Monday, November 10, 2014

One More

When my head lifted, I knew I was about to begin my last day. I didn't ask for reasons why or how it might end...I just knew, and it was hard for me to stand. I humbly thanked HIM for the time, and I rose from knees and walked away. Tears flowed as I pressed the button on the coffee pot for the last time. I got ready for work for the last time and I sent the last "I love you" text to my husband. I spoke gently to the children as we made our way toward school. I told no one, that this might very well be the last time they see me. I went about my day with an awareness I hadn't had in a while. I smiled at people while I looked into their eyes so they knew that I saw them, that I noticed them, that they were existent to me. A little boy left his classroom and came to my office. He wrapped his arms around me just out of the blue and held me tight. I wrapped mine around him and just held him for a minute. When I let go, he didn't. I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry because I needed that hug probably more than he did. His little freckled face smiled at me and he looked just like his sweet little mama right at that very moment. I choked out an I love you to him for the very last time and he went back to his class. I couldn't bare to think of how my family would react should The Lord take me HOME this day but there was a softness, a longing, a relief to know I would soon be with HIM....

At the end of the day, I was still here. There was no car wreck, no heart attack, no masked gunman that walked in and took it all away. I bowed once more and I told HIM I should have done better. I should have hugged more, I should have judged less. I should have listened harder and spoke softer. I should have lent a more delicate shoulder for friends to cry upon. I should have calmed my worldly rush and watched my children play. The river of tears ceased abruptly and with HIS hand on back, I'd been given one more day to walk slower, one more day to plant seeds, one more day to see HIM in others, and I again, humbly thanked HIM for his mercy.

We made it to church. I told the children, we'd not have Sunday School this day, HE had plans and with the first song, I knew that to be true. Voices full of strength ascended from the opposite side of the room and they rained down on me. I tried to catch up with the might that mounted high above me but my voice was I just listened. From the pews behind me, from the pews in front of me, from the ones across the voice was loud and true and the unison was quite apparent. For the first time in a long time, it was hard to hear individuals. There was a depth from inside that could not only be heard but felt. The sun shone bright through the frost of the little glass windows and the room was white. The room began to bleed with a pureness I'd not felt in a while. Knees were bending at the altar and hands were raising high.

Voices spoke in humble trembles and I could see the mass mending no needle and thread could have repaired. I watched mothers at the altar with the tiny arms of their own children wrapped around their backs as they prayed. My eyes were burning from the sting of sin, the fountain of forgiveness and the sanctuary of salvation.

I was in HIS house at that very moment, and The Spirit was moving all around. I saw the little freckle-face boy clinging to his daddy's leg and I hoped that one day, I'd still be around to pay back that hug he had given me earlier in the week, when I needed it most. We all soon stood and began walking. We formed a line and just walked around the inside of the church to tear down any walls that might remain. Everyone was walking, but the one who couldn't. The preacher walked over to her tiny little wheelchair and began pushing her around with her mother following close behind. Shouts were heard as they soaked deep into the paneled walls. Not long after that, that very child pushed her chair to the front of the church by herself. She raised her index finger high and began singing in her sweet child voice, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."

The preacher refused to dismiss us as we all eventually went our separate ways but words can't describe how much we needed that service. We had to go through some things to get there and that's okay but I am Blessed beyond again this day. HE is always AMAZING! He gave me one more, when I didn't deserve it and it's up to me what I do with that...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Were Headed There

Common chatter filled the family car. Hair combed, teeth brushed, our Sunday clothes rested upon our backs; we were headed there. I closed my eyes and let the warm sun kiss my face as it beamed between the pines. I prayed for the others, who were gathering in...

Soon, my eyes opened again to breathe in the blessed Sunday air, and I watched the ordinary pavement pass beneath us. With only a mile separating us from there, we were in that final stretch. Anticipation made its way deep into my lungs as I envisioned that empty pew awaiting. Something up ahead moved. It was a truck speeding toward us from around the curve. It continued toward us crossing deeper and deeper into our lane. We moved over as much as we could and with only a couple of yards to defend us, I lifted my right hand knowing it would offer little protection against the windshield of glass. My husband and I gave no warning to the children, but gasped softly, awaiting for His Will to be done. At the last second, the truck was moved out of our path and we saw that steeple just up ahead, one more time.

As the hymns began, I couldn't sing loud enough. The church I had looked forward to attending this Sunday morning, was nearly shy by four this morning. I thought of the members in the vehicle behind us, and I thanked Him for not forcing the eyes of their flesh, to see us any differently than they have before. The Lord had Mercy today.

As the service continued and one young mother stood with her daughter by her side, she spoke of her dear sweet grandmother. By all standards of modern medicine, she shouldn't be here today, but for whatever reason...He has seen fit, she stay a little bit longer. I listened to the Testimonies, I listened to the songs and tears fell as I realized...we were almost headed There.

Today could have been the day, that sweet glorious day, that I left here, heading for There. I looked around the room and thought about one of the Testimonies....look at our players. We have a really strong, stout team at my little church. Everyone seems to play a different part and no one is more vital than the next. Today, I was given one more chance. One more day to teach my Sunday School littles that I know Jesus. One more day, to press on the glass doors that lead toward that Altar, one more day, to hear the earthly Angels sing His praise and one more day, to try and prepare someone else...before heading towards Home. We may not be at His feet today, but I'll carry my cross a little farther. When the sun sets, I'll be one day closer just like the preacher reminded us this morning. I have to remind myself each day, where exactly it is I am traveling...


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sheep Will Follow

The sun warmed my face as we drove in silence toward that little country church. I closed my eyes and listened to the quiet, as miles of pavement separated us from that rustic white steeple I was longing to see.

We sat on our usual pew and before I knew it, I had the prettiest little blue-eyed baby in my lap. She captured the attention of anyone who met those blues and with a smile, could light any dark room. We sang the southern hymns and she sat in silence watching and learning, listening and growing. I could feel her tiny heart beat and I imagined how strong it would grow over the years if she remained on the pews. She was distracted as I held her over my shoulder to see the view behind us. She listened to music all around her and soon a voice came from the pew just in front of our seat and her head darted around towards it without a moment's hesitation. It was her Daddy. She knew his voice. I smiled and wondered if I was that attentive. Would I stop on a dime to follow The Father's voice?

After a lovely service, I came home to sit in the sun and listen. The trees blushed with Autumn and the meadow swayed with an easy breeze. I asked The Lord what shall I hear today as I looked around at the shy land. The locusts spoke all around me and I listened to the gentle leaves. I closed my eyes and heard the chimes from a distant hill and it sounded like church. I could hear a train from a nearby town but I dared not open my eyes. The faint smell of last night's campfire smoldered just out of reach and the sun burned my skin as I sat listening to how profound the quiet can be.

I thought of the day when The Lord might come back. My soul wants it to be soon so the children don't have to see what I know is eminent. I envisioned the school where I work and how it would be so much easier for Him to return and keep those children from the fright of the world. I remained calm, though chaos wanted to consume me, and I left it all there, and went back to the still where my flesh longed for another chance. One more chance to do better.

I knew something was odd about the quiet so I opened my eyes to see if it all was as still as it sounded. A bird flew above me and I realized that none of the birds were singing. How different it all sounded without their voices. I wondered if they had no song or if they too were just in the quiet. I questioned the quiet for only a moment and I thought of the little girl with blue eyes at church. Even as an infant, surrounded by distraction, she knows that voice. She didn't need silence to hear and that was inspirational.

A beautiful butterfly flew right past me as I sat still, enjoying my quiet time with Him. I thanked Him for the still, I thanked Him for the peace. I looked up towards the bright of the sky and a feathered fowl encircled above. Wings lifted and fell in slow motion and without a sound, he soared away. I am Blessed again this day. Thankful for the chaos that leads to the quiet. A lamb knows The Shepherd's voice...and the shepherd knows the cry of His sheep. He goes before His sheep and they know His voice, not to follow another....

 John 10 King James Version (KJV)

10 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

1 Thessalonians Chapter 4

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Five, The Two, and The One

Today I was given a very special gift I so desperately needed. This gift can't be found under the clasp of a change purse nor betwixt the fold of a leather wallet. A single, random act of kindness flowed like music orchestrated by The Conductor's baton. A precious little note addressed to me and my husband found at our pew, between the hymnals.

