Monday, June 18, 2018

Hiding The Talent

I took to the cabin, where I knew He was. I sat humbly on the old wooden rocker and looked unto the meadow that was soaked from the rains of the night before. The sun warmed my legs as I sat there waiting. My throat felt dry and I began to thirst. A gentle bell began to ring and I looked at the wind-chime that hung in confidence from under the old cabin's roof, I knew church was about to begin. I smiled and looked back at the prairie full of diamonds. Each blade of grass held her stone high and waved it about in thanks to the morning sun.

I took a deep breath and asked to see it again. I closed my eyes and I knew He would provide. It became apparent quickly that we would be different this Sunday morning. We didn't even get to the first song before one stood. Exhausted after being in revival, our preacher set the tone right away. Another preacher stood and got straight into The Word as the baby in front of me began lifting his arms in enthusiasm just as the preacher was doing.

Sinners were standing, sinners were praying and then everything got real slow. I knew He had something for me too as my vision, my hearing, all of my senses begin to crawl about the pews...and then she stood. A lady almost right in front of me stood up and began singing. I watched and listened to her pretty voice carry throughout the quiet room and I didn't even know she could sing. Some were standing to Testify two at a time and I could hear them both just the same. My eyes were trying to gather everything He needed me to see because I knew there was a story to write thereafter.

After the Testimony of a daddy this Father's Day, followed with a Testimony by his son, my heart began to pound. This grown child is about to pack up and leave for college and immediately I was shown That Suitcase. That story was written years ago after an impressionable sermon at our former church. I watched as other teens stood and testified and though my eyes were watching them in the very room in which I sat, I was listening to That Suitcase one more time.

My heart had slowed to a very deep pound and I twitched in my seat as I explained to The Lord. But I'm a writer not a speaker. Everyone has already read that story, they don't want to hear it again. And then The Lord said, "We have written it before, but now we need to say it. Even if they have read it, they need to hear it."

I began to tremble as the man in front of me turned around and looked directly at me as if he knew. When I knew it was my turn, I stood. I spoke meekly through a cracked voice. I don't even know what I said exactly but I summarized the story and assured the boy his parents had been packing his suitcase for quite some time. His own grandfather from the front pew had began packing it in That Cornfield many years ago.

Now, as I sat on the old cabin porch, I could smell the dampness of the wood. I could hear the greetings of the morning birds' chirp. I apologized to The Lord, once again, for hiding the Talent. Sometimes, we let ourselves get in the way of what all He has in store for us. We become slothful and weak. We look around at the uninspired and we become discouraged. I smiled in thanks at the blessings he keeps pouring over me just like the summertime rains shower the meadows. There are diamonds there if you look through Spiritual eyes. There are songs there if you listen with Spiritual ears and there is water there when you are dry and thirst. Thanking Him this morning for the dirt under my nails as I had to dig deep this morning in search of His Talent. It's time I gave it back more abundantly!

Matthew 25 18-26
But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

That Way

As the first breath met with the undisturbed Sunday air above each pew, I knew it was Him. Voices of Might lifted high and their Strength was Powerful and full of that safe common where everyone is in Meeting. Before the first verse finished, the hairs on my arm were at attention and goose bumps arrived for the occasion.

A room full of the needy, but today, they were giving all they had. I watched the little blonde boy from my eye's corner and I remembered sitting in a similar seat once before, right where his mom sat. She held on tight to the little sister as the busy boy made his way down to his grandparents. My mind drifted away from the sermon and I was suddenly on the road home...

I found myself at the bridge but this day, I couldn't cross it. Signs had been posted all over that it was closed and it would remain that way for quite some time. I suddenly had to find another way. My heart sank because I've traveled this road for years, it was my way, it was my comfort, it was my path and now it was blocked. Arrows pointed me it various directions and I knew they would eventually take me home but they were unfamiliar and I didn't trust where they might lead me, going that way.

As days progressed, that way became my new normal. One day while riding down this road, I saw dust flying from a nearby dirt road. I rolled my windows up, careful not to choke on the dry unpaved surface and I was taken back many years. I remembered standing up in my Paw Paw's old truck and going down a dirt drive. I looked over at him one more time and I found myself crying and smiling at the same time. I thanked The Lord for letting me see him again and that's something this path gave me that the old path could never.

I looked around the room again of the Spirit filled Sanctuary and I knew that the very road I didn't want to travel at first, had led us here, to this church. What had seemed inconvenient for a small amount of time, had given us riches that no other road could possibly have provided. It may have taken us longer to get where we were going at times but that made the arrival even sweeter.

