flashthoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ

IN JAILI spent my first day in jail Monday, January 26, 2015. The difference between me and the ladies already inside? I would get to leave at the end of the day and they would not. I was a first-time participant in an event called ReNew Hope through the We Care Program. (Those names are in a different color so you can click on them and learn more about each)

I was nervous, not scared, as I did not know what to expect. I only knew I wanted to be able to go in and encourage these ladies, share the love of Jesus with them and, hopefully, be a small blessing to them. I’m still not sure if that happened or not, but God certainly used them to encourage me, share the love of Jesus with me and bless me beyond measure!

Monday, I told the other ladies on our team, since this was my first year to participate, I didn’t want to talk with anyone “on my own”. I was not even sure if I’d be going back on Tuesday, depending on how Monday went! Needless to say, I went back on Tuesday and again on Thursday. I didn’t go Wednesday because I was going into a different place Wednesday night and wouldn’t have been back in time. More about that later….

LESSON #1

I am so accustomed to using the Bible app on my phone, I didn’t even think to grab an actual Bible on Monday before I left, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to take my phone inside the jail! So, all the other ladies on our team had Bibles and I had nothing 😦 I thought, ‘Oh well, no big deal, I’m gonna be pairing up with someone anyway, so it will work out okay’ and it did. Almost immediately, ladies were talking with us and they were so excited we were there. Some grabbed their own Bibles and they were noticing many of the ladies on our team had lots of notes in their Bibles. They asked, “Is it okay for us to write in our Bibles?” I remember telling more than one lady, “YES! Of course! Write in your Bible. Make yourself all kinds of notes as you’re reading and the Lord is showing you things where you’re reading. Write it down!!” As I was saying this to different ladies over and over, I felt the Lord asking me, “So, why don’t YOU do that anymore?” Yes, I was definitely convicted of not using His actual love letter to me, His Holy Word, the way I once did. I went home Monday night, got my Bible out and put it in a case to carry with me Tuesday. On Tuesday, He reinforced His message to me about His Word when we were allowed to visit with the ladies in what is called the lockdown wedge. One of the ladies there had just received a brand new Bible from the Chaplain and she was holding on to it for dear life. She had it clutched to her chest and had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy and proud to have a nice Bible. She said she had never had one like it before and she didn’t even want to put it down. That scene touched my heart in a very deep place! Since my experience there, I now carry my love letter with me to church and I am beginning to use it at home, too, as I once did, instead of the app. The app on the phone is nice and I do still use it – but I’m getting back to using my “hands-on” Bible the way I should!

Tuesday we were able to visit with ladies we had not had time to visit with on Monday. I love how God always connects us with exactly who we need to connect with. I was able to share a very, teeny-tiny part of my testimony with one of the ladies. Another volunteer shared her testimony and I felt I needed to share that one small part of mine. I knew God was prompting me to share with her because she was experiencing many of the same things I have experienced in past years.

LESSON #2

Something else I learned on Monday is GOD CHANGED MY NAME! Our team leader was sharing the story of Zaccheus and how God knew he was in the tree and called him by name and told him to come down because He was going to eat with him that day. She told them the wonderful thing is God knows their names, too, and He knows exactly where they are. I was thinking about that Monday night after I got home and God showed me, while He did not change my name from what my parents had given me when I was born, HE most definitely changed it from my nickname back to my given name because I am no longer the person associated with that nickname. I am becoming the person He always intended me to be and that is why HE changed my name. You can read more about the meaning of my name change in my story here.

