Good Morning, Grace

So, it really happened. The very thing I tried to avoid happening did indeed happen on the platform of our church in the Sunday morning service. Let me explain. My husband and I were going to be singing a special in the service with our Minister of Music and his wife. I was really excited about this. We had been planning it for some time and it was our first time to be singing as a quartet. We had practiced and were ready to go. The song was placed in the order of service after the 2nd song sung with the praise team and congregation. For the first two songs I was singing in the choir loft in my normal spot. I would have to make my way down around the corner of the band in an opening to the platform. I motioned to our guitar player and asked him to move the music stand over so I would have room to slip through the opening easily when it was time to sing. All was well till I was about to round the corner and my foot caught on the music stand. It made a loud noise and I did catch it from falling over. Good Morning, Grace!

I did something this time that years earlier I would not have been able to do. I took a deep breath, smiled and let it go. Can I tell you straight up that this is not because of a work of Amy. This is the evidence that Jesus has been doing something in me. It is all Him, not me. Over the past few years, God has been teaching me that there are times when you have to let things go. Before I probably would have not have been able to concentrate on singing my part because I was so embarrassed about tripping. I would have fretted and wondered if everyone was thinking, “Wow, what a klutz?” or “We had a beautiful flow of worship going and you messed it up.” Psalm 126:2 reads,  “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”  Now I realize that this verse is in the middle of a praise song that is sung in the Old Testament how God had released Israel from captivity. It is a song of degrees that they sang over and over each round with more intensity than the time before. However, I could relate to this verse on reflection this morning. The Lord has taught me it’s okay to laugh at yourself, to sing on, and let the small stuff go! This has not been an easy lesson to learn, but I am grateful that the Lord loves us where we are in our walk and helps us along with patience and wonderful grace. Remember, You also may be an encouragement to someone who has been struggling to not sweat things that need to be released. So with His help I will laugh and sing it loud, “Let it go, Let it go, Let it go!”

Laugh Lines To Love

This morning as I turned on the T.V. I came across a show that was giving women the scoop on how to look years younger for less.  The treatments they were demonstrating came either from a bottle or from a mixture of household products that you would not expect.  These ladies smiled beautifully as the host of the show spread all kinds of things on their faces from egg whites, carrot juice etc. It was quite comical. I went to my dresser, I really looked at myself in the  mirror, and do you know what I saw…

 I discovered I have laugh lines.  Those little things at the corner of my eyes are winking and crinkling at me.  As I look at my mother’s picture, I see those same little lines at the corner of her eyes also. It seems to me that one out of three commercials you see on television are devoted to the cover up, concealing, and doing away of  these little lines on your face so you can have that wonderful face you had in your early twenties.  What would be really great if they sold a cream like that for everywhere, so you wouldn’t have  a twenty year old face on a thirty, forty or fifty year old body. So as the masses are buying in to the eye cream of the decade, I have decided that I like the fact that those laugh lines are there. It has to be better than spreading household goo on your face every day.

Why, you say, would anyone like laugh lines other than “the goo” reason, of course?  If you have laugh lines it because you have had the fortunate opportunity to have laughed, not just once or twice, but a million times.

 Laughter yields many, many positive results. It gives us a great pick me up. How many times have you felt down only to catch yourself seeing a funny television show or movie then dissolving into laughter. Suddenly, you feel better. On the way home from an outing last night, Gordon and I began to share funny stories from our childhood with the boys. The Laughter filled the car, and we were drawn closer as a family.  Laughing also reduces tension and stress. This is a proven fact. When have you been in a stressful situation only to have someone say something that strikes you so funny, you begin laughing, and what was a tense situation is put in perspective or calms you to a level where you can deal with it.

I want laughter to be a constant in our household.  How many times do we stifle our children’s laughter when we should join in with them instead. In the world we live in, our children are going to need the ability and encouragement to let the giggles fly as the situation calls for it. So go rent that video or just look at life, and believe me, if you go looking for it, you will find the funny in life.

So the next time  you look in the mirror and have found something there winking and crinkling at you, Rejoice!  Now is the time to be proud! Be ecstatic! You have something that the masses are trying to find. What we have is something to cherish and joy that has ceased to be contained.  What shows out around our eyes is badge of honor not to be concealed or covered up.

It is the gift of laughter!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  –Proverbs 17:22

Bacon and Bits

I live in a small town. I realize that there are those who love the city and all the perks that city life entails. I am glad to say however that I like living in the country and serving the wonderful people the Lord has given me to minister too.  Today, as I was standing in line at a local restaurant waiting to order, I realized that this was the day for the annual hog show in our town.  I don’t know how I missed this fact. I had been wondering why the restaurant was overly crowded for a Monday.

