Random Thoughts

Midnight Musings 

Ok … it’s not really midnight but I’m not staying up that late to post this and I’m so tired it might as well be midnight. So there’s that. 

I was thinking through my day and the last few weeks … and I was overwhelmed in a good way. It just dawned on me that when my heart is overwhelmed in good and bad ways I cry out to God to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I am“. So I went in search of that Psalm. 

It’s Psalm 61 and the header for the Psalm in the NKJV is that it’s an Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection . Although this Psalm really speaks to moments when we are under attack and in need of rescue, I think it is also a beautiful reflection of resting in God’s goodness when He overwhelms you with His love. 

Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭61:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Thank you, Lord, for always leading me to rock that is higher than I at the mere mention of Your name.

Sweet dreams. I love you all!

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Random Thoughts

Words from Isaiah

Well, I wrote a different post yesterday but the Lord hasn’t released me to share it which happens from time to time. So, for now, I am “sitting” on that post and we’ll see how the Lord directs me to use it. Until then, I spent some time in Isaiah this morning and several verses leapt off the page at me that I had to share with you.

I’ll admit that I feel like I am in a perpetual waiting season in many areas of my life, especially after reading the very first articles I ever wrote from my time as a “senior editor” for a girls’ paper at my High School. The 18-year-old me had some words of wisdom for the 32-year-old me that I needed to hear again. It was a great reminder to keep seeking hard after the Lord in order to find my true fulfillment and joy in Him alone. A lesson that I believe will be something I learn for the rest of my life.

Anyway, here are the words that the Lord whispered to my soul this morning … may they bless you as well.

“But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name: you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames of will not consume you.” Isaiah 43: 1-2
 
““Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”” Isaiah 43:18-19
 
“I-yes, I alone-am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25
 
“For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who img_5407works for those who wait for him! You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways. But we are not godly. We are constant sinners, so your anger is heavy on us. How can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.” Isaiah 64: 4-6
 
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7
 
Thank you, Holy Father, for providing a Savior so that we could be restored to a right relationship with you through the repentance of our sins by the shedding of your son’s blood. Thank you that He rose victoriously three days later and that we have the hope of Eternity even on the darkest of days here on Earth. May I purpose to live with kingdom come purpose until you return.
In Jesus’s Name, I Pray, 
Amen
Merry Christmas!
I love you all!
Random Thoughts

A Time of Reflection …

“[ The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise ] Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.” Luke 1:46-47, 49

fullsizerender-13As I start to look towards 2017 and think about my goals for the next year, I am in awe of what the Lord has done in my life over the last year. Tomorrow, December 17, will mark one year since I have had my tonsillectomy and I am so thankful I did so. I realized today that I have gone an entire year without being on an antibiotic. First year ever in my life! Praise the Lord.

While my recovery ended up being months long as far as regaining strength, due to losing more blood during surgery than the doctor anticipated, my throat healed within a month of surgery which was two months ahead of schedule. My fibromyalgia flare-ups have decreased significantly and my migraines have been less than what they were. I still have some things to figure out with my migraines but in many ways, it’s like a whole a new life for me.

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Verse for 2016

New life … that has been my theme for 2016. And, boy, has my family experienced new life as we welcomed my precious niece, Raelyn, into the world in November! She is absolutely amazing!! We also found out in September that my brother and sister in law are adding to their family. Brantley will find out next week if he’ll have a little brother or sister. Talk about new life!

 

I started a new position within LMU and have been reunited with my 4th grade Elementary teacher from Eaton Elementary whom I adored then and adore even more now. I truly feel like I have come home now.

 

As I think of where I was at mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually over the last year, I am humbled at His goodness and faithfulness in my life. There have been many tears shed as I thought I knew what was best for me but God had an infinitely better plan for me.

Some things are the same and some things have changed. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me for the rest of 2016 and for the 2017 but I am thankful for all that He has taught me this year and brought me through. God is so good and gracious!

I am looking forward to a time of rest and fellowship with those that I love as we celebrate Christ’s birth.

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I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Single Life

This Isn’t A Game

img_5208I will never understand why some married men don’t wear wedding rings … especially when they aren’t in a job that restricts them from wearing it.