After a very Spiritual morning service, I found myself in the bright of a lighted church-house as darkness swallowed everything around us. The preacher asked if anyone had Scripture on our mind, in our heart...that we felt led to share. My heart began to beat so loud it rattled my aging bones. Matthew 25 was screaming between my ears, but I kept quiet and waited. I knew this preacher had more to add as I put together a Spiritual puzzle. I breathed slowly so I could hear every word as he read 2 Corinthians. His words echoed between the half full, half empty pews and I looked at each word and soon it was there..."But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us". I read the words once again, and smiled from the corner of my mouth as He once again, gave me everything I needed.

Matthew 25 speaks of Talents. The Lord once gave out 8 of them in fact, to three individuals. Five went out to the first who then turned them into ten. Two more went to the next who turned them into four and the last received only one who decided to bury it underneath the ground. Blessed were the ones who used their talents to double what they had been given. The single, one talent lied in a limp stagnation underneath the soil.

Today, I was shown my talent. Feeble attempts to dig it back up have left my fingernails dirty but my slothful efforts have yielded nothing other than a buried treasure with no proof of its actual worth. I was certain I had met the one with 5 talents today, who had turned them into ten...and she gave me a golden shovel. I have cleared the dirt from this buried treasure. I have done very little with all He's provided as of late but today, I am Blessed by the five, Blessed by the Two and Blessed by THE ONE.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ten Little Knees

I sat in the stillness of His Peace trying to block out chaos from the backseat as my husband drove my family towards our little country church. I closed my eyes and heard words lifting from my heart towards The One on High as I prayed for the flesh which covered my bones. I needed that focus, that Worship with The Lord this day. The warm sun touched my skin and my eyes remained closed, waiting to feel. Tall pines darkened my lids as we passed them by but I could still feel that sun as it peeked beyond the shadows.

I remembered the week before. The church came together for VBS and by week's end, you could see the weak and the weary mark the faces of many but night after night, they came back to plant more seeds. It only took one smile from a little dimpled child's face, to know why we do this. It's good for us to lose sleep every now and then. It does us good to serve the community, each other, and especially Him. Our theme was The Fruit of The Spirit and I saw many examples of that fruit this week. I read a book to my 1-4 year old class about God's fruit, and how we are to give it all away. I saw people of the church giving Love, sharing Joy, and surrounding others with Goodness. I smiled to myself as I opened my eyes, refreshed and ready to see that old white steeple.

I rushed in with excitement. As service began, I spoke in silence the words, "Touch 'em Lord" as I scanned each pew, careful not to miss anyone. I repeated the verse from Matthew "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." I was looking for a healing this day for our little church. We have been in a valley the last few weeks and I know I wasn't the only one seeking that heal.

A chill ran down my arm as the song began. I could tell by the taps, the claps, the strength behind the voices, that He was intending on providing that very need. I took my children down to our Sunday School class and counted five littles this day. A few were missing but excitement captured their faces as we began our greetings. They hardly noticed I removed the toy box from the room which I don't intend on returning. I discovered at VBS this week that they didn't need it. They are capable of learning more than I had thought and I intend on teaching without it hindering us. I also found this week, that I can do more than I thought I could and I am determined to be a better Sunday School teacher.

As class came to a close, I felt the need to pray, again. I got down on my knees in the middle of the classroom and told the kids we needed to pray. Ten little knees bent down around me and their tiny heads bowed and we prayed. We prayed for the church, we prayed for the service, we prayed for each other, and we prayed for our own families. Children were praying for brothers, sisters, mommies and daddies and I had to wipe away a tear as their mighty Amens warmed my soul. We pray for our kids all the time, but there's something about hearing a child's prayer for their church that'll hold your back a little straighter.

I knew He heard each and every prayer, and I was thankful to be on the pew one more time for Worship. Many found themselves Testifying, lifting voices or hands or dropping tears in that little country church. I felt like a healing had taken place for many. As the altar flooded with waves of people, I saw children of all ages among them. I counted ten more little knees bending at The Altar. I thanked The Lord for all He's given, and all He's giving. I thanked Him for the days I crawled back to VBS when I was tired and weary and I thanked Him for those ten little knees. Blessed again this day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Who Gave Us the Flies

I sat down in the old handmade rocking chair. The damp wood felt cool on my back and I looked out across the green carpet of the prairie and took in the morning air. A fly caught my eye, and I couldn't help but smile. I closed my eyes and gave thanks to The One, who gave us the flies.

Days ago, as Revival was just getting kicked off, our preacher had stood and made note of a fly in the church. It had found rest upon The Altar and he noted there must be something sweet to eat there, because as soon as the table is spread, the flies are usually the first to eat.

We've heard a lot of intense, bold, strong preaching this week, and it hasn't all come from the appointed pastor invited to lead our Revival. We have been Blessed with voices of many this week. Shouts from the crowd, Amens from Believers, arms lifted from the Blessed and music from the gifted.

I looked up at the tree tops as the sun brushed over them, spilling onto the dark meadow below. The light added diamonds to the soaked green-land and the value of that field just increased. My eyes watered from the thought of the earlier message about our worth to The Lord...and it is all because of The Son, who paid the ultimate just for us...well beyond what we feel our value may be.

The wings of the insect lifted it in the air and something caught my eye on a tree just out of reach. I stopped rocking the old chair and when the creaking ceased, I could hear a symphony of birds. For just one song, they were all in unison, some belted high and others low, but the land was filled with music. I stared at the tree and when the breeze passed through the leaves just right, I could see it. There was an intricate yet delicate spider's web. It moved without effort of its own but I knew it had a purpose. It was a trap for the fly.

I remembered the church fly. I wondered if it had heard all the shouting, had seen the lights of the old church house, or had made it there by mistake. Either way, it was there, inside those four walls. I had looked for that fly last night from the very pew I sat upon, and wondered if it was still there. I prayed silently that everyone would bring more to the table and that it hadn't run bare because my children still needed to eat, we all were still looking for something else sweet. The fly was nowhere to be seen. Three people stood from behind me and walked over to the piano. They took common song, common verse and added The Son, diamonds fell upon the pews and the value of those words had just increased.

I looked around certain I'd see the fly. With the manna being spread, I was sure it would return. The last time I'd seen the church fly, it had taken flight from the fingertip of the six year old who sat in the floor, beside me. Her red hair pulled back and freckles atop her nose, she played with tiny dolls. The half dozen or so toys listened to her sing the hymnals as she placed them across the pew. The fly had landed on her finger and I looked down at her as she sang every word to those old gospel hymns. Just as the wings lifted the fly back into the air, I noticed her toys were all face down. They were all kneeling in prayer and The Lord knew I would want to see that. I smiled at her and then at her mama and the simple, small detail in the path of the fly, had just been a Blessing.

A lot was said in the service last night but I was still in search of the fly. I wondered if it had fallen into the traps, after all, they are everywhere out there. I knew the devil would feed on anything, anyone. Some traps are set as delicate as webs and as we walk down the Christian path, some things can blindside us, just like the preacher had said. Before we know it, we are pulling at something completely unseen by the eye rather felt on the flesh, and we just want it off.

I watched people kneel again at the front of the church and on the other side of a yellow flower which sat atop the altar, I heard a voice. I lifted my head and found myself captivated by a man on bended knees. His eyes were closed tight, sweat graced his brow from a Spirited night of preaching and the more he spoke, the stronger his voice got. He was praying for me...he was praying for my little country church. Tears formed in my eyes as the touching words were gathered by the same God that had just taken up mine. Of all the things he could be praying for, he was praying for us. As soon as he finished I saw it. The fly spread its wings and went straight up to that altar. I smiled and wiped my eyes as the service soon came to a close...and I gave thanks to The One, who gave me, gave us, the flies.

Monday, June 23, 2014

That Suitcase

The preacher stood and offered any last chances for the congregation to do as they feel led before he began. When no one spoke, he reached under a bench and pulled out an old suitcase. He rarely ever brings in props to tell a story so I knew he must have been shown something special. He began with news of young ones leaving the nest, going to college, and opportunities that have been presented within his own household that led to a phone call.

