Thursday, August 30, 2007

Just to be close to Him

My brother made the comment once when talking about my parents dogs that he had figured them out: Lance thinks "you feed me and water me, you must be a god," while Ivan thinks "you feed me and water me, I must be god."

My own dogs are the same way. If they ever get the opportunity to sleep with me, which I will sometimes let them do when I am not going to sleep long during the day, or a rare night, Sandy will lay up by my head, even with her head on a pillow sometimes while Pearl is content to rest at my feet.

If I sit down on the couch, Sandy has to come sit on my lap and she will make sure she gets as much petting as possible. But good ole' Pearl will sit at my side and look up at me with those big, humble eyes as if to say "I'm just happy to be near you." When I stroke her fur she looks like I have given her the greatest gift, while Sandy looks at me like "Is that it? I need MORE."

I find Sandy's constant "Look at me, pet me, love me" attitude irritating at times, while I am drawn to the humble Pearl as she sits contently at my feet. She will lay her head on them and most times when I'm cooking she will slink in the kitchen and *sneak* a lick in on my feet. When I pick her up she is more concerned with giving me *kisses* than anything else as if she just wants to show her appreciation that I acknowledged her at all.

I was thinking today as I was getting ready for work that I need to be a *Pearl* lying at my Master's feet, thankful just to be in His presence. I want Him to know that my desire is just to be close to Him, to let my actions and mannerism speak of my devotion and love for who He is to me.

After all, He feeds me with His Word, He waters my thirsty soul with living waters....He is MY God!!!!

Oh that I may worship at Your feet!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's For Me

I know there is no one else in the whole world who ever feels sorry for themselves, right? That is just something that just happens to me. Well, for all of you out there who have never sat down and had a *pity party* let me give you a picture of what it looks like...

I sit, thoughts of doom and frustration swirling around in my mind, which cause more thoughts of doom and frustration, which drives me to think in the worst case scenario, which causes thoughts of doom and frustration, which...well, I trust you get the picture.

Please understand, I don't want to be having a pity party. It is not like I wake up and say, "Yipee, today I'm going to sit around and whine about (fill in the blank) and see just how pitiful I can become." Sometimes in my life, unfortunately I feel overwhelmed with circumstances. It's at these time that good old *doom and gloom* show up with their mourning clothes on.

Thankfully, today when they came to call I had the forethought to call my Help. I prayed "Lord, You've got to help me overcome these feelings." And I thought to call my wonderful Pastor's wife and ask her to pray, but I didn't want to bother her. I said, "Oh Lord, I would that I could just talk to her. She always lifts me up."

Immediately my cell phone rang. On the other end was just the help I needed.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 "Two are better than one: because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hat not another to help him go."

I am so thankful He was with me. And He sent someone to help me carry my load.

In afterthought I sit here thinking "how could I LET myself get down, knowing my God loves me so much that in my darkest hour He has a voice of comfort and hope give me a call."

*So let me walk with You, Jesus
Don't ever leave me alone
For without You I would never
No never make Heaven my home......*

Friday, August 24, 2007

My Friends

I have found something wonderful about my life lately. Through all the topsy-turvy things that have happened I have developed unbreakable bonds with 2 very special people. And on this early morning I thought I might pay tribute to them. I hope you won't mind indulging me.

There are few people in our lives that we can call true friends. I mean that. I am blessed to have 2 in particular that are that and so much more.

My brother has been my rock. He was my hero as a little girl since he is a few years older than I am, he was my *protector.* I don't know why but when something really terrible happens I know I can call him and he will lift the burden off my shoulders and place it on his, no matter what else he is carrying. He is real. And I know the events of the past few years, as we have collectively dealt with our parents mortality and subsequently our own, have brought to him a variety of emotions. But for him the bottom line is dealing with what ever comes our way.

He is a man who loves the Lord and that is what separates him from so many others in this world. He is uncompromising in his love for his wife, his girls, his family, and that includes me. And I know when I need an answer I can call him and get one, even if it's not the answer I want to hear, he loves me enough to give it to me anyway.

I see him now, so devoted to his church family, so excited about everything God is doing in each of their lives and it causes me to love these people that, as of yet, I have not even met.

And then there is my sister. Her claims that she is the *Poster Child* for the middle child still ring in my head. But let me tell you about my sister. My sister is glue. She is the glue that holds things together. I would selfishly like to think that she is only our glue, but I know she is the glue for so many others. Where as my brother is the voice of reason more often than not for me, my sister is the voice that comforts. So many times when I have just been so overwhelmed with circumstance it was her calm, loving voice that soothed me.

