Monthly Archives: March 2011
The other day while getting my nails done, my nail tech and I were sharing with each other about our families and backgrounds. It made for good and interesting conversation. As we talked, I told her that I had a son who would be getting married this summer. As she heard about the details, my nail tech asked me this question “what advice would you give your son as he prepares to get married?” At first thought, my response was for him to learn two words “yes, dear.” Of course we both laughed.
Then, as the conversation progressed, I thought more seriously about her question. “What advice would I give Drew as he plans to get married?” My answer includes the following advice:
Remember to say “I love you” every day. Once you are married, it is so easy to get caught up in the everyday routine of life. As you get caught up in the everyday routine, it is easy to assume that you love each other but those words should be spoken to each other each and every day.
Teamwork is another important key to marriage. It is important to work together on schedules, each others goals, and dreams. You never see a team win that does not work together. It also includes encouraging and helping one another during the hard times as well as in the good times.
Continue to date one another. It is important for you to set aside a date night once a week. This is a time to put the world and work aside and simply enjoy each other’s company. Date night is a time to renew your relationship and to share the dreams that you have together as a couple.
Then, you have heard the saying “always kiss me goodnight.” This saying is so true. Never go to bed angry with one another. Always resolve issues and/or disagreements before you lay your head down at night. Kiss each other goodnight.
In giving advice to my son, Drew on marriage, I know that there are many more things I will think of telling him between now and August. Yet, the most important piece of advice I give is to always worship together, pray together, and keep Christ in the center of the marriage. A home focused on Christ is a happy home and a home that works through anything and everything. “You can do ALL things as a couple through Christ Jesus who strengthens you.” ( Philippians 4:13 )
As my nail tech was finishing up with my manicure, my husband walks in the salon and catches the last of our conversation. We ask Jim what advice he would give Drew as he prepares for marriage and Jim’s response “yes, dear.”
If you have any words of wisdom for young couples getting ready to tie the knot, feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to hear what other pieces of advice people have for young couples.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Thursday Dad and I arrived in Chicago to celebrate your birthday. Friday, we helped you pack to head to a new chapter in your life. Needless to say, it has been a busy and exciting few days for us all.
As Dad and I followed you out of Chicago, I reflected on the past two years. I remembered the day you told me you were going to Chicago to live and work. At the time, you did not have a job. Your plan was to share rent with a friend who was going up and wait tables. When you first shared your plans with Dad and me, we were a little concerned but we knew you had to find your place in this big world.
You moved to Chicago and within a week you had a job that would enrich you, build your résumé and give you that stepping stone you needed in your career. Not only did you beat the odds of a new grad finding a job right after graduation, you found your place, purpose and ministry in this new world before you. You stepped out in faith, trust and allowed God to place you where you needed to be.
While in Chicago, you stepped out in faith in so many ways. First, you stepped out by learning how to survive and live in a big city which is much different from Owensboro, Kentucky. Then, as you learned to survive, you ministered to others. I know you witnessed to an atheist opening their eyes to seeing that God does exist. You not only took homeless people to the sandwich shop to get something to eat, you sat with them and listened to their story. You helped some find shelter for the night. Then, when Christmas came, family gave you countless amounts of snuggies and blankets. You had more blankets than you could use. Instead of allowing them stay packed and unused in your apartment, you took them to the shelter for those who needed them.
Friday afternoon as the Chicago skyline faded and your Trailblazer with U-Haul in tow went down Lake Shore Drive on the interstate, I did not see a skyline fading but a skyline that was touched by you. You found your place and discovered more of who you are in your first adventure into adulthood. Then, as the Chicago skyline was out of view, the Atlanta skyline was before you. Tomorrow, you will begin to fill new pages to a new chapter in your life. Drew, you make Dad and me very proud. You have definitely found Your Place In This World. Keep the faith and keep stepping out on that edge!
