Our Journey

Different Directions

Jim and I have lived in the same town for twenty-three years. We have lived in the home we are in now for about eighteen years. Yet, when we leave the house to go to church, the grocery, out to eat, or whatever errand we must run, it seems we always have the same conversation when we start.

April: You know we are going to the grocery don’t you?

Jim: Yes, I know we are going to the grocery.

April: Then, why are you going this way. I always go down such and such 

street to get there. 

Jim:  Well, I like going this way to get there because there are less traffic lights.

April: Well, I like the other way because it has traffic lights and it is easier to get out in traffic.

Even though we have this conversation time after time, we still get to our destination. Jim has one way he likes to go and I have another way I like to go. Our Christian journey is pretty much like Jim and me taking different streets to get to the same destination.

Settle Memorial

One example of taking different directions are the choices we make in where we worship. Our son, Drew was raised Methodist. Yet, when he went out on his own, he chose another route to grow in his Christian walk. His dad and I encouraged him to find a church home and when doing so to make sure it stood on firm biblical principles. We also encouraged him to make sure that it was not only a place where he could/would grow in his own spiritual walk but a place where he could encourage others and invite others to join him on the journey.


Not only are there different places and styles of worship for us to choose from on our journey. We all have different backgrounds, stories and experiences. It because of these experiences that we may see things a little differently from someone else who is  heading towards the same destination but on a different route. No one is better than the other. It is all a part of the Master’s plan in molding us and preparing us for that final destination. We are all different so that we can learn from one another, teach one another and see how the grace of God is at  work in many ways and  in many lives.

traffic light

On our journey, we have choices to make. Some of us take the streets where there are traffic lights that make us stop and look before merging into traffic. In other words, we stop and look to see where we need to go, who we need to help and see where we fit into the big picture. Then, there are others of us who simply like going on the streets where you don’t need to a light to merge into traffic. It is more comfortable for us to put the metal to the pedal and jump right in and go!

Young woman reading bible

As I sit with my bible in my lap, I turn the pages. In these pages I see the maps of the journeys that different ones took to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one journey was alike just like none of our journeys are just alike. Yet, we have the same message to share to those we encounter on our journey. The message is that God sent his Son so that all can experience and receive his marvelous grace. We must continue to share the message of how Christ died for ALL not just for some.

the journey

As we travel this road we call life, may we be ready to stop at the traffic lights and listen to the Father to lead us into serving God’s children. And, may we to be ready for those times when He doesn’t give us a light but He just says; “go!” and trust Him. Last but not least, let’s make sure we invite others to join us on the journey.

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus

had told them to go. When they saw him, the worshiped him; but some doubted.

Then Jesus came to them and said. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been

given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them in the

the name of the Father and of the Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey

everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the

very end of the age.’  

Matthew 28:16-20

May we feel his Holy Presence as we continue our journey.

do not go where



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!

Things To Remember

christmas listIt is that time of year again where we have multiple lists that we are checking off. These lists include added items to the usual grocery list, baking list, gift list, party list and the lists go on. You cannot imagine having yet another list. Yet, I am going to give you a list to remember this Christmas Season.

Things To Remember:


We all have to just sit down and rest at some point and time.

Take a deep breath.

It is in those deep breaths we can relax and inhale the joy and love of God into our souls.

Look at all that is around you.

Give thanks to God for the daily gifts that surround you.

Remember to keep it simple in the gift giving. 

The most cherished gifts are not the most expensive but the ones where thought and love were put into them.

After all, God’s gift to us happened in a simple place to simple couple but He came with a lot of love.

The Gift

Jesus Christ.

baby jesus


High Fences and Opened Gates

A kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. He was out the next morning, just roaming around the zoo. A twenty-foot fence was put up. Again he got out.

When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, “How high do you think they’ll go?”

The kangaroo said, “About a thousand feet, unless somebody locks the gate at night!”