She has such a capacity to love and it spreads out like velvet to those she gathers in. She can smooth over the roughest situation and bring everything together when it all seems to drift apart.

I have watched her handle all that life has brought her way by getting up, dusting off, and working through any problem that comes her way. And when I am facing a dilemma I need to talk through I know I can expect her to listen, to advise, to commiserate and to love. That's just what she does. She loves my little family, my brothers family with undying love.

I would that the miles could melt between us to allow us time to laugh and love more often. Much to our mother's aggravation we still giggle when we are put together. I'm already storing up some *good ones* to share in October, because I know my friends will laugh as hard as I did.

I love you both. Thank God I have you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yesterday, Today, Forever

My husband mentioned to me the other day that it was the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis. Immediately in my mind I was transported back in time to the front of the duplex we lived in with my transistor radio where I heard the news for the first time. And I thought, that seems like yesterday.

Perhaps my life would be less consumed with the passage of time if I did not have such vivid examples of that passage in my parents. 40 years old is young, right? I have so many experiences ahead of me if the Lord tarries. 20 years makes a tremendous difference, brings about tremendous changes. 30 years, well...

And I don't want to downplay the importance of planning for tomorrow. But we also have to live for today, knowing that each decision we make can have long lasting effects. It's almost like with each decision we are laying a brick in the path of our future, setting the course for our tomorrow.

Oh I know things happen and we have absolutely no control over them. That is just the way of life.

I know I speak of my parents quite a bit. I can't help it. I love them so very much. Sitting in their driveway right now is the culmination of years of dreams. Years back when this dream began to develop so did excitement, anticipation. Now it is just a vehicle that once propelled their hopes and plans, just sitting there, empty.

And I listen to them talk about letting go of the dream. And I hurt for them. I hurt that my Dad can hardly see. I hurt that his strength, his stamina, and some of his sharpness seem to have diminished.

I hurt that my Mom cannot walk without pain, cannot be up on her feet for any length of time without risking losing her feet. I hurt that she feels helpless and less useful.

And I feel the pain of their broken dreams.

Everyday is a reminder of the relentlessness of time. Yesterday is gone, today is fleeting, but tomorrow, oh tomorrow, still holds hope.

For I know that somewhere beyond this world of pain and disappointments forever lies in wait. And I anticipate being drawn into eternity, one free of pain and heartaches, free of worries and stress, free of death and sickness.

Somewhere beyond the sunset of this life lies hope for the hopeless heart. I'm looking for that day. For I've never been this homesick before.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Bodyguard of the King

I was talking to another saint at the church last night. She was saying that when she came to Truth Harbor she was spiritually starving. I related I was, too, but now I am spiritually fat.

Yesterday I feasted once again on the Word of God as our Pastor preached from 1 Kings 1:32-39 with emphasis on verse 38.

Through study he found that the Cherethites actually came from Philistinean roots and the Pelethites were from the tribe of Benjamin.

WOW! That is so exciting! Just like the church today! I came from the world, a sinner, never exposed to the Doctrine of Truth until I was away from home, yet here I sit, chosen to be in the presence of the King.

And then there are those that have been raised in this Truth and still live it, defend it from the enemies that would attack everything we hold close.

I accept the responsibility and will do whatever needs to be done to protect this. I'm thankful today for Him, so thankful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Process of Giving Birth

As a Labor and Delivery nurse I don't often get to see the stages of labor played out before my eyes anymore since most of our patients opt to have an epidural which allows them to be in relative comfort for the most part until the birth. But the other night I had a beautiful couple that did not want an epidural and I was reminded once again how wonderful it is to have a relationship with God.

The process you'll go through during labor and childbirth can be divided into three stages:

The first stage begins with the onset of contractions and ends when the cervix is fully dilated. This stage is divided into two phases, known as early and active labor. During early labor, your cervix gradually effaces (thins out) and dilates (opens). That's followed by active labor, when your cervix begins to dilate more rapidly and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. People often refer to the last part of active labor as "transition."

The second stage of labor begins once you're fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. This is often referred to as the pushing stage.

The third and final stage begins right after the birth of your baby and involves the separation and delivery of the placenta.

For first-time moms who are at least 37 weeks along, labor and delivery takes an average of 15 hours, although for plenty of women it lasts more than 20 hours, and for a lucky few it's over much sooner. For women who've been through labor before, deliveries average around eight hours.

