Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Calendars and Memories

I met the Pierce family 37 years ago.

I was a terrified 17 year old who was in love with their handsome son.

They welcomed me and one year later made me family.

I'm sure that you, like me, mark the passage of time by remembering "what we were doing last year at this time."

Over the years we traveled over the river and through the woods to G & G for our Thanksgiving Christmas.

I like to think about the many experiences from carsick kids to The Music Man to "one more Barney," which is how we answered the question "how much longer"?

From sleeping toddlers to grouchy kids to arguing teens who were great at making us feel like we were the unreasonable ones ... we made the yearly trek to celebrate family.

I remember the Thanksgiving prior to Josh deploying as a Marine. I could feel the pride and concern that emanated from G & G. I blinked my eyes and we were celebrating Thanksgiving with our own Marine son deployed. I don't think I will ever forget the skype call and how thankful I was so see his face and hear his voice.

There were years of undercurrents of sorrow and obvious joys. There were missing family members that lived too far away, were too sick to travel, or couldn't get the time off and we enjoyed celebrated times of marriages, new babies and accomplishments of education and advancing careers.

And the thread of a strong legacy of redemption, forgiveness and dedication to Jesus is woven in and around and throughout the lives that began with one man and one woman who love each other and determined to serve God in plenty and in want.

G & G teach us with words, actions, tears and prayers. We have learned what the love of Christ looks like by what they have modeled for us.

No one likes how the passage of time changes our lives. If we could, we would put our families in a holding pattern and enjoy the sweet times until Jesus returns.

I love looking back at God's faithfulness over 37 years. I love thanking Him for making me a Pierce. I feel the responsibility to continue the legacy of dedication to Jesus in plenty and in want.

And I love knowing God is faithful with our futures. Life changes and holding patterns are not possible. But, we have the wonderful gift of THIS MOMENT, to hold in our hands ... to cherish ... and to add to the calendar of memories.

Thank You, LORD, for the wonderful gift of family.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Man Called Ramsey

He reminded me of my dad from the moment I met him.

Was it because he wore his hair in the same way?

Was it because he spoke his  mind?

Was it because he had a soft place in his heart for kids?

Mr.Ramsey left this world today. He stepped from a hurting, broken, sick body of 87 years old into the perfect presence of the One He loved and served.

His legacy is a family full of love for each other and Jesus.

The work of his hands is scattered all over this town and his church. He could lay tile to perfection.

I had immense respect for the man who stepped up and helped me in children's ministry as best he could. Several years, until his health no longer allowed, he was part of our security team during Vacation Bible School. He was always the first one there.

The children know him for the lollipops and bear hugs. Many sought him out because it was important to them to get a "Mr.Ramsey bear hug" every Sunday morning. I know that what he did for the children goes beyond hugs. You see, the faithful love he showed week after week after week after week spoke Jesus to the children. Our kids learn the love of God through us before they experience it for themselves.

I had immense respect for him because he wanted whatever was done to be done right. There were times I felt chastised by him. It was to make me better, not to tear me down.

I suppose, in my heart, I will continue to see him walking up the steps near the preschool welcome desk. I will hear him ask me if I added another step since last week. I'll remember him saying "I didn't get my hug today."

I hurt for those nearest to him, for his absence will fill the room. He poured his life into his family and his church. I will pray for his family. I will pray for his church. I will pray for the children. I will pray for myself.

Heaven truly gets sweeter as the days go by.

I wonder, has he met my dad yet?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jesus Reached Out His Hand and Touched Him

The power of touch.

The value of touch.

The human need to be touched.

Some folks are touch-me-nots. They are the ones who are known to use phrases such as "personal space" or "my bubble." Other folks are handsy. It seems they hug everyone they see, they can't have a conversation without grabbing an arm, touching a shoulder. And then there are people who fall anywhere in between.

A man with a serious skin disease came to Jesus.

A serious skin disease.

Most people recoil when we see someone with physical issues we don't understand ... we move to the other side of the room or a different checkout line in the grocery store. We stare. We avoid eye contact. We hurry our children away in fear of catching something.

This man came to Jesus, on his knees, begging. "If You are willing, You can make me clean."

Jesus--all you have to do is want to and you can make me can fix me. You can give me life again.

This man had leprosy. If anyone came near him he was required to yell, "Unclean! Unclean!" as a warning. Understand, people with leprosy were sent away. They could no longer live with others. Family members could see them, but only from a distance.

