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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Someone new has entered my life.

I was going about a normal work week.  I wasn’t looking for or considering someone new to edge their way into my treasured time. heart rock

I am way too busy with important things.

Real important things. I had to get the rental property cleaned for the new renters moving in Friday.  Wednesday evening meet my brother half-way north to get my dad who had chemo treatment in Atlanta this week.   Paint mother’s office furniture. Go to my day job. Tuesday and Thursday, go to my night job following day job.   Create 3 different invitations in Photoshop. Catch up the yearbook pages.  Check in with grown children.  Read real important email. (I have a new follower on Pinterest. ) Read my devotion so I can put a check by scripture verse.  Cook.  Wash.

Real important things.

Then there was a twist of events.  It snowed in Georgia.  You may have heard about it. (On ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, Weather Channel, MSN, ESPN, Sports South, Facebook, maybe Twitter )  Or lived it.  I didn’t go to my night job Tuesday, or my day job Wednesday or Thursday.

Daddy wasn’t leaving Atlanta . Not even my brother’s driveway for that matter.  I had time to paint mother’s office furniture.

But the kicker was the devotion for 3 whole days was based on the SAME verse.  How random and time saving was that?

phone front bible copy

I dutifully read it. John 21:17  Day 2: I didn’t even skip words I knew.  Jesus is talking to Peter and he says, “Feed my sheep”.  I have always understood it perfectly: spiritually feed my sheep, right?

But God stirred my heart to remember my dear friend Emily, (she doesn’t know me but I like her a lot so basically she is my very dear friend) who writes a blog “Chatting at the Sky”.  I remembered that Emily was traveling with Compassion International in Uganda.  And Emily had been sending out heart felt post about the poverty in Uganda.

Feed my sheep? Past tithes and local giving?

No God, I don’t’ send money to people I don’t know.  Because…well, I don’t.

Day 3: Time saving verse again, maybe not so random. I can’t say exactly how it happened but it involved my memory being stirred of a devotion in December. How God’s money is to flow from my hand into His work. Hmmmm.  So in an effort to pretend I would be a team player, I clicked on the link in Emily’s new post.

I had the ingenious plan to fake God out.

I would meander through the site as if to simulate choosing a child. Who would I choose?  Most likely a boy about Ethan and Ward’s age. I looked at boys in that age.

I checked Compassion International out. A 70 out of 70 rating for charity accountability and transparency. Plus they are not just Christian based, they are Jesus based. Which should be the same thing but in our “christian” world of charity, it isn’t necessarily so.

Then I prayed about it because (this was to be the defining moment of my fake) if I actually put it to God in a prayer He would surely recall that I don’t have an extra $38.00 a month.

He didn’t recall that. It went down like this:  for whatever reason I recalled a $38 dollar meal at the Mexican Restaurant.  (I know, the chips and salsa were free…was it imperative to order cheese dip too?).

So I began to look at the children and really pray. My eyes fell on Morrine. I quickly looked past her because I wasn’t choosing a girl. I raised my two, had cheerleaders squads for years, and I now teach in a middle and high school. I know about girls.

I don’t hate girls. I have loved them wholeheartedly.  But sweet girls are often dangerous to good mental health.

In fact, I have a theory. If one has to have an angry encounter with a pretty, sweet teen girl or a smelly, gun wielding robber boy thug, take the robber boy thug. At least the option of death could come quick.

So I was definitely choosing a boy.

Yet after passing the hundreds of precious faced little boys, Morrine was who I could not shake from my mind. morrine

Her tall, gangly self holding her shoulders back the way my mama taught me, and her Mona Lisa smile (which was maybe a smile and maybe not) filled my heart with love and hope for her.

So today I am thankful for the new important person in my life. I pray she knows how special she is to me but most importantly to Jesus.

I may never know what happens to Morrine past my sponsorship days but John 21:17 didn’t say I would.  It just says, “Feed my sheep.”

Thinking about it? Click here. And please let me know if you do.

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I am to write. I knew years before blogging became a word. Actually, I have had this blog for a long time.

A ghost blog. A blog where non-captured words were floating around in my head with visions of pictures to accompany them.

Words to write flowed from my soul while I was doing the most mundane task. I had the words to write, I just never wrote them down. All the time, God’s leading said clearly, “write”.

