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.

rainbow three

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

What Do Others See?

 You have preached it now live it

So I say by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other., so that you nor not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18

Bible with heart

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 4: 22-26

I am in the midst of completing Priscilla Shirer’s study on Jonah.  As with other Bible studies I have participated in God has opened the eyes of my heart even more.  Not only are the eyes of my heart  opened more but with each study I become even more aware of God’s daily presence in my life. I am also more aware of my walk with Christ and how I live out this walk on a daily basis.

I love the quote Priscilla shares on the last day of this study;

The fruit of God’s Spirit can only be

realized in the life of someone who is 

consistently yielding to the Spirit’s work

in his/her life.

 Priscilla Shirer

Impacting Others

CS Lewis Humility

These words really made me stop and think. First, I thought of those who have impacted my Christian walk through their daily actions. These persons live their lives in such a way that if I were a non-believer, I would want to know more from them of where their joy for living comes. I would want to know what motivates them to do the things that they do beyond their calling.  And, they do things beyond their calling with great joy in their heart and do it without expecting anything in return. When life happens to them as it does with us all, they tend to respond and not react. They stop and evaluate the situation and determine the best way to handle it. There have been times where no one else around them knew a situation was even taking place because of how they respond and how they are in step with God’s teachings.

Interruptions

Grace

In the study of Jonah Priscilla shares about divine interruptions. These interruptions are the unexpected things that come up in our lives. Sometimes, these interruptions catch us completely off guard. When these interruptions occur we have two choices. The first choice is we can react. When we react our actions may not represent the best of us. Sometimes, our reactions can come across in  the form of anger, bitterness, and the total opposite of  being in step with God and His commandments.  The second choice is we can respond. When we respond we have given ourselves time to stop, reflect, talk with the Father and figure the best course of action to the interruption that has taken place.  In our responding to the interruption, we are yielding to God and allowing Him to do His work in us. The outcome of responding is far different from our reacting.  Through responding, we are able to see God’s hand in the situation, we are telling God we trust Him and His leading. We are also demonstrating to those around us the true meaning of trusting God and living in step with Him.

Self Centered

Romans 12

The other day I was talking with someone about how we have all become self-absorbed. We are to be aware of others’ needs around us and the presence of God. Yet, it seems we are becoming more self-absorbed in our own personal needs, our wants and what will make us feel better and/or look good to others.  In other words, we are in a world of living totally opposite of Galatians 5:16-18.  It is when we are consumed with pleasing the flesh that we miss the blessings that God has planned for us. Furthermore, we become out of step with God. It is in these moments where we know in our heads what is right and what is wrong but our hearts do not demonstrate what we know.  Needless to say, it is at that point we profess to be a Christian but our actions are telling those around us something completely different. Thus, the reason why so many people see Christians as hypocrites. Sad but true.

Challenge

seek God

Today, I challenge you to re-read the scriptures at the top of the page and re-read the quote from Priscilla Shirer. As you read these passages, stop and reflect on what motivates what you do each day of your life.

Are you motivated by wanting what the flesh wants?

Or, are you motivated by what God wants you to do and living in step with Him?

When interruptions come up in life, do you react or do you respond?

Who has impacted your life by their being in step with God?

Now, think about the people around you that you could have a positive influence and even bring them to know and receive Christ in their lives by living consistently in step with God.

God's presence

In the days ahead, I encourage you to be aware of God’s daily presence and stay in step with Him. Being in step with  God has greater reward than trying to stay in step with what the flesh wants. May you seek God in all you do and may others see God in you in all you do.

May this video by our prayer in the days ahead.

That’s How We Fly

flock of migrating canada geese birds

Periodically, I will see and hear geese fly over our home. As always they are flying in the ‘V’ formation. They fly in the “V” formation for several reasons. One they fly this way to conserve energy. Each bird flies slightly above the one  in front of  him. They also take turns of who will be in the front so as one gets tired they can fall back.  By flying in this formation, they are also able to keep track of one another.

Along with that philosophy, our military aircraft fly the same way. You will see them flying in a “V” formation in military missions. One of the reasons they fly in this formation is to improve fuel efficiency  of the aircraft.

When I worked in the Special Education Department of one of our local schools, the teacher I worked with always started the year out with sharing about how and why geese fly in the “V” formation. She would share this story because our classroom operated under the same principle of the geese flying in a “V”.  In other words, our group was a team from the teacher to the assistants to the students. We took turns leading (this included the students), we knew when one was tired who could step up and help and each member of the class knew where the other was at all times as well knew when to jump in and help their peers.