Wednesday was the day I planned to stay home so I could go into Holman Prison Wednesday night for the service there. For those who don’t know, my husband is an Asst. Chaplain at Holman through the We Care Program. Some of the other wives had chosen Wednesday night as the night to attend service there so, of course, I wanted to go the same night 🙂

OH! I have to add this side note here: One highlight of Wednesday had absolutely nothing to do with ReNew Hope – well, in a round-about way it did, I guess, since it happened at We Care Headquarters – but I was able to see a friend I haven’t seen in a LONG time and it was so wonderful to see her! She has been and still is in the process of fighting breast cancer and all that entails, so say a prayer for her – God knows who she is 😉 She is doing GREAT, by the way, but all prayers are appreciated 🙂

Now – back to the evening service at Holman. What an experience that was! There were TWELVE visitors to get checked in – five in the music group, two that were speaking, wife of one speaker, three wives associated with We Care and the photographer/videographer – and it was very different from how the ladies team had been checking in at the jail! We all signed in on the paper log at 3:46 p.m. By the time the Warden had entered all the information and fingerprinted us all in through the computer, it was 5:02 when we were receiving our visitor passes and the service started at 5:30. The men were already in the chapel waiting for service to begin. As we walked in, several of the men were in prayer. They were praying for the service and for individuals. We went in and sat on the front row as we were asked to do. Sitting there, listening to the men praying also touched a special place in my heart. Hearing one man in particular praying for individuals and calling them by name, well, it brought tears to my eyes. Going through our day-to-day lives, we can find ourselves thinking the men and women in prisons and jails don’t matter. We can almost let ourselves believe they are of no concern to us, they did something wrong and they are where they should be. We couldn’t be more wrong! Father, forgive me, if I ever start to feel that way, and remind me and others these men and women are someone’s sons and daughters, possibly husbands or wives, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They are PEOPLE with feelings and emotions and regrets, just like I have every day and you know what? Jesus died for them the same way He died for me and I need to remember to love them with His love the same way He loves me!

The service was great and the time was over before we knew it and it was time to go home – or at least back to We Care Headquarters for another delicious supper prepared by those wonderful We Care ladies!

Thursday, back at the jail, was very nice. We were able to re-visit ALL the ladies we had seen during the week including the ones in the lockdown wedge. It was such a blessing to speak with them again. By Thursday, I also knew I would definitely be doing this again next year and, in fact, had even begun to think of others that I want to invite to join us!

It was a week of growing in the Lord and listening to Him and allowing Him to change the way I see a lot of things. While I shared two of the biggest lessons He taught me this week, there were many other lessons He taught me, also. Some may not be quite as ‘big’ as others, but certainly just as important. It most definitely made a change for the better in me and I pray I will continue to be teachable.

If you are interested in getting more information about how YOU can be a volunteer next year, be sure to click on the links in the first paragraph of this post or, if you want to ask me any questions about it, please do so. Feel free to leave a comment, if you are interested or have questions. I would love to speak with you about what a rewarding experience it is!

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YOU'RE INVITEDSomeone asked me, on our team page, what I had done to end up with a $1,200 plus party and this was my response. After I finished it and read it over again, I felt it was something I needed to share with everyone to show how faithful and true God is. All praise, honor and glory to Him, my Father! Here is my response to her question:

That is the real BEAUTY of this order – I did not do ANYTHING – GOD did it ALL!!! I am TOTALLY serious when I say that, too. I had tried everything I knew to get a “home” party booked in March (2013). I had a catalog party going but that was it. I was getting parties booked for April and May but couldn’t seem to get anything for March and I, basically, just said, “That’s it. I’ve tried everything I know to do and I don’t have any ‘tricks’ left. I guess I just won’t have a home party in March, Lord, and if that is what You want, I’m okay with it because YOU put me in this business in the first place.” And I truly was okay with it. But God….I was sitting at my desk Sunday afternoon, March 10, working away and my phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it because I didn’t recognize the number – then remembered that I better answer it because my number is “out there” on a lot of things now and no telling who it might be. So, I answered it and it was a lady that I had never met before. She was saying something about Thirty~One and I thought she was wanting to place an order (as I had just finished up an ‘online’ party) so I was reaching for an order form. THEN I realized she was saying she wanted to HAVE A PARTY!!!! This lady ordered from someone back in November that had done a catalog party for me and now she wanted to have a party – a HOME PARTY – and the kicker? She wanted to have it SATURDAY!!! As in SIX days later Saturday. (Not much time for preparation or hostess coaching or anything!) I first said, “Well, I can do an evening party because I have a wedding to attend that afternoon.” She couldn’t do an evening party because they were having a singing at her church that she had to help with. I was looking for other dates we might could do it but she was saying Saturday would be the ONLY day in March she could do it as she would be going out of town for work. So, I thought very quickly and realized GOD had this woman to call me and I was NOT about to say no to a party that He, so obviously, was sending to me! LOL So, I told her okay and we set it up for 2:00 Saturday afternoon. She and her husband stopped by that evening on their way to church to pick up her packet and I didn’t see her again until the day of the party. It was the most CHAOTIC party I’ve ever done – people in and out, constantly coming and going – I was EXHAUSTED when I left there, but not because of anything I’d done – I was tired just from watching THEM – LOL – I did the “Mary Poppins” type of party and that was it. She had a little over $900 in sales when I left on Saturday and she told me, “I will have it up to $1200 by tomorrow afternoon because I want three of the Hostess Exclusives and I want them for FREE!” When she called me the next afternoon, she had a little over $1400 in sales.

