Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Night Before 9-11

Thirteen years ago tonight I was working on wedding plans and anticipating my upcoming marriage to Stan. Some time had been spent with Stan that evening and of course I had my head in clouds so to speak.  Little did I know the next morning the world would be forever changed. 

Ten years earlier, almost to the date of the attacks I had been in NYC and had dinner at The Windows on the World restaurant which was located on the 106 and 107 floors of the North Tower. Looking out over the city I was mesmerized by the lights and activity. As a young adult in my early twenties I was filled with dreams about my future. Gazing out over the city I could imagine coming back to Windows with my future husband. That dream would never be. Many people lost dreams on 9-11 and many families lost those they loved and cherished most. 

Whatever we are going through God is not oblivious to. He sees each and every need we have and has an answer waiting. Thirteen years later I still miss knowing those towers are there but most of all I am reminded of how quickly our lives and our world can and will change. God is the only constant in out lives; in our world. He never shakes, crumbles, falls or vanishes. He was, He is and Is to Come. He Is the Great I AM.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What If Not?

Approximately 3:00 a.m. the smoke alarm begins beeping.  The battery is low in the alarm located in the living room. How I sometimes miss the days when you could simply remove the battery and it would quit beeping.  Stan tried replacing it while Chloe-Sofia shook like a leaf. The high pitched beeping was more than her little ears could handle.  After discovering our two spare batteries were both non functional Stan left for Walgreen's.  Something to be thankful for: a drugstore that is open 24 hours just miles from our home.  Stan returned, replaced the battery and things were once again quiet and I drifted off to sleep a little after 4:00 a.m.  It had been one of those nights where I had dealt with pain and hadn't even gone to sleep when the alarm began to beep.

Fast forward a few hours and Stan is kissing me goodbye, leaving for the church, and I am hoping to catch a few more winks before getting up for the day.  A bit before 7:00 a.m. I hear very loud pounding.  Another day of building has begun on the house being constructed next door to ours.  As I continue to try and block out the noise it only became louder. I eventually got up for a few minutes and then out of sheer exhaustion, or so it seemed I laid back down.  Finally, before 8:30 a.m. I fell asleep and then napped off and on until around 10:00 a.m.  My phone awakes me to "All For You" by Mikeschair with the first words I hear being "This time, this place to set apart.  I  stand amazed at who You are.  I'm overcome by what You've done.  Oh.  I'm here right now, I'm reaching out.  I lift Your name above the doubt.  This is my offering for You.  For You."  I convinced myself  that I would not feel as tired once I had my green tea and Greek yogurt.  Those two things were sure to perk me up and ready me for an afternoon at the Clinic for Rheumatic Diseases.  The morning goes normally; make the bed because if someone breaks in I want the bedroom to appear neat; do a little laundry; take a hot bath; put on my makeup and brush my hair.  Today I was too tired to do a lot of extra to the hair. 

I spent the afternoon at the clinic, talked with the nurse, my doctor and a lady in the lab. The lab work is routine, but as usual I ask just to be sure I know what she is checking for.  Liver and kidney functions.  This is normal in the life of anyone with an autoimmune disease.  We talk briefly about how my grandmother had lupus and that she died at 71.  Realizing I am a little over 25 years away from that makes me think as it did her too. She said to make each day count and I agreed.  I left with my smile and glad for another visit where I was able to walk out; often passing those using canes, in wheelchairs or other devices for mobility.  Things could always be worse.  As usual though I felt quite tired, which in the life of someone with lupus is normal at 4:40 p.m. in the day.  

As I drove onto the main boulevard going through town I was thinking of the things I needed to pick up.  I decided to make a quick dash into K-Mart. They may be a bit slower at times but are closer to our house from the direction I was driving and not near as crowded as Wal-Mart, which I avoid at all costs.  Another exhausting exercise for someone with lupus, or at least for me. While in K-Mart I gathered the few items I needed, then went to check out and discovered I left my wallet locked in the glove compartment of the car.  No wallet, less weight in the purse which is less tiring to carry.  I realized my license was in the wallet and the checkbook I had in my purse was of no help without the license.  A trip back to the car to retrieve the wallet still proved much less time consuming than Wal-Mart would have.  (I am not a Wal-Mart hater.  It's just an exhausting store for me.)  

