It was a little over two years ago when I sat in an examining room with my father-n-law and the rest of the family to only hear the words spoken; “we’ve done all that we can do” to this dear sweet man. At that moment with a tear in his eye but with a smile on his face, my father-n-law took his sweet wife by the hand and said; ” we have had a wonderful life.” He was giving thanks in the midst of a storm that would not calm down but in days to come would only pick up momentum.
Once the doctor left the examining room, the PA threw her arms around my husband’s father and said; “there is always hope. Hold on to hope.” With that she left the room and we all looked at one another as to what we needed to do next. You see, these doctors visits were usually followed up with lunch at Skyline Chili. Yet, it was a moment we had to choose to either choose hope, joy and seek our blessings or choose to go home and just curl up in hopes the world would just go away. This dear sweet man choose joy and hope. He announced we were still going to Skyline Chili and were going to enjoy being together as a family.
Each one of us will face a storm at some point and time. As I have said in previous writings, God didn’t promise us perfect days but he has promised us A perfect day when we accept his SON, Jesus into our lives. When facing the storms in life we have two choices. We can react or we can respond.
Reacting to a situation could lead to some not so good consequences in the long run. Out of our reacting, words can be said that should not really be said. The decisions we make may not be the best decision in the long wrong. Also, by reacting we choose to leave one important person out of the picture, God. Thus, we begin to stumble and causing what is an already stressful situation into an even more stressful situation.
Responding to a situation means stepping back and seeing the whole picture of what is happening. It is sitting down and talking to the Father about how to ride the storm before us out and asking him to walk with us. By choosing to respond we are choosing to seek the blessings despite the storm before us. We allow for grace to be at work in our lives and the light of God shine in our darkness.
Life is tough these days. There are days that are tougher than others. We live in a time where wrong seems to be right and when you try to do right you are considered to be wrong. It can make anyone to want to throw their hands up in the air and just simply give up. Yet, we know we must forge onward and forward. As followers of Christ, we know how the story ends and it is a beautiful ending.
My prayer for us today is this:
May we choose to respond and not react when faced with life’s storms. May we choose joy, hope and seek the blessings God has planned for us even on the toughest of days. Last but definitely not least, may we remember we have a Father who loves us and is walking with us. And, if it gets too tough, he will carry us. Remember, the imperfect days are preparing us for that PERFECT day.
This morning I looked in the mirror and wonder who I’ve become;
How can I be loved after all I have done?
The choices I’ve made;
The things I’ve done are making me numb.
Then a voice within tells me that He is not done;
For I am His and He is with me;
I pulled out the Good Book and turn the unworn pages;
I read how God sent His SON;
God sent His only begotten SON;
So I can change the person I’ve become.
The words flowed through my heart how through HIS death
I’m a forgiven one.
These precious words began to sink in;
He tells me to confess my sins;
And, to invite Him in.
Together, we will begin again.
God sent His only begotten Son
So I can change the person I’ve become.
This morning I looked in the mirror;
And, I see the person I’ve become.
I’ve chosen to walk with God’s Son;
And, now I am a forgiven one!
I pull out the good book whose pages are now worn;
I read how I must tell everyone that HE is the ONE!
God sent His only begotten SON;
So I can change the person I have become.
Maybe you’ve looked in the mirror and seen the person you’ve become;
Because of the the things you have done;
You are completely numb.
Let me encourage you to reach for the Good Book;
As you read, take a long hard look.
Let the words flow through your heart;
Through His death you are a forgiven one;
You are given a new start!
God sent His only begotten SON
So you can change the person you’ve become.
Let His precious words soak in;
Begin to confess your sins and invite Him in;
And, with Him know you can begin again.
Choose to walk with His Son;
You’re now a forgiven one.
Then, go out and tell everyone that He is the ONE!
God sent His only begotten SON
You can change the person you’ve become.
This morning I looked in the mirror;
I see the person I’ve become;
I am a person who walks with the ONE!
God sent His only begotten Son;
So I could change to be the person I’ve become!
Written By April Hawkins
October 15, 2015
“dotMom is coming up in a couple of weeks. There are still a few available tickets for anyone who would like to go” are the words I read out loud to Jim as I scrolled through my Facebook Newsfeed. He encouraged me that I ought to go. I was reluctant to go because we have been empty nesters for ten years and I just felt like the weekend may be geared to those who still have children at home. None the less, Jim encouraged me to go because he knows how much I enjoy the fellowship with the ladies at our church.
Last week, as I packed for the trip I kept asking myself and God what was the reason for me going. Needless to say, as I arrived at the event the reasons for me being there as always began to unfold. We were blessed with wonderful speakers (okay name dropping here) like Karen Kingsbury, Sherry Surratt, and Rebekah Lyons. These speakers inspired us, and made us laugh. Yes, we even cried at times (but a good kind of cry).
When we first arrived to the event we were given the cutest little tote bag. This bag contained many things. There was so much in it that I choose to wait about going through mine when I had more time to enjoy looking at the items. I did find the program book that contained the speakers biographies and a place where we could take notes. Other than that, I was oblivious to what was in the bag. Along with the cute tote bags with all kinds of goodies in it there were also vendors that were giving things away. Thus, the “freebies” were added to the cute little tote bag. By the time it was time to leave for home my bag was stuffed and spilling out just a little.
As I said earlier, I was hesitant to sign up for this trip. I questioned why I was going. Then it happened. God once again showed me the results of listening to His voice and obeying His leading. The blessings began to unfold from the moment we left our church parking lot to the moment I arrived back home and dropped my bags in my bedroom.
