Monday, December 31, 2012

Past the Pane

I awoke wearing the same smile I slept with. I couldn't wait for my feet to touch the ground and see what HE held for me this day. Yesterday had been amazing, two wonderful services back to back. The old floor creaked as I left slumber behind and approached daybreak. I found myself standing in front of the window that introduces me to each morning. The sound of blinds lifting placed a pure clean breath into my lungs and a tear came to my eye as I knew HE was there for me. I could see the condensation covering the window and I walked away. I thought of the windows of the church last night, they too were fogged by the coolness outside, and the warmth within HIS house. Having been reminded last night that it does us good every now and then to get down on our knees and just pray, I knew, that is how I wanted to begin this day.

My head lifted from the carpet and a smile is all I could offer HIM as my feet took me back to that window. I sat down knowing HE had more to show me, even though the glass was cloudy everywhere except right where my eyes were cast. The beauty consumed me for a moment as I continued to reflect on the day before. I thought of her as she Testified from her seat, rather the piano bench she often occupied..."...the difference is The Son."

In that instant the sun, which had not even fully risen yet, shone through a cluster of clouds. I saw a face with something on his head. I tried to make it out as the words "the difference is The Son," spoke to me again. As I looked past the pane I saw clearly a man's face, with a crown of thorns atop His head. Tears filled my eyes, as I knew The Son had in fact already risen. I knew that there may not be anyone else on this earth that could see what I was looking at, yet I was special enough to HIM, that the Spiritual blinders were lifted this day, I could see past life's pain, and see that the sun still shines...the Son still shines. Just as my heart began to fill, the pane began to clear. Tears ran down it just as fast they ran from my eyes. I looked for the face again, and it was still there, only something was different. The thorns appeared to have been removed from the crown. 

HE has already given me beyond what I deserve and I'm honored to have spent a little time with HIM this morning. I pray HE keeps me in Spirit all day long as we say goodbye to this year, and begin another one. I am thankful that HE has risen and helps me look past the foggy panes, directly in HIS direction. I am Blessed this morning!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What We Do

I could hear the tall man's voice as he sat two pews in front of me this night. It usually comes from the back of the church but our little country church has grown and The Lord is busy shuffling people around as HE shows them different things. The tall man was given a very strong and pleasing voice that can ring powerfully throughout the church, yet lay softly next to the ears. I wondered why he sang with such might each and every time he came. I wondered if he ever felt like not singing and I knew he had to sometimes, he is human, but I've always known him to sing anyway, and I wondered why. I immediately was given the answer when the sound of a missing voice rang silently from behind me....because that is what they do. I realized his parents were missing this night, but time after time, they've all walked through the glass doors of our church, sat on a pew, and sang. I looked down the pew of where the tall man sat. His arm was placed loving around his wife, and three beautiful boys sat side by side, clinging to Bibles and hymn books...and I knew that one day when they had families of their own, they too would sing loud and proud, because this is what they know.

A nervous man walked to the front of the church as it fell in his lot to give the night's Devotion. He asked if we could hear his knees knocking and I knew how he felt. One by one, a member of the congregation is chosen what may seem like random to some, to present a short Devotion to the crowd. We all know that these are opportunities HE presents us with, to share and play a small part in a service, and give a little Praise back to HIM. Often those chosen for Devotion are hand picked by HIM, to relay a message directly to someone sitting on the pews with attentive ears. This night was no different. The Lord brought this big strong man to admit weakness and failure, but Praise HIM for never forsaken. "...for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." Deuteronomy 31:6  I knew the big strong man had used every word in that verse to walk up there with his Bible clinched in his hand. He did his part, through knocking knees, and I found encouragement in that.

As service almost began, the preacher was suddenly sent back to his pew as two little girls had a song they needed to sing. The sisters walked up to the mics and their voices began,
"Sometimes I wake up in the morning
I see I made it through the night
I listen for my family -- sure enough they're alright
As we gather round the table
Bow our heads in thankfulness
With tear-filled eyes my heart cries 'still blessed' "
I found myself, along with many others seated near me, wiping tears and smiling at the same time. I heard shouts of encouragement as their song progressed and my heart was filling with every single word. I knew why these two sang. I looked down my pew at their parents. Their Mama attempted to blot away the swell of tears that flowed and their Daddy's lips silently moved along with their's, with each and every word. I knew they sang, because that is what they do. I was thankful that these parents were showing their kids that Wednesday night was church night, just as it is on Sundays.

In this world we live in today, the devil's hold on so many is apparent with every turn. There are still attempts made everyday to drag me down into a world of suffer but I'm thankful I have glass doors that still open on a bitter cold Wednesday night. We all can't meet every single time, we are mere humans but personally I am one sinner, that needs church as routine. I am very thankful HE has given me the ability to recognize this need and HE has provided me a way to meet that need. I looked back at my child who sat several pews away with friends, and I was thankful that this is what we do.

The preacher finally stood and wouldn't you know, his message went right along with what The Lord was giving me at that very moment. The Routine. He talked about the routine of Christmas and the routine of after Christmas. I thought of our routines at home and how just showing up to worship on certain days of the week, certain hours of the day, was never enough. Keeping a routine at our house of reading Devotions, prayer and discussions of The Bible and Jesus, is what we need in my home, when we are away from church. We try to do this now, but I can see that what we do, is what they will do. I want to provide my children, given to me from above, a routine of Spiritual growth. I don't normally make resolutions for the beginning of each year so I'll close this year with this on my heart...and claim that what we do will help us grow today, tomorrow and thereafter.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

In Their Eyes

Everywhere I looked, HE seemed to be pointing me in the church's direction. My entire day was unplanned and we had nothing on our family list that would prevent my daughter and I from caroling at the local nursing home with many other church members. I had not been inside one of these facilities since my Maw Maw took her last breath in a place like that. I felt like I needed to go, so we did.

I had no intentions of really speaking to the residents. I thought I could get lost in the crowd of singers and not even look them in the eyes, so I could selfishly leave there just as I had walked in. I was very wrong and HE knew all along that HE put me there, so that I would look directly into the eyes I wanted to avoid.

The children were all leading us down the halls along with Santa, and we followed with our song books in hand. I was at the back of the pack, next to her...one of the nicest ladies I've ever met. She didn't pass a door without sticking her head inside, and smiling at the people and telling them Merry Christmas. I stood behind her for a while as she did this from door to door and soon I came to a door with a sweet little lady peering at me. I looked for the nicest lady I've ever met and she wasn't with me anymore. Song burst from the hallway and it sounded so beautiful and my feet took me inside her room. My heart pounded as her eyes smiled so thankfully as I walked closer to her bed. She spoke so softly I had to get closer to her and courage took me to her bedside. She whispered Thank You. I smiled into her eyes and she smiled into my heart. I could only utter the words from the nicest lady I've ever met "Merry Christmas."

As the songs took us down each and every hall, I waved as I passed some rooms, some doors drew me inside, to look in their eyes. As we sang our last few songs, an elderly man sat in his wheelchair, and he fought back tears as the verses rang loud and clear. A daughter gave thanks to us as her mother sat in a room listening to the choir in the hall. I too, fought back tears as HE kept showing me the touched man's eyes. I saw a man who once walked. I saw a face that stood before many hardships. I saw the eyes that have looked upon death many times before. The Lord held our choir there for several minutes and in the pause, I couldn't take my eyes off of his. I began to see other things. I saw a man who has seen beauty that was only meant for him to see. I saw a man who was given great love deep into his heart where he held on to it, when that's all he may have left.

We eventually left that hall and we sang our way back to where we entered. Another gentleman sat in his wheelchair and sang the words with us. It felt good. I had no idea that HE had planned that all along for us. I walked out of there ashamed I had entered so selfishly. But HE gave to me anyway knowing that deep down, I had shown up for something...and in their eyes HE gave it to me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

HIS Perfection

I kept watching the back door as the crowd walked into our little country church. No matter how many walk through those doors each time they open, HE makes enough room. The pews didn't physically extend and the walls did not swell, but I couldn't keep my eyes off that door as people poured in, looking around the room to find other loved ones they could hopefully sit with. Soon, I saw two people walk in, who told my children they would come see them in the Christmas play. When their little eyes found the two in the audience with me, they couldn't wait to run off the stage and come see our neighbors, whom they had invited the night before...