This restaurant has two dining areas: one is toward the back and enclosed so it can be partitioned off for birthday parties and special events and a large open one up front. Five days a week at lunch the back one is open for overflow because this is a very popular place to visit for lunch. This place always serves good food and more often than not you will see one or more of your friends any given day of the week. It was in all of my contemplating that I saw a sign over the counter. “If you are with the hog show, please sit in the front dining room.”  How funny is that.  I think they were afraid to coop these individuals up in the enclosed dining area. 🙂 I admit this cracked me up. This could only happen in a small town.

How often I wonder do we tend to do this in our churches? Do we approach with open arms those that may look different than what we are used to? I often wonder how many snap judgments we make when someone sits down in our church. Do we try to change the outside of this person without taking time to find out what is in their heart?  Jesus himself chose to spend his time with publicans and sinners showing them how much he loved them. In my case, I am glad Jesus chose to be with me rather than turn up his nose at my sinful condition.  I think it’s time to start looking deeper into our hearts and check our motives. Our churches show be a place where people are loved and made to feel at home in the presence of God. Sometimes I think we even get territorial about the section we sit at in our church. We should get to the place when every place in our sanctuaries and our hearts are completely open to everyone.

I wonder what reaction we would have in our churches if we put up a sign, “Welcome Everyone! Please sit any where you would like!”

*Hey, Friends. Just wanted to give you all a shout out and a quick update on the Clouds. Gordon is doing some better. We are still working on regulating his blood pressure. He has had some good days and some bad days.  His leg is better and We are working on our diets. He goes back to the doctor on Wednesday for a check up. For all those who have kept us in your prayers, I wanted to say, “thanks.” I have felt them. Also Thank you for all your concern. It means so much to have friends and family who support you in times of difficulty. May God bless all of you as you have truly blessed us!

**Gordon has updated everyone on his health issues on his blog. Blessings.

Busy, Busy!

The busyness of these last two weeks is beginning to wear on me a bit. Between home, church, family visiting this weekend, and the boys baseball schedule, I have been running around like a wild woman. I appreciate all who have stopped by, dropped a comment, or gave a word of encouragement.

One of my favorite verses is Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”  This verse has been going around in my mind for the last two weeks.  From time to time we can get weary, but God is our strength and our comfort. When we are down, we can always find encouragement and love in him.

While I am sharing a favorite verse, I feel compelled to share another one. Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” We usually don’t have to look very far to find something to smile, laugh, chuckle, or even “snort” over. I wanted to share something with you that struck me funny.

Hugh Grant, notorious actor extraordinaire, was arrested for assault. Assault with what you ask?  He did not go for the photographer with fists, clubs, or any of the normal assault type weapons.  He threw with grace and poise a can of baked beans at him!  Go figure. Now we around the world need not be afraid in grocery store parking lots.  We can whip out our can of baked beans, and aim for their “noggin”!

Hey, If it’s good enough for Hugh Grant, it’s good enough for me.

Ready or Not

Two men were passing through a field in the country when they were charged by a bull. They ran desperately for the fence. It was soon clear to them that they would not make it to the other side and out of the danger bearing down on them. One called out  to the other, “Pray, Jim, pray or we are in for it!”

“I can’t,” he hollered, “I have never made a public prayer in my life!”

“But you have to,” John replied, “the bull is coming. Pray, Jim, Pray!”

“Okay, I give you the only prayer I know, cried Jim, “O, Lord for what we are about to receive make us truly thankful.”

Prayer should always be our first response to adversity.

Many times we wait until we have tried every avenue. We do not stop until we have exhausted all of our own resources before we run to the one who has answers to all our questions. He is our help in time of need.

I heard a lady give a testimony in church several years ago. She had a physical infirmity, and she went from doctor to doctor with no results. “I have tried everything else, so I guess I’ll try God.

 The woman in the Bible with the issue of blood (Mark 55:27-34) came to Jesus as soon as she heard about him. (verse 27)  She had struggled with her problem for 12 years, but she knew who would be the answer to her prayers. The difference between the woman above and the woman with the issue of blood was the faith involved. Mark 5:28 reads, “For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” Jesus also refers to her faith in verse 34, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole;” 

This is just one example. Prayer is our resource in large life problems and in small ones also. I think God wants us to pray about all things. Why else would he say in 1Thessalonias 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”  Or  in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  So I am going to pray. In big things and in small things, I will Pray, Pray, Pray!

I want to have as much practice as possible so when I am being charged at by something bigger than I am, I will know exactly how to pray!