Or at the very least mention their wife in conversation.

In case you are wondering, yes, I was just made a fool. But it happens. I wasn’t flirtatious, yet, or anything like that but I would have been more guarded in my friendliness.

This is the day that we are living in. When a man is just being friendly … emailing you all throughout the day … asking about your weekend … discussing common interests … sharing basic personal details – where you grew up, HS attended, pets, family life … but somehow leaves out the fact that he is married. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? I’m sorry but I have a huge problem with that. Maybe it’s just me. But marriage isn’t a game. Being single isn’t a game. Being a truthful person isn’t a game. This isn’t a game.

“May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:21

I am a HUGE supporter of Biblical marriage … and as a believer, as a single woman, I take my part in helping to protect those marriages very seriously. I do this by, not only, electing politicians who uphold that same value but by respecting the marriages of those I am around. I do not ride alone in cars with married men. I do not eat alone with married men. I will not be in a house alone with a married man who is not my relative. Not because I do not trust myself or my friends but because I do not believe in giving the Enemy a foothold through rumors or a lapse of judgment.

I have seen the devastation that can occur in a marriage due to an affair. I work hard to be friendly but never cross the line with the husbands of my married friends. Even the ones where the guys were my friends first. Everything changes when they get married, well, actually when they get engaged. That open communication we once shared is gone. I respect that his fiancé and/or now wife deserves his full attention and openness. An openness that I cannot and should not share in. And it’s an openness that he should no longer expect from me. It’s called boundaries. They are a good thing.

I appreciate boundaries. I work well with them and when you have them set in place it helps you navigate through murky situations. It helps you turn away from temptation because you know that you will not compromise on those boundaries that you have in place. For me, those boundaries have been put in place by the convictions of the Holy Spirit in my life and through the reading of the Word of God. I will not and cannot compromise on them. I am thankful that His Spirit prepared me in advance for what I was going to find out today. I will now approach my conversations a bit differently with men and will wait until it is confirmed that a man is single before I believe it. Can’t rely on the fact that he’s not wearing a ring.

This isn’t a game. 

“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3

If you are married then wear your ring if you are able to. If you can’t because of a job then find some way to share about your spouse so that others know that you are proudly and happily married. If you are unable to wear your ring because it doesn’t fit then find something to wear in the meantime! This applies to both husbands and wives.

And please know that I understand that there is temptation all around us whether a ring is present or not … but for those of us who truly do desire to do the right thing, seeing a ring helps us know what boundaries need to be put in place when meeting someone for the first time. I am not desperate to meet someone but I do desire to be a woman of integrity and flirting with a married man has no place in my life.

I know I am not perfect … I fully acknowledge that. I fail all the time. But I repent and start fresh again. It may have been an oversight on his part but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. I’ll still be friendly within the boundaries that are now firmly in place. I’m a little bit wiser and a tad weary of it but this is life.

I’m thankful I get to live this life and that this isn’t a game.

I love you all.

Random Thoughts

Making Sense of It All

I’ll be honest … I have struggled to know what to write over the last week. The last week has been hard here in East TN.

We started the week of Thanksgiving out with a horrible school bus crash in Chattanooga that saw the loss of 6 precious children. Then we had several horrible, senseless murders in Knoxville.

On Friday, I discovered my family’s storage unit had been broken into between the last time I was there on Monday til I came in that day. It had been completely ransacked. If my life were a Hallmark movie, then the police officer who came to check the situation out would have been a single, handsome and strapping man instead of a lovely woman. He would have felt a surge of protectiveness upon seeing my tear stained, yet somehow still lovely, face and felt the need to come back after his shift was over to help me with setting my unit straight. We would have bonded over our mutual disdain for thievery, almost broke up over some silly misunderstanding (how was I supposed to know that 1990s Miami Dolphins velcro wallet still meant something to him and that’s why he still carried it to this day … he didn’t want or need a new wallet? How insensitive!) but realize our love was stronger than that and be happily married by next Christmas.