So, I know that was a VERY long answer, but I HAVE to give ALL the credit to God and I felt I had to share the whole story for anyone reading this to understand WHY I say that and so they know, as I do, WITHOUT A DOUBT, that it most certainly was ALL GOD. Yes, I had to do my part – but HE is the One that gave me the party and HE is the One that blessed me for being obedient (taking the party He sent me instead of attending the wedding).

As I said before, HE is the One that put me in this business and He has blessed it beyond anything I could ever think or imagine. I know I am doing my part, but, honestly, I feel like I am just sitting back watching Him work – it is a WONDERFUL feeling 🙂

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Also, since it took me so long to get around to sharing this testimony on my blog, there has been an update to this story. The Hostess that had this party for me sent me a text about a week or so later wanting to know about becoming a consultant! We set a date to get together so I could share everything with her and then we set a date to get together and get her enrolled. She was the second lady to join my team. Since that time, which was only two weeks ago today, God has sent four other ladies to me. Two have joined my team, one I am meeting with this afternoon to get her enrolled and the fourth one I have to call today to set up a time to share everything with her. All this just days after I had prayed and asked God to help me remember this is HIS business and He will help me go wherever He wants me to go. I had started to get a little anxious about some things and had to remind myself to give it to Him and let Him do what He wants with it. I simply said, “Lord, if You want me to grow my team and go farther with this, then it will happen in Your time – not mine”. Then I forgot about it. I think He gave me the answer to that prayer when He sent every one of those ladies to me. You better believe that now I am DEFINITELY going to be ‘actively’ recruiting every time I can. Nobody can say YES, if I never ask. So, if you want to know more about what I’m referring to, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to share 🙂

So thankful to Him for allowing me to do this and be a part of His continuing plan. He is SO good to me!

Love y’all!

NO APOLOGIESI offer no apologies for anyone that comes in contact with me or is contacted by me today. I am having one of those days where I am feeling overwhelmed by the love the Father has for me! I’m reminded, too, that as much as He loves me, He also loves those that we, as humans, tend to think of as ‘lowlifes’ or ‘good for nothings’. Here on earth we put people in different “statuses”; but, God – He loves us all the same and sees us all the same. He loves each one of us so much that He sent us a very precious gift, His Son, to die for us so that we could live with Him forever! The only difference He sees is those who have accepted His gift to us or those who haven’t – yet! He still loves us all the same, though, whether we have accepted His gift yet or not. He still wants each one of us to eventually accept His gift. 

HOW TOTALLY AMAZING IS THAT???? It absolutely blows my mind and is the reason for the tears that were slipping from the corners of my eyes this morning as I was thinking about it while driving to work. They weren’t sad tears. I really don’t know what you would call them but I like to think of those kind of tears as the overflow of His love for me. I feel His presence and His love for me so strongly that I can’t hold it all inside and it comes out in the form of tears. I wish I were poetic enough to describe how I’m feeling when it’s like this, but either I’m not or the words just haven’t been created yet, so I have to do the best I can with what I have to work with.

