Posts tagged ‘faith’

Don’t Let The Pirates Take You Down


On April 8, 2009 there was a cargo ship heading for Mombasa Kenya. The Captain of the Ship was Richard Phillips. The ship consisted of twenty crew members.  CNN breaks in with breaking news that this cargo ship had been boarded by modern-day pirates.

For those of you who know your geography, you know that the waters  this cargo ship was sailing are known for piracy. Therefore, it makes sense that Captains and crew members who sail ships through this area are trained in how to handle an attack by pirates. It is through this training that the captain stepped up not letting the pirates get the best of him.  It is also through this level of discipline that our trained armed forces were able to secure the release of  the Captain and his crew. The Captain was not going to allow these pirates to take him and his crew down. Determination, diligence and focus are how this crew and all those involved in the rescue were able to help bring about a positive outcome.

There are times in our lives where pirates board our lives. Situations happen out of the blue where the intentions are to bring us down and hurt us.  These pirates work with the pirates of negativity.  Their goal is to attack, steal and see how far down they can bring us down. They are ambassadors for Satan. They love to see a ship go down in a blaze of glory.  Much like the pirates who took that ship heading to Kenya, they are out for themselves and no one else.

pirates on ship

When these pirates attack we have to remain focused, determined, disciplined, and diligent on how we respond.  Just as the Captain and the crew were during those initial grueling hours of captivity, it is during these times when it is even more important that we stay focused on God’s word, hold tight to His hand and seek the good within the evil.


There are times, however, when we do the opposite. Something bad/evil happens and we take off running. We run looking for answers in other places rather than seeking the answer from God. For some reason, we feel as though God isn’t going to make the outcome a positive one and he just doesn’t work fast enough for us. Thus, we go wondering to the wrong things for the answers. It is when we do this we are allowing the pirates to take us down. We are allowing them to sink our ship.

sinking ship

Saul is an example of allowing pirates to sink his ship. He was God’s ( The Captain’s) choice of being the first king of Israel. Samuel was instructed by God to anoint Saul as king. However, as time went on Saul began to be disobedient to God. As a result, he began running and looking for answers outside of going to God, listening for God and trusting God.  He went as far as looking for answers through mediums. Eventually, all of his  running, disobeying God and seeking answers outside of God got the better of him. He reached the point where he could not see beyond where he was standing and deliberately fell on his sword and killed himself.  He allowed the pirates of disobedience and hostility to take over his life and he went down not in a blaze of glory but in a glaze of tragedy.

There are going to be times when pirates are going to board our ship. They are going to try their best  to take us down. It is in those moments we need to realize that no matter how horrible the pirate is treating us or the situation is going God will use the situation for good if we acknowledge him and allow him. The key is that we have to grab tighter to his hand. We have to trust our Captain and realize he is at work in the situation even though we feel as though he is not there.  It is so important not to give into the temptation of running to other things and people looking for the answer(s) we think will fix the situation.

holding God's hand

May we be like Captain Phillips when the pirates board our ship. May we stay focused on God and diligent on how we respond. Also, may we have the following scriptures inscribed on our hearts and say them repeatedly to ourselves as we face those grueling hours of what feels like captivity. If we do this there is NO WAY the pirates can take us down and steal our joy in the LORD.

“And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Romans 8:28

“I can do ALL this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13

In closing, I want to share a beautiful paragraph that is in my Life Application Bible. It sums up the theme of the book of Samuel. It is something I have copied into  my notes and look at it when those ugly pirates try to board my ship and take me down. I encourage you to print it and put it somewhere to have as an affirmation during those times ugly pirates are boarding your ship.

“God is at work in this world, even when we can’t see what he is doing. No matter what

kinds of pressures we must endure or how many changes we must face, God is ULTIMATELY

in control of our situation. Being confident in God’s sovereignty we can face the difficult situations

in our lives with BOLDNESS.”

Jesus Came Last Night


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation , by prayer and petition with thanksgiving

present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds

In Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7


Thank you for the blessings of the day.

