Abundant Life

 

Therefore Jesus said again,, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal kill and destroy; I have come that they have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

In this verse from John 10:10 the following sentence has been quoted many times. I have come to that they have life, and have it to the full.” There are translations that word this sentence as to having abundant life. I have heard comedians such as Mark Lowry use this sentence in his routines about having abundant life. There are so many interpretations and thoughts regarding what Jesus meant in having abundant life.

Abundant life. As the year 2017 nears to a close, I honestly say my husband, Jim and I have experienced abundant life. It is because of the abundant life I have experienced this year that I have gained more understanding of Jesus’ teaching in this passage.  This is definitely one year for the books.

Rewind December, 2016

Jacqueline Ward Daniel Hill
November 2, 1943-December 27, 2016

Before 2016 ended I found myself sitting in a hospital room with the rest of my family absorbing all the time we could with my mom. We said good-bye to my mom on December 27th. She had fought a long and hard battle with cancer. On New Year’s Eve afternoon, the remainder of the family that had been at Mom and Dad’s departed. Thus, leaving my dad and I alone in a very quiet house. It was as though time stood still and I wondered to myself how I would take the next step and how would time move on without my mom by my dad’s side.

Memorial Day 2017

The calendar did flip over to 2017 and little by little I learned to take new steps and learn a new normal without having my mom around.  Memorial Day approached and as tradition has it for Jim and me we would attend the Gaither Family Fest in Gatlinburg for the weekend.  This would be a weekend of Jim’s family and friends from Louisville and my family would meet up for a time of music, spiritual renewal and fellowship. It was a wonderful weekend and a time for healing for my family.

When Jim and I attend these weekends we usually prolong our stay in Gatlinburg for another day or so just to avoid the holiday traffic. Yet, Jim’s schedule would not allow for us to prolong our trip this year. Thus, we departed for home Memorial Day morning along with the many other travelers.

Jim and I usually take back roads from Gatlinburg to  the interstate that would lead us to home in Kentucky. However, as we approached the interstate there was no movement. It was one big parking lot. At this moment, Jim decided this year we would try an alternate route. In the words of a James Taylor song, “Home by Another Way”, we would go home another way.

There was a parkway that Jim and I needed to watch exit signs to take on this new route home. However, we did not realize that the name of the parkway had changed and somehow or the other we missed the exit.  Jim pulled over and googled  how to resolve this mistake without us backtracking and losing time.

We ended up on a two lane road that took us through some  beautiful Kentucky territory that really had Jim and me captivated.  We passed a lake with a beautiful camping area and were curious as to the name of the lake. I began to google our location to find out specifics of the area. Just as I looked down at my phone Jim shouts to me, “hold on!”. Coming straight at us is a camper that had become disengaged from the truck that was pulling it. The camper was in our lane. From that moment all I remember is seeing a grove  of trees that our car was heading for and nothing but white rushing passed the driver’s side.

The car finally came to a stop and I looked over to the driver’s side anticipating seeing that half of the car gone as well as Jim. Thankfully, the car was in tact and Jim still had a tight grip on the steering wheel. He looked over at me and said, “we are blessed because we were almost killed.” As he spoke those words, I looked in my side mirror and saw the camper go over the car that was behind us. My reply to Jim was “and we have just witnessed an accident and I don’t know if there are going to be survivors.” Once again, Jim looked over at me and said, “stay here because you know what I have to do.”

Jim along with other motorist who had witnessed the accident sprang into action. After busting the back window out Jim and other volunteers began checking the victims. There were two small children with their grandparents. The grandmother and three-year-old were responsive and did not seem to have many injuries but the grandfather/driver and the baby behind him were not responsive.  Jim felt for a pulse on the driver and he said it was very faint for only a minute and then the driver was gone. Jim said all he could do was pray over the victim and for the family.

Once the status of the driver was established they began pulling the other victims out of the car. As Jim lifted the baby out and handed to a nurse who had witnessed the accident, he knew the baby was most likely brain-dead. The baby was life flighted to a Children’s Hospital and passed away a few days later. The grandmother and three-year-old were taken to the local hospital and were treated and released.

As you can imagine this was a horrible event for us. One of the most heartbreaking moments of the ordeal was watching the emergency personnel telling the lady that her husband did not survive the crash. I can still hear her screams in my head as I go back to that day. The other heartbreaking moment for Jim and me was when learned that they were not believers. Their family had tried to witness to them about Christ.  I believe that afternoon and evening Jim and I prayed more from the gut than we ever prayed in our lives as individuals and as a couple.

