Posted in Journal

Realizing My Legacy

Today my mom and I talked about the church I first remembered attending as a little girl—Calvary Baptist Church in Brunswick, GA. She took me to their FB page and flipped through pictures they had listed as Memories. And there it was. What she wanted me to see.

My Daddy! A picture of my daddy with some boys he taught in what was known as RA’s or Royal Ambassadors. They looked to be on a camping trip or a day trip with several groups of boys. Wow!

The picture above is the only photograph I know of with my Daddy involved in ministry. I have many images in my mind and heart, but this photo reminds me of his heart and who he was. He hadn’t been saved long, but he was doing what he could for Jesus. He would grow in his walk with the Lord, surrender his life to the ministry, plant missions on the Indian Reservations on the islands in the Puget Sound of Washington State, and then later pastor two churches – one in Burlington, WA and one in Wise, NC.

This picture reminds me of a man I loved with my whole heart and grieved over for decades. If you know me, you know a lot about my daddy. Here are some things that come to mind.

-My love of the Word and studying the Bible came from sitting in his office and watching him study; from reading his handwritten notes in writing only a few of us could read.
-My love of serving came first because every time we had a visitor at the pastorium, he allowed me to make and bring them coffee. At the time, I thought coffee smelled so bad, but I loved being able to help, and often they would let me stay and visit (but I have to be quiet unless spoken to).
-My love for the elderly came because he took me into nursing homes every Sunday to visit as he preached there.
-My love for prayer came because he had us on our knees praying every morning and every night. No excuses!
-My reverence for the House of God came because we cleaned a large church while Dad attended college for his ministry degree. He had a schedule of chores for each of us every day. We did them faithfully and to his standard and with great reverence. No playing around in the church or cutting corners. Did it matter that we were young teenagers? No, it didn’t. If you have no reverence for the House of God, take some time and clean it. God will bless you mightily as He did me.
-My love for missions, missionaries, and church planters came because we went on to those Reservations with my Dad and helped him plant the missions. I taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School when honestly, I was a child myself.
-My love for hurting people came because my daddy brought people home for breakfast that he found in ditches and sleeping on benches. He went to the highways and byways.

Oh, this doesn’t even touch the surface. I could go on and on…

When my dad died, there was a part of me that the enemy tried to put to death with him—my legacy. I have looked at ministry families and seen their legacies, and wondered what about mine. Dad died, and my brother grabbed the legacy and carried on. Mike is a mighty man of God. I have asked God why the enemy was allowed to steal mine. Well…today I saw my Dad’s picture. Tangible evidence of his beginnings, and I know how far God took my dad and honestly took all of us with him because our family was a team. My dad never did much ministry that we weren’t all very much a part of.

In this picture, I see my Dad, and I see my legacy. And do you know what I learned about myself from it? I realized I am already living it and have been. What’s more I am working toward leaving one myself. Thanks, Dad, for all you gave me and all you left me with. Thank You, Jesus, and mom for blessing me so much today.

Posted in Journal

Sorting it All Out

My husband lost his hearing back in October and a month ago he received hearing aids. During our family vacation his hearing aids failed. These were my thoughts this morning regarding this. Please remember this was a family vacation with three families, not all with the same beliefs and values as ours. What came of my husband’s loss (once again and in the middle of vacation) of his ability to hear?

He didn’t hear –
the fighting
the whining
the complaining
the critiques
the sarcasm
the impatience
the backtalk
the political discussions
the bullying
the crying
the bad news
the problems
the 1:30am fireworks 
the wind, and rain, and the thunder

But he also didn’t hear –
the conversations
the laughter
the songs
the prayers
the “i love you”s
the empathy
the blessings
the encouragement
the support
the silly grandkid jokes
the stories
the memories of vacations past
the fireworks
the sounds of the waves crashing, the seagulls, the delight of children catching their first fish.

Sometimes there are bad things connected with good. We have to sort it all out, and that sorting is a part of life. The way we see sort says a lot about us at times. What seems terrible here was actually good in some ways, yet was it? I can sort with my hearing, but my husband no longer has that option. My husband wasn’t sad to miss the fighting and such. I don’t think at the time he realized all of the rest of what he missed, and that made me sad for him, and us all.