I love you,
- Stepping Out on the Edge (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
August, 1986 Jim and I were in Arizona. Jim had signed up to attend a Physical Therapy Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona. As Jim made preparations to attend this seminar, he decided he would take me with him and we would go out a week early. He saw it as an opportunity for us to vacation and possibly see the Grand Canyon.
After being in Phoenix a few days, I became very sick. I was so sick that Jim thought I ought to go to the hospital and get checked. The doctors thought I had just picked up a bug and gave me something that would relieve the nausea. Within a few hours, I did feel a little better. Jim signed us up for a tour that would take us to the Grand Canyon for the day. We ventured out with a tour group and had a wonderful time enjoying scenery and meeting other people on the tour from other states as well as from around the world. Needless to say, it was wonderful memory for a newly married couple.
After an outing to the Grand Canyon, it was time for Jim to start his classes and I began to get sick again. Jim jokingly said ” I just can’t take you anywhere!” Then, he got wise to the situation and went to the local pharmacy and picked up a pregnancy test. Yes, the results were positive. But, Jim would not believe it and so we did a second and a third. It was obvious that a little Hawkins would arrive in about nine months. Yet, newly married Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins were in total shock. This news of a new one coming into their lives did not fit into their five-year plan of waiting to start a family. They both asked each other and thought to themselves “what are we going to do?” and ” are we really ready for this?” Of course, as Jim says “we had commitment” and ready or not we were going to be Mom and Dad. An unexpected blessing was expected to arrive in March, 1987.
On March 24, 1987, from the delivery room window, all you could see was the dark sky of rain and storms rolling in one after another. In the delivery room was a weary mom to be becoming more tired and weary from being in labor for over a day. Along with the weary mom to be, was dad to be who had only slept a few hours in a hospital chair. However, the time finally came for the newest Hawkins to enter the world. As Andrew Mitchell Hawkins entered the world, the storm clouds broke and the most beautiful rainbow appeared outside our delivery room window. I knew then that no matter how unprepared Jim and I thought we were, God had a plan for us by placing this beautiful baby boy in our lives. Drew was God’s promise to us.
As I reflect on what began as a stormy day that turned bright and sunny, I reflect on the days and the years that followed. I see a dad and a son not only bonding as father and son but as best friends. Up and at it at five in the morning, Jim would get the paper to read before going to work. On those early mornings, I would awake and come to the living room to see Drew in Jim’s lap reading the paper with him. As Drew got older, they would meet in the kitchen Jim with one section of the paper and Drew with another section. They were like two old men talking about what was in the news and the weather.
Along with early morning reads of the newspaper, I reflect on many vacations that we took with Drew. When going to the beach, Jim and Drew would design a sandcastle and would spend all day together building it. If we were at an amusement park, they would find the fastest and most daring roller coasters to ride together. Fun was and is still not an option it is mandatory with Drew.
Along with roller coaster rides, reading the headlines, and building sand castles, there were tears shed at times. The memory that holds close to my heart is when Drew was nineteen. He had to let go of his best friend that had been in his life since he was six. Abby was his dog and companion that waited for him to come home from school to run and play. She was the friend that had watched him grow up.
I will never forget watching Drew and his dad spend an evening in the rain, digging a grave for his best friend. It was that evening, I saw a little boy who had grown into a fine young man with a lot of character. I saw the message that God had sent me on that March afternoon of 1987. This message was that there was a young man who no matter the circumstances stood true to his faith. He was and is not afraid to show what he feels and is loyal to his Christian walk.
August, 2011, another blessing will happen. Drew will take the hand of a lovely young lady by the name of Megan to begin a new life with her. On the day he stands at the altar awaiting to meet Megan there, I will not only be reflecting on the joys and blessings of what Drew has brought to our family. But, if only in my mind, I will see that beautiful rainbow I saw on the day he was born. I will be thanking God for the unexpected blessing that came to be in August, 1986 and arrived on March 24, 1987. For, it was that unexpected blessing that has been nothing but a wonderful blessing to his dad and me.
