By Betty Gibbs
I hear a resounding shout. "Amen, the elections are over!" But not all is well in America. We remain divided. What concerns me is the extreme that people display when things do not go as they planned. Or as they hoped. The Bible states it accurately. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick. But a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 NLT
For many, according to the election numbers, their dream has been shattered. For a multitude of others their dream has been fulfilled. The hearts of the first group are recognizably sick as violence seems the method many have chosen to numb the pain. Or at least express the anger of unfulfilled dreams. For the second group, the initial exhilaration has been replaced with the same alarm and fear that the first group feels. Do you find this an amazing consideration? I do. Each side now fears the aftermath. What is coming next? I find this incredibly fascinating since all voted their heart dream. The personal dream each of us has the right to choose. Now similar feelings reside within us all.
I will just leave those thoughts with you to consider. What is coming next? With almost everything that affects us personally, how we choose to respond will determine the quality of our life moving forward. I am giving myself time to investigate my feelings, examine my thoughts, evaluate my choices, and spend a portion of each day praying for God's guidance.
When people entrust me with their stories, and bless me with their friendship, I take seriously the responsibility of seeking God before I write or speak. This post is meant to encourage you as well as challenge you. I'm challenging myself as well. We are in this together, you know. This morning I read a Scripture that resonates within me. It is His Word that brings the peace I seek. It will be His Word that remains steady long after one political season ends and another begins. We may not receive the unmitigated truth from people and politicians, but we can count on the unfailing truth of God. We can trust Him with the election results. We can trust Him with our life!
"Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all." Proverbs 13:12 NIV
Love and blessings!
Guess what? In the future we will have the capability of offering videos. Live. Right on the blog. Can you see it? David & Mary Ann cooking in the kitchen. Or maybe Sara. Or maybe you!
I'm here today updating files before migrating all content over to WordPress. This month has reminded me of my beginning days as a graphic designer in the 80's. I was hired (thank you Donna Robertson) then began pretty much teaching myself QuarkXPress and Photoshop. No wait, I do remember having Judy show me a few things in Freehand. Sorry I cannot recall Judy's last name. She was fun and helpful, then tossed me to the winds in order to test my wings when she moved away. There were four other greenhorns in "the pit" with me and we helped each other learn. Ange was our awesome Production Director and we were together almost twelve years. Great, great times with a wonderful company.
Fast forward to 2016 and I am teaching myself WordPress. Hence you are continuing to endure the delays. I am now being guided by new and amazing people at Restored316. This group of very talented women design beautiful feminine themes that I will be incorporating. I'll tell you more about them later, but for now I would recommend them to anyone desiring to begin a career in blogging. They will guide you every step of the way.
All for now. Going back to creating something beautiful.
By Betty Gibbs
When my sons were in school, Sundays occasionally produced this conversation -
This leads perfectly into my thoughts today on prayer. If we're too busy to pray, we are too busy! Prayer isn't something that we are required to do at particular times of the day. No chains come to wrap around us, forcing our body into a chair until we have prayed enough. I do not picture God wearing a taskmaster outfit. I see him as a loving Father that enjoys spending time with his kids. Every mother and father here today understands that feeling. We cherish the special times when our children are near and we can spend time together. Listening to their stories and laughing along. Well, don't you believe He laughs with us? I do.
A teaching word that changed my life many years ago still moves my heart with tenderness: "He misses you!" Millions of thanks to the speaker. I do not recall his name, but I have never forgotten his words. I never considered that God thought of me in that way. You maybe, but not me. I have repeated it often through the years, and I invite you to express it aloud today - He misses me.
And dear ones, He does. Find your place in the car, at the store, at a football game, in the morning or at dusk, all alone or in a crowd, simply whisper His name. Tell Him thanks for all He does for you. Fill in the blank here with other brief words that let Him know you care. I talk to Jesus as I would to another friend I love and appreciate. And listen guys, this type of communication isn't only for female believers. You are also the bride of Christ. Wrap your mind around that one. :)
I am overwhelmingly and unashamedly in love with my Lord. Sure hope I bring a smile to His face when I'm in one of my silly moments during the day. Doing something spiritual, like making the bed or doing laundry. I stop and say: "Lord, I love spending time with you."