Please be with Jim and me as we walk our journey with you.

Surround us with your Holy Spirit as individuals and as a couple.

Place your Holy Spirit around our home and in our home so that those who

encounter us or pass our home will experience a peace that passes ALL understanding.

I share this portion of  a prayer that I pray each night before going to bed.  For me, there is no going to sleep or peaceful night’s sleep until I have said my prayers to God and place the night and the day ahead into his hands. Last night was no different with the exception that I was to the point of exhaustion that I literally just collapsed into my Father’s arms as I prayed.


In this process of  prayer time and writing, I am awaiting tests results. Life is happening with its twists and turns.  I haven’t felt well for most of the summer. Thus, prompting a visit to my doctor. Over the years we have known that I was border line lupus. Jim and I knew that there was a possibility that one day that those lab numbers could/would cross the line and a new and not wanted diagnoses would occur.  It is something that I am still trying to understand and get my head around.

On top of me not feeling well, we have found out that Jim’s father’s cancer has begun to be active again. Thus, Jim is taking more time off from work to go to take care of his Mom and Dad and to be with them at doctor’s visits. Neither Jim nor me begrudge Jim having to make these trips. It is just what you do for the people who brought you into this world and who have loved, nurtured and stood by your side in growing up and in watching you raise a family.


With both of these scenarios taking place simultaneously and trying to keep up with the activities we participate in with our church, small groups, work and community, it has become overwhelming at times.  Jim and I both have had to say no to some activities and put some things on hold until we can get a handle on all that is happening in our lives right now.  Yet, we have and will keep the faith and look up. There are days that our strength is nothing but the Lord’s doing and working in our lives.

Gods hand

As I said earlier I collapsed into my Father’s arms with exhaustion.  I poured out my heart to him and in doing so I was reminded of the two scriptures from John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-7.  Despite all that is going on in the Hawkins home and the possibilities of what may come I know there is no need to be anxious because I have a loving Father walking by my side. This same Father is walking beside Jim as well and us as a couple.   Last night, I closed by asking the Father to allow me to fall asleep in his arms, and to feel that peace that he promises us in John.


Then the indescribable happened.  laying on my side asleep facing Jim, I felt these arms wrap around all around me. As these arms wrapped around me, I felt this indescribable warmth. The arms that came around me and hugged me tight. This  was a hug I have ever experienced on this earth. I wish I could describe the way the arms felt and the warmth felt.  Yet, it is all beyond any words I can say or write. It is beyond comprehension. Though this hug is indescribable and beyond comprehension, I can say that there was that peace that passes all understanding promised from our Father that wrapped around me as I felt this hug.


This morning I tried to tell Jim of this experience. There was a struggle for words to describe what I had felt in the night. As I struggled to describe the indescribable, I simply looked at Jim and said; “Jesus came last night. He hugged me. I felt His peace.” This morning I didn’t wake up healed or feeling different physically but I woke up with a new joy in my life despite all that is happening right now.  I don’t know what is in store for me or any of my family members in the days ahead.  However, I have been affirmed that Jim nor I are walking the journey alone. My Father who hugged me in the night is right there placing peace in ALL situations. And, it is a peace that passes ALL understanding and comprehension.

His eye is on the sparrow and I KNOW He watches me.”

If that one moment of peace and hug last night was indescribable, I can only imagine what it’s going to feel like when I meet my Father face to face. Holy Goose Bumps!

Raising A Son to be A Hero

Drew at the Art Museum in Chicago

Drew at the Art Museum in Chicago

Yesterday, our son, Drew, posted on his Brain Wads about how time flies as he completes his first year of marking at DeMoss. In this post he shares thoughts on learning experiences since taking on this position, his personal growth as he has pursued his position at DeMoss and what he looks forward to in the future days with working with the DeMoss Group. As I read his post, I was the typical proud mama!

People have often asked Jim and me what our techniques were when raising Drew. The first thing was we heeded the advice of Jim’s dad/Drew’s grandfather. His advice on the very day Drew entered the world was; ” 1) First of all, love and respect him and 2)this child will do anything you expect him to do.” 


