The Situation

Thank you for those that have been faithful and kept reading the blog’s archives while I was away.  I stepped away from the blog for a year because I needed a spiritual renewal. I felt that I couldn’t share anything worthwhile with you until I got my own spiritual heart beating in sync with God again.

During the past year, I’ve also concentrated on the writing course I’ve been taking online for the last two years.  I prayed for God to open the doors and promised that I wouldn’t hesitate to walk through them.  That was an epic fail. I vigorously argued with God in that arena. And lost. Decided I was wasting precious efforts in the arguing and have walked  through those open doors (mostly — hey, I’m human, which means I’m flawed).

The next open door is an invitation to write my first YA novel, one that’s been in my heart and mind since I was 12 years old.  I’m in the active planning stage (meaning, I’m writing stuff on sticky notes, putting up on a storyboard, and doing lots of research) instead of the “just thinking about it stage,” which is, itself, a job that all writers have.  But if I never write it down, revising and negotiating with my characters and their storylines, then it’s just daydreaming and not constructively moving me toward my goal. I have a wonderful Christian writer/editor, Mary Ryan, who is my teacher in the course,  and who encouraged me to go into the Christian fiction genre (one of those open doors I found easy to walk through).

On my personal seeking journey, I wrote the following devotional.  I wrote it for me, but I hope there are others like me out there who need a gentle prompting to be aware of God’s presence in every life situation.

You will find me sharing Scripture from Isaiah frequently. It falls among my favorite books of the Bible, including Jeremiah, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ephesians. I have been devouring the book of Isaiah for the past two months.

Seek the Lord while you may find Him. Call upon Him now while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)

I became a Christian at the tender age of nine. I knew and believed the story of my salvation, but I was a “baby” Christian (seeing God’s Word in simplistic, juvenile ways) for a long while — even into my early 30s. I was fed a great deal of “milk” during that time because I couldn’t grasp the real, deep meaning of some of what God had written in His Instruction Book. And to be honest, I wasn’t looking too hard.

Having children changed that. Kids tend to ask a great many “why” questions — surprisingly-deep spiritual questions. At their young age, I could feed them “milk” answers, but in my heart I knew I was going to have to change if I wanted them to be more than “milk feeders”. I decided that I wanted to have a “meat and potatoes” kind of relationship with God — a hardy relationship that forced me into His Word and into His will.  It was hard, but I had the guidance of many God-fearing, scripture-quoting, patient teachers who helped me change my spiritual diet.

If you look at this verse from Isaiah, two questions may bounce around in your head:
Why do I have to find God; doesn’t He know where I am?
Isn’t God always near?

First, God knows where we are at all times, but the reason we often have to seek for (or find) God is because we’re on a journey manufactured by our own devices. We choose our wisdom over that of the omnipotent, almighty Father. We might be in the same BOOK, but not on the same PAGE as God. (Sometimes I was in the wrong LIBRARY in the wrong CITY in the wrong COUNTRY. I know what’s it like to that wrong!)

Secondly, when we are far apart from God, GUESS WHO MOVED? Yep. We did. Detours take us off the path of righteousness and lead us into the depths of despair, depression, and loneliness. BEING APART FROM GOD IS A PUNISHMENT THAT WE INFLICT UPON OURSELVES! God never moves! Thank goodness, He’s never-changing!

The great redemptive glory is the moment we drop on our knees and repent, asking for God to take over and to gather us into His warm, loving embrace — a hug, of sorts, for comfort and healing — He pulls up His “moving van” and moves us to his “home base” immediately.  If you’ll let him, he’ll leave all the extraneous, misguided misinformation behind and set you on a path of righteousness.

My life was completely changed when I gave God control and let Him lead me. I don’t always get it right, but I know enough to recognize the signs when I’m wrong — even when it goes against the popular choice of others. Not allowing God to lead you is like letting “the carrot lead the stick,” as my friend Pastor Eddie Brookshire would say.