Leaving K-Mart I decided to go through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A and buy an Icedream for Stan.  Oh, and maybe I would get one for myself too.  It was feeling a bit hot outdoors today. The line was out to the street and literally around the building. Deciding to go inside I drove into the parking lot and there was no where to park.  Knowing Stan wouldn't want me sitting in the line that long, even for Icedream I left thinking a Wendy's Frosty would suffice.

Pulling into the shopping area and seeing Wendy's I spot another line. The Dollar General is not far away and I decide to drive over and get some hand soap and stickers which I'd forgotten to pick up at K-Mart. Thinking that by the time I got those items the line would be shorter at Wendy's and besides, we really needed hand soap.  As I'm approaching the store and turn to park there is a woman and young boy standing underneath one of the small trees at the end of one of the parking lanes. The woman is holding a sign; the boy standing beside her. The only words I truly made out were "needing to feed" and "children" along with the number "5" printed on the cardboard.  It was written in English, otherwise I couldn't have read what I did. I also thought I saw the words "looking for."  They both smiled at me as I drove past them.  They each gave a small wave.

Basically, I didn't try to see all their sign said.  We see these signs often, right? When we lived in Little Rock I saw them each time I went to the hospital for doctor appointments. People were always stationed off of the freeways looking for help through a cardboard sign.  So many of these "people" always wanting money or needing something.  As I drove down the lane and looked into my mirror I saw them standing there. They didn't watch me. They were back to looking toward a larger street that runs through the parking lot.  As I parked the car quite a distance from them I looked their direction.  I could not see them. They hadn't followed me or as I've had some do call out for money. 

As I was about to approach the sidewalk in front of Dollar General I heard quiet words whispered into my spirit "What If Not?"  Then I silently responded "What if not what?"  Then it dawned on me that there had been no request for money on that sign.  I saw no dollar symbols or plea for money. I'm not sure what the entire sign read, but I do know it said "needing to feed" and "children" and the number "5." There is no doubt in my mind it was a 5 and not a $ sign.  Their faces were before me, their smiles and the little boy's wave.  What if not?  What if they weren't homeless?  What if they were?  What if, just what if not?  What if they were trying to obtain something from nothing?  What if they were wanting freebies, handouts; but what if not?  Another thing amazing to me was that they appeared clean and neat. Perhaps they were not homeless, but without work.  Maybe someone else would help them?  What if not?

As I entered the store I went and found the hand soap, along with some stickers for the Tuesday night book/Bible study I've been doing at home with a small group of friends. As I looked at those stickers I could not erase their faces from my mind. Continually whispered was "What If Not?"  What if not?  WHAT IF NOT?  What if they were not just trying to play a sympathy card. What if they were truly needing food? What if not?  I overheard the cashier coldly stating that she saw them there yesterday and it was odd to her that they would be in the same spot again.  

I thought what if not?  What if they were back there because they had gotten enough food to make it through the night and day?  What if not?  I tried looking at the kiddie candy to buy one or two of my favorites.  Once again the little boy and his mother were before me. What if not? No amount of "diddling" around was going to get them out of my mind.  They had taken over temporary residence in my mind and weren't leaving. That was clear.  The words I had heard early this morning came into my mind.  "This time, this place to set apart.  I  stand amazed at who You are.  I'm overcome by what You've done.  Oh.  I'm here right now, I'm reaching out." Was I reaching out? Was I going to reach out?  What if not? What if I did not?  Then who? We never know for sure do we?  There aren't many things in life we can be certain of any more, but I know for this moment in my day I had been set apart. God was calling me with his still, small voice. He simply said "What if not?"  I then began to pray and ask God to show me what I needed to buy for them?  Protein.  Peanut butter, crackers, peanuts, little pouches of fruit, Pop Tarts for fun. Apple juice boxes; real juice, no fake. This little boy needed some nourishment. Everything I chose could withstand heat and being outdoors.  