I got that God, but can you just show me what I am supposed to SAY? By the way, there has to be a header, widget and a media gallery...Are you getting the picture God? I need more direction.

I got that God, but can you just show me what I am supposed to SAY? By the way, there has to be a web host and a header, some widgets and a media gallery…Are you getting the picture God? I need more direction. And maybe a secretary, and an editor so I won’t make any mistakes. Oh and IT staff, definitely I need an IT staff.

There are so many. many excuses as to why I didn’t. The excuses don’t matter. They were excuses. I was to write and I did NOT. God kept clearing paths for me to follow his direction. I still didn’t.

In my mind I wasn’t going to disobey God. I waiting for the perfect time, the perfect words, the perfect pictures to use. Anyway, I read phenomenal books and blogs; God had the most talented people with great insight and wisdom writing. It was evident that God didn’t need me.

When I laid it all out in my mind, I hung my disobedience on the TRUTH that God didn’t need me. That was it. That was/is The Truth.

And truth is very important to me. I am a stickler for it. Completely a liar, but a stickler for the truth. How is that for truth?

The truth of all truths is, I NEED GOD. And the truth is after days months years of disobedience the words that once flowed like a river from my soul have settled into the muck of a drying puddle. My thoughts and direction are clear as mud.

My Bible reading this morning; “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 How many times have I read and heard those words of God, yet I casually tossed aside this clear path to follow while I wandered/wondered in my own direction?Commit my works unto the Lord. What work do I commit?

When I hire someone to do work I hire them for a specific work. A plumber’s work would be to fix the leak, not weed the flower bed. Should the electrical wiring burn out, it would be ludicrous for the electrician to wash my car while I sat in the dark.

So the work I commit to God, shouldn’t it be work He has given my heart to do? This is my writing, my obedience to follow God’s leading to “kno-me-now” and to write words.

No one has to read them. They are not necessarily for the world. They are for me. Granted by God’s grace, recorded in my speck of space of space and time in His creation, is my faltering obedience.

While the words do not flow, the tears do. My prayer; Heavenly Father, sustain me. Do not leave me in my undoneness. Complete me in Your Will. I can do nothing without you and all things with you. Establish my thoughts for my good and Your Glory. Amen.

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Daddy’s girl…

I’m a daddy’s girl. I am. I love my mother and she loves me. She is such a life-teacher and inspiration but still, I’m a daddy’s girl. His little girl. Can you have grandchildren and be a little girl? I think you can. I know it.

December 2012:Even in the middle of chemo treatment, came to be a part of the chaos with me and my crew.

Daddy right  behind  me and my crew.

Today my heart hurts. We were told on Thursday that my daddy has cancer. For all of you who have heard those words about a family member, I am so very sorry. I have always felt sorrowful and hurt for you but I was not one of you. As cases of family history goes, my family doesn’t have cancer. We just don’t. But something went terribly awry in the universe and now we do.  I guess that how it happened in your lives too.

It is just surreal. Almost as if I could wrap my mind around the diagnosis, I would be crying my eyes out. But I’m not. I am sure that everything is going to be okay. Daddy will be fine. And in a week or two, my 85 year old daddy will walk briskly up my steps to show me where to turn off my water if that pipe leaks again. Mind you my husband is a plumber, electrician and contractor, but my daddy is who I call for a leak.  Daddy doesn’t look, walk or talk like a man in his mid 80’s.

Tree die in the front yard? To the rescue...just weeks ago.

Tree die in the front yard? To the rescue…just weeks ago. (Awful phone pic but my memory is etched clearly.)

In the morning we will meet with his new “Team”. All kinds of oncologist, surgeons, and specialist. I am thankful for them and praying for them. But I am not looking forward to meeting them. Or maybe I am. They will be my team too. We will be a strong team. My Heavenly Father, my daddy, my family and me. I am not afraid. But I feel terribly small in the fight.

Please Dear Lord, Make me as David. Fearless and faithful against the giant.

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My Road to Jerusalem

At 2:45 pm on Monday afternoon I got the call. “Mrs. Barron?” “Yes.” “This is Trudie from Dr. Albares office.” “Yes?” “We got the results back from your ultrasound and there was an obstruction in your liver and they couldn’t see in the left lobe completely. The radiologist recommended a Cat scan but Dr. Albares wants to do a MRI.” She said it all without taking a breath.