Until a week ago, I had not thought about this technique in quite a while. Then, our minister shared the philosophy of the flying “V” in his message in regards to stewardship.  We were reminded how we are all a part of a group that is to help one another and to lift each other up.

Each one of us are born into a family. This is a fact. Some may have been born into one family but adopted/raised by another.  The types of families and homes are so varied especially in the 21st Century.  These varied families have different ways of how they operate, they have different rules and expectations in their homes.

Jim and I in our dating years.

Jim and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this Fall. Over the years, we have had to learn how to fly together. Our learning how to fly together started when we were dating. If you are not familiar with our story, Jim and I met while working on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. I was from Georgia and he was from Kentucky. As we began to date, Jim’s words were; ” I want to date you while we are here this summer but after that, you will go back to Georgia and I will go back to Kentucky. Long distance relationships just don’t last.” Well, for almost 32 years, Jim has been choking on those words. A good example of “never say never!”

Our wedding day

What happened to make Jim swallow his words? The answer is simple. From day one, we learned how to fly together. Yes, there were and still are times of trial and error but non the less we learned to fly and fly together.  We work together day end and day out on making sure the other’s needs are met. Both of us know that when the other is tired the other needs to move to the front and take the lead.

Not only did we have to learn to fly together as a couple. But we had to learn how to line up the other geese in our lives. These geese being our families, and our son, Drew when he was born.  Jim and I knew that when we married, we married not only each other but we married each other’s family.  In other words, Jim’s family became my family and my family became Jim’s family.  When you compile these two families together, there are a lot of geese to coördinate in order to fly in formation.

Okay, you ask how do the Hawkins’ fly? When putting our ‘V’ formation together, we have to look at a big picture. We look at who is free at what time, who can do what at what time and we diligently make sure that each side of the family gets some sort of quality time. For us, quality outweighs the quantity.

For example, when Drew was growing up, my parents would come up and pick Drew up and usually took him on a two to three-week summer vacation of some sort with them. Now, you may ask; “was fair to Jim’s family?”  The answer to that question is; “yes.” Why? You see, Jim’s parents live two hours away from us. My family is a good six hours drive when traffic is good. Jim’s parents got a lot of extended weekends when Drew would have days off at school where it would be impossible to make a trip to Georgia. We also made sure Drew got a week in here and there throughout the summer. It just wasn’t all at once like with my parents. It is just what worked best for each family.

In forming our formation of the flying “V”,  Jim and I knew that each set of parents would and do play a significant role in Drew’s life in their own unique way. It was important to us that he have a relationship with both sets of grandparents.  It is through time with his grandparents that Drew learned more about who he was/is, his heritage and he had opportunity to hear stories that he would some day share with his family.

Drew is now married. When he married, we told him that he would have to learn to get his own ‘V’ formation in order. Jim shared with Drew not only would he be marrying Megan but he would also acquire a whole new family and Megan would be not just marrying Drew but she would gain a family who would and does love her dearly.  Jim and I also told Drew that as he lined up his ‘V”  formation, that we would fall into place where he needed us. Drew is now the head of his own household and he knows what works best and the needs of his family better than we do. It is not for us to tell him how to fly his “V”.   We will fly with him by lifting Megan and him up and encouraging them . We told him we will do our best to know when we need to jump in and help and know when to stand back and do nothing until we are asked to help.

If you were to be a fly on the wall in our home and watched us coördinate an event/holiday with either side and sometimes both sides of the family, you would think we were writing up a battle plan. It is not a battle plan per say but it is strategically lining up our ‘V” so that we can accomplish the mission/task at hand. And, that mission is to insure that we are aware of  the needs of each person involved and each one is taken care of.  Just like the military aircraft, Jim and I want to be as fuel-efficient with the geese that are in our “V” formation. So, that’ s how we fly!

How do you fly?

1 Thessalonians 5:10-12

New International Version (NIV)

10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

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.”

Precious Words

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

In our home, you will find many bibles of many translations. Some people may question the number of bibles that are in my possession. However, I learn something new of God’s teachings, and gain different perspectives of God’s message to me through the various translations. One of my favorite study bibles that is marked, highlighted and showing some wear is the NKJ Women’s Study Bible. In this particular bible are devotionals, quotes of wisdom, historical information  and insights of how the scriptures apply to me in today’s world.

