Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Am I A Functioning Church Member?

A friend of mine gave me a book tonight that I had been hearing a lot of good things about. I have always been an avid reader and from time to time, I will talk about a book that I read and enjoyed with another book lover. VERY SELDOM, do I go on and on about a book....proclaiming it a must read! However, the book that I was given tonight, is just that!

"I Am A Church Member" by Thom S. Rainer is an amazing book that EVERY church member, regardless of the denomination of your church, should run out and buy!

It has six short yet powerful and moving chapters. After each chapter there is a pledge that you can pray about and then hopefully make. It is only 75 pages long, so it is possible to read it in its entirety in a couple of hours. It is a straight shooter in its approach to make the reader dig deep in their heart and ask themselves the tough questions...."Am I a functioning member of my church?" "Do I serve or do I expect to be served?"  "Do I minister?" "Am I trying to be a blessing to others?"  :Do I encourage gossip?" "Do I seek unity in my church?" "Am I willing to be inconvenienced?" "Do I have to have my own way?" "Do I pray for my pastor, even though he is my husband?" "Is my family worshipping together as we should?" "Do I treasure the gift of membership?"

All of these questions and more are what you will be asking yourself as you read. As I read, I realized, sadly, that even though I am the pastor's wife, I fall very short of being a "functioning" member. I am not sure that I have ever looked upon my membership as a gift. I do now! Many of the no no's in this book, are things that I have done (and do) whether it is consciously or unconsciously! Goodness, you would think I'd know better!

There have only been two books that I have read that I have thought powerful enough to call "life changing."

1. "Battlefield Of The Mind" by Joyce Meyer. (I read it once every year!)
2. "So Long, Insecurity" by Beth Moore

Now, I can add this to that very short list of mine!

God has really moved swift and furiously in my heart as I have read this book! It is powerfully thought provoking. It has made me want to seek forgiveness from those I may have hurt in my church! It has moved me toward forgiveness and allowed me to let go of grudges I have held onto. It has spanked me! It has stepped on my toes! It has me desiring unity in my church family.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

How Do You Feel?

I have been bombarded with questions recently about my feelings on "gay marriage." When I do not give what others perceive as the "correct answer," I notice that it is asked in a different way, yet it remains the same question.

So, for all of those enquiring minds that will not rest until the preacher's wife answers the burning question of the are my thoughts, and they are solely MINE.

First, I feel that a lot of times when someone asks me a question regarding my feelings on a myriad of topics, they are not actually hoping to learn how I truly feel about something, they just would like to trip me up. Maybe, they even believe that as a pastor's wife, and a Christian, that ALL of my feelings and beliefs should perfectly line up with scripture! I wish that life were that simple. Sadly, I am a very flawed HUMAN being. While I know that I am not God, I do strive daily to be Christ like. It is a goal that, until the day I take my last breath, I will still be working toward.

Second, my answers will NOT be the same as every other Christian walking this earth. Just as many have very passionate beliefs regarding homosexuality and abortion, among other things, so do I. I may not walk around waving a banner and shouting from the rooftops what I believe and how I feel, but I still FEEL. Examining my heart on a daily basis is very important for me to keep me in right standing with my heavenly Father. So, that said, there are many things that I keep in my heart, deeply personal, between God and I.

This is what I will say.....I believe in "loving my neighbor."  Who is my neighbor? My neighbor is the unwed mother... the school teacher......the gay or lesbian couple..... the attorney.......the adulterous man or woman..... the preacher......the lying teenager..... the grocery store clerk.......the prostitute....the person that ignores the plank in their own eye and trying desperately to pull out the speck in another's......the abuser.....the elderly...the waitress....the college student, etc.

I believe in "loving my enemy." Who is my enemy? Anyone that doesn't believe exactly as I believe? No! Someone that is hostile towards me and is bent on destroying me. That could be ANYONE! I am forever vigilant in watching for the enemy that roams around like a lion looking to devour me. So far in this life, I haven't found that to be anyone that has committed what so many find to be the worst sin imaginable, homosexuality.

There are so many sins spoken of in the Bible. I am indeed a sinner. I am saved by GRACE. Thank God for His mercy anew each day! Where would I be without it?

So, my thoughts are this.....I am on this earth to LOVE. I can love ANYONE and EVERYONE because HE first loved me! I am going to love EACH and EVERY person put in my path in this lifetime. I am not going to ask "Are you gay?" "How much money do you have?" "Have you ever lied?" "Did you ever have an affair?" You see, I do not need to know all of that in order to love the way Jesus loves. Being a Christian has not made me one of the ELITE....or thrust me into an exclusive club. I am a sinner saved by grace...a dirty sinner made clean by Christ.

I eat with sinners. I hang out with sinners. I am even married to a sinner. (And so is he!)

I guess the way I answer the question "How do you feel.....?" my honest answer would have to be....I feel undeserving of God's perfect love. I feel humbled by His grace. Now, how do I make others feel and know this love?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Feed Me

A lot of changes have occurred in the Wallace house since I late wrote on my blog. Scary, exciting, stepping out on faith type changes.

I told God and myself last year, that 2013 was going to be a time that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Being relatively shy and "blending in" is where I am most comfortable. However, for the last several years, I have been hearing that still small voice, urging me to step out on the water. Not being the best or strongest swimmer, I have hesitated. Actually, I have refused. But that all changed for me in May.

After having taken Lay Speaking courses since Ken and I married, I hadn't done a whole lot with it. I enjoyed going to the classes. I soaked up the knowledge that was presented by the pastors that taught the classes. I even LOVED writing the sermons. The hard part for me was to stand in front of the people and deliver the sermon. I am in no way trying to be arrogant when I say this....but, I knew that the sermons were good because whenever I begin to write anything, whether it is a letter, a blog or a sermon, I ask God beforehand to give me the words HE wanted me to convey and I would write them. I did everything else on faith...signing up for the classes, getting up early on two weekends to attend, getting there on time, putting everything I could into the class, going home praying and then writing the sermon...and then, time for the presenting of the sermon....I froze. I felt like if I stepped out of the boat, I'd sink straight to the bottom.

I told my husband on several occasions  that I loved writing the sermon, I just could NOT preach a sermon. I allowed my fears to take over and rule me. This went on for almost 5 years.