Maybe she could make me believe the next words were the most important. “Which hospital would you like for us to schedule the MRI?  Flowers or the Medical Center?”  “Uh…Flowers I guess. That’s where I had the chest x-ray.” I heard my voice say. “But what did you say about my liver? I didn’t know you tested my liver.” “Oh yes ma’m. The ultrasound to test your gallbladder also checked your pancreas, kidneys and liver. We just need to set up an MRI for you.”

I took a deep breath. Enunciating every syllable, “Okay, and exactly what is wrong with my liver?” A slower response followed. She knew I had caught on. “Yes ma’m, I’ll read you the report.” Papers shuffled. “There is a hepatic mass in the left lobe 3.6 cm long.” Or did she say 6.3? At this point I wasn’t listening. Mass on my liver. I’d heard enough. But I managed one more question. “Does Dr Bennett know? I’m in his office now.”  “No ma’m, not yet, we just got the report. Dr. Albares wanted me to go ahead and schedule the MRI.”

Moments later Dr. Bennett walked into his exam room where I sat shivering. I was at his office for a headache. Let me repeat that, a headache. I have a history of unsuccessfully treating the flu, strep throat, poison ivy, a broken bone, and an intestinal parasite for weeks  before making the trip to a doctor. Now here I was for the second time in twelve days. I only went those days ago for chest soreness accompanied by the 101.8 faulty reading of a fever strip at the school.

The fever didn’t register on the thermometer at the doctor’s office. Despite the discomfort in my chest, with no fever, I’d felt silly for being there. However, I dutifully reported every accumulated symptom (I save them up) I’d had in the last two years. Dr. Bennett wanted me to see a gastroenterologist. “Sounds like you might have an inflamed esophagus. We need for them to check you out.”  He patted my knee. “Miss Jan we’ll get you fixed up and feeling better real soon.” he said before walking out that day.

Now Dr. Bennett stood before me with chart in hand. It was almost 3 pm for a 1:30 “never made before” headache appointment. God’s timing. My doctor, my deacon, a fellow prayer warrior, and Christian Brother asking me what could he do for me today.

In a quiet voice, I said the unbelievable words. “Garrett, I have a mass on my liver. Dr. Albares’ office has just called me.”  His eyes narrowed and face stiffened as if the air had suddenly left the room. It was only a brief millisecond. As quickly as the shock came, it was replaced with reassurance. Thumbing through my chart he explained that my blood work earlier looked good. There was another thing it could be that wasn’t so dangerous. Hemo something.  He was kind and calming. More importantly, I knew he would pray.

Driving away I was in awe of God’s Grace and Mercy. How in the world did He put me in the exam room of this doctor, with my phone on of all things, (I normally put it on silent in the waiting room) at the exact moment I was to get the news? I said, “God, if it wasn’t so serious, this could be funny how you pulled this off. Me all aggravated that it is 2 and then 2:30 and I hadn’t seen the doctor. All the while, on your timing, for MY good, I was there.” Mental note: Be patient. I can’t ever see the big picture.

I’ve gotten “the call” a couple of times before. A lump in the breast requiring another exam, followed by a biopsy which proved clear. A pap smear with abnormal cells 3 times in a row followed by a “procedure’ to fix it. Both incidences frightening. But Monday’s call was different. You don’t hear of people walking around with a mass on the liver. Well, at least not for long. Typically the end to cancer of the liver comes much quicker and more assuredly than the other types of cancer.  Suddenly, I was Tessie Hutchinson in The Lottery.  I reminded God that I was not afraid of dying in the least. I would be so happy to be with him but it was being sick that I didn’t want do. Not the suffering.

There is never, ever a good time for this news. But some weeks are worse than others. Tyler, my nephew, was having his Eagle Scout awards ceremony Tues night in Atlanta. My Daddy had been a Boy Scout leader for 16 years for many young boys. I knew he and Mother were beside themselves with pride. We are all so proud of Tyler. There was no way I was going to put a blanket over this occasion. Deborah, my sister’s birthday was Wednesday. Ashley, my youngest, was having a MRI on Wednesday for a “test”. Not that anything had been found, but still. Allison, my oldest was too far from home to hear this news. Andrew’s preschool Grandparents Day was coming up Friday. Secretly, in my heart I planned to catch an Iowa bound plane to go with him.

