Wednesday, November 20, 2013


We serve such a loving and compassionate God Who knows our every need. He is indeed able to meet each of those needs and He often does it quietly on His own. But sometimes He uses other Christians, or even non-Christians to meet those needs through.

God has been very faithful in my life in that regard. I became a Christian early in life and that has been a blessing for me because I was under the umbrella of God's protection in my home. The biggest influences in my life as a young child were my parents and family members. That is as it should be in my opinion. 

Along the way in high school and college, God always surrounded me up with Christian friends and youth leaders that helped me to find joy and yet stay within the boundaries set up by God in His Word. When He brought my husband into my life, He truly gave me a gift of a godly man who would be the spiritual leader of our home. Soon we had two children and tried to raise them as best we could under that same umbrella of God's protection through our family.

I remember, though, that in my early thirties, there were issues in my life that I had not dealt with and there was a depth in my walk with God that I had not yet been able to find. It was at that time that God brought a godly Sunday School teacher who later became my best friend into my life. Funny thing is, I really, really did not like her at first. Why? Because she made me uncomfortable in her vulnerability and in her straight forward approach to what God REALLY had to say in His Word and what His call on every Christians life REALLY was! I was not ready to hear that because it involved great sacrifice, complete surrender of everything in one's life...not just their own heart but complete sacrifice of one's children and husband trusting that God would hold them in His had just as He held me and I didn't need to worry over them so much. At the time, I thought I had cancer and so did my doctor. Things were tough for us financially due to health care bills and other related things. I just didn't see God coming through for me in the way that "I" wanted Him, too. But eventually, God put me in a situation where she and I were in a room alone and I was cornered. I found out that our experiences were very similar; that she had walked through such a similar path as the one that I was walking through and that there was hope. She got me involved in Precept Bible studies with the help of some of my friends and God grew me up in a way that I never knew was possible. He was preparing me for the storm of my life down the road but I didn't know that. I found happiness and fulfillment as I learned to study the Bible on my own and to go deeper with Christ. Sometimes I would be so sick that I would be holding the Bible in one hand and hanging over the toilet with the other. Now that I was utterly convinced that God was in charge of what was happening in my life no matter which way it went, I was happier than I had ever been even though I was so sick. I didn't have cancer and I got well and went on to become a trained Precept Leader and a Bible teacher to the very people that I had always said I wouldn't peers. God used me often in spite of myself. He honored the fact that I had hidden His word in the treasure chest of my heart so that when I needed it, the Holy Spirit could go and pull out the verse with the counsel that suited the situation.

Then the storm came and it was ferocious. But you know what? Even though there were very dark moments, I was able to stand. And God used people that I never would have imagined during those five years. He used friends; He used a Jewish pediatrician; He used a Unitarian teacher; He used a Christian doctor, dentist and orthodontist. And He used dear beloved friends that He had put in my life during the previous years. I was better taken care of in that storm than I had ever been. He also greatly used my beloved parents. No one was ever more blessed during this dark night of my soul than I was. I didn't always see the blessings because sadness and fear would try to tear me down but God was enough. He even helped me to keep on teaching Bible studies and Sunday School classes during that time. He was faithful to have encouragers everywhere I looked.

As life has gone on, He has brought other people into my life. I couldn't possibly mention all of those that He has used but I am thinking of one particular person that moved in alongside of me when she saw that I needed something an expensive piece of equipment that I really couldn't afford. Without batting an eye, she said,  "You are like a sister to me and I am going to pay for this." Boy, it is surely harder to receive than to give. I am a giver. I like to give. But once again, God put me in a position of being a receiver. I think great humility is learned when one is on the receiving end. This person is one of the dearest persons in the world to me and it's not because of what she gave but because of who she is to me!

God surrounds me all the time with a group of ladies who are my prayer partners and who are completely trustworthy. How encouraging it is to be able to share your heart with someone and know that it will not go any further and that you will not be judged by them no matter what you say. I call these ladies my CB's (couch buddies) and they are precious to me. We each try to encourage the other. At any given time, it may be a different person in need of encouragement and the other three are quick to be there for that person. We also hold each other accountable. What a gift these friends are to me. Did you know that "friend" is a covenant term used by God? What a special thing to be a true friend to someone.

My health has not been very good for quite a while. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sleep apnea and a host of other "goodies" that come along for the ride with these diseases. So my husband who is my greatest helper and does all of the cooking and cleaning these days is really challenged. He has had to learn to cook and I must say that he does an excellent job of it. He does the cleaning and the grocery shopping and a host of other things. How we have missed being able to be in our church home. We watch our church on television but it is not the same. As a person who is used to being in church every time the doors are open, these last few years have been so very difficult for me. But Bill is always there for me no matter what happens.