"I'm not this kind of person so why am I doing this?"  I asked God this question. Yes, I give to our church, charities and I've on occasion thrown out a box of granola bars to a homeless person, ministered at a halfway house, bought and given clothes away or purchased school supplies for needy kids. These people were different, or at least to me they were.  Once again I heard the cashier saying she doesn't buy that they are in need. And I again hear "What if not?"  Until I bought this food and handed it to them I wouldn't have peace. That I was certain of. Stan was at home waiting for me with dinner ready and there I was struggling with the "people" outdoors in the parking lot. Never had I given like this before. Given, yes, but not thinking this way, or in circumstances such as these.  As I checked out I asked the cashier if I could please have an extra bag and she told me I could.  My items would need to be double bagged. They weren't about to go rolling down the street.  Once more I prayed, asking God to let me know I had made the right call in doing what I was doing. I asked him to simply have the people there to receive my bag of food when I drove around to where they had been standing. If they were gone then I would know it wasn't what I had thought.  Yet, I would know I had done what God placed on my heart. God's Holy Spirit had spoken to me.

As I walked to the car I had peace, yet anticipation.  Upon entering the car it was warm and the young boy with sweat across his forehead crossed my mind, just as his mother did.  Quickly I double bagged all of their food items and then decided the boy, being around 10 needed most of my kiddie candy more than I.  As I cranked the car and began driving I felt anticipation and excitement. In my heart I knew they were there waiting.  That moment, in what had begun as a crazy day had been set apart for me by God.  I was overcome by what all God has done for me and this was only a small portion of something I could give back to Him. As I turned the corner there they stood. She was still holding the sign and he sat on the curb. There was one very small yellow bag beside them.  Someone else in the Dollar General had also been led to give them something.  As I slowed and pushed the button for the window to lower I reached for the bag. She stood, still holding the cardboard and smiled. The boy did too. Hesitating in her actions I held it out and told her "For you."  She smiled that beautiful smile as did her son and then said "Gracious!  Thank you very much." I told her the bag was from Jesus.  She then said a few words to me in Spanish, none of which I knew, for she spoke them softly yet with feeling.  The boy sitting on the curb looked up to me and smiled. Then with his right hand pressed his pointer and middle fingers to his lips, kissed them, and pressed them against his cheek and then reached them up toward me.  Then she said "God bless you."   I left her a note with the bag with these words written "Jesus Loves You!"  Below that I wrote "John 3:16."  At the bottom of my note page was this verse "The LORD is my whom I take refuge. -Psalm 18:2"  My heart was so touched and my eyes welled up with tears.  Pure joy!  Most of the drive home I cried and thanked God for allowing me to bypass the Icedream and make a random stop at Dollar General.  We never know just where our next turn will take us!

Driving away, this time towards home I heard these words being sung on the Hillsong CD playing "I believe You're my Healer.  I believe You are all I need.  I believe You're my Portion. I believe You're more than enough for me. Jesus, You're all I need...Nothing is impossible for You...You hold my world in Your hands."  

He is my portion, when my strength isn't enough.  When I am weak He is strong.   When I feel as though life is so different than before I had autoimmune diseases I'm reminded He can and will use me.  He is more than enough for me. What if not?  The Holy Spirit can speak through three simple words.  Often those words are "I love you."  One day they might be "What if not?" Jesus, nothing is impossible for You, nothing is impossible for me through You.  When I shared with Stan he told me those people were probably there as much for me as I was for them, and I know they were!

