Archives

A Story Of Need

A well spun story can stir great emotions. A story can cause us to shriek with laughter. A story can stir deep emotions and thought patterns. A story can take us on a journey of imagination and discovery. A story can also move us to tears and break our heart. It is the latter of these that has stirred me this morning.

My husband told me a true story last night about a teenage boy who was so hungry he was gathering up the scraps of food that others had discarded in the trash. This story moved me to tears, and it broke my heart to know that this was happening in my county. We see in the media all the time the need of children around the world who do not have enough to eat. We help when we can, but when we hear of children and teens in our communities struggling to find their next meal how can we not be moved to action. Some might say, they get meals at school. Two, in fact, are available to them. What happens though to these on the weekends or during the summer? There is a great need.

” For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in… And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:35,40 

In the verses above, we find a message from Jesus himself. We find a call to action. Jesus wanted us to know that when we extend kindness and meet a need in the life of a child we are doing it unto Him. We are living out our faith by reaching out to another. As I think on this, we must meet the need for physical food, but it doesn’t need to stop there. We need to also do all we can to meet the spiritual needs of these dear ones. We need to point them to Jesus who loves them. We need to be the hands reaching out in Jesus’ name.

So how do we accomplish this? We must pray for guidance. We must also be moved to action. Knowing that when we reach out to the children of our communities, we are doing this for Jesus.

Only Today…

I have in the past week been on a trek of profound reflection. It could be the fact that I became a great-aunt a week and a half ago. It could be the fact that my friend who graduated from high school the same year I did proclaimed on Facebook that she graduated 30 years ago. Wow. I’m not sure which one did it, maybe it was the combination of the two. However, I began to look over my life of the past, ahem, 30 years and began to take stock of what I have accomplished in those years. On first glance and pondering, it didn’t seem like much. As I looked deeper I realized that I have gone through quite a bit in those years. I have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge. I met and married an awesome man. I had two amazing boys who are Jesus loving, well-rounded, and daily amaze me. My husband and I have served in ministry for all of our married life together (almost 24 years at 3 churches). We have a great family and a wealth of friends. To you it may not seem that much, but that doesn’t matter. What truly matters is have I taken the time the Lord has given me and served Him to the best of my ability. Have I done everything perfectly? Not a chance. On reflection, I feel I have followed the Lord faithfully to this point. Would I have liked to have accomplished some great things? Well, Sure! but I know that this is not the end. I have today. I am not promised tomorrow so I will take the day I have been given and live it out how I know Jesus would want me to do. I can show compassion, I can love Him with my whole heart, I can serve others in the work place and in my home, and I can live out the plan He has set before me for today. No matter what amount of time I have left, I can finish well the course the Lord has for me. Paul wrote to Timothy in II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” This is what I want. I want to be counted among the faithful. A lifetime is made up of what we have done with all of our “todays”. We cannot do anything about yesterday or tomorrow. We have today. Let’s take our today, and put in it all that God would have us to do with it. Serving Him, Trusting Him, Loving Him, Worshiping Him, and Living Life with the purpose of bringing glory to His name will be my goal today. It is indeed a worthy calling!

Jesus and The Homeschooler

What pops in your mind when you hear the word “Homeschooler”? It has been a term that has been coined by those who feel the calling of God to teach their children at home. Some of you out there may only have encountered a home school student at the time of the year when the National Spelling Bee is shown on Television. May I just say in the kindness of your heart don’t judge all home school children by these few. My boys would keel over if they thought the world saw all home school students in this light. My boys were good students, smart, active in the community, active in church, active in county sports programs, and were happy, healthy, “dirt under their fingernails” fun kids. We made our decision to home school our children because we felt it was in their best interest and we did feel called to do it. I will state that if you do not feel called to home school, “DON’T DO IT!” It will be a recipe for disaster.  We all have to do what is best for our families. I do not look down on anyone who chooses to use the traditional system, yet I would like the same courtesy from you! 🙂 Thanks in advance. I will go on to say that this system worked for us, and now that we have crossed the finish line, I am glad that we did it. Can I say also that I have two great guys! At 20 and 21, they are well rounded, awesome guys. I am a proud mama!