Recently, God put a friend from the past that we reconnected with on FaceBook back in our lives; someone that I had only known a year. This person has taken us by surprise by sending us "care packages" with sweet gifts in's, books, tickets to a concert which we weren't able to attend but passed on to another couple who really needed a break. Another care package came today with David Jeremiah's new book and study guide in it along with other items. The motivation for this is, to this dear friend, just to cheer us on while we are going through so much isolation. Our social calendar is pretty much limited to doctors and an occasional dinner out. We do not expect anything from this friend except friendship and yet God has laid it on his heart to be one of our encouragers. How dear that he is so in tune to the voice of God and even more that God has specifically put him in this position.

I know that God has used me in many lives. I only hope that the things I did, said, gave, prayed were as helpful as the things that have come my way through others who had the gift of encouragement. What about you? I know that some people are stronger in the area of encouragement than others but we all are responsible for touching lives around us. It IS a blessed thing to give of oneself, one's talents, and even material things to others. Even while at home in my condition, I consider it an honor to be able to mentor a young person via phone and internet. I hope that I will not be stuck home in this position for much longer but I can only look up and trust God. I have no other recourse and I feel that I am in the safest place that I can be when I do that.

Encourage someone today. Be Jesus in someone's life. Pray about it and ask Him to lead you to the right people or bring them your way. Encouraging others is something that all of God's children can do even when we are traveling through our own personal storm. The rewards are immeasurable!


I once had a Sunday School teacher who would always caution us this way. "When God gives you a test, learn from it and pass it the first time. If you don't, He will be sure to give you a retest." Perhaps I took this a little more literally than she meant it but I took that to heart. I knew from experience that one test was better than two, especially on the same subject matter. Fortunately I had never had to take but one or two retests in school and when that happened, the whole class had to take a retest. However, I also knew that God deals with each of us individually. The tests that He had let come my way were hard enough to go through once. I certainly didn't want to have to go through the same test or trial twice so I began to really pay attention when a particular test came my way.

I rationalized that if I had to have other tests, I at least wanted them to be on different areas of my life and not again and again in the same area. Of course, God is always growing us in the faith and so He allows these trials to come NOT to punish us but to help us grow to trust Him and roll our cares onto Him. If we decide to "take things into our own hands", He will often let us but He will give us another similar situation before long, looking to see if this time we will look to Him to solve our situation rather than run to friends or try to solve them ourselves. Friends are fine for support but only God ever really orchestrates an answer to our trial even if He uses friends.

I found the following quote from one of my favorite heroes of the faith, George Mueller. It is rather long but take a few minutes to let it soak in. You may find that you want to read it more than once because it is rich with wisdom on the same subject that I was addressing. Of course, he does a much better job of it!

"Wherever God has given faith, it is given, among other reasons, for the very purpose of being tried. Yea, however weak our faith may be, God will try it; only with this restriction, that as, in every way, He leads on gently, gradually, patiently, so also with reference to the trial of our faith. At first our faith will be tried very little in comparison with what it may be afterwards; for God never lays more upon us than He is willing to enable us to bear. Now when the trial of faith comes, we are naturally inclined to distrust God, and to trust rather in ourselves, or in our friends, or in circumstances. We will rather work a deliverance of our own somehow or other, than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God's help, if we work a deliverance of our own, then at the next trial of our faith it will be thus again, we shall be again inclined to deliver ourselves; and thus with every fresh instance of that kind, our faith will decrease; whilst, on the contrary, were we to stand still in order to see the salvation of God, to see His hand stretched out on our behalf, trusting in Him alone, then our faith would be increased, and with every fresh case in which the hand of God is stretched out on our behalf in the hour of the trial of our faith, our faith would be increased yet more. Would the believer, therefore, have his faith strengthened, he must especially, give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove him, and then to provide the moment it is good for him." George Muller, Narratives

I don't know about you, but I am going to try even harder to learn from the trial the first time it comes around. It really is much easier and less burdensome to just trust God in the first place. When I have done that, I have never had Him let me down. George Mueller had such faith, that he did such things as getting in a line without a ticket to go somewhere that he thought God was leading him. He usually had no money at all but he knew that God would provide what he needed before he reached the front of the line. And you know what? God always did provide in that way for him. Oh, the feats of faith we could accomplish with the simple faith of a child. If God can do those things for a simple man like George Mueller, He can certainly do them for us whatever the trial, situation or need is.

