Tuesday, February 28, 2012

and the Angels sing

I knew as we arrived at church, many from our congregation would be missing due to the youth trip that led them to the mountains over the weekend. Their presence was certainly missed as empty seats went unfilled throughout the church. Even though many were missing, many were present. From behind me, I could hear two strong male voices. I silenced my voice as the hymn rang on to listen closely. It was a father and son duo seated on opposite ends of a single pew. Though separated by lots of close family members on the wooden bench which has held them up for years, their voices joined together for me, two pews up. On the outside, I appeared to be singing as words formed on my lips but only silence escaped. I listened intently as the words burst from their chests. The walls poured music throughout the small church and a symphony of soon to be Angels rang from all around me and I felt Blessed.

He loved me enough to place me there. I get to feel their songs here in the flesh and as magical as it is, I can't imagine how it will feel when we meet again in Heaven. I began to think that some of them may get there before me, and others will arrive long after I'm there unless The Lord decides otherwise. I knew that there were Angels looking down right at that moment and entering the minds of those seated around me.

She walked up with her little piece of paper when she was requested to sing. She fed us the nectar only her voice can provide which was both soft and sturdy. Her husband whispered the words as she sang and his eyes closed in deep thought. My damp face wrinkled as a smile lifted up my cheeks...and the Angels began to sing. Others joined in ever so gently as they couldn't keep the song buried within themselves for long. Without overtaking, their voices became a soft choir and He loved me enough, to place me there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Friend, My Everything

We were asked the question in Sunday School "Who is He, to you?" and we went around trying to describe in words who He is to us. I listened as He was beautifully described as a best friend, as an everything, etc...

I gave a basic answer of "He's my center. We get busy and things get crazy and we're pulled in so many different directions. You can only be pulled so far before you have to snap right back to the center." But He's much more than that. I wasn't very satisfied with my answer so when I awoke at 3:30 this morning, I pondered on the question a bit more...

My dry eyes cracked opened. The cold meds, the asthma inhaler, something had drained me completely of fluids as I peered at the white ceiling. I listened intently to the silence for a brief moment and I knew my day would be anything quiet.

I smiled as I realized He was my silence when all is loud and chaotic and He is sound when silence is piercing. He is direction when I'm unclear of the path ahead and He is the map of past travels. He is my vision when my eyes don't see and He's my blinder when my gaze is filled with distractions. He's my warmth when the bitter and the cold move too close and He's my cool when the heat seeps through my veins. He's air when I am smothered and He takes my breath when I gasp at His creations. He's comfort when I am in need and He's assurance when I fall short. He is my Friend and my Everything, just like they said...

I look around at our congregation and I see Him. He's Blessed some members with careworn wrinkles not placed by age alone but by love and laughter, hope and heart, character and devotion. He's also Blessed some with streaks of silver that age alone could not place. Each strand was earned through worship, time spent in the valleys and Faith that would lead them to the mountains. He is their Friend, their Everything.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Devil's Ear

We had such nice services Sunday and Sunday night. There's not much I can add this week. I particularly enjoyed Sunday School this week. I think we all shed tears just in the 45 minutes together. It's amazing how silly, goofy, hilarious everyone in that class can be, but when it comes time to worship, that's what we do. We are blessed with plenty of time on our hands for fluff but when we all arrive at church, we worship. I love that.

A thought keeps coming to me though. I guess it's to serve as a reminder to me as much as anyone else because I do cave in at times, depending on subject matter, and listen with the Devil's ear. There are many times, I can hear a small portion of an event, a story, a problem and by listening with the devil's ear which leads to speaking with a forked tongue, I say things that I wish I had not. Keeping quiet is something I can do, I know I can, I've done it before, but it takes more effort on my part as a sinner. I have to remind myself that there are times when I am put in a position to listen, and only listen. My words can often do more harm than good when spoke in anger, so I must remind myself to listen with my heart. When I practice this, I speak with a civil tongue that may still do no good alone, but when spoke in prayer can change everything. And that's my simple thought for the day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Daddies

He began shouting as we sang. Chills ran from the top of my scalp to the bottom of my toes. The Lord was filling this man up and as our pastor often puts it...He was just spewing all over the congregation. I tasted salt as tears poured from eyes at such a Blessing. Grown men watched intently and shook their heads deliberately in agreement as His words reached them. The man's voice was felt as it was carried through the floor he stood upon and it reached up into each pew and captured those carefully placed on each cushioned slab of wood, by Him.