You might wonder what brought on this particular post at this time. I spoke with one of my fellow home school friends who has a ways to go to cross the finish line of homeschooling. She has 5 amazing kids, the youngest three being adopted. She needed someone to talk to about her junior in high school. We had a great conversation! We were there for each other. It’s what we Home School Mama’s do! As I began to think on the journey we have taken. I know that when I had moments of doubt, God was there with me to help me through it. I was reading in my quiet time today in the book of Matthew and saw something I had not seen before, or maybe just read over it. Today, I saw it in a new light. In Matthew 11:28-30, we read, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The middle verse of this is what caught my attention. We all need to stop, listen, and take on what Jesus is trying to tell us. We need to learn of him where we are. We do need that corporate worship each week where we meet with other believers, (Please do not stop meeting at your church with your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is needed for all of us) yet, we also need that daily time alone with Him in our homes.  What do you need to know? “Come unto me!” What do you need to let go of? “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden!” What do you need to feel less stressed?” “Come unto me… and I will give you rest.” What do you need to take on? “Take my yoke” Pray over every situation, before you commit to it.  We can only do all of these things by learning at His feet. We need God’s wisdom and guidance. We need to be his student. We need to be his homeschooler!

Okay, maybe you think I kind of roped you in with that last line. I do promise I will not ask when you will be on TV at the National Spelling Bee. Because if you are, Hey, I am okay with that. Seriously though, I have found in my own life that some of the greatest lessons God has taught me was when I was studying and learning from Him in the quietness of my own home. The fact of the matter is we need to sit at His feet every day. Take some time today to “learn of Him”. These lessons will last a lifetime.

I love the song by Jennifer Deibler,

“In the calm of Your presence
I am listening, Lord
I am still, I am quiet
I am Yours

Let Your Word speak to me
Let Your Spirit draw near
I will obey
The truth that I hear

In the calm of Your presence
I am listening, Lord
I am still, I am quiet
I am Yours”

Blessings to you!

Taking the Lead

In the world in which we live today, we often have to look high and low to find people or things that inspire us. Last Sunday, I didn’t have to look far.  I found inspiration and encouragement in a 12 year old boy, my son.

It was Sunday afternoon and “World Hunger Sunday” at our church. It is one of the days we set aside to remember those who are in need, those who do not have the food they need on a daily basis. At our church, we go out as a group in the community and collect can goods and donations. These goods are donated to the Grady Co. Baptist Association to help them when they receive calls for families in crisis or food needs. With all the things that have been happening in the world lately, I was wondering how much response we would have yet, I was overwhelmed at the generosity of those in my community. We met at our church and gathered our bags and fliers to distribute, and decide which section each team would cover. We did not have as many come out this year as usual. We had an equal number of adults and children. So we decided that each adult would take one child and go together. I asked my two boys who they would like to go with and my oldest, Clay, said he would go with Mrs. Judy and Glen decided he would go with me. We prayed and went to our cars.  We had very fruitful results. 149 cans were collected. Everyone was so excited.

Clay and Mrs. Judy were the last group to show up and when I found out why I was overjoyed. Mrs. Judy told me that she and Clay took a street and He went down one side while she went down the other always keeping the other in sight. After several houses, She turned around and saw Clay standing under a tree in the shade with 3 boys talking with them. She told me that she thought they were talking about things that boys talk about as she walked over to them. In a moment, everything was suddenly quiet and she heard Clay talking and she saw the three boys hanging on his every word. Tears came to her eyes when she realized that Clay was telling them about Jesus and going through the plan of salvation with them. She came upon them as Clay looked up and asked them if they would like to receive Jesus as their Savior. He asked Mrs. Judy to lead them in the sinner’s prayer and all three accepted Christ.