I want to be a person of great faith and great trust. I do not want to have to take retests in the trial department. How about you? God is always faithful but we have to decide to turn our burdens over to Him. He will not yank them out of our hands. May God help us all to trust Him more. Life would be filled with so much more joy and peace if we ever learned that lesson. Come join me on the faith journey, won't you?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


How did the things that were said to you when you were a child affect the way that you are now? You might, at first thought, think that those things did not affect you. You may not even remember them. But stop a minute and think.

What were the things that you remember your mother saying to and about you as far back as you can remember? In what tone of voice did she say them? Were they warm and loving things or were they cold and distant or even angry things?

How about your dad? What words did he speak to you? Did he even take time to speak to you or was he always busy? Or maybe your dad was more like “Father Knows Best” on the old television show.

Now broaden the scope of your memory and think of the kind of words you heard from your teachers in church and/or school. Did those words make you feel safe and appreciated or did they make you fearful and happy to leave that class?

One more thing to view through the looking glass to the past. What did your friends and classmates say about you? How did they treat you? Did they want to be friends with you or did they tease you for the way you talked, looked or acted? Were you part or the popular crowd, the smart crowd, the rowdy, always in trouble crowd or were you a loner?

It may not seem like it, but these are very important questions because the answers to them probably went a long way towards making you the person that you are today. The way you feel about yourself is probably related back to the answers that you gave to these questions if you were honest.

Some people will never break away from the hurt and negative pictures that were formed in their mind about themselves so long ago. Others have gone far because they were wrapped up in love at home and well-liked and respected at school by teachers and peers. Who we become seems to begin the moment we are born.

But that is not really TRUTH! Who we are began when the Lord God knew us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb. He had a plan for us and He still does. But the obstacles that some of us have bumped into kept us from following that plan and so He still looks at us, waiting, and saying, “I am your true Father. I am your Creator. I formed you and I am the One Whose words about you matter. I am the one Whose feelings toward you matter. And I love you with an everlasting love. I love you so much that I gave My only Son for you so that you would never have to be separated from Me in the future. I let my Son die so that you could have eternal life. If that isn’t love, then there is no such thing as love! My child, look at me, open my Word, speak to a friend who knows Me and find out how very valuable you are to Me. You do not have to stay in the prison where you have let yourself be locked by the enemy of your soul through his use of the words of others. I have the key. I will gladly open that prison door and envelope you in My arms. Come to Me. Lay down those burdens you are carrying. They are so heavy for you but for Me they are light. I will take them the minute you come into My arms and take Me into your heart. Come on! It’s been such a hard road. Let Me carry you from here. Don’t hold back. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are infinitely safe with Me.”

Ah, to have a Father like that. Oh, to have someone who cares that much. But you do. You really do.

In Matthew 11:27-29, Jesus said, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest .”

He said, “I know the plans I have for you; plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a HOPE.” Jeremiah 29:11

Can you resist a love like that? I know I can’t! Do you want things in your life to change? I know I did…and sometimes still do when I hold onto things myself. You have Someone just waiting to be your best friend and helper. Won’t you come into His arms? He will give you all the love and worth that you were always lacking. Look! He’s waiting! You don’t have to wait any longer. Go on! Run to Him!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Defeat: Only in Jesus by Rob Chaffart

What do we do when the evil one continues to knock on our door, announcing day and night that trouble will now be our constant companion?

The 100 Years War began in 1337. Nine years later, the English invaded Normandy, France, and Mont-St-Michel, which primarily consisted of an abbey at that time, was soon surrounded by enemy forces. The inhabitants of the island fortress would have had plenty of reason to be discouraged, but they were not. They were, after all, pious men, and Mont-St.-Michel's fortifications, as well as the surrounding North Sea and its fast-rising tides, would be worthy adversaries to the British.

In 1424, the English decided to besiege the islet. After all, these monks could not hold out for long if they were deprived of food and water. The British were starting to gloat. The world was about to see who was truly in charge in Normandy! There was no way the monks could survive this! Mont St-Michel would be theirs within weeks!

What the British didn't know was that the inhabitants of nearby Saint-Malo were bringing food and water by boat by night to the poor souls besieged in Mont-St.-Michel. In the end, the siege against Mont-St.-Michel resulted in the British becoming far more discouraged than the inhabitants of the Mont-St-Michel abbey!