I adore this story from Mary. She accurately describes life during the 50's-60's. It was another time and another place, wonderful to those of us who lived it. Our generation readers, enjoy; younger generation, stand in awe and be thankful for your day. :-)
By Mary Maxwell
Yesterday I saw a Facebook post about the lunches we carried to school years ago. I was immediately transported to our little house in Oak Cliff, where a Mother and five daughters lived. I had vivid memories of making sack lunches for me and my sisters. The assembly line would begin the night before, pulling five brown bags out of the pantry, writing names on each of them, and after opening them, dropping in two cookies and a bag of chips. Then, ten slices of white bread would be laid out and either mustard or mayo spread on them, and one slice of baloney across the top. Each sandwich was wrapped in waxed paper and placed in the refrigerator. On more than one occasion, they would be placed next to laundered clothes that had been sprinkled and rolled for ironing later. But I digress. Moving on.
The following morning, each sandwich would be placed into the bag holding the other two items and the top would be folded. Hopefully, each girl would grab her respective bag. That process occurred every day that I can remember when we were all in school, and the ingredients never changed. If we were lucky, we got seven cents for milk. It wasn't the healthiest meal but we were grateful we had something to eat. At the same time, we likely complained.
I think now of the many children who would love the meal we had day-after-day. I feel unworthy of His Grace, but it has never wavered. How blessed we were to have been fed by Him. How blessed we are to be fed by Him now, both literally and spiritually. I pray to grab His grace at every opportunity, and I thank Him that I was able to grab a baloney sandwich many years ago.
By Betty Gibbs
Whether it is on a new blog page design or the incredible newness of a God-changed life, transformation does take time. I am trusting a few people to guide me with the remaining technical aspects on the redesign. The behind the scenes coding that moves a website from common to extraordinary. We're almost there and I think you will love it as much as I do.
You might ask, "But doesn't it take God only a few seconds to transform us?" Good question with a yes and no answer. When we agree with God that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, and we invite Him to take over and allow Christ to become both Savior and Lord of our lives, an instantaneous miracle takes place. A new heart and mindset becomes increasingly evident. We know "who we were" and "how we felt" about ourselves and others. Before anyone else recognizes the change, we recognize the change.
However, as we begin a new journey with God, additional modifications of our previous self will be realized. One by one, like an onion being peeled away, we shed the layers that are in opposition to living as a child of God. My personal opinion is that it will continue in us right to heaven's door, stopping at the entrance when all things are made completely new. I am genuinely looking forward to that day.
The original objective in providing this ministry remains the same - to make Him known! He is my life, my first love, and the One I trust to continue His transforming life in me. I'm on the lookout for anything in me that needs His touch. When we think we have arrived, we prove we haven't.
From Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest" (a favorite devotional of many years) - -
"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him...." Mark 10:21 This look of Jesus will require breaking your heart away forever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Has He ever looked in this way at you? Where you are soft and pliable with God is where the Lord has looked at you. If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on having your own way, and always certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, then there are whole areas of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze."
Being challenged is a good thing. We can and will complete this journey together!
~Blessings and Love
By Betty Gibbs
I wish there was someone here with me today as I write. Then I pause to realize He is here, He is near, and only He understands my deepest emotions. I have sensed Him guiding me to this moment, asking me to simply trust Him. Perhaps the catalyst for freedom is trusting Someone enough that you are willing to allow them to guide you out of the shadows.
In the year 1999, though I am not certain of the exact day, I stood looking out the window of my kitchen while I washed a few dishes. The day was sunny, with a cloudless sky. Sun rays streamed through the windows and I was enjoying the beauty of the morning. Suddenly, and I do mean without warning, a memory surfaced of my early childhood. I wouldn't call it a vision, just a picture locked in my head and projecting onto my eyes. Yes, it was weird.
