A couple of weekends ago Jim and I headed to Georgia for a long weekend. This weekend involved in being at several different venues during the course of the weekend. As always I struggled to discern on what clothes I needed to pack and what really didn’t need to go. Progressing into the weekend, I realized I didn’t need to take as much as I took.
We have all been there. We are planning a trip and we over pack. We over pack because we are afraid we won’t have the right outfit for a dinner, or something could happen and we need that particular item. Thus, we pack everything but the kitchen sink and take it with us.
The result in packing everything but the kitchen sink is that the room in the car is limited. Our car has been so packed full at times that I was not able to recline my seat back. When Drew was young and still in a car seat there were trips where there would be just enough space for his seat. I look back on it and laugh and yet I see it as sad, too. Sad because we got so caught up in the packing that we didn’t look forward to the trip.
We didn’t look forward to the trip because we were exhausted from packing. And, we were dreading getting to our destination because we knew we had to unload it all and then pack it all up and take it back home. It makes me tired just thinking about it now.
In this world we are on a journey. On this journey we tend to over pack. We over pack by carrying burdens we do not need to carry. Our over packing involves living with not forgiving someone or even sometimes forgiving ourselves for something. In other words, we stuff our lives with baggage of shame, guilt, and with what the material world says we need to have.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 that God wants us to pack lightly as we journey through life. He says:
Come to me all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
In other words, we don’t need to carry the burdens, unforgiving hearts, ways of the world and all other things that weigh our hearts down. I love what Rick Warren says in Purpose Driven Life: “God created us for his enjoyment” Do you think he enjoys seeing us continually stuffing things down in our souls and carrying it wherever we go?
We stuff these things down in our souls and hearts because of fear. It is just like over packing for a trip, we are fearful that we may need it at some point or we are afraid of what might happen if we leave the item behind. Then, as we journey in life we are exhausted, we dread what is ahead of us and we miss the blessings that God has planned for us.
Our journey is before us. May we begin to sort out what is and isn’t important. May we seek forgiveness where forgiveness is needed. Let’s no longer hold on to things with the fear that we can’t be without it. Instead, let’s lay our stuff at the feet of Jesus and begin to enjoy our journey and look forward to our destination.
Our destination is heaven. God says to pack lightly because all he needs us to bring is our hearts to him. There is no need to arrive exhausted and weary.
Until next time, may you enjoy the journey and experience God’s blessings.
- Lighten the Load (taylorschatz.wordpress.com)
- Learning the Yoke (fellowshipofaburningheart.wordpress.com)
- Tired? At the end of your rope? Then Come to me! (regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com)
If you are a frequent reader of Thoughts From The Porch, you will know that I used this Bon Jovi song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” in a previous post. In that post, I share how people leave home sometimes under stressful situations, about our kids leaving home, and the importance of keeping the porch light on. I also shared how we have a home that we are always welcome to come to and that home is in the arms of our Father.
A week ago today I was on my way home. Yes, I would be seeing my parents, my brother and his wife but I was going back to a home that I had not been to in over thirty years. As I prepared for the trip, and as Jim and I headed down the interstate last weekend, apprehension, butterflies in my stomach and excitement were all stirring up within me.
While traveling to Georgia to attend this reunion, I shared with Jim stories from living in Bowdon/Burwell. I told him about the people who played a significant role in my life. Along with sharing with him about the people, I shared with him stories of mischief that I got into to, swinging on vines across a creek, staying up all night at camp meeting talking, and the list could go on and it did as we drove to Georgia.
Friday evening we stopped at my parents’ home for an overnight visit before heading on to the reunion on Saturday. In my visit with them we went down memory lane. We wondered if certain homes, businesses and people were still around. Mom reminded me that it would not be exactly the same as it was when we lived there.
Saturday afternoon finally arrived and Jim and I arrived at our hotel. We checked in with only a couple of hours to unwind and get ready for the evening. During this time, I had already began calling and/or texting friends who would not be at the reunion trying to set up times to see them before I ventured back on Sunday afternoon. Excitement and anticipation began to build all the more.
Fast forward, we pull up to the lodge where the class reunion was taking place. I see people in the parking lot gathered and talking. Jim asked me if anyone looked familiar. My answer was; “no, not yet.” But, as I registered, and began to enter the lodge, familiar faces were coming up to me. I was getting hugs, warm smiles and a heart full of memories were coming to surface.
