Category Archives: Thoughts from the Porch
Life. It happens. There are times when life happens and blessings are bestowed upon us. Then there are times in life where so many things are happening that we throw our hands up in the air and ask; “what’s next?”.
There are events in life that we feel are unfair. When these events happen we have two choices. Choice number one is we can throw our hands in the air and simply sit down and give up. Choice number two is that we can put the situation into God’s hands and allow Him to do His work. It is when we place the situation into God’s hands and allow Him to work we can RISE UP!
There are so many examples of people rising up out of dismal situations. One example is Joseph ( son of Jacob). God gave Joseph dreams and in the beginning Joseph was prideful of these dreams. So much so that when he told his family that he dreamed that one day they would bow down to him, they became angry with him. In response to Joseph, his brothers sold him into slavery.
As the story unfolds, we see Joseph become a man of integrity. He was tempted by Potiphar’s wife and he did not yield to it. Yet, he was put in prison for a long time. It seems that Joseph just rolled and went with the flow. While in prison he kept a positive attitude. It seems for every step he was put back he kept on putting another step forward. It was his faith in God, obedience to God that helped him rise up in every situation that he faced. He didn’t ask the “why?” questions like most of us do but he just simply said; “what do I need to do now?”
In the end, we know that Joseph entered into the favor of Pharaoh and became Pharaoh’s overseer of Egypt’s land. He saved the land from famine whereas his homeland faced famine. It is in the midst of this famine when Joseph’s brothers arrived asking for help. In other words, they were before Joseph and were bowing to him. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been a fly on the wall when they learned that it was their brother they were bowing to? I am sure it was quite a scene.
Joseph had setbacks after setbacks. Yet, he did not give up and sit down. Instead, he chose to RISE UP! He kept the faith, he was obedient to God, and in every situation he was put in he made the best of it.
Are you in the midst of a situation and you so want to throw your hands up in the air and give up? Maybe you are at your wits in looking for answers and/or solutions. I want to encourage you that no matter the circumstance know that it can be and will be used for good. Romans 8:28 reminds us; “And we KNOW that in all things God works for the good of those who love him., who have been called according to His purpose.”
In the midst of the situation that you are in, remember to count your blessings. I have always encouraged people to keep a blessings journal. Start out with writing at least five blessings a day. As the days pass, you will see that there will be more blessings than you could have ever imagined, keep a positive attitude, make the best of everyday and look up because when you do, you will Rise Up!
A couple of summers ago, Jim and I had the opportunity to hear Andy Andrews speak at the Gaither Family Festival in Gatlinburg, TN. As Andy came up on the stage, he was smiling. He began to share the importance and influence a smile has on our interactions with people. Andy encouraged us to try smiling in our interactions with others and take note on how much better our interactions go.
Yesterday, our son, Drew, posted on his Brain Wads about how time flies as he completes his first year of marking at DeMoss. In this post he shares thoughts on learning experiences since taking on this position, his personal growth as he has pursued his position at DeMoss and what he looks forward to in the future days with working with the DeMoss Group. As I read his post, I was the typical proud mama!
People have often asked Jim and me what our techniques were when raising Drew. The first thing was we heeded the advice of Jim’s dad/Drew’s grandfather. His advice on the very day Drew entered the world was; ” 1) First of all, love and respect him and 2)this child will do anything you expect him to do.”
Jim and I both were big believers in respecting Drew as a person from the get go. He was a child and we were his parents but there was a mutual aire of respect. When we wanted Drew to do something we did not demand he do the task or give orders. We simply would ask politely with a please and thank you. Before entering his room, we would always knock before entering. If Jim and I expected Drew to respect us, we had to do likewise and respect him. Looking back, during those rare time when Drew was being disrespectful, when we were honest with ourselves, we could see that the amount of respect coming from us (or the lack thereof) could well have been playing a role in his attitude.
You have heard and seen the commercials about the importance of the family table. There have been studies and documentation on the positive results of a family eating together. No matter how late it may be in the evenings before everyone was home, Drew knew that we would all sit down together, have dinner together, and share our day. I learned real quick that if you want a boy to express what is on his mind, feed him.
Early mornings were important for Jim and Drew. From about the time Drew was five years old. He would hear his dad get up to start his day. He would go into the family room where Jim would be reading his morning devotional or the morning paper. Drew would climb up in his lap and read with him. Jim didn’t want Drew to ever think he could not approach him at anytime. As Drew got older, their meetings would be early morning at the kitchen table. They would read and discuss current events in the paper and sometimes with their touch of added sarcasm. Now, that Drew is grown, Jim and Drew call each other and talk as the best of friends and that added playful sarcasm (not directed toward each other, mind you) still comes out once in a while in their conversations.
