flashthoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Love

christmas-every-day-i-wishAfter reading my devotions this morning, as I do every morning, I began to write in my prayer journal. I say it has turned into more of my “thanksgiving journal” than my prayer journal because, most days, I’m simply thanking Him for various things. Lately, most of my actual prayers are not written – for a few different reasons. This morning, however, turned out to be a little different. Oh, it started out the same – my usual “Good morning Father! Thank You for waking me this morning” then I wrote the words “Christmas Eve” and, after that, I really didn’t even know what I was writing until I finished and read back over it. I felt I should share it and I hope it will touch at least one person’s heart and/or life. I am going to simply share exactly what is written in my journal:

Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the day of Your earthly birth – when You chose to put aside Your glory and Your Heavenly home to come and dwell among us AS one of us! My mind is hard-pressed to even BEGIN to comprehend the depth of Your love for ME! There are no words and, even if there were, I don’t know that I would be able to get them down on paper. I feel so inadequate and extremely unqualified to even try – so I pray and I ask You to help me live my life in a way that portrays and conveys what there are no words for – a love with no explanation – a love that can not be explained – a love that only You can give! I want my life to be a life that points others to You and honors You in a way no words can and a life that brings glory to Your Name! Without You, I am nothing and worth nothing; but, WITH YOU, I am unstoppable!

Help me to share the TRUE gift of Christmas every minute of my life – every second You give me breath; for I can not even take a breath without You filling my lungs with air! Help me to remember every day I have is a rare and precious gift FROM You and how I choose to use it is my gift TO You. I want to always be able to give You a lovely gift at the end of every day and, without Your help, even that isn’t possible.

My heart is truly overflowing this morning as I look back over this past year and remember all the wonderful “gifts” You have given me:

  • time spent with family & friends
  • growing love from & for my husband
  • a daughter making her way back to You
  • FREEDOM from my fears

and so many more! With You in my life, I truly can have Christmas every day, as can anyone else!

Thank You for all You have spoken to my heart this morning and, for all I have asked this morning, I ask it in the Precious, Holy Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth! I love You 🙂

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!

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 🙂

I went to church for Celebrate Recovery. Mom went to the funeral home for the wake of the wife of a friend of ours that we used to go to church with. So, I’m in church, singing along with the worship songs and someone taps me on the shoulder. I turned, expecting it to be someone from church needing me for something, but there was this guy that I’ve never seen before. So, my mind is trying to process who he is and why he’s tapping me on the shoulder (all in the space of about a millisecond) and I hear him say, “We’ve got your Mom at the hospital.” Let me just take a second here and say to any men that might be reading this – NEVER start a sentence like that to someone! LOL He went on to say, “She fell and she’s ok but she’s at the emergency room.” See, guys, what he SHOULD have said FIRST was “She’s okay but your Mom fell and she’s at the emergency room.” So, needless to say, I immediately left church and went to the ER to be with Mom.

When I got there she told me what happened. She was leaving the funeral home and, instead of looking down as she was walking like she always does, she was looking up at the cars to make sure she went to the right car. There was a car very similar to hers parked right beside her and she was making sure she went to the right car. That’s why she didn’t see the parking lot curb and she tripped over it. Apparently, just as she fell or right before she fell, a nurse had pulled into the parking lot and parked. Mom said before she could even think about trying to get up or anything that nurse was right there, helping her and getting her situated the way she needed to be. Another couple was there very quick also and was helping her. She said God just had people all around helping her. They brought a chair outside for her to sit in and the nurse told her that the cut on her hand would definitely need stitches and that she may need some in her forehead, too. The couple that had come to help told Mom they could take her to the hospital or they could call an ambulance, whichever she wanted. She said that, if they were sure they didn’t mind, she’d rather just have them take her so she could go on instead of having to wait for an ambulance to get there. Although, she jokingly told them at first that if her glasses weren’t messed up she could just get in her car and drive herself! LOL Turns out that couple were the ones that owned the car right next to Mom’s that looked similar to hers! So she didn’t even have to walk far to get to their car. They took her to the hospital and the lady stayed with Mom while her husband came to get me.

It was a little after 7 when I got to the hospital. I took over holding the gauze to Mom’s head so the lady and her husband could go ahead and leave. Oh – and this lady also works at Baptist Hospital but in Pensacola, not the one in Atmore. She wasn’t a nurse though. Her name was Vanessa and her husband’s name is Mike. He works at EscoFab and apparently goes to Grace Fellowship but I’ve never met him before. You can be sure I will be looking for him Sunday, though! What nice people they are! The nurses name was Nora but that’s all we know. Sure wish I knew her last name and how to get in touch with her to thank her for what she did for my Mom, but I’m not worried about it. God knows who she is and I’ve asked Him to bless her in a way that I would never be able to and I know He will 🙂

The people in the emergency room were all very nice and treated Mom wonderfully! They cleaned her up as best they could – you know how head wounds bleed really bad even if the wound isn’t all that bad – and there was blood everywhere. The doctor, Dr. Sharp, checked her over good and then they took her to have x-rays and a cat scan done just to be sure everything was okay.

She came back from the x-rays and cat scan and then just had to sit there and wait til the doctor could get back to her to stitch up her head and her hand. He got her head stitched up first – 10 stitches – and then moved to work on her hand. He wasn’t quite sure how he was going to get to it because it is on the side of her left hand where she was trying catch herself where it was cut. He got it figured out and the nurse was standing at Mom’s head, cleaning up where he had put the stitches in and getting ready to put the dressing (bandage) on it. While she was cleaning up Mom’s head, my friend Beth got to the ER. She came and sat with us because she was going to take me to get Mom’s car, once we got Mom settled at home. When Beth and I walked back in where Mom was, I noticed the nurse wasn’t there and I was wondering where she’d gone. Next thing I knew she was back and was behind Mom again, WASHING HER HAIR! Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty – WOW! Her doing that also helped keep Mom’s mind off the doctor stitching up her hand.