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Life With Christ

My life before Christ is not a shocking one. I don't have a wild story to tell because I came to know Christ at the age of 10 1/2, as a child with simple faith and knew He would save me from my sins. My family and I were at a revival service at church on Friday, 18 August. At the end of the service, along with my younger sister I went to the alter. We both prayed to receive Christ into our hearts. Afterwards our parents took us to the small Dairy Queen in town for ice cream to celebrate. My salvation experience is fairly simple, no huge sins, although, sin is sin, and I knew I was a sinner. However, my life after Christ has been filled with many amazing moments! Many of those moments are what I call every day moments. Just moments. Walking on a beach squishing the sand between my toes, climbing the highest rock possible on the side of a hill, traveling to some beautiful and breathtaking places. Holding my husband's hand in mine and feeling so loved I think my heart will surely burst with joy! Celebrating birthdays and holidays, laughing and blowing bubbles...yes, I still do that! Looking up and staring at the stars in astonishment that God created all of those twinkle lights in the sky for me. ;) Music, the sounds and the emotions it brings. Words on paper that fill my mind with wonder. Accomplishing goals I was uncertain I would obtain but did with God's help; it was all Him! Seeing Queen Anne's Lace along the roadside blowing in the breeze and butterflies floating by. There can never be too much of it or them for me. These people and things that are so much a part of my life are gifts from God! God has been with me in the darkest of dark nights and days. For me, the worst of times have also proven to be the times I grew the most in my faith. We all have them; those times when you feel as if you will surely die because your heart is breaking. Yet, there is God. He was with me through an emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix when I was 12; depression, a serious car accident at 23 that left me with a head injury and memory problems for quite a while, accompanied by terrible migraines that would last for days. He was there when I was being sexually assaulted and felt I couldn't breathe because of the hand around my neck. He was there when I was being mentally, verbally, physically, emotionally and every other way abused by my first husband. He was there when my heart would be breaking because of another's mean and hateful words about me; those times when I felt as though I had my heart trampled on and crushed beyond repair. Through all the dark times He was there. He is with me as I sometimes battle my health, through lupus flares, or times such as now when I am dealing with a staph infection in my knee...HE IS HERE! He never has left me, never forsaken me, never given up on me. HE has blessed me with an amazing and godly husband who is my best friend. He has given me a wonderful biological family, church family; extended family; and more friends than I deserve. Waking up each day is a gift from Him. Many days are difficult. The good outweighs the bad. This is life in Christ for me. As I have fought this staph infection and had my knee now lanced around 8 times I've thought a lot about pain. Each time my knee was being cut (and it was numbed) I told myself I could take the pain because Jesus took so much more for me. My grandmother once told me that when we hurt just remember how much more Jesus hurt for us when he died on the cross. I still remind myself of that when facing pain. Sometimes I tear up not from my pain but at the thoughts of Him hanging on a cross just for me. As the lines from one of my favorite songs say... "In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise Give me Jesus Give me Jesus Give me Jesus You can have all this world But give me Jesus When I am alone When I am alone When I am alone Give me Jesus Give me Jesus Give me Jesus You can have all this world But give me Jesus And when I come to die When I come to die When I come to die Give me Jesus Give me Jesus Give me Jesus You can have all this world But give me Jesus