The British would continue to launch regular attacks against the islet over the next 10 years, until 1434, when the enemy became completely demoralized, abandoning hope of ever conquering this jewel of the North Sea.

When the evil one knocks at our door, with his only purpose being to bring about discouragement, we need to stand firm. We need to rely on our Father and not let ourselves sway into despair. Instead, just as the inhabitants of Mont Saint-Michel did when the British were knocking on their doors with a similar purpose, we, with the guiding of God's Holy Spirit, can completely discourage our enemy!

After all, if we put the King of Kings as our Lord in all things, our victory is guaranteed! Read Psalms 23 and be reinvigorated with how faithful our Lord is, no matter what our circumstances might be. After all, "The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing." (Psalms 23:1, NIV2) Or in other words, putting God on the driver's seat will lead us to an out-of-this-world abundance.

Here are some other consequences of having our Heavenly Father as our Lord in life. Read these verses of Psalm 23 from your Bible:

Verse 2: Unaldurated stress-free rest throughout life.

Verse 3: Refreshment of our inner soul + worry-free guidance from above.

Verse 4: Fears become an unknown, even when facing our worst adversities. Even death cannot faze us!

Verse 5: We are provided for, even amidst penniless circumstances.

Verse 6: Love from above becomes our constant.

One thing we will realize sooner or later: When we think we are in charge, we truly are not!

Have you ever done a public slide presentation? I have. I was completely prepared, to the minutest detail. Only too late did I realize I had forgotten my extension cord!

Have you ever crossed a border? What if you took the wrong passport with you and you gave the border guard your wife's passport instead of yours? It happened to one of my friends. The border guard was laughing when he asked: "Hey! Your hair was much longer when this picture was taken!"

What about receiving a performance evaluation and noticing that the wrong named is mentioned: "My name is not Jack" And when comparing evaluations with Jack's, you find that the two performance evaluations are identical, except for the name. A blunder from a poor vice-principal.

However when we hand everything, and I mean everything: house keys, wallet, job concerns, health worries, broken relationship nightmarish scenarios and anything else that may occupy our thoughts, to God, something particularly special happens. Worry seems to evaporate into nothingness. God is truly in control!

It's true that at times some concerns seem to reappear from seemingly nowhere, but each time this happens, we need to wonder: Have we left that particular concern in God's hands? Or have we stolen it back, as we are the ones who want to be in control over that specific circumstance?

Do we want to be stress free? Do we truly desire that our worries evaporate into nothingness? Maybe, just maybe, it is time to give all control to the One who can handle it! After all, He is the One who encouraged us to, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28, NIV2).

Truly we can defeat the evil one by discouraging him, rather than the other way around! After all, isn't God the One we leave control to?

What are these armies doing at the front door? Oh well! Sooner or later, they too will leave!

Rob Chaffart

Monday, January 28, 2013

Watch Out for the Eggs in Your Nest!

 I have struggled with guilt all of my life. That probably seems funny to most people who know me because I have always been a type A personality; a leader; an achiever; one who can always be depended on. I have spent more that three-fourths of my life teaching Bible studies, discipling others, and doing "things for the Lord"! So why is it that I struggle with guilt when there are many people who never do anything and don't feel the slightest bit of guilt? Good question!!! I have asked it many, many times and wondered why the concept of "grace" was the hardest one for me to get into my heart as much as I tried to serve the Lord and please Him.

 As "Christ-followers" we all have an enemy and he is very powerful. In fact, he is known as the "enemy of our souls" or "satan". But his power is infinitely smaller than the power of our Savior and  Lord, Jesus Christ. I grew up in a family that loved the Lord and His Word and so I heard about Him as far back as I can remember. I never had a doubt that what I was hearing was true. That is a very secure way for a child to grow up and I believe ideally it is how God would have all children to grow up. It doesn't happen that way because He gave humans free choice and so some children suffer due to the decisions their parents make.

There is a pitfall to never knowing anything except Jesus. That pitfall is that you really don't experience the dramatic change that people who lead a radically sinful life apart from Christ and then come to Him feel. I had to make a conscious decision "for Christ" just like they did but I was very young; too young to even know about many of the sinful lives that some people live.The enemy uses this lack of dramatic change on countless people who grew up that way in my opinion. I know that as a first born child to a minister with high expectations for myself and from others, I always felt a great sense of responsibility. Responsibility, if not channeled in the correct way can lead to bondage. And that is what happened to me. I became enslaved to guilt big time.