I came across this story a couple of days ago on Facebook. As I read the kangaroo’s response about getting out, I could not help but laugh out loud.  Then, I thought about how this story can be applied to each one of us in life.
Ever heard the phrase; “if it were a snake it would have bitten me”? This phrase is typically used when someone is looking for something or some answer and it is staring them right in the face.  Again, just like the zoo keeper the gate is opened but we just don’t see it!  Instead, we just build a higher fence. In other words, we make things harder than they actually are. Ugh! Can you imagine what God looks like looking down at us when we do this? He probably puts his head in his hands, chuckles, and says; “I can’t believe I am giving them the answer plain as day and they are still missing the opened gate door!” 
In my house, I am known as ‘Google Peanut” (Peanut being my nickname since childhood) or ‘Google Squirrel’ (nickname Squirrel given to me for some odd reason). The Google part comes from the fact that when something is ‘missing’/’misplaced’  in our home, I am the one who usually finds the ‘missing’/’misplaced item.’ I can’t tell you how many times I am snug in the covers almost asleep when Jim will walk in the room and say; ‘where’s my…or have you seen…..’  It can come to be a number of things that become missing in action around here. Most of the time it is the wallet,  car keys, bible or some sort of item that was NOT put back in the right place.  This not only happens when I am snug in the bed ready to catch my z’s but it also happens in the early morning hours which to me is the middle of night. ( I am NOT a morning person!-There, I said it!)
In most cases, I get up and go put my hands right on the missing item. My response is usually; “here, if it were a snake it would have bitten you…OPEN your eyes!” Of course this is said out of frustration because I was ready to close my eyes or not ready to open them just yet.  I love a sign that my son, Drew put on my Wall. It says; It’s not really lost until Mom can’t find it.” Yep! So true for this Hawkins’ home!
Then there are those times when I can’t put my hands right on the lost item. Yet, I do eventually find it! How? First, I pray asking God to help me think where it could be or where it is. Yes, pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to; “Be joyful, pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”  Okay, I admit I am not very joyful when I am asking for guidance when being awakened to find something. The next thing I do is ask the person (the hubby) where was he last with this item, what did he do and where has he been. After this process, I put my hands on the lost item.
There are times in life when we are trying to accomplish something. Instead of praying and asking God for guidance on how to accomplish this task, we take matters in our own hands. Ah, we have the answers. We don’t need help from anyone much less God. Yet, it seems we get no where. Instead of accomplishing our goal, we just build our fence taller all the while the fence has a gate  standing wide open for us to walk through. We miss the obvious. Then, as time goes on hindsite 20/20 comes into more focus and then we really feel intelligent. NOT!
How do we  miss the obvious and see the gate door that is left opened for us? It is called having a relationship with our Lord and Savior. In this relationship, we must stay connected every second, every minute of every day. It means doing exactly what 1
Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to do. Pray continually and about ALL things. We have to stay in tuned to the voice of God.
There have been times when we have built fences so high that there was no way we were going to accomplish what we needed to accomplish. We end up wondering how much farther we have to jump before the goal is accomplished. It is in those moments when we have to stop,pray and ask God to help us see the obvious,  evaluate where we have been, what we have done. Just like re-tracing steps in locating a missing item, God will show you where he has left the door opened for you to walk through. It is then when we can take that step and walk through the door and walk the path he has planned for us.
Frustrated? Trying to accomplish something and getting no where? Stop! Ask God to help you locate that opened door. As you do this, do it with prayer. Once you see that opened door, keep living every second, every minute, and every day in prayer.  Walk in relationship with Jesus Christ and you will see many doors he has opened and ready for you to walk through.
” But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you-” Matthew 6:33
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Matthew 7:7-8

Can’t Wait!

My fifth grade class…Bowdon, Georgia
I am the first girl on the left front row.

“Can’t wait!” “I’m getting excited!” “So excited that I will be seeing everyone!” are just a few of the postings on my Facebook that I have been seeing for several months.  This coming weekend I will be attending a thirty year class reunion with a class I did not graduate with but have been invited to attend the reunion. In all reality, I have not seen most of these classmates in thirty-four years!