Mr. Snapping Turtle

Mid-summer Jim and I arrived back into our neighborhood after Jim had worked a weekend shift at the hospital.  As we came around the curve approaching our home, there was this huge turtle in the middle of the road. I told Jim we needed to move Mr. Turtle so that he would not get hurt or worse crushed by another car.

Again, Jim to the rescue.  At first we thought it was just a regular old turtle but soon learned by seeing his tail that he was snapping turtle.  Jim tried to think of how to approach this turtle to get him moved out of the street. He thought maybe he could slowly approach the turtle from behind but soon learned that was not an option.

Jim walked up to the house to get a shovel as I stood guard by the turtle so that no one would hit him or a child dare try to approach him. Jim was able to scoop Mr. Turtle up with his shovel and place him in a nearby ravine where the turtle would be safe and people would be safe from the turtle.

Four Day Weekend Turns to Thirteen Day Stay

This past October we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday.  Campbell was so precious in her birthday dress.  We all cheered her on as she attempted to stand up by herself and as she tried to figure out what to do with her birthday smash cake. It was a fun celebration.

Monday arrived and it was time to depart from my Dad’s home and head for Kentucky.  As part of our routine, Jim and I always stop at the QucikTrip just before getting on the interstate. We made our stop. I got my sweet tea.  As Jim was paying for the gas, my phone rings. It is my dad.

My dad is calling to ask  about  where we were as far as  location on our trip. I found this odd since we had left him only forty minutes earlier.  He began to explain that he was having some chest pain and was not feeling very well. The blessing was he was on Chaplain duty at the hospital and one of the nurses he knew was wheeling him over to the emergency room.  Dad began to tell me not to worry if I could not turn around and come back.  Jim gets in the car and I give him the details and instead of turning right to get on the interstate we take a left and head back into to town. Our four-day weekend turned into a thirteen day stay.

Dad ended up having open-heart surgery. It was so hard to for me to see him go through this without my mom by his side. Mom was always the one who could calm any of us down in a tense situation. She always knew the right words and knew just what to do at any moment. Yet, she was not there. My brother was on a trip with his family. Thus, it was up to me with Jim by my side walking through this procedure with my dad.

Again, a stressful moment but as we walked through this journey I could hear the words of my mom, “we will get through this.”  And, we did get through it and we were not alone.  God blessed us with wonderful doctors, hospital staff but most importantly loving/praying friends that over the years have become like family to us. It was all of these people along side God doing His work that we got through Dad’s surgery.

Life Abundantly

I have mentioned a few life events that have occurred to the Hawkins’ this year. In the midst of these events taking place and coping, every day life that we all deal with took place as well.  Needless to say, life happened in its abundant form for us this year.

Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and have it full.”  What have I learned from this verse in John 10:10? I have a saying, “God didn’t promise us perfect days but He promises us A perfect day.” Each one of these experiences that Jim and I went through this year the thief (Satan) could have had a field day if we had let him. Yet, as a couple and as individuals we chose to keep our eyes on the cross.

In each situation, we sought God’s blessings. As hard as it was losing Mom, we know she is in a better place and we have the hope that we will see her again because we believe in Jesus Christ. The blessing from the Memorial Day wreck  was seeing a group of strangers pull together to help a family in crisis.  We had the opportunity  to pray with the family at the hospital and we continue to pray for the survivors each day and that they will become a believer.

Is there a blessing with the snapping turtle? Yes. The blessing was we found the turtle before a child found it and had their finger bitten off. It also gave us something to laugh about after going through some stressful days. Regarding my dad’s surgery, we experienced God’s love, grace and felt the prayers of praying friends and family.

Being given life abundantly doesn’t mean everything goes our way, we have everything we want, nor we are free from trials.  Life abundantly through Christ means experiencing His power and seeing His hand at work not only in the trials but in the everyday living of life. It means taking God by the hand and trusting Him as we walk this journey on planet earth. Through our trusting God, having Christ in our hearts, and involved in all we do we experience Him in abundance and we live the abundant life He has given us.