Daddies Testified about their daughters, one after the other. One child was eventually led to the altar when she collapsed on her knees in prayer. Loving family and friends quickly surrounded the child and when they stood, her Daddy wrapped his arms around her. They stood there embracing for awhile. It was beautiful. I knew that whatever she needed, He had for her. Her Daddy can hug her, love her, and wrap his arms around her but what she truly needed, she could only get from The Lord, her Father, and she'd found it at The Altar.

Her Daddy sat back down in front of us. His boots wiped clean for service, the flesh on his arms was scratched up and his hands looked worn from hard work. He sang loudly the words to every song after that. He apparently received a Blessing also. His proud voice never even needed a hymn book, he just knew. The songs grew with each strong voice....and we never even went to Sunday School.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Wagon

In the past, we'd frequent Children's Hospital quite often. I called it my home away from home the first 8 years of my child's life. If we weren't there for appointments or surgery several times a year, we were sleeping there, praying there, crying there, laughing there, and growing there. The first three years of my son's life, I kept a hospital bag in the trunk of my car. It had a change of clothes for both of us, toothbrushes and other emergency items in case we showed up at an appointment with the ENT or walked into the emergency room and were told to stay. This actually happened quite a bit as he struggled with his body fighting infections, unexplained severe head pain, pneumonia and other various obstacles the child faced over the years.  


I could always tell when he felt better because he would ask, "Can we go get a wagon now?" He loved pulling those wagons around. He'd load his stuff in them and pull them around the hospital floor for days sometimes. Often, he was only able to ride in them as he was too dizzy to walk but that was just as fun. We've been in the hospital twice during Christmastime over the years and used the wagons to carry all the gifts out to the lobby. There were times I thought I'd never reach a point where I could look back on those years instead of living them in the present. But I have.


We have a wonderful child in our church who attends very regularly. She rolls her wheel chair up front when the children sing, she's really talkative and friendly to everyone, and she has a wonderful family and church that love her and treat her just like all the other kids with and without special needs. The Youth Group recently took up money within the church to purchase a wagon in honor of her and donate it to Children's Hospital. I can't imagine her face when she goes for her next visit and sees a child in need, riding in "her" wagon. Anytime we got a wagon with a plaque on it, I always wondered about the child whose name clung to the wagon. Now other children, and possibly my own at some point again, will be able ride when they can't walk or even pull it around while they wait for hours for multiple appointments. Tired grandmothers, stressed moms and dads, nurses and other caretakers will pull this wagon behind their backs for children too sick to attend school like other kids or children who may never even leave the hospital.

If you ever go to Children's Hospital, watch the kids in the wagons. Most have no idea how sick they really are. Their bald heads shine in the light and their smiles are contagious. Some cling to their IV stands as their Dads pull them around the entire hospital, just to get out of that room for a while. Some simply cling to Faith with every step they take.

I am very proud of our Youth Group for thinking of Children's Hospital and our little friend from church. I know she'll look for this wagon every time she goes from now on! And maybe someone else, will use Faith too as they travel...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So I Touched

I awoke this morning and just lied in bed for a solid hour with Him on my mind. I thought about church, the people, the songs, the testimonies...

I finally forced myself out of bed even though it was still hours before I would see the sun.  I could feel my bones tremor inside even though my hands were steady, so I knew He was very near me.  I did my morning routine, then had a little talk with Jesus to start my day off right. I had no intention of letting anything get in between us today and I was so thankful, He had blessed me with an off day so I could revive what I knew was getting buried with menial labors of the flesh.

After dropping the children off, I came straight back home. I eliminated myself of distractions and He poured out His Blessings. I managed to work on a project that I've set aside for a couple of weeks.  At His blessing, I was given a task that at times, I admit I have questioned but I know for a fact it came from Him, so I'm letting Him carry me through the entire thing. Asking for patience each day, yet time after time allowing impatience to bleed through-He truly has shown me that just because I want something, or want to finish something, I must wait for Him. I knew today I would be blessed with His direction.