How is that? The enemy comes in to these believers and whispers in their ears that they haven't done enough for the Lord. If they are sick or not doing all that much at the time or if they are "working their head off", the tactic or strategy is the same. Heap on the guilt!!!! Make them feel that God is not pleased with them and that no matter how much they do, He never will be. Tell them that they were not really sincere when they gave their heart and life to Jesus or they would have more to show for it. Keep hammering them with these negative thoughts until they think that they cannot stand it one more day! And it will work most every time until we "wake up" and realize that the guilt is coming from the enemy himself and not from our Lord! Satan is known as "the accuser"! That is not God's strategy for working in the life of His children. Satan likes for us to believe it is the Lord chastising us when all the time it is him making us feel a paralyzing guilt that is hard to describe but extremely effective! He is often even successful in making us doubt our salvation because of all of the guilt. But, as you will see below, salvation is a free gift from God and not something that we can earn.

Today I read an article from the online magazine "The Illustrator". I found it to be absolutely liberating. I read it several times and promised myself that I will save it for those times when I find myself under attack again. Having been homebound for the better part of three years, his strategy had begun to start up again by trying to make me feel guilty that I am not teaching or speaking right now and that there are days when I really don't come in contact with people to minister to although I have fought that one with the very real truth that I minister online, by phone and in prayers whenever I am able and have the opportunity. But this article felt like it was written just for me and I am guessing that there are others out there who will feel that it was written for them so I am sharing in in the author's own words because it cannot be said any better: Please take the time to read this short little illustration. It may just set you free!!!
                 "The Infiltrator. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (3: 28)"

"The enemy is on the loose, and his greatest goal is to distract our troops from what is truly important!

Imagine making believers feel guilty that they don't do enough in their neighbourhoods! It would be easy enough to do. People are easily fed by guilt. If we push a bit harder, they might even come to believe that they don't qualify for heaven. There is no way anyone can live on works alone, and thus, they doubt that they will ever be able to enter Heaven! A master plan from the evil one himself!

This is why Paul insisted: "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal 5:4 NIV) In other words, if we believe these lies from the evil one, and if we try to earn our way to Heaven, we will fall short. Ouch! All that work for nothing! In fact we have completely erred and "have fallen away from grace"!

Let no one ever tell us that anything we "do" will earn us Heaven. Works is NOT grace! Grace means mercy, clemency, pardon. It wouldn't be grace if a contingency was attached to the price-tag: to be obtained only after having done 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 community hours. Oh! Did I forget a few zeros?

This is why the following message is being broadcasted 24 hours a day throughout the entire New Testament: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Rom 3:28 NIV)

Salvation is an act of faith, not of works. We either believe in what Jesus has done for us on the cross, or we believe that we can somehow save ourselves. In reality, we should not see works as a way to Salvation. Rather, it should be a manifestation of our gratitude towards our gracious Heavenly Father.

The same enemy is manifesting himself all over the world. Take for example the brown-headed cowbird. It makes other birds believe that they are not up to their task, that they need to work harder than ever. To help them with this, the female cowbird lays her egg in an occupied, but temporarily-empty, nest. The parents are either out doing their "outhouse activities", or they are looking for a snack. Soon the parent birds come back to find that they have an extra egg to take care of.

Maybe they miscounted?

The cowbird chick generally hatches one to two days before the others. It grows quickly, and is an aggressive beggar, often stealing food from its younger (and smaller!) Nest mates. Its host parents truly have their wings full! How can they manage?

The evil one uses the same tactics, real infiltrators, to make us believe lies.

Some host parents don't put up with such shenanigans. Vireos birds, for example, bury the cowbird egg at the bottom of their nest, and yellow warblers either abandon such nests or build a second nest on top! In other words, the infiltrator can be defeated! But only by standing firm against it.

In the same way, we must also stand up to the infiltrator! Bye bye intruder!

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)

This is serious business. Our eternity depends on it. Who will we believe: the cowbird tactic one or the One who conquered death?

What's that egg doing on my porch?"

