Welcome

Why a blog from me, someone who has never been a writer, someone who has never been articulate or had a solid grasp of the grammar world. Because God told me to write. Several years ago a life storm invaded my family. God kept telling me to write it all down. I argued, but He would not let up. This went on every day for a couple of weeks until one day out of frustration, (I'd like to say it was out of obedience), I picked up a pen and paper and wrote for 7 hours straight! Do you think maybe I needed therapy and God knew it?

I've been writing ever since and have learned to love it! I started out sharing my stories with friends and family. I've now been published in a Nashville church paper, Our Daily Journey (a devotional site of RBC Ministries), PCCWeb Daily Devotional, Ruby for Women Ezine Magazine, and I am a contributor in the book Alabaster Jars, Life in Abundance Collection 2.

Why Ponderings? During this life storm, God led me to a pond in the woods behind my home. There He met me each time, teaching new lessons, reminding me of old ones, showing His presence and allowing me to feel His love through the surroundings of that pond. I found myself returning over and over to ponder, pray and praise. A healing of my heart took place and out of the experience came my first book, Ponderings From the Pond, then a second book, Ponderings From My Porch, and now a third book is in the works along with a memoir about my storm.

Why am I making myself so vulnerable? Because God has done so much that I cannot keep quiet. I have to share. Jesus's last words to his desciples were, "Go,tell." We are his disciples too and this is just one of my ways of telling.

I'm no scholar but I have heard God's voice in my spirit, experience His love daily, and have a desire for others to experience this also. I would love to share with all who visit and I would love to hear from you. If my sharing gets just one to ponder, to be quiet with the Father, to see and hear from Him or to be reminded of something from Him, then this is worth my vulnerability.

As you visit me, sometimes we will be at the pond, sometimes we will move to the front porch, and sometimes we will just be here, there, and yonder. Thank you for coming and please feel free to come back anytime, you are always welcome here.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

*****EXCITING NEWS*****

My first book, Ya Know What I'm Say'n, has been released.


Ponderings

Ponderings

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Sacred Place


 

 ‘O let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot on earth.’

Andrew Murray

          Going into my prayer closet has been a very rewarding experience for me for the past 20 years, something I will continue to practice the rest of my life.

            It all began when I was at a Women’s Conference at my Church and two women sang a duet.  I could not tell you the title of that song, but one of the lines spoke to me and I could not get it out of my head long after the conference was over.  It spoke of kneeling on bended knee in a quiet place to pray with God.  It was a beautiful song and touched me deeply.  Right after this, I read in Matthew 6:6,      But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  That was in my NIV which I read every day.  I opened to this same verse in the KJV and here is how it is stated.

            But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

            I thought to myself, 'I am going to try this.'  So one day I entered into my walk-in closet, which is not very big; by the way but you don’t need a lot of room.  I knelt to my knees on the carpet beside the tennis shoes and laundry baskets and just began talking with the Father.  I invited him into that room and felt goose bumps rising up by back.  His presence was there like I had never experienced before.  It was such an awesome, sacred time that I have continued to do this ever since.  Just a small note about the knees, when I was young, I could sit on bended knees for a long time.  As I’ve gotten older, if I do this now for any length of time, it takes a long time to get up and with much groaning.  I usually sit on what my Scottish sister-in-law calls “the bum”.  And at times, I go fully prostrate on the floor. But my heart is bowing in reverence to the Lord whatever position I am in.

            There is just something about being alone in a small place, away from all the distractions of the world, like television, telephone, people, etc.  Being in my closet away from all these distractions allows me to completely get the cobwebs out of my mind and totally focus on my time with the Lord.  This is not an everyday practice, although I do it quite a bit.  Don’t think this is my only prayer time though.  I am one of those people who continually pray.  I talk with the Lord all through out the day.  But when I feel the need to really feel His presence, to do some serious intercessory prayer, to cleanse myself, when I’m desperately wanting wisdom, I retreat into the closet.

            There are times I have entered my closet angry and have come out with peace. I have gone into my closet upset and hurting, and have come out comforted.  I have stepped into my prayer closet asking for change, and have come out seeing immediate change.  Not always, but sometimes.  I have gone in questioning and have come out knowing without a doubt my Lord has the answers and He will reveal them to me when He says it is time for me to know.

            If you have small children, you might be thinking, I can’t do this, they would be knocking on the door wanting in, wanting to ask questions that could wait, but to them seem urgent.  I remember reading a book about Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church.  She had 19 children.  When she needed time alone with her Lord, she would sit in her rocking chair in the kitchen and throw her apron over her head.  Her children knew not to disturb her during this time.  When my boys were little, I told them that if the door to my closet was closed, this was not a time to disturb me.  I would always try to pick a time when they were either occupied, or were not even there.