Okay. Now, I have you confused. You are thinking; “she’s going to a class reunion but she did not graduate with the class.” “Did she quit school?”  In answer to these thoughts, is that I did go to school with this group of people from fifth grade to eighth grade. My dad was a minister and was re-appointed to a new congregation after I completed my eighth grade year.

Thanks to Facebook, I have been reunited with these classmates. Classmates that I have often wondered where life has taken them. I have literally not seen some of these classmates since the last day of school in eighth grade. Oh, my family and I did try to go back and visit. But, as we know, life gets busy,  people move on and the visits became less and less frequent over time.

Yet, back in the Spring, I receive a message from one of these dear friends telling me about this reunion coming up. They wanted me to come be a part of the reunion even though I did not complete high school with them. I was told that they always considered me as part of their Class of 1982 family. When I received this message and comment, my heart was warmed.

As I reflect on this upcoming weekend and the comments/status updates that are being posted, I am reminded of another reunion. A reunion that we all are invited to attend. A gathering of friends where we should not want anyone left out. A party where ALL are included.

This reunion is heaven. It’s a banquet where we are ALL invited.  Yet, as with all invitations, there is an RSVP. This RSVP is accepting Christ into our hearts. When we accept Christ into our lives, we are also making the commitment to be his servant/ambassador.

As we accept our invitation to have Christ live in us and us live for Christ, we need to make sure that others are invited. We must ask ourselves the question; “Is there someone I have always considered family that I want to see at this reunion?” Also, in our daily living, we need to show how exciting it will be to be a part of the Kingdom. Remember,  as Christians, we are representatives of the Kingdom.

In our daily living in the days ahead, may we walk with the expressions of “Can’t wait!” “I’m so excited!” ” Looking forward to seeing everyone!” flowing  out of hearts so others will see the joy of Christ’s Kingdom.  We should be so on fire for the Lord that people will want to stop and ask if they can get an invitation.              

Carry these verses in your heart as you journey in your faith walk.

” We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete.”  1 John 1: 3-4

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20




Taken right after we picked him up from his Foster Home.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-” Ephesians 1: 1-5

It will be a year this weekend, when Jim and I got up early on a Saturday morning to pick up our new family member, Smokey. Jim and I found Smokey by going to our local Humane Society website that led us to the link of Pet Finders. Then, as we looked through the many faces of looking for homes, Smokey’s cute face caught our hearts. We immediately began to call the rescue home and started the paper work.

Smokey enjoying a ride in the convertible in the Smoky Mountains.
Roaring Fork- Gatlinburg, TN

Smokey has brought laughter to our home. He has brought laughter and smiles to strangers as we have taken Smokey on trips where we would  dressed in one of his t-shirts and wearing his doggles.  Smokey wants to do nothing more than to love and please Jim and me. He depends on us to take care of his needs.

Smokey out front of Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co.
Gatlinburg, TN

When I think of adoption, I think of God and his kingdom. God didn’t go on-line looking for someone to adopt. He didn’t consult an agency seeking to give someone a home. He KNEW the minute he created the world that we would be his sons and daughters.

The wonderful thing about being adopted into God’s kingdom is that we don’t have to do anything to be accepted into his home. All we have to do is be ourselves and accept one simple thing….God’s grace.  We have already caught God’s heart which means is that we just have to accept him into our hearts by allowing his Son, Jesus into our hearts.

Once we have accepted God’s wonderful grace and His Son, we should want to do nothing but love and please God every minute of our lives. Not only should we want to please and love God every second of every day, but we should be willing to dress ourselves in Christ so that others will see God’s love and grace through our actions.

Do you know someone who is looking for someone to love them, to accept them no matter where they have been, who they are,  or what they have done? Reach out your hand to them and let them know that they have a home and that they are a son/daughter of a wonderful King. Let them know that there are no forms to fill out, no references needed nor no signatures needed. All that is needed to be adopted into this wonderful family of God is to accept his grace, His Son, Christ into their hearts.