The first thought that entered my mind was “a little child shall lead them”.  My dear son inspired me not only in leading these three to the throne of Jesus but also in his boldness to share what Jesus had done for him. He didn’t let fear get in the way of what God was leading him to do. I pray he will keep this boldness for Christ.  Now, I do not write this so you will say what a great mom I am because It is not about me. I fail God and my family so often. What I would like you to see is God can use anyone who will open their heart and let Him lead them. There are those in our churches that will  tell the children that they will make an impact for Christ when they become a teenager or even an adult, but as a child there is not much that they can do. I strongly disagree. God can take any of us whether 5 or 95 and use us if we will open our hearts and lives and offer it to God for his filling and use.

Clay came up to me with eyes shining and gave me a big hug. “You’ll never guess what happened,” he said, “Three boys accepted Jesus today.” His heart was full and mine was too. In Heaven there was rejoicing among the angels all because a child took the lead. 

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”  ~Psalm 25:5

It’s All About Connection

I hope everyone has had a great weekend and ready to dive head first into the week ahead. The weekend has been especially busy. Last week my husband and boys were plagued with fevers and a cold, but by the weekend they were all feeling a little better. My husband took my youngest to a football game for a special treat, and I had the pleasure of hanging out with my oldest. We had a great day! Clay got a guitar a while back and on Saturday we hit the store and he bought new picks, strings, and an instructional CD and book. I showed him how to tune the guitar with the keyboard, and showed him some chords to begin practicing. I took guitar lessons in high school for a few years, and Clay has wanted to learn an instrument for a while now so it seemed like a good fit. We had a lot of fun together. We are planning on practicing together in the afternoons after school. After awhile, we kicked back and watched a movie with popcorn. What a treat! It is amazing to see how much he has grown over the past year.

It’s kind of funny when I think about it. I have not picked up the guitar in quite some time. It’s been years, in fact. It has been in a place wrapped up unused. When I stop to think of why I put it to the side in the first place, I feel kind of bad about it. Basically, Life got busy. My kids were small and needed a lot of attention. New projects found their way into my life. I put it aside to make room for things that were more important at that time to me. I could have made time for it. I just didn’t. Now I am trying to reconnect with a part of me. I am in the process connecting on a new level with my son.

When life gets busy, I have the tendency to put things to the side. I know that there are certain things that have to get done. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, helping my kids with various projects, and blogging (most necessary) 🙂 are just a few of these things. However, there is one thing that I cannot afford to put to the side and that is my time with God. Spending time with God should be at the top of my priority list. Bible reading and prayer are absolutely on my must do list. If this area is lacking, I tend to have difficulty with the rest of the list. I have trouble with productivity, and irritability. When I am full of Christ and I am “bumped” with circumstances, Christ will flow out. When I am full of myself and “bumped”, a whole lot of ugly comes out. I have to have that time with God to reconnect with Him every day. I want to stay focused on Him so I will know when He is trying to speak to me.

Perhaps, you have something that you used to do that you have set aside. Maybe it is time to reconnect with that part of you. I hope more than this that spending time with God is at the top of your list of things to do today. When we put him first, everything else tends fall into place. Maybe you won’t have time to do that 5th load of laundry or other projects that you had planned, but when circumstances make their way into your life you have can have peace in your heart knowing that you started in the right place: at the feet of Jesus.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. ~ Psalm 1:2-3

My New Family Page

I wanted to let you all know I added a new family page to my blog. I am planning to update it with new pictures as I take them. You have not had the opportunity to meet my two boys although I have talked about them on several occasions. So here they are without futher ado.

Glen, is 10 years old and Clay is 12 years old!!!  This picture was taken at Easter.  You are more than welcome to check out the new family page. Does that sound like a proud Mama or what?

“Who are those with thee? and he asid, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.”  ~ Genesis 33:5

God is so good isn’t He!

 

The Boys Are Back In Town…

My boys are finally home and I have had a wonderful week with them. They were gone from our midst for about three weeks. First, they experienced their a week of overnight camp away (5 days). They had a blast being away and enjoying the joys of camp life. Then, after two days of them being back home the boys spent several days with my parents in FL. We got back home from that and with a day of turn-around went to VA. with their Meme and Nana (my husband’s mom and grandmother) being gone for 8 more days. I am so glad to have them back even though we jumped into the school year almost immediately.