Today I am thankful for the blocked roads I've encountered over the years because sometimes the unfamiliar is more rewarding than traveling a common path. Today I am thankful for His Road that leads us HOME even if we choke on the dirt sometimes. What jewels await after it all settles. So don't be discouraged by altered travels. Sometimes, He just wants to show you the uncommon. Trust in Him and go that way.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

That Reflection

The words, "Be still, and wait upon The Lord" is all I could repeat as I began my morning. When you know how good He is and wake with that feeling that He is preparing something just for you, the anticipation puts a smile on your face.

As the land began to sparkle from the first light of the day, I took a seat to watch the sun rise along with the morning's dew. I slowly began to replay last night's Revival service and found myself singing "I'm bound for that city, God's Holy white city, oh yes I am..." I stopped breathing on my own as I could feel The Spirit move inside me. I watch the man on the fourth pew. His head moved about with confidence as he shouted these same words. The song book pressed against his chest, he already knew the words, and believed them. The hair on my arm and neck began to rise as the voices below that steeple roared with might, and I knew. I knew He had something special, just or us.

It didn't take long before they stood, the ones who needed to praise. It didn't take long before they shouted, the ones who needed to shout. It didn't take long before they sang, the ones gifted in song. I watched as little girls sang Child of The King with their Daddy and Grandfather. As hands lifted and their voices grew, the tallest of the two smiled, as The Lord showed her what obedience looked like. A powerful message was fed to His Sheep by The Shepherd himself and it didn't take long...until two tiny feet, carried two tiny legs to the altar where two tiny knees fell in heartache and sorrow. The blessed child wept and all around wept with her. She tried to put off what she could no longer...and right then and there, her heart was beating with His blood in her veins.

The four walls held in a rejoicing like no other and I was sure they would come tumbling down at any minute. That child has something now, that nobody can take away from her. That simple Tuesday became forever solid for that little girl.

I was smiling when the droplet of dew fell from the old cabin's roof. I watched it fall with purpose ever so slowly that I could see the reflection of the sun rise, then the tall corn from the garden, the grass below and then a puddle beneath it reached up and swallowed it whole. It waved up at the rooftop to assure the next drop to fall in the exact same path to safety below. I smiled and stood, took a deep breath and thanked Him for that reflection.

I saw that what had seemed like the passing of a very long time was only a short duration. The trees were beginning to be draped with tangerine behind them and the sun was shining on one spot down in the garden. The pouting sunflowers were beginning to reach upward in thanks and turned to look back at the old cabin's porch as I walked away. My seat was also lit [with The Son] and I smiled knowing. "Be still and wait upon The Lord," and that was just for me. Feeling Blessed this morning!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

That Cornfield

Youth Sunday. I could hear the flutter of the butterfly wings in the boy's voice as he stood before the church and read scripture. He told us that HIS hand wasn't too short to reach down and I held my breath and watched. One by one, the sheep stood and told of HIS Abundance. The eldest of them all uplifted his body. He faced his grandson that stood behind today's pulpit and spoke of the cornfield. I envisioned a time long ago when his knees were younger, his back stronger, but a time when he was more broken than he will ever have to be again. I could see him falling to the dirt of that cornfield and The Lord reaching down, just for him.

A dozen or more had stood before Sunday School even started. I saw a young mother turn around to the squeak of that back door. Her eyes were full of the purest silver I had ever seen as the tears caught a glimpse of the light from above. We finally went to Sunday School and at the very end of class, a young man talked about why he goes to church. He said if he wasn't at church, he'd be someplace else. I really held tight to those words and let them soak into my flesh as slowly as possible. I knew I was placed here on purpose. My words could never glitter the way these gifted's do. There's no polish I could add to make a shine, quite like they speak.

A young preacher told us of a time when the land went dry. Nobody believed there was a need for an arc but one. That man was obedient and when then rains came, the people were too late to get on board. The Lord shut that door behind the obedient and his family. Another young preacher told us about the day The Lord shall come, how it will be too late for many. That door will someday shut too. People from all over will remember their cornfields, their missed opportunities, and remain with a forever longing to be someplace else.

At the end of the service I watched a little girl. She couldn't get close enough to her mommy. She held tightly to mom's shoulder and watched her lovingly. She was captivated by her mother's earrings. I could see them shine from a distance and the girl wanted so desperately to get her hands on that glimmer. There was just something about that shine.