His sister couldn't have known or rehearsed the words that would spark such a Sunday Service as this, but with our preacher seeking her wisdom, the advice of a sister did just that, igniting a fire we so desperately needed. He assured her the family had been prayerful about the possibilities, the opportunities that arose for his only son, and she simply said, "You and your wife have been packing his suitcase all his life."

As the preacher tearfully introduced the story, we all began to wipe away the rivers that submerged our vision. He must have sat and prayed and pondered about what all he and his wife have been packing all of these years. He unzipped the metal that enclosed the meat of the message and we watched with bated breath. I took in air and filled my lungs just hoping that I might see anything in that suitcase that has been packed for our children.

He reached inside and pulled out a figurine of Jesus. I exhaled with relief knowing that we have successfully introduced our own to this man, this King of all Kings, this Savior of our's. He then pulled out what he referred to as a road map, much needed for all travels of life. Reaching in again I wondered what he might pull out next and in his hand he held a Bible. It was small and pink with a Breast Cancer pink ribbon printed across the front. Something he had found some time ago and decided to keep. Little did he know The Lord had big plans for it. I thought of all the ladies who have traveled that very road and they all sit now, looking up at this with health in their eyes and Christ in their hearts. He reached in again and pulled out a large model of a church house. It was painted beautifully and he held it high and spoke of how this item was necessary to pack for your children. With another sigh of relief I watched as his stature changed at the thought of the next item.

His voice began to tremble even more as he reached into that suitcase again. He said that when The Lord revealed to him what the next item was going to be, he knew he didn't have any. He picked up the phone and called his Mama. "I need a pair of praying hands," he said to her. She quickly responded with "You got it, what's wrong?" He began to chuckle in Spirit and his body began to tire and draw to a slump and he wept. She thought he needed her to pray for something but in his hands he held a mold of a set of hands pressed together in prayer. He knew she had some and she lent them without a second thought and she too, couldn't have imagined what he needed them for. He walked back over to the luggage and I wondered what would come next.

His hand wrapped around something and when he pulled it back out, he held a cross. He talked about bringing your cross wherever you go, bearing large ones at times and small ones on occasion. I was unsure if my heart was really beating anymore as I sat there trying to keep my eyes clear enough to see. As he prepared to pull out the final item, he stalled for a bit. He said the last item was up to us whether we have it or not. I wondered what he could possibly have to left in that bag and I tried to guess what it could be....a Light? Was it our light...but I realized it would be the light of others we might actually need for ourselves since we don't often use our own to see. We often see better when others are shining so I awaited anxiously for him to pull out the next item because I couldn't even guess what it might be. Confusion briefly paused me into research of why we might need water as he held the clear plastic bottle in his hand, other than to quench our thirst. He explained The Biblical description of the Spirit and the Water. He held back his urge to open the water and pour it upon the crowd but The Spirit would be the final item. We needed the Spirit in that suitcase.

He eventually closed on the powerful message and we all tried to walk out of the little country church, knowing we couldn't wait to come back. I think everyone in that room, went home and took a gander at what they were packing in that suitcase. Revival began this day though it don't officially start until the next day's setting sun.

Most of us returned to find a full, packed church at the evening service as a preacher from another church came to share more of His Word. Many of his members joined him and just like that, with the first breath of the first hymnal, chills ran across my arms as the strong voices banded together and laid before The Lord a bounty like no other. One man stood and sang a song and you could see the might in his eyes and The Spirit lifted his chest as he belted with assurance and certainty the words of the song. I was thinking of how simple a song can be but when you put The Spirit it in it, it becomes food for even the dogs under the table to dine...and I was Blessed this day, just because these people, these visitors, had packed The Spirit into that suitcase when they came over. The Lord fed me this day though I deserved nothing more than crumbs. He took all that we had and just like two fishes and fives loaves, he fed the multitude. Consider the ravens...consider the lilies. I am a Blessed person this morning!

Consider the Ravens

He took his Bible in his thirteen year old hands and walked to the front of the church, relieved that on this Wednesday night, many seats were vacant. Standing for his first Devotion he looked at me one last time and opened his Bible and moved his bookmark with nervous fingers. "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap..." I have repeated this verse over and over ever since he spoke it, considering those ravens.
My eyes finally awoke to the Sunday morning sun. I thought of the ravens, no storehouse nor barn, but yet they are fed. I thought of the church. Many others, just like me, were preparing to be fed this very morning in The Lord's House. I imagined many searching through their storehouses, their Spiritual Barns and gathering everything they had to place on the table. I felt like maybe I didn't have anything to bring this day, yet I I considered the ravens.
We began in song as we all came gathering in. I quickly thanked Him for inviting me to the table, though I may be a dog underneath it, a crumb is all I seek. I had been teaching my "littles" Sunday School class about 5 loaves and 2 fishes. I knew that The Lord had plenty for us all, even those who brought nothing but their own Spirit, their own hunger to the table.
A flock of small little girls asked to lead a song, not even found in our song books. The piano sang first and tears began to fill my eyes. Meekness from the little girls was hidden by courage and boldness. That spoke volumes as even at such a young age, they were feeding the multitude. Strong voices from our little country church thickened the air and with every deep breath I was being filled by His promise. Their little voices echoed each verse and my heart expanded with every word...

"That heavenly home, (that heavenly home)
lies over death's sea,(lies over death's sea)
there loved ones I know, (there loved ones I know)
are waiting for me.(are waiting for me)
With Jesus we’ll live (With Jesus we'll live)
In glory divine (In glory divine)
That Heavenly Home (that Heavenly Home) will surely be mine.(will surely be mine

A Deacon stood and spoke with tears in his eyes and Spirit in his voice. He asked us to consider the rainbow. The red is always on top to cover, consider The Blood and consider His Promise and I thought of that eternal Home. He asked his wife to sing a song she hasn't sang in quite some time. She picked up a red hymnal and opened to the lyrics of the song never heard by my ears before. As the words left her lips the room got even sweeter. "Consider the lilies..." My eyes poured as she sang of the very ravens that circled me all week. I sat there considering the ravens, considering the lilies. I sat in awe of His perfect timing and gathered up crumbs from the under that table, He had so much more to give, and I had no idea...

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Glimmer of The Son

I asked The Lord to let me walk, not run. I didn't want to overlook Him today, knowing that by the day's end, I would be standing in front of the crowd of people which filled our pews at the little country church I love so much. I already knew what I was going to do, what I was going to say, the story I was to tell, though rehearsing it was useless. I knew that HE was in charge and choosing words at this point wasn't necessary...He'd get me through it.

The clock was ticking and with only two hours to go, I found myself alone on the front porch reflecting.
I watched the little ten year old girl with a freckles gracing across her innocent face, nervously ask if I would do the next Devotion. I smiled and quickly relieved her of the fear of rejection, the nerves the pushed the words out of her mouth, with a quick, "Yes, of course I will." She smiled back as we chatted about nothing and everything outside of the old church house. Tears filled my eyes as I thought...He already knew. He was lining me up last week and I had no idea...

My mind left the church parking but my body remained on my front porch.

I was driving down that Alabama highway. The dark wet pavement was littered with branches and leaves from the brief storm that had just passed through. I looked down the road that my church sits upon but this time I didn't turn. The sky was brilliantly bright with the setting sun. One side was painted with fresh cotton candy and the air even smelled sweet. The other side was as golden as I imagined the streets of Heaven. The hill underneath glowed with the embers falling straight from the sun. I thought of church family in the area and wondered if they were looking at the same sky, if they were allured by the mastery, the site of what HE can do right after a storm. I suddenly felt like The Lord was touching someone. I knew that someone underneath all that shimmer was being Blessed, being changed and my heart began to swell at the thought.

I pulled up at the brick church where my children were attending Vacation Bible School. I opened my door and one of my dear friends was standing there to greet me. A smiled adorned her face and a tear gleamed behind her lashes. Holding back a shout, she let loose the jubilant words, "She got Saved tonight!" My heart grew with those few words and tears filled my eyes too as we walked together towards the Lord's House. My daughter...He was Touching my child this time, this night, underneath the glitter of that setting sun. I knew immediately why the other little girl had picked me to do the next Devotion, I had good news to share.