I don’t know when He’s coming back, but Jesus IS coming back. It’s imperative that you seek Him while you still have time to find Him. That’s a call for URGENCY!

Calling on Him while He is near is a DIRECTIONAL REMINDER to only go through doors that are opened by God. It insures you will remain in His will and the promptings of the Holy Spirit will be easier to feel; the “still small voice of God” will be heard more clearly.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAD TO LET GOD MOVE YOU BACK INTO HIS WILL? If so, please share your journey in the comments.

I’m praying for you! If you’d like me and my church to pray for you, please leave your request, with details if you’d like, or just leave the word “unspoken” in the comment space.

Have a blessed day. And remember, if God’s not changing your situation, He’s using your situation to change you!

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Fighting Fear with Faith and Hope

Bone.  Marrow.  Biopsy.

Three words I hoped I’d never hear again.  But that’s where we were on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the UNC Cancer Hospital when Kelly’s blood work numbers came back askew.   Not all the numbers were bad.  In fact, all the numbers were in the normal range — except for the one number that really counts, his absolute neutrophils.  Neutrophils are white blood cells that fight off infection.  Kelly’s neutrophil number was 1, meaning he had about 1,000 of those cells to fight off infection in his body.  That’s a problem because normal absolute neutrophils will range from 1.8 to 7.7.  In July, his absolute neutrophil number was 4.2 — the best it’s been since he went into remission.  When he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, his neutrophil number was 0.

Neutrophils.jpgNeutrophils (The most abundant white blood cells in most mammals.)

Image Source:  www.wikipedia.com

When we were discussing options, Dr. Foster looked at Kelly and said, “Another bone marrow biopsy is an option.  I know a biopsy is uncomfortable.”

Uncomfortable,” Kelly replied wryly.  “Is when your underwear rides up.  Bone marrow biopsies are excruciating.  But it’s the only way we’ll know for sure what’s going on, so let’s do it.”

So, this past Monday, two years, ten months, and 27 days from the first time he had a bone marrow biopsy, he lay on a gurney at the UNC Cancer Hospital having his sixth one.  He was face down, waiting patiently while Dr. Van (his other cancer doctor) was preparing the site where the needle would be inserted.  I was holding his hand and it just didn’t seem like it was enough, so I got on my knees by the gurney and laid my head next to his so that we could be face to face.

Image Source:  www.riversideonline.com

We prayed.  We cried.  He gasped in pain as they numbed his hip.  Silent tears rolled down his cheeks as Dr. Van used three separate vials to aspirate marrow samples.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

It’s hard to watch the man who is your earthy rock go through so much pain.  It makes you feel so small.  And I remembered several scriptures and began to pray them:

 All you who put your hope in the Lord be strong and brave.  (Psalm 31:24, NCV)

Always respect the Lord.  Then you will have hope for the future, and your wishes will come true. (Proverbs 23:17b-18, NCV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  (Roman 12:12, NCV)

When I had no more words, I sang.

I sang “How Great is Our God*” by Chris Tomlin.

I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness*.”

I sang “He is with Us*,” by Love and the Outcome.

I sang “Amazing Grace*,” which led into “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone*,” by Chris Tomlin.

We were holding each other’s hands so tightly that our fingers were white.  So I poured out my tears, a language that only God truly understands.  And in near silence, Dr. Van continued to work.

Image Source:  www.bing.com

And Kelly broke the silence, not with a gasp of pain, but with these prayerful words, sung so softly that I might have missed it if I hadn’t been so close to him:

In seasons of despair and grief, my soul has often found relief… I’ll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.*”

Almost immediately, Dr. Van said, “There is power in the Blood.  And I know that you both know that God has this — either way.”

I usually write something about weight loss on Wednesday — physical weight loss.  Today’s post is about losing the weight of a spiritual burden.  I took a great deal of fear with me into that procedure room, but I came out feeling light and full of hope.

