Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HE Left Him

Over eleven years ago, I had a tiny little boy. This little boy came with two lists. One was a list of things the doctors knew was wrong with him, the other, was a list of things that could be wrong with him. As they handed me my newborn son, and presented me with their lists, I had to wonder if I'd even get to keep him. I feared I might soon receive news that he'd leave this world before he even knew he was in it. They began running tests that very day and booked his first four months of life up with appointments. I took my child in my arms, and I told The Lord, "Please don't take him." With tears running down my exhausted face I added, "I'd like to keep him a while"...and HE left him with me.

Seven months later, he became sick. Nothing seemed to work, breathing treatments, antibiotics, pain meds, doctors...I finally took him in my arms, and walked into the ER at Children's Hospital. They frantically went to work, admitting him quickly to the Critical Care Unit. The nurse's face told me that she was doing her best, but he was just so sick, barely even getting any oxygen in his tiny little lungs. The high fever didn't want to break but I picked up my screaming baby that I could barely see through the thick river which flooded my eyes. I was certain HE was coming back for him. I said to The Lord, "Please don't take him. I'll do whatever you ask me to do. I won't let you down." And again, HE left him with me. The Lord knew that I wouldn't keep that promise but HE left him anyway.

Tonight during revival at church, a young preacher spoke through his own tears as he pressed gently down on the piano keys. He talked about wanting his sick little grandmother, to be left here with him even though he knows she's going over to Glory when HE calls her name. That really stuck with me tonight and The Lord's had plenty of opportunity to come back for my child in these eleven years. But tonight, he sat next to me on that pew. He clapped his hands to every song. He nodded his head when the preacher spoke. He whispered "God Bless You" just like the adults. The Lord is very giving, despite how little I give. HE left him...and that's only one of the many reasons I need to be a better mother, wife, and child of God. I was Blessed yesterday, today and will be tomorrow if He sees fit leave me in this world another day. It's time I pay back a promise I made him years ago. I hope I find myself doing whatever HE needs me to do.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Walking in on Worship

Even though technically we pulled up at 15 minutes before our typical Worship Service was to begin, I knew in my heart, HE was already there. My daughter asked, "Mama, are we early?" and I looked around the still parking lot and said, "You know Honey, I actually think we're late."

I asked her to go up to the glass doors, peek inside and then come tell me what she saw. We all three sat patiently in the car and watched her. She came back to the car and gently opened to door and said, "There's kids a-singin'!"

My chest felt heavy as my suspicions were confirmed. I began to walk, despite the thought that crept in my mind that it was already too late. The parking lot seemed to stretch farther and farther but I walked on. When I got to the bottom of the steps, it sounded a whole lot like CHURCH. I climbed a few steps and I could see through the familiar glass doors and I saw them all standing, and it looked a whole lot like CHURCH. I swallowed deep as we slithered inside hoping to go unnoticed. I was surprised our regular seats were empty, and as we took them, it began to feel a whole lot like CHURCH.

It became quite clear almost immediately that if no one else in that room, noticed that we slipped in, HE knew that I had come. I began to see everything. I watched a daughter standing in front of her Daddy, the same man that was looking just like her to me as he sat on the pew Wednesday night. Several ladies were standing in front of the church and they spoke through tears slowly, but with so much strength. I could feel each word as it fell low from their lips, as they placed everything down before the Almighty One, just as He had told them to.

I had walked in on Worship. It wasn't long ago that I sat on a pew, asking The Lord to send in a stranger. Someone that needed the church, that needed Him, but maybe didn't realize it. Someone that would be drawn in from the parking lot from the strength inside those walls. Today, He answered my prayer. I was the stranger. Walking in on that worship service was such a Blessing, and He knew exactly what I needed.

Later, as I lied on a float in the pool, my daughter hid behind me, pretending she'd left me in there all alone. I ignored her, because I was digesting all that I'd witnessed today at church but I knew she was there. She didn't realize that she was still guiding me around the pool, she had never let go of the float. Suddenly she popped around and said, "Hey there! I was here the whole time, I never left you."

Tears streamed from my eyes that hid behind sunglasses. I knew He had been there the whole time as well, but I guess I had been ignoring Him. He was still guiding me, He never let go.

Tonight, we met again and had another fantastic service. People arrived wearing their best swollen eyes from this morning. Tissues were soaked once again and several preachers stood up and gave us more of Him. I'm so glad that revival has already started at my little country church. It's expected to last all week long and I'm looking forward to more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Visit

Muffled screams awoke me this morning. I sat up and looked around, my heart was racing. It wasn't true...