I saw myself in the darkened hallway of my elementary school. How these events occur I do not know. In that moment I remembered returning to school because I left a paper in my locker and I needed it for homework. (Later calculations pointed to a time of about 4th-5th grade.) It was a little spooky being in the school without all the lights on. I already was afraid of the dark and I looked around as I walked. I was relieved when a male teacher appeared in the hallway. He knew me, and of course, I knew him. After telling him why I was there he pulled a chair from a room and sat down in the hallway, saying he would wait until I found my paper. (I have told this story to no one except my friend, Bonnie, who will be reading and hearing it again.)
Walking back toward the front of the school where he sat, he stood be in front of him and talked for a few moments. At that level I was looking into his eyes, being the little girl that I was. Even now I remember a disconnect in how I felt - nervous, uncomfortable, and yet happy to be talking to a teacher. Teachers are the ones we looked up to. Remember? Male teachers were the ones we had crushes on. Remember? These are the people we can trust. Right? When he turned me around with my back facing him, I was confused, but remained still as he continued talking to me. Speaking softly with affirming words while he lifted my dress and began to fondle me. Dresses being the required clothing during those years made it convenient to betray the innocent. I venture to guess I was not his only victim.
The memory quickly floated away and left me holding onto the counter, trembling and crying. I rather had the feeling that I was losing it, as we say. But I knew it was true. What I didn't know was why - why had it surfaced now? Why was God allowing me to see something so awful? What good could it possible do? I felt dirty, ashamed, sad, and gripped with fear. You know, like dreading there was more hidden that God would show me.
Thank God, there was no more. It took time, but it did eventually move me toward freedom and healing because I better understood myself and the myriad phobias that are inherent with sexual abuse. The shame that is common in girls and women who have been abused. And yes, even fondling is considered sexual abuse! Whether the victim is a girl or a boy. The damage done to the psyche of a young, innocent boy or girl can last a lifetime. Even when the truth is realized and accepted that it wasn't our fault, the embarrassment and shame lie buried within, leaving ridges of pain on the muddy tracks of our heart.
I question counselors who guide clients in exercises to identify suppressed memories. It is dangerous in the hands of the wrong counselor. God needs no help in bringing to our mind anything He wants to use in order to make us whole, in body, mind, or spirit. Someone here has carried a lifetime of shame. You have not recognized in yourself the pattern of depression and hiding that you maintain for safety. Depression is simply anger turned inward. It is more than okay to be angry, but it needs to be channeled where it belongs. Hiding behind food, failure, weight, baggy or unattractive clothing, too much activity, and even perfectionism are classic examples of the choices we make to build a wall of protection. Nothing can reach us if we can control and maintain our world.
There is more to say. Other stories to tell. I will allow us all time to reflect, to pray, to seek God for what He longs to do for us all. This has been difficult to write. But listen, precious friends, there are aspects of your life that have been difficult to live. Abuse takes on many forms and yours may have been different. Whatever they may be, bring them to Him. Lay all of the torment and anguish at His feet. It is time for many of you to walk out from under the burdens you have too long carried. I'm here for you. Jesus is here for you!
Always with love ~ Betty
Photo credit and article written by Allison Brennan
By Mary Maxwell
Because I have shared some of my inadequacies with you, I may as well lay it all on the table. All my life, I have disliked my appearance. I shy away from cameras, preferring to be behind one instead. I avoid mirrors whenever possible. I am envious and even jealous of women who are constantly posting their photos on Social Media. They obviously know they are attractive and that their pictures will garner favorable comments.
The only time I was ever "cute" was when I was three years old. After that, it was all downhill. As I age, those feelings have only compounded. I no longer have the clear eyes, the healthy skin, the thick hair and the slender figure. A few days ago, I reminded myself that I was created in the image of God. I was overcome with the sense that my perception of my appearance was an affront to God. Right then, I prayed. I prayed for forgiveness, for the envy and jealous that lived within me, and for the ability to be all right with the skin I've been given. After all, HE gave me LIFE. Where is my appreciation? Where is my humility? Where is my acceptance?
All of this said, we cannot be all the things we want, but what we can be is who HE wants. He designed us and we should accept that we are uniquely created. I pray for that acceptance and to be comfortable in my spiritual appearance more than my outward one.