Jim and I both were big believers in respecting Drew as a person from the get go. He was a child and we were his parents but there was a mutual aire of respect. When we wanted Drew to do something we did not demand he do the task or give orders. We simply would ask politely with a please and thank you. Before entering his room, we would always knock before entering.  If Jim and I expected Drew to respect us, we had to do likewise and respect him.  Looking back, during those rare time when Drew was being disrespectful, when we were honest with ourselves, we could see that the amount of respect coming from us (or the lack thereof) could well have been playing a role in his attitude.

You have heard and seen the commercials about the importance of the family table. There have been studies and documentation on the positive results of a family eating together. No matter how late it may be in the evenings before everyone was home, Drew knew that we would all sit down together, have dinner together, and share our day. I learned real quick that if you want a boy to express what is on his mind, feed him.

Jim and Drew finishing up dinner at Bubba Gumps in Savannah, Georgia May, 2009

Jim and Drew finishing up dinner at Bubba Gumps in Savannah, Georgia May, 2009

Early mornings were important for Jim and Drew. From about the time Drew was five years old. He would hear his dad get up to start his day. He would go into the family room where Jim would be reading his morning devotional or the morning paper. Drew would climb up in his lap and read with him. Jim didn’t want Drew to ever think he could not approach him at anytime. As Drew got older, their meetings would be early morning at the kitchen table. They would read and discuss current events in the paper and sometimes with their touch of added sarcasm. Now, that Drew is grown, Jim and Drew call each other and talk as the best of friends and that added playful sarcasm (not directed toward each other, mind you) still comes out once in a while in their conversations.

Drew helping Dad at the office

Drew helping Dad at the office

By no means was Drew the perfect child. There were moments that required discipline. However, in the discipline process we would talk with Drew about where the error of judgement took place and the lesson learned. Yet, there was a time or two where reasoning just didn’t work out. One instance was when Drew was in middle school. He was taking too much time primping (yes, boys primp as much as girls) and making his car pool late for school. After many mornings of frustration and pushing Drew out the door and finally getting him out the door, without saying a word, Jim went to Drew’s room and began to remove items. First, the mirror on the wall came down and out. Next, Drew’s stereo and other activities that Drew enjoyed in his room. Then, Jim simply told me that when Drew arrived home to have Drew call him at work if he had any questions. The look on Drew’s face was priceless when he entered his room that afternoon. He turned and looked at me appalled and all I said was; “call Dad.” As Jim talked with Drew over the phone, Jim explained the problem and the solution he took to solve this problem and told Drew that if the problem did not resolve itself that Drew’s bed would be next. Needless to say, being on time became a priority for Drew from there on out.


Exposure. Jim and I made sure we exposed Drew to the world. Not to say we encouraged him to be of the world but we wanted him to understand the world around him and how to respond with certain issues. There were certain types of music genres, television shows and movies we allowed Drew to watch in our presence. We wanted him to understand the world and wanted him to be well equipped to find the humor and challenges that the world has to offer as .  We felt if he experienced these things in our presence we could share with him what we believed and what we disapproved of and why. Therefore, when he went out in the big world by himself he was not shocked at things he saw or situations he may be put in.

Drew running with his DCXC team in State Meet (they took the title three years in a row)

Drew running with his DCXC team in State Meet (they took the title three years in a row)

Teamwork. Ever since Drew played t-ball as a pre-schooler, Drew wanted to be on a team. I remember him trying out for the Middle School basketball team and didn’t make it. He was so disappointed but a friend invited him to run on the cross-country team. Both his Middle School and High School teams were blessings to Drew’s life and ours. He had wonderful Christian coaches that not only coached him and his teammates in running but they coached them about life and gave them a solid foundation for life.