If my life were a Hallmark movie, then the police officer who came to check the situation out would have been a single, handsome and strapping man instead of a lovely woman. He would have felt a surge of protectiveness upon seeing my tear stained, yet somehow still lovely, face and felt the need to come back after his shift was over to help me with setting my unit straight. We would have bonded over our mutual disdain for thievery, almost broke up over some silly misunderstanding (how was I supposed to know that 1990s Miami Dolphins velcro wallet still meant something to him and that’s why he still carried it to this day … he didn’t want or need a new wallet? How insensitive!) but realize our love was stronger than that and be happily married by next Christmas.

However …  my life isn’t a Hallmark Movie so instead I was left to pick up the pieces and deal with it as best as I could. I’ll admit that it really put a burr under my saddle. I just couldn’t understand why this would happen. Not that our family should be spared from something like this but it’s still so frustrating.

But all of this was put into perspective after the devastation my neighbors in Sevier County experienced at the hands of the wildfire and my neighbors in Polk County experienced at due to a tornado the next day.I mean, y’all, it’s been insane. People have lost their lives, their homes and for some their livelihoods.

I have struggled to wrap my mind around it all. I have thought back to my dream that I had a few weeks ago as that’s all I could think about on Tuesday night during the storms …”signs and wonders, the Lord is in control and He is coming back.”  I hope you are hearing that.

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I have never been one to talk about the end times as I still have so much that I want to experience during my lifetime but I can’t ignore what is going on around me. Nor can I ignore the fact that for the first time in my life I have complete peace over the Lord’s return. While I do not know when Jesus is coming back here is what I do know … we have 3 communities hurting and in need of love. We have people who need to see what it means when the body of Christ unites together to be Jesus to those in need. The world needs to see how we love not how we “hate”. So, let’s do all that we can within our means and our abilities to be the Church that we are called to be to those in need and to reach a world that is lost …. because friends, the days are short and the hours are few but Eternity is forever. Some are facing an Eternity in a neverending wildfire and we hold the keys to keeping them from that … what are we waiting for?

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”” Matthew 9:37-38

So let’s go … let’s be about the Father’s business.

I love you all.

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Random Thoughts

A Song for this Day

I am not big on trends.

I do not read the latest “it” books … ever … be it Christian or not.

I finally upgraded to the iPhone 6 last Christmas.

I still watch an occasional movie on the VCR in my bedroom … just the movies that I have yet to find on DVD.

I do have Netflix. I finally purchased that in the last year.

I am making strides to become more current. But I have my way of doing things and I like it.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I stumbled across the “SING!” app. You know the one … the karaoke app that many are using. Well, as I was perusing through various songs, I came across “O the Blood”. I have always wanted to sing that song. So I did … in the quietness of my bedroom, I entered into the holy of holies and made this song my heart’s cry. It has been my heart’s cry every day since and will be my heart’s cry tomorrow morning as well.

O the Blood

Verse 1:
O the blood
Crimson love
Price of life’s demand
Shameful sin
Placed on Him
The hope of every man

[Chorus:]
O the Blood of Jesus washes me
O the Blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes the blood it is my victory

Verse 2:
Savior Son
Holy One
Slain so I can live
See the Lamb
The Great I Am
Who takes away my sin

[Chorus]

Bridge:
O the Blood of the Lamb
O the Blood of the Lamb
O the Blood of the Lamb
The precious Blood of the Lamb
What a sacrifice
That saved my life
Yes the Blood it is my victory

Verse 3:
O what love
No greater love
Grace how can it be
That in my sin
Yes even then
He shed His blood for me

[Chorus]

What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes the blood it is my victory

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:6-11

No matter what this day holds … politically, professionally or personally, I am thankful to proclaim “what a sacrifice that saved my life. Yes, the blood it is my victory!”

I love you all.

Single Life

Season of Thanks: A Prayer and Two Dreams

In honor of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday today, I am sharing the prayer/poem that his wife Ruth Bell Graham wrote in her teens about the man she hoped to marry someday.

The Man I Prayed For
Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.