I do have a new appreciation of many things I once took for granted would be there. I also am very aware now just how fast life can change. It is very hard to be unable to hear, but it is also hard to be unheard. What happens in families, churches, communities affects all, if it affects one – (or it should). 

Lord, I thank You for the help of hearing aids, but man’s solutions are not perfect, and now they have failed. Father, I ask you to please restore my husband’s hearing. Thank You for the ability to hear and that I know healing and hearing are Your perfect will. Help me always to have gratitude for the gifts Jesus paid the price for on the Cross. Healing, Hearing, Salvation. Thank You! So, I ask for Dan’s healing…In Jesus’ Name. If Your will is a greater work in our lives than hearing or miracles would be….Father God, please give us patience in the waiting. Heavenly Father, I would rather have Dan hear You than me, so have Your will in both our lives. Thank You for all those that You have placed in our lives that stand with us in prayer. Bless them abundantly, Lord, as they have been a blessing to me in so many ways. I ask this all in Jesus Name, and I am happy I know You can hear me today. Amen! Amen!

Posted in Journal

Something of My Very Own?

The Challenges
On January 1, I took a 100-day Blogging Challenge. Today is the 182nd day. I have just kept on posting daily. What a journey!!! Some days the writing has flowed, and some days it has taken all day long (literally). But, by the close of every day, I have posted what I feel God laid on my heart and so I knew every single minute was worth it. I write primarily about what I receive from the Holy Ghost while reading aloud the One-Year Daily Bible (KJV), what I have studied in response to questions from the reading, what God has laid on my heart during my time in my tiny prayer closet, my struggles along the way, my victories. Each day I have also created and posted an original scripture picture using the verse that most touched me that day. These are not someone else’s pictures but totally my own with the watermark – Melissa Lynne.

From Glory to Glory
From Glory to Glory,” His Word says. I took the 100-day Blogging Challenge because I was in a place at the first of the year that I felt like I needed something that was my own. My kids and grandkids were in the process of moving away, my husband suddenly couldn’t hear which made communication almost impossible, and I felt so lonely and was fighting so many mind battles that I was weary. In a moment of incredible heartache and confusion, I went to the only one that could help me. I asked God to help me find my focus again. I wanted to focus on Him, focus in prayer and focus on the Word. I wanted to be on FIRE for GOD and the things of GOD.

Well, I asked and He answered. He challenged me to get up every morning and go into the prayer closet and then immerse myself into His Word. Not only reading it but reading it aloud and seeking for understanding. He challenged me to yield to the Holy Ghost as He taught me. I took the challenge and as I stepped out to begin, the 100-Day Blogging Challenge came. I felt it was directly from my Heavenly Father. Something of my very own? Well, it was His direction to me and it was so personal at the time. Because of that, until this week, I have told absolutely no one, except Him. But this week I felt His release. Of course, anyone that reads my blog knew that I was suddenly posting every day and so they knew.

The Results of the Challenges
I thought as blogging goes, the process might help my writing. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. I have learned not to worry too much about whether everything is perfect. I write to glorify God only. I don’t worry if anyone else reads it or gets what I write. I just go with what comes into my heart and leave it at that. Some days I write a lot and other days no more than the Scriptures He highlights, a prayer, and a picture. I have readers from 135 nations across the world. The faithfulness of a handful of followers from around the world has been my greatest surprise. The community of bloggers that I follow and interact with have also helped me to grow in Christ and in the Word…as well as blogging.

One hundred and eighty-two straight days on this path and it is has changed me, given me focus, toughened me up, and drawn me closer to Jesus than I ever thought possible. The Bible has come alive to me and God is weaving His story together for me and with me in ways I never quite got in Sunday School or through Bible Studies. There is something so special about reading the Word aloud and knowing that if I continue on this year I will be hearing every single Word of God’s Word come out of my own mouth.

Half Way Through the Year
Today is July 1 and we are officially half way through the year and halfway through the Bible. We all have lots of resolutions at the first of the year but how about looking at the second half in the same way. What will you do with the rest of this year?

