He’s Only Three, But He’s One Of My Heroes

HeroI am so in love with all of my grandchildren. The joy of seeing their faces light up when Gaylon and I walk into the room, is an indescribable feeling.

My three-year-old grandson Joseph is one of my heroes. Joseph has developmental delays that are fairly significant. To help him move forward in development, Joseph has several therapies each week.

When Joseph first started therapy eighteen months ago, I would often accompany his mother to the sessions. It was hard for him and hard for us. He would begin crying when we drove up to the building. He would look at us as if to say, “Why are you making me do this? Please rescue me.” At times I would get in my car and cry after seeing Joseph in his hard place.

Fast forward eighteen months. Joseph has made significant progress – progress that would never have been made without pushing through the hard places. Joseph is like a different little boy these days. I love the bright smile on his face. I love the new things he has learned. I love the warrior that Joseph has become.

How often we scream and kick in the hard places of life! Oh, I understand! Been there, done that. Did I say been there, done that? “God, rescue me from this place. I don’t want to go through this!” Yet, our Father leaves us in a place where we must learn to press through to victory.

How often we want to rescue people, especially our children. It is difficult to watch our children in painful places. Yet, there are times they need to press through, not be delivered from – but press through! That is also true of close friends and other family members. We are often rescuers by nature, and while there is a good side of that, we need to let people develop growth by learning to press through the hard places.

I have watched Joseph press through hard places, and it has been life-changing for him.

At three years old, Joseph is one of my heroes. I want to be a “presser-througher” like he is.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. “ – Psalm 32:8

Tears Fall, But Death Is Not The End Of The Story

DeathToday as I cleaned the glass that covered the top of my desk, the tears began to flow. I have a very nice desk in a sitting area of my room, and it’s the place I go to do my serious study. To protect the wood from scratches, I had a piece of glass cut to fit the top of the desk.

The glass was actually a gift from Bryan and Sarah and was given to me the last time I saw him. We had just found out that the baby Sarah was carrying was a boy. Afterward we shared dinner and celebrated a delayed Christmas together. Bryan and Sarah gave me the money to get the large piece of glass, and it was on my desk the next week.

One week after the glass made its way to my desk, my son entered into his heavenly reward.

Grief and loss are hard to explain at times. When it comes to grieving the death of a loved one, there are no definite patterns, no “normal” reactions, no formulas to follow. Each person sets their own pace, and experiences ups and downs. Even as believers, we have mixture. There is the marvelous joy of knowing that we can be reunited with loved ones who have gone to be with our Lord.  Yet, there is the depth of pain and sorrow that we can’t physically touch our loved one, or talk with them. You wish you could say, “I love you!” just one more time.

Bryan has been gone for three and a half years, and I have good news! I offer hope to those facing loss. As I continue walking with God and LIVING life, grief does not cripple me. If you are in the grief process, it’s okay to experience sorrow – tearful sorrow, but the death of a loved one does not have to cripple one for life.

Here are some things that have been key for me:

  • I run to God when I feel overwhelmed with sorrow.
  • I continue living. Live, live, live!
  • I allow myself to laugh. Laughter is good for my soul. I love watching funny videos. When I need a good laugh, I go to Youtube and laugh for fifteen minutes.
  • I spend time with the ones I love, especially those grandchildren!
  • I celebrate eternity – I will be reunited with my loved ones.

I miss Bryan terribly.  I wish I could see him playing with his son and hear his laughter again. I will see those things one day, just not now. Death is not the final word in the life of the believer. Death is not the end of the story.  Now that I can live with!

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1Thessalonians 4:16-18

After All “I” Have Done For Them!

Glory of God2My husband Gaylon and I love helping others in a variety of ways. What a joy it is to bless people!  In my younger years, this did not come naturally for me, but God has done such a work in my life, and now I love blessing people when possible.

More than once, I’ve had the experience of helping someone, and they did not express any gratitude, and that does not feel good at all!

Maybe this is why the Bible records the story of the ten lepers that Jesus cleansed, yet only one came back to express gratitude. Most of us read that story, and think, “How could they not come back and thank Jesus?”  Jesus certainly noticed it, even commented about it. Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?”

Now, I could run with this emphatically saying to all of us, that we need to have a heart of gratitude. That is so very true! Count your blessings, name them one by one.

Yet, there is something else that stands out to me. Jesus doesn’t say, “I’ll never help anyone again! After all I did for them, they didn’t bother to come back, so that’s it! I’m done being nice to people.” We don’t see that Jesus rescinded their healing.

