Thursday, February 24, 2011

I was blessed by Reach FM and FCWC

To God be the Glory! many thanks to the Lord and Reach FM! Just when things seem the hardest and you wonder if the Lord is listening to your prayers, something wonderful happens. Many of you know from some of my blogs and posts that times are hard for many in my family. I have a wonderful family with a husband who works hard amidst intense pain, 4 beautiful daughters, 6 grandchildren and an extended family that I love so much! But as I have said before, we are not the Cleavers, Waltons, or Ingalls:) We are a work in progress and our only hope and anchor is the Lord Jesus!
The Lord knew it was the desire of my heart to go again to the Florida Christian Writer's Conference, but with work being slow for Bill, I just wasn't going to put that burden on him. He had said I could go for one day, but I felt there were other needs that were more important. Then lo and behold last week, I saw on the FCWC blog a contest. My Mama always said "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," and so, I decided to enter. It was put on by Reach FM and here is what it said:

You've been inspired, challenged or encouraged by the lyrics of a song on Reach FM.

Now it's your chance to share your story.

Click here to submit your story before midnight on Sunday, February 20, 2011.

You could be selected to attend the Florida Writers Conference.

Well, lyrics of songs always stir my heart and I had several that I started thinking about. But “You are More” by Tenth Avenue North came through for me. I will write more about this and when it is allowed I will share the entry with y'all. Anitra Parmele from Reach FM called me yesterday and I am still on Cloud 9 but more than that praising the Lord who once again gave favor to one such as I, a woman who has never really known a father's love until I met Jesus. And I must say He is the best Father and provider around. He sees the hidden desires of the heart. He knows when we need a time of refreshing and study.

I am so grateful to Reach FM and the FCWC blog that posted the contest.
You've gotta listen to this song:)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Of Roses, Thorns and the Pain of Blooming

‎"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin
I love the above quote and wish I had written it! Years ago a friend who moves in prophecy said I was a rose whose thorns would prick the hearts of men. My goal is to be a sweet fragrance of the Lord but if I have to prick some hearts along the way to get the truth out, it is in God’s hands. We hope that His offer of love and support for our lives and the lives of our loved ones wiill get through and they will see for themselves that we can’t run from what He created us for. To give Him glory.
Some weeks seem harder than others. When those you love are hurting, when people you love unexpectanlty end up in the hospital, when it started off with one daughter in an accident, from last Friday until today seemed a bit long. Amber was operated on for back problems when she was just 18 and being rear-ended was no help in that department. Bill lives with chronic pain and the VA is very slow in helping.

Many problems in our extended family and being so far away from them makes me sad, that I can’t be there and give them a hug or comfort.
I’ve found that music is balm for the soul and I recommend playing happy songs, soulful songs, hippie songs and most of all songs of praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we hurt so much for those we love that all we can do is weep with them and then pray. So, that is what I will do; I will agree to pray and love and press on. Why don’t you join me?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Not So Ordinary Daily Devotional |

Not So Ordinary Daily Devotional

I especially like this part: "Oh, sweet child of God, don’t you see, we may feel like just a mom or just a wife or just a banker or just a teacher, but when we allow ourselves to be directed by the Master and we place ourselves in His hands, we become extraordinary.
When the Father looks at you, He doesn’t see what you see. He sees your potential in His hands."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The ministry of the "unseen"

Have you ever felt like you have the ministry of the "unseen"? Many times when our prayers don't get answered we feel this way. Yet these beautiful words describe a closeness that the Lord wants to give to all who have felt "unseen." I have at times, prayed to the Lord in desperation, "See me, See me!" perhaps as a small child might say. "Feel me and my pain, Lord." I know there is someone else right now praying these very words. May the Lord bring His comfort to your soul.