In May, I decided that God had been patient with me long enough and I was just going to do it! I contacted the Director of Lay Speaking for the Clarksville District and let him know, I was ready to go out and speak and to please keep me in mind. He had returned my call almost immediately and let me know that he would indeed keep me in mind, but there hadn't been that many to need anyone lately. I have to admit, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then, two days later, he called me and asked me to preach at a two charge church. I agreed. While in the middle of working on that sermon, he called yet again and asked for me to preach at another church the following week. I agreed. A few days, later, yet another phone call to preach at another church! I agreed.

I have to admit, I had to take a minute to process it all. I even told God, "Okay, I got your message, I am going to step out of the boat and even though I am scared to death. I am going to keep my eyes on you and just do it scared!"

I got through the first time, the second time, third and now fourth. And, while I am not an ordained pastor like my husband or a lot of our friends...this is what I have seen in these four churches and every other church I have ever gone to.

Some people come to church because they have always gotten up on Sunday mornings and gotten themselves ready and headed to church. Others, come because they want someone, the pastor, a Sunday School teacher, spiritually spoon feed them. While others, prepare their hearts before they ever walk out their front doors, for worship. They go to church in anticipation of being blessed and/or being a blessing to someone else.

I also realize that the sermon that God has laid on my heart and given me the words to preach...are not going to touch everyone in the same way. I can either feel crushed by the weight of others judgment or thank the Lord for speaking through me to that ONE person that needed those words.

I love my church and my church family. I also love contemporary Christian music. We do not get a whole lot of it in my church. That use to bother me a lot. But it never keeps me from praise and worship. I listen to the beautiful words of every song and watch our choir as they sing and it moves my heart. Not every sermon that my husband preaches, sends me into the "Amen, Hallelujah" cheering section.....but, I am not there for the church to spoon feed me spiritually. I have my Bread of Life at home that I dive deep into daily....I have a direct line of communication with my Savior, so when things are not "happening" for me in HIS house....I ask God to show me FIRST, what is going on IN ME, that is hampering me from getting fed. He always shows me, and I never resent it because I know that there are areas I need to always work on in order to be fed.

It is so true....every church you go to has the same 5 people. Bishop McAlilly spoke about this at a pastoral retreat my husband attended. So, even if we grow discouraged with those people in one church, rest assured, we will find them in another.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when Jesus feeds the multitudes. The disciples were there and they knew that the people were hungry, but there was nothing that they could do because they had limits. But Jesus did not, did He? I think this is a reminder that when we, as Christians, look to men or women, flawed human beings in their own right, to give us what we think we need, we are ALWAYS going to come up short. Jesus is the only One that can fill you up!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Loving Lent

For the last 4 years, I have given something up for Lent. Having been raised in the Baptist Church, we did not observe Lent in the same way  the Methodist Church does, where I find myself presently. The first year after Ken and I got married, I didn't "observe or participate" in Lent because I felt I had already given up something....being a Baptist! However, the next year I found myself eager to give something up. That first year, I gave up chocolate. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a lover of ALL THINGS CHOCOLATE! The next year, chocolate again! I really do love my sweets, but I am not sure that it felt like a huge sacrifice to me. Last year, I gave up ALL sweets and I really thought I was giving up something major.

This year, I went in a different direction. I am always striving for a deeper, closer relationship with God. I never want to stop growing in that relationship....the most important one I will EVER nurture. So, this year I asked God to speak to my heart and let me know what He thought I should give up. I was very surprised by what He laid on my heart (and so quickly too!).

I have given up Facebook for Lent. I didn't go into this lightly. I love Facebook for a lot of reasons. I love to read all of the encouraging things my friends post. I love scriptures that Ms. Helen puts up every single morning. I love seeing pictures of my grandchildren. And, just to be completely honest, I love Bingo Blitz. But, I have given it up for these 40 days and I am okay with that!

After our Ash Wednesday service at church, I was happy to see that once we got home, I didn't begin to suffer any Facebook withdrawals. I didn't get on the computer at all. I found myself studying the Word more. I am reading the books that I have bought for inspiration and encouragement. I am digging so deep to figure out who God wants me to be. I am talking to my Father in heaven a lot more.

Yesterday, I took my 9 year old daughter to two different nursing homes and she handed out her hand made valentines. The smiles on the faces of all those precious senior citizens warmed my heart and thrilled Nevaeh. We stopped at an apartment complex and she went to the door to give a couple of women her valentines and they hugged her and thanked her profusely. Our last delivery was to my little granddaughter Riley in Clarksville and then we had lunch together. We discussed why we give up things for Lent along with a myriad of other topics.

As we were returning to Erin, Nevaeh asked me if her Papa would be home when we got there. Ken had been at a meeting and then had some Valentine deliveries of his own to make in Clarksville, so I told her he would not be home for awhile. She seemed saddened by this. She then dropped a bomb on me. "I really wish Papa was going to be home. I really want to go to the park and I know you like to rest in your room in the afternoons." WOW! Usually, after we home school, I do retreat to my room for some alone time and I am usually on my computer got it, FACEBOOK!

When we did get home, Nevaeh went upstairs and I sat in my recliner thinking....this is the time that I would probably be on facebook, reading and responding to posts. But at that moment, God spoke to my heart and told me, "Take your daughter to the park!" It was a lovely day, the type we do not often see in February. I called her down and when I said "Let's go to the park," she was overjoyed. We walked hand in hand to the park and played for an hour and then over to the library.

Last night, before Nevaeh went up to bed, she brought me a little Valentine bag. Inside there was a beautiful handmade card with the red ribbon I had put in her hair that morning. She had put a red heart sticker on the outside and on the inside she wrote...."Thank you mommy for making this the best Valentine's Day ever!" She also included a valentine sucker (since you did give up chocolate too, mommy!) and a little plastic heart that had a little silver bracelet in it of hers.

Moments like that come along rarely in life. When your child, gives up their "treasures" for you out of love, you see God in those moments. I would have missed that and more yesterday if I had ONLY given up chocolate.

Every year, Lent becomes something MORE for me. This year, yes, I gave up two things....Facebook and chocolate. But, it is NOT really about what you are giving is about what you gain! I thank God for all He is showing me and what is yet to come.