What will the biopsy show?  We don’t know.  But we know God’s got this — either way.

*To listen to each song, just click on the title.  “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is sung by George Beverly Shea, who for years was the voice of the music at all the Billy Graham Crusades.  Kelly loves Billy Graham and loved to hear GBS sing.

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Faith It Forward: Tricia Edwards Smith

O death, where is your victory?  Where is your power to hurt? (1 Corinthians 15:55 ERV)

Thursday, October 17, 2013, the angels came to collect my friend, Tricia, and escort her home to Jesus.  Her long and arduous fight with cancer was done.  After years of praying for it, she was finally healed.

Todd & Tricia

Image Source:  www.facebook.com/tricia.smith

But her fight has not been in vain.  In her fight to live, I saw an extreme display of faith that has forever changed me. I watched as her family, her church, and her community rallied around her to offer her strength through prayer and an outpouring of love through deeds of kindness.  The irony of it all is that while we were offering Tricia our strength, she was giving us hers.

Her husband Todd, and sons Carter, Aaron, and Nathan brought her such joy and she was the light of their world.  Her parents, Nancy and Landon Edwards, raised Tricia in a Christian home, full of love and laughter.  Todd and Tricia established the same kind of home for their family.  She had a close, loving relationship with her brother and sisters, Mike Edwards, Pamela Edwards Pritchard, and Teresa Edwards Pritchard.  Her nieces and nephews adored her.

Her friends were another source of joy to Tricia.  A Facebook page, “Friends of Tricia,” was established so we could share with her our thoughts and prayers.  Hundreds of messages were added each day.  She was never far from my thoughts and when I had even the smallest bit of time, I would read each and every message (many of them prayers) and lift them up to God as well.

Never one to think of her own needs first, she was constantly looking out for the needs of others and it led her into healthcare.  As a critical care nurse, she loved caring for others and she was good at her job.  She worked well into her battle with cancer, refusing to let it keep her from the profession she was so obviously made for.  It was not only her medical knowledge that she imparted to her patients — she shared the love of God and joy of serving the Great Physician. Even if you didn’t personally know Tricia, you could take one look at her and know that she was warm, giving, and selfless. She had a million-watt smile that could light up a room and she always had a kind word and a hug to share with everyone she met.

Photo

Image Source: http://www.klove.com/encouraging

Tricia’s greatest source of strength and joy was her relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why, even in the last days when Hospice was called in, she wasn’t afraid.  As others tried to comfort her, she sought to comfort them — to let them know that no matter the physical outcome, she was spiritually ready.  She took satisfaction in the knowledge that this world was a temporary residence for her.  She trusted completely that she was just biding time on earth, simply in transit to her true home — Heaven.

I love what her niece, Erica, shared:  “I’m praising God for the life of my Aunt Tricia. So jealous of the angels today. Thank you for your many prayers. Our family appreciates each one. Please pray for continued strength as we go through this arm in arm and only through the grace of The Lord Jesus.

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”  (Revelation 21:3-4 ERV)

We will grieve mightily because we will miss her happy, humble presence — a woman with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as all outdoors!  Her family will especially miss her.  On special days to come — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and the days her grandchildren are born — there will be a yearning for her physical presence. There will be an ache that cannot be soothed because those will be days when there would have been memories to be made with her — that she would have loved to make.  But she leaves such a rich legacy behind that it will almost seem that she is here — and she will here, living in the hearts and accomplishments of those who loved her.

Today, Tricia is rejoicing because she is in Heaven, completely healed, and in the presence of our Lord.  Tricia can finally say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ERV)

I have seen glimpses of faith in my life, but life-altering portraits of faith have been few and far between.  Faith has a new face for me now.  Faith looks like Tricia Edwards Smith.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Tricia Smith Charitable Fund, send your donation to:

Fayetteville Community Church

2010 Middle Road Loop

Fayetteville, North Carolina  28312

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Celebrate Me Home” (The Perrys)

To follow me on my Facebook page, “Loved by the King,” click here.