            I suggest that you take your young children into the closet with you and explain to them what it is to you when that door is closed.  Tell them what you are doing, and that this is a very special, alone time between you and the Lord.  Maybe even pray with them in the closet that first time that they would remember and respect your time in there.  I believe this will make an impression on them even if they don’t know how to express it. And  it may be the beginning of an awesome prayer life for them because of what they have seen you doing.

            Do I believe Matthew 6:6 really means to go into a closet, the room where clothes and shoes are?  No, I just believe it means to go somewhere away by yourself.  Mark 1, verse 35 says even Jesus went to a solitary place where He prayed.  If he, the Son of God needed a solitary place to pray the Father, than I most certainly do!  And don’t forget the part of the verse, where He says to “shut the door”.  I believe this is saying shut the door of your heart to all those distractions so your heart is fully in tune with the Father.

            A lot of times I love to pray and talk with the Father outdoors in nature.  I feel very close to him there.  But, I can also get distracted by the songs of the birds, dogs coming around, and the sounds of cars going by.  I usually am just praising him when I am out in nature.  In the closet is where I do serious talking and listening.  I remind myself to not just talk, but listen also. Sometimes when I have nothing else to say, I will just sit for however long, and feel His presence. And don’t you know how pleased the Father must be to be invited into that closet because one of his children wants to be with him.  Doesn’t it do your heart good when your child wants to be with you?

            I feel when we learn to hear Him in the quiet of a sacred place as within the closet, then we will hear Him better outside of the closet in the places with noise. If we practice in the quiet closet of being still and know that He is God, it becomes easier to be still in the crowds and noise and still hear and know that He is God.

            I would like to challenge you, if you have never done this, to go into your closet and invite the Lord in there with you.  You just might feel goose bumps too!

A word of caution:  If you do go into your closet and shut the door, you might want to leave a small light on. I went into mine one time after a friend called and asked me to pray with her.  I went in; shut the door, the light was off so I could just concentrate on my friend and praying with her.  After I hung up, I opened my eyes and realized how completely dark it was in there.  I stood up and could not find the door.  Now this was a walk-in closet but not a very big one.  I should have known where the door was, but I had gotten disoriented, and for the life of me could not find that door.  I felt so silly at first with my hands out in front of me feeling the clothes, getting on my knees and crawling around feeling the shoes, but could not find the door knob.  After about five minutes of searching, I started to feel panicky inside.  I sat down on the floor and told myself to just breathe and I prayed asking the Lord to show me the door and its knob.  After about five more minutes of searching, I found it and got out.  The light never looked so good, and even though I wasn’t suffocating, I took in the air in deep breathes.  I told my son, what had happened, and he said to me,

“Why didn’t you just use your phone and call me, I would have come opened the door for you?”  I looked down and in the palm of my hand I was clutching my cell phone that I had used to talk and pray with my friend.  It didn’t even dawn on me to use it.  Can you just imagine how silly that phone call to my son would have sounded?  “Please come open my closet door.  I’m in here and I can’t get out!”

            This incident is a true story but also a good analogy of when we go through dark times in our lives.  If we will just pray to the Father and trust Him to rescue us, we will eventually see the light of His presence, be led out of the dark, and we will just want to breathe Him in and fill us up.

            I believe if we breathe Him in enough, daily, consistently, the next dark time will not be so scary; we will not panic and we will know who to call on.  And we won’t need our cell phone.
 
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Spectacles

OK. . .I’m admitting it, I’m getting older.  I tried to deny it when the gray hairs started showing up.  A little highlighter will fix that.  Skin not looking so youthful and fresh, a little special skin cream and moisturizer will fix that.  My joints are sore, but I work out. . .some. . .so maybe a cane is not in my near future.  My memory is not. . .is not. . .oh, whatever!
 
            Then I started getting horrible headaches and sometimes my vision would blur.  I envisioned me with a brain tumor or an aneurism, but when I noticed I couldn’t see the eye of my needle anymore or those little scripture numbers in my Bible very well, WELL, I decided I was going to have to break down and get some of those little reading spectacles.

            I didn’t want to.  I grumbled to myself, “just one more thing to have to carry in my purse.”  But then I thought. . .or was it that still, small, familiar voice again?  I had a healthy body, a family I love, I can continue to sew (with a little help) and I have the freedom to read my Bible whenever and wherever I want. For goodness sakes, I’m not going blind, I just need a little help with some magnification.  Forgive me lord for grumbling. 

            Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life.”  I want my life to be pleasing to Him, so I will take on the gray hairs.  Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  My bones are already creaking, I certainly don’t want them to dry up!  William Shakespeare said, “With mirth and laughter let the old wrinkles come.” Mark Twain once said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” So, my prescription for growing older. . .to have a cheerful heart, to laugh and smile as often as I can.  Victor Hugo said once, “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable.”  I want to grow old gracefully and adorably.

