The Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

Be completely humble, and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another with love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians 4:2-6

Over the last week, I have been participating in a photo challenge through social media. Each day there is a category of which a photo is to be posted. For example, one day it was “bloom” and I posted a picture of a rose bud in bloom from my yard. As each day passes there is a new category.

One particular day the category was stone. I scanned through my photos trying to find a picture that would be unique but yet fit the category of stone. I had many nature pictures of rocks and various other pictures of buildings/churches that fit into the category of “stone.”

Through my scrolling, I came across this picture of The Pink Chapel I had taken in St. Simons, Georgia several years back.  The building is made of stone and with the Spanish moss I thought this would be something unique to share not thinking about the story behind it. So, I posted the picture with appropriate tags for this photo challenge.

Then, it happened.  There were “likes” for this picture and then the organization that was hosting the photo challenge commented back, ” Wow! What is the story behind this chapel.” It was then when I had second thoughts about what I had posted.  Yes, this is a chapel but a chapel with a very sad story.

Teardrop

The more I thought about the story and shared the story with the organization the more I questioned my sharing the picture. Yet, as I prayed about it and thought it through, I came to know even more how God can use ALL things to get his message to his people. Thus, after many re-writes on the response on instagram to the comment, I shared an brief explanation of the Pink Chapel’s story.

The Story of the Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

This chapel was built in 1838. It got its name from the pink lichen that grew on the walls and surrounding area.  Just like other historical places on St. Simons Island it has its own share of ghost stories, myths/folklore. Some of the untrue stories include that it was a place where slaves were beaten and some stories claimed it was a place for devil worship. However, these stories are far from the truth regarding the chapel.

 In 1838 there were two families, the Wylly family and the Hazzard family. Col. William Hazzard owned the West Point Plantation. His brother, Thomas owned Pike’s Bluff Plantation. There was another plantation called The Village that adjoined Col. Hazzards property.  John Wylly was the owner of the Village Plantation.  Both of these families were members of Christ Church.

The bitterness between Col. Hazzard and John Wylly was over property lines. It seems they couldn’t even agree to disagree. Thus, bitterness tension grew between these two men.

duel two

 It got so bad that Thomas Hazzard and John Wylly were called to come to Brunswick to settle this dispute. It was decided that the dispute would be settled with a duel. John Wylly was shot by Thomas Hazzard in cold blood. Thomas Hazzard was later acquitted for this act of murder. Due to Thomas Hazzard being acquitted for the murder, the neighbors began to turn their backs on them. Needless to say, bitterness and hatred between the Hazzard and Wylly families only grew to be very intense.

The Rubber Meets The Road

rubber meets the road

The tension between the two families became so great that they would enter the church grounds through separate gates.  Over time the Hazzard family grew tired of the hostile enviroment that had been created so they decided to build their own church. Thus, the Pink Chapel was built. This was a place where the Hazzard family  and the people of the West Point Plantation and Pike’s Bluff Plantation would worship.

This  particular chapel was built out of hostility  towards a neighbor, church family members and the unwillingness to seek and extend forgiveness and God’s grace.  I told you it was a sad story.

It saddens me to think and realize that there are pink chapels being built today. Church families can’t agree on certain things. Someone has hurt/offended someone. Instead of seeking and extending grace and forgiveness, they simply store up the anger and the bitterness. A hostile environment is created instead of a hospitable environment.  They enter the building on opposite ends and doors. Then it happens one day where they have had enough and one or the other leaves to  build their own church. I can’t imagine building a church that is not out of the call of reaching out to others, and glorifying God.

heartbeat

The church is not just a building. It is a place that has a heartbeat. The heartbeat is the people within the church. As Believers, we are to love one another, encourage, forgive, seek and extend grace. It is important that we  walk the talk of what being a  Christian means.  There are times when we all are going to stumble. None of us are perfect. It is in those moments of when we stumble we need to swallow our pride and ask for forgiveness. There are times where there are those in our church family that are going to stumble. As Christians, we are responsible for helping the person back up on their feet, pray for them and ask for God’s grace to intervene.

Grace card

Have I ever  been offended? Yes, I have experienced such moments in my lifetime. It is called being human. Early on in my growing up my mom taught me what it means to forgive. No matter how bad someone hurt me I was encouraged by her to forgive them and ask for their forgiveness even if I didn’t do anything or think I did anything  to create the situation.  In those moments, I forgave and extended the hand of friendship and grace. I see those moments as life lessons.  In some situations, I received some of the greatest blessings along with the lessons. Over time, I have learned how important it is to forgive and move on. I must keep my eyes on the cross seeking God’s grace and allow him to lead.

fast pace world

Today, we live in a world that is moving at a fast pace. More and more people are looking for answers. The non-believers are watching how the Believers  act and react to one another especially within the walls of the church. I love the quote from DC Talk’s song, What If I Stumble,” The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips. Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world  finds simply unbelievable. “

At this moment, I ask you if a neighbor has done something to make you angry? Is there a dispute with someone and it just seems it never will be resolved? Is there someone within the church that has hurt/offended you? Is there bitterness being harbored within your heart?