Drew, much love and happiness is wished to you today. May you experience the joy of an unexpected blessing one day. Happy Birthday!
We Love You,
Mom and Dad
PS May you always have a ‘School Boy Heart.’ Dad and I always think of you when we hear this song:
- Picture of the Day: The Grand Canyon (theatlantic.com)
Luke 24:13-35 is titled The Road To Emmaus. If you are familiar with this scripture you know that two unnamed disciples were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus had risen from the dead. As they were on their journey, Jesus joined them. Yet, they did not recognize the person who had joined them on their journey as Jesus. Verse 16 says their eyes were restrained, so they did not know him. This ‘stranger’ who had joined these disciples began to ask about the events that had just happened. The disciples shared the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection. After the disciples shared about Jesus and all the events that had just happened, this stranger began to quote and share the scriptures and prophecies that concerned Him.
The two disciples and Jesus arrive to the village where they were going, and He indicated He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, He took the bread, blessed and broke it,and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
The disciples reflected on what had just happened. They asked one another “Did our hearts not burn within while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” As they asked each other this question, they knew it was without a doubt that they had to go back to Jerusalem and find the other disciples and share the good news! The Lord had indeed risen!! They began to share all that happened on their journey on the Road to Emmaus.
We all know that Jesus will return to earth some day. No one including Jesus Himself knows the hour nor the day of His return. Yet, if He would return as He did to these disciples, would we know Him? Are our eyes retrained? Do you recognize Him today in your every day life? Do you know He walks beside you everyday?
Jesus has not made the physical grand the entrance as written in scripture but He is here with us every day. He is that homeless person that you helped feed. He is the person who you let go before you in line at the grocery. Jesus is the person you stopped to help change a flat on the side of the road.
Not only was He the person you may have helped. He was also the person who helped you. Ever been in a waiting room in a hospital and a stranger came up to give you comfort or simply listen to your situation? Ever had a rough day and some stranger gave you a wave and/or a smile and it cheered you up? Maybe, there was a decision you had to make and then someone said something that helped with that decision. Yes, that is Jesus letting you know that He is there with you always.
As we go through the Lenten Season, be aware of His presence. Take a walk on a warm spring day and be aware that it is Him who is walking with you. When you receive communion at worship, may your eyes be opened to Christ and His works that are happening all around you. Then, as your eyes are opened and you experience His grace, join Him in His work. Be His disciple and share the good news that He lives!
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!
May He live within your heart today and always!
(chorus from hymn ‘He Lives’ Cokesbury Hymnal p. 241)
For the last several days our eyes have stayed glued to the news and the happenings in Japan. They have suffered not only one disaster but three disasters. First, the earthquake, then tsunami and now the nuclear power plants are experiencing critical cooling problems. As most of us watch, we shake our heads in bewilderment, we send up a prayer for these victims and most of us will give to a cause that will help these people recover from such disasters. Of all developed countries, Japan was probably the most prepared and safety conscious country. If they had not been prepared, there would probably be even more loss of life and destruction.
When such disasters happen as they have recently in Japan, there are thoughts of wonder if we are in the end of times. Yet, it is not for us to know or question. Jesus, Himself does not know when He is to return. He will return when His father tells Him that it is time. The important thing we need to be concerned with is are we prepared?
When disasters hit such as what has happened in Japan, it wakes us all up. It causes us to go through our check list of preparedness. Do we have bottled water? Do we have plenty of food stocked up, batteries, flashlights, and first aid items? Just as disaster reminds us to update our preparedness for potential disaster, we also need to stayed prepared for when Christ does come.
How do we stay prepared? First, we must accept Jesus as our Saviour and establish a relationship with Him. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We must have the Scriptures written on our hearts. Be in constant communication with God through our relationship with Christ. Confess our sins and seek forgiveness. Everyday, demonstrate God’s grace, love and forgiveness.
Not only are we to be prepared, but, we are to help others be prepared for His coming back. Acts 1:8 tells us, you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Are we preparing others? Are we witnessing for Christ?