I was almost certain the church couldn't hold any more than it had at this morning's service, but HE must have led dozens more in this night. It was very wet outside but the only rain brought inside those doors was the droplets that had soaked into the collars of all. I took a deep breath as the music began, and prayed quickly that someone would be as touched watching this, as I had been just observing the practices. I can't count the tears I choked back just watching all the kids and the parents, and other adults who were cast in this year's play, take it seriously and I knew tonight they would perform it under HIS perfection.

After the moving service we had already experienced this morning, I took an easy breath and knew HE had something for us all. I watched as beautiful children filled the stage. A school teacher stood beside them who played their Sunday School teacher in the play, and they just sang. I didn't count them but there were probably about twenty if I had to guess. Their shy but proud eyes versed the song under HIS perfection and children looked out to the crowd of many and smiled directly at parents, at grandparents, at friends and at neighbors. They were safe.

We moved on to the adult play next where a the story of a virgin having The Child of God affected a man who accepted Jesus Christ as his one and only Savior. The actors again performed under HIS perfection. As soon as I heard the words from the song, "as He was dying on a tree...Please forgive me," it began to rain inside. I couldn't catch the droplets fast enough. Everyone was trying to wipe their eyes too, but the rain just poured, and once again, our collars were soaked.

I watched two people pick up the long beautiful piece of wood that holds our tears on Sunday mornings just as it does on Wednesday nights. They placed it down in front as the preacher spoke in closing of the play, and with several verses of song, several sinners knelt raining tears on this particular tree which we use as an altar. One of our visitors decided to hand it all over this night, and under HIS perfection he can now walk outside those doors, face the rain and face the storms because he is safe. It was a very emotional night for most of us, and I am so happy my precious neighbors got to be a part of that. They have been searching for the just the right church for them, and I'm proud they got to see how our little church worships...even at small town Christmas play.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Power

A single tear pooled just below my eye. It stayed there for a while as a reminder of the tiring trials of my day before it slowly ran down to my pillow. The peaceful silence of the house welcomed the loud echo of its fall as I thanked HIM for washing away the sins I may have held within. I smiled as I thought of how hard the devil tried this day, to keep me from a powerful service, I needed.

Just the day before my child had come to me with a problem just as he was about to start his day at school. I always try to tell my kids each day as we pull into the parking lot to be extra kind to someone today, there's always someone who needs a friend today. As he sought specific advice this morning, I pictured my Bible as I began to speak. It was closed and I could see no specific verse unfortunately, but I knew the answer was inside. I gave him this... "You boys have so much power and you don't realize it. The devil will pull and pull at you hoping you'll make poor decisions but you need to remember, you are to be fed of God and not the devil. You have the power to make the devil stronger and happier, or you the power to please The Lord, and do what is right. The other boys are watching you, just as you are watching them...use that power to show them the right, and not the wrong."

I'm sure I have failed to follow that advice since I spoke it, but I'm thankful HE is there to help. Every time I turned around this day it was as if the devil was throwing down concrete barriers in front of me, hoping I would give up before the church service started. In fact, my determination grew stronger with each one I conquered in hopes to just to sit on that pew. When I finally made it there, tears came with ease but I didn't feel like I was crying. We sang. The pews were packed full on the single side of the church used on Wednesday nights and I felt so proud HE had placed me there. I soon was released from the awareness of anyone else being there, I felt like it was just me and The Lord, though I could see and hear everything going on around me.

The preacher spoke and gave a very enthusiastic sermon on none other than The Power. He soon invited the weak and the sinful crowd to visit The Altar, and I had no intentions of going, but my feet moved anyway. From every direction I could hear their voices asking for The Power to be a light and an influence to someone in the dark and then my vision blurred from my crying eyes of this weakened child of HIS. I could only hear my voice and I could feel HIM near me as HE listened. That familiar warmth and comfort consumed me. As I rose to my feet to go back to my pew, I had to step around a tiny little five year old who was on her knees, with her head buried in the carpet. She must have heard about The Power too, and was seeking more of it. I am Blessed this day, and everyday, that I have been placed in that little country church. HE knew I needed to be there, and I'm thankful for The Power HE gives HIS children, and I hope to use it with the might and strength only HE can provide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Because of the Shield

I knew the rain was coming. My bones ached before I could even crawl out of bed, but I knew that if I made just a little effort, and got up anyway, the pain would get better. I went through the morning routine like every other day, knowing I had the morning off, and I'd soon have my prayer time, my quiet time, my worship time, with HIM...

I admit, when I finally got to that quiet time, that prayer time, that worship time with HIM, I was expecting something. Usually, all I have to do is ask, and He'll show me more than I expected and it doesn't take me long to figure out what He wants me to see. Today was different...

I prayed three times and saw nothing but once more and I opened my eyes as I sat on the little cabin's porch. The warm December morning had driven me outdoors today. I could smell the wood chopped by hand with an axe by my husband and son, that was piled up neatly behind me. Lichen and moss still showed life as their brilliant green and blues colored the darkened rough bark of the wood. A soft breeze cooled my arms as I tried to listen for HIM.

There was nothing more than silence offered to me so I inhaled deeply. My eyes scanned the landscape for HIM but they were drawn to the tree right in front of me. There were two actually, but my eyes only wanted to look at one. Though both trees were equal in size, both similar in shape and form, and both were the exact same kind of tree, one had more to offer me this morning. The one barren tree seem to just shadow the other prettier tree who still had many leaves on it. I listened to leaves play their song as the wind moved through the bare tree's limbs and passed over to the pretty tree. The bright orange, deep red leaves seemed to dance and my eyes soon moved back over to the bare tree next to it. I could feel the wind run over my right arm first and then over the left one. I looked at the two trees but this time, I couldn't take my eyes off of the bare one. I was wrong about that tree. I saw a very strong tree standing before me this time who has shielded the prettier one all along. In fact the only reason the other tree was still pretty was because of the shield. If the other tree had not been there, the pretty tree would have lost its leaves to wind a long time ago.

Sometimes, people are different than what they seem on the outside. Sometimes, they hide behind the shield of others instead of arming themselves, afraid they will weaken when left alone. The Bible tells us in Ephesians chapter 6

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
I walked away from the cabin's porch with exactly what I needed. It wasn't exactly what I thought I would receive this day, but I'm not surprised. HE'S been speaking "trees" a lot this past week as several have mentioned them as they Testify, even the preacher mentioned them in his sermon on Sunday. I couldn't even make it in the house before I dropped again, to my knees, in the middle of my yard, and thanked HIM for today's Blessings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Shooting Star

"I've never seen a shooting star," I told my mother on April 1, 1988. We were driving up the hill to our house on the night of my thirteenth birthday and I began to sing softly "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound..." My eyes drifted up to the dark star filled sky and a streak of light flashed in a downward arch right before me. I'll never forget it.

I had an amazing day yesterday...no work, just me and The Lord. I could never write down fast enough the Blessings He poured onto me. I'm almost triple the age I was that day I saw my first shooting star. I still have the desire to see things I've never seen before. These days, I look for HIM. HE knows exactly how to speak to me, so I'll listen. I can't imagine speaking the language of so many and having to keep up with who needs what, but HE knows.

I thought of my Maw Maw. She's the closest person I've ever known, that is in HIS presence right now. I can rarely think of her without tears these days because in some ways, the more time that passes, the more time I have to miss her...but I try use it for growth ever chance I can. The thought crossed my mind, what if HE gave me one more sentence, what would I say to her?