Even though I will share my blog and all of my friends and family will see it from Facebook, realize that I am not on there. I am really going cold turkey here.....I am loving Lent!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Love Letters

As we draw closer to Valentine's Day, many women are getting that downright giddy feeling of anticipation. "Is he going to send me flowers?" or  "Will he pick out a beautiful piece of jewelry?" or even, "I hope he remembers!"

Valentine's Day is a special day for many. It is the "official" day of love. I have a dear friend that said something years ago that made me see this holiday in a totally different light! I worked with a young man named Michael and he lived with his single mom and two sisters. They were and continue to be a loving, close knit family. As Michael and I were having lunch so long ago, it was almost Valentine's Day and I asked him if he was going to be doing anything special for his mom and sisters and I will NEVER forget what he said.

"I like to do special things for my mom and sisters all year. Valentine's Day is just a day on the calendar for loser guys that don't do nice things for their women all year long." I  had to admit, he was right. I do love Valentine's Day, mostly through my daughter's eyes....she lights up when she gets flowers delivered. Even so, her Papa does special things for her all throughout the year.

This week, I received a Love Letter a little early. I opened the envelope and it was a single sheet of notebook paper, handwritten, all in red ink and it is and forever shall be a cherished treasure. The first part of the letter was from my mother and it reads....(anything in parenthesis or capitalized is Mom's):

To My Baby Girl Julia Whom I'm so proud to say, "I'm Julia's Mom. Please always remember that! This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where you could read t everyday.YOU may not realize it Julia, but it is 100% true.

1. There are at least 2 people in this world that would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way. (many more)
3, The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you. (oh yes!)
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
5. Every night SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. You are SPECIAL and UNIQUE!
8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it. (Right?)
10.When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look! (A loving command from Mom)
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

God loves you Julia, and so does your Mom, very much. God Bless. Now start and continue to write. You have much to say and give through your writing.

And then at the bottom, yet another love letter:
Good morning Julia, this is God, Creator and Owner of the entire Universe. I will be handling ALL your problems today. I won't need your help. Ok? So go have a nice day.
Your Father God

After I finished reading this my heart was so full. All of the love that my mom has for me, she wrote out on paper. It means so much in this particular season of her life because mother is getting older and she tires easily, has arthritis and sometimes it's hard for her to write. I realize that there is NOTHING that I really want or need that could top what mother gave me for Valentine's Day.

I pick up my Bible and read and study each day because my mother FIRST did the same. I go to church and serve God because my mother did FIRST. The first LOVE LETTER I ever received was that little rainbow Bible placed in my hands with Jesus sitting on a stone with all of the little children  gathered around Him.

So, as Valentine's Day gets closer and closer.....many men will find themselves out searching for just the right gift and I know that their wives or girlfriends will love and appreciate whatever was chosen for them. As for me, I will read and reread this love letter from mother and when I see that red ink, I will think of Christ, shedding His precious blood for me. I will hug the Scripture closer to me....because It is and forever will be the greatest Love Letter ever written!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Teach Us All Lord

The majority of the time, I stay away from commenting on political issues...I have learned, especially after this presidential election, people can be VERY serious about their politics. The truth is, I couldn't get on Facebook even one day, for the better part of last year, without being bombarded with attack ads on both candidates and it always bothered me. The naive child inside of me just wanted to see a nice, clean well run arguing, just their individual platforms and then allow each and every person to go out and rock the vote!

Well, it didn't happen that way and I made the mistake of making a comment on a post and it caused what I considered an all out "free for all." So, I stepped away and have been very careful since then.

However, I find myself in a territory again that I don't enjoy visiting...but sometimes, it is a necessity. If I have learned one thing, I do not act or react based on MY own feelings. I do give the Holy Spirit full control though....a lesson that took many years to learn. Obedience to my God is way more important to me than how any human being feels or thinks about me. That being said, brings us to the here and now.

I was reading some posts on Facebook last night and as always, there are several thing posted that I just pass without even bothering to comment. (Holy Spirit at work again, let me tell ya!) But, then I come upon a picture that I see...and I continue to look at it and read the sign the man in the picture is holding. I struggle with what my soul is speaking to me.....but, I have also learned to "wait upon the Lord" because I have noticed when I shoot off at the mouth, I tend to make a mess of things. The sign the man was holding read:

"Don't spread my wealth...spread my work ethic."

I sat for several minutes after having read it and did a little inner battle with the Holy Spirit, because I just thought "God is on the throne....He can handle this." And then it just didn't go away.....that is how I always know that I am being prompted to write...and I never feel they are my words, but His!

Personally, I feel that this statement goes against EVERYTHING that I believe in. Before I get mauled to death....understand I am not saying for anyone to go out and give away everything that you have. I do get that people work very hard for their money. That said, we are not all given the same chances in life. There are people struggling with drug addiction. Do we know why? What is their story? Were they abused? Did they grow up in a home where drug use was an everyday occurrence? We have single parents living in public housing with children. Some are bettering themselves by attending college and working toward a goal, while others are trapped in the never ending cycle of poverty they were raised in. WHATEVER the reason someone is not as fortunate as me is a non issue as far as I am concerned.

You see, years ago, I was one of those women. I lived in public housing. I was on food stamps. I was on government insurance. I struggled to make ends meet. I had lost my job, my home, my car...everything. I was married at the time and my then husband had lost his job too. There were times that I took my little baby I had adopted and cleaned apartments that people had abandoned in housing, just to take money off of our rent for the month. For me, it was a "stepping stone." I had lived in a nice home, had a good job, worked hard and had a nice car. My kids had, up until that point, had a pretty easy life. I had EXPERIENCED first hand, what life could be. Sadly, others are not as fortunate.

As a child of God, I take it to heart when I read "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked," (Luke 12:48) I am assured that everything I have was given to me from Christ. We must always remember that anything and everything we have, we did NOT acquire it on our own. I hear so many people say "Oh yes I did! Through hard work sweat and tears....I earned every single thing I have."  I am not disputing that you worked hard....but as a christian, we are given gifts and talents. If you have a strong work ethic, GOD handed that down to you...maybe it was through your parents. Perhaps it was from another adult that took you under their wing....but YOU didn't get their on your own strength and merit alone.