Something Not My Own, But Totally His!
For me – Tomorrow is day 183 and I will start it like I have every single morning for the last 182 days. First in prayer, then reading the Word aloud, digging into the Word further to answer any questions that arise, and writing all about it (all as I sit alongside my Jesus). Then I will create a picture as I plant one special verse into my heart. I wanted something of my own. Did I get that? Kind of…but mostly I got something that was not my own, but totally His…so I got so much more. Thank You Jesus for taking me with You on this incredible journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Journal

An Awfully Big Dream (Updated 6/17/2021)

According to Google, there are 195 nations in the world. Since making my blog “public” several years ago, it has now reached 137 nations. It fills me with joy to know that it has gone where I have not been able to. Even so, I still have a deep desire to go and teach the Word, love on and pray for people, and see God move in mighty ways. But there has been no green light from my Father when opportunities have arisen these last years.

As we entered the Easter season of 2020, I began a forty-day fast. Then a couple of days in came the pandemic. What a challenge! But God gave me two prayer warriors whose prayers helped carry me through. And then at the end of the fast I heard this from the Lord. “Tarry there until you are endued with power.”  I didn’t understand it. Tarry where? Though I have prayed and pondered and even preached on the Holy Ghost, I still wasn’t exactly sure how it was applicable to me. This morning I wrote these words as I sat in my little prayer closet. I believe as He often does for me that God speaks as I write.

“Old dreams with new anointing by the power of the Holy Ghost will carry you into this next season and usher you through. You will go deep but you will also be required to navigate the currents in the deepest and sometimes loneliest places. You will think you are drowning, but take comfort in My heart and relax as best you can. Though it will be hard, try to stay above water and wait there…until you are endued with power. Then I will come pull you from the riptide. When I do and you are safely back on shore, when you come to, you will see that during the time of struggle this turned into a season of dreams come true…My dreams in you.”

So what are the old dreams? I dream of a life of missions. Is it crazy that in this hour, I just want to GO?!!! I dream of teaching the Word and fulfilling the call to disciple. I dream of praying for others and seeing the miraculous. I dream of igniting others with the desire for prayer and the Word that He placed in me. I dream that God would take my writing (such as it is) and use it somehow. I dream of writing by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Missions, the Word, prayer, the miraculous, writing! It seems all over the place, but it is all very precise.

Perhaps in these next years, I will be able to touch the other 58 nations in some way. Wouldn’t it be so amazing, when it is time to go to my heavenly home, to have touched every country in the world and to be greeted in heaven by those same nations? That is my “impossible” awfully big dream!!!!

Father, would You give me the nations? As I pray for them and find out more about them would You show me how to use this tool to reach those across the world? Lord, I know it is an awfully big dream. I fully know it is something only You can do. Is it Your dream, Father? I ask again today for the nations as my inheritance…according to Your Word….in Jesus’ holy and precious Name!!! Amen!!!

——

On the list below are the nations touched by the blog. I always put up their flags if I can and I hope on your device you can see them. Being in possession of a nations flag symbolizes victory. That is why I do it. Plus, I think they are beautiful.

(originally published 6/7/2020 and this list was updated most recently on 6/17/2021 with the addition of 4 more countries – Belgium, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Finland. PRAISE GOD!!!)

——

The Reached

A
Albania 🇦🇱
Algeria 🇩🇿
American Samoa 🇦🇸
Angola 🇦🇴
Antigua 🇦🇬
Argentina 🇦🇷
Armenia 🇦🇲
Austria 🇦🇹
Australia 🇦🇺

B
Bahamas 🇧🇸
Bahrain 🇧🇭
Bangladesh 🇧🇩
Barbados 🇧🇧
Barbuda 🇦🇬
Belgium 🇧🇪
Belize 🇧🇿
Bolivia 🇧🇴
Bosnia 🇧🇦
Brazil 🇧🇷
Brunei 🇧🇳
Bulgaria 🇧🇬

C
Cambodia 🇰🇭
Cameroon 🇨🇲
Canada 🇨🇦
Chile 🇨🇱
China 🇨🇳
Colombia 🇨🇴
Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Croatia 🇭🇷
Curaçao 🇨🇼
Czech Republic 🇨🇿