If you said yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to kneel at the feet of Jesus. Place the person (s) and/or situation(s) at His feet. Extend the grace God has so freely given you through the blood of his Son, Jesus.

surrendering to God

May we remember that the church is for the broken. It is a place where we can come and be loved on no matter our flaws, our falls or stumbles we make in life. It is my prayer that pink chapels are not built. Instead, churches are built to glorify God, aligning their footsteps with the Word of God.  The people of the church need to be living  out loud the scriptures. We must reach out to an unbelieving world and let them know that there is life eternal.  Most importantly, walk in His grace every single minute of everyday that is given to us.

restoration in Christ

How about it? Instead of building pink chapels, let’s make the heartbeat of the church even stronger so that those looking from the outside in will want to come in and  experience that wonderful joy that we receive when we experience God’s marvelous grace!

God's amazing grace

Take time to listen to this beautiful song, Forgiveness by Matthew West.

Twist and Turns

The Lord is my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27 :1

For I am the LORD you God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

Are there perfect days?

cropped-bike-on-the-beach.jpeg

“We are not promised perfect days but we are  promised A perfect day” is a quote that I have found myself quoting to people often times when they are in the midst of a struggle. Yet, there are days I forget to put this phrase into practice for myself. Yes, I am human. I am not perfect. I have flaws. I have fears. Life has taken my husband, Jim and I on many twists and turns.

The Celebration

Anniversary at church

Last November, 2015, Jim and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary.  To celebrate our anniversary, Jim booked a cruise for us. We were to leave the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Along with booking this trip, Jim surprised me on a Sunday evening at our church’s Thanksgiving dinner with having our pastor renew our wedding vows in front of our church family. He even surprised me with a cake after we renewed our vows. It was a very special evening.

The Storm

storm

The following Monday Jim comes home complaining of dizziness. We both figured it was his vertigo acting up and with him being a physical therapist he knew what he needed to do to get it settled down.  He tried the typical procedure and he did get some relief. Yet, in the next couple of  days this dizziness would only get worse. On Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving, I found myself in the ER with Jim. By this time Jim was so dizzy he could not even stand up. As the ER doctor examined Jim, he suggested a MRI to rule out stroke. Jim tried to talk his way out of the MRI and tried to convince the doctor to treat him for vertigo. Yet, this is one time I sided with the doctor. I knew we were on our way out of the country on the ocean blue in just a few days. At this point, Jim did not have much say other than to agree to have the MRI.

After patiently waiting, the doctor comes in with the MRI results. The doctor asked Jim if he had MS or migraines because there were lesions that only migraines or MS would have on the brain. Jim said he had a history of migraines. At that point, the doctor treated Jim for vertigo, gave us medication for Jim to have on the trip with a promise from us we would follow-up with a physician on our return home.

As promised, we did follow-up with a neurologist on our return home. This particular doctor has been a doctor Jim has worked with for many years. Thus, they know each other pretty well. When we went into the Dr.’s office the doctor asked Jim if he wanted the soft version or just out with what was wrong. Jim said he knew him well enough to just shoot straight with him. The neurologist said Jim had MS. I about fell out of my chair when hearing this news. It was the last thing I expected.

The Twist

The Dragon's Tail

Once the shock wave settled down, the doctor pulled up Jim’s MRI and went over what was going on regarding lesions. As the visit progressed, the doctor went over a treatment plan for Jim. He assured Jim that this would not affect his work and with medication the progression could be slowed down. In the midst of the consultation, the Dr. says that there is a meeting that very evening that we could attend to learn more about relapsing MS. Jim and I agreed we would attend the meeting.

The Blessing

heart and light

Believe it or not, Jim’s diagnosis was a blessing for us. For many years I have dealt with auto-immune issues. I have bounced from doctor to doctor trying to find out what was going on. Many times Jim asked some of these doctors to check me for MS but they would shake their heads, “no”.

As the meeting began, the doctor went over the main indicators for MS. The more the doctor talked the bigger Jim’s eyes got. You see, I had all of the main indicators for MS. Needless to say, Jim spoke with the doctor about what I had been through over the years and asked if he would evaluate me.  I went in the following week for evaluation and MRI. It turns out that our prayers had been answered. The mysterious dragon we had been fighting was finally given a name. The name being MS.

Though Jim’s episode and  landing him in the emergency room was scary and his diagnosis caught us off guard, a prayer was answered. For so long Jim and I had prayed to find out what was going on with my health. It is not the way we ‘thought’ God would answer our prayers but our prayers were answered.

There is more to the story.

cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-writing-on-the-porch.jpg

Two years ago this coming Fall, God led Jim and I to the church we now attend. Looking back, we see God’s hand in laying the foundation to send us the answer to our prayers. In this church family God has placed a dear sweet friend who is a nurse and has MS along with another friend who is a nurse with a lot of wisdom on this disease. Not only did God lay the foundation of placing these two precious people in our path but he placed us with a very loving church family who have and are walking with us and praying with us.