Friday, December 7, 2012

Finding Twinkle Arabella

Awaking this morning I was in surprise I could move. After going up and down a ladder decorating with garland on top of the kitchen cabinets I didn't think I would be able to move this morning. That wonderful massage from Stan last night must have left my muscles in better shape than I had anticipated they would be this morning. As I lay in bed "waking up" Stan told me he couldn't find Twinkle Arabella. He told me it didn't look like she had been to her litter box, nor did her food bowl look to have been touched overnight. She wasn't hiding in the library or guest room, which is where she sometimes sneaks off too. She likes to hide behind the curtains on the windowsill. Stan walked the neighborhood for a long time looking. I could tell he was very concerned. I'm sure he knew I would be heart broken, and I was. My heart felt heavy and my spirit dampened. I got up from the bed and began looking. Stan said he had looked in the garage, but I went out there anyway. I even climbed the stairs to the attic and called for her. Nowhere was she found. Then I began to cry. We have only had her since May 16, but we both love her, even Chloe-Sofia, though she chases her and poor kitty runs from her. ;) As I cried I could feel the big tears rolling down my cheeks. I sat on the floor and then thought..."Pray!" I asked The Lord to please help us find our sweet Twinkle Arabella. My heart was sickened to think of where our little cat had gone. Was she with another family? Had she gone somewhere to...die? Stan asked if I wanted him to make signs when he went to the church to rehearse with a cast member. He was getting ready to leave and I was crying. I knew he had done all he could and had to go. Then as I sat on the floor I prayed. I asked God to please bring Twinkle Arabella home. When Stan was about to get in the truck I asked him if he had looked in the hood of the truck. He "popped" the hood and closed the truck door. He opened the hood; I was standing in the kitchen door and I heard a soft meow. Then again. Stan heard it. She wasn't in the hood. She was on a tire. She jumped down and came running to me in the kitchen doorway. I crouched down, tears on my face and she nuzzled my face. Our sweet kitty was home again. Despite both of us going out into the garage and calling her she had not responded. Stan said if we hadn't checked he could have ran over her. I have a feeling she would have jumped down when she heard the truck crank. Her little paws were cold and she rubbed my nose with her's as she sat in my lap. How often do we "lose" something we love, or someone? God is often waiting for us to ask. He can do whatever it is we need or desire without asking, but often He wants to hear us ask. It pleases Him when we ask for His direction and help. It shows Him that we are dependent on Him and need Him. Don't we all want to feel we are needed? Perhaps God not only wants us to exercise our faith but I would think it pleases Him that we recognize our need for Him. He is faithful to us, even when we aren't faithful to him. For that I am grateful. I know I often let Him down, but never does He let me down. How often do we in the midst of our tears ask God to help us? I searched for just a few minutes, which seemed like much longer. Then I prayed. Within minutes Twinkle Arabella was found. I am reminded quite often God does care about the details of our lives! Even that of our pets. He knows they are special to us. Thank you God for keeping our sweet Twinkle Arabella safe and bringing her home. :) ♥ Merry CHRISTmas Jesus! Merry CHRISTmas friends and family!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuscaloosa Copper Top Bar Shootings

There has been much talk in the news today (July 17, 2012) about the Copper Top Bar shootings. My thoughts are not intended to be rude or upset anyone, but simply just my thoughts. While I am not one who chooses to spend my nights in bars I love my friends; yes even those who go to bars and pubs. I am one for the forgiveness Jesus brings. People often judge others because of the places they go. I'm praying for the victims and their families as well as the shooter and his. It's only by God's grace and mercy that I am forgiven. I have plenty of faults; sometimes eating too much junk food, not getting the rest I know I need for my physical health, striving for perfectionism when sometimes I just need to give "my project" to God. My list could go on and on of things I haven't done right or don't. Has anyone who is assuming things about these people stopped to think that one or more of these people could have been there because they were "hanging out" with a friend who chose to be there? Perhaps like a lot of young adults they just "went along." Have any of us ever done that, if not now, in our past? Did those people deserve to be shot? If this had happened in McDonald's, which it has in other cities would the same things be said? The man charged is my age. How sad that is! Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, is in jail with a $2 million bond. He faces 18 attempted murder charges. He was taken into custody after turning himself in at a business 50 miles away in Jasper. Police say 17 people were injured, four with critical wounds. One is said to be severely critical. How would you feel if you were the parent of the 44 year old man? What if you were the parent of one of those shot? I believe in staying away from places I know aren't where I need to be as a Christian. The key word here is I, ME...not anyone else. Not everyone is convicted about the same things that I am or that you may be. God is my judge and the one I answer to. Maybe we should all think before we speak so loudly. "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." - James 1:19

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

How can it be that I have not posted, blogged or put anything on here since last June? Could it be because we were selling our home? Mom Henson died. We packed, found a house and moved all in 20 days! Anyone who has sold a home knows it is a full time job to keep everything in the house perfect at all times. A house is being sold for people to live in and yet it is not to look like it is lived in while you are selling it. I suppose the last few months have been so busy that they have consumed my time for any writing or blogging. Good things are happening. I'm yet adjusting to being back in Tuscaloosa, miss our friends in Little Rock but thankful to be back home in Alabama near our family. God is good and always amazes me by how he works! We just have to wait on him! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Heart Rest