D
Denmark 🇩🇰
Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

E
Ecuador 🇪🇨
Egypt 🇪🇬
El Salvador 🇸🇻
Estonia 🇪🇪
Ethiopia 🇪🇹
European Union 🇪🇺

F
Fiji 🇫🇯
Finland 🇫🇮
France 🇫🇷

G
Georgia 🇬🇪
Germany 🇩🇪
Ghana 🇬🇭
Greece 🇬🇷
Grenada 🇬🇩
Guam 🇬🇺
Guatemala 🇬🇹
Guernsey 🇬🇬

H
Haiti 🇭🇹
Herzegovina 🇧🇦
Honduras 🇭🇳
Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Hungary 🇭🇺

I
Iraq 🇮🇶
India 🇮🇳
Indonesia 🇮🇩
Ireland 🇮🇪
Isle of Man 🇮🇲
Israel 🇮🇱
Italy 🇮🇹

J
Jamaica 🇯🇲
Japan 🇯🇵
Jordan 🇯🇴

K
Kenya 🇰🇪
Kuwait 🇰🇼

L
Latvia 🇱🇻
Lesotho 🇱🇸
Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lithuania 🇱🇹
Luxembourg 🇱🇺

M
Macedonia 🇲🇰
Madagascar 🇲🇬
Malawi 🇲🇼
Malaysia 🇲🇾
Malta 🇲🇹
Mauritius 🇲🇺
Mexico 🇲🇽
Moldova 🇲🇩
Mozambique 🇲🇿
Myanmar (Burma) 🇲🇲

N
Namibia 🇳🇦
Nepal 🇳🇵
Netherlands 🇳🇱
New Zealand 🇳🇿
Nicaragua 🇳🇮
Nigeria 🇳🇬
Norway 🇳🇴

O
Oman 🇴🇲

P
Pakistan 🇵🇰
Panama 🇵🇦
Paraguay 🇵🇾
Peru 🇵🇪
Philippines 🇵🇭
Poland 🇵🇱
Portugal 🇵🇹
Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

Q
Qatar 🇶🇦

R
Romania 🇷🇴
Russia 🇷🇺
Reunion 🇫🇷
Rwanda 🇷🇼

S
Samoa 🇼🇸
Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Serbia 🇷🇸
Seychelles 🇸🇨
Singapore 🇸🇬
Slovenia 🇸🇮
Sri Lanka 🇱🇰
Solomon Islands 🇸🇧
South Africa 🇿🇦
South Korea 🇰🇷
Spain 🇪🇸
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Suriname 🇸🇷
Swaziland 🇸🇿
Sweden 🇸🇪
Switzerland 🇨🇭

T
Taiwan 🇹🇼
Tanzania 🇹🇿
Thailand 🇹🇭
Tobago 🇹🇹
Trinidad 🇹🇹
Tunisia 🇹🇳
Turkey 🇹🇷

U
Uganda 🇺🇬
Ukraine 🇺🇦
United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
United Kingdom 🇬🇧
United States of America 🇺🇸
Uruguay 🇺🇾

V
Venezuela 🇻🇪
Vietnam 🇻🇳

Y
Yemen 🇾🇪

Z
Zambia 🇿🇲
Zimbabwe 🇿🇼

Posted in Journal

Different Seasons and a Divine Visitation

After many tears from my daughter and granddaughters and reassuring hugs and a prayer from this mama, the Joneses are off to Greensboro. Please pray for them as they make the transition and for safe travels today.

I feel like I have held my breath for the last three months knowing this moment was coming. I have cried so many tears, prayed so many prayers, felt hopeless, like I couldn’t bear one more different season, and so God was surely done with me.

But then, at 4:30 am Saturday morning, I had a very real divine visitation. The good Lord spoke some things. They were Words of love and LIFE but even more so Words of correction. I will talk more about it later but know that I came away, and I knew that I knew I might have some hard days and lonely days, but He still has a plan for me (and for Dan) in this strange new season. This different will require some things. It is a process – from glory to glory- and on the other side of the last two days’ changes – after Sunday School, after Pastor preached, after others sang and prayed and prophesied – it looked a whole lot like dancing and joy and with it peace, peace, that wonderful peace! Tomorrow, no matter what, if I seek God, I will find Him. That’s a promise.