I hope all my prayer partners read this whole message from Reeni Mederos but I am posting my two favorite parts:

“It is the ministry of the unseen that I have called you to,” says the Lord, “It is what I have consecrated you for. This is the place I have set you apart for Myself. I have been jealous over you and I have not allowed man or the enemy to take away the glory of the precious gift I have placed inside of you. I have chosen you for such a time as this. I have held you dear to My heart as sometimes you have been rejected and you have felt robbed and stripped in your heart, but I have never left you or forsaken you and I will recompense everything that has been stolen from you if you will forgive those who have used you and bless those who have persecuted you. Let me heal your heart and your cause will become a legacy for generations to come who will learn from your example and endurance and love.”
You Have Been Blessed With A Burden
I hear the Lord is saying to these precious ones, “You have been blessed with a burden and I have blessed you with the weight of my Spirit that is precious in my sight, to release the plans and purposes of My heart in these last days. I have burdened you to carry the torch of intercession for this generation and I am building a lasting legacy within you for those who will come to remember you as I have named and called you, 'Faithful, Loyal & Steadfast.' Is it any wonder the enemy has tried to put out your fire and to take your very life from you? Lift up your voice and take your rightful place and be free to come to Me with every supplication, every burden and every heart cry, for I will hear you and not reject you or turn you away as others have,” says the Lord.
Reeni Mederos
Warriors International, Inc.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

3 Steps to Spiritual Contentment - Guideposts

3 Steps to Spiritual Contentment - Guideposts

A great Article from Guideposts, with these 3 points as the key to contentment:
1. Recognize the roots of bitterness and anger. The first step toward fighting an enemy is recognizing it. If you are developing a bitter attitude toward someone or something, then you need to identify it. You may even want to write down or journal what is simmering inside you and why you feel the way you do. If you find yourself grumbling, complaining, or rehearsing a pity party, it is time to recognize it and determine to move in a new direction.
2. Change your perspective. Determine to stop focusing on what is wrong. Quit playing the "I am hurt" tape in your brain. For that matter, quit trying to make sure the other person knows how much they hurt you. Do not play the blame game of pointing the finger and saying it is all his or her fault. This is negative, unproductive thinking and will only keep you in a pity party prison. Choose to change your focus on what is good. Focus on the hope in each person and every situation. God has not left you. He can bring hope out of seemingly hopeless situations. It is your choice what you will dwell on.
3. Ask God to give you strength and direction. Seek God's help in forgiving others and moving forward. The Bible reminds us that we must forgive others, because we have been forgiven of everything (Colossians 3:13). Dear friend, as we look to him, we begin to see a loving God who is able to help us forgive and move forward. Moment by moment, ask God for direction, strength, and help to move past the anger and toward a whole new attitude. Ask him to replace your hate with love and your anger with forgiveness. He is able to weed out the roots of bitterness in your life as you seek his help. By Karol Ladd

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Still Not the Cleavers!

We are still not the Cleavers! Still trying still failing but thank God Jesus loves, forgives and upholds us anyway. If you wonder what I am talking about I am rewriting and reposting my Christmas blog; it works for everyday stuff, too:)
Gladness for the Dysfunctional Family
At our house, I have a saying, “We’re Not the Cleavers, But That Never Stopped us from Wishing We Were.” The Cleavers, the Walton’s, the Ingall’s, we would be happy to have any resemblance to those families. You might find us listed at “Dysfunctional R Us” or on Facebook with the tags: painful childhood, loss of loved ones, overcoming addictions and trauma, or we might remind you of the old Hee-Haw song, “Gloom despair and agony on me,” If it were’t for bad luck we’d have no luck at allJ. Did I make you smile yet? But for Jesus and His Word that is ever living in my heart, soul and life we would go under! And perhaps your family would also, as you wonder what has happened to your "normal" life with the economy spiraling downward, sicknesses, accidents, and natural disasters abounding.
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,

That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,

The years in which we have seen evil.

Let Your work appear to Your servants,

And Your glory to their children.

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,

And establish the work of our hands for us;

Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:14-17 (New King James Version)
I love these verses in Psalm 90, I was so astounded that the Lord would actually take the days of pain and affliction that we have gone through and make us happy according to them.
Is it possible that He would give joy as He allowed sorrow? Isn't that the premise of Romans 8:28 when it is said that He will work all things to our good?