My prayer today is this: If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, don’t wait – do it today, this minute! You are not guaranteed another breath. He loves you as much as the Father does, He is standing right there at the door of your heart, knocking and knocking – He is just waiting for you to say, “Come in”. He is a gentleman and will not force His way in; but, know this, He also will not knock forever. There will come a day when He will determine that you have so hardened your heart that He will leave you alone, as you seem to want. I can only say that I pray that day doesn’t come for you. No matter how much you may think you want nothing to do with Him, the very minute you let the wall down and open the door to invite Him in, you will feel this wonderful, awesome, overwhelming love and you will be forever grateful that you let Him in.

I’m reminded of what I read in an Anne Graham Lotz Bible Study that I did several years ago. This is how she put it: He is the Savior who has redeemed me, the Lord who rules my life, The King who will return for me and He is the most important man in the UNIVERSE! He is the God man. Jesus Christ is THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN THE UNIVERSE FOR EVER & EVER & EVER! And the most important man in ALL the universe for EVER & EVER & EVER thinks that YOU are so important that He gave His own blood to redeem you. He gave His life for you. How can you feel unimportant? You are significant to THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN ALL THE UNIVERSE.

I also offer no apologies for the turn this blog seemed to take. I truly only wanted to share with everyone how overwhelmed with His love I was this morning; but, apparently, He had other ideas. Trust me, these words came straight from Him. As I was reading over what I had written, I was, once again, astounded at what He does when we allow Him to use us.

One more thing before I go – if you decide to accept Jesus as Your Savior and invite Him in, not only to your heart but your entire life, I would love to know so I can pray for you and with you. Just leave a comment here, a simple “I accepted Jesus” and I will definitely be praying for you.

Love y’all so much!

What am I thinking? Taking my car to have it serviced without an appointment? Really? I’m gonna be there all day! I better take plenty of things to keep me busy. – These were the thoughts running through my mind as I was preparing to leave for Daphne this morning. So, I packed my computer, daily devotional, notebook, note cards and was ready to go. At the last minute, I thought “I should take The Story with me and re-read the chapter for tomorrow’s message.” Now I know why He wanted me to take it – read on…

Reading Chapter 15 again – I must confess I was mostly ‘skimming’ over it until I got almost to the end. I was still ‘skimming’ when suddenly it seemed He opened my eyes to what I was reading. As if He was asking me, “Are you even paying attention to what you are reading? Don’t you see this is where you live today?” Read the following and see if you agree. Please note that anything in italics is what I have added because I truly think the substitution could be made – see if you agree. I look forward to reading your comments about this.

Taken from The Story – Chapter 15
Hosea 4:1-2; 5:4, 7, 14-15; 8:13b-14; 9:7; 14:1-2

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites {Americans},
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed.”

“Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.

They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
He will devour their fields.”

“For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
Then I will return to My lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek My face – in their misery
they will earnestly seek Me.”

“Now He will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt.
Israel {America} has forgotten their Maker
and built palaces;
Judah has fortified many towns.
But I will send fire on their cities
that will consume their fortresses.”

The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel {America} know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.

Return, Israel {America}, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to Him: “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”

So, I ask you – Israel or America? What do you say? I don’t see how anyone can read these words and not recognize this is the America we are living in. Do we want it to continue this way? Don’t start playing the “Blame Game” and pointing fingers at politicians or your neighbor or anyone else – we are each responsible for our own individual actions and reactions. When each individual makes the choice to give HIM control of their life, that is when change will come. I need to focus on my life and whether or not I am truly allowing God to have control or if there are some things that I am still trying to control myself. When He shows me areas where I have not given complete control to Him, then I need to immediately take steps to release those to Him also. I can only do this for me – only you can do it for you. Oh what a difference we will begin to see if we will begin to do this. Don’t you agree?

Oh and if you would like help in giving Him complete control – check THIS out 🙂

Are you ever frightened or startled by a loud noise or sudden movement? I know I have been in the past but I hope, one day, to get to the place where I’m not. Sit back, get comfortable and let me explain what I’m talking about.