By Ruth Bell

fullsizerender-10A few years ago, I adopted this as my prayer too. I have it printed out and framed in my living room as a reminder to myself to continue to pray for him, my future husband, as well as the empty picture frame that sits by my bed. I posted a picture of one of my many copies that I have of it in 2011 … 5 years ago … but I still stand by what I stated then. 🙂 I would like to say that I pray for him all the time but I don’t instead I bemoan the fact that he isn’t here.

Well, last night I had two very vivid dreams. The first I ended up in a “school musical” and for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was now, however, I was a last minute addition. Let me just tell you that I have never been in a school musical theater production. As much as I loved singing, the thought of getting on stage and acting in front of people mortified me. So here I am, in my dream, thrown on stage in a school production at the last minute but it was the backstage conversation that has stayed with me all day long. I ran into a friend who was deep in grief and admitted that they had been using musical theater (of all things) to fill the void of their lost loved one yet they were still empty. I found myself empathizing with them and admitting there have been many times that I have used various things to fill the loneliness in my life that is only meant to be filled by the Lord.

Instead of seeking solace in Him, I look to things to satisfy that only work for a brief time when what I am searching for is something more fulfilling. I’ll be honest … I use food to fill that void 9 times out of 10. I’m not a glutton but if I am lonely, bored or sad then I’ll eat something. For others, it may be shopping, alcohol, relationships, your children, drugs, social media, or TV. We all have various things that, in and of themselves may not necessarily be bad or they absolutely are, we allow to fill the needs in our lives versus the Lord. And let’s just be honest, when we turn to other things than seeking the Lord first it’s ultimately a form of disobedience because we are in essence making other things our gods.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?  I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49

We will never be satisfied with the things of this world or with the things that are of the Lord if the Lord is not first. It’s that simple. What kind of foundation do you want to build your life upon? Are you, like me, replacing the Lord with something? Seeking comfort in something other than Him and His word? He’s ready and waiting for us to return to our right fellowship with Him. We just have to take that first step.

In my second dream, I was sitting in a house high above a city with a large picture window. There were several others in the home with me when I looked outside and could see planes falling from the sky along with other catastrophic events happening. It was apparent that the Rapture was occurring. It was actually happening in stages. You know in movies when you see a wave of implosion slowly overtaking a city? That is what was happening in my dream but it wasn’t a scary situation. Those in the house were worried because we weren’t “taken” yet but I had this peace that it was coming and we needed to get ready. And that’s what I believe this dream was about … the Lord is coming back … it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are regarding the end times. He’s coming. He told us He is.

 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.  People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:25-36

Are you ready? Do you have everything in order in your house? Because He is coming. Now more than ever it is time to be about the Father’s business and share the hope we have in Christ with others.

So today … the day before the election … the day of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday … I am thankful for the Godly example of marriage he and Mrs. Ruth set for us. I am thankful for the hope of Salvation that he faithfully preached to the nations over his lifetime. And I am thankful for the hope and assurance that Christ is coming again.

I love you all!

 

 

Single Life

Lady Edith and I

“Where one story ends another begins.”

I knew something was coming as I could sense I would be sharing this story for several weeks now but I couldn’t imagine how I would be telling it nor how I was to be this open with everyone, therefore, I chose to keep my mouth shut and not write until He told me to …

…Here we are …

downton-abbeyFor the first time in over a week, I am lying in my bed and not watching an episode of Downton Abbey. The reason for this is that I have completely started and finished the series in a week’s time. What can I say? Go big or go home! Now for those who are not familiar with Downton Abbey, I should share that there were only 5 seasons and 9 episodes per season. Each episode lasted 45 minutes to an hour, give or take a 2 hour Christmas special. Kudos to those who actually watched the show while it was in production … I would have been so frustrated with only 9 episodes per season.

This show literally had me feeling “all the feels” … anger, joy, disappointment, heartbreak … all of it. I did not cry in some of those episodes that most have cried in but I could have. This is why I am accused of being heartless. Ha! There was very little language and I truly mean very little. They did touch on immoral issues but unlike today’s television show’s they were not issues to be celebrated but things to overcome. They showed how everyone, no matter their background, should be treated with love and respect. I will be watching this show again and again for years to come. It was not anything that I had expected and I am so glad.