If I had leprosy, my children would bring me food, but they would have to place it on the ground and move far away before I could pick it up.

I could no longer kiss away her tears, stroke his hair as he slept, give hugs good-bye or be close enough to whisper "I love you."

This man had leprosy. We don't know how long it had been since someone touched him.

And in his desperation he came to Jesus, begging "If you're willing..."

And moved with compassion,  Jesus reached out His hand and TOUCHED HIM.

"I am willing," Jesus told him. "Be made clean."

Immediately the disease left him.

Jesus restored this man. He woke up that morning in desperation and in a moment--Jesus reached out His hand and touched him--healing pushed desperation into the past.

I am reminded of the day I cried out --"Lord if You're willing" and He healed my sin sickness. He reached out and touched my soul and my guilt left me. I am also reminded of countless times since that day I have cried out "Lord if You're willing." He heals my broken heart. He gives me hope when the day is dark. He restores joy when circumstances threaten to steal it away. When I am backed in a corner and see no good thing coming from what is happening in life, He whispers "I am willing."

 My Jesus--the same yesterday, today and forever.

Call out to Him. He is willing.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

It's Never About the Pizza

A dear friend and I sat one afternoon and talked the hours away. During our conversation, she told a story of being angry with her husband.  He ate the last piece of pizza. Not just any pizza. Her carefully saved and looked-forward-to-eating gluten-free pizza.

And he ate it.

The last slice.

However, as the talk went further, we discovered she had been dealing with added stress in life. Pressure had built within and the pizza ... well ... BOOM!

The chat ended with a saying we still use. "It's Never About the Pizza."

Realizing it's never about the pizza is highly useful on two fronts.

First, in you. Recognize this is most likely true in your life as well. We let little and big disappointments, aggravations, failures, betrayals, misunderstandings ... the list goes on ... build up unreconciled and then it happens. The dog chews up your favorite pair of shoes. Your son loses the hammer. A stranger cuts you off in traffic.

Someone eats your pizza and BOOM.

It's useful to keep the pizza principle in mind as you encounter others who are not having such a great day.

You know what I mean. You ask people all the time "How are you?" and almost everyone says fine. Then there's that one who stops and gives you waaaaay TMI about the infected splinter he removed this morning or she describes in full detail the stomach virus she suffered two days ago. You listen with eyes glazed over and your brain transmits I-can't-believe-I'm-hearing-this.

It could be you are late for an appointment and apologize all over yourself but get an earful instead of forgiveness.

Those co-workers, store clerks, and total strangers live with stress too. You and I don't know what's going on in the back corners of their hearts and minds. But you accidently eat the pizza and BOOM.

It isn't God's will for us to survive under a veil of anxiety and worry. It is not His will for us to tread water in hopes of the demands on us will ease before we ... well ... go BOOM.

I challenge you to do a word/passage study on the word trust. I love Isaiah 26:3, You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

In response to God's provision, grace, and love we can:

Be kind.

Be patient.

Be unassuming.

Be nonjudgmental.

And remember,

It's never about the pizza.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Music and God's Faithfulness

Last night I attended an evening of worship and fellowship for women.

A beautiful friend sang a beautiful song that moved through my heart. As she sang, I remembered painful days of years ago. Days of wondering where the hope was. Days of determining I would trust God even when I could not see the light of day.

As she sang, I was reminded of God's extreme and epic faithfulness.

My mind went to other songs that ministered to my heart and spurred me to "dig in" and trust God.

And as she sang, I felt the most amazing peace and calm. I praised Him for being who He says He is.

What I didn't realize, is a sweet friend that worshipped with me was experiencing the very same thing. What a beautiful time of sharing we had as we talked of God's gentle way of wrapping His cosmic arms around a small soul and whispering "It's going to be okay, because I am with you."

What a big God we serve.

My pea-brain can't begin to grasp the hugeness of His never-ending love.

I am sure there were many others present last night who experienced the same thoughts and emotions. I am certain, there were some there who are in the middle of a dark night and, one day, when they hear the songs of last night again, they will praise God for His faithfulness!

How can I know this?

Because I know God. Oh, don't misunderstand. I do not know Him in entirety. But one day, when I get to heaven, I will see Him and know Him fully. Until then, I will trust Him to teach me and show me glimpses of His glory.