Tears rolled like a swollen spring after the heaviest pf rains and I knew what that sentence would be. The kids were very small when she died just a few short years ago but they remember her very well. I still had her on my heart when we arrived at church tonight. Several things had already stirred me when I looked over beside me during The Altar prayer to find my daughter leaned over a pew, holding her baby doll down, and they were both "praying". She had awoke this morning telling me of a dream she had in which she was a grandmother. I hung on every word as I had been thinking of my own grandmother so strongly the day before, only she didn't know it. Tears came to my eyes as I knew, she would teach her own real children to pray one day, just as we have taught her. I thought of the one sentence again and I knew HE had more.

I watched as a grandmother took a seat at the piano, with her tiny little granddaughter next to her. They sang "God on the Mountain" and every time the Maw Maw looked back at her daughter's precious child, that baby smiled from ear to ear. On the way home, I spoke my one sentence very softly under my breath, "Thank you for praying for my children." I looked up to the dark sky, and a shooting star streamed down in front of me...and today, was another beautiful day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Glass Sidewalk

The gentle roar of thunder woke me. I lied still and listened to the silent house as rain washed over the old tin roof. It was dark and cool and as I buried deep under the covers I thought about what she said...the lady at the piano.

She was Testifying about being a light to someone in the dark. The thunder roared a little stronger and I was overwhelmed with feeling HE had something to show me. I threw the covers back and I soon found myself sitting at the kitchen table. The blinds were pulled up but I remained in the dark as the steam from my coffee warmed my chin. I could see the sidewalk had turned into glass as water cleansed it from the dirt the world had placed there. I could see a carpet of leaves that once held color but now lie on the ground nearby. I just love the crunch of a Fall walk as we travel their path almost every single day.

The darkest of dark swallowed the land as I awaited the arrival of the sun. I remember a preacher telling us that it's always darkest just before the sun comes up and my eyes drifted to the only light I could see...a single lamp post.

I thought to myself if that light burned out, I would see nothing. There would be no glass sidewalk, there would be no carpet of leaves. Even though those things technically would still be there, what good does it do me, if I can't see them. I noticed how much light that single post gave. In the darkness, in the rain, it reflected from the glass sidewalk and multiplied. I smiled and drank my coffee knowing what HE was showing me. Sometimes it just takes the smallest of lights. HE can take that light and reflect it, so that someone can see, even in the darkness or rain. I am AMAZED and thankful for the cool dark rain this morning!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Photograph

Pinned to the back wall of our church is an old photograph. The little lady with blue eyes that sits behind me is in it along with some of her children and grandchildren, and many of those that sit among the pews still today. I looked at that picture for a long time before one of her grandchildren announced that he'd be taking a new one this Sunday. I was sad when I walked through the doors this morning and she wasn't well enough to come. She belongs in the picture.

As service began I noticed the pounding of the pianists. I watched the young man, the one who takes pictures, lifting his hands up high to deliberately pound the keys. Another musician was surely pounding just as hard and I thought to myself what a mighty voice she was singing with today. Everyone seemed to be singing with intent and I felt chills run down my right arm and into my leg where they exited as quickly as they had arrived. I became aware of my heart pounding just as strongly as the piano keys and I knew someone would be shouting very soon. The Spirit was moving...

I watched as sinner after sinner knelt at The Altar and I've never seen anything more beautiful as a child crying Mercy...and then witness HIM brushing them with just that. Heads turned and a crystal stream could be seen falling from their eye and everyone seemed to carry a profound strength that I didn't notice when we first arrived. I closed my eyes and thanked HIM for bringing us closer and giving us that strength, even as little as our country church may seem from the outside. I thanked HIM for these Blessings and many more as day after day He gives to me. One after the other stood to Testify and Praises were bringing smiles to our faces though we all appeared to weep. One man was shaking as he too began to shout as the others had seemed to do, and suddenly I took on his tremble. My legs and hands moved about and I had no control, nor did I want any. I thought to myself how Mighty is HE...

As service closed our preacher said the words "Mighty to Save" over and over again as he too felt led to shout. I looked around the room and most of the ladies had wiped away their make-up and the eyes of most were reddened. I felt Blessed to have been seated there this Sunday and I knew the picture would be beautiful. The next photograph would capture us just as we are because that's what HE had intended all along. We worship and praise, we smile and we weep, and to look back many years from now and know what type of service the new photograph followed will warm our hearts each time we see it. With watery eyes and smeared make-up there will be no doubt that we had all been Touched this day. We may all not make it for the next photograph but for this one day, we were brought together for one purpose and His Name was lifted up today. Oh how Mighty is HE.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Underneath that Hat

I pulled in, just to speak to my husband. I had to tell him what the doctor said about his one year old delicate child as I continued to adjust to my new role as a stay-at-home mom. I wondered every single day if I had bit off more than I could chew. Each month that passed meant we had one surgery behind us with many more to go and there seemed to be no end in sight. I knew this was HIS plan, and HE would see me through those days that I walked with uncertain.

After giving him an update about his first born child, I saw her walk past the window. I had been consumed with our own problems, that I had forgot there were other things going on in this world. Her back was turned toward me, but I could tell it was her, she was wearing a hat. I really couldn't believe she was at work, she was being treated for cancer. She turned around about that time, and her brown eyes looked in my direction. I couldn't help but smile at her, but I had no idea what to say. She showered me and my child with a gentle smile and had it not been for that hat, I'd never even know she was sick. I knew she had recently found love, and she was wearing that, from head to toe...and she glowed. I drove away that day knowing how big the world really is, and how small my problems seemed to be. I wondered if I had been given her hat to wear rather than the one HE chose for me, would I present the sickness or the love.

Years have passed and she now sits inside the same church HE brought me to. We were of the chosen to sit among the pews of the small country church for worship. She lived through something. I can look over to the left side of the church on Sunday mornings and I can see others, who have lived through something. Behind me, songs often pierce right through my back and into my chest with voices of those who have also lived through something. HE has brought us all together for a purpose and as I sat listening to the one underneath that hat share her story last night, I think she read exactly what that purpose is. From her Women's Grace book
"God knows where you are and what you've been through. It's that very thing that he will use to save some. He wants to use you scars and all because you are uniquely HIS and uniquely placed right where HE needs you to be. God has ordained your life and circumstances to minister hope to someone walking the same path you have been down before. God can use anything in our background to minster HIS Grace to us and through us."
 I am honored to have been placed in her path and to have heard her story last night at The Angels meeting. She's the same now as she was years ago. The hat may be gone but she's still wearing love. I am once again Blessed, though I don't even deserve it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Among the Pews

I arose this morning wearing invisible shades over my eyes as the election chatter fills my world. I had secretly hoped they would be enough to hide me from the negatives. I immediately think of that Devotion a few weeks ago that reminded me we don't always get exactly what we pray for because HE has something better. I sent my husband off to work at a job he now feels could end soon, but as a warrior picks up his sword, he walked out the door with his lunchbox just the same.

My daughter called me and in the dark morning I crawled into bed with her and just held her tight. She had no idea tears were streaming down but for a moment, uncertainty filled my heart. Without even thinking prayer began as an overwhelming worry for my children's future tried to fill me. The tears stopped, and HE reminded me who leads me.

Our morning proceeded without a hitch and the children's voices were comforting and for this day, for this moment, we were going to be fine. My oldest seems to wake each day with church hymns in his head and often sings them as we go about our morning routine. I can only assume one such song had entered his mind as he commented out of the blue, "You are so right Mama. Brook's Sunday School teacher can sing so good!" I immediately felt Blessed as my deaf child told me how much he loved to hear this lady sing good old gospel songs. Could a child born with three ears (not one of them worked), actually be telling me how much he loved to hear her sing? A smile lifted my eyes and I replied, "Yes she does! And there's another one among the pews I want to hear sing. I love it when she sits behind me, she also has a special voice." Without hesitation the child spoke with a confidence that made me proud to be his Mama, "Pray about it. That's what you should do, just pray about it. Can you believe we forgot about church for all those years?" He shook his head in either disbelief or shame that we had cheated ourselves all those years. And just like that, The Lord had given me more...