Scripture also tells us that God loves a CHEERFUL giver. I love to give. I have no problem giving until it hurts. I was on the other side of having "plenty." It taught me to not only give, but to reach out to others that are less fortunate....and when we reach out brothers and sisters....reach out with your hearts. When we are really looking to help others...we will do it in a way that allows God's children, made in HIS image, to retain their dignity. We never should do anything for another human being for the sole purpose of shining among men...if you do that, you already have your reward.

Yes.....the sign in the picture "Don't spread my wealth...spread my work ethic" touched a very sensitive spot in me. Maybe this man will be moved by Almighty God and say to himself...."I am not going to wait for someone else to teach my work ethic...I am going to go out there and look for ways to encourage, build up and help someone that is less fortunate. I will teach them what it means to have a strong work ethic."

 “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  That is a beautiful Chinese proverb I have read many times over the years. It is very true. If I were to make my own sign and hold it up for the world to see, I think it would say this....wish I could take credit for these words, but the God I serve said it:

"The KING will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for ME!"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Let The Little Children Come

One of the complete and utter JOYS of my life began eight years ago when my first grandchild Layne Brianna came into this world. My daughter, at the time, was living in Germany and it was six LONG months before I got to lay eyes, not to mention hands and lips, on my beautiful little Laynie Bug, as she has become affectionately known in our family.

Since then, I have been tremendously blessed with eight more grandchildren and this coming June, I will be able to add yet another to make an even ten. I can honestly say that having grandchildren tops my list of "great happenings in this life."  It makes every single teenage moment you go through with your own kids, every eye roll, every grounding....any and all things you just did not think you would possibly survive with your OWN kids....worth it.

There is finally that moment when you think..."They are just never going to grow up or they are never going to get where I am coming from....and then they go and do the unthinkable....they bless you with grandchildren.

My daughter Ryan and I often skype so that not only I can see MY baby face to face...but those beautiful grandchildren of mine. Several weeks ago, I had to have a couple of round places above my right eye shave biopsied and I will be the first to admit, I was very self conscious about it. I waited patiently (well, maybe not patiently...but, I did wait) for it to heal. I stayed in and didn't go out at all.  Yeah, yeah..."Vanity thy name is woman." Got it!

At did heal. The scabbing came off and I was left with a couple of round pink areas. At least I could now cover it with makeup! I was beginning to feel pretty good about it. My daughter had seen me without the bandages during this time of healing, and she was very encouraging. However, I never had the bandage off while skyping...just didn't want my grandchildren to see it.

Ryan and I were skyping and little 3 year Emma Kaye (she was given her middle name after her very proud Grammy!) was sitting beside her mommy and ever so often she would say something to me. I had on makeup and my hair was fixed (and not just in a pony tail.) I was feeling pretty good. And then Emma asked THE question.  "Grammy, what are those things up on your eye?" My heart sank. I thought they were not so noticeable. I took a deep breath and explained to her what the small scars were and she smiled at me and then she said something that I will FOREVER remember because it melted this Grammy's heart....she said, "I wish I had two just like that Grammy."

Emma had a love so innocent and so pure and it ran so deep for her came from a place that we as adults, possibly never discover....that she wanted what I considered my "uglies" my "scars."  It didn't look hideous to her. She loved me and wanted what Grammy had. At THAT very moment, I realized that THIS is the reason God says "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  Children come from such a place of pureness. They love so deep and so unconditionally. They wear their little hearts on their sleeves. They LOVE the same way God loves.

God doesn't just want all our good....He wants to take our scars and our "uglies" and heal and restore. The other day while skyping with my little 3 year old granddaughter, God used her in a very special way to touch my heart.....those few sweet words she said to me...."I wish I had two just like that Grammy," went a long way in my healing....and not just my surface scars.

Thank you Lord....Laynie, Kenny, Zoe, Emma, Collin, Riley, Christian, Ava, Zachy and in June our new little granddaughter Mykah.....Let the little children continue to come to me!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

God Is Trying To Tell Us Something!

Living in a small town can be an almost magical experience. I am blessed to live in the little town of Erin....Houston County, in Tennessee. We have a lot of "Irish Pride."  Our Irish Festival is second to none. We have two traffic lights in our little town and they are a block apart. Everyone knows everyone. The little kids that are in elementary school now, have teachers that their parents grew up with. It is really idyllic.

Recently, our little town has suffered some mighty big tragedies. The first happened a little over a week ago. It will be a time I will forever remember, where I was, what I was doing. I just happened to be on facebook and see a new post "Prayers. Prayers. Prayers. I hope that there will be counselors for our babies."  Immediately my heart sank. Had there been another school shooting? We had just lived the last month or more, glued to CNN, hanging on every word about the Sandy Hook school shootings. This couldn't possibly happen in our small little town, right? I contacted the poster and she told me what had happened.....the unthinkable....Mrs. Elaine Hewitt, principal of Erin Elementary School had been shot along with her husband and they believed that this had come at the hand of their son. Their home had also been burnt to the ground. Father God, I prayed.....why?

The next news came a few days later. The phone rang in our home and it was for Ken. As they talked I overheard Ken say "I thought I had heard sirens earlier." After hanging up, he mentioned that there had been a wreck on Main Street. Then, yet again, another posting on Facebook....."More prayers." After receiving many more phone calls, we learned that someone well known in the community, Dr. Donnie Lewis had driven out from the bank and drove under a propane truck and died. Later that evening, he was on the news. His son cried as he remembered and shared things that made his father such a special man. More sadness. A loved one gone too soon. "Jesus, Lord of mine....I do not understand," I prayed.

Then I get a text a few days later and there had been a fire in the cafeteria at Erin High School....they would be sending the kids home early. My friend went on to tell me, "God is trying to tell us something. Houston County better wake up!"  After thinking on this a while.....I decided my friend is EXACTLY right! I do indeed believe He is trying to get our attention....but maybe in a bit of a different way than my friend was thinking.