My best friends and I grabbed each other and hugged for a long time. As we began to visit and talk it was like I had never left. The butterflies and anticipation subsided. All I felt was warmth, love and I would say I caught another glimpse of heaven last weekend.
You ask; “a glimpse of heaven.” Yes, a glimpse of heaven. For me, I believe that God gives us a slight glimpse and taste of heaven at times. This past weekend was one of those glimpses.
Heaven as I envision it is a place where I will arrive and there will be arms of love opened wide greeting me. Faces of people in my life that I will recognize immediately and though I have been away for quite sometime will still “call me one of their own.” The only words to describe how it will feel is amazing, awesome, and WOW!
Since my return home from this wonderful event, I had to get back to the real world, life and responsibilities. Some days the real world brings challenges that frustrate me and make me want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. However, it is in these moments when I reflect on the little glimpses of heaven that I get that little push and pep in my step to keep moving on and not let life pull me down.
Life can get me down. People will let me down. But, I know that there is a destination on this journey and when I arrive to this destination there will be people with arms opened wide ready and willing to call me their own. It makes my heart leap just to think about it all.
Today, life may be getting you down. Maybe someone has let you down. Yet, realize that you are on a journey with a destination. There are people who have come in and out of your life who are waiting to open their arms wide and call you one of their own. I encourage you to be attentive in your everyday walk with Christ and in all interactions/events you have in your life. If you keep your heart and eyes opened, you may just get a little glimpse of heaven. It’s those glimpses of heaven that will get you through those tough moments in life.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
Dedicated to Bowdon High School Class of 1982. Thank you for making me feel so loved and welcomed!
The Christmas season has begun. For some, the season for Christmas shopping began on Thanksgiving night. The madness, the mayhem and rush to get that one must have item began. As the madness began, Jim and I were in route to our second Thanksgiving celebration with family. We had spent Thanksgiving lunch with his family and now we were off to Georgia for Thanksgiving with my family on Friday.
Jim and I were excited about arriving in Georgia not only because we haven’t seen the family in a while but we had just purchased a convertible. This convertible is something Jim has always dreamed of owning and now he was taking it on its first road trip. Since we were heading South, Jim was assured that the weather would warm up at least one afternoon to put the top down with the intentions of taking our young nephews for a cruise.
Friday morning after a two person lift of getting the turkey in the oven, my mom said that if there was some shopping we wanted to do to go ahead and go for it. I did want to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond while I was there since we don’t have one in our area. Jim and I set out into the madness of Christmas shoppers to pick up a couple of things we had on our list. As we shopped and looked at all the neat gadgets at Bed, Bath and Beyond, my father calls and asks us to pick up a couple of things at Target before returning home. While checking out with my purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I told Jim he could take the package to the car and move the car down to the Target parking area. I would walk on down and get what was needed so we could speed up our process of getting back to the house.
As I stroll down the aisle to find the items needed, my phone rings. It is Jim. I think to myself that he is either telling me where he has parked or he is looking for me in the store. Instead, I hear these words as I answer the phone; ” uh, babe, the weather is warm and I thought I’d put the top down to ride back to the house.” I thought to myself “okay, sounds good so far.” Then, Jim’s voice quivers as he says; “as I was putting the top down, the back glass shattered!” Obviously, this was NOT something a person wants to hear after owning the car only three weeks and being four hundred miles away from home. I was beginning to imagine the ride back to Kentucky on Saturday.
While waiting for me to come out of Target, Jim calls my dad to see if there is anyone who could take a look at the situation and possibly remedy the situation temporarily until we got home. However, the only solution to the problem was a trip to Lowe’s and making the purchase of plastic and duct tape to make a temporary window for our return home.
While Thanksgiving meal preparations were being made in the house with my mom and sister-n-law, Jim and Dad begin to vacuum out the glass and make a make do window. As we continued to put the meal together, I just shook my head in amazement of what had happened. You see, this is what we call Hawkins’ luck. It is not new to us at all. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen big and to us!