This morning as I was reading my study bible. I was reading in  the Psalms. In this reading,  I came across a devotional reminding me of how God’s word is such a precious treasure. At the end of this devotional was this hymn that was written by John Burton ( 1773-1822). After reading through this poem, I felt lead to share…

View original 291 more words

My Journey Continues

 

 Challenges Ahead

You have searched me, LORD

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise,

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down,

you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139: 1-3

September, 2014 I journeyed with my Potter’s Clay Small Group  in the Bible Study, Stronger by Angela Thomas.  I don’t believe in coincidence but I believe things unfold by God’s design. As this study began, I was in a difficult season of my life. And, as I opened this study, it was what I needed for this particular season.

Stronger

On the days ahead of this journey of the study, Stronger I not only continued to pray but I had never-ending conversations with God. In this midst of this journey, I attempted to continue writing and sharing what God would place on my heart. I must admit writing did not come easy at times. After all, how could I encourage others while being stuck in the mud. Not only did I pray and have these long conversations with God, I also went back and re-read some of my own writings. It is very convicting when you read the words you have shared to encourage others on their journey.  The saying; ‘physician heal thyself” really hit me in between the eyes.

stuck in the mud

It seemed I was stuck in the mud and I could not get out. Just as a car’s wheel spins when stuck in the mud, my wheels were spinning but I was not getting anywhere. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. These are the words that describe where I was at as I began this new study, Stronger.

Morning Coffee

On the very first day of this study, God made me very aware that I was carrying things that I should be surrendering to him.  My grip was tight on the wheel and I was reluctant to let go and let God have full control.  Yet,  on day one of this study, Angela had this prayer.:

God, I want to know you more. I want to learn and grow and understand Your 

powerful words. In so many ways, I desperately  need to become stronger., so teach

me about who You are and the strength You give. Bring your light into my dark places.

For these next pages help me focus on You. Just you LORD. Amen (Stronger page 9)

Wow! This prayer spoke expressed exactly what was on my heart. At that moment and other moments throughout this journey, I got on my knees and surrendered ALL at the feet of Jesus.

giving up

Healing did not take place right at that moment. Instead, the healing was a process. It was one day at time and one prayer at a time. As the days progressed in this study, my eyes began to open more as well as my heart and ears were opening up to hear God’s voice.

As I continued my walk with Stronger, I was on iTunes late one evening. In the midst of finishing up my downloads, the song, Baptism by Kenny Chesney/Randy Travis popped up as a suggested song that I may like. I clicked the play button. It was at that moment where I began to feel  the Holy Spirit nudge me. Tears filled my eyes. I could not wait until morning to share this find and experience with Jim.

Since that night, Jim and I both have about worn this song out. The more I listened to the song, the more God spoke to my heart. The Holy Spirit nudged me even more.  I knew I needed to remove the old sack cloth and put on the new cloth of Christ that God had planned for me.

I have shared in my article, Go how God led me to a place of healing.  In another article, It’s On!, I share the results of being obedient and following God’s leading to a place where I could heal.  As I sit here writing, I have my new book, Stronger by Angela Thomas opened to day one.

Beginnings End

You see, I did this study in the Fall, 2014 with my Potter’s Clay small group. And, now the Wednesday night Bible Study group has chosen to take this journey. Yes, I find myself taking this journey of Stronger one more time.  Tears are in my eyes as I read the introduction to this study. It is in reading this introduction, I see where I have been and where I am now. I see God’s hand in everything that I have gone through over the last year. I now see how and where he has made me stronger.

Oh! The joy that fills my soul! It is no coincidence that God has brought me to full circle. It is not a coincidence that I am doing this study for a second time. It is all in God’s divine intervention of my life. My journey continues.…and I can’t wait to see where God is going to take me!

my heart will ever sing

He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Bible with heart

This post is dedicated to two very special loving group of ladies, Potter’s Clay and my Wednesday night Bible Study. So glad God has blessed me with these wonderful ladies on my faith journey.

“It’s On!”

running

The phrase “it’s on”  was a phrase our son, Drew used quite frequently while in high school.  It was  part of his getting mentally prepared for a race.  On race day, he would take his place on the start line and as the start gun would sound off Drew would say; “it’s on!”  By saying this phrase, Drew was proclaiming that he was ready to run his race and to run it to the best of his ability.

starting line

In recent weeks, the phrase, “it’s on”has been playing through my mind.   If you are familiar with my story, you will know that of recent years there have been challenges.  I share in my post, “GO” how God responded to me as I cried out in the midst of those challenges and surrendered all at His feet. As a result, God placed a new  path for me to take on my journey to be with Him one day.

