Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
44 Christmas Days.
I can still remember years ago when I was very small, probably 4 at the most, we were at my grandparent's house. Everyone had told me that if I heard someone knock on the door that I needed to go answer because it was probably Santa. (my grandparents didn't have a chimney)
Man, I was SO excited! I crawled into bed with my sister ready to listen as long as needed for the *knock.* But, as soon as we were alone in bed my sister told me "You know it is only PaPa dressed up like Santa."
I still went and opened the door, but some of the excitement was gone for me. When I looked at Santa I could see my PaPa's eyes. Although, knowing it was him did make it OK for my Grandma to sit on his lap!!
I don't remember believing in Santa past that point. That's kind of the way for the younger ones.
My parents never went *crazy* at Christmas time. We got presents, but my parents didn't break the bank. But there was always plenty under the tree that put a smile on my face for quite some time.
When Denise was about 3, Bobby borrowed a Santa suit. We were staying at my parents and she was having a hard time going to sleep because of all the excitement. We told her that if Santa came and she was awake he would leave with the presents.
So, as planned, I drug a sleepy Denise out of bed because I thought I heard a noise. She shuffled down the hallway, eyes half closed.
Then...we rounded the corner and there was Santa, putting presents under the tree with his back to us. Her eyes flew open and she turned tail and RAN to bed and pulled the covers over her head!!
No WAY was Santa catching her awake.
We have movies of the kids when they were about 6 and 3. We LOVE to sit and watch little Denise and little Ethan open their presents. Just seeing their faces and the magic that shown in them. They would get up at 3am and come in our room....
And we were as excited as they were so we all got up....
Everything Ethan picked up he would yell "It's JUST what I WANTED!!"
Now my kids are 22 and 19. Christmas takes on a whole new meaning because Thomas the Tank Engine books no longer send Ethan into spasms of glee and Denise is not that impressed with an Easy Bake Oven.
Now we are shopping for adults who say, "Just get me _________ because I have been needing that."
Someday, at some point, when I have been around to celebrate a few more Christmas Days, I will have my babies' babies to buy for and that will be more wonderful for me than I can say. Just to see the wonder in their eyes and the love in the eyes of their own Moms and Dads, well, I can't even think about it without my eyes misting over.
'Tis the season to look back over the years and to look forward to the days to come. 'Tis the season to remember the reason, and remember His many blessing in my life, past and present and FUTURE!!
Oh, how I love Jesus...because He first loved me.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
But, somehow over the last couple of years it seems like Mary has been disappearing from my life. She has been replaced by commitment and demands. She has been overtaken by dirty floors and laundry, by the drive to do a good job, by the need to make sure things were in order.
I don't resent Mary as Martha did when she complained to the Lord in the 10th chapter of Luke.
10:38-40 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he (Jesus) entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
I don't resent the Mary's, I long to return to my own Mary identity.
There is a work to be done, and I certainly don't want to be found sitting around with what the Lord has given me and not using it for His glory. And although there is a movement in the religious ranks that tries to tell us that you only need believe to be saved I am thankful that I know there is more, much more in the Word.
James 2:17-19 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God. thou doest well, the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
If it were only necessary to believe in God then Heaven would be full of devils according to the Word of God.....but that's another blog.
Abraham was "justified by works" in this willingness to sacrifice Isaac. That was an expression of his faith in and commitment to God.
So even though I know it is important to do a work for God I also know how much He values my praise.
Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.
Serving God is important, even essential and good. But our first and most important task is a love and devotion that expresses itself in worship, prayer, and fellowship with the Lord.
Sometimes we become so busy doing the work of the Lord, attending services, and doing good that we forget to have a spiritual communion with the Lord.
I seem to have forgotten who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.
When was the last time I laid down the broom and laid at His feet? The last time I took the box down and broke it onto His feet and did not worry about the price of the oil?
I have made a decision for this day and the days to come. I am returning to the Mary in me....
I am intent to find that balance between Martha and Mary inside of me. I know there is work to be done, but I also know that the only way to truly do what He wants me to do is when I lay aside those tasks that would hinder me and I get on my face before Him.
We sing a chorus about being called to a higher place of praise. The line that captured me tonight was "It becomes my highest praise when ALL that I am responds to who you are."
That is the key to my own personal Mary. ALL that I am....the Mary part of me and the Martha part of me need to respond to who He is. That's when I am giving Him my highest praise, that is when the mountains move and lives are changed.
I am determined. I AM Mary....
"I want to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box. Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and I dry them with my hair. YOU weren't there the night He found me, YOU did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His loving arms around me and YOU don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box."
I AM Mary....who are you??
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ahhh....the Christmas Season is upon us. A time to share with family and friends.... A time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and what is important to us... A time to reevaluate our lives and our commitments to our fellow man and to ourselves.
YET...it seems to me as the years have gone by I have less and less time to spend dwelling on WHY we celebrate as I try to keep up with the various celebrations and gift purchasing.
And as usual, I do a poor job of keeping up with the pace....everyone racing around....crowding the stores....I would rather hide out right here in my house and just focus on Him....
But, the real world beckons me again and again.
Several years ago we went to Houston with some very good friends. While we were there we decided to drive those little Indy cars. My husband and my friend were first up....
Off they went, racing to the finish line...it was over in just a minute.
Then it was my turn. I got strapped in and took off...or so I thought.
I thought I was flying...man I had to be breaking the sound barrier....
When I finally landed at the finish line I found my husband and my friend bowed over laughing...
Come to find out I was not flying at all. Not by a long shot. I was creeping along "like a grandma."
A few years back I had the opportunity to drive a Nascar. I once again was strapped in and off I went.
It felt like it took FOREVER! I thought, man I am going too never get finished going this slow.
And yet my top clocked speed was 132mph.
I have been running the race of life for almost 43 years. Sometimes it seems like time has just stood still and then I reflect back and realize all the years that have passed, seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Yesterday I was getting married....today I have been married 23 years.
Yesterday I gave birth to my daughter....today she is 22.
Yesterday I had a baby boy...today he is 19.
Yesterday I gave my life to the One who gave His life for me....
Now years have passed and I have not accomplished nearly enough to justify all that I have been given....
I am running a race....I want to finish the course....maybe not the fastest, but I want to finish. I want to reach the end and look back at the miles I've traveled and see lives that I have touched through Him.
I want to hear "Well done" at the finish line....
Whether you are on the right course or not, there is a finish line for this race called Life. During this Christmas season stop long enough to check your course, to look at the compass provided in the Word of God, and to refuel on His preached Word.
And as you are hustling and bustling around remember....the greatest gift of all was given over 2000 years ago.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
I have no idea what it means to you as you read these words. But, since they are my words, I am going to share what it means to me to be thankful.
Being thankful is the ability to look back over the years and see the good times and the bad and know that each time was part of a bigger plan for me and my family. It is being able to laugh about the potato sandwiches and cracker burgers....and realize how far we have come.
It is seeing all the ups and downs of marriage and still looking at the one you married and knowing you wouldn't have done it any other way.
It is remembering all those that have come through your life and all they have added. It is the advise of grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts that you can now hear yourself repeating to your own families.
And it is knowing that who you are is shaped by those that have loved you.
Thankfulness is sitting back, and really looking at all that has taken place in your life and the lives of those that mean the most and truly recognizing what God has done, that prayer works, that He has been here for every trial, every victory.