Today, I'm praying for that cornfield. Wherever the knees are falling, His Hand will reach. I'm thankful for His Touch this morning. I'm thankful for my own cornfield, and I'm thankful for the shine. These young people were obedient today and what a great service we had because His Hand is always plentiful. He has never reached for me with an empty palm. I am Blessed once again.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reminded of Home

I really had not thought about it all week. The looming appointment I was instructed to make by my doctor. He wasn't completely satisfied with my recent mammogram so I needed to do some more testing. I was caught up in my busy world, I placed that one hour of my week at the bottom of my list where it remained...until today. I was doing great, until I left my house, my comfort zone. As miles passed under the tread of my tires, I decided last minute to drive through my hometown on the way to my appointment. It would only take a few minutes longer and by this time I had gotten pretty nervous. I thought if I could just get back to common ground just for a minute...I'd be okay.

I prayed for peace with whatever I was about to face but my main concern was my family. I didn't want to tell my Mama, my kids or coworkers bad news and cause them to worry. Tears were welling and the devil was stalking nearby, wanting me to stay focused on how much hurt and pain I was probably about to cause them. I wanted to block it out and again, I sought The Lord's reassurance. The devil kept pressing me to believe that I was deceitful for telling almost nobody where I really going today. My husband knew, a few coworkers, and The Lord. I continued that long drive and finally reached my hometown where I briefly found relief. I was reminded of home.

The tears had almost subsided and I decided to stop in for breakfast. A lump in my throat nearly constricted my voice as the devil placed fear right back in my bones. I managed to order, drive forward, and begin the tears again. I dropped down my sunglasses and pretended to be okay until I got to the cashier. As she was gathering my order, I noticed the lady standing near her. I recognized her as a local, we went to the same high school, she was much younger but through social media, I get to see that she is very active in my hometown community. She's a strong Christian, works in the hedges and the highways to serve her Lord and she was familiar. She reminded me of HOME.

I think if I had just opened my mouth I would have screamed, "I'm scared!!! I am terrified!!!Pray for me and my family!!!" But I couldn't speak. I reached out to hand the cashier money and she handed me my food saying, "Your meal has been paid for and you have these people to thank."

Oh, I was confused for a second, thanked the girl and drove up. As I reached the end of the parking lot, I looked down and saw this....

It was from the lady, that familiar lady from school. I started laughing. That wonderful spiritual laugh when you know you are crying your eyes out because The Lord just did ALL OF THAT for you. HE had already been planning that way ahead of time. He placed her there for me. She was serving The Lord and look what a Blessing she was to me. Again, I was reminded of HOME. I drove many miles more until the uneasy set in again. I progressed closer and closer to the hospital and my blood pulsed faster, my hands were sweating and the lump was back in my throat. The devil was wanting so hard for me to fall apart and I was trying my best not to cave.

As I was turning onto that final road that led me to the hospital, I was feeling guilty for not telling my kids or my mother where I was and what I was doing but I knew they would worry, and that wouldn't help anything. Just as the tears started to pool in my eyes again, something overhead caught my eye. It was a large flock of geese. If you ever read my story "The Calling of the Geese" then you know how special this was to me. I smiled so big my heart filled with happy. This too reminded me of HOME.

I walked into that appointment with my head held high. It didn't matter what the results were going to be, I was going to deal with it. It didn't matter what I had to go back and face my family with, I was going to deal with it. I sat next to an elderly lady and bless her heart she was more nervous than me. She wore fright upon her face so I smiled at her, spoke to her slowly, and enjoyed our few minutes together. I walked out of there with a good report this time and I'm thankful for that but as close as The Lord was the whole time...the devil was riding my skirt tale. I am so Blessed this day that The Lord took time, and reminded me of HOME.

((and thank you to the lady, not just for buying my breakfast, but for being who you are, just keep minding The Lord))

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Burden of a Blessing

I awoke in a horrid sweat. I had been somewhere, some place awful. I took a few clearing breaths to try and cleanse the repulsive, the evil, the disgust from my skin. My eyes opened and immediately I began replaying the nightmare over and over. I leaned over my bed, physically sick from the visions. As I leaned over, I realized my feet were bound at the ankles. I looked down at the bottom of the bed and there was a dark presence standing there, just holding me by my feet. I wasn't scared of it, I knew it couldn't hurt me, but I wanted to get away from it. I didn't want it anywhere near me, I didn't want it to touch me.

I found myself crawling away. I was no longer inside my bedroom but I found myself digging my nails in the dirt to get away. No matter how hard I tried, my efforts were futile. All I could do was pray. "Lord please take these images from me. Please wake me from this horror and remove the binding the dark one holds. Please remove the sickening visions that will haunt me forever more. Lord let me find rest in you."

When I opened my eyes, I was lying on my stomach, scratching the mattress, still fighting to get away. I looked down and saw only red digital numbers across the room from the clock. The dark one was gone. I had no reason to doubt the Lord but I tested my prayer. I tried to immediately think of where I had been, what had horrified me so, and could not remember. The only thing I remembered was the feeling of being sick in the vile darkness. I remember the dark creature that held my ankles...and I knew The Lord had a message for me, but what?