A bird chirping outside my door about mid morning led me to leave the confined internals of my house and go outside for a break. I knew there was more and I didn't want to pass it up. I walked right up to the edge of the property and stared out into the woods. I heard squirrels scurry around for acorns and suddenly I was startled by a large bird taking flight. I filled my lungs with cool air and shut my eyes as if were the last breath I'd ever take in. I held it in for a moment and eased it out reluctantly. I felt the warmth from the sun reach down and caress my back.

I thanked Him for taking the time to touch me today. I realized how often I am blessed to see and hear so many wonderful things around me, but rarely do I ever reach down and touch them. I walked up to my favorite trail.

I stopped in the middle of the trail and reached my bare hand out to touch the barbed wire fence. I wondered how many times my husband's grandparents, who lived here during their time down here, snagged their garments or their flesh on this sharp metal fence. I ran my hand down the metal wire and as long as I was aware of the barb ahead, I could move my fingers out of the way but if I got distracted, the pain of the sharp metal pricking my skin would get me before I even knew it was there.

Again, I became keenly aware of everything around me. I could smell a very pungent bitter green odor. The "soap nuts" from a nearby tree covered the ground and I picked several up in my hands at once and knew, I'd always recognize that distinct smell from now on.

I walked back home and in my front yard I saw a cluster of daffodils. I walked over to them and admired their beauty in my February yard. I bent down on my knees to feel the velvet moss that grew around the old oak trees. It felt like damp carpet between my fingers and I reached out to touch the daffodils. I squeezed the stem of three and pulled them from the ground. In slow motion, not letting one second of this day slip past me unnoticed, I pulled the flowers close and inhaled. The fresh aroma brought tears to my eyes...they smelled exactly like my Maw Maw did.

With tears flowing, I thanked Him once again for such a beautiful day. Of all the people He could have picked to give all this to, He chose me. I stood from my knees and carried my dear grandmother's memory inside to brighten my table. So glad I reached out and touched His blessings today, what gifts He bestows.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

He Was Watching

We are studying Hell in the adult Sunday School Class and the room was packed full this morning. We just barely brushed the surface, but today people spoke of how those in Hell have such an awareness about what is taking place. I imagine they will be fully aware of hurt, pain, misery and not just physically but also have a full mental awareness of the torments each suffer.

I felt like we'd barely got started when it was time to go back up for worship service. The church was also packed full today, which is absolutely fantastic. Many had come to watch our newest and probably youngest preacher give his first sermon since announcing last week he'd been called to preach.

The singing sounded great this morning and when it was finally time for him to begin, he walked up to the front with his new Bible clinched in his hands. The black Book with golden edges shined as he held it up in reference throughout his sermon. He'd walk around as he delivered the message but not too far from The Book. He held it up several times and the black ribbon parted somewhere in The New Testament, and I wondered what he'd marked to read. He never even got to a verse, he didn't need it today.

My eyes were drawn to the pew on which I sat. A tiny young boy sat quietly in his Mama's lap as she gently rubbed his back. His eyes were fixated on the teenage preacher and his big eyes blinked slowly as sleep invited its way in. I thought how blessed this child is to be in a church where he can have role models like stood before him. Those who aren't afraid to admit being sinners, but are much too proud to be ashamed of being God's child. I thought how comforting it is that a child like this, can drift into dreams with the sounds of peace moving through him. As his eyes grew heavy, he continued to watch the young preacher with interest. The tiny child was falling asleep listening to Heaven.

I'm very proud of the young preacher who held his new Bible up high and said he hoped that in 20 years the worn could be seen on the cover, throughout the pages...because that means he's used it. I don't envy preachers, they have a tough job. They get up each week or whenever they are asked, and prepare themselves to preach to the blind and the deaf. It is their calling to get the word through so that people wearing protective veils will see and those with closed ears will hear. They try week after week to get them to see, to hear, to feel, and that can't be an easy task. Our newest did a geat job today, and I'm proud to have been a part of it.