Settle Memorial

Church was another important part of our raising Drew. We made sure that he was involved in church activities as well as ourselves being involved. If we expected Drew to be at church then we should be at church. In other words, walk the talk we were giving. It is being involved in church activities where Drew also learned the value of having good Christian friends, people you can lean on and who will pray for you and with you. It is this teaching that helped Drew when we moved away from home. When he went to college one of the first things he did was call us and tell us he found a church. He did the same when he moved to Chicago and Atlanta.

Not only was going to church and being involved in church important in raising our son, Drew. But it was important to us that Drew had experiences like going to church camps and mission trips. It is in these environments where Drew learned how to initiate conversations with people he did not know, learn about other people, their lives and experiences. These experiences also taught Drew the importance of being a good listener and reaching out beyond his comfort zone at times.

Discussing Sand Castle Ideas

Drew & Jim @ Vero Beach Florida

Listening. As parents we want our children to listen to us, our advice, views and what we have to say. Yet, our children have things on their hearts and minds they need to share. Jim and I tried to keep an environment where Drew knew he could come to us and we would listen with unconditional ears. It is this unconditional listening that brought trust into our relationship with Drew.


Expectation. This where I started my post on raising a son. Jim and I strongly believed, and still do believe,  that not only will a child do what you expect him to but they will do as long as they see you walk your talk. In other words, if we expected his room to be clean, our room had better be clean. If we expected him to be ready to walk out the door a certain time, we better be ready as well.

I came across a quote not long ago that sums up the Hawkins’ philosophy of raising a son;

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And, if you treat them like sons, they turn out to be heroes, even if it’s in your own eyes.” Walter M. Schirra, Sr.


I raised a son who I am quite proud of. Along the way he has taught me more than a few things. It is to Drew I owe a thank you for encouraging me to blog. It is in my blogging I have heard so many stories from other people and have reached people who I never dreamed I would reach.  Drew came into the world as my son but in my eyes he is a hero.  He is a hero that I greatly admire and respect.


Raising a son or sons? Remember these two things: 1) always love them and respect them and 2)  they will do what you expect them to do.  Right now, they may seem to be just a son to you but one day you will look up at them and see a hero.

Check out Drew’s blog on his Web Site Brain Wads….the link below will take you to his post.

One Year At The DeMoss Group


It’s In The Waiting


Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones sings a song about waiting for a friend. Brad Paisley recorded a song; Waiting on a Woman where Andy Griffith is sitting on a bench with Brad giving him advice about waiting on a woman. Everyday it seems that most of us  are waiting in some sort of line, in traffic, waiting for an appointment, anticipated phone call or waiting for a prayer answered.


Today, we live in what I call a microwave world. We don’t want to wait for anything! Instead, we want our answers right now, we want to hurry up and get to where we are going and NOT sit in traffic. We arrive at our scheduled time for an appointment where we may not actually be seen for an hour passed the appointed time and we grow inpatient and grumble that our precious time is being taken away.

it's in the waiting

It’s in the waiting where while I stood in line waiting my turn that I have met the neatest people and had the most interesting and sometimes entertaining conversations.  There have been times when sitting in traffic where I look over at a sign that says something I needed to hear or it’s something that makes me chuckle that gets me  through the rest of the day.  It’s in the waiting on an appointment, I have listened to someone share their concerns about a loved one or of something they were going through. It’s in the waiting for that phone call that I was able to think things through and pray a little more before responding to the call that would be coming in.

seek God

Waiting is a season in life. All of us go through this season at some point and time. There are those of us who go through this season of waiting many times throughout our lifetime. In this season of waiting, we sometimes feel as though God is not there but in all reality he is there.

From my experience, I sincerely believe God makes us wait so we can experience him all the more. Remember the saying;  great things come to those who wait”?  This quote is true but it is in the waiting where God is showing great things all around us.

But those who wait on the LORD

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

count your blessings


Your Cheating Heart

In the last week, I have seen Facebook posts and comments from college students who are either gearing up for final exams or have just completed them. When I read these posts, I am taken back to my college days of one last look of notes before the professor enters the classroom and hands out the exams.

