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 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.