"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
From Betty ~ I hope many of our readers will engage here after reading this very real and transparent story. Not uncommon, though rarely admitted. "Thank you, Mary, my beautiful friend, for your willingness to open your heart to us. No wonder God laid Mary Maxwell on my heart when I was considering adding contributors.
I love you!
By Betty Gibbs
What is it about a nice meal that soothes more than a hungry tummy? I like to think I do not use food as an emotional crutch. But on second thought, I have noticed that when I'm depressed or anxious nothing calms me more than ice cream. I'm tired at this moment after a day of volunteer work. I need help so maybe an ice cream sandwich before dinner. Because I can. :)
Readers are enjoying our new page - Our Daily Bread. Each time I enter a new recipe from
Mary Ann, I head to the kitchen for a snack. Like in a few minutes. Wish I had some of her roast.
Eye of Round Roast
by Mary Ann Tucker
By Betty Gibbs
It has taken longer than I expected to be able to write this blog. If you didn't read last week let me first explain. On my way home from my son Aaron's house, I ran over and killed a dog. You can read the post below entitled "When Life Shows Up."
That I was experiencing a time of sadness is a big understatement. I cried off and on for three hours. I mean really gut-wrenching sobs. It was overwhelming and somewhat frightening. I couldn't stop. Each time I attempted to explain the accident I broke down again and could hardly speak. Do people typically have an emotional meltdown after running over animals?
Not until the next day when I was retelling the story to my sister, Sara, did an understanding come. Sara cried along with me (and don't we love when people share our hurt) and said she felt I had so much pain already inside. There it was.
I'm not a licensed counselor though my degree included many hours of family counseling. I knew my sister was correct, and there was something major going on. I wasn't at all certain I wanted to go there. Fear. If I let this dam flow wide open, will I be able to stop it? Several categories of dysfunctional grief are when we Postpone, Displace, Replace, or Minimize. I was somewhere between one and three. There are many great online health websites that explain them all. I recognized mine easily. Please do not suffer in silence. It interferes with the healing process. God is here to help and we all need it. It is not a sign of weakness to cry, to grieve, and to feel overwhelming loneliness and sorrow. Life hurts!! Here's a favorite Scripture: "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
On most days I feel what is normal for me. Last month marked our second year without mother. Misty eyes come occasionally when I smell her fragrance in the guest bedroom closet where a few of her things remain. Usually I touch the garment and smile. I don't break down and cry. Several hurtful things have injured me recently. I've learned how to "control" the pain rather than "release" it. Then an innocent dog appeared too quickly in my path and shattered more than his life. He helped to shatter the protective walls I had placed around my heart. Thank you, my friend who was loved by my Father.
This is similar to what he looked like. I want to believe in The Rainbow Bridge because it is a helpful coping mechanism. Sure has made me feel better to think my counselor dog is there and living it up.
By Sandi Wolverton
The beginning for my husband Mike and I began in July 1982 at our 20-year high school reunion. After being acquaintances since 7th grade, our high school years were the same.
At the reunion we re-met, talked and ended up with a date for the following Tuesday. We went to the airport in Seagoville, Texas so Mike could build hours by flying those who wanted to jump out of planes! He put a parachute on my back, placed me in a plane that had no passenger door, and off we went into the wild blue yonder to allow two skydivers to float to the ground. After which he tried to race them to the ground. He won.
After that date, we were together at some point every day. We discussed how I was looking for my Knight to carry me off on a white horse, and he was looking for his Princess. Seems we must have found these because two weeks later, after choosing a date of 8-2-82 (so he could remember the date), we were married in the downtown courthouse in Dallas with our three kids in tow. After a quick trip to Chuckie Cheese for pizza, we deposited the kids in their respective places and headed to the airport for our new journey. Arriving in Durango, Colorado, we went straight to the Strater Hotel to try and get a room...in August...not likely! When asking about available rooms he was told there were two, one for $55 and one for $65. Being a frugal man, guess which one he chose. As we were walking away he turned back and asked the difference in the rooms. The clerk said the $65 room was the honeymoon suite. Mike then changed his mind because one is never disappointed in the best. We had the honeymoon suite, over the Diamond Belle Saloon. Another adventure.
