It’s the Little Things

If you had asked me six months ago if I’d get excited about finding a HUGE bottle of hand sanitizer under my sink, I’d have said, “you’re crazy! A little thing like that causing me to be excited?”.

But lo and behold, that is exactly where I found myself recently – doing the happy dance over a HUGE bottle of hand sanitizer. Amazing what a pandemic will do to you, and to your values.

I pondered that for a moment, and realized that’s my silver lining in all this – getting excited over the little things in life.

Hand sanitizer, TOILET PAPER, anti-bacterial wipes, restaurant delivery services, grocery delivery services, curb-side pickup, face masks – just to name a few. There have been numerous happy dances at our house.

Seriously, though, it IS the little things in life that mean the most. A phone call, not a text, but an actual phone call with a family member or friend. A card sent or received. The smile of your 92-year-old mom, as you and other family members window sing “Happy Birthday” to her. The smile of a child waving to you on a Zoom meeting.

We mustn’t take the little things for granted. We have seen how quickly life can change, and most of us realize we will never go back to what life was like before COVID19 became part of our vocabulary.

While we can’t go back, we can create our “new normal”. We can and will be happy. We can and will enjoy life. We can and will laugh again. How? Our Heavenly Father will lead us and guide us into our new chapters.

Make the most of what you have. Enjoy the little things in life.

See you next time…

 

And Our Journey Continues….

I pray all of you and yours are safe since our last visit.

This is just a short note to share a few thoughts.

This will be the first time in most of our lives that we’ve been unable to attend our church during Holy Week. The week is still Holy, God is still God, and Jesus is still risen.

Let us come to Him with open hearts to receive the blessings He so generously bestows upon us.

Prayers for peace, love, and comfort during these strange times we find ourselves.

See you next time…

 

Our Journey Home

Good morning.

I had planned on blogging my faith journey for the next little while, but that was before life as we know it changed so drastically.

My devotion this morning was Ezra 8:21-30. Some of the Israelites were returning to Jerusalem after being captive in Babylon for 70 years.

For some reason, this resonated with me this morning, and it seemed to speak to me of our current condition. In verse 21, Ezra calls on the people to humble themselves before God. Then he prays for a safe journey for all of them.

I realize we are not traveling 900 miles like they were, but we are sure in uncharted waters. We are certainly not “living life as usual”. We could become very stressed, worried, scared; and many of us may be, in some degree or other, in those emotional places.

The ONLY CONSTANT in our lives is God. Can I get an amen?

So, back to the Scripture of this morning, let’s humble ourselves before God. Let’s pray for wisdom to fight and defeat this enemy called COVID-19. Let’s pray for the Peace that only God can give during this time. Let’s pray for our leaders, and for one another.

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; and the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

See you next time…

Where I’ve Been to Where I Am

The first stage of my journey with God began on  February 22, 1953, if what I’ve been told my entire life is true: “We took you to church when you were two weeks old.” Needless to say, I don’t remember that sermon. However, being in church from practically “day one”, has made a profound mark in my life, and definitely helped shape me into who I am today.

On October 4, 1959, at Log Cabin Baptist Church, Macon, GA,  I made my public profession of faith.  For those of you unfamiliar with that term, “public profession of faith” means that I made the conscious decision to be a follower of Jesus.  I accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, and made Him the Lord of my life. I walked down the aisle of my church during the invitational hymn and made this decision public to the entire congregation.  I was six years old at the time.

You may feel that six is too young.  Even though I didn’t understand everything (and still don’t) that was involved in my decision, I understood enough to know that God loved me and sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins.  I loved God enough to accept His Gift.  From this humble beginning, my faith began to grow and mature.

In those days in my community of faith, every question had a nice little pat answer, and there was a REASON FOR EVERYTHING that happened.  There were NO gray areas at all in life – things were black or white, wrong or right.  Oh, yes, and all of the rules applied to everyone, with no exceptions.  I was taught that people who didn’t believe exactly the way our community of faith taught, were wrong and couldn’t possibly be pleasing God.  As I grew older, I never questioned any of these teachings, and I allowed myself to be programmed to believe this way, too.  I felt that God was lucky to have ME on His team.  I felt that if all Christians would be like me, the world would truly be a WONDERFUL place – somewhat like the Garden of Eden before the fall.

By the time I reached high school, I was a full-fledged, dyed-in-the-wool Christian publican (that is not RE-publican).  I was holier-than-thou, and I had absolutely NO tolerance for anyone who dared to disagree with MY religious beliefs.  I had allowed myself to become consumed with other peoples’ ideas and conceptions of God.  I was more concerned with what those people thought about me than what I thought about myself, what I thought about God, or what God thought about me.  What I possessed at this point was nothing more than “second hand” faith.

Over a period of time, I began to question some of the ideas that I had been taught.  I began to realize that my beliefs were somewhat inconsistent.  While the following aren’t ALL the inconsistencies that I found, or all the questions that I had, they will give you an idea of what I mean.

First of all:  If God accepts us, as I had been taught and as the hymn implies “Just as I AM”; then why were some people shunned by the church because of the length of their hair or the clothes they wore? (Remember, I grew up in the sixties.)

Secondly:  In Sunday school I was taught the song “…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”; yet the church leaders were scared silly that a Black person might attend one of our services.  That actually happened in the my home church when I was in my twenties – a Black lady walked in, sat down, and one of the deacons asked her to leave.  How Christian was that?

Thirdly:  I was confused when, during my teen years, some Christians tried to do away with the “Good News for Modern Man” version of the Bible.  Seems they were upset, because among other reasons, Luke Chapter 2 of that version said that Mary was “pregnant” instead of “with-child”. Guess what?  Mary WAS pregnant…with our Lord.