Here is my theory.....I believe that we have a loving God. I believe that He was trying to tell us:

1." It is a heartbreaking loss for this community....a school has lost their beloved principal. Two daughters have lost both of their parents and brother in one day. The house that held so many mementos...all gone! Bad weather came overnight.....there was no school for all of Houston County that day! Your little town did not endure another Sandy Hook. I watched on as all of your community gathered at the high school and crossed denominational lines and sang to Me and prayed to Me! I am still on the Throne. I do not sleep! Every child in Houston County that attends Erin Elementary will be tucked in and kissed by their parents....I'm still a very present help in times of trouble!"

2." Dr. Donnie Lewis possibly had a heart attack or some other health illness that caused him to wreck...driving under a propane truck. Had that truck could have taken out an entire neighborhood. Your little town could have lost the bank, the funeral home, the shops, the homes in that immediate area. Dr. Lewis could have had one or more of his precious grandchildren or other family members or friends in the car with him. That didn't happen. He will be mourned and greatly missed....but, he is with Me now! Every person that was in that area, at that moment, walked away without a scratch. You all will be welcome to worship in any of the Houses of the Lord, that remain standing because the propane truck did not explode."

3. "Yes, there was a small fire at the high school in the kitchen and the sprinklers came on and ruined the lunch. Not one cafeteria worker was harmed. Every student walked out of that school alive. No burns. The ONLY thing that they left without that day was....a belly filled with school lunch."

So, it is very clear to me that God IS trying to get our attention. He is letting us know that He never promised us sunshine and rainbows for the rest of our lives. I cause My sun to rise on the evil and the good, and I send rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. What seems the loudest and the clearest to me is God is trying to make us HEAR....."I am here! You will never be forsaken! I have sent a Comforter for times such as these. Let Me be your refuge, your strength!"

Keep speaking Lord.....I will keep listening!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Going to the Source

I can remember so many teachings that my parents handed down to myself and my siblings over the years.....but, one keeps playing itself on the screen of my mind over and over today!

"Julia Kaye, there will ALWAYS be people out there that would love nothing better than to mess with your mind, cause much unneeded turmoil.....but you have to take them with a grain of salt. In one ear and out the other!"

If I have heard it once, I heard it thousands of times It makes total sense....until that annoying little fly begins buzzing around your head and just will not go away. If a person has any sense, they go in search of one heck of a big fly swatter.

The last couple of days have been such days for me. I have been looking for soothing. I have been trying to find that ONE that will stand up for me and tell a person off, preventing future confrontations. Yet again, (hanging my head right now) I admit freely.....I have looked in all the wrong places! While I do indeed feel wounded and a bit battered....I am NOT out for the count.

I picked up my "band aid" (Scripture) today and applied it....and it must have some antibiotic (sooting balm) with it also, because the "hopelessness" is lifting. God's Word never returns VOID. I read it. I study it. I apply it.

As I listened to Mercy Me's new song "The Hurt and the Healer Collide" I could feel the Healer working.....

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn't come from being explained
Jesus please don't let this go in vain
You're all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes it's rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take this heart and breathe it back to life
I fall into your arms open wide
We all have our days, our weeks, our moments. Some days it is something as simple as a snide remark from a person that delights in hurting another human being. Whatever it is, whomever it is always gotten "through" by the grace of God.
Scripture that comforted me today"
"To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust. O my God, Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse." Psalm 25:1-3
I do not pretend to be a Bible scholar....but what this says to me is simply this....."I got you Julia. You are my baby girl!"  Going to thank God for that and sit back and let Daddy handle it all!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Just Keeping It Real

Can I just say that there are days that I would LOVE to be known as anything or anyone other than A Pastor's Wife? Please do me a HUGE favor, and reread that first line.  I did NOT say that I hate being a Pastor's Wife. I did NOT say I wish I was married to anyone other than a pastor. I merely stated that there were times, I wouldn't mind being known as someone a little more exciting than "The Pastor's Wife."

I can hear the gasps as you read this....."Ohhhh no, she is another bored housewife!"  or "Something is going on that we do not know, she doesn't like being a pastor's wife."  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

This morning began as any other. I got up...had a cup of coffee, read my Bible and prayed. I kissed the air in the general direction of my husband.  I awoke a sleepy nine year old, that had NO desire whatsoever to be awakened. When it was time for school to begin....she started developing symptoms that ONLY arise a few minutes before or immediately following the beginning of school. During all of this, my husband, the Pastor, was preparing HIMSELF for the day that lay ahead of him

He would be attending his weekly Rotary Club meeting, where he is President. He would be eating lunch and having interesting conversation with many. He would sit quietly and enjoy whatever program the Rotary Club had planned for today. He comes home, gets to work on another project for another committee, club or organization he is a part of.....while, I struggle with the duties that happen to befall me.

While he has showered, gotten dressed and is looking great....I am still wearing last night's pony tail, no makeup and the most I have accomplished in the way of hygiene is....gargled with mouth wash and brushed my teeth. After all, I am going to be home, homeschooling a reluctant learner and fielding phone calls from those that wish to speak with the Pastor. I realize it doesn't sound like tough gig, but at times, it lacks a sort of luster.

I read all of the different posts my friends put on facebook....had a massage, joining my birthday boy for lunch, had a new grandchild and a ton of other things....sometimes feels that they are out living life. I have women that I admire that are out running bookstores, teaching, going to Bible studies, visiting other countries, away at writing seminars....I could go on and on, but seriously, it would not help the mood I find myself in.

I think the reason I find myself in such a funk today was after ten minutes of ocean study with my daughter, the excitement went away...the thrill was gone. I got a phone call and the person on the other end said "Oh you are JUST the pastor's wife....well, where can I reach him?"

Today I, like so many others I am reminding myself that I am more than a Pastor's Wife. I am more than a mommy or a grandmother. I am more than the woman that is growing more impatient by the day for all of the "boo boos" to heal and have my "real self" to return. I am someone who was born in the image of God....who was given talents and gifts to be exercised.

I guess after all, I am just me. I am not always the happy, bubbly person most folks expect a pastor's wife to be (that is what I always use to think!). I have the days where I grapple to give myself a definition, searching for something to define me other than being "his wife" or "Nevaeh's mom."  Today.....I am a homeschooling mom married to a pastor that is feeling a little alone. It really is ok, folks! I am allowed to have days like that.