Just the beginning of an awesome adventure that took us from Texas to California to Tennessee in over 33 years of marriage. Our relationship was deeply rooted in Texas because of many wonderful friends there, and also our special blended family. We loved our Tennessee home, yet we missed the lifelong friends from childhood in Texas.
Our last trip was to the Lake Country of Northern Italy. We loved it so much, and on our return we made a pact to return the next year. The deposit was to be made on Monday, June 22, 2015. The day God chose for Mike to pass from this life.
Mike tried to be rough, tough and edgy. In reality he had the most gentle heart, always the peacemaker. An old friend of ours wrote
to me after learning of Mike's passing. He recalled a conversation with him at a high school reunion. His words: "Mike told me, 'You know, we really have to admit we've had a good ride.' " Yesterday the friend again wrote to me: "Mike has moved on for now, for reasons we might not understand. But live your life as Mike and Lisa would want you to do. Embrace your life as you always have.
And you know that one day, as you begin your journey, two kindred spirits will be there to greet you."
Every day has been a blessing with Mike, who loved his Princess and family with all his heart. Just as I also loved my Knight who carried me away on his white horse, 34 years ago. I am so thankful God allowed us to share these times together, touching so many lives in his own way. And in the end, he did it his way.
I feel better this morning after the emotional upheaval of yesterday. If you missed the events, you can read the post below. I prayed at bedtime and God answered with a peaceful night's sleep.
Today's journey leads me to Grace Community Church, aka Fred's church. They have somewhat adopted me as an associate member. My friend, Shirley, will be the guest speaker and from her heart will flow exactly what I need to hear today. I just know it. Others will most likely experience the same. Thank you for the many prayers that were lifted for me yesterday. Prayer works!
I've been up early designing again. My time of processing life. I do believe that as we allow and do not resist Him, God continues to redesign and mold us into the image of His Son. An awesome truth that delights and humbles me.
I hope you all have a happy weekend. I'll elaborate on several changes you see may notice today. Through our circumstances come new revelations about others or ourselves. The little dog who I hope arrived at the rainbow bridge brought valuable and liberating insights. Amazing!
We make our plans, chart the course, sometimes pack a bag, make the promises, then...life shows up. What do we do? Today, I chose to delay a few things - like my incomplete blog and a new recipe - in order to have a melt down!
Yesterday I entered Mary Maxwell's story, with a promise on facebook to post another later. But later I made a quick trip to the apartment of my son, Aaron. When mom's sense all is not well in our children, even when the children are thirty-five and beyond, we rearrange or cancel our plans. We have to go! Now! He is better emotionally, and we'll both breathe easier when a few test results arrive to explain his health issues.
Lacey and I spent the night and she is still there. Only pet lovers understand that family sits with her while I am out of town. Safe in Bubba's arms. :-)
Okay, that leads up to this morning. The plan was to upload an unfinished blog post, pack my bag and hit the road. And then tragedy literally hit full force. I ran over a dog and killed it. A woman who lived along the two-lane road helped me by removing the dog to dispose of it. I was not much help, I just stood and cried. She said it was nice of me to turn around and check on the animal because most do not. How that is possible I do not know. I had to know if it was suffering.
Life did show up and altered my plans. Stopping to grieve was not a difficult choice., it was a necessary one., an honorable one. It was a life, after all. An animal life created by God. And then there is this: Sometimes our Father uses even the delays in life for our good. I may never know what He protected me from on the road I will soon travel.
I will return later today with a new recipe on Our Daily Bread, and a brief (I hope) word on the Bible study exercise that changed my life. But first, I want to share and call attention to a new post by Mary Maxwell.
When I first read "Stuck in Neutral" it touched a deep place within my heart because of its familiarity. Not all of the details represent my life, but a few did. I was not "taken" to church in my earliest years, I was dropped off. I have thanked God throughout my life for neighbors and Sunday School teachers who took special interest in me and taught me God's Word. My siblings and I learned from the examples they taught rather than what our parents were teaching us.