We have a very Gifted congregation. Some are gifted in Voice, and some are Gifted in Listening, sometimes they are Gifted in both. I am a listener as my voice is often silent inside the church walls. I learned today that being born with enough ears, doesn't make you a listener. God has a plan, He is the time-keeper of all things. Keep praying because even the deaf can hear. Many never have an opportunity to in the physical sense, but when The Spirit moves, HE touches people. They hear, they see, they feel.

I could have missed that little Blessing this morning. I could have overlooked the fact that my child, for the very first time in his life, is telling me to pray. He has learned which direction to lean for help, even for the simplest of needs. There are going to be hard times ahead, no matter what politics tell us. We have to root our children so they know where to go when we can't help them. Just as the sun rose the other morning, I looked out and the sky appeared to display a mountain right outside my window. There had never been a mountain there before but I knew He was telling me, I had challenges ahead that haven't always been there. I am very thankful that He has placed my family in a church where I can find true song among the pews, true praise among the pews and true worship among the pews. I don't deserve it, but He loves me still.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Angels

I was visiting a friend that lived not too far from my church. I told her I was about to go listen to someone from The Angels speak, a cancer survivor was going to share her story. My friend knew I'd be crying soon. She spoke of another woman from The Angels which is a group of ladies who gather in fellowship for Spiritual growth each week. The friend told me that the lady had visited her church once to share her own story of a different kind...and she assured me that she will never forget it. So when I walked in at the meeting last night, I knew that it was the beginning of a story I'd never forget...

Other friends were arriving, many were ladies from our church and we all took seats facing the lady who was about to share one of the most personal stories that The Lord had written for her. We often get caught up in the flesh and we think we have everything planned, often down to the last minute of every day but truth be told, HE holds the script. There are times when things don't go exactly like we imagined, but in the end, HE always has something better if we just let HIM take us there...something I was reminded of in a recent Devotion.

I sat next to the lady my friend spoke of, and found comfort in the shadow of her wisdom, her strength and her compassion. Without even preparing, words can leave her lips that can shelter you from a storm or help you find beauty even in the most common days. I always think of the light she spoke of once that a neighbor leaves on in their house. She said it was always comforting to pass by and see that the light was always on. Such a common occurrence to many, but not to this Angel, and no longer to me...

I placed tissues on the table for anyone who might be in need and I placed a single folded piece atop my Bible, so I could grab it when I needed it. It was within the first few sentences my eyes got warm and my vision blurred. I left the tissue on my Bible so I could feel the tears run down my cheek. I try not to wipe away the first few I shed. Having a child of no tears, I know this can come as a privilege so I try not to shamefully wipe them away when they first appear. She gave us words from a journal she kept during her time of sickness, and she gave us words from her heart she was given only after her time of sickness. There was a thin silence at times. With only sniffles to be heard, it felt like we had all turned into fragile glass for just a moment. I thought if anyone spoke too loudly or spoke in the flesh, we could break, and it felt good to be that fragile...

As we left, a friend of mine drove behind me almost all the way. I kept watching in my mirror at her lights and I found comfort in knowing she was behind me as we traveled the dark roads that led us back to our houses. After she turned and I was almost alone, I was thankful for the light He was giving me. I thought of how lonesome it would be to reside in the dark. I didn't always have lights from others and I didn't always have a light for a friend but this night, I was glad He had given me The Angels. I am blessed for the wise who share their stories. Even through their valleys, they are leaving the light on for someone else. There are many who can't find their way in the dark. There are many who will depend on these lights. I don't deserve it, but everywhere I look these days, people are leaving lights on for me, and I am very thankful for that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

His Story

It's rare The Lord blesses me with two stories from one service, but today, He did just that. For quite some time I've had this on my heart but it wasn't until today that it made complete sense to me. There was a teen that once sat on the pews of my little country church. His family members are very strong individuals and important pieces of our church and graciously share their very touching stories with us from time to time. Often, this teen's name comes up in our services and it's unfortunate that I never had an opportunity to meet him while he was here. He was called Home many years ago but his story is still being told to this very day.

One day, I was at this teen's high school he attended just before his accident. I asked the secretary if she remembered him, and she said "No, doesn't sound familiar. I've only been here a few short years so that was before my time here." I walked to the next office as someone had overheard my conversation and she too had arrived years after his passing. I became quite frustrated as I wanted to prove, he had been there, been here. I saw a stack of yearbooks and began my frantic search to show people, this kid was here, and he has touched many people, I've heard the stories to prove it. A familiar voice entered the room as he sang a hymn under his breath, as he often does during his janitorial duties at the school. He could tell I was desperate to find something and I then asked him if he remembered...

His voice changed and he not only called the teen by name, but called out the names of his parents and even named the night of the week, which he was called Home. I breathed a sigh of relief as finally someone in that room knew his story. I turned the page of the year book in my hands, and there was his picture. It was his tenth grade photo before my eyes and I laid it out on the table for everyone to see. "He was here! See, he was here."

Today after church the teen's mother spoke to me. She was talking about how everyone has a story, and we know they are all different, but the emotions are usually very similar, no matter what the individual story holds. I thought of the ladies who had survived various types of cancer, and I knew they had stories. The Lord gives us trials and He gives us stories. If we never tell our stories, people forget. We could be silencing Praises that He deserves for bringing us through them. A single story could lead someone closer to Him. I looked around the room and I was blessed to have heard stories today...stories of Him.

There was a time when I had no stories to hear. There was a time when I had no stories to tell. There was a time when I forgot how wonderful He really is and I am a Blessed Christian today, because He gives me stories.

From the Push

I could tell by his chuckles, The Lord had laid something on his heart. I've grown accustomed to the Spiritual laughter that he spills from time to time. It being a Wednesday night, he sat on the second pew in front of me instead of the usual front-which many refer to as The Preachers' Pew since most that sit there are indeed preachers. He began to Testify and something caught my eye over at the frosted window just on his other side. It was a moth. The darkness outside embraced our little church and I thought about what it must look like from the outside. The warm light must be attractive from out there as it continued to flutter against the cool pane. The man's voice grew and his body and head moved back and forth as the inflection in his words rose. I was thankful I was on the inside, in this light.

This morning our little country church was packed with those eager to Praise and Worship. I suddenly became aware that I was sitting on the second pew, right where the man had sat just days before. The light from outside was so bright it seemed to shine right down where I was sitting. I looked for the moth knowing it wouldn't be there, and it was gone. I could see people fanning their faces as the church grew warmer and warmer. With the sun beaming down on my skin I wondered why I was so comfortable and not filled with heat.

Several people spoke of the two ladies who were in this morning's service, that have both survived breast cancer. One will be speaking to The Angels group at our church Tuesday night and the other, is the wife of the man who chuckles. All of their family and friends had gathered for a walk/run charity event yesterday and it was wonderful to hear about the encouragement they found in each other, within the entire group.

That familiar chuckle began as he shouted out encouragement to those who Testified. His Spiritual laughter grew stronger until he finally stood and admitted, he was about to give up during that race, but someone from behind, placed their hand on his back, and gave him a push. He told us all that every now and then, we need that little push to not give up. As he spoke, the church seemed to brighten with more light but I was sitting in a pleasant chill. My arms filled with goosebumps as he told us his story. Tears were rolling from the cheeks of many. I kept thinking of the moth clinging to the pane, wanting ever last bit of light he could find. I became the moth as I watched and listened today as everyone filled that little church with light, and I wanted every last drop. I found encouragement today, just from the push of another, and I am undeserving, but thankful just the same.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Seat is Saved

I shook my head no at the little girl who knew saving seats in the lunchroom was against the rules. Her eyes sadly looked down at the round seat next to her and she removed the leg she had draped across it moments before in hopes I wouldn't have notice it. I immediately wondered if I had done the right thing. What if she needed a friend that day?