Different seasons don’t mean it is all terrible. Different seasons are just different. You can define different as a bad thing altogether, or you can choose to see the unique opportunities that “different” can afford. That has been one of my greatest lessons over this last very different year.

This is a different season and I intend to use my time wisely and to come away from it different…in a very good way! Thank You, Lord!!!

Posted in Journal

When the Father Says, “No!”

It seems like lately, I have received more than once the gift of the Father’s “No.” Did I receive them willingly? I confess even though I ask for “Thy will be done in my life (and my family’s lives) as it is in heaven,” hearing and accepting “NO” as His will isn’t always easy. I have been guilty of fighting against God’s “No.” I have kicked and cried like a child hoping if my cries were loud enough, it would all go away. Or enough tears would turn the “no” to “yes.” But in the end, there truly is only one choice for a child in a tantrum, and for me – hush, surrender, and accept the answer – no matter the answer.

Help me, Lord, to trust You and Your “no” as much as I do Your “yes.” Help me to receive them as gladly and be just as content knowing they are Your gifts and good will come of each and every “No.” Help me, Father. I ask in Jesus’ Name! Amen!!!

The following picture is from Elisabeth Elliot’s book – A Lamp for My Feet.

Posted in Journal

An Awfully Big Dream

According to Google, there are 195 nations in the world. Since making my blog “public” several years ago, it has now reached 137 nations. It fills me with joy to know that it has gone where I have not been able to. Even so, I still have a deep desire to go and teach the Word, love on and pray for people, and see God move in mighty ways. But there has been no green light from my Father when opportunities have arisen these last years.

As we entered the Easter season of 2020, I began a forty-day fast. Then a couple of days in came the pandemic. What a challenge! But God gave me two prayer warriors whose prayers helped carry me through. And then at the end of the fast I heard this from the Lord. “Tarry there until you are endued with power.”  I didn’t understand it. Tarry where? Though I have prayed and pondered and preached on the Holy Ghost, I still wasn’t exactly sure how it was applicable to me. This morning I wrote these words as a part of my prayer. I believe as He often does for me that God speaks as I write.

“Old dreams with new anointing by the power of the Holy Ghost will carry you into this next season and usher you through. You will go deep but you will also be required to navigate the currents in the deepest and sometimes loneliest places. You will think you are drowning, but take comfort in My heart and relax as best you can. Though it will be hard, try to stay above water and wait there…until you are endued with power. Then I will come pull you from the riptide. When I do and you are safely back on shore, when you come to, you will see that during the time of struggle this turned into a season of dreams come true…My dreams in you.”

So what are the old dreams? I dream of a life of missions. Is it crazy that in this hour, I just want to GO?!!! I dream of teaching the Word and fulfilling the call to disciple. I dream of praying for others and seeing the miraculous. I dream of igniting others with the desire for prayer and the Word that He placed in me. I dream that God would take my writing (such as it is) and do a work. I dream of writing by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Missions, the Word, prayer, the miraculous, writing! It seems all over the place, but it is all very precise.

Perhaps in these next years, I will be able to touch the other 58 nations in some way. Wouldn’t it be so amazing, when it is time to go to my heavenly home, to have touched every country in the world and to be greeted in heaven by those same nations? That is my “impossible” dream!!!!

Father, would You give me the nations? As I pray for them and find out more about them would You show me how to use this tool to reach those across the world? Lord, I know it is an awfully big dream. I fully know it is something only You can do. Is it Your dream, Lord? I ask again today for the nations as my inheritance…according to Your Word….in Jesus’ holy and precious Name!!! Amen!!!

——

On the list below are the nations touched by the blog. I always put up their flags and I hope on your device you can see them. Being in possession of a nations flag symbolizes victory. That is why I do it. Plus, I think they are beautiful.