You all know by now that I attend Celebrate Recovery. You may not know, however, that we say the Serenity Prayer every time we meet. Last night we were given a challenge. I was actually given this challenge nearly a year ago but was just beginning to attend CR at that time and didn’t take the time to complete it. What was the challenge? To stop and REALLY take a look at the Serenity Prayer and come to truly understand how powerful it is and what it means to me. Do a “Serenity Check-Up”. As soon as the challenge was given, the thought went through my head “I need to do this during my quiet time in the mornings until I get it finished.”

So, I sat down this morning to get started and was immediately at a loss as to how to answer the very first question: “What does the “serenity” that you are asking God for look or feel like? Describe it in as much detail as you can.” Really? Is this thing serious? I had absolutely NO idea how to answer this question and was going to skip it and move on to the next question; but, the Holy Spirit nudged me and seemed to ask, “Why don’t you pray about it?” So I did. I asked God, “What DOES serenity look like?” All of a sudden, I knew I was supposed to look up the word – I mean, DUH! How can I know what something is supposed to look like if I can’t even define it to myself or anyone else? Serenity is one of those words where I tend to say, “Oh, you know what I’m talking about. It’s hard to explain in actual words, but you know what I mean, right?”

Then, before I could look it up in the dictionary, this happened……

BOTH my cats decided to plop themselves right on top of my notebook causing me to make a choice:  Shoo them down off my desk or enjoy the moment for however long it may last. I chose to enjoy. Patches (the white one) is pretty much ALWAYS ready for attention; but, Slinky has ALWAYS been the “typical” independent cat. However, she seems to be changing a little lately and seems to want  more attention.

As I began to pet them and they were purring their sweet little purrs, it dawned on me what a perfect picture of serenity this is. Yet, at the same time, I knew, if there was a loud noise (or ANY sudden noise) or something as simple as a door opening, their ‘serenity’ would be GONE. The cats jumped down and I looked up the word serenity. Here’s what I found: The quality or state of being serene. Yes, that led me to look up the word serene. Here’s what I found there: 1a – Clear & free of storms or unpleasant change, b-Shining bright & steady / 2 – Used as part of a title (His Serene Highness) / 3 – Marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose (rest) or quietude. Synonyms of Serene are: Arcadian, calm, hushed, peaceful, placid, restful, quiet, still, stilly, tranquil

Truly my cats had been peaceful and utterly calm. But as I stated above, I knew the slightest disruption to the quiet moment would cause their ‘serenity’ to be gone in a heartbeat, which ‘dominoed’ my thinking to me and my serenity. I can be very peaceful and calm, feeling God’s presence all around me until there is a loud noise (most often in the form of a trial) or something as simple as Him opening a door to lead me somewhere new. Suddenly, I am no longer serene but frightened.

NOW I can answer the question! Now I KNOW that when I ask God to grant me serenity, I’m asking Him to help me get to the place where I’m not so easily frightened by the new or unexpected. I’m asking Him to help me get to Philippians 4:7 as a way of life: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Something has been lurking in the back of my mind all day today. Earlier I attempted to post it as a status on Facebook but, as I began to type, it began to grow. So, I left it alone, hoping I would have a chance to get back to it later in the day. Well, it is definitely later in the day (10:00 p.m. to be exact – lol). Even though I know what is going through my mind, I am still struggling with trying to put it into words. I decided to just start typing and ask the Lord to pour the words out. I think the best place to start is at the beginning….

I accepted Jesus as my Savior many years ago, when I was a young teenager. I’ve ‘celebrated’ many Good Fridays and Resurrection Days (Easter) since that time. Yet, when I woke up this morning, I was experiencing feelings that I do not ever remember having before. I felt such a sadness and I didn’t know why, at first. As I went about getting ready for work and thinking about it being Good Friday, it dawned on me. It IS Good Friday to me and many others because we know that, even though this was a day of great suffering for Jesus, He rose again and lives in Heaven with His and our Father and is preparing a place for us. But my mind just kept thinking about the day it actually happened all those years ago. The despair those people must have felt as they saw Jesus hang on the cross and die. Yes, they had been told by Him that He would “rebuild the Temple in three days” but they didn’t understand what He was saying to them.