Before handing out the exams, the professors/teachers would make sure items were cleared from the desks.  Next, the professor would go over some pointers for the exam and/or explain some of the format. There were times when the exam was handed out that a professor would have an oath to sign on the first page of the test. This oath acknowledged that each student knew the consequences of cheating and that the work on that exam was indeed their own.

In the Christian life, exam time is never over. Our Professor has given us clear instructions of what is expected during this exam. Yet, sometimes a little review is needed.  One clear instruction He gives us in the beginning of instructing us in how to live our exam is in Exodus 20: 1-4; ” I am the Eternal your God, I lead you out of Egypt and liberated you from lives of slavery and oppression. You are NOT to serve any other gods before Me. You are NOT to make an image of anything in the heavens above, the earth below or the waters beneath.”

“No other gods before Me.”  In today’s society, it seems that there are many gods being worshiped and honored outside of our Creator. One that seems to be the most worshiped is money. People can’t have enough of it and/or they covet for things they cannot have because of lack of money. The mentality is; “Life will be complete if I have this or this amount in my bank account.” Yet, as the days go by, more and more people seem less and less content.

I heard a speaker the other day highlighting the world and the shape of the current economy. He gently reminded us that we are a nation that was founded UNDER GOD. But, it seems as we go through the exam, we forget that key answer to passing the exam. The speaker also reminded us that when we quit living Under God whether it be as a nation or as individuals, it will not be long before we fall. Gee, it looks like we are not doing so well. It looks like we have had cheating hearts. When we put other things before God, we are cheating on our relationship with Him.

Remember earlier when I mentioned the professor would have the student sign a statement before taking an exam saying you promised not to cheat and what the consequences were if a student did? Well, as children of God, and as Christians we have an oath we have signed with God with our heart. We are to promise we will not put ‘any other gods before Him.’ 

How are you doing with the exam? Is your heart cheating with the materialism of the world? Are you forgetting to review each morning the instruction book (The Bible)on how to live?

As each one of us goes through our day, let us remember that there is only ONE true GOD. He is our creator and our provider. May we remember money, material things and other ways of the world will not bring true contentment. The only way to have true contentment is to live the life of Christ.  So, begin each day with a review of the Good News, signing our pledge that we will allow God to lead us and that we promise not to cheat with the ways of the world. Let’s commit to walking with God to the very end.

Hide and Seek

“Suddenly their eyes were open to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leave into crude loincloths.” Genesis 3:7 (From The Voice Bible)


Do you know when the first Hide and Seek game took place? It took place in Genesis 3:7. Remember? God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat from the Tree of Knowledge but they instantly showed they were human and listened to the voice of the serpent. Once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, we learn that their eyes were opened and they begin to cover themselves and hide from God. But, did they really hide from God? No. God knew immediately what they had done and where they were. Hence, this Hide and Seek game became known as the moment man became separated from God.

When we were children, we have all played the Hide and Seek game. One person is chosen as the seeker and the others are to go hide. Then, the seeker counts to a number and then begins to seek the rest of the group.  I remember times when playing this game where the group would try to trick the one who was the seeker.

As adults, we still play the Hide and Seek game. In this game, we are more like Adam and Eve. We do, say, or think things that we know do not meet the approval of God and His Word. When we sin, we tend to want to go run and hide from God and place the blame on someone or something else. Just as original sin separated man from God, our sin separates us from God.

Yet, when we attempt to hide due to sin, we must realize that God is seeking us. We cannot trick God while we are in hiding thinking he will never find us.He doesn’t want rationale of why we sinned. He doesn’t buy into the blame game or scapegoats because he created us and knows our hearts.  It is in these moments where God  is seeking us the most. God longs for us to come to him through His Son, Jesus Christ, to confess our sin and accept his forgiveness. God sent his Son so that we could be forgiven, not feel ashamed, and have life eternal. Once we seek God’s forgiveness, we must face the realities of our consequences, learn from the mistake, and ask Christ to be our strength to help us when those moments of weakness come again.