Our parents were good people, and they were lost people, having traveled away from the faith they embraced as children. But God. Oh but God, is what I have learned to say. We cannot wreck His plan. We cannot destroy His love. He provides the best path for our feet, but we must choose to walk on it.
Thank you, Mary, for your transparent telling of the goodness of our God.
STUCK IN NEUTRAL - by Mary Maxwell
By Betty Gibbs
Yesterday I received word that a longtime high school friend passed away. Ginger had been in hospice care for months. New women friends from First Baptist Church, Gatesville, TX were by her side as she slipped peacefully from this life. Unique is that they were relatively new friends Ginger had made during the last years of her life. With no family to surround her, God sent her a special gift, Christian friends to provide loving care. Our God is an amazing God!
In honor of Ginger's life, and though it may seem a little strange, I'm offering up a new cooking segment on Our Daily Bread featuring my BIL David Tucker. Ginger loved to cook, and she was quite good at it. During her battle with cancer, even while receiving treatments that rendered her weak and nauseated, she would bake something for friends. Giving "food gifts" is an act of love, blessing both the cook and the recipients.
All of us have known the heartache of losing loved ones. I think Sandi's message on The Journey will resonate with you in your own grief journey. Be blessed as you read today's Contributors.
You can go to the pages from the menu bar or click on the pictures below.
By Betty Gibbs
Do people still use this phrase? Tidying up? My mother said lots of cute things that were handed down to her, for generations probably. Like "stretching out." Aaron laughed whenever she said it. When he is at my place and senses I am getting tired, he gives the instruction: "Go stretch out, Mom."
Back to the tidying thing, it is a closet today. How do those typically smaller "rooms" get wrecked, and so often? And yes, I am rather OCD about organization. I am a happy camper when my closet is neat.
I suspect this is an internal kink in my armor. If life is organized and together on the outside, maybe in some miraculous way my inside world will be transformed as well. No more chaos and stinking thinking. I borrow the phrase from Joyce Meyer. I wonder how many years we have worked tirelessly to rearrange the room within? Struggling to toss out every piece of the stinky self that is no longer us? Read it again - "no longer us." When we ask Him, the Lord stands ready to help with the project. And it only takes Him a few seconds.
No counseling strategy today for OCD, but I want to share an amazing word picture with you written by Angie Banz. She is the daughter of Mary Maxwell, a regular on The Journey. I like everything Angie writes. I think you will, too.
From Angie - The Car Wash
Favor - please let us know when you are here. Clicking Like also pertains to each
Contributor's entry. It does assist us in tracking what the reader finds helpful.
By Betty Gibbs
I do not know where you happen to be living, but those of us in Texas are doing what we do every August - holding on until October. If we are lucky - no, blessed - a lovely drop in temperature will be bringing a smile to our lips soon. My plants need something to smile about. They look like I feel, droopy and downright exhausted.
Two crepe myrtle trees grace my front porch area. One sits close to the automatic sprinkler. The other is further away from the water source. Very different in appearance. I've been helping out the dry tree by hauling water in a container. After several weeks it is looking better, healthier, and flowering again.
I didn't miss the spiritual similarity. We've all been that dried up tree. Shriveling under a lack of care, in much need of water to refresh our soul. Who doesn't want to blossom and look magnificent? When I go more than a few days without coming to the well of His Word, or I get so busy that I shorten my prayer time, I feel it. I literally feel soul drought.
And that is why we are here, to provide a source of water with our words. Keeping us close to the Source is our goal. The Bible states that Jesus is our Living water. He really is!
Sandi Wolverton shares a beautiful experience of how a sea shell changed her life. You will find it on The Journey page.
Stay watered ~ Betty
By Betty Gibbs
I was surprised to notice the last time I posted a blog. Almost two months ago. My goal is to have something new and fresh once each week. However, when delays present themselves, we have choices. Give up in frustration. Stress about it. Complain. Become depressed. I felt myself sinking into the first two. Then I realized no one was complaining so I ignored the temptation. Thanks for helping me out.
My sister, Sara, is now home (praise the Lord) and recovering from her three-month long hospital stay that began in March. She is growing stronger each day. I would not trade the time I spent with her at the hospital. Being there was not a difficult choice. After God, it is family first. Always. Then our friends.