There are no perfect days but there is A perfect day!

God's timing

Last Fall, Jim and I stood before our church family renewing our wedding vows. In those vows we once again vowed to be there for one another in sickness and in health not knowing in a few days this particular vow would be put to the test.  I do believe this was also a part of God’s divine plan for us to renew our vows so that we would be reminded of what we had pledged to one another in front of witnesses and before him. Thus, when we were given the news we knew what we needed to do for one another.

Today, you may be praying a prayer that you have long waited for an answer. You wonder if God has forgotten you. Maybe you have been told no when asking for an answer. The water is rough right now and you are longing for smoother waters.

Let me encourage you to keep praying those prayers. Seek God in all you do in everything everyday. Count the blessings God gives you every day. Be in tuned to his leading and follow his lead. There will come a day when your prayer is answered. Trust me, it won’t be answered the way you think it will be answered. It may come in the midst of another twist and turn in life. Then, when you get the answer to your prayer, I encourage you to look back and it is without a doubt that you will see where God’s hand had been at work.

There are going to be many imperfect days in the days ahead. Realize it is God molding you more into his likeness, he is wanting you to grow deeper in your relationship with him and preparing you for that perfect day.

It is the imperfect days where I have no fear because I know who walks before me,who walks beside me and behind me.(Psalm 27:1) I know that it is in his time that he makes all things beautiful.( Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Leave in God's hand

Divine Appointment

 

Not A Morning Person

I hate mornings

  It is early morning. Jim and Drew are up reading the paper together and talking current events.  Jim tells Drew to go to the bedroom to see if I am interested in getting up. Drew very carefully tip toes into the bedroom. He approaches the bed like a special forces soldier would approach the enemy. He evaluates the situation of how to approach me. Does he stand at the bedroom door and ask if  I am interested in getting up. Or, does he slowly approach the bed and nudge me awake. If he does the latter, he may not fare too well. Sometimes, it is like waking a bear out of hibernation.  You see, I have never really been a morning person.

Jim heard a comedian one time talking about people who are not morning people. The comedian compared it to being like evolution. First, they get up and they are in the ‘Reptile Phase”.  Thirty minutes later “we have speach”.  By noon, “they are walking erect.” The family knows not to approach them during those primative earlier moments. Instead, non-morning people need time. As the morning progresses they gradually become human. 

Now, do not get me wrong. If I have to be somewhere like a job, classes or event, I will get up. I may not seem human but if I was meant to pop out of bed, we would sleep in toasters. 

Garfield sleep in toasters

The Awakening

Awakening

For the last seven weeks, I have been leading a Bible Study group through Priscilla Shirer’s,  Armor of God.  From the beginning, she has led us through Ephesians 6 and how we need to put our armor on each day. Each week we would learn and discuss a different  piece of armor and how we should put it on and apply it to our lives.

Priscilla goes on through the study about how God can change us from the inside out. When we align our lives with God’s WORD our hearts change. Not only do our hearts change but our desires change and how we live in the world changes.  It is a matter of  putting our trust in God, taking a faith step to where God is calling us into deep waters, and putting our armor on every single day just as we dress for the day.

God Corner part three

As each week has passed, I have seen where my desires have changed.  There seems to be more contentment in my life. Each day I  am excited to see what God has planned for me.

What Is Different?

Change ahead

Several weeks ago I had to go on some very strong medication for an MS episode. This medication really messed with my sleep and appetite. I wasn’t sleeping full nights. Instead, it was like I was taking naps and then I would be up. On these sleepless nights, I found myself moving to the family room to the recliner as not to wake Jim from his sleep. During this time, I found myself doing a lot of talking with my FATHER.  It was through these middle of night conversations where God really began his work on me.

Over time, I was able to go to bed and sleep. However, I still could not sleep all night and certainly not sleep in late. Then, it happened! I woke up at four o’clock AM. And, I didn’t just wake up but I WOKE up! My eyes came open and there was this tug for me to get out of bed. There was anticipation like a kid ready to see their gifts on Christmas morning. Thus, I quietly got out of bed, threw my bathrobe on and grabbed my Bible and went back to the family room. Once again, I was talking to my FATHER.

As the time drew closer to five am, I thought that since I was up I would make Jim breakfast. On this particular morning, he got up (he has always been an early riser) and as he approached the kitchen, he had to check to make sure he wasn’t sleep walking and/or dreaming. The reason he had to check was because he found on the table chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, a glass of milk and orange juice. And, my brother and sisters he found that I had cleaned up the mess I had made while making breakfast. Though he looked a little puzzled, he liked the special treatment and I know he wasn’t thinking; this is nice but it won’t last long. Well, he is still chewing on those thoughts as each morning since he has had breakfast on the table.

Drew and Jim

Our son, Drew usually calls Jim once a week to have their father and son chats. It works well for them to have an early morning phone call and talk while getting ready for work. It is also a tradition they started when we were raising Drew. Every morning, Drew and Jim would get up early (letting sleeping dogs lie) and would have devotional time, read the newspaper together, talk about current events, school and have breakfast together.