It Takes Two (But More is Better)

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Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.  If one falls down, the other can help him up.  But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NCV)

Have you ever had to do a big job all by yourself?  It might have seemed overwhelming to you.  You may have fretted over how long it would take you to get it done.  You may have stressed over time restraints or requirements for the job that made you want to quit, or at best, pull your hair out.

Ever had someone offer to help you get that task completed?  Didn’t it feel good not to have to shoulder the burden all by yourself?  Did your attitude immediately improve?  Did finishing the job with the aid of a helper even make the job more enjoyable?  Dare I say, fun?

The idea that two people working together can accomplish more than one person by himself/herself isn’t new but in today’s “all about me” society, it’s kind of gotten lost.  Part of the problem seems to be that if your share the work load and it has a successful outcome, then you have to share the prize at the end of the journey — be it something physical or simply words of affirmation that it was a job well done.  We, as the whole of society, are not good at sharing.

We need to get away from this kind of thinking.  I am proud to say that I attend a church where people love to work together.  Everyone has a part in the success (or failure) of the mission of our church.  We look to our pastor for guidance and support, but we all have jobs that are necessary for the good works of the Kingdom of God.  How absurd would it be if the pastor of our church greeted the congregants, taught the Sunday school classes, counted the offering, led the singing, played the piano, took up the offering, kept the nursery, and preached the sermon in our service?  No pastor I know would (or could) do all those things by himself.

Jesus calls us to be in each others’ corners.  We help when we’re asked, but we should also offer to help without being asked.  Jesus asked His disciples to follow Him and help Him spread the gospel.  When He left this earth, He asked them to carry on with that same work.  That’s our goal today.

I have to tell you that I depend on many people to help me in my life.  We work together as friends and family to do far more than we could accomplish if we worked singularly.  I fall down a lot and I need people to lift me up.  How sad would it be if I was down and out, reaching out to people for help and support, and NO ONE responded?

One of the reasons I’ve had success in losing weight is because I’ve made myself accountable to other people.  I’ve shared my successes and failures.  I’ve asked for ideas to help me get my temple in better working order.  I admit when I fail (and I fail many times a day).  I pass on encouragement when I can.  In fact, I offer encouragement to many people about many things because God encourages me daily.

And you know what?  No one has ever said to me, “Just stop!  Stop making me feel better!  Stop telling me that you understand the crisis I’m in!  Stop telling me you love me no matter what!  Stop showing me kindness!  Don’t you dare offer me any hope!  And while we’re on the subject, stop praying for me!  How dare you talk to God about me behind my back?”

Image Source:  www.bing.com

Besides belonging to a really great body of believers in Christ, I have the ultimate support of my family and I am also in two great weight loss support groups.  These are ladies and gentlemen who have walked many miles the same kind of walking shoes I’m wearing.  If you don’t have anyone who gives you support and you’re struggling, I can help.  I promise to care because that is how God programmed me.  I care about people.  I care about you.

My message is this:  you don’t have to go it alone.  You don’t have to face this big, scary, ruthless world all by yourself.  The more people you open yourself to, the more you will gain in return.  What you may find is that while you started reaching our to receive, you just may make it your mission in life to give.  You can’t receive or give all by yourself.  It really does take two — but more is even better.

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Check out these great groups and make sure to tell Karen and Jackie that I sent you!

Get Skinny & Healthy with Karen and Jax Skinny Friends

HCIKFS: The Anchor Holds

I’d like to welcome my husband, Kelly, as my guest blogger today.  He was the lay speaker at our church yesterday and his message was so wonderful, I knew I had to share it with you.  I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have him as my husband.  Enjoy his testimony and I will be sure to invite him to share again.  shr

Image Source:  http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com

Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past. I t is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God‘s command so what we see was made by something that cannot be seen.  Hebrews 11:1-3 (NCV)

The Anchor holds, though the ship is battered. 

