Monthly Archives: August 2011

Life Stirred But Not Shaken!

"Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

On Tuesday, August 23, 2011, at 12:57 pm,  Jim and I were on the West Virginia/Kentucky border heading to Washington, DC to attend my uncle’s interment in Arlington the following day.  We had just gotten off the phone with my parents who had just arrived in DC and checked into the hotel that we would all be staying. A  few seconds later, we were getting a text from my parents  saying “Call now!”.   Jim and I looked at each other inquisitively and wondered if something was wrong with a family member traveling up,  the hotel  reservations, or the  hotel. As Jim drove, I began to try to call. However, I would get a message each time telling me that my calls could not go through. Then, we get another text saying “Washington, DC has had an earthquake.” Immediately, Jim and I turn our satellite radio to CNN to hear what had happened. While listening to the details of what had just happened and texting my parents to relay the information, I laughed and told Jim that I had told my small group leader that I was going to Washington, DC to shake things up but I guess God couldn’t wait for me to get there.

Yes, for a few brief moments not only in Washington, DC but in surrounding states the earth shook. People were caught off guard. As a natural reaction, people ran outside of buildings as the ground began to shake. But, if you have been in any earthquake drills and/or information sessions on earthquakes, you will soon learn that you do not run outside but you get in a sturdy doorway or under something heavy like a desk and cover your head.

Jim and I have had a summer of earthquakes in our lives. I won’t go into detail of all that has happened but we have literally spent the summer in the car going to take care of someone, help with some situation, or attend a Memorial service.  It seems as we get our feet back on the ground, another quake happens that adds something else to our plate.

Today, on the small group prayer list that is passed around as we meet, I wrote by my name; “Me-I am physically and emotionally spent.” At the end of the group time, our leader allows us to share our request and elaborate on some of the requests we have put down. As I shared with the group, I told them how the summer has been, all that was and has been on my plate. But, as I shared, I told them that I am not spiritually spent. Life has been stirred a bit over the last few months but my faith is not shaken. As a matter of fact, it has been my faith that has helped me get up each day and take care of matters at hand. My heels have dug deeper into claiming scriptures to get me through the day and clinging to God for the strength I need.

As Christians, we have not been promised perfect days but days that put us in the direction of perfection. There are times when the earthquakes of life happened when we least expect them.   When these life earthquakes happen, just like in a geological earthquake, we don’t need to run but we need to stand in a solid doorway, or a solid piece of furniture better known as Christ our Saviour. Along with positioning ourselves under God’s protective wing,  we need to cover our heads.  We cover our heads by prayer, asking God to provide what we need to get us through the quake.

Today, I ask you how firm is your foundation? If life’s earthquake happened to you at this moment, would you be shaken or just slightly stirred?

Carry this verse with you in the days ahead; ” But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered for a while, perfect, established, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10-11

Blessings

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The Grace Card…don’t leave home without it!

Are You Living God’s Grace?

The last few days,I have caught myself humming the lyrics to an old hymn written by Julia H. Johnston which are “Grace, grace God’s grace; Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”  As I reflect on the meaning of these lyrics of this old familiar hymn, I think about all the times God’s grace has entered into situations in my life.  Then, I reflect on how I can demonstrate that same grace given to me to those around me.

Grace, grace, God’s grace” hums through my mind as I wait patiently for my order to be brought out at a restaurant. The service was not very quick this particular morning. But, I was having  wonderful conversation and fellowship with a dear friend. Our server kept assuring us that our order would be out soon. Now, I could have gotten upset, looked for the manager, complained and ruined a perfectly good visit. Instead, I chose to use the grace card.  You see, I only saw one side of the situation. There could have been a number of things going wrong in the kitchen to slow up the order. It was not for me to judge nor correct.  My task was to simply use my grace card.

There are times when I may be at a check out counter and the clerk is struggling to check me out. They apologize and again I tell them “it’s ok.” I have worked retail and I know what computers can do, when new sales are not put in and what it is like to have something going on personally making it hard to focus on the job. Again, the grace card is issued.

God issued each one of us a grace card. His grace card covers all with no interest.  As God extends His grace to us, it is our responsibility to extend His  grace to others.  Ephesians 4:32 says; “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,even as God in Christ forgave you.”  When we use our grace card, we are truly a witness for Christ.  Our using the grace card can make what could be a potentially tense and bad situation a situation that is bearable as well making someone’s bad day a little better.

We all have a busy week ahead. As we prepare to leave the house, we will make sure we have our cell phone, blackberry, wallet, purse, keys and such. But, as we collect these items to journey out for the day, let’s  be sure we have our  grace card…we  don’t want to leave home without it!”

Blessings,

“We never cry out to God and receive a returned check stamped ‘Insufficient Grace.’ “

JUST MARRIED!!

This weekend (August 6, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.) I gained a beautiful new daughter. Megan Marie Edwards united with my son, Andrew Mitchell Hawkins in marriage.

