many days with no sunshine.  

We had a wonderful sunny, breezy spring day today. Tonight also happens to be the night we spring forward to daylight savings time. I guess the sunshine made me think of moving forward; of letting go of the harsh winter and looking forward to the wonder of spring. The best part of spring is that it brings the promise of new life.  The grass has already starting turning green and some of my bulbs are starting to poke through the flower bed.  I'm looking forward to warmer weather, more sunshine, and the end of cold wintery days. 

In my own life, I feel like I have had several years of winter.  Looking back is still painful, which means that looking forward is the best thing for me.  I will look forward to the promise of new life; the promise of hope and purpose.  The promise that placing my future in the hands of the living God will bring new life for me.  It's time to press forward and leave the past behind.  Yes, some of the past will always be with me, but I can only move forward if I leave old things behind.  HE makes all things new. 

Lord, help me to remember that the future belongs to you. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Secure Future

The week ahead will hold some uncomfortable moments for me.  In fact, there is so much going on in my life right now that I'm a bit overwhelmed by the thought of it.  I was wondering today, why am I so lethargic?  Why is it so hard for me to get motivated to do anything?  Why do I just want to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed all day?  Well, it's probably because I'm looking to the future with dread. 

I never dreamed that two years after my mom's death I would be getting ready to head to court to ask a judge to let me "settle her estate".  How could I have gotten myself in to this situation?  Why didn't I take care of all of this legal business before she died?  I know the true answer is that I was overwhelmed by her illness. I was overwhelmed with responsibility.  And I didn't want her to think I was giving up on her, therefore  I didn't ask the right questions. So, now that there's no way to go back and do things over, I look to the future. 

At the moment, my future looks pretty insecure.  Finances, job situation, probate court...geez!  This is when I must remind myself that my future IS secure.  I do not know what this week will hold, and I do not know how this year will end, but I know that I am safely in the arms of matter what.  I have settled it in my heart that my eternal future is secure in Christ...and now I must trust that He is making intercession on my behalf regarding my earthly future. 

I love the words to The Desert Song:

This is my prayer in the battleWhen triumph is still on it's way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

And I will bring praise, I will bring praiseNo weapon formed against me shall remainAnd I will rejoice, and I will declareGod is my victory and He is here.   Help me Lord to trust that you are working things for my good.  That you are holding my hand securely, even in times of change and uncertainty.  Help me to be the Proverbs 31 woman you have called me to be. Proverbs 31: 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future. Amen.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Monday

This Monday is a bit different from other Mondays.  I could write about another death in the extended family. (got the phone call last night, as a matter of fact) But in truth there is nothing we can do for this man.  He is gone and he leaves behind a grieving family.  He had a rough life, a life full of drama and drugs and disappointment.  Such a tragic way to live and die and my heart is broken for his family.

So...I think it's best to take this strange Monday and learn something.  First, don't take anything in life for granted...anything and everything can change in an instant.  Second, take time to be compassionate to others...even those who have exhausted your patience and compassion.  And third, God can take care of the changes in your life and the people who have exhausted remind them that they are loved and that God's plan for them is a future with hope.

Lord help me to love more and judge less.  Help me to see others as you see them. Help me to reach out...for your kingdom's sake. Amen

Saturday, January 22, 2011's January

The calendar says January 22, 2011.  I seem a little obsessed with time these days, I'm not sure why.  Maybe I feel that time is the only gift that I can not afford to put on a shelf and pick up later.  I guess being middle aged will do that to a person.  So, I will try this year to make the most of those precious know the ones that make up the happy times, the sad times, the frustrating times, the peaceful times and the all around everyday events that I call, life!

I've started the year by reading Joseph Princes' Destined to Reign book.  Wow...there are some very powerful and thought provoking statements in this book.  But I feel that this is a very important time for me to take hold of the goodness of God and let him lead me through troubled to the still waters that await. This year has already brought some challenges and I am embarking on a new lifestyle.  This is not because I love healthy food...although someday I hope to be able to say that.  It's because...well...because of the challenges.

I am looking forward to 2011 with great anticipation and with a little apprehension.  I believe this is the year that my children will make some very important decisions regarding their futures.  I believe this is the year that I will make some very important decisions regarding my future.  I believe this is the year I will see a breakthrough in some of the things I have been dealing with the last 2 years.  I am well aware that when you are on the verge of breakthrough, that is when opposition is the strongest.

Lord help me to live the life you planned for me.  A life of freedom and victory.   A life of peace, love and joy in the Holy Ghost.