Join me as I pray for ALL pastor wives. Pastors tend to get a lot of pats on the back. They are seen on a much more regular basis than their wives. "Keeping the home fires burning" is not always the easiest of jobs....but, we do it. I will continue doing it. I admire all of the balls that my husband juggles on a daily basis. I think that the major difference between a pastor and his wife  is the fac that he juggles in front of a lot of people.....a pastor's wife, juggles behind closed doors! optimism and bubbly personality will return. But for today....I am just keeping it real!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Humility.....A Lost Art?

Sometimes I really hate it when I am wrong! What I detest even more is when God convinces me of it for hours on end, until I am willing to let go of anger, resentment and a myriad of emotions that can at times, flood my soul.

Yesterday was such a day for me. For years, I have been plagued by what can only be described as an evil spirit inhabited in an earthly body (not my own), and I am happy to say, for the most part, I have been rather blessed to be able to ignore and pray my way through such unpleasantness. But, as we all know, the prince of darkness is always skulking about, just looking for a little crack that he may slither into and begin his work of destruction. There is NOTHING that Satan loves more than to bring division in families, set friend against friend....or just take that one person that has made it their life goal to make others lives as miserable as their own.

It is a fact that the last three weeks have been rather trying times for me. Three surgical procedures in the same amount of weeks. Healing. Awaiting tests to confirm or dismiss the presence of possible toxins. Any one of those things can deplete a person of faith, hope and/or a good attitude. The Bible clearly tells us, "Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," (Eph 6:12) After a trying day yesterday, I am more convinced than ever that there are indeed people with evil spirits walking among us and I am equally sure that there are angels also walking among us as yet again, the Bible tells us...."Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2)

We may not always know what an "angel" looks like, because the Bible tells us we could be hanging with one, being kind to a stranger and just possibly passed some time with an angel. Sadly, we all seem to be able to pick up on what evil looks like. We see it daily in people's character. It is shown to us through actions. In the opening, I shared with you that someone with an evil spirit has relentlessly set an agenda and tirelessly worked it for years.....and yesterday, for JUST a moment, I gave in to it and decided it was high time that I threw a little of the evil back. (Oh no, NOT the preacher's wife! I told you, I am HUMAN!)

The fact of the matter is this....the momentary "high" of finally letting go of my animosity was fleeting. I lay awake in my bed most of the night praying....chatting with my best God. He didn't admonish me! He didn't try to shame me. He just spoke ever so gently to my soul. He understood what I have endured for the last several years. If anything, He comforted me more and more as I prayed to Him.

By the end of my hours long prayer, I realized that I would never be on a level playing field with this person that has and continues to reek havoc and destruction wherever the wind carries them. How can I?  My thoughts are above....they are not of this earth. I don't have an agenda. I strive to please God. I want to embrace humility. It is NOT about ME! It is and forever will be about my Lord and Savior. So, what do I do in the meantime? I suit up. I put on my armor. I pray deeply for this person. Christ took away my license to judge. If I am to truly be humble....then it all begins with me. I, with God's strength, begin to focus on changing me!

I was wrong yesterday to engage someone that obviously is a tortured soul. But it is more than my admitting I am wrong. It is not about thinking less of myself, it is about thinking less about myself.

This is what I know. I am a child of the King. I have royal DNA flowing through my veins. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I have everything that I need to face each day. GREATER is He that is in me, than he/she that is in the world.

I will NOT waste time engaging hate, bitterness, anger.....I will love everyone. I will pray daily for those that are less fortunate and when I say this, I mean those that do not have the peace that surpasses all understanding. I will be ME. The me that God has made....and by His love and grace, anew each day, I will continue to seek humility.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Facebook Saved Me From Acting Up

Well, it has happened! I know this is going to surprise so many of you....but it has happened and while I feel some shame....I feel more relief than anything else.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was...time for my Bible and coffee. I DID indeed get the coffee, but instead, (here comes the shame) I reached for my computer instead. That alone did not bring about shame, because let's face it....I can read the Bible online, right?

The shame came about when my husband, whom I love with all of my heart, was faced with unpleasantness first thing this morning. Women, we all know that when our husbands are upset or hurt, we feel the same. When he came into our bedroom, ever so calmly (something I love about him and something I resent because I lack it) to discuss this with me.... faster than a speeding bullet, I started spouting off at the mouth. He listened to me with his ever present self control until finally I exhausted myself and he left the room. (He totally understood my frustration by the way!)

I began instant messaging my daughter in Ohio, the one person that can make ANY situation seem funny. I had actually posted something on facebook and she was a little curious. She let me talk.....roles do reverse as we age. She brought so much comic relief and then mercy of all mercies happened. Someone that lives quite a distance from me reached out.....this person spoke words of wisdom and understanding.

After speaking with my daughter and this other wise soul, I scrolled down and started reading all the things posted on my facebook wall. The FIRST thing I found was from my boy, Joel Osteen:

"When you allow what someone says or does to upset you, you’re allowing them to control you."

Bang! Right between the eyes. Shame was starting to rear its ugly head....and then immediately following it was a post by Joyce Meyer....and we all know how much I love and repect her:

"Humility requires discipline of the tongue."
But, I am not humble, Lord, I whisper in my little, teeny tiny voice!  To which He replied without missing a beat....."Because you haven't tamed that tongue yet Julia!"

And then, I came across a beautiful picture that Pat Hatfield, a dear friend posted that really made me STOP and talk to the Lord"

"I will let Christ put my broken pieces together today.
I do not need to fear anyone or anything.
I will refuse to let anxiety rule over me.
I will let Christ control my life.
I will trust Christ completely.
I am unconditionally loved.
I will let my worries go and
I  will sing praises to HIM who gives me strength.
Thank You LORD!"

I realize that social media can sometimes cause all sorts of drama and silly things.....but, there is so much encouragement and love posted daily. Today, I thank my Ryan, my miles away buddy, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and Pat Hatfield for inspiring me and reminding me that God can handle anything that comes my  way! Facebook actally saved me from acting a fool today!

And yes....tomorrow morning, reaching for the Bible first.....Facebook can wait!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Town Pain

My family and I have been blessed to live in Houston County in Tennessee for the last five almost six years. My husband is a Methodist Pastor and usually they are sent to a church for a certain amount of time and then it is time to move on at some point.