Many thanks to the author of this piece, Ron Chaffart!!!! I certainly believe that it was inspired by our living, loving God. Thank you, Ron!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Caught in the Headlights

CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS Emerging from the short, lighted tunnel and rounding the curve, two headlights were coming straight toward my car. It was dark and cars were in the other lanes and I did the only thing possible to do: swerve into the three foot median to the left of me and pray for the best. Then I blacked out. Earlier that night, my 18 month old son had been running a fever and I had had to make the call that is hard for all teachers. Is he sick enough for me to miss school tomorrow or will this pass? As his fever continued to climb, I knew that it was not going to just pass. So I made the necessary arrangements for a substitute for the next day to teach my deaf students and then made plans to take Bryan to the doctor. Little did I know that it would be a long time before I was able to return to school again or just how sick Bryan would be. Because the doctor was over in Hampton closer to where my parents lived, I decided when he finally dropped off to sleep that it would be better to drive him over there that night rather than have him crying all the way over there the next morning. My husband did something totally uncharacteristic for either of us. Instead of putting him in the back seat in the car seat, he made a bed for him right next to me in case he woke up crying on the way over to my Mom and Dad’s. That decision would save his life. I was a huge advocate of car seats and continue to be. This was just a case of the Lord watching over us. We drove out of the front of our Virginia Beach home to the sound of Debbie Boone singing her huge hit “You Light Up My Life”. I loved that song. After this night, I would never forget it! Bryan slept soundly and all was quiet. There was much less traffic on the freeway because of the late hour. That is another reason we had decided it would be better to go to my folks’ house that night. I must say that I did have a moment where I felt huge misgivings about that choice. I cannot put words on it; it was just one of those times when maybe I had a touch of warning that this was not the best choice. It came and went quickly so I paid little heed to it. I chalked it up to me just being a little uptight about the entire situation. I never stopped to think it could have been the Lord’s prompting to me through His Holy Spirit. About a third of the way there, I got in the wrong lane to go straight ahead like I wanted and had to veer off to the right. It was no big deal. I knew where I was and I would just drive the mile and a half to the front of the Navy Base, turn around and head back on my way. I felt no panic or concern. I was on familiar territory. Then came the headlights. Things moved in slow motion. I remember thinking, “Where did they come from? Am I in the wrong lane?” I wasn’t but I just couldn’t explain those headlights that were bearing down on me at a frightening speed. I swerved into the median and everything was quiet. I don’t know what time I came to. It could have been a few seconds later or minutes later. I saw the driver of the other car just standing in the middle of the freeway completely unhurt but dazed. I looked down and Bryan was at my feet in the floorboard in a crumpled heap. There was so much blood coming from his head. My heart fell into my stomach. This baby that we had wanted and prayed for was going to die and it was all my fault, or so I thought. I was able to open the door and pick him up gently. The cut in his head was so deep that I could see his skull. I grabbed a blanket in panic and wrapped his head in it praying all the while that he would survive and yet wondering how he could since he was hurt so badly. Suddenly a car stopped in the lane across the median and rushed to help us. He put us in his car and turned back toward the nearest medical help which was on the Naval Base. I kept saying, “It’s all my fault. I must have been in the wrong lane.” He gently told me not to ever say or think that again. “That guy was in the wrong lane and he was going in the wrong direction. We would later learn that he had been driving 22 hours from Pennsylvania and had gone to sleep and gone up the off ramp. He was totally uninjured and never even showed up to see how we were or for a court date. At the Naval Station, the doctors jumped to take care of Bryan immediately. They could see how badly wounded he was so they told me that they were just going to make a temporary bandage for Bryan’s head and send us in the ambulance to DuPaul Hospital. Bryan became hysterical when I handed him over to the doctors and even more so when they put him in the back of the ambulance and told me I had to sit in the front. He was so distressed that they came and got me and said I needed to ride in the back with him so that he would calm down for them. I felt better being close to him anyway! I was so scared and my thoughts were a continuous prayer that he would be alright. On arriving at DuPaul Hospital, we were rushed to the back. The police were there distracting me by asking hundreds of questions when all that I wanted to do was to be with Bryan. Suddenly a very young looking doctor came out towards me. He said that he would be taking care of Bryan and that Bryan was going to be alright eventually. He also told me that although he knew he looked like he was about 15, he actually had a wife and five children at home. He said that he would take good care of Bryan and someone would be coming out to take care of me. That puzzled me because I hadn’t noticed anything wrong with me. I was totally focused on Bryan. A nurse leaned over to my ear after this young doctor left and whispered, “You are in great luck tonight. That is Dr. Bill Magee and he is the best surgeon on the East Coast and he just happened to be on duty tonight. You don’t have to worry with him taking care of your son.” I would later learn the truth of that woman’s words. Of course, I don’t believe in luck or coincidence but Dr.Magee was probably the best surgeon anywhere. Later he would do surgeries such as the