My heart feels as though I need to stop and rest. I just don't feel I can do life today. Have you ever felt that way? After such traumatic events, or a death, you just feel as though you can't do life. It isn't that you don't want to but you are just to the point of exhaustion. Feelings of loss, bewilderment, confusion, shock and my list goes on. I know I have to move forward and yet I feel that I need rest. More than anything I need heart rest. It is almost unbelievable that we have lost Mom Henson in such a tragic way. I would never have dreamed of her dying from a car accident. Was she awake? Did she feel anything? Oh, God I pray that she did not. I have to believe you protected her and kept her safe in the midst of the tumbling and rolling and when she came to she had your peace surrounding her. For two and a half days we stayed at UAB in Birmingham, never leaving, praying for a miracle and then realizing the miracle would come in heaven. For three days straight I didn't sleep. We had wonderful staff. The nurses were wonderful and I met the sweetest lady in the waiting room who gave me one of her blankets. I attempted to sleep on the floor but with no success. When your mother-in-law dies you grieve, you grieve for your husband, the children, grandchildren, your in-laws. You grieve for much more than yourself. All of that grieving is exhausting and almost more than one can handle. I'm thankful for our friends at New Life, Mount Olive, my GGs and our family who have been supportive. Most of all I am thankful for you God. How do people get through tragic life things without you God? How?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday; Are We Shining Our Lights?

It's another Monday. Am I shining my light today? Raining. Storms are threatening. My allergies are terrible or do I have a cold? I have a bit of a headache. Am I shining my light? My body is somewhat achy. Yet, I feel happy. I think my light is shining. Unexplainable happiness. Why? What could bring on such happiness?

Much is going on in life at the moment. A lot of busy "stuff" and some things that I'm not even discussing publicly and yet I feel happy. My light is shining. My husband loves me, my family is wonderful, and my friends are the best. Peace...could that be the answer? I feel the peace of God inside my soul. Deep within where it doesn't make much difference if there is sunshine or rain outdoors. Deep within my inner being there is a feeling of lightness, peace, and joy. My light is shining.

You can smile when it is a dreary day, when you are facing difficult circumstances and when you are perhaps too tired to do anything else. Happiness doesn't always require great energy, but feeling angry, depressed, and irritated at the world does. We all have those days where we feel those feelings. It's okay. However, I choose for it not to be my lifestyle. I want to lift those up around me. After my friends leave my presence I hope we will feel just a bit closer to God and that we are making a difference in the world.

People are often observing us, even when we aren't thinking they are. Are we shining our lights? Do others see in us what we claim to have? Rather, do they see the one we claim to have within us? Do people see Jesus in my life? Is my light shining?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Web Remains

There is the slightest hint of color changing happening outside my window. Sunshine filters through the leaves and a spider has decided that the window I am looking out of is a good place for her home. I washed the web down one afternoon and within a day it was back, bigger than before. A day later I attempted to blow it down with a leaf blower, but it didn't budge. What kind of web is this? I was amazed. Then with all the Saturday winds I thought for sure the web would be gone, but it remained. I finally decided the not so little spider could stay as long as she wants. For a spider to work and build such a strong web must say something. If only I would be so determined when I want to make something happen. God gave a small creature the capacity to have determination. How often do I just give up? I began watching the spider and found her amazing. She would climb up and down her web and at times just hang on. In life how often I have felt I was running back and forth and then just hanging on. At times hanging on to God was my only assurance for the running back and forth I had to do. I went to the window this morning to see my "Miss Charlotte" and found her gone. The web remains. Will she return, or has she moved on? The web she so determinely spun remains as a reminder for me of persistance. God has a way of often speaking to me through his creation. May I be as determined to live my life for Him as this spider was to create and maintain her web. The next time I want to quit, give up or give in may I remember to stand strong for what I know I must.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Summer 2010. Summer is in full swing and the heat is an ever constant reminder. It is difficult to believe it is just 5 months until Christmas. Another year of my life is going by and faster than I realize. Some days I wish I could pull a lever and stop it from speeding by. If only life could work as some things do. If we could have a choice at which parts we speed up or slow down. What an unrealistic dream that is, but then many of my dreams are.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three Reasons

There are times when change comes and we weren't really looking for it. We may not have been expecting it, or even wanted it, yet it came just the same. At other times we welcome it and look forward to the newness and possibilities that will come with it.