My child told me in great detail what had happened. She said she could hear every single word the preacher was saying. I imagined her on that pew between all of her friends and the conviction that distressed her face as it was described to me. She walked up to the front leaving peers behind to watch as she asked for forgiveness of the black sins binding her feet. The Lord forgave her as she asked Him into her heart and the same God that reached down and touched me when I was about her age, reached down and promised her an everlasting Home with Him. She told me that she felt like it was her last chance and she had to take that opportunity, knowing it wouldn't be offered again.

I was back on my porch as tears rolled down and I thanked Him once again. I thanked Him for everything that had led to that Thursday storm, that Thursday sun, that Thursday Touch. I knew that the deaf child of mine couldn't have possibly heard every single word of that preacher without The Lord's Touch. I saw flashes of her in our church, turning to the wrong page of the hymnal, the wrong chapter of a Book in her pink Bible. It all started with us walking through the glass doors of our own church. He knew all along. He had laid the foundation over the last few years from the hands raised in Praise to the intense preaching that crept right up through the wooden pews and captivated even the deaf. He sent us to a church that can be felt, even when it can't be heard and I thanked Him again for that. We are Blessed people...yesterday, today, and forever because He is the same yesterday, today and forever...

My heart pounded as I stood in front of the church. I told the story the best I could but at that point it really didn't even matter that I am a terrible speaker, that I'm nervous in crowds, or that my voice is broken with tears because He got me through it. He gave me that story and it was more beautiful that I ever could have imagined for me, for my child. No matter what circumstance you are facing, no matter the storm that comes, there is a glimmer from The Son that awaits. The preacher stood and read the words from Hebrew 13:8 and all I could do was smile in agreement.

As we left that little white country church, a rainbow spread across the sky. Again the sun was setting on the damp ground below and its brightness was captivating. My daughter pointed to the sky and said, "He probably did that for us. You know, He lit the pathway." She grabbed her Bible and opened it and read the words, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." And He just keeps on giving...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Folded Wings

The day began slowly, just the way I like. My feet took me to the hill where the damp air was filled with lilies and a freshly stained wooden porch. The clouds darkened the prairie where the tall grass grows and I longed to feel the sun. My paltry mouth opened with small words but I needed to give them to The Lord, if I wanted to feel that sun. Instantly, my little country life warmed up with an orange glow and everything was clearer. The leaves waved good morning in the breeze as the birds spilled music onto the meadow below. I drew in a long deep breath and held it in with my eyes closed so I could consume the entire meal that was being plated before me.

With a rapid flutter of wings, my attention was drawn to a tree where two birds took flight together. I watched them sail across the land below and I smiled knowing they have probably flown together for years. The span of their wings were comparable and from head to tail their bodies were in sync and I watched. I couldn't take my eyes off of the two and I knew He had more. The elegant flight of the pair seemed to be carrying them to a bird feeder in my yard when suddenly they split and went in different directions. One flew to a tree top where it joined other birds in song. The other flew to a power line where crows cawed in protest. I wondered why their journey had split right when they were about to be fed but all I could do is watch.

Voices merged from the treetop and I imaged there was one calling over to the bird left with the crows. I wondered what the couple had seen from the air around the feeding place that may have prevented them from eating what had been prepared. The one with the crows hopped down from the line which it had stood upon. The song from the other one fell upon the lilies and I watched the bird at the bottom of the hill take each cautious step across the yard. I wondered why it was walking when perfectly good wings could make the journey over to the feeder much faster.

I pondered upon walking instead of soaring. I looked toward the songs of the trees and I knew even the strongest wings needed rest. I know in our own lives, some days we seem to sail right over everything and other days, we walk right through it. I looked back at the bird on the ground and it was pecking at the ground with each and every step. The bird was already feeding. It had not waited to make it to the table where the others were being fed, it was taking what others had left behind and finding nourishment in it. Feet carried it through the grass that must have been difficult for the small gait of a bird to maneuver, but yet, it was feeding. Wings spread out and soon the bird was in flight. That treetop gained one more voice and I smiled, pleased the pair perched together again.

I reflected on the flight of the birds. Soaring together full of strength, they parted to take rest. One filled up in the top of the tree and sang with a chorus of others while one sat with crows. The crows watched the bird hold firm in its stance despite their attempt to run it away. They watched as the bird walked below through treacherous conditions and fed, despite an easier meal which awaited not far away. Encouraging song lifted each step as the bird made its way across the yard until it finally had filled its own belly, and the bellies of those watching the courage of feasting with folded wings. And then the praises that lifted when the bird once again took flight, to rejoin the other one.

I wondered what it felt like to watch from above as the brave bird walked below. I wanted to be a brave bird. Should I ever need to feed from another table, could I have the same fill as the bird who took the difficult path? In the flesh I was concerned that the two had flown in different ways at first glance but now I know there are reasons why. It may have not been for their benefit, it may have been for mine. Today, I want to be the one walks with folded wings or the one who encourages from a treetop, and not the one who caws like a crow. For even the crows will need to know how to feed from another table at some point. As long as The Lord is preparing what we feast upon, our bellies shall be full always. Blessed again this day, and thankful for His Presence always.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When the Flower Falls

I watched the disappointment mark the child's face as her stem lost its flower. Someone quickly replaced it and she continued her quest to place it in her mother's hands. Children of all sizes scurried along the blue carpet picking out beautiful carnations for the Mother's Day Sunday service. I couldn't get my mind off of the stem, even when two perfect flowers were given to me accompanied with small arms draped around me as tears rushed like an overflown river.

Today, I sat in the morning sun and listened to the bells again from the very same service. I watched again, tiny faces thrilled to be holding the attention of all and when it was their turn to ring, excitement filled them and their eyes would float amongst the pews to see who had heard. I closed my eyes and asked The Lord to show me what HE saw. I wondered if the room full of love, the room full of Worship, the room full sinners looked differently to Him, but I knew it did, I knew it had to.

As soon as my eyes closed, red covered by vision...bright red pumped across and I dared not open my eyes but part of me wondered if I was prepared for what I had just requested. I saw something moving upward from the bottom and I held my breath and remained perfectly still in hopes to see what it was...roots. There were roots swimming in the blood and I almost asked Him to stop because I didn't know what was coming next but again, I sat real still, and waited. The thought of the stem and flower kept coming to mind and when I was sure it was okay, I gently cracked my lids open and saw quiet everywhere. I felt peace within the breeze and I watched my flowers in the yard sway from a distance. I thought about how important the stem is...a weak stem won't produce a beautiful flower, only the strong and healthy hold a blossom.

I walked over to a bed of magnificent color and watched as the wind carried their scent across the yard. Not all stems produce flowers, some hold leaves, some hold thorns, some sturdy the plant but the ones with flowers, just lift up toward the sun. Each stem seemed no less important the next and I realize how quick I am to notice all the flowers, but without the stem, a flower would not be. A stem can bear "fruit" without holding onto a flower. The stem would not be without the root. I thought of how we race outside to cut our pretty flowers when we know a storm is coming because we fear they will be cast down and fade away in the wind and rain, held tight in my mind. Sometimes learning to bear through a storm is exactly what they need. If their roots are strong, their stems will hold, even if the flower falls. A scar may remain where the flower once was but the plant will once again regain beauty.

Today, I am Blessed again. I am thankful for the roots and stems of the church that have been washed in the blood. Not everyone holds a traditional flower but we all have a rightful place in the garden. We blossom from time to time but the important thing is to hold strong through the storms. Have Faith that a blossom will come your way. You may not hold one but sometimes standing next to one, is more beautiful than carrying it yourself.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Like Diamonds

The landscape was alive. Grass  was soaked with midnight tears but the sun was high. A symphony of birds sang in every direction while a distant rooster lifted his voice above all, demanding a solo performance. I looked at my favorite tree and it was the darkest shade of evergreen, as it stood mighty in the field. I knew it was just a moment's perspective, for the tree to be covered in shade. On the other side, I knew the leaves grasped for the sun, holding it tightly until it was their turn to cool in the shade. I thought of Easter Sunday, Good Friday, and my Lord. How quickly days seem to pass, but I had not forgotten. I closed my eyes in the warmth of the sun and just prayed.