Today, I am thankful and excited to roll out the new blog design. It has been a labor of love as Aaron and I worked together to accomplish the transformation. A technical guru is a great asset to a writer. Thank you, son, for giving your time to help me follow my dreams.
Please forgive any "dust" we may have left behind. We will be correcting things we may have missed. Check out the new pages. Many of you will recognize the contributors I have added. There will be others in the future. Why not invite your friends and family to visit this ever-increasing band of believers. By visiting often, your importance plays a major role in our ongoing success.
With sincere thanks ~ Betty
We typically do not associate conversations about death and dying with humor and laughter. Oh but they can be when shared with a young person. Such was the case yesterday with Ryleigh. On our drive home from school, after we had prayed for safe travels for her Dad who was out of town, she launched into all things heaven.
"Mimi, I don't want to go to heaven. I will miss Morgan." (her girlfriend)
"No, Morgan will be there too someday, just like you. You will be together for always."
"Really? How bout Tyler?" (best guy friend)
"Yes, Tyler, too. You'll all get to be with God there."
"I miss Nana. (my mom) Nana was in the "frigerator" and you spoke."
"At her service? Yes, I did speak. She wasn't in a refrigerator. She was in a casket. The thing that
looked like a box."
"And you froze her." (now things get interesting)
"Nana wasn't frozen! Did you touch her? Did she feel hard?"
"Just a little bit. And she went down in the ground."
"Yes, she did. But she's okay now. She's with God and we'll get to see her again someday.
Oh Ryleigh, you are so sweet. You make Mimi laugh. Look at my eyes. I can hardly see to drive."
"You're funny, Mimi." (she joins me in laughing until she cries)
Who knew this topic could be such a stress reliever. After gasping for air during my belly laugh, tension melted away. Mama-Nana would have loved it. I like imagining she actually did. I do know Ryleigh often made her smile.
Genuine perceptions move my heart and provide tender teaching moments. Want to have a fun day? Spend it with a child and see the world through their eyes and with their thoughts. My guess is that you will learn valuable lessons, plus a return to focusing on life with better vision. Untainted vision. I want that.
Together on the journey ~ Betty
Finally back for our follow up post? I trust that God gets me here at the precise moment when what it written will be most helpful. Delays are not all bad. You may be the one who is in need of this today. I join you, because today I need this as well.
Remember the last post? We feed ourselves first, receiving nourishment and strength from God and his Word so that we are strong enough to face what each day presents. I hope you are growing stronger each day, enjoying times of refreshing if you are experiencing peace and tranquility. Cherish them, delight in them as you gain strength, then you will be prepared and equipped for the next challenge. In life, they will come. It isn't that we wait for them, we've come to realize they are around a future corner.
I've experienced a few of the corners since March, when my sister, Sara, underwent her major back surgery. Many good days and many bad days as I've watched her suffer through several setbacks. It is heart wrenching to watch a loved one suffer. My role has been accomplished only with God's help and drawing from the reserve within me. Years of walking closely with Him, years of Bible study and prayer, years of feeding myself and growing stronger by allowing His life to flow through me - this is all I have to offer her. It is all you will have to offer those who are placed in your path. Preparation time is before the crisis.
You have probably read the account several times of Jesus feeding the multitudes. I invite you to read it again this week. Seems pretty important since it is included in all four Gospels. (Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 8:1-8, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-13) Drawing our attention now to the verse that changed my life.
"Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people." NIV
Food in Your hands to give to others. Love and compassion in Your heart to share. Words of encouragement on Your lips to speak. Prayers for healing flowing through You. He is the source of all and he places them in your hands to distribute. Incredible.
There will be times when people will not recognize in the mirror what everyone else sees. A broken, shattered life in major need of repair. We get there. We don't know how to get out. We need help to find our way. I've been there. You either have been or you're there now.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3 He also heals bodies broken physically and minds tormented emotionally. And he often does this through us. Will you have something to give? In your hands, in your heart?
If I show up on your doorstep looking shattered, please do not take time to go get help. Be the help!
Together on the journey ~ Betty
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