The Anchor holds, though the sails are torn. 

I have fallen on my knees as I faced the raging seas. 

The Anchor holds in spite of the storm. 

This is the chorus to my favorite song, a song written by Christian artist Ray Bolt.

I first heard the song at Judson Baptist Church.  It was performed by Ken Hancock, who sang it at a Sunday night song service.  It had a real effect on me and I couldn’t get it out of my head.    I wondered what it was about the song that touched me so much and then I realized it was because it was so real — it was real life stuff.  Life is not always easy.  Life gets tough. It is not always smooth sailing.

It also became a very personal song to me.  It didn’t just apply to real life it applied to MY LIFE.  The only way I have ever overcome the struggles, trials, and storms in my life is by finally turning them over to God.  No matter how hard I worked or schemed or struggled, my problems were only solved when by FAITH I trusted God to steer me through the rough waters.

“The Anchor Holds” is all about faith.  It relates the importance of living by faith through tough times; a faith that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; a relationship that is forged through laying a firm foundation that we can fall back on when the storms rage all around us.

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. 2 Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne.  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NCV) 

Tough times come eventually to all of us and unfortunately that’s the only time that some of come to faith or come back to our faith.

I consider myself lucky.  I was lucky enough to grow up the son of Betty Rosser and as a child of God being cared for by the congregation of Culbreth Memorial United Methodist Church. (www.facebook.com/culbrethmemorialumc)   My mother taught me the bible, FORCED Me to come to church, and loved me unconditionally, just as did everyone she ever knew.  To the people of Culbreth Church (you know who you are) who taught me in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, corrected my behavior when needed (I am sure it was needed plenty!) and loved me as one of God’s family, I owe the deep roots of my faith to you.

When I was twelve or thirteen, I walked down the aisle during a revival and started my Journey of Faith.  It certainly has not been without pitfalls, setbacks, and times when I wandered far away from the will of God.  But God was still there waiting with the unconditional love of a parent for me to come home so he could calm the rough waters and steer me safely through the rapids.  My ship has certainly been battered and the sails have been torn, but I am not any different from anyone else.  Every person here has been through hardships and struggles.  Thanks be to God for being there for us and not leaving us out there on our own.

Most of you know of my struggle with leukemia.  The last two and a half years have certainly been full of raging seas.  When I was in the hospital going through treatment I thought about this song a lot.  I titled my CarePage (with the UNC Cancer Hospital CarePages website) “The Anchor Holds.”  I would listen to this song or sing it in my head and think about my faith and the foundation of faith that had helped to mold me into who I was.  In my life, I had witnessed some great examples of living in faith that I could turn to.

I thought of my Grandmother Smith, my mother’s mother, and her struggle with cancer.  I remember visiting her as she lay in a bed she had been confined to for months and what I remember most is that she still praised God.  I remember asking her if she got lonely lying there by herself and she told me that angels came and comforted her.  She knew her time to go was near and she said that she could hear choirs of angels singing to her.  She would sing along and tell me that she wished I could hear it because it was so beautiful.

I thought of my uncle, Joe Rosser, who died of leukemia.  My Uncle Joe was a big strong man who threw big truck tires around like they were nothing (he owned a tire store) and laughed all the time.  He was one of my favorite people.  He was also a true testament of living by faith.  When he was sick and I watched him grow weak and suffer, I saw that his faith never faltered.  I never saw him act like he felt sorry for himself and his example taught me when I became sick not to ask “Why me?” but “Why not me?”

And then every day, I got to see Sandy, who has been my rock.  She suffered through everything I did.  She was with me every day.  When I would begin to feel sorry for myself, I only had to look at her to see evidence of God’s love.  When I would get frustrated or depressed she would pick up the bible and say “Let’s do our devotional” or “Let’s read some Psalms.”