I asked for His Vision, His Light. I was thankful for what He had done and then I began to taste the dry, red air. The high pitched pinging rang through my bones as metal crashed down, penetrating the spikes through His flesh. Splinters of wood entered the gaping wounds of his back as the blood began to clot and dry. Voices spoke over each other in ancient tongue but the cries of a mother were understood by all. When I opened my eyes, shadows began to dance in the breeze. A woodpecker played percussion on an old oak tree. The grass held their diamonds of dew held high to meet the sun's glow. A soft heat warmed my flesh and I wondered how could they forget so swiftly. The world has moved on so quickly and I'm still at the cross.

I thought about church. I knew there more people still at the cross but we needed to move on to that Third Day. I wanted to be at The Tomb, where the stone had been rolled away. I teared up thinking of how He Ascended and I prayed again for the others, the ones who have never made it to the cross and the ones who have. I knew that there were some who saw the grass as green and the sky as blue but there were others, who see diamonds. Many walk into the ordinary, and that is quite common. I prefer to see the shine, hear the orchestra and feel The Spirit, even if that means meeting at the cross. We may bring our blades of grass still soaked with midnight tears but as soon as He shines, diamonds pop up in unexpected places to those who will lift up their last drop to Him.

He keeps giving, no matter how little I seem to give back. I asked to do more, to be more, to see more and feel more. I had to first pick up my own cross, and bear it and feel the weight of my own sins. I, like many in my church have a burden for others. Those seeking ordinary will rarely see diamonds unless we move them from the shade, into the light. Sometimes it's as simple as pointing the way. As the song leader said in our service, we can trip people up, cause hindrance without intention. I asked this day to not be blocking anyone's sun. I don't want to be the one who shadows their path, I want to be the one, pointing to the gems!

Blessed, as always.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In my Palm

We raced to get there, and once again, we found ourselves on a different pew. Seeing new faces, hearing new voices in the crowd brought together by Revival was exciting as the piano began to play. Sweet sonnets lifted up towards Heaven as our little country church lit the darkened sky. Shadows filled the outside of the church as the full moon expanded objects from their usual shape and size. I wondered if passersby could see how His Light inside that building was doing the same thing. Hands that were usually cupped in the laps of many were uplifted this night. Bodies that were usually perched on pews were distributed along the carpet, bowing at The Altar.

A teenager could no longer stifle the flesh and he tore out from his pew and exclaimed the burden for which The Spirit had led him to share. He spoke of his grandpa being called crazy for many years for his Biblical beliefs and teachings. His story progressed to admit he was now a little bit crazy too. The power in his young voice captivated the assembly, and he apologized to the preacher who had driven there to preach. It was becoming more apparent with each passing Testimony, each passing song, that the preacher, might not preach. It happens often in our little country church. The Lord has Blessed us with many Special people over the years. It is commonplace for The Lord's Valuables to stand up and Praise, lift their voices with song or sit meekly and pray. Each Valuable in The Lord's House is to mind HIM, and only Him, and when everyone is of one accord, of one mind...preachers may or may not get to preach.

Songs continued one after the other and with each Testimony, I wiped my eyes clear. What seemed to be the closing of the night, our preacher kept requesting "one more verse." Some of them were claimed with bent knees at The Altar and others seemed to pass without response. As some were finishing prayer down on the carpet before the long beautiful piece of wood that has been bathed with many tears over the years, I saw her walking. Attached delicately to the other end of her arm, was her child. People were moving faster than I could take it all in. My feet started advancing me closer to the her and I soon found myself behind them both. Hands were all over the child's back and voices were praying over the sobbing child. I placed my hand upon her back, right over her heart and I knew I had been here before.
About three years ago, she had followed her mom up to The Altar. I wasn't sure if the child was praying for her mom, or for her great grandmother that would soon go live The King but I remember placing my hand on her back then too. My palm was outstretched and as I started to pray, I could feel her heart pounding beneath my hand. The slow rhythm was not what I expected from a seven year old child but it pounded deep, and I knew HE was there.
As I sat behind the now ten year old girl, I remembered her heart. I knew that I had felt that baby's heart when The Lord was listening to her and now three years later, I was holding her heart again...and He was not just listening, He was removing everything she was pouring unto Him and at the same time, He was giving her the one thing she'll hang on to for the rest of her life. I was praying the hardest I've prayed in a long time and the people surrounding her knew what was happening. Heads began to lift and glass had formed under the eyes off all, and many began to chuckle, realizing what was taking place. Her head finally lifted and someone asked her what had taken place and she shouted with wet eyes and a big smile, "Well, I believe I just got Saved!!!" Hearts were full and she followed with, "I can't wait to tell everybody!!" and that was a Miracle that had taken place right in front of me.

People went back to their pews but nobody wanted it to end. One mom noted that her kids needed to be in bed at the late hour but she just wanted them to stay right there. I felt the same way, I didn't care if we Worshiped all night, it wouldn't compare to what He's given to us all. More tears were shed and more Testified but eventually, The Lord knew we needed rest and He sent us back to our houses. I know everyone is looking forward to tonight. It may be the official close of the Revival but if everyone in that room carries a little bit of that fire with them as they travel on their way, they can set the darkest room aglow. Feeling Blessed as always in my little country church.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ninety-nine and One

I dreamt in hymns all night. Everything was a familiar song with a new taste. I took my hunger outside to wait for the sun. Instead of the porch of the old cabin, my aging stilts took me across the field. The grass at the cabin is much greener, but today, I was to travel through the treated field where the weeds once grew. Death crunched beneath my feet and I stopped to look for new life under all the hinderance, to see where the green field lies. I turned and looked around at the valley below, shadowed by the clouds for now, but I knew the sun was rising so I faced it again. Tempted to go back for sleeve to cover my bare arms, my feet didn't budge. It would be worth the wait, and I didn't want to miss a moment, even if it meant standing before a cloud. My eyes closed as soon as the light broke and a smile lifted my face. My back met the heat as I turned again to the valley. There was a shine upon the land. Flowers and trees lifted in praise and I thought of church. The service I had not intended on going to, the one overshadowed with earthly duties and the flesh of tired bones. Guilt, shame and conviction eventually drove me back to that little white church, and the desire for more...

I saw hands going up, one by one. I was on my pew, feeling That Touch. New voices rang through the church this day, this night, and though they had been there before, they were different this time. The piano soon became still as the singers escorted our attention to the front. They walked up with nothing more than the sound of their own voices to offer, but they were doing it for Him...and they gave what they had. Tears welled forth, and that is all I could offer my Lord, a scanty thank you for someone who has given so much to me, despite my fleshly worth. 

Inhaling a deep breath, I lifted my arms, said nothing to the world around me, but yet He still heard it all. Tears rolled from my eyes as I walked toward my house. I wanted my Bible. I have barely read any of it, lacking the deep roots needed for comprehension, but my feet walked on. When I came back outside, I had a Bible, and an old hymnal, and I still didn't understand why. I took rest upon the old cabin's porch and opened the hymnal. The words, "The Ninety and Nine" were right in front of me. My eyes exploded with grateful tears and it became hard to see through them, but He knew what He was doing. Suddenly, the sheep gathered at Sunday morning's service, made sense.

I could smell the cedar from the once stored-away book and the tanned page waited patiently for me to read the words. I had never heard of the song before so I read softly aloud,
"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine; Are they not enough for Thee?" But the Shepherd made answer: "This of mine Has wandered away from me, and although the road be rough and steep, I go to the desert to fine my sheep. I go to the desert to find my sheep."
"Lord whence are those blood-drops all the way that mark out the mountain's track?" "They were shed for one who had gone astray Ere the Shepherd could bring him back."
"Lord whence are thy hands so rent and torn?" "They're pierced tonight by many a thorn. They're pierced tonight by many a thorn."
But all through the mountains, thunder riven and up from the rocky steep, There rose a glad cry to the gate of Heaven, "Rejoice! I have found my sheep!"

Crying and laughing at the same time, I knew He was leading me to the Bible story of the 99 and 1 but I didn't know where to look. I closed my eyes and spoke the words, "Show me Lord." The word Luke presented itself but instead, I needed to turn to Mark, so I did just that. I began to read the parables and my eyes were clear. They darted and locked on every single word rather than the usual flow. I knew He had purpose and I hung on the intent of every word. I began to understand. Sowing seeds on stony ground will hold no root, the sun will scorch and wither it away. The ones sown on good ground, will yield fruit and increase. I had went to bed last night with disappointment on my heart for the ones who bow down to earthly things. Those that worship chosen lifestyles, chosen professions, whatever that may be. They walk for tangibles rather than walk with their own Maker, their own Lord and Savior, so I needed to hear that this day, and He gave it all to me. Taking care of your earthly possessions is one thing, but bowing down to them, giving them your all, instead of giving to Him can wither the soul. The soil isn't deep enough to plant your hope in earthly things. Often the seeds that matter, get planted atop rocks and I needed to remember which seeds belong where, and He gave me that.