Yes, this has been a year for the books for the Hawkins. We are ready to put the year behind us. Yet, before we move forward to 2018, we will stop and count our blessings even from the storms we encountered this year. We will give thanks to God for bringing us this far and will take Him by the hand and follow His leading in 2018.

Today, I challenge you to stop and reflect on your 2017. Seek the blessings that were in the midst of the trials you may have experienced this year. Take God by the hand and tell Him that you trust Him and will follow His leading in 2018.

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If you have not asked Christ to come into your life, right now at this moment I invite you to accept Him into your life.  All you have to do is say, “here I am, Lord.” “I give you my heart and I want you to come into my heart.” Pray the prayer below and then begin to live a life of abundance that will ultimately be filled with many blessings.

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Have a blessed Christmas Season and a blessed 2018!

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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.

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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.

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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


A Mother’s Day Letter to My Son

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

My son, Drew and me with Smokey

Dear Drew:

Today has been Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms and all they do for their families. This year I have viewed Mother’s Day from a different perspective.  As we reflect on what moms do for their families, I have reflected on what I have learned being a mom. Throughout my raising you, I have learned many things about life and myself.

success

The first lesson I learned early on that success was not about how much money I had in an account, the size house or car your dad and I had. Success was seeing that I had met your needs, made sure you knew were loved and that you knew how much God loved you.  As I write this I see how my definition of success has changed through the years of watching you grow up and begin your own home with Megan.  Today, success is having a son who has stayed true to God, knows how to love others, and put others first.

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As I reflect on the years gone by from my very first Mother’s Day to this year’s Mother’s Day, success is talking to a young man who now gives his mom words of wisdom. It is a son who knows what he stands for and does not let anyone detour him from his calling/purpose in life. Success is seeing Drew Hawkins taking all the lessons that he has been taught by teaching and some by observing and applying it to his life. Thus, it is a son who has a beautiful wife, a home full of love and a love for life. A man who wants to make a positive difference in the world and knows how to keep it real.

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When I look back from the moment I found out I would become a mom to this moment of writing I have no regrets. Early on, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Your dad and I knew it would not be easy but the pay off in the long run would have greater gains.  As I reflect back, I shake my head and wonder how in the world your dad and I actually pulled off all the things we did while raising you. Our only answer is the answer that was given on the day you were born.

On other occasions, I have shared about the day you were born. As the doctors and nurses worked with me to bring you into this world, a strong storm blew through. All you could see out the window of my room was darkness, wind blowing and pouring rain. Yet, at the moment you came into the world, the storm ceased and a few minutes later a beautiful rainbow was outside my window. I knew then God had great plans for you and plans for me as your mom.

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God saw us through the thick and thin of life. He provided when your dad and I scratched our heads in figuring out how we could afford for you to be a part of certain activities and take care of things that you needed.  It was through these moments we all three learned the meaning of sacrifice, trusting God and what it meant to work together as a family.

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Left-Josh Right- Drew Josh was Drew’s best friend

In recent years, God threw us a few curve balls. The biggest curve ball was losing your best friend, Josh. It is hard to believe we are approaching the four-year mark of you losing your very best friend. I will never forget the afternoon when your dad called me on his way home telling me Josh was lost at sea.  At that moment I was speechless and asked Dad to contact you. It was at that moment I was on my knees for two weeks praying for Josh to be found and be found alive. I searched for him in my sleep for two weeks until we heard  he was found.

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Not only had  I prayed for him to be found, I prayed for you because I knew he was more of a brother than a friend to you.He was more than your friend to Dad and me. Josh had become a part of our family throughout your middle school and high school years. I prayed for his mom whose heart was breaking and aching beyond measure.

As your  mom, the toughest moment was seeing you being a pall bearer at your best friend’s funeral and placing that carnation on his casket at the end of the services. There had been other moments in life when I wanted to carry the hurt for you so you wouldn’t hurt. On that day, I wanted to take the hurt you were feeling away from you but I knew that all I could do was stand there hold you in my arms and let you grieve. Your dad, yourself and I all grieved together. Yet, God taught us that though you were on your own that there would still be moments when we would cling to each other, lean on each other for support and would learn to love a little harder.

Three generations of Hawkins me

Three generations of Hawkins men

A year ago, we went through another curve together. We said good-bye to your Granddaddy Hawkins. You don’t know how proud you made me through that week. You were there to give your Nanny and Dad comfort. There were times when certain logistics had to be worked out and you took over and handled the situation. As you stood before the congregation sharing your thoughts and memories of your granddaddy, I saw how you had watched your Granddaddy and Dad live out their lives. Through this moment, I saw how you were picking up the Hawkins’ torch to move on to make sure your granddaddy’s legacy lives on through the life you live.