Jesus’ return may or may not happen in our lifetime. But, when He does return, it is my prayer that there will be many people who will be knocked off their feet by the splendor and awesomeness of His presence and not because they weren’t prepared. In the days ahead, go through your check list of preparedness for Christ’s return. Are you prepared? Are you helping others to prepare?
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. Matthew 24:36
The other night Jim and I were watching television. The more we watched a particular show, the more we questioned the integrity of the show and the message it was sending out to our young people. I will not mention the show but it is one that started early in the season that seemed to be fun to watch, music from the 80′s and something parent and teen could watch together. Yet, as the season has progressed, the envelope seems to be pushed with each episode.
My brother has two young boys that are eleven and eight. I have friends who are raising young children and/or have teens in their home. When Jim and I were raising Drew, we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, and some of the programming that is currently on television. As I watch my brother and his wife raise their boys and hear the worries of parents and their teens, I just keep throwing up prayers for these young people and parents. The road is not an easy one. I am sure our parents thought the road was not easy with us. Our parents most likely dealt with things in our generation that were not an influence in their generation.
Along with keeping these young people and parents in my prayers, I have recently found myself asking God what can I do to help? What can I say to these parents who are frustrated with trying to help their children deal with all the influences of the world and their peers. Then, as I began asking God these questions, Ephesians 6:11-13 came to mind. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against flesh, and blood, against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
When I read this scripture, God had given me an answer to my questions. Every day we get up and get dressed for the day. Along with our dressing for the day, we need to put on our armor of God and we need to show our children how to put on the armor of God. Our children learn by our example.
What is the armor of God? The armor of God is how we demonstrate our faith in our daily activities. We live a life of honesty and integrity. Before starting the day, we ask God to shield us and our children. This armor also includes asking God for wisdom for all situations that may come our way that day. It includes asking God to help us stand firm in our faith when we are confronted by temptations.
Yes, our young people are faced with many influences in society today. As adults we are also faced with many influences having to make the right choices. But, when we put on the armor of God, it makes discerning the right influences from the wrong influences a little easier. We all have to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might( Ephesians 3:10).
Change. It happens. As a matter of fact this weekend our time will change. We move forward an hour on our clocks. We enter into a new season on our calendar. In time, we adapt to the one hour less sleep and the extra hour of time in the evening. As the season progresses, we receive the blessing of the extra hour of daylight by enjoying the things we like to do outside. Then, as we have adapted to this season and time, it will be time to change back once again and we will move into yet another season. It all a part of God’s plan.
Over my lifetime, I look back on changes that have occurred in my life. One change I wrote about was in my post Angel On The Corner of Fifth and Daviess. This is one change that I was very reluctant about going through. My family was relocating from Georgia to Kentucky. Yet, as I write in my post, I am now glad the change in location happened to our family. Over the years, so many blessings have come to be as a result of this change. Going through this season of my life taught me patience, how to trust God more, and God reminded me that He was in the plan every step of the way. It was through this transition that my relationship grew only stronger with God. I have leaned on this experience reminding me of how God brought me through when other seasons came and went in my life.
Each of us face changes. Change comes easy for some of us. Yet, for some of us, change does not come easy. Some of the changes we face are changes we chose to make and other changes come along without our asking. Some changes come along against our will. At times, when change comes about, we question God and ask why it has to be done. We fall resistant to the happenings in our lives.
When change occurs, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, we must remember that God is the one with the blueprint. He designed each one of us with having our own seasons of life to experience. As His children, we are to accept God’s plan for us and seek the blessings in the change of seasons whether it is voluntary or involuntary. By going through the seasons/changes of life, God teaches us how to trust Him more, how to become more patient, and most of all how to seek His blessings in ALL situations and seasons.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 sums up God’s plan for the seasons in our lives quite well. To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. This weekend, we lose an hour of sleep. Personally, I don’t like the idea of losing that extra hour of sleep. On the flip side, I am confident that with that extra hour given during the day in this season, there will be blessings to experience.