I turned over to Luke 15 and read of the sheep, the one that was lost. These days it often seems like there are fewer and fewer of the 99. It seems like everywhere I look, I see a lost sheep. It is a struggle everyday to walk through the desert. It's not within my flesh to brave the rocky steep, to walk within thunder to seek the lost sheep. It's not within my flesh to wrap my arms around the one that is lost, to bring it back, to show it the way Home. But The Lord has renewed my purpose. I could stay home, hide from the sheep and pretend I don't hear their cry and wait cowardly, hoping they'll find Home on their own. I could pretend I don't see the wither of those nearby, that I don't hear the dry mouths that speak but denying their thirst when I know where the water is, withers me too. I have to answer for that. HE is so very Worthy to face the thorns. But I believe in Him, I know where the good ground lies. I know where the seeds belong, and by giving them water when they thirst, they WILL bare fruit, and show increase. I am Blessed this morning, thank You Lord for the sun [Son], thank You for the seeds, thank You for the good ground...and most of all, thank you for showing me the ways of a shepherd...for I once was the one lost.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Others

The sound of the church bells caught me by surprise. We stopped the car and rolled the windows down so the children could hear them too. It was 12 o'clock on a Thursday, and for a moment, I was reminded of my purpose. That sound isn't just bells tolling, it isn't just a church where people meet on Sunday morning. It's where two or three gather in His name, and He will be there also. It's where lives are mended, lives are changed. It's where the others are.

I began praying on Saturday for our Sunday service. There are days my little family just wants to stay home, become recluse, because the world points its finger saying we aren't like everyone else. I see more of the world some days, than I do Him. The Bible tells us that seclusion isn't the answer, it's not our purpose. We look forward to Sundays because for a couple of hours, we get to see the others.

Sitting on the pew Sunday was a welcomed relief. As soon as service started, I paused to invite Him once again, to let Him know I wanted His touch, I needed His touch, as did the others. People began moving around me but I could see nothing...and still everything. Bodies moved across the floor, voices stirred the air and warm tears filled my eyes. I needed each and every word, I needed each and every song, and The Sheppard was gathering His sheep. We moved as a herd under His protection but I know the old story in The Bible. We must leave the 99 in search of the one sheep lost, if we want to be more like Him...and that is why we are here. That is our purpose. As the voices climbed, I felt my back gain strength. This is why we need the others.

I watched her roll her wheelchair down the aisle. We often step effortless without thought, but her young hands are strong, and her arms move with purpose. Disappointment fell upon her face as the next song began before she could finish her trek and she carried that back down the aisle from where she'd come. The piano lifted its voice and the Angelic new song rescued the tired and weary. When it was over, she moved again. I saw the child's wheels move across the dark blue carpet and she was handed a microphone. With damp in her eyes and courage in her heart, she raised the words, "Jesus loves me" and before the rest could escape, she dropped her head. She lifted it again a little stronger than before and sang, "Jesus loves me this I know." Her little head fell again but each time she raised it a little more determined than before. Pretty soon, the whole church sang with her and she has no idea what she gave us this day.

The preaching was intense, capturing even the inattentive. Everything was falling into place as we were all in one mind, one accord. I had walked through the glass doors that morning, not intending to return that night. But something changed, we sat with the others.

to be continued...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Be in The Son

I looked out of the window and everything seemed crisp. As the car's tires rolled over wet pavement, advancing us to that little country church, I noticed the shiver of the woods around us. "The trees look cold," I said. Silence followed as everyone looked out of the windows at tall, mostly bare trees with nothing but marsh land pressing down on their roots. I knew they needed the sun and I knew The Spirit would visit soon because I could see everything. I was being prepared for something.

As the first song began, one ran to the front, falling upon her knees. Many raced to follow her there and the sinners began to pray. I watched as the tiny hand of a kindergarten child pointed to the words in each and every verse, for her mama to follow. My eyes teared as I knew that one day, her knuckles would no longer dimple and life would thicken her palms but for now, youth led her fingertips across the verses. I sang along in wonder, if we'd even have Sunday School.

We did depart the Sanctuary of Worship and steps led me down to my class where eager babies and toddlers awaited. The room was busy with bright little minds and I saw a pair of familiar blues looking back at me. It was the Song Director's child. I looked around the room at the life within those four walls and I realized I have them now. I may have a little Song Director, I may have some future angelic singers and I may have the ones who will Praise. I have them before life gets too hard, I have them before they are battered by the rain, I have them before it's too dark to see.

The oldest of my seven patiently waited at the end of class for her turn to sing. At age four she writes her own songs as her voice leaves her lips. Very lightly she began to sway side to side and lift the corners of her dress as she began, "The clouds will follow you...the clouds are everywhere...clouds can follow you, or you can follow clouds..." She continued her song which brought a smile to my face because how right she was. Life gets cloudy at times, fog creeps down on us all but we can chase after clouds or we can lead them. If the clouds are behind us, we must be in the sun [Son] and that is where I want to be. The Lord was with us this morning, and that always feels good.

We returned for Worship Service and with the first song, came the sun. The room lit brightly and again, I could see everything. The church was flooded quickly. A child sat by his grandmother as she played the piano. His eyes were as blue as the sea as his freckles graced his nose. He looked just like his sweet little mother as he sat up there mouthing the final words to the old gospel hymn. I was shown age within youth, and it was a relief. Knowing that one was going to be good, and that one would be okay too, and so on. Parents sitting with their children everywhere, the babies, the youth, the young and the aged.

Soon, a simple song request, turned into a one of the prettiest portraits ever painted of Heaven from down here on Earth. Two that had stood at the piano, soon became three as a brother was called up. This brother is the son of the blue-eyed lady who sits behind me. This brother that normally sits on the front pew but today, he was called to the front by his own sister and brother-in-law. Claiming to be a non-singer, He went over to the piano anyway because The Spirit was leading, and he needed to follow. He was given some paint, and he too stroked the canvas so we all could see...and it was beautiful. Back and forth the two preachers spoke HIS word. The son of the blue-eyed lady would speak scriptures as the other preacher spoke, just like his Mama does. I could see her behind his eyes, I knew there was a time, when he held a song book in his hands, and pointed to the words for his Mama to follow along too.

They tried to begin a song but before they could even complete a note, his face changed. This brother, this father, this grandfather, was seeing something we couldn't from our pews. He was watching the face of his own grandson, walking up to The Altar. When the child made it, he fell to his knees and was surrounded quickly with blankets of prayer. Heads bowed from The Altar to the pews and all the sinners prayed.

I can't imagine what HE has in store for us tonight, but we'll all be a little closer to Heaven than we were this morning...and that feels good. We can go chasing the clouds, or we can walk in The Son. I choose to be in The Son. Thankful for His Blessings today.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Ones I Never Knew

I didn't have the health to attend church, and that made me feel worse than I already did. I asked The Lord to visit me in slumber since I hadn't the energy to go to His House to Worship. His touch can be just as profound behind closed lids as it can at the base of The Altar if you just ask. Dreams swept me away rather quickly that night but all I remember now is how I awoke...

We were weeping, all of us. I was at church, on a pew, next to a familiar lady and her granddaughter. I watched as one of the congregation was called to the front. I assumed he was walking to the altar and I knew who he was though I could only see a small portion of his profile. He began walking, making his way down the pew until he reached the aisle. I looked over at the lady and we were sobbing but happy for him. I reached over and hugged her. I suddenly was looking down upon her, as if I too had stood. Everyone was so happy for me too that I had been called next but just as I began to step forward, I woke. For days all I wanted was to go back, to be there again but I never could manage to get there again.

This Sunday my health was regained and I couldn't wait to walk through those glass doors. The sun warmed my skin as we drove through the Spring-like portraits for miles and miles toward that little country church. I thought of the dream and how un-finished it seemed. I knew there was more but I didn't seem to be able to complete His message to me. I was hoping today, I would find the ending.