As a result of my questioning, I came face to face with reality–I DIDN’T HAVE A FAITH OF MY OWN.  The faith I had was “borrowed” from other Christians and didn’t fit me at all.  It was as if I were playing dress-up in my mother’s old clothes.  I was no longer satisfied with my “second hand” faith.  I realized that I’d never gotten to know who I really was, nor who my God really is.

I was no longer holier-than-thou, but was scared and unsure of myself and of my faith.  I had no testimony anymore. I wasn’t sure if I believed what I believed because I REALLY BELIEVED IT or just because someone TOLD me to believe it.

So began the second stage of my Christian journey…. the stage that got me to where I am now.  I read the Bible for the first time from cover to cover–and NO I didn’t understand it all (still don’t), but I did get a few insights.  For the first time, the Word of God came alive to me.  I realized that some of the verses I had previously been taught to justify certain beliefs had been taken out of context.  I found out that you can prove/disprove anything you want to, and find some verse somewhere to back you up.

I say all this to not only give you some insight into who I am, but to also let you know it’s okay to question what you’ve been taught. Even  what you’ve been taught at church. God wants us to question and wants us to dig into the Scriptures to find out Who He is and who we are in Him.

The next few posts will be a continuation of my journey in an attempt to help you begin your journey, or stay the course on the journey you’ve already begun.

See you next time…

 

 

Daily Miracles of Life

Hi y’all!

It’s been awhile, and for that, I apologize. I’m committed to doing better in the future.

Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans, and that has happened to me in recent months. Yesterday, however, something happened that I feel compelled to write about. I have no picture for this blog – that’s probably a blog no-no, but it is what it is…

I hear with hearing aids, and have to change the batteries weekly.

Batteries of any kind are dangerous if swallowed, and hearing aid batteries are tiny and can be easily swallowed by small children or animals. I’ve known this since 2007 when I began wearing hearing aids, and I’m extremely careful to never leave the batteries where they can be a danger.

Yesterday, as I changed my batteries, both of the old ones dropped to the floor. All three of my dogs were in the room.

I, of course, panicked and screamed for them to get away, all the while searching the floor for the batteries.

The hound dog was looking for something to eat, and licking the floor near where the batteries had hit. I saw one of the batteries immediately and retrieved it. The second battery was apparently playing hide-and-go-seek, and had hidden itself quite well.

Through my panic and tears, I ushered the dogs from the room, as I prayed that none of them had found and eaten the missing battery.

Now, some may think God is too busy to care about things like this, and that I should never have prayed.

Scripture says that God knows the number of hairs on my head. (see Luke 12:7) If that’s true, and I believe it is, then God cares about ALL the things in our lives – even when we drop two tiny batteries on the floor and our pets are nearby.

As I walked back into the room, I saw the battery in full sight even though I hadn’t seen it before. A miracle!

You may say that I didn’t experience a miracle yesterday, and that’s your prerogative. However, for me it was a miracle, and I fell down before God and gave thanks.

Miracles happen each and every day. Some big, some small – all miracles. May each of us be aware of, and thankful for, the miracles that happen in our lives.

See you next time…

Always Look to Make Sure There Isn’t a Frog in Your Toilet

As we go through life, we often leap before we look – or at least I found that to be true in my life. Sometimes, I suppose, it’s because we think that we have all the facts, when in reality we only have part of the facts. Or, perhaps, it’s something that we want so badly, we really don’t want to KNOW all the facts, because if we really knew the facts, we’d use our better judgment and not do it.

Several years ago, my husband, Matthew, found an example of this in a most unusual place – the hall bathroom of our house, also known as the reading room in some circles. One night in the wee hours of the morning, he got up to visit the reading room. As was his custom, he flipped on the light so he could see.

What to his wondering eyes should appear? A FROG! It was in our toilet! Yes, a real, live frog peering up at Matthew as if to say “Hey buddy, why’d you turn on the light? I’m trying to sleep here!” Of course, Matthew yelled for me to come see. Then he ran and got the digital camera (because no one would believe this otherwise), and there we stood in our hall bathroom in the middle of the night with a frog in our toilet as the subject of our photo shoot!

After the photo shoot, we had to figure out how to help Mr. Frog (okay, it could have been Ms. Frog, but I never got close enough to determine that little detail) out of our bathroom and out of the house! We somehow coaxed him into a plastic cup (which was NEVER used again) and Matthew took him outside to live happily in the grass and hop away to his heart’s content.

To this day it is a mystery as to how he got in the toilet in the first place, but you can rest assured that on my nightly visits to the reading room, I now flip the light on to make sure he hasn’t decided to make an encore!

The same should be true of decisions we face in life. “Flip the light on” to be sure there isn’t something uninvited awaiting you before you leap.

However, in my old age I’ve decided that sometimes it may be better to just leap and worry about the frogs later. Some people refer to that as a leap of faith, and that really sets well with me. I’ve been waffling with this subject for years, and I obviously based on what I’ve just written I’m still struggling with it to some extent. But hear (read) me out.

Not to be preachy or anything, I am a person of faith – and by definition that means I don’t know the future or have all the answers. I just believe that decisions I make should be based on the best information I have, plus the feeling in my soul as I commune with God.

Sometimes no matter how much research we do, or how long we commune with God, there may be a frog or two in our “toilet”, also known as our future. We can’t know the ending to everything. Take this job, go to this school, marry this guy/gal – all of these decisions require faith. Faith is not knowing what’s around the corner and walking down the street anyway.

We can’t let our fear of the future freeze us from making decisions, and we can’t make decisions without doing some research. “Flipping on the light” to peer as much as we can into the future, by praying and communing with God, and then moving forward in faith.

See you next time…