Jesus did not let their ingratitude stop Him from continuing to be used by God to bless others.

Not long ago, I did something for someone. After a long period of no acknowledgement of what I had done, or no flowery words telling me how wonderful I was, I was a bit miffed. I was a little annoyed!

Then, God spoke to my heart and asked, “Did you do it in my Name or your name, Barbara?”

“But God, after all I have done for them, they could at least acknowledge it.”

Again, I sensed God saying, “Did you do it for My glory or your glory, Barbara?”


“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Who Was That Woman?

Not who I wasRecently someone from wayyyyyy back found me on Facebook. She asked to be my friend, and I had no idea who she was. After a little research I finally figured out she was a teen when we in our first pastorate. I was actually not much older than she was when we began as pastors of that first, small congregation.

After accepting her friendship, she wrote me a private note thanking me for the seeds sown in her life during that time. I wrote back, thanking her, and then I wrote this, “That was our first pastorate and when I look back, I cringe now at how green we were!”

I am just not the same woman I was over forty years ago when we began our pastoral ministry.

Change has not always been easy for me. I used to make excuses for my tart tongue, my outbursts of anger, my gossip, my comparison of myself with others, my quitting when someone upset me, my prayerlessness  … and on and on. I thought that if other people would straighten up, everything would run smoothly.  I thought that what happened to me as a child entitled me to “show out” when things got difficult.

Eventually God helped me to understand that He is in the life-changing business, but I had to desire life-change. His question penetrated my heart, “Do you want to change and become more like my Son?” After much soul-searching, and acknowledging that my own flesh needed to die, I finally answered, “Yes.”

At times, it was beyond hard, and I certainly wanted to scream more than once and quit more than twice!  This old song became my heartbeat:

Change my heart oh God, Make it ever true.
Change my heart oh God, May I be like You.

You are the potter, I am the clay,
Mold me and make me, This is what I pray.

While I certainly have not “arrived,” I can join the Apostle Paul in saying,It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose.– Philippians 3:12

One of the most powerful prayers that we can pray, and truly mean, has just three little words: “Lord, change me.”

Sometimes I look back and say, “Who was that woman?”  I am so glad I am not who I was in our first pastorate!

“Now that you realize how kind the Lord has been to you, put away all evil, deception, envy, and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of your salvation; cry for this as a baby cries for his milk.” – 1 Peter 2:2

Jesus Was Busy, But He Was Never In A Hurry

hurryupTraveling in ministry is something I did not originally dream of doing, but God blessed me with the call and the opportunities. I love what I do.  I often say, “Wow, I can’t believe I get to do this!”

Back in the early days of travel, I was invited to speak in Kokomo, Indiana. I could hardly wait to get there. On the day I was to leave, I hurriedly got my things together.  I really didn’t pause to be sure I had what I needed to fulfill the call that weekend. After all, I was in a hurry.

When I arrived in Kokomo, I had all the right clothes, my hair was done, my nails looked good … yep, I was set to go. As I settled in my room that morning,  I reached for my notes to spend a little time reflecting on the word I was to bring. I could not find my notes! I searched for an hour and was in full panic mode. I called my husband to check if the notes were in my office. Yep! The notes for every session were right there on my desk, hundreds of miles away. This was in the days of fax machines, not email attachments. My husband had to fax many pages of notes, and I had to pay the hotel for each page that was faxed.

There was a big emotional and financial price tag attached because I was in a hurry!

Needless to say, we are in a “hurry-up” world – get it done, and get it done now! The question is, “Has that thought-pattern crept into the walk we have with God?”  Our hair looks good, our clothes look good, but somehow in the hurry-up of life, we are emotionally, spiritually and financially spent.

Jesus was busy about His Father’s business,  yet there doesn’t seem to be any indication that Jesus rushed into anything. He spent time with His Father, and from that place of intimacy, He walked His life in the power of the Holy Spirit. He did not allow the needs of people, the crowds or the culture cause Him to rush into a pace not set by God.

J.B. Phillips said: “Christ’s task and responsibility might well have driven a man out of his mind. But He was never in a hurry, never impressed by numbers, never a slave of the clock. He was acting, as He said, as He observed God to act – never in a hurry.”

I know life is complex and has many demands. Because of that, we must understand our biggest demand – time with God. My life, with all of its complexities, issues and decisions, demands that I walk in pace with God.

Jesus was busy, but He was never in a hurry. SELAH

Psalms 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!