On this particular morning, Drew called as he usually does once a week. Jim’s phone rang just we were sitting down to say the blessing.  I told Jim to go ahead and answer because I know how important those phone calls are. As Jim answered he said; um, Drew can I call you back in about fifteen minutes? Mom has breakfast ready and we were just about to eat.  At that very moment you could hear dead silence. I could tell just from what I was seeing on my side of the table that Drew had gone into shock on the other end. I know he was wondering what his dad had done with his mom.

Divine Appointment

Appointment with God

When I look at my life I see a potter at a wheel shaping the clay pot and making changing on the clay pot from time to time. This is what my FATHER had done and is doing  in these last few weeks. This girl who has not been a morning person her entire life. The wife and mom whose family had to plan a combat strategy to wake her is now getting up every morning at 4:30 grabbing her Bible and going to the Family room for her morning talk with her FATHER.

Yes, there have been a couple of mornings where I have been tempted to turn the alarm clock off and roll over to go back to sleep. Yet, the Holy Spirit has a hold of my heart. He has been changing me from the inside out.

The Results

Bible opened

Out of this divine appointment, God has put before me new steps that he wants me to take. Some of these results are as follows:

I’ve become more disciplined in conversations with God and starting my day with his WORD.  My Bible study usually took place later in the day. 

It had been a while since I had really sat down and wrote thoughts of encouragement to share with other. I am back to writing again. Thoughts and ideas are just flooding my mind. 

I have created a prayer wall in my laundry room. There I place the names of my Bible Study group, the church activities, and other prayer request on the wall. During the day, I will retreat in there and have prayer time putting prayer request of others into my FATHER’S hands.

I have a chair by one of the family room windows that I enjoy especially in the Spring when the birds are out and the flowers in bloom.. I have created this little corner in my Family room to be my ‘God Corner.’ It is here where I read, work on Bible Study, write and reflect on God’s WORD.  During these times, I will have some sort of praise and worship music on and all other media is turned off.

God Corner

It is out of these moments of reflection where I have began posting on Facebook in the early mornings little reflections, devotional type things in hopes to encourage someone who needs encouraging. I also post an evening reflection.

God Corner four

Each morning, I message my Bible Study sisters in Christ a scripture, thought for the day and a praise song to get their day going. Since we are doing the Armor of God, I try to send something that fits in with that week’s study.

My desires have changed. My perspective on things have changed. I seem to have more patience these days.

It is also through this divine appointment that Jim and I have become closer as a couple in our faith walk as a couple and individuals. We have shared with one another how we can look back and see the hand of God at work in all that we have experienced; the good, the bad and the ugly.  We become more and more grateful for God’s provision every day.

There are some mornings I am already up before the alarm goes off because I am so excited to talk to my FATHER and see what blessings he has planned for me for the day.

heart and light

And, yes, Jim is still getting breakfast every morning.  Speaking of Jim getting breakfast every morning, my Bible Study group has asked if Jim is suspicious of me  being up early and making him breakfast.  My response was that I think of the seen in the movie, War Room where Tony has come home from business and Elizabeth knows he has been tempted on the business trip but she covers him with grace. Tony is suspicious of her being so nice and switches the dinner plates. I told them I wondered how many times Jim has switched the breakfast plates when I have not been looking in the last couple of weeks.

My Encouragement To You

Heart

 Are you like I was not a morning person. You dread hearing that alarm clock go off in the mornings? Maybe your family has to plan a combat strategy to get you up out of bed. Are you looking for contentment, peace that surpasses all understanding and want to seek the purpose and plan God has for you?

Let me encourage you to start today. You can start by reading Ephesians 6 and learning how to put on your armor every day and step out in faith to fulfill your purpose. Next, make a Divine Appointment to meet with your FATHER every day. Turn off the media, turn on some praise and worship music, open your Bible, open the eyes of your heart and listen to the words God whispers to you. As you begin doing this you will find as time goes on that you are not going to want to miss that Divine Appointment. You are going to be like  a little kid on Christmas morning anticipating running into the family room to see what is waiting for you.

cropped-10622860_10152622922226740_1934228684971941411_n.jpg

” Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing perfect will.”

Romans 12:1-2

God is good! All the time!

Have a blessed day!

 

The Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

April’s Testimony on God’s Peace
(February 29, 2016)

Bible with heart

It is Day Five of Week Four of Priscilla Shirer’s Bible Study, Armor of God. On this particular day there is a place to reflect and write about someone who has a peace-filled life. The assignment is to reflect on their qualities, how do they display this peace and how you have seen this peace protect the person from the enemy.

cup of tea

Yet, as usual, I have my own drumbeat I would like to reflect out of this week’s lessons and lesson on peace. As I sit here typing, early Spring breezes are flowing through my screen door, birds are singing, favorite tunes are playing softly in the background, and, as usual, Smokey is sitting at my feet quietly looking up at me with his dark brown eyes. This is one afternoon I don’t think it could be any more peaceful. I definitely hear my Father’s voice in all that is going on around me. Yes, in the midst of it being Monday and a ‘Leap Day’, Jesus is ever present and accounted for in this very room I sit.