I went about my day consumed with the idea that the devil was holding me back from something, but what? Church was going great, everyone seemed to be on fire! We were attending anytime the doors were opened. I was writing down everything I could that HE was showing me. That seemed to be my new job, a Gift He had only begun to Bless me with. I can barely write a decent grocery list so I cherished the new treasure. I did everything I could to bring our Spirit filled services home, to write about and to share with the ones who weren't there...hoping they might be get a Blessing, a Touch, no matter their distance. So what more did HE want? What was I not doing?

I couldn't figure it out. The next night, I fell asleep with little trouble, though I continued to ponder the purpose of the previous night's experience. I have no idea what time it was, but without warning, my eyes popped opened wide toward the ceiling. I knew where I was, I knew I was safe, but I could not blink nor take my eyes from the ceiling. Tears from my drying eyes began to pour down but what I was about to see, would answer the burning question of what more can I do?

It was just like a movie only I wasn't viewing a flat screen. I lay there for hours, paralyzed in body just watching it. It was like interlocking events I've experienced, or seen through my natural eyes that I could have never linked. I was watching people I've never seen before connect things together that I had no idea could be related. Though the events weren't exactly as they had happened to me, or exactly like I remembered with my common eyes, I was getting a much bigger picture of something. HE showed me how and why some of the things, even the not so nice things, I've been witness to, could work for His Good. There was a message in the story, and I just lay there consuming every morsel He would let me have. When it ended, my pillow was soaked, and I knew what I had to do. I was to write it down.

I couldn't or wouldn't refuse the burden. I was awestruck for days. With my mouth dragging open many times in amazement, that he would choose me for such a task, I sat down, and I wrote. I wrote for days, I wrote for weeks. As time drew away from the glorious midnight vision I call it, I became weary, and slack. The devil is really good and distracting, and lying, and trying his best to convince you not to do what The Lord asks of you. I carried this burden for quite some time, and though it is by far from perfect in form, it is the least part of it. If nobody ever reads it, it has been a Blessing to me. I learned from my disobedience as well as my obedience. I am honored and to have carried the burden of this blessing. I introduce to you: Ladybug.
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I ask for your prayers as I still carry the burden of finishing the story as it was shown to me. I do not write fiction, never have been able to. My mind isn't as imaginative as it needs to be for that type of work. So pray as I try my best to finish the story. It will take more than my feeble memory to recite it so the true message shines and I will rely heavily on His hand for guidance. I hate to leave people hanging for too long so hopefully by Fall the conclusion will be out. Blessed beyond measure by what he provides Spiritually for me each and every day!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

When the Paint Don't Dry

As soon as we made it through those glass doors, everything slowed down. People were moving around the small country church on this second night of revival with outstretched hands in salutation and passing smiles from one to the other. The door had barely shut behind us and I saw a young lady stepping towards the altar. She looked downward and slowly placed both palms down on the smooth piece of wood. The carpet seemed to just reach up and take her by the knees and the small crowd that was there gathered around her as she wept. This day, when the rainbow stretched over our began before the first song, before the first Testimony, before the Pastor even stood.

photo by Drew Hubbard

We quickly settled on a pew and I closed my eyes in prayer. I could feel hurt and heartache for her though I had no idea why. The Lord was letting us know loud and clear that He had reason for us to gather in His House tonight. The songs began and we all found ourselves right back down at the altar with the young lady who still needed her Lord. Two by two the knees bent and tears soaked the carpet below. I prayed silently, "Lord, your children weep. Your children are crying....can you hear the flock crying for our Shepherd?" Immediately, I received Assurance that not only did He hear our cries, He knew one from the other. Hearts were beating tears for just a moment and He wrapped His loving arms around our crowd. I looked around at the mass of people and one by one heads were lifting with that same kind of Assurance.

The visiting preacher stood and he too began real slow. I sat in amazement of our Lord as he took this young man and sent him to that place. I watched a man go outside the glass doors, grab the devil and sin right by the nape of the neck and drag it back in to the front of the church. He stood it up before us and we watched, not knowing what would come next. We each took a look at vile, we listened to the sound of empty, and we sipped from a bitter cup that life has often poured, and it was as plain as I've ever heard, plain enough that even children were hanging on every word. He then talked of the Gift. He spoke of Salvation with ever bit of delicate his voice could offer...and the preacher never had to walk away from the front of the church. When his picture had been painted, it hung there at the face of the church and we watched, expecting it to dry.