How do you want to live your life? A life of hiding or a life of seeking?

Investment Opportunity….the Kingdom

Picture shared by Facebook Friend.

This past week along with many other communities we faced danger. This danger was an outbreak of tornadoes. For us, the first round was early Wednesday morning. The next round was Friday afternoon. Thankfully, our community was spared with little damage though a tornado was  in our area.  Though I along with others in my community are counting blessings and giving thanksgivings, there are so many people who have suffered loss. Loss of property, loss of loved ones, loss of neighborhoods, communities, and possessions that were dear to them.

When we heard the timing of these outbreaks of storms and when they would reach our area, Jim decided to come home to pick up our youngest baby, Smokey and me to take us back to his office. We have a black lab, Tori which was impossible for us to take with us since Jim works in a healthcare facility. Also, there was not a very good place we could have placed her at his office without interference. Yet, before leaving the house, Jim and I made sure she as secure as she could possible be in our bathroom. Once we secured her, we took a look around our home one more time. Neither one of us really said anything  but I know we were both thinking if we would be coming back to our home or to a pile of sticks. But, at that moment, all that was important was that we were together as a family, to pray and just take a deep breath and hold tight to each other and God’s hand.

As I watch the scenes of devastation, and hear reports from family and friends that were affected by these storms, my heart aches for them. One minute, a family has home and in a matter of seconds it is shattered by force to be reckoned with. The homes are not only shattered to splinters and debris but you can see the hearts and nerves of the victims shattered as well. But, despite this brokenness, they hold tight that they have their family. It is at that moment in time when you look around your home, look across the room at your spouse and/or other family members and realize all that is around you is all material. The true treasures are your loved ones including friends and that no matter what happens to the earthly home there is an eternal home that will never be shattered.

This past week’s devastation gave us all a quick wake up call of how precious life is and I know ALL of us began to assess what is truly important. Matthew 6: 19-21 kept running through my mind and heart; “Do not lay up yourselves treasures on earth, where  moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”   We have witnessed not only this past week but through similar tornado outbreaks from the past that our earthly treasures are not permanent. This is why it is so important for us to invest in our relationship with Christ, family, and friends. We must also reach out beyond our walls to those we don’t even know who need to experience the wonderful grace and love of God.

At this moment I have an investment opportunity. This investment is one that will last a lifetime and into eternity. The opportunity I speak of is sharing the kingdom of God during this very emotional time in people’s lives who have lost everything. We can share the kingdom of God through the following ways:

1. Volunteer with helping in cleaning up.

2. Hold the victims’ hands and console them as they work through their emotions.

3. Prepare food for the victims and volunteer workers.

4. Donate what you can in the way of clothing and needs for setting up housekeeping.

5. Pray for all who are involved.

6. Donate funds to organizations like  Red Cross and  UMCOR ( I have a link to UMCOR on the right sidebar).

7. Most of all just love on not only the victims but love on your family and neighbors. 

Let’s not wait for the next horrible natural disaster to happen to invest into people. But, plunge into this investment opportunity right now. Invest by showing the kingdom of God through our actions towards others and simply loving on everyone. As we have witnessed, things can happen in a second and we better have already invested ourselves in the kingdom.  I encourage you to take me up on this offer and join me in investing in the kingdom of God by being a living example of God’s kingdom.

My thoughts, love and prayers are with ALL who suffered through this past week’s events. May these folks feel God’s loving arms holding them  ever so tight during this time. It is my prayer that they are seeing God’s kingdom at work as they pick up the pieces and start anew.

I also would like to say thank-you to the wonderful staff at my husband’s facility for not only allowing him to bring me and my pup up to be with him and to be safe. But for opening their doors to the community for all who needed a safe haven. It was their smiles as they asked for your name for their rooster and their calmness that help small children stay calm and to insure that we were all safe. These people definitely demonstrated the kingdom of God during a time of facing a few minutes of an unknown.

Blessings and Peace-

Smokey...just came back into Dad's office after waiting the storm out with others in our safe place downstairs.

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