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!