When invitation began, the question was asked, who needed to pray? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement and I held my breath. Her strong eight year old hands pushed down on the wheels of her chair as she began to roll her way down to the front. I gasped at the thought and I waited until she reached the altar before my feet moved. The huge crowd surrounded the girl and her family and all I could do was thank Him. I knew He was reaching down and touching her right then. There's things this world can't possibly give that child but at that moment, He promised her everything. I have always said, I go to the church of The Gifted. That church is full of special needs. I can look around and see hearing devices, a wheelchair, children feeling their way around but there's more than that under that steeple. The Lord sees all of our special needs and each one is just as important as the next.

It didn't take long before another child of The King went to that place. That place she's been before, and He restored in her exactly what she longed for. As I sat back on the pew I knew my heart couldn't keep up on its own and I thanked Him again for bringing me here. I looked back up at that beautiful painting He made just for us and the paint was still damp. It had already changed in a matter of minutes and color seemed even brighter than before. I said to myself it just don't get prettier than this...and yet it did.

I saw more movement and this time my head made a blatant turn. His first grade fluorescent green socks carried him up to the altar. His tiny forearm covered his eyes as he lay his head down on that old piece of wood. My hands nor tissue could keep up with the river flowing from my eyes and I thanked Him yet again this night. My body began to laugh out loud as I watched the child pray and HE was doing it again, right in front of our eyes. His parents wailed in thanks and praise as once again, The Lord touched one of their own. This one here, kneeling for his healing, kneeling for his Salvation, rarely passes by me without reaching his arms out for a hug so I consider him one of mine. This child has given to me when I needed, he's a light in my busy school day and here he was, speaking to the same Savior that gave to me. Oh what joy can't even be described when you get to witness such a miracle.

We have one more official night of Revival and I can honestly say the paint isn't dry yet. I look forward to walking in again tonight and sitting among the artist who hold the brushes. He has more life to give our painting and I am Blessed once again as undeserving as I am.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Spot

Standing tall, clothed in stark white, the wall embraced both ceiling and floor at exactly the same time. I couldn't help but see the spot, just behind the piano. I told myself it doesn't matter how clean and white something is, the one spot of darkness can smudge, it can distract.

I felt the creak of the old hymnal as I opened it carefully. The fragrance of the aging trees from which the paper was made and bound together, circulated the pews. We held the books carefully and began the Sunday service with humble voices. I watched a daddy walk up to the piano with little girls surrounding him, his own tiny daughter, his nieces dressed in charm. One of the girls watched people sing as she tried to mouth the words to "I'll Fly Away." In all her daintiness, I imagined her riding by this old church in her adult future, and remembering how we sang, how we Praised, and how we Worshiped.

A Deacon walked to the front with his mother by his side. Just the sight of the two together warms my heart and the lady who sat behind the piano began to play. They all sang, "Through the wind and rain, it had still remained..." and I knew the blood was there. The eldest of the three Testified after the song ended. Then it seemed The Spirit was moving around the room, touching one, then the other. It began raining inside the church, though the wall was still holding the ceiling well. It was still as white and blameless as it always had been, but yet there was a river inside.

Testimonies rose as many offered meek Praise for the sister we all gained at a church event two nights prior. It wasn't long before The Altar was buried underneath the masses of praying souls. I looked up and noticed the mother of the one saved under Friday's moon had blanketed her niece. Others were reaching up and placing their hands on the little girl's back and some began to shout. I smiled, hoping, yet knowing, what was taking place. Another one was added into The Lamb's Book of Life, right then and there.

"Oh what singing, oh what shouting!" the song continued intently.  Hands clapped with such bliss, voices roared loud with purpose, and feet pounded in delight so that even the ones who stayed in, on this raining Alabama Sunday, were sure to feel that The Spirit had moved in a Mighty way underneath that old faded steeple.

I looked back to the wall, remembering the spot...and it was gone. The dark red spot moved toward the frosty window pane as the ladybug clung tightly to the glass. I listened about how longsuffering our Lord is with us. I watched the ladybug walk surely, knowing it had made it in. Others are out in the rain, but she made it in...and in absolute true LORD fashion, the preacher stood in front of the church and began reading in 2 Peter chapter 3...."14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."

That wall was now clean, without distraction, without spot. The preacher stated that sometimes you need to do more than jump in the water to clean up. It's easy to see the dirt when it's placed upon something clean. Today I'm thankful for the cleansing that took place today. I know we all get smudged sometimes but I'm glad to belong to a church where the hungry go to feed, where the thirsty are given drink, and where the muddy are cleaned.

Blessed again to find that HE is never short of Miracles.