Two years ago this past December we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. I never imagined living in Arkansas. I had no desire to live here, or really even visit. There was no particular reason for me feeling that way. I had nothing against this place, but it just wasn't on the top of my "must see" places before I die list. Not that I actually have a list written down, though, perhaps I should! So, when we came here and left our families, best friends and a church family we dearly loved I would wonder why at times. Why? Why leave everything so familiar and comfortable? We were content, happy and had a good life. A good opportunity opened up for Stan and so we came to Little Rock. I have grown to like it here and am continuing to make new friends, but still sometimes have wondered "why am I really here?" I believe there is a reason for everything, including me being in Little Rock.

For several months, approximately six, we visited churches all over the city. Each Sunday would be a new mini adventure in "where will we visit today?" This became the question each Sunday. Over time though I could tell Stan wasn't happy with just sitting on a pew or in a seat. When one has led worship for around 35 years it isn't easy to no longer do it. It is part of who you are, part of how you worship.

Eventually we went to a small church where Stan would lead the worship. I led a Beth Moore study one semester and a couple of book clubs, but I missed my regular teaching lessons that I had done with Stephen Ministry in Tuscaloosa. I was asked late last fall about doing a Sunday school class for a very small group of girls. My first thought, as anytime I'm asked to do something long term was "Can I do this?" With lupus I never know from day to day how I may feel. Some days are good and some days are bad. One day you think everything is great and the next you are in bed. If I sign up for something I will be there regardless of how I feel. I will push even when I know I shouldn't. Then, there was the thought of how the girls would respond to me. Would they listen? Would they want to have me as their teacher? We come from different backgrounds. Would we relate to one another? None of these things really mattered but quickly crossed my mind. God calls us to sometimes step out of familiarity and into a new adventure. I was about to enter my new adventure.

I took the class beginning in December. We spent the next 6 weeks getting to know one another. I shared about my life with them, who I was, where I came from, some of my triumphs and some of my trials. I shared some pretty things and some ugly things. I shared hopes for the future and heartbreaks of the past. I got real with the girls. No sugar candy coating, but the real me. In order for them to trust me and open up to me I knew I had to do the same. How could I expect them to share with me if I wasn't willing to do the same?

For the first month we talked about Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord....plans for good and a hope and a future. Plans to prosper...." Each week we would say this verse and write it out. Over and over. I told them how God had planned each day of my life and protected me also. I told them He would do the same for them. Over time we went over the Romans Road and F.A.I.T.H. I knew planting seeds in these girls was my most important goal. They might like me, they might not. God didn't call me to be popular with them or to be their best friend. He called me to help them, to guide them, to lead them to His son, Jesus. I wanted to be their friend, love them and care for them, and of course I hoped they would like me. I knew however that unless they met Jesus it really didn't matter how much they liked me. In eternity I wouldn't be asked if they liked me. I would be asked "Did you share my Son?" Huge responsibility which I knew was no small thing.

Easter Sunday I shared about Jesus, the sacrifice He made for us, the hope we have in Him. I shared how He was beaten, bruised and hung on a cross to die. I asked them to picture us at the foot of the cross, looking up at him dying and knowing that He was shedding His blood for us: for each one of us He did this. When we entered the sanctuary communion was served and the same passage was once again used and a message was shared. The girls were hearing the exact same scriptures again. I prayed.