No matter the season and/or change you may be going through right now, remember our God holds the blueprint. As the saying goes, He brought you to it and He will bring you through it. Embrace this moment of transition and allow it to be a time where you are counting blessings and allowing your relationship with God to grow even better.
While out running errands, Jim calls me up only to tell me he has locked his keys in his truck. He wanted me to come to the rescue with the spare key that was supposedly on my key ring. Then, as the conversation progressed, it was brought to our realization that the spare key was the key locked in the truck! I had given Jim my copy of the truck key when his key broke one evening. Needless to say, a locksmith had to be called to get Jim back into his truck.
Ironically this incident happened the day before we begin lent which will lead us into celebrating our risen Saviour. In the beginning when God created the world, he created paradise where he allowed Adam and Eve to live. But, Adam and Eve had boundaries which, in the end, were tempted by the serpent. They crossed those boundaries given by God. We know how the story ends with Adam and Eve. They were kicked out of Paradise and Paradise was locked and sealed from man. In other words, mankind was locked out of the kingdom.
Then, God sent the ultimate locksmith. He sent His only son Jesus Christ to teach mankind about love, grace, forgiveness, and having a non judgemental heart. Though there were those who accepted Christ teachings and followed Him, there were also those who were very much against Christ and His teachings. He became so hated that the crowds voted to crucify Him.
On the day of Christ’s crucifixion, one of the thieves that hung beside Christ said these words to Him: Lord remember me when You come into Your kingdom. Jesus responded by saying: Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise. ( Luke 23:42-43) You see, there were men who mocked Jesus, who thought He was a fraud, and thought they had put His teaching to an end by crucifying Him. Yet, what they did was to fulfill prophecy and gave man a second chance with God. On Calvary, Jesus went and unlocked Paradise so that it is now open to all who accept Him as their Saviour. He is our locksmith. We are all familiar with Matthew 14:6 where Christ tells how to find our way to the kingdom of God. He says: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
When we accept our Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, the door to Paradise is open to us. Yet, as Christians we also hold a precious key to paradise. The key we hold is the key of witnessing to others about Jesus Christ. All of us will have or have had encountered someone in our lives who are locked out and don’t know about the ultimate key to the Kingdom. As an ambassador of Christ, we are to love unconditionally, show grace each and every day and demonstrate the same forgiveness that Christ demonstrated while He walked this earth. We as Christians are the spare key that are used to come to the rescue of those who are frustrated with life and possibly locked out.
With each passing day, it is so important for us to stay tuned-in to others around us. When we hear that cry for help, we need to go to the rescue as a spare key and tell them about the ultimate key. In the days ahead, offer Christ. No one wants to be locked out.
My son, Drew, who is ever more daring than I would ever be, had his picture taken while lying down on the sky deck of the Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago, Il. Since this picture was taken, Jim and I have gone up to the top of the tower with Drew to see the new sky decks that were added when the Willis Company took over the Sears Tower Building. Needless, to say the view is breath-taking and beautiful. Being the wimp that I am, though, I could not even put my foot on to the sky deck to walk out without feeling like I would pass out. Therefore, as usual, I left this thrill up to Drew and his dad while I relegated myself to people watching.
When I see this picture, I think about what it means to step out on the edge. This weekend myself,along with fellow church members, had the opportunity to be a part of a celebration highlighting the mission emphasis at our church. This event gave each person a chance to see how our church is at work in missions, participate in a missions projects, as well as having the opportunity to hear the stories of missionaries.
Not only did we hear stories of what our people in the mission field are doing, we got to hear about how they were called to do mission work. They shared their fears and how they thought they would never be in the field of ministry much less serving in the field of missions that they are now doing. Several times over I heard verbalized that when God calls us to the mission field, it may require us to go out of our comfort zone and put ourselves out there. It is understood that when we put ourselves out there in this fashion, there is the potential for us facing criticism, pessimism, and a lack of understanding of the call to missions.
