Friday, April 27, 2007

When The Rain Comes

This morning as I took out my *girls* I was surprised to find the grass damp and the porch steps wet with more than dew. I suppose sometime between 3:30am and 6:30am a little shower came. I was totally unaware.

So many people have been praying for rain around these parts lately due to the relentless fire that is blazing in the next county. You know fire can be a good thing at times. My husband has said before that if we would set our yard on fire then the grass would grow better because it would burn away all that is hindering it from growing now.

And I know there have been times in my life when I have spiritually walked through the fire of a trial, felt the heat of opposition, and I have come through to the other side *shining like gold* as He had removed the impurities from my life.

Then there is the consuming fire of the Holy Ghost. You know, I am so thankful that I have the Holy Ghost. I'm not talking about some watered down version, or some *third person in the trinity*, but I'm talking about God Himself dwelling within me. I am so thankful that when I received the Holy Ghost I spoke with tongues *like fire* and that it does feel like *fire shut up in my bones* just like Jeremiah said it did. I'm so thankful that no one shook my hand or patted my head and told me that I was *saved* but that God Himself came and filled me and I was baptized in the wonderful Name of Jesus, that Name above all names, the ONLY Name whereby we MUST be saved! That fire has saved me, it has set me free. (And I ask you, have YOU received the Holy Ghost since YOU believed)

But there is a destructive fire that comes and destroys everything in its path. This fire has no concern for what it leaves behind, no, its job is to take lives and leave ashes, take dreams and burn them to the ground. It can start out small and innocent seeming and in a moment it can over take lives and hopes and leave behind a scarred place that can never fully heal.

There is a fire burning within the heart of this world. Not a fire of praise, not a fire of worship, not a fire to glorify all that is holy and good, but a self-serving fire blazing hot with unrighteousness and immorality, consuming marriages, family, our children, while so many times the flame could have been extinguished with the tears of an interceding saint.

As I traveled down the highway this morning surrounded by dark, gloomy clouds, I could only see hope. For when the rain comes, life can begin, thirsty souls can be quenched, rivers of life can be replenished, and the fires of this world can be extinguished. Let the rain come, for I know it too has a purpose. And when the sun shines again, the flowers of my life will be blooming, surrounding me with the fragrance of mercy.

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain....

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Defining Moment

A mother of one of the survivors from Virginia Tech said something that has really stuck with me. She said she did not want what had happened to her son to be the defining moment in his life.

That truly caused me to pause.

What will be the defining moments in the lives of my family?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Everything I Know About Making Sweet Tea I Learned From My Daughter

Ponce a wanna time...uuuhhhmmm....once upon a time there was a young girl that had an empty spot in her heart. And God filled it so wonderfully with a beautiful baby girl. She filled it so much that it expanded and created a void that was soon filled with a precious baby boy. And she lived happily ever after.

Seriously...How blessed I am.

My 19 year old daughter makes the best Sweet Tea I have ever tasted. She has perfected the art of brewing and the end result is the absolute epitome of this southern favorite. She surely didn't learn her secrets from me since my tea has always been mediocre at best. And tonight as I sipped on my passable imitation of her extraordinary original I pondered on how wonderful it is that my child shared her *mad tea-brewing skills* with me.

I know that over the years I have taught my children things. There is not any way you could have children under your roof and not teach them something, whether good or bad.

I think many times we neglect to acknowledge that we also learn from them.

What have my children taught me? They have taught me how to stand up for those that I love. They have taught me that no foe is to big, no giant cannot be slain when I am fighting for them. I have learned from my children that it is important to really be interested in their lives, not just to pretend you are interested. It is when you really listen that you hear the most.

I have learned from my children that I should pay attention to actions as well as words. I now know that they really do listen to me, and that it really is best to tell them why instead of just *because.* I have learned that arming them with reason helps them to fight battles on their own, and gives me the assurance that they can fight even when big bad Mom is not around to get their back.

I have learned that the more I love the Lord, the more I give of myself to Him, the more they love Him and long for a closer walk with Him. I have learned more about faith and redemption from those two little faces that used to shine up at me to have the answers and to offer forgiveness than I could ever have learned anywhere else.

I learned what it means to be loved unconditionally, and what it means to love without bounds. I know what true hurt feels like, too. I have learned that you can survive when you feel like your heart is broken in two. And I have also learned that you can put the past in the past and walk on into the future.

I have learned the importance of a promise, and the comfort of a hug. A kiss truly does fix a hurt, and a kind word goes further than I ever could have imagined.

How great the Father's love for me, that He would so richly fill my life.

Because He loves me so I now know what love really is. And as a bonus, my tea tastes better too!

Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Vessel He Can Use

After such a wonderfully busy weekend last week my weekend ended on a sour note this time. I'll let you in on a secret about myself, (although I would hope it would be an obvious thing) my main desire in life is to be used by God. I have learned that if you put Him first in ALL things, all things simply work better.

Since I began this journey with Jesus I have been able to do some wonderful things and be a part of some wonderful things. For the past couple of years, however, I have found myself sitting on the shelf and collecting dust. Oh, I have prayed about it so many times, I have fasted, and I have waited. I have always felt assured that my time would come when He could use me again.

While I have waited I have worshipped, I have praised, and I have drawn to Him. It has been a time of reshaping for me and I have been blessed by this time in the Potter's Hands. He has molded so many areas of my life and of my family and Oh I am so thankful.