(originally published 6/7/2020 and updated most recently on 6/17/2021)

——

The Reached

A
Albania 🇦🇱
Algeria 🇩🇿
American Samoa 🇦🇸
Angola 🇦🇴
Antigua 🇦🇬
Argentina 🇦🇷
Armenia 🇦🇲
Austria 🇦🇹
Australia 🇦🇺

B
Bahamas 🇧🇸
Bahrain 🇧🇭
Bangladesh 🇧🇩
Barbados 🇧🇧
Barbuda 🇦🇬
Belgium 🇧🇪
Belize 🇧🇿
Bolivia 🇧🇴
Bosnia 🇧🇦
Brazil 🇧🇷
Brunei 🇧🇳
Bulgaria 🇧🇬

C
Cambodia 🇰🇭
Cameroon 🇨🇲
Canada 🇨🇦
Chile 🇨🇱
China 🇨🇳
Colombia 🇨🇴
Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Croatia 🇭🇷
Curaçao 🇨🇼
Czech Republic 🇨🇿

D
Denmark 🇩🇰
Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

E
Ecuador 🇪🇨
Egypt 🇪🇬
El Salvador 🇸🇻
Estonia 🇪🇪
Ethiopia 🇪🇹
European Union 🇪🇺

F
Fiji 🇫🇯
Finland 🇫🇮
France 🇫🇷

G
Georgia 🇬🇪
Germany 🇩🇪
Ghana 🇬🇭
Greece 🇬🇷
Grenada 🇬🇩
Guam 🇬🇺
Guatemala 🇬🇹
Guernsey 🇬🇬

H
Haiti 🇭🇹
Herzegovina 🇧🇦
Honduras 🇭🇳
Hong Kong 🇭🇰
Hungary 🇭🇺

I
Iraq 🇮🇶
India 🇮🇳
Indonesia 🇮🇩
Ireland 🇮🇪
Isle of Man 🇮🇲
Israel 🇮🇱
Italy 🇮🇹

J
Jamaica 🇯🇲
Japan 🇯🇵
Jordan 🇯🇴

K
Kenya 🇰🇪
Kuwait 🇰🇼

L
Latvia 🇱🇻
Lesotho 🇱🇸
Lebanon 🇱🇧
Lithuania 🇱🇹
Luxembourg 🇱🇺

M
Macedonia 🇲🇰
Madagascar 🇲🇬
Malawi 🇲🇼
Malaysia 🇲🇾
Malta 🇲🇹
Mauritius 🇲🇺
Mexico 🇲🇽
Moldova 🇲🇩
Mozambique 🇲🇿
Myanmar (Burma) 🇲🇲

N
Namibia 🇳🇦
Nepal 🇳🇵
Netherlands 🇳🇱
New Zealand 🇳🇿
Nicaragua 🇳🇮
Nigeria 🇳🇬
Norway 🇳🇴

O
Oman 🇴🇲

P
Pakistan 🇵🇰
Panama 🇵🇦
Paraguay 🇵🇾
Peru 🇵🇪
Philippines 🇵🇭
Poland 🇵🇱
Portugal 🇵🇹
Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

Q
Qatar 🇶🇦

R
Romania 🇷🇴
Russia 🇷🇺
Reunion 🇫🇷
Rwanda 🇷🇼

S
Samoa 🇼🇸
Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Serbia 🇷🇸
Seychelles 🇸🇨
Singapore 🇸🇬
Slovenia 🇸🇮
Sri Lanka 🇱🇰
Solomon Islands 🇸🇧
South Africa 🇿🇦
South Korea 🇰🇷
Spain 🇪🇸
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Suriname 🇸🇷
Swaziland 🇸🇿
Sweden 🇸🇪
Switzerland 🇨🇭

T
Taiwan 🇹🇼
Tanzania 🇹🇿
Thailand 🇹🇭
Tobago 🇹🇹
Trinidad 🇹🇹
Tunisia 🇹🇳
Turkey 🇹🇷

U
Uganda 🇺🇬
Ukraine 🇺🇦
United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪
United Kingdom 🇬🇧
United States of America 🇺🇸
Uruguay 🇺🇾

V
Venezuela 🇻🇪
Vietnam 🇻🇳

Y
Yemen 🇾🇪

Z
Zambia 🇿🇲
Zimbabwe 🇿🇼

Posted in Journal

Love, given quietly

Last night I attended a community Thanksgiving Service at the church of my childhood. (Virtually, of course). Poplar Spring Baptist Church in Shelby, NC. Although more on the outskirts of Boiling Springs. It brought back so many great memories of Thanksgiving, Christmas plays and cantatas, Sunday night singings, dinners on the ground. Sunday School, Training Union, GAs and Acteens, Youth Choir.