It is seeing your children, grown into *semi* adulthood, seeing who they are and what they stand for, listening to them as the values that you have given them are repeated out of their mouths. Knowing that their future dreams for themselves all involve the Master Planner.
Thanksgiving is not a one day occurrence for me...you see, I have way too much to be thankful for to confine it to one day. Everyday is a day to rejoice, a day to praise!
Thanksgiving is a way of life....not just a day to overeat.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It has been a *challenge* that I have taken seriously.
Denise and I were talking the other day and we began to discuss parenting. We talked about some people that we have known that have tried to fit in with their children and the end result.
I told her, "Denise, I'm your mother. And although we DO have a wonderful relationship that fact has never changed. I am your MOTHER."
We have all heard someone say, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" as they prepare to correct their child.
And, you know what? It does. It hurts ME as a parent when my children do something that they know they should not do and that THING results in correction.
But...that doesn't stop me from correcting.
The Proverb "Spare the rod and spoil the child" that so many like to repeat is not saying, "hey, don't spank the little wee ones for being bad...just love them! Spoil them!"
No, it's saying if you don't correct your child they will become spoiled.
I used to love to quote Proverbs 23:13 to my children when they were little. "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
And that is followed so aptly by "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from Hell" in verse 14.
Do not misunderstand me, my children were in no way beaten at every turn....
They knew that when Daddy or Mama said "If you do this, THIS will be the consequence."
And they KNEW that if they did that they would GET the consequence.
I have told my children before a spanking that this was not my choice, but when they did that thing after I had told them this was going to be the end result they were forcing me to carry it through.
And, let me tell you something....I SURELY have never had perfect children. They have made mistakes and will continue to do so. But my husband and I have SomeHow managed to raise two young adults that we can both be proud to say they are ours.
And we didn't do it using the buddy system.
Now, I have said all of that to say this. I cannot understand this whole concept that seems to have taken hold of a majority of the church world today that God is just this big teddy bear that just loves everybody and accepts you no matter what!!
We, as Christians, become his CHILDREN.
In the book of Isaiah God is talking to his children.
Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. IF ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Before He reached this place with them where He could reason with them He told them specifically what they needed to do.
Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
He says "Ok, this is what you need to do as my children. And IF you do what I say, if you are obedient, you shall have plenty. But if you don't...punishment will follow."
He gave them direction.
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepth the law, happy is he.
You may wonder what has that got to do with anything?
If we do not have some set guidelines for our children to follow, if we as parents do not give them OUR vision of how you behave, how you carry yourself, of what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior....If we leave our children to raise themselves and not respect the authorities in their lives...we are setting them up for a life of unhappiness and strife.
When we do not give our children a clear path and boldly declare what the constraints will be...if we do not have a STANDARD for our children to follow, then they will have no convictions, no idea how to carry themselves or how to survive and be successful in this life.
The same goes with the church. If our Pastors and Leaders do not have a vision and do not boldly declare God's will and STANDARDS for the church, God's people will cast off their moral restraints and subsequently perish.
We need the correction of God. His Word does have guidelines for us to follow, and if they don't follow the way of the world at large there is a reason for that. Sometimes we have to taste some bitter medicine, like the Castor Oil of old, but if it keeps us from getting SICK, if it protects us from something we as CHILDREN cannot see, then I am willing Lord.
I do not want the Lord to withhold His correction from me. If I am doing something that could lead to me missing out on Heaven CORRECT your child. And I know that it is painful when that correction comes, to me and to my Father, but I would rather suffer a little pain than be lost.
Correction is not a lack of love. Correction is the fullness of love.
Train me up today, Lord, and make me into who You want me to be, because I am getting older, and I NEVER want to depart from YOUR presence.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We moved away in 1975 but we spent every summer of my natural born life in Georgia until I married.
I can remember the trips here, looking out the window, dreaming of someday being back and riding around the state taking picture of *stuff* like tobacco barns, old churches, abandoned houses, small town life.
I have traveled many miles across this state, from the flat lands to the mountains, from the canyons to the ocean and all the wonderful in between.
I love this state. I love the people, the accents *which I am NOW the proud owner of* and the land.
I love the farming, the industry, the big cities and the one red light speed traps....I love it all!
I cannot, at this point in my life, imagine living anywhere else...this is my home. I know people here, and I am known...I have roots here....and I have family and church family....
People wave at you here....whether they know you or not. They talk to you....they actually SEE you....
I know that this has been part of God's plan for me all along....to return to this place....camera in hand....and dwell here among friends. I have lived in Georgia most of my life, and I would like to think I am a Georgian.
I am happy here....and I am blessed.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I talked to my Dad last night. He sounded chipper yet concerned. They have moved him to traditional rehab and he says he WILL get up and walk again. He very excitedly told me he walked 300 yards with a walker. Now for someone who has been in the bed for 9 weeks and who only has one leg to begin with that is an accomplishment.
He is worried, though, because he has always been the Alpha Male...always providing for his family. Now, he is in a position where he is struggling with the knowledge that he has to at least be able to transfer himself or he is in big trouble.
I watched the video of my wedding reception a while back to show someone all the people they would never meet, my Papa, my Father-in-law, etc. Suddenly my big strong Daddy came striding into the scene. It was definitely a bitter sweet moment to once again see the Daddy of my youth.
My parents are 750 miles away. There is not a moment that I don't miss them.
I have been very melancholy lately. Maybe it is the fact that I am about to have ANOTHER birthday...I don't know. But, there is this situation that I have been faced with, and normally I don't let things like this get under my skin. But for some reason this has. I feel like I am being blamed for something I had no part in.
And although I know within my heart that it's OK I guess my feelings still got hurt. The other people involved don't know my life or what I have been through in the past few months because if they did they would know that what happened could have not been at my hand. I have other, more important things to deal with, but they don't know my life, nor do they know me, so what do I expect, right?
I guess I expect more of people. That's what hurts me.
I know I have done some dumb things in life, and one of those dumb things has come back to bite me on the proverbial hiney. Believe it or not, I have no problem saying I was wrong, and I did. I can't make the other person forgive me, but I have prayed about it and that's all I can do. Maybe this is a season where God is showing me how to suck it up and I am just doing a poor job at it.
We recently got a new dog....I know, just what we need. His name is GoKu and he is a Sheltie. We got him from what I can only describe as a puppy mill. Hence GoKu has a LOT of trust issues.
Getting him to come back into the house after he does his business has been a major issue. And I guess whoever taught him NOT to trust was a male because he has a really hard time with men.
We have had to be gentle with him, but he is coming around. He has figured out how to climb the stairs and sleeps on the floor beside the bed. About 3 am he started whining and Bobby got up and took him back down and out to use the bathroom. (he can't get back down yet..hehe)
He is such a good boy, but we have really been practicing patience with him.
And I got to thinking, isn't that the was it is in church, too? Sometimes we get new people that have been abused by the world, or by the church and we have to be extra gentle, extra patient until they learn to trust us.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The message was simply titled "Truth."
I know that there are those who scoff at my choices, at the things I hold dear. They say that "times they are a changing" and it is not necessary to really "follow" the Word of God.
I say "nay nay!" It has never been more necessary than this moment.
The Bible is the Word of God. And it is very precise about the beginning of life, and the ending of this life. There are no *maybes* only absolutes.
There are those in the Christian world today that would have you believe that you can live your life in any manner you choose and still see Heaven....