We have enjoyed watching the Olympics and I have been amazed at all the events that I have never heard of before. It has been interesting to watch and at almost any time of the day you can find several events to catch up on. I have especially enjoyed the swimming and gymnastic events, but I have also have watched volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo (something new), and diving. We have cheered the USA to the very end. I can’t believe we still have several more days to cheer “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” There have been numerous inspiring individual as well as inspiring team events.

A favorite story of mine is the one that came out during the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The small boy that happened to be in the earthquake over there walked in with the delegation from China. This little one crawled out of the rubble then decided to go back in and he pulled out two others. When he was asked why he went back in he said, “I’m the hall monitor. It’s my job.”

In a way, we, as Christians, are called to be the “hall monitors” of the world. When tragedy strikes or in just every day life, we need to help pull people out of the rubble of sin and despair. We can share with them the only one who can heal and make them new,  Jesus Christ. By sharing the love he so richly bestows on us we are doing what God called us to do, our job.

I can’t wait for the events showing tonight. It should prove to be awesome.

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of Light.”  ~Ephesians 5:8

***In keeping with the theme of the Olympics, My hubby has posted a top ten list on how to know if you’ve been watching too much coverage of the Olympics. If you need a chuckle this morning, pop over to Heavenly Heartburn and give it a look-see. Blessings to you today! 🙂

Happy #12

It seems like yesterday that I was in the hospital giving birth to my eldest child. It was not yesterday, but actually 12 years ago today. I remember counting the days of my pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to become a mom, yet I was a little nervous about having a living, breathing gift from God in my care. I was sent to the hospital by my mid-wife on Monday morning on July 15, 1996. My baby boy was born 32 hours later at 9:00 p.m. I remembered the amazing love that swept over me as the doctor placed that wiggling, crying baby in my arms as my husband and mother-in-love looked on. My boy is constantly amazing me even today. 

Clay is one of those kids that was born to communicate. He loves people. Even as a toddler in the buggy at the grocery store. He wanted to talk to everyone who passed by. He kept the cashiers entertained constantly. If he saw another child, He wanted to “meet that kid” he would say. He organizes the kids at church in games after the service in the church yard. Clay is definitely a go-get-er, and never at a loss for words.

Clay also has a heart for God. At age 5, Clay called on the Lord to save him. His love for God shines through all he does. During Vacation Bible School, he witnessed to some of the kids in his class and encouraged them to make a decision for Christ. One friend of his made a decision to follow the Lord in baptism since he had already accepted Christ. Clay was so excited; he was practically bouncing off the walls. I was so proud of Clay. I pray that God will keep him safe from worldly influences and continue to work in his heart and life.

For the first time in his life, Clay is not with me on his birthday. He is at R. A. camp.  I am probably more melancholy about this than he is. Nothing gets him down for long and I know he is having a blast today with all the new friends he is making. So if all of you would be so kind as pray for “Mom” and “Meme” (Clay’s grandma) today, We would appreciate it. Meme has never missed seeing Clay on his birthday either. She was there for him when he was born and been there for him every day since.

Thanks for taking the time to let me share with you about my boy. He is the joy of my life. Happy “12th” Birthday, Clay! I pray you have 100 more.

“Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord…”  ~ Psalm 127:3

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday morning I was given some lovely cards, a framed picture of my boys, and a candle for Mother’s Day so I couldn’t let Mother’s Day pass without wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers.  I experienced a wonderful day with my family.

This time of year has always been a special time of reflection and memories since my mother passed away. I have found over the last several years that I have happy days and still some sad days of remembrance since her passing. This year, however, not only do I want to honor my mother, but I also want to honor and say, “Thank you” to the other mother’s who have influenced and enriched my life.

Being a mother is a special blessing. The saying is indeed true that you only have one mother. I love my mother dearly, and  even though she has gone on, she is never to far from my thoughts on any given day. She taught me so much about love and life, and her memory will always have an honored place in my heart.