I realized I was experiencing a true grieving – for what those early Christians must have been going through on that day and for the sacrifice and true suffering that my Savior, Jesus Christ, went through on that day all because He loved me! In my head, I know what Jesus did for me, how He suffered for me and died for me, and it hurts my heart to think of what He went through – all for me. (He did it for YOU, too, just in case you are wondering.)

A few years ago when the movie, The Passion of the Christ, came out, I managed to sit through it. There were a lot of places (and I mean a LOT of places) where I had to close my eyes or turn my head or just look down. I was surprised that I made it through the movie because I have never even been able to attend Easter plays at a church because it bothers me so much to see even an extremely light re-enactment of what He suffered for me!

However, I attended a local church’s presentation last Sunday night, The Passion Play, for the very first time. They have been doing this for many years but I’ve never gone before because I know my nerves can’t handle it. It quite literally makes my heart feel as if it is going to burst right out of my chest – and what is presented is extremely mild compared to what He must have actually suffered!

As I said earlier, I know in my head that He suffered but, even though we can read about it and some can do their best to ‘re-enact’ it, I wonder if my heart will ever truly be able to comprehend it? I don’t think it will because I think it really is too horrific for me to handle.

Maybe all my feelings today were brought on because of the play I attended last Sunday night. Maybe they were brought on because I have been drawing closer to Him this last year through CR (Celebrate Recovery). Maybe I’ll never really know WHY or WHERE they came from. I only know that all day long today I have felt a sadness that I could not explain, one that I’ve never felt before, yet it wasn’t  for anything that had happened in ‘my little world’. This sadness, or grief, was for all those people so long ago that truly did not have the same assurance that I have today. They weren’t able to say, “It may be Friday but Sunday’s on the way” because I don’t think any of them knew (ahead of time) what was going to happen on Sunday.

In The Message Bible, Matthew 28:5-10 is translated this way: The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed. Now, get on your way quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there.’ That’s the message.” The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” He said. They fell to their knees, embraced His feet and worshiped Him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to Me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell My brothers that they are to go to Galilee and that I’ll meet them there.”

So it makes me wonder, was it a Good Friday for them or was it just plain awful? They didn’t realize the joy until Sunday. What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about this? I’d love to hear them, if you do. And now I’m going very “old school” because there’s a powerful song that Carman sings and I’d like to share it with you. If you’ve never heard of Carman or never heard this song – listen to it now – you won’t regret it. If you know who Carman is and you HAVE heard this song before – listen again anyway and remember that even though it’s Friday night…….Sunday’s on the way! Praise the Lord!!!

This past week was a really hard week for me, filled with so much raw emotion! I may as well have been surrounded by lions and tigers and bears! I really don’t even know where to begin trying to sort it all out. I guess, if I really think about it, it all started on Dec. 29 when I saw this post from an old family friend on facebook: All Prayer Warriors…please please please pray for my nephew.  He was in an accident this morning and needs your prayers.  Please God, hear these prayers and magnify the healing. Her family and my family used to be pretty close when we (kids) were all younger, so this really hit close to home! (Side note: I was just reminded as I started writing this that Dec. 29 was also the birthday of the sister that posted the prayer request). Of course I immediately began to pray for her nephew, Dusty, and even posted a blog asking others to pray for him, too. You can read that post here. I can’t even begin to explain the URGENCY that filled not only my heart but my ENTIRE being to pray for Dusty and to get as many other prayer warriors praying as I could possibly get. There were days of good news and not-so-good news. Then after our church service last Sunday, January 29 (exactly one month after the accident), I found out that Dusty had gone to be with Jesus earlier that afternoon.

Another factor contributing to my many emotions was, two weeks ago I was asked if I would be willing to share My Story in large group at CR (Celebrate Recovery) in two weeks and I said I would. MAJOR step for me because I can write and let people read what I wrote all day long and it doesn’t bother me – but to have to actually READ what I wrote in front of people is a very scary thing for me. So, I was already feeling a sadness from Dusty’s passing and I was extremely nervous about sharing my story Tuesday night in front of everyone. No big surprise here, but the Lord helped me get through it.