By no means was Drew the perfect child. There were moments that required discipline. However, in the discipline process we would talk with Drew about where the error of judgement took place and the lesson learned. Yet, there was a time or two where reasoning just didn’t work out. One instance was when Drew was in middle school. He was taking too much time primping (yes, boys primp as much as girls) and making his car pool late for school. After many mornings of frustration and pushing Drew out the door and finally getting him out the door, without saying a word, Jim went to Drew’s room and began to remove items. First, the mirror on the wall came down and out. Next, Drew’s stereo and other activities that Drew enjoyed in his room. Then, Jim simply told me that when Drew arrived home to have Drew call him at work if he had any questions. The look on Drew’s face was priceless when he entered his room that afternoon. He turned and looked at me appalled and all I said was; “call Dad.” As Jim talked with Drew over the phone, Jim explained the problem and the solution he took to solve this problem and told Drew that if the problem did not resolve itself that Drew’s bed would be next. Needless to say, being on time became a priority for Drew from there on out.
Exposure. Jim and I made sure we exposed Drew to the world. Not to say we encouraged him to be of the world but we wanted him to understand the world around him and how to respond with certain issues. There were certain types of music genres, television shows and movies we allowed Drew to watch in our presence. We wanted him to understand the world and wanted him to be well equipped to find the humor and challenges that the world has to offer as . We felt if he experienced these things in our presence we could share with him what we believed and what we disapproved of and why. Therefore, when he went out in the big world by himself he was not shocked at things he saw or situations he may be put in.
Teamwork. Ever since Drew played t-ball as a pre-schooler, Drew wanted to be on a team. I remember him trying out for the Middle School basketball team and didn’t make it. He was so disappointed but a friend invited him to run on the cross-country team. Both his Middle School and High School teams were blessings to Drew’s life and ours. He had wonderful Christian coaches that not only coached him and his teammates in running but they coached them about life and gave them a solid foundation for life.
Church was another important part of our raising Drew. We made sure that he was involved in church activities as well as ourselves being involved. If we expected Drew to be at church then we should be at church. In other words, walk the talk we were giving. It is being involved in church activities where Drew also learned the value of having good Christian friends, people you can lean on and who will pray for you and with you. It is this teaching that helped Drew when we moved away from home. When he went to college one of the first things he did was call us and tell us he found a church. He did the same when he moved to Chicago and Atlanta.
Not only was going to church and being involved in church important in raising our son, Drew. But it was important to us that Drew had experiences like going to church camps and mission trips. It is in these environments where Drew learned how to initiate conversations with people he did not know, learn about other people, their lives and experiences. These experiences also taught Drew the importance of being a good listener and reaching out beyond his comfort zone at times.
Listening. As parents we want our children to listen to us, our advice, views and what we have to say. Yet, our children have things on their hearts and minds they need to share. Jim and I tried to keep an environment where Drew knew he could come to us and we would listen with unconditional ears. It is this unconditional listening that brought trust into our relationship with Drew.
Expectation. This where I started my post on raising a son. Jim and I strongly believed, and still do believe, that not only will a child do what you expect him to but they will do as long as they see you walk your talk. In other words, if we expected his room to be clean, our room had better be clean. If we expected him to be ready to walk out the door a certain time, we better be ready as well.
I came across a quote not long ago that sums up the Hawkins’ philosophy of raising a son;
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And, if you treat them like sons, they turn out to be heroes, even if it’s in your own eyes.” Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
I raised a son who I am quite proud of. Along the way he has taught me more than a few things. It is to Drew I owe a thank you for encouraging me to blog. It is in my blogging I have heard so many stories from other people and have reached people who I never dreamed I would reach. Drew came into the world as my son but in my eyes he is a hero. He is a hero that I greatly admire and respect.
Raising a son or sons? Remember these two things: 1) always love them and respect them and 2) they will do what you expect them to do. Right now, they may seem to be just a son to you but one day you will look up at them and see a hero.
Check out Drew’s blog on his Web Site Brain Wads….the link below will take you to his post.
One Year At The DeMoss Group
- Corinth runner’s path to national titles began with adoption by pastor and wife (bangordailynews.com)
- Don’t Give Up! Finish The Race! (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- My Jericho Moment (timmybrister.com)
- Why You Should Attend the Send Conference 2013 (kevinandkristicabe.com)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which
being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4: 22-24
How many of you remember going to church camp, conferences, or even worship services and a leader would shout out; “ATTITUDE CHECK!”? The response from the participating group would be; “PRAISE THE LORD!”. In other words, it was a barometer of how the group was feeling and an encouragement for everyone involved to have a good time, to take part and be in fellowship with God.
Our attitude affects our every day living. If we look at life or what we are doing with doom and gloom, it is going to be just that….doom and gloom. However, if we wake up every day ready to receive the blessings God has planned for us and with a smile on our face and heart there is nothing in this world that can pull us down.
In my last blog post; We Need to Bow Down I share how we need to spend time in the presence of God and how we need to kneel before Him. We have to empty ourselves before God so that He can fill us up again. It is in this moment of holiness with Him that we open our hearts, we tell Him we trust Him and His plan for us, and we make ourselves vulnerable to life’s events whether they may be good or bad. In other words, it is this time of holiness that puts our attitude into check.