            Proverbs 16:22 says, “Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it…”

My footnote says, “For centuries, people sought a fountain of youth, a spring that promised to give eternal life and vitality.  It was never found.  But God’s wisdom is a fountain of life that can make a person happy, healthy and alive forever.  The fountain of life is a reality.  It’s our choice.  I chose.

            I’m going to take my stiff boned, gray haired, wrinkled body over to my favorite chair now, put on those reading spectacles and take joy in soaking up His wisdom.  HEY, I can see, and in more ways than one.

 
 
 
 
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Pondering the List

I was sitting around wondering what my next post would be and then I found Vicky's blog.   She asked if we would like to cut and paste the meme she used and so I thought, why not. It was a list that made me sit back and ponder and you know how I like to do that;)  So. . .here I go. . .

I am:  a woman who still feels like a little girl at times
I think:  that people think too much and should listen and rely on God more (myself included)
I want:  all prodigals to return
I have:  the best husband and two sons I love with all my heart
I dislike: lieing, name calling, bullying, homelessness, fear, the sting that biting cold puts on your 
               skin, drippy noses, lima beans, okra, and sweet potatoes
I miss:  living close to my mom and siblings
I fear:  my husband will die before me and leave me feeling ripped in half
I feel:  tired, sluggish, like I could be vitamin deficient
I hear:  the humming of my computer and the thoughts running through my head
I smell:  the fragrance of my perfume, the gas from my fireplace and the candle burning on the stove
I crave:  sweets, sweets, sweets
I search:  for words
I wonder:  what my boys will do down the road and into their future
I regret:  not having time with my Dad
I love:  to see people coming together to help their 'neighbors'
I care:  about the lonely, hurting souls
I am always:  pondering
I worry:  about so many things (I am still a work in progress)
I remember: the fun, good ol' days on my grandparents farm when my siblings, cousins and I were
                      small
I sing:  low in church and loud in my home (when I'm alone)
I argue:  still, at times, with the Lord when He asks me to step out of yet another comfort zone (did I
               mention I'm still a work in progress)
I write:  to learn, to make sense of things, to encourage, to remember back one day and to give Him
              glory and honor.
I lose:  my cell phone all the time
I wish:  I could be bolder, funnier and more independent and could read a map
I listen:  for that still quiet voice of my Lord when I need direction, guidance, and whenever I sense
               that tap on my shoulder
I don't understand:  why one who was and is loved so much would run so far away
I can usually be found:  in front of my laptop or behind a good book
I am scared:  of creepy, crawly and slithery creatures
I need:  energy
I forget:  all the time
I am happy:  when rocking or swinging on the front porch or out back, sitting by a fire, visiting with
                       a friend, reading a good book to my husband, when hubby holds my hand, when I'm
                       holding chocolate, and when I find cherry mashes in a store.

Now it's your turn.  Make your own list and let me know so I can come read yours.  And remember, don't spend too much time thinking about it.  Ususually what first comes to mind is what you need to write. Don't worry about sounding goofy, or unspiritual, or whatever. . .we are all a work in progress;)

Blessings~

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another Confession

my family is weird!

We probably seem like a nice, normal, quiet family out there in the public's eye. If I had a plaque to give my family, this would be it. . .


But the truth of it is. . .we are nice but normal. . .well. . .

When my boys were little, #1 son would always laugh as we were with our extended family, saying, "We are so weird." His grandmother, my mother, would say through her laughter, "I'm sorry, our family just has the weird gene and you inherited it."

Those were the good ol' days. . .lots of silliness, laughter, and weirdness all around.
Life can throw a curve ball and hit you right in the gut. For a time I thought that curve ball took away the silliness and laughter and weirdness, but as God would have it, He brought healing to some of our hearts.
There is still a pocket full of sadness in there, but the funnies have come back and I'm glad!
If you don't believe me, just take a look. . .




No Wendy's employee would dress up as Wendy except MY son



Notice my mother is holding a leaf. You ask why? I. Don't. Know!
And we can't make faces for long. . .

I giggle more with her than anyone:)
 
Wish she wasn't over 700 miles away!!!
 
But you know what?  The silliness carries over the phone lines. Just about every time my mother and I talk on the phone, the sillies will come out and we have at least one good laugh before it's time to hang up.
 