Won't you walk with me on this journey of getting to know Him better as we trust Him more? Evidence of WHO He is can be seen all around us. Evidence of His love and patience is everywhere.

Thank you, Lord God, for the gift of music. Music that rings with Truth. Music that sings of Your presence and faithfulness. Music that praises You because of Who You are!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lamp Unto Her Feet by Paula Mowery

 My friend, Paula Mowery, has just released her new book Lamp Unto Her Feet. I know I have many blog readers who gobble up this genre. Let's share in Paula's excitement of this new work!
Here's my interview with Paula. Read. Learn. Enjoy!

What genre is Lamp Unto Her Feet?

Christian romance with a bit of suspense thrown in.

What do you enjoy most about the genre?

Christian romance and Christian romantic suspense are my favorites to read. I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to worry about profanity or explicit sexual scenes. I also like that I’m reading stories about characters who are Christians like me or some who discover Christ. Just like I enjoy reading those type of stories, those are the type I like to write and provide for my readers.

Where did the idea for Lamp Unto Her Feet come from or what got the wheels turning?

My paternal grandmother’s Bible was the inspiration for this story. One day I was flipping through her Bible and noticed many underlined and highlighted verses and passages. I was especially drawn to some verses she had underlined in succession in 1 John. Upon closer inspection, these verses were all about reasons John had for writing his letters. These verses actually became the basis for why I write.

After this, I wondered about what kind of story I could create in which a young woman gains her grandmother’s Bible and the verses and commentary from her guide the young woman. Thus, Kenzie’s story was born.

Were you close to your grandmother? What was she like?

My paternal grandmother, Mamaw Smith, died when I was quite young. But I did get the opportunity as a girl to know her. When my brother and I stayed at her house, she would play hide and seek with us. She also taught me much without even knowing it. When we would rest, she would sing the nursery rhymes. I can still sing those from the memories from those moments there. Sometimes we would go to her house for Sunday dinner. She always had fried chicken, mashed potatoes with peas in the center of them, and bread. She also always made red jello with fruit in it. She was the epitome of the verse about being a gentle and quiet spirit.

Have you considered writing a series using the characters in this book?

I have thought briefly about it, but I’m thinking it will remain a stand alone.

How did writing Lamp Unto Her Feet strengthen you in your faith?

Honestly, writing this story reminded and cemented the idea that the Bible is God’s Word and He guides us through it. We can rely upon it and know it will never fail us.

Why should someone who normally doesn’t read romantic fiction pick up a copy of Lamp Unto Her Feet?

Readers will also find a bit of suspense in this story. Since the hero, Trevor, is a police officer, there are scenes related to his work that become quite intense but are very real compared to today’s headlines.

Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.  

 Learn more about Paula and find other places to link with her on her blog at

Friday, September 8, 2017

God Is...

God is Truth.

God is Holy.

God is Mercy.

God is Grace.

God is Patience.

God is Good.

God is the creator of all nature. He set laws of nature into motion.

I can confidently say, God did not cause these storms. He is not playing some cosmic game of chess, as Satan would have us believe.

Can God stop these storms? Of course He can. Why doesn't He? I do not know.

What I DO know, is God longs for a relationship with each and every human on earth. His love is big enough and his grace is wide enough. Over and over and over again, scripture teaches us of His love that leads to forgiveness and everlasting life.

Scripture is also clear that all of nature calls out to the existence of God. Not just the bright sun and the birds that sing. The rainbows and flowers, the trees that clap their hands and the rocks that cry out--they are not alone. Even the thunder that pounds through us after lightening rips through the skies, the winds that howl and the storms that swirl--they, too, call out to the existence of God.

But before we, as puny and limited humans, point our tiny fingers at the great Creator of all that is and accuse Him of sending massive heartache and destruction, we should pause.

Yes, I said pause.

Pause and search the scripture, for that is the truth we hold in our hands, for the heart of God.

God is Kind.

God is Healer.

God is Light and Life.

God is Restoration.

God is Peace.

If you know Him ... if Jesus is in your heart and welcomed in your life ... He will never leave you and His promises are kept.

If you do not know Him ... seek Him while you can. Message me. I would love to tell you more about His faithful love.

God is Holy.

God is Truth.

God loves you.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Thank you Haley White for use of your beautiful photo!