The theme of Thoughts From The Porch is “Encouraging words for a busy world.” As the technology age began to evolve, we were told that these tools would make life easier. And, most times technology does make life easier and better. After all, it has given people like me a chance to express ourselves, share the gospel to people we may not ever encounter in person, re-connect with friends and loved ones, and to get information easier and faster. Yet, it seems since the technology era has taken off, people are working more hours, people can’t leave work at work and bring it home because a lot of what they do is by computer and the computer has become more portable via the Smart phone/iPhone. Thus, this business can affect our attitude on life and to those around us. In other words, there are times when we need to take time out and have an attitude check.
If I were to shout out to you at this moment “ ATTITUDE CHECK!!”, what would your response be? Would you be saying “PRAISE THE LORD” no matter the circumstances you are facing or would your response be; “don’t even ask” ?
Life is busy. Life is stressful. The economy is rough for everyone right now. It seems more and more people are hurting and are sick. Yet, if we change our attitude on these issues, praising the Lord comes so much easier. Instead, let’s look at things this way:
Life is busy Life is full of blessings at the moment
Life is stressful Life has given me the opportunity to spend more time in my Father’s presence
The economy is rough for everyone right now The economy has given me opportunities to count my blessings all the more and to share my blessings with those less fortunate
People are hurting and sick I have the opportunity to lend a hand to someone, encourage someone to look UP!
You see, life is all about our perspective and our attitude. I love the story Zig Ziglar shares in the video below:
- Let Every Thing that Hath Breath Praise the LORD. (Ps. 150:6) (newchanginglife.wordpress.com)
- How A Great Attitude Can Change Your Life (mountainmoverscoaching.wordpress.com)
I wanted to share this story that touched me today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. There is a lesson in this- A little kindness goes along way.
photo credit: www.paintingsilove.com
story credit: www.facebook.com
Good morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground.
The man slowly looked up.
This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life.
” I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like fire; brilliant light surrounding him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I feel facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” Ezekiel 1:27-28
This description of what Ezekiel is experiencing in the presence of the LORD just gives me chills. I can only imagine what Ezekiel was thinking and feeling at this moment of time. The study notes in my Life Application Bible say this; The glory of the LORD appeared like fire and brilliant light to Ezekiel. Ezekiel fell facedown, overwhelmed by the contrast between God’s holiness and his own sinfulness insignificance.”
In one of the Beth Moore studies that I participated in with my small group, Beth shares the importance of bowing down in the presence of God and being present before God. Throughout the study we were encouraged to literally get on our knees, bow before God and present ourselves, our hearts and prayers to Him. Wow! What an experience of God’s presence I experienced when I actually got down on my knees and bowed before God.
I admit most days my prayer life are prayers said from the chair as I read a daily devotional, prayers said as I lay down at night and those that are breath prayers that I say as I go through my day. It is in those prayers that I am reminded that God is walking with me in my day-to-day life. Through these prayers I have invited God to be a part of all that is going on in my life. Yet, the times where I have truly experienced the awesome presence of my Father is when I actually get down on my knees and bow before Him.
In the moments of bowing before God, I am totally relinquishing all control I want to have over my life to God whom is in control. As I bow on my knees, I am showing God that I respect Him and His will for my life. It is in the getting on my knees and bowing that I feel a Holy presence like no other. There have been times when I have been on my knees before God where I felt a presence standing behind me, surrounding me and a hand touching my shoulder.
There is no question in my mind of the presence behind me and the one touching me because I know it is God’s Son/My Savior who is also in the presence of the Father. The presence that is surrounding me is the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is in these moments when I empty myself before God and allow Him to fill me up. There is a peace that passes all understanding that comes over me as He listens to me empty myself and as I allow Him to fill me up.
We live in a fast paced world. Many people are burden with many things these days. Some are burden with terminal illness. Others are burdened with finances or some other family crisis. The list of things people face today is long. Yet, in the midst of the illnesses and the crisis, we must remember to go to God and carry it all to Him in prayer.
What is heavy on your heart today? I encourage you to get down on your knees and bow before God. Relinquish the control you want to have over the situation and allow God to lead. As you are on your knees, feel His might presence, feel His Son touch your shoulder with assurance and feel the Holy Spirit wrap around you. Trust me, it is in the bowing before God is when you will feel a peace that passes ALL understanding.
I encourage you to watch this clip from the television show, Touched By An Angel.
A kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. He was out the next morning, just roaming around the zoo. A twenty-foot fence was put up. Again he got out.
When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, "How high do you think they'll go?"
Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones sings a song about waiting for a friend. Brad Paisley recorded a song; Waiting on a Woman where Andy Griffith is sitting on a bench with Brad giving him advice about waiting on a woman. Everyday it seems that most of us are waiting in some sort of line, in traffic, waiting for an appointment, anticipated phone call or waiting for a prayer answered.
On October 10, 2010, our son Drew, ran the Chicago Marathon. Though Drew has been running track, cross country and road races ever since he was in seventh grade, this was his first marathon. His dad and I were excited and worried at the same time of him taking on this endeavor. Jim and I were not able to be up there physically to see him run but we were there every mile of the way in spirit.
Have you ever seen a watermelon tree? Believe it or not, I have! Our family had one in our back yard. Now, you are thinking I am totally crazy and wonder what I had to eat before bedtime to dream up such a tale. Truth be known, Dad planted a watermelon tree but not knowing that was what he was planting.