Thank you Father for giving us laughter, silliness, and goofyness in spite of whatever is going on around us. It is such a gift to laugh and let loose. And I pray that next time my husband shows his silliness, I am the one holding the camera. (He is always holding the camera and we miss his goofyness on film). I know you will take care of that Lord, because you are always in the details and you desire to give us the desires of our heart. I know you smile when we all smile. And so I fully expect a pic of hubby in the midst of his silliness too in the photo album soon:)
Thank you Father for all the giggles, smiles, and laughter. . .and even that weird gene.
And may NO ONE see through our windows when we are dancin' around like fools!
In Jesus Name
Amen




Sunday, January 20, 2013

Puzzle Pieces

google image


Living life as a young girl in a broken home and now being around the homeless, I have witnessed a lot of broken people. Pieces of them go flying off into different directions; addictions, depression, grief, anxiety disorders, extreme selfishness, deceptions, etc.

This can happen not only to the unbeliever but to the believer also. That was me six years ago when my precious first born left too early and became the prodigal. I did not see that coming. I was dumbfounded, shocked, confused, angry, and horribly saddened. I began to sink into depression.

For a brief time, all I could see was darkness and despair but I quickly realized what was happening and called out to my Savior. Jesus is compassionate and he hurts when we hurt. He doesn’t want us to stay in the broken state we entered into and offers us His hand. He offers us the puzzle pieces to make us whole again; we just have to accept them.

When I called out to Him, He bent down and listened. He then began to restore me piece by piece. My pieces of this puzzle was a blonde headed angel with skin on, my mentor, my husband, my small groups prayers, my extended family’s love, support, encouragement and prayers, prayers from prayer warriors, my special time with my Savior out at the pond, serving opportunities, and then the gift of writing. The pieces all came together and my heart healed. Only with Christ, can a heart feel healed, when a situation is not.

Are you feeling broken? Are you missing pieces? If you do not have Jesus as Savior in your heart, that is the biggest missing piece. I invite you to start your new picture by inviting the first and most important piece, Jesus, into your heart. It’s such a simple piece of the puzzle. Just bow your head and ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins, and then invite Him into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. If you have already done this, but still needing pieces put back together, then I invite you both to reach up and grab His righteous right hand and hear His words, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Then start looking for your pieces, accept them, and watch your picture become whole again.

I reached out and grabbed His hand and never let go.

Me whole again.

Click to Mix and Solve
For fun, hit the arrow and see what I was like before. . .then you can put me back together again.

I'd like to hear if you did it :)


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Saturday, January 19, 2013

An Apology





For those who read my post awhile back titled Handouts, you might have seen that my heart was hurt by someone in the ministry.

I just wanted to let you know that this someone called me last week and had been convicted. I received a long, sincere and very humble apology and I was asked for forgiveness. We talked about our ministries and showed respect for one another and of course, forgiveness was given and accepted.  Isn't God good!

I'm so overwhelmed by God's love that He would look down into our hearts and see the hurts and give comfort and then give healing; that He sees where we have gone wrong and convicts the heart and gives courage for us to do the right thing; for His mercy and grace and love like no other and teaches us to do the same. That's my God!  I hope He is yours too.

To God be the Glory
for the things He hath done!



Do you  need to ask for forgiveness?  Do you need to forgive?
Go to God. . .He will give you everything you need.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Momma Bear Syndrome



Standing at the bridge last Tuesday night with my Homeless Outreach Team, I kept watching a very young couple.  This was their second time coming. She is pregnant and puts up a tough front; he looks lost and scared. This night the temperature was in the 30's and was lightly raining. They didn't have on much warm clothing, his cloth tennis shoes were soaking wet. We were all shivering but I knew I was going soon back to my warm home.  They had no where to go.

I always pray before heading out to the bridge asking God to guide me and the others.  This Momma Bear wanted to grab this young couple and bring them home but the Lord was saying, "NO". I was led though to give each of them a sleeping bag, blankets, a couple of bags filled with goodies,( new warm socks, gloves, chapstick, toiletry bags, handwarmers, a Bible, etc.) and I told them about a barn close by that would get them out of the frightful weather.  My heart broke as they took off in one direction and I drove off in the other.

The next morning with them still being on my mind, I posted a facebook status about them.  Immediately, two of my friends who live in other states commented back; one wanted to send money for the couple to be able to stay in a motel for a week and the other friend asked how she could help them with specific needs. I asked the director friend of mine who runs the nonprofit agency who our bridge ministry is under what her thoughts were and she said that would not change their circumstances and if it got out that they were given a room, everyone else out there would expect it and it just can't be done. I thought, "but I could do it on my own, it didn't have to be under the agency."

I then went to my prayer closet and went to the One who knows the answers to all.  He immediately brought to mind Tony. Tony is a former homeless friend of mine who lived under the bridge for 14 months. A year ago, he rededicated his life to the Lord and has been faithfully living for Him ever since. A month ago, Tony got a permanent job and is now living in his own place. I told him how sorry I was that he had to live under the bridge all that time and he said to me, "I'm not. I couldn't see Jesus before. God had to bring me to underneathe the bridge for me to see Him. If my needs had always been met, I may still not have seen Him to this day."  I was also told in my prayer closet that housing them for a week in a motel, it would just delay His plans.  I knew what I had to do.