I would like to also honor today my step-mother, Jeannie Brown. She has a special place in my heart also.  She takes care of my Dad, which is a full time job. 🙂  She is extremely talented in music. She is a great “Nana” to Clay and Glen. She does so much for everyone and I love and respect her for all she does for the family. Our family is enriched because she is a part of it.

I would also like to honor today my mother-in-law, Brenda Cloud. She is a wonderful mother to my hubby, and “Meme” to my sons. She is a great listener when I need someone to talk to. She is giving and loving to all of us. I appreciate all she does to show us she cares. My life has been blessed because of her.

If your mother is living, I hope you were able to spend some quality time with her. If your mother has gone on, I hope and pray you will be comforted, and have the opportunity to reach out to someone who has enriched your life and tell them how much you appreciate them. We, as women, have been given by God a great capacity to love others. May we take advantage of the grace and love of our Lord and honor Him by passing on to someone else the love he has deeply rooted in our hearts.

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love” 

~ John 15:9 ~

 

Things To Count On…

As a housewife, I can always count on a few things. Stocks will rise and fall. The ozone layer will probably let more bad stuff in. Global warming will be on the rise.  Summertime in Georgia will be scorching hot. Dirty dishes and laundry will always be the biggest plies in the house.

Since baseball season has begun, I have spent less time at home than I normally would spend. Glen is in the County’s 9-10 year old league, and Clay is in the County’s 11-12 year old league so scheduling, between practice and games, has been a challenge. During this time of year the dish and laundry plies have grown and I have struggled to keep up. In my effort to start fresh this morning I was dish washing before I had to go to work.  As I was washing  one of my glasses, I heard a pop and felt a burning sensation in my thumb…the glass broke and I saw red. The glass sliced the top part of my thumb. The funny thing was when I first picked up the glass I didn’t see a crack in it. Cracks are usually the first thing I look for in a glass. If it has a crack in it, I go ahead and put it aside to keep this very thing  from happening. The only thing I can figure is the pressure of the cleaning process caused the glass to fracture.

Pressure is something we deal with on a daily basis in our lives.  Pressure to make choices, or to do this or that is present whether we want it to be or not. If we say we don’t have stress and pressure in our lives we are living in denial. The pressure will always be there. What we need to do is to find out what causes the pressure in our life and focus on the best way to deal with it. 

Some pressure we bring on ourselves. At times I find, I am my own worst enemy. Taking on to many things at one time will up our stress level. Yes, sometimes it is very hard to say, “No” to someone because 90% of the time the things others ask you to do are “good” things. We must remember to pray and ask the Lord, “Is this the best thing for me right now?” I find that when I fail to pray about what I should do, I often take on too much then I end up popping and lashing out at the ones I love.

Some pressure and stress will come when we know we have not done the right thing and God is trying to clean us up on the inside. We sin and are stained on the inside. We need the cleansing that only God can do. The cleaning up of the heart is not pleasant. It requires scrubbing and getting in all the small places inside.  No one that I know of will want to drink out of a glass that  has spots on the inside. We can’t explain the dirt and grime away by saying, “It really isn’t that dirty; I cleaned up that glass last week.” The cleaning process must happen for us to be pleasing to God. Sometimes the spots can only be seen by holding it up to the light of God’s Word. We must confess to Him our sin and ask to be made clean. He who knows us the best sees the stains and knows the best way to take care of it. Relying on Him and placing our lives in His hands is our only option.

Pressure can be lessened when we put ourselves in God’s hands. He always knows just what to do. In his hands, I find cleansing, rest, and comfort. Healing is available when we pop and fracture. He is the only one who can put it all back together again and make it stronger as if the fracture never occurred. It is God shining in us and through us that will testify of a life, not free from the pressures of this life, but of one who lets the power and the light of God shine forth in the midst of adverse circumstances.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 

–2 Corinthians 4:6-7

When the pressure and stress of this life is overwhelming, I can count on my Heavenly Father for He holds me in His Hands.