Smokey Monm's Day

As I reflect over this week’s lessons on ‘peace’, I have to go back a little further than just this week. Two years ago I was sitting in this very room searching for that peace only God can give. I knew it existed. I had experienced it before. Yet, my humanness took over. It was there and then where the only thing I felt was the chaos of the world swirling into warp speed. Gasping for air, I was crying out to God seeking his guidance and his peace. The more the world spun the more I searched scriptures, sought wisdom, sought help and clung to the cloak of my Lord and Savior.
Life for me at that moment was going through the motions, being emotional and just trying to get through one day at a time. Yet, somewhere in the midst of the chaos, I felt a tug on my heart. It was the Holy Spirit telling me there was hope.

cropped-girl-looking-at-the-moon2.jpg

It was a slow process but I began to sit and really listen to what the Holy Spirit was saying to me. I knew I had to be like Mary and simply sit down at the feet of Jesus and listen to His small still voice. In the midst of these meetings, He began to heal me and lead me to healing waters.

water ripple

It has been in these healing waters where I have experienced an inner peace that I cannot explain. I have been a believer most of my life. Yet, there was that little piece of humanness that interfered with that peace only God can give. And, the enemy knew it and used it as a weapon against me.
This afternoon, I sit here where I sat two years ago spinning in a world of chaos. I am sitting here with a smile on my face, a smile in my heart and so thankful for so many things and for the many ways God has used these last couple years to mold me. It is like a slow fade in a movie scene.

slow fade

As I reflect, I see where God was at work even on what I thought was the hardest of days. He had a plan and just like the potter spinning the pottery on the wheel, he took me for a spin. Then, little by little he began to chisel away the hurt, the questions, the frustrations and the world I was caught up in.

potter's clay picture two.

In this reflection, I see how God has taught me every step of the way and he is still teaching me what it means to walk in His peace, live in His peace and to seek Him in all that I do. I have learned to smile more, be thankful for the life God has given me. Yes, I have even become thankful for the obstacles, the afflictions and whatever the world brings me. In each every little detail that happens, God’s hand is at work.

eye of love

You see, I had to change my perspective. I had to change how I looked at things and life. God reached his hand out to me and said; “trust ME”, “allow me to lead”, ” I can show you a peace like no other.” I placed my hand into His, re-dedicated myself to Him, allowed to Him to lead me and it has become the most beautiful dance anyone could ever imagine. I’m gracefully and peacefully dancing with my Heavenly Father.

Angels dancing

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
(Isaiah 52:7 ESV)

(Dedicated to Women’s Ministries at Macedonia Baptist Church, Owensboro, Kentucky)

 WHO AM I

CASTING CROWNS

#ArmorOfGodStudy

Healing Waters

storm

In my distress I called the LORD:

and he answered me.  From deep in the realm

of the dead I called for help, and you heard my cry.

Jonah 2: 1-2

Late summer of 2014 I found myself sitting in a counselor’s office.  I sat on the sofa of this counselor’s office in tears, broken and completely drained.  Just as Jonah found himself sitting in the belly of a big fish I had felt like I had been swallowed into the belly of a big fish. I was crying out to God.  Yes, I believed in God and had been trying to find solace in him. Yet, emotionally and spiritually I had hit bottom.

water ripple

Fast Forward

The first of this year I found myself sitting on the very sofa that I landed on in late Summer of 2014. Yet, this time as I talked with my counselor, I had a smile on my face, renewed energy and I had found the girl God created me to be. As my appointment came to a close, my counselor asked if I thought I needed to come back.  She felt as though I had been healed and saw a renewed spirit in me. How did I make the change of sitting in the belly of a big fish to crawling out of the belly and seeing hope again?  The answer is simple. God.  In the midst of working through the tunnel of darkness, he called me to go to healing waters. These healing waters were located in the Baptist church across the street from my neighborhood.

It has been through a lot of prayer on my part and prayers of fellow believers that has brought me to healing. Not only was it prayer warriors but it was the unconditional love extended to me by this community of believers that helped me to continue to crawl out of that tunnel of darkness.  Along with the  prayer, love and support of family and friends I was actually immersed in healing water. In other words, I choose to be baptized by immersion. It was in the midst of coming up out of the water where I felt the embrace of the Holy Spirit. I came up to a new page, a new heart and a healing that I had needed for so long. My heart began to beat again.

waiting

Do You Know Someone Who Is Broken?

There are people out there that are sitting in a room feeling broken. They are sitting in the belly of a big fish wanting to get out but they don’t know how to even begin. I encourage you that if you know someone like this to pray for them.  Not only pray for them but to love them unconditionally and let them know they have a God who loves them very much. Remind them that no matter what is going on or has happened that their heart can be healed.  Maybe, God is leading you to lead them to healing waters. 

bowing before God

Are You Broken?