The Sunday after Easter one of the girls wanted to know why she couldn't have the "cranberry juice and crackers." Then another girl spoke up and said she knew why. She said she had to be saved and then she said "I need to be saved." She said she knew she needed "saving" because she hadn't been able to participate in communion. She understood that she must be saved in order to partake of that. She said she wasn't a Christian and understood that only Christians could have communion. She said she knew she wasn't a Christian. When I asked her and the other girl sitting beside her if they were ready they said they weren't. I could tell they were thinking seriously about it. My heart was heavy, burdened and I was concerned for them. Yet, I knew it had to be their decision and I wanted them to understand, to be sure and not just go through an act. I wanted this to be real to them. God is real. He isn't a game or a religion. I explained all of this to them. God isn't just for Sunday mornings. He is a relationship and I want them to have that.

The following week I asked my friends to pray. I asked my Beth Moore Bible Study group at another church to pray. I sent emails and made status updates on Facebook asking for prayer for the special girls. I asked the lady in Lifeway to pray. I asked Stan and my familiy. I felt an urgency as I had never before experienced. These girls must be saved. God had given me a burden for their souls and I wasn't going to be at peace until they came to know Him.

Sunday came and the one who had first mentioned being saved wasn't there. How disappointed I was. My heart sank and I could almost feel the enemy telling me that I had been foolish for believing the girl was going to be saved that day. Two other girls were saved that day! I asked them if they understood that Jesus died for them, they had sinned and needed to repent. They told me they understood. We prayed a simple prayer and Jesus entered the hearts of two girls that morning. This past Sunday the other girl was there. Two weeks before she had said she knew she needed to get saved. Would she? With the other two having already been saved I was afraid she might back out. I knew that once again Satan was trying to dash my hopes but I prayed on and had asked many people just as before to pray. I knew in my heart that Sunday morning I would see another young woman come to Christ. We had been in class for just a few minutes and she said she was ready. No reason to wait until the end of class or church. We prayed first thing and the other two girls who had been saved the week before prayed with her. It was a sweet time seeing such young girls praying a sinner's prayer with their friend.

We closed class on Sunday morning by joing hands and praying. I tell the girls each week that they are beautiful to God and are precious jewels. They are His most valued treasures. I tell them how much He loves them. I tell them I love them. Girls who just over four months ago would barely speak, sit with their arms crossed or get up and walk around the room now pay attention, read the Bible outloud, laugh, sing, hum, and share their concerns. They ask each week prayer requests for their families, school, boys, and grades. They ask the everyday things that all girls are concerned with; those are their needs.

Once again I sat in the sanctuary and prayed that at the close the last girl to accept Christ would go forward. At the end of the service the young girls who had been saved the week before made their way once again nervously down to the front of the church with their new sister in Christ. As I stood their beside them I could feel tears welling up inside of me and my heart so full I felt as though I might begin to cry or even laugh. It was a joy indescribable.

For the times I have wondered why we really came to Little Rock, Arkansas I have at least three reasons why. Kimani, Khalia, Delicia...those are my precious reasons. No matter where life takes me, or these girls I will spend eternity with them in heaven. As I drove to the Beth Moore Study this morning and caught a mental picture of these three young girls in my mind I knew without a doubt why I am here. Nothing happens by chance. There are no accidents. God has reasons and plans for each of our lives. He is waiting for us to take the path and complete the task he has given us. It scares me to think...what if? What if I hadn't taken these girls to teach on Sunday morning? Not that God wouldn't have used someone else; He could. But, oh, the joy I would have missed out on? How sad that would be. Three reasons for being in Little Rock...three precious reasons.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One hundred seven

One hundred seven months ago today Stan and I met for lunch. It was the day we met. We went to lunch and over the low calorie plate at Cypress Inn I began loving the wonderful man that is now my husband. I knew I wanted to continue to see him. It is almost unreal to me to think that we will have soon known each other nine years. I often feel like it has only been a couple of years, and then at others I feel as though Stan has never not been in my life. I suppose that is how it is with love. Time passes quickly. Yet, I almost think of my life of beginning when I met Stan. We have shared many special times and quite a few trips together. Life is taking us on some twists and turns. I can't believe it has been almost nine years since we met. How could that be?