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Drew, thank you for calling me today. Not only thank you for calling me today because it was Mother’s Day but for the many phone calls you have made to me through the years. Believe it or not, I didn’t mind any of those mid-night calls from college or when you moved out to start your career. It was those calls when this mom could hear the voice of her little boy from her adult son wanting comfort and advice from her.  There is nothing sweeter than hearing the sound of the voice of the precious life that you once carried inside of you.

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Today was Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate moms. However, for me, it was a day to celebrate that God gave me a precious blessing twenty-eight years ago to love and watch grow into a Godly man. You were a joy to raise and it is a joy to watch Megan and you work together to make your house a home.

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

My son, Drew and his wife, Megan

Thank you for the laughter, the tears, the disagreements and all the in-between that comes with raising a son. I would not go back and change any of the moments we experienced together.  Most of all, I thank God for making me a mom to the best son ever!

I love you,

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old the will not turn.

Proverbs 22:6

Light

The Jesus told them, “You are going to have light just a little while longer.

Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever

walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light

while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.

John 12:35-36 / NIV

My sweet father-n-law Jim, Sr.

My sweet father-n-law
Jim, Sr.

My late father-n-law was an electrical, mechanical and master electrician.  He worked for GE over thirty years and in the midst of those thirty years and after his retirement he wired a lot of homes and buildings. He had a love for light. On any given week day, one would not be surprised to see Jim, Sr. hanging from a ladder at church changing a bulb or adding lighting to some area of the church. He loved lights.

When Jim and I built our current home, Jim’s dad wired it for us. In our house you will find more than one or two switches on a plate. We have one switch plate that has up to six switches and we have multiple dimmer switches  throughout the house. Needless to say, when Jim or I walk into a room it is not too hard to find a switch that will turn on some  source of light.

light of the Lord

In Genesis 1:3, we read where God said, “let there be light.”  In verse four we read where he separates the light from dark. Thus, we have day and night. But there is so much more meaning to this light.  God knew that one day the world he created would begin to become dark again.  He would again would have to send light but this light would be a different kind of light. It would be his Son, Jesus who would be the light to the world of hurting.

In my previous post, Go and The Journey, I shared how God has led me to a place of healing.  The Sunday after Jim and I had made our decision to join the church we are attending and be baptized, Jim had to work. Before he left out for work, he told me to go ahead and go forward at the end of the service to acknowledge we were ready to take the next step to where God was leading.

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The Sunday service came to a close and the closing hymn was being sung, I went down to the altar. There I was greeted by our pastor. I told him Jim and I were ready to take that next step. At that moment, Pastor Dan took my hand and had prayer with me. Where I was standing up front there was a spotlight shinning down on the altar area. However, as Pastor Dan prayed with me, I felt not just a spotlight coming down on me. I felt the warmth of a light around me that I had never felt before. This light was a light of peace and a light of joy. At that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit not only surround me but embrace me. Have you had an experience where you can’t really put the experience into words? This was one of those moments for me.

kneeling at Jesus Feet

As a reader, you may be feeling like God has abandoned you. You may be wandering around in the dark trying to find a switch to a light source.  Friend, I want you to know that there is hope. There is a light in the darkness. This light is known as Jesus Christ.  All you have to do is surrender at His feet  those things that are casting darkness over you. Just as God said in Genesis 1:3; Let there be light. You can cry out to God and ask for light into your dark world. This light is Jesus Christ.

Carry this scripture with you in the weeks ahead:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am

the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in

darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Andrew…..Fisher of Men

ANDREW…..Fisher of Men

 

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Drew laying down on the skywalk at the Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago

My Dearest Andrew:

It is the eve of your twenty-eighth birthday.  It seems that in the last few days God has placed people in my path that had an influence on your life. These people have been coaches, teachers, mentors, and friends who watched you grow up. When running across these people it is not uncommon for them to ask what you are up to these days. As we talk, I shake my head in trying to get my head around that I have a son who is getting a little closer to thirty.