I have never been one to become emotionally invested in a TV show. I like television but it’s entertainment. What I did not expect was to see myself in the three daughters of Downton Abbey. And lest you think I have visions of grandeur for myself, I do not. It was their faults and/or weaknesses that I seemed to resonate with the most. While I do not want to give away too much of the show to those who have not watched it I am about to become more specific with a few details.

I saw myself in Lady Mary’s coolness in her attempt to mask her feelings and her frequent regret over her sharp tongue. The sharp tongue is something I have worked hard, by the grace of God, to overcome over the course of my roaring 20s. In Lady Sybil, I see the war between doing what is right and wanting to rebel at the same time. Thankfully, she finds the right balance of being able to honor her family and stick to her convictions as well. For me, that was growing up in the ministry but still being my own person (i.e. not allowing everyone’s opinions on how I should dress, color my hair or when I wanted a break from singing in the choir determine my decisions). Finally, there is Lady Edith. Oh, Lady Edith. Lady Edith really struck a nerve with me. While I could not identify with her issues in seasons 3 and 4, I saw myself in her in seasons 1 and 2. I have never been more annoyed! I saw her chasing after a man and not taking the hint to leave him alone … it was all I could do to not groan out loud in frustration.

I spent 10 years of my life basically in love with a man who did not love me back … at least he wasn’t in love with me. We were friends. I still remember the first day I met him. I have movie reel in my mind that I can pull up at any moment and play through various memories of those first conversations. His smile. His laugh. His look in those first few years. Those first years when it seemed that something might form from our innocent friendship. Moments when there was flirtation coming from him. Then something would happen and I’d watch him shut down. So I would chink away at the wall he had put up again.

I had looked for the “signs” as all good Baptists do. You know the ones I am talking about … things that the world would call coincidence but believers know are of God and had found them. I could even find biblical significance in the number of years that we had been friends and so forth. I was that desperate for this to work. He was everything I had imagined for myself, except for a few things. He was “the one”. I knew it. Others seemed to know it. He just didn’t know it.

I dated some in between but my heart always his. I was finally challenged by a friend to ask the Lord for him. So I did. I got down on my face and asked the Lord. I called it my “bold request”. It took a few months but it became clear one night that I would never mean to him what he meant to me. He was never rude and it wasn’t anything he said or did. In fact, it was what he didn’t say and he didn’t do that told me everything I needed to know I remember leaving the dinner that night absolutely crushed.

We are still friends to this day but it is one of the many reasons why I do not have close guy friends anymore. The water can become too murky. Invariably one will end up wanting something more. My best girlfriends are the ones allowed into my soul and they, in turn, now help me to “hide my crazy” when it comes to men. I am sure he had to of known because I was as subtle as Lady Edith was or a bull in a china shop but he was always so kind to me. It is for that reason and so many more that he will always mean the world to me but he no longer has my heart. He hasn’t had it for some time. I just couldn’t see it or simply refused to see it, because, like with so many other things, it feels like another death of a dream. But, instead, I am thankful for the things the Lord taught me through those 10 years of being “in love” with him and for the things my friend taught me as it only increased my faith.

It is funny how a television show was able to help me finally bring that chapter of my life to a close but it has. So here’s to moving on … not necessarily to bigger and better because this isn’t a negative thing or bitter situation but simply in a manner more surrendered and less spastic! I’m looking forward to the days and years ahead because of this promise that I have from the Lord … a promise that doesn’t require a sign because I can enter His presence with just the whisper of His precious name.

 I love you all!

Random Thoughts

A Placed Called Home

Over the Easter weekend, I was able to go visit my family in West Tennessee. Ever since my visit I have been thinking about “home” a great deal. The concept of home and the actual location of it. At 32 years of age, the current details that make up my home aren’t at all what I had imagined for my life at this point. And that is ok but I feel this need for something more definitive in my life to be happening.

Dan Cathy, the president of Chik Fil A, spoke at my church yesterday and said that God places 3 calls on your life:

  • Master – enter into a relationship with Him.
  • Mate – singleness or whom/when to marry
  • Mission – vocation

I accepted the Lord as my personal Savior and repented of my sins in August of 1993. I surrendered to full-time Christian service at the age of 16 and have sort of felt like I was in limbo ever since. I thought going to grad school would give me the direction I was seeking but it hasn’t.

