Bruised by Life

BruiseDo you ever just feel like you have been in a fist fight with life?

Gaylon and I went to North Carolina  last week to see Bryan’s family.  Bryan is our son who passed away February 11, 2012.  This was scheduled as a time of celebrating Christmas with Sarah and Tucker.   In addition to the celebration, we had a somber task before us. The time had come to go through Bryan’s personal items.  Sarah had done some of it, but wanted us to go through some things with her.   Also, we were working together for the wording of Bryan’s permanent grave marker.   The right time had come for these things to happen, and we wanted to be a part of helping Sarah.  It was a very emotional weekend for us all.

On Monday morning, Gaylon was sitting in the kitchen beside Tucker while the little guy was eating his breakfast.  He wanted his papa right beside him!   It was a good time for me to take a shower.  As the water was running, and I was just about to step in, Sarah began banging on the door, and in a loud voice she said, “Barbara, Gaylon has passed out and is in the floor!”  I threw my pajamas back on and ran down the hall.  There in the floor lay my precious husband, unconscious, with his eyes open and fixed.  The thought immediately invaded my mind that I might lose him.  Sarah and I worked with him for a minute, a minute that seemed like eternity, and we did get him awake and back in the chair.

In less than five minutes, the same thing occurred again, but I was able to keep him from falling as he lost consciousness.  This time one eye was closed and one eye was open and fixed, but Gaylon was not responsive.  We put a cool rag on his head, and I began to talk loudly to him, trying to get him to awaken.  Poor baby Tucker was crying and upset, and had to be taken to another room.  Gaylon awakened again.   We called 911 and in a few minutes, he was in an ambulance and headed to the hospital, and I followed in my car.

I won’t give all the detail, but it appears my husband will be fine, however just above his eye is a nice, purple bruise from the fall.  It was a sign that he had taken a hit in life.

As I got behind the wheel of my car that morning, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I was tired.  I was sad.  Life hurt so badly!  I began to cry out to God.

Most of us have suffered wounds in life that have left us bruised.   Sometimes they are so tragic that they affect us emotionally for a long time.  There are unexpected turns, and unimaginable things that life brings.

For the believer, there is the blessing of being able to cry out to God.   When life takes turns you never saw coming….God does see it all. He sees where we are, and the pain that overwhelms our weary hearts and souls.  He invites us to give it all to Him. Sometimes I don’t even know what to pray, and I love that when I don’t know what to say, and the tears are flowing, the Holy Spirit intercedes for me.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” – Romans 8:26

Do you have a tender place where you have taken a hit in life?  Are you bruised?  For sure, life does bring bruises.  I am thankful for faith that can trust God when we simply don’t understand life’s unexpected hits.  He is with us.  He strengthens us.  He breathes life into us.  He is our Father.


God Does Not Allow More Than We Can Handle … Really?

Wht doeIt is interesting to me how often people take phrases they have heard and quote them as part of scripture.  Example:  God will not give us more than we can handle.  Where is that in scripture?  I know that people are referring to 1 Corinthians 10:13, but that scripture deals with temptation.  Read the context.  God will never let a temptation come before a believer, that the power of Christ cannot empower us to resist, and not fall into sin.

The truth is:  life does sometimes give us more than we can handle.  When it comes to pain, trials, heartache, and burdens, nowhere does it say that it won’t be more than we can bear.  This is very critical to understand, because many people feel that when life gives them more than they can handle, God has let them down.  After all, they think, He said I would never have more than I could handle.

Is it more than we can handle sometimes?  Without a doubt!

I know mothers whose sons have gone to prison for the rest of their lives.  Women who have lost their husbands, and there is no way to pay the bills.  People watch their loved ones suffer through a slow, painful death. There are parents whose children have brain tumors, and as a result have permanent disabilities.  I’ve cried with and prayed with tithing, giving people who have lost jobs, and are in a world of hurt financially.

There have been days and nights after I lost my son that I felt it was more than I could bear.  Sleepless, tearful nights on the sofa.  Catching a glimpse of his picture and being overwhelmed.  Watching his wife and son trying to do life without him.   Family dinners where his seat is empty, and we are very aware of his absence.

So, what does the Bible say?

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:8:  “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.”    Paul had more than he could handle.  Paul sounds a bit overwhelmed and stressed, but in verse 9, Paul concludes that this was“in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God.”

The truth is that the believer is not equipped to handle overwhelming pain and circumstances.   Sometimes it is more than “WE” can handle.  “WE” is the important word.  “WE” are not made to carry it without help.   Psalm 61:2 says, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto You, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Life, at times, absolutely does give us more than we can handle, so thank God for His invitation, “Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matt. 11: 28-30

Thank God for His faithfulness to carry me when it is more than I can handle.

Fingerprints On The Mirror

FingerpritnsMy grandson Joseph teaches me so much about life.  At twenty-two months old, he is such a joy to have when he visits us.   Grandchildren really are the reward for not strangling your own kids!

My master bath has three large mirrors over the counter.  Joseph loves those mirrors.  Recently I picked him up and let him stand on the counter, so he could see himself in the mirror.  He had so much fun talking to himself, sticking out his tongue and making faces.   It was fun time at Papa and Grammy’s house!

Later in the day, Joseph went home, and I went around my house picking up toys, putting breakable things back on tables and tidying up a bit.  As I walked into my bathroom, I saw little fingerprints all over the mirror, and a big smile came across my face.  Those sweet little fingerprints were a reminder that Joseph had been there.  Joseph left something behind, something that reminded me how grateful I am for his presence in my life.