When we arrived, our little girl was four years old. Being the youngest of five children and the ONLY one left at home, we thought it was important that she be around other kids her own age. We enrolled her in the Pre K program at Erin Elementary School. It was a very exciting, yet nervous time for this mommy. Not only had we just moved to a new home she wasn't accustomed to, we were going to take her to a school and leave her where we knew not one person. She looked so tiny to us as we walked out the door....she was smiling and waving!

Ken and I were able to meet the principal that first day, Ms. Elaine Hewitt and she assured us that our baby would be fine. I can remember calling a few times to check on my little "baby" just to make sure all was well. We were blessed with the teachers that Nevaeh got in kindergarten, Ms Jessica Lyle, first grade Ms Cindy Tomlin and then 2nd grade, Ms Kim Black....who, while we love every one of these ladies, will remain the most special teacher ever in our book.

Sadly, we received the news yesterday, that Ms Elaine, her husband and son, had died in a house fire. The news has reported that "foul play" was suspected. While all of our hearts break to lose such a fine, caring principal.....parents are scrambling to explain "why" to their young children. How do we do that, when we do not even understand? Our child has been home schooled for the last two years but we have still gone to the school to teach Jr. Achievement and it has given Nevaeh, our daughter, a chance to see her friends and all of the staff that we love.

Every morning as I scroll down my facebook page reading each post, pausing to pray where requests have been made...and even where they haven't....I thank God for my "small" problems. I have been feeling a little sorry for myself lately....surgical procedures that have left me in pain....yet, not fighting for my life, yet many are. There's so much pain in so many lives....pain that is irreversible. My heart reaches out to each and every one of you, wishing that the love I feel could someone make the pain disappear.

Losing our elementary school principal has shaken our small town. It has broken our hearts. It has left hundreds of parents at a loss as to how they will comfort their children. It has left all of the precious teachers that got up this morning and prepared for school, dumbfounded as to WHAT they will say, which words  they choose to make their "sweet little babies" as Kim Black referred to her students, understand this loss.

I have no easy answers. This is what I do know.....small towns are closely knit. Everybody knows everybody! We share in joys. We share in losses. One's victory is every one's's loss is every one's loss. We will come together. We will pray. We will hold each other. We will hold our children a little closer than before......most of all, we will take our small town pain and graciously endure it.....together!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gaining Perspective...Face Down

I will forever be astounded by the different methods God uses for my "teachable moments." Even more interesting, is when and where those moments happen.

Yesterday, I had a simple surgical procedure done early in the morning. I had just endured a painful shave biopsy on Friday and my poor face was still in the process of to say I was NOT looking forward to this particular procedure is a gross understatement.

I was having what I thought was a small cyst removed from my upper back. It had been described by my doctor (Dr. Creekmore in him and his staff!) as a simple "in and out" procedure. Funny, they always make it sound so "piece of cake."  As with every doctor visit, I had a case of nerves....not overwhelming.....maybe I was a little battle fatigued by this point, but just wanted to get it over with.

I am called back by a nurse I choose to call "Marvelous Mia." She hugs me...which stills my jitters a bit. I am handed a gown and told to put it on, back open (of course, is there any other kind of hospital gown?) and then I wait. Marvelous Mia returns and I tell her that my little girl, who happens to be with us in the waiting room and has a doll named Mia, pronounced upon seeing my nurse, that she was pretty like her doll! We talked dolls for a minute.....she told me all about a doll she had when she was younger named Cynthia! Marvelous Mia was calming me by talking dolls and I don't think either of us KNEW she was doing this. Enter the doc, stage left and I am told to lay face down, turning my head to the left.....away from him.  I am now in a completely vulnerable position. I am face down, back exposed and I am handing over my trust to Dr. Creekmore. After numbing me up, he gets to work. I really do not FEEL anything that he is doing, but ever so often, I will hear him "hmmm" or "wow" and then total silence. He continues to work away and then he tells me, "This is a big cyst." As he works, I try to think of ANYTHING other than what he is doing, just to remain calm. I recall scripture. I sing hymns. I feel God's presence....and then, he has the cyst. He shows it to me!

I am certainly no doctor and can be squeamish at times. But, what he had described as the shape of a dumbbell, suddenly was right in my face held by what looked to me like tweezers. It was larger than I had imagined and looked NOTHING like I would have pictured. Just a glob. A "big ole mass" was the doctor's description. I thought it was cool to finally get to see what had been causing the bump on my back as it continued to grow over time. Had I left it alone, it would have gotten bigger and bigger. I had known for a couple of years that it was there and growing. My fear kept me from going and having it removed. But, as the doctor announced, "we got it all," and started to stitch me up, I must have let out a huge sigh and sniffed a bit, because the doc asked if I was ok. I assured him I was, and he wanted to know if I was crying. Not at all, what he heard was relief.

As I lay in bed last night, the numbness wearing off and beginning to feel the pain of the incision, I started thinking about how  symbolic this surgical procedure was to life in general. So often, I carry burdens that start out rather light and as time goes on, get heavier. When I choose to live in blissful denial, it doesn't make anything go away.... still burdens. After a while, I have to stop and admit....these burdens are heavy. I feel as if I grow weaker and cannot continue to carry them. At that time, I fall flat on my face and cry out to my most vulnerable moments  is when He can get to work. Like laying on the hospital bed, not able to SEE exactly what the doctor is doing.....I have put my trust in the surgeon's ability. Ever so often, I feel a twinge of something, almost like a bee sting....not excruciating, but also not the most comfortable. When I flinch, the doctor immediately gives me more medication to soothe the tender area. Not once does the doctor leave my side. He just continuously works at removing that "big ole mass." Had I chosen not to seek out the doctor, show him the bump on my back and then ask for his help....I would still be walking around with that thing inside of me.

I cannot count the number of times in life that I have waited until I had gone as far as I could go, trying valiantly to carry my load, when at last, I know, I need help. I call on my Father and now, He begins to clean out the mess. I am always aware that there will be pain and it will be worse before it is better.....but, it will get better.