What is this pull?

What am I being called to?

Where is my home?

Why do I feel like this at 32?

Shouldn’t I be more settled by now?

Growing up in the ministry, our family moved back and forth between West and East Tennessee 3 times over the course of 11 years. We were blessed to be able to stay in the same state and when we did move we ended up being able to reconnect with many friends. For my dad’s pastorates at Dixie Lee Baptist and Cherokee Baptist our family was given the honor of living in the pastorium or parsonage. It was a unique and truly joyful experience to be able to grow up right across the street/next door to our church. The church became an extension to our home for me. I knew all the secret corners of the sacred buildings and as creepy as this sounds I still love to walk into a pitch black sanctuary. When our family moved to Knoxville in 2002 for my dad’s pastorate at Central Baptist my parents bought their first home ever. I will never forget all the emotions that came with that responsibility. While our church was in Oak Ridge, my parents chose Knoxville for financial and location reasons. We loved our home on Oak Haven Road. It was the first place that was truly ours.

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Dixie Lee (Now)

My favorite home though was the pastorium at Dixie Lee. I was saved in this home and started singing here. I’ve said it many times that my spiritual roots were established here and it’s true. But I also loved this home because I got to play here. We had a basement! It was the perfect classroom for playing school as we had an old school desk and a chalkboard. It also made the perfect “home”. I can still feel the coolness of the floor on a hot summer day. The basement had a garage door that led out to our driveway so the ground sloped upwards on either side of the entrance that allowed me to imagine I was Laura Ingalls growing up in a soddy when I was playing like I was pioneer girl. (In my defense, it sloped quite a bit to an 8-year-old. Also, there used to not be a parking lot there. Oh and remind me to tell you the snake story!) We had a brick BBQ pit in our back yard that hadn’t been used in years that was also another play “home” for me. We also had a double layer deck off the back door so when I wanted to pretend like I was particularly upscale this was my two-story Victorian home. I played for hours in the basement, in our backyard, and on our deck. Sometimes I played on our church’s playground across the street and in the church when I was able to sneak in. This was the place where I fell in love with the church, started singing, writing, dreaming and imagining life.

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The back deck aka my “Victorian Style Home”. The corner windows at the top right were my bedroom windows. If those walls could talk …

Now my parents live in a different neighboring state and live in a two bedroom apartment. There are elements all throughout the apartment that call to me that say “this is home” but it’s not what most would call “the family home.” When I think of all that phrase embodies, I think of 3 places in my life … 3 homes that I can walk into and know that I am home.

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The first is the home that belongs to my Mimi and Granddaddy Mullins. This home is where the Mullins family gathered for many years for holidays, family meals and swim times. There is a certain sweet smell that is a mixture of the assorted gum and mints waiting on the front table, with the 6 high school graduation photos of the Mullins grandkids, combined with the lingering scent of Mimi’s perfume that says you are home.

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The upper pond

The second home belongs to my Mawmaw and Granddaddy Hazlewood. My Granddaddy and Uncle Tim built this home, with the help from some others, a year before I was born. When I have needed to getaway … I go here. I always called it “the farm” even though there aren’t any animals there except for some cats. The house sits on 37.4 acres and there are two ponds that my siblings and I have spent many hours fishing at. My 5-year-old nephew just caught his first fish there this past weekend. It’s such a joy to see 4 generations laughing, eating and loving the time together. This place calls to you to be outside yet to return to the warmth of its walls at the end of the day. I love this home.

The third home belongs to my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray. This is another home where the Mullins family has gathered over the years for holidays and family meals together and at one time for swims. While they have moved 3 times in my life the layout of their houses have all been quite similar so there is a familiar sense of home when you walk in the door. You can always count on a delicious smell coming from the kitchen, a table full of family, conversations and laughter echoing off of every corner in the room.