The next thing that had my emotions in such turmoil is going to sound like a very minor thing to most people and, had it happened at another time when my emotions weren’t already so raw, I don’t think it would have had the same effect on me. However, on Wednesday, just before Mom and I left to go to Dusty’s service, I got a notice in the mail that the bank where I have my account, RBC Bank, is going to be changing to PNC Bank on March 5! Since PNC is not going to handle changing all the direct deposit information for their customers, I will have to notify my employer – State of Alabama – of the change and that will result in my direct deposit being interrupted for about two months! More raw emotion in the form of aggravation and exasperation just piled on top of everything else.

I was so honored that I could be at Dusty’s service on Wednesday. How hard it is to understand how an entire church of people can be filled with so much grief and sadness yet at the same time be filled with joy and gladness! I was never given the privilege of actually meeting Dusty on this side of Heaven but how wonderful it was to hear his pastor, family and friends tell of what a fine, Christian young man he was. As much as I, too, felt grief and sadness for his family and loved ones, I also felt much joy and gladness in knowing that I will get to meet him one day on the other side of Heaven.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, right before I left work on Friday, the news was reporting about a Mobile Police Officer being stabbed by a prisoner and that the prisoner had taken the officer’s gun and car. By the time I got home thirty minutes later, the suspect had crashed the car and was hiding (either under or in) a house and had shot two more officers. The news continued to stay on this story, instead of going to regular programming, until around 7:00 p.m. You can get more information on this awful tragedy by checking out Fox 10‘s website. The officer that was stabbed, Officer Steven Green, did not make it and the suspect did not make it out alive either. This just added more feelings of disbelief, hurt and compassion to the week.

I’m reminded of the message from last Sunday morning – Where is God in all this? HE IS RIGHT HERE WITH ME – and, if you’re His child, He’s with you, too! Here’s a question I wrote in my notes from last Sunday morning – How would I respond to situations if I TRULY realized that God is with me even though the circumstances may not show that? Do I tend to get bitter in bad situations or do I make the best of it, KNOWING He is with me? (Psalm 23:4 / II Corinthians 4:16 Genesis 50:20 / Romans 8:28)

I didn’t too well this past week in remembering that as often as I should have. I am, however, glad that He has reminded me of it today as I was working on this post. He reminded me that He has it all under control – even the paychecks – and no matter what happens, HE is with me and I can rest in Him. I have to remember this other note from last week’s message, too: Sometimes instead of taking away the pain, He gives me the promise of His presence. There’s that word again – PROMISE – my word for 2012, which is why I bolded and underlined it. And, no, I DON’T believe in coincidence.

I don’t know if this post was for anyone but me today. It has helped me sort through a lot of things, though, and I am grateful that He reminded me of His presence. In my humanness, it is so easy to forget that He is always there.

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If you want to see what having a pure heart for God can do for you, read the following that was posted by Dusty’s mother, Dee Propst, on her Facebook wall today (Monday, Feb. 6, 2012) around noon (posted here with her permission):

 We prayed for GOD’S WILL to be done in the hospital. We prayed for God to heal Dusty. We prayed for God to heal Dusty completely and leave Dusty with us. We prayed for strength. We prayed for love, forgiveness, we prayed and God gave us miracle after miracle, after miracle. God is good to us. God showed us love through all of this. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Son of God, is in control of everything we do in life. Dusty was borrowed from God 21 + years ago. Jesus needed him back, so when God gets ready for us we will join them in heaven. God is in control of life. God answers prayers, maybe not the way we want or understand, but we have to realize God’s plan is perfect. We accept God and His mercy. We will worship, praise, honor, and give thanks to God because He is Awesome and is in control of all life’s storms.

 
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It is only by the grace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that she is able to say those words and truly mean them. If you would like to leave a comment of encouragement for her or let her know how her words ministered to you here, I will see that she gets it.


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