I continued to watch the child until I was certain she was wearing a genuine smile and I thought of church, as I often do throughout my days. I thought of pews filling up and friends that haven't made it through the glass doors yet, and I knew, I couldn't save them seats either. Our little church is growing and on some Sunday mornings it seems that we'll run out of space before everyone gets in, but somehow, there's always enough room.
I could barely make it through the day without thoughts of past worship services entering my mind. Each and every minute of quiet time was filled with comfort knowing that HE was saving me a seat in Heaven right at that very minute...

I smiled as I drifted back in thought at tough and uncertain times in my life...and there HE was, saving me a seat in that little country church. No friend, no matter how great, could rightfully save a seat for me. All these years and He thought enough of me to place me in His House to learn, to see, to feel, and to worship with the ones I call the gifted. I had a flashback of myself sobbing with a gut wrenching empty cry to The Lord which HE filled with just enough strength to keep me going another day, and I teared up knowing, HE was already saving me a seat...

Over the years there have been so many times, I've had to remove burdens that I could no longer carry and HE was there to carry them for me. I could not see into the future, I had no idea that there was pew waiting for me. With countless prayers I've lifted from my own home knowing I had a seat in Heaven, I had accepted the fact that there was no special pew that could give me anymore than I could find in my own back yard. With the passing years, I had even forgotten about church. You don't have to go to church to get into Heaven I would tell myself...

One day, I found myself without the reminders of how wonderful HE is to others. Relying on myself for worship services, I looked around and I saw my children. I couldn't give them what I already had and I realized how poor I had become. I asked...and HE gave. The glass doors we never knew were even there, opened up one day, and I claimed a seat on a pew. I am extremely unworthy of any seat HE has saved for me. I am extremely Blessed that HE has refilled my life with all the reminders of how wonderful HE is to others. I still find prayer in my own back yard, but the depth of worship found inside those glass doors is richer than any gold found here in the flesh...that is something I can give my children. I am just extremely grateful for the seat HE's saving for them...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Never be the Same

My right arm kept shaking, as if someone had a hold of it, jerking it around to get my attention. With each and every song I slipped further into a Spiritual awareness that left my body on a pew, in the middle of a worship service while my Spirit could feel His presence. My one arm continued to shake as the tall man stood by his mother, who was seated at the piano. His whole family had been sick the week prior, including his mother and he was worried his voice might not carry the tune to hold the passion of the song...but it did. In fact, I think it was his best song yet. I had to close my eyes during parts of the song just to accept the words.

I could see my husband wipe his eyes as several stood to flood the church with Testimonies, as The Spirit moved around that little country church. Every person I looked at had a drop of silver under their eyes as He Touched on different ones. A tiny teenage girl stood and asked that we begin Fellowship as the next song started. It wasn't long after that another tiny teenage girl was at The Altar, and we witnessed The Miracle of Christ being accepted into her heart...she will never be the same.

The preacher soon stood and felt a need to deliver a sermon. He talked about my children. He began with the fact that some people in our church can't physically see, hear, or feel the way most people can. He went on to discuss that Spiritual void that many people carry around, even to the churches, and I began to drift away in thought. I tried to imagine how it would feel to sit through a Spirit filled service such as this, and just watch without seeing, hear without listening, and touch without feeling...

In my mind, I drifted even farther back to the day my son was born. One of the first things I thought as they handed me a baby full of the uncertain over eleven years ago, was that he would never hear my voice. He would never hear how his great-grandmother's words shook with age as she called us all "Sugar". He would never hear church bells ring or the sound of my favorite songs playing in the car. He would never hear the words "I love you." I thought about the Devotion from Wednesday night about prayers going unanswered, because He has something better...

I took that baby home knowing he couldn't hear me. I told that baby I loved him, knowing he was in silence. I played music for the child with no sound...and he began his life feeling instead of hearing. He would cuddle in my arms and fall asleep as he felt my songs. He smiled at his mother's eyes because he could see and feel my love and nearly four years later, The Lord decided to add a world of sound to that child's life, and to his little sister's life as she followed him into that silent world...

I looked over at both of my children who were glued to the preacher and a tear came to my eye. There they both sat as deaf children, listening to church. It gave me hope for the lost people I know. There are so many that never see the inside of a church and there are so many that have a Spiritual void, but as Christians, we must sing to them anyway. As the tall man once said, "I'll go ahead and claim it, He'll reach down and Touch my children one day," and someday soon, they'll be sitting on one of those pews with silver under their eyes, feeling church, and they'll never be the same.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Robber

I had been up praying in the middle of the night. Simple problems in the flesh...and even more complex Spiritual battles I needed to conquer, left me on bended knees and in a pool of tears in my living room floor just after midnight. A renewed commitment from me to The Lord came with conditions that HE would take lead once again, and help me walk through the fires of distraction, to finish what HE told me to do...

With that relief, I was lifted off the floor and I sat down in the chair to relax my exhausted eyes and immediately, small distractions tried to rob me of the rest HE intended me to receive. I heard my own voice speak "NO" as I knew the devil would send for my peace. In my head I started singing with every ounce of strength I had left "Peace, Peace, wonderful Peace...coming down from the Father above..." I walked quickly back to the bedroom where my husband slept and I crawled back inside that warm bed, knowing that I had received (and retained) that peace that nobody could to take from me...

Even with this renewed focus, I will still require many prayers of my own, and perhaps from others, to finish what I am supposed to do. If for nobody else, He's doing it for me...

When I got to church this morning, she spoke. Her broken voice told that she too had been praying, looking for a peace and the devil came right up and put something else in her head to distract her from The Lord, and His Grace, and His Mercy. Our preacher mentioned a very similar topic as well, and I knew that HE was always listening...
I know what I need to do, I know what I want to do, I know what I have to do...He has already shown me more that I ever thought I would see while here...and not all of it has been a barrel of fun either, I've seen things I never wanted to see...but I also am content knowing HE is trusting me with something and all I need to do is return that trust. I hope that The Lord has Mercy on me once more as I attempt to finish what He has asked of me. I know I may have to see other things that my eyes deem unpleasant, but I hope to soon place back into His hands a completed task...from there I have no idea where He'll lead, but that is the road I'm taking...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Without a Voice

Slumped over at The Altar, the young mother wept. I closed my eyes and prayed hard, asking The Lord to give this young lady what she needs. When I opened my eyes and lifted my head, someone knelt at my side and reached up to touch her back. The hand of her husband looked large next to the hand of his own mother, which had also been placed on the young mother's back. Tears came to my eyes as the mother of the son, reached over to touch his hand. They both held hands and I was moved at the sight of them both praying with her. I knew the young mother could feel her husband and mother-in-law holding hands but still holding tight to her.

We all went back to our seats where nobody seemed to want to let go of The Spirit which was clearly moving. The young mother stood and without a voice, praised HIM. It didn't matter that many ears couldn't hear her, she praised HIM anyway, with all that she had. She was perfectly aware when she stood, that her voice was weak but faith and mercy placed her on her feet anyway. Common circumstance had strained her vocals over the weekend but the longer she stood, the stronger her voice got. Whispers had turned into bits and pieces of words and I was amazed, that HE was giving some of her speech back. I could hear every word as I sat only a few seats away and I was thankful for each and every strained sound, because she put forth the effort.

I had invited some friends to church just before leaving this morning, and I knew they probably wouldn't make it on such short notice. I didn't have time to be disappointed, before a family walked in and took seats in front of us. Though it wasn't the ones I had invited this morning, they were long-time friends of my family. My eyes lifted and I couldn't help but smile as their little girls' eyes met mine. It made my day that more friends would be part of this service.

I've been home for hours now and I keep replaying that service over and over in my mind. So many people minding The Lord this morning, I just don't want to let that go just yet. Again, we failed to meet for Sunday School but that's perfectly fine with me. I can't wait to go back tonight, if The Lord sees fit to place me there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Poison Ivy

I walked outside with the full intention of getting closer with HIM. I had already been in prayer much of the morning, because everywhere my eyes fell this day, there were needs.