The one thing I knew I could count on to comfort me would be my Bible Study, perhaps something about the healing power of Jesus.  But that was not to be. Tuesday was “Be ye perfect, even as your Father is perfect.” Wednesday: “we were created for God’s purpose and glory and not our on.”  I swapped devotionals, it didn’t help. No amazing healing verses were the devotional for the day. I didn’t want to look up the healing verses. I wanted God to show me. So I tried just letting the Bible fall open to the words of comfort. I would have even been happy with the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego story but nothing doing.

I went to work Tuesday and Wednesday while the Holy Spirit whispered “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things..”  To have clear direction of what to concentrate on when you absolutely cannot think is amazing. God is so good.

On Thursday, MRI day, my devotion was about suffering, “a servant is not greater than the Master”. Tearfully, my apprehension started climbing.  Yet that day blessings flowed all over me. The MRI staff was so kind and compassionate. Jack and I had lunch together and found the perfect flooring for the den. Allison chatted on about getting ready for her yearly closet stuff sale. Jack’s mother’ surprised me with a visit at the college that night. She had no idea. Carter’s prayer Ashley overheard on his monitor. “God, thank you for mommy and daddy, and tigger” (his stuffed animal) and some other stuff she couldn’t understand. But I believed it was for me.  Each little thing helped me get through that hour.

Friday was the day I was to receive the news.

Friday’s Devotion. Jesus’ Road to Jerusalem.  He . . . said to them, ’Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem . . . ’ —Luke 18:31

Nothing ever diverted our Lord on His way to Jerusalem. He was following God’s will. He was going to suffer and die despite His follower’s belief that He was going to be crowned King.

. there they crucified Him . . .” (Luke 23:33). That is what happened when our Lord reached Jerusalem, and that event is the doorway to our salvation. The saints, however, do not end in crucifixion; by the Lord’s grace they end in glory. In the meantime our watchword should be summed up by each of us saying, “I too go ’up to Jerusalem.” My Utmost for His Highest

Me on the road to my Jerusalem. How would I go? Absolved to His perfect will or wavering in my faith? What once seemed so unbelievable, I could now at least slightly entertain as perhaps my road.  After contemplating these words, I needed someone with me. I finally called  Deborah.

She was leaving her house for a meeting in Dawson. “Can you stop by the house for a minute?” I asked. She hesitated, “well I can but I need to leave right now to be at the meeting. What do you need?” “I have a mass on my liver.” ‘I’ll be right there.” I don’t remember saying bye or hanging up. I just knew I hated the heaviness she was feeling right then.

I dreaded when she would walk in the door and our eyes would meet.  But Deborah being Deborah I didn’t have to worry. Immediately when the door flung open, running past me she threw up her hand and said, “I am so sorry but I am so sick. I’ll be right back.” The bathroom door slammed.

I remembered the time when I was called to the emergency room because her son, Tre, had nearly cut off his big toe. Tre came out by himself hobbling on crutches through the double doors  followed by his mother slumped over in a wheelchair being attended to by two nurses. One was holding her hand. There have been many, many occasions like this with her. She doesn’t do emergencies very well.  The memory made my heart laugh that some things are constant.

Deborah called the school in Dawson. She was going to tell them she would be late for the meeting but before she could, they said 2 of the people for the meeting were not at school that day and the third person was so swamped. Could they possibly reschedule? So the Lord gave us that time to be together.

We prayed, talked, went over events leading up to the week. And then we just moved on. We looked at paint samples and headed to the paint store. Early afternoon, my phone rang. Trudie from the doctor’s office said it so quickly. “Mrs. Barron, we have the results from your MRI and it is a mass of blood vessels. A hemangioma. Dr. Albares will talk to you about it Tuesday but it is not malignant.” I don’t remember hanging up from her either. Gratefulness flooded my soul.

Later that night, I was thanking God and praising Him with every breath. I could not thank him enough! After several hours of this I felt His spirit speak to me. “Nothing has changed. No time has been added to your clock. Your appointment is still the same.  My will for you is the same. You are still on your road to Jerusalem. Walk faithfully.”

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