My Pastor said "Truth cannot be ADAPTED, it must be APPLIED."
It is not a feel good festival. Yes, I serve an awesome God that is full of grace and mercy. But, He is also the One that I will face on that CERTAIN day.
There is no alternate ending, it has not gone back for a rewrite. The Word of God has not changed.
|As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.|
This world is not interested in what it means to be a Christian. We cannot mold our lives around what we see on a daily basis. We have been given a measuring stick by which to measure our lives and it is not Hollywood, or the political arena. It is the Word.
I don't live the way I used to, don't act the way I used to, don't dress the way I used to, go where I used to.....and I don't ENJOY the things I used to.
I met Someone who made such a profound change on my life that I no longer desired the same things....I fell in love with Him.....
And it was, by far, the best thing I've ever done. I'm not the same in any area of my life, and although I have a long way to go I know without a doubt that I don't ever want to go back.
Truth is just that....Truth
Have you felt like something was missing? Been to church and wondered why you never left feeling any different? When was the last time you wept with conviction and knew something about your life needed to change? When was the last time you left a service feeling REALLY changed beyond a feel good pat on the spiritual head?
I encourage you today to meet my Jesus, and go someplace where you can worship Him "in spirit and in truth!"
Saturday, October 24, 2009
It was also thrilling to meet the former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, and hear her stories and where her interest in Caregiving came from.
If you look around you, and really pay attention, there are Caregivers everywhere, caring for mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children.
Most of the time, like myself, they don't see themselves in this role, they only see themselves fulfilling their original role of daughter, son, mother, father, etc.
And as time goes by and our population continue to age we are going to see this role increasing.
The number one cause of nursing home placement is Caregiver Burnout.
I listened to my sister this week and could hear the fatigue and frustration that I too have felt. It's not a lack of love for those that we have in our charge, nor is it a lack of desire to continue in our role...
It is that feeling that nothing you do is good enough anymore...that no matter what, you can't FIX whatever is broken with them. It is the tired that gets down in your very core that you can never shake.
I know it sounds terrible, but I have thought I could not handle one more thing, kind of like the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. But one more thing's just kept coming. And somehow we always have made it.
It is an interesting place to be, all at once heartbreaking and terrible, rewarding and fulfilling. And somewhere in the middle of all of it you find a strength that you didn't even know existed inside of you, a compassion, and a hope.
Somewhere, someone you know is caring for someone they love. And they are struggling and they are tired, and they feel alone.
Because in the midst of this care and love the Caregiver can begin to loose themselves. I know, I have been there. But who cares for the Caregiver?
Pray for those you know in this situation. Lift them up, encourage them. Let them know you see what they are going through. Help them when they will let you, if nothing else, a nice casserole would work wonders.
For those with home bound Care Recipients offer to sit for an hour, mow the yard, bring them a gift card to their favorite restaurant and stay so they can go enjoy it.
Because when we care too much we are in danger of finding ourselves in a crisis, feeling like we have failed those we love and ourselves.
Be attentive, be mindful, be compassionate, be caring.....because you never know when you will be giving care....or in need of care....
Sunday, October 11, 2009
There comes a point in all of our lives when you lose your parents if you live long enough. I don't think you truly appreciate the concept of that loss until you are an adult yourself, but as you age the reality of that loss becomes more real with each passing year.
We have had some rough times with our parents. If you read back over the blogs from my past you will see countless references to those rough times as we struggled to survive the onslaught of failing health.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I didn't have the perfect childhood. I honestly don't think such a thing exists as long as you are living with humans that is basically an oxymoron.
But I had a GOOD childhood. I knew without a doubt from day to day that I was well loved.
And living within the confines of my flesh is a combination of the two people who shaped me into the person I am. That makes me doubly blessed.
I got a call from my sister this past Friday with news about my father.
The news was not good.
One of the physicians went as far as to say he was "behind the eight ball."
So, we hastily packed and set off for Louisiana for what I believed was goodbye.
Now, let me tell you WHY I believed that.
We are in revival like I have never seen before. From all the accounts coming in about my father I knew things were headed south, so to speak. The minister called me forward for prayer and we agreed that the decisions I could see coming for my family would be taken out of our hands.
And I know, without a doubt, that we touched God.
The next day I get the call. It's bad. And I knew....
On the way there my sister called...they said he may even go that night.
Once again I asked for prayer. At least let me be able to tell him how much I love him, that he is, by FAR, the best Daddy that has ever lived.
And I wept and prayed until I could go no further.
We arrived the next morning to await the 6am visit. My sister and I went in and there he was, for the first time in 2 weeks, his mind was clear.
We spent that day telling him over and over that he was loved, especially after he overheard the doctors outside of his door saying he was not going to make it.
We wept together, loved together and talked together....
But, more than that, because of my father's clear state of mind, we allowed him to make the decisions concerning his end of life desires.
God took those decisions out of our hands, just like I knew he would.....but with a twist!
Dad was moved to inpatient rehab type unit which is something he was not even a candidate for before. And even though every system in his body was affected we were making plans for after he goes home from the hospital.
He also talked about the Lord, and where he was and where he wanted to be. How merciful of our God to give him the opportunity to make heaven his home.
Now I have peace, peace that didn't exist before. And even when the time comes, I know now I can let him go.
Oh, it will hurt, no doubt about it. But, over-riding the hurt is hope. And I know the time is coming that I will have to let him go, but while I do, I will be holding on to everything he has been to me, holding on to the person his influence has made me, holding on to the strength that we have always found in each other. I will be holding on to the love from my Daddy for his little girl as I am letting go of the hurt of seeing him suffer over and over.
For now, though, I am blessed beyond words, thankful beyond measure, and loved beyond imagination.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Back in 1989 I was baptized in the Name of Jesus for the remission of sins and received the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost....
And in 1991 I threw it away. I just threw it away.
I knew what I had done. Knew what I had given up. My soul cried out continually even as I got further and further away.
Then in March of 1996 I made my way back to Him. How blessed I am to have found the way again.
Since that time there have been battles, trials, disappointments and heartaches. I have cried some bitter tears and wondered when I would have peace again.
I am not super saint....I have by my own desperation held on....
I have locked my hands around the beautiful faith, dug my nails into what I know to be true.
Even in the direst of circumstances I have held on.....
In the darkest of my nights, I held on....
In the depths of my sorrow, I held on....
In the midst of the fiercest storms, I held on....
When that's all that I could do, that's what I did...
I just held on.
And when people see me, when people know my struggles, I NEVER want them to think that it was something special about ME that got me through. The only thing special about me is my ability to grip to what I KNOW will sustain me.
I have tried Him....I know
And although He will NEVER let me go, I know from experience how easy it can be to let Him go. I know how easy it is to get swallowed up by sin. I have been on both sides of the fence and I know that even through the hard times, even through the bad times, even through the pain and the heartaches, the grass is greener on this side.
I'm holding on to His unchanging hand. As the world becomes more and more corrupt He becomes more and more precious to me.
"You asked me how it is I'm still standing.....I Held ON....."
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
My parents have been experiencing declining health since earlier in this decade when my Mom had to have a heart valve replacement. Soon after my Dad's eyesight became a major issue and in 2006, at the time they both retired and bought a motor home everything began to really fall apart.
They were able to take one real trip out west with my sister and her husband and when they made it home Dad was in Congestive Heart Failure.
Around a month later he was having 5 bypasses and subsequently went into renal failure. My mother was very ill at this time and I rushed her back to Douglas in the middle of the night so that she could be admitted into the hospital.
So I had Dad in Valdosta and Mom in Douglas. And this happened on more than one occasion.
When we finally got them somewhat stable we began training for Dad to do home dialysis. The plan was for them to be able to do dialysis in the motor home as they traveled.
It was during training, that I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.
I was going to the training with Dad every day. (Mom started out going to, but ended up in the hospital) I would leave the training and drive back to Douglas to work. Then when I left work at 8pm or so, I would drive back to Valdosta since we had to be at the clinic at 7am.
I was very tired one day and I asked Denise to ride with me so that she could drive me back because I was afraid I would not make it on my own. We stopped to get a bite to eat and Dad and Mom headed back to the motor home at the KOA.
Denise looked at her phone and said, "Granny just called me."
So I looked at mine, sure enough I had missed her call.
I listened to my voicemail and it was my mother, hysterical. "Sheri!! Oh my God!! Sheri!! Call me!!"
I knew what had happened. I knew my Dad's fistula had started bleeding. When this happens it REALLY bleeds.
I grabbed my purse and tore out of the restaurant with Denise on my heels. We ran red lights, practically ran up on the sidewalk, and were involved in a hit and run. (I told Denise as I was running the red light and the car tagged my rear end that I was NOT stopping. She became hysterical at this point)
I knew that I was going to find them beside the road with my father dead. This whole time I was praying and I had Denise redialing my Mom. Finally she picked up.
Yes, he had a blow out, they were at the motor home. He had made it off the interstate and into a Wendy's parking lot and with the help of the Wendy's employees got it under control.
As Denise and I were pulling into the campgrounds I told her "You realize your mother is going to jail."
From her reaction, I guess she didn't realize it.
I have been called to my Dad's bedside on so many occasions, have had him lay his head on my shoulder and weep like a baby, have bathed him, reoriented him, prayed for him, and been told that he asked for someone to just help him die.
I have wept, hurt, and longed for resolution.
My Dad is once again in the hospital. Saturday night in ICU he was confused, combative. At one point he squeezed my had and gritted his teeth with the effort he was putting forth.
"Daddy, you have never hurt me." I said.
He deflated on the spot. But shortly he was back to fighting, "Why were we doing this to him?" I would lift my hands so he could see them and tell him I wasn't the one holding him down. It was the restraints they had placed on him to keep him from injuring himself or someone else.
And as usual, when he gets like this he called for my brother over and over. "Tim!! Tim!!"
I know the reason, because in his only son he sees the strength he is lacking.
And in those moments when he comes back to us, he is poignant.
We have been dancing together for many years now, but the music has changed. The symphony is getting closer to its finale, and the man that has been leading us is getting tired.
Oh how we long to hear those songs of youth again, but this is a different tune.
This is the prelude, the start of a song we have never heard, never wanted to hear.
God, bless my Daddy today.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
No one that I know of walks around with money pinned to their clothing. You don't have your debit card taped to your forehead or your credit cards tied around your neck. But this does not imply that you do not have the means to pay for something.
When you are standing at the register you whip out said wallet and proceed to pay for your purchases with your choice of payment option.
In your wallet you could be carrying thousands of dollars, or, if you are like me, maybe 50 cents. (no, not the Rapper, my wallet is not that large)
No one who just looks at you can see how much you are worth at any given moment. It's just not apparent to someone passing you in Wal Mart.
But you usually know.
That phrase, "What's in your wallet" has been running through my mind as I have been studying the reign of Saul.
The people of Israel demanded a king. God wanted to be their king, but THAT wasn't good enough, so He gave them a king. But, through Samuel, He also sent them warning.
1 Samuel 12:13-15 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired: and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God. But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you as it was against your fathers.
Basically, "OK, you asked for it, you got it!" Now, what are you going to do with it?
Saul was charged to completely destroy the Amalekites. The Amalekites represented evil power and opposition to God, His people and His truth.
Saul did not follow orders.
1 Samuel 15:2-3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep.
Saul returned from battle with King Agag, and the best sheep, oxen and lambs.
This was not the first time Saul had failed to follow instructions from God. In 1 Samuel 13:13 God told Saul to wait in Gilgal for Samuel to come and offer sacrifices and instruct him. When God delayed Samuel past the 7 days Saul was told he would come in Saul decided to perform the sacrifices himself.
And because Saul failed to follow God's commandments, Samuel told him God was going to take the kingdom away.
Saul believed he had followed God's commandments in Chapter 15. Instead of destroying everything he retained things "for a purpose."
But Samuel rebuked him. "What brings God the most pleasure? Burnt offerings and sacrifices, or OBEYING Him?"
"To obey is better than sacrifice."
The sacrifice we bring of worship, praise and our service to Him mean nothing if we are not obedient to Him and to His Commandments.
Samuel goes even further relating rebellion to witchcraft. Just as witchcraft is seeking to manipulate events, people or the future, rebellion is rejecting God's authority and doing things in a manner other than His way. Both rebellion and witchcraft take you our of God's protection.
Because of Saul's rebellion against God's commands the kingdom was taken and another king was put in his place. And although this new king also made mistakes he knew how to find that place of repentance, and when his shortcomings and failing were revealed he had a totally different reaction than Saul.
Saul still wanted to appear right in the eyes of man, even when he was wrong. This new king, King David would mourn and weep, he would turn to obedience.
What does your praise mean to Him? What about your worship? Are you carrying around sins that you suppose are hidden from Him? If so, your praise, your worship may be empty words.
You see, living for Him, living this life is not something you put on and take off. It should be tangible, viable. Whether seen or unseen you should remain the same.
Saul lacked righteousness. He easily disregarded God's commandments for him. And he kept part of what God had told him to completely destroy.
When we come to know Him there are things we no longer do, places we no longer go. There is a reason for this.
The Amalekites were the enemy of God, just as sin is the enemy of a Christian. Sin comes to completely destroy US. You cannot be a friend to sin, you cannot leave a little sin hanging around "for a purpose."
Well, I may need this one day.
No, you never have a need to go back to what He brings you out of. Sin can serve no purpose in the life of a Saint of God that has been washed in His Blood.
So, what's in YOUR wallet? What things are you carrying around with you that go against the Word of God, that go against the standard that has been placed in your life by your man of God?
Oh, you may think that it is out of sight and out of mind, but whether it can be seen by the world at large or not, sin is still sin.
And sooner or later sin rears its head and makes itself known. There comes that day when you have to PAY the price for sin, and on that day everyone will know if you can cover the cost.
There is One that has already paid that ultimate price. By His Blood we are made whole. But He charges us to "Go and sin no more."
His Word is plain. His plan is revealed. He has called us to "come out from among" the sins of the world. Just as with Saul, He has given us a charge, and He still longs for obedience.
What's in your wallet? Can you cover the cost for rebellion against God's Word?
His message is the same.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent (Turn around), and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Have YOU received the Holy Ghost since you believed?? Don't leave home without it!!!!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
We used to enjoy going camping quite often, but life has kinda put a halt to that.
I have had to take days here and there for various things, sickness, children's sickness or accidents, etc, but I really felt the need to just disappear, no phone, no Internet, no car.
So, my sweet husband, who has lost all of his vacation time due to his company changing hands, took me out to the state park in the motor home and left me there. I accomplished my goals of reading and sleeping, maybe even over accomplished them...hahaha
It was nice and peaceful....but life still showed up.
It came rushing in by way of cellphone. I had messed up again. I hate messing up.
There is a downfall to being me...my naivete....
I have a bad habit of taking things at face value. This is dumb I know, but I just can't help it. If it looks black, I say "it's black" and if it looks white, well, you get the picture.
Usually I am the only one who pays the price when this happens, but this time, not so much. I had hurt other people by not being more cautious. And that hurts me.
For a time, I just wanted to drop off the end of the earth. But that's not an option. So, I visited with my Friend...I messed up, please forgive me and help me to clean up after my failures. Don't let anyone be hurt by my shortsightedness.
Got another call from my pud, crying and scared, unsure of what to do. But I knew....back to my Friend I went.
It was nice to have a time of refreshing....a time to relax and rest and reflect.
A time to remember.....
A time to be.....
Saturday, September 12, 2009
When you are a kid it seems like time passes so slowly....creeping away.
I can remember anytime I was anticipating anything, the last day of school, my birthday, the holidays...a date...time did not even seem to move.
Waiting....waiting....waiting.........dreaming of being all grown up and able to come and go as I pleased.
I can remember feeling like I could just be living on my own, making my own decisions and doing my own thing. And I was absolutely sure that I could do EVERYTHING better than my parents.
It didn't take long with me actually being out on my own for me to realize how wonderful things were at home.
I saw that whole thing again when Denise turned 18...I could read it in her eyes, in her actions. What a dummy I was...man, we were just holding her back from growing as a person....
I think she sees things a little different now.
And here it is, Ethan's turn....and it's there again....that urge to try out wings that are being clipped by parental ties. Not that I expect him to try to fly away any time soon, but it's in the air.
When I was a young girl of almost 21 I had a baby girl. I went to stay with my Mama since I knew literally nothing about having no baby. And my Mama that I was so anxious to leave patiently walked me through every aspect of care for the tiny life now in my charge.
She gave me the best advise I ever received from her as we were waiting to leave the hospital, she said "Make memories."
I have tried to do just that.
But, time is a funny thing....it keeps spiraling away from me....rushing away at a breakneck speed and I can't keep up with it.
And it seems that with every passing day the days pass faster and faster.....
Just like sands through the hour glass of time.......
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
And yet, with all of these ways to reach out and touch each other we are sadly touching each other less.
I have seen it around me, probably in my own home....well, definitely in my own home....
I have seen the need for more STUFF!!
Now, I like stuff. I enjoy my cell phone, my iPod, my iMac. But, it is just STUFF.
I can continue to build up my own personal arsenal of gadgets and devises and surround myself with every modern convenience. I would never have to see anyone face to face again.
Why, I can even sit right in the comfort of my own home and *attend* church! cough cough
Speaking of which, we had an awesome service last night. Bro. Wood preached to us and I want to be "In Position for the Mission" that is coming for me.
It was during that message that he mentioned Elisha, leaving his STUFF behind so that he could follow Elijah. He not only left it behind, he sacrificed it. And at the time of Elijah's departure to Heaven in the chariot he asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit...
And he got it.
I tend to believe it was because he sacrificed what he had to serve.
And as I thought about Elisha I remembered the rich young ruler. He asked the Lord "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17)
Jesus asked him if he knew the commandments. He responded he had followed them since he was young.
Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsover thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heave: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
*Note that Jesus saw him there in his sincerity to reach the mark, and He LOVED him, even though He knew he would walk away....WOW....there's a message in there*
This young man had a different reaction that Elisha.
He was grieved because he had many possessions.
I can imagine a young man of our time...
"Sell my STUFF! You have got to be kidding! I NEED this STUFF! I can't live without it!"
Now, I like my STUFF, but I would hope that in that position I would have been an Elisha.
Lord, give ME a double portion of the spirit of my Man of God! Give me his vision for the work waiting to be done. And if he says to me, "you have to lay some things aside," Lord, let me be willing. It's only STUFF, and I would that no material possession would keep me out of Your presence.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Maybe that makes me dumb, but it is fun to me.
I can go to Belk's when they are having a really good sale and get dress shirts for my guys for next to nothing! Love it!!
I don't mind if it's not name brand, who cares! Never been into that stuff anyway.
Now some things you have to have the name brand, no ability to skimp. Some medications are better in the name brand, that's just a fact.
I know I will only take name brand for my thyroid problem. It cost more, but it works so much better for me that it is worth the extra cost. If I am able to function and not feel like a slug, well, that means more to me than a few extra dollars.
There was a time when I was wasting my life, throwing away day after day on things that didn't even matter. Searching everywhere for something I could get to fill the emptiness inside of me.
But, you know what, I only felt emptier.
Now, I know there are those who would look at my life and think, "Why would anyone want to live that way? Look at all that she has given up, at everything her choice has cost her."
And that is true. I don't do some of the things I used to think were fun. I don't go some of the places I used to go. And I have, along the way, lost some of the *friends* that I at one time thought I couldn't live without.
I remember the life that I used to live, not with remorse, but with sadness for the time I wasted. And regret.
My energy, my focus could have been so much better spent if I had focused on what is really important.
And what is really important is who I am, who I am to my family, and to those around me. Because, you see, I am not my own. Someone paid the price for me.
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Don't feel sorry for me. Don't look at me and think of all the things that YOU think I am missing out on.
I assure you, I am quite happy.
Sure, I don't do some things anymore, and to some it would seem to great a price to pay for the peace that I have.
But, as my Pastor recently said, "Heaven is a bargain at ANY price!"
And I love me a bargain!!
Friday, August 28, 2009
It grieved me to watch his family deal with the loss, but they did so with grace and strength.
As usual, when I attend funerals, my thoughts drift to when it will be my own time. I am hoping I still have many years left. Although I don't think I will have as many grandchildren as he did, I would like to live to enjoy the ones I will have.
But, still....my heart longs for home.
And I thought while I was sitting there listening to others describe this man's life, "What will be said of my OWN life when it is over?"
What is the most important thing I want people to remember about me?
I, of course, want them to remember that I was once a young girl, with young girl dreams...and that some of those childish dreams came to pass.
I want others to remember that I was a wife, although not the best one on the planet, I have loved the same man for almost 25 years. And I'm planning on continuing that tradition for many more.
I want others to remember that I was a mother, and I want it to be known without being said how very much I love my children.
I want to be remembered for my career as a nurse and how much I enjoy caring for others.
But, above ALL of that, I want people to say that I loved the Lord. Really....Really
Because it is through my love for Him that I am a decent enough wife that my husband has not run over me with the car (yet).
It is through Him that I am the kind of mother that I want to be, even in my failings, and there have been many.
It is through Him that I can excel and become the type of leader that I need to be.
And, hopefully, through Him, when that day does come (and it will) there will be those sitting out there that will say, "She won me to the Lord. She gave me a Bible Study. She prayed for me. She inspired me."
When it is my turn and I have passed from this world to my Home with Him, when this body is lowered into the ground after my family has said their final goodbyes, when my time is at hand, I want someone to think "she loved the Lord with everything that she had."
I want people to know this is REAL for me, not something I do on Sunday's or when I am in public...
I am in love with this Truth...in love with my Savior...
What about you? When your time comes what will those you leave behind be thinking?
Are YOU for Real??
Monday, August 17, 2009
I have lived away from my brother and sister since 1990. I moved with my own little family to Troy, Alabama in September of that year, just 2 days after giving birth to my son. We have been apart every since.
My parents moved to Douglas back in the beginning of 1990 and after I finished college we came here (in 1995) so that we could be closer to them.
Now my parents are moving back to Louisiana and will be living next door to my sister.
And here we are, in Douglas.
It was always just us growing up, we relied on each other. We were our own friends, our own entertainment, our own family. One of the hardest days of my life was when my Mom loaded up and pulled away moving to Georgia. Denise was 2 and I started crying as they pulled away. One of my tears hit her arm and she looked at her father and said, "Mama spilled on me."
My family has always been a source of strength for me. But there has been a cost to the distance between us. So many things we have missed out on....
Our children have all grown up without really knowing each other. And we have missed so many events, graduations, and in my case, births. I have 2 great nieces now that will probably never know just how much this Aunt loves them.
It's not only the miles, that can be overcome. It's life that gets in the way, creating the biggest gap of all. It leaves a chasm that cannot be crossed between me and those that own my heart.
Oh, how I would love to have a nice Sunday Dinner after church with my brother and his family, or go camping with my sister. Wouldn't it be wonderful to spend the afternoon babysitting one of my new babies?
If I could change one thing, this would be it. I would be surrounded by my family. I don't want it to be "us 4 and no more" here in Douglas. I want to have a relationship with those that mean so much to me.
And so it is in my walk with God. Sometimes I let life get in the way. And before I know it there is a chasm between me and the One who means more to me than ANYTHING.
So I am changing things because although I cannot change the physical distance between me and my family, I can change the spiritual distance between me and my Father.
I can bridge that chasm on my knees, I can touch Him through His Word. I can know Him by spending time in His presence.
Because the distance between me and Him is in my control. And I want only to be at His feet.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
In case you did not know, we have a new venture at the Boulet House. We are in the Sno Ball Business!! Growing up in South Louisiana I ate a LOT of snow cones, or snow balls as they are referred to in New Orleans.
I WANTED a good snow cone, and NOW I can get one!!
Most Saturday's will find Sno 2 Geaux at the Farmer's Market here in Douglas serving up such flavors as Cajun Red Hot, Cookie Dough, Buttered Popcorn, Nectar, Tidal Wave, and MANY more!! But we also do some special stuff. We will be at the Wiregrass Arena in Nicholls on August 22 and also at Budget Car Sales on the same day!! That's a lot of ice!!
You can follow us on twitter, visit our website (sno2geaux.com) or become a fan on facebook!
Who knows where we are geauxing to be next!!
Monday, July 27, 2009
The first thing is to do away with seat belts and air bags systems in all vehicles. Also, they have decided that it would be cost effective to remove the lights from the back of the vehicles, eliminating the need for blinkers with this move.
Next, in order to cut down on the need for patrolling the highways, they will remove the speed limits and red light/stop signs, etc. This will invoke a system where the individual driver will be truly in the driver's seat, going when he is able instead of waiting.
It will be up to you, as a driver to decide if the vehicle in front of you is just slowing down, or stopping, and you will have to use your own judgment as to whether they are turning or whether you have time to go before another car does. There will be no rules to guide you, no safety measures to keep you from crashing and burning, just you against the other motorist on the road, kind of like every man for himself.
It is thought that with these few adjustments the industry and the country as a whole will save millions upon millions of dollars.
Sounds ludicrous doesn't it?
To me too. But so many times I hear the words from people, "all of those things from the Bible were for that time, not for now," or, my personal favorite, "that doesn't matter anymore."
Without guidelines we are wandering around with no real purpose, nothing to save us from the world, or OURSELVES.
Is it important to look different than the world? Absolutely. I have heard so many say Holiness is inward. Indeed, it is! But as your inward self changes you should see a reflection on the outside also! There should be a notable change. Your entire countenance should be changed!
The world would have us believe that rules and guidelines are passe', that they no longer matter. But the Word of God has not changed, there has not been a re-write of the Bible, it is the same as it was yesterday, the same as it will be tomorrow.
And there is a reason behind it, just as there is a reason we have tail-lights and blinkers. It is a protecting us from crashing and burning. The Bible is not a suggestion, there is no guessing about which direction to take. It provides us with a perfect road map to help us arrive at our desired destination.
Do you want to make it all the way? Then follow the path. Stop where it says stop, turn where it says turn, yield where it says yield, and go where it says go. Keep your eyes on those around you. Don't allow them to run you off this road.
I have told the story before of my patient many years ago. After a confrontation with someone who wanted me to detour off my path I was downhearted. My prayer before leaving the house that morning was "Lord, I need You today, I need to know You are with me."
My patient suffered from Alzheimer's and was having a bad day. But as I was caring for her she grasped my hand and looked at me with suddenly clear eyes. She said, "You are on the Highway to Holiness. Don't let anyone or anything take you off of the path."
And then, she was gone again, but I was found!
Isaiah 35:8-9 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
"There's a difference between wrong and right,
There's a difference between darkness and light,
There's no compromise, we must draw the line;
Sin is still our reproach, but holiness is right.
Now the world is living all kinds of lifestyles,
But the life of a Christian should be pure and undefied.
Everybody has faults to repent thereof,
And then walk in the light because holiness is right.
God is God, and He'll always be the same,
His word is the law, not one tittle will ever change.
We must distinguish between clean and unclean,
And then walk in the light because holiness is right."
There IS a difference!! And holiness IS right!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
It took us about 12 hours to get to Louisiana from here. I didn't drive above 65mph so we went slower than usual.
My poor parents. I was trucking along while they napped, listening to a Deeann Gist book, eating Combos and Bottle Caps when I got sleepy. At about 4pm I thought, "Gee, I haven't fed my parents!!"
I asked if they were getting hungry to which I got a resounding YES! So, we found a McDonalds.
I was able to visit my brother and his family at the church he pastors in Pineville, Louisiana. (The church is called Truthway if you ever are in the area. There are some great people there) They were not expecting me so it was a very nice surprise. My Sister-in-law's face when she spotted me was priceless. To make the trip even more wonderful, my husband's brother rode with me. I haven't been able to spend any time with him in FOR-EV-ER so that was nice to get caught up during the 4 hour round trip there and back
My husband's sister was wonderful enough to keep my farm going on FarmTown. If you don't know what I am talking about, you are better off not knowing...that's all I am saying about that.
Monday morning my husband and I started the trek back to Georgia with a few notable stops. We stopped in Scott, LA and had some Boudin Balls from the Best Stop. Then we went to Don's there in Scott and had a meat pie and some stuffed bread. I really wanted some Kolachies while we were in Sulphur, but Vee's Donuts was closed.
We detoured to the Big Easy and made a stop at Snow Wizard. There we saw the future snow ball stand of our dreams. Plus we picked up a couple of new flavors and went to the Snow Wizard stand on Magazine Street where Luis gave us the tour. Then we had to try one, of course. Bobby got Cajun Red Hot and I got Cake Batter. Needless to say we returned to the main office and left with Cajun Red Hot and Cake Batter is on the list for the next order!!
We found a dive before we left and had a Po-Boy. I had shrimp and I ordered Bobby Roast Beef dressed with gravy. It really is heartbreaking to see NO all these years past Katrina and see all the empty houses and empty streets.
We spent the night in Gulf Shores, AL and ate that night at Lambert's Cafe. If you have never experienced Lambert's you owe it to yourself. Of course, after eating everything else we didn't do it justice, but the atmosphere is great and the food is yummy. We left with a box full and left it in the truck overnight...bummer.
We had a nice time together. Not too often we get to spend time just the two of us. But I am SO glad to be home. I hated missing church last night as we got in late after Bobby visited with some retailers on the way, mixing business with pleasure. I know they had a great service!!
Well, I got back to work this morning, tired, but generally feeling good about life, till I got home and checked the mail.
I had an offer from AARP to get life insurance!! WHAT!!! I've got at least 8 more years here people, quit rushing me. Time is speeding by fast enough on its own!!
OK, that's my update. I will post some pictures from the trip on facebook later. Didn't take many, but I have a few. Wish I would have gotten some of the sugar cane and the rice fields. So Beautiful to me....
Until next time!!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sherry and I were polar opposites in every way, but we had (and still have) a great love for one another. Sherry was always outgoing and out spoken. I loved spending time at her house with her boisterous family. They were so loving and so much fun. They always called me "Sheri-Sheri" and that has stuck through all these years.
During our Freshman year, Sherry was given the superlative of "Loudest Mouth" while I received the votes for "Quietest Girl." I guess that says it all.
Sherry did not take any gruff off of anybody. I cannot tell you the times that I stood behind her while she was pounding someone in the face saying quietly, "Now, Sherry this is not solving anything. And you are just going to get into trouble. Please, don't fight."
We laugh about it now, but she did not think it was funny at the time. Although she never got angry with me she told me I used to drive her crazy, her little voice of reason running behind her.
She has always been that way, never afraid to run head first into a situation and confront whatever and whoever the problem is.
Me, not so much.
(unless it involves my family, but that's another blog)
Through the years I have allowed many things in the name of peace. Just to "keep the peace" I have sat back on my hands waiting for my problems and circumstances to disappear.
Only there has been no peace.
Isn't that just like the devil?
"Now, Sheri you know you don't want to fight this. Think of all the trouble you are going to cause. Just don't fight this."
So, I haven't.
And by doing that I have spent year after year living on the edge, afraid to make a sound, afraid to take a stand.
But, it occurred to me recently that all I have done in the name of peace has been wasted because there has been no peace.
And if there is no peace through my peace-keeping tactics then I'm changing my course.
I'm putting up my dukes, and I am going to fight.
I am going to fight the devil who would like to see me bound by this illusion of peace.
I am going to stand up to situations that I have tried in the past to just smooth over to avoid any conflict.
There is a new voice ringing in my ears, infusing me with the strength I need.
"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." (Psalm 56:11)
Now, before you think otherwise, NO, I am not going to be running around willie nillie punching people in the faces, and YES, I still think Sherry should have done less pounding.
So, what in the world am I talking about??
I am talking about warfare, spiritual warfare. Warfare that has come against my home, my church and my walk with God. I am talking about the things that I have not fought against on my own battlefield, the things that I have not stood up for because I knew that the battle would heat up if I did. And if you have never attempted to live your life for God surrounded by those who are not as sold out as you are this will probably make no sense.
And if you have, then you completely understand. I continue to live it, full force, but I have been living it quietly, and I thought peaceably.
But, I have been wrong. I have not had peace. And if I have no peace by being passive, then I might as well roll up my sleeves and come out fighting. I might as well stand up to the bullies of this world who tell me I am oppressed because they are the ones who have been oppressing me.
I might as well pick up my stones and grab my sling and stand up to the giants of this world instead of crouching behind and rock and pretending they aren't there.
This world will tell you that if you just keep your mouth shut and don't cause any trouble everything will be OK.
But it's not OK. It's time for battle. No longer will I hide in the bunker while the world drops bombs on all that I believe. If I get my eye blacked, then so be it. I will be fighting for everything that I am.
The time has come that we rise up against those that tell us that it is OK for them to talk about us, but not OK for us to say "you got it all wrong, buddy." It's time we stood up in the face of the opposition and said "If it's not in the Bible then it's wrong. Period."
It's time we worried less about offending someone and worried more about them being lost.
And when we do that, when I do that, I can say:
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Suddenly I was 16 again...
"EWWWW! Grody to the max!!" I exclaimed, then quickly gazed around the kitchen to make sure no one heard me.
I have listened to my elders, noted their wording, admired their phrases, with my tongue in my cheek, but yesterday I had my own flashback reality check.
My children often tell me when I utter certain phrases, or butcher one of the modern slang of today, "No, Mom. Never say that again."
And I have found that things that used to mean something else now mean...well something else. As Jeff Foxworthy once commented that one day all parents just get off of the fashion train, I guess I jumped off the "slang train" back in 1984 and have been wondering around those deserted tracks in a stupor every since.
Even when I do try out one of the modern sayings going around it sounds, well, lame coming from my 42 year old lips.
There are days it seems like it was only yesterday that I was young and speaking the same language as everyone else....then I face my children's shocked faces when some of the eighties slips out of my mouth and I feel like Michael Fox when he went forward in time.
"What?!?!" I will say, perplexed by their amazement.
"No, Mom. Never say that again."
Someday, sometime, they will understand. And when they question me, wonderingly, if this shock they feel as middle age slaps them in the face for the first time mirrored my own feelings when I saw the slang train barrel away leaving me lurking in the abandoned station.
My answer will be..."Like Fer Sure!"
Friday, June 26, 2009
For many hours she wandered, unsure exactly which direction to take to reach the place she wanted to be. She felt like she had spent her life on the outside looking in at a world that she longed to be part of. Her parents had cushioned her in a protective barrier against things that she could not see the harm in, and that she longed to know.
And in a time of desperation, when she felt like she would surely be better off with her own version of freedom, she set out, determined to find it.
But, after wandering the dark streets for many lonely hours that freedom seemed even further out of reach. Yet, she would not turn back. She yearned to taste of the forbidden fruit of freedom so long denied to her. She pressed on, past her misgivings and fears, continuing further and further away from home.
It was during the darkest part of the night she saw it, the sleek lines of the car, the light of the street lamps gleaming in the chrome, and as it passed her it slowed to a stop, and the window came down.
She backtracked her steps to the voice beckoning her from the open window, "Hey, you. Where are you headed?"
And, after a brief exchange, she climbed in.
The inside of the car was every bit as flashy as the outside, and she couldn't help but rub her hands on the leather of the seats and breathe deep of the new car smell.
Not to mention the driver was as perfect as the car, and before long they were speeding along.
Mile after mile passed without notice. Hour after hour flashed away, still they rode. She was captured by the words he wove around her, amazed at the way he knew her every dream.
On and on they went, further and further away they traveled. This was what she had longed for, what she had dreamed of for so long. He promised her freedom, and indeed, she felt free. He took her places she had never been, showed her things she had never seen. He told her he loved her, and promised her if she would just stay with him he would take her places she could never have imagined. He would take her further than she ever thought she would go.
And it was magical, until summer came. She had not been prepared for the seasons to change. She had not really imagined she would be gone this long. She had only come prepared for the winter, and now the heat was unbearable.
Suddenly it occurred to her how far they had traveled. There was no way to return home. She had no means to get there. How unprepared she had been. Now, here she was, hundreds of miles from home, with a companion whose kindness had seemed to evaporate in the heat.
By chance, she was alone when she turned a corner in a truck stop and saw the pay phone. She quickly dialed the number to her home. As soon as she heard her father's familiar voice the tears came.
"Daddy, please come get me."
I was thinking today about the phrase "Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go."
And, I began to think about how wonderful sin can seem, how appealing. I began to think of people I have known over the years that have gotten in the car, so to speak, with sin, thinking they were going for a quick joy ride, only to find themselves miles away from home before they even knew what happened.
As I was thinking about it, a picture came into my mind. When we think of the devil we often think of a little red creature with horns and a pitchfork. But, I am here today to tell you, sin is desirable. It comes to you in a nice package designed to lure you in. It appears wrapped in promises and draped in dreams.
Sin will not pick you up in an old clunker that barely runs, sin will pull up in the car of your fantasies. It will be attractive and desirable. And, at first, it will be wonderful to you. The Bible says there is pleasure in sin....for a season....
But, season's change, and time passes, and when the new wears off of that shiny vehicle of your sin you are left stranded in the middle of nowhere with a broke down old clunker.
Although it is better not to succumb to sin at all, we do have a Father who cares, who watches for us, longs for us to return home, waits for that opportunity to celebrate our return.
Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go, and it doesn't care if you never make it back, doesn't care if you can handle the heat, doesn't care if you get burned.
It may seem like the ride of your life, but if you go along for the ride sin longs to take you on, you will never return the same way you came.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Last night I saw someone I love filled with the Holy Ghost!
I wept at the pouring out of His Spirit, thinking again of those feet that had been placed on the faith before me. I was reminded of my own experience 20 years ago, and my own unsureness as I stood in the back of the church, trying not to show how badly I wanted the Holy Ghost and longing someone would come to me and tell me what to do.
I was standing right there last night as that same experience that filled the Upper Room over 2000 years ago was manifested before my eyes and I thought, as I have so many other times, how could anyone be satisfied with less that ALL He has for them?
This is the same thing that was spoken of by Joel...In these last days, He is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh. But, will all flesh accept?
Thank You, my precious, precious Saviour! Once again You have exceeded my every prayer. I am awed by what You have done, by the things You have revealed are yet to come. You are my everything, my all in all. Pour over me! I am ready for whatever You have for me!!
Monday, June 15, 2009
The verse that called me back was Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
I pondered this verse again and again.
"if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
If It Were Possible...
I don't know why that just caught me. I had not been able to let it go since I read it last night.
IF it were possible...
Jesus is speaking in this verse, and the verses proceeding and following this particular one about the Tribulation. In verse 22 of that same chapter, He declares, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened."
And I thought as I read these words again and again how much power is in that little word...
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
How will the elect not be deceived?
They know His voice. His Word IS His voice. It is alive and vibrant and speaks to us clearly, IF we choose to listen.
There are so many today that distort the Word of God, changing it to support growth or whatever excuse they decide to use. Pastors that see the way of truth but, knowing it is not the popular way, they conform and in the end promote themselves above the Gospel.
John 10:11-14 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
It is not possible to be deceived if you know his voice.
Which brought me this morning to the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
Before the sun had even risen, Mary was there. When she reached the sepulchre the stone was rolled away. She ran back to tell the disciples what she had seen.
Peter and John ran back to the sepulchre, Peter entering first, followed by John. They saw the linen clothes and the napkin used during the burial of Jesus and they left.
Mary was grieved.
She stood outside the sepulchre weeping. She finally convinced herself to peer inside. But, this time there were not only burial clothes-there were also 2 angels-one sitting at the head and one sitting at the feet where Jesus had lain.
In John 20:13 they said to her, "Woman, why weepest thou?"
And I compared Mary's reaction to this experience to what my own would have probably been. Here she is, in the graveyard, at the first light of day, looking inside an open tomb, and there are two angels. They apparently speak to her at one time.
Mary's reply was probably much different than my own would have been. She answered, matter-of-factly "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."
And with that she dismissed the angels, intent on finding the body of her Lord.
As she turns, Jesus is there, although she thinks he is a gardener. He also asks her why she is crying adding "whom seekest thou?"
Mary implores Him to tell her where He is laid so that SHE can take Him away.
At that moment Jesus says, "Mary" (vs.16) and she knows exactly who He is. No doubt in her mind.
In that one word was the answer to every question she had. All He had to do was call her name.
She was not deceived, she knew the voice of her Master, her Rabboni.
Something broke in me this morning as I read that account I have read so many times before. I don't know if it was just her devotion, the fact that she had gone to the graveyard before daylight to tend to her Master, or the fact that when Peter and John saw He was truly gone they turned around and went home.
Not Mary. She stayed, she wept.
Even the sight of two angels did not deter her from her need to find Him. I could feel her desperation, sense the depth of her need to find Him, and I wept because I have felt that need too.
At an altar, years ago, I looked for Him. I had been searching everywhere I knew to look, trying to find my way to Him.
And, when my own desperation reached its height, He was there, calling my name.
I am not content to listen to the voices of this world that say they come in His name, but they do not.
I am not satisfied with churches that say "He is here, come and see!" Yet, He is not there, His Word is not there, His voice is not heard.
But, there is a way clearly defined in the Word of God.
And one day, maybe sooner than I think, He will call again. I am listening for His voice, waiting for Him to call my name, as He calls me home.
I want to be ready. How about you?
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I have always been a pack rat, of sorts. When I was little I kept things that no one else would probably keep, things that meant something to me, for whatever reason. But, as I have gotten older I have found a distinct need to de-clutter my life.
And I know where it comes from. BUSY...
It seems my life is a never ending round of circumstances that keep in forever twirling on the edge of the abyss of insanity...
Well, maybe not insanity in the traditional form...not hearing any voices in my head or seeing spiders or dogs, as it may be, coming out of my walls, but more the kind where I sometimes feel on the brink of twirling myself into nothingness.
So I dream of a week where I have nothing better to do but clean out the things in this house that have accumulated over the last 10 years, things that are of no use to me anymore, that are only taking up space that could be better used for another purpose.
In doing that, I need to sit down and evaluate. What is important to me now? What do I still need and what can I do without?
And I then imagine what I could do with all the space I will create.....aaahhhhh, how nice it will be.
What about the junk? A yard sale!!! There are so many things we need for the church here in Douglas. A new keyboard so I can have one to practice on here at home...a platform...a van...
*if I have enough junk to buy a van, though, that would be truly sad*
I can take this stuff that is doing nothing and turn it into something useful. What a concept!!
I also find that I need to do this with my spiritual life. Stuff has gotten in my way, stuff that is not really productive, and it is keeping me from reaching my potential.
I need to spring clean the closet of my heart, empty out that space that I need to be fully focused on the true task at hand...serving Him, reaching the lost, making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
In this whirly twirly life that I lead there has to be a place of balance, a place that give me strength and helps me to stay focused. Maybe I can transform some of my new house space into my space of refuge, a special meeting place for me and my Dearest Friend that is void of all the clutter that life brings....
This is a thought!!
Oh, well...I have postponed enough. I'm off to clean, yippee!! But first, I have Someone to visit, Someone I have not spent nearly enough time with lately....yet He is there, waiting on me, loving me in spite of myself.
Hello, my Dear, Sweet Friend, my Lord, my Love, my God. Do You have time for a nice visit today??
Monday, May 25, 2009
Thankful does not even begin to explain how we feel to have shared this day together watching Ethan receive his diploma. Amazed, awed, overwhelmed don't do it either.