Slow and intentional were my steps as I heard the screen door squeak, then click shut behind me. A mild breeze caught my attention as the leaves flickered. I wanted to go see my tree, the cherry tree that we almost didn't buy, because it was frail. All other shoppers had passed it up, but we went back in bought it. I could smell fresh cut grass and breathed in the country silence deep into me. I began to walk towards the tree looking at every flower I passed, every bird that flew, every cloud in the sky...knowing HE was about to show me something...

I kept repeating, "I want to see, I want to see..." but often times people look for something in desperation that they mask what HE is giving, and therefore never receive some of the best gifts of all. Suddenly, everything became full of quiet. I could hear nothing but everything and it was as clear as crystal. I was unaware that I was still walking until I actually stopped. I had heard something.

A  crackling sound, a break, then a thud, had me looking at tall tree near where my cherry tree was planted. Though it was rooted in the thicket adjacent to our property, I folded my arms and just watched it. Every few seconds another nut would fall with a deliberate thud so strong it would bounce from the dirt ground below and rest a few feet away from the tree. Every time I tried to look away, I couldn't. I knew there was something about that tree...

I walked along the tree line of the woods and even picked up one of the nuts. It was so smooth. I ran my fingers over its thin exterior and felt one small spot that was mighty warm where the sun had grazed it. Every few seconds another nut would fall and they were so loud that I knew they dropped with purpose. I soon was released from the hold the tree had on me and I stepped away. I walked up to the little cabin's porch that is perfectly placed behind my barn and I sat, and I watched that old tree. I could still hear the blatant nuts breaking loose and dropping to the earth but I still was unsure of what HE was showing me. I bowed my head and closed my eyes...

When I opened my eyes, I placed them back on that tree. With a soft wind blowing, a smaller insignificant tree started turning bright yellow. I looked around smiling wishing someone else was there to witness the green tree turning bright so beautifully golden in a glow I've never seen before. At that moment, at that very second, all the other trees remained green but this one lit up and I stood to my feet. It soon dimmed again and was just ordinary like the others but I had to walk back over there immediately and look at the tree I had not noticed before.

I walked with a near gallop and soon arrived at the trees again. I stood there and wondered why I had not noticed the other tree in the first place. The trunk of the tree was covered in poison ivy but its leaves were quite healthy. I knew that the other tree had been making such noise before that it must have overshadowed the smaller one. I began to smile when I noticed The Lord had reached down and touched the quiet one today. Even though there was some poison ivy that had crept up over the years, it's roots were strong and it was healthy. It may not flourish with fruit or nuts but it obviously has something to bear in its own little way. The Lord saw that and gave it gold.

How wonderful it is to be HIS child. I love days like this when I get to see and hear and feel. I am unworthy, yet I am Blessed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Invitation

We sat on a different pew, so I knew there would be something new for me today. As songs began everything started to be usual, which can be quite great at my little country church. As the song "How Great Thou Art" poured from us all, I began to feel HIM. I looked to the friend sitting next to me, because chills filled my arm and I wanted her to see it. As our eyes met, she was holding up her arm too, and it was covered with them, just like mine.

After Sunday School, we met in song again. I wondered if The Spirit would pay us another visit. I almost waited. As the songs reached inside me, my eyes began to fill. The lights above seemed to reach right down to the floor and I blinked slowly trying to clear my vision, but couldn't. I finally closed my eyes, and prayed. I decided to simply invite HIM back. I asked HIM to please come back, and move through the church once again. In less than a minute, I heard one of our members crying out...and I knew HE was back. His voice was loud and clear and it felt good. I gathered each word he burst out into that aisle and placed them gently on my heart, and that felt good too. A smile crossed my lips as I realized how simple it was to get HIM back.

It wasn't long after that, a young girl made her way to The Altar. I followed as did many others. I placed my hand on the cross at the bottom of the pew as I prayed. I thanked HIM for answering my simple prayer. I looked up and with her head still bent in prayer, I noticed she had three hands on her back. One was a very young hand, a fellow teenage friend. One was the hand of her mother. I was certain of the three hands, she could tell which one belonged to her mother. The other hand belonged to the sweet lady from the second pew. Though I only saw those three hands, she had to feel a fourth hand...and I'm certain she also knew to whom it belonged. The Lord reached down and gave her what she needed and when she got back to her pew, she shouted in Praise lifting both her hands high above her head. I grabbed a tissue as tears exploded like fireworks being launched on the fourth of July. I tried to catch them all but there were too many.

Her Daddy stood up as if being set on fire and he preached, and I thanked HIM for all of that. In closing, a man asked his his own Daddy to read The Son. I had never heard the story and even though it was difficult for him to read through the tears, he stood up in front, and read it. He knew a Blessing would come from it, and everyone was on their feet, wiping tears from their eyes, by the time he finished.

I am truly Blessed. I sent one small invitation, and brought home so many gifts. I do not deserve all that HE gives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Little Things

She prefaced her story with a disclaimer. But even as she spoke words that told me she wasn't sure the story could be completed without tears, I watched confidence pour out of her voice as The Lord knew I was going to hear every last word.

Her eyes lifted as she spoke and made it through the difficult parts, and I knew from where her strength was coming. I could envision everything she was saying, and I found it hard to breathe at times. Chill bumps ran down my left arm only, and my heart beat rapidly as I hung on her every word. Tears filled my eyes and I could no longer blink them away as she was Praising The Lord for the mountain's peak, she'd recently reached. Physically we were at a place called work...but my heart was having church.

She glorified the Spiritual experience and it sounded so wonderful. I thought of what our preacher said the other day, "Tell me one more time how good HE is. It never gets old," and today I am thankful for all the little things, He continues to give...even outside those church doors.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Shawl

I've been thinking of the tree, the tree of bare branches. I noticed it was gone a couple of weeks ago and now every time I pass that house, I look at the broken stump. I have peace knowing that it wasn't chopped down, but taken by nature. The uneven, jagged stump shows me that it fell down when just the right wind came and swept by.

I looked at that stump on the way to church Sunday. I wondered when I leave this world, will the stump of life I leave behind, be enough evidence that I was even here, or would I leave clean cut, no visible stump at all. Would the aged rings within the trunk's stump show character, growth, or would it be blackened with rot and decay. I knew the answer to that, which made me smile. I thanked Him for that. A few years ago, the answer may have been different. The closer we got to church, the more I started to notice things. I knew He was planning on paying us a visit that morning.

I walked in, and there she was. The little lady with blue eyes that sits behind us. As we had Altar prayer, I sat on my pew, and I thanked Him for her. Just having her in that room, brings a sense of unity that is amazing to be a part of as her sons, daughters, their children and their's, all sit under one roof. As I prayed, I thanked Him for that. When I finished, I heard a voice. It was one of her children. His voice grew in strength with each word that left his body. I could feel my heart beating in my chest. It felt as if it began to slip low down and fall towards the floor. I leaned down and bowed again. I listened to him, and I wondered how the blue eyed lady felt, hearing her child grab hold of The Lord and hang on tight.

We did divide for Sunday School, even though that was unclear at first as The Spirit moved, where our teacher spoke through tears. I wiped my eyes and thanked Him again under my breath for giving me what is REAL. We soon met back in the Sanctuary to complete what HE had already started. It wasn't long before we were led to Fellowship during one of the songs. I watched as people began to move around the room. I felt a hand on the small of my back. It was gentle and I fully expected to see a child standing on the other end of the touch but when I turned, it was her, the blue eyed lady. I wrapped my arms around her carefully and she did the same. She told me she loved me, and I believed her. The Lord knew what he was doing when He placed me on that pew, in front of her. A tear dropped from my eye and a shawl of chill bumps filled my arms. I am extremely Blessed, always. I don't know what HE sees in me, to be so giving day after day.

I am forever grateful for The One. Some call Him Savior, The Redeemer of all men, I call Him Jesus, for He's my dearest friend...


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Almost Too Busy

I was almost too busy to make it to church tonight. But knowing The Lord had time to answer some prayers for me this week, I figured, I'd better rearrange my priorities tonight. I do miss church occasionally and I don't always beat myself up about it, but I knew I'd miss a special Blessing if I didn't take time out, and just visit with The Lord tonight.