Every person at Culbreth Church, many other family members, and people in the community have had an impact on my Journey of Faith and I want to thank you.  Every person in this church could probably tell of others who have had an impact on them.

I feel sorry for those folks who laugh at us because of our faith and say God is for people who are weak-minded.  I feel sorry for them because they do not know the peace that we have in times of trouble through our faith in the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.  They have nothing to hold onto when times are rough, they cannot stand up to raging seas because they have no anchor to hold them firmly in place.  It seems to be such a meaningless and joyless existence.  I want to know that when times are tough and I fall on my knees, I will have Someone to call upon.

Sandy and I made the decision long ago that our children would grow up in church and that they would see our faith in Christ through the lives we lead.  Now believe me, I am not breaking my arm patting myself on the back, because I have failed miserably on many occasions to be the man God expects me to be.  But I keep trying and I hope that we can all strive every day  to be better people, better Christians, and be more faithful in our walk with God.

Thank you for helping me in my Journey of Faith.  The ship may be battered, the sails certainly feel torn, and even though the raging seas will come again, we have the assurance that Christ will be there with us in spite of any storm.

The Anchor Holds” (Ray Boltz)

How Can I Keep from Singing: Shackles

Image Source: www.wallpaper4me.com

Had the first half of this summer not transpired like it did, I’m certain that the last half of this summer would have been emotionally unbearable for me. By putting God‘s will for my life first in June and July, I can survive the “chains” that August and September have brought with an assurance that there is a lesson in the imprisonment that only six weeks on crutches will reveal.

Image Source: www.californiakneedoctor.com

My knee surgery started out as this simple little procedure with two to three days of rest and maybe a week of crutches and physical therapy to follow for another two weeks. Then Dr. Newman actually got in there and found damage that he had not anticipated. He did what he could for me and has ordered me not to drive or put any weight on my right leg whatsoever for six weeks. He cannot tell me where we’ll be going from here because he doesn’t know where I’ll be physically at the end of six weeks. Needless to say, these crutches are now my BFFs.

Image Source: www.orthostatmedicalsupply.com

For a control freak like me, that news might have sent me over the edge this past Monday afternoon. Instead, I looked back at all the work I’d gotten accomplished when I was prioritizing for the Master and said, “Thank You, God, for seeing past what I couldn’t.” Thank God that I have a leg-up (so-to-speak) on my work with Bible study and with the Crusader Choir. God has made a way for me and I don’t have to fight through things under the “shackles” of these crutches.

Image Source: www.goodsalt.com

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God as the other prisoners listened. Suddenly, there was a strong earthquake that shook the foundation of the jail. Then all the doors of the jail broke open, and all the prisoners were freed from their chains. The jailer woke up and saw that the jail doors were open. Thinking that the prisoners had already escaped, he got his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted, “Don’t hurt yourself! We are all here.” The jailer told someone to bring a light. Then he ran inside and, shaking with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them outside and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” They said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and all the people in your house.” So Paul and Silas told the message of the Lord to the jailer and all the people in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then he and all his people were baptized immediately. After this the jailer took Paul and Silas home and gave them food. He and his family were very happy because they now believed in God. Acts 16:25-34 (NCV)

Image Source: http://doodleaday.wordpress.com

My favorite Vacation Bible School story this year was the story of Paul and Silas in prison. God broke their shackles, freed them from prison, and still made a way for their jailer and his entire family to be saved. My favorite song from VBS was “Shackles” also known as “Praise You.” Below I’ve added a link to the song and hope that it helps you embrace whatever you’re struggling with. Call upon the name of Jesus Christ and He will break those shackles off your feet and give you freedom and peace!

Please add me to your prayer list. Let me know if there’s anything I can be praying about for you, since I’ll have lots of extra time on my hands. I’m eager to see what I’ll learn during my six weeks in these shackles!

