Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Investment

I finally found my Bible. Not the one that has been packed away for years in a cedar trunk, that reeks of storage. A new one. I've wanted one for months and have spent countless hours searching for the one online. I treated it like an investment and searched all my options until I knew exactly what I wanted. I finally decided to take a detour off the interstate yesterday and see if I could find a book store. I found a Family Christian Store instead and there it was...

I knew I wanted some pink on the outside, just because. I knew I wanted large print, just because. I knew I wanted a case, just because. I knew I wanted tabs, just because. I'm very excited about this Bible and know that I will put it to good use. I know my friends at church will be proud for me.

I am so glad I joined that church. I can picture me there on Sundays with grand babies running around the pews. It still amazes me how each individual there has such strong Faith and when you put them all under one roof during church service, it's enough to rattle the rafters...

I had planned on waiting on my husband to join with me but God decided I couldn't wait. He'll have to join in his own time if he feels moved to do but he's completely happy for me. I've made a commitment to my church. I've made an investment in Christ, and I'll be stronger for it.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm Gettin Ready to Leave This World

Today, I almost didn't even pack tissue for church. I just felt so glad to be here another day, I felt so glad to be able to get out and go to church this morning, and I simply doubted that a single tear would fall.

The singing was good this morning. I felt that good ole Southern, hand clappin', feet stompin' kinda Spirit. We sang "I'm Gettin' Ready to Leave This World" and instead of crying, I smiled.

As the Preacher spoke, shouted, and was even lifted off the ground he'd been so filled with the Word of God, I couldn't help but think how blessed I was to have another day, another hour, another minute with my family, friends, and my church, I just couldn't see making use of the lone piece of tissue that peered from the top of my purse...I doubted that tear would fall.

He then read a scripture (Hebrews 13:8) that said how Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. As I began to really think about the size of Christ, a single tear fell from my eye. This is the same Christ that my sweet little Maw Maw used to pray to, and now lives with. I imagined how she must have prayed the day her newborn died, just the same as she prayed the day her grown son was also called Home. I wondered what she said to Him the day Paw Paw left this Earth and I wondered what she said to Him the day she too finally went Home. She used to tell me all the time, "I've been here a long time," and I knew she was looking forward to that Final Day when she'd return Home where she really belonged.

She prayed to the same Christ that I prayed to the day I had my first child, and the doctor's didn't seem to have all the answers. This is the same Christ that picked me up years later when doctors were telling me my child's face was paralyzed during a surgery. This is the same Christ that put me in my car, and drove me to my new church. This is the same Christ that my husband knows and my children will grow up around. It's the same Christ that gave me that good old Southern, hand clappin', foot stompin' kinda feeling this morning. I am continued to be Blessed by the Lord.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I didn't want to leave

As I packed my purse for church this morning, my daughter asked me, "why do take so much tissue?"  I smiled and said, "because I know I'll cry...a lot."

As the members began to sing, the chills filled my arms and the tears spilled from my eyes. The tissues I had packed were saturated quickly as the beautiful voices rang through me. Hands were raising, hands were clapping, and I didn't want to leave...

As always, more voices spoke, while other voices prayed, and some voices were only heard by God. There never seems to be enough tissue no matter how much I bring. A choir full of boys stood up front with the lone voice of a lady, and I didn't want to leave...

More church members knelt at the alter and I prayed on my pew. I've never been in a group with the Spiritual depth these people bring, and I didn't want to leave...

The preacher's daughter belted out with pride how glad she was to be in God's hands now. I can't imagine how it would have been for me at her age to have had one of my friends stand up and give Praise like that. Back when I was Saved, I was about her age and no one really guided me on what to do next. I'm so blessed to be in such a room full of outstanding Spiritual role models, no matter what their age, and I didn't want to leave...

Through swollen eyes that burn from salty tears, I'm happy to say, I don't have to leave. I asked to be a part of the church for good today, and luckily they accepted me. I don't have a pretty voice to offer, I don't even have a Bible yet, but hopefully together we'll find a way for me to contribute something.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Voice

She walked up in front of the church, with a paper in her hand. On it, were the words to a song she sang a cappella. I'm not sure how she made it through that entire song as most of the congregation approached the altar and bowed in prayer. Tears spilled onto the carpet as her lone voice rang throughout the church.

I started there on a visit. (read here) I had every intention of visiting a long list of churches I'd been invited to recently. I assumed that we'd visit that little country church once a month when it fell on rotation with all the other churches. But it was actually voices like this, that made me stay.

As I sat through service this morning, there was an unusual calmness in the preacher's voice. I was worried he was lacking confidence in his message. His usual confident, loud, enthusiastic "spittin' and hollerin'" as he calls it, wasn't present today. As I listened however, the best thing happened. He was discussing forgive and forget. He talked about each of us having enemies in some form or fashion. I thought of mine...

Some of my biggest blessings were given by my enemies. I actually arrived at that church because of an enemy. In fact I was practically driven there extremely fast and dumped on the steps by one. As a Christian, I found it not too difficult to forgive this enemy. As a sinner, I held on tightly to the fact I didn't have to forget the hurt and damage the enemy has caused. As the preacher looked me in the eye at times, a large weight of anger was lifted from my shoulders. I had been allowing the harm to continue each day, sometimes holding on to the anger with bloody fingernails my grasp was so tight. And for the first TRUE time this morning, I forgave, and I forgot. I walked up to the altar and prayed for the enemy with only good intent...and it felt good, real good. I couldn't wait to come back to tonight's service.

I arrived to the little chapel almost giddy. I walked in my usual three minutes late and WOW, what a feeling. The room seemed packed and The Spirit was definitely in the room. Hands were clapping and I heard the voices. Feet were stomping and heads were swaying and every sound soaked into me for I wasn't blessed with the ability to return the gift of song. You won't see me with a mic in my hand, ever. I again went back to the altar tonight and all I could think of was how blessed I was to be in that room. Just the fact that God loved me enough, to let me enjoy that, let me be a part of that, witness a church full of Spirit-filled folk.

On the way home, my eyes were stinging from salty water that has poured from them today. I am exhausted, I am full, I am thankful.