As hard as it is for this Momma Bear, I felt God was telling me He has this young couple right where He wants them for now. I don't believe He put them out there, they did that themselves.  They made choices that led to where they are. But God can bring good out of a hard situation if people will let Him and others stay out of the way. I never want to step in His way and mess with His plans so I stepped back.

For me, one of the hardest things as a Christian is to step back in situations that are hard to look at. Momma Bear syndrome wants to kick in and step in and save the day.  But this world has only One Savior,(our Heavenly Father Bear).  He knows best.  Even when our best seems to make more sense, in the grand scheme of things, in the big picture, it really isn't.  Only God can see the BIG picture.  I only see parts of it at a time. Sometimes He tell me to go and sometimes He tells me to stay back. I have to be sure I'm listening to the One in charge.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.
Isaiah 55:8

I know God has lessons for these two young kids and I have to trust that He will teach as He sees fit. And the lesson for me is to step back when He says to and trust Him, and to step forward and trust Him when He says "Go."  Key words here. . .trust and obey.

My Momma Bear syndrome will have to be tucked away for now but is on standby for when I hear the Savior say, "Ok. . .Momma Bear can come out now."


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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Expiration Date



Ok…time to be vulnerable again.  I’m going to confess something.  Six years ago during our life storm, I lost the joy in cooking and baking.  To be honest it has never come back.  I believe God gave me new joys to take the place of old ones.

 
But at Christmas time, I felt I should bake something.  I always loved my Grandmother’s cherry pie so I decided to make one.  I use to always make my own pie crust, as it is not hard to do at all, just a little messy.  Several years back though in the joyless baking days, I didn’t want to give it up all together, so I bought packaged pie crust that you roll out and put into the dish.  I must have been more joyless than I thought in the kitchen because they never got used. 

 
The packages of pie crusts got stuck in the back of our extra refrigerator out in the garage.  I saw them every day as I would go in there to get other stuff for the day, but just ignored them.  I got so used to seeing them back there, that I really didn’t pay any attention to them.

 
So this past December, I remembered the pie crusts and thought I would make a pie.  I went to retrieve them and read the expiration date…three years old.  I threw them away and decided to make homemade sugar cookies instead.  I mixed up all the ingredients and spooned the dough onto cookie sheets and baked them.  When I pulled them out they didn’t look right.  This was my grandmother’s recipe and hers were always big and puffy and soft.  These cookies on my sheet were flat.  I didn’t understand and pondered for a few minutes and then had a thought.  Go look at the expiration date on the baking powder can that I had used.  The date had expired 5 years ago!  No wonder they didn’t rise.  Out went the baking powder too. 

 
Pondering again, I thought about Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, forever and He never gets old,  His love for us never goes flat, never molds, and never expires. . .and neither do His promises.


 He has blessed me with friends who bring me goodies from their own kitchen.  One brought me homemade chocolate mints and another brought me a homemade pie and cookies from another. Isn't God good!? Bless their hearts!  I believe there is no expiration date on their hearts either.
 

 I may not have the joy of baking anymore but He has filled me with joy for other things.  He has never left me to feel joyless in all things.  No, I will always have the joy of Him in my heart, serving for Him, and the joy of loving my family, and so many others. And you know what?  He has blessed me not only with friends who bake but with stores and shops that make wonderful baked goodies, just like home.  

I'm so thankful for these blessings, because although my desire to bake has expired, my sweet tooth sure didn't! 

Dear Sweet Heavenly Father,
Thank you for ALWAYS being there. . .for when joys seems to go, You are ALWAYS there to fill us up with others we may not have even known were joys until you opened our eyes and hearts to new things. The love you give is sweeter than any other thing in this world and I am so grateful for all the sweetness of your Words, Your promises, and all good things which come from You. . .yes, even chocolate, gooey, chewy, nutty, goodies.
And one more thing Father. . .
I'm so grateful to know I never need worry, I never need to look for an expiration date. . .with You.
Thank you!
In your most precious, never-expiring Name, Jesus,
Amen.


     Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.
Joshua 1:5
(see. . .no expiration date;)
 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Handouts 2 and Confirmations

 
 
Handouts 2 and Confirmations
 
On the tails of my last post Handouts, I was at peace with where God has placed me, and thankful for showing me to people that I can love. I didn't feel the need to have confirmations, but in His gracious, loving Spirit, He blessed me with one today anyway.  A friend sent this to me today. . .
 