Finally, I found my way to our favorite pew. "Mama, she's here," my child said to me. I turned to see the little blue-eyed lady walking in, stopping to greet everyone in her path. She took seat behind us as usual and just having her presence brings about a peace. She brings wisdom with her age. Her blue eyes have seen way more than mine but she humbly sits in The House of The Lord, to worship like any other sinner in that room. Meeting broke out within the first few strokes of the ivory keys. The Spirited chuckles could be heard from the man on the front pew, the one who reaches down with his right hand to touch the cross on the bottom of his pew...the son of the blue-eyed lady. Between shouts around the room, I could still hear his chuckles and then I heard the voice of another. There was more than one chuckle in that room and this time it was coming from her, the one who lives behind those blue eyes. She too chuckled a time or two in the midst of her son's voice and that brought a smile to my face. I wiped away the warm river falling from my eyes, but I was smiling at the same time.

After a Testimony, a Deacon of the church asked us what were we thankful for. I thought of all those people who used to sit on these pews but were no longer here. They are with Him now and I wouldn't wish them back for anything, but I never had a chance on this side to meet them either. I only wish I had. The husband who used to sit beside her. He knew those blue eyes better than anyone else in that room, but he is gone on, singing with The Angels. I thought of the boy, who used to sit beside his parents at one time. He left one night after a service similar to this one, but I never got to meet him. He was here too, I can feel what he did to these people, what he meant to them. His brother stood and spoke of him just after that, and I knew The Lord was pulling it all together for me. All I had to do was listen. Today, I was thankful for them, the ones I never knew.

I had all but forgot about that dream until the man in the back stood. His broken voice gained strength as he took leaps toward the front of the room. One by one he took hands and said that they could be next. He took them away from their pew and placed them up front, together. It wouldn't be long until some of us were called Home. Next Sunday, someone may be missing. Tears were rushing down my face but I knew how right he was.

The parents of the boy who once was, walked up to the front and began The Old Ship of Zion. Voices from all over the room orchestrated together and I moved my lips but sang in silence. I listened. I listened to soon to be Angels singing together. I listened to the blue-eyed lady sing every single word behind me. I knew that old ship was coming, and I just wanted to get on board.

I thought of the dream. I went back in. All week, I had wanted to go back and just like that, I was there. I realized that the man who stood before I did wasn't being called up to the church's altar. I realized when I hugged my friend, it was goodbye, and she was so happy for me. We were going by one. It was finished.

I am Blessed yet again for another Spirit filled service. He never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to what little time we all have left down here, but I really look forward to meeting the ones I never knew, and The One I'll know forever. Blessed are we at my little country church.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Music Played

Ever since that Wednesday night service, I have carried the music with me. As soon as I had sat on that pew, I was shown random things and I knew I couldn't possibly make sense of it right then, so I carried it with me. As I drove to work, as I cooked dinner, as I counted Blessings before I fell asleep, I replayed each and every little thing over and over in my mind, not because I needed to understand the meaning but because it was different, unseen to me before. The young man with the guitar, strumming in slow motion on the blond instrument...I could hear each and every chord with such intensity. I could see myself back on the pew and listening to everything with such volume and clarity. The piano sang the songs that night and everything had been played with just enough slack to fancy any ear. I left that service not sure what HE was bringing to the table for me but I had been stricken with delight as the quest began, to keep seeking HIM.

A busy week and a busy weekend tried to thieve my attention but as soon as Sunday morn knocked on my door, I remembered the music. I quickly turned the television to my favorite gospel music station and as I carried out my pre-church rituals, I heard the peculiar. I rushed quickly back to the music and stood there in silence and listened. It was just music. No words, no voices, just the song of the piano. I sang the words of the hymn with all the stillness my voice would allow, but I the music played. I knew HE was showing me something about the service that was just up ahead, and the excitement made me want to get there faster.

I tried not to run, but as I entered church it was noted I had left my family all behind in the parking lot outside. I calmed my steps and sat on the familiar pew and looked at everything. I wondered if I should request we listen to the pianist play Amazing Grace without the choir of our voices carrying it along, but that didn't seem like the answer. I knew, we could never sit through the entire song without our voices lifting in Praise so I sat patiently and wondered what was coming next. I watched the ones who play piano take their places and the hymns began. It was clear that today voices were full, voices were as intense as the music had been just days before. The feet stomped heavier and the claps were stronger. I kept quiet just to listen to the richness as HE prepared our table. A few offered broken words that spoke volumes during our Worship, everyone seemed to have come prepared...and HE led us onward.

A man, a visitor of the church walked up to the piano. A stranger with all his brawn sat meekly on the bench. He told a story and pressed the keys softly. My heart felt warm as he began to sing the words. It became clear early on, there would be no Sunday School to interrupt this Worship. As the service went on, the heightened senses, heightened awareness had all but left me. I had spent a great deal of time this week, listening. HE had made it very easy, magnifying everything. I felt my chest rising and wondered how I had kept breathing during all that. I took rest and peered out of the window. There was a brightness today and warm tears rolled off of my cheeks as I continued to listen. I could see people moving but I was captivated and glared on as HE assured me, there was something else.

I broke my focus to see a friend at The Altar, her knees bent underneath her. Her Daddy's words halted as he sang behind the piano. Her mom left those ivory keys behind her and she too, bent down in prayer. Friends and family wrapped arms around her as she wept. Another pianist walked up and placed his hands on the instrument. With everything gentle he could possibly corral, he began HIS song. Hearts melted. Tears ran in streams down the eyes of the weary when the music played. The sound of her song played softly through the church. The one she stands there and sings, with her head held high. The one that flows from her lips when she stands on two feet. The song she can sing without the lyrics printed directly in front of her eyes as she straightens her back and closes her eyes in thought. Today, she wasn't standing behind the music. Today, the music just played.

Near the end, we all stood and sang Amazing Grace. I smiled knowing HE continues to give HIS Amazing Grace. Hands up and voices lifted, HE had prepared for us this day. I am thankful to know HE has prepared for us tomorrow, and when the days run out, HE still has prepared. We are Blessed people to have felt that peace this day, and I am honored to have heard the music play.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Into the Dark

Clouds followed us from our road. With every mile, they seemed to thicken and by the time we got to church, we were engulfed completely. As I sat on my pew, I listened to the voices of the soon to be Angels...some were behind me, some were filling the left side of the church, a few sat in front of me but together, as their voices banded together in song, they all sounded Heavenly. I quietened my own voice just to listen to them. Their words were confident, assuring, and refreshing. I peered out of the frosted window but saw nothing but dense fog. It had swallowed the little country church. I tried my best to see through it. I knew the cemetery was just beyond the sidewalk but today, I couldn't see it. All I had was right in front of me...

The room seemed so clear after looking at the fog. Singers stood one by one and sang for The Lord and their words were hearty and sincere. He knew each and every heart in that room and The Spirit took a stroll in that little white church. He touched on several who spilled the love right out in front, for all to see and feel. I sat thanking Him for the drink, for my thirst had left me parched and withered. As the world keeps getting cloudy and I was thankful for clarity, thankful for vision when I don't always see...

We traveled back to that old church after a few hours of distraction. This time, the rain took our sight. It beat down heavily and the only thing keeping us from it, was a piece of glass as it darted directly towards us. Our headlights were of little use and again, we could only see what was directly in front. The closer we got to church the heavier the rain got. We had gone too far to turn back now so we traveled onward. I asked for a light, give us a light Lord to lead us in the darkened rain and I saw red tail lights just up ahead. I was thankful for the one in front leading because we've been down this road many times, but it seemed unfamiliar in the fog and the rain. Relief soon calmed me as I saw the light of the steeple just past the wet pane. The car in front, led us all the way into the parking lot. She had traveled this road many more times that I, and she confidently turned onto the glass like pavement. I smiled thanking Him because when I needed help, He sent someone to lead and they took us exactly where we needed to go.