Changes

Rewind to early Fall, 2014. At my former church home, I was asked to lead Sunday School one morning. I cannot remember the name of the book the class was studying and discussing but I remember on this particular morning the variations of church doctrine was being discussed.  As I was preparing the night before and as I began to lead the class in discussion that Sunday morning, a voice within told me to be careful how I choose my words and thoughts on baptism.  You see, I was in a Methodist church/Sunday School where infant baptism takes place at the parents choosing. Along with that, Methodist accept baptisms from other denominations.

Wrestling With God

It was on this particular weekend where God started really working on me. He was already telling me to “go” to not only a different church but a different denomination. Just as Jacob wrestled with God ( Genesis 32:22-32) I was in a wrestling match with God. In the midst of God telling me what I needed to do be healed, he was also telling me I would be baptized by immersion. Again, I could relate to how Moses felt and the many others after him felt when God gave instruction and expected those instructions to be followed.  It was through this back and forth battle where I began to evaluate my own personal walk with Christ. I even went back and re-read some of my own writings.  Conviction was coming on strong and hard on my heart and life.

My way

Asking God to Lead and Guide

Sunday morning approached for me to teach the lesson. Before going I said a prayer asking God to lead me and guide my leadership and words. Needless to say, the lesson fell into place that morning. When baptism came up we were led into discussion more about the significance of the baptism and acknowledging the different ways people are baptized.  In essence, the lesson became less about church doctrine but more about the relationship with Christ when we are baptized into the Christian faith.  I look back on that Sunday morning and I see how God intervened on that lesson and how he spoke to me even louder as I prepared and taught the lesson.

fast forward

Fast Forward

It is six months later.  Jim and I both have obeyed and followed this new path that God put before us. As scary as it is was for Jim and me to step out on faith and make the change,  I can honestly say that we both have been blessed beyond measure. We can look back and see God’s hand in all that has happened to lead us to where we are today.

Three  weeks ago, as worship was closing in song and our pastor had given the altar call, Jim and I stood up to sing. We both looked at each other but the other did not say a word. It was at that moment I wanted to run down to that altar and tell our pastor that “it was on!”. Yet, I didn’t because I had told Jim that when it came to joining this new family I wanted it to be a decision we made together. I was waiting for his lead. As the song continued, I so prayed that Jim would take the lead and go down. Yet, it didn’t happen. My thoughts were; ” God, I know you are nudging me but I know it is in your time when you will have Jim’s heart ready to make the move. Help me to be patient. God, just know my running shoes are on and I am ready to run to your arms and be made new.”

water ripple

However, as worship ended and Jim and I gathered our belongings, Jim looked at me and told me he had to speak with Pastor Dan before we left church.  My response was; “okay” thinking he wanted to tell Pastor Dan he enjoyed the service or had a particular question for him. Yet, the Holy Spirit was speaking even louder within me. As Jim approached our Pastor, my heart pounded louder and louder.  Jim shook hands with Pastor Dan and as he did this he said; “April and I are ready to make the next step to become a part of this church family.”

Of course, baptism came into the picture. Jim and I had been baptized as infants. We both had accepted Christ into our lives during our childhood. Our families did a beautiful job bringing us up in the Christian faith. Yet, Jim and I both felt we needed to rededicate our lives to Christ and be immersed.  When told that we would need to be immersed we did not give it a second thought.  As far as we were concerned “it was on!”.

 In previous days, Jim and I had searched the scriptures, discussed and prayed about being baptized by immersion even though we were baptized as infants. It was in our searching and discussion where we came across Acts 19:1-5.

Acts 19:1-5New International Version (NIV)

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

(Bible Gateway)

In this scripture Paul is on his third missionary trip. He encounters these men who were baptized by John the Baptizer. These men had repented of their sins but did not understand the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection or how the Holy Spirit worked in their lives. After talking with Paul on the significance of Christ’s death, resurrection and the Holy Spirit, Paul baptized them once again and the Holy Spirit came upon them. From there we read that they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

eye of love

This scripture opened up our eyes and hearts. We both have believed in the risen Savior for most of our lives.  Jim and I have known, felt and experience the Holy Spirit working in our lives many times. After all, it was the Holy Spirit nudging us to bring us to this pivotal point in our lives. Yet, Jim and I both had a yearning  for emotional and spiritual healing. We knew at that moment we had to put our running shoes on and tell God; “it’s on!”.