Just minutes before, though I was sound asleep, He had come to visit. I was in a room full of people. I recognized my dad, some distant cousins, aunts, and uncles. We all seemed to be at my grandmother's house, as if it were a family reunion of some sort. I was walking around, partially participating in various conversations. As I walked away from one small group, I looked up and a glow entered the room. He seemed smaller in body than what I had imagined but resembled artist interpretation I've seen over the years in the face. He glided into the room and at first glance, I knew it was Him. He looked at me and then around the room. I suddenly became light on my feet, and began gliding instead of walking, just like Him. I found it very hard to breathe. There were so many people in my way, and all I wanted to do was get closer to Him. As I glided in His direction, I too looked around the room. No one even looked up. I was the only one in the room that saw Him. At this point, I didn't even care if I had died or was still living, I just wanted to be closer to Him. Finally, He got close enough to me, and I tried to speak. In my mind, I wanted to tell Him thank you for everything, but I became so overwhelmed with emotion that no words would form. I was about to reach out and try to touch Him but my muffled screams woke me as I tried to lift my weighted arms that wouldn't move...

I had been thinking about that all day. There are so many times when things don't make sense until I get to church...and that's where I found my answers tonight. One of my favorite singers walked up to the piano. She placed her book in front of her and I reached over with my right hand without looking to make sure I had tissue close by. She began singing the words to a song I've never heard. Her unique voice filled the air and sent chills right behind my ears. As she described a family circle around The Throne, I thought of my dream the night before. I had been in a room filled with family. None of them saw Him when He walked in, and it broke my heart. I held my breath trying to tame the tears that filled my vision.

I kept looking over at him, the man that sits on the front row during Sunday services and keeps his right hand stretched across the cross that rests underneath him, on the side of the pew. I don't know why I kept looking at him but I did, and I kept seeing his daughter. Tonight, he looked like his own child, as he sat shaking his head in agreement with all that The Lord was showing him. For a moment I wondered what he was thinking, and if it had anything to do with his daughter because he was glowing with looks of his child tonight. I listened to the singer, and I thought of my own daughter. I was glad that she would never have to question whether Mama or Daddy would be there in her family circle around the throne when she hears Him call her name...

As soon as the preacher called us all to The Altar, I knew I had to go. When my knees bent and I felt that thick carpet on my bare knees, I looked over and saw my daughter kneeling next to me. Tears came with ease. With clinched fists down on that long piece of wood, I placed my head upon them, and prayed.

I have a lot of family that never recognized Him when He was clearly present in that room. Despite it all being just a dream, I was reminded that I have a lot of work to do. I prayed for my family, and I prayed for His Light and I was very thankful for the visit...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buttons

I picked the tin up by the lid. A loud crash boomed across the floor and the scatter of about three dozen buttons followed. I held my breath and fought back tears as my child looked at me for answers. "Maw Maw's buttons" is all I could give him as he rushed over to help me pick them up. It was hard not to cry as we got down on our hands and knees and picked each one up. He quickly put them back into the tin and I held each one between my fingers for as long as I could before I let it go. There were so many. Some still had thread reaching through the holes. I knew they were there in the sewing can that had been passed down to me because I heard them each time I opened that old grease tin she used to store her thread, her thimble, her buttons.

I examined each button I picked up and imagined the shirt it had been separated from. Had my Paw Paw ripped the button off while working in the garage, or had it come from an old housecoat she wore when she had no real reason to get dressed for the day? As I placed each one back into the tin I heard the familiar sound of the hard plastic dropping against the metal. I thought about Him. There are so many times on my visit down here in the flesh that I feel as though I too, am hanging by a thread. I am a button that gets worn over time and sometimes I am hanging by a thread, separating from the cloth. A simple prayer can tighten that thread and hold me on for another day. I want to be found wearing Him everyday but sometimes my buttons aren't quite tight enough to secure Him around me. I need that prayer to thread him against me...and there's nothing better, than wearing HIM.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Back to Him

One final glance up at me and she whispered "Now?" I smiled at my baby girl and tapped her leg, "Now."

With her Bible in her hand she walked down the aisle and up to the front of the church. My heart raced for her and she quietly announced the Book she'd be reading from. I tried to read along with her but as her mother, I sat admiring the courage and bravery. I knew it took everything she had, just to be standing there in front of everyone and give the Devotion.

I remember holding her as a baby with her big blue eyes peering up at me. She was in that world of silence and she always looked up to me when she wasn't sure. He could have left her in that in silence, but He didn't. He gave her a voice, and she was now giving it back to Him.

He didn't have to give her the Sunday School teacher's voice that had taught about the Ten Commandments, which was the basis for her Devotion. He didn't have to give her the sound of her very best friend telling her she could, when she try to say she couldn't. He didn't have to give her the voice she used to speak words from her Bible. But He did. I'm beyond proud that she's learned one way, to give it back to Him...



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Book

As I walked through my yard today, looking at all that He's given to me, an odd and random thought crossed my mind. I wondered what I would save, if I could rescue only three non-living items should I be blind-sided with a disaster. Assuming He let me keep my children, I tried to think of random things throughout my house...pictures? No, I wouldn't choose pictures. I am lucky that I don't rely on photographs for memories, although I do love pictures...I just could pass on those.