I sat again on the same pew, looked out of the same window and saw the darkness that had wrapped around the little country church. I still couldn't see the cemetery just beyond the window but I knew it was still there. Cloud and darkness can take away vision, but I knew my way around that church. If you walk around in the darkness, chances are you could use a light. It doesn't mean there will be nothing to fall upon, nothing tripping your path but if it's easier to see the things in your way as obstacles, the light will guide you around to a better way. Those left without the light will rely on themselves. Their vision will adjust to the darkness and chances are, they'll not move forward very often, and in some cases, turn around and go backwards. Standing still might give them the comfort of not falling and I was just thankful for the light.

The brightness of the church was welcoming and clarity took over my sight once again. The warmth of the church was peaceful and the songs sounded different this night, pleasing in a different way. I sat hoping for a good message from our preacher. I didn't dare look around the room because I knew I would find disappointment in the numbers of returning sinners. I didn't want disappointment in the House of The Lord so I tried to focus on needs, their needs, what will progress us forward with fewer and fewer lights...

Truth. The preacher spoke of truth. The world can be a dark place. There won't always be hundreds of lights around you. Sometimes hundreds of lights will only make for a dim path. When things are really dark, when the world has turned away from truth and you find yourself in the unfamiliar, it only takes one light to lead. Someone out there is needing vision and if your light isn't bright enough to see through clouds, see through rain, you're nothing more than dim. Today, I want to be more than dim. As the Singer and one who Testified said in service this day, we are to lead others to Christ, that is our job. It is my job as a living Christian to be ready. We need our lights to shine. It's dark out there, and it seems to just get darker by the day. Truth will brighten your road, truth is what people need to hear and truth will lead the way. Thankful again for all of His Blessings. Lead on my friends. Don't be afraid of the rain, don't be afraid of the fog, He may lead you there to be a light for someone else.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crystal Path

The morning was piercing as the unusual cold quickened my steps as I rushed out the door. I began down the familiar road as the sun slept in. My headlights were the only lamps in sight on the darkened country road. My car progressed slowly in protest of the frigid air, and my eyes drifted across the pavement in front of me in search of ice as I carefully made my way around the prairie that is thick with green grass in the spring, but now lies brown and baron. As my headlights continued to lead the way around the enormous meadow, something caught my eye. Crystals...everywhere. The residual damp had frozen solid and each blade of dead grass was holding up crystals as high as they could reach. I smiled and thanked The Lord for the crystal path He has put before me. That cold, frozen morning had left everything else in shivers, but He had given that path to me, and I was glad to be taking it...

That was a few weeks ago and the cold hasn't let up much here in the deep South. A bitter cold night didn't stop local churches from gathering under one steeple last night, to Praise Him. A local fundraiser to help raise money for uncovered charges of medical equipment for my own child, a new set of cochlear implant processors to dress her ears with the gift of sound, led us there...but like I said at the church, we were just the name on the flier. Those who came for us, those who came for the singers, might have left without but those who came for HIM, left with special Blessings He's saved just for them.

As I stood in front of the over 200 people, I had no speech prepared. Just a heart that wanted to say thank you. I knew The Lord would take care of the rest. I spoke of a little girl who was hearing with her (now old and run down) cochlear implants for the first time. She was exhausted after a full day of exploring the world's sounds she'd never heard before. I tucked her in a little bed and the light from the other room lit her tiny two year old face. I held my hand out and she knew it was time to take her new "ears" off. The corners of her mouth dove downward and she tried to pick her sad lips back up but she didn't have the strength. Tears swelled in her eyes and they began to spill as she took off her sound, and entered silence once again. She looked at them and held them up to her lips, and kissed them goodnight. As she placed them in my hand, I reached down and kissed her and spoke the words, "Bless you child. They will be here in the morning." She never heard those words as I held her only way of hearing my hands.

I listened to her cry for a few minutes before the exhaustion took its toll and she fell asleep. There was no sadness in me at that moment. I was so happy for her because I knew how grateful she would be when she was able to put them on again and I knew this was just something she needed to go through right now, but oh what joy awaited the child. As we began her journey to the hearing world, we had hoped she would be able to hear the birds, the wind blow, the sound of our voices. The Lord gave her more, He gave me more...

As we watched our special needs children grow up in both silence and sound, we had the wonderful opportunity to live it in slow motion. It was hard work and there were days I was certain that I wasn't cut out for this, they needed someone stronger, someone better, but prayer would renew my strength and carry me another day. The Lord didn't just give them the song of a bird, the sound of a gentle breeze's path, or Mama's voice. He gave the flutter of the wings as they lifted the birds in flight, He gave the creaking of old pines their great grandparents also heard as the wind moved through them in the back yard. He gave the soft whisper of love, the broken voice of heartache, and the strong sound of confidence behind a determined parent. He chose to give more. He didn't have to, but He did.

I could travel any old path, muddle through my day full of distraction, survive an ordinary life until my time is over. But since I have HIM, He gave me a crystal path and He surrounded me with people who travel gem roads. As I sat under that steeple with those who see crystals too, there were hands lifted in Praise, because He deserves it. Preachers who Testified and shouted because He feels that good. A beautiful singer Testified and her words were so elegant and whole, chills filled my arms by the time she started to sing. When I had stood to speak little men with the brightest eyes sat on the edge of their seats and shouted despite the mess I may have made with tangled words but He made them feel so good they had trouble staying in their seats. We may have a lot of things in this world, we don't need a lot of things of this world but one thing is for sure...I'm glad I got my Jesus. Because no path is ordinary when you have Him paving it with crystals.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Sound of Rain

The silence of the snow was peculiar. I don't know why, snow doesn't have a sound. It's quiet, soft, and gently lays upon the earth as if placed there by HIS very own hands, each and every single flake. I thought about the sound of rain...

I went back a few years when my children were small. The summer's heat had been bearing down for days. The children and I were searching for flip flops to place on our feet when I heard a sound. I knew what it was but I tried not to show any awareness of it to see if my deaf children could hear it through their hearing devices. It didn't take long before my daughter stopped in her tracks with confusion written across her face. She paused, turned her head left and right, and then paused again. About that time, large droplets of rain fell past the window and she caught a glimpse. The excitement of hearing the sound sent her straight over to that window where she gazed for a moment in amazement. It didn't take long for the disappointment to creep upon her little face but I rushed right over, took her by the hand, and we all walked outside...

I thought about the sound of rain. It wasn't long ago she couldn't hear it. Sometimes, she still can't. The loud water fell hard and fast but I knew it would pass soon. I wanted to go back inside but I watched the children jump from mud puddle to mud puddle with giggles spilling from their tiny selves. I couldn't deprive them of all this noise. The Lord had blessed them just a couple of years prior with the ability to hear, or even not to hear. Cochlear implants brought in all this noise, all this glorious noise...

I thought about how powerful the sound of rain is. It can sound violent and heavy or peaceful and soft, depending on what it falls upon. That single thought led me to realize how silent rain really is. It don't make a sound until it lands on something, or passes through it. The rain was silent. I looked up towards the sky and closed my eyes as cool water fell upon my sunburned face. I could hear the popping of the old tin roof as the droplets played music on hot metal. I could hear the water splashing as the kids stomped through every shallow puddle that formed in the imperfections of the sidewalk. I looked around and flowers were hoarding raindrops between their tiny petals to savor the unexpected treat. The summer shower seemed to be slowing. I saw the water ripple as one of the last few drops fell from the sky and landed in an undisturbed pool that had formed under the roof's eave. It had fallen in slow motion and with the smallest blip, it rippled the entire pond. But it had not made a sound, until it first hit the roof where it rolled quietly to the edge, and dove, pushing metal behind it, and meeting back up with the others of his kind, sent by HIM. 

I teared up as I became so thankful for the sound of rain. That was years ago and my children would still have enjoyed the rain that day even if they had not heard it, but I'm not certain I would have. As I watched the snow falling, I continued to thank HIM for the rain HE sent to my home that day. HE knew how important each and every drop would be to me and my children...and I am so undeserving. The Lord showed me that lots of times, we have to step out into the rain, to truly appreciate it. If we don't go through trials, if we don't hit hard times every now and then, we might hear silence...just like the rain. It has to fall on something, it has to move through something, or we might not hear it at all. Sometimes we have to look for the moving of the waters, feel the passing of the shower, listen for the music of the day, even if that means standing in the rain. It's so very tempting to run for cover but rain every now and then, is good for us all. Don't let the disappointment overtake the Blessing. Rain is not always a storm, and for that I am thankful.