What encouraging words and what a wonderful prayer to pray today and every day. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. ASV

Oh that the Lord would fill us with love and joy as we seek Him in the morning. It truly would give us a song to sing and a story to tell to our families and friends. How many of us want to proclaim His greatness to our children and grandchildren? Most of us do and we can by reminding them of these precious words from the Psalms.
It is okay to ask the Lord to treat us well and give us success. In my life I have felt afflicted with abuses, hurt and losses but I can prevail by focusing on the good that will come eventually. If I had not endured these things I would not be the person I am today. I was on the road to being a spoiled brat as a young girl and then my world was rocked by pain and I learned to look outside of myself. I learned that others are more important than myself. I learned about self-sacrifice from a mother who worked so many hours a week at forty-five cents an hour for years just to feed her children as my sweet Mama did. I learned that my brothers and sister were overcomers in life as they just did what they could to enjoy what little we had. We all learned that we had a lot more than many others. We learned to share what we had and that it is not material things that count but strength, maturity and kindness that will prevail all the days the Lord gives us. We learned that life isn’t about what material things we have but it is about faith, family, friends and remembering we have an awesome Saviour. One whose life was not perfect, either.
My message may be different than most people's, but I guess the slant He gives me fits some families. You know: the dysfunctional, but trying ones, the funny, but forgiven ones, the once hopeless but now Hope-filled ones! To God be the Glory! Affliction to gladness; it's the way of the Cross and the way our own Saviour took. I believe it is the way to hope for this life.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that we can be glad according to Your Word and the promises You give. We may always see evil around us but You will give us joy.
Thought for the Day: We have seen years of trouble.

Now give us as much joy as you gave us sorrow.
Prayer Focus: Dysfunctional families and the ones who love them.

Here are some other versions of the scriptures:

Fill us with your love every morning.

Then we will sing and rejoice all our lives.

We have seen years of trouble.

Now give us as much joy as you gave us sorrow.

Show your servants the wonderful things you do;

show your greatness to their children.

Lord our God, treat us well.

Give us success in what we do;

Yes, give us success in what we do.

Psalm 90:14-17 (New Century Version)

Oh! Teach us to live well!

Teach us to live wisely and well!

Come back, GOD—how long do we have to wait?—

and treat your servants with kindness for a change.

Surprise us with love at daybreak;

then we'll skip and dance all the day long.

Make up for the bad times with some good times;

we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.

Let your servants see what you're best at—

the ways you rule and bless your children.

And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,

confirming the work that we do.

Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do! Psalm 90:12-17 (The Message)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Redemption’s Ring Valentines Devotional |

Redemption’s Ring Valentines Devotional

This is a story of redemption from my friend, Kathy Thomas! She always bring such humor to the sad stories of life and I so appreciate her sharing her life, family and the love of the Lord with us.

You are going to love the story about the engagement ring!

I kept thinking of the Faith chapter 11 from the book of Hebrews, especially verse 13-16: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."As it says in the end of Hebrews, there are those that God loves that the world is not worthy of. I would say Kathy's name is on that list!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finite Minds Daily Devotional |

Finite Minds Daily Devotional
A great devo by Beth Patch about faith and doubt. She encourages us to have the faith of a little child; full of trust:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In memory of my Mama, Linda Lee Reece Lewis who went home to be with the Lord, 13 years ago, today

A story I wrote a while back; I am posting for a short time in memory of my Mama, Linda Lee Reece Lewis who went home to be with the Lord, 13 years ago, today. Some of you may have already read this, but I hope it is a keeper!

Mama Said

I woke up from the dream weeping, "I want my Mama!" I am 58 years old and she has been dead nearly 12 years. Will the need to reconnect with the one who gave me life never end? Is the cry of grief endless?

I first experienced it on the day that she died. It is uncontrollable, inconsolable. Involuntarily, it came from my mouth. A piercing scream to match the piercing pain in my heart. But in my mind's eye, I flash back forty years. I heard that same scream coming out of my mother's mouth at the news of her mother's death. It is nearly a primitive sound.

I was assaulted with thoughts of things I felt I could have done or should have done. In previous months, Mama had stayed with us for a few weeks to recover from several surgeries. We were in close contact but the week before she passed away, my children had been sick and we didn’t get to see each other.

Our last conversation haunted me. We had always been close and I usually called to check on her every morning. It was about 8:10 AM. I was in the midst of Monday morning rush. “Hi Mom, I’m on my way to take the kids to school and thought I’d see how you are feeling and what you are up to.”