Maybe, it is you, the reader that for some reason God brought you to my page. You are hurting and all you can see is darkness surrounding you. Please do not be discouraged. There is hope for you. There is nothing you are going through and/or you have done that God can’t change. Your Father in heaven loves you so much. I encourage you to lift your hands up, cry out to God just as Jonah did  and ask God to lead you to healing waters.  These healing waters may include getting back into church, finding a group of believers that will pray with you and for you. Healing waters may include seeking wise counsel to lead you to new light.  Maybe,  you need to ask Christ into your life and allow him to heal you from the inside out and/or be immersed in the healing waters of the Holy Spirit.  In the words of Danny Gokey; “tell your heart to beat again.”

seeking the heart

Even youths grow tired and weary,

and you men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Take time to listen to the video below:

Emmanuel….God IS With Us!

eye of love

One thing I ask from the LORD, 

this only do I seek;

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all of the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD

and to seek him in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

This psalm is about the anticipation of being in the presence of the LORD.  It is a reminder of how we should desire to live in the presence of God every day. With the desire of living in God’s presence every day and seeking God in ALL that we do, there is no doubt that we will experience God in ways and moments we would have never thought we would experience him.

God IS With Us

Over the last month I have heard carols being sung about the Messiah’s birth.  I am reminded of what the name Emmanuel means; God is with us.  As I sing and hear these carols and reflect on the words; God is with us, I see where God has been with me and how I have experienced his mighty presence over the last year. If you have read any of my previous writings like A Glimpse of Heaven, you will know that I believe that God does give us a little taste of  heaven and the affirmation that he is with us in ALL we do and experience.

As the year begins to come to an end, I wanted to share some of the moments I have experienced God the most this year.  In other words, God has given me just a glimpse of what heaven will be like when it is time for me to go to my eternal home.

Easter Sunday 2015

Our Baptism Easter Sunday April 5, 2015

Our Baptism
Easter Sunday
April 5, 2015

April baptism one

On Easter Sunday of this year, my husband and I were baptized by immersion. Yes, we have been believers most of our lives. Both raised in Christian homes and baptized as infants. Yet, Jim and I had been led to a Baptist church that was to be and has become our church home. As we made our decision  to make Macedonia our church home, we knew we would have to be baptized by immersion.  A lot of thought, searching the scriptures and prayer went into our decision.  So, on Easter Sunday, Jim and I stood before the congregation that would become our family, professed our faith and were baptized by immersion.

As I look back on this particular Sunday, I see where God gave me a glimpse of heaven. In the song, Baptism that is sung by Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis, there is a lyric that I am reminded of as I reflect on that special Sunday. The lyric is “I didn’t seen any angels just a few saints on the shore. ”  Each time I hear this song and it comes to this particular lyric I feel the embrace of the Holy Spirit that I felt as Pastor Dan raised me out of the water. In reflecting on my baptism on Easter Sunday, I  don’t see a congregation just looking on as Jim and I were baptized. What I do see are the saints on the shore just as they are described in this song.

My baptism on Easter Sunday gave me a glimpse of what it will be like as I arrive to my eternal home.  There will be angels there but there will also be saints. The saints are the people God placed in my life as I walked this earth. They are the people who mentored me in my faith, lived our their faith every day in everything they did. Just as I looked out from the baptistery on Eater Sunday and saw a family ready to embrace me, I see familiar faces, smiling and ready to embrace me once again to welcome me home.

Nassau Bahamas 2015

I Danced With an Angel

DSCN2588

A little over a month ago Jim and I took a cruise to the Bahamas. It is a cruise that we have done several times before and never get tired of it. One of the destinations on this cruise is Nassau. Nassau has become one of our favorite places.  Jim and I like it not only for its beauty but for its people. Over the years and visits that we have made there, we always seem to experience God in the most unique ways.  As we have shopped in the straw market, we have heard testimony of faith and the love of God from venders. One year, we even saw the people have worship with song, prayer and testimony in the middle of the Straw Market before beginning their day.  We have had tour guides show us with pride the church they attend as they guided us through the history of the Bahamas.  Yet, this year to Nassau was unique not only because Jim and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary but because I experienced God and his Kingdom in the most amazing way. I danced with an angel.

Jim and I had been on a tour earlier in the day. As the shuttle was taking us back to the beginning point of our tour, I saw a few things that I wanted Jim and I to go back and look at on our own. My mind was on taking pictures, absorbing the spirit of Christmas in Nassau with their decorations, music being played on street corners and nativity scenes being displayed in front of churches.

Jim and I step off the shuttle and thank our driver. We look at each other as to where we wanted to begin our adventure on foot. As we walked down the street, we were drawn to the sound of a band playing. This band was playing Christmas carols and songs that Jim and I remembered from our years of Sunday School as children. The closer we got to the where the music was being played the more we found ourselves dancing down the street to be where the action was taking place.