We were the first to arrive to the little country church. The empty parking lot was still welcoming. As we walked across it, I glanced over at the cemetery right next to it. I was reminded that when I sat in church on Sunday morning, HE was trying to show me something about that cemetery. Because I was seated on a different pew, a headstone held my attention, though I wasn't sure why. Every time I turned away, I was drawn right back to it. Later that afternoon, I was told a long-time family friend had passed away. He had never made it to church that day, but it was in The Lord's Will, that my family would have another service together.

Ashamed that I almost found myself too busy, I walked up those concrete steps that seemed a little steeper to me for some reason today. I have had several prayers answered this week already. HE had kept me up what seemed like all night Monday night, just because HE loves me. HE had seen fit to reach down for me once more, and lift burdens that had been in my way.

Once inside those doors, I realized that several of the other church members had made it through rough days. One man stood and admitted he almost didn't come, and I held my breath...because as he spoke, I knew a Blessing was coming. I looked for the tombstone through that frosty glass window but could no longer see it. I had a different view this night than I did on Sunday. I watched this man speak and he looked younger to me this night. I wondered if HE was trying to show me something that I couldn't see right now so I watched him for a while. He stayed young.

Soon, I was captivated as a husband and wife sang a song. It didn't take long before the man found himself standing behind his wife, but the words to the song couldn't leave his body. He looked different, and I thought to myself, The Lord is speaking to him now. I watched the preacher weep from the front pew and then his wife glanced over at him. Her eyes filled also, and one by one, people were grabbing for tissues. When the preacher finally stood, his speech was that of a younger man tonight. His voice was filled with youth, with weakness and need but still...it was filled with certainty.

The preacher asked which one of us had Devotion, and a lump rose to my throat when I realized it him...the man who briefly lost his words during the song. I knew something must have been on his heart. My throat was hurting and throbbing from holding my breath as he stepped up to the front. I couldn't have spoke a word at that moment even if it were my last one...but I watched, and listened. Courage filled the room as we sat in awe watching the grown man speak of the child he had to give back.

When he was finished, a singer from the back asked the man's wife to come back up, and sing a song with her. It was beautiful, it was perfect.

http://youtu.be/2m76pylziGs


Prayer requests flew across the room, there were so many people being thought of tonight. Many of those are nearing the end of their lives while others are just beginning. We prayed, we cried, and we smiled and we grew. I think The Lord was showing me that no matter your age or your position in the church, we are youthful in many ways. There is plenty of growing room left in us. Not only were my eyes watching tonight, finding what I needed...my children were watching, and learning. I am so thankful that The Lord placed us there in that little church. I didn't have an opportunity to grow up in that church physically, but I feel like I've grown so much in the last year Spiritually.

Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing if I had always been too busy...and knowing that the souls of my children would be at stake makes it hard to swallow.

Monday, August 6, 2012

That Little Piece of Paper

I sat down on a different pew. I looked for the family that usually sits there and was told they were still out of town, all but the Dad. He came and sat on our pew and I remembered the morning service, when we all clapped for the teens that drove to Bible School every night last week, knowing the road could have taken them anywhere but to that little country church. Little kids filled the church that morning and all their eyes were on the teens. Just by being there, they were encouraging those little ones. But this man that sat next to us, had been there too. His wife and all of his children were out of town but he drove to Bible School anyway. The road had led him here again this night, and that felt good on my heart.

That's one of the first things I noticed about that church. Daddies that would walk through the doors with two, three and four children in tow...even when Mama was at home sick or at work and couldn't come, and sit down where they belonged. These strong leaders were setting examples for other Dads who may be tempted to drive anywhere else, but to church.

It wasn't but a minute or two, and people started standing to their feet once again. The pianist stood with his Bible in his hand and he read a scripture. He was looking for an answer and when he opened his Bible, it was there, in plain view. I had watched him lean over the piano this morning as someone stood Testifying. Tears were running down his cheeks, and he glanced up at his Maw Maw, the little lady with hair of silver and bright blue eyes. She had spoke out loud how glad she was to be there after ailing for so long, and asked us to pray for her. Her voice sounded as strong as I've ever heard. Next, the man on my pew stood. I had first noted him as alone, without his family...but I was wrong. The Lord was right there with him. His passion for Christ swept through the church and I could hear his own Daddy, the son of the blue-eyed lady, shouting praises. Then the preacher stood.

I picked up my Bible and little piece of paper fell out. My heart dropped and I quickly shoved it back inside, trying to distract my mind, so I wouldn't look down at it again. It's a tiny piece of paper my Sunday School teacher gave us all last week along with a pen. He asked us to write down a name(s) of someone we thought might be lost, or not Saved. At first thought, I knew I needed a bigger sheet of paper. That tiny piece couldn't possibly hold as many names as I knew belonged on it. But then he said, pray about the names. Ask for a vision, of them going to Hell and you might be persuaded to do more for them.

I wrote the names of two family members down and folded it quickly and stuffed it in my Bible. I've not prayed for that vision yet, because I know He will give it to me. It was several months ago, I didn't ask for that glimpse, but was given it anyway. I couldn't bare to think of seeing that again. But there was that little piece of paper jumping right out in front of me.

The preacher began discussing some verses in Matthew about a herd of sheep. It said if there are 100 sheep on 99 stay, but one goes astray...leave the 99 to go after the one. He went on to say that even though we had one child get Saved in Bible School, there's always one more. The Pastor stood in the end and he said he got something unusual out of the message. He thought about that little piece of paper. My chest rose high and fell with a deep crash as I tried to catch my breath. He spoke of those names he had written on that little piece of paper and his voice cracked at the thought of him doing nothing.

I woke this morning in the darkest of darks. I got out of bed and walked to the living room where I sat in the recliner. It was black outside but the sun would be up in minutes. I closed my eyes to try and wait for the light but I kept seeing people. Strangers, filled my head as they walked around casually, doing common daily activities. I was drawn to this one girl. She was skinny and probably a teenager but she never turned to see me. I was always behind her, waiting for her to look. I knew that if I couldn't get her to turn around, she would never see. There were just so many people everywhere but I followed the one girl. I walked behind her for a long time before a bright light forced my eyes open. It was the sun.

I knew that He was trying to show me, that everyday, in the common walk, there are people...the unSaved. There are people I may have to walk near that never even know I'm there. There are people that surround me, and if I don't shine enough for them to turn their heads, they will never see me, or even worse, never see Him. The sun rose and light was so piercing, my eyes had to open. That's what He wanted me to see.

When one is Saved, there is always one more. I can do much more than what I'm doing. He knows that, and I'm' glad he cares enough about me, my family, my friends, and the lost strangers, to show me there is a light.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How Does HE Feel Part Two

(continued)

...I'm never certain when my children ask questions like that, if I've done enough. I was suddenly distracted by conversations all around me. Everyone was laughing and talking to each other as if we had not spent six days in a row seeing one another. They all seemed refreshed.

During the first song, I could hear her voice, loud and clear. I didn't have to turn to know my Sunday School teacher's Mama was back there. I love to hear her sing. The Lord lifted her voice just a little bit louder this morning, just for me. I smiled at the loving thought, knowing I didn't deserve it, but HE wanted me to have that moment anyway. It didn't take long for the first person to speak aloud. We would sing song after song and in between, it looked like popcorn popping. One grateful person after the other, praising Him which drove us deeper and deeper into Worship.

I soon forgot about everyone around me, though I could sense they were still there. With each song, The Lord would highlight a different voice for me to ingest. I heard her next. The lady that sat beside her mother...the mother she probably thought a few weeks ago, she might not sit beside again on that pew. But with her mother beside her today, I heard her voice. Again, I shared a smile with The Lord, because He knew I would find strength in that...and I thanked Him.