Each speaker spoke on a topic that was very relevant my season of life at this moment. The underlying theme of the event was answering God’s calling and the fears that go with stepping up to the call. Scriptures and quotes were given about how to let go of the fear and what is holding you back from going full force to answering the very thing God has placed on your heart to do. I was so blessed and encouraged with what these ladies shared at the event. A spark within me was re-ignited.
Along with tables with “freebies” and getting a cute little tote bag, there were vendors. These vendors were mostly Fair Trade vendors. In other words, the products they sold helped others have a better life. Of course, there was one table I could not resist. It was a table of jewelry that was made of recycled aluminum. The neat thing was that if you wanted a piece customized the gentleman would customize it for you. I had picked out a small cross and wanted a blue stone on it. As the gentleman, worked on my cross we had the neatest conversation about our faith and sharing the gospel with others.
There was the blessing of fellowship. We were a group of ladies that were away from our husbands and children for the night. When this happens it means only one thing. We are going to skip the fast food, pizza and such and go for the good stuff. The restaurant we found gave us our own private room. We laughed, shared what we had liked about the weekend thus far and we got to know each other a little better.
Late Saturday evening we arrived back home. As my husband, Jim greeted us at the van assisting ladies getting out and their luggage out, he sees my cute little tote spilling out with all of the items that I had collected in a twenty-four hour time period. He began to ask what was in the bag. My response was telling him the things that I knew that were in the bag that I had put in there myself. I told him I had not gone through the entire bag of goodies that I was waiting until I got home.
Once I got home, I began to pull things out. I was blown away with all that was in the bag. There were Women’s Devotional CD’s, all kinds of reading materials, and the list goes on. I posted on Facebook that I had gone through my bag and felt like I was having Christmas in September. A friend commented that it was like pulling things out of a Christmas stocking. Her statement was so true.
As I pulled out these things, I began to think about the blessings from the weekend. I thought about how I questioned why I was going. Then, I smiled because I knew God had planned those blessings for me to receive even before I knew I would be at that very place to receive those blessings.
In my reflection of the weekend, I thought of the scripture from James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming from the Father of heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
Each day God has blessings planned for us. We have a choice. We can choose not to go through the cute little tote bag and receive His blessings. Or we can choose to open up that cute little tote bag of blessings with anticipation and be in awe of all He has given us, planned for us and plans for us.
In recent days and weeks, life has happened to the Hawkins’ home. It is like we get through one hurdle and then another one pops up out of no where. There are days when we just want to tell the world to stop so we can catch a breath and get a grip on all that is happening. Yet, the world does not stop. Life goes on regardless of where we are in it. So, we take a deep breath and forward on to do what is put before us. Some days it is best to take it all one step at a time and one day at a time. In these moments it is even more important to embrace our hand in the hand of God. It is from Him, where we draw our strength. Living life abundantly means being carved more into His image and into more of…
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The end of the week we will be celebrating Labor Day weekend. A weekend for one more family reunion and/or trip. It is a time of saying good-bye to summer and gearing ourselves up for Fall activities. As for me, Labor Day is a mile marker for me.
Let’s God Back A Few Years
Thirty-two years ago in the midst of an orientation activity my husband, Jim comes up to me and says; “hello.” It was at that moment when our eyes met that I knew that this was not an ordinary hello. It was a hello that I knew would last a lifetime.
If you have read any of my other post/anniversary letters to Jim, you know that he and I were on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. He was from Kentucky and I was from Georgia. As the two of us began to date that summer, Jim made it clear that he was not a fan of a long distance relationship. Personally, I was not a big fan of a long distance relationship either. Yet, we continued to date and grow closer to one another.
Mid-August came and it was time for Jim to pack and head home to Kentucky and for me to pack to head home to Georgia. On our last morning just before saying good-bye, Jim brought me a red rose. He assured me that the good-bye was not a permanent one. We begin to talk on how we would continue to be a part of each other’s lives despite the distance.
A few days after returning home, Jim called me. He said he had checked into flights from Atlanta to Lexington, KY for me to come up to visit on Labor Day weekend. We worked out the logistics of the trip. Labor Day weekend of 1983 I found myself in uncharted waters. These uncharted waters included flying alone for the first time, going to a place where my family had driven through a few times on vacations and beginning a relationship that was more than a high school crush/summer love. On that Friday as I boarded the plane, I was excited and yet a bit nervous.
After a layover and changing planes I found myself once again in uncharted waters, I found myself looking out the plane window of beautiful horse country as the plane descended to land in Lexington. Then, as I departed from the plane, there stood Jim smiling the same smile he had the first time he said hello to me.
It has been thirty-two years since that first hello. Yet, each time I meet Jim for lunch, when he walks in a room or simply calls from work, I still hear that first hello he said to me. I still see that same smile he gave me.
After thirty-two years of being together and thirty years this November of marriage, Jim and I have stood many tests during this time. We have had the rug unexpectedly pulled out from under us a time or two. We have had our differences in opinion. Jim and I have shared a lot of laughter and a lot of tears through the years. There have been times when we have looked at each other and simultaneously said; “really?”. No matter the experiences good or bad Jim and I have never doubted God. Just as we put our relationship into God’s hands on that last summer morning before we returned to our homes, we have trusted God and His leading. It is trusting God and His leading that has given us blessings beyond measure.
My son, Drew is a runner. He began running when he was in seventh grade. I will never forget the first practice I took him to. It was a very hot August morning. It was not going to surprise me if he got in the car after practice and say “this is not for me.” But, he proved me wrong. Drew hopped in the car and said; “practice tomorrow eight sharp!” As each day of practice came and went, Drew’s endurance and times would improve.
For those of you who run or ever ran cross-country or track know that you are not only competing with your team to beat the competition but you are competing with yourself. It is the goal of every runner to improve his/her PR (personal record) times each time he/she competes. This competition against self…
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