Poplar Springs is the church where my dad and my brother were ordained. The church where my dad and my sister had their funerals and are now buried. The church that took us in and helped raise us after my dad died. The chuch where Dan and I were married. Then too, the church my mom and stepdad got married in. So many good people and so many good memories! I share this because since I am no longer there it is a piece of my life I have seldom revisited in person since I left Shelby in 1996. But, oh did that virtual visit make me homesick.

This is the church our family cleaned for years while my dad was preparing to go into the ministry. We cleaned every day of every week. Certain chores had to be done and we all had our assignments so that everything was nice and clean at service times and special times. We also did all the lawns, including the cemetery. Many were the days I sat out in the graveyard trimming the grass around tombstones with a pair of scissors.

Back then, we cleaned the toilets by hand, and there were about 20 of them. Cleaning toilets, though, in my opinion, was not the nastiest job – cleaning out the cigarette urns and picking up all the cigarette butts from the front steps was!!!! Boy, times have changed. Some say that change is not good, but I appreciate that there aren’t many men congregating outside on the church’s front steps to smoke these days.

I learned about missions and sharing the gospel, and I learned the Word of God at this church. I loved the youth group and youth choir, but as an awkward seventh grader, my parents had to force me to go because I was so shy. I am so glad they forced me. I learned to honor the elderly by visiting the shut-ins and the nursing home down the street. We didn’t do it just on special occasions. We just went. At first, I visited with my dad and later on my own. I have such good memories of those I met there.

I am so thankful for this place and all they instilled in me in those years. I am so grateful that they made sure I felt loved and cared for. These were a special people, and many (maybe most) have now moved on or passed on. Nothing much stayed the same except those stained glass windows and the pianist still playing all these years later. Oh yes….and what they placed in my heart. It is still there!

Love others and as God blesses you, bless others. Where would I be today had this church family not given sacrificially and faithfully to me and mine? They gave not just once but often over the years. These were not people that had great worldly wealth. They were farmers, teachers, nurses, and business people. I had no idea back then because they gave quietly. But I did know they were always there, ready to encourage or correct. They provided, and in the process, God used them to teach me to be a giver too. I am thankful that I learned all those years ago that LOVE feels great – oh yes, it does!

But, LOVE also looks like something. Maybe a smile, perhaps a visit, or sometimes it looks like a warm house. Love looks like many things given as needed – and now and then, given quietly!

Stained Glass: Trust the Artist

If You Think

If you think I’m selfish, you don’t know me.

If you think I’m weak when you see my tears fall as I cry out of my brokenness, my deepest hurts, or my burdens (or out of yours), you don’t really know me.

If you thought I  wouldn’t survive attacks of deception set to destroy everything I have hope and faith in, then you really don’t know me.

If you think you have me in a place that doesn’t line up with the place God called me to,  you REALLY don’t know me!

If you think you have the right to speak negative things over me or my family or friends, and that I will let it go – then you REALLY, REALLY don’t know me!

If you think I will eventually give up or give in, and that is a part of a grander scheme, then frankly, you don’t know anything about me at all. I learned early on giving up is never an option.

So if you think I will give up on you … well, you should know this about me – I definitely won’t.

Because I have the power of the Holy Ghost burning on the inside of me, and I have the authority to decree and declare God’s Word over every inch and detail of my life. Every Word over every detail. I love the details and you are somewhere in my details.

Words

I believe in who HE is and who HE says I am. I believe Him, who holds my beginnings and all the steps of this journey! I believe that the great I AM resides with me always! I will stand and believe that for you too!

I believe this scripture, (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds); Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

I believe we create or tear down with our words. They are chosen. What are you saying?

I see words that build up as brick and mortar.