one he did on the little girl whose Mom had chopped all of her fingers off and he would painstakingly sew each finger back on connecting all of the nerves and blood vessels. After this incident, we heard numerous incredible surgeries he did. You probably have seen him on television along with his wife treating facial deformities on children in Third World Countries. He and his wife are the heads of Operation Smile and are often on television showing the work that they do. All of their time and services are donated. He was on one of the episodes of “Touched by an Angel” when it was on television but now most of his television exposure is in documentaries and is often narrated by Roma Downey who was the main character on “Touched by an Angel”. He works at his home office in Norfolk, Virginia, about half of the time for pay and all of his and his wife’s other time is donated. And we were met by this amazing man in our greatest hour of need. How many times in the future, I would remember the verse: Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”…. I was whisked back to an examining room while the policemen contacted my husband and parents. These police were also working the scene of the accident. When they contacted my relatives, they refused to tell them if we were dead or alive and since they had to pass my almost demolished car on the way to the hospital, they feared the worst. As the doctors began examining me, they discovered that it appeared that I had broken every bone in my mouth where it had hit the steering wheel. I do not know if I had on a seat belt that night. I only know that I was in the habit of wearing them. I was bruised from head to toe and had scrapes and a few cuts but the big problem was my mouth. I later learned that my mouth was going to be in traction with heavy steel wires for several months and I would be on a soft and/ or liquid diet. I had no idea of the hours of pain and misery that I had ahead of me and it was good that I didn’t!!!!! Dr. Magee did a wonderful job of sewing up Bryan’s head. It took three layers of 300 stitches. We had to be careful not to let the scar get sunburned over the summer and a year later, he went back and did what is known as a z-plasty. This actually involves making the scar into a thin zig-zag, much like a little lightening bolt. As Bryan’s face grew, this would keep the scar from growing wider. He is grown now and you would not even notice the scar unless you were really looking for it. God had surrounded our car with angels that night and then had this wonderful doctor on call at the hospital. Bryan liked his little “lightening bolt” scar and we always told him it was a reminder that God had something very special for him to do with his life. Actually my recovery took longer than Bryan’s because I had to have my mouth in traction for months and then after the bones healed, the difficult process of building a bridge for the upper front part of my mouth began. Just one of my dental appointments was six hours long. Talking was difficult and teaching was impossible. I was black and blue and very sore for quite some time. My friend, Bonnie, substituted in my classroom and she made just the exact amount of money she had needed to buy new furniture for her living room. We had dear friends, a couple named Mike and Susan, who would come over and bring board games and soft snacks and help us to have delightful times even while I was unable to go outside except to go to the doctor or dentist. I didn’t exactly look attractive anyway and my relationship with cars had changed drastically. I wanted the biggest, longest car I could get. We had had a medium sized car. Had it been smaller, the wreck would have killed us. As it was, the only part of the car that was not totaled was the driver’s area. Oh how God was caring for us! We knew that he cared for us in that incident but I often wonder how many times He has spared us on the highway or in life and we didn’t even know about. I take God’s words that He will never leave us or forsake us extremely seriously. They have proven true throughout my life and I am so grateful to be His child. At the end of the year, I went back to teaching for almost two months but I began to think about the fragility of life and how close I had come to losing our beloved son. We decided that I should take some time to stay home with him. It was delightful being a full-time mother. Out of much pain, God had brought a very joyful situation. Again, we always have reminded Bryan that God spared him for a reason; that He had a special plan for him. I still believe that. He is working with computers now and is a whiz at it but I still think we have yet to see the full extent of the plans God has for that young man. Later he had another near-fatal accident which only served to convince me that he had been spared for a reason. As for me, I eventually went back to teaching deaf children until my own children started having more homework than I did! I soon began to see that God had spared me for a reason, too. I had been so concerned about Bryan’s being saved that I didn’t give much thought to the fact that God had spared me for a very special reason also. The decision to stay at home for my children only led me to a Bible Study where God called me to do the one thing that I had said I never wanted to do and gave me great preparation for it. What was that? To be a teacher of His Word! Having grown up as a preacher’s kid, I could never have imagined that would be what He wanted of my life knowing how much I hated being in the fish bowl as the preacher’s child with everyone mothering me and having opinions as to what I should and shouldn’t do. Our God really has a sense of humor. Never say that you will never do something! It may be the very thing that He calls you to do! And guess what? I LOVE IT!!!! God continues to bless us and grow us up in Him. Life is a roller coaster with many ups and downs but as long as we know WHO is holding us, we can live confidently and peacefully. So always remember who is beside you and that even when you are “caught in the headlights”, you are held in the hand of a loving heavenly Father.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Come to Jesus (with lyrics)