I chuckle out loud and said out loud;” well no matter the weather, I guess we could go home with the top down” (knowing rain was in the forecast). Then Mom and Chris begin design a way of how Jim and I could protect ourselves from the weather elements if we drove home with the top down. They had us wearing ski masks to protect our faces, scarves to stay warm and me holding golf umbrellas over us as Jim drove to protect us from the rain. The more the discussion went the funnier it got. By the time it was all said and done, you’d think a scene from the National Lampoon’s vacation was being written.
Over twenty-six years of experiences of Murphy’s Law, Jim and I have learned that sometimes all you can do is roll, go and just laugh at the situation at hand. We know that having a fit or getting angry will not accomplish anything. Jim and I signed on as a team. In that contract it means that we learn to roll with the punches together, laugh and know the issue will sooner or later be resolved. Then, in days gone by, what seems upsetting at the moment won’t matter.
Yes, Christmas is here. Mayhem, madness and trying to find that perfect gift is on. There are going to be moments that you are going to think; “can this line be any longer?” Or, “I wish that person would get out of my way.” There are other stress provoked thoughts that tend to go through one’s head during this time of year. However, let me encourage you this year, as those moments approach, to take a deep breath and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and it can get you through any situation a whole lot calmer and better than getting upset and raising your blood pressure.
Sometimes, all we can do is laugh. And, by the way, God did smile on our trip home yesterday. It was sunny with a temperature of 72 degrees and guess who drove home with the top down! See, it all works out and it was a sweet ride!
- The Grace Card…don’t leave home without it! (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- Start a New Tradition with Thanksgiving in Branson (prweb.com)
- Lake Oconee Activities for the 2011 Christmas Season (lookatlakeoconee.wordpress.com)
“I will singof the LORD’S great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.” Psalm 89:1
This morning while cleaning up around the house the old hymn ‘He Keeps Me Singing’ keeps running through my mind. As the lyrics and tune play through my mind and heart, I reminisce of one of my father’s early churches in his ministry. The church was Redwine United Methodist Church that is located in rural Georgia. Every Sunday Mr. Mac would be up in front leading the song service with such enthusiasm and joy for the Lord. This hymn was sung quiet often in that old church and as I remember it, that small congregation sung so loudly that I imagine those traveling down the road in front would have heard it as they drove past.
Recently, one of my bible study groups were sharing their prayer request and praises. As it came to me, I just sighed and said; “just remember our entire family.” I knew I didn’t have to say anymore because everyone had seen on the prayer chain or through circles in church knew that this has been a summer of big waves for our family. But, before I concluded sharing, I also shared that through these storms there have been blessings along the way.
In this old favorite hymn one of the verses say
Tho’ sometimes He leads thro’ waters deep, Trials fall across the way
Tho’ sometimes the path seems rough and steep, See His footprints all the way.
Oh, how that is so true for me at this very moment. As I reflect all that has been going on in the Hawkins’ home this year, I can see my mighty Saviour’s footsteps along the way. He has been walking beside me each and every step. Yes, He has even picked me up and carried me when I didn’t think I could go a step further. Jesus has whispered in my ear ‘not to fear not I am with you and I will let peace be still in all that is happening in your life.’
When God created you and me, He didn’t promise us perfect days but He promised that our days would carve us to perfection one day at a time and one step at a time. It is in our relationship with Christ that can keep us going on those days that aren’t so perfect and when the waves keep rolling in one after another. In our relationship with our Mighty Saviour, we are given strength to face all that is in front of us. He gives us the ability to sing praises and seek blessings just when we are about to lose all hope.
‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Sweetest name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.” What a beautiful course to hum on any day of things to do but even more beautiful to hum in the midst of life’s storm(s). It has been and is Jesus’ love for me, His holding me and walking with me that has kept me singing this summer. And, as the dust begins to settle, I hum and/or sing it to myself even louder! It is Jesus’ sweet melody that always rings in my heart no matter the circumstance.
It doesn’t matter what kind of day you are having good or bad, I just encourage you to sing as you go knowing that Jesus is walking beside you and at times, will carry you. His name is the sweetest name anyone can know!
This post dedicated to Redwine United Methodist Church, Royston, Georgia. I will always cherish my early childhood days of singing hymns with a congregation who sung with such joy!
- Accepting Jesus Christ in my Heart! (rccwsu9.wordpress.com)
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.