“I can’t talk now, the nurse is here,” Mama said. It was her routine house visit to check her post-surgery wound. How I wished I had said, "Call me when she leaves." Because of such a quick call I spoke no meaningful words and felt a lack of closure.

At her moment of death I thought I would be at her side. Although I reached the hospital before the ambulance got there with Mama she had already passed away at home in her own bed.

“Please let me go in,” I begged the nurse.

“A doctor has to check her first,” I was told. Assuming she was still alive, I waited; but Mama had died at home in her own bed the way she had wanted to go.

It was hard to accept not being with her at the end. I had always tried to be the "perfect daughter." As the oldest child wasn't that part of my job description? Yet I couldn't control the uncontrollable; there is a time to be born and a time to die.

Many times when I have a dream about her I wake up and try to think of all the happy times we had. Mama was raised in the Deep South and there was always an “old saying” coming out of her mouth. Mama used to say, "Men will go after anything in a skirt!" but I'm sure we don't want to go there. As a teenage mother, divorced two times, she was probably trying to keep me from repeating her mistakes.

It wasn't easy for Mama to raise four children under the age of nine alone when my stepfather was put in prison. Her own mother and father had already passed away, and she was left on her own when she bypassed advice to put us in a children's home until she could get her life together. Although, she was a high-school dropout she was smart enough to know it could take a long time, and she wasn't going to be without her children if she could help it. I will forever be grateful that we were kept together as a family. Just sixteen when I was born she was quite a survivor! She loved to dance and I remember thinking what a pretty Mom I had as she danced to "Be Bop A Lula;" she adored Elvis, Dick Clark and the American Bandstand, and Chubby Checker, "Everybody do the twist." And everybody did.

Even though we moved often, she always worked and made sure there was food on the table. She had a lot of common sense and was so generous you would think she was a rich woman. Her employers loved her because not only could she work circles around everyone else, she made them laugh while she did it.

She used to say "It's a great life if you don't weaken," "You have to laugh to keep from crying,” and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

And Mama always said, "What goes around comes around." That is what I would like imitate. That is why I want to sow seeds of goodness, kindness and love because those are the types of things I want to come back to my family. Bless your children and they will bless you. Love your husband and see what a return you get. It is the principal of "sowing and reaping."

Mama also said, "Only the good die young." This must certainly be true. She died unexpectedly at age 62. Sometimes I try to imagine life with her still here. Many times I have gone over in my mind the things I wanted to do for her when she was alive. Whenever we have a family celebration or are eating at a restaurant, I am often wishing she were still alive and here enjoying herself. She loved to eat and used to say, "I'd rather die than not be able to eat what I want."

Diabetes helped that statement come true.

Mama, if I had you back for even one day, I would treat you like a queen. I would take you anywhere you wanted to go. I would make you whatever you liked for me to cook, carrot cake or the little fancy sandwiches for a picnic. We would find a “Po Folks” restaurant even if I had to drive you from Florida to Tennessee to do it. I would take you to a movie and to the flea market. I would rub your back with alcohol and then lotion and I would wash your tired feet with warm, scented water and my tears. I would pray a blessing upon you and show you how much I love you.

These are thoughts I have when I meditate on my mother. Our relationship had its ups and downs, but it is still the strongest bond on the earth, that mother-daughter connection. I will always remember the things my Mama said and it’s funny, but I seem to be saying a lot of them to my own daughters, now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Treasure Within and what is better than a Hallelujah?

Sometimes it is hard to figure out what the Lord is up to in our lives. That's where the Lean not on your own understanding verse comes in. And of course the Hebrews chapter 11 that has so much encouragement: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

And especially: the world was not worthy of them.

Remember the vision the Lord has given you, my friends and prayer warriors. The world is not worthy of the treasure within you but the Lord has chosen to use it not abuse it. May we live to ever praise Him in the midst of tears, pain, heartache, family dilemmas, hardship, lost dreams and broken hearts.

I love the lyrics to Amy Grant's song that I am including:
Better Than A Hallelujah lyrics
God loves a lullaby
In a mother's tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes
God loves the drunkard's cry
The soldier's plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
The woman holding on for life
he dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes
The tears of shame for what's been done
The silence when the words won't come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out
We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)

Better than a Hallelujah

(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)

Songwriters: Hart, Sarah; Hartford, Chapin;