I thought about the fire. What did I grab when my house caught on fire? I grabbed my kids, and their hearing devices. That's it, nothing else. I think the firemen may have thought I was a little crazy when I stood in my yard smiling as smoke filled the air. Tin swelled and bent up on the roof from the heat below it. At the time, I was so thankful that The Lord allowed me to pick up my tiny children and carry them out of the smoke without harm. I walked away from that disaster with a greater appreciation for the important things. I learned the difference between the things I possess, and things I carry. If it didn't walk out that door with me, it was gifted to me by Him soon after...and for that, I am thankful.

I looked around my yard, thought about items in the house but every time something would enter my thoughts, it was pushed aside. I began to think of characteristics, traits, behaviors, culture, knowledge within myself...that I carry. Did I have enough within any three of those that would be worth preserving, saving and passing down. That feeling began to creep up from the bottom of my toes and fill the inside of me, knowing He was around me.

I was drawn to tears when I realized that I did have something I would want to save...my Maw Maw's Bible. The one that was given back to me after her death...the one I gave her as a gift when I was just a child...the one I never expected to get back, or own.

I hid my tears as my family came back from their four wheeler ride. I smiled and pulled down my sun glasses but my thoughts were still on Him as I realized that The Book is a very important part of me that is missing. I barely can even read the thing, but the more I attend my little country church, the more I learn. I am truly amazed and Blessed that He believes in me just like I believe in Him. He knows I can learn, He knows I can do what He asks me to do. I used to try and throw my hands up at The Book because my half-hearted attempts to read a verse here and there beared little fruit...and that was my own fault. But just like our Pastor and other church members have said many times, "I'm as close to Him as I want to be." I may not deserve it, but He is always giving to me. Thank you Lord for Touching my heart once again.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

They Pass By

It was Homecoming for our little country church. This is the day that those who currently go and have gone in the past to our little church, make a special effort to attend services and the lunch afterwards.

We took our usual seats and soon came the songs. It didn't take me long to get lost in them. Two powerful young men stood at the piano and sang. The sun had been hiding all morning due to the rain, but before they sat down, you could see their shadows stretched out before them. The warm sun lit their backs as they poured out their love for The One that died on Calvary's Cross, for them. The pianist quietly moved his lips to the words that floated around him, across the shadows and onto the pews.

I began thinking about the people not inside that room. I thought about the common man out for a simple Sunday drive. I wondered if he had a flat tire outside, would he hear us. As powerful and strong as the church is inside those walls, I began to wonder if we are as powerful outside the doors of the church. If someone walked by, would their feet carry them up those front steps? Would they be drawn to the voices, the clapping, the song?

People are everywhere, they pass by every single Sunday on their way to some place else. I continued to be consumed with the songs as my mind thought about those that pass by. I secretly hoped someone would be drawn in that maybe had no intention of coming, but by His Will, was led in. I wanted someone else to be a part of what I consider as close to Heaven as we'll likely get on this side.

The preacher eventually stood and he began to speak. His voice grew in strength quite quickly as he reminded us of past sermons. I could see my child looking at me, watching me, but I could not remove my eyes from the preacher. The more I tried to look away, the more intent my stare became. Everything around me seemed blurred as I focused on what He was trying to say to me. The more I listened, the more I realized that people aren't really going to come to us. As a church, as a whole, we are strong. For the most part, individually, we are strong. I, however, as a single Christian, should never sit still and wait on someone to ask their way in. I have a lot of work to do and sitting in shadows isn't going to benefit anyone. When I walk outside those doors, it's up to me to stand in the sun so that those who pass by me, will see where I stand. Most people won't look to the shadows when they need help, and sometimes, I feel like that is where I am more comfortable.

Tears filled my eyes as I realized just how much more I need to do as a Christian. I wasn't saddened that no one opened the doors and walked up to the altar in awe of The Lord because He let me know today, it would take a little effort on my part to witness such. He sends me those that pass by every single day of my life, and without me contributing, without me living by example, without me wearing my Testimony, they don't see me unless I step into the light and shine a little.

I inhaled deeply as the songs began once again, just to assure myself that I wasn't smothering, and I took them all in. I saw a man singing with his eyes closed, he was taking them all in. Someone walked up to The Altar, she was taking Him in. I almost went up to pray with her but He stopped me. He wanted me to see something, and I knew that. I stayed at my pew and I watched her...a tiny child with long brown hair walked up to the back of the pack. People were everywhere on bended knees. She stepped carefully in her long sundress and she too got down on her knees. She put her face directly down onto the blue carpet. Her tiny hands pressed around her face. I watched her and smiled as she appeared to pray. She stayed down for quite some time until she raised her little head. As some people got up, she made her way closer to the front until she was ready to go back to her Mama, on the pew from which she came.

I was so glad He showed me that. I knew that even as three year old child, she was letting her light shine...she wasn't sitting in shadows. I found encouragement from that little girl today. I know that I have to start paying more attention to the ones that pass by. It's going to take effort on my part if I want them to stop. After all, one day, it will my Homecoming. He'll call for me, He won't pass me by, and I'll have to account for all those people that I didn't flag down...all those people that I let pass by...