Refuge 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”—Psalm 46:1

In July I had the pleasure of spending a week in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico-in the Condado Beach area to be exact. One morning I decided to take an Uber and go to old San Juan. I heard it was a sight to see and indeed it was. I fell in love with the colorful buildings and the blue-yes blue, cobblestone streets. 



I wanted to take a picture or two of myself but it was hard to get a good shot solo. I saw a group of ladies on a corner and approached one of them to take my picture. She happily agreed and they all participated and turned it into a photoshoot.  


Afterwards I asked where I could go for breakfast which is where they were heading and they invited me to tag along. The ladies ranged in ages 61-68 and had been friends since they were small children. Maria and Frances still lived on the island. Nell lived in New Zealand and was there to visit friends and her ailing parents. Mary lived in San Antonio and was there for the same reasons as Nina. 


I spent about five hours with “the girls” who treated me to breakfast and taught me a lot about Puerto Rican history and culture as they graciuosly took me on a walking tour. They dropped me back off at my hotel and I left them transformed by their kindness to a stranger. I hoped that we would stay in touch.


Sometimes our lives intersect with strangers and we are richer for it. In light of the hurricanes that hit both Puerto Rico and Texas, I have not stopped thinking about my new friends. I have been trying to get in contact with them to no avail. I pray that they are okay. Through my church we have sent more than $100, 000 in funds to Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico. But I wish I could do so much more. I have agonized over this and today God told me to write this post and pray. 


So I ask you all to please help me stand in the gap for “the ladies” as well as the thousands of others suffering due to the storm. Let’s gather in His name on their behalf. Let us pray that they remain hopeful and faithful in their time of trouble. Let their needs be met and take comfort because Help is on the way!  The Bible says that the prayer of the righteous availeth much! 

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Gratitude is an Attitude 

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

~Ephesians 5:20

I need to cherish every blessing I have. Here are a few things I’m grateful for today: 

1. Heat-it’s winter in Indiana and baby, it’s cold outside! 

2. The fact that my oldest son is able to attend college. 

3. I have a lot of laundry to do today. But I’m okay with that. I get to do it in the comfort of my own home, I have plenty of cleaning supplies to get the job done, and the fact that I have clothes to wash says a lot. 

I Called…

“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” ~1 John 5:15

…and God answered. Today I feel so triumphant. This morning on the drive to work I prayed specifically that God would use me to help someone. 
 After making some copies during my prep period, I was headed to my room when a student called out to me. I didn’t hesitate when she beckoned me over, but I wasn’t sure she meant me. I did not know the girl. Iheaded her direction and saw that she had a friend with her who was crying. She explained her friend’s dilemma so I invited them to my room. 

I won’t go into detail, but let’s just saw I received the opportunity to serve as well as glorify God. 

Hallelujah! 

I don’t know why I am so in awe that God knows what is going on with me, cares and hears. But I tell you, I was almost in tears. My road has been a tough one. 

As if to confirm that He is indeed listening to me, I received this email today: 


I requested to be prayed for a few months ago. How timely this was for me. I was beyond overjoyed! And thankful that He hears! 

Conqueror 

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” ~Romans 8:37

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first life saving surgery. I had a total of four, but the first was the most significant. 

I was terrified as I had never had surgery before. Up until my diagnosis, I was relatively healthy. Doctors, nurses, specialists and technicians all marveled at this fact. 

The night before the operation I was filled with anxiety-not knowing if it was the last time I would ever see my two boys again. I had spent as much time as humanly possible with them. 

On the operating table I could not relax despite having already received potent anesthetics. I was wide awake and with tears rushing like rivers down my face, called out for my deceased mother. 

My surgeon came over and held my hand. I felt the healing blood of the Lord surge through me. After that, I peacefully surrendered to a drug induced coma. And by the grace of God, He saw fit to favor me. Hence I am still here one year later. 

Why, I do not know. But I do know how thankful beyond words I am. He kept me in His shadow in a most desolate time. Hallelujah! 

Walking

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” ~Philipians 2:14

Today I had to take care of some business downtown. Much to my dismay, places to park were pretty much nonexistent. 

I ended up having to park twenty minutes away from my destination. I was appalled to say the least and my attitude was not admirable 

How dare I have to walk so far I fumed as I made my way to the government center. I bemoaned the irony of new places being built on what used to be parking lots. 

Poor me. 

​  
But on the way back, a few things dawned on me. 

1.) I was thankful to have the ability to walk to where I needed. 

2.) I had a vehicle that made it possible for me to walk a relatively short distance. 

3.) The weather was nice. 

4. I was able to see downtown through the eyes of a pedestrian. 

5.) I was getting exercise for the day. 

Yes, I was hot and sweaty by the time I made it back to my truck. However, once I got my attitude together, I actually enjoyed it. 