A few weeks back I was faced with a possibility. It was nothing I felt like was for me, but as it was being brought forward my stomach clinched. I sought out the Lord and asked "Is this something I should do?"

He was quick to answer. He answered emphatically and resoundingly NO. And the reason was simple. I had other things to do.

The very next week I saw exactly what He had shown me unfold. How awesome it is when He reveals His plan to you, when you see that plan come to life is such a conformation of His love.

So I excitedly moved forward and went to work, dragging myself off the shelf of idleness, cleansing my gifts from the dust of neglect, and taking the lid off of my vessel to allow Him to pour into me. I rejoiced at being able to work for His glory again.

This week as I was called into action again my happiness could not be contained.

I don't know what it is like to not be who I am, to not feel the way that I do about serving Jesus. I don't know, I truly don't. It is my heart, my drive, my life to serve the One who gave His all for me.

So what could I say when the Lord took me into the palms of His Hands and made me into a vessel He can use only to have someone else tell me NO? I had no idea what to say. My exuberance was obviously not contagious. What could I say when someone wants to place me back on the shelf to collect dust again?

My heart broke. It is still broken. I sit here with tears in my eyes wondering what next. I want to be a vessel of honor, one fit for the Master's use.

And I think of the chorus we sang last night...

"I know the plans I have for you,
I know just what you're going through,
So when you can't see what tomorrow holds
And yesterday is through,
Remember I know the plans I have for you......"

I remember Lord, and I'm waiting to see...

Monday, April 9, 2007


I had a wonderfully busy weekend. I got to spend some time with my daughter Friday afternoon (and into early Saturday morning). We went Easter shopping in Waycross. We were able to giggle and browse and generally have a wonderful time making memories. We found her the most adorable outfit. My little *cutie pie*!!!

Then Saturday after getting the house nice and clean I whizzed down to Valdosta for Praise Team practice. 2 of our tremendous soprano's were away for Easter so I got the privilege of filling in. It was, for me, more than wonderful. So much of who I am is reflected in my love of music. And since He is the center of my life, my love for music reflects that. It is my worship.

We had a very moving service Easter morning. Pastor Weeks, as usual, preached a message that I will carry forever. He is so anointed.

Then if that weren't enough, I practiced again that afternoon. This time my *other* son Shain was there too. Sister Weeks has such a gift with music. She inspires me so much. Another amazing service followed. Brother Lambeth was there from Brazil. May I never forget to *Plead the Blood* over my family, my life, my church...

I know there are people out there who would think that this in no way sounds like "fun," but being who I am is, well, the only way I would ever want to be. I have been out there in the world and taken part in the world's idea of fun. I'd rather have Jesus.

All the goodness I can stand without the horrible after-effects...

You just don't know what you're missing (till you find that *missing part*). I wouldn't take nothing for MY journey now!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

But Seriously......

I recently had the unpleasant privilege of trying to talk to someone that I knew needed to stop and do an inventory on their attitude. I hate that role, but if that's what God needs me to do, I'll do it. And after prayer, and fasting and asking "You're SURE I need to do this, Lord?" I did it. And I hated it just like I knew I would. It seems that my well chosen words opened a *Pandora's Box* of festering emotions and I was deluged with an outpouring of pain and bitterness.

And my heart broke.

I think of Solomon being wise enough to ask for wisdom. But even that wisdom didn't give him all the answers. I am wise enough to know that at times when I have no answers I just hold on to Jesus, because He is the answer to every situation.

And I did, even when my own doubt caused me to wonder if I had truly heard from Him at all.

I spend a good amount of time thinking about that great day when *No heartaches shall come,* that day when they'll be no more sorrow, no more pain. Some days thinking about THAT day is what gets me through till the NEXT day when the sun shines on my world again.

I don't know why He trusted me with this particular task. I don't know what He saw in me at that time that made Him think I could do it. I was sure the only thing that showed was my reluctance to do it. But I did.

And it was so much worse than I could have imagined. I knew in my heart after I finally made it home that the only thing it had accomplished was to cause a riff that would never be repaired. Even though repairing the broken is what I feel like Jesus wants me to do, and with His help I have tried time and again to do just that. But this was different. This time I felt like I was the one that caused the breaking.

He came through again, just as always. He confirmed to me and to those that knew what I had been through that His hand never left the situation. This time He brought the healing through the preached Word. He poured a healing balm in a hurting and bitter soul. I just sat back in awe as Jesus gave me a miracle.

I seriously don't know what I would do without the love of my Saviour. That He would leave Heaven to robe Himself in flesh, that His Deity would become humanity so that I could know Him, is more that I could ever hope for, more than I could ever deserve.

I am ready Lord, use me. Use my life for Your glory, for it's only through You do I stand to gain. Use me even when I can't understand, even when I am scared and reluctant. More than anything I want to be used by You.

Thank You for seeing me, for seeing this need, and for believing in me even when I was afraid to believe in myself. Thank You for allowing me to see Your hand in this situation, for seeing You move and mold and reshaped a broken vessel right before my eyes. Thank You for letting me recognize Your voice, Your call. Call me again, Jesus, please.

For if You can use me to reach the lost, the broken and the bitter, I want to be used by You. Let me have hope in the face of hopelessness, grace in the face of bitterness. And let me always put my trust in You to see me through.

You have never let me down. I love You my precious Lord, my Jesus.