DSCN2657

There we were in a park area outside the straw market. Along with other tourist and locals Jim and I were enjoying the music and dancing along. Then, over to my right, I see this man. He probably had only one or two teeth in his head. However, he was singing and dancing along with everyone else. He was raising his hands to heaven praising God as the band played.  In the midst of the music and movement, I ended up beside this gentleman ( I say gentle because I sensed he had a gentle spirit about him).  Before I knew it, I was dancing and singing with this kind old man. As the song leader led the crowd in the song; Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore, this kind man took my hand with his and raised our hands towards heaven singing;  Jordan’s river is deep and wide, Hallelujah…And I’ve got a home on the other side, Hallelujah.  

DSCN2664 (2)

It was in that moment when I knew God had given me another glimpse of heaven. In heaven, we  will hold hands with fellow believers whether we knew them on earth or not and lift our voices in praise to our Father, our Creator, our God.  It was in this moment of  dancing and lifting my hands towards heaven with this man I had never met I felt the holy spirit embrace me once more.  Yes, “there are angels among us”.

The Angels Sing

Christmas Eve Worship 2015 two

Last week,  at Christmas Eve Candlelight  worship, I experienced another glimpse of heaven. Worship began with Christmas songs and greetings.  Along with the Christmas songs and greetings, we had communion along with our Pastor sharing the gospel and the meaning of Christmas. After our pastor spoke, the candles that each person held were soon lit and the congregation joined celebrating the birth of Christ with singing more carols.

As we sung the familiar Christmas song; O Holy Night, I closed my eyes. Further into the song, I heard extra voices especially while singing the words; “Oh hear the angels’ voices..”.  At first,  I didn’t think anything about the extra voices. I was sitting on the front row with many people behind me and the sanctuary being fairly full I thought that was what I was hearing. Yet, the next time we came to those words I knew I heard extra voices and voices unlike you hear in congregational singing.

I opened my eyes to look and see if there were people in the balcony because the voices sounded like they were coming from above me. However, there was no one in the balcony but the sound and audio technicians. As I turned back to continue to sing, I close my eyes again and I heard the extra voices coming in again on the song.  There is no doubt in my mind that the angels were singing and proclaiming Christ’s birth with us just as they did on that first Christmas.

Emmanuel…God IS With Us

Bible with heart

These are just a few moments that I wanted to share with you. As I have shared these moments with you, I am again reminded that God’s presence is with me at all times. It is up to me to desire to be in his presence, to acknowledge his presence and keep my heart, eyes and ears opened to experience his presence.

My New Year’s Wish For You

Christmas Eve Worship 2015

As the New Year approaches, I ask you to stop for a moment and reflect on this past year. Reflect on where and how you have experienced God in your life.  You may want to journal these experiences or share them with loved ones as you say good-bye to this year and hello to the New Year.  Most importantly, give God thanks and praise for these moments.

In the New Year, I challenge you to take Psalm 27:4 to heart.   As you go through your days, your weeks and months this year, seek God in ALL situations and in ALL that you do.  Emmanuel….God is with us!!

Take time to listen to the video

May you experience HIS presence as you walk through the New Year

Our Love Story

Girl looking at the moon

There was this girl who lived in Georgia who like any girl dreamed of marrying her prince charming.  She prayed to God quite frequently to send her the “perfect” guy.  She met a couple who she thought might ‘be the one” but ended up broken-hearted. Yet, deep within she knew God had someone He was preparing for her. 

This girl was finishing up her freshman year in college. As Spring semester was in progress, she applied for a summer job at Lake Junaluska, NC , a United Methodist Conference Center in the Smoky Mountains. One morning, there was a letter in her mailbox that said she had been accepted to be on staff and a job awaited her as soon as she was done with her Spring Semester.

During this Spring Semester, this girl would take a Spring Break trip to tour with the college choir. They would travel to Texas and places in-between for the week. On this trip was a guest musician. This guest musician and this girl became smitten with one another. Even though this girl knew they weren’t evenly yoked, despite her friends’ advisement, and her family’s wishes, she continued to date him. If she ever rebelled this was the moment.

She dated this guy up until the last week of school. As she began to pack her dorm for the summer to move to her new job, she knew decisions and good-byes had to be made. One night, as she was going to bed, she said a prayer to God. The prayer was something like this:

Dear God,

I know the guy that I am with is not the one you have planned for

Please forgive me for not listening to my friends and family. Maybe,

you were speaking to me through them.   God, I just want someone

who will love me for who I am, who loves you as much as I love you. 

Please send me someone who will love me when I’m broken and 

rejoice with me in the good times. I need someone who

loves to laugh and sing.  

As this girl feel asleep that night, she fell asleep. She had a dream. In this dream, she saw herself sitting on a bench crying and someone comes up and puts their arms around her. She could not see the person but she felt the warmth of the warms hug her ever so tight. Then, she her the voice of this person say; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”

FAST FORWARD

It is Memorial Day and this girl is moving into her room that will be her residence for the summer. As her parents, get her settled in and say their goodbyes and she is meeting her roommate for the summer, a young man comes walking in. He asked this girl and her roommate if they needed help with anything and introduced himself and said he was from Kentucky. They chat a few minutes and he walks away.  As he walks away this girl feels something special in heart. She hears the same voice she heard in her voice saying; “don’t worry….I will love you and take care of you.”