 "Miracle in the Mountains" is a sweet book by Lonnie and Belinda Riley of Meridzo Ministries in Eastern KY. Page after page of how God has answered prayers. Incredible! This is for you (pg 105): A volunteer who came to help in Lynch said they were giving away too much food. He cited an old adage, teach people to fish, not just give them fish. Lonnie said, "As I recall that is a Chinese proverb, not a biblical story. So let me go to my Father and see what He has to say." He prayed intently, listening for God and this is what He heard: sometimes it is necessary to give a person a fish, because that's the only way they survive, and sometimes it is time to teach them to fish, but only when ready to learn. What good does it do to teach them to fish and then put them in a desert? His conclusion was not only give food and teach to fish, but also help them to build lakes where they can fish. As they have trusted God to provide for the immediate physical and spiritual needs, they have also trusted Him to provide lakes for long-term needs and produce a quality of life that will honor Him. "The poor and needy are thirsty, but there is no water. But I, the God of heaven, have heard them. I will make a river to flow from the mountains so that all men will know that God has done this thing." Isaiah 41:17,20(Lonnie's paraphrase)"
(thank you Mylinda:)
 
Today I have rejoiced in my heart for two of our bridge friends.  One came to us the other night and said the magic words.  In the last two days, he has gotten out of his tent from the woods and made it to three AA meetings, got himself a sponser and will be entering an outpatient rehab.  He is leaning on his newfound faith and is surrounded by people who care about him. He already is looking better!
 
The other friend was just hired by the college in our town as a chef on their campus after passing all his tests. This man has a bad leg and yet walks because he has no transportation.
 
I guess our handouts didn't hurt them.
I have always believed since being in this Blanket Ministry and now the Homeless Outreach Ministry, that taking care of the immediate needs first, will give them the strength and encouragement they need to stand on their own two feet and move forward. We all need our physical needs met and we all need to have cheerleaders behind us and we all need to know that someone cares.
 
Again, with what they need to survive, whether that be a tent, blankets, coats, a hot meal, friendship, prayer, love and a lot of cheerleading. . .they can get on their feet and begin a new life. . .a new life with Him, Jesus.
 
It's so wonderful to hear them praising God, thanking Him, pointing to the sky giving Him glory.
That's what it's all about!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Handouts

Hidden people are all over our city. . .

    on back steps of public buildings,
         in alleyways behind dumpsters,
             in the overgrown foliage right in the middle of town,
                underneathe bridges, in old, delapadated, abandoned barns,
                     in the woods behind stores we go in every day,
                         in storage sheds
                             in cars.

Some have made mistakes, some have broken brains (mental illness of some kind), many have lost self esteem and think there is no dignity left, so they try to stay invisible as much as they can.  And some of society would like for it to stay that way.  The homeless know this. Can you blame them for hiding?

But it's just not right for one of God's creation to hide, being scared, lonely, hungry, cold, feeling like there is no one in this world who cares if they breathe or not, if they eat or not, if they are loved or not.

I've been saddened to hear that a couple of ministries in our town have been negative about other ministries who are helping the poor and homeless. They claim that other than theirs, the others only give handouts where as they give handups and that these handouts are only hurting the people. And yet, the people who said this have never come to check out our ministry, they have not talked with those in charge as to what is the purpose, what is going on, what are the successes. Assumptions often lead to misunderstandings. This makes me sad.

I couldn't help but ponder their statements and I even looked up the defintion of the word.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HandoutCached - Similar
A handout is something given freely

 I then realized that maybe there was some truth to the statement of handouts.

The Blanket Ministry and Homeless Outreach do give handouts. . .of
ourselves
friendship
Christ's love
encouragement
hope
the Good News
prayers
grace
time
hugs
showing a way out
 
This ministry has drawn people out of hiding and we have heard words from them like,
 
"You all have given me hope"
 
"Thank you for not treating me like trash"
 
"Thank you for caring"
 
"I can't believe you do all this for US"
 
"Thank you so much"
 
"God bless you all"
 
These ministries were born out of a conviction from the Heavenly Father Himself. I then think how happy I am of all the ones who have contributed to these two ministries, whether that be time, money, food, staples, prayers, talents, and unconditional love
 
We go out and find and meet these people on their turf, enter into the mess of their lives and hold out our arms, hold out our hand to lift them up and show them the Savior who can lift them all the more higher, if they so choose.  They are shown a way out of the pit through different agencies, different programs, and most of all, through the love and saving grace of our Heavenly Father who reaches out with His Righteous Right Hand to lift them out the miry clay and begins to set their feet on solid ground.
 

As I see it, the Father up above also hands out His hands.
A handout?
I see nothing wrong with that at all!
 
But then, that's just me sayin'. . .
 
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I learn. Envolve me and I remember."
 
Getting involved with someone and letting them become involved in your life. . .
who knows what they will remember years from now.
 
I bet it won't be the blanket or the cup of coffee.
I'm thinking it will be the love given with the blanket and coffee because that's when one stepped into their lives. . .no matter how messy it was.