I hear words that tear down the same brick and mortar – over and over until the piles become impassable walls. What are you saying?

I can honestly say I lived by natural words for a long time, and they defined much of who I was. Living like that kept me broken, of low esteem and little confidence.

My fault. I gave permission to build up as mortar and bricks but then turned around and gave permission to tear it all down.

No more!

Be careful what you say. Speak words that build and declare the glory of God. Speak Words of LIFE!

Be careful what you hear! Listen only to Words of life!

Be quick to believe what He says about you! Be quick to discard words that don’t fit PERFECTLY with who He says you are.

Stained Glass

Don’t force the glass into just any part of the fame, or you will break it. There is a place designed for each piece. Trust the artist!

One of the last phases of stained glass creation is when the artist places the painted glass in a kiln, so the paint fuses with the glass.

Your story is your story. It is fused into the fiber of your being and really into mine too. There are different layers of washes and paint that step-by-step bring out all of our glorious details.

If we live in Christ, then we must believe we are the Temple. Step back and look at the stained glass windows. They reveal the whole story and it is breathtaking!

Trust the artist!!!

Posted in Journal

On Birthdays, Military Life, and Freedom

Next week, I will celebrate my 60th birthday, and this week we celebrated Veterans Day. This particular time, combined with everything going on in this country, has caused me to look back and write down a few thoughts.

As a young married couple, Dan was in the Navy and deployed when I gave birth to our daughter. Meagan and I stayed with my mom for several months so I wouldn’t be alone. We then moved to Zion, Illinois. It was the first time I had ever been away from home for more than a couple of days.

When James was born two years later, Dan was there; but he left for a deployment when James was six-weeks-old. That time I stayed in Navy housing with my two babies. Don’t ever think that our military members (and their families) don’t pay a price well beyond a small paycheck for our freedoms. Do we regret that life or that circumstance? No way!!!!

No way, no regrets….but there were many weeks we ate soup and crackers daily so our kids could have what they needed. We lived far away from our families, back in the day before internet and cheap phone service (one 5 minute call per week was all we could afford). When Dan’s mother took a turn for the worse and died of cancer, we were too far away to get back in time. It was a price – but then we saw our country step in to send us back to PA to be with family for the funeral.

The nation watched the TV as CNN covered the Gulf War. I did too, alone at first. But then I watched with a community of wives as we went through it together. Are there wives that go astray? Yes! But most military wives that I met were struggling to keep their families taken care of while their husbands were gone. Our husbands (like so many others) were in the middle of that gulf. We helped each other in so many ways. We helped each other through the day to day chores, with childcare for doctor’s visits and to even go buy groceries (since at that time the commissary did not allow children), and we helped with the emotions military life brings. These were the things our children couldn’t provide and our husbands couldn’t provide – they were in a war! It was quite a great community of women – stronger than any of us knew.

It isn’t easy to be the one to leave; it isn’t easy to be the one to stay. Regrets? No, not one!!!! Complaints? Never!

Things of value rarely come without costs. Those were hard days, but precious days for us. When apart, we wrote letters to each other every day. When together, we sat at dinner and talked and dreamed of our future. We read books, walked in parks, flew kites, and fished. Those days helped make us who we are today, and those days were indeed some of the greatest of our lives.

Money can’t buy so many great things, but so many don’t know that because they are distracted by the things money can buy.

Dan and I were always very proud to do our part for this country. We knew at the time, and we know now that there is a price for our freedoms. We knew, and we volunteered for it. What a gift those prices now have become. Because of them, our freedoms hold great value to our family. We don’t take them lightly. We know that even if things get hard or we face challenges and even temporary separations, we can make it if we press on as a team.

When your spouse is gone for months on end and then comes back for a little while only to leave again…you both learn quickly not to make each other pay a $5 price for a one-cent bill, or you will spend your entire time together fighting. Time is precious. Love one another and don’t take each other for granted, or the things they do daily.

And never, never take your neighbors for granted because you never know that it might be you next in dire need of help or support or just a friendly ear!

Laugh every chance you get.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, stay in His Word, and in prayer. Serve Him and let everything you do flow from Him.