Blessings to the beautiful newly weds!!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Mitchell Hawkins August 6, 2011

 

You can follow the newlyweds on twitter:
@drewhawkins
@megan marie 122

It’s What’s In The Heart

This season I watched  the competition “The Voice.” similar to ‘American Idle” in giving young singers a break in the music industry, I like the way “The Voice” chose their teams and contestants. In the beginning of the series of competition and voting, the singers audition before the judges/coaches but the judges/coaches have their back turned to the performer. This is done so that the judges/coaches hear the true talent and heart of the performer and not size them up according to their appearance. Also, through watching this show, the beautiful hearts of the performers and their stories were seen  more than the outward appearance.

These days, I hear so many moms of teen girls who struggle with their appearance. The girls want to fit in with the right clothes, and the list of the wants  go on  just to be accepted. Not only do the girls deal with this but guys do as well. I remember my son in middle school would not wear a certain pair of jeans on a Friday that he had worn earlier in the week despite the fact they had been washed. According to Drew,  was not cool to wear the same jeans twice in one week. This struggle of girls and guys struggling to fit in with the right clothes and among other things  has gone on for many generations.  My dad shares what it was like to be a red-head in the 1950’s and in the army. He took a good bit of teasing just because he had red hair!

Then, along with teens being self-conscious of their appearance, they also size up the new kid that walks into the group. Immediately, when a new teen comes in they are evaluated from the way they wear their hair down to the brand of the shoes they wear. 

We as adults are just as  guilty of sizing up people. We do this whether it is someone moving into our neighborhood, joining a group we attend or just by people watching. It is sad but a true fact.

Each human being that walks this earth is a Child of God. They are God’s creation and each person has God’s thumb print on them whether they realize it or not. Each one of us was not put here to judge people by what clothes we wear, what car we drive, neighborhood we live in, or how we look in general. But, we were put here to see the hearts of others. Just like the judges/coaches on the television show “The Voice”, we are to simply hear what the heart has to say not to judge their heart and soul by how they look. 

 We are called as Christians to exemplify the grace and love of Jesus Christ. We exemplify Christ-like love by putting all judgements aside. It is important for us to  listen to the hurts, anger and questions of others. We are to not only listen but we are to listen with non-judgemental hearts, ears and with unconditional love. 

I Samuel 16:7 says; But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  I encourage  parents reading this to challenge your teen to look at the heart of the new guy/gal that may come into their group. Help them realize it is what is inside of a person that matters and not what they are wearing on the outside. Then, I also challenge the adults reading this post. Take a step back and reflect on how you receive people who are new in your group, work, or neighborhood. Reflect on how you see strangers when you are out and about. Then, as you start sizing them up realize that they are God’s child and seek what is in their heart. You will be amazed at how many beautiful people you will encounter.

Blessings

I Can’t Find My Tater Tots & The Biscuits Are in The Freezer!

Olga Volkova. An oil-lamp. Pansil on paper. 47...
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Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning ; burning to the break of day” is an old camp song that I recently find myself humming as I go through my daily list of things to do.  Jim and I have had an unusually busy summer. The first clue of how busy we have been was the other night. We were having dinner at Sonic Drive-In. I began to look for the tater tots I had ordered.  As I asked Jim if they brought my tots, I was  rummaging through the bag trying to find them.  I soon realized that they were in my hand the entire time! But, it gets better than me holding my tater tots while looking for them. Yesterday morning, I go to the freezer to get ice and I notice that Jim had placed the canned biscuits in the freezer after opening a package of them the day before. I asked Jim about where the biscuits were found and he did not remember putting them there. Yes, folks we have become a sad, absent-minded couple who can’t even keep up with their tater tots and biscuits!

 When we tell people about all that has happened this summer and what is yet to take place, you see that they are visualizing those hamsters on their little hamster wheel  spinning like crazy! Then, we are asked how we are holding up under all that is happening this summer. It is then when we share it is our faith, giving each day to God and asking friends to pray for us that is giving us the strength we need. Yet, I have to admit this past weekend the feeling of being overwhelmed swelled up inside of me to the point I had posted on my Facebook status “overwhelmed!”

Seeing the word “overwhelmed” on my status which has now been deleted made me ask myself how much was I really relying on my faith, friends and prayer. Then, as I prayed, “give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning” came to my mind. Since, I have been humming it as I tackle all that has been put before me this summer.  I know it is God’s message to me that He is my strength. He will provide all the oil I need to conquer all that is yet before me this summer.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you looking for your tater tots while you are holding them in your hand? Did you put the biscuits in the freezer instead of the fridge? Don’t worry! You are not alone! Then, ask God to ‘give you oil in your lamp.’ When you ask for oil in your lamp, you will be amazed how that overwhelming feeling will soon disappear and you will be able to conquer what is before you with confidence.

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

Blessings

 

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