All finished and ready to go home – at around 10:00 or a little after – and we were heading out of the emergency room when the nurse (Michelle) that had been helping the doctor made the comment about not living here. I asked her where she lived and she said “Loxley”! I told her that’s where my sister and my baby brother live – turns out she knows my baby brother! It is indeed a small, small world we live in. I told her I would be sure to tell my brother how good she treated our Mom. (And then I promptly forgot to tell him when I called him this morning to tell him what had happened! LOL)

We got Mom home and then Beth took me to the funeral home so I could get Mom’s car and bring it home. Poor Beth had no idea she would be going home SO late last night, but I sure do appreciate her generosity and willingness to be of help. Also want to mention that there was another friend waiting in the emergency room waiting area when we came out last night – Lounette was there to make sure I had a way to go get Mom’s car once I got her home. I truly appreciated that, also.

Neither Mom nor I could go straight to bed when we got home so we were up for a little while. Mom went to her bedroom around 11:00 or a little after and I was finally able to get in bed a little after midnight.

Hezekiah didn’t get to go to bed with his “Mommy” last night and I think he missed her 😦

I think he may be laying “paws” on her hand and praying for her – what do you think? 😉

It was truly a long night, but we are so thankful that God placed so many AMAZING people in my Mom’s path that were so willing to help, even though they didn’t know her at all! As for everyone working in the Atmore Emergency Room, that we had any dealings with last night – Dr. Sharp, Michelle, Jessica N – they were ALL just FAB. U. LOUS!

Before closing, I also have to add that Mom thinks it is quite funny that her foot doctor’s name is Dr. Dull (no kidding) and her doctor last night was Dr. Sharp! Too funny!

Love y’all!

Letting go – I didn’t think I had a problem with this. Seriously, I didn’t. I’ve heard people talk about how hard it was to ‘let go’ of their children when they had to take them to that first day of school but I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Probably because I’ve always had to work so I never had the privilege of being able to stay home with my little one – I was used to having to say goodbye in the morning and not see her again til late that evening. Even when she graduated and went to college two hours away, I didn’t really think of that as having to ‘let go’ either. I mean, it was only two hours away and that’s really not that far in this age that we live in. Not to mention, we had web cam and could ‘visit’ pretty much any time anyway.

I think instances like that is what gave me the false belief that I didn’t have trouble letting go. God, however, has been revealing something much different to me lately. I’ve had to reevaluate some things this year, I thought due to finances, but I’m realizing that was just God’s way of making me take a closer look at things. For the last couple of years, I have volunteered at several women’s events and last year He even allowed me to attend two events as an attendee and not a volunteer. I know He used all those events to stretch me and give me the opportunity to allow Him to slowly move me in the direction He had planned for me. I didn’t see it then; but, I am beginning to see it now. Because He slowly brought me to where I am today, I am more receptive to what He has in store for me. Had I not taken the opportunities He gave me to grow, I know I would never have been able to even think that I could do what He is asking me to do now.

What does all that have to do with me not being able to ‘let go’? It seems that I got ‘comfortable’ working at the women’s events and, in looking back, I think it made me feel ‘accepted’. Something I’ve never felt that much, as anyone who has read my story knows. I am beginning to see that my not being able to volunteer at the events this year was simply His way of showing me that I need to let go of that now and move on to the other things He is calling me to do. As I was cleaning and reorganizing my desk yesterday, I kept coming across different cards and other things I had collected from these events. Things from people I don’t even really know; yet, I believe I kept hanging on to them simply because, in some weird kind of way, it made me feel someone out there cared about me on some level. Yes, I know, I am very strange. The Lord continues to show me just how much I have still, unconsciously, been trying to find acceptance – somewhere, anywhere – it seems I still long for that ever-allusive acceptance. I began to recognize this more and more as I was cleaning and I began to chunk cards, notes, etc. in the trash. It seemed the more I put in the trash, the lighter and freer I began to feel. I could not believe how freeing it was to LET GO!!!

It seemed that with each thing that went in the trash, He brought to my mind something or someone who is close to me and allowed me to realize I AM accepted – and accepted for who I am, just the way I am. And yet, the main thing He made me realize was this: Even if I was never accepted anywhere by anyone, it really isn’t that big of a deal, after all. Why? Because I KNOW that HE LOVES ME and HE ACCEPTS ME just as I am – flaws, scars and all, and He will always be here for me.

The really neat thing about that? HE IS HERE FOR YOU, TOO!!! No matter what you may be going through, no matter how unlovely you may feel or think you are, no matter how worthless you may think you are, you MUST remember this one thing – He would not have given up His life for you unless He loved and cared about you. You ARE special! You ARE accepted! You ARE loveable!

I’m reminded of the words that Anne Graham Lotz shared: 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 and EVER and EVER and the most important man in ALL the universe for EVER and EVER and 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.

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. ~ Hebrews 6:18-19

This is going to be my shortest blog post yet. Something has been on my mind today and I want to share it with you all. I know what the word PROMISE means in the dictionary and in the Strong’s Concordance. What I want to know is what does it mean to YOU? When you hear the word PROMISE, what does that say to YOU?

I would love to hear some discussion on this. Would you please click below where it says LEAVE A COMMENT and tell me what the word PROMISE means to YOU? This could be very interesting.

Love y’all =)


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