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
First John 3: 17-18

Are they being hurt?  Ask the ones who are not living out of their car and their tents anymore. Ask the ones not residing under the bridges anymore. Ask the ones who have jobs and a roof over their heads now.  Ask the ones who are back in church and praying again. Ask the ones who were lonely and hidden who now have friends who care.
 
If this brings them out of hiding and into their own place, into a hospital, into a church and into the arms of their Savior. . .
 
then handouts we will give.

And for the ones who retreat back, seeds were planted and God can nourish and water and grow them. The planting has to come from somewhere.

How about you?
 
You may ask,  "How"? Prayer is huge for a ministry. Please pray for all the volunteers, for all the hidden people, for all ministries to work together and encourage one another, and how God would lead you to handout however He sees fit for you.

giving freely. . .
 
 
handouts. . .

You bet!

Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask your blessings on ALL ministries that deal with the homeless, the poor, the down and out, the hidden ones.  We are not in a competition here, or we shouldn't be. One should not be labeled better than the other. One should not be talking down of another.  If we are walking in the Spirit and serving You, then all ministries should work and love the people together. May we love and serve and give in Your name only and may our ministries bring glory and honor to You, our God, our Lord, our Savior, our most Holy Father in Heaven. Forgive us when we fail you and please continue to give us a handup and a handout of your precious, grace-filled love. May we all be pleasing in Your sight.
In Jesus Name,
Amen

*Matthew 25:34-40*
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cleaning, Shining, and Glorifying

They were grooming me way back then to become a housewife, homemaker, domestic engineer…whatever you want to call it. I call it a holy work. I’ve learned that if we work as if working for the Lord, then all our work becomes holy. 
 
 
 
 
Their grooming worked. I’ve been a homemaker for over 30 years now and have always loved it. I figured if Jesus lives in my heart, then He is in my home as well. So, when I sweep the floors, I sweep for Him. When I wash the dishes, I wash for Him. When I clean the porcelain bowls in the lavatory, yes even that, I clean for Him. The one job where I have to put effort in having joy is ironing, my least favorite job. But when I praise Him through each swipe of the iron, and thank him that I have a husband who is faithful in his work that requires these shirts he wears, that he has a job at all, and that I am healthy and strong enough to be ironing, I begin to glorify Him in this job and my heart bubbles with joy that otherwise could be bogged down in drudgery. And so I thank him for my ironing board, iron, and clothing. I thank Him that we have indoor plumbing and even for that cottony, quilted paper hanging on the roll. I don’t mind cleaning, shining, and washing because it means He has blessed me with a family to clean for and a home to be cleaned. These last four winters as I have met the homeless, I think how they would be happy for a floor to sweep, a bed to make, and fridge to clean out.  I'm also thankful that I live in the time era that I do. For our grandmothers, it was a little more work. I read this article below in the Historical News Paper and had to smile…it reminded me of helping my grandmother with the laundry when I was a little one. . .

Washing Machine Recipe
Years ago an Alabama Grandmother gave the new bride the flowing recipe:

Washing Clothes



Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin’ water.

Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white
1 pile colored
1pile work britches and rags

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.
Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, then rub colored, don’t boil, just wrench and starch.

Hang old rags on fence
Spread tea towels on grass
Pore wrench water in flower bed
Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

I’ve always been thankful but Ann Voskamp of 1000 Blessings, had taught me to look even further, deeper, with wider eyes to see the gifts that can so easily slip by. She says, “when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This makes me full, and I magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30)
 
Yes, I'll magnify on my knees. . .even in front of the porcelain throne.
 
I'm thankful those washtubs can now be used for something more fun, like this. . .


HAPPY CLEANING!

 
Do you whistle while you work? Or praise? Or pray?
It sure makes it a whole lot better!



 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Foot in Mouth?

"A closed mouth gathers no foot."
 
I saw this quote the other day and it made me laugh and I thought, so true.  But then I pondered. . .we can't keep our mouths shut ALL the time.
 
And then I saw this verse. . .
 
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
Matthew 12:34
 
And so I pondered once again. . .
 
What is the abundance of my heart?  Is it good and pleasing or not?
My mouth will speak from the abundance in my heart.
We have a choice to put into our hearts what we will.  Sometimes our hearts fill so casually and slowly with things, that we don't even realize it until we stub our toe, or someone irks us, or that annoying driver in front of us is well. . . you know. . .annoying us.
 
And then there is gossip.  Even the best of people can fall into this one.  How to stop it?  Well, just keeping the mouth closed will not work, because time has shown that just doesn't happen.  It goes back to the heart.  What are we putting into our heart and minds.  Are we being careful what we watch on the screens, are we being careful who we hang around on a regular basis, are we spending daily time with the Lord, soaking up His presence and His Words and His love.
 