I stopped and had breakfast at one of my favorite spots. 

Checked out a new bakery.


Saw the new transit center named after the late Julia Carson. 

Admired the artwork and architecture and met some friendly strangers. 

And before I knew it, I was back to where I started.  

It just goes to show we can be thankful in all things as long as we approach it with the right attitude. 

Healing Hearts 

“And let us continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer.” ~Hebrews 10:24-25

There are many hurting people all around us. Some are obvious. Others not so much. But to be alive is to know some form of pain and it is safe to assume a great majority could benefit from being encouraged. 

My spiritual gift is one of mercy. I hate to see people suffer. I have a deep sense of empathy and compassion. 

I believe we all have a story to tell. Our stories are what provides hope for those who need it. Our earthly testimonies help heal hurts and eventually hearts. Oftentimes we go through things in order to empower someone else to face their own trial. In other words, our suffering has little to do with us, unless it is self-imposed. We have to remember that God can use anything. He can give us a purpose for our pain. He can turn our sorrow into strategy. With this in mind, Healing Hearts was born. 

I sent a letter to one of our two women’s prisons requesting permission to host a workshop featuring poetry and testimony. This population is often forgotten, but I’m sure a lot of pain resides in the hearts of most prisoners. Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, since you are also in the body. Hebrews 13:3.  I haven’t heard back from the superintendent yet, but if it’s the will of God that I go there, it will be. 

I will also be actively seeking other opportunities to share with others what God has done for me in order to cheer up those who are discouraged, and help those who are weak.  ~1 Thessalonians 5:14

I count my pain all joy in order to glorify the Lord and serve others. 

RIP

“And because of his glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. ” ~2 Peter 1:4

This morning I woke up with my mother on my mind and felt heavy hearted. Coincidently,  Mother’s Day is in four days. 

However, before I could become too consumed with gloom, God put the thought RIP in my mind. 

Most of us are aware that RIP stands for “rest in peace” and is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Requiescat in pace. 

But today God graciously gave me a new meaning and replaced rest in peace with rest in promise. Thus there is no reason to be sad when I can infinitely hope in the Lord. 

The Bible says that “the dead know nothing” Ecclesiates 9:6  which is true. But our omniscient, unchanging, constant God “cannot lie” and is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8. With this knowledge we can be assured that even in death, His promises remain the same for us. Hallelujah! This revelation brought so much joy to my heart I almost shouted! 

Psalm 37:25 says “…Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken” thus death has “no sting” or victory in the face of God and His word which can never return void. 

May my precious mother continue to RIP until “the Lord Himself comes down from heaven!” ~1 Thessalonians 4:16

The Prayer Project

“The LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.” ~Job 42:10

  
I have some friends that “stick closer than a brother” and I am so thankful. I will be participating in this challenge for them. 

It Is Written

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 11:1

I came across this beautiful comment made by my favorite musician, Prince and thought I’d share: 

God is a generous and loving being. It is written we should act like God. There are enough opportunities. 

I am keeping my eyes open and my ears tuned for such opportunities to glorify God. 

I am thankful that Prince was able to redeem himself and find the narrow road that leads to life before it was too late. 

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! 

Letter to My Son

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~James 1:17

Last week my son went on a senior retreat  for his last year of high school and parents were asked to write letters. I thought I’d share mine as a testament to the goodness of the Lord. 

Dearest Chad, 
God allowed me to have a dream about you a couple of months before you were born. I dreamed about a beautiful, big, brown-eyed baby boy with dark wavy hair. And true to my dream, this is exactly what you were. You have always been the child of my dreams. I knew I loved you before I met. 

I remember your first night at home. Quiet, you gazed about your new surroundings, your luminous eyes taking it all in and your little rosebud lips forming a perfect O. I thought that you were the most precious, exquisite, and adorable thing that I had ever had the fortune to behold. And I still see you this way. 

I remain so thankful that when God chose a baby from the Cabbage Patch (my version of the birds and bees) that he handpicked you just for me. There are no words in the English lexicon adequate enough to express the depth of my love or the amount of pride I have for you, though pressed to choose, magnificent comes to mind. 

You are one of the best blessings God has so graciously bestowed upon me. If God gave me a choice of sons I would still choose you a thousand times…and then one more.

There are so many things I love about you. I appreciate how kindhearted, polite, funny, respectful, inquisitive, insightful, intellectual, and intelligent you are. One day you will make some lucky young lady a good husband. 

I am proud of you for making a choice daily to do the right things despite the worldly society we live in. To paraphrase Proverbs 31:29, “Many sons have done well, But you excel them all.” Chad, raising you has been a pleasure. Now if I could only get you to keep your room clean!

I pray fervently that God may forever keep You in His shadow. Always remember Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” I love you to infinity and beyond (in my Buzz Lightyear voice)!

 

Mom