As I have told some of my story in past blogs about being without my husband and raising two children for almost five years, the point has been made, I hope, that life is often hard. Not just a little hard, but it can be very hard. What is it that keeps us from just drowning in a sea of pain and giving up? What is it that we who are Christ-followers have that keeps us from reacting and grieving in the same way that the world does?

JESUS! Have you ever thought of just how beautiful that name is to those of us who believe? I remember times in my life when I was so weak and so defeated that the name of Jesus was all that I could force past my lips. It was a cry and a prayer all in one.

I have seen my sister cry out the name "Jesus" when she was having a seizure. Nothing else; just Jesus. And it made a difference...He could feel Him in the room. What Father, what Savior would not come when His child calls His name. The name of Jesus is the most precious name I know. And when I hear other people say it lightly or take it in vain, it literally hurts me. My heart feels a stab of pain like no other.

Jesus carries all of my burdens and my sorrows. When I am filled with joy, I dance and sing to Him. And one sweet day, I know as surely as I know my name, that He will call me that final time and I will gladly fly to Jesus. I will fly straight into those loving arms that have often wrapped around me when I was crying too hard to even express what was wrong. I always knew that He already knew. Why wouldn't He? He was there when I was formed in secret in my mother's womb. (Psalm 139) He knew me before I was even created as a tiny baby. He knows my very soul and spirit. Someone has said that the spirit lives within the soul which is made up more of a personality and lives within a fleshly body. I think of my soul as being deeper than just my personality that others can see though. I think it is the part of me that Jesus can see and that it is the part of me where His spirit resides which literally changes everything in life.

How does it do that? When Jesus lives within me, I can quit trying to live the Christian life on my own. I can quit trying to serve Him. I can just put myself on the altar and ask Him to take every part of me and do whatever He wants to me;however He wants to do it; whenever He wants to do it; and that I will gladly submit. It is my admission that I am weak and nothing without Him. You know what? That is just how He wants me to be because then He can live THROUGH me and I can quit trying and just cooperate. After all, there is nothing I can ever do to make Him love me more or less once I have given myself completely to Him as my Savior AND my Lord.

The Lord part is an absolute. He wants all of me or He will have none of me. I must completely just take Him at His word that He has saved my soul and will seal me with His spirit and keep me until the day that He comes for me again. I am safe. I can relax. I can just be. I no longer have to be so concerned with doing. What needs to be done, He will do THROUGH me. Isn't that a wonderful thought? For a type A personality like me, it is absolutely liberating. I have spent so many years trying to please Him, to be better, to be perfect. I have tried to get His approval in the same way that I always tried to get my earthly Father's approval, through performance; through doing good.

But God is not like an earthly father. His plan is to live through me and as long as I keep trying to rely on myself to please Him, I am not leaving any way for Him to take over and live through me. That is why often, that He allows painful things to enter our lives so that we are on our back and there is no way to look but up. We are broken; at the end of ourselves FINALLY and then we cry out to Him as Peter cried out when He took His eyes off of Him and started to sink into the swirling waters of the sea. We make this walk with Him so much harder than He meant us to. I am convinced of that. We have so much more of Him that we can appropriate if we realize just how devoid of anything He needs except ourselves, our absolute surrender.

That is why this song I have included so touched my soul and spirit when I first heard it today. It is such a simple and joyous song. It speaks of the simplicity of just trusting Jesus through every storm and through every joy and for our final departure from this earth.

I hope that it will touch you as it touched me. By the way, I am currently reading "Grace Walk" again by Steve McVey. Many of these thoughts were influenced by the first few chapters of this life-changing book so I want to give him credit for some of these ideas. Grace has been a challenge for this "do it all" girl. Grace is changing me from a "doer" to a "be-er". It is changing me to one who simply is and doesn't have to run around like a cat chasing its tail trying to be busy, busy, busy at pleasing God and serving in every capacity I can in my church and my community. Does grace mean I don't do anything? No, but what comes from me will be an overflow of Christ living and working within me. I no longer have to conjure up the energy and the works that were of no good to me or God anyway. It is liberating, as Steve summarized.

So I shall memorize the words to this little song and sing it joyfully when I am riding down the street, or cleaning the house, or in my bed with health problems that I have been having. And I shall praise Him as I sing it for He inhabits the praise of His children and I want Him as close to me as He can possibly be.

How about you? Have you gotten tired yet? Are you not tired of the merry-go-round? It wore me out! Get off and bow before Jesus and just give Him everything and let Him take over. Then come and sing this song along with me! It will be joyous, won't it?