I think if we do, then we are safe to open our mouths.  Yes, we are human and sometimes the foot goes in.  Thank goodness, He doesn't wash our mouths out with soap, He forgives and tells us to go on and do better.
 
So, are you thinking, does Kris have this problem?  Actually, when I am annoyed, or irked or stub my toe, I yell out to Jesus.  Other times, if others are involved, (the irkers), I pray for them.  It's amazing how when you pray, you can't be irked anymore. 
But. . .when my feelings get hurt or I think something is unfair, well. . .
Yes, I have taken it to others when I should have just kept my mouth closed. I have felt the invisible kick in the pants from the Holy Spirit and I apologize.

So. . .thinking back to the quote at the top. . .A closed mouth cannot offer encouragement, it cannot praise with singing, it cannot offer prayer to the one in front of you. I would say that if you open up your heart to good and pleasing things of the Lord, it will be safe to open the mouth. And when the feelings get hurt, I'll just open my heart to the Lord.

I'm going to continue to open my mouth when the time is right and I will lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance and I have asked Him to keep both my 6 1/2's on the ground and not come anywhere near open mouth.

I will still write what's on my heart, but know that I pray each time before hitting that publish button.

And if I happen to slip and open my mouth in front of you when it should be closed. . .I give you permission to kick me in the pants.




 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WHY?


January 1, standing in the center of the small park at the foot of the bridge where dark begins to descend,  surrounded by bridge guests, I see. . .

One is a vietnam veteran with a bad leg, a wife of 3 months, and a 14 year old daughter in the hospital with luekemia. . .and no job.

One is another vet with mental illness, rambling on, shivering with no place to go.

One standing in wet socks and wet shoes in 30+ degrees, shivering. . .from the cold and from just recovering from seizures. He stood crying. . .holding out a bottle of pills saying how taking them all at once would sure be easy.

One young one standing there with shaved head, just released from jail, smoking and newly pregnant.

Others with that look in their eyes that say I'm tired, I'm down, I'm lonely, I just don't know.

Then I spot the man from the Veterans Administration talking to one of the vets.

There are those precious ones handing out hot food and drinks and warm woolen socks and gloves.

There is the recovered alcholic with a good life now helping the alcoholic still in his despair.

Heads are bowed and prayers are lifted and smiles emerge and pill bottles go back into the pockets.

Hope showed up.

Hope was whispered.

Love shouted.

Hot coffee was downed, hot food went into the hungry, and conversation that said, "we care."

It is cold, wet, messy, sad, frustrating, discouraging and heartbreaking.  Why then, you may ask, are we there?

Because God is there. He came into a messy world, He saves messy people. He doesn't leave them. He doesn't turn His back. He reaches down in love. And if we can take the hands of our guests and lead them to His Righteous Right Hand and begin to feel the hope they so long to feel. . .well. . .there is no other place I'd rather be. . .and I'm guessing the others who came with full cars and hearts would say the same thing.

Why, you still ask?
 
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live for Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
First John 4:9-11


"Love is patient, love is kind. . .it is not self seeking. . .it keeps no records of wrongs. . .love always protects. . .always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
First Corinthians 13:4

"Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Matthew 22:37-38

This is why we keep doing it.
 
Who has God put in your path to love?
Is it hard? If so, don't turn your back.
Turn into it. Give a blessing.
And look for the blessing coming back at you. . .it's there. . .you may have to look twice. . .but it's there. It may be in a way you never imagined. . .but it's there.
I guarantee it!

 




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Back, Moving Forward

A brand new year is here and we all want to go forward with new attitudes, new resolutions, new promises, new this and new that.  But old things from the previous year follow us right into the new year, homelessness being one of those things. 

I wish it were a thing of the past, but it is not.  For some individuals it is, Praise God!  And for others, we keep moving forward, we keep working and encouraging and praying for those without a roof over their heads.

I think looking back is not so bad, because we can see where mistakes happened, lessons learned, what is good and what is not. We can also look back and celebrate where the lost ones were found, wanderers found homes, and friendships were formed. I smile as I think of all who gave in one way or another, many in more ways than one. And we can take all of this into the new year.  I'm expecting good things. I'm excited to see where God will lead, what God will do, how He will convict, how He will provide, how He will teach, what doors He will open and what doors He will close; and how He will move us to love even more this coming year.

Last year there were new jobs, new teeth, green coats and chubby cheeked munchkins and giants oh my!  Who knows what will show up around the corner, down the street, in the park, or underneathe the bridge this year.

I'm wearing my armor and my 4 layers of clothing. The volunteers are standing by. God is always near. Today is January 1. Today is Tuesday. Today is bridge day.  Bring it on. . .we're ready!

 
Are you ready for whatever God has for you?