While cleaning the mirrors, I was reminded immediately that we all leave fingerprints as we go through life.  I am so grateful to the people who left prints in my life.  There are several “Mothers-in-Israel” who imprinted my life, and helped me become a woman of God.  My husband has left fingerprints all over my heart.  He took a woman as his wife, who was really an abused little girl who did not know how to love and be “normal.”  He patiently loved her.  Several friends along the way have definitely marked my life for the better.  The reality is that we all have people who have left fingerprints on our lives.

I want to leave a mark in this life, a mark that says a woman of God was here, a woman who showed Christ-like love and character.  Where are you leaving fingerprints?  The question is not will you leave a legacy, it’s what legacy are you leaving?

“Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”  Psalm 71:17-18

Vines That Bind

vine (3)At the ripe old age of 62, I can say that getting older is interesting.  You know you’re older when burning the midnight oil means staying up until nine o’clock, or your knees will buckle but your belt won’t.  I actually identify with those statements, and we won’t even begin to talk about how little on the body is still high and lifted up!

One of the very best things about growing older is the blessing of becoming a grandparent.  I am Grammy to three boys, and Granny to one girl.  (No time to explain!)  Four treasures have truly captured my heart.  How I wish they all lived close-by!

Twenty-two month old Joseph was visiting recently.  Joseph loves the outdoors.  He will stand at my backdoor and stare outside, longing to be in the fresh air and sunshine.  On a warm winter day not long ago, I took Joseph in my backyard so he could play.  It was a delight to watch how happy he was.  Joseph played in leaves, “raked”, rolled in the grass, ran and had so much fun.  Joseph had been set free!

Joseph ventured over to the far side of my yard, getting as far as the fence.  Since there was not much to do, he headed back towards me.  I noticed he would stop every few steps and look down at his foot.  He would start walking again, stop and look down again.  Finally, as he got closer to me, I saw that in the process of walking, a vine got caught around his ankle, and was interfering with his walk.   Joseph arrived to the patio, sat down and removed the vine.  He then got right back up, and he was able to walk, even run again. Joseph was free again! Joseph had not been looking for something to inhibit his walk.  It just attached itself to him.

I shall not take a long time to describe the world in which we live right now.  Most of us are quite aware of the challenging, often dark times, we currently face.  We are on planet earth right now, so it is the world in which we must walk.  Most of us don’t try to intentionally get ourselves entangled in sinful behavior, or ungodly ways and attitudes. While some might, most of us don’t intentionally embrace things that scripture does not embrace.  It is so easy, because we are walking in this life, to become entangled by things and mindsets that don’t need to be a part of the Christian life.  They interfere with our ability to walk.  What do we do?  We stop on a daily basis and remove the things that have attached themselves to us.  It is necessary to regularly stop and get the mind of Christ, and the will of God.  Jesus Christ died to set us free.

Does something have you tangled up?  Get rid of the vines that bind.  Let them go! Get rid of them! Jesus Christ died to set us free.  As Joseph proved, it’s a lot easier and much more fulfilling to walk when one is free!

“Christ has set us free so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom. So keep on standing firm in it, and don’t become entangled under the yoke of slavery again.” – Galatians 5:1

Whose Forecast Do You Believe?

110220_snowy_forecastSweet home Alabama!  It’s where I hang my hat.  Here we enjoy southern charm, good food, sweet tea, and friendly folks.  Generally the winter season, in my part of Alabama, is cool and mild, with rare occurrences of freezing rain and snow.

Yesterday, the weather forecasters had us all ready for one-half inch to one inch of snow.  Of course, school was on delay, and kids excitedly anticipated having a little snow for sledding, and building a snowman.  As we awakened this morning, the temps were cold, not a flake of snow was to be found.  The weather forecasters spoke a word over our future, but it was God who determined the future.  God had the final say on where the snow would fall.

Many are struggling with the forecast that someone has spoken over their lives.  Daddy said I was going to be nothing.  My ex-spouse says I will be miserable the rest of my life.  Someone told me that the anointing has left my life.  Devilish imps tell us that God will not see us through the hard places. The forecasts can be endless.  Gaylon and I have literally had it “prophesied” that our marriage would not last.  (That was thirty years ago and we are still together!)  Someone else told us, “God said you are polluting the pulpit, and He is going to remove you.”  I could go on and on about the forecasts of life!

Words do have power.  I believe that.  I understand that. “BUT GOD!”  What someone else says about my life does not determine my future.   I walk with the Living God, who is active and alive in my life.  His Word takes authority over any words given by others.  As I read and believe God’s Word, then I get the accurate forecast over my life.

God’s forecast says:

  • “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” – Proverbs 1:33
  • “All things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.” – Romans 8:28
  • “God has not destined us for wrath, but to salvation through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9
  • “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion!”  – Philippians 1:6
  • “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance.” – Psalm 2:8
  • “My God will meet all your needs according to the His riches in glory.” – Philippians 4:19
  • “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me…” – Psalm 138:8
  • “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:6 
  • “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” – Psalm 37:5
  • “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” – 1Thessalonians 5:24
  • “The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long.” – Deuteronomy 33:12

This is only a partial forecast.  Many are the promises of God for His people!

What words or thoughts have put a cold forecast over your future?  God has the final say, and the correct forecast, and His forecast is, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

Whose forecast will you believe?