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It has become a tradition of recent years to go back to writing letters to you especially on your birthday as I did when you were younger. The last few days I have pondered as to what to say in this letter. Many thoughts flood my mind but putting those thoughts into words on paper don’t come easy. What do you say to a son who is wise beyond his years, who has his feet planted in biblical teachings and in recent years has given me counsel and insights? 

This evening as I opened my computer to my site to write your birthday letter, I opened my bible to

Matthew 4: 18-20:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee,

he saw two brothers,  Simon called Peter

and

his brother, Andrew.

They were casting their nets into the lake, for they were fishermen.

‘Come follow me’, Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out

to fish for people. At once they left their nets and

followed him.

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Drew, you have demonstrated that scripture time and time again to Dad and me. You have lived up to the name of Andrew. When you were little you loved getting the fishing pole and going fishing with one of your grandfathers and/or with your dad.  It wasn’t so much the fact you wanted to catch a fish but it was the time you spent with this men that was important to you. I know on these fishing trips with your grandfathers and/or dad you were given words of wisdom. They taught you what it means to be true to yourself and God.  You learned many life lessons that I have seen you live out in your life. 

In my reflecting back over the years, I see where you put your fishing pole down and began fishing for men. I remember the many mission trips I helped you pack and sent you on while in youth group. You were always so pumped and excited to be going to help someone who needed help and needed the love of Christ shown to them.   I remember times when you and I would be out and about on errands and someone needed food, money or something of the like and you would pull on my arm asking if we could help the person. 

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College came. As you began those college years, you became involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. You were limited in how much you could be involved due to your running/training and coursework. However, at every opportunity, you were there being a part of an outreach ministry. Your senior year you were able to go on the Spring Break mission trip. This trip was to the South side of Chicago which was not the safest place in the world but you were determined to go meet up with the group.  On your return home, you shared with me how you were assigned different areas in Chicago each day to share the gospel. One of your encounters was talking with an atheist in one of the parks. As you shared your Chicago experience, you told me you planned to go to Chicago to live after graduation. Needless to say, I was stunned. You didn’t know anyone there and had no job lined up. Yet, you had faith and a calling to go. You wanted to do street ministry on the weekends. As I look back on the chain of events, I see where God’s hand was in his leading you to Chicago and how you listened to his voice.  

Challenges Ahead

Through these reflections, I also see where God began to nudge you that it was time to move on from Chicago to another adventure. You had your eye on two places in Atlanta. There was one you pursued but it was not in God’s timing for you to be there. God had another stepping stone for you to take in preparing you for what he had planned for you. After a year in this position in Atlanta, the place you once had your eye on, called you. At first, you weren’t so sure if it was the right timing but after they called the second time, you realized this was God opening the door. After prayerful consideration, you walked through that opened door.  The irony of this position is that one of your running buddies gave you a book written by the CEO of this firm on graduation and saying; “you never know Drew, you may work for him and his firm one day.” I think at the time it was something that was just a dream for you. Yet, in looking back in that exchange I see God was using your friend to prepare your heart for what was ahead for you on your journey. 

Once again, you are fulfilling the name of Andrew, fisher of men. You are a part of a faith-based organization that equips and helps other fisher of men share the gospel to others in communities and around the world.  Not only are you working for this faith-based organization but Megan and you are very involved in your church and outreach in your community. It is through your actions I see you are a fisher of men not some of the time but all of the time. You are aware of the needs of those around you.  When it comes to giving of yourself, you don’t think twice. You just do it. 

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My dearest Andrew, as I have told you before, the day you were born a terrible storm came up as I was in labor with you. Yet, just moments after you came into the world, the storm ceased and the most beautiful rainbow was shinning outside our hospital window. Your dad and I took it as a sign from God that he had a special plan for you.   As you have grown up, you have listened to his voice and have been obedient to his calling. Many times you have laid down your net and went where God has led you. 

life story

While sitting here writing this letter, I have the book, The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss opened.  My eyes fell on this sentence on page seventeen; “People who want to claim or reclaim their true north can start by examining their passions  by asking what makes their hearts leap.” This one sentence brings things full circle. You were raised to recognize your passion and what makes your heart leap. Then, a few years back, you shot me a message on Facebook one afternoon the question; “What is your passion?” “What makes your heart leap?” You told me to think on it and pray about it and you would get back with me in a couple of days. It is out of your passion, compassion and following the call of Christ is why I have my blog site today.  You, my son, have taught me how to be a fisher of men in ways I never imagined I would be doing. 