Later in the evening, this girl is with a group of girls who were all getting acquainted. As they are talking, the guy who had introduced himself to this girl earlier in the day, comes up to say hello once again. Again, this girl feels something stir within her as he walks away.

The next evening this girl is standing in line for dinner. As she stands there  in line, she looks across the room and sees this same guy  walk into the room. Only this time when he walks in, a voice within says; “he is the one….. but… be patient.” This girl so wanted to be the typical girl and run across the room to say hi and do what girls do…..flirt! However, that still small voice within holds her back.

After dinner, there was a staff orientation meeting. During this meeting there were the typical meet and greet games. One of which you had to get back to back when the music stopped. Once the music stopped, you had to turn around and share whatever piece of trivia about yourself  the leader said to share. Then, the last round of this game came. As the music stopped, this girl was frantically looking for someone to be back to back with so she  would not be out of the game. Then, from out of no where she feels these hands grab her  arm and pull her  back to back with this person. This person was this guy. As the leader instructed, they  had to turn around only this time they had to look at one another in the eyes for two minutes without saying a word. It was to teach the staff that they need ed to seek the inside of the person(s) they  would be working with and assisting during the summer.  Before sitting down and going to the next activity this guy hugged  this girl. As he hugged her, she felt the same warmth that she had felt the night of her dream.

eye of love

FAST FORWARD ONCE AGAIN

It was at that moment that this girl and this guy would become acquainted. This guy was full of laughter, he loved to sing ( even sang to her the first night before going their separate ways for the evening), he was compassionate and you could tell he loved his FATHER up above. Needless to say, this girl was falling pretty hard for this guy.   

The next evening this guy came by and asked if this girl would like to go play a game of ping-pong. Of course, she was no fool.  Despite her level of ping-pong skills she would go just to be with him. And, this is where the story begins with even more twist and turns.

signs of obstacles

THEY JUST MISSED EACH OTHER

Remember earlier, when this girl had gone on choir tour with her college choir? Well, as this Georgia girl and Kentucky guy play ping-pong, he mentions he went on choir tour during Spring Break. He had been on Spring Break the same week as this girl. Not only had he been on Spring Break touring with his college group the same week but at the same destination.  They had been to Texas and the same points in-between as this girl with her group. As a matter of fact, while in Houston, his group had been invited to go hear  her  group perform but this guy opted to hang back at where they were staying to play ….you guessed it…..ping pong! Looking back it was sort of like a “Sleepless in Seattle” kind of moment. 

This Georgia girl and Kentucky boy continue to date. Then, it happened one night.  He sat down with her and said he wanted to date for the summer but beyond that it would not be possible. Then, he kissed her. All the while this girl is saying to herself, “yea, right!”.

This Georgia girl is me and  the Kentucky boy is Jim.  As I look back, I see how our story has been written. It really  has been and is the fairy tale story. It is not the fairy tell story you think of from the children’s books and movies. But, it is God’s fairy tell story of how He has a plan for each one of us. It it the story of how  God  prepared Jim and me to meet at the right time. It is a story of how it was important to listen to Him and wait for his prompting to make our relationship to fall into place over time.

April and Jim through the years

My Dearest  Jim:

It is thirty-two years later since that night you said long distant relationships would not work. It will be thirty years November 23rd that  we made  our covenant before God as man and wife.  During those years, we have shed tears of laughter, joy along with tears of frustration and sadness. We have raised a beautiful son who now has a beautiful wife and home of his own. 

You have given me so much in these thirty years of marriage. You have provided for me not a house but a home where  love, laughter and music fill the walls.  In the difficult times you have wrapped your arms around me and have said; “don’t worry….I’m here to take care of you and love you.”  Every day you remind me as you walk out the door and when you call me at lunch that you love me.   Each endeavor that I wanted to try in life you have been there to support me and to offer a helping hand. Most of all,  it is in the way you live your life that exemplifies the Father’s love and grace not only  to me but to everyone you meet.   Jim, you are my prince charming. 

This morning as I look back on all the ups and downs, I see a story only God could have written. It is a story that continues to be written. There have been and probably will be the not no-good chapters we wish we could skip but it is in those chapters where God has and will continue to make us stronger as individuals and as a couple. 

In 1983, there was this guy who said long distant relationships don’t work. It was in 1985 where he stood with that girl he told this to and said he would be her partner “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer and until death do us part.”

When you walked into that dinning room on that summer evening of 1983  “you had me from hello” and everyday you still have me  from hello.

Jim, I love you more than you will ever know and  I can’t wait to see how the next chapters of our story unfold.

I love you,

April

April and Jim Voted Cutest Couple Lake Junaluska Summer Staff 1983

April and Jim
Voted Cutest Couple
Lake Junaluska Summer Staff
1983