My friend that sat in front of us, turned to ask the voice He highlighted for me first, to come sing a song...for her. Tears filled her eyes as she told us why she needed that song, and though I wasn't certain why, I knew I did too. She began to sing, and it became quite clear. Confidence rolled over the pews as she belted about David, giving the battle over to The Lord. I knew when she finished singing that song, that He has, still can, and will do The Amazing. Then Sweet Beulah Land ran over her tongue and found its way into my chest. I know He's left me here to do more than what little I've done. But I too, look forward to meeting Christ...The One who makes me feel like this...

He was giving me so much at once, everywhere I turned, He was there. The older brother of the little one Saved, sat quietly on his pew with his eyes shut. I saw him whispering something and I knew he was praying. A few minutes later, he stood. Being the oldest of four, he had lots of eyes on him, looking at him differently than maybe they are used to. I knew this was good for the kids. He bravely told a story, and turns out, it was good for me instead. Soon after, during Fellowship, I saw him walk over to his Grandfather. He stood as tall as his Paw Paw this day. He wrapped his teenage arms around the Grandfather and with tears streaming, they embraced. That felt good to me, and I was three rows back. That's what The Lord can do, that's what He feels like...

I am amazed all the time what He does for me and how He feels. I'm not even tempted with streets of gold, or gates of pearl. I know it's all there, because The Bible tells me so. But to be able to walk out of the flesh, and remain in Spirit all the time...to have complete awareness of Him at all times, to feel Him for eternity...

How Does HE Feel Part One

I saw her as soon as I walked in. The years have slightly crooked her back but she walks as tall as anyone in that room. Just weeks ago, many thought she would never walk through those glass doors again, but HE was generous enough to let us have at least one more visit with her. I gently grabbed her hand, careful not hurt her aging skin but with a firm grasp, she returned my Hello with a nice, easy smile. I felt strength in her touch, and saw it in her blue eyes, and I knew something was going to happen today. He had brought her here...

I sat down and immediately, I could breathe easier. I looked around at all the faces. Some I had practically spent the whole week with during Bible School, and a few I hadn't seen since last Sunday. A bright pair of eyes caught my attention and there was the little boy wearing a Summer yellow shirt. His gaze locked into mine for a brief moment and I smiled at the sweet boy, who had been Saved just days before. Thoughts began running in my head, knowing that he had become one of us. I knew that over the next several years, he'd see things, hear things, and feel things, he had only witnessed others experience. I was so glad HE had brought him here...

I was reminded of my own children and the burning question they still have...How Does HE Feel? I've spent the last several years describing how everything sounds to me, how everything looks to me, how everything feels to the touch of my hand...so my deaf children could simply learn words, speech and language that their little brains weren't really "wired" to do. I can tell you that one of our hymn books is not just red, it's dark red with barely any visible gold lettering left on many. Its cover is smooth and the words inside are tiny. I can tell you the other hymn book is not just the green one. Its cover is textured and it's wider than the other one. Its words are bigger and easier to read. The two little girls that sit next me can also tell you these things, though the color doesn't matter to them. They simply reach out and touch the books to decide which one they need. But the day my children asked me what Jesus felt like, I wondered if I had the words...

"When Daddy's holding his Bible so tight you can see his knuckles turn white, and we're not even reading from it, but he likes to hold onto it anyway...that's what HE feels like...

When someone is singing a song, and their voice breaks with emotion, and they look up at the ceiling and cry...that's what HE feels like...

When a teenager stands and walks to the front of the church, gets down on their knees to pray, and you see their back rising and falling rapidly as they weep...that's what HE feels like...

When you've worked and you've saved, and you've finally earned enough...but buy something for someone else instead, because you see their need is greater than your's...that's what HE feels like...

When someone stands up, and has to take a deep breath, just to take HIM all in before they can speak, only to give Him thanks for something many people see as common, but the sound of their voice is so thorough and powerful it spills on everyone, and they all wipe their eyes...that's what HE feels like...

When you've ran really fast and you feel far away and you're suddenly aware that your mouth is very dry...there's no water in sight so you must run really fast again, all the way home, and you drink, the ice cold water is not just what you need, but what you wanted...that's what HE feels like..."


...to be continued.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Nothing Happens

We have been really busy with our Vacation Bible School this week. We've studied about Joseph, about Nicodemus, about David & Goliath, and Gideon's army.
Our version of Goliath but they weren't throwing stones, just water balloons
My kids don't want it to end, but sadly tonight will be our final night. On the way home my kids were telling about a little boy from our church that got Saved last night. They said they knew he was Saved because he left the room to talk to his Mom and Dad, and came back with tears in his eyes. "But Mama, why not us?" they asked. "Yeah, I pray every night and nothing happens," the boy said. I told them that now they must wait for God to tell them what to do next. The Lord knows they want Him, so He will let them know when He feels like the time is right. "But keep praying!" I am so proud and happy for the little one that got Saved, he is about eight years old and such a sweetheart. Tonight will be our Commencement Ceremony so I look forward to good things happening tonight as well!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Because It's Worth It

I sat on the bank of the lake, looking out at my children playing in the water. It was Sunday morning and I knew where I should be, but wasn't...

I must have stared at that water several minutes before I realized my hands were clasped together below my chin, and I had moved straight into prayer. The kids were having a great time, and I was too truth be known, but it still bothered me, that there was a worship service about to begin, and I wouldn't be there. As the waves rippled through the lake's surface, it appeared that the water was all moving backwards, away from me...but as soon as the little waves crashed against the shore-line, I knew it had been heading in my direction the whole time. The sun, the shadows, the wind and the passing boats made the water appear to be leaving me, but just when I thought it was gone, a refreshing splash wet my feet. That made me smile.

I thought about how often things in my life appear to be pushing me backwards only to find out that I was being giving choices. I could follow the eye of the world and go farther and farther back, or I could hold on to my Faith and know that He would bring me in. That made me smile too.

The kids didn't want to leave, in fact they begged to stay the rest of the day. It crossed my mind briefly to just stay a little longer. I was tired, I was already limping from previous injuries but I knew if I stayed longer, I'd likely miss the night service at church. I wanted to go, because I knew it'd be worth it.

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I knew as I walked in for the service, many people were missing. Several are on vacation and traveling just as we had been, but I took a seat. We sang hymns that reminded me of why I had shown up. I grabbed a tissue as the lady from the back was asked to sing. She took her place delicately on the piano bench, and "Stroll Over Heaven With You," rolled from her heart, which made her sound even more beautiful. I teared up, as expected, but it was worth it.

I watched a preacher stand to welcome us. His voice echoed off the empty pews. I was glad that I was one of the few that had made it in through those doors because there was something there for me. He set the tone for the service. His voice showed strength, even though many of us felt weak. As we were called to pray at The Altar, I placed my hands down on the long piece of wood, below the phrase, "This Do In Remembrance of Me". My head felt so heavy as I dropped it onto my hands. As we prayed for those mentioned, those in need of prayer, I added my family...myself into my prayer as well. I want a brighter light, I told Him. I know I'll have to go through some things on this side to earn it, but it'll be worth it.

We took our seats, and another preacher walked with his Bible in hand up to the front, and laid it on the pulpit. He began soft and gentle. But as soon as he began talking about the Lord, his voice grew strong and loud as if all the seats were taken. His sermon was on...It'll be worth it...

I smiled because The Lord does that often. He'll tie things all together for me in obvious sequence just to put the message right there in front of my face. Sometimes, He doesn't. Sometimes, I have to take things home with me and eventually, they consume me, before I figure it out. But it's always worth it.

The preacher spoke of Christians of the past, some within the church that have passed on now, and told us if we lined them all up in a row and asked them if it was worth it, they'd tell us YES, without a doubt. I watched the man continue preaching a very strong message, despite the tremble this world has placed in his hands. I knew that it was worth it to him as well, to push through and give us that message from The Lord.

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I left there knowing that everything we go through in this world, is going to be worth it. I cranked up my car and headed home, only to hear a song with the words, "It'll be worth it all, when He calls us away..." Again I smiled, because The Lord is intent on me hearing those words this day. I'm glad I was one of the few that made it into the service. I was obviously one of the few in that room that needed it. I can't wait to start this week now knowing, it'll all be worth it.