Drew, my wish for you this birthday is to be showered with blessings as you have showered many on your path with blessings and Christ-like love. You have had quite the journey thus far and my heart wells up with joy in seeing all that you have done and are doing.  As our family has always said, “we are the only bible that some people will read”, you have made that bible a good read. 

music happy birthday

Have a wonderful birthday.

I love you very much,

Mom

My son, Drew resides in Atlanta with his wife, Megan and four-legged child, Theo. Drew is currently employed by the DeMoss Group as their social media director. 

My son, Drew with his pup, Theo.

My son, Drew with his pup, Theo.

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“Through the Years”

My Dearest Jim,

This year has been quite the year! We have had hurdles to jump and storms to ride out. This year has been one of those mile marker years for us. In a few days we will celebrate  our twenty-ninth wedding anniversary. 

As I began to think about our anniversary, I turned to 1 Peter 3:7.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat

them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious

gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Through the years, you have exemplified this scripture in your daily walk with me.  You have done this in the following ways:

You are sensitive to my needs.

You are there to dry my tears.

You  pick me up when I fall  down.

You honor and love the LORD your God.

You love me unconditionally and encourage me in my endeavors.

You have given me insight with such grace. 

You never give me a reason to ever doubt you.

Not only have you exemplified this scripture in your daily walk with me but you also had such an influence on the man our son is today. I know without a doubt Drew walks this scripture with his wife, Megan.  What a beautiful gift you have given me by being the Godly man you are and being that example to Drew. 

Through The Years

Through The Years

Looking back over our life together,  I see where the blessings have shined in the midst of the storms. I see the laughter we have shared with one another. There have been so many precious memories we have created together. 

 When I reflect back I see the oops’ and the uh-oh’s that took place.  I would not trade those moments for anything. It is in those times we learned about each other and we grew stronger as a couple. 

The lyrics to the song “Through the Years” say it all….through all the good and bad, I know how much we have. I have always been glad to be with you. It gets better everyday.

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In the years ahead, I know we will always be strong together and for each other. I know through the years ahead I will learn even more about life. We still have  a few more storms to ride and uh-oh’s and oops’ to experience but will be these experiences where we will experience the greatest blessings.

On our wedding day, we walked down the aisle to the  song, “I’ll Walk With God” with changing the lyric to “We’ll Walk With God”.  It has been a beautiful walk and I look forward to the journey ahead of us.

Jim, thank you for being there for me and with me through the years.  

I Love You, 

April

Your ‘brown-eyed girl”

Happy Anniversary, Jim

November 23, 2014

I See The Moon

 Girl looking at the moon

” I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me.” Each evening when Mom would be putting the supper dishes away, I would sit on the sofa in the sitting area by the kitchen looking out the window at the moon. As the sun would set, the moon would become even brighter.  Mom would remind me that the man who made the moon made me.

“I see the moon and the moon sees me” is a reminder that God is watching over me and sees all that I do. Not only does he see me but he sees my heart.  It also reminds me that in all that I see around me I am seeing God, hearing God and experiencing God in all things.

God bless the moon. God bless me”,  reminds me that God has given me blessings throughout the day. It is also a gentle reminder that God has more blessings planned for me. All I have to do is be thankful for the ones given and keep my heart open and prepared for God’s blessings in the days ahead.

Each night I look up and see the moon and all the stars in the night sky. I  still recite the simple little rhyme my mom taught me as a small child.  It is a gentle reminder for me that the one who created the moon and hangs the stars is taking care of me.  There isn’t anything in life that I can’t handle as long as I have faith in the one ‘who made the moon.’  As I said in a previous post, ‘we are not promised perfect days but we are promised A PERFECT DAY in his time.”  

It is on that PERFECT DAY where I will meet the one ‘who made the moon’.  Until that day comes, I will continue to share thoughts and words in hopes to encourage others and show others the marvelous wonders and love of the one created the moon and created us. And, each night I will continue to count my blessings and continue  to look up  at the sky and say:

I see the moon.

The moon sees me.

God bless the moon.

God bless me.

May you see the moon and know the moon sees you. The creator of the moon has many blessings waiting for you to receive. This evening look up at the sky and soak in the amazing beauty of our wonderful creator.

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Mom and me.

This is the age I was when she taught me the rhyme.