Cross at Lake Junaluska, NC

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday/April 5, 2015 could not come soon enough for us. I found it difficult to sleep on Saturday night. The sleeplessness were not from nerves but from excitement. It was the same kind of excitement/anticipation that I would have on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come and bring our gifts. I knew Sunday morning I was going to receive the most precious gift I could ever be given in this earthly world. The gift was new life.

baptism water

Not only was I excited about Sunday coming but I reflected back on where I was a year ago.  In this reflecting back, I saw God’s hand in every situation that brought me to this moment.  I will never forget the very first Sunday when I entered the place where God told me to go. As I sat down in the back pew and began to worship, I felt like  dead skin  was falling off of me.   In my obedience to God, paying attention to the nudges from the Holy Spirit and surrendering all at the feet of Jesus, healing is taking place.

“Down with the Old……Up with the New”

As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love with him I am pleased."  Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love with him I am pleased.”
Matthew 3:16-17

Sunday morning arrived and just as Drew would gather his things in preparation to go run his race. Jim and I gathered up our things in preparation for what would happen within the next couple of hours. We were ready to take than next step of faith and enter the race God has called us to.

Our Baptism Easter Sunday April 5, 2015

Our Baptism
Easter Sunday
April 5, 2015

 As Jim and I stood in our white robes, Pastor Dan asked who would want to go first. Without hesitation, this girl who for years said she would never be immersed said she wanted to go first.  I was ready to get on that start line and begin a new race.

April baptism one

As I sit here and write this post of testimony, my heart and eyes are filling up with tears.  Words cannot express the feeling of me  going down and the water rushing over me  and then coming back up. I can still feel that water rush over me. Since I came up, I feel this warmth around me twenty-four/seven. It is an unexplainable warmth but I know it is the Holy Spirit wrapping around me in all that I do.  There is no more fear instead my running shoes are on and I am ready to run a new race for Christ…….‘it’s on!”. 

Take a moment to not only watch this video but carefully listen to the words:

Randy Travis and Kenny Chesney describe how I felt with the lyrics; “I felt like a newborn baby cradled up in the arms of the Lord”.  In days ahead, I know that there will be storms to weather and challenges to face but it is okay because I know my loving God has his arms wrapped around me and his SON lives in my heart.

Imprinting

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

imprintin bible

Several years ago I worked in a Christian Bookstore.  When customers would come in and purchase bibles for themselves or for other people, it was customary to ask if they would like to have the bible imprinted. Imprinting meant using material to press down on the leather that would place the name on the bible for a lifetime.

old bible

In life we are constantly imprinting whether we realize it or not. How? We imprint by the words we speak, how we react in certain situations and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis. Through our imprinting, we show our true  appearance. This appearance is what  God sees ALL the time, our heart.

In the video above, a four-letter word flies out of the little boy’s mouth and the dad realizes he has made an impression on his son. The father’s eyes are opened to how much his son is watching…

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It’s Gonna Be Alright

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:


“He is not here; he has risen just as he said.” Matthew 18:6

 

 

 

The above picture is one I took early morning while at sea on a cruise. It is a miracle that I got these shots because I am not usually an early riser. Yet, while on this trip there was this urgency of wanting to get up and see the sun rise over the ocean at least one morning. As Jim and I sat out on the deck with our coffee talking, I saw the sun begin to rise and I insisted that we cease our conversation for a few minutes. I wanted to soak up the Master bringing in a brand new day. God’s creation was waking up.  It was not only beautiful but it was a renewal of the heart and a reminder of how God’s Son gives light into the soul.  It…

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Play It Through

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

This picture popped up on my Facebook news feed the other day.  Immediately, as I laughed, I recall the many times in high school band when a piece of music was put in front of the group to site read. I never will forget the moans and groans when the piece was first handed out. Before playing the piece, we were given time to look it over and our director would sometimes point out potential trouble spots. Then, the time came to play the piece for the first time. Oh, it wasn’t a beautiful piece the first time played. Over time and multiple practice sessions, however, the piece would begin to sound more like what the composer meant for it to sound. Some of those pieces that were thrown down to site read eventually became the best played and favorite pieces of the band.

In life, there are times when…

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