My patient did really well considering the obvious pain she was in. Her sweet husband stood beside her the whole time crying and praying for her. By the transition stage she was begging me to help her which broke my heart.

No matter what advise we gave her she was hurting so badly that she would not listen. But still her husband tried his best to comfort her, to calm her. And as she tried to rest between the pains he put his head down and wiped tears.

I finally crawled in the bed with her and prayed for her. I know that is not what I am supposed to do, but that is what I know to do. I knew he had been praying to Mary, so I said "OK, I am going to pray to Jesus for you." And as I prayed the tears her husband shed turned to sobs.

It wasn't long before she gave birth to a beautiful little girl with a head full of black hair.

I know in our church we are preparing to "give birth." I can feel the anticipation in the air. But I also know that giving birth causes pain. Just like Childbirth Class prepares you for what is about to happen with your body, reading the Word of God, Praying and Fasting, and the Preached Word helps us prepare for our own birthing process.

Brother Phillips prayed the other day that God would open up the womb of the church. We are already seeing the product of prayer, but we also have to realize that with birth there comes pain.

When I left yesterday morning the new dad thanked me for being there, and he thanked me for praying with them. I pray that there will soon be another birth in their lives as they come to the realization of who He is.

Lord help me to become prepared for birth. Help me to hear Your voice during the painful times and help me to listen. There is nothing more precious than a new baby, and Lord, I want to see new "babies" in You. Make me ready for what comes after the birth, the caring for, the teaching, the loving, and sometimes the hurting. You know I've got to be, I want to be used by You, more than anything else I do.....

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Place Where I Grew Up

I was riding through town the other day contemplating the upcoming service in our new building and all that God has done for me and my family. I know how gracious He has been to us by allowing our Pastor to have a vision of a church here, of reaching this city we have come to love. Even though we moved here in 1995 when I was 28 this is the place where I grew up and I feel a connection here for that reason as well as the fact this is where my parents were born and raised.

Back in April of 1989 my husband and I decided to visit the church that my brother and his family were going to. I was very apprehensive about the whole thing, but we went, slipping into the back after the service had already begun. What we saw amazed us. Never before had I seen people so happy, never before had I seen such joy in all the churches I had attended. I thought "Whatever it is, I want it."

It wasn't long before we were baptized in the Name of Jesus and I received the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost, just like the experience in the book of Acts. I was so excited. But I was also so young. I didn't have the maturity in the Lord I needed or the guidance to help me develop it and it wasn't long before I let go of everything and slid back into the depths of sin.

But God knows exactly what it takes to call us home. I stood at an altar on Easter Morning of 1996 behind the frail shoulder of my son as my brother prayed for his healing. I felt God heal him and at that time I was filled once again with the Holy Ghost.

It was there at that altar that I grew up. I saw what a mess I was making of not only my own life, but of the lives of my family. And I thanked God for healing my son in spite of me. I made a vow to Him for His mercy in Ethan's life and I gave my life, my family, my children back to Him.

I have never looked back. God knew how to get my attention. I knew how desperate the situation was with my son, and I knew He was the answer. He still is. So at 29 years old I "put away childish things." I grew up determined to become the wife and mother God wants me to be.

I listen to others sometimes and how shallow and self serving their lives seem to be, and I pray that they will grow up too.

Lord, I see where you brought me from. I see where I was going and how foolishly I was wasting my life. I am so grateful You heard someone's prayers for me, for I am sure that is what brought me to the altar that day. I am sure someone was praying "whatever it takes to reach her, Lord," and You knew just what that would be. And now I know more than anything *what it takes* to be who I need to be for my family. I need You more today than ever before. Help me, give me that MATURITY in my faith, in my walk with You that will allow me to reach out to others. Make me sensitive, make me usable. I am Yours today, always.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Let There Be Light

I am so fortunate. That's the only thing I know to say. Even when problems come, I am fortunate.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures with something hidden it in and when you first look at it all you see is mumbo jumbo...but then you study it and look deeper and it's like a light comes on shining on whatever was hidden from you. From that moment on you can see nothing else but whatever it was that was before eluding you.

I am so thankful, so fortunate today that God has shone His light on His Word for me. Each time I open it, each time I hear an anointed message my view is forever changed.

And even in hard times, I know from experience, from the light that now shines on my past trials and obstacles that in time the rain will pass and the Light of the World will illuminate my life once again, bringing new growth to my life.

I love this song by Mercy Me. It just fits me. I love Him too much to turn back now!!!

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty