Archives

Sweet, sweet memories

Psalm 77:11-12 – “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

As I sit here this morning, I’m remembering the excitement and nervousness and joy that this day brought me 22 years ago. It was the night of my wedding rehearsal. We had so much fun. We laughed. And we laughed. And then, we laughed some more. 

And then the next day, the big day, was full of love and celebrating and nervous jitters and yes, more laughter. I can see it all in my head. I can hear my Southern accent. I can see the big hair. I remember the look in my Daddy’s eyes as he walked up the stairs to bring me to my future husband. I remember the one candle that did not light at the altar. I remember people yelling at me to watch out for fire ants while I tied balloons along the sidewalk leading up to that old farmhouse where we had our reception. I remember the magnolia trees bloomed that morning. 

But more than all the memories of those two days 22 years ago, I remember how we got there – God. I remember that it was Him that brought my husband and I together. I remember that it was Him that grew the love that continues to grow in us. I remember praying to find my husband while I was still in high school. 

I have so many precious memories. But none of them would be possible without Jesus in my life. I KNOW that it was Him that brought my husband to me. I KNOW it was Him that showed me what it means to have a good marriage by giving me the parents He gave me. I KNOW it is Him that keeps us together to this day. 

So when I look back and remember, I don’t want to neglect His fingerprints all over my life. And I want to make sure that I give Hin the honor and glory He deserves for His work in my life. Thank you God, for all that You have done in my life. And thank you for all that You will do in my life because I KNOW You’re not done with me yet. 

14

1 Peter 3:2-4 – ” While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

It’s a big weekend – my daughter turns fourteen on Saturday. We are going out to a nice dinner tonight and tomorrow, she & I are going for a manicure and pedicure. 

But as she is growing and learning to be a woman, there is one thing that I want her to grasp and understand – beauty is not only skin deep. 

Beauty is something that comes from the inside. Beauty is a light that shines inside of you. It lights up a room. It can calm a situation. It brings warmth to a conversation. It is something that can’t be replicated in a doctor’s office. It isn’t something that can be taught. It has to be grown inside with diligence and patience. 

As my daughter faces even more challenges as a teenager via her peers and social media, I want her to appreciate what God is doing in her life. He is growing something special in her that He can use down the road to bring Him honor and glory. 

Yes, her hair is long and beautiful. Yes, her button nose is too cute. Yes, her freckles bring joy to my heart. And yes, her laughter is contagious. But it is her heart for others, her joyful spirit, her tenacity, her spunkiness and her love love of life that I don’t want to fade or grow dim or ever be cut off. 

Life takes it toll. Time marches on. But I pray that her beauty that truly lies within will never change. For that is what makes her my beautiful daughter. 

Church family

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 – “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

When my family and I started going to our church, we were a bit puzzled. Everyone was identified as aunt or uncle so-and-so. How could all these people possibly be related? True, it has been around for 120+ years and dating someone in our church requires a careful analysis of both people’s family tree, but still..all of them related?

We quickly learned that these were terms of endearment. 

My church is far from perfect. We have problems. We have challenges. But above it all, we have love. 

And there is no better place to see love than at a funeral. Now, I know, that seems weird. But hear me out. 

One of our ladies passed away this week. She had fought long and hard against an illness that rarely gives up – cancer. It was sad. And it was a blessing. She had been ill for so long and endured so much. She was ready to see Jesus. 

And as we sat and listened to the pastor give his words of encouragement, the common theme was “amen”. He talked about her faith; her dedication when she was ill; her love for her family and her Jesus. Amen. She isn’t hurting. Amen. She wants her family to share in her joy. Amen. Her family was not only flesh and blood but also the blood of Jesus Christ. 

I have a plaque in my home that was given to us by one of our church family. It says “Friends are the family you choose.” 

And no truer words can be spoken when I think about my church family. 

I love my family dearly, blood of my relatives and blood of my Jesus. They are all precious to me. And yesterday, as we laid to rest one of our own, my heart was sad for the ones left behind but happy for her. It was bittersweet. 

So I would encourage you to go home to your church family this weekend. They would love to see you. They would love to hug you. They would love to tell you how much they have missed you, because they have. Don’t let the devil steal away the family that God has given you. Treasure it and thrive within it. 

What love is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Yesterday, I visited a couple who has been married 56 years. He is vibrant and swam a 1/2 mile that morning in the pool. She, on the other hand, is failing. Her health is less than good and her mind wavers. Yet, as she needed attending for whatever reason, he did so without complaining, without harshness and with loads of compassion. He encouraged her when she successfully completed a 30 second stand without grasping her walker. 

People today don’t always understand and appreciate that kind of love and devotion. When things get tough and they feel their needs aren’t being met, they leave. 

This couple encouraged me with stories of their time apart when he was away doing his job. I can see him leaving home to get on a plane in the 60s while his wife stayed home with the children. I can see her opening the door with a smile on her face when she sees him walking up the front sidewalk. I can see him watching her cook dinner while the children run in and out the door and they talk of what all has gone on through the week. And as time passes, I can see him sitting by her bed holding her hand while she struggles to understand why she just can’t remember. 

Love. Love is something that is challenged every day. It is a choice we make every day. I choose to get up in the morning and love my husband no matter if he is beside me or on a trip for his job. I choose to stand by him when he is sick and when he is happy. I choose to love him when he carries out the trash and when he makes me madder than a wet hen. 

Love isn’t about warm fuzzy feelings and thinking like you are the center of his world. Love is knowing that when you just can’t remember, he will be there. Love is knowing that when you can’t stand by yourself, he will be there to hold you up. Love is a choice. 

I truly believe that we can’t love our spouse without loving Jesus first. You see, He is love. He shows us how to love. 

So this weekend, love. Choose love. Always, choose love. Happy Friday. 

I could never say “thank you” enough.¬†

2 Samuel 22:47,50 – “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation. Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.”

How He Loves

John Mark McMillan

He is jealous for me.                                   Loves like a hurricane.                                      I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.                                  When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.         And I realize how beautiful You are and how great Your affections for me.

Oh how He loves us so.                                  Oh how He loves us.                                    How He loves us so.                                       Yes He loves us

We are His portion and He is our prize. Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And heaven meets earth like a unforeseen kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us.     

Oh how he loves us so.                                 Oh how he loves us.                                    How he loves us so

So in the course of my day, I heard this song “How He Loves” sung by Crowder. I have heard this song a million times. But for some reason when I heard it yesterday, my heart was so touched. It really brought to mind just how much I could never say “thank you” enough. 

I could never say “thank you” enough for:         

Loving me enough to send Your Son to die for me.                                                                   For the way that You always listen and understand and care.                                            For the blessings that I see each and every day walking and breathing and existing for me.                                                   For His Word that speaks to me through countless generations.                                     For providing for everything I could possibly imagine and more.              

For these and so much more, I find myself blessing the Lord. Shouting His praises in the confines of my car. Crying because I could never say or do or be enough. Because He first loved me and pursued me to learn to love Him. 

What a beautiful, encouraging and promising moment while driving along in my car, hoping that my mascara wasn’t running too bad because man, oh man, my daughter let the tissues roll under the seat!

Happy Friday!

Stay focused 

Luke 2:1-7 – “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

It is 2 days before Christmas. We are all, for the most part, running around like crazy people trying to get “everything” done. There are last minute gifts to buy. Groceries to purchase for parties and get togethers. Places to be. People to see. With all the hubbub, it’s even hard to fall asleep some nights with all the thoughts and considerations of what still needs to be done. 

Stop. 

Stop for just one moment. 

Remember. 

Remember why we celebrate. Remember Who we celebrate. Remember why we really give gifts to the ones we love. Remember why this season is so important. 

It’s CHRISTmas. 

When we lose sight of what this season is really all about, it becomes just another excuse to spend money and get all worked up. 

You know, I’m writing this as much to you as I am to me. It is so easy to get caught up in making sure the stockings are stuffed and that every child in the home has about the same number of gifts. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself for being stressed about getting it all done. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and jealous when you see someone else so relaxed. It’s easy to lose my focus. 

This is the season that we celebrate God’s choice to send His One and Only Son to the earth to live a sinless life and die a horrible death for all of mankind and then arise from the grave 3 days later just so that we can have a relationship with Him. This is the season we remember and contemplate what Mary and Joseph had to go through with rejection after rejection with a majorly pregnant woman on hand. This is the season when we realize and appreciate that the King of Kings spent His first few hours on this earth in a manager meant to feed animals. 

God gave us the very best gift of all when He gave us Jesus Christ. That’s why we give gifts. We were first given the Gift. This is the season about family – the Father gave His Son to a mother and father who truly believed and trusted Him; they were His children. We are God’s children if we chose to believe in His Son Jesus. Family. 

So in the hustle and bustle of the next few days, don’t lose focus. Remember what it is all about. Take time to share with others what this season truly means. Be weird about it. Make people ask questions why you say “Merry Christmas”. Just don’t lose focus. It is exactly what the devil is trying to achieve – taking our eyes off Christ. 

Shoeboxes


Luke 11:9-10 – “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

It was a beautiful day. We went yesterday to create our offerings for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive. We have participated in this event for three years now, I believe, at our church. Our little youth group pigs out at a local pizza place and then heads across the street to the One Dollar Store to fill our shoeboxes with goodies of all sorts. 

At first, the kids packed their boxes with toys and candy. Then we talked about where the boxes would be going – places where food was a premium and they had absolutely nothing. The perspectives changed. They removed most of the toys and candy and replaced it with bowls and spoons and soap and toothbrushes and tooth paste and wash clothes – things we all take for granted. 

Our youth groups looks forward to this each and every year. In fact, when we plan for the year, it’s the first thing that’s mentioned that we HAVE to do. 

So, I’m sure your wondering what these verses have to do with all this information. When we create these boxes, we ask that God guide our hands and help us to provide whatever the recipient of our box will need. Each box is different. Each box has character. Each box has a story and a memory behind it. 

We pray over our boxes before we send them on their way. We know that before a child will receive our gift, they have to go through a series of lessons and learn about Jesus. They hear the plan of salvation. They are offered THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT – salvation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The batteries in the flashlights we send will run out. The pencils will become nubs. The soap will disappear. But salvation will never disappoint or disappear or run out. No, this gift that only God can give will last throughout eternity. 

And all they have to do is ask. 

How beautiful is that?!

So let me encourage you to participate in an opportunity to present the plan of salvation to someone somewhere in the world through Operation Christmas Child- https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

It has truly blessed our hearts. I know it will bless yours as well.