Shackles/Praise You” (Mary, Mary)

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How Can I Keep from Singing: Let It Rise

Image Credit:  http://mysticgirl.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/i-hate-mondays/

Yesterday was definitely a Monday.  After such a wonderful weekend at our church picnic on Saturday and a phenomenal worship experience on Sunday at church, Monday came down like a thousand-pound weight.  And I got caught under all that weight.

There wasn’t anything earth-shatteringly bad.  It was just a bunch of little things that culminated in this massive burden.  I know I’m not alone in this.  I know that you must feel like this at times.  All these little annoyances:

  • Trying to make a purchase only to find that my card is invalid.  There was questionable activity on the card, so instead of calling me, the bank invalidates the card for my protection.  That’s great…except that all those “questionable” charges were made by me. (I’d been purchasing materials for our upcoming “Mom After God’s Own Heart” Bible study. The bank’s security department said there were too many charges within a specific period of time.  I just think it was the devil trying to discourage me.)
  • Kelly arguing with me about little things   This is so uncharacteristic of this patient, non-confrontational man.  It’s usually me doing the arguing.  I admit that I can knit-pick with the best of them.  Kelly never does.  I almost felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.
  • A cancelled nail appointment.  I don’t have many vices and even less vanity purchases but the one thing I do enjoy is getting my nails done and having a pedicure at the beginning of sandal season.  The appointment was cancelled for a good reason and the nail tech rescheduled it for the end of this week.  But as I looked at my gross feet yesterday with the toenails so long they could be considered lethal weapons, it was just an added disappointment.
  • No wipes in the diaper bag.  While out and about running errands, Joshlyn needed a diaper change.  In the worst way.  I found no wipes in the diaper bag and it was my fault because I didn’t check before I left the house.  It was not pretty — let’s just leave it at that.
  • Trying to come up with dinner plans when I did not plan for dinner.  I’m usually very good about planning dinner because it’s one of the ways we’ve been able to live on less with Kelly being on short-term disability.  When I plan for dinner, no one has to order a pizza or make a border run to Taco Bell.  At 5:30pm, I realized that, in my rush to go out and run errands all day long, I had not given a single thought to late day sustenance.  So, everybody sort of fended for themselves — sandwiches, left-over grilled chicken, and chips, and some peanut butter on crackers.  Not really a bad thing, but I felt a bit guilty. 
  • Lying down for just a “minute” at 6:30pm and waking up this (Tuesday) morning at 6:30am.  And not posting on Monday!  I even had a blog draft ready to go for publishing.  Oh, well…

Fill us with your love every morning.  Then we will sing and rejoice all our lives.  We have seen years of trouble.  Now give us as much joy as you gave us sorrow.  Psalms 90:14-15 (New Century Version)

So, as I made my way to pick up Joshlyn and Casey this morning, I was feeling down — the weight of all of Monday’s problems still pressing against me.  I dropped Casey off at work and she gave me this huge hug and says, “I love you so much.”  (A little weight lifts and my spirit perks up.)  

On the way home, Joshlyn was making these sweet baby sounds.  I remembered to thank God for my beautiful granddaughter and said a little prayer for her as I drove home.  (My spirit is lighter now.)

On the radio, the DJ said, “Here’s little something for your spirit this morning.”  Big Daddy Weave starts singing “Let It Rise” in his bold, slightly raspy voice and it’s almost as if the voice of God said, “That was yesterday.  This is today.  I need you present in the things I have planned for you, so let your praises rise.”

So I will praise you, Lord, among the nations.   I will sing praises to your name.  2 Samuel 22:50 (NCV)

I knew that the draft I had planned to share today would have to wait.  This was a teachable moment for me.  I always advise others to “Let go and let God.”  Today I’m practicing what I preach.

Image Credit:  www.oneyearbibleblog.com

“Let It Rise” (Big Daddy Weave)

shr

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