As I listened to these stories of how each person ended up in the area of missions, there were questions that kept tugging at my heart. ”What am I doing that requires me to put myself out there?” “Where am I taking a risk?” The answer to my question is this very site that you are reading. I come from writers within my family. My dad has done a good bit of writing over the years and has had things published. My son’s current job requires him to do alot of writing and he was always creative with his writing when in school. I did not think, however, that I could ever put myself out there on the edge and share my faith as I am doing now. Yet, as I shared in my post several months back He Will Have The Last Laugh, it took my son to ask me what I was passionate about and encouraging me to put myself out there on the edge and write April’s Faith Thoughts. To be honest, each time I write, it takes a lot of courage to write and share what God has placed on my mind. There is always this underlying fear of offending someone or being criticized for sharing my faith. The feeling is very much like how I felt when I tried to step out on the sky deck of the Sears Tower. Yet, when I turn on my computer and pull up my site to begin drafting what God has placed on my heart, I take a deep breath and say “ok God, its you and me again.” “Let’s do it!”
When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, we are answering the call to be in missions for Him. We are His representatives with the responsibility to share His love. We don’t have to all pack up and go to Africa. Simple acts of showing Christ’s love can be done by helping with the local homeless shelter, sending cards to those who need encouragement, and praying for others especially those who are serving in volatile areas in the missions field. Missions can also mean donating funds to keep current mission work going, donating items that shelters may need and simple allowing Christ’s love to radiate through us each and every day to every person we meet. Yes, we may be taken out of our comfort zones now and then but once we step out in faith, we will experience such joy in our hearts.
On a September evening, I tried putting my foot out on the edge of the sky deck and ended up standing against a wall while watching others stepping out. But each week I have decided to step out and share the light of Christ through my writing instead of standing by and reading what others are writing and wishing I had the courage to do what they are doing. Thus, my theme of my site is a familiar verse You are the light to the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden.”(Matthew 5:14) My prayer is that each time I write that my light shines for Christ and that someone may just get the encouragement they need as they journey through this life.
My friend, some day the opportunity will present itself where you will have to make a decision. Are you going to take that deep breath and accept the call, or are you going to wimp out and stand against the wall and watch someone else do it instead?
After taking a couple of seasons off from watching, Jim and I have gotten captivated with American Idol this season. Jim and I are already amazed at the competition. It is wonderful to see the talent already exhibited on the show. When we watch, it is obvious that these young performers are putting their heart and soul into their performance. It will definitely be an exciting season until the winner is announced at the end.
As we all get excited about the performers on American Idol, God gets excited when He sees us perform our talent. Yes, You’ve Got Talent! Now, you are already thinking I can’t sing, I can’t speak, nor can I perform. God knows different, however. Each one of us has at least one talent and God enjoys watching us perform our talent. Our talent does not have to be anything of great grandeur and it is sometimes the smallest of talents that make the difference.
One thing I lack in the kitchen is patience when it comes to baking. I do bake but I don’t do a lot of it. Yet, my husband, Jim, loves to bake. He has his own cookie recipe and has a sour dough bread starter that he keeps going at all times. With the patience and talent to bake, he uses this talent as a ministry to others. When someone is feeling down, he may bake cookies or a loaf a bread and take it to them. Or, there may be a special event or gathering at the church that gets him excited to bake to share in the fellowship. As he bakes, he does it with enthusiasm. He has the person or event in his heart, mind and in prayer. Yes, he hopes that the baked goodies are liked but most importantly this is one of his ways to share the love of Christ.
Yes, You’ve God Talent! God gave you your own special talent. God loves to see you put it to use with all of your heart and soul just as the young talent performs with all their heart and soul on Idol. He gave you your talent to bring Him glory. Furthermore, as we anticipate the winner on Idol, God watches us with great anticipation to see who we will bring closer to Him through the use of our talent. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. Romans 11:6
- American Idol: Season 10 top 24 – the boys (slouchingtowardsthatcham.com)