Therefore when I think of going home … I think of seeing my parents because wherever 016they are that is home – whether it’s a home they own, a two bedroom apartment, a pastorium, a hotel room or a church office. Wherever they are that is home. But I also think of the homes of my Mimi and Granddaddy, my Mawmaw and Granddaddy, as well as my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray’s homes. I think of their homes as my home too. I hope they don’t mind. Ha!

I think this is why I feel such a tug at my heart to put my roots down somewhere. To have my own little place that is mine. But maybe I am not called to that. Maybe that’s why I have found a home in the homes of my family members. Who knows. Well the Lord knows. Right now I am seeking His heart to know. Maybe the point is for me to continue on the journey without worrying about the earthly destination since my eternal destination has already been settled.

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Who knows. Well the Lord knows. I am so glad He knows.

Random Thoughts

In Everything Give Thanks

My dad has a sermon that he preaches on 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The key point in his sermon is that while we aren’t always thankful for everything we can be thankful in everything. He typically then shares a personal example of the time he was involved in a car wreck after dropping off my lunch at school that I had forgotten that morning.

I was in 5th grade and it was my birthday that day. I guess the excitement of turning 11 was too much for me that I forgot my lunch. So when my dad got home from dropping my brother and I off he was informed by my mom that I didn’t have my lunch. Since we lived a few miles from school he got back in the car and brought it to me. After dropping it off, he was sitting at a red light when the back of our minivan was hit by the car behind him in reaction to being hit by the person behind her. Thankfully, Dad walked away with whiplash while the woman behind him was less fortunate. I can still remember seeing my parents pull up in the car line in a different car with my mom driving … a dead giveaway that something was wrong! 🙂 When my brother and I climbed into the car they told us what had happened. I felt so guilty. It was my fault. And for years after whenever he would share the story I would tear up from the guilt of it not paying attention to his point.

He didn’t share the story to make me feel bad. He knew that this was a part of life. Bad things, unfortunate things happen. This was an unfortunate thing that had happened. So while he wasn’t thankful for the wreck he was thankful that he was able to walk away from it, that we had car insurance to cover the costs and that my little sister wasn’t riding in the van that day. If she had been she would have more than likely been injured and would probably be more goofy than she is now! 😉

Tuesday night as I headed to bed I thought about what I had shared on my previous post … “Today, I am going to relish in His presence and return it by being fully present in my praise no matter what I face.” I knew going to bed that I probably had set myself up for some testing. Within a mile from my home yesterday morning, I was rear ended on the interstate while headed to work. I was almost to a complete stop due to traffic stopping in front of me when I was hit. This was my first wreck. The young woman who hit me and myself pulled over into the emergency lane to wait for the police to arrive. As I sat there checking in with my boss, family members and friends, I was ready to shed a tear or two. This was not how I wanted to start my Wednesday. I needed to be at work. I didn’t feel well as I immediately had a headache explode in my head and my neck was sore. At that moment this appeared …

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I took a deep breath and thanked the Lord that no one was seriously hurt. I thanked Him for His reminder of His presence and promise. I had a rare opportunity yesterday morning sitting on the side of the interstate to watch the rainbow peek in out of the clouds before it was covered once again by the rain. Yet when it came time for me to pull back into the traffic there it was constantly before me just like the Lord. I never even realized there was a double rainbow until I looked at my pictures later in the day.

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Double Rainbow = It’s faint but to the left of the main rainbow.

There are times where the Lord’s presence is so bright and vibrant before me that it spills over and I am simply satisfied to dwell in the residual even though I am offered the joy of being fully in His presence. Why do I chose the duller colors of His presence? Is it because I am afraid of what His radiance will reveal in my life? Absolutely, yes. Also, maybe like Moses, we can only handle a smaller portion of His glory. To be bathed in His full vibrancy might be the death of us so He gives us the remnant to dwell in. Yet, even there we aren’t satisfied because there are moments in our lives when fail to recognize His presence at all or we doubt He is even there. However, when the clouds of our storms pass we see Him there and understand that He has never left us nor forsake us. He is who He says He is. We are not.

So while filing insurance claims, being stiff and sore is not on the top of my list of things to be thankful for I can be thankful for the reminder that in this situation He showed me that He is always before me even when I cannot see Him.

I love you all.

Blessings …

– Melody Faith