 His ways are always higher.....His teachable moments come at the oddest times.....sometimes,  I gain the most perspective when I am laying face down, vulnerable, exposed. Those are the times that my Great Physician starts the healing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Praying For My Well Knowns

Praying is an everyday occurrence for me. I usually pray the moment my eyes are can be something as minuscule as "Lord, get me to the coffee!" I pray throughout the day. I will look at a picture of one of my grown children and ask God's protection over them. I think of my grandchildren, each at different times and I pray blessings over them. I find it so easy to pray for the people that I love. I find it a no brainer to lift those up in prayer that I know so well.

What about those that I do not know? I see people I have never laid eyes on each and every time I enter the doors of Walmart. What are their stories? I have NO idea. Should I pray for them? I have found myself doing that more often these days.

In 2013, I decided that I was going to make GOALS for resolutions. On my list, I have 7 goals so far (if I think of a few more, it's okay to add, after all, it is MY list!) and #4 is praying for my "Well Knowns."  I am sure everyone is asking "What is a well known?"  Ahhh, I am so glad you asked.

A "well known" is a person that the world may know. I do not know them personally, but they mean something to me! Oh, a celebrity?  Ok. You are allowed to use that word if you will....but, I do not wish to call them that because to ME....they mean more than that. I have never been in awe of celebrities. I have never secretly wished to live their lives. I have never thought I'd stand in line for hours and hours just to get close to a celebrity.

This year, I have taken 5 o my well knowns and made a goal to pray over every area of their lives. The people I chose are close to my heart through their music and the books that they write. We all have our favorite musicians and authors, actors and actresses. To some, it may seem a little odd to pray for people that are obviously doing very well.....they may not seem to need your prayers! WRONG! Without making you wait any are my 5 Well Knowns and how I pray for them!

1. Mandisa.....Mandisa is an amazing talent...she sings so beautifully and her songs are so inspiring. She is REAL. I love to listen to her in the car with my 9 year old as we drive. To hear your little girl singing the song "True Beauty" at the top of her lungs and then be able to explain it to me after....priceless. I admire her honesty with us all about her weight issues and how she has worked so hard and succeeded in her weight loss attempts all while being in the spotlight. I pray for God to send her the right man! I pray for her vocal cords! I pray for her friendships! She's my girl!

2. Mercy Me.....They have been bringing it for years. They can rock a song with so much feeling! I pray for each by name.....learned all of their names, if they are married. I pray for them as they travel. I pray for their kids. I pray for their wives when they have to keep the home fires burning....I pray that they will top "The Hurt and The Healer" because it is the BEST song they have ever done!

3. Wanda Brunstetter,,,,My favorite author! She writes the most amazing Amish fiction. She is a Christian writer and she NEVER disappoints. I cannot even begin to tell you which of her books are my favorite because as I read each one, it is better than the last. She has the gift of words and she very quietly uses them to glorify God. She is doing what I have a deep desire to do.....write! She is also a Pastor's wife. Her books are my pleasures in life. When I get a quiet moment, I steal away and read one of her books. I pray for her continued creativity. I pray that God continuously overflows her mind with great story ideas!

4. Casting Crowns.....they are up there with Mercy Me in my book! Their songs are always so thought provoking. Through music, I am forced to look at ME!  "If We Are The Body" was the first song that hit me right between the eyes...not to mention the heart. "Can Anybody Hear Her?" another favorite of mine! Recently, I have fallen in love with "Praise You In This Storm."  I pray for the exact same things for them as I do Mercy Me. Keep making the music and touching hearts is always in the prayer!

5. Karen Kingsbury.....she is another favorite author. I love her stories. I fall in love with her characters. The Baxter Family became MY family. She has THE GIFT of words. I pray over her health. I pray for her husband and children. She is another I pray for creativity. I pray she ALWAYS writes.

So, these are my well knowns! They do not know me. I may never meet them in person and that is okay! My prayers for each of them are flooding heaven's gates daily. They are special to me. They have touched me deeply in one way or another.....the very least I can do for them is PRAY!

For my well knowns....thanks for years of entertaining me. Thanks for reaching my heart in ways you may never be able to comprehend until we meet in heaven!

Who are your "well knowns?" 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Healing The Boo Boos

It seems that I have been spending a lot of time in the offices of doctors and hospitals lately!

 Recently, a dear family friend had her six year old son taken by ambulance to a Children's Hospital in Nashville with a pretty serious illness. Little Jacob has faced a number of health challenges since he was born. His mommy, Becky, who just happenes to be my best friend ever's daughter, has taken it all in stride with a strength that I admire greatly.

I got up on Wednesday morning, and like most other mornings, I read my Bible and prayed and then got on Facebook. Becky had posted that they had gone on an ambulance trip to Nashville and she was "one scared mommy."  My husband and I immediately started figuring out how to work our day so that I could leave to go there and be with Becky and Jacob. Needless to say, it all came together and I was there and able to spend the day, sit through the surgery with Becky and see a very happy little boy after the surgery.

Yesterday, it was my turn to go and have a simple surgical procedure done. I woke up with nerves, and NOT of steel. I drank my coffee, read my Bible and found so much peace and comfort there. I had the luxury of having my husband there with me.....just a few days earlier, my sweet friend Becky wasn't able to have her husband with her, he HAD to work as so many do, to provide for their family. I silently thanked God that Ken could be with me.

Once I was back in the surgical area and alone, well, without Ken.....I felt such a beautiful reassuring presence of Christ with me. The doctor told me he wanted me to close my eye while he was giving me shots around my eye,,NO PROBLEM! I could feel my body shaking....and as I closed my eyes, I imagined my Father God, like any Father that dearly loves His little girl, standing at the head of me, softly stroking my hair and saying "It's okay honey, I am here." As the doctor worked away, my heart kept whispering "Don't leave me Father....stay right here."  Again....assurance, "I'm right here sweetie."

After my little procedure, I thought of Jacob and I remember him saying several times tearfully, "I miss my daddy." I can totally relate. When I am feeling distant from God, I miss my Daddy too.  But yesterday, as I lay on that little stretcher and had a doctor shaving away layer after layer of my skin, I was so comforted to have my Daddy so close at hand....soothing my fears, calming the inner storm. I called on Him, and